/, Culture, Photography/Street Life Hong Kong: Outdoor workers in their own words

Street Life Hong Kong: Outdoor workers in their own words

$19.95

by Nicole Chabot and Michael Perini

Hong Kong is famous for its bustling streets. In this book we hear from two dozen real people who provide its outdoor colour. We meet a flower seller, a street musician and a tram driver; a bouncer, a shoeshiner and a gas canister delivery man; a site foreman and a lifeguard; one man who climbs bamboo scaffolding for a living, and a woman who ferries visitors around the harbour on a sampan.

These are the working people who are always seen but rarely heard, and in this book they tell their life stories in their own words. Sharp black-and-white portraits immerse the reader in the dynamic streetscape of Hong Kong.

Look inside this book
Click on the links below to read pages from Street Life Hong Kong. You will need a pdf reader to view these excerpts.

Contents   Tony Tam Kwok-Chiu, Assistant foreman   Chu Yin-Ping, Sampan tour guide

ISBN: 978-988-16138-5-1 Categories: , , Tags: , ,

Description

Hong Kong is famous for its bustling streets. In this book we hear from two dozen real people who provide its outdoor colour. We meet a flower seller, a street musician and a tram driver; a bouncer, a shoeshiner and a gas canister delivery man; a site foreman and a lifeguard; one man who climbs bamboo scaffolding for a living, and a woman who ferries visitors around the harbour on a sampan.

These are the working people who are always seen but rarely heard, and in this book they tell their life stories in their own words. Sharp black-and-white portraits immerse the reader in the dynamic streetscape of Hong Kong.

MEDIA ATTENTION

“Street Life Hong Kong is timely: many readers may hope someone slips a copy of this book under Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying’s Christmas tree, given the fears he has recently expressed about allowing certain sections of society a say in how our city is run. The book gives a voice to – and puts a human face on – 25 citizens who work outdoors and mostly go unnoticed in the daily hustle of our bustling city. Hong Kong’s ruling elite should also do themselves a favour, given the past month or so has shown the majority (if not all) of them to be so far removed from the realities of daily life as they are for the majority of Hongkongers. … One of the more illuminating aspects of the stories is the matter-of-fact way these people approach the situations in which they have found themselves – when your choices are limited, you play the cards fate deals you – and they share the moments of joy and of pride that they feel as they go about their daily lives. It’s that sense of commonality that makes Street Life Hong Kong by its end a celebration of our city and the spirit of the people who inhabit it.” – South China Morning Post

“Hong Kong-based author Nicole Chabot has just published a new book, “Street Life Hong Kong: Outdoor Workers in Their Own Words.” It’s a collection of 24 first-person accounts of often overlooked individuals: from scaffolding masters and public transportation drivers to pizza deliverymen and flower vendors. It’s a worthy successor to her 2012 book, “Kowloon: Unknown Territory,” which illustrated the vibrant street culture on the SAR’s peninsula. This time, Chabot delves deeper into the livelihoods, worries and whims of each interviewee, in the hope of providing a better understanding of this group of hardworking Hongkongers, many of whom earn monthly household incomes of less than $15,000.” – HK Magazine

“What gives Hong Kong its special flavor are the people that make the city work. Nicole Chabot’s new book, Street Life Hong Kong (Blacksmith Books, 2014) with photos by Michael Perini, showcases twenty-five people who work outside, many for low wages, in fields like transportation, small commerce, and sanitation, to name a few. I love the many types of transportation in Hong Kong, including the trams and ferries. In this book, Chabot and Perini feature a female tram driver and a male ferry coxswain (captain). They also interview a woman who grew up on a sampan and now takes tourists on sampan rides, as well as a school bus driver. The interviews are presented as first-person narratives, which are lovely and compelling.” – Susan Blumberg-Kason

“A slightly-overweight middle-aged Caucasian couple breaks into an impromptu jig. A Chinese girl, evidently a little jaded, on her way back home from work, stops to remove her earphones. Salt-and-pepper haired South Asian men, hooded large-eyed women from the middle-east and sun-tanned white men, fingers interlocked with their long-haired Filipina companions, pass by. Each time one of them bends a little to put a note in his violin case that Selwyn Magahin has left open in front of him. He takes a bow. It’s a gesture so earnest that one would think he had just received a standing ovation at City Hall. But then that’s the point of busking, says Magahin, a driver by day, who plays after work at the entrance of the old Central Market, in a corner of the profusely-illustrated corridor leading to the escalator. “A busker does not discriminate between his audiences. You could say I have brought the violin out of the City Hall for the enjoyment of the general public. It’s one of the most democratic and human things one could do.” … He’s all agog about being featured in Street Life Hong Kong. “Now I’ll be a part of history, maybe even a ready reckoner for people interested in busking. Those wishing to research the subject are most welcome,” he says. “And who knows maybe even someone from the government will come calling, ‘Hey Selwyn, we have a place for you in the ministry of music!'” He laughs out loud at this point. After all, an artist, if anyone, has the license to dream.” – China Daily

“Like Chabot’s book on Kowloon, the aim of Street Life Hong Kong is to reveal more about the socio-cultural fabric of Hong Kong, to engender understanding and appreciation between different socio-economic groups, and to strengthen a feeling of community and Hong Kong identity. ‘Due to their position on the socio-economic ladder, people such as the interviewees of Street Life Hong Kong are often invisible and rarely afforded much thought,’ Chabot says. ‘Seldom are their stories told, though they arguably form the backbone of Hong Kong.’ ” – Perspective

Additional information

Dimensions216 x 216 mm
Pages

248

Binding

Paperback

Illustrations

more than 80 black-and-white photographs

About the authors

Half-Chinese freelance writer Nicole Chabot has lived in Edinburgh, Hong Kong, London and Amsterdam and has worked with clients in Asia, Europe, the Middle East and North America. These range from agencies and corporate clients to publishers, magazines and newspapers. Fodor’s, South China Morning Post, Tatler, and Business Traveller are among her clients. Her writing has also appeared in inflight magazines. From 2007 to 2011, Chabot worked as a research associate at the China Business Centre of the Hong Kong Polytechnic University where she conducted the interviews for Kowloon: Unknown Territory. She currently works as a freelance writer for the SCMP and other titles.

Michael Perini is an Australian photographer with over two decades of experience. He has worked at News Corporation in Sydney, covering events such as the 2000 Olympics and the 2004 Asian tsunami. Assignments have taken him across the world, from Pakistan to the Rocky Mountains, photographing an array of issues as diverse as East Timorese orphans and teenage heroin addicts. Michael has carried out in-depth profiles and produced photo-essays on subjects including the last outback flying postmen. He has photographed well-known personalities including Queen Elizabeth II, Imran Khan, Cate Blanchett and Tom Cruise, but is now based in Hong Kong where he works full-time as a commercial photographer.