It used to be red in colour….
Never had it screamed for a change in colour but the handover of sovereignty did. Interestingly, as the national flag flying in Hong Kong changed from a bit red to predominately red, removed were the red paint on the colonial mail boxes, which since then don a light green colour. That is if they have not been uprooted and replaced.
Oh, a green Union Jack looks nice too. It doesn't intimidate anyone for a change sometimes somehow.
One morning, I decided to walk around the old Kowloon City district which was the city's gateway to noisily welcome foreign visitors and silently say its valedictions to Hongkongers migrating overseas. Imposing scenes are still flashing across my mind of how the gigantic metal birds flying barely over buildings of five storeys to land at the old Kai Tak International Airport just some 400 metres away. It was one of the most exciting attractions the city offered people flying in to feel the heat of the oriental pearl aglow at night in the sultry summer holidays. Of course, the old airport operated all year round. Here it is just a rhetoric way of saying it.
Kowloon City was a boom town on its own, strewn with restaurants and shops of whatnots to help travellers kill time while waiting for the takeoffs. Noisy. Busy. People milling about. Activities around the clock. It was the sign of time of the British era. It still stands as it was as a testimony of the territory's colonial past. But it has lacked much lustre since the airport was relocated. There is a ghosty quality left to it. Then I came across this colonial mailbox. It is the old-fashioned cylindrical one. What a find! And the memories of the old boom town came flashing back. Noisy, busy….
These mailboxes are rarities in the city now. In fact, vestiges of the British rule have been slowly vanishing in Hong Kong. Politically, the top ranking officials are either involved in bribery cases or defiance of legislation regulating illegal structures or suspected improper use of public money for personal enjoyment. Oh, we have the city's Chief Executive designate who is probably an "underground" member of the Chinese Communist Party. He has demonstrated nepotism by bringing in another young Mainland communist to fill a government post in his inner circle by way of an expedited approval for a waiver. These are all typical phenomena in the Mainland power circles. Culturally, there are recent uproars among the locals against the use of simplified Chinese characters – thought to be a fairly dangerous development which can stripe employment opportunities off the Hong Kong born locals. These haven't yet touched the surface of the many changes.
On my way home, I fell into a thoughtful mood, and became sick of another stench – that of the growing telltale signs of an adulterated common law system. It is still Hong Kong's stronghold against what the local's sarcastic comment has it: Hong Kong being "great-country-lised" (Note: Mainland forum users are known for being exceedingly proud of China being a great country). But who can be sure? A bit of tweaking here, a bit of twisting there. Then, will it be too intimidating to witness the legal system going green about its gills?