A Paradise (Throw Away the Rulebook)


Ever wonder what a park would be in your dream? I never, until I walked into one. And I very much wish to share with you after seeing people in groups were:

playing board games
sun tanning
having a picnic
group of kids chasing/screaming
couples kissing/hugging
shooting group photograph
appreciating rare flowers (sakura)
playing music with guitar
playing frisbee
playing soap bubbles
riding bikes
riding kick scooters
riding rollerblades

This may sound very natural on your side of world. But here, it’s a very unique scene when all these were actually happening in one place. What’s even more amazing is the traffic/skyscraper-free backdrop.

The majority of parks in Hong Kong were created and managed by the Leisure and Cultural Department. Most of them were created with the think-inside-a-box or stick-with-the-rules type of design. Really if a park is managed by rules that people do not even want, would people love that? It supposed to be the best place to social and relax. They’ve created parks that tell you what you can’t do, just like a rulebook so everyone needs to follow. Frak that, really.. can we?

The park system is one fine example of the difference between international schools and local schools. Kids come out of these schools are just two different breed even if they were raised similarly at home (well there’s the tuition but that’s not my point). Rules absolutely hinder and limit the scope of development. We need rules to govern, but not to design parks around the rules.

It’s not my first time visiting the Inspiration Lake near Sunny Bay. I’d been there a couple times until last time I had realized another example why government branches are so dysfunctional with the old-fashioned thinking. Do they ever question themselves – why not?

The size – The artificial lake (12 hectares) and park (30 hectares) created by Disneyland. It’s opened to the public without any admission fee. Imagine what’s it like in a golf course, it’s got a paved trail for walking/jogging. On the sides around it and the lake are the accessible lawn. The lake also has a boat centre where you could go for something more adventurous. It’s much larger than the Victoria Park that’s supposed to be the biggest city park (where people usually gather for protest/march). Hong Kong people just wish to enjoy as much open space as possible and this is the answer.

The design – I do not know if there’s such thing as landscape architecture in Hong Kong. Maybe you think Hong Kong is just too small to have something that’s supposed to be large in scale? Wrong. They’re there for a reason, they create space for you just like what indoor architecture do but with a much concentrated field. My dad easily observed and pointed out at the Inspiration Lake that the lawn area were smartly designed with hills and valleys. It’s to create more visual depth, space and area out of a fixed area. The entire park was literally barrier free. Plenty of huge trees were planted to provide a large cool shade.

The surrounding – The scenic view is one of a kind in Hong Kong. All you see is the sky and a mountain covered with greens. No more skyscrapers, residential estates, traffic, or any kind of development. What a beauty! Even the air you breath in would feel a lot fresher.

In the weekends visitors (friends, couples, families) would flock to the Inspiration Lake for quality outdoor time. All I saw was the happy faces, laughters, joyful atmosphere just like how I’d picture a paradise.

There’s something about this park that just makes it the most ideal park to be. Most of the government parks would just prohibit you from doing this and that, if you do security would come ruin your day. This might just the only place with less of the metal and concrete, more woods and greens, and facility friendly park. And boy, I just love lakes!

Park - Nature at its best
Park - Full of Smile and Happiness
Urban - fluorescent light and elevators
City - Full of little geeks

Ma Wan – Another dying fishing village of HK

Blogroll, Photography

I took a visit to this place the day after visiting one of my grandmas’ in the suburb of Hong Kong. Ma Wan now is known for an interlacing island between the cities in Kowloon to the Lantau Island and the Airport. There’re bridges here and there passing through Ma Wan.

There are two bridges: The Kap Shui Mun Bridge is one of the longest cable-stayed bridges in the world that transports both road and railway traffic, with the upper deck for motor vehicles, and the lower deck for both vehicles and the MTR. Sadly, there’s no stops from the MTR.

And there’s the Tsing Ma Bridge. It is the world’s seventh-longest span suspension bridge, and was the second longest at time of completion. The look of it reminds me of the Golden Gate Bridge in the States. I was very proud when the construction finished back then. When I was still young, I’d never imagine Hong Kong could build this type of modern large scale construction. It has become one of the landmarks of Hong Kong.

My family participated in the walkathon of the entire Tsing Ma Channel (start from Sheung Wan to The Chek Lap Kok International Airport). That’s friggin’ long, an approx. over 30 mins of taxi ride.

On the last day of working saturday. I wasn’t sure where to shoot photos until the last moment (as always). There are two ways to get there, by bus or jet boat. I’m more resilient to sea sick more than car sick. Sitting in stuffy bus can sometimes make me sick no matter how short the trip is. Moreover, the sunny day just encourage me to see the water, mountain and sunshine.

My first visit to Ma Wan, Hong Kong

I only visited a small part of my destination Ma Wan Park. The place that you’ll see was where i wandered into – Ma Wan Old Fishing Village. It’s a settlement by the native Ma Wan Villagers.
My first visit to Ma Wan, Hong Kong
Entering the village

My first visit to Ma Wan, Hong Kong
Discontentment being expressed on the government housing arrangement for part of the natives.

My first visit to Ma Wan, Hong Kong
One of the few heritage remains unraveled in Ma Wan, a stone cavern dated back over a century.

My first visit to Ma Wan, Hong Kong
man fishing at a public pier. I tried to get the sun…it seemed harder than i thought with the GRD.

My first visit to Ma Wan, Hong Kong
An open area for sun drying seafood – originally famous for their Shrimp Paste seasoning.

My first visit to Ma Wan, Hong Kong
It’s part of the old Hong Kong that will extinct at certain point of my life time.

My first visit to Ma Wan, Hong Kong
My first visit to Ma Wan, Hong Kong
Into the wild
My first visit to Ma Wan, Hong Kong
the scene speaks for itself that almost any capture will be a guaranteed good.
My first visit to Ma Wan, Hong Kong
This gives us hope. Still there’re active fishermen living here.
My first visit to Ma Wan, Hong Kong
rusted bolt on a barrier facing the ocean.
My first visit to Ma Wan, Hong Kong
narrow gap between houses.
My first visit to Ma Wan, Hong Kong
shot from the top of Ma Wan Park – known as the Bird Watching Pavilion.
My first visit to Ma Wan, Hong Kong
The signature landmark of Hong Kong – Tsing Ma Bridge. Somehow i get the feeling that some years later, it’ll become a commercial district/resort/attraction near the bridges. It’s just so darn great to watch it at night. Quiet, peaceful, lovely!

To conclude this few hour trip, it’s a well worth visit to the island and the clean/quiet community. Perfect destination for your kids and family. For me, it’s another great place to mark on my photographic spot. Also, a great field test drive on the Ricoh GRD IV 28mm lens. It captures landscape pretty darn good.

I found myself no sign of fatigue holding it in my hand all day literally. I’m really thinking about getting the 22mm conversation kits GH-2 & GW-2. I think functionality-wise, the GRD exceeds what G3 can give me. Quality-wise, G3’s images has more clarity for cropping, more depth of field when using prime lenses. One thing that I see myself falling into, is to choose between them. I kept telling myself both are great cameras. Just trust on my own techniques and capture the best out of the camera i’m holding. That’s what matters!! The cameras are mine anyway, it won’t go nowhere 🙂

P.S. That was the last day of our company’s 6-working day era. Beginning in February, i work only 5 days. Meh…still not sure how many more days left in the company for me..The sales job is not fitting me too well especially after today’s meeting with boss urging me to not just sit in the office. It’s just not my nature to go out & look for sh|t..For better or worse, I should set out an exit time table.

Kowloon Town Walled City Park


The Walled City was famous for its closely packed stacking structure. The westerners care less about the crime and all sort of dirty things happened in there. The fact is, I missed it too. I wish that there were parts of remains left to explore and sightseeing. Government apparently do not know what they’re doing. Make a museum of it. Allow visitors to see what it’s like to be in a walled city. Let them experience it…Now we could only find limited photos on the internet before the city being torned down.

While I was so raged about the lost of this one of a kind city art, i hoped to see interesting things in this original site of Walled City. It’s now converted into a public park. The government turned it into a forbidden city sorta park. There are much to see, water, birds, plants, rocks, ancient structures, etc. I spent my entire afternoon there to chill out and shoot photos.

Actually not that many people visit that place even on the weekends, it has much to do with the location. It’s not necessarily hard to reach. It’s not next to any major transportation hub (MTR). Buses can get you there. I enjoyed this place and will visit there again.

P.S> my basic flickr account is reaching the monthly upload limit and wordpress media storage limits only 2GB, does not have a renewable monthly upload limit. In other words, I can’t upload too many photos in this coming month. Or i might just upload low quality prints..