Hong Kong society

Young cage home residents 'isolated from family'

A single mother plays with her daughter in the bedroom of an 80 square-foot sub-divided flat. Photo: Reuters

Amid the public housing crunch, single people earning a low wage are taking up residence in subdivided flats and cage homes, but the cheaper rent comes with a steep emotional price: isolation from loved ones.

Monday, 17 June, 2013, 5:39am 1 comment

'Caged animals' with no other options

Henry Cheung, a 51-year-old cleaner, says his children don't know he is living in a subdivided flat in Sham Shui Po. Photo: Nora Tam

For some young single people who earn very little, subdivided homes are the only option when they can no longer stay at home because of family problems.

17 Jun 2013 - 5:39am

Dad's long hours working all worth it for the family

(From left) Chan Kin-fai, Emily Chan, their mother and father, George Chan. Photo: Nora Tam

Children across the city braved the wet weather yesterday to spend some quality time with their dads on Father's Day. With an area of low pressure bringing occasional showers and clouds - and a thunderstorm warning hoisted for a few hours - it was a good day for staying indoors.

17 Jun 2013 - 5:39am

Chungking Mansions a study of life lived in the raw

Waiting for a lift to a guest house or restaurant in the maze of hallways. Photo: John Carney

The maze of corridors in the five, 17-storey blocks has sat in the heart of Tsim Sha Tsui for more than half a century. But it was the 1994 Wong Kar-wai movie Chungking Express that earned the buildings in Nathan Road their iconic status.

9 Jun 2013 - 9:31am 7 comments

Attacks against children are symptoms of an unhealthy society

A mother killed her child and then committed suicide at a flat in Taikoo Shing on January 8, 2013. Photo: SCMP

In Hong Kong, family violence and suicides are so common that their occurrence is often taken for granted. Occasionally, sensational cases, such as murder-suicides involving parents and children, manage to draw public attention to an array of social ills contributing to the tragedies. But the underlying issues are soon buried as new headlines emerge. The growing insensitivity among the public does not help to improve the situation.

3 Jun 2013 - 2:32am

'Beautiful souls' blinkered to reality

Some people see mainland China as leaking badness and contaminating Hong Kong with corrupt officials and 'locust' visitors. Photo: David Wong

A distinctive Hong Kong identity politics is emerging. As it is still developing, it is hard to pin down and put your finger on. But one important aspect seems clear enough: demonise China, idealise Hong Kong. Yes, yes, I know. How can that be when the city is part of China? But it's that very inclusion since the handover that is being called into question.

3 Jun 2013 - 2:32am 31 comments

Fighting poverty needs 'more than money'

Lau Ming-wai, left, vice-chairman of the Bauhinia Foundation Research Centre, with its chairman Donald Li. Photo: Dickson Lee

Hong Kong businesses should play a bigger role in the fight against poverty, and that doesn't mean writing bigger cheques, the Bauhinia Foundation Research Centre has said.

3 Jun 2013 - 7:32am 2 comments

Special-needs children need better protection

Local children with disabilities are usually better off than those in less developed countries, but they are still harassed in schools, said Maggie Koong, a council member of Unicef Hong Kong.

3 Jun 2013 - 7:14am

Agent Orange victim isn't afraid to dream big

Nyuyen Sgoc Plniong, a victim of the US military's toxic Agent Orange, contributes to society despite his health conditions. Photo: Emily Tsang

"Do not fear discrimination," says Nguyen Sgoc Plniong, who breathes with just half a lung and stands only as tall as a three-year-old. He is one of an estimated 500,000 Vietnamese born with health defects because of exposure to a chemical known as Agent Orange.

3 Jun 2013 - 7:14am

Hong Kong's long road to better housing

Rehousing people who are forced to live in substandard, subdivided flats should be the priority of any developed society. Photo: AFP

Rehousing people who are forced to live in substandard, subdivided flats should be the priority of any developed society. Hong Kong has had a problem just counting these people accurately. According to the Census and Statistics Department the number fell from 58,300 in 2006 to 32,800 in 2011. Last October it put the figure at 69,400.

29 May 2013 - 6:16am 1 comment

Abrasive, loveable Hong Kong

While life here can be difficult, not least for someone born on the mainland trying to fit in, the city is also loveable in its own way.

I'd like to applaud Joy Yang for her courage in penning her recent op-ed on the discrimination she has experienced in Hong Kong. I, too, was born on the mainland and there have been times when I've got the evil eye for speaking my Beijing-accented native Putonghua here.

29 May 2013 - 10:35am 8 comments

Play about gay officer revives memory of John MacLennan's 1980 suicide

Headlines from the 1980 case of John MacLennan (right), who shot himself as he faced arrest for indecency. A play based on the case opened this month.

Behind the Curtain, which the True Heart Theatre group premiered in London this month, is based loosely on the suspicious death of John MacLennan. The Scot was found dead with five gunshots wounds to his chest on the morning he was to be arrested on charges of indecency.

26 May 2013 - 6:40am

Volunteer inspired to help more newly arrived migrant families

Volunteer Tiffany Lau with one of the new arrivals she is helping. Photo: Nora Tam

Tiffany Lau Nga-yee did not know what to think when she began volunteering last year for Against Child Abuse's programme to help newly arrived families adjust to life in Hong Kong.

26 May 2013 - 8:18am

Time to remind the world our doors are open to all

Hong Kong must make it easier for skilled professionals of all races to settle here. Photo: Thomas Yau

Last week, Max Fisher of The Washington Post produced an article on the world's most and least racially tolerant places. It claimed Hong Kong was ranked as one of the world's most intolerant, with 71.8 per cent of respondents saying they would not want someone of another race as a neighbour.

22 May 2013 - 2:53am

Hongkongers just want to be heard, says eminent Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh

Followers of Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh have come together in the city to attend a retreat and conference with him. Photo: May Tse

You can stop one protest for a time, but you can't stop another one from starting up if you don't deal with the problem, says an eminent Buddhist monk.

20 May 2013 - 3:15pm