Sustainable Future, Hong Kong Tales
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Issue: #029 - 24 January 2017
The Diarist's Note

 

In the January 2017 edition of Urban Diary, we present to you the story of Chiu Kee and its second-generation owner Mackey Li.  With a non-descriptive shop front, the angle iron workshop in Tung Street, Sheun Wan has a remarkable story.  This is where an unsung icon of our city was born. As time goes by, Chiu Kee’s product is seen all over our cityscape.  It has become so common that it is forgotten.  We forgot to ask where the product came from, who made them, and why they are used throughout the city.

The product is our local iron trolley.  Mackey told us that the first iron trolley was made by his late father, Li Yuen Chiu.  Inspired by a wood trolley, Chiu Kee made the first iron trolley.  The son keeps improving the design.  He also insists on tailor-making trolley for his clients, with his own hands in the workshop.  His obsession of craftsmanship comes from a humble wish of not losing his father’s face.  After devoting more than three decades running Chiu Kee, Mackey decided it is time to try something new.  Chiu Kee closes its door for the last time a few days before the Year of Rooster.

Urban Diary and our partner One Bite jointly documented the story of Chiu Kee and Mackey.  In fact, we met Chiu Kee on One Bite’s recommendation.

Although Chiu Kee is no longer around, its iron trolley is an integral part of the urban landscape of Hong Kong.  It is ubiquitous in Hong Kong.  The hand trolley is Hong Kong’s proud product.