Photos: Chinese New Year Cleaning in a Public Housing Flat

It is customary for Chinese to clean house before Chinese New Year. Chinese new year holidays are a time of family gatherings and joy in the community. However, for many lonely senior citizens in Hong Kong, there is little joy and prosperity. One afternoon this week, I joined a volunteer team that went to senior citizens' homes who live alone and helped them clean and decorate their small public housing flats and enjoyed a brief but lively conversation with a few of them. From the looks on their faces, they enjoyed the visit and it brightened their day.

Click on an image for a larger view:

{gallery}MaskofChina/FEB12008{/gallery} Mrs. Lee endures the cool HK winter in her drafty flat with no heat. Volunteers help clean Mrs. Lee's flat. Annual house cleaning is a pre-Chinese New Year ritual and our volunteer group went to visit some seniors who live alone to help them clean and lift their spirits. Living alone in a sterile, 300 square foot flat is bad enough, but Mrs. Lee has a painful foot problem which makes it hard for her to go out and socialise with her neighbours. A student talks with Mrs. Lee who rarely gets visitors.