A Silence Boundary Under Bridge

Yun Shiuan Hsieh &Tom Tam, 17–08–2015, Urban Nomads, Interview Story

After visiting the used store, we went back to the Tung Chau Street. We walked around the area on the street, where most homeless people living there. The space behind them arise my curiosity, I’m wondering who is using the space as their neighbourhood?

It’s a market. However, the space is almost empty.

Tung Chau Street Temporary Market

The space was divided into lines. As the signboard shows, it plans for small venders selling vegetable in the middle, as well as meat and seafood stalls on the both side passage. There is no customer in the market.

We did an interview to a white hair old man who was sitting outdoor looking after his tofu and bean sprouts stall. He wore clean white shirt and grey pants, looks over 60. He told us, it is a ‘temporary market’ established around 20 years ago when he has been resettled here. ‘But now, there is only one vegetable stall and mine staying this block. All the others had gone.’

‘It’s a very hard time. There are very few people come to the market. Most of the customers are men because women fear the homeless, they will go to other places.’ Depressive mood was showing on his face because sometimes he even has to subsidise the business by his allowance. ‘The homeless catch charities’ and kind people’s attention. They can living safe and stay stable with receiving free lunch and dinner boxes. But no body would take care about us. District council, Food and Environmental Hygiene Department, and Lands Department are helpless because they cannot manage it.’

For example, as we notice the market is not only abandoned but also some facilities has been destroyed, he mentions that, it’s useless even if we had tried asked the government to solve the problem.

Broken water pipe.

We asked him, does he know the homeless people who also live in the open space nearby his stall. He answered yes, yet without any following words. ‘The charities are doing good thing. However, they might not understand it do brings influence.’ he added after a while. Normally, there is no communication between him and surrounding homeless people. He knows some homeless are drug addicts and they never buy his product.

The stall is nearby the homeless people outdoor.

Day after day, he comes in the morning with his black bird, kids love it. Then, before dark night he closes the stall and goes home.

Tom’s reflection

I was struggle when the interviewee told us his situation in the temporary market. What we focused on is the homelessness, but the vendors in the market seem to be an “invisible party”. It is because nobody takes care of their situation and feelings. The number of homelessness is increasing outside, the worse of the market occurs. Most of the vendors were gone and some homeless guys want to take drug in the market. It affects the stream of the people especially the ladies have not to reach or pass through there! The problem of the homeless issue is not just a single case; the condition in the market should be considered together!

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