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Kwun Tong

P1010246L (Camera: Panasonic LX3; Large-size image)

The shot gives a panoramic view of the residential part of Kwun Tong, one of the most rundown yet richly atmospheric place in Hong Kong.

The mentioning of the place can be traced back to the days in the Song Dynasty around a thousand years ago. It was first an official salt mine from which the name "Official (Salt) Mine" (pronounced as Kwun Tong in Cantonese) of the place originated.  In Cantonese, "official" is homophonic to "gaze at" which is the first word of the present name of the place. So, the modern name of Kwun Tong can literally be interpreted as "gaze at" (a) "mine".

The operation of the salt mine finally ceased in the Qing Dynasty in 1669. Several hundreds of years later, under the reign of the British colonial government, Kwun Tong started to develop as a major industrial area of the territory in 1953.

With the gradual hollowing out of the industrial sector since the opening of the so-called bamboo curtain of China in the 1980s, Kwun Tong has lost its glory as a booming industrial area.  The industrial buildings remaining in the district are mostly used as godowns and for commercial operations while an increasing number of them has been redeveloped into commercial complexes. 

The old Kwun Tong is disappearing and will soon vanish as the revitalisation plan for the place has been rolled out.  If you don't wish to miss yet another area reminiscent of the old Hong Kong, make a special visit to it; with your camera, of course.

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