The Promenade at Kwun Tong/Ngau Tau Kok by the industrial buildings is one public space that’s popular among the Generation Y, due to its new design unlike any other promenades. It’s near the Kwun Tong Pier and Bus Terminal that used to be one transportation hub in the district when factories were still functioning before the 80s. Now most transports have been effectively replaced by the MTR, the pier and bus terminal have so few people using them. I even question the purpose of existence as of this moment. I’ve been to the promenade a few times approached from the Kwun Tong direction. This time I got a chance to approach from the other end at Ngau Tau Kok after a wedding of my former classmate that we still meet once/twice a year. I felt honored to be around with this group of classmates, not a huge group but at least we still have a spot for each other on the important days. How about the occasional group chat nonsense. Oh yea, that’s us. Maybe it’s the silliness that’s keeping us together still. Everyone has their own path to take. Shortly after the wedding banquet in mid-afternoon, I must carry on my own path. I wanted to explore Ngau Tau Kok thanks to the taxi ride. If I hadn’t seen the recreation area at the Promenade, I wouldn’t make this walk. It was the hottest day of the summer until today. With all the expensive operating, labor costs that were unfavor to any cost efficient industrial activities, factories have all moved across the borders to the north, in China. Almost all the used-to-be factories got converted into business suites, warehouses. The hippie solution can be fashion outlets, furniture showrooms, restaurants/cafés, galleries, artist workshops, band rooms, beer/wine breweries, greenhouse farms, fish farms and even playgrounds such as indoor soccer field, haunted house. The older generation would open buddhist/taoist temples which my mom visits. In other words, these old industrial buildings are the new powerhouse for opportunities. The advantage of low rent, high ceiling, roomy, rectangular interior have met almost all the criteria for all business owners. The entire Kwun Tong District which includes Kwun Tong, Ngau Tau Kok and Kowloon Bay were full of industrial buildings by the shore. My dad used to bring me to his participated side business at a building like these. One way to see it and that’s welcoming is, we get to see how creatively we utilize old structure as some of our practical work and play space without tearing and demolishing. All it requires is an approved change of the regulation for the property’s use. It’s an effortless idea to quickly ease up and re-use many of the empty vertical spaces in the city. I’d like to see a more organized way to pack the similar businesses into a street block. Colonize certain type similar businesses on a location. Cooperations between the buildings on the block, bring them together. Build a physical pedestrian bridge between the buildings, re-model the entrances/alleys to a friendlier manner. How about re-naming the entire block to something more interesting? Re-brand the district with a theme. Our government could have done an art village by using the industrial buildings without the indefinitely wait for Hong Kong Express Rail Link Station to be finished, before anything can be done for the West Kowloon Cultural Art District. We pay so much attention to these two projects because there aren’t any other new major developments in sight that the public could use, really not the delay. Who cares about the delay when they’re other fun new locations evolving.
It’s been a much discussed topic on the media of how SARS have changed Hong Kong, how it happened, what went wrong, who were the heroes, interviews of various survivors of SARS, … You might think I must have overwhelmed or bombarded by all that. The truth is, I knew nothing about it. I was studying abroad during that short but tragic historic moment. All the news footage dating back to the SARS 10 years ago had made me wondered what I was doing back then, what if I was in Hong Kong? All I remember was the vague web-phone conversation with my parents.
Everybody avoided going out. Think about the businesses, restaurants, the streets, the transportation networks, … It’s a very scary thought knowing how busy this city is now and how everyone relied on everyone, compare to the time 10 years ago. It was a big hit to many business owners, investors…
Hong Kong people had learned from our past. We learned to use masks, sanitizers and be conscious in personal hygiene. It can easily spotted someone using masks in the public. At the moment, I work at an office that has over 20 employees. Being in an office sitting at my desk, I understood how easily flu can be passed on to one another. Sadly, the micro-environment would a lot of times prevent us from using masks. I get so sensitive when someone sneeze near me and find a way to dodge. I still got sick the week before.
Due to work related reasons, I needed to travel to hospital in Kwun Tong. It was also the second day I got my photography mood back from a painful (sick) weekend in bed. I found the best chance to make use of my phone (Nexus 4) while I was visiting Kwun Tong. It all started from the man with mask at a garden by the hospital.
I continued with the clue (mask) after work in the area. I began to wonder how crowded it is in the market. Everything seems to be quite alright, better than ever. We really have to treasure the good days while we can.
Kwun Tong is a district under government’s city renewal project. It’ll be re-shaped to a modern district. The images of this set shows the every last bit of the remaining old district everyday life. It was a district I once grew up in. The new will soon take over the old.
Although we don’t know whether disease like SARS would ever visit Hong Kong again, one thing we know for sure; we are more alert and ready.
Everyday we simply look forward.