The West Rail Ring

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lfrapzRSWFg[/youtube] This new ad for the recent extension of the Hong Kong MTR’s West Rail Line, which now runs from Tsim Sha Tsui all the way out to Tuen Mun, via the farm fields, housing estates and wife cakes of Yuen Long, straddles a line between parallel traditions of public transit advertising: the earnest and […]

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Post-Industrial

Fotan is one of the industrial areas that helped Hong Kong become a global manufacturing centre in the 1960s, 70s and 80s, before all of the factories moved across the border to China. Now it’s home to a hodgepodge of odd businesses and about 100 artists, many of whom live and work in the Wah […]

The Son’s House: Hong Kong’s Plexes

Ding uk in Kam Sham Village, Tai Po I never thought I’d find a triplex in Hong Kong but it turns out there’s thousands of them. While Montreal’s triplexes were mostly built in the early twentieth century, the ones in Hong Kong, known in Cantonese as ding uk, are actually fairly recent. While ding uk […]

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History in a Chair

It’s 1905 in one of Shau Tau Kok’s small Hakka villages. A young couple has just been married. Now, the bride, wearing a veil, is being carried away to her new family-in-law’s house in an elaborately-carved wooden sedan chair—co kiau in Hakka—that been draped in a red sash to keep out evil spirits. Firecrackers greet […]

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Riding the Light Rail

Compared to Hong Kong or Kowloon, the northwest part of the New Territories feels like a city apart, an earthier, more workaday place. Much of that has to do with its geography and urban development, a low-rise sprawl of villages, farms and subdivisions that runs the length of a wide, flat valley, with two highrise […]

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The Last Squatters

Remnants of an old squatter settlement. Shek Wu Hui, Sheung Shui, New Territories

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Back from the Beach

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Buying Seafood in Sai Kung

In most of Hong Kong, buying fish for dinner involves a trip to the neighbourhood wet market, or maybe to the seafood aisle in a slightly more sanitary supermarket. But in Sai Kung, an old fishing port in the midst of one of Hong Kong’s more verdant corners, many head straight for the source: the […]

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Tai Po Tsai

For the next month or so, I’ll be staying in a village on Hong Kong’s Sai Kung Peninsula named Tai Po Tsai. Tucked between Razor Hill and the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, it’s a likable little place of narrow lanes and typical village houses. Although it is traditionally home to members of […]

Villages in the City

It’s not unusual for a place to be referred to as an “urban village,” often referring to a particularly tight-knit neighbourhood or a commercial district whose merchants’ association has tried to foster a sense of small-town nostalgia. In the case of Hong Kong, however, actual villages do exist in the midst of a large metropolis. […]

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