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Mother’s Day Special: The ‘mama’ of theDesk, ‘Kuen Tse’

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As we all say a big ‘thanks’ to our mums on Sunday, we say ‘m’goi sai’ to our cheerful janitor, who’s a mother in more ways that one…

As Mother’s Day is here, we at theDesk are celebrating the most important women in our lives: our mamas. While we sneakily order last-minute Amazon gifts and grumble over the all-of-a-sudden rocketing price of carnations (‘$50 for a sprig?!’), there’s one mother at theDesk co-working and events space in Sai Wan, that floats around us benevolently amid the bowed heads of the many desk-jockeys here, unbeknownst. Her name is Mak Sau-kuen – affectionately known as ‘Kuen Tse’ and she’s our cheerful janitor.

Impressively, Kuen Tse is a mother in more ways than one. Not only does she have two adult sons of her own, she’s often accompanied by her two dog-children, Bobby and McDonald, whose bells announce her movements as they follow her around while she sweeps and mops. She coos to them as she goes about her work and it’s positively the sweetest thing in the world. And she’s truly a mother figure to all of us, often asking after us ‘have you eaten yet?’ or ‘why do you work so late?’ always with a warm grin.

Kuen Tse’s eldest son, 46, works at a pizza shop, and her youngest, 38, works at a bank. When asked about what her sons tell her on Mother’s Day, she says: “Oh, they don’t say anything. We’re more traditional. We don’t say things like that. But the heart knows.” This year, her eldest son got her a scarf, while the younger got her a coat.

On Sunday, Kuen Tse has all her little chicks back in her nest as they have family dinner at her home on Water Street, Sai Ying Pun. She is lovingly preparing her sons’ favourite dishes: for the eldest, fried fish and chicken wings and, for the youngest, steamed ribs and sausages. “I don’t mind how often they come home,” she tells us, “as long as they’re healthy, and happy.”

So, here at theDesk, we say a big thank you and ‘happy mother’s day’ to the wonderful Kuen Tse, a kind-of mother to us here. We are very grateful for you and hope you have a wonderful Sunday, just like all the other mums across our city!

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