My name is Aran and I attend Renaissance College.
It is extraordinary and shocking to know that such living environment exist in Hong Kong. The slums are small and uninhabitable. There is no lighting, making it difficult during night times. The slums we visited are made of pieces of sheet metal, as if they are stapled together in some slack manner.
Pieces have to be installed between the sheets to prevent leaking during raining season. They look vulnerable during thunderstorm season, as it is not safe. Refugees suffer from prejudice from the landlord. The ISS-HK (Contracting organisation responsible for refugee’s food and rent for the government) provides a maximum of $1200 dollars to the landlord at the time when we visited the slums.
However, it is actually insufficient as a refugee we visited is charged $1000 for rent on the rent papers, but in reality charged $1500. Knowing that the ISS has increased the rent support recently, landlords are expected to increase the rent to gain most from the ISS policy.
Food is also arranged through the ISS. There is a so called Food Order Sheet given to the refugees, but the price of the food is blacked out, and it turns out the food price are nearly twice as expensive to the local supermarket. This is the same as diminishing the amount of food refugees get each day by half, which is the same as torturing in an indirect manner.
These refugees are not provided with a Hong Kong identification by the government, which means they are not allowed to work, cannot open a phone line, cannot get internet, and many more limitations. In the minds of many Hong Kong people, the stereotypical refugee has no education and lacks working ability, but in fact, many of them are seeking asylum in Hong Kong because their beliefs are different from the ones the government wants people to have.
Many of them are highly educated people, who have been to higher education institution. They definitely have the ability to work in the Hong Kong society with great contribution. In Hong Kong, they are nobody. They don’t just come to Hong Kong to beg for food; obviously there is a reason why they have to flee their own country. They want to start a new life in this town, and why can’t they do so?