Erinn Diaz: Entrepreneur, Performer, Author, Optimist
If you take into account all of the millions of people that reside there, Hong Kong is overall an extremely clean city. The public areas are kept wide open to make room for the massive waves of business associates, residents and tourists that pass through on foot every single day.
The first Sunday we spent in Hong Kong was quite a shock! Nelson’s son Max told us we would be surprised but didn’t tell us why. When we left the apartment that morning, we went towards the IFC as we regularly did, and as soon as we got to the public areas where there was usually just open space, we could see thousands of people living on the street in makeshift cardboard rooms! Block after block we walked, and block after block saw more and more people in these temporary homes. They were eating, doing their hair and nails, singing, playing cards, sleeping…. There were even church services and dance parties happening in some of the more crowded areas and some streets were completely closed off to make room for all of the mini homes.
We found out that most of the upper-class business people of Hong Kong that have children have live in nannies. Monday through Saturday, these nannies take care of the kids and the house for their boss, and Sunday is their only day off. With nowhere else to go, every Sunday a community is born from cardboard, and their day is spent off together.
It was surreal to see, like Hong Kong had turned into an alternate universe. The best part was witnessing the attitudes. Everyone was smiling, being productive or just enjoying fellowship with their co-workers, friends and family. Thinking back on the experience, I don’t think I saw one unhappy face in the entire bunch. These individuals who were spending their day in a piece of cardboard in the blistering heat were happier than many folks I have seen relaxing on vacation at 5-star luxury resorts.
I believe it’s because the only handicap anyone truly has in life is bad attitude. It doesn’t matter what cards you’ve been dealt, what physical limitations you might have or how challenging your work might be. It doesn’t matter if you live in a mansion or in a piece of cardboard once a week. It’s all about your attitude, and the most wonderful thing is, attitude is also the only thing in life you’ll always have 100% control of.