Sunday, 12 July 2015

Tao Fung Shan Christian Centre, Shatin

I first found out about Tao Fung Shan from one of the monthly newsletters published by the RASHK (Royal Asiatic Society of Hong Kong) newsletters. Sadly, I can't remember the year or month but the article covered the various buildings in HK constructed in the style of what has become known as Chinese Renaissance. What this seems to mean is western structural architecture/construction techniques with a Chinese aesthetic such as ornate columns, archways or roof styles that are often found on local temples and the like. Hong Kong has some great examples in the form of King Yin Lei, the Aberdeen Seminary, the now demolished Ho Tung Gardens and several more. This style of architecture is quite rare now, certainly many buildings with these characteristics have gone a long time ago making the remaining ones that little bit more special.

In the case of many of these buildings the style was simply for show, but in the case of Tao Fung Shan it functioned as a way to attract local Chinese to the property, under the mistaken impression they were entering a temple or monastery, and then try to convert them to Christianity. It all sounds a bit nefarious but I suppose the Chinese style of building just made the place less intimidating to those who were curious about Christianity.