Hong Kong Christian Service

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Issue 003
2014 Sep

Is Hong Kong a liveable city -
where did the human touch in Hong Kong go?

Recently, one of the hot topics in social circle is: "Shall we emigrate?"

"Any plans to emigrate?" People who raise this question are probably thinking that Hong Kong is no longer a place suitable for them to live. What is strange is that, Hong Kong is ranked rather high among cities that are liveable, take "Monocle" (note 1) which conducted a liveable city survey that Hong Kong comes 13 among the 25 cities that are liveable.

In 2012, The Economist Intelligence Unit (note 2) released the "Best cities ranking and report", Hong Kong was ranked the top, which took many Hong Kong people and critics aback.

Even though these ranking were not the latest in 2014, and perhaps the social environment has drastic changes that stir up another tide of emigration; nevertheless we still believe Hong Kong is superior in itself.

Evaluative criterion like environmental system and other social systems were used by international journals to decide whether a city is liveable, we however use other indicators, which are neighbourhood relationship and human touch within a community, which are in fact the concept of "social capital" (note 3) in sociology.

Although many people doubt "does Hong Kong continue to be liveable?"and think that "it is no longer like what it was in the 60s"; yet, when they consider emigrating gravely, they would be uncertain and try to hold onto something, this reluctance comes from the human touch among people and the community. One of the uniqueness of Hong Kong is the bond among people, and between people and the community, it is more apparent when living aboard.

Since World War II, Hong Kong has established a culture of mutual help, with the completion of public housing in 70s – 80s, the neighbourhood network was still strong, and this built up a solid social capital. Those who returned to Hong Kong after the 80s – 90s emigration tide, they all agreed that Hong Kong is unparalleled, what was unforgettable was the joy and satisfaction that came from interaction with people, and the exciting social activities and its freedom; however, there is only serenity and tranquility overseas, a lack of human touch. It seems, there are still other delicate elements to determine whether a city is liveable.

How these delicate elements continue to pull Hong Kong people together is worthy of reflection among Hong Kong people and leaders. Looking back at all the never ending arguments on political and social issues, to the point of tearing apart the cohesiveness and sense of belonging, we should not just emigrate out of an individual's crisis awareness, on the contrary, we should be active in eliminating the cause of this unhealthy social phenomenon and restore the good old culture so that Hong Kong is indeed a liveable city.

note (1): "Monocle" uses crime rate, healthcare, inclusion, state-funded education, business climate, commitment to culture and green space to compile statistics. There is a new metric "libertarian paradise or stickler for rules" in 2014.

note (2): Categories of the methodology generally include stability, healthcare, education, infrastructure. Seven new indicators were incorporated in 2012: Green Space, Urban Sprawl, Natural Assets, Cultural Assets, Connectivity, Isolation and Pollution.

note (3): Scope of social capital: (1) social networks; (2) trust and solidarity; (3) mutual help and reciprocity; (4) social cohesion and inclusion; (5) social participation and (6) information and communication. (Source: website of Community Investment & Inclusion Fund)

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