Lai Yiu Kai

Biography Highlights Records Photos & Documents
A biographical sketch of Lai Yiu Kai: Family, Education and Career
Lai Yiu Kai was born in Hong Kong in 1939. He lived with his family in Queen’s Road East (the site where Wu Chung House stands), Wan Chai. He grew up in an average family. His grandfather and father built cement and brick stoves for bakeries.After the Second World War, he received education at home. His father taught him the Three Character Classic. In 1947 or 1948, he enrolled in the Lai Kwan School.He quitted school when he was in primary three and joined his father’s trade as a cement worker. In 1957, he moved to Kowloon with his family. In 1959, he was employed by the US company Eveready. In 1963, he worked in a factory in Tsuen Wan. In 1972, the factory closed down and he worked as a driver for theproprietor of KamKee Fabrics’. Six months later, his boss arranged him to join the fabric industry in which he had worked until retirement.



Title A biographical sketch of Lai Yiu Kai: Family, Education and Career
Date 08/02/2010
Duration 3m45s
Language Cantonese
Material Type
Collection
Repository Hong Kong Memory Project
Note to Copyright Copyright owned by Hong Kong Memory Project
Accession No. LKF-LYK-SEG-001
Growing up in a family engaging in cement industry. Difficult times during the Japanese Occupation

Lai Yiu Kai was born to a family of the Panyu origin. His father was born in Hong Kong and graduated from the Queen’s College. His mother was a Nanhai native born in mainland China and had little schooling. His parents were blessed with 10 children. Lai Yiu Kai is their eldest son and he has 3 brothers and 4 sisters alive. In the early years of the Japanese occupation, his father worked in the cement industry. He specialized in building brick stoves for bakeries and pantry stovesfor restaurants and also provided repair services. The cement service was a family business butthey did notform any company. When they got an order, they would go to the Southorn Playground where they picked male cement workers and female blenders waiting for job calls. In the early 1950s, Lai Yiu Kai joined his father’s trade. He worked as a general cement blender for adaily wage of $3. In those days, a cement master earned a daily wage of $7.

In the latter period of the Japanese Occupation, his father worked in the Admiralty Dockand Taikoo Dock. One day whenhis father was on his way home after work, the Allied Forces was bombing Wan Chai. He was lucky to keep aliveas he stooped down to pick up his workman’s identity card which fortuitously fell to the ground. He only had his feet and eyes injured while most people around him were killed. In the air raid, the Taikoo Dock was seriously damaged. The Kin Hang Terrace at the back of the Lai family’s home was bombed. After the war, his father left the dock and rejoined the cement trade.




Title Growing up in a family engaging in cement industry. Difficult times during the Japanese Occupation
Subject Japanese Occupation
Duration 10m38s
Language Cantonese
Material Type
Collection
Repository Hong Kong Memory Project
Note to Copyright Copyright owned by Hong Kong Memory Project
Accession No. LKF-LYK-SEG-002
Living environment of tenement house in Queen’s Road East. Class consciousness during his childhood

After the war, the Lai family continued to live in Queen’s Road East. When the building was demolished in 1955, they moved to Kowloon. His father was the landlord of a flat which had 4 rooms, 2 bed spaces and a balcony. The Lai family lived in the balcony and leased out the rooms and one half of the balcony. In those days, the rental for a flat was several dozen dollars. Lai Yiu Kai described his home as ‘a single bed for a family of eight’. The whole family shared a bunk bed, but the living room was for their exclusive use. For the tenants, they had their meals in their own rooms and took baths or empty their bowels at a corner of the kitchen behind a curtain because the flat had no washroom.I n the midnight, someone would come for night soil collection which was commonly known as‘emptying the honey bucket’. The honey bucket was shared by different households but each had their own spittoons. On the ground floor was the ‘Fook Sau Coffin Shop’. In 1952 when the Korean War was underway, the shop was always piled with remains. It was a horrible scene.

Lai Yiu Kai was naughty when he was young. He would fight other children at the Southorn Playground. Other games included marbles, firecrackers, pogs, whipping top, pinwheel, ball games, swing and kite. Lai Yiu Kai thought he belonged to the ‘lower class’ of the society, but he emphasized that he was not inferior morally.They were not materially well-offbut his father would take the family to have Chinese tea on Sundays. Whenever father made such a promise, he would be too excited togo asleep. When Lai Yiu Kai was a child, he had no concept of ‘lower class’. He only knew some people were richer than he was and others were poorer.The rich hired the maids and the poor had no opportunity to go to school. His financial status improved when he started to work. When he worked in the Eveready in the 1950s,he earned amonthly salary of $120. In those days, a bun and a cup of milk tea only cost 10 cents and 20 cents respectively. His salary was enough to meet his expenses.




Title Living environment of tenement house in Queen’s Road East. Class consciousness during his childhood
Date 08/02/2010
Subject Community
Duration 10m54s
Language Cantonese
Material Type
Collection
Repository Hong Kong Memory Project
Note to Copyright Copyright owned by Hong Kong Memory Project
Accession No. LKF-LYK-SEG-003
Learning experiences in Lai Kwan Primary School (1) : Campus, school principal, uniform, schoolma...

Lai Yiu Kai started school at seven or eight. Before he attended school, he studied at home. In those days, the school term started on the day of winter solstice. It was commonly known as ‘Winter Solstice term’, senior members of the family would give a red packet and celery to the young members who attended school.Lai Yiu Kai’s father taught him Three Character Classic andThousand Character Classic.He had learnt them for one and a half years but he was so young that all he could do was to memorize the words without understanding the meanings. His father also taught him Chinese calligraphy. He was made to copy the model book and practise on the 9-sectored copybook. He recalled that when he attended English course in the evening school, he used to practise English calligraphy with a nip pen and ink on a copybook. With time, he had achieved nice penmanship. He deplores that the childrennowadays have no idea of a copybook.

In 1947 or 1948, he enrolled in the Lai Kwan School in Kennedy Street, Wan Chai. It was a 3-storey school occupying the 2nd and 3rd floors and rooftop of an old building, which used to be a hospital. On each storey of the school was a classroom where30 or 40 students had their lessons. Because there was only one class for each grade, students of all grades shared the same classroom.Mr. Tang the principal was a nice man who seldom ill-treated the students, but he only taught the senior classes. The school held weeklymorning assemblies on the rooftop which all students had to attend. At the assembly, the principal would lecture students on morality and good manners. The Lai Kwan students wore no uniforms. Lai Yiu Kai used to go to school in a shirt and trousers – different suits for summer and winter. In winter, he put on a sweater or coat to keep warm.In those days, the students were simple-minded; they would not compare each other by their clothes or be attracted to famous brands. The Fung Keung’s shoes with rubber-soleswere afamous brand.Lai Yiu Kai went to school and played football in a pair of Fung Keung’s shoes. He used to carry his books in a beigerattan case which cost $2 to$3.

The students received a booklist from the school and bought all their books from bookshops. They bought exercise books from the school at the price of 10 cents each. They might buy what wasneeded for the whole school year in one go.Themultiplication table and alphabetical order were printed at the back of the arithmetic exercise books. Lai Yiu Kaidid not study the Three Character Classic andThousand Character Classicatthe Lai Kwan School. The subjects he learnt at the school included the Chinese language, General Studies and Arithmetic, but not English lesson.In the Chinese language lessons, they learnt the textbookand did composition with a Chinese writing brush on a topic set by the teacher. For English and Arithmetic, the nip pen and pencil were used respectively.School picnic was the major extra-curricular activity, but it was only attended by the students selected by the teachers. The destination included Chai Wan, Hong Kong Zoological and Botanical Gardens, Shatin and Cheung Chau.




Title Learning experiences in Lai Kwan Primary School (1) : Campus, school principal, uniform, schoolmates and teaching subjects
Date 08/02/2010
Subject Education
Duration 19m51s
Language Cantonese
Material Type
Collection
Repository Hong Kong Memory Project
Note to Copyright Copyright owned by Hong Kong Memory Project
Accession No. LKF-LYK-SEG-004
Learning experiences in Lai Kwan Primary School (2) : Enrolling, schoolmates, teachers and teachi...

It was his father’s decision that Lai Yiu Kai attended the Lai Kwan School, despite other choices near his home such as the KinlamSchool andDunmei School. He had studied in the privately-run Lai Kwan School until primary 3 when the family could not afford the tuition fees, which was $8 to $10.The principal Mr. Tang was the founder of Lai Kwan School. At one of the weekly morning assemblies, he delivered a speech on the ‘Teachings of the founding father of China’. Students of the Lai Kwan School came from families with moderate income. There were more male students than female students. Each gender formed its own group. The boys did better than the girls in races, and the girls outperformed the boys in manners. Lai Yiu Kai considered that in those days, the classmates were not aware of material difference as much aswhat the students are today. Lai didnot know much about the teachers’ background and he never asked about that. He only remembered that they spoke Cantonese instead of Mandarin. In those days, the teachers did not emphasize too much on examination results, they even took students for a picnic on the examination eve as a way to let them feel more relaxed. Each lesson lasted 45 minutes. There was no special teaching material or method, the blackboard was the only medium. The teaching method was the students’ repetition of each sentence readby the teacher.

Lai Kwan was a full-day school. The school hours were from 9 am to 12 pm and 1 pm to 4 pm. Students went home for lunchat noon. Lai Yiu Kai’s home was two blocks away from school. Sometimes father would come to take him home for lunch. At school, in addition to academic subjects, they also learnedMusic, Physical Education and Visual Art. During Physical Education lessons, they did exercise on the building’s rooftop. In Music lessons, they sang to the melody which the female teacher played with the harmonica.In Visual Art lessons, they drew with wax crayons. Lai Yiu Kaidid not do wellon Music and Visual Art. English language was his favourite subject but it was an interest he later developed in the evening school. Lai Kwan adopted a simple curriculum. Lai Yiu Kai knew more Chinese characters than his classmates and he was confident that he had higher standard in the Chinese language than the university students today. He used to study school workonly when the examination approached but he usually scored as good as 80 to 90 marks. He was always rankedtop 10 in the class and was usually one of the top 3.




Title Learning experiences in Lai Kwan Primary School (2) : Enrolling, schoolmates, teachers and teaching subjects
Date 08/02/2010
Subject Education
Duration 15m5s
Language Cantonese
Material Type
Collection
Repository Hong Kong Memory Project
Note to Copyright Copyright owned by Hong Kong Memory Project
Accession No. LKF-LYK-SEG-005
Learning experiences in Lai Kwan Primary School (3) : Students’ discipline and schoolmates’ rel...

Lai Yiu Kai attended primary one when he was seven or eight, a normal age of schooling. His classmates were of similar age. Like other active and naughty boys, he usually got a ‘C’ grade for conduct. On one occasion a male student spoke to his classmate in a low voice, the teacher threw the chalk and duster at him. The boy’s hair turned white with chalk dust. In those days, standing in class, copying, staying after school and hitting the palm werecommon forms of penalty.Many students had been made to stand in class for not handing in their homework. The teachers would hit male and female students alike with a rattan stick. Lai Yiu Kai had been made to stand in class for chatting and had been made to write with a Chinese brush pen this sentence ‘From now on I dare not …’ repetitively for many times. If a serious mistake was made, the student would be penalized by staying after school for 30 minutes. Lai Yiu Kai had served as aschool prefect andassistant monitor. These positions were appointed by a group of teachers and the appointee must complete the tenure of one school term.A monitor helped teachers out whilea prefect was responsible forwatching students’manners. In recesses, the students chatted but some would sneak out of the school for snacks. Sometimes the school would hold contests for composition, speech or doing arithmetic. The awarded works were displayed on the post boards.

After school, the students went home doing their homework and they seldom socialized with each other. Lai Yiu Kai had no habit of visiting others since childhood. When school ended at 4pm, he occasionally played football with classmates or neighbours at the football ground. He usually went home at six and had dinner. After dinner, he did homework. He had to estimate the time for home because he had no wristwatch.It was not until he attended the evening school that he received a Roskopf watchfrom his father. The students had no contact with each other after they left school. Lai Kwan had neither alumni associationnor teachers’ visit and parents’ day. LaiYiu Kai thought his younger brothers and sisters received better education. All of them had completed primary education.His youngest brother worked in a bankaftercompleting Form 5. Lai Yiu Kai advised him to learn to repair TV sets. His youngest brother took his advice, resigned from the bank and did apprenticeship in Dah Chong Hong. He is now working in the Cable & Wireless.




Title Learning experiences in Lai Kwan Primary School (3) : Students’ discipline and schoolmates’ relationship
Date 08/02/2010
Subject Education
Duration 15m46s
Language Cantonese
Material Type
Collection
Repository Hong Kong Memory Project
Note to Copyright Copyright owned by Hong Kong Memory Project
Accession No. LKF-LYK-SEG-006
Learning experiences in Pun U District Association of Hong Kong Free Evening School: School hours...

After quitting school, Lai Yiu Kai worked with his father as a cement worker in the day time and attended the free evening school run by Pun U Association (also known as the Kiukong Chinese Evening School). The school occupied the 2nd, 3rd and 4thfloors of a building on Lockhart Road. Lai Yiu Kai was admitted because his father was a member of the Association. The evening school did not hold any entrance examination. It ran 6 classes with 20 to 30 students each. Lessons were given from 7pm to 9pm, from Monday to Friday. Lai Yiu Kai repeated Primary 3. There were more male students than female but all were of similar age and generally came from poor families. The evening school students were older. Some Primary six graduates were 17 to 18, which was an age of puberty.

The subjects included Chinese language, English language, General Studies, Visual Art and Music. They had 3 lessons in 2 hours with a 10-minute recess.The curriculum of the evening schoolwas more difficult andthey had to learncalculation with an abacus. But it was not useful at work because the calculator had already become popular. Oxford New Method was the textbook for English language. Students had to write copybook. The lesson mainly focused on spelling and the students had little chance to practice making sentences. The evening school taught in ways similar to the day school. The teachers taught the content of the textbook with a rattan stick in hand and also threw chalks at students. Although Lai Yiu Kai worked in the day, he did not feel tired in the evening classes. When he was in Primary six, his family moved to Kowloon. Lai Yiu Kai had no alternatives but left schools in tears without completing the primary education.The evening school run by the Pun U Association held the graduation ceremony at the Oriental Theatre on Fleming Road every year.Ko Ho Ning was the owner of the theatre and he let the school hold the ceremony there because he was a Panyu native. After the ceremony, teachers and students had dinner at the Ying King Restaurant. Later, Lai Yiu Kai worked in the US company Eveready. He pursued further studies in an English evening school with the subsidyby the company. It covered one half of the tuition fees and book expenses.




Title Learning experiences in Pun U District Association of Hong Kong Free Evening School: School hours, teaching subjects, schoolmates and teachers
Date 08/02/2010
Subject Education
Duration 11m53s
Language Cantonese
Material Type
Collection
Repository Hong Kong Memory Project
Note to Copyright Copyright owned by Hong Kong Memory Project
Accession No. LKF-LYK-SEG-007
Studying in two English evening schools: St. Teresa’s Church and Rosary Church

Lai Yiu Kai joined Eveready in 1957. Because the company offered subsidizes up to one half of the tuition fees and he had to carry out sometranslation duty, he attended the English evening school run by the Rosary Church on Jordan Road. Buthe did not take the course to make himself more competitive for promotion. In the lessons, students would take turn and read from the dictionary. Lai Yiu Kai had been made to stand in class as he failed to catch up with the reading. Lai Yiu Kai had no religion and his family used to worship ancestors for generations.

A few months after he started the course in the Rosary Church, he transferred to the evening school run by theSt. Teresa’s Churchunder the advice of a classmate. It was the year when the riots took place (1957). The subjects studied included English language, Bible and History. Oxford New Method was the textbook for English language.The school had manyclasses. The lessons were given by Chinese teachers in churchclassroomsfitted with tables, chairs and a blackboard. The teacher taught the textbook, students repeated every sentence after her. They also learnt to use the dictionary. The oral English lesson was based on the textbookbut the students did not learn composition and writing letters. Lai Yiu Kai taught himself to write a letter. When Lai Yiu Kai was at school, he never read any English novels because he thought he was not up to that level.Both Lai Kwan and the Pun U evening school had the lessons on Chinese Model Letter, although it was not a practicalsubjectbecause the teacheronly taught how to write letters to parents.He did not sit for the Hong Kong Certificate of Education Examination.He attended the evening school to learn more knowledge. Lai Yiu Kai studied Form 2 to Form 4,and he quit school at Form 4 as heleft Eveready for a factory job in Tsuen Wan. By then, he had worked for 6 or 7 years in Eveready.




Title Studying in two English evening schools: St. Teresa’s Church and Rosary Church
Date 08/02/2010
Subject Education
Duration 12m45s
Language Cantonese
Material Type
Collection
Repository Hong Kong Memory Project
Note to Copyright Copyright owned by Hong Kong Memory Project
Accession No. LKF-LYK-SEG-008
Lai family moved to Yau Ma Tei and Sham Shui Po. Social activities and entertainment during his a...

The evening school classmates were not close to each other and they seldom socialized after school. There were no extra-curricular activities because everyone was tired afterthe daytime’s job.They directly went home after school. To Lai Yiu Kai, the life juggling between work and study was boring - worked in the day, went to schoolat night and hurried home after school.

When the Lai family moved to Yau Ma Tei, they were no longer second-hand landlord and became tenants.They rented a room in a flat and lived with other households and shared the kitchen and washroom. He did not think their conditions had worsened when they became ordinary tenants because the family of eight people continued to rest onone bed. Later, they moved to Sham Shui Po. At first, they lived in a building opposite to the Sham Shui Po Ferry Pier on Hoi Tan Street, then they moved to Fuk Wah Street (or Fuk Wing Street) and Pei Ho Street (where the Golden Computer Arcade stands) before moving into the permanent residence in So Uk Estate.He didnot think their conditions had worsened when they moved to Sham Shui Po, neither didhe think it was a place filled with crimes. He picked driving attitude as an example. He thought residents on Hong Kong Island had better manners than Kowloon residents. Drivers used togive way on the road so there were fewer accidents occurredon Hong Kong Island. Kowloon residents were more casual in attire and manner. He thoughtit wasprobably because of their different standards of living. Lai Yiu Kaithoughtthat neighbours’ relation in So Uk Estate was not close. All households kept to themselves. His mother preferred to sit idly in the balcony to socializing with her neighbours. When Lai Yiu Kai moved to Shatin, his mother advised him not to have mahjong games with the housewives therebecause she worried thathe would addict to it.

In the 1950s and 60s, parties and dancing were popular among the young people. When Lai Yiu Kai was at school, he liked to listen to western songs. He especially likedthe songs The donkey in the window and Put your head on my shoulder.In those days, he seldom watched western movies. The young Lai Yiu Kai felt at ease relating with the opposite sex so he could easily make female friends. When he worked as an outgoing bill collector, he came to know his wife who worked in a wireless electrical appliance shop. She was open and took the initiative to ask him to go see movie.Lai Yiu Kai started dating girlfriends when he worked in Eveready and he used to go to the theatres with them on holidays. He did not have much time for entertainment when working in Eveready because he onlyhad two holidays every month. He mainly went out with his colleagues. They would go swimming at the Repulse Bay or the Chung Sing Swimming Shed in the Western District. He almost got drowned once because he was not good at swimming.




Title Lai family moved to Yau Ma Tei and Sham Shui Po. Social activities and entertainment during his adolescence
Date 08/02/2010
Subject Community| Social Life
Duration 15m55s
Language Cantonese
Material Type
Collection
Repository Hong Kong Memory Project
Note to Copyright Copyright owned by Hong Kong Memory Project
Accession No. LKF-LYK-SEG-009
Working in the Kam Kee Fabric and liaising with local dyers. The co-coordinating role of fabric t...

In 1972, Lai Yiu Kai started working in the Kam Kee Fabrics. It wasa medium-sized company with local garment factories as the main customers. In the 1970s, the company mainly served customers in Tsuen Wan and Kwai Chung and it seldom had business with the mainland garment industry. Kam Kee supplied all kinds of fabrics to the garment factories, such as denim, corduroy, nylon, printed fabrics, shirt fabric, Terylene Cotton, twill and canvas. To produce the finished fabric, the first step was to purchase the grey clothes. They were then sent to the dyers for dyeing. This was followed by shrinking and cutting before they could be sold. Sometimes, the company dyed the yarn instead of fabrics. Yarn was bought and dyed before weaving. Lai Yiu Kai spent a lot of time liaising with local dyers of all sizes to arrange work. The large factories dyers included China, South China, Tai Ping andHeung Do and the small dyers were mainly located in Tsuen Wan, Ngau Chi Wan and Yuen Long. Thelarge dyers used continuous press-dye method which included the steps of singeing, desizing, dyeing, pulling, shrinking and rolling. The factories had machines to complete the entire process, such as dyeing and shrinking machines. The small dyers used the vat dyeing method which could not handle fabric more than 800 yards long and might have uneven coloration. Although the large dyersdid not have this problem, the colour of the dyed remnant would look darker.

The fabric company decided on the dyeing and weaving plans according to the characteristics of different fabrics. In case of denim, the yarn instead of the fabric was dyed. The first step was to import cotton yarn from the mainland. The specification for denim was generally 10 skeins (i.e. 10 counts of yarn per sq. inch). The imported yarn was sent to a dyer in Kwai Chung. The dyer would dye it indigo, only the warp was dyed but not the woof. The dyed yarn was then sent to weaver. After weaving, it was sent to another factor for shrinking. The steps of singeing, desizing, pulling and shrinking must be completed before delivery to the garment factory. The processing tasks for corduroy included weaving, cutting, wool parting, singeing, dyeing, wool parting, waxing, rolling and delivery.When supplying the corduroy, the fabric company might send their grey clothes for dyeing or the yarn for weaving and dyeing.But weaving theirown fabric involved the difficult step of cutting. Because the weaver did not carry out this step, it was done by a specialist factory. The dyer was chosen in accordance with the customer’s requirements and budget. The small dyers charged about 50% or 30%less thanthe large dyers. The shirt fabric andTerylene Cotton were mainly dyed by the large dyers and the corduroy, twill and canvas were sent to the small dyers. Vat dyeing of thick fabrics could prevent ‘poor soaking’ and it yielded better results than dyeing machine because the fabric was soaked in the vat for a long time. Therefore, the thick fabric was usually sent to the small dyers. But the shortcoming was discoloration.




Title Working in the Kam Kee Fabric and liaising with local dyers. The co-coordinating role of fabric trading companies in textiles and garment industry(1)
Date 04/03/2010
Subject Industry
Duration 14m34s
Language Cantonese
Material Type
Collection
Repository Hong Kong Memory Project
Note to Copyright Copyright owned by Hong Kong Memory Project
Accession No. LKF-LYK-SEG-010
Responsibilities and workflow of a Quality Control of Fabric trading companies

Lai Yiu Kai worked as the QC (Quality Check/Control) in KamKee Fabrics. He had to shuttle to and fro the weaving mills and all fabric cutting, shrinking and dyeing factories personally. In his own factory, the QC checked the weaving progress to ensure that the right pattern was weaved, andthe number and size of the warps and woofs were correct.Take twill as an example,the warp-woof ratio of the four-panel twill was ‘10858’, then the ratio of warp to woof for each sq. inch was108: 58. The fabric company chose the weaver based on the prices. The large weavers were better in quality and the small weaverswere cheaper in processing fees. The finished products were sent to the cutting factory which checked the number of ribs and unusable amount. When this was done, they would be sent to the dyers. The QC and the dyer’s proprietor checked the color with the Lap-Dip. 5% chromatic differencewasallowed in the trade, i.e. a maximum of 50 yards of unusable fabric is acceptable for every 1,000 yards.The QC checked 10% of the product, i.e. 1,000 yards (bolt of cloth is 80 to 90 yards) was checked for every 10,000 yards of dyed fabric. Because some dyer proprietorsare Lai Yiu Kai’s friends, he could ask for an early delivery. Different fabrics had different difficulties to tackle. The production of corduroy was a complicated process. The QC had to visit the fabric company, cutting factory and dyer.The production process for denim was the simplest. The fabric company only had to dye the warp yarn and send it for weaving and finishing. The QC had to check the shrinking proportion, which was usually 8%. Production of the denim seldom hadproblems.

Deviation from the Lap-Dip sometimes occurred. It was usually the the dyers’mistakes. The common problems were chromatic difference and improper shrinkage.The QC usually checked after the whole lotwas completed. In case of chromatic difference, re-dyeing was needed. The re-dyed products had to go through the steps of pulling and shrinking. Under-dye could be rectified by re-dyeing but over-dye was difficult to solve. The shrinkage of the early shrinking method was 8%. Today, the tie dye and jumble dye are mainly used. The tie dye method has a discrepancy of ±3%; the jumbo dye has a discrepancy of ±1%. The greatest problem faced by the QC waschromatic difference between the front and back. Itwas usually the problem of vat dyeingbecause thecolor oxidizedwhen exposed to the wind.To solve the problem,bothedges of the fabric had to be cut and compensation was paid to the customer. The over-dyed fabric was usually accepted by the customers without haggling.




Title Responsibilities and workflow of a Quality Control of Fabric trading companies
Date 04/03/2010
Subject Industry
Duration 16m33s
Language Cantonese
Material Type
Collection
Repository Hong Kong Memory Project
Note to Copyright Copyright owned by Hong Kong Memory Project
Accession No. LKF-LYK-SEG-011
Equipments and workshop environment of dyeing factories. How a QC inspects fabric

The dyeing workshop was a very hot place because of hot boiling water and wind-proof design. Sincethere were only male workers, everyone worked in underpants. The larger dyers used the wind-proof high-temperature vat. The small dyers had no high-temperature vat so they could not dye Terylene Cotton. Instead, they mainly dyed the corduroy, twill and canvas. The fabrics dyed royal blue always had edge problem. To prevent wind exposure, the central vat of the workshop was usually used. Loose dye was the main cause of discoloration. Most customers would state clearly that they wanted ‘wash color’in the contract. ‘Wash color’ meant color comes off in every wash. But, customers could choose for fast color.Yarn seldom discolored but denim always did so it could not be mixed with other clothes for laundry.

To inspect the color, the QC would rub the fabric with a piece of white paper. The extent of discolouration was not necessarily associated the price. It might be caused by non-thorough washing or improper washing in the yarn dyeing process.Errors were inevitable in the process from cotton to garment. Lai Yiu Kai thought a long career in the fabric company would helptrain the mind. Sometimes, Kam Kee Fabrics would import dyed fabrics. Orders were placed with weaving millsin different countries with the universal Java Script.The dyed products were sent to Hong Kong. For example, the thin cloth was usually ordered from Taiwan and South Korea. Although dyers like Heung Do and China supplied finished product, they were not as cheap as the imported ones. In the period between 1997 and 2004, Lai Yiu Kai worked in the Fansky Industries Limited. His main duties were to handle yarn dyed and large orders from US garment companies such as GAP and JC Penny, which did not tolerate chromatic difference. Because Fansky Industries placed its orders with a one-stop textile factory in Shanghai, Lai Yiu Kai used to station in Shanghai for six months of the year. His duties were to check the quality of the fabric and dyed cloth - pattern for the former and discoloration for the latter.




Title Equipments and workshop environment of dyeing factories. How a QC inspects fabric
Date 04/03/2010
Subject Industry
Duration 19m11s
Language Cantonese
Material Type
Collection
Repository Hong Kong Memory Project
Note to Copyright Copyright owned by Hong Kong Memory Project
Accession No. LKF-LYK-SEG-012
A fabric QC should think a lot to meet customers’ requirement

Before working as the QCin Kam Kee Fabrics, Lai Yiu Kaihad worked in a plastic factory so he knew a lot about dyestuff. When the plastic factory closed down, Lai Yiu Kai changed several jobs until he became the driver of the Kam Kee Fabrics’ proprietor. The proprietor arranged Lai Yiu Kai to join the textile trade after he hadworked as his driver for six months. His work was fabric inspection. He started with yarn counting. He learned enthusiastically and never hesitated to consult the small dyers.He was competent to choose stock one week after he was employed. The work experience in the plastic factory was useful to his new job. Lai Yiu Kai emphasized that the fabric job needed a lot of thinking anditgave him frequent headache which he still suffers now. In those days, it was not easy to meet the customers’ requirements with thefew types of weaving machines available. For example, the four-shuttle weaving machine could not weave 5-colored fabrics and it couldonly be done with a wool loom which is commonly used today.

In recent years, the customers are demanding with fabric quality, such as stench-proof, fireproof and proper pH. They ask for all kinds of tests which the QC must comply. For the large US companies, only products from the large factories meet their requirements.Besides, the QCmust also take into consideration the dyestuff components. For example, red is the mixture of various dyestuff, blue is the combination of green and yellow, purple has chromatic changes under high temperature.The fabric companies always have disputes with their customers over these problems.Since the 1970s, the local dye technology has greatly advanced. Today,some dyers use the computers for color checking. Chromatic deviation will be automatically rectified in the computerized process.




Title A fabric QC should think a lot to meet customers’ requirement
Date 04/03/2010
Subject Industry
Duration 11m10s
Language Cantonese
Material Type
Collection
Repository Hong Kong Memory Project
Note to Copyright 香港記憶計劃
Accession No. LKF-LYK-SEG-013
A review of his career in textile industry: Kam Kee Fabrics, Fansky Industries Limited, Sun Yee C...

There were different kinds of garment factories which specialized in top, bottom, suit, heavy or light clothes. Kam Kee Fabrics mainly specialized in coats and supplied fabrics to garment factories. The fabric industry was prosperous in 1973 when Lai Yiu Kai joined the trade. The market demand was great and a fabric company could survive as long as it completedtheorder. Later, the quota system dealt a blow to the textile industry. In recent years, a dyer faces great difficulties in operation because of environmental regulations, high rental and high drainage costs. Dyers closed down one after another before 1997. The number of the existing dyers in Hong Kong is only one-tenth of that in the early 1970s. A few still operate inYuen Long. The QC task which Lai Yiu Kai used to carry out in Kam Kee Fabrics has been taken over by the companies in mainland China.

In 1997, Lai Yiu Kai left Kam Kee for Fansky Industries Limited, which had its own weaving mill and dyer. At the time, the US customers placed orders with the garment factories which turned to the fabric companies for materials. In the 1990s, many garment factories moved their production lines out of Hong Kong. Lai Yiu Kaihad to travel to other countries for inspection, such as Sri Lanka, Madagascar and Bangladesh. He had no problem to communicate in English because the content mainly focused on color and few jargons were used. Because Fansky Industries had a factory in Shanghai, he spent most of his time in Shanghai while working in the company. The prime season of business was from July to February but there was no business after the Spring Festival. As the saying in the trade goes: ‘Business doesn’t come in May and June but resumes in July’. EveryJuly, Fansky Industries produced the samples. In July and August the large US clients informed the garment factories of their requirements. In September, the garment factoriesproduced the master samples and procured fabric samples from the fabric companies. A fabric company would first look for similar samples from the warehouse.If no similar sample wasfound, it cooperated with theweaving mill and dyer to produce one. A sample wasa 200- or 300-yard fabric. The dyeing fee for a sample wasmore expensive than a grey cloth because the same amount of dyestuff wasused for dyeing 200 yards and 800 yards of fabric.The dyers usedJava Script (JS) which wascommonly used in the worldwide textile industries but theLap-Dipwasused between the fabric companies and dyers. Some dyers hada small vatforspecial use of dyeing several yards of samples.

In 2004, Lai Yiu Kai joined Sun Yee as the QC. He carried out similar work such as taking orders from local garment factories and passed it to his superior for quotations from weaving mills in mainland China. To cope with the tax, the finished products were first sent to Hong Kong and then transported to Shenzhen and delivered to the client’s factory there for production. The finished garments wereexported to Hong Kong. Sun Yee hadits own weaving mill and dyer in Shenzhen. The headquarters in Hong Kong would takethe order, collect payment and contact the dyers for follow-up actions. Besides taking orders from Hong Kong, Lai Yiu Kai also handled complaints from clients. It was one-man-band in nature.




Title A review of his career in textile industry: Kam Kee Fabrics, Fansky Industries Limited, Sun Yee Company
Date 04/03/2010
Subject Industry
Duration 25m11s
Language Cantonese
Material Type
Collection
Repository Hong Kong Memory Project
Note to Copyright Copyright owned by Hong Kong Memory Project
Accession No. LKF-LYK-SEG-014
A review of his several-decade career

Looking back on his several-decade career, Lai Yiu Kai said he had the greatest workload when working in an artificial leather factory in Tsuen Wan. He was the assistant-in-charge (an equivalent of assistant officer) of the production department and was responsible to supervise the workers. He worked 15 hours a day from 3pm to 6am. He was so tired that he always yawned in the noon and night shifts. Things were better when he worked in the fabric company. He does not pursue for wealth, all he wanted wasa stable life supported with a monthly salary. When he worked as a QC, a client asked whether he would like to start his own business but taking risk wasnot his character, not to mention his family burden.

In those days, an order from a garment factory usually involved 20,000 to 30,000 yards of fabric andthis needed a capital of more than $200,000 to set up a fabric company. It was the established trade practice to pay within 45 days upon completion of an order. Besides, the fabric company had to bear serious consequences in case of wrong dyeing because the client mightrefuse to accept the goods and pay for them. Because it was difficult to solicit new clients for the new company, the only way wasto snatchexisting clients from former employer. Lai Yiu Kai deplored that gaining business meant losing friends. Besides, a fabric company proprietor usually faced a sad ending. For partnership, disputes over business were likely to occur between the partners.




Title A review of his several-decade career
Date 04/03/2010
Subject Industry
Duration 10m17s
Language Cantonese
Material Type
Collection
Repository Hong Kong Memory Project
Note to Copyright Copyright owned by Hong Kong Memory Project
Accession No. LKF-LYK-SEG-015
His understanding on social class and meaning of job

Lai Yiu Kai is satisfied with his several-decade career which has givenhim average financial status. He said in the society he belonged to the ‘lower middle class’ andin all the companies he worked he belonged to the middle-rank with a status secondary to the proprietor. But in Eveready, he was among the low-ranked staff. He joined the company as the messenger and became the bill collector 6 months later. He worked there for two or three years and then worked in an artificial leather factory in Tsuen Wan. He was a worker for the first six months and then he was appointed as assistant-in-charge (the equivalent of assistant officer) in the production department which was a middle-rank post of the company. In 1972, he was employed by Kam Kee Fabrics. The company employed 20 to 30 staff with shipping, sales, accounting, quality control and warehouse departmentswhich operated on equal footing. Thing were smooth inhisseveral-decade career life. He had jobs commensurate with his educational level and he has never been unemployed. His motto was ‘History is more important than qualifications’. He worked his way up the career ladder by means of good interpersonal relationship, competency and learning.

Lai Yiu Kai considered that “working for others leads to nowhere and one makes a fortune only by taking risks”. But all he wantedwerethree meals and completion of assignments.He has never wished to become rich because wealth means loss of freedom. When he was young, he never thought thoroughlyabout his future and all he wished was ‘getting paid for the month’. He earned basic monthly salary and commission in KamKee Fabrics. He liked fixed monthly salary and pursued stable income so that he couldmeet the monthly family expenses. He had been criticized for being too conservative. But, he derived his satisfaction from problem solving and superiors’ recognition, although he did suffer stomach ache caused by high work pressure.

In the fabric company, Lai Yiu Kai worked from 9am to 6pm, his work had no conflicts with his family life. His wife has completed secondary education and she also worked from 9 to 6. He considersthat although he isnot as highly educated as his wife, he is cleverer than she is, and they hadjobs of similar social statuses. They got married in 1965 without taking into consideration their family backgrounds. Lai Yiu Kai’s father-in-law was a transceiver salesman. At the time, Lai was working in the leather factory earning a monthly wage of $700 or $800. After marriage,his wife continued to workas a cashier in the wireless electrical appliance shop. To him, it was nothing shameful. Lai Yiu Kai and his wife shared the responsibility of parenting. His mother-in-law took care of their children but they did not need much attention because they studied voluntarily and had average academic results. All his children have finished secondary education. His eldest daughter works in the textile industry, his youngest daughter takes businessstudies as her major subject in the university and his eldest son works in a fabric company. He considers that all his children belong to the middle class and he never interferes with their development. Lai Yiu Kai thinks he has never suffered any huge setback in his life because he enjoys stable career, family and health.




Title His understanding on social class and meaning of job
Date 04/03/2010
Duration 24m12s
Language Cantonese
Material Type
Collection
Repository Hong Kong Memory Project
Note to Copyright Copyright owned by Hong Kong Memory Project
Accession No. LKF-LYK-SEG-016
Living environment and neighbor relationship of tenement house in Wan Chai. Streets and buildings...

Lai Yiu Kai lived in an old building in Queen’s Road East, Wan Chai. The Lai family was the owner of a flat on the 2nd floor. The spacious flat was partitioned into four rooms for lease and was shared by seven households (including Lai’s family). There wereno windows and electric fans in the rooms. In the corridor were two large beds separated with a wooden partition and they were leased to two couples. The five members of Lai’s family (parents, the third younger brother, the fifth younger sister and Lai Yiu Kai) occupied one half of the balcony. A bunk bed and a canvas back bed were placed on the balcony. Lai Yiu Kai slept on the canvas back bed. The flat had water supply but no electricity andthe tenants were not provided with telephonesor electric lamps. The kerosene lamps were the only illumination. At night, Lai Yiu Kai did his homework under the light of a kerosene lamp. They used no electric lamp until after they moved to Kowloon. A kerosene lamp had a glass chimney for holding kerosene and a wick for adjustment. The tenants shared the kitchen andfirewood was used for cooking. Because no washroom and bathroom were provided, they had to take a bath or empty their bowels at a corner of the kitchen behind a curtain.

The front room was leased to an old woman, the second and third rooms were leased to bachelor cement workers. The tenants of the last room never stayed long and it had been leased toa number of tenants. The Lai’s family preferred to lease their rooms to couples. It was specifically stated on the room-for-lease bills they displayed on the street that the room was ‘For Couples Only’. Couples were preferred because it was worried that menwithout a family might be bad elements or would default in rent payment. The tenants seldom socialized with each other because all had to work. In those days, unemployment was uncommon because there were ample job opportunities. The living standard was low in the early post-war period and a cement worker earned a daily wage of $3. But the food prices were low.A plate of rice cost a few dozen cents and a plate of barbecued pork buns (twofor a plate) in the early tea session of a Chinese restaurant only cost 30 cents. It only cost 50 cents to have tea at the Ying King Restaurant.

Lai Yiu Kai attended the Lai Kwan School nearby for primary education. He went to school on foot via Kennedy Road or Stone Nullah Lane. On his way, he would pass the Ruttonjee Hospital, the Department of Medical Services,Ji Gong Temple, Tik Lung Lane, McGregor Street and Wan Chai Post Office. The McGregor Street was formerly known as the Iron Gate New Street. The St. James’ Settlement Building in the Stone Nullah Lane used to be a Chinese clinic. The site where Wu Chung House now stands was theTik Lung Lane. The ground floor of the residential building there was the ‘FookSau Coffin Shop’ opened by Siu Ming the proprietor of the Hong Kong Funeral Home. He witnessed the shop staff laying human skeleton under sun for exposure in an alley nearby.In 1952 when the Korean War was underway, the coffin shop was always piled with remains wrapped in white cloth. But it did not scare him.




Title Living environment and neighbor relationship of tenement house in Wan Chai. Streets and buildings he passed on his way to schools
Date 25/03/2010
Subject Community
Duration 18m6s
Language Cantonese
Material Type
Collection
Repository Hong Kong Memory Project
Note to Copyright Copyright owned by Hong Kong Memory Project
Accession No. LKF-LYK-SEG-017
Childhood memories in Wan Chai. Schools, teahouses and cinemas of Wan Chai in the 1950s

When Lai Yiu Kai was a child, he used to play shuttle cock and marbles near the coffin shop in the back alley. He also had games using soft drink caps, tobacco cases and throwing coins for pogs (a kind of gambling). His father gave him 5 or 10 cents for snacks. He used to spend it on orange juice or Sarsae at the Watson’s.Lai Yiu Kai always played soccer at the Southorn Playground. In those days, the soccer pitch was called the ‘ball ground’. During the Japanese occupation, his mother sold second-hand clothes to make a living.The day when the Allied Force bombarded the Fung Wong Terrace, his family took shelter under the beds and tables when the air raid siren wailed.

The area around Spring Garden Lane, Tai Yuen Street andWan Chai Road was the core of Wan Chai, the area from Tai Fat Hau to Ngo Keng Kiu was especially busy. The restaurants there included the Ying King, Lung Fung, Double Happiness and Tai Shing. His father had built a tea stove for the Double Happiness Restaurant. The shops in Tai Yuen Street sold all kinds of goods. Every night, the Southorn Playground was packed with hawkers selling hats, medicine and snacks (such as mollusks). The famous schools in Wan Chai included Kiu Kong, Tuen Ching, Kin Lam, Tung Chai and the China Children School. The Kiu Kong School also ran the Pun U District Association of Hong KongFree Evening School. The day and evening sections were run under different names.The site where Wu Chung House now stands was theHong Kong Grand Theatre and the site where Tai Yau Plaza now stands was the Oriental Theatre. Standing next to it was the National Theatre and Global Theatre. Not far awaywere the Roxy Theatre and Hoover Theatre. Lai Yiu Kai thinks it was a luxury for a child to go to the movies. Although he lived next to a cinema, it was not until he was nine that he first visited a cinema.In the 1940s and 1950s, the cinema tickets were sold by loges. The front rows cost 20 cents and the back rows cost 50 cents. When he was a child, his family spent more on Chinese restaurantsthan the movies. The teahouses opposite to their home were the Koon Hoi Teahouse and Kwok On Teahouse.




Title Childhood memories in Wan Chai. Schools, teahouses and cinemas of Wan Chai in the 1950s
Date 25/03/2010
Subject Community
Duration 15m15s
Language Cantonese
Material Type
Collection
Repository Hong Kong Memory Project
Note to Copyright Copyright owned by Hong Kong Memory Project
Accession No. LKF-LYK-SEG-018
Living environment of Pitt Street at Yau Ma Tei. Ancestor and deity worship of the Lai family

In 1957, Lai Yiu Kai’s father changed his job and worked as a building caretaker. The whole family moved to Kowloon and rented a room in a building on Pitt Street. It was a new-style building with a low ceiling. The flat had no balcony and was shared by threeor four households. It was a crowded living environment and the whole family would eat and sleep in the room. At the time he worked in Sham Shui Po, he used to walk to Nathan Road for the bus. In the days when he lived in Pitt Street, he seldom participated in community activities because all his time was spent on work and evening school. The only activity was to have Chinese tea at Lung Fung Restaurant. Later, they moved to Pei Ho Street because the Pitt Street flat was too small.

Ancestral worship has always been practiced in the Lai family andthey have spirit tablets handed down from generation to generation. When they lived in Queen’s Road East in Wan Chai, they accommodated the tablets in a god-shelf. Besides the ancestors of the Lai family, the Kwan Tai and Monkey King were also worshipped. All the 7 households worshipped the gods, they waited orderly for their turns. The god-shelf was at a high spot, the worshipper had to stand on a chair to offer the incense. Other tenants worshipped the god of land and god of kitchen. Each household hung a photo of the family’sancestor in the room. When the Lai family moved to Pitt Street, they only took away the tablets of the grandparents and Monkey King and the god-shelf was left behind. In the new home, they were kept in a case because there was no space for enshrinement. It was not until they moved to So Uk Estate that the tablets were re-enshrined for worship.




Title Living environment of Pitt Street at Yau Ma Tei. Ancestor and deity worship of the Lai family
Date 25/03/2010
Subject Community
Duration 8m31s
Language Cantonese
Material Type
Collection
Repository Hong Kong Memory Project
Note to Copyright Copyright owned by Hong Kong Memory Project
Accession No. LKF-LYK-SEG-019
Community lives in Sham Shui Po. Listening to the radio was a major form of entertainment in the ...

Lai Yiu Kai’s first home in the Sham Shui Po district was a rented room in Pei Ho Street. The 3 rooms of the flat were rented to 6 households. The Lai family lived in the middle room. Outside their room was a bed space. The home in Pei Ho Street had water and electricity supplies, the households shared the washroom in an orderly way. The new home was close to the pier and next to the market. Outside the building were street hawkers selling second-hand clothes. Lai Yiu Kai used to go to work on foot, he would have Chinese tea in a restaurant nearby if he had time. Later, the Lai family moved to Fuk Wah Street (the site where the Precious Blood Hospital stands). It was a flat shared by 4 households. Lai Yiu Kai seldom had contact with the community after the family moved to Sham Shui Po. When he lived in Fuk Wah Street, he was a member of the Civil Aid Service (CAS). On Sundays, he received training on the open space outside the North Kowloon Magistracy and attended lessons at the Fuk Wing Street Government Primary School at night. He learnt fire-fighting and first-aid in the CAS. The government school was a place where the elderly danced the social dance. Pei Ho Street and Nam Cheong Street were close to a market, they were the busiest places in Sham Shui Po. In the past, the CAS district, Cheung Sha Wan (including the Caritas Medical Centre and So Uk Estate) and Sham Shui Po belong to the same district. There were 20 to 30 members for the Sham Shui Po district.

In the 1950s, radio broadcasting was the main form of entertainment. The Tai Yau Chung Herbal Tea House in Spring Garden Lane always had its radio tuned to the RTHK and Rediffusion for drama such as The Seven Heroes and Five Gallants and Ji Gong. Many passersby would squat on the roadside and listened. In the Queen’s Road East home, the old woman who lived in the front room subscribed the Rediffusion for a monthly fee of $10 for drama such as ‘Story telling by Lee Ngo’. Other famous broadcasters included Fong Wing, Tang Kee Chan and Chung Wai Ming. The drama programs started at 7 pm every night. Lai Yiu Kai liked to go to the streets for the drama programs, but he had no time for them after they moved to Kowloon. His parents did not have much entertainment. His mother spent most of her leisure time sleeping. Their lives were monotonous.




Title Community lives in Sham Shui Po. Listening to the radio was a major form of entertainment in the 1950s
Date 25/03/2010
Subject Community
Duration 14m30s
Language Cantonese
Material Type
Collection
Repository Hong Kong Memory Project
Note to Copyright Copyright owned by Hong Kong Memory Project
Accession No. LKF-LYK-SEG-020
Taking part in Civil Aid Service and Auxiliary Police Force
In the early years, people who were born in Hong Kong had to serve all kinds of military services, such as Civil Aid Service (CAS), Auxiliary Police Force, reserve firemen, Auxiliary Medical Service and the Volunteers (Hong Kong Army). In those days, the young people were keen to join the CAS, Lai Yiu Kai also joined the CAS after his father’s example. In 1964, he won the CASmarching championship.What impressed him most was the operation in response to the Lai Chi Kok bamboo scaffold fire in the 1960s. A fire broke out at the site where the Cheung Sha Wan Plaza now stands. Lai Yiu Kai hurried to the venue to help with therescue operation voluntarily. He maintained order and helped the firemen by controlling thewater mains. In those days, there was no written code of action. The members joined the rescue voluntarily when natural or men-made disasters occurred. The CAS training included rescue operations in a flat.In 1969, he resigned from the CAS and joined the Royal Hong Kong Police Force as a reserve. He did so out of vainglory because he believed that one gained respect in a uniform. His father was the friend of a high-ranking officer in the Kowloon City police station. The officer advised Lai Yiu Kai to join the police force but his father did not approve. After the 1967 riot, he was advised to become a regular policeman. At the time, he earned a handsome salary in the factory while a policeman was only paid $200 to $300. Therefore, he did not want to change his jobs. In 2007, he joined theElderly Uniform Groupof the Hong Kong Red Cross.



Title Taking part in Civil Aid Service and Auxiliary Police Force
Date 25/03/2010
Duration 9m6s
Language Cantonese
Material Type
Collection
Repository Hong Kong Memory Project
Note to Copyright Copyright owned by Hong Kong Memory Project
Accession No. LKF-LYK-SEG-021
Living environment and neighbor relationship in So Uk Estate

Lai Yiu Kai moved to So Uk Estate in 1960. His father was the applicant for the public housing unit. When the government investigators came to assess their application qualifications, his father highlighted that his son had served in the disciplinary force. Lai Yiu Kai though it was probably because his father revealedsuch relationship that they were allocated a unit. At the time, his father, his younger brother and him all had stable jobs. One of his younger brothers was a bus driver.They were allocated the unit after a wait oftwo to three years when the unit was vacated by tenant’s removal.Later, when the Lai family applied for Pok Hong Estate, they waited for more than a decade before a unit was allocated.The Lai family chose to apply for So Uk Estate because it was close to their workplaces.

Lai Yiu Kai was excited about this new home because they would have their own washroom, kitchen and private space. He said So Uk Estate had a nice environment. Each unit had different layout but he did not like the rectangular layout of his unit because it madepartitioning difficult. In So Uk Estate, Lai Yiu Kai seldom socialized with his neighbor. He was busy with his work and it was a boring life. His mother had had mahjong games with neighbours but was criticized by his father. Like in the old buildings, an exchange of hello was their only interaction with the neighbours. Lai Yiu Kai’s friends said being allocated a unit in So Uk Estate was more fortunate than winning the Mark Six but he felt nothing special about it.




Title Living environment and neighbor relationship in So Uk Estate
Date 25/03/2010
Subject Social Life
Duration 6m52s
Language Cantonese
Material Type
Collection
Repository Hong Kong Memory Project
Note to Copyright Copyright owned by Hong Kong Memory Project
Accession No. LKF-LYK-SEG-022
Living condition of Pok Hong Estate
It was a smooth process for Lai Yiu Kaito move into Pok Hong Estate. He was allocated a unit of square layout which posed no partitioning problems. Besides, it had sufficientnatural light. In those days, the public housing applicants were not entitled to choose a unit, they could only choose the district. He moved into Pok Hong Estate in 1983 and still lives there today but the rent has risen from around $400 to more than $2,000. When they moved in, hischildren were in their adolescence. His two daughters lived with his mother-in-law in her Happy Valley residence because it was close to their schools.



Title Living condition of Pok Hong Estate
Date 25/03/2010
Subject Social Life
Duration 3m44s
Language Cantonese
Material Type
Collection
Repository Hong Kong Memory Project
Note to Copyright Copyright owned by Hong Kong Memory Project
Accession No. LKF-LYK-SEG-023
Moving to Happy Valley after his marriage
When Lai Yiu Kai got married in 1966, he moved into his parents-in-law’s residence in Happy Valley. It was a new-style building with elevators. Lai Yiu Kai said things were more expensive in Happy Valley and the transport network was poor; only the tram and bus of low frequency were available. It was a long time afterwards that Happy Valley was served with the Kowloon-bound tunnel buses. Because he worked in Tsuen Wan, he lived in the company’s staff dormitory. He went home for Saturdays and returned to the dormitory the next day.He thinks Happy Valley is suitable for the wealthyonly because they drive a car. Lai Yiu Kai seldom participated in the community activities. When he changed to work in Kam Kee Fabrics, his office was in Wing Kut Street in the Central District. Later, it was moved to an industrial building in Yau Ma Tei.



Title Moving to Happy Valley after his marriage
Date 25/03/2010
Subject Social Life
Duration 4m23s
Language Cantonese
Material Type
Collection
Repository Hong Kong Memory Project
Note to Copyright Copyright owned by Hong Kong Memory Project
Accession No. LKF-LYK-SEG-024
Being aloof from the community due to busy work lives
In his young days, Lai Yiu Kai was aloof from the community because he was always busy with work. He had no ideas of the streets in Happy Valley although he hadlived there for a long time. When he moved to Pok Hong Estate in Shatin, his three children still lived with their grandparents because their schools were in Happy Valley. To Lai Yiu Kai, the residence was only a place to sleep. It was not until he grew older that he has a closer tie with the community. He emphasizes that he does not want to become ‘old man in the park’. Now, he actively participates in the activities of the elderly centre and always chatsabout things in the past with people of his age.



Title Being aloof from the community due to busy work lives
Date 25/03/2010
Subject Community
Language Cantonese
Material Type
Collection
Repository Hong Kong Memory Project
Note to Copyright Copyright owned by Hong Kong Memory Project
Accession No. LKF-LYK-SEG-025
A retrospect of his life and belief: No retirement buy only unemployment, reminiscence of good da...

Lai Yiu Kai started to work at the age of 12. In his several-decade career life, he has never been unemployed. He worked until 2006 when he temporarily left the workplace. He emphasized that he was only ‘unemployed’ but not retired. He had applied tothe Social Welfare Department for the unemployment relief, but was refused. He has no intention to retire and does not want to become the ‘old man in the park’. He wants to follow his father’s example and works until his last breath. His father had lung cancer and it was only 70 days between the diagnosis and his death. He deplored at the unpredictability of life. His wife always advises him against reminiscence.When he worked in KamKee Fabrics, he earned high commissions. Lai Yiu Kai had generously spent several thousand dollars and treated his family and relatives to dinner gatherings at the Tai Woo Restaurant in Wan Chai andeach feast cost more than $2,000. He had spent his $4,000-bonus on a gold watch after his boss’s example just to keep up with the Joneses, but his former employer had criticized him as a shopaholic. Lai Yiu Kai never has much savings. To avoid being the victim of price manipulation, he never invests in the shares market. He cannot afford to buy a residential flat neither, so he emphasizes that he ‘owns nothing’. Now he still ‘depends on himself’ by selling his gold ornaments to make ends meet.

He criticizes the young people today as impolitefor notgreeting the others; they yearn for success but do not work hard for it.In job interviews, he has met young candidates who are poor in attitude andin untidy inclothes. Some even attended the interviewin a pair of slippers. He emphasizes that ‘clothes make the man’; he has never improperly dressed for any occasion.Although his boss set no written dress code, he understood that he should not poorly impress his customers with improper clothes. In the past, a boss always paid attention to his employees’ clothes and was considerate of their needs. Lai Yiu Kai never belittles anyone. He emphasizes that one should not learn social skills from a book but from the ‘University of the Society’. He considers that material life today is much better. With the low birth rate, the young people have been given all-round care since childhood. Unable to stand hardship,they cannot work in the textile, paper modeling, barber, scaffolding and cement industries and these trades will soon wane out.




Title A retrospect of his life and belief: No retirement buy only unemployment, reminiscence of good days with big spending, criticism on today’s youngsters
Date 25/03/2010
Duration 26m30s
Language Cantonese
Material Type
Collection
Repository Hong Kong Memory Project
Note to Copyright Copyright owned by Hong Kong Memory Project
Accession No. LKF-LYK-SEG-026