When there is talk about slums, imageries of the award winning “Slumdog Millionare” immediately comes to mind. Slums are perceived to be failures of a city. With increasing population and rapid modernization, it is inevitable that certain places would fail to catch up to the pace of urbanization. Slums are those that one-step-behinds; they are in the peripheral.
Recently, Hong Kong's Society for Community Organization (SoCO) has published a documentary of pictures which show the public how the poorest live in Hong Kong. These rooms, to most of us, would be the size of our home bathrooms. Yet, families live in these spaces and utilize them as their bedroom, kitchen, living room and pantries – basically an entire house fit into a 4ftx7ft room. Hong Kong's high cost of living and growing number of urban poor has perpetuated a serious social problem. These images were taken in famous tourist spots such as Sham Shui Po, Yau Tsim Mong and Kowloon City. It is surprising that behind the façade of bustling street vendors and harried pedestrians lies pallid squalors that are dirty, crowded and dingy.
On one side, we see the giant corporations that run the skyscrapers of Hong Kong with her splendid parlor and wealth. In an interview with Mail Online, SoCO's director, Ho Hei Wah, opined that lurking beneath this prosperity which defines Hong Kong, is great inequality in wealth and a forgotten group of poor people. Beyond the skyscrapers, this city is beginning to feel the persisting problem of an overloaded population encumbered with social problems. Governmental measures will have to step in soon to improve the living conditions of these slum families and they have to be taken soon.