Dressed smart, all set to go in sneakers, capris, black jacket and a disarming smile, the New York born Andrea Richey has a determined, focused and friendly demeanour.
We sit down to chat in a small neighbourhood deli in Sai Ying Pun, the neighbourhood she has been living in for almost 30 years and counting. She starts by speaking about her passions and interests. Her eyes fire up as she explains that 50% of the 100 million sharks are killed every year for their fins, land in our neighbourhood, the SYP or Sheung wan dried fish market or sea food restaurants. She volunteers for the Hong Kong Shark Foundation. Andrea is also a vegan and a concerned neighbour, actively participating in raising awareness on issues concerning the hood.
Andrea remembers the time, about a decade ago, when Centre Street escalators all the way down the street, had small metal kiosks run mostly by old people selling pots and pans and other things and the Dai Pai Dongs, small local shops vending noodles and eatables were all along High street and Bonham road, formed an important part of the commercial ecosystem of the community. Today, expensive shops and FnB outlets have taken place instead for most part, thanks in part to the Centre street escalators.
Her favorite success as a concerned neighbour? There was a plan to prolong the Centre Street escalators from Lyttleton road to Kotewal road. A survey was undertaken by the public authorities to which responses came in only from a small fraction of the constituency residents and its result was favourable to the prolongation. Despite this, Andrea Richey and some other neighbours were successful in making the district council see that the residents actually liked the walk up and the green path. The plan was put on hold.
For Andrea, SYP neighbourhood needs to develop waste segregation and recycling initiatives which are lacking. She believes we need a better recycling program within our community and has been in talks with Steven Chan, district council who successfully run the clothing drive, where pre-loved clothes are collected from the SYP community and given to the poor.
Andrea Richey, loves the fact that Locahood is trying to give a sense of community to neighbourhoods in Hong Kong. She believes that neighbours should come together more often so that we can have more harmonious and supportive neighbourhood communities. She would like LocalHoood to give more information about the happenings of the neighbourhood and contribute even more to bringing the neighbourhood community together.
We ended our discussion with a short walk through the dry fish market. Such an apt and great way to end a great conversation….