Thursday, April 15, 2010

HK diary 1 - Morning @ Victoria Park

I can't believe it has already been a week since our return from Hong Kong!  Time is running away from me.  I must write soon, otherwise my memories are going to fade.

Travelling with a small child makes everything different, including the places we visit.  Despite growing up in HK and visiting every 1 - 2 years, this was the first time I visited Victoria Park (outside of CNY eve night markets).

Victoria Park is in Causeway Bay in Hong Kong Island.  At 19 hectares it is the largest park in the Island - very modest compared to parks in Australia (Centennial Park is 10 times bigger) but in a crowded city like Hong Kong it is an oasis of fresh air.

One of the most bizarre scenes I ever came across was a group of over 100 women swinging their arms around - *ahem* I meant exercising.  There was an instructor at the front guiding the participants of the "moves". The rest of their bodies are completely still.  It was very surreal - such a shame that I didn't have my camera with me to capture it.  I guess it was good for them to exercise, but I'm not really sure of the health benefits ...

The tai chi exercises were much more interesting.  I like those exercising with a fan or a sword.  Very elegant.

The park at that time of the day is devoid of the typical HK person (who is busy at work).  The visitors fell into 4 categories: (1) seniors with their children or helpers, (2) expats with their kids, (3) kids with their Filipino/Indonesian maids, and (4) people exercising.

The phenomenom of foreign maids is still incredible to me, even though they have been in HK since the 80s.  The maids are so affordable (the minimum wage is $HK3500 a month which equates to $A500, and they are often paid less than the minimum wage), even families with modest means can afford one.

Of course maids have been around for a long time, but this is a city where maids are prevalent in middle class families as well as upper class.  I wonder how it affects the society?  Do children growing up in a household with a maid ever learn how to do housework?  How does having a servant affect their world view?  Would they have a stronger sense of entitlement?

Interestingly, Victoria Park is the gathering ground for Indonesian maids on their day off (usually Sunday).

Now - what should I write about next?  Shopping or food?


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