A lady in traditional dress, inset, and Lai Chi Kok Park in Kowloon. Photo: Wikipedia, iStockphoto

If you had HK$500 (US$64) in cash, how would you spend it? On a buffet dinner at a hotel, or a ticket for a concert?

For Tiger Cheung, a master photographer, he is happy to spend the money on rolls of film – he takes instant photos of domestic workers from Indonesia in the city every Sunday, then gives them away for free.

In a feature report in Apple Daily on Wednesday, Cheung revealed how he began doing this three years ago, when he went to Lai Chi Kok Park in Mei Foo, in the New Territories, wanting to take some photos of his family with a modified instant camera.

But what caught Cheung’s eye was a group of Indonesian domestic workers, all wearing colorful traditional costumes and gathered nearby.

Cheung took a few instant photos for the maids, who liked them so much they wanted to buy his pictures. But he refused to sell them, preferring to give them away instead.

Since then, Cheung has gone to the park nearly every Sunday, to take portrait photos for the Indonesian domestic workers, for free.

In Indonesia, people only wear traditional costumes for important celebrations or big days. But these Indonesian maids need to work in Hong Kong and seldom return to their home country to celebrate, they like to wear traditional costumes on days off and are often eager to have a photo taken. Shooting instant photo was a good choice, Cheung said.

Cheung said he spends HK$500 on film each time but insists he doesn’t take money from the workers, as he knows they earn a relatively small amount of pay.

As a token of appreciation, the domestic workers bring Cheung some Indonesian snacks or delicacies that he likes.

He may not have reaped any monetary reward, but he has enjoyed a lot of happy moments and the friendship of many Indonesian workers.

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