Sustainable Future, Hong Kong Tales
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My Beloved Southern District

CHENG Che Chuen, aged 74, worked in a toy factory before his retirement.  He also worked as a security guard and has lived in Hoy Au Lau for over 40 years.

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Cheng Che Chuen was overwhelmed with joy the first day he arrived in Yue Kwong Chuen.  It was after he and his wife received the news that they were allocated a unit in Hoy Kong Lau.  Despite not yet receiving their key, they walked with their three kids from Tin Wan to Yue Kwong Chuen.  It was an opportunity to check out their new neighbourhood.  “Should we move into this place?” asked the parent, and Cheng could still remember the kids’ nodding and saying yes.

Cheng and his parents and siblings used to live together in the resettlement area in Tin Wan, where life was crowded.  Since moving out with his own family, Cheng could still help out his family members in Tin Wan.  After all, it was only a ten-minute walk from Tin Wan to Yue Kwong Chuen.  The only downside is that Yue Kwong Chuen was a bit far from work. He used to work in a toy factory in Tai Kok Tsui and it took at least two hours of travel per day.  After the factory moved to Wong Chuk Hang, it was much easier to go to work and there was more time for rest. 

After a few years in Hoy Kong Lau, the Cheng family moved to the more spacious Hoy Au Lau.  There was a terrace which faced Yue Kwong Road which was filled with greeneries.  “The trees blocked the sun and it was very breezy!”  The family could dry their laundry on the sun-lit terrace, as well as raise a number of potted plants such as shallot and pepper.

Cheng is fond of the neighbourhood love in Yue Kwong Chuen.  Before retirement, he had already worked as a volunteer for the Kai Fong Association, helping with simple maintenance work around the estate.  After retirement, he became a member of the Hoy Au Lau Mutual Aid Committee, and was elected chairman six years ago.  Nowadays, Cheng frequents the committee’s venue on the 4th floor of Hoy Kong Lau.  This is where the committee provides mostly free amenities such as classes on calligraphy, karaoke, and Baduanjin.  The teachers are also volunteers.  “We have an excellent neighbourhood.  Even if some neighbours quarrel, there’s always those who take charge to resolve the issue.  During festive times, we host parties with the Aberdeen Kaifong Welfare Association.  Hundreds of people participate and it’s always great fun,” said Cheung proudly.

Three of Yue Kwong Chuen’s buildings (i.e. Pak Sha Lau, Shun Fung Lau and Hoy Kong Lau) will be demolished and redeveloped in the coming years.  The new buildings may help accommodate those at Ching Hoy Lau and Hoy Au Lau to enable the second phase of redevelopment.  As Cheung explains, he is worried that the new buildings might lead to unaffordable rent.  If this were the case, he might have to apply to move to another area.  Yet, he is sure that he would miss Yue Kwong Chuen.  “I never wanted to move away, even in the old days when work was far away.  After retirement, living here has been even more rewarding.  I really want to stay here.  All along, I see the southern district as my true home.”

 

Chloe Lai
Chloe Lai
Issue: #041 - 1 February 2021
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