San Francisco on Steroid

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When I was living in San Fran, I could really feel I was living in a city of hills and valleys. I was quite amazed that people decided to build a city on these hills. The longer I thought about that, I started to realise that I grew up in the North District in Hong Kong which is an area of hills too. But somehow I never really noticed the hills, why is that?

Well, in San Fran, I actually “see” the hills every day, but in Hong Kong, the hills are blocked by the super tall buildings. These buildings form layers of walls and totally block the view to the hills. You can totally understand that what I mean from the photo above taken from my window. I live on the 18th floor already and still I don’t see much of the hills! I guess there should be a height limit set for the buildings and the buildings should be placed on a grid so people can have a view when they look in between the buildings.

sheung shui, hong kong – jun 30, 2013

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A Very Sad Ghost Town in Hong Kong

Tens of unfinished houses have long sit empty on this piece of land for years. All these people walking by cannot stop wondering what is going on with this supposed-to-be low-density luxury housing project. Somehow these houses are just never finished and they become a ghost town behind the chain-link fence.

The truth is that this artificial ghost town was built to be demolished before they are finished. It sounds totally weird and wasteful but here is another sad story of how developers have taken control of the Hong Kong government. The developer bought this land and agreed to build low density housing. But under the table, they planned to do some corruption and “transfer of monetary interest” in order to get approval to re-zone the land to build high-rises for more profit. However before the land can be re-zoned, the previous contract requires that something has to be built on the land within a certain time. So they decided to build some whatever on it and blow it all up afterwards.

The ghost town should have been gone long time ago but “unfortunately” the secret deal was exposed by the media. What’s more, the government was so corrupted in the past couple years and thus further high-profile under-the-table deal would really damage the government’s already bad image and upset all other developers. As a result, the ghost town is still here, looking empty, wasteful and sad. But what can we as ordinary citizen can in a non-democratic society?

ma sik road, fanling, north district, hong kong – 3:35pm, 17 jun, 2012