Ugly Hong Kong – Sham Shui Po

Sham Shui Po is one of Hong Kong’s busiest but poorest districts. It is a hub for textile, accessories and cheap electronics trading but residents have been living in the worst conditions for decades. If even Central, the heart of HK, is ugly, how can Sham Shui Po not be? (Not a genuine question but hopeless sarcasm.) This is an area where expensive cars refuse to drive through; pretty people feel disgusting to visit; and only dirty politicians go because they want the votes from the illiterate or the elderly.

While it is “miraculous” to see how extreme Hong Kong can be in terms of wealth distribution and living standards, it is also very easy for one to “offer” sympathy to people who live in the worse conditions. I have struggled for a very long time on presenting this idea because I would not like to be seen as meaning “everything happens for a reason and so is poverty” (because I don’t mean it). I do acknowledge poverty to be to a certain extent a problem to be blamed on society. However it is blind and ignorant to totally blame the poverty of an individual on the system and social structure, and to simply offer sympathy is even hypocritical.

A lot of the artistic projects (or the human sense in general, really) like to portray poor areas and their people as more friendly, more satisfying from simple happiness, and more “humane” so that the audience don’t feel so bad for them being in worse conditions, or themselves being in better conditions. I do not. I don’t want my readers to say, “oh, it wasn’t as bad as I thought” after reading and looking at my work. I want them to feel “oh well, there wasn’t anything to be sad or happy of. this is just how the world is.” instead.

I personally have some youth memories in Sham Shui Po because my high school was very close and I enjoyed walking on the streets with the art supplies shops after school with my backpack straps sweating on my shoulder. Nevertheless it disgusted me every time I visit there because people just gave no fuck about this district and didn’t keep the streets clean. Some residents’ inconsiderate behaviour in public even made me think that a very large part of it has to do with the poverty of the district. One day I returned and under the very bright sun light, I took the ugliest photos of the already-ugly Sham Shui Po.

P.S. If you genuinely think I hate this district because it is poor, I suggest you to read why I named this series from my first article, or leave this blog.

SSP A bbq stand

24 Jun 16 12PM
A BBQ Pork Shop

SSP A door


24 Jun 16 12PM
An open door

SSP Ap Liu Street

24 Jun 16 12PM
On the electronics street

SSP Back alley

24 Jun 16 12PM
Between the buildings where no one cleaned up

SSP Gold digging

24 Jun 16 12PM
Gold digging

SSP Pawn Shop

24 Jun 16 12PM
A pawn shop

SSP Yu Chau Street Shop

24 Jun 16 12PM
A DIY supplies shop where the products never update

SSP Yu Chau Street

24 Jun 16 12PM
A temple and a man who just finished shopping


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