On Legco Election Day last September, I travelled from Fanling to Yuen Long to help with campaigning.  Before that I was having lunch at a McDonald’s and started chatting with an auntie named Ching sharing the table with me. Auntie Ching and I exchanged phone numbers and thereafter she sent me Whatsapp messages once every few weeks asking me when I will be back to Yuen Long to see her.  Hence last Saturday I decided to invite Auntie Ching to the Waste-No-Mallevent located in Yuen Long town centre.   

Waste-No-Mall, is a weekend market event which combines recycling, free-cycle, surplus food distribution and eco-workshop. It takes place every Saturday from 4 to 6 p.m. in Yuen Long on Fung Yau Street North next to the public playground and is operated by the campaign team of LegCo member Chu Hoi Dick.  I was well prepared for the free-cycle.  I brought along with me a leather belt which I haven’t worn for years, a pair of shoes which I brought from Oxfam store but a size too small and a book which I had finished reading.  After putting down my items for others to pick up, I showed Auntie Ching around.  Before our meeting, Auntie Ching had just spent 200 bucks shopping for clothes.  Hence she found it unbelievable that everything displayed at the free-cycle is literally FREE.   Only after explanation by a passionate volunteer mending the booth that Auntie Ching finally gathered enough courage to pick up a bottle of past-best-by-date body lotion and a glass jug.  I got myself a brand new eyewear cleaning cloth and a white board eraser.

After our treasure hunt, I went to the clothing rack and chatted with the volunteer mending the rack.  Two young women walked past and were contemplating what it was about.  The volunteer seized the chance to explain how free-cycle works and the reasoning behind.  While they were very supportive of the idea of sharing stuff as well as kindness, and said they would bring their clothes for sharing in the coming weeks, they were frank enough to tell us that they were on their way to shop for new clothes.  It will probably be a long conversion process starting from dropping off pre-owned clothes to becoming part of the minimalist/ green movement.  A good start anyway…

Different from conventional politicians, Chu Hoi Dick has no interest in empty talks.  He has vision about the future of Hong Kong, and he is good at implementation and execution.  Thanks to all the great works done by his team of volunteers, this makeshift Waste-no-mall is taking place every Saturday from 4 to 6 p.m. next to a playground.  What a contrast to the  Eastern Community Green Station, which receives over 10 million HK dollars public funding from the HKSAR government and occupies thousands of square feet of usable space underneath the Eastern Corridor in Sai Wan Ho but only holding free-cycle event once every three months. 

Edited by Iris Leung

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