Hong Kong might well be one of the richest cities in the world but life here isn’t all about quirky cocktails and flashy dim sum. There are still many in need of assistance here. If you can spare time to volunteer, here are 20 small local charities that could dearly do with your assistance.
Hongkongers are no strangers to stress. It’s an emotional constant we all carry stemming from the pressures of work and the high cost of living in this city. Escaping the rat race is a common dream, one few manage to achieve. One man who succeeded is Simon Lee. Turning his back on society’s increasing demands, Lee decided to pack up all his stuff and become homeless.
“I hated my job,” Lee declares, 20 years on from his fateful decision. “There was simply too much pressure. I’d completely lost direction and meaning in life. I felt that if I kept going the way I was, there’d be no happiness for me.”
A former office worker with a university education, Lee now passes his days spending not a single cent, making camp in Victoria Park and scouring fast food restaurants for people’s leftovers, thereby eliminating all financial worries from his life. “I’m a happier person ever since I went homeless,” Lee explains.
“I’m carefree and a burden has been lifted off of me. I don’t mind picking up food. Maintaining dignity is more painful than living without dignity. [Dignity’s] just another burden I don’t have to carry and worry about.”
That’s not all though. Lee is an active blogger too. He posts daily (fb.com/homelessman9394) via Hong Kong Central Library’s computers about his thoughts on headline news and any interesting finds he picks up off of the streets. The blog is also his platform to share insights on how to achieve happiness like he did. “I am not encouraging people to drop everything and adopt this same lifestyle,” says Lee, “but I do want others to learn how to look at things from different perspectives.”
Lee’s lifestyle choice has allowed him to witness both the best and worst in people – he’s received verbal abuse as well as gifts, like a bag of new clothes, from Hongkongers. But his life on the streets is no failure, he claims, saying: “I don’t believe I’ve lost anything. On the contrary, I feel like I’ve gained more: happiness and freedom.”