Market Lights

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Whether it’s Sham Shui Po, Jordan, Sai Ying Pun or Kowloon City, most of Hong Kong’s older neighbourhoods have a similar aesthetic, with the same stained concrete buildings, steel doors, sidewalk altars and worn awnings. It gives the city a remarkably cohesive character despite having such a large population and such varied geography.

The same is true for Hong Kong’s many markets: whether in the street or in a market hall, fish, meat and produce is almost invariably sold under the glow of distinctive red lamps. Like a visual catchphrase, they are an instant and unconscious sign to passersby that fresh food is available.

I’ve seen these red lamps in Macau, too, and as far as I can tell they’re also used in Guangzhou and other Cantonese cities. But I’ll bet that only in Hong Kong have they been used ironically: in the past few days, walking through the trendy streets of Central, I’ve noticed the lamps in a café, an art gallery and in the window display of a high-end shoe store on Wellington Street.

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This entry was written by Christopher DeWolf , posted on Saturday March 15 2008at 11:03 am , filed under Asia Pacific and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink . Post a comment below or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

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