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Showing posts from April 10, 2011

Good Music This Way?

(Camera: Ricoh GX200)Not a very promising way to get good music huh?But the Hong Kong Sinfonietta does good music, and sometimes even for free. The next chance is tomorrow when the musicians will stage two free concerts at the Hong Kong City Hall.  There will also be meeting-the-musicians sessions and game booths too. For details, click the following banner.

Alleys and Ailing

(Camera: Ricoh GX200; a stall at the corner of an alley going through the old buildings in Kwun Tong)

Kwun Tong is strewn thick with old shops and dilapidated buildings which breathe into the place its genius loci -- the spirit of the place. The revitalisation project will squarely strip them off the surface. Replacing such oldies which the Government believes to have made an unsightly cityscape will be yet another omnipresent shopping mall or malls. What a brainless bowdlerising way of "revitalising" a place! Sadly, commercially viability has probably become the overriding consideration in urban revitalisation.

Compared to the mammoth well-lit, air-conditioned shopping malls, the unkempt alleys which adventurously radiate from one point to another and another through the old buildings offer an unparalleled experience for no matter shopping, observing the local ways of life or taking photographs. Whether the neighbourhood stalls lining those alleys are open for business or clo…

Sneaking In

(Camera: Ricoh GX200)

There is a cluster of pre-war residential buildings lying to the north of the MTR Kwun Tong Station. They are centrally situated in the image of the Monday post of this week. For anyone who has a penchant for admiring old construction features, seldom can the Chinese saying, “Seeing once is better than hearing a hundred times” be so freely and readily fulfilled in the case of these buildings which, unlike those in Mongkok for example, are neither guarded by doorpersons or fitted with entrance gates or door locks of whatever sort.

Inside the building, the special features lying before your eyes include the unmistakable mosaic-style wall and floor tiles, the aluminium mailboxes with the pattern of two “Hole-Square Coins” (a colloquially way of saying “copper money” used in the Chinese dynastic years) on them, the haphazard lining of the public utility wires and the wooden handle for the staircase. A visit to a few more of such buildings will show evidence of the tre…

Tentacles of Desperate Hopes

(Camera: Ricoh GX200; a head-up view of an old building in Kwun Tong)

There is an explanation for the haphazard lines or, to be exact, electricity wires crisscrossing in the air.
In the old Hong Kong, electricity supply was given to registered households but not the squatters of the ubiquitous shanty areas across the territories. In those ramshackle huts of the squatters were however also families which needed electricity. What could they do to give a quick fix to the matter? It was to steal power by connecting electricity wires to the unprotected electricity meters from which electricity was streamed to the registered households in the tall residential blocks.With a bit of imagination, you could see in your mind’s eye how dreadful was the sight of those crisscrossing tentacles of power, and actually of desperate hope, rising from the ground level and crossing the sky to the tall buildings around.
Here in the shot the wires are not for stealing electricity. But it is no doubt the remnant…


(Camera: Ricoh GX200)

When Kwun Tong (see yesterday's post) was still a thriving industrial area, it saw the flourishing of entertainment parlours taking advantage of the business opportunities. This shot was done at the back lane of a plebeian nightclub, with the two hanging wires hopefully giving out a naughty sexual overtone.

Kwun Tong

(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…

Entering Fukushima Nuclear Reactor Evacuation Zone

An off-topic post for today.

The Japanese government has issued the evacuation order on March 12 for the residents living within the 20 kilometer radius of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant.
Since then, residents have left their homes, and the "no man land" has been out of touch with the rest of the world.
A Japanese journalist, Tetsuo Jimbo, ventured through the evacuation zone last Sunday, and filed the following video report.
He says that, inside the evacuation zone, homes,building, roads and bridges, which were torn down by Tsunami, are left completely untouched, and the herd of cattle and pet dogs, left behind by the owners, wonders around the town while the radiation level remains far beyond legal limits.
Watch the video report. This is Sunday. Think about life.