Streets sweepers are familiar, they can be found anywhere. Street sweepers with distinct headpiece are not, it’s rare. They wear Hakka Hats. It’s complicated. It’s efficient. It’s ingenious.
Street sweepers in Hongkong wear an unusual peasant hat tracing back its origin from an Ethnic group in early China called Hakka People. By ethnic origin, Hakka People are referred to as guest people or nomads having been displaced in their original territories by reason of depopulation spanning over several Dynasties that swept China over the years.
Farming and cultivation have been the traditional occupations of Hakka families. Hence, the interpretation of the women-peasant hat – the flat and circular straw hat has a hollow top that serves as ventilation and the black cloth trimming around the brim provides a buffer from the heat of the sun, protecting the face while at the same time providing proper aeration.
Today, however, wearing Hakka peasant hat may not necessarily mean that one is of Hakka origin. I personally find it fascinating not only for its practical use but for its impression of “mystery” – the mystery of who is behind the black cloth trimming :).
Together with the previous images, I have here some more of ordinary people of Hongkong taken in the morning when most of the street sweepers are out doing their job.