Along side the peacefully immense Big Buddha, Victoria Harbour’s ferry reflections, and The Peak’s downward views of tangled towers, a new contender has risen for Instagram fame: Kowloon’s Choi Hung Estate.
The award-winning early 60’s public housing site, in all of it’s rainbow-hued glory, has become the hot ticket for finding fame and “likes” on the wildly popular photo and video sharing app.
The myriad photos now taken here show many things…young women in flowing dreeses or cut-up-to-there shorts, Jordan-jumping young men at the basketball courts, sunglassed tourists smiling or pouting, pointing, posing… all against the colourful backdrop of Choi Hung’s walls.
What Instagram does not show, (in all of these one-dimensional images of an individual’s attempts at being noticed), is the reality of Choi Hung’s inhabitants.
Somewhere, over the rainbow….
My husband, and the rest of his family of five, moved into the newly-built Choi Hung Public Housing Estate when he was about six years old. From that time, until he left to pursue his tertiary education, these five lived together in slightly less than 200 square feet of space. Mum, Dad, and three growing kids. If you’re unsure of exactly how big 200sq feet is, it’s likely the size of a two car garage. Not much more hospitable, either.
Over the years, when we would visit his relatives here in Hong Kong, my husband would proudly take our two children to Choi Hung, to show them not just how far he had come, but also how good a life he had provided them in contrast. We all have a very deep understanding of low-income life in this city of some eight million souls, and the struggles so many have had to break away from their humble beginnings.
Take your pictures, if you must, and good luck with achieving your 1,356 Instagram likes. Somewhat ironically, the cramped residents of Choi Hung look down on you.
*Images shown not the author’s own
**Thank you to Instagram account escapementality, for use of header image