... Hong Kong

by Donald Lee Lap Tak

Poorest nation, richest nation (Issue III+IV/2018)


The idea of doing overtime is not just accepted by bus drivers but by all kinds of workers in all kinds of jobs here.Hong Kong is the city in the world where the most people work over 50 hours a week. Exertion is everything here, and from childhood on: Before children even go to school they have to at least know how to read, write, do basic arithmetic and speak one other language. Everything is a competition and the logic of the contest goes like this: He who starts earlier and stays longer will get further than the others.

A lot of locals here are conservative and they believe that only trouble makers would oppose working conditions. There’s a saying in Cantonese that, directly translated, means “they have no gas”. It means, the person has no pride.

Still, things are slowly changing. My generation is no longer content to simply accept any and all working conditions. A lot of us studied or worked overseas and we know it can be different. The number of critical voices is increasing. 

Transcribed by Gundula Haage



similar articles

Heroes (Tomorrow's world)

Work life balance

Short news from South Korea. 

more


Une Grande Nation (World report)

Manila Calling

by Barbara Brustlein

Around a million Filipinos work in the call centre business. They answer their phones day and night, dealing with complaints and taking care of other people’s homework.

more


Earth, how are you doing? (Tomorrow's world)

Non-smoking is worth it

Short news from Japan.

more


Poorest nation, richest nation (Topic: Inequality)

Poor in Qatar, rich in the Central African Republic: The €350 starvation wage

by Vani Saraswathi

Around 88 percent of those working in Qatar are migrant labourers. Bal Krishna Gautham is one of them.

more


Poorest nation, richest nation (How I became me)

A poet and a cosmopolitan

by Jonas Mekas

As a child I lay in the fields in my small Lithuanian village and dreamed of somewhere else. Ninety years later I am sitting in Brooklyn and asking myself: Why am I no longer there, in the fields of my childhood?

more


Earth, how are you doing? (In Europe)

Cross-border ballots

by Rainer Bauböck

Increasingly governments are discovering the potential of wooing overseas voters. It is a double-edged sword.

more