Fishing in Deserted Waters

Text and photos by Solaire Hauser

HONG KONG – Wading through the dark brown muddy ground, Ho Jeon Pak is looking for shrimp. The villager, who is currently in his seventies, collects the small sea creatures, as well as tiny fish, simply for fun and to eat them.

“There is nothing else to do here,” says his wife.

She and Ho have been living in the Tai O fishing village on Lantau Island in Hong Kong for many years. Before his retirement about 16 years ago, Ho used to work as a fisherman, just like many other men in the small village. But now, there is hardly anything left to catch.

“I quit fishing when I was about 40,” he says. “No fish for us anymore.”

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A Man of Memories

By Yan Chiu, Solaire Hauser, Evita Li, Momo Mao

HONG KONG – Light bulbs, cables and fans hang from the ceiling of a small store on the side of the street. A man sits in an old chair next to the tiny door, his wrinkled hands buried in a box of shiny silver tools.

Choi Chueng Yun, 77, has been sitting in this chair almost every day from early morning until afternoon since his retirement.

The products he sells in his store in Wan Chai are former possessions of people he has helped to move out of their apartments. Ties, housewares, memorabilia and old books tell a story about their former owners. Customers rummaging through Choi’s bookshelf might sometimes even find a dinner invitation from the 1980s between the dusty pages of a Harvard Law book.

What the products in the shop don’t tell, however, is Choi’s own story.

Born in Guangdong in China, Choi came to Hong Kong when he was only 13 years old. Those times still hold bittersweet memories for him.

“Those days were not easy, but we felt happy,” says his wife.

Working used to be an obligation for Choi. Now he does it for fun.

“I could have retired. But I’ve become attached to the old stuff, so I can’t just leave.”

Interview by: Yan Chiu, Momo Mao
Camera operators: Solaire Hauser, Evita Li
Editing by: Yan Chiu, Solaire Hauser, Evita Li, Momo Mao
Narration: Solaire Hauser
Special thanks to the Choi family.