Friday, 24 June 2016

Black Friday -- Brexit and Blaze

Prime Minister David Cameron announces his resignation after Brexit result
At noon I was in complete shock over the Brexit results, but I was not the only one. Many British colleagues were in disbelief that their fellow countrymen had opted out of the European Union.

Some moaned they were deeply ashamed of being British, while others were outraged their parents -- first generation immigrants -- had voted Brexit.

Someone on Twitter posted that now we'd see Boris Johnson become the next prime minister, and Donald Trump the next president.

Politician Boris Johnson on one of his bad hair days...
Both of them have bad hair.

Last weekend at the gym, I watched part of a BBC documentary about why people were choosing for or against Brexit.

Basically many people living outside of London were for Brexit, as they felt overwhelmed by the amount of immigration into the country and felt staying would lead to even more people coming in, taking jobs and taking advantage of education and health services.

The BBC found education-wise, the children did quite well academically because their parents felt it was a priority for the next generation to integrate into the community.

However, in terms of accessing health care, one doctor told of how she saw many cases of families living together under one roof, each family living in one room of a home, and so illnesses were easily passed around.

Counting votes in the Brexit referendum
They also didn't have much money to spend on housing, so their usually rented low-quality homes that were more prone to mould, which resulted in respiratory diseases.

Some people were concerned more immigrants would push salaries lower, making profit margins even smaller, while others said some sectors like seniors' homes were in dire need of immigrant labour because educated young people were not interested in looking after old people.

Within families, couples are split down the middle whether to stay or go, but mostly it's a younger generation/older generation divide. While 64 percent of young people were for staying in the EU, 58 percent of seniors preferred Brexit, and one wonders if perhaps the population of older people outnumbered the younger ones, which led to today's result.

The deadly fire in Ngau Tau Kok has claimed two lives
The other sad story in Hong Kong, is that a fire continues to rage in Ngau Tau Kok, and firefighters still cannot control the blaze that's been going on since Tuesday at 11am.

It erupted in an old industrial building where a few floors have been converted into a mini storage facility. According to firefighters there are 200 lockers per floor, basically subdivided rooms separated by metal sheeting.

The challenge is that firefighters do not know what is in each of the lockers and have had to try to open each one. Today they showed pictures of what they saw in the building, and reported seeing flames in different colours, which indicated they were burning at different temperatures due to different materials.

There were also concerns that hawker stall equipment was stored here as well, some maybe storing gas tanks, but this has not been confirmed yet.

Initial reports were that firefighters fought with their commanders on how the fire should be contained, and that the order to be sent into the building to try to contain the blaze from inside may have caused the first firefighter, Thomas Cheung to lose his life. The second died last night, Samuel Hui Chi-kit, succumbing to his injuries. Two others were also injured.

Firefighters are exhausted trying to battle the blaze
Many questions need to be answered, including why did industrial buildings built before 1973 not have to be retrofitted with fire sprinklers? And why aren't there regulations for how mini storage facilities do business? Shouldn't there be rules on what can and cannot be stored? And what about insurance?

A lot of people have lost their treasured belongings that they can never get back. But at the same time, two lives were lost trying to fight this fire that still continues to consume the contents inside.

The pollution levels in the area are pretty bad too, affecting residents who may opt to be evacuated from there temporarily.

We can only hope the firefighters can finally contain the fire and put it out. And then we can begin to ask why it happened and what can be learned from this.

As for Brexit, it will take two years for the reality to set in.

How can there be so many things going wrong these days?

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