Slow Day

The usual media depiction of Hong Kong revolves around skyscrapers, the Peak, and the excellent dim sum, of course.

But there is also another pace of life which you can see on weekends.

All photographs are taken at Ma On Shan, New Territories.

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You’ll see people cycling, fishing and taking leisurely walks.

There are fast-paced days and there are slow-paced days.

Today, we’ll go slow.

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The cycling route can be rather scenic.

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There’s an often-mentioned creative writing strategy: when writing a poem about love, never use the word “love”.

This entry is about cycling with my son, without photographs of us cycling.

You can see our bikes in the background though.

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At moments like this, we slip into another time. You’ll see people enjoying being alone, in their own space-time bubbles.

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This is the bike shop we go to when there’s something to the bikes I can’t fix. They’re really friendly and will actually tell me I don’t need that pair of fancy bike gloves when a generic one would do as well.

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My cynical self would think about the way they are setting up their profit margins. But they sometimes do minor repairs and maintenance for free as well.

The boss will just tell you it’s free of charge and please buy your next bicycle from him.

She was shielding her eyes from the sun, so naturally I brought my camera to my eye.

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That’s at the end of Wu Kai Sha beach. You’ll see quite a number of village houses.

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An open door.

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You could see the contrast between village life and high rise living here.

Hong Kong is a city of sharp juxtapositions.

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Thanks for reading!

Village Life in Hong Kong

This is the dilemma I face whenever we have a family outing.

Should I bring along my Leica M6, my Olympus XA2, Canonet or Yashica? Do the kids look like they’re going to give trouble? Are we going shopping which means I need a high ISO film?

At this point I would once again settle on my Canon G11 over the 600D. With a family in tow, I’ll go for a compact auto focus auto exposure digital everything because there’s usually no time to focus (in both senses of the word) if you’re looking to do a bit of street photography at in-between moments. I’ll bring along my Leica when the kids are older…

My daughter’s kindergarten organised an outing last Saturday for their students and their families. There was a huge turnout. Five gigantic bus loads.

Here’s our guide:

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She sings very well.

Here’s our driver:

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I was 2 seats behind and this is a reflection of him from the driver’s rear-view mirror between two curtains.

We were at a farm at Sha Tau Kok. It was a 20-minute walk to the farm and there were fascinating ruins.

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I think some of these are occupied.

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There’s a certain socio-political economic situation to village houses in Hong Kong.

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In land-scarce Hong Kong, villagers are given a plot of land to build a three-storey house in recognition of their indigenous status. They could remain as they are but a three-storey set-up means you could lease out two floors and live on the rent alone.

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Usually the villagers in a single village are related and have the same surname.

And they would set up small businesses. This area for example is a cycling, fishing, kite-flying and bbq area combined with a vegetable farm.

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When we say Hong Kong is short of land, we are thinking of built-up areas like Kowloon or Hong Kong island.

Sha Tau Kok where we were is huge and relatively sparsely populated. But it takes a certain character to enjoy life here I suppose.

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Here’s another village. I was told it’s a traditional Hakka village. Because these are popular sites for local excursions, the villagers have set up small stalls selling traditional snacks.

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The black blobs are called errr… “tiny chicken poop” in Cantonese. Yummy! I was told it’s good for my sore throat.

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Thanks for reading!