This photo was taken when our boat sailed past this villager standing on the prow and talking to the lady leaning on the wooden railing of the titled house. I held up my camera and took several shots of him. He was very co-operative and I simply smiled back. Later on, I walked through the labyrinthic alleys between the tiled houses. Interestingly, people could walk from one house to another. Doors of all houses are open and the lively community spirit was uncommon to those living in the city. Instead of using the camera, we drew some pictures of the scene in one of the houses. (Photo taken with Minolta Dynax 7)
Saturday, 10 January 2009
Friday, 9 January 2009
Tai O is famous for its tilted houses over the waters. These age-old structures are typical of shanty fishing villages in Hong Kong, which proliferated over the territory of "a barren rock" (the then HK through a British colonial high official's eyes) more than a century ago.
Just as most part of Hong Kong, Tai O is surrounded by a mountainous terrain, which sends visitors a tremendous feeling of seclusion about the place. I, riding on a boat, went close to the tilted houses. Instead of their outlook that meets the eye, the houses are furnished with as many more modern home appliances as every urbanite does to his place. But the predominate coarse quality to them makes for a, rightly or wrongly, believable pristine state of the whole place.
When the boatman halted the boat and its movement finally subsided, I took the picture and, holding down the camera with my eyes close, took in the tender whispers of the mountain in the background. (Photo taken with Minolta Dynax 7)
Thursday, 8 January 2009
There was another scaffolding structure across the river on the ebb. Some villagers having watched the opera made their way through a makeshift bridge to that structure, which was found to be a temporary temple as I went closer. I do not know the legend of the monkey god down pat but it must be a fictitious guardian to the villagers just as the many other vernacular gods so commonly found in the wealth of Chinese tales. (Photo taken with Minolta Dynax 7)
Wednesday, 7 January 2009
Hong Kong impresses many as a busy business city. There are more about this place. Let me show you around the contryside.
This is Tai O, a fishing village on the western tip of Hong Kong's largest offshore island, the Lautau Island, bordering on Mainland China's waters. Tai O is, so to speak, in relatively pristine conditions. It is usually touristy on weekends. The Thursday I visited there coincided with the birthday of the monkey god. A scaffolded hall was erected for Cantonese opera performances in celebration of the sacred day. As I took the shot, villagers were leaving the hall after the last performance in the afternoon session. (Photo taken with Minolta Dynax 7)
Tuesday, 6 January 2009
(A Surreptitious Glance: I took this photo in Shanghai Street of Mongkok. The vacant shop had originally been rented by a small eatery for almost ten years. It survived the Asian financial crisis and the outbreak of SARS in Hong Kong which hit the economy hard. Sadly, the owners didn't make it this time. The vacant shop is next to a roadside newspaper kiosk which also sells a wide array of porn magazines. After all, this is the district where prospective patrons come for sex service)
In the local business world, empty shops have been “flourishing” throughout the territory for the past few months. An increasing number of short-term shop tenancies in Mongkok, a shoppers’ Mecca in Hong Kong, may epitomise the general situation: big businesses are braking their operations.
(Telltale Sight of Depression: This vacant shop is on a side street in Mongkok. The metal gate has been posted and reposted with bills by different property agents in vain hope of renting out the shop. The rustic bike in front of it adds a sense of depression to the scene. The closing down of small local businesses is surely the telltale sight of a harder year to come)
Worse still, if you wander into Portland Street and Shanghai Street, the less busy streets in Mongkok which are de-facto red light districts, vacant shops have become a common sight. The meaning of this is that the financial tsunami is exerting a deeper impact on Hong Kong even unto small retailing businesses which do not rely on a great amount of capital.
(Sex Spots: This is the section of Dundas Street in Mongkok which leads to the junctions with Shanghai Street and Portland Street. It would be a great fun (and adventure) to shoot candid photos of the life of sex workers there. In the early morning, you can spot the more mature ladies on the street. Later in the day, the scantily clad young ladies show up around the neighbourhood)
Some friends of mine have been expecting a harder time to come in 2009. Just the other day when a big shopping mall (where the Toysrus flagship store was) put a note on its enquiry counters saying, “The Toysrus shop is temporarily closed for business”, people were not a bit surprised at whatever this might suggest for even a big chain store like it. After all, even Wedgewood, Britian's famous China maker, has just been filed for bankruptcy and conglomerations in the States are still begging for public money to survive the difficult times. Is the world, except maybe China, drifting towards a communitarian version of capitalism?
Monday, 5 January 2009
First, for compacts, the votes given to the runners-up are really close. The winner is DP1, which actually is larger in its sensor size and in a class of its own. For those with comparable sensor sizes, namely, the Canon G10, Ricoh GX200 and Panasonic LX3, their respective votes account for 22.5%, 22.5% (both first runners-up) and 22.3% (second runner-up) of the total votes. It is interesting to note that Nikon has met its tragic waterloo with the P6000 favoured by only 9.4% voters. The P6000 is supposedly in the same class as the G10, GX200 and LX3.
For the DSLR results, it is somewhat surprised to see G1 topping the list, followed closely by Nikon D700 and farther away by Sony Alpha 900, which is also our favourite system. Canon does not fare really well in the voting with its high-powered products in 2008 IMO.
Sunday, 4 January 2009
This morning I had a loving stroll on the street under the mild sunshine warming the cool air and the brisk wind keeping my mind crisp. As I walked, I looked up at the sky with the clouds forming different patterns. It must be very windy up above in the sky. It looked as if the sky had been a big canvas and the clouds dots of pale colours. I couldn't help taking photos of them.