Monthly Archives: August 2010

Extreme Hong Kong

My daily commute is an exercise in extremes.  In the morning, I wake up in the socialist utopia of Lamma Island.  Lamma is the least commercialized place I’ve ever lived: there is no advertising on Lamma, and the only corporate chain of any kind on the island is the tiny little branch of HSBC in Yung Shue Wan.  Lamma is also the most egalitarian place I’ve ever lived: all the houses are roughly the same size, nearly all the apartments are around 700 square feet, and people don’t advertise their wealth by the way they dress, since everyone wears shorts, a t-shirt and sandals all day everyday.
Then I get on the ferry, and arrive in Central.  I go up an escalator, and I’m in the IFC mall.  There I’m bombarded by images designed to make me feel bad about who I am, bad about the clothes I wear, and bad about where I am in life.  I make it through the mall, and head to Sheung Wan on the pedestrian walkway.  Once I come down to ground level, I’m reminded how this city isn’t designed for me, it’s designed to use me as a tool for corporate profits.  Taxis honk their horns at me for getting in the way of their next fare, people on the street don’t show the slightest kindness toward one-another, there’s hardly any room to walk with all the money-making going on.  I look up at the thousands of anonymous apartment and office windows containing the tools of the corporatocracy.  I work, I eat, I get back on the ferry.
When I get off the ferry on the Lamma side, I remember why I’m willing to put up with that ferry ride everyday.  Lamma is on a human scale.  I feel like I fit.  I’m a person, not a consumer.  Every place I’ve ever lived has been designed by corporations for cars.  For the first time in my life, I live in a place designed by people for people.  And I found that place in the Hi-Tech Village, the world’s greatest capitalist theme-park.  Go figure