'I eat less to feed my growing kids'

PUBLISHED : Monday, 07 March, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 07 March, 2011, 12:00am

Mothers always want the best for their children.

In the face of surging food prices, one 41-year-old mother says she gives all the meat at mealtime to her two children because she cannot afford enough for the family of four.

'My children are growing and they cannot skip meat. I would rather eat less myself,' said the woman, who did not want to be named.

The family live in Tsuen Wan on about HK$12,000 a month. The father, a security guard, makes HK$8,000, and the rest comes from the mother's part-time jobs. They have a son in primary school and a daughter in secondary school. They spend about HK$50 per meal.

Fresh beef has become so expensive that the mother considers it a luxury which she only cooks to celebrate a birthday.

'I stopped buying fresh beef a year ago and turned to frozen beef. The cost is half that of fresh beef,' she said.

She manages to keep some meat on the dinner menu, sometimes pork. At other times she makes do with eggs. But the dining table is getting 'greener' in general as she buys more items like beans and tomatoes.

'I haven't cooked soup in more than half a year. The last time I bought fruit was during the Lunar New Year, almost a month ago.'

She used to buy fruit once a week. Not anymore - not since the price of oranges rose from HK$10 for four to HK$10 for three.

'It doesn't seem right to buy fruit when I'm worrying about whether my family has enough to eat.'

She has adopted strategies to make her money stretch further.

'I go to the wet market at around 7pm when the stores are closing. The sellers don't want to keep fresh products overnight, so they would rather sell them at a cheaper price.

'Of course cheaper stuff is not as good. After I take them home, I will pick the good parts and cook them.'

Although the government said last week it would give all permanent residents HK$6,000, only her husband is eligible. She is a new immigrant who does not qualify.

'It will only help to pay expenses for a month. The government should think about long-term welfare policies.'

The family joined the protest against the budget yesterday.