Lost and Found

Investigation of lost and found through the evolution of street markets
March – April 2014

Based on the motif Lost and Found, our group developed a community project to investigate social changes brought about by the government structuralising street markets, a local cultural icon, into municipal buildings, with Shek Tong Tsui Municipal Services Building as a case study.

We collected impressions of Shek Tong Tsui market’s history and current presence, in the forms of field recording, illustration, interview as well as photography. Then we rewrote and represented each story we gathered from alternative voices, such as those of housewives, stall keepers, non-locals and neighbours who drop by to rest on the benches, in order to shed light on the multiple-perspectival, personal and shared memories of social space.

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AUNTIE SMILEY

This market has everything I need. There is such a variety of them I don’t have to go anywhere else. I know which stalls are good. I know each one of them here and we talk a lot, but not because we are friends really. It’s just doing business. I go by the stalls that sell cheap and fresh food. I won't stick to a bad stall because the owner and I are friends. But usually I have a mental map of where to buy what I want, and I do not switch often.

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CHUN CHUN GROCERIES

You must be new here. We have changed to use individual packaging for more than a decade! The large bamboo baskets were ages ago. People like to buy in small quantities now. I don't mind the packaging and labelling, as long as they get tidier. I like it systematic. It was in fact not my idea, but my younger brother’s. He's the strategist.

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WONG KEE SHOES

I used to run this shop – just a street stall back then – in Kennedy Town in the eighties. The government made us go upstairs to where we are now. A lot of people still come for my shoes and slippers, especially those who have been around for a long time. These shoes are not all old-fashioned, I bought more trendy ones, see? You must adapt to change. But people who come here couldn't care less. They just come for cheap slippers to put on during showers.

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BUTCHERESS

We can tell she is aged, but no white hair can be seen. Her face is innocent like a baby’s, and one would never conjure up the image of a butcheress when she grins so widely. She may have been cradling a grandson in a lazy afternoon. She may have been doing taichi with neighbours in some park, accompanied by some music incomprehensible to passers-by. She could have been anyone anywhere but chopping meat in the market.