Sun, Oct 06, 2013 - Page 14 News List

Hong Kong’s handcarts keep the territory on a roll

By Joe Sinclair  /  AFP, HONG KONG

Sparks flew as Mackey Li, 46, welded the axle of a broken trolley in his workshop.

Li says his business — inherited from his father and running for 60 years — is the last on Hong Kong island where handcarts are built from scratch.

However, his son and daughter are both at university and will not be following in their father’s footsteps — meaning that when he retires in a few years most handcarts will come from the mainland.

“Most of the trolleys are made in mainland China nowadays — but they don’t last very long, he said.

“They can beat you by selling the handcarts at a very cheap price,” he said.

He added that without trolleys the territory would be clogged with even more traffic.

Hong Kong is already choked with pollution — much of it from roadside emissions — that kills more than 3,000 residents a year, according to a study by Hong Kong University.

However, Li shrugged off suggestions the handcart could symbolize the territory’s wealth gap, one of the world’s greatest.

“It’s just a tool,” he said. “And even rich people need to carry things.”

Nearby, a 90-year-old woman scavenger with a bent spine collected two garbage liners of cardboard from a coffee shop, where a cappuccino cost more than her daily earnings.

However, she said that pushing the cart was also a chance to do some exercise and fill her time.

“What would I do if I didn’t go out?” she asked, looking up through eyes clouded gray with cataracts.

“Do you just want me to stay at home and wait to die?” she said.

This story has been viewed 1695 times.
TOP top