Interview & Editing 採訪、編輯、整理：Cheung Tsz-hin/ 張子軒
English Translation 英譯 : Winnie Chau/ 周潁榆
Ta Kwu Ling’s Chuk Yuen Village Resite Area and Shing Ping School/ 打鼓嶺竹園新村及昇平學校
Tascam DR 40/ Handheld 手持錄音/ Walking While Recording 邊行邊錄音
Hin- Cheung Tsz-hin Aunt- Hin’s maternal aunt Mother- Hin’s mother
Hin：Can you talk a bit about the country life?
Aunt：In the past, we lived in a rural house. It’s a house made of blue bricks and tiles with an attic. We have many sisters. All of us slept in the attic and grandma slept downstairs. There were farm tools downstairs too, such as rice pounder – not sure if you have seen it before. It’s like a seesaw.
Mother：That pounder comes with a long, thick wood board. One end is sharper with a large stone placed below it. There is a deep hole in the middle of the stone. When you step on the wood at the blunt end with force and then release your foot, the sharper end will slide down into the stone hole.
Aunt：Sometimes, you need two people to step on it. You (Hin) don’t understand Hakka… (Aunt and mother speak Hakka spontaneously when they talk about certain topics. As I don’t speak Hakka, I supposed aunt would like mother to explain what she said to me in Cantonese.)
Mother：Step on that board and put the grains into the stone hole. The grain hulls would be removed. Then, use a big winnow basket to filter out the hulls.
Aunt：We filtered until the hulls were fully removed and we could sell them or consume them ourselves. Some of the rice was used for making rice crispy treats. We ate the sticky rice, which is the type you eat daily. … To plant straws, we needed to sow the hulls. When the shoots came out, we used a shovel to shovel them up. Later, the farmers held the straw pieces, just like pizza. They tore them bit by bit for sowing. The whole field was filled row after row. They judged the correct spots for the rice seedling by eye only. There’re still many steps after the seedlings were transplanted. For example, if we needed to pour water into the field, we needed to transport the water. We pumped water from Shenzhen River next to the field. There was a ‘bai tau’. We call it ‘bai tau’ in Hakka. …（Aunt and mother talked in Hakka.）
Mother：‘Bai tau’ means waterfall. There was a small waterfall next to the field. When it’s high tide, we pumped water from the small waterfall for irrigation.
Aunt：Besides irrigation, we waited for the seedlings to grow steadily and taller. There would be a lot of weeds. We removed the large weeds and stepped the small ones into the soil. After harvest, the rice field lied fallow for a few months, during which we planted sweet potatoes, carrots and cabbages.
Mother：And peanuts too.
Aunt：Right, peanuts. We pulled up the peanuts, in a large pile. Everyone would then sit down to pluck the peanuts. The peanut leaves would be sundried and used for burning. Sweet potato leaves could be used to feed the pigs.
Hin：Sweet potato leaves can be eaten by humans, can’t they?
Aunt：In the past, we didn’t eat them. We fed them to the pigs.
Mother：The pigs ate ‘piu zai’ – the purple flowers – in the river. Sweet potato leaves too. In short, all useless leaves would be used to feed the pigs.
Aunt：In the morning, we went to school. When we returned at night, we chopped sweet potato leaves and other leaves for the pigs. You see these scars on my hand. I cut myself while chopping leaves for the pigs. At that time, there were no electric lights. We only had kerosene lamps. Even when we had got electric lights, we would still cut ourselves carelessly because of the lack of sleep. The kids who didn’t need to go to school would help on the farms. Those who went to school still needed to do farm work after school. They had to cut off the leaves and to chop them up for Ah Tai  to feed the pigs.
Hin：Where were the pig kept? Near the house?
Aunt：Very far from the house. The pigsty was partitioned. Our pigs were allocated by Kadoorie Farm to Ah Tai, as well as those ‘gwaa mou po’ . Kadoorie Farm was very nice; we were raised by them. They gave us jumbo cans of butter, which were as big as milk powder cans. We didn’t have any main dishes for meals so we mixed butter with rice. They also gave us cans of lard. It’s yummy. We added a little soy sauce and it smelt great. When it’s someone’s wedding or when something good had happened, we killed a pig to treat the whole village. … Actually, when I cut the rice crop, I would cut my hand too. It wounded the same place when I cut myself while chopping leaves for pigs. Sometimes, I was just too impatient. This hand was indeed very susceptible to injuries. Now, my skin is wrinkled and the scars are less visible. When we worked in the city, the older generation in the factory would know we’re ‘hoeng haa mui  once they saw our hands.
Mother：I still recall when we cut the rice crop, some people from another field were listening to the radio, playing Twin Stars’ Love Song .
Aunt：The rice straw left over from growing rice would sometimes be piled up like a small hill – the way you see it in old Cantonese TV dramas. They were left to feed the cows in winter. At that time, we had two cows. Sometimes, we needed to herd the cow to the banana field, where weeds could be found. We used a very long rope to herd the cows. When the cows moved, they would drag the urns at the graves  and break them. I wasn’t scared because I simply didn’t understand what they were. When we herded the cows, urns were everywhere.
Mother：In the past, there was no toilet at home. In the small hours on a quiet night, going to the latrine was scarier.
Aunt：The latrine was far away. We had to walk past a few houses. It’s at the fung shui woods  behind the old house, in the direction of the wire fencing at the Frontier Closed Area. There were many trees and bamboos. It’s a scary experience every time we went to the toilet. So, it’s best not to have the call of nature in the small hours.
Mother：But what else could we have done, really?!
Migration of Refugees
Aunt：It was very terrifying during the 1967 Riots . People clustered around the wire fencing. Those people came to Hong Kong illegally through Shenzhen River. They hid in the grass and crossed the river when the soldiers weren’t paying attention. Some drowned. Those who managed to cross the river would wait for the right time to climb over the wire fencing. At the time, the People’s Liberation Army stationed at the hill tops nearby. They didn’t have telescopes so the illegal immigrants could enter Hong Kong when soldiers of the People’s Liberation Army couldn’t see them.
Mother：It was famine in China at the time. People would come to Hong Kong illegally. There were two illegal immigration waves during the famine and the Cultural Revolution.
Aunt：We were very frightened too during the Riots.
Mother：The atmosphere was tense. On the mountain opposite to the old house, there’re a lot of trenches dug by Gurkhas . It was a militarized zone. Our village was between that mountain and Shenzhen River. If battles broke out, we would be doomed. So, for a period of time, to be safe, we moved over to Wo Hop Shek Village in Fanling to stay at the home of my elder brother’s wife. During that period, Ah Tai was reluctant to leave. She stayed behind to look after the old house. My younger sister didn’t want to leave either.
Hin：How many households were there in the entire village at the time?
Aunt：About 11 to 12 households.
Going to School 
Mother：When I was small, this place was a road. There’re people selling ice lollies here. People in the old times had fun among themselves. They played hide-and-seek at recess. On the other side, they played football, ran, took part in track and field events, and played basketball. This place was packed with bicycles. Many students went to school by bicycle. You heard ‘clang, clang, clang, clang’ at recess, before and after school. It was all farmland outside the school. This made those of us who studied here all ‘hoeng haa zai’ .
Hin：This was part of the school building too?
Mother：No, it wasn’t. It’s a tuck shop. This house at the side was where Uncle Tong used to live. He sold noodles to students. Later, the tuck shop, also known as ‘cooperative’, was established. Every recess, students would buy snacks at the tuck shop.
Hin：Was there a school bell?
Mother：Of course, there must be a school bell in a school. In those days, I think it was Uncle Tong’s handheld type, which went like ‘ring, ring, ring’.
Hin：Are you at home with the environment here?
Aunt：When I was living in Chuk Yuen Village, we walked directly out into the ground when we opened the front door. . There’s no need to climb the stairs or close the door. Children played outside the door; it was boisterous. Now, children don’t play in the open space any more. It’s like living in a high-rise in Kowloon. I can’t recognise the place I used to live; it has all turned into a mud hill, which is higher than the house we used to live.
 Ah Tai: Hakka family appellation. Ah Tai can be used to address mother’s grandfather or grandmother. In the text, Ah Tai refers to mother’s grandmother.
 gwaa mou po (widowed mother): refers to a woman whose husband is dead and has to raise her children single-handedly.
 hoeng haa mui/hoeng haa zai (bumpkin girl/boy): refer to the children from the countryside.
 Twin Stars’ Love Song《雙星情歌》: a Hong Kong pop song in the 70s, sang by Sam Hui.
 Urn: a type of container for the skeletal remains or ash of the deceased.
 Fung Shui woods: the belief that forests bring good fortune and practical benefits such as climate regulation (the idea of ‘fung shui’ in this context), which motivated, early Southern China villagers to build villages near woods. Fung Shui woods refer to forests next to these old villages.
 Aunt uses the terms 1967 Riots to refer to the situations of the historical events of the famine and the Cultural Revolution in China between the 50s and 70s. In the context of the history of Hong Kong, the 1967 Riots is often taken to mean the series of violent incidents against the colonial Hong Kong government at that time.
 Gurkha: Nepalese mercenaries who accompanied the British Army to Hong Kong, responsible for border defence in colonial Hong Kong.
 In the 70s, Hin’s mother went to Shing Ping School in Ta Kwu Ling. The school has closed down and is now encircled by wire fencing.
姨母：離家好遠的。豬欄是一格格的，我們的豬是嘉道理農場分給阿太還有那些寡母婆的。嘉道理農場十分好，她養大我們。她會派一罐很大的牛油給我們，好像奶粉罐那樣大，我們沒有餸，便拿一點牛油撈飯吃。她也有派一罐罐的豬油，很好吃的，撈一點豉油，很香。 當有人結婚或者發生什麼好事，便會劏豬，然後請整條村的人吃。 ……其實割禾時也會割到手，和剁豬菜時容易弄傷的是同一個位置，因為有時太心急了。總之這隻手多災多難，現在皮膚皺了，疤痕沒有那麼明顯。我們到外面打工，做工廠的老一輩一看我們的手，便知道我們是「鄉下妹」。
Aunt’s childhood home was situated below the mud hill next to the wire fencing.