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“In our ten years of existence we have learnt that the most effective way to grant relief is to deliver aid directly to the sufferers. To accomplish this we must first seek out the intermediaries (NGOs) who have expertise in their respective fields and help them make the deliveries. Funding is not the only resource we can provide, NGOs need premises to operate and administrative competence to service those in need. Our objective is to offer both.”

Adrian Fu, Chairman
Fu Tak Iam Foundation Limited
 

 

When Hong Kong government decided to conduct our first ever population census in the early 60s I joined as a volunteer worker. Over the next 4 days I was sent to cover a stretch of Shanghai Street in Yaumatei. The street was lined with tenement buildings, typically 5 floors with two flats of 350 sf each, most had illegal structures on the roof with no toilet facilities. It was quite a shock when I entered the first designated household which was partitioned off into five family units. Living within 70sf was a family of four. Only two of these partitioned units would have natural light and the others would have no windows relying on ventilation above the partitions. I had visited school friends who lived in resettlement areas in Hung Hum and other parts of Kowloon but their living conditions were not quite as dire. Hong Kong has since moved on with the times by making available more resettlement areas to cope with the expanding population. In fact it is Hong Kong’s pride that 70% of our workforce is brought up in our estates. However, after 56 years of explosive economic growth and a twofold population increase, there are now more people living in squalid conditions with less government subsidised housing available to eligible applicants. Despite a large supply of private housing estates coming to market the affordable housing element within these has never been properly explored.

 

Hong Kong produces more billionaires per capita than many countries (not cities) in the developed world; unfortunately we also have the biggest wealth gap between the rich and the poor. We can easily blame the free economy and a tax system which favours the rich and penalises the sandwich class. What exacerbates the situation is our government’s policy (or non-policy) of allowing asset inflation to rise unabated. As a result the non-asset owning class (middle income or below) are pushed further and further down the ladder while the asset rich enjoy the windfall. 

 

These are only two examples of serious social issues which negatively impact Hong Kong people’s livelihood today. As a foundation, we try to identify and prioritise how our resources can help address some of these issues. In our ten years of existence we have learnt that the most effective way to grant relief is to deliver aid directly to the sufferers. To accomplish this we must first seek out the intermediaries (NGOs) who have expertise in their respective fields and help them make the deliveries. Funding is not the only resource we can provide, NGOs need premises to operate and administrative competence to service those in need. Our objective is to offer both.  We are confident that we are on the right track with the warm shelter project and expect to follow the same business plan in the next five to ten years.

 

It is not coincidental that the happiest nations in the world are those which enjoy the highest form of equality – in wealth, education, healthcare, employment opportunity, housing need, self-esteem, social standing etc. Not surprisingly all of these countries are found under highly socialistic regimes where people work, pay high taxes and be looked after by the social system. We can see that in Hong Kong indirect taxation such as high land prices and imported inflation cause grief and pain among the lower classes and in turn creates more inequality. Inequality in turn breeds discontent and socio-economic problems. As we observe that our government is not about to take any action in the near term we should continue our mission to create a more equal society by focusing on the pressing issues by practicing our own form of socialism.

Adrian Fu, Chairman
Fu Tak Iam Foundation Limited
 

 

When Hong Kong government decided to conduct our first ever population census in the early 60s I joined as a volunteer worker. Over the next 4 days I was sent to cover a stretch of Shanghai Street in Yaumatei. The street was lined with tenement buildings, typically 5 floors with two flats of 350 sf each, most had illegal structures on the roof with no toilet facilities. It was quite a shock when I entered the first designated household which was partitioned off into five family units. Living within 70sf was a family of four. Only two of these partitioned units would have natural light and the others would have no windows relying on ventilation above the partitions. I had visited school friends who lived in resettlement areas in Hung Hum and other parts of Kowloon but their living conditions were not quite as dire. Hong Kong has since moved on with the times by making available more resettlement areas to cope with the expanding population. In fact it is Hong Kong’s pride that 70% of our workforce is brought up in our estates. However, after 56 years of explosive economic growth and a twofold population increase, there are now more people living in squalid conditions with less government subsidised housing available to eligible applicants. Despite a large supply of private housing estates coming to market the affordable housing element within these has never been properly explored.

 

Hong Kong produces more billionaires per capita than many countries (not cities) in the developed world; unfortunately we also have the biggest wealth gap between the rich and the poor. We can easily blame the free economy and a tax system which favours the rich and penalises the sandwich class. What exacerbates the situation is our government’s policy (or non-policy) of allowing asset inflation to rise unabated. As a result the non-asset owning class (middle income or below) are pushed further and further down the ladder while the asset rich enjoy the windfall. 

 

These are only two examples of serious social issues which negatively impact Hong Kong people’s livelihood today. As a foundation, we try to identify and prioritise how our resources can help address some of these issues. In our ten years of existence we have learnt that the most effective way to grant relief is to deliver aid directly to the sufferers. To accomplish this we must first seek out the intermediaries (NGOs) who have expertise in their respective fields and help them make the deliveries. Funding is not the only resource we can provide, NGOs need premises to operate and administrative competence to service those in need. Our objective is to offer both.  We are confident that we are on the right track with the warm shelter project and expect to follow the same business plan in the next five to ten years.

 

It is not coincidental that the happiest nations in the world are those which enjoy the highest form of equality – in wealth, education, healthcare, employment opportunity, housing need, self-esteem, social standing etc. Not surprisingly all of these countries are found under highly socialistic regimes where people work, pay high taxes and be looked after by the social system. We can see that in Hong Kong indirect taxation such as high land prices and imported inflation cause grief and pain among the lower classes and in turn creates more inequality. Inequality in turn breeds discontent and socio-economic problems. As we observe that our government is not about to take any action in the near term we should continue our mission to create a more equal society by focusing on the pressing issues by practicing our own form of socialism.