What A Happy Weekend! I just came back from Hong Kong and it was one of the best Hong Kong trips I’ve ever been on. I hope all of you had a wonderful weekend too.
I got a chance to look through my trip photos on my way back to home and i really can’t wait to share them. It was such an unique trip that I felt very lucky to go for it and it worked out so well. It was the kind of trip that when it was time to go home and i was reluctant to leave. Though this is not my first trip to Hong Kong, somehow this trip was a truly fulfilling and enjoyable trip as i explored many different parts of Hong Kong and snapped these interesting places.
I will be blogging on my Hong Kong trip photos in a few parts, so please continue to stay tuned to my photography blog! Here goes my first blog post on my recent trip to Hong Kong - 深水埗 Sham Shui Po.
The street photos taken at this district were all in black and white - There is nothing more classic and nostalgic than black and white street photography. Black and White reminds us of our past, which we often romanticize and idealize. Not only that, because we don’t see the world in black and white, which makes these images more interesting to look at. The one thing that I love about black and white is that it allows you to concentrate on the image itself, rather than the color.
When we think of the past, for some reason we always imagine the memories and pictures in our mind in black and white. Therefore if you are trying to get a nostalgic type of feel in your images that pays an homage to the past, black and white is definitely a wonderful medium for that. I don’t mean that street photography is meant to be taken in either black and white or color. There are cases in which black and white are more appropriate, and times in which color is more appropriate. In this blog post, the differences between both mediums will be outlined. You'll know what i mean when you browse this blog post on 深水埗 Sham Shui Po.
If you want to know more about Hong Kong, other than visiting the sightseeing spots, i suggest you go to Sham Shui Po, this area is the poorest in Hong Kong. 深水埗 Sham Shui Po has, as always, gathered many low-income households, including those of immigrants from mainland China and old people.
Hong Kong started its complusory pension fund scheme only a few years ago. For the elderly, they don't have pension funds to rely on and it is a common scene in Hong Kong that the elderly collect free newspapers / paper cardboards and bring them to the recycle shops for a few dollars a day, just to make a living. In 深水埗 Sham Shui Po, you can easily see a scene of this, as elsewhere in Hong Kong.
Besides seeing bits of reality of Hong Kong, you must visit 深水埗 Sham Shui Po for another reason - to visit its famous flea market - Apliu Street Market 鸭寮街跳骚市场.
The Cantonese name “apliu” (鴨寮) comes from a village which was formerly located nearby but has long since been buried underneath the urbanization of Sham Shui Po. Apliu Street has a huge flea market containing electronics, electrical components and related items. A shopper can find both new and used merchandise in the area. Apliu Street is well known for geek shopping. You just name it and you will see it.
Many of the buildings in this area were built in the 30s and 40s. Most of them are quite run-down, busted up and crowded. You can tell that people still live in them, though, because nearly every window has clothes drying on lines outside.
在一九一零年代鸭寮街并不存在的, 那时只是一片汪洋大海. 其后, 政府在深水 进行了大规模的填海工程, 足有几十个足球场的面积, 包括有汝州街, 钦州街, 黄竹街等. 在南昌街与钦州街之间的地方, 当时就是盖满鸭寮, 鸭寮街亦因此而命名. 最初的鸭寮街只是一条村落, 居民以畜牧和种植为生, 后来渐渐出现了上舖下居的叁层高建築物, 当建築物增多, 政府便开始划分街道, 而鸭寮街售卖货物的雏型便形成了.
鸭寮街是一个专门售卖电子产品的地方, 除了手机外, 这里也有无线电仪器, 影音产品及电子零件出售. 鸭寮街有较便宜的水货产品出售, 有不少游客每次来港旅游也喜欢到鸭寮街走一趟, 看看有没有找到心仪的二手手机. 但鸭寮街最著名的可是二手的音响摊档, 摊档售卖的价格一般比较便宜, 而且货品非常齐备, 是 "音响爱好者" 的天堂. 当然, 这里亦有摊档专卖较有特色的货品，其中包括古老时钟, 廉价手表, 旧钱币等, 鸭寮街能为游客提供另类的购物新乐趣.
A lot of people say Sham Shui Po is afflicted with urban decay. Many of the buildings are getting close to 100 years old and many of them are low-income tenements. On top of some of the buildings you can see where squatters have set up small shacks on the roof since they can’t afford anything else. People stick bamboo out of the windows to hang up their laundry in the sun because they have no other option. It’s crowded, noisy, and at time, a bit dingy. Make no mistake - Sham Shui Po is definitely one of the poorest areas of Hong Kong.
Yet I have to admit, it has become one of my favourite places. I’ve found myself going there just to walk around. When you live in a spanking new ultra modern 60-floor highrise and work in the super swanky Eurocentric business district downtown, going into ‘the ghetto’ is a nice break. It reminds you that you ARE in Hong Kong, and this is what it used to be like.
时至今日, 鸭寮街已经家喻户晓, 有人来鸭寮街就是抱著寻宝的心态, 货品类型由电器, 五金, 影音, 手提电话, 汽车零件, 电脑, 钟錶, 金行, 甚至宠物, 鱼竿亦有出售, 只要你想得到的, 甚至你意想不到的货品, 都可在鸭寮街找到, 这正是鸭寮街令人流连忘返的地方.
The old architecture of the tenements with their curved facade..Little haberdasheries with dried fish, herbs, spices, seaweed, shark fins…Butcher stores on the corner washing blood down the drain while in the back someone silently slaughters a chicken. Make no mistake - it is not a particularly pretty place but when I went to Sham Shui Po, I felt like this is the real Hong Kong, the gritty, dirty side of it, far from The Peak, Lan Kwai Fong, Ocean Park and Causeway Bay.
鸭寮街在繁忙时间录得平均每小时人流为五千五百人, 数字相当惊人, 有见及此, 政府有意把它发展成旅遊点. 为了改善行人环境, 运输署於二零零一年十月四日起, 在桂林街和南昌街的一段鸭寮街划为行人专用街道, 由中午十二时至晚上九时禁止所有车辆驶入, 目的是为了方便遊客. 根据访问所得, 鸭寮街的遊客除了本地香港人, 外地遊客多来自澳洲, 巴基斯坦, 加拿大等国, 有的是经旅遊发展局介绍而来, 他们表示如果没有鸭寮街, 也未必会到深水埗遊览.
不过鸭寮街的生命力非常旺盛, 适应能力十分强, 具有其高度的存在价值, 我相信鸭寮街会继续兴旺, 继续发展.
Hong Kong is not just about good food and shopping, there is always another side of it. Did you see it? Welcome to Hong Kong then - A nice and culture rich city. It does have its run-down-type-of-style. But by far, the thing it is best known for, though few like to talk about it, are the cage homes or partitioned rooms, where the poorest of Hong Kong’s poor live. And it is quite different to other, more affluent areas of Hong Kong.
I started to appreciate a new meaning in the term 安居乐业 (to live and work in peace and contentment). 原來，安居可以乐业，乐业可以安居. I see, i feel, i like - Hong Kong.
I hope you enjoy my first blog post on my recent trip to Hong Kong. :-)
Hong Kong 香港 - Part 2 - To be continued....