Gong Hey Fat Choi! I wish everyone healthy and lucky in the year of Horse.
The North District especially Sheung Shui goes back to a quiet and peaceful place on the first day of Lunar New Year as smugglers and Chinese tourists are having vacation. As I am about to write a few words on the difference between the days with smugglers and the days without smugglers in North District by collecting the photos found on Facebook, VJ Media has released an article “Lunar New Year’s Eve vs Lunar New Year’s Day” with lots of photos. This saves my time. Let me translate it in English.
[Translation] Real Scenes of Sheung Shui: Lunar New Year’s Eve vs Lunar New Year’s Day
2014/02/01: Tsui Wing Leung
[San Hong Street, Sheung Shui]
During public holiday, San Hong Street will be restricted for pedestrians only. Thus, hawkers all came out to the street at the evening of Lunar New Year’s Eve (above 1). In the first day of Lunar New Year, there is no hawkers, no walkers, and even no road closure sign (above 2).
Translator’s note: Tak Ming Book Store Ltd. has been in Sheung Shui for over 30 years. This is the second branch. The first branch is on Tsun Fu Street.
Translator’s note: So Kee Grocery and Seasonings has been here since your grandparants’ or grand-grandparents’ day.
Old small shops take the chance to do more business on Lunar New Year’s Eve.
Even the most profitable drugstores have closed for Lunar New Year. Of course smuggler swarms are gone too.
[Tsun Fu Street, Sheung Shui]
I remember as a child someone would sell handwritten Fai Chun. There’s still a market for it!
(Translator’s note: they can’t do it in new district. Only old community can tolerate this artistic business)
In the first day of Lunar New Year, the street returns to calmness. One year has 365 days. Only today Sheung Shui can go back to what Sheung Shui is like in my childhood memory: no smugglers, no trolleys, no littering on the street, only tranquility.
[Outside Sheung Shui Market]
I agree that Hong Kong should give some room for hawkers to do business. In the past, Hong Kongers could be able to raise a family with a fish ball stall, which reflects the true Lion Rock Spirit. However, “a man must despise himself before others will.” If you mess up the area, will people support you?
When Lunar New Year approaches, the related government departments will turn a blind eye to illegal hawking so you can do business and have a fat New Year. But making a living is not the only core value. You have freedom. But please show your civic virtues. Sweeper ladies still work till 10 o’clock on New Year’s Eve. Their hourly wage without OT is $30 only. They sacrifice their family-gathering-dinner time to clean up your left-behind. Do you feel sorry about that?
Last night a sweeper lady said, after 10 pm there would be no more sweepers until 7 am. When I passed the market in the afternoon, it is very clean.
[Sheung Shui Train Station]
Streets full of smugglers can not been seen, especially the area from the train station exit to Choi Yuen Estate. In the past there was full of cigarette butts, cardboard boxes, straps, trolleys, and Mandarin. It is rare quiet for Sheung Shui residents today.
[Lung Sum Avenue, Sheung Shui]
After the Eve (above), everything turns back to serenity (below). In fact, Sheung Shui was originally a quiet little town.
In my childhood, I feel happy about Lunar New Year because I can collect Lai See. Now I feel happy about Lunar New Year, because I feel that Hong Kong is a real Hong Kong. Sheung Shui is the frontier of Hong Kong China Integration. “One falling leaf heralds the coming of autumn.” Who melts who at last? The answer is so obvious.
Source: VJ Media. 【上水實況】年三十晚 vs 大年初一 By 徐永亮. 2014
The translation of 一葉知秋 One falling leaf heralds the coming of autumn comes from this site. It covers Cantonese, and it has a better translation than many rubbish simplified Chinese sites which just copy each other and thus has polluted Google Translate.
More photos from Facebook:
[On the first day of Lunar New Year]
San Hong Street. Days without locusts.
From Patrick Wu
San Kung Street Wonder! A day without locust. From Patrick Wu
Drugstores are completely deserted. You can net sparrows at the door (means no customers). From Ken Lee
A city without locust, streets are clean and serene. From Ken Lee [Above: fallen; below: restored]
Restore the Filial Piety Memorial Gazebo! From Ken Lee
The second day of Lunar New Year
Cambridge Plaza temporarily restored. Above: 2014/01/08 Below: 2014/02/01 From Mr Lau Koon Tsuen
The Filial Piety Memorial Gazebo is temporarily restored. Local seniors finally have a chance to sit on the bench. From Mr Lau Koon Tsuen
Also see: The Filial Piety Memorial Gazebo in the past reported by House News.