Several posts ago I heralded Pierce Brosnan and Connaught Centre for sparking my interest in Hong Kong during my teenage years. In subsequent discussions on Facebook, I was reminded that a branch of the Welfare Handicrafts shop was housed in the basement of Connaught Center.
And that brought me back to memories of the Welfare Handicrafts shop in Tsim Sha Tsui, opposite the Star Ferry pier in Kowloon.
Fodor’s Hong Kong (Random House, 2005) describes the Welfare Handicrafts Shop:
This store stocks a good collection of inexpensive Chinese handicrafts for both adults and children. This is also an excellent place to find interesting greeting cards…All profits go to charity.
I often bought greeting cards as gifts to send to friends and family back in the US. In 1997 I bought a pack for myself and sent these two cards (above) to my paternal grandma.
The card on the left has Chinese characters on the door that mean good luck. The characters on the backs of the pigs below mean double happiness, or a happy marriage. The card on the right has the same double happiness characters on the roosters.
Each card is made from hand-cut tissue paper and carefully adhered to sandalwood-colored paper.
When I left Hong Kong in 1998, I didn’t go on a huge shopping spree to bring things like fun note cards (and clothes, bags, or other funky stationery) back to the US. I was pregnant and worried about having enough money to live on in San Francisco before my then-husband or I found a job in the US.
I’m glad my grandma saved these cards all these years so I can enjoy them now.