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In Hong Kong, A Cubicle To Call Home

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In Hong Kong, a Cubicle to Call Home

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/28/business/international/have-nots-squeezed-and-stacked-in-hong-kong.html?ref=business&_r=0

HONG KONG — On the first floor of a hulking residential building, at the end of a dimly lighted corridor, a narrow door opens up into Hong Kong’s economic underbelly.

Twenty-two men live in this particular 450-square-foot apartment in the neighborhood of Mong Kok, in cubicles each hardly larger than a single bed, stacked above one another along two narrow passageways that end in a dank toilet and shower room.

Each cupboardlike cubicle has a sliding door, a small television, some shelves and a thin mattress. Most of the men have lived here for months, some for years.

“Luckily there is air-conditioning. If not, sleeping would be impossible,” said Ng Chi-hung, 55, who is unemployed and occupies one of the bottom bunks. “If you live in such environment, you have to adapt to everything.”

Cheng Tin-sang, 59, occupies the bunk above, which is reached via a short metal ladder. Unable to work because of a heart condition, Mr. Cheng wanders the streets all day.

“I sit in places like McDonald’s,” he said. “Anywhere with air-conditioners will do.”

Hong Kong’s per-capita gross domestic product is higher than that of Italy, and not far short of those of Britain and France, according to World Bank figures. But for unskilled or semiskilled people like Mr. Ng, the city is a tough place to be, said Wong Hung, an associate professor at the Chinese University of Hong Kong who specializes in urban poverty and employment.

Hong Kong’s economy underwent a major change in the 1980s, when much of the manufacturing activity for which the city became famous in the 1950s and ‘60s moved across the border to mainland China. In its place came banking, insurance, trading, logistics and real estate — service sectors that now employ nearly 90 percent of the work force but that have been unable to absorb many less-educated workers, Mr. Wong said.

At the same time, Hong Kong has some of the highest living costs in the world, a huge and growing burden on those at the bottom of the income ladder.

As housing costs keep increasing it's highly likely we'll see such conditions coming here, although I can easily imagine many graduates having to live like this whilst paying off the tuition fees.

The unskilled as always are there to be fecked over.

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Most of the men have lived here for months, some for years.

Hong Kong had the same cramped conditions for some people even before the UK's 80s/90s recession so it seems not much has changed since those days.

There were media reports about it in those days and in that respect it's a bit surprising that this news story is presented as a fresh story rather than making a stronger link back to the past reports. Maybe they're trying to imply it's a Chinese problem but the problem existed before Hong Kong was transferred back to the Chinese in 1997.

Before the 80s/90s recession it seemed to be so incredible and seemed unimaginable in the UK - but since about year 2000 it's seemed more like even the UK might be gettting there albeit quite slowly so far. As if it's not bad enough already.

Edited by billybong

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its says the apartment is 450sq ft and each man pays $185 per month to live there. thats £232 per month.

in london many 2 bed flats are around 600sq ft and the price is over £1000 per month.

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its says the apartment is 450sq ft and each man pays $185 per month to live there. thats £232 per month.

in london many 2 bed flats are around 600sq ft and the price is over £1000 per month.

? $185 dollars is approx £115, x22= £2530 approx.

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Mr. Leung has pledged to add 20,000 units a year to the city’s already large stock of social housing for low-income earners.

That is the equivalent of the UK building more than 175k council/housing association properties per year.

I'm seeing this meme "Other countries have it worse, so it's acceptable or a good thing that UK living standards are dropping" an awful lot in media over the last few years.

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ah i didnt realise it was shared by so many.

however check this thread :

http://www.housepric...#entry909393020

£235 per month to rent a bed on a bunkbed in stratford. the UK is fast catching up.

Check Ikea's small spaces advertising too. We are certainly being softened up for shed and cubicle living.

http://www.ikea.com/...s/small_spaces/

A friend of mine has just moved to London on the outskirts of North London but within the M25. He is renting a garden shed thats been kitted out with a shower, and he has use of kitchen facilities, but has put a microwave in the shed. Think he's paying £500-600 a month which is probably paying his landlords ZIRP/tracker mortgage on the whole thing.

Think I posted a pic a while back on another thread.

Its great the old economic (rentier) order is being restored and we are returning to Dickensian living. Good old capitalism and human nature.

Edited by aSecureTenant

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