Each of the hundreds, perhaps thousands, of people you pass on Hong Kong’s street every day are fighting their own personal battles.
Lu Zheng’s fight was a particularly tough one.
Sadly, it ended yesterday morning when the 41-year-old, who had been working two restaurant jobs to support his family, died of heart complications inside a 24-hour internet cafe in Sham Shui Po, according to Ming Pao.
His wife and 1-year-old child in Shenzhen, the internet cafe was a second home for Lu, who’s story of struggling to make ends meet has struck a chord with Hong Kong’s netizens.
For more than three years, he’d slept rough there in order to stay close to his two jobs.
From 10am to 8pm, for HK$50 (US$6) an hour, he would make deliveries for a nearby restaurant on Fuk Wa Street.
The eatery’s boss, surnamed Yeung, described the delivery worker as an optimistic, talkative, hard-working and family-orientated man.
Having known Lu for a decade since their first meeting in the working class neighborhood, he said he was sad to be losing both an “employee and a friend.”
After his 10-hour shifts for Yeung, Lu would clock in at another restaurant in Yau Ma Tei and make deliveries into the night.
Altogether, according to Ming Pao, Lu scraped together HK$20,000 (US$2,550) a month to send home to his wife, who was from the mainland.
To maximize the amount, he started staying at the internet cafe, which charged HK$42 (US$5) a night for entry. An HK$1,300 (US$166) monthly price tag for sleeping rough.
Often, a colleague from the restaurant would be sent to rouse Lu for his morning shift.
On Monday, Lu reportedly started complaining of chest pains and decided to take a day off and headed to the internet cafe to rest.
On Tuesday, a colleague tried to wake him up, as usual. When he didn’t respond, staff called emergency services, which declared him dead at the scene.
His wife, according to Apple Daily, will travel to Hong Kong to handle her husband’s affairs.
In comments on the story, many Hongkongers expressed sadness at Lu’s fate.
“It’s hard for normal HKers to make a living,” remarked one. “Why don’t some people understand they need rest,” commented another.
One even wrote a poem which, roughly translated, speaks of a dad leaving behind his family, whom he as worked hard to support.
It finishes on a critical note, calling out the Hong Kong government for letting people fall through the cracks.