Suveera began penning the Hong Kong Diary, a weekly column, in 2017. She glances back at the close of the year and tells us what life has been in the Far East. Her gaze is focussed in the future too, with her
wish list. Read more in the Special Feature, exclusively in Different Truths.
The year 2018 is knocking at our doors, pregnant with new promises, and its own hopes and aspirations. As I look back at the year gone by, I feel grateful that I remember it with fondness and envisage the same
as I look at the horizon. I can say that the future is smiling, with certitude. The governing bodies of the place that I call home, have lived up to the trust that I invest in them. The quality of life is enviable, and Hong Kong can compete with the best in the world in all aspects.
Infrastructure and Economy
2017 marked the 20th anniversary of Hong Kong’s handover to China. Under the one country, two systems principle, Hong Kong has a free economy and HKSAR enjoys financial, judicial, and governing freedom. Infrastructure is great, public transport is among the best in the world. However, housing is a challenge in the space-starved city, with affordable housing remaining a dream for many. Even the rents are high with as much as 30,000 Hong Kong dollars for a 1000 sq. ft. apartment.
In 2018, and the years to come, the CEO Carrie Lam, has introduced various schemes to solve the problem. Hopefully in the years to come owning a house, will not be an unreachable goal for most.
Hong Kong has a world-class healthcare system with one of the highest life expectancy and lowest infant mortality rates in the world. The government hospitals are not lacking in any way, and are often the
preferred choice for most. In the future, it is expected to see increased use of telemedicine, robotics, and bioprinting. Innovation and entirely new ways to deal with health care are the need of the
hour, due to an increase in the aging population.
Hong Kong is known as the jewel of Asia. It is a very popular tourist destination and over 60 million people visit here every year. Tourism contributes to a good percentage of the economy. The board has offices all over the world to promote itself and assist people with all the information and bookings. Great care is taken to ensure a pleasant stay. From Disneyland to the Giant Buddha, from the museums to the Lan Kwai Fong, the nightlife centre of Hong Kong, there is something to cater to every age. Looking ahead, the Hong Kong- Zhuhai –Macao Bridge is expected to be completed in 2018 and will be one of the world’s longest bridges cum tunnel structure. It will bring down the travel time between cities and will further augment tourism. Disney land also has expansion plans and will get bigger, better and even more magical in the coming year.
Hong Kong has a very consumer-oriented economy with an overabundance of everything. All this materialism leads to excess waste. Plastic is omnipresent. Air quality is not the best. However, in recent times, there has been an increased awareness towards sustainability and the economic and health impact of environmental pollution. People understand the repercussions it has on the food chain, and how the
pollutants and toxins are finding their way back into our bodies. A lot of NGOs have come up, who take up the cause of environment conservation. Hopefully, in the New Year, the environment will become
a priority and there will be a shift towards organic farming and sustainable ecosystems.
Art and Culture
In the past few years, the art culture in Hong Kong has boomed. With events like Art Basel, The contemporary art show, and Cockenflap, the exposure to art and music has grown. The West Kowloon cultural district stands out in the city’s art culture. It is a prime waterfront land, dedicated to the visual and performing arts. Culturally there are many festivals celebrated with zest. Chinese New Year, Mid-autumn festival and Christmas. Even western festivities are quite popular. Halloween, Valentine’s Day and Oktoberfest (the German beer festival) are adopted as own. Even Diwali is celebrated with fervor in the kids’ school. Traditional events like Tai o Dragon boat water parade and the dragon dance have been inscribed as the National List of Intangible Cultural Heritage.
Safety and Security
The rule of law, excellent education, and a comprehensive welfare system combine to create a stable and safe environment for people to live and thrive. International Surveys consistently rate Hong Kong as
the least corrupt cities in Asia. It has one of the lowest overall crime rates in the world. Food safety is paramount and the centre for food and safety adopts the ‘farm to table’ strategy. Ethnic minorities
live in harmony and there is the equal opportunities forum to protect their interests.
The future seems bright, and even though the world economy is on a decline, a huge impact is not visible on a day to day level. Life goes on with meticulous precision day after day, months turned into years.
2018 is here, bringing along its own trials and tribulations, along with its joys and presents.
On the personal front, I look ahead with optimism. The last year has been wonderful. It’s bliss to wake up every day to a beautiful sunrise over the sea. They say I am a writer now. So in 2018, I need a writing desk, a computer, a brooding expression on my face, and a bottle of wine. Let’s begin with the bottle of wine. Cheers!
Photos sourced from the author from Internet
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