The Shek Kip Mei Myth: Squatters, Fires and Colonial Rule in Hong Kong, 1950-1963. Alan Smart raises serious questions about the standard view that Hong Kong's mass public housing programme was a direct and humane response by the Government to the Shek Kip Mei fire. Rather he argues that the Government's response to that fire was grudging and incremental rather than a sharp and radical turning point, and that the security and stability of Hong Kong weighed as heavily, possibly more so, in the decisions than the predicament of the fire victims. His research shows that a whole sequence of major fires after Shek Kip Mei, and the political costs of the Mainland sending comfort missions to fire victims both before and after were needed to bring about the final commitment to provide mass public housing. In his critical examination of the conventional position, Professor Smart bases his case on a thorough reading of government records and provides a careful investigation into the origins of the public housing policy in Hong Kong.
The Shek Kip Mei Myth
PublisherHong Kong University Press