Hunger Banquet

How Hard Is It to Become Rich: When You Are Poor?

March 31, 2017 / by / 0 Comment

(Photos credit to Change Makers Network)

On 21 Feb 2017, a bunch of students had a dinner together in Global Lounge. Some of them sat on the ground directly, some of them sat on stools. Some of them looked hungry and tired, some of them looked elegant and enjoying. How come the difference between people was that large when they were all participating in the same events?

Let’s take a look at what happened together.

The reality is this: The “Rich” people were seated on the stools and the “poor” guys were on the cold hard ground. They were playing a simulation game called “Hunger Banquet”. It conveys the concept that the gap between rich and poor are larger than imagined. The condition cannot be easily changed only by “working hard”, especially for poor people themselves. “Work harder to earn more money” is most often a mere slogan and a belief. Even is just an illusion created by the rich in order to exploit more from the poor.


Then how is the game conducted?

The poor people are selected by playing Rock Paper Scissors, which tried to represent the random opportunity for a person to be born in a lower economic class. Only 5 out of 40 participants were selected to be rich.

And every 3 poor people form a family.

Poor people’s job is to produce Chinese lanterns with newspaper, and the selling price for one lantern is $1. However, for rich people, their job is to decorate lanterns (bought from poor) and the selling price is $5.




Except for doing their everyday labour work, there was a part call “faith” in each turn. Different faith will be given to every family. Some were lucky, some were really unfortunate.


For the poor people, life was really tough. They had to bear with the unlucky fate and the pressure given from the landlord from whom they rent their house. However hard and fast they work, it is never comparable between the poor and rich.

One poor guy commented:

“Huge income gap between the rich and poor. Although the poor has always been putting in efforts in hard labour, the price of products sold is significantly cheaper than what the rich sell after their modification on the product.

Plan: marry a rich person.

Also, during the process, there are thoughts about stealing and going on strike. Crime is thus generated due to the poor living condition.”


One rich guy commented:

“As a rich person, I think my wealth is accumulated much easier than poor. And there will be more opportunities for me to meet good luck in my life. Even if there is bad luck I can get through easily. If I were to play the role of poor, I would probably want to gain wealth through my hard work at the beginning. But after I saw the inequality in the society and met bad luck over time, I would be too depressed to give up. The gap between the poor and rich is enlarging, there will be more resistance for the poor to become rich through hard work.”

After the game is done, both sides can exchange food with their “money” earned by their hard work.

I myself as a poor person in the game really experienced the hunger and desperate from that night!


At last, evaluation is conducted for every participant to share their thoughts and reflection on the pressing problem in the society.

Sharing from Oxfam are given as conclusion. That was really a significant night for me to think deeply about these issues, as most of us are living in rather well-off families that we are rarely aware of these problems around us in our life.

Sandy from Oxfam evaluated:

“We live in a comparably well-off environment so that we might think poverty is far away from us. However, the reality is not. If you open your mind and look carefully, you will discover that poverty is right around you. Then how can we help them effectively? To answer this question, we need to really understand their real circumstances. What are the causes? Is it just because of a lack of education resources or social inequality. We should also understand, it is not just the government and the NGOs that can help them, everyone can. At last, I want to share with you all:  think locally, act locally and think globally, act globally!”


The meaningful activity is held by a student association called “Change Makers Network”. It was found by mainland students and is aimed at providing public welfare activities information and a platform that gather friends from over the world who have public-spirit.



Someone who used to be a child and wants to be a child forever. Keeping my mind light brings me heavy progress. I am a mainland girl who now studies Economics and Finance at HKU.