Today, we lost our dear friend, Mr. Tsang Chun Kee or Gung Gung as he had us call him. Although we only knew him for eight or nine years (or from when he was 85!) he immediately welcomed us into his life. Despite the fact that neither he nor I spoke a common language we spent many an hour sitting in the shade of the banana trees at the edge of beach, just watching the world go by. He named me, "A Hello", I think because that was one of the few words we both knew.
A refugee from China, Gung Gung rowed to Hong Kong during the cultural revolution and made his way along the South side of Lantau Island looking for somewhere to set up home. Eventually he landed at Man Kok Tsui wher he has remained ever since. He initially survived as a grass cutter selling thatch to the inhabitants of Cheung Chau Island.
When in his sixties, with his wife dead and his children long dispersed he was struggling to cope with running his smallholding of pigs and vegetable patches. Encouraged by his friends to give up his humble life and move into government housing in Mui Wo, he remained defiant that he would not leave his "home". Instead he sought out, (no doubt with much charm and twinkling of his eyes) a new wife and married "Patum" and equally resourceful and fiercely independent lady.
Gung Gung adored people visiting and people seemed to enjoy spending time with him too. It was always a surprise to find hikers from Hong Kong returning again and again just to say hello to him. Perhaps because he always could find a cold beer or a drop or two of the stronger stuff or a juice drink for the boys.
Rest easy Gung Gung,