Hong Kong Lifestyles
May 19, 2006 11:10 AM   Subscribe

100 pictures of 100 square foot rooms in Hong Kong. I've spent some time with som relatives who lived in rooms just a little larger than this. Some rooms are packed, and some are minimalistic. Others have a sense of dignity and history to them. Some of them make me feel sad. As an immigrant from HK, today I count my many blessings.
posted by freakystyley (22 comments total)

This post was deleted for the following reason: previously posted

These photos are amazing. With all the glitz and glamour and money in Hong Kong it is easy to forget there are people there that aren't bankers.
posted by chunking express at 11:12 AM on May 19, 2006 [1 favorite]

Beautiful post. Thank you.
posted by bukharin at 11:13 AM on May 19, 2006

Awesome post.
posted by Ryvar at 11:13 AM on May 19, 2006

posted by sotalia at 11:14 AM on May 19, 2006

Aw, I like this one better.
posted by bukharin at 11:18 AM on May 19, 2006

Ah bollocks, practically a repost :P. Sorry guys!

I've often wondered where my parents and grandma would be if the hadn't come to Montreal. After this photo series, I'm not really in the mood to contemplate any further...
posted by freakystyley at 11:20 AM on May 19, 2006

The main link says the rooms are "within Hong Kong's oldest public housing estate." It'd be interesting to know more about it. Is it basically just a big apartment house? What does it look like on the outside? I'm assuming the bathrooms are communal. Are there any other communal facilities (like kitchens)? Do any of the apartments ahve windows?

These are fascinating pictures. Yes, we're spoiled.
posted by PlusDistance at 11:20 AM on May 19, 2006

As sotalia pointed out (well, the link), I don't think there are any windows in most of these appartments. There's even this one pic where this guys looks like he's living in some mine shaft or something. I can only guess that the washrooms are communal, although some of these pics show people with extremely modest kitchen areas.
posted by freakystyley at 11:26 AM on May 19, 2006

I see our future in these pictures.
posted by sourwookie at 11:34 AM on May 19, 2006 [1 favorite]

i dunno - theres something pretty romantic to this for me - it reminds me of my first apartment which was just a small room with a bathroom on the side, which was all i needed.
you dont need a big place if you dont have much.
posted by klik99 at 11:35 AM on May 19, 2006

Do you realized how much damage could be done here by one idiot with a hotplate?
posted by sourwookie at 11:35 AM on May 19, 2006

Actually, sourwookie, I'm more concerned with the quality of the air in those rooms. They look like they're made for sick building syndrome!
posted by freakystyley at 11:38 AM on May 19, 2006

"More than 50% of Hong Kong's population lives in subsidised public housing"

Colonial legacy is always a touchy subject, but there is something amazing about the uniqe dual character of Hong Kong. While the place is mainly Chinese in culture and tradition, its style of goverance is influanced largely by the English.

Back then, the English government didn't have a plan for the people of HK, they just provided what they thought was needed.

With the influx of refugees during the 50's and the Shek Kip Mei fire on Christmas Day 1953, the colonial governement saw a need to house the homeless so they embarked on one of the biggest public housing project in the world. Those rooms are kinda part of that legacy.

This is even more remarkable when you think that during the Cold War, colonial powers were withdrawing in almost all parts of the world (think France in Indo-China, Algeria) and were making concessions left and right to maintain their power. In HK, these public housing wasn't built for any other reason but just pure moral humanitarian motives, and this wasn't even a democracy!
posted by phyrewerx at 11:40 AM on May 19, 2006

Whoops, first quote from Wikipedia also.
posted by phyrewerx at 11:40 AM on May 19, 2006

These are great pics - unfortunately it seems this site just rips off Michael Wolf's pics and sticks them on pages with ads for porn ... :(

Wolf's pages
posted by carter at 11:41 AM on May 19, 2006

As sourwookie points out, this could indeed be our future.

This problem is plaguing not only Hong Kong, but the shanty towns around Sao Paulo, throughout India and China as well. Urbanification. The desparate hope. Sad really...
posted by pezdacanuck at 11:44 AM on May 19, 2006

Poverty is pretty romantic for me. Who needs stuff anyhow, it just takes up space. Cramped yet minimalist is just so urban.
posted by econous at 11:45 AM on May 19, 2006

unfortunately it seems this site just rips off Michael Wolf's pics and sticks them on pages with ads for porn ... :(

posted by George_Spiggott at 11:49 AM on May 19, 2006

Pezda I think these pictures show a huge step up from living in a shanty town...I doubt these people's lives are full of nothing but desparate hope. Some perhaps, but others are probably quite content. Life could get a lot lot worse.
posted by Flashman at 11:51 AM on May 19, 2006

Nice post.
posted by OmieWise at 11:52 AM on May 19, 2006

These are fascinating pictures. Yes, we're spoiled.

Not everyone in North America is spoiled. I've been house shopping for a few months now. I want a house with a basement apartment I can rent out. And I have been absolutely appalled by some of the apartments I have seen. Honestly, I have seen a number that looked much worse than these rooms.
posted by orange swan at 11:54 AM on May 19, 2006

freakystyley, thanks. A very thought-provoking post.
posted by blucevalo at 11:55 AM on May 19, 2006

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