Wednesday, June 10, 2009


In the 60s, unmotivated students liked to get together and go to the movies to watch wuxia films like WONG FEI HUNG, THE SIX-FINGERS LORD OF THE LUTE (LOK JI KAM MOR), THE WHITE-BONE SWORD (BAK GWUT YUM YEUNG GIM) and fantasized themselves to be Kwan Tak Hing, Cho Tat Wa and Yu So Chau. Yu Jim Yuen was a famous industry stunt chief. If you wanted to learn martial arts and study Beijing Opera, finding Master Yu was no mistake.

Yet before becoming Yu So Chau, the disciples had to pay the price. "It was very tough, my butt bloomed from all the beating. I had to suffer through everything, actually it wasn't all that fun!" Third sister Yuen Qiu spoke on behalf of the Seven Little Fortunes.

Hogging Food During Meals, Spit Competition

Suffering was certain, but they never expected food and shelter would be as such. To a group of kids who were growing and everyday exerted a lot of energy, the pain that they endured was not something that the children of today would not understand.

Yuen Qiu said, "Back then the meal was only 10 bucks a day. Everyday we ate at four separate tables with three dishes and one bowl of soup, but the soup was bean sprouts and tofu. Of course it was more soup than ingredients. As for the three dishes, one was bean sprouts and tofu from the soup, one was stir fried bak choy and the other was fish."

Yuen Qiu's expression turned bitter as she spoke, as if she was ten million times unwilling to have those food again. She said, "At the time what we ate were cat fishes, the fishes came in boxes. If they took them and threw them on the ground they wouldn't break. They were as hard as rocks."

They took the good and the bad. Whether it was a cat fish or a king groper, getting food in the stomach was the most important. Yuen Qiu without any hesitation said that in order to eat, the brethren all devised ingenious schemes, spitting, claiming turf, a full meal was hard to come by.

In the Sixties, Hong Kong had water, rice and powdered milk ration, everything was rationed. Big Brother Yuen Ting was one of the ones in line. Even if he only got two cans of milk he was already halfway to Heaven with joy. "At that time the church would at night give out milk powder, old shoes and old clothes to help the poor. We got in line, at the time on average each person could get two cans of milk. With so many people together we had a supply for a long time."

Simplicity Was A Blessing, Finding Joy On Your Own

As the song goes, "With you it's happier, everything is satisfactory, salted fish and cabbage are delicious too." Back then Hong Kong people were not considered rich, but people were full of interaction. Seven Little Fortunes were no different from children of the same age. They played with marbles, snapped cartoon papers, double dutch, climbed trees and caught bugs. Even if they were "hanging out" at the herbal tea store and watched wrestling, slowing enjoying with a bag of thirty cent novel at the pavilion, they still had fun on their own. (3)

Courtesy of

No comments:

Post a Comment