“I started working as a receptionist at the Fenwick Pier 42 years ago, since the seventies. The big ships from the US would sail in carrying thousands of sailors and they would all congregate here. During the busiest periods, we would have 7,000 sailors in the building! My job was to help them with hotel bookings, information, recommendations, directions - anything to make their stay a bit more comfortable. Those days were always so hectic, I had no time to rest or sit down. And I had to answer the same questions over and over again - ‘Where can I change money?’ or ‘How can I get a SIM card?’. These big guys, the sailors, would have been on board for months and were always so hungry for some good food and a drink. They also just wanted to let loose, go crazy and have some fun. So sometimes I would take the boys out for local dim sum. We ordered Char Siu Bao, Siu Mai, Har Gau - in big American portions. They asked for beers instead of tea, and they would get ketchup to go with their dim sum!”
「我42年前嚟分域碼頭呢度做接待員， 即係70年代嗰陣。以前啲大船會喺美國度駛過嚟，帶住幾千個水手，佢哋就會聚集晒喺呢度。最高𡶶嗰陣，我哋會有7,000個船員喺呢度！我嘅工作係要幫佢哋訂酒店、解答佢哋嘅問題、推介啲地方俾佢哋同埋俾佢哋問路，總之令佢哋喺度嘅時間過得舒服啲。嗰陣時好忙㗎，冇時間唞或者坐低。我要重重複複咁答啲問題，『邊度有得唱錢呀？』『邊度有得買電話卡呀？』呢啲大隻佬，啲船員，嗰時已經喺船上面過咗幾個月，個個都想食返啲好嘢同埋飲杯好嘢。佢哋淨係想放鬆吓，癲下, 玩吓咁。所以有時我會帶佢哋出去食點心。我哋會嗌叉燒包呀、燒賣、蝦餃咁，當然係美國人嘅份量啦。佢哋唔飲茶，會嗌啤酒，同埋佢哋食點心會點茄汁㗎！」
“Before this job, I worked in airline ticketing and then dabbled a bit in real estate. And then I saw a job advertisement in the SCMP for a receptionist at the Pier who could speak and write good English, and I decided to give it a try. Over the decades I’ve made some great friends - I call them my ‘boyfriends’! One of the commanders even sent their son to come and visit me. They send me Christmas cards and pictures of their kids and grandkids. I’ve always enjoyed my job because I love to meet and talk to people - it doesn’t matter if you’re young or old, working or retired. It’s been so much fun working here, the sailors were rowdy and would always joke around with me: “Do you want a Green Card, Molly? I have one, maybe you can come home with me!”. I’m originally from Singapore, but moved here because I married a man from Hong Kong. When I first moved to the city I felt like people were walking so quickly and I was always so slow; everyone in Hong Kong seemed to be in a hurry. But I’ve grown to really love the city, I’ve made some amazing memories here.”
“After forty plus years of busyness, we’ve had no ships come in for three years. The last one to visit was the Blue Ridge from the States back in 2019. So now they are shutting the Pier and I’ll be retiring and taking a break, like some of the other old-timers who have been working in this building. How will I be filling my time? You got a job for me? Hopefully I’ll be playing more Mahjong, doing more shopping and eating. When we can travel easily again I’d love to go back to Singapore to visit my son and 9-month old grandson. The Fenwick Pier has become my second home, and I’ll miss it dearly when it's gone. But I’ll tell you what I’ll miss the most - my ‘boyfriends’!”
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