Mrs. Wong about the Sai Wan neighbourhood spirit 鄰里氣息-黎瑞英

Sai Wan Neighbourhood

Mrs. Wong about the Sai Wan neighbourhood spirit 鄰里氣息-黎瑞英

Sai Wan Stories; memories of HK’s oldest public housing estate
In Kennedy Town you find Hong Kong oldest surviving public estate. 640 units in five blocks built in a rocky hillside, Sai Wan Estate is a living memory of the city’s first big housing crisis. Thousands of people moved here ‘temporarily’ in 1958 fleeing war and unrest, but many never left. Sai Wan Estate is a micro-cosmos of post-war Hong Kong, a place of survivors where the community spirit thrives. We met with some long-time residents at the Sai Wan Neighbourhood. We learned about their hopes, dreams and memories.  Hear their stories, learn what they love.

西環邨
這個故事是《西灣邨故事系列》的一部分,故事由明愛莫張瑞勤社區中心及iDiscover撰寫,並曾在區內餐廳Little Creatures展覽。希望這個系列可以讓更多新街坊了解昔日的生活點滴,發現西環的美好。

Chinese New Year was the time when the neighbourhood love truly shined. Early in the morning families would come to each other’s house with bags of oranges, red packets and cheerful shouts of ‘Gung Hei Fat Choy’.

 

「尤其係過年嗰種氣氛呢,就真係好CLOSE,咁又點呢,就每一家都,你拎包橙嚟,我又拎包橙嚟,一早就敲門,『恭喜發財!』,咁跟住你又回返兩個橙、俾封利是佢,一陣去第度又係咁樣,一路成條行都係咁喇,老老友友都係一早去拜年。」

 

My unforgettable job  

I grew up in the war years, there could be a bomb explosion right at your door while having dinner. Our generation never knew, you could lose your life anytime. Hardship made us grab every opportunity, we’d find a job and study at the same time. I’ve had many different jobs in my life, one of the more memorable ones was switchboard operator at a big hotel. You had to be really quick on your feet. We literally had to connect the two phone lines. When a guest wanted to make a call, they picked up the receiver and told us the number. We would then connect the phone line to the system and connect to the person on the other side. After the call, we had to unplug the lines before we could place another call.

生於戰爭的一代,小時候吃飯時曾目睹炸彈在門外爆炸。「我們這一代,真係分分鐘下刻都會無命。」小時候,即使多艱苦,都會刻苦學習,又半工半讀,所以黃太也曾擔任不同的工作中,最難忘是擔任接線生的工作,「我做過不同工作,又做過大酒店的接線生,速度要非常快的。」那時的接線生真的要接駁電話線的,「當時打電話要提起聽筒,拍打掛起聽筒的鍵,以通知接線生,所以真的是在『打』電話。然後向接線生講出想打的電話號碼,接線生便要把電話線插入接線台,對方電話隨即響起,待對方接聽,雙方開始通話。雙方通話完畢,接線生就會把雙方的線從接線台收回,所以稱之為『收線』。」

Sai Wan Neighbourhood

Neighbourhood love

I remember the old days of Sai Wan Neighbourhood in the Estate. Once there was a big landslide, my neighbourhoods let me in and stay for the night. There is a saying in Chinese, ‘Neighbours close by are better than families far away.’ We always take care of each other, especially when someone is sick. Our children do care about us, but they have their own life, they can’t just drop everything and help when I am sick; neighbours are different, they come by and knock on the door ‘How are you today? Do you need anything? You want me to come along to the doctor?”

Back in those days, if someone was sick, we brought them congee or noodles. Our children played at the neighbours’ all the time. If someone was sick, we would pick their kid up from school. That’s just how it was. We’d look after each other’s kids. We helped each other out.

Chinese New Year was the time when the neighbourhood love truly shined. Early in the morning families would come to each other’s house with bags of oranges, red packets and cheerful shouts of ‘Gung Hei Fat Choy’. In Chinese tradition, when you receive a gift, you give back a gift. After a few years, we found this gift exchange getting too cumbersome. We’d just be carrying heavy fruits around. From then we decided to just give red packets and spare the fruits.

鄰里相照應

說到西環邨,她就說,「以前塌山泥,鄰舍會開門俾你瞓。遠親不如近鄰,隔離鄰舍可以互相照應,身體不好,有咩事幹,都可以互相照應。親戚呢,仔女呢,唔係話唔關心你,佢地有工作,有自己的負擔,無可能話因為阿媽病就請到假陪你;佢哋自己有自己住的地方,佢地自己亦都有仔女要照顧,最多就只能電話去問候你。隔離左右唔係喇,你敲吓度門,『點呀,你今日無咩事嘛?需唔需要呀?有無睇醫生呀?我都可以陪吓你囉。』」

「以前我哋嗰時,你病咗煲啲粥去你度、炒啲粉去你度食,啲細路你又去我度玩,我又去你度玩;有個老人家隻腳唔行得呢,佢個孫病咗,就問『可唔可以帶佢去睇吓醫生呀?』,又或者個老人家今日唔係好舒服喎,就問『可唔可以幫我湊個孫放學呀?』咁就OK囉。我就話,嗱,我同你湊都得,你幫我睇住我啲細路一陣,咁就佢幫我,我幫佢咁。」

「尤其係過年嗰種氣氛呢,就真係好CLOSE,咁又點呢,就每一家都,你拎包橙嚟,我又拎包橙嚟,一早就敲門,『恭喜發財!』,咁跟住你又回返兩個橙、俾封利是佢,一陣去第度又係咁樣,一路成條行都係咁喇,老老友友都係一早去拜年。後尾我哋呢,過咗幾年,年初一、初二嗰幾日啦,你嚟我嚟,就有咁多個就封咁多利是,後尾呢,過咗幾年,我哋幾個覺得(送禮)來來去去好煩呀,一袋生果,又要拎起回禮嗰幾個,加多封利是,咁又去第度,又拎起幾個生果,又加封利是,你成日落街買生果都好煩。不如咁喇,我哋啲老友記傾過,索性派利是唔攞生果,以後就淨係俾利是,生果就大家都免喇,大家都夾好哂。」

Sai Wan Neighbourhood

Sai Wan Estate’s future

There was once a district councillor who suggested demolishing the Estate in the Sai Wan Neighbourhood, everyone started to think about applying for the Housing Authority’s interest-free loan and move. But I still hope that the next generation can stay here with us.

「曾經有議員話西環邨要拆,咁個個都話不如早啲搵地方搬啦,又有房署免息貸款可以分期還。不過,我希望我哋住完呢,下一代都可以繼續,以前就唔得,但最近有個通告就話可以長者喺度住,啲後生可以返來陪佢、照顧佢。」

These stories were curated by Caritas Mok Cheung Sui Kun Community Centre and iDiscover, and exhibited at Little Creatures, a restaurant in the neighbourhood.

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