Workers Comp Zone


Workerscompzone is traveling, and in some coming posts will be offering up some sights and sounds from the road……

Here in Hong Kong there’s a virtual laboratory of global migration.

On Kowloon’s Canton Road, upscale mainland Chinese wait patiently in line outside Chanel, Louis Vuitton,and Hermes, as the stores are so crammed that they ration entry. With rolling suitcases in tow, these Chinese entrepreneurs, new winners in the global commerce shuffle, await a chance to grab a bit of luxe.

In a few hours they’ll emerge, suitcases full.

Meanwhile, across Hong Kong harbor, on Hong Kong Island, at “Central”, different sorts of bags are being stuffed. Here, in the shadow of some of the world’s tallest buildings, are thousands of Filipinas on a Sunday afternoon.

Sunday is their day off from the domestic work most of them perform here for Chinese families. They come to Central to socialize and network. And some come to fill up plaid plastic totes and Balikbayan boxes with items they’ve sourced in HK to ship back to the Phillipines along with remittances.

Later in the day, on the other side of Hong Kong island, one can visit Stanley and Aberdeen, remnants of the British control of the treaty port.
In Stanley stall vendors sell T-shirts featuring images of Obama in a Mao jacket and Mao hat.

In nearby Repulse Bay, villas sit perched on steep hillsides. Upslope sit massive condos, some of the world’s most expensive real estate per square foot, with 1,500 sq. feet going for upwards of $3 mil.

Kenyan twentysomethings hop on the double decker bus, cooling their heels for a day before heading to Guangzhou in a few days. There they’ll contract for loads of merchandise, including knockoffs of those Parisian brands, all of which will be made in various Asian small factories and workshops, and shipped out to Nairobi.

As night falls, Kowloon yields up a cafe with wi-fi, its walls hung with large pull down maps that were so popular in American schools 50 years ago.

As night draw to a close, walking down darkening streets, some shopkeepers defy time. Shopkeepers beckon even at 1 am, as if they were desperate to make that lost sale, that last sale. Failure is not an option.

This world is a long way away. But it’s the world we live and compete in today.

Julius Young

Category: Political developments