Here goes the Part 3 of my recent trip to Hong Kong - Noonday Gun 怡和午炮located near Causeway Bay MTR Station 铜锣湾站.
I have always been fascinated with tales of the old colonial days and the epic stories from famous 19th Century explorers. Hong Kong was of course once part of the old British Empire and itself under colonial rule for some time. Today you can still see traces from this bygone era around and about old Hong Kong, from the street names, to the architecture, even to the financial and business systems still in place to this very day.
One of the most famous hangovers from colonial rule is the Jardine Noon Day Gun. I have heard so much about the gun and its history that i decided to search out and locate this legendary gun!
The Noonday Gun 怡和午炮 is accessed from a tunnel passing under Gloucester Road from the basement car park in The Excelsior hotel, which is operated by Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group, a Jardines subsidiary.
乘搭港铁到达铜锣湾站或乘搭其他交通工具到铜锣湾, 然後步行到告士打道怡东酒店的地下停车场入口, 循著楼梯向下步行往停车场转右即看见行人隧道, 即可抵达炮台.
The Jardines Noonday Gun raises funds for Hong Kong charities. To-date, over HK$5 million has been raised.
Individuals or organisations who donate a specified sum to MINDSET may fire the gun. A gun shell replica will be presented to the donor as a souvenir. A reception can also be provided at the gun site at a discount.
MINDSET is a registered charitable organisation founded in Hong Kong by the Jardine Matheson Group with the objective of making a difference in the area of mental health. Led by the Jardine Ambassadors, a group of young executive volunteers from all parts of the Group in Hong Kong, the MINDSET programme aims to raise awareness and understanding of mental health issues and to change attitudes. It also provides financial and practical support to individuals, families and organisations in need of help.
Mental health is an area of need that is greatly underserved in Hong Kong. Since its establishment in 2002, MINDSET has supported a number of non-government organisations within the mental health sector in Hong Kong and mainland China in the forms of in-kind donations, volunteer services and cash donations.
The Jardine Matheson Group is a diversified business group in Asia. The Group's interests include Jardine Pacific, Jardine Motors Group, Hong Kong Land, Dairy Farm, Jardine Cycle & Carriage and Astra International. These companies are leaders in the fields of engineering and construction, transport services, insurance broking, property investment and develoment, F&B, motor vehicles and related activities.
The firing of the Jardines Noonday Gun is a tradition that dates back to the early days of Hong Kong.
The Noonday Gun is located on the first plot of land to be sold by public auction in Hong Kong. Jardines purchased this in the 1840s and subsequently moved its headquarters from Macau to the current location at Causeway Bay since then.
怡和午炮位於香港东区铜锣湾避风塘的岸边, 鸣放午炮这一传统, 历史悠久, 每天中午12:00, 铜锣湾海旁会响起一声礼炮, 这是香港其中一家传统英资机构怡和洋行的午炮仪式, 至今已有超过140年历史, 可追溯至香港开埠初期. 午炮的所在地即当年之东角, 是香港第一幅公开拍卖的地皮, 于1841年被怡和洋行投得.
这是其中一香港旅遊景点. 现时只须捐赠指定金额予 MINDSET, 便可以获安排鸣放礼炮, 自1990年开始, 已经筹得逾500万港元善款.
In those days, Jardines maintained its own gun battery and detachment of guards at East Point. It was the custom to give a gun salute to the head of Jardines, known as the Taipan, whenever he arrived in or left Hong Kong.
The origin of the Jardines Noonday Gun salute is shrouded in the mists of time, but the story goes that on one occasion, the salute annoyed a senior Naval Officer, who was new to Hong Kong and had not heard of the practice. It is said that as a penalty Jardines was ordered to fire a Noonday Gun as a time signal for Hong Kong.
A small crowd usually gathers for this daily event. Other than noon, the gun is also fired by a Jardines official at midnight every New Year's Day to celebrate the new year.
At the daily firing event, a Jardines guard marches up to the site in uniform. The guard rings a bell to signal the end of the fore-noon watch, a practice which dates from the time when Jardines' main offices and warehouses were located at East Point. Then, the guard marches up to the Noonday Gun and fires it, after which he rings the bell again, locks the chain blocking access to the gun and goes off.
这位老兄鸣炮前神情轻松, 不过, 越逼近中午时刻, 随众人期待目光, 气氛凝重起来, 午时一到, 只见他先摇铃, 再上前击发, 好快, 就这样结束了.
All you need to do is turn up a few minutes before 12 noon, watch a simple ceremony, and listen to a very loud bang. All great.
The story behind the gun is a little more impressive than the hardware, which is actually just a small canon on the seafront set behind a rope. That said, the actual firing is impressive and an almost sole reminder of Hong Kong's British heritage.
午炮施放完毕, 开放遊客参观. 不过, 间人勿近, 砲台还是管制区, 只能在周遭拍照, 或是摇摇铃干过瘾. 尽管人生无常, 生命某些时刻, 还是存在规律, 想像日正当中的时刻, 无论你身在何处, 会知道在香港有这么一只炮管, 日复一日扛起报时任务, 或许空气中会飘来几许烟硝味吧!
怡和午炮是每天正午于港口鸣放的, 显示的是气势和威慑. 如今, 炮口正对着的是游艇码头, 无数奢华的游艇停泊在这里.
水, 清澈通明; 鱼, 来回游弋, 一派的祥和.
It was a very nice ceremony. Well, the gun is anything but a simple rifle. It is a high powered small cannon. What a blast! Much better when you know what it is! The firing of Hong Kong's Jardine Noon Day Gun is one of the very few traditions that remain from the city's time as a British colony. Fired each day at noon in Causeway Bay, it's really worth taking time out from the nearby shopping frenzy to watch the gun go off. :-)
虽说怡和午炮是香港的一个特色景点, 然而多数游客不会光临这里, 因为这里紧邻封闭的道路, 无法停车, 需从铜锣湾步行前往. 然而如果你有闲暇, 有心情, 我倒是建议你不妨走一走, 看一看游艇码头, 看一看旁边的警官俱乐部, 或者只是看看水里的鱼.
如今, 只要你出钱, 你也可以预约在某天的正午, 亲自鸣放这怡和午炮, 庆祝你自己的某些要庆祝的事情, 而你出的钱, 则进入了某个基金会, 为社会做出了一些慈善事情, 不错的思路. :-)
Hong Kong 香港 - Part 4 - To be continued....