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 a 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. 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?
Xyza Cruz Bacani (b.1987) is a Filipina documentary photographer based in Hong Kong who uses her work to raise awareness about under-reported stories. Having worked as a second-generation domestic worker in Hong Kong for almost a decade, she is particularly interested in the intersection of migrant domestic workers and human rights. She is a Magnum Foundation Photography and Social Justice Fellow in 2015, has exhibited worldwide, and won awards in photography. She is also the recipient of a resolution (HR No.1969) that was passed by the Philippines House of Representatives in her honour. Xyza is one of Asia Society’s Asia 21 Young Leaders in 2018, the WMA Commission recipient (2016/17), a Pulitzer Center grantee, and an Open Society Moving Walls grantee in 2017. She is one of the BBC’s 100 Women of the World 2015, 30 Under 30 Women Photographers 2016, Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia 2016, and a FUJIFILM Ambassador.