Care and Respect

Photography

Just before the Chinese New Year, I was able to have exclusive look of a volunteer haircut service. I was invited by the initiator of a volunteer haircut team – Martin Lam. He was featured on The Loop HK and i was honored to meet this gentleman again few months after the interview. His appearance clearly tells part of his story and maybe just a visual aid to his profession, his action is what forges him.

I met up with Martin and his team at 8:30am. Shortly after a quick morning bite, we headed to a community center for elderly in Chuk Yuen, Kowloon. It’s an public estate that has been around for a very long time. It’s no surprise to see the aged population here.

Checking on length
Haircut action
Waiting Area
Waiting

Everyone gets their hair cut just before the Chinese New Year. To the elders, it might not be an easy task for them. The purpose of this volunteer haircuts was clear. So the elders could celebrate the Year of the Monkey and re-uniting with families and friends. I later learned that I was the first photographer to document their volunteer work.

Haircut
Goodbye
After haircut

The entire service had undergone for 90 minutes with no overrun. With 16 hairdressers, they had to complete 118 haircuts. It sounded like a Guinness achievement to me. Not only that was the first time i see the leader Martin with a pair of scissors, i was even more surprised that he’s doing the human resources and administrative work for the team. That had finally shown me the keen side of his volunteer work.

Genuine Smile
Help with the chair
HaircutCombing

All of the hairdressers are Martin’s trainees. So not only he’s a full-time hairstylist, organize volunteer haircuts, but also teaches haircutting.

‘It feels good when we’re able to help people. We’re giving back to the society with our hands. It’s a contribution.’ – I think just like what Martin had told me before: Our little self, can make a difference already when we’re taking action.

While I was photographing at the facility, I was also questioning myself if I was doing any good for the elders too. I was not directly helping, except a few ‘watch out, slowly, careful, you look great, goodbye’ I called out.

After Haircut
Haircut
Trimming action
Big Smile
Happy Smile

They’d shown us the utmost satisfaction and happiness like nothing I’ve experience in this world. A smile on their face meant so much. I just couldn’t help but to brush the hair off their coats, and give them New Year blessings as well. I believe that’s the essential part of our life. To help each other out.

There was one elder that was born in 1917 and still in very good spirit. She must have seen how this world has changed. I cannot imagine if there would be anyone care about me when i’m her age.

Care about the person, respect their lives,. I concur that money does very little or no good when it’s their age without the proper care and respect.

Haircut
Volunteers
Sweep

The Reincarnated Lai Yuen

Photography

The re-opening of this “pseudo” Lai Yuen Amusement Park had re-lit many’s childhood memories. The news came on very late not until the month before the opening. The site where it locates had held so many events from wine festival to an insurance sponsored paid-entry carnival, from the not-so Basel fine art exhibition to a horse circus. All these usually comes with an admission fee, but this temporary Lai Yuen Amusement Park was allowed free admission. It’s the least they could do to bring people in.

I photo-documented this park carnival with a plastic analogue camera fitting the toyish and yet surreal theme. 

What’s Lai Yuen?
To most people especially the younger generation like me had not lived or old enough to remember that period while it was still in business at Lai Chi Kok. It was a 100% local HongKongese operated amusement park with a zoo since the 50s. It was closed in 1997 due to lack of profit and poor park maintenance. It was a popular hangout spot for couples and families.

I think the idea of Lai Yuen had not re-surfaced until the opening was partially due to a far cry from the capitalized Hong Kong society. There were so many Hong Kong Back-in-the-Days exhibitions over the years. Even our Hong Kong only Ocean Park had added a mini ‘Old Hong Kong’ section to display a glimpse of the old days. All these really had brought back many people’s memories. Some even most we haven’t seen. Who would have thought before all the reclaimed land from Kennedy Town, all the way to Quarry Bay/TaiKoo could all look like a Europe. Buildings’ architecture were so beautiful. So could even be seen similarly in the also British colonized India. Hong Kong all just seem so beautiful all of a sudden. The Hong Kong it was, is not the current Hong Kong. It all making it seemed like the Old or our physical heritage had been gone forever. I hate to say it but money has to go first in the city.

The Elephant named Tino used to be in Lai Chi Kok was replaced with a fake motorized robot one. It had turned into a game where it shoots water from its nose when participants successfully thrown a fake banana into his opened mouth. I admit that I was skeptical when I read it on the news but turned out it was fun to watch people throwing the banana to anywhere but the mouth. I guess they could’ve added one more penalty for the participants, either a really loud howl or a sneeze from it.

There used to be live tigers and more with their in-house wild animal tamers. I thought tamers in Hong Kong are only for the house pets, cats and dogs. Well, the tamers trained the animals in the old-fashioned barbaric way. If we modern people re-wind it back, the SPCA sirens would be in code red.

Other than the irreplaceable live animals, the park had offered a few Lai Yuen classic rides and games such as the Happy Ding Ding Boats, Merry-Go-Round, Spooky School and the Gum Tiles.