Yes, it is raining … and what to do in all this rain? Visit museums! So knowing that I have been to many museums and exhibitions on HK Island already, I decided to explore the other side and we went to Kowloon.
There is a small exhibition that documents the development of public housing in Hong Kong, and it is at the Hong Kong Housing Authority. I figured that this is something we could explore, so we took a ride over to Ho Man Tin and looked for the exhibition.
It is a bit tricky to find, first of all you need to know in which building it is (building 3, that’s the one that is opposite to the main building that’s pictured above) and then you have to check in at the reception desk and request access to the exhibition centre. You will be signed in as visitors and then someone will show you the way, to the forth floor, so you don’t get lost in the big building.
The exhibition itself is just in one room – but it is a big room and it is well-designed. There is a massive model of Hong Kong, showing all the districts and housing estates, and there is an observation bridge that you can walk on to look down at the model.
Then there are different sections looking at how the estates evolved – from the first one in the 1950s to the ones that are built today. What makes it much more interesting, but also brings back the point of how hard living in Hong Kong is for the people who are less fortunate, are the physical exhibits.
There are mock-up flats from the 1950s, 1960s, 1970s etc that show you how limited the space was and is. Also how the amenities changed over the years, from a very basic shared kitchen area to a small kitchen in each flat. Also the bathrooms have improved massively – but don’t get me wrong. They are still small today.
The exhibition does well in pointing out the challenges of Hong Kong, a city with the highest income inequality (the so called rich-poor gap) in the world. And yes, it portrays the Housing Authority in a great light (well it is their exhibition, isn’t it?) – but the organisation has achieved a lot, given the numerous projects they have managed.
I am not saying that all is good and everyone is happy, but the exhibition did open my eyes to understand what has been done so far – of course, it is not enough, there are still about 200,000 people living in inadequate housing, including cubicle apartments and cage homes. The Society for Community Organization (SoCO) is fighting to draw attention to and solve this problem, you can find out more here and here are also some pictures that show the poor housing in Hong Kong.
CY Leung has promised to make housing more affordable, but he became Chief Executive in 2012, both home prices and the waiting list for public housing have jumped by a third…
Admission is free. The Hong Kong Housing Authority Exhibition Centre is open from 9am to 6.30pm on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. On Saturday it is open from 9am to 7pm. It is at 80 Fat Kwong Street in Ho Man Tin, Kowloon.