Working as a journalist in Hong Kong was very exciting. A few years ago there was a competition among the media to be the first to arrive at the site of the scene. Journalists could listen to the police radio station to cover the news immediately and the one who arrived first and got the image of the news became the winner.
Josh is 45 years old and he is used to work against time. His office is a motorbike where he waits impatiently for the news so he can get quickly to the site to take the first pictures. However, his profession has lost a lot of adrenaline during these last years since the government introduced radio digital systems for the police and denied the access code to journalists.
“The government says that this change has been made for security reasons, but security for whom?”
Thanks to the radio, the reporters could hear the police station and be aware of the news at the same time in order to react, and even arrive at the site of the incident before them. This has changed and the journalists only get succinct teleprinters published by the Information Service Department informing of the time and place of the event without any other relevant details.
Generally these teleprinters are published with delay and when Josh arrives with his motorbike it is already too late, the police has already been there and has cleaned the scene before he could do his job. Hong Kong seems to be a safe city, there is almost no talk about violations or assassinations when you could hear about this before on the police radio station.
“The government is trying to control what people can say, this is starting to be like China”
The changes happening in Hong Kong are slow and silent. Since the city became part of China again in 1997, Josh cannot listen to the police station and, unlike private companies, the public wi-fi provided by the government blocks those pages that contain the word “gay” even if there is no sexual content in them, unlike private companies.
Josh as a homosexual feels very insecure about what could happen in the future. Step by step things are changing in the city and he fears that the censorship from China will arrive, where citizens are not permitted to use social media such as Facebook, Twitter and Youtube.
“I am afraid about what can happen in Hong Kong in the future”
In the city inequality has also risen during the last years. Currently, it is the developed city with the highest rate of rent unbalance in the world; the price of the housing rental is exorbitant and many people are forced to live in bad conditions in scarce square metres.
Josh lives in Sham Po, an overcrowded neighbourhood known for its electronic devices open market, where houses are narrow and small thus forcing people to study or rest at the fast food chains due to the lack of space. “People in Hong Kong are like modern slaves”, says Josh. They work ten hours a day to make the country grow, but they don’t have any quality of life. They haven’t got time to spend with their families: they get home, watch tv and go to bed to wake up and go back to work the next day. The city air is not good either, there are a lot of people, many cars, a lot of noise. His neighbourhood is like a cement jungle, there isn’t any type of urban greenery.
“When I look through my window I only see buildings”
His relationship with Hong Kong society is not positive either, being homosexual makes people go away from him and he can’t be honest with his own circle of friends.
Josh feels rejected by his friends and asphyxiated by the uncertainty of the changes that can happen in Hong Kong, where there is less freedom everyday for journalists and citizens since the city became part of China once again.
“I hope I can scape from Hong Kong”
Acknowledgements: Marie Chantal.