Many don’t think twice when looking at the thousands of residential tower blocks that make Hong Kong.
But when one knows the price to rent/buy property here, one cannot help but wonder: where does the “normal” population live? All these bankers, lawyers and business men can afford a tiny flat with a 2000 euro rent pcm. But what about the office assistants, bank tellers and café waiters? Where do they live?
We decided to take a closer look to a public estate not too far from home, one I am familiar with because of its bright colours, one Jeff is familiar with because he grew up there.
Ping Shek Estate was built in 1970 and has 7 blocks; each named and painted after a colour. There are a total of 4600 flats and the blocks are built in a sort of # shape, creating a hollow centre.
Walking around the estate we caught a glimpse of everyday life: lonely elderly people sitting in the park, maids on their day off, laundry drying from windows….
Once we entered a block, the vibe had completely changed.
As we stood on the ground floor, looking up from the hollow centre we were surrounded by 28 floors of grey and bright orange concrete, with a bright blue sky at the top.
We took the slow lift up to the 28 floor, stopping every now and then to let a little old alight.
Once we stepped out the lift, we both felt uncomfortable: we were 28 storey high (and that isn’t high for HK) yet the building felt so open because of its hollow centre.
Nonetheless, it was great to see how people go about their daily life: conversations flowing out from open windows, roast pig drying in the sun, slippers waiting for their owners to come home….
It’s such a contrast compared to some private estates, but we’ll talk about that another time.