Fong (芳 - “fragrant”)

Shau Kei Wan ( 筲箕灣)

07:00 - 17:00 (10 hours)​

“I start work bright and early and follow our assigned routes to collect rubbish on the streets every day. I empty the bins, sweep up leaves and take everything with my trolley to the refuse centres. It’s always the busiest in the mornings; the bins are always overflowing, garbage strewn everywhere on the streets - cardboard, plastic and now masks, of course. Like many street cleaners, I was so worried during the heights of the pandemic - we are so highly exposed and yet our protective gear is so limited. Not much I could do though given that I needed my job - there is no option of working from home! I just wear a mask and wash my hands more frequently. It’s tough manual work, especially in the sweltering summers. Although maybe office cleaners have it even harder. We at least can be outdoors and work at our own pace, as long as we get our job done! I do think that Hong Kong is a clean city though because of our work - don’t you think?”


“I grew up in Tai Po ( 大埔), in the New Territories. My family were fishermen and not well educated. For people like me, you know, people who are not cultured or well-read, there are limited options as to what we can do. This job allows me to see how wasteful we can all be - we just throw all sorts of things out and create so much waste. But then on the other hand, we also cling on to stuff for years even when we have no real reason to. How much stuff do you really need anyway? Sometimes it’s good to let go when it is time to! I live in Shau Kei Wan, so during my lunch hour I can go home to eat and have a little break. People are generally friendly in this neighbourhood and it’s lovely to hear people say “good morning” to me or smile at me. There are of course others who are rude and look down on us, maybe because they think that this line of work is “dirty” or not respectable. I just ignore them; it’s better to focus on the positives!”

“If you take ownership of your work and do your job with dignity, the results will speak for themselves. It’s a nice perk that my friend and I have been partnered up to do the rounds together, as there are often large items that I simply cannot move on my own. Having good company makes it so much more pleasant - we can chit chat a bit whilst we work. I can say all I want about working hard and being busy, but if my boss sees that the streets are still filthy, then it’s just ‘all talk no action’! With this job, we get 4 days off a month. During my down time, I like to go yum-cha with my family, play with my adorable baby granddaughter or go with my husband to take a dip at Turtle Cove Beach - it is so peaceful and lovely there.”





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