The family struggling to eat on $40 a day

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 29 December, 2002, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 29 December, 2002, 12:00am

Existing on a meagre $5,300 a month, the Leung family can only spend $30 to $40 a day on food.

Every time Leung Yuk-ying, 53, visits the market, she has to compare prices to make sure she buys the cheapest. 'I don't care about the quality, the most important thing is the price,' she says.

Life has been a struggle since they moved to a public housing unit in Lei Yue Mun two months ago after their old home in Lower Ngau Tau Kok estate was torn down under a government redevelopment project.

Her 63-year-old husband, a security guard, is the sole breadwinner, earning $183 for a 12-hour day. Rent is $2,700 a month - compared with $870 in the old flat. Their 21-year-old son, who lives with them, is studying at a vocational training school paid for by government loans.

Mrs Leung's other son and two daughters are married and no longer live with their parents. One of her daughters gives her $1,000 a month towards rent, but the others offer no financial support.

Mrs Leung says the family has used most of their $30,000 savings to make ends meet and fit out their new home. To save money they only switch on the electricity when absolutely necessary.

In the past two months, Mrs Leung has only eaten out three times. 'My son took me to the nearby McDonald's restaurant twice and bought me French fries, hamburgers and coffee,' she says, adding he paid for it with money he earned during the summer holidays.

But Mrs Leung says the family has never tried applying for Comprehensive Social Security Assistance. 'We only hope that our rent can be reduced.'