Jun 05, 2012 | Comments 1
In Hong Kong over the past few days, I had the opportunity to speak to a few locals who complained about the high property prices and how at 30-something-years-old, some of them continue to live with their parents. Their predicament is very much like Singapore’s whereby high property prices have made it extremely challenging to purchase a property.
Like Singaporeans, Hong Kongers have a choice of buying public or private apartments. However, most locals tend to shun public housing as they feel they are not as well-designed as Singapore’s. In addition, there is a social stigma attached to it.
“Buying a public housing here would mean I am poor. I don’t want my friends to think lesser of me. I will wait to buy a private apartment until the time is right,” said one local whom I met yesterday.
Housing in Hong Kong is notoriously small and compact, much like shoebox apartments that are becoming popular in Singapore. A 500 sq ft apartment here would squeeze in a family of four with hardly any manouvering space in the living room and dining room.
The concept of “saving one’s face” is very much alive in a predominantly Chinese society. I have felt that in Singapore due the widening income gap. In Hong Kong, however, it is very much amplified, which has perhaps explained why they are such a competitive and cut-throat society. Which makes me ponder if Singapore is heading that way and if this is a worthy price we need to pay to be a successful global city.