There has been yet another tragic fire. I have lived in Hong Kong for six years and they seem to happen with increasing regularity.
The Government is obviously aware of the problem since fire safety awareness advertisements run nightly on the television. But as with so many communal problems in Hong Kong, most notably environmental pollution, the general population seems to be apathetic.
In the case of fire, where the safety of one family is concerned, you should not have to rely on good fortune to avoid disaster.
Last year after the Garley building fire I thought it would be prudent to install a smoke alarm in our apartment.
In North America they are ubiquitous. It is rare to find a home that doesn't have at least one. Here in Hong Kong I couldn't even find one for sale. In the end I had to have some sent out from Canada where they can simply be bought at the grocery store.
Most people in Hong Kong aren't even aware of such devices and when they see them in my home they don't appreciate the need for them. A smoke alarm costs about the price of a pizza. For the price of a Channel handbag you could buy 50 of them, but in Hong Kong fashion is more important than safety.
MARC CLARK Mid-Levels