Here goes the Part 4 of my recent trip to Hong Kong - 永利街 Wing Lee Street located near Sheung Wan MTR Station 上环站.
I rather enjoy time travel, so you might realise that while you were browsing the first few blog posts of my recent trip to Hong Kong, you may have felt the past century come alive and instantly transported you back in time. There is something magical about my images taken in this Hong Kong trip as they really seem like special old photographs that they can bring back a slice of life that’s long gone. Yes, these photographs were taken in a manner that is touching, that stirs you when you look back upon those memories.
Photographs more than anything captures a moment in time. Frozen in that moment are our family and friends, things that we care about. And that is so important to think about the time itself, because the meaning of that photograph depends so much on that moment it was captured. People and objects age and what they mean to us may change over time. Moreover, a photo can take us instantly back in time, bring back memories and lets us tell the story.
Without further, I hope all of you will enjoy this Part 4 blog post of full of heritage-Wing Lee Street at Hong Kong, as much as what you had enjoyed so far after browsing my first few blogs of this Hong Kong trip.
So today I shall bring you photos from Wing Lee Street and its surrounds. Getting there involved climbing what seemed to be thousands of rickety old steps. I was very grateful that it wasn’t the height of Hong Kong’s sultry weather. Up and up I went, passed graceful old trees providing a momentary taste of shade. At the very top of the stairs is a large emerald-green tree. The sun shone through its elegant branches and dappled soft light from the leaves flirted playfully across the steps. Turn right and you’re into Wing Lee Street.
永利街是香港上环一条街道, 位於上环南部必列者士街以南, 楼梯街与城皇街之间, 东西走向, 有九幢建於1950年代初的唐楼. 该处以保留香港1960年代特色而著名, 柏林影展得奖香港电影 "岁月神偷" 也是在此取景.
"岁月神偷" 是一部 2010年的电影, 由任达华和吴君如领衔主演.
So off I went to track down Wing Lee Street in Sheung Wan. Wing Lee Street reeks of old Hong Kong. Like how i imagine the British stumbled across when they first came to Hong Kong. Before the Western-style high rise apartments were built, the tenements on Wing Lee Street are how people used to live. The street has an abandoned air about it - crumbling, a little bit seedy looking. A derelict street stuck amidst the backdrop of pretty, shiny skyscrapers that tower over it.
Apparently, Wing Lee Street was to be consigned to the scrap heap until a little movie film came along – Echoes Of The Rainbow 岁月神偷, starring Simon Yam 任达华 and Sandra Ng 吴君如 – a film which won Hong Kong its first coveted Crystal Bear Award at the Berlin International Film - that tells the nostalgic tale of a shoemaker’s family in the 1960s. The film was shot entirely on Wing Lee Street and now cries of protest against demolishing the seedy old buildings are being heard loud and clear. The Hong Kong government announced its promise to preserve the ambience of the street by allowing some of the tenement buildings to stay intact.
Though Wing Lee Street is little more than an alley, a stop here will have you enchanted. The tong lau tenement buildings offer a rare glimpse of Hong Kong life as it was decades ago, before the claws of development fully took over the city. These are tong laus unlike others in Hong Kong, because they’re built in clusters on the same terrace – a style nearly extinct here. But even this historic street is facing the government’s wrecking ball.
由于没有车道, 要找到永利街, 需拾级而上. 楼梯阶上, 几位家庭主妇站着聊天,, 悠闲自在. 偶尔还有移民多年的老人来此踱步, 周游于童年的记忆中. 人情味萦绕于沧桑的唐楼之间, 新旧不一, 高矮迥异的楼房, 诉说往昔人和街道的唇齿相依.
商业楼宇林立的中环是香港的心脏地带, 都市的发展使不少旧区和街市都给高楼大厦让路. 处于中上环一带的老城区, 却由商业浓烟逐渐回归本土气息. 是可以体会老香港的一片难得天地. 香港最地道的生活气息, 在这些依山而建的蜿蜒街巷静静蔓延.
永利街上其中一个特色是“唐楼”, 共有12幢. 唐楼是华南地区19世纪中后期至20世纪中期的一种建筑风格. 香港最早期的唐楼, 都是由青砖砌成, 屋顶则是由木结构及瓦片组成的斜顶. 唐楼一层通常为商铺, 楼上则作为居民住宅. "岁月神偷" 影片中罗家的罗记皮鞋店铺即是这种原汁原味的唐楼风格. "台" 是香港岛建筑的一大特色.
旧时港岛不少楼房建筑都依山而造, 因地势兴建不同式样的楼房而开辟出“台”. 楼前腾出一块公共活动空间让人留连, 聚会, 构成了紧密的邻里关系. 永利街上12栋的老唐楼伫立在 "台"上, 保留了上世纪五, 六十年代旧城区风貌, 据说是全港绝无仅有的.
'拆的保不了, 保的拆不了' 标语, 变成反对重建永利街人士的心声, 亦是永利街旧楼租客的诉求. 有住客八人蜗居五百呎单位, 在恶劣环境下生活, 十几年来等政府收购重建, 令他们能搬到环境较好的公屋居住, 但一句保育使他们希望落空, 又回到六十年代艰难岁月, 过著房子风吹雨打摇摇欲坠, 担惊受怕的日子.
夜幕低垂, 维港的璀璨照见永利街旧楼形影荒凉. 谁不向往美好生活? 历史巨轮永远前进, 长江後浪推前浪, 这是必然的规律. 房屋会变旧, 不强拆也会倒塌. 人随著时代变化而进步, 建築物也然. 究竟保育定义是什么? 到底什么建築物算是值得保留? 古蹟值得保育, 随时倒塌的危楼也值得保育吗? 也许这就是民主社会的进步, 少数服从大多数, 最终受害者可能是弱小社群.
电影拍了, 看了, 就让永利街成为历史, 在记忆里长存. 回顾过往, 感概亲情, 岁月依旧流逝，却永远偷不走我们心中美好的回忆.
The apartments seem to be stacked one on top of the other, giving the impression that they’re about to topple. The entrance ways are festooned with steep staircases, Chinese red lanterns and images for good fortune. Washing flaps in the breeze as it dries on balconies. On the street, photographers and tourists gawk and gasp, whilst inside the everyday life of a community lives on, oblivious to the circus going on outside.
The film, which was released in Year 2010, has somehow helped to make the Wing Lee Street a popular point for history-minded tourists, who came to see what’s about to be lost. The buildings are reminders of a time when the community in this part of Sheung Wan was more collective, living in such close quarters to each other. Though the street is in parts derelict, heritage preservation groups are bemoaning the imminent loss of yet another slice of Hong Kong’s past.
That’s what I love about Hong Kong - around any corner there is richness, texture, colour and a few oddities. I hope the Hong Kong Government figures out how to preserve the community life as well as the beautiful old buildings.
永利街路窄, 加上属掘头路, 所以从前只有永利街居民出入, 及在街上放置数张二手木椅閒聊, 小童可以相约在此街上捉迷藏. 现在在 "岁月神偷" 热潮下, 不少市民均到永利街怀缅旧日情怀, 当中摄影爱好者及龙友为数不少. 而热潮带动下, 不少本地及海外名人亦特意到永利街参观.
每天穿行在横街小巷, 趣味盎然. 即使去同一个地方, 也有很多不同的路可走, 且走每一条路都可以有新发现. 在这些小巷中穿行, 无论是探望打银老匠或印刷师傅, 还是抚摸一只流浪猫, 都可以呼吸该区独特的气息, 这种参与其中的感觉, 实在妙不可言.
永利街以及附近街道是许多著名港产片取景拍摄之地. 电影 "岁月神偷" 正是一份本土特色, 才是电影真正打动人的地方. 由于永利街已纳入市区重建局的重建项目, 当局计划保留3栋唐楼, 其余则会重建成住宅大厦. 这一街道是现时香港唯一保留六十年代特色的地方, 希望香港政府好好保留街道原貌.
合理保留社区不只是为了一部电影, 而是为了承传特色文化及历史景观. 城市终归要发展, 传统与未来的矛盾始终交织在城市的故事中. 老街旧巷, 已悄然烙下岁月偷不走的城市记忆.
Hong Kong 香港 - Part 5 - To be continued....
A freelance Singapore-based travel photographer / photojournalist. I seek the extraordinary, but finds beauty in the everyday. Life is interesting, capture it.
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