Chan Yau-shing, 48, is an unlicensed shoeshiner working in Central. He has been shining shoes for more than 10 years, starting at 7 am and finishing at about 6 pm every day. Unlike his licensed rivals, he has to worry about Urban Services Department inspections as he may be fined over $1,000 if arrested. Mr Chan, who lives in Kowloon, was yesterday unwilling to talk about the violence in Theatre Lane, Central, last week where an elderly shoeshiner set himself on fire after attacking a colleague. He said the issue was too sensitive. What is on your mind? People seem to be more curious about my job, but I just want to carry on my work as usual. How did you join the profession? As you see, I am a dwarf. I don't think I can find another decent job other than shoeshining. I do not want to apply for any social assistance because I want to live on my own. Do you have any bad feelings about your job? No, I am not worried that the others will look down at me because shoeshining is a decent job, just like many other jobs in the service sector. I earn my living through my own hands and it's not harming any others. People are nice to me. Since I've worked here for over 10 years, many people recognise me and say 'hello' when they pass by. Did you need to learn from others? No, the apprenticeship system only applies to those who get licences because it will be passed on to the trainee after the licence-holder dies. But shoeshining does not require any special skills. You become more and more skilful when you are more experienced. I can finish a pair of shoes in three minutes now. What are your costs and how much do you earn? My tools are simple - a few brushes, two pieces of cloth, shoe polish and some water which together costs about $100. I charge $20, but for more difficult shoes I ask for $30. Some customers give me $50. The peak hours are early mornings and lunch breaks. I polish between 15 and 20 pairs daily, but my business is not as good as my licensed neighbour who is known as a 'golden shoeshiner' earning $200 per hour. What are you worries apart from being arrested? Bad weather. No one is willing to stop on rainy days. And they know their shoes will get dirty again very soon.