A big big BIG! Thanks to the South China Morning Post for running a really fantastic article in their paper and online about the spirit of community! Below you'll find a lovely excerpt of the wonderful article written featuring yours truly!
Neighbourhood general stores were once the hearts of many communities. People visited them not only to buy drinks and snacks but also for social interaction and to exchange stories.
But through rapid urbanisation in the last few decades, these self-owned shops have been quietly replaced by chain convenience stores. With most corner shops gone along with other small community businesses, residents today have less of a collective identity and cohesion.
Sai Wan Concern Group, an online gentrification watchdog, has been paying close attention to the myriad of changes in Sai Wan ever since the MTR was extended to the west of the island.
Cheung Kai-yin, a manager from the concern group, said the ever-increasing rents are pushing out small businesses. “In some cases, the rent went up three or four times,” she said, adding that this happened as redevelopment projects came to Sai Wan.
Coupled with a shortage of demand to occupy the spaces, the vacancy rate approached 10 per cent in some areas in Sai Ying Pun, according to Cheung.
“If you take a stroll around First Street, Pok Fu Lam Road and Western Street, you see a ghost town,” she said.
Cheung added the absence of small businesses also disrupted social networks of the elderly. “Old people had it so good. When they shopped at these small businesses, they chatted with the owners,” she said. “But with these stores gone, the network for them could quickly disintegrate.
Please click here for the full article!