LIFE / CELEBRITY
Love or House: Hong Kong TVB drama earns thumbs up from mainland netizens for its realistic portrayal of the city’s housing crisis
Published: Dec 24, 2020 07:18 PM

Promotional material of Hong Kong Love Stories Photo: Sina Weibo

A Hong Kong drama on TVB has recently earned rave reviews on Chinese mainland social media for its true-to-life representation of the difficulties Hong Kong's expensive housing market poses for single's looking for love and married couples wanting to start a family. 

The TV series Hong Kong Love Stories tells the story of a family of five - a mom and dad, their son and two younger daughters - who live in a home that is only 20 square meters in size. The drama reflects the real life of people living in Hong Kong by telling the various love stories of the family members under the pressure of high-priced housing.

Tired of her husband's bad temper, the mother wants a divorce, but according to local laws the two need to live apart for a year to get divorced. The mother wants to apply for public housing, but the line is so backed up the wait is three years. Unable to afford her own place due to high rents, the housewife is forced to stay in an unhappy marriage. 

The eldest son has been in a relationship with his girlfriend for seven years, but they still cannot afford to purchase a home in Hong Kong. In order to raise the needed money, they have been very frugal with their spending. For them, eating at a fast food restaurant is considered date night for them. When they finally scrape together some savings, down payments suddenly see a temporary increase, causing the two to have a big fight for the first time in many years. The housing has become a killer, murdering the romance between the two lovers. 

The youngest daughter, a college student, lives in an upper bunk bed in a hallway. She often hides behind the curtain pretending to be a "closet princess." In order to marry a rich guy, she pretends to be a rich by posting elegant pictures online.

The characters in Hong Kong Love Stories have hit the pain points of many people in Hong Kong. As the elder son says: "Some people are in a hurry to get a divorce for a house, and some people are anxious to get married for a house, making the marriage a gift for the house."

Hong Kong is a financially developed city with many marvelous high-rise buildings. However, behind the gorgeous buildings, many families are trapped in small corners. 

Over the past five years, housing prices in Hong Kong have risen by 38 percent, while people's disposable income has only risen by 3 percent. Income growth is far behind the rise in housing prices so buying a home has become a daydream for many local residents.

The drama is deserving of its high review scores as its simple and realistic narrative shows the true face of reality. On Chinese media review platform Douban, Hong Kong Love Stories currently has an impressive 8.9/10. 

The declining influence of its dramas has forced TVB to step out of its comfort zone to try something new. Hong Kong Love Stories is only 10 episodes, but the plot is tight and realistic. The drama's success should encourage more filmmakers to shoot the real face of Hong Kong and raise the public's awareness to the serious social problem.


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