Lives in: Tsim Sha Tsui
Sham Shui Po connection: Born and grew up in Sham Shui Po
“My Sham Shui Po story began on Yu Chau Street. My family was living on that street at the time of my birth. Later we moved to Lai Chi Kok Road and then to Prince Edward Road. Like many in Hong Kong, we later emigrated to Canada. I moved back to Hong Kong in 1994, and I was back living in Sham Shui Po – Apliu Street to be precise.
My family ran a shop selling sewing machines. The shop was on Cheung Sha Wan Road. In those days, China shunned the world. Hong Kong had a vibrant textile and garment industry, and Sham Shui Po was a hub of garment factories. The wholesale sector thrived on demand from overseas markets. But everything changed after China started economic reforms. Factories began moving to Shenzhen from the 1980s onwards and because of this change in the regional economy, our shop moved to Apliu Street. We collected sewing machines from failed factories and exported them to the mainland and other Southeast Asian countries, such as Vietnam.
Sham Shui Po has changed a lot. Dragon Centre used to be a military camp for the British Garrison while there were only a handful of shops selling electronic parts and chemical products on Apliu Street. I witnessed how it changed from a quiet street into a lively hub where discarded parts and machines from failed factories were resold. Meanwhile, Golden Shopping Arcade transformed from a fashion market into the computer emporium that we all know today.
In the old days, comic books were the only entertainment available to kids. Although we had a TV at home my mum would lock it up, because she didn’t want me to get addicted to it. The barber shop I went to had a large wooden case of comic books. It was a one-chair salon at the bottom of a staircase. So whenever I wanted to read comic books, I’d tell my mum it’s time we paid the barber a visit.”