Students bank on humour to cash in on fair

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 20 January, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 20 January, 2009, 12:00am

A few budding entrepreneurs are relying on irreverence and black humour to draw business at the Lunar New Year Fair in Victoria Park.

One group of students from Cheung Chuk Shan College are selling pink inflatable plastic toys that resemble the result of a bodily function, while another group from Polytechnic University are offering water bottles shaped to resemble melamine-tainted milk cartons.

'We would like to use black humour to cheer Hongkongers up,' said Hung Tsz-lam, a second-year student who is in charge of the Polytechnic group's stall. 'The discovery of melamine-tainted foodstuff was sad news, but it is New Year so we want to make people happy.'

He said he hoped the water bottles, in an ironic turn, would bring shoppers good fortune, as water symbolised money in traditional Chinese culture.

He was confident of sales despite the economic downturn. 'As long as we are willing to sell, there will be customers. The financial crisis is not an excuse to assume that we are not going to make a profit,' he said.

On the other side of the park, the stall of Panda Hung Mao, selling inflatable dolls, attempted to attract visitors with a lucky draw, with prizes including three 'gold' oxen worth HK$5,000 each. 'Too many sad things happened in the Year of the Rat and we would like to bid farewell to them,' she said.

'Making money is not our concern. We just want to make everyone happy in the Year of the Ox.'

A flower vendor who gave her name as Mrs Tam said she would not raise prices amid the economic downturn.

'We have been selling flowers here for 30 years,' she said. 'We just want to make prices affordable to everyone so that all could be happy.'

The Lunar New Year fairs are to open today in 14 locations in Hong Kong, including Morse Park in Wong Tai Sin and Fa Hui Park in Mong Kok.