I used to buy my fruit cups from Fong Jie (Sister Fong) on Pottinger Street, right next to Shake 'Em Buns, until one day, they closed down abruptly and just disappeared. There was no sign to explain where they'd gone, and nothing to tell us whether they'd moved or just gone out of business. They'd always been pretty busy, so it didn't make sense why they would move or shut down.
Anyway, I was passing by two days ago right as another man was putting the finishing touches on the replacement shop in the same spot, so I stopped to ask him what happened to Fong Jie.
"Don't you know? She moved back to Tseung Kwan O," he said while sticking up a Japanese promotional banner on his fridge. "Her husband is sick, so she went to take care of him. She asked me to take over this spot. I'm usually over at the Bonham Strand location, you know, where all the other fruit stands are."
"Ohh..." I replied, wondering what happened to her husband. Was he that tired-looking guy who used to man the fruit stall in the mornings (you know, with the greasy glasses, half-closed eyelids, flared nostrils and giant beer belly)?
If so, I really hope he's okay. I never really got to know him, since our interactions were mostly limited to two line dialogues (Me: Fruit cup, please. Him: 12 dollars.) but there WAS this one time when we did say a bit more to each other.
It was right after a Caucasian lady had cussed him out for not accepting her 10, 20 and 50 cent coins, and I mean seriously had a fit, screaming and all, even though he had a sign on the window that said he didn't accept small coins.
After the bitch stormed off with her fruit, I was next and asked for a fruit cup, and he was obviously quite shaken and upset as he chopped up some fruit. I stayed quiet, not knowing what to say, but all of a sudden, possibly because I was the only person there he could vent to, he blurted out, "How am I supposed to accept those coins!? You tell me, who's going to take those from me after? Huh?! I'm not being unreasonable!"
I nodded in agreement and listened intently while he continued, making sure that I did not accidentally give him any small change. After his little rant, which seemed to leave him panting in exasperation, he handed over my fruit cup, I gave him my money and then continued onto work. I can only hope that in that moment, he felt somewhat relieved to know that someone else was on his side.
Anyway, I'm not sure if he's Fong Jie's husband or not (since I never dared to ask), but if he is, and he's sick, I hope he gets well soon!