Richmondites pick up garbage to celebrate Chinese Valentine’s Day

May 20 is a day for Chinese lovers to celebrate their relationships. But a group of Richmondites have come up with an alternative way to mark the day - picking up waste around Richmond as a way to show their love of the city they live in.

You might see several people wielding tongs to pick up trash if you are in local parks or trails on May 20. 

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“We are just a group of ordinary people who try to live our best life,” said James Wu, who launched the initiative to encourage people to go for a walk this Wednesday and pick up trash.

In China, May 20 is a special day to show love to someone you care about because the Chinese pronunciation for “five two zero” sounds similar to “I love you,” explained Wu.

However, Wu thinks the current pandemic adds a deeper level of meaning to May 20 this year. 

“It’s during these uncertain times that we need to think big and do more things than ever before. Instead of showing love to our family members and friends, I think this could be a great opportunity for us to show appreciation to essential workers who sacrificed their time and safety to serve our community.

“Walking in parks might make you feel like an escape from what’s going on in the world and picking up trash could be a good way to give back to the community,” said Wu, adding that a simple kind gesture can make a small difference to the city. 

It isn’t the first time Wu has organized this event. The “May 20” idea has been around for many years and has gradually become an annual tradition for many volunteers. 

People who would like to participate are welcome to take selfies and videos of themselves while walking around in their neighbourhoods, school playgrounds and parks. Volunteers are required to wear gloves and masks before joining Wu’s cleanup group. 

“If you aren’t able to join us this time, we hope to see you next year,” said Wu.


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