Expat donates budget's HK$6,000 handout to struggling immigrant
Lo Wei and Martin Wong
As government officials try to figure out how to distribute the HK$6,000 budget giveaway to permanent residents, Clive Noffke has taken matters into his own hands. He has donated his share to someone who missed out - a struggling recent immigrant.
New Zealander Noffke, who has been in Hong Kong for 36 years, gave a cheque for HK$6,000 to Zhao Suqing after reading in the South China Morning Post how her family of three struggled to make ends meet.
Noffke said he was against Financial Secretary John Tsang Chun-wah's handout for all adult permanent Hong Kong residents in the budget. 'I have enough and I saw a lot of people who don't have enough,' he said. I have a family of three as well, and I live in a 1,400 sq ft home. That family in Sham Shui Po lives in 70 sq ft, so it's really a no-brainer.
'It's absolutely incredible that we have a huge surplus and it's being given away indiscriminately. It rewards those who absolutely do not need it and fails to reach those that absolutely do,' said Noffke, who worked in property before retiring.
Zhao, who received the cheque yesterday, said: 'Thank you so much for helping us, I'm really happy. I can now buy better food for dinner and milk formula for my daughter.
'My daughter likes shrimp so I'll buy her some for dinner. Things are getting more expensive. Before, shopping for dinner would cost me HK$20 to HK$30, now it's HK$40 to HK$50.'
Zhao looks after her four-year-old daughter full time while her waiter husband earns about HK$7,000 a month. Although she is glad that her husband will get the payout as he is a permanent resident, she is unhappy that new immigrants such as herself will not. 'We're not getting a cent. It's discriminatory against us. We are Hong Kong people too,' she said.
'Many of the new immigrant families I know are three people relying on one person's income. They can hardly make ends meet.'
Zhao came to Hong Kong from Guangzhou in July last year to join her husband. The family pays HK$2,100 a month rent for one of six units divided inside a flat in a run-down building.
Following the announcement of the government handout, a number of welfare organisations urged Hong Kong people to consider offering part or all of their HK$6,000 to help people in need across the city.
Fermi Wong Wai-fun, campaign director of Hong Kong Unison, an ethnic minorities concern group, said it received a HK$6,000 cheque from someone last Friday. 'We are very thankful,' Wong said.