Mobility is freedom of movement – across oceans and continents, across cities, streets and neighbourhood, perhaps across race, religion or even gender.
Hong Kong is a compact modern metropolis with world class transport and logistics system, where people and goods are constantly on the move and commuters have their routes mapped out to the exact subway carriage number in order to save the most time getting to the exit on the other side.
Mobility means circulation. Blood needs to flow, so does Chi. Blockage or leakage means disease. Babies learn to move at an early age, but mobility can be a major challenge for the elderly. Money and deals, traffic and even population needs to move smoothly, preferably in the right direction.
Mobility is moving vertically up and down buildings, mountains and seas. It is human to aspire to move up the ladder, whether in the corporate, institutional or social. Hong Kong had always been the land of opportunity, where hard work might move one’s children, if not oneself, upwards.
Parents still scheme to get their children the best chance in life in the education system. But more and more social mobility is restricted, in one of the world’s most unequal community, where poverty is prevalent in the midst of plenty.
Hong Kong is the so-called borrowed place on borrowed time, where people come to get rich and get out, and end up putting down roots in spite of themselves. Now we are caught in a dilemma. How do we build a future in a place where nothing stays still, or lasts? Can we all still get where we want to go? And when we arrive, are we ever allowed to stop? Are we moving? Or are we still? What happens if there is no mobility? And what happens if mobility is endless?