Sustainable Future, Hong Kong Tales
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A Home at Long Last

TSUI Chun Hung, aged 39, is a freelance photographer.  He applied for the Housing Society’s Transitional Housing in mid-2018, and moved into Yue Kwong Chuen with his wife and daughter at the end of the year. The Tsui family lives in Pak Sha Lau since then.

TSUI Hei Wun, aged 4, is daughter of Tsui Chun Hung.  She is studying in kindergarten year one.

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Since moving into Yue Kwong Chuen, Tsui Chun Hung finally feels that his family has settled down.  Over the years, the 39 year-old freelance photographer has moved home for over a dozen times.  He has lived in subdivided units, industrial buildings, as well as the studio he worked in.  In the seven years since he began queueing for public housing, he has even formed his own family.  Yet, in part affected by the pandemic, the queue for public housing remains long.

Previously the family lived in Tung Tau Estate in Kowloon, but the flat was small and could hardly accommodate the family.  They had to ask grandma to help take care of their daughter.  In July 2018, Tsui’s wife noticed that they were eligible for the Housing Society’s transitional housing scheme, which offered around 200 vacant units in Yue Kwong Chuen.  They decided to give it a try.  “Since Yue Kwong Chuen had no lifts, there were only 2000 applications.  We had a ten in one chance to live under the same roof for five years”, said Tsui. “I don’t mind that there’re no lifts here, not to mention that the stairs are quite easy to navigate.”

By August the lots were drawn and the Tsui family came in at number 141.  The next month, they were allocated a unit at Pak Sha Lau with a nice view towards Aberdeen Reservoir Road.  “There was even a terrace, and my wife was so delighted!”  Under the scheme, the Society also helped them fix the interior.  By the time they moved into the flat in April 2019, they only had to install the floor tiles, air conditioner, and water heater.  “Although the paint on the ceiling began falling off after a few months, I think that is still acceptable.”

Tsui prefers the peace of Yue Kwong Chuen to the hustle bustle of Tung Tau Estate. “Aberdeen has all the things you need in life.  Back in Tung Tau Estate, I had to go to Wong Tai Sin or Kowloon Bay before there is a bank.  Nowadays, I just need to walk ten minutes to Aberdeen”.

Another pleasant surprise is that Yue Kwong Chuen is close to Ocean Park.  “We bought our annual pass right after we moved here.  It only costs around $1,000 for me and my wife.  My daughter was only two years old back then and didn’t need a ticket.  We go to Ocean Park every week, sometimes we even go twice per week!”  As Tsui explained, “Ocean Park used to be so far away when we were living in Kowloon!  Nowadays, we could go play after getting off school at 4, take a round trip on the cable car, and go back home for dinner at 6.”

Tsui and his wife cherishes their time with their daughter.  This is why they have chosen freelance work.  A lower cost of living is essential to maintaining such a mode of life.  “We don’t want to be burdened by a heavy rental cost.  In order to live in a better flat, we have to earn more and occupy ourselves with work.  This would also mean finding someone to caretake our daughter.  I’d much rather take care of her by myself.  In all honesty, how long could we remain close?  The most would be ten years maybe?”  As Tsui beholds his daughter bouncing around, he answers with a heartfelt smile.

 

Chloe Lai
Chloe Lai
Issue: #041 - 1 February 2021
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