Back in 2016, I went with my daughters to visit the Cavite Provincial Jail in Philippine. Without thinking too much, we just took some unwanted clothes and items for the people in the jail as well as showing the kids what would end up if you’re not behave (haha..a mother thinking!)
These people are mostly convicted from drug abuse, bribery, rapes and assault. However, they are not giving sentences by the judge. Without money to get a lawyer, you might be waiting for a while. Some even wait for years!! Without money, you probably sleeping on the floor or on top of each other in a small space with 1200 people there. On the contrary, where you see windows and their little space is kind of luxury. I didn’t prepare my kids well (so as to myself), we all got a bit shocked. Didn’t know what to think or say. We just followed the guide take us from place to place with mixed feeling. I hope these photos can speak itself.
All photos are shot with my cell phone due to permission.
It had been a month of deep reflection for the Muslim. The time of heightened spirituality and a time of joyous family and community gatherings.
Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, and is observed by Muslims worldwide as a month of fasting (Sawm) to commemorate the first revelation of the Quran to Muhammad according to Islamic belief. This annual observance is regarded as one of the Five Pillars of Islam. The month lasts 29–30 days based on the visual sightings of the crescent moon, according to numerous biographical accounts compiled in the hadiths.
During the month of Ramadan, most Muslims fast from dawn to sunset with no food or water unless they are ill, pregnant, or diabetic, breastfeeding, or traveling. It is not compulsory for children to fast until they reach puberty but some choose to observe it in preparation for their adulthood. This time spent fasting is meant to be used for prayer, charity, spirituality, and for purifying the mind and body. Before prayer and certain religious rituals, a Muslim must make sure that the body is in a clean state. Many Muslims have the Suhur or predawn meal before sunrise. Families and friends gather at sunset for Iftar which is the meal eaten by Muslims to break the fast.
In Hong Kong, there are about 300,000 Muslims practised Islam in consisting of various nationalities. The Chief Imam, Mufti, Muhammad Arshad said. About 12,000 of the Muslim families in Hong Kong are 'local boy' families, Muslims of mixed Chinese and South Asian ancestry descended from early Muslim South Asian immigrants who took local Chinese wives ( Tanka ) and brought their children up as Muslims. There are currently six principal mosques in Hong Kong that are used daily for prayers. Hong Kong's 7th mosque, the Sheung Shui Mosque is currently under construction in New Territories.
After a long month of fasting, prayer, and reflection has come to a close. Today is Eid al-Fitr, a celebration of breaking the fast. It is an important religious holiday celebrated by Muslims worldwide. Today 15 June 2018, many Muslim wearing their traditional clothes gathering in Victoria Park since 7:30am to start their prayer. Others are hosted in the mosques around Hong Kong.
This is my first time to witness this wonderful celebration. Very much like the Chinese New Year in some sense. After victory park, I quickly walked to Ammar Mosque (the Wanchai Mosque). According to Mr. Kasim Ma, there are many Hong Kong Muslims as well as Indonesian, Filipino, Pakistani and Malaysian. To accommodate the majority , they severe dim sum as their breakfast feast.
Few years after I was born, my shanty home, built by the bear hand of both my grandma and granddad, was burned down coincidentally after the government failed to reclaim. The government allocated us to one of the public housing in Yuen Long. My sister and my brother together with my mum sharing 350 square foot for the next 7 years there. The everyday life and the emotion we bond between neighbour are much more brotherhood like than the private building I lived in today where all closed door and secured. Perhaps, I might never meet who lived next door!
Currently, there are about 750,000 families, around 2 million people, living on public rental estates. The architecture, the way of life and the culture in public housing estates have been evolving over the decades. It really is a collective stories of Hongkonger.
I didn’t live in this ‘Twin Tower’ type of public housing. However, when I saw those little kids playing around in the hallway, it reminds me my childhood where we played marbles balls, plastic bag kites during typhoon, making fire with burned candles and fire crackers during the festival. It really bring up tons of memories. Have you lived in one of the public housing? Let’s share your most memorable story here.
Uncle Fu (Chinese: 富叔), the owner of Chan’s store (Chinese: 陳記士多) died 4 years ago. And Gil PoPo (Chinese: 嬌婆), the last villager who lived in Fan Lau Tsuen (Chinese: 分流村), was passed away 4 months ago. Both of their children take turns to come on the weekend just to visit the village’s dogs and serves the local sausage/ egg noodles and selling drinks to the hikers. Will this be the last generation to keep this abandoned village, once home for 200 people, the last breath of life.
Kim Shin Lane, a lane join between two long row of buildings, accompany with scramble of cables, antenna, awning and clothes, composing a rare urban landscape contrast amongst all the newly developed high-rise. These buildings are build in the 50s where the thick of construction period after the postwar. Most of its now are beyond repair! Despite the poor conditions, there's certainly still full of live when I was there.
The sad thing I found is that under current regulations, URA (Urban Redevelopment Authority) is obliged to compensate each owner for letting go their flat with an amount equivalent to a seven-year-old flat. Since Kim Shin Lane is a high-density project with around 1,000 flats, the amount of compensation for the reconstruction might looking at the loss of 3 to 4 billion HKD. Will the hope of redevelopment becoming a forever lasting project? What happen to those who live under?
These old building are mostly builded around 1950s where high demand of housing from the flood of refugees into Hong Kong. Most of the architects were struggled with regulations and practicalities in order to satisfy the need. Rounded corner existed was the result of these political, economic and spatial reason. Because they were not closed, the owners and developers didn’t have to pay a premium on the land. As time passed and the housing shortage continued, policy makers decided to tolerate this enclosure of the balconies.