Thursday, 19 March 2015

New Town Plaza podium and some 90's nostalgia, Shatin

Anyone who visited Shatin's New Town Plaza during the 90's will probably remember that it was a vastly different place to today. Before it turned into the overpriced and rather vapid Mainland Chinese shopping Mecca it is today, it was a fairly 'normal' local mall with normal shops that weren't selling whitening creams, Ugly Betty-style fashion, rolex watches and 10 carat diamonds. The one thing that made it stand out in my memory was the rather naff musical fountain in the centre of the main plaza (see below). Every 15 mins or so (it could've been 30, I can't really remember) tinny classical music would start up, coloured lights would start flashing lights and twirling jets of water would shoot into the air.

New Town Plaza in the 80's (Source: 昔日香港 on Facebook)

Despite it's utter tackyness, I find myself missing the things for two reasons: first, it reminds me of my very first trip to HK all those moons ago in Novemeber of 1995; second, its removal signalled a sprucing up of the old mall that has led to its eventual transformation into a place where only people with lots of money to burn and huge annoying wheely bags can afford to buy anything - with all the lcoal shops being priced out on rent and having to close or move into some dark corner of the neighbouring Shatin Mall. 

Well, I've often wondered what became of that fountain. Was it scrapped or did it just become a musical addition to the Kwok brother's ornamental pond in their back garden? Actually, if I had bothered to check out Wikipedia my question would have been answered, but no, it's taken 6 years of ignorance and total accident to stumble upon it again in its new location in the podium garden. Okay, so it's looking a bit more modern in its new home (more glass, less tile) but all the little pipes, twirly bits and coloured lights are all there in their glory. Here are some shots of it in action.

Perhaps it's my age, but it doesn't seem so tacky seeing it now after all these years and I'm glad I have a nice little reminder of my first few trips. 

The podium is a little haven of tranquility compared to thye hustle and bustle of the mall underneath, so it's well worth popping up there anyway even if you don't have any particualr interest in watching the fountain do its thang. I took a few snaps up here as well.

Looking north over to L.C.S.D HQ

East across to the opposite side of the Shatin Valley

South(ish) looking towards the Royal Park Hotel (on the left)

This lower shot is looking to the eastern part of the mall and looks to have some sort of crazy golf course over there, can anyone confirm? I've never heard of that before, it may just be another leftover from the 80's and 90's that is no longer used.

Well, anyway, if you don't fancy facing the hordes at the mall (and believe me, at weekends the whole of Mainland China seems to descend upon the place) then this is a good place to go and chill out whilst the other half does the window shopping. You can take in the sights, breath some lovely hazy air and best of all, sit and be mesmerised by the musical fountain.


  1. Very cool that the fountain still exists. I'll have to go say Hello whenever I'm next in HK...

    The mini-golf course (or one like it) was definitely there in the early 1990s, I have strong memories of playing on it. Pretty unusual to have a minigolf course several storeys up, so it tends to stick in the old noggin. ;)

    1. Aha! Many thanks for confirming that. I guess the location isn't so wacky for HK.

  2. I don't remember the fountain. I recall my first haircut without water, the wooden planks linking old and new and the post-office box in the wall next to the MTR that was so jammed with letters, the envelopes would be poking out of the slot. Selling raffle tickets, monthly shopping sprees on a Friday night with my pay from an afterschool job and at the age of eleven, finally being able to breathe in the anonymity I'd been searching for my whole life.