Hong Kong As It Was

Porcelain relics

Wun Yiu, Tai Po (大埔碗窰)is the only kiln site that produced porcelain in underglaze blue currently found in Hong Kong. Part of the area where kiln’s remains discovered was declared as monument in 1983. The industry of producing porcelain started in Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) by two clans, Man and Tse. The business then was sold to the clan of Ma, who witnessed the decline of the industry in the early 1900s due to competition from kilns in Guangdong.

the grinder used in Wun Yiu's old time of porcelain industry
the grinder used in Wun Yiu’s old time of porcelain industry

The kiln site at Wun Yiu was doomed because the clay used to produce porcelain was not of high quality, and hence the finished products were not of very high quality, losing out to quality and inexpensive porcelain products from such famous kilns as Jing De (景德陶瓷) in Guangdong Province. The kilns at Wun Yiu ceased operation in 1932.

At the height of Wun Yiu’s industry, porcelain wares were exported as well as sold (57)photo 1 (8) photo 5 (4)Today at the site stands a small museum documenting the history of porcelain industry in Wun Yiu. admin-ajax

Near the museum, you can still see relics of porcelain wares, showing that the government has not done enough to preserve the site.

Do not miss the visit of Fan Sin Temple (樊仙宮) which is one of its kind in Hong Kong. The temple, near the museum, honors the masters (three brothers surnamed Fan) who taught the clan people the craft of porcelain 4 (4) The temple was believed to be built by the clan of Man with a history of two hundred years. It has been declared a monument by Hong Kong Government.

How to get there:

Take minibus No. 23 from Tai Po Market Station. Get off when you see the sign of Fan Sin Temple.  photo (56)Follow the sign and you will first see the museum and then the temple.

For more information, check out here.

Hong Kong As It Was

Marching on

I joined the anti CY (Hong Kong’s chief executive CY Leung) march on 1 January. It took me close to 3.5 hours just to walk from Causeway to the Government Headquarters in Admiralty. It was at a snail’s pace. I guess many people joined the march midway, making the pace of the whole procession really slow.

It was a formidable show up. When I ended the march at Admiralty, it was over 7pm. I knew there are many of us.

When the media compared the number of people joining the different marches in support of and against CY on the same day, it looked so meaningless to me.

For those marching against CY, we are united in one belief: if you have no integrity and lie your way to be chief executive, you have to go. And for me and many others, it is clear that it is all Beijing forces that manipulated and faked behind the scene the pro CY march  so that there would be a check to the ever strong anti CY forces. Polls have shown again and again that the popularity of CY Leung stands very low. And reports show that people were bribed to attend the pro CY march.

the banner headlined: lying chief 689’s most memorable saying

What has CY done for HK so far since his being sworn in on 1 July 2012? The unbelievably high property prices keep going up. A HR professional, not an education expert, or at least someone with deep background in education, was named secretary for education; A university president named for the portfolio of housing and transportation, instead of education; An accounting professional named for the portfolio of development; A supporter of CY named to vex all the senior government appointments, in breach of the normal civil service procedure, and a pro-Beijing District Councilor who was just defeated in the Legislative Council election, named vice secretary of constitutional and mainland affairs with a salary that is ten times higher than his previous one. What would you think of the governance of Hong Kong given these awful appointments?

Being exposed that there is illegal structure in his mansion, CY Leung said that, since I have blocked it, it no longer exists. (so a person can kill one and bury him/her, and claim that he or she has not killed).

For all the unpopularity and lies told by CY, the new chief of China’s liaison office in Hong Kong said yesterday that the Central Government supports CY Leung and affirms his work.

This is the sad reality of Hong Kong.

No matter how many people turn out against CY, he will still be the chief of Hong Kong, because Beijing has picked him and for saving its face, it will continue to support him. In the march, people called CY by the number “689”, as he was elected by a mere 689 people, out of the whole 7 million population, on the back of string pulling of China’s liaison office in Hong Kong.

Despite all this, thousands of Hong Kongers still marched on 1 Jan, demanding the downfall of CY. No matter what, they wanted to deliver a clear message: Head of HK should not, and cannot be a liar. They knew they could not bring CY down. Yet,  they, with me, still marched on. From light to dark. Hopefully one day, from dark to light.

These young people say aloud with their music: who say we want Chief Executive?

Hong Kong As It Was

A competition between a pig and a wolf

Hong Kong will have two candidates competing to be the next Chief Executive. One is Leung Chun-ying, former Convenor of the Executive Council, long suspected to be a Communist Party member and another is Henry Tang, former Chief Secretary, with a very rich family background, who is deemed as dumb due to repeated and multiple blunders and flip flops. The competition is therefore termed by some as one between a pig and a wolf.

There has been a series of high profile people coming out in support of Henry Tang recently, including movie star Stephen Chow who in defending Henry Tang, said he was actually “not stupid”. Can you see how “high quality” the candidates are? We just need them not to be dumb.

And don’t be misled by “election” or “competition”. All two candidates are okayed by the Beijing authority and are of course pro-Beijing. Who can “elect” them anyway? A 1200- strong election committee with representatives from different sectors, which is dominated by the influence of tycoons and major businesses. And these 1200 people represent about 0.01% of Hong Kong’s population.

A Beijing official in charge of Hong Kong affairs told the media in October that the election matter is “decided by Hong Kong people, not by me”. This is like black is white, white is black; or false is true, true is false. A shameless lie. A flagrant contempt for truth.

Hong Kong’s “election” of the next Chief Executive who will assume duty on 1 July, 2012, is a joke and a farce. The sweeping media reports on the two candidates disgust me – they lead the public to believe that there is a real “election” going on.

Hong Kong As It Was Where to Visit

Yim Tin Tsai: an island village

Yim Tin Tsai pier

Yim Tin Tsai in Sai Kung is a village on a small island. It is about 15 minute boat ride from the pier of Sai Kung.

The village was originally built by a family surnamed Chen from Guangdong province who moved to the island in the 1740s. Its descendents made a living by operating a salt farm and sold salt to Sai Kung and neighboring areas. As mainland China and Vietnam exported cheaper salt to Hong Kong in the early 20th century, Hong Kong’s salt industry went into decline. So was the salt farm in Yim Tin Tsai, which was converted into land for agriculture in the 1930s and then into fishing ponds in the 1960s.

Due to limited farming land to sustain the village community and better work opportunity outside, villagers started to leave the island with some settling down overseas, particularly in  the UK. By 1990s, the village was no more inhabited. Today, the abandoned fishing ponds where the salt farm once stood remain.

The island is very tranquil, reflecting a sense of being deserted. Maybe it is feeling better that way? But the descendants of the villagers are determined not to let it be. They are trying to revive the island as a hiking and eco-tourism destination. Nowadays, there is regular boat service between Sai Kung pier and Yim Tin Tsai on weekends and public holidays to bring in visitors.

There is a leisure kiosk which was the village community centre near the pier. The kiosk sells Hakka sweet, a local delicacy, which comes in four different flavors, including pumpkin and almond. Don’t miss them.

It takes less than one hour to tour around the whole island. Somewhere along the route stands a pavilion from which you can have a bird’s view of the island and its surroundings.One of the main sightseeing points is St Jospeh’s Chapel. The missionaries came to the island in the late 19th century and since then the whole village was converted into a Christian village. The chapel built in 1890, after renovation, still stands today.

The boat ferrying between Sai Kung pier and Yim Tin Tsai pier:Here’s the boat service schedule:Here’s the island sightseeing map:

Hong Kong As It Was

Tree House

There were five major clans which were instrumental in shaping the development and history of the New Territories in Hong Kong. The “Deng” clan in Kam Tin (錦田) area was one of them. The “Man” clan in San Tin (新田)I have written about was another.

In Kam Tin today, there remain quite a number of heritage sites which document the history of the “Deng” clan and hence a part of the history of the New Territories. “Kam Tin Tree House” is one of the sites.The big banyan tree wraps around a very old stone house, which was said to be a temple or a study hall. During the early time of Qing Dynasty, people living along the coast, including those in Kam Tin, were forced to abandon their homes due to an imperial edit on coastal evacuation. Allegedly, the owner of the stone house left and thereafter abandoned the house to the care of the big banyan tree, which has grown to have a crown spread of 38 meters wide. If the story stands, the tree must be more than 340 years old. For the edit was issued in 1666.

The tree was in 2004 put on the list of “Old and Valuable Trees” by Hong Kong’s Leisure and Cultural Services Department, for its large size, outstanding form, particularly old age and its cultural or historical significance.

When you are there, you will be struck by a sense of history as elicited by the tree and its form and its intertwining with the remains of the old stone house, which reminds me of the old trees wrapping the temples in Angkor Wat, Cambodia, though I must say perhaps not as majestic and breathtaking as the latter.

I was also struck by an odd feeling. A new playground has been put up just next to the tree house. Wouldn’t the concrete path rid the tree of soil and growth and breathing space it needs? Anyway, this has always been the management style of the authority here, putting up rails and concrete paths in the countryside where they are not really needed, and in fact, wreaking havoc on the nature. This is the photo provided by the government.

Address: by the playground of Shui Mei Tsuen(水尾村)

How to get there:
Get off at Kam Sheung Road MTR station; take exit C; take No. 601 mini bus; get off at Shui Mei Tsuen; or take taxi; only 5-10 min ride from the Kam Sheung Rd station, costing about HK$20.