Sunday, 27 January 2013

Fast Becoming Extinct

The latest local tourism thing to do in Hong Kong is to check out eateries that are about to close thanks to greedy landlords jacking up rents.

On Facebook many friends are posting pictures of their visits to decades-old cha chaan tengs and noodle shops about to shutter for good.

And the most recent casualty is Lei Yuen congee shop behind Sogo in Causeway Bay that is closing after 42 years in business because rent has increased to HK$600,000 a month from HK$300,000. How many bowls of congee must they sell to make the rent?

An interesting fact is that when it opened in 1971, the rent was HK$2,000 a month. And now it is 300 times the amount.

The horrible thing is that there are other businesses willing to pay the higher rents -- but does Hong Kong need more jewellery, watch and luxury brand name shops?

Our city is fast losing its identity, its culture of local noodle shops, cha chaan tengs and bakeries.

While it's true many of the next generation is not willing to carry on the business, killing them off because of unreasonably high rents is outrageous and unacceptable. It's gentrification to the extreme.

Obviously some people are only looking at the bottom line, but we must think of what Hong Kong is and what we want it to be and how we can make it feasible for these places to survive.

And also we need affordable places to eat, unless you count Cafe de Coral as a viable local option...


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