More than sixteen years after Hong Kong’s reunification with China has brought about joy mingled with sadness and a mix of gains and losses. What fading fast which, however, I am reluctant to see is what once defined a special cultural identity of the city – the east-meet-west British postcolonial culture. To start my new year, I decided to tour around Hong Kong to rediscover traces of Hong Kong’s former British heritage. My first stop was Jack Wills.
From the moment I stepped into the shop, I felt like I was going through a nostalgic journey to reminisce about the colonial days. The national flag of the United Kingdom and the portrait of Her Majesty Queen Elisabeth II were familiar, yet alienated. A classic British vibe permeated every corner. Embracing genuine British heritage and celebrating chic college style, Jack Wills, richly decorated with artworks hung along the staircase and a jeep with the signature pink and navy stripes which is a teenage icon to represent individuality, passion and adventure in the middle of the sales floor, exuded the noble and dynamic English collegiate atmosphere which can rarely be experienced elsewhere in today’s Hong Kong. What is more, the fireplace typically found in European households and the splendid crystal chandelier were wonderfully evocative of a traditional English home during the festive times.
Venue: Jack Wills flagship store Hong Kong, Shop L02, Leighton Centre, 77 Leighton Road, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong
Then I headed west towards the Sheung Wan District, the most populated Chinese residential area during early British rule which had witnessed East-West cultural encounters in the history of Hong Kong. As I was wandering rather aimlessly along Hollywood Road, I spotted the stairs halfway down the road leading down to the almost unnoticeable Mee Lun Street. Being in an exploring mood, I went down to find out what have been “hidden” there – didn’t let me down! What I saw was the epitome of East-West hybridity. An interesting and exotic contrast between an European style tea room and a neighbouring shop, both featuring a festively and colorfully painted façade on one side of the street and an antique Chinese statue placed outdoors (obviously there is an antique shop nearby, I did not see the entrance though) just a few footsteps away in the opposite alley brought back bits and pieces of vivid memories of the colonial times.
Faux fur Ilkley Jacket and jewel embellished neckline Lanting Dress both by Jack Wills
Gemstone embellished fluffy bag by Che Che New York
Beige two tone patent leather Mary Jane pumps by Staccato
Venue: Antique Patisserie, G/F, Shop C, Mee Lun Street, Central, Hong Kong
I continued my trip to Tsim Sha Tsui but I chose not to continue to stay on the road. Instead, I took a ride on the ferry across the infamous Victoria Harbour to the Kowloon side for a breathtaking night view. I was lucky enough to snap this traditional Chinese junk called “Duk Ling” which is an old symbol of the East reminding the origins of the city when it was first settled more than a century ago by the English colonists.
Venue: Victoria Harbour, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong
The wheel of time turns, and ages come and go, but we are still proud to call Hong Kong our home and thrilled to be surrounded by more illuminated skyscrapers. May the Pearl of the Orient shine bright forever! Happy 2014, Hong Kong!