Hong Kong is experiencing a housing crisis so severe that many of the city’s poor are being forced to live in tiny metal cages stacked on top of each other, reports Yahoo.
A 67-year-old former butcher named Leung Cho-yin rents one of a dozen mesh cages that are housed in a dilapidated apartment, paying the equivalent of $167 for the privilege. Obviously these living conditions are less than sanitary. To prevent bed bugs, Leung and his roommates, who are all single elderly men, put bamboo mats, thin pads, in some cases old linoleum, on the wooden planks of their cages instead of mattresses. They “wash their clothes in a bucket. The bathroom facilities consist of two toilet stalls, one of them adjoining a squat toilet that doubles as a shower stall”.
“I’ve been bitten so much I’m used to it,” says Leung, revealing a red mark on his hand. “There’s nothing you can do about it. I’ve got to live here. I’ve got to survive,” quoted the Huffington Post.
It is very ironic that this should happen in a city known for it glamour, wealth and extravagance. This must be a shock for so many of the people have lived in Hong Kong all their lives.
Leung’s story is not uncommon in the former British Colony. As a result of skyrocketing housing prices, roughly 100,000 people must live in what has been termed “inadequate housing”. Included in this category are “apartments subdivided into tiny cubicles or filled with coffin-sized wood and metal sleeping compartments, as well as rooftop shacks”.
Mounting rage over the city’s housing crisis appears to be the biggest problem that the unpopular Hong Kong leader Leung Chun-ying is facing. In his inaugural policy speech in January, he addressed the issue, unveiling plans to boost public housing.
One of the most troubling things about this situation is the emotional scars that it will undoubtedly leave on so many of the individuals who are forced to live this way. Similar to the trauma those who lived through the Great Depression suffered, this is the sort of experience that continues to haunt people for the rest of their lives.