Sunday, 15 December 2013

Fighting for Survival

The Brands and Products Expo at Victoria Park showcases items from food producers at very cheap prices -- some even at HK$1.

The deal is so tempting that people are willing to go into survival mode to get their hands on inexpensive food. It was so bad yesterday that the elderly were pushed over and the chaotic scenes were unexpected by the individual stalls and organizers.

"We didn't expect the situation could be so chaotic yesterday," said Johnny Chui Ka-kuen, sales manager of Nam Pei Hong. "We realized we needed more people to help keep our customers safe."

For today, the second day, the company, which sells dried seafood and soup ingredients, installed metal fences around the stall with a guarded entrance and exit, while each joint of the fence were manned by staff to prevent pushing and shoving.

Other stalls like Wai Yuen Tong which sells shampoo and soup ingredients for cheap also had extra staff on hand to deal with so many customers.

While the deals are so unbelievable, the mad rush to take advantage of them illustrates how people in Hong Kong are desperate to save money wherever they can, and if they can live like kings and buy abalone at cut-rate prices, they'll fight for it.

Many of the people at the fair are the elderly and middle-class people who are trying to scrimp and save where they can. This small example just shows how people are eking out an existence in Hong Kong -- that they are willing to rush for items that are so cheap.

Is this what the city has turned into? A city of haves and have-nots with the latter growing in population year by year?

We are not blaming this on Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying but his predecessor Donald Tsang Yam-kuen, who seemed to despise the poor and swept them out of sight.

The government's attitude until now was not to help the poor with social services and financial support, due to the belief they were not working hard enough.

Meanwhile Tsang hung out with his tycoon buddies on their yachts...

Leung's administration has made a good start setting the poverty line which we hope will lead to a more productive, pragmatic approach to helping the working poor.

For the rest of us, the business environment has become such that the rich get exponentially richer, and we are just managing to get by.

How can a city like Hong Kong continue on this survival mode? We cannot forever depend on rich mainlanders to pay our wages -- we need to further diversify our economy.

Otherwise we're going to become more and more miserable and more and more of us fighting hordes of people for cheap soup tonics and shampoo. How is that a life?


  1. LOL, I totally read about people getting pushed over for cheap food, at an expo of all's your equivalent of Black Friday Walmart incident, but no one died! Thank goodness!

    1. Hi Renee -- Yeah it is kind of the food version of Walmart's Black Friday, but it's sad when people are fighting for cheap food because they can't really afford it otherwise!