The Best of Times, the Worst of Times
In 2010, Hong Kong rebounded strongly from the financial tsunami – the Hang Seng Index stayed above 20,000 points, GDP grew by more than 6.5 per cent and a land developer paid $68,000 for a square foot of land on the Peak.
At the same time, we also have 1.26 million poor people, one in every three of the city’s elderly lives in poverty and we lead the developed economies of the world in terms of income disparity.
Given such contradictions, we cannot help but question: what is wrong with this city?
In this issue’s Periscope, we bring you stories of people at the grassroots as they struggle to make
a living and face enormous challenges every day. We hear from inexperienced youths trying to break into the job market, from the middle-aged working poor, and from the elderly who have nothing to show for their years of toil. We see a problem of intergenerational poverty, which means long-term poverty across all age groups in a family, is developing. Intergenerational poverty is undermining social mobility and fuelling tensions and resentment within the community.
To stop things getting worse, the whole city has to act now. The government should improve the education system and offer more opportunities to youngsters. Corporations should stop exploiting workers and, instead, should show them respect by paying a fair wage for their labour. All of us should take responsibility for looking after our senior citizens as they worked hard to create the city we are living in.
During this happiest moment of the year, we should not neglect the impoverished. We all can help.
Instead of buying Christmas presents for your loved ones, why not donate the money you would have spent to charity? You can send the receipt, along with goodwill and blessings, to the people you treasure.
Let’s share love, warmth and solicitude this winter.