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We always heard “Diligent” to describe Hong Kong people. They work hard to strive for a better future. Let’s take a look some of their stories.
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《Midnight Workers 2016》 Midnight Fighters

2016-08-02

《Midnight Workers 2016》 Midnight Fighters

2016-08-02
  
In Cantonese, “eating porridge at night” means learning martial arts.
In the old days, the economy did not flourish like nowadays, and crime was rampant. To learn martial arts was simply a way to protect oneself.
Some people worked in the day for a small salary, and then practised boxing in the evening until late night.
Hungry boxing students got a bowl of porridge from the wives of their masters. The students were warmed all the way into their hearts.
 
Master Ray remembers his deceased master James Yuen and the difficult days of learning boxing. He is still thankful.
Good masters produce good boxers. James Yuen Boxing Club has produced numerous champions, both in Hong Kong and overseas.
Among them, it is Chan Kam-sun, Master Ray’s junior classmate, he misses the most. Chan is a legendary boxer and the pride of Hong Kong.
This legendary boxer, whom he thinks was most hard-working, serious and talented in the boxing circle, died suddenly in 2010.
In those days, Chan had to work as a butcher in the days to provide for the family; at night, after practising, he had to go jogging for further body training until midnight. He returned home and dropped in bed at once. That was how he finished a day.
Master Ray complains that boxers nowadays cannot endure the kind of training he used to go through. They may not be able to endure hardship, and they are now living in a different social setting, with long working hours and immense pressure from work. Today, it is not easy to ask young people to be committed to tough training.
 
Pang Tsz-kin is a student of one of Master Ray’s students. He is about to meet this challenge.
 
He is now 23 years old, with five years of boxing experience and a record of seven matches already. He will not content himself with being a mediocre boxer.
His family has a grudge against his boxing; his girlfriend does not welcome the sight of bruises on his face.
His persistence even surprised his master Yuen Wan-pang. It is indeed very rare for a young person to achieve that much nowadays.
 
Yuen Wan-pang, a nine-time local boxing champion, is the son of Master James Yuen, and an exemplary student of Master Ray.
 
Talents do not worry about not being spotted. Even though they are renting a small flat with other boxing clubs in an obscure industrial building in Kwun Tong, people still rush in to learn boxing from them. The corridors in this industrial building are particularly “macho” at this hour in the evening.
The training is very demanding. Because of psychological factors and the pressure from his day-time job, Tsz-kin has lost three matches in a row.
On his way home after practice, Tsz-king asks himself again and again: “What do I get in exchange for such long hours of practice?”
 
This time, he hopes to achieve something.
 
One month before the match, he quit his full-time job to devote himself exclusively to practice.
In the future, he hopes to become a professional boxing trainer even though he may not become a professional boxer.
 
***
 
Nowadays, boxing has developed into a sport for stress relief. Master Ray runs a boxing gym in Central. The gym is air-conditioned, with extravagant facilities. Most important of all, safety is the number one priority.
 
Yet, Master Ray misses the days of the old-fashioned boxing club, where students practised in heavy sweat. He misses the days when the classmates were so close to each other and supported each other like brothers. The memories are as endearing as his native place.
 
In Master Ray’s gym, there is one boxer training in silence.
He is Tso Sing-yeung, a former member of the boxing team representing Hong Kong and four-time local champion.
Sing-yeung is currently chief boxing coach of that boxing gym. Having retired from his capacity as boxer many years ago, he made a comeback to the boxing ring in June this year and defeated a boxer from Korea who was a lot younger.
Because of his age and that fact that he had been out of training for such a long time, he had a tough time preparing for the match. On top of that, he had to teach boxing in the day and train in the night, which was taxing on his stamina. His hardship was beyond words.
The weight-losing diet worsened his temper.
 
Was it for fame? He had it a long time ago. Was it for fortune? To prepare for the match, he had to cut down on teaching jobs, thereby reducing his income.
 
So, what was he fighting for?
 
Tso Sing-yeung’s father is Master Tso Shu-yan, a first-generation local boxer and seven-time local champion.
The senior Master Tso has four sons, who are all boxers since childhood.
Among them, it was Sing-yeung who was the first one to rise to fame.
Surprising, the one who has become the most famous is the youngest son, Tso Sing-yu, a professional boxer who is about to challenge the world champion.
In fact, in the senior Master Tso’s mind, he is already satisfied with his sons’ achievements.
Watching Sing-yeung practise every night to prepare for his way back to the ring next year, his old father is both happy and sad.
 
***
 
Tsz-kin has a special love for the last five kilometres of the route beginning from Kwun Tong and ending in Wong Tai Sin as he jogs home after his boxing practice.
It is already in the still of the night as he jogs home.
He does not disturb anyone, nor does he have to care about being watched.
All he has to do is concentrate, concentrate and concentrate.
In the still of the night, it is time for him to work harder to improve his weaknesses. This applies on students who burn the midnight oil, grass roots who work overtime to earn extra money, and athletes who strive for constant improvement.
 
That night, there is an “unofficial game” in Central.
Tsz-kin, still green in the sport, seeks instruction from the much more experienced Sing-yeung.
Unofficial as the match is, Sing-yeung still tries his best to drill Tsz-kin. He still remembers that the most disastrous defeat he has ever suffered was brought about by an exemplary student of Master Yuen Wan-pang.
Master Ray has indeed great fun watching a boxing game between his colleague and the student of his own student.
 
The contestants, each from a different generation, compliment each other after the game.
 
In the long night, everyone has a different reason for sweating.
 
In our lives, we have our own race which we don’t want to lose.
 
The game in early December is drawing near. Whether Tsz-kin will win or not depends solely on how he adjusts his mentality.
 
Once in the ring, one can rely on oneself and no one else.
 
Tsz-kin murmurs this to himself every day.
 
Producer: Hung Ka-wing
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