One major reason why we in Hong Kong have less leisure despite our affluence is the domination of property tycoons and big corporations. They dominate or even monopolise the market, reap huge profits and fuel increases in commodity and property prices, especially the latter. The working class and small business owners have to pay rents or mortgages which represent a huge portion of their incomes or earnings. As a result, many have to work very long hours to get by.
A Hongkonger has now decided to take on the real estate conglomerates. He has sworn not to patronise businesses owned by them for one year.
Pong's one-man battle with big businesses was inspired by a book entitled Land and the Ruling Class in Hong Kong, which is about how a few wealthy individuals and companies dominate the market and stifle competition.
"Property developers eliminate the existence of many small shops, he said. “There are fewer and fewer choices for us and every mall looks the same. People lose their character in such a society."
He now travels on his bike, buys from small shops instead of supermarkets and retail chains. It has not been easy so far, but he enjoys it and has received lots of support from friends and strangers alike. He hopes to raise people's awareness to the anti-competition practices which have been taken up by the conglomerates to the detriment of Hong Kong.
I would like Pong to know that he has my support too. Where possible, I have been following his example of not patronising big supermarkets and retail chains, and while tycoon Li Ka-shing and his Hong Kong Electric has monopolised electricity supply on Hong Kong Island, I have resolved to use as little electricity as I can.
I am sure that Pong's campaign will have an impact.