Seasonal Almanac

Major cold: pheasant hens brood (3 of 5)

January 23rd, 2009

major cold 3 of 15As my grandfather, parents, and their siblings are all retired, time for them has a differnt kind of logic. They are also rather drawn to ‘early-bird’ discount deals offered by restaurants, so having lunch in mid-morning isn’t uncommon. Today was one of those days. We met up with one of my aunts at around 10.45am for lunch at a restaurant where a one-time Iron Chef contestant still works as the executive chef.

After lunch, my aunt decided to take us on an exploration around the waterfront promenade in West Yau Mai Tei. We caught a green mini-bus to the nearest stop and walked the rest of the way to the inconspicuous entrance. All the way, my aunt was pointing out things like where the water used to come up to, how the carpark we passed used to be the pier, the names of all the new mutli-storeys development, and the train station they are building on the reclaimed land.

The walk and bicycle path edge the new banks of the harbour. The surrounding land is very flat, strangely empty, and rather dry. The timbre planks of the walkway are already bleached and warped. We saw a retired couple ducking under a hole cut into the fence to get across to the water to do a bit of fishing. As we passed another fisherman on the prohibited side of the fence, my aunt asked him whether the fish was biting. Without looking at us he said in a low voice that he just got there.

The only built structures are the vents of the West Harbour Tunnel underneath. I saw the big words, ‘Kowloon Cultural District’, in reverse atop the public conveniences that are recycled old cargo containers. You could just make out the faint outlines of the buildings and the hills on the otherside of the harbour. The whole place was deserted saved the ocassional jogger and three girls with a flute and a violin. We walked past the fenced up vaccant land where hundreds of potted trees were stored, waiting to be planted out.

The government decided to build a massive new cultural district on this site after the Hong Kong Tourism Association survey found that tourists thought the city was rather ‘lacking in cultural opportunities’. The ambition to undertake this project was announced in 1998. More than 10 years later, it is still at consultation stage.

2 Responses to “Major cold: pheasant hens brood (3 of 5)”

  1. 1 Louise
    January 30th, 2009 at 10:23 am

    Hello Jo

    I have been catching up on your last few days – words that come to mind from meeting your rellies on the blog are wry comedic, what will the world do next ie where the water line was

    Your older rels must have seen so much change in HK over their lives yet they same so unphased by it, like they enjoy the constructedness of the environment and a sense of constant change. I suppose the way one lives doesn’t have to change just because your physical surroundings do.

    I visited relatives in Sydney on Christmas Day who live in HK and it was very interesting hearing them talk about how the expat community lives. The picture they painted (filled in by other rels who have visited them), makes it sound like part of the life the expat wives lead is very 1950s – cocktail parties, home help, nice frocks etc etc. It’s very intriguing!

  2. 2 jolaw
    February 7th, 2009 at 11:17 am

    We went to see Takashi Kitano’s Sonatine at the Broadway Cinematheque last week. There was a very minor technical problem during the film and as an apology the cinema offered the audience free entry to any films shown. So we went to see The curious case of Benjamin Button yesterday. Both films deal with the themes of time as experienced in life albeit in very different ways.

    Not surprisingly, I have been thinking about time a lot. People often ask me whether HK has changed a lot (since 1997) – it seems to me that HK and change are always said in the same breath.

    On this trip I have felt a greater sense of change, although I couldn’t really articulate this clearly. One thing I did notice that seldomly (if at all) change is bus routes. My friend, Bus No. 7, still faithfully runs the route from Lok Fu to Tsim Sha Tsui Ferry Pier just as it did when I was a child.