Living in boxes

Speaking for myself, I found the pictures of the Hong Kong subway unbearable already. As someone who just doesn’t feel comfortable when there’s not enough space and who’s even claustrophobic, a subway ride in Hong Kong during rush hour would probably mean hell on earth. The pictures I’ve recently seen in the National Geographic Magazine increase that feeling even more.

Sure, many of us know that there are countries and cities where living space is hardly affordable for many people. We know that in many of the megacities in this world countless people often live on little space and we’ve already heard about mini-condos which are also called “coffin cubicles”. Many people live in these flats, especially in huge Asian cities. But before I saw pictures of such “apartments”, I wasn’t really able to imagine how dramatic the living situation for the inhabitants of such coffin cubicles actually is.

Very often these “apartments” only consist of a sleeping place. On the walls the inhabitants stuff the few belongings they have. Mostly there aren’t even windows. I don’t want to imagine the air quality in these rooms. In the most “luxurious” versions a toilet is directly next to the kitchen which functions as an eating space as every inch of space is used. Narrowing in my opinion doesn’t even describe these living spaces and I really feel saddened that so many people are forced to spend their lives between poorly paid jobs and these cabins.

That’s exactly how Benny Lam, a photographer, felt like when he focused on this issue in his photo series “Trapped”. He told National Geographic that after a shooting day he even burst out in tears because the real life of these inhabitants touched him in an extreme way.

How do you feel when looking at his pictures? Can you imagine spending even a weekend there?






Photos: Benny Lam

  1. I can’t bring myself to click the ‘Like’ button on this, though I do appreciate your having posted it as I hadn’t known about it before. It’s truly terrible. If I had to live in one of those I’m afraid I’d find the nearest tall building and jump off. 😦


    1. I totally agree. It is unbelievable under what conditions people have to live in these cities. I feel so sorry for them and I hope things will change for the better soon. Living space SHOULDN’T a luxury like that.


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