Hong Kong-style micro-credit system
Pawn shops like Wah On have been around for centuries. They remain popular among the older generation to get cash in exchange for gold jewellery or other valuables. The shop has long opening hours, and there's no need to show proof of income.
You can spot an original pawnshop by its 'batman sign'! The bright red-and-gold sign of an inverted bat holding a coin has been used by pawn shops all over Hong Kong and China for centuries. The bat symbolises fortune and prosperity. The Cantonese word for upside down, dou (倒), is the same for 'arrive' (到). So, because the bat is upside down, good fortune has arrived!
The high wooden screen behind the entrance protects the customer's privacy and, according to feng shui principles, prevents money from flowing out of the building. There is usually a high counter behind this screen, so the customer has to reach up to do business, which gives the pawnbroker a psychological advantage in the bargaining!