For months, we haven’t had any cases anywhere near where we live. My children and I live in the New Territories in an area called Ma On Shan.
For much of our time in Hong Kong, we have lived in this general area. Though, we did spend two years in Tweung Kwan O when Monster was attending school in Clearwater Bay.
While Tseung Kwan O was still in the New Territories, it was much closer the Hong Kong Island and Kowloon than Ma On Shan.
Looking at the cases in that area, it is good that we are so much further into new territories.
No matter where you go in Hong Kong, there are always going to be a lot of people around. The nice thing about the place we live now is that we can walk to a lot more places in the area. To access the train station, there was either a much longer walk or a mini bus ride to get there. To get to any store was also a long walk or a mini bus ride.
In Ma On Shan, we live within a 5 minute walk to the train. We also have a mall right next door to us as well as a few other malls in a pretty short walk. The benefit of this is we are not stuck in enclosed spaced with other people for any long period of time.
While I obviously couldn’t have known this was going to happen, I am rather happy we ended up where we did. It is a much more convenient location for school and just for everything else.
So…. The big question. What caused this wave of Covid to run rampant in Hong Kong?
It would seem that it was the dance clubs. And I’m not talking the dance clubs young people frequent in Lan Kwai Fong. These are dance clubs for people with disposable income where they go to have private (attractive) dance instructors.
If I’m honest, I can sort of understand the desire to get out of the house and do things. I am not completely innocent in this. Each weekend, my friend and I went to different rooftop bars and had a drink. I do see this as slightly different because we were not coming into close contact with strangers. The way the bars were set up was that you were really far from the people around you. But we were still out in the community and not staying home like we probably should have.
I think there is a big difference in staying home if we were in the US compared to in Hong Kong. Actually there are probably two really large differences.
The first being the amount of people you come into contact with. At least in the town we lived in, we probably have more people in our housing compound than the population of the town we lived in. No matter where you go, you are going to come into contact with others. You aren’t going to get up close and personal with them or anything, but it is rare that you are EVER alone in Hong Kong.
The second thing is the size of the homes. Being stuck at home in the US is not going to be a huge hardship. Our home in our old town was over 2000 sq ft. There were 5 of us living there. Each kid had their own room. There was more space in those rooms for them to play. They also had two living rooms between the upstairs and basement, and they had a playroom in the basement. They also had a large fenced in backyard with a swing set and a large front yard.
In Hong Kong, we have less than 1000 sq ft for 5 of us (me, the kids, and helper). Two of the kids share a bedroom. It’s a tiny space with no room to move around. The only other space they have is the livingroom area with the TV and the dining area with the table.
I think both of these things make staying sane in the pandemic a little more tricky living in Hong Kong. In Hong Kong, you depend on outside venues for entertainment and dining. That is a huge part of the culture here. The homes are so small, to compensate for that, there are countless restaurants, cafes, malls, shops, etc to make up for the lack of space in the homes.
Don’t get me wrong, this is not a criticism of Hong Kong. It is just the way they have set things up for themselves. We have tiny flats, but the facilities attached to those flats are amazing. There are a lot of people, but there are countless places for people to go to do just about anything they could ever want to do.
In the US, people are more used to remaining in their homes as they have the space in their homes and on their property to function. I know my family all have yards. My parents have acres upon acres of land. My mom told me this past weekend, for exercise, they walk three laps of their hay field. To be able to do that, we have to leave our homes.
I think where I was going with all of this (because I am aware it’s a rambling mess) is that Christmas this year is going to be even more difficult with all of these restrictions. We are stuck in Hong Kong for the foreseeable future. It had become normal for us to return home to the US for Christmas. That can’t happen this year (for anyone I am well aware). Now with this wave, much of Hong Kong is going to be shut down as well. While during the first year we were here during Christmas, we travelled through Hong Kong and did things. We went to the Peak, we saw the fireworks on New Years, we went to different museums and parks. That isn’t going to be possible this year. We will be stuck mostly in the house. I am afraid of what that is going to do to my children, to me.
I am hopeful that the people of Hong Kong are able to get this under control quickly, so we can return to some sort of normalcy. I don’t know how possible that is to happen before the Christmas holiday ends, but one can hope.