'Cheap but cheerful' the motto for many as shoppers enjoy first day of new year fairs

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 21 January, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 21 January, 2009, 12:00am

A good antidote to serious times is often a bit of frivolity. At least that was how some people felt in Victoria Park yesterday as they shopped for cheap but cheerful items among the rows of stalls to celebrate Lunar New Year.

'I am looking for cute stuff and it does not matter even if it is not useful,' said fair-goer Ms Pang, who decided to visit the fair on its opening day to avoid a large New Year crowd. 'The flower market is only held once a year, so it's OK to spend more,' she said.

Another patron, Ms Ho, who bought a large stuffed cow, said she still planned to splash out, despite the lacklustre economy.

'The reason to go to the Lunar New Year Fair is to spend money on useless but cute things,' she said, adding that she might spend 'a few hundred dollars'.

On the other side of the park, a Mrs Leung said she would spend up to HK$2,000 on flowers and potted plants this year, even though flowers such as orchids were 30 per cent more expensive than last year.

'As long as I can still afford them, it does not matter whether the flowers are expensive or cheap,' she said.

Students from Cheung Chuk Shan College, who sold pink inflated hats that resembled cow pats, said sales were good.

'We have made a few thousand dollars so far and believe we can make a profit,' said 15-year-old Renata Ng Hoi-wing.

Meanwhile, in an effort to recoup wages owed to them, one vendor said he and his colleagues were selling stock left behind when their boss fled their office.

A few political parties had also set up stalls, including the League of Social Democrats, which sold inflated bananas - a reference to the infamous incident in October when member Raymond Wong Yuk-man threw a banana at the chief executive in Legislative Council to show his displeasure at the policy address.

The party's chairman, Wong Yuk-man, said he was very confident the bananas would sell well.

Veteran democrat Szeto Wah continued to create fai chun - the traditional good luck posters for the new year - at the stall of the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China, and said he hoped more people would donate money as this year was the 20th anniversary of the June 4 crackdown in Tiananmen Square.

The Lunar New Year fairs will run until January 26 in 14 locations across the city.