So I arrived in Hong Kong and picked up a used copy of the South China Morning Post in the Cathay Lounge and the headline read, “New Study Raises Number Living In Poverty to 1.47 Million.”
It’s everywhere. We’re clearly all in this mess together. The gap seems to grow here and there. Aspects of poverty aren’t going away any time soon. The reasons are nuanced, complex and difficult to unpack. Property and human rights, access, infrastructure, a credible banking system, gender justice, tacit knowledge – all difficult to assess, access and address.
I was on my way to Cambodia one of the poorer countries in the world. Don’t have to look far for reminders there. Canada is 14 on the World Bank’s list for GDP and Cambodia is 138. Perspective. Context. Opportunities.
I live in a system that without a doubt rewards entrepreneur like characteristics. I benefit from it and I use it to further my family’s goals, my work in development and my own hopes to some degree. The free market often works. Most of the time. Doesn’t it?
I’m gifted in hyperbole and I like to push the envelope when and where I can. So can we agree that aspects of capitalism are without a doubt like patches of dry psoriasis on parched skin that just won’t go away? They itch and sometimes bleed and are a nuisance to be sure, but they have dug themselves in and are systemically linked in almost every way. How do we continue to work within the system while questioning it, challenging it and creating moments of change?
I have no clear idea of what to do for the long term, but what I do know is what I can do right now. I do know how I can give back and lend a hand here and there to my neighbor at home and in the majority world.
“About one in five Hongkongers lives a poor and deprived life, struggling to afford three square meals a day and shut out of normal social interaction, a new study reveals.”
That’s about the same statistic for the city of Hamilton, Ontario about 15 Km’s from where I live. I was at a Social Justice conference recently talking about poverty related issues and I bet there very similar to those in Hong Kong. Difference may define us, but similarity can unite us.
Can’t we think about the deeper implications of all that we do? How we spend our money? The cars we drive? The clothes we wear? We’re all connected on some level. Don’t need to be a You don’t have to be a practicing Buddhist to buy into that notion. Every little bit helps and we have to believe that we can make a difference.
The problems remind us that we are all in this mess together, but it seems to me that the solutions we will discover may bring us even closer together.
DP – Nov 18-2013