Three days before demolition starts on Hong Kong's oldest public housing estate, the few residents still living there are lamenting the loss of a close neighbourhood. The once noisy seven-storey housing blocks at the Shek Kip Mei Estate are now largely empty and quiet, with most people having moved to public housing nearby. Only a few families have chosen to remain in the 50-year-old estate, awaiting the Tuesday deadline. Among them are Wong Woo, 78, and his family, who were burning paper offerings to thank the gods for their protection during 23 years of residence. Mr Wong said he had no choice at the time but to cram his three children, wife and himself into a flat of little more than 300 sq ft because he could not afford anything bigger. Two grown-up daughters still live with them in the ground-floor apartment. Mr Wong said children used to run around in the open area and neighbours always left their doors open. 'People greeted each other when they passed by your unit and you knew everyone living in your block even though they were not living on your floor,' he recalled. 'But you can hardly expect anything like that in the new flats.' The family has already been given a flat of a similar size in a new public housing block - also known as Shek Kip Mei Estate. But the long-time resident said he would miss the fresh air and space after he left. 'I have asked all the family members, including my daughters, son, daughter-in-law and grandsons to gather at the old flat on October 17 to take a picture. After all, it is where many of our memories come from.' Choi Wai-yu, whose store is the only shop still in business on the estate, said it would be hard to see the old neighbourhood disappear, along with the shop 'around the corner'. 'Although I don't live in Shek Kip Mei Estate myself, I can recognise the people in the neighbourhood - sometimes we have a causal chat or just a nod,' she said. Her 100 sq ft store, selling mainly soft drinks and snacks, is a popular with students. Ms Choi said they had received special permission to operate until the end of the month, hoping to sell all goods in the shop. But it was difficult to say goodbye to a place where she and her husband had been for 24 years, she said. 'The store raised my three children who are all adults now. I feel upset but it is hopeless trying to change reality,' Ms Choi said. She said she had no plans to start a shop elsewhere given the competition from supermarkets. 'After the store is closed, we will retire. But we will be quite idle during daytime.'