HK the good ol' days

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  1. #1

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    Unhappy HK the good ol' days

    Back in the days, when north point still had a view across the harbour to the airport, before grandma's flat was replaced by a hotel, when causeway bay was busy but not insanely packed (this may never actually have been the case), before the days of the mega mall, before the MTR; or in the eighties when cha cha hit the clubs and Michael Bolton was a hit over pussyfoots, before i found out about the Triads; was the traffic always this loud in WanChai? were there so many western bars? were there so many sanitised chain cafes? was the ferry ride from TST to Central so short?

    the photographer guy who wrote in this weeks HK magazine lamented the loss of Patina, and then on tonight's news..the feature on the impending renewal of a girls neighborhood and subsequent loss of personal history in places...

    come on, DLN and other archi bigwigs.. how about a little palimpsest over glamour and monoculture?


  2. #2

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    Exclamation Things...change

    I long for the days when I could recall my nostalgia so much more clearly.

    Have you seen the chinese commercial on TV about the ICAC?

    Before there were faulty buildings, corrupting officials, health hazards - and worse - nothing you could do about it.
    Can't we just drink tea and enjoy things today?

    Yeah, the good ol' days. Let me add my parent's perspective: Babies tossed from building windows. And drinks at bars with ridiculous bar fees and bats ready at the door. And dangerous elevator rides and even more dangerous staircases. And you always had an amazing view of the traffic because there was no MTR.

    Go buy the ever- popular- movie- among- locals- with- a- kick- ass- song- to- match movie "Bun Gaan Baat Leuhng" (Half a Pound - 8 Taels / "Tit for Tat") from the Hui Brothers for a cheap $13 HKD, and tell me again how wonderful things were in Hong Kong. In short, the movie says if you can't laugh about how life was, you might as well cry.

    Things change. Places change. People change. Contribute some change of your own... and spare some change.

    Last edited by doogle; 04-04-2005 at 10:54 AM. Reason: speling

  3. #3

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    Loud traffic in WanChai: The traffic may have been louder before (lack of muffler technology), but that is offset by more traffic. But now the buildings trap the sound, making it difficult for sound pollution to dissipate.

    Apart from the emergence of Lan Kwai Fong, there aren't more western bars - they just have bigger signs. The locals ones have a more western-look, but they're still quite different.

    Sanitised chain cafes are on a world-wide rise, but it's still just a dent in Hong Kong.

    The ferry ride is shorter, because the ferry can go faster. If it went slower, it would indeed be a longer ride. Reclamation doesn't help either, but it's not the main difference.

    palimspest? Glamour and monoculture? Welcome to Hong Kong. You can't be Asia's World City without the pre-requisite glamour and monoculture, didn't you know?


  4. #4

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    I lived in HK back in 87-89, and i can tell you that its a lot better now than back in the so-called good ol' days. Back then you had to fight the rats out of your appartment before you got to sleep (i was in a cheap appartment though). It's all very well to have romantic notions of the HK of yester-year, but in reality it was a lot more ugly. If you long for the old style, move to China!


  5. #5

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    Patina et al

    Hi doogle, i remember your show--please explain aside whether zebedee could actually perform magic and how doogle managed to stay pals with everyone. It's probably been a long while since anyone has described HK as a fragrant harbour. Bond and Bruce Lee will stir a little nostalgia if you let them..even an opium table has been retrospectively coveted for its memory value.

    The ferries would be faster.. that makes sense, and Foster has put up some beautiful things in HK, urban renewal IS needed to lift quality of enviroments.
    Still would like to think that urban character and street life might be retained somehow.. any thoughts on some good examples of where it has happened successfully in HK, particularly in the parts of town away from Central?


  6. #6

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    I don't know what the heck you are talking about my show or zebedee. Or anything in your first paragraph. Color me confused.

    And no.
    No ideas on how urban character and street life can be retained. I think Baron's advice is a good one - move to China. But at least here in Diamond hill, I don't know how it was a generation ago, but it has some old traditional characteristics - a wet market, dai pai dongs, old shops. The barber's has black and white photos on the walls, which isn't too reassuring. And their machines are out of Art Deco period.

    I mean you have your own perspective, your own nostalgia, and your own set of views that you're looking for. Over me, you have a history and past to draw on.

    I suggest you look for what you want to find, and enlighten us when you find it. Sorry I can't help you more, but I hope I offered fruit for thought.


  7. #7

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    Hey doogle, you should visit said barber and get a good ol' haircut of yester-year. Might be interesting to see the outcome on that one! Perhaps have a strong drink first.


  8. #8

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    ha ha

    even a name like doogle has a history, ie the magic roundabout bbc. You may not have known it, but you've been quoting.

    who said re cafe de coral and chain cafes, that they barely dent HK..i think it was doogle above..that seems to be right, but maybe not for lack of will.

    Even China has been criticising it's own pace and style of new building, asking who is leading the change, what their motives are, and what kind of vision is being constructed. For instance a foreign firm getting construction work in China can be blase about how their project creates sterile enclaves because the $return is there.

    any way, i'm going to be quiet for a while and just soak it up until i "get" the city balance a bit better. likely to take a while. would still like to hear other views in the meantime though if anyone writes.


  9. #9

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    Baron:
    I did get a haircut of yesteryear at the Diamond HIll barber's - and the retro touch was an interesting one. I quite enjoyed it actually - there really isn't many haircut styles for men, if you didn't know. And the styles haven't really changed over time. There are exceptions, but they're quite the... exception.

    And soooos - never heard of roundabout on BBC. Doogle is a name my friends in High School called me.

    Hey, for now, just drink some tea and enjoy the parts of Hong Kong you enjoy, and tolerate the parts you don't.


  10. #10

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    Before there were faulty buildings, corrupting officials, health hazards - and worse - nothing you could do about it.
    Can't we just drink tea and enjoy things today?

    Yeah, the good ol' days. Let me add my parent's perspective: Babies tossed from building windows. And drinks at bars with ridiculous bar fees and bats ready at the door. And dangerous elevator rides and even more dangerous staircases. And you always had an amazing view of the traffic because there was no MTR.
    I lived here in the 1970s, in the days when babies would routinely rain down on one's head from building windows, and loved the place. There was a real countryside, where you could escape the city without bumping into a New Town around every corner; air pollution wasn't such a problem; each district of the city and the outlying islands had their own characters (unlike now when everything has been homogenized by shopping centers); traffic wasn't such a big deal since there weren't as many cars; things were much cheaper etc etc. Of course, there were down sides: poverty was more widespread, corruption was rife before the ICAC cleaned things up and a great many people lived in hillside shanties.

    I do have a lot of affection for the Hong Kong of the past, but I also love the modern, efficient and dynamic city that Hong Kong has become. And it still has those faulty buildings, by the way, as a visit to Chungking Mansions will attest... By the way, what's the deal with "the drinks at bars with ridiculous bar fees and bats ready at the door"? Sounds like something out of a Hunter S. Thompson hallucination...

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