Tuesday, April 04, 2006

San Wo Kee / Moy Hing's Chinese Laundries

One of the oldest "Chinese laundry" Trinidad and Tobago

Along the corridor of this fairly large Chinese laundry situated in Port of Spain and one of the oldest established in Trinidad and Tobago is an elderly woman sitting quietly at work. She, according to the San Wo Kee Steam Laundry owners has been an employee for many years and her simple task is to hand wash each garment, HAND WASH.

A washer from 1940

One of the traditions of having your clothes steamed and pressed is the way the garment are wrapped, yet white plasic bags now replace this custom. On the top shelve of San Wo Kee there are packages wrapped and tied with brown paper and twine. (The stubs are numbered by hand with a Chinese brush) Stacked and caked with dust, the darker paper decolouration indicates that the package haven been not been collected as back as far as 1987, and San Wo Kee launders says that your polyester jacket in generally ready in three days.

Wrapped in brown paper and tied with string with its stubs numbered by hand with a Chinese brush and in 2006 a number of parcels are still waiting for their owners to collect

The Chinese owner Hg Din children still operate the family business and they were kind enough to allow thebookmann into a World still set in the 1940. One of the interesting objects that is reminiscent of that period is a washer and dryer now, then and who knows permanently out of order including the Hoffmann Press for which the laundry once prided itself on. And in the back room of San Wo Kee Steam Laundry, the laborious task of a woman who’s gentle hands knot, roll, wring and hang dry your clothes.

A green cage and window welcomes your soiled clothes

A few weeks ago, thebookmann had photographed this Chinese laundry in San Fernando, it is one of the very last few business sporadically situated throughout the country. The Chinese laundry is one of the attributes to the Chinese here in Trinidad and Tobago.

Moy Hing's Chinese Laundry, San Fernando



jrjung said...

Thanks for recording this piece of history...it looks like so many other Chinese laundries of the past, long gone reminders of CHinese immigrants of the late 19th and early 20th century to many parts of the world.

kerr said...

My favourite laundry in the whole world..I travel and come back home and take my clothes to this laundry.. The best laundry in the world..and great Trinis..They are like family



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