Tuesday, March 20, 2012

cardboard collectors

I love photographing the elderly because I think that they are beautiful.  They have lived a full life and their faces tell a bit of their life story...good or bad.

There are lots of old people here in Hong Kong.  Many of them are still very active and I really enjoy seeing them out in the parks and sports fields practicing their tai-chi and doing their funny little exercises.  A sight that I don't enjoy, and actually find difficult to observe here is that of the many elderly people working different menial jobs around town.  I've seen older men and women doing everything from selling second hand items on the sidewalk, to working on the streets as street cleaners, and essentially doing whatever odd job they can find in order to make a living.  This makes me so sad as these men and women are old - some of them are really, really old.  Every time I see one of these old people I can't help but wonder about their families and life and why someone isn't there taking care of them.  In my mind, I feel as though they've done their time and have worked long and hard enough to now deserve to sit back and enjoy whatever life they have left.

A sight I see daily in my neighborhood is that of the old women and men who walk along the streets collecting cardboard for recycling.  They do this day in and day out from dawn to dusk as a way to make a living, as meager as it may be.  They collect the boxes from the stores nearby and break them down, often using water to make the boxes more pliable.  These piles of cardboard are then stored on trolleys and once the pile is large enough, they somehow manage to push them to the collection center all on their own.  The next day, they do it all over again.  

My favorite shot that I'm sharing with Busy Nothings Photography Club.



 



29 comments:

  1. it is truly sad to see old folks trying to make ends meet like this everyday! thanks for sharing your world.

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    1. Thanks for taking the time to read this! It is not the happiest post, but it is life out here, so I feel like it should be shared.

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  2. I saw the same thing in Taiwan, and it was hard to watch these old, old women drag overloaded carts (in their case, it was garbage) just to make the ends meet... The first picture you posted is so beautiful - so much story in that face. Wish we could help them! Warmest greetings from Africa,
    Esther

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    1. Thanks for stopping by Esther! I really love the first photo as well. It just speaks to me...one of those moments when I had my camera out at the right time at the right place. I hear you...I so wish there was something to be done for these people who deserve more.

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  3. I'm always amazed when I follow a comment left on my blog back to the person that wrote it...in this case a new contact in Hong Kong. My eyes are opened each time...such different places we live. This post broke my heart...and it needed to be. So often we take for granted what we have. Thank you for making this connection.

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    1. Thank you for stopping by Anita! I'm so glad this post spoke to you...it really fills my heart up to know that this reached someone from a different walk of life. :) Looking forward to "seeing" more of you in this wonderful blogging community!

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  4. Hi Melody, thanks for visiting my blog and commenting on my pictures. I think your musings are quite interesting and look forward to visiting often.

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    1. Hi John! I'm so glad you enjoy my musings. They are definitely a work in progress. Looking forward to sharing more with you! :)

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  5. That is a fascinating snapshot into life there, and a somewhat sad one.

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    1. It is definitely not one of my happy go lucky posts, so thank you for taking a moment and stopping by for a read.

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  6. I think it's miserable too! Welfare of the elderly is one of the problems should be fixed in HK.

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    1. Yeah...it is really sad Jo. I watched a video clip someone made about the elderly in HK and the ones living in cages and it just broke my heart. Hopefully things will change sometime sooner than later.

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  7. The pictures are great, but the subject matter is sad. They have grim looks on their faces - right?

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    1. Thanks Libby! I'm glad you like the pictures despite the sadness that surround them. I agree, they do look rather grim and serious. They often appear to be in their own worlds as they go about their business disassembling the cardboard boxes.

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  8. I feel so sad when I see these old ladies --especially when they are bent over, pushing a cart that seems to weigh a ton. When I first arrived in HK, I was a bit shocked to see people so old still working...

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    1. What's worse is that we are probably now use to it all right? :(

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  9. It´s hard when you see that kind of poverty.

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    1. Yes it is. I never know what to do...how much to give or not. I figure respect and appreciation is a good way to start.

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  10. Sad scenes which unfortunately can be seen everywhere in the world.
    Very good reportage photos.

    Regards and best wishes

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    1. Thank you. Yes, it is unfortunate that this type of scene is seen everywhere.

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  11. Such good photos capturing a sad part of humanity. Why is it the elderly are so easily discarded? :(

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    1. Thank you. It boggles my mind as well. It is so sad to see the elderly forgotten and forsaken. :(

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  12. Bravo pour ce travail photographique sur un sujet pas facile

    Merci d'avoir participer au challenge "Walk In The Street Photography"

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    1. Thank you so much! It is sad to photograph, but I still see the beauty in their faces.

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  13. I agree with you. Old people trying to scratch a living for themselves is very sad. They should instead be resting and spending pleasant times with their families. People may criticise the welfare state, but at least an old age pension prevents old people having to work to live like this...

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    1. Yep. Things need to change in our society so that people are being taken care of. Thanks for stopping by!

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  14. Wow! That is incredible! Thank you for sharing at "Life as this Mommy knows It"!

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  15. Hi Melody, bit late to the party but stumbled upon your post when I was trying to find out how to give cardboard to many of the elderly people near my area. Maybe we can keep in touch and do something for them together in future since we both feel strongly about the elderly's welfare? Even if it is just buying them a meal or a drink now and then. :)

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Thank you so much for stopping by and reading my post! I absolutely LOVE getting comments and appreciate all the feedback and responses. :D xo