Rivals join crowds at holiday fairs

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 22 January, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 22 January, 2012, 12:00am


The candidates for chief executive joined the crowds browsing Lunar New Year fairs ahead of the holiday - but it will take the fiery breath of the dragon to keep vendors and shoppers from shivering through the last hours of the events.

Henry Tang Ying-yen, a child of the auspicious Year of the Dragon, attended a fair at Morse Park in Wong Tai Sin with his wife, Kwok Yu-chin, and three of his four children.

Arriving shortly after the opening of the fair, arranged by the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, Tang and his family visited stalls and chatted to district councillors. They snapped up HK$300 worth of sweets and trinkets.

His rival Leung Chun-ying, born in the Year of the Horse, joined the crowds in Victoria Park with his wife Tong Ching-yi before flying to Britain, where the couple will visit their children for the holiday. They spent more than HK$1,000 on soft toys and flowers.

While Leung heads for a British winter, Hongkongers are bracing for chilly conditions during the holiday. The mercury will drop to as low as 10 degrees Celsius today and may fall as low as 9 degrees tomorrow - New Year's Day.

Stallholders, who will be looking to maximise profits before the fairs close in the early hours of tomorrow morning, say they are concerned that the cold and expected rain will dampen the mood.

One flower seller in Wong Tai Sin, already struggling after the price of flowers rose by 20 per cent due to the rise of the yuan, said she planned to cut prices to clear her stock.

'I've kept my prices the same as last year because we serve customers that live in the neighbourhood and are familiar with us. We want to be consistent for them,' she said. 'They trust that our flowers are top quality, and that is the only way we've managed to stay in business.

'Last year, people were more willing to spend, but this year, people are not as easy with their purse-strings.' She said people visiting her stall were typically spending around HK$100 on flowers.

9 degree Celsius

The temperature in degrees Celsius that the mercury is forecast to drop to tomorrow, New Year's Day