I am writing in response to the article “Unhealthy shopping obsession revealed” (SCMP, May 8).
It is unacceptable that many Hongkongers spend excessively on material goods due to the city’s values and lifestyle which are centred on consumerism.
This unhealthy shopping habit causes a serious waste problem that is bad for the environment.
Many Hongkongers own more clothes than they need, and they often throw away the old ones and buy new ones every season. In fact, most of these used clothes can be donated to poor people in developing countries. By giving away old clothes, less waste will be produced.
Many people are willing to buy second-hand clothes at a lower price. People can also donate their unwanted clothes to charity organisations like the Salvation Army, so others can buy them.
After all, there is a saying: “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.”
Hongkongers should think twice before buying new things.
Kristy Tai Lok-yin, King Ling College
From the editor
Thank you for your letter, Kristy. I could not agree with you more. A materialistic lifestyle is unacceptable. I come from Africa and we have a saying that “nothing is for mahala”, in other words, nothing is for free. Somewhere, someone pays.
Many of the goods that are available on the market today are unethical. The manufacturers may be using child or slave labour, or have unsafe working conditions or deadly environmental practices. So the children or poor people pay for someone in Hong Kong to be able to buy cheap clothing. Or the Earth pays for our love of sushi when the tuna are fished to the verge of extinction.
It seems that our lifestyle is geared towards consumption. And I have to admit I am just as guilty as the next person. But do we need everything we buy? No.
The root of the problem, from my point of view, is that people think that happiness is outside of themselves. So they go in search of it in all sorts of ways; shopping and getting stuff is just one of them. But that is not real happiness, so they continue to buy stuff in order to feel that brief happiness. We need to look within ourselves to find that elusive happiness.