Sham Shui Po and Mr Lee would get the right ticks for all the boxes for the type of local business communities hipsters would love, but this is a true, organic, living community.
For close to six decades, Mr Lee has been making wooden carts for land transport over short distances.
There’s no autocad or precision engineering involved. He uses simple tools and materials, such as salvaged plywood and rubber tires. Business has slowed down as he’s now 84 and materials are becoming difficult to source.
The Lees occupy a cluttered corner shoplot in the area of Sham Shui Po, a working class, tightly-knit neighbourhood in Hong Kong.
Everyone looks out for each other here: the Lees look after a kid who drops by after school, neighbours drop by after shopping at the local market, and their local plumber takes care of their clogged drainage.
There’s a resurgent interest in the area’s businesses and crafts, with tour groups organised by local volunteers.
The Lees are introduced in this documentary by architect and lecturer Paul Chu, who first met them through an interest in craftsmen in the area. They welcomed the interest and shared their knowledge and experience.
Here’s their story.
Cheuk Tin’s documentary is part of the HK Cinema, The Next Generation channel on Viddsee.