SoCO and ArtWalk 2009 is going to organize
a cage home exhibition from 11/3 to 18/3 at Schoeni Gallery
in Central. It will show the real iron cage which is moved from
the area of Tai Kok Tsui, Kowloon.
In cosmopolitan Hong Kong there are 1.3 million Hong
Kong people who live below the poverty line - the government
also estimates that 100,000 elderly people, women, recent immigrants
from China, children, low-income workers and the handicapped
have - due to poverty and personal circumstances - no choice
but to live in inadequate accommodation in cage homes, cubicles
or small partitioned flats.
Apart from undertaking research projects, lobbying Hong
Kong decision-makers and organizing direct action events, SoCO
also provides direct services to assist low-income workers to
receive public housing; the elderly to have priority in re-allocation
to appropriate accommodation; and, is an advocate to alleviate
restrictions on housing for the mentally handicapped. SoCO also
provides consultation services on housing, employment and budgeting
As an event of ArtWalk 2009, a real cage home, located
in Tai Kok Tsui, will be displayed inside the Schoeni Art Gallery
in Central - giving a strong impression of the living conditions
that many people live in.
11 March is the ArtWalk 2009 event. Artwalk is Hong Kong's
biggest charity art event and this year SoCO is again the benefiting
ArtWalk charity. The main theme for this year is Affordable
Art. The parcipants buy a ticket($420 for Adult, $100 for student)
for visiting 65 Galleries in different areas, such as Sheung
Wan, Central, Wanchai, Wong Chuk Hang, Tai Koo Shing, etc at
the same time, enjoy free wine and snacks. The tickets income
will be donated to SoCO.
According to official statistics, there are over 100,000 poor
people who are living at inadequate housing. In view of the
financial tsunami, the labour from the grassroots faced unemployment
as well as decrease of salary. They have attempted to pick cardboards,
metal cans to earn a living for the family while the price becomes
lower and lower. However, the food and rent are still expensive
that the grassroots have to suffer the problems of inflation.
In the absence of statutory rent control, the rent is as high
as the luxury flat that the median monthly rent is $30 per square
feet per month (maximum is $50!).
Theexhibition shows about the cagehome, which is a genuine
cagehome moved from Tai Kok Tsui, that the audience can touch,
sleep or sit on it. The installation of a cagehome, which symbolizes
the life of the underprivileged, contrasts with the privileged
class who are living and working at Central and facilitates
the audience to reflect more on the problem of poverty in Hong
Kong. Photos of the vulnerable groups, including cagehome lodgers,
residents living in cubicles, street-sleepers, child labor,
refugees, people with mental illness and single elderly are
shown to arouse public concern about their deplored situation
(Those photos were taken by volunteer professional photographers,
including Hong Wing, Dickson Lee, Dustin Shum, Lei Jih-Sheng)
As the Chief Executive and the Financial Secretary had rejected
SoCO's invitation to visit the cagehome for many times, it is
hoping that the governmental officials spend some time to visit
the genuine cagehome moved to Central and a comprehensive anti-poverty
policy reform has been urged for.