I recalled I was reminded of the harsh realities of life when I ran into a reminder of a colourful character - the self-proclaimed “Emperor of Kowloon” 九龍皇帝 曾灶財. He was, in reality, a poor man in poor health who wrote big-character graffiti all over Kowloon. Since he passed away in 2007, most of his graffiti have been painted over by the government. This column in front of the Start Ferry Pier in Tsim Sha Tsui is one of the very few remaining. I wonder how long it will last.
Canton Road is lined with posh shops. But less than 1 kilometre away from those shops, many people were sleeping in the tunnel at the junction of Canton Road and Austin Road.
Further up in Yau Ma Tei, several little makeshift “houses” have sprung up under the elevated highway.
I know there are similar street sleepers under the highway in Shum Shui Po. But this is the first time I have seen them here.
The government have posted notices demanding that the inhabitants evacuate and the structures be dismantled.
I suspect that the problem would not go away easily. The reality is that many people simply cannot afford to rent a decent apartment, when a 150 square feet apartment rents for more than $5,000.
Not everyone is having a happy new year.