A spotlight In Broad Daylight

October 18, 2023 12:06
Image: https://www.cinema.com.hk

It was the glory day of investigative journalism after Spotlight, the name of the investigative team of Boston Globe that broke the Catholic church’s sex abuse scandal, took the trophy of Oscar Best Picture in 2015.

In that same year, Hong Kong had a breaking story. Thanks to director Lawrence Kan and his Hong Kong Asian Film Festival opening movie “In Broad Daylight” this month, we revisited the darkest side of our society and arguably one of the most important moments of local journalism.

To say In Broad Daylight, a nominee for five awards in the upcoming Golden Horse Award, is a documentary is no exaggeration. Based on true events, Kan’s movie recollected a dark, little-known truth about the residential care homes for the disabled and elderly in Hong Kong that hides beneath the usual headlines.

It’s hard not to associate the Rainbow Bridge Care Home in the movie with the Cambridge Nursing Home, a former Tai Po private elderly home operator that got suspended after local media HK01 first reported its malpractices, with a follow-up by Ming Pao Daily that sparked an uproar.

A dozen female residents of the nursing home were left naked on a balcony in full view of the neighbourhood before taking showers. It turned out to be only the tip of the iceberg of the poor living condition among the unwanted elderlies who were often scolded or even hit by the impatient caretakers.

The crux of the social issues lies in the government’s appeasement policy to these private operators for fear of upsetting the ecology because elderly homes and handicapped people are always low on the agenda in social resource allocation.

As the movie repeatedly highlighted, growing old in Hong Kong is a burden. Not just to society, but also to family. That might explain why increasingly more Hong Kong elderly would opt to go to the Greater Bay Area for retirement to take advantage of lower cost of living there.

So, do these issues still exist? All participants in yesterday’s after movie talk believed so. I also noticed some members of the investigative team working on the breaking stories eight years ago are no longer in the industry. In fact, one of the media that broke the story is now struggling for financial survival.

But that doesn’t hurt the notion that In Broad Daylight is a local version, and may even be inspired by, of the Spotlight.

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EJ Insight writer