The Vertical Pitfall

90% of our city people activities take place in the city. Whether it’s to work, to eat, to chill , we choose to stay in the city because of proximity and convenience. Have you ever think about how attached you are in your district community? Do you know anybody in your community at all?

I found it so difficult to answer.
I don’t even understand what exactly does a community mean really besides the fact that I do live there.
I never want to reveal the district I live in. It gives a very wrong impression of who I’m and how they perceive my lifestyle as. No matter how hard I explain, it still bothers me.

It all seems to me:
I know the place, but I don’t have access to lots of places. I’ve seen these familiar faces, but I don’t know them. I walk by all the boutique shops and restaurants, but I never need to enter one.

Vertical City
Building Exit
The subway city life
Life divided

The older generations used to call the village they grew up in as home (or the non-Hong Kongese refer their hometown as home), the fellow villagers or the relatives do share and interact a lot more than us. In our modern days, there’s no such thing as a real neighbor. The case can be different in public estates, but in private apartments the move in/out ratio is so high. The floor I live in has 8 households, I only know 1. We only meet less 10 times a year at the elevator. The rest are new tenants in every 2-3 years. Perhaps we do not need to know each other, we do not want to know each other for the privacy and security reasons. We hardly bump into each other at the escalator hallway, it’d be a miracle to have a conversation. I’m always the person who initiated the ‘Hello, morning’, some nod back and strangely some don’t even reply! We take the elevator and we are on separate ways. There’s an odder situation where I patiently wait for an elevator from ground floor with another stranger. The moment we enter the elevator, we push for the same floor.

It’s just so wrong when I see roughly 800 people living on the same building but we know none of these people! It probably has to do with our culture when greeting to each other has become such an unnecessary (and even uncomfortable) act. It’s worsening the community. Add onto the fact that we do not have the public space and common activities that we should have in our neighborhood. We’re not only facing 4 pieces of concrete walls at home but also a another wall to prevent us from making home our real home. You may say Hong Kong is too small, too populated, too modernized for a home I’m trying to refer as. Yes, but isn’t that the whole point to have a different childhood memory than now; a place you would call home and sometime in life give back to it.

The idea of give back to the community that you call home is no longer relevant. People now all fear of the costs and prices, we work hard to cover all the expense and for our own good. In a sense, we give back to the city as a whole, to our employers but not exactly for our home community.

When the community don’t hug us, there’s no point to hug back.

When look back to last year’s Occupy Central, participants felt a sense of belongingness. It was a celebration at first, when money wasn’t everybody’s priority. There were individuals making fresh brewed coffee, hotdogs for participants. Reality check, do we care doing that in our normal life? Probably not.. The Americans do outdoor cookouts where they invite friends and people they know in town for BBQ, beers and lemonades. Well, that’s when the whole town has only a few thousands of population.

One thought on “The Vertical Pitfall

  1. I don’t know my neighbours although we say hi to each other in the hallways and elevators. A couple of the restaurants and coffee shops might recognize me but there is a lot of staff turnover.

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