By Fedora Kwok
We have approached the last week at the Phillipines. The authentical experince has by far given me so much thoughts and reflection – the vitality, originality and simplicity of life.
Talking about the simplicity of life, people are self-sufficient and self-content. Perhaps that’s the difference between developed and developing countries, for instance, the scope of views to live ambitious lifes and to take chances of making a fortune, to name but a few stark differences compared to Hong Kong citizens.
Reasons behind such contrasts also lie within how people define successes. Hong Kong people are self-motivated yet they have very hectic lifes in order to earn pleasing salaries. That’s why they are brought up in an enviornment with fast-paced working atmosphere and eventually, painfully meeting expectations from family. What’s more, apparently, Hongkongers tend to make use of their free time to enrich themselves or invest on their well-bring. They seek for relaxation activities, e.g yoga, gym or dance after class or work. Most people also like to schedule and fill up their weekends with leisure activities, e.g hiking, watching a movie, or simply, seeking for some delicacies for dining. It’s obvious that Hk people have higher living standards with their stronger spending power, but that doesn’t mean they are happier.
While people at the Phillipines work on their own comfortable pace, they take up responsilbilities at home; generally speaking, men work at cities to earn major incomes while female stay at home to take care of children and houseworks. People at the Phillipines (the Guimaras Island) undoubtedly live simpler lifes (well, a bit dull and boring in the bad way but their simple happiness and contentedness is admirably what majority Hongkongers lack. For instance, they eat simple food that causes them less trouble (and save money in the good way). While Hong Kong people fancy eating a variety of food and spend a lot on it. After all, Guimaras island is apparently a much more laid-back place that lives with much modesty and peacefulness. It gave me plenty of space to seek for inner peace and room for meditation too.
Talking about originality, I feel extremely under-knowledged (or even dumb) about agricultural, engineering, sewing or even cooking (a bunch of survival skills well learnt by younger kids here). I feel terribly weak and even intellectually lacking of such skills. Kids of less than 18 have already learnt how to cook, fix their motorbikes, plant the trees, harvest crops at the farm etc. Obviously, as a city dweller, I am sorry to say I have zero knowledge about that. All because Hong Kong people only pay for professionals to do the work while they fend for themselves to reach their highest goals and ideal jobs; for what they perceive as a successful career. It’s obvious that people here at the phillipines knows a wide range of skills and kids take up a higher level of responsibility at home…
Well, elaborating on the topic of kids, there’s a vast difference in terms of how parents bring up their kids here. Young children are made to do houseworks, e.g carrying buckets of water back and forth, help to dry the clothes, prepare for the food etc. While in Hong Kong, kids are very much spoiled. They are desperately kept away from the kitchen and anything unhygienic, dirt of any kind etc. In contrast, Phillipine kids show greater willingness to shoulder responsibilities in their families and households, due to the habits and methods taught.
Last of all, talking about selflessness, people are more interdependence to each other and show more care and concerns to people around. That’s what I observed when we take jeepneys, people are very helpful as in transferring money to the driver without a second of hesitation. Personally, Hong Kong people sounded more selfish and cold-blooded. People do hesitate before they lend a helping hand or about the interest they would receive as paybacks. It’s ironic because HK is a wealthy city yet they doesn’t live with satisfaction, unlike people we met at the Phillipines- such genuineness and simplicity they share.
Another point noteworthy is that, the low level of satisfaction that Hongkongers have is attributable to the fact that University graduates only earn $13K per month on average, definitely a minimal to maintain a proper living! (The financial burdens of graduates in HK and the need for political reform is however, another story) The justifiable arguement behind such contrasts between developing and developed country lies within the political and economical systems of the two. It’s ironic to see, people at the Phillipines live happier, simpler life, where the living conditions are far poorer than Hong Kong. It is true however, that their mobility at workplace is much lower then Hong Kong, people simply have no choice but stay contented to their limited variety of jobs.
While Hong Kong has an array of job industries, professionals that provide the modern generation wide range of choices and opportunities, it’s still so hard to stay contented when even choices make no difference to stop the stress from working overtime. People all held aspirations to gain a chance of being promoted(sadly the chance is so small), the cycle goes on and on as stress aggregates, skilled professionals do not get reasonable pays and workers are exploited working overtime.
Last of all, to conclude, I have learnt and experienced much more than staying indoors a month at offices.
This month has been far out of my comfort zone, yet I was kept refreshed and enlightened in every way! All fresh experiences have made it remarkably worthwhile!!
Enjoyed the carefree me at Phillipines and it’s a wave of goodbye for now.