The new and the old, how to choose? What to lose? It’s a hot topic of the whole world recently. When the economy and life of people become better, people start to miss the old things. At the same time, we all know new development is the most important element to develop the society. So, we keep watching the Old vanishes and the New comes.
Recently, I always go to North Point in Hong Kong Island. One day, when I walked in North Point, I took some photos of the town. When I tidied the photos when I back home, I found some old views of Hong Kong which are vanishing.
In 1841, HK Island was colonized by Britain. The British took Central as the center of development. North Point was the fringe of the development: no best development in North Point, but better than those area not developed. In around 1920-30, people from Shanghai and Fujian of China moved to North Point. North Point started to develop rapidly. We could see a lot of residential buildings and entertainment venues. But later the Government started to develop Tsim Sha Tsui and Mongkok in Kowloon. North Point became an old town again. Today, we can find the old HK in North Point.
Passing through a few streets, I saw lot ofs signboards just above the road. Signboard is a great feature of HK. Many foreigners come to HK just to take the photos of the signboards. But do you know? The HK Government is now limiting the setting up of signboards. We may find that many signboards have been cleared. In few years, we may find no signboards again in Hong Kong.
Keep walking, I saw a Newsagent's shop. This kind of Newsagent’s shops is full of the characteristic of HK. Actually the life of the shop owners are not good. In the past, they had to pay the protection fee to gangs. Although it is better nowadays, the Government doesn’t issue new hawker license anymore. Also people now are used to buy stuffs in convenience store. These newsagent’s shops are vanishing.
And also Tong Lau. Tong Lau is the building style of the Guangdong and Hong Kong from the late 19th century to mid 20th century. It shows us the fusing of the Chinese and Western building style. In North Point, we can still see different types of Tong Laus built from the 1920’s to 1970’s. I may talk more about it later. So how about after 1970’s? No Tong Laus anymore. We built new western style buildings. Some Tong Laus are lucky to be conserved. And most of them are being rebuild. Tong Laus are going to be history.
It’s mankind. When life is not good, we wish to have new things. When life becomes good, we wish to preserve the old things. It’s a kind of contradiction but this contradiction builds up culture. Is culture a must? Actually no. But culture builds up our self-identity. Because of culture, we are proud to tell others we are Chinese, we are Japanese, we are the US, we are British…etc. furthermore, we are different from animals because of culture. We build the diversity of human society by culture.
However, we need to agree that the world is facing homogeneity. Places are urbanized. People wear similar clothes, building similar houses, using similar products. Of course, something like foods and religions are still having strong local feature. But the difference is narrower. I may ask, should it be like that? No answer at all. We must learn from the good. The ancient Europe learnt from Greece. The ancient East Asia learnt from China. The modern world learnt from Western. We can’t escape from it. Luckily, some traditional cultures like traditional clothing and custom are still preserved. If not, I will feel regret.
What do you think about it. Feel free to comment and share.
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