Monday, 30 June 2014

Walking from Shatin to Taipo

I’ve been planning on doing this for sometime. I did do it - in the opposite direction - using a bike, sometime around 1996 but obviously the whole area has undergone a vast transformation since then and I was curious to see how it had all turned out. So off we set after a nice fortifying lunch at Shatin’s New Town Plaza and headed off to the back of the mall and down the woefully slim ‘pavement’ that runs alongside the cycle track along the riverside.

Friday, 27 June 2014

Remnants of Hillside Military Insignia, Ho Sheung Heung

Back in December of 2012, I published a blog post regarding Military Insignia that have be created on hillsides around the territory. At the time I was just mumbling on at what I thought I could see faintly on the side of Tai Shek Mo (Crest Hill) in Ho Sheung Heung.

Recently, however, it appears that I was absolutely bang on! Less than a year after that original post, various hill fires were started (there are graves up there, so no doubt caused by careless people leaving burning incense next to the graves) and a whole load of the side of the hills was burnt away to reveal...yes, you guessed it, the missing military insignia. There was a bit of discussion in the comments at the time about which regiment the insignia was related to, and now it is very clear who it was.

But anyway, before we get to the updates, here is the original post from December 2012.

Sunday, 22 June 2014

God Kuan Ti – left or right hand?

God Kwan Ti (and various other variants of the name: Kuan Ti, Guan Dei etc) is one of HK's more prolific deities from in the Chinese pantheon, recognisable by his glaring red face, black beard and long Guan Dao (his halberd). Coupled with his ubiquitous appearance (in statue form, of course) inside small shrines of almost any business or home in HK and overseas Chinese communities. He’s usually, mistakenly, referred to in English texts as the God of War but actually his role in Chinese worship is more related to his reputation for integrity and righteousness.

Many years ago I heard a rumour about these Kwan Ti statues regarding whether the statues' halberd was held in its left or right hand. The story goes that if the statue has the halberd in his left hand, then there is a high possibility that the owner of the statue is in fact a Triad (in case the snarl, tattoos, large Mercedes Benz, sharp chopper and ownership of an entertainment label wasn't obvious enough...). I had forgotten all about this little nugget of information until recently when I ventured into a Tsim Sha Tsui eatery and noticed the restaurants door altar had a Kwan Ti statue holding its halberd...in his left hand!

Friday, 13 June 2014

11.5 Milestone, Tai Po Road - Then and Now

As a quick follow up to my earlier post about walking along part of the old Tai Po Road, I thought it would be nice to sing some praise for the Govt for a change.

I've only been in HK a few years (although I am now an official Permanent Resident :-) ), and it didn't take me long to get very jaded with regards to the Govt's complete lack of initiative and willing about conserving things of antiquity and historical note. The previous version of this blog was littered with many examples of buildings and structures of note that have been left to decay or just demolished to make way for another generic piece of blocky real estate.

Walking along Tai Po Road – Taipo to Shatin Section

Traveling along the Tai Po Road can be quite fun - even when at the whim of HK's notoriously poor minibus drivers. The road has a fair amount of history linked to the original leasing of the New Territories to the British Colonial authorities, and as such has character with its long curving route and often agreeable vantage point over the surrounding scenery. Although parts of it have changed in the intervening years - through either some straightening or just replacement by faster (and more boring) highway, there are still stretches of it that are true to the original road and I always figured it would be interesting to walk it for a change. So, a year or so ago when I finally got my youngest off to kindergarten, I found the time to walk the section from Tai Po to Fo Tan.

Monday, 2 June 2014

Wai Bun Castle, Tai Wai

Hidden away in an obscure corner of Tai Wai is a small park. The park is no different from any other small park in Hong Kong - surrounded by concrete (in this case the Shing Mun Tunnel Road flyover) with a bit of greenery thrown in for good measure - it’s essentially a large HK-style "sitting out area" where lots of oldies gather to play chess and have a natter and possibly an illegal flutter. However, this park has a feature that is quite unique in Hong Kong (as far as I am aware, that is) and gives a little clue as to the prior use of the place.