It's harder than it sounds. Just a month into his vow, the 37-year-old teacher says "it hasn't been easy," and he realizes that most other people "wouldn't be able to do some of the things [he] is doing."
Pong is nevertheless sticking to his word. By changing his consumption habits, he hopes to bring awareness to anti-competition practices he says have been taken up by the conglomerates to the detriment of Hong Kong society.
Pong's boycott was inspired by Alice Poon's book, "Land and the Ruling Class in Hong Kong." The book exposes the handful of wealthy individuals and companies that stifle competition in a city percieved to have one of the freest economies in the world.
After following Pong through one of his typical days, we were surprised by how deeply major companies penetrate into our lives.
Pong gave us the following tips for consuming with a positive social impact. For more details on his daily adventures, follow Pong's blog.
1. Make shopping more social
Pong believes that “Hong Kong youth have been taught to believe that wet markets are unsanitary and that the best place to do their grocery shopping is at the two major supermarkets: Wellcome and Park 'N' Shop."
Instead, Pong suggests removing ourselves from our comfort zone of sanitized supermarkets and diving into the wet market experience.
Not only are the prices better and produce fresher, Pong enjoys the social aspect of visiting stalls and exchanging banter with the vendors. He gets great cooking tips, too.
2. Health for you and for the community
Hong Kongers instinctively head to Watson’s and Manning’s for personal health and beauty products. Pong says these large corporations with ties to real estate conglomerates practice predatory purchasing, effectively killing off small family-owned pharmacies.
“I wanted to buy some muscle relaxing patches for my grandmother and I went to my local pharmacy," Pong says. "They told me they don’t carry it, because the supplier was forbidden to sell to other retail outlets, they could only sell to Mannings.”
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