Because of the increasing fuel price, implement of environmental policy as well as variable weather in recent years, Fishing is suffering a tough time. Most traditional fishermen decide to divert to other fields. Uncle Ming, being as one of the local traditional fishermen, with great luck, found his new job eight years ago and now works as a fisherfolk docent in Lamma fisherfolk’s village.
“As the leaving and retiring of older generation fishermen, some valuable “fisherfolk” culture like fishfolk wedding, traditional way of making dragon boat, weaving the fishing net and frizzling up salty fish pass into silence gradually,” said Cheng Wah Ming with a sense of pity.
Uncle Ming has contributed his own fishing boat which he used to live in with his ten sisters and brothers, as well as all his personal stuff to set up a small fisherfolk’s museum, hoping that all visitors could have a first – hand experience of fishmen’s life and better understand their culture.
“I know even thought it won’t make a big change under my own steam, I am trying my best to remain our traditional fisherfolk culture by working as a docent here. I love my job and it seems a responsibility for me, it is really meaningful.” said Uncle Ming.
“I did the decoration and wrote every piece of spring couplets here by myself.” He said with a bit of pride. And he is in this way, using each tiny action, carry out his promise to preserve fishfolk culture.
Uncle Ming is glad to share his own way of making fish nets and drying salted fish with visitors. But he looks more attractive when he performs magic! “I already have a lot of fans!” he joked. “I learned by reading books and simple wish to bring greater happiness to my visitors.”
Like most fishermen, Uncle Ming believes fishing will be his first and also the last job. However, not everyone get that piece of good luck. “For most of traditional fishermen, with inadequate education and poor stamina in their age, they have to work as sanitation workers or stevedores in urban city when they no longer work as fishermen.”
The <Fisheries Protection Ordinance> will be put into practice in the coming December. Legislative Council has passed the legislative amendments to ban trawling (including pair, stern, shrimp and hang trawling) in Hong Kong waters. By conservative estimates, around 400 trawl boats owners will be affected.
Even though the government is going to buyout those affected inshore trawlers from trawler owners who voluntarily surrender their vessels, it occasioned Uncle Ming much anxiety. “What those fishermen lose will not be simply a fishing boat, but the spiritual patron for their living.” Said Uncle Ming with a sense of sadness.