Cost of Living, Services
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0.3-carat air conditioners

Our living room air conditioner conked out on us, and I started to look for a shop to do the repair and to have the others cleaned as well. The shop manager shocked me with HKD250 for repair and HKD650 for cleaning. So I asked why the repair is cheaper than the cleaning. Apparently, the HKD250 is just for checking what needs to be repaired. Now, we need to shell out HKD2,600 for cleaning and God knows how much for the repair. That’s already the cost of a new air conditioner and even more expensive than our 2-month power bill! Indeed, we are in the 8th most expensive city in the world (a position that Hong Kong shares with Zurich, Switzerland; www.mercer.com).

According to the Census and Statistics Department, most households (54.6%) in Hong Kong had a household monthly income of less than HKD20,000 in 2009. Given that, a lot of things must come as a luxury for the locals, including having the air conditioner cleaned. I wonder how they cope with these prices.

A friend in high school told me that if you don’t have your air conditioner cleaned for so long, it will accumulate so much carbon, which eventually will turn into diamonds. If there is anyway we can accelerate that process, most people here would be billionaires!

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