Deep Talk about a homelessness with house 深訪有家的露宿者

Tom, Mani and Rosonne, 16–08–2015, Urban Nomads, Mrs. Lau’s story

今年79 歲的劉婆婆,露宿北河街公園對面天橋底已一年多。以為露宿者皆為無家可歸之人就大錯特錯了,劉女士不僅有家,還有家人,選擇露宿街頭,皆因要替「姐妹管家」。

劉婆婆原廣東人,丈夫為香港人。鄧小平上任時隨夫定居香港,育有一子二女,分別任廠長、政府工,皆在內地生活。 因交通費昂貴,子女鮮有到港探望,平日以電話聯絡。丈夫腳患,行動不便。兩人居長沙灣一公屋。

劉婆婆曾於柴灣市場及懲教署工作分別三年,她形容懲教署做清潔是「風流工」,工作愉快,月入六千,後因年老退休。

劉婆婆現與兩名友人露宿一處,平日輪流拾荒,留一人看管物品,以免被清走。日掙約三十元,三人均分。她每日下午會回家小睡一會,煮飯給丈夫吃後便回到街頭,與兩名友人談天說地,一起住宿,要沖涼便到附近公共廁所自理,丈夫則獨自在家中。劉婆婆解釋,三人因拾荒結識,一起露宿該處更為開心,且與「鄰居」感情都很好。

平日有學生、記者、教會人士到訪,送上飯券或物資。 熱心人士如明哥亦會定時派飯。她對物資要求不高,別人送甚麼就要甚麼,但一定會與友人分享,同甘共苦。 夏天街頭炎熱,時有蚊叮,但問及現時露宿街頭的感受,她感到「開心」又「滿足」,且熱心人士亦會送上蚊香。

劉婆婆清晨時分在床位前擺檔,賣背包,衣物等物資。 問到為何不回內地生活,婆婆指戶口不在內地,無壽福金,但在香港有生果金,每月二千二,加上拾荒所賺,節省點也夠用。

露宿的周邊地方大多以帆布覆蓋。藍白間條的帆布之下就是個人物品,及在附近撿拾用以變賣的物品,例如:鞋子,眼鏡及背囊等。帆布上周圍時有蒼蠅徘徊。與其他露宿者環境有所不同,她睡在一輛手推車上,沒有床褥,亦沒有用木板圍起地方,有的是床墊及被舖,四季都是露宿於固定地點。

Tom, Mani, Rosonne, 16–08–2015, Urban Nomads, Interview Reflection

劉婆婆在香港已居住了十多年,雖然她自己擁有政府公屋,卻選擇露宿。主要的原因是她想和她的兩位好朋友聯繫感情,談笑風生,共渡時光。這個情況值得令人深思箇中的原因。令我們感到意外的是她表示對這個居住環境感到「滿意」,也為現在的生活感到「快樂」。我們可以了解到她需要的是可以有社群連繫的「空間」,這比一個安全、衛生和方便的居住地方更重要。劉婆婆的故事可以令我們得知,有一部分年老的露宿者把我們所認知的「公共空間」變成他們的「私人空間」,反映到他們需要一個真正的群體生活,即鄰里關係。因為在天橋底下,她可以和兩位朋友面對面聯絡,互相關照,不時噓寒問暖,已不在意惡劣的居住環境。

面對露宿者的情況,值得反思的是我們應該如何使用「公共空間」以減低使用人之間的矛盾和衝突。政府許多時候希望遷走這群人,把道路讓出給大眾使用。背後其實有三個假設:一是露宿者在道路上擺放大量雜物,如大型的床板,衣物和煮食用具,這會阻塞街道,滋擾民生;二是使用公共的土地權並不只屬於他們這小部分人,而是屬於大眾市民;三是使用公共空間時必須存在流動性,因為可以令大眾有平等的機會去使用。而這些假設是否合理呢?

不能否認的是,在香港個人可擁有的私人空間少之又少,在一個生活極之忙碌的城市裡,有一群人十分需要一個可以建立鄰里關係的公共空間。政府在土地規劃和房屋政策上是否需要考慮建立一個能促進鄰里關係地方?我們亦需要反問「公共空間」的使用權和用途應由誰決定?

Mrs Lau has been stayed in Hong Kong for a few decades. Although she has a regular dwelling provided by the government, she chooses to stay under the bridge overnight. The main reason is that she would like to stay there with two of her friends. Surprisingly, Mrs Lau expressed that she is satisfied with her current living condition in the street. Her situation has drawn our attention and sparked our critical reflection that a safe, secure and hygienic accommodation is no more important than the relationship between her friends. Indeed, she desires for the connection with her neighbors who can take care of her, chat with her and spend time with her. Simply, she needs an area where she can hang out with her friends and connect with people. After listening to Mrs Lau’s story, we realized that some of the elder people who stay on the street for a long period have a reason behind. Ostensibly, it is controversial that they have changed this “Public Area” into their “Private Area”, but what they need is a relationship in their community, namely, neighbourhood.

In this situation, we have a deep reflection about how citizens can use the “Public Area” in a win-win situation. As we all know, the government would like to manage this area and force the homelessness to leave in order to take over the right of the way for the public. There are three assumptions behind this behaviour, firstly, the large size belongings of the homelessness will block the street, for example, their bed, blanket and cooking utensils; secondly, the right of land usage is not only focused on a small group of people; thirdly, everyone should have the equal chance to use this area as the mobility should exist when it comes to the public area. Are these assumptions justifiable and reasonable? We cannot deny that Hong Kong citizens have faced with a scarcity of land and busy working lifestyle. We all desire for private area and space. And there is a group of people who desires for a public area where they can gain rapport from their neighbours. Shall the government consider how to facilitate a community-oriented connection when they set their housing policy and plan of land? Also, which group of people has the privilege to use the public area and who can decide the usage of this public area?

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