Originally publised: April '19.
Article is from pre-covid times and edited for pertinence today. Edited and republished: Nov' 21
Thanksgiving is an occasion to show our appreciation to those who make a positive difference in our lives. So what better occasion to thank all all the "Heros" of our different neighborhoods, who work so hard to make our Hood a better place to live in. They work doubly hard in this time of turmoil or Covid era cleaning and wiping all kinds of graphitti from our public spaces or taking real risk to their health to keep ours low. Just so that our Hong Kong remains the clean and well maintained city we are so proud to call home!
During the present times, many among had the luxury of working from home or at least had the option to work from outside the office. These cleanliness warrior, however, just armed themselves with a face mask and bottle of sanitizers. For them it was business as usual in a much more riskier environment. But they got about with their work, no complaints.
We start outside the Sheung Wan MTR station. There were people handing out free newspapers most mornings, some ready with free ready smiles and a morning greeting added in. Not only are they handing out newspapers, they are good acquaintances for the neighbours in the district and always ready for a quick chat (Speaking Canto helps ofcourse!).
We continued to walk on queens roads west towards the Sun Yat sen park continuing towards Mid levels (caine road area) finally to K town. Here are some of our Heros we met along the way...
This is Leung. 78 years!! Works as a cleaner at the Sun Yat Sen park since 9 years. Cleans the park path and the Toilets. Been working in the park since 9 years. He goes to work at 6 am without fail to push the garbage cart around the entire circumference of the park to pick up the garbage left by park users the previous day.
Nina, works at the Belchers Bay Park in K town. She surprised us by speaking in good English. When we asked what age she was said with a naughty twinkle in her eye "guess" which left us all laughing. She has been working there for over 3 years and loves her job of keeping the park clean and tidy for the visitors.
Street Cleaners Pavitra, is a 52 year old works around queens road central and Wang Sim-Nui, 70 - working in the Tuen Mun district (photo credit: Nora Tam). Both ladies are married. Their day starts at 4am every day and works for over 8 hours cleaning the roads, collecting rubbish, washing public toilets, and keep the city streets clean. The ladies refused to have her portrait profile taken.
While many of us in Hong Kong may have busy work and/or family life, we all would like to be appreciated for our contributions. Likewise for their soldiers of cleaniness!!
So lets start this "appreciation" trend by acknowledging other workers or colleagues around us who make an effort in their work, not just on Labour Day but every day.
On a final note, some of our Heros did not not speak English but some did. So, expat or local, you should never shy from smiling, saying hello or striking a conversation because you could be very pleasently surprised... We sure were!!