No country in the world is without poverty, capitalist or communist. Affluent Hong Kong is one of the largest financial centers around the world.
According to a 2006 research by the World Development and Economy Research Institute of UN University in Finland, 1% of the richest adults in the world own 40% of global wealth, while the poorer half of the global population merely owns 1% of total wealth. In Hong Kong, the wealth gap the 5th highest globally.
The strange thing is that Hong Kong has no local beggars, merely those bold beggars from the mainland. No one begs, not even an 80-year-old collecting cardboard. Only the mad begs for money. The poverty in Hong Kong is hidden and secretive, as if poverty is a shame. The government builds beautiful public buildings for low-income residents, with big gardens and stores, as if Hong Kong has no poor people. Does Hong Kong have poor people? Why is poverty not seen?
Peaceful and prosperous, this kind of surface richness doesn't mean each Hong Kong residents has access to wealth.
So, what's the life like for Hong Kong's paupers?
Born in Hong Kong,CHEUNG, King-wai studied cello when he was young and went to Brooklyn College, City University of New York, to pursue a master's degree in music. At that time, he had opportunities to encounter many fields other than music, and graduated with a major in film production and a minor in philosophy.
He has directed four short fiction films and produced a short documentary, which were screened and won awards in many international film festivals. As a scriptwriter, his first work, Connie's Apple, won the "Excellent Prize" in the Mainland China, Hong Kong & Taiwan Mythical Script Competition in 2001. Tin Shui Wai, his second script, was awarded the "Best Story Prize" at the 2005 Hong Kong-Asia Film Financing Forum, and will be directed by Ann Hui.
All's Right with the World is his first feature documentary.
From The Director
As a child, when I looked out of my apartment, I saw a squatters' village. Every day on my way to school, I passed it and witnessed the horrible living conditions: tiny spaces with no toilet and as hot as a steamer during summer.
The poverty at that time can easily be seen.
Times change. The squatter's village was demolished, the same space has become a residential complex with an air-conditioned department store, and the buildings are much taller than the one I have been living in.
The poor have gone; no poverty is "seen" in Hong Kong any more.
Sure enough, the overall living standard in Hong Kong has drastically improved over the decades since then. Public housing estates with 30-storey-buildings and advanced facilities have replaced squatters' villages. The residential conditions of the poor have apparently improved.
Yet, this is just on the surface.
Perhaps it is true, because on the outside, the clothes of the poor are no longer in tatters, yet on the inside -- the lives lived in these gorgeous public housing estates, the real scenes behind this "All's Right with the World" attitude, are overshadowed by a constant mental state of anxiety and scarcity. Not only poverty but also series of mishaps seem to pursue them. Is it just coincidence, or social inequality, or personal weakness? Why are their fates so miserable? And why are they unable to escape from their unfortunate destinies?
A Chinese sage said, "Heaven and Earth are ruthless."
※ The 32nd Hong Kong International Film Festival, International Competition, 2008
※ Seoul Independent Documentary Film & Video Festival, non-competition, 2008
※ The 20th FIPA International Festival of Audiovisual Programs, FIPATEL, 2008
※ The 1st New Asia Film Festival (Vancouver), 2008
※ Beijing Independent Film Festival, 2008
※ The 1st VARIFAIR International Film Festival, 2009
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