Friday, 9 October 2015

Some Colonial-era Postboxes

In a rather strange turn of events, it appears the head honcho at the Post Office has declared that all Colonial-era postboxes will soon be modified to hide the Royal cipher so as not to cause "confusion" to the people of Hong Kong. Of course, the real reason is quite obvious to anyone who has witnessed China slowly turning the screws on the place since the handover - speeded up by the Occupy protest last year, no doubt - so why be all dishonest about it?

Anyway, from a personal point of view, and it's not because I'm a monarchist (because I am most definitely not), I feel these old postboxes should be valued, just like HK values it's old know what I mean! They add a lot of character to our increasingly bland surroundings, and so here are a few that I have been able to take pictures of over the years. Not many, granted, but that's because there aren't that many left. The modern replacements, like many of HK's modern buildings, are bland, boxy and quite uninspiring - I guess this is the future of HK.

Starting with the oldest one I have seen, outside Chung Chi College entrance along the Tai Po Road in Shatin. The first photos were taken in 2011.

But then, in more sensible times, the post office came along and tidied it up nicely. See the more recent pictures below taken last year (2014) showing a brand spanking new coat of paint. It looks as though they did a proper job and got rid of the old layers of paint as well. The fact that the political atmosphere has changed here so significantly in just one year shows just how much Beijing is beginning to turn the screws.

The following box is actually now a display item in a local park in Tai Po. In what must be the only example that could potentially prove confusing to passers by, this one has been left coloured red, is fenced off AND has had the slot sealed. No worries about being confusing there then.

The following one is located in Yuen Long near to Ho Hok Shan, and there is a similar one located in Lau Fau Shan village inthenorth west of the New Territories. I know there is also one of the same at the Beacon Heights development on Lung Ping Road.

Finally, because it's one of my favourites, is this one located along Boundary Street on the corner of La Salle Road.


  1. Government spin doctors are, as usual, doing a poor job. If this was done in 1997, it would have been justified easily. Why in 2015? I don't see how this move is going to boost the sense of belonging to China or benefit anyone.

    On the other hand, I do support the government suggestion of placing some old post boxes outside heritage buildings, provided that the royal cypher is NOT obscured in any way.

    1. well it seems that the post office has issued a statement saying the ciphers are no longer "appropriate". At least they are being honest about it now.

      Why in 2015? Because China is beginning to crackdown on these things more openly. After last years protests, their cards are now firmly on the table and they are no longer pretending to run HK by the agreements stipulated in the joint declaration etc...they know the Brits are just a bunch of spineless worms with no ability or morale backbone to take them to task. Frankly, it's times like these when I am embarrassed to be a Brit.

    2. "King's Road", "Queen's College", etc. are also inappropriate?

      To be fair to the British government, there is little it can do to alleviate the situation. I think there was a hearing last year about the implementation of the Joint Declaration? Anyway, I should stop and not deviate from the theme of your blog. :)

    3. yes, there is so much other stuff here, they can't possibly control or get rid of it all, so why bother? I don't think even the CCP would care about this, I'm sure they would much rather see English being removed as an official language (it's pretty much there already in practice) and other bigger fish worth frying...but mailbox ciphers? pathetic bit of local shoeshining.

  2. The whole post box thing is so ridiculous. I like the original insignias being there because, among other things, they give an idea of the age of the post boxes. Surely it's enough decolonization to have repainted them green from their original red?!

    1. Yvonne - it's just the petty type of decision I've come to expect from the Govt over the past few years. I wonder whether the AMO gets a say in this? One more small nail in the coffin for HK.