Hong Kong is one of the safest places in the world, made so not just by the governing bodies, but by each and every citizen of this city. Law enforcement has to be a combined effort of the society as well as the government, says Suveera, in her weekly column, exclusively for Different Truths.
I have often wondered what if I left Hong Kong and moved back to India, what is the one thing that I shall miss the most. Is it the first world lifestyle? I ask myself. No, as money can buy you the best lifestyle in India. Perhaps even a shade better than here. Is it the efficiency and smooth functioning of this city? No, as I have grown up with power cuts and traffic jams, so they wouldn’t bother me too much. When I dig deeper, I realise it would have to be the sense of safety that Hong Kong provides.
Hong Kong is one of the safest places in the world, made so not just by the governing bodies, but by each and every citizen of this city. Law enforcement has to be a combined effort of the society as well as the government. The crime rates here are very low. One would feel secure walking out alone at any time of the night or day. I would like to believe that it is because of the efforts are taken for the prevention of crime. There are closed circuit televisions cameras everywhere. Nothing goes unnoticed. There are proper signs for road safety and traffic rules, and more often than not people follow them. Human life is valued above all, and there is no complacency as far as safety is concerned.
Recently, I happened to be at my daughter’s school when the fire alarm sounded! After the initial panic and chaos of a few seconds, it was very impressive to see how everyone knew just what their job was in case of an emergency like this. Within seconds the students were out in the open area with their respective teachers doing a headcount. Meanwhile, someone was doing a separate headcount for the staff, making sure that no one was left behind. While all this was working like in a symphony, two fire engines had already arrived sirens blazing. The uniformed firefighters, taking a round of the campus, checking every corner of the premises, to rule out the fire.
Luckily it turned out to be a false alarm, but it gave me so much confidence to see a thorough foolproof system in place. I know that in case a real emergency was to happen, I am sure that my children would be safe.
This kind of commitment emerges everywhere in every department. The protests are also done in a civil manner. Recently Hong Kong witnessed one of its biggest protests in history. The Umbrella Movement. Thousands of people came out on the streets with umbrellas protesting for the right to democracy. But it was an extremely peaceful protest, with hardly any cases of violence even when the people were in such large numbers. Everyone is working to ensure that we are living in a society that prioritises public safety.
Handbags or phones accidentally left behind in ferries or taxis, miraculously find their way home. Children as young as nine or ten can be seen confidently travelling alone on public transport. It is a common sight to see people leaving their heavy bags unattended on the side to go and do their chores, return to find then untouched, exactly where they had been left. Construction workers can be seen working with full protective gear, and an accident-proof environment is paramount. Police are a visible presence in crowded areas. All of this instills a sense of confidence in the citizens.
It is a delight to live in a city where you are not constantly on guard, constantly cautious. Instead, you can thrive and concentrate on the real job of making a living.
Home is where our children feel safe, secure and nurtured. Where we feel a sense of belonging and self. A place where we feel responsible, not just for ourselves, but also for our community. As of now, I think Hong Kong fits the bill very well. The vibe says to me, “Go on, climb your mountain …. I got your back.”
Photos from the Internet
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Suveera Sharma is a postgraduate in English and a qualified software trainer. She is an avid reader and writer. Being the daughter of an army officer, she spent her childhood in various cantonments all over India. At present, she is settled in Hong Kong. She runs storytelling sessions for little kids and writes in her spare time.