Cargo Port by Day, Playground by Night

By day, the Western District Public Cargo Working Area is a sun-bleached strip of forklifts, barges and rusty containers. By night, it’s another world. People from across Hong Kong’s Western District sneak into the cargo area to ride their bikes, fish, barbecue, sit by the water and chat with friends. Security guards watch the activity benignly until the end of their shifts, when they head home and leave the gates ajar so that people can wander in.

The cargo area stretches all the way from Kennedy Town to the wholesale food market in Shek Tong Tsui, where a long pier extends out into Victoria Harbour. If you wander to the end of the pier, you’ll be immersed in the sound of Hokkien being spoken: this is where the neighborhood’s large community of Fujianese immigrants likes to hang out. “When it gets really hot in the summer, we come here because there’s always a breeze,” says one woman, Mrs Lin, who moved to Hong Kong 15 years ago. “We just sit around and speak our own language. It’s a good place.”

I’ve passed through the cargo working area a few times, always surprised by the amount of activity in such an unlikely place. Not all Public Cargo Working Areas in Hong Kong are like this — I’ve passed by the one nearest to me and it’s a ghost town at night — so I think the popularity of the one in Western must be a factor of its proximity to lots of apartments as well as the lax security. Last fall, I returned to the cargo area with a camera and audio recorder for CNNGo. Above is what I got.

This entry was written by Christopher DeWolf , posted on Monday April 19 2010at 11:04 pm , filed under Asia Pacific, Public Space, Society and Culture and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink . Post a comment below or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

Comments are closed.