2013-03-19        MTR hawkers

A hawk is a bird of prey with exceptional vision and keen hunting ability.
In English the surname "Hawker' designated someone who bred and trained hawks. "Hawker" meaning someone who sells things on the street comes from German and Dutch words meaning "vendor". Given the aggressive skills, some would say the cunning skills of vendor hawkers, the bird sense of their name is not inappropriate.

Hawkers are to found all over the world. As in Hong Kong, most places have registered and unregistered hawkers. In Cantonese the term Jau Gwei ("running from ghosts") is used to describe hawkers running away from the police!

One thing that surprises me is the way illegal hawkers brazenly sell their goods inside MTR entrances. Given the increase of visitors from the Mainland, MTR entrances are becoming ever more crowded. The presence of illegal hawkers compromises the safety of MTR passengers.

When MTR staff or police chase an illegal hawker away, the hawker just waits for the staff or police to go, then returns to the MTR steps to continue trading. Surely it's time for MTR staff and police to be given the power to issue on the spot fines to illegal hawkers. If not fines, then at least give staff and police a camera to photograph illegal hawkers. Illegal hawkers are shy birds and don't like being photographed!