Lying to the north of its more illustrious and flashy neighbours Tsim Sha Tsui and Mong Kok, Sham Shui Po is one of Hong Kong’s more traditional districts. Whilst living in SSP in the early 2000’s, I was fortunate enough to have time to explore its myriad streets, and observe all sorts of  personal, family and business activities. A quick walk will reveal garment wholesale, electrical workshops, markets, waste processing, computer retail and a host of family-run enterprise, all taking place at ground level.

Of all of the things to see and do in Sham Shui Po, one of the most amazing is the fabric market. Located at the junction of Yen Chow St. and Lai Chi Kok Rd., and housed under the most improbable makeshift roof, this ramshackle market brings together at least 20 sellers of all manner of fabrics. Not only is the range and focus of the stalls amazing, but the owners are all incredibly friendly.

However, the reason for me writing this is not to wax lyrical, or even to offer travel advice, but rather to suggest the following as a task for young maths students to consider: Attempt to estimate, justifying your assumptions, the total mass and length of material available for sale at the fabric market in Sham Shui Po.

I would love to see some answers submitted here. If you students cannot make a visit, I am willing to provide dimensions, number of shops, photos, etc.

Credits: fabric thumbnail by Edal on Wikipedia (CC BY-SA), satellite image of Sham Shui Po by Google (copyrighted, used for educational purposes).