How romantic, HK, 1907. Love encountering these passages
Here, however, the shops have windows and a nearly Western atmosphere. You go farther to see the Chinese in his more natural state – open-stated shops, spartanly matter-of fact. There the bland merchant sits behind a counter with an arched superstructure, or beautifully carved birds or flowers, framing his placid form. There, too, the crowd is different: it seems, but isn’t, poorer, perhaps, because there is less Western dress. There you are more likely to have brush against you some servant or housewife carrying the family meal swinging on a piece of grass. Paper wrapping, even string, would increase the cost, and so there is no secret as to the menu and no regard for what dust it may collect. Sometimes it is the string of chickens; hearts or heads, the latter for soup making, sometimes a live frog squirming his discomfort with a grass too tight around his middle. If it is regular market hour, serene shoppers will be abroad in dozens, chattering their gossip and setting up a musical xylophonic accompaniment as their k’aks (wooden sandals) hurry over stone pavements.
The Cafe de Chine is in the centre of downtown, looking out from tis rooftop not toward the harbor but inward, at the front of Victoria Peak. The oldest part of town is on that hillside, built in the time of sedan chairs, before autos and roads had spread things. It is a nice prospect. The hill bulges out convexly. The buildings rise steeply, their facades above each other. They are in old colors - gray, pale yellow, fade brick, mottled. The composition has layer on layer of verandas interspersed with rows of dark windows - oblong, round-arched, Gothic-arched, all with shutters; there are railings and outside stairways; it is like a strange Palladian dream. Midway up the Peak the buildings stop; the slope there is too steep; then comes wild greenery - and on that day the whole thing vanished upward into mist, vaguely like heights in a Sung Dynasty painting.
Photo source: The Photo Collection of Queen’s College, p.8.
從香港中環——繁盛的市區——乘電車到筲箕灣去，自成一區的西灣河是必經之地。離船塢不遠，在古老的「街市」（菜市場）附近，有幾條寬闊的橫街，泰南街是其中之一。它街頭向南，面對電車路，跨過電車路，是一列專賣「價廉物美」食品的「大牌檔」，附近的居民正是那些牛腩粉檔、艇仔粥檔、咖啡紅茶檔……的熟客；街尾向北，走過一片空曠的沙地是海濱，從那兒向東望，就是有名的鯉魚門海峽。輪船穿過海峽來去。你有時會聽到一個泰南街的孩子這樣說：「瞧！我爸爸在那大洋船上工作呢。」他說時，腰一挺，顯得挺神氣的樣子。早上，大輪船從遙遠的海洋回到香港來了，孩子說：「我爸爸回來了。」晚上，大輪船（燈火通明）離開香港到遙遠的什麼地方去了，孩子說：「我爸爸去了。」比起那些珠光寶氣的大「洋船」或者什麼「總統號」來，停泊在筲箕灣海面的木船、艇仔，真是顯得太暗淡、寒酸了。如果說前者是盛裝打扮的貴族，那麼後者就是衣衫襤褸的流浪者了。鯉魚門內筲箕灣的那個弧形的海灣，是和泰南街斜斜相對的。每天早晨，太陽從鯉魚門那一帶的山上昇起，然後慢慢向西爬行，然後下沉。孩子們說鯉魚門的太陽是全香港最大最美的太陽；自然到了晚上，也會說鯉魚門的月亮是全香港最亮最美的月亮。成人們呢，很少有這種發現。太陽下，他們看風景，只能看到陽光照覑岸上窮街和自己的破鞋，看到陽光照覑灣頭的木船那一面面補了又補、破破爛爛的帆；月亮下，看風景，只能看到月光灑落在愁容滿面、憂柴憂米的妻子的臉上，看到月光灑落在那黑暗無邊的海上。 從香港中環——繁盛的市區——乘電車到筲箕灣去，自成一區的西灣河是必經之地。離船塢不遠，在古老的「街市」（菜市場）附近，有幾條寬闊的橫街，泰南街是其中之一。它街頭向南，面對電車路，跨過電車路，是一列專賣「價廉物美」食品的「大牌檔」，附近的居民正是那些牛腩粉檔、艇仔粥檔、咖啡紅茶檔……的熟客；街尾向北，走過一片空曠的沙地是海濱，從那兒向東望，就是有名的鯉魚門海峽。輪船穿過海峽來去。你有時會聽到一個泰南街的孩子這樣說：「瞧！我爸爸在那大洋船上工作呢。」他說時，腰一挺，顯得挺神氣的樣子。早上，大輪船從遙遠的海洋回到香港來了，孩子說：「我爸爸回來了。」晚上，大輪船（燈火通明）離開香港到遙遠的什麼地方去了，孩子說：「我爸爸去了。」比起那些珠光寶氣的大「洋船」或者什麼「總統號」來，停泊在筲箕灣海面的木船、艇仔，真是顯得太暗淡、寒酸了。如果說前者是盛裝打扮的貴族，那麼後者就是衣衫襤褸的流浪者了。鯉魚門內筲箕灣的那個弧形的海灣，是和泰南街斜斜相對的。每天早晨，太陽從鯉魚門那一帶的山上昇起，然後慢慢向西爬行，然後下沉。孩子們說鯉魚門的太陽是全香港最大最美的太陽；自然到了晚上，也會說鯉魚門的月亮是全香港最亮最美的月亮。成人們呢，很少有這種發現。太陽下，他們看風景，只能看到陽光照覑岸上窮街和自己的破鞋，看到陽光照覑灣頭的木船那一面面補了又補、破破爛爛的帆；月亮下，看風景，只能看到月光灑落在愁容滿面、憂柴憂米的妻子的臉上，看到月光灑落在那黑暗無邊的海上。 海港裡的海平靜地躺在那兒，而生活的大海卻是一點也不平靜的。海港裡的海只有在鯉魚門山上掛出強風訊號燈的時候，才咆哮、喧鬧、翻騰……但生活永遠掛覑強風訊號燈。生活的大海啊，在人們的心中永遠暗暗地咆哮覑、喧鬧覑、翻騰覑…… 孩子們是幸福的。藝術家是幸福的。有人說，孩子們的心靈和藝術家的心靈有許多共同的地方：永遠發現新的東西，發現可愛的東西。大概由於這緣故吧，泰南街的孩子們常常在跳跳蹦蹦的唱：「月光光，照地塘，年卅晚，摘檳榔……月光光，照海洋，鯉魚門的月亮最堂皇……」但泰南街的成人們不是藝術家；而他們的童年也早已過去了：鯉魚門的太陽、月亮昇起，看慣了，麻木了；每個早上，船塢的聲聲催人上班的汽笛叫鳴，聽慣了，麻木了；黃昏，他們帶覑疲憊的身體回到「白鴿籠」的家裡聽嬰孩們吵吵鬧鬧哭哭啼啼，聽老婆在柴米油鹽上、在屋租上訴苦、嚕叨，還有隔鄰左右的婦人為了芝麻綠豆的小事吵架！在這樣的情形下——唔，開罎麻雀打打，散散心吧！要不，到外邊麻雀館去耍樂一下！或者到電車路涼茶店看報紙、聽收音機坐它一晚吧，或者聽講古仔（說書）去——不知道擅講《水滸傳》的張七皮今晚開檔不開檔呢？ -舒巷城
The legendary newsreel maker British Pathé released its entire collection of historic films on YouTube, consisting of some 85,000 reports.
More fascinating stories, In case you aren’t aware of it, the tiger skin is still on the wall of Stanley Tin Hau Temple today ; )
Yes I know this picture is from Shatin, the Stanley one is on the wall in the temple waiting for you to visit with your own eyes.
"There are lovely birds on the Peak, among them some hawks, a blue magpie, a quail, and an Indian partridge called the francolin, which cries, "Come to the Peak, ha! ha!" on nearly every slope on every day. The most noteworthy animal is the barking deer, which doesn’t’ bark much as moo, or call plaintively like a bird. There is a rhesus monkey, and a tiger was killed on Hongkong Island right after Japanese took the place, by a guard at Stanley Camp. This was so unusual that people surmised the tiger had been flushed in the New Territories, and scared into swimming the harbor by Japanese troops shooting their way down in the invasion."
《赤柱之虎 廣東南下游水過海》 從前，在赤柱長大的孩子，都知道馬坑村天后廟內掛着一塊神秘的獸皮。孩子戰戰兢兢的推開廟門，躡手躡腳走到廟裏一角，仰望那塊被年月和香火熏得漆黑的獸皮，想像那究竟是甚麼怪獸。今時今日，赤柱的孩子已沒有那樣的想像空間，因為赤柱早已成為旅遊景點，獸皮也附上清楚說明，那是1942年命喪赤柱的一頭老虎遺下的皮囊。
遭亞星先生警署前射殺 根據赤柱街坊福利會的記載：「該虎原體重240磅，身長73英寸，高3英尺，於1942年在赤柱警署門前被一名印度裔警員亞星先生所射殺。」文中所說的赤柱警署，應是現已變成超級市場的舊赤柱警署。舊赤柱警署建於1859年，早期是港島最南端的前哨站，戰略位置重要，常供警隊、英軍聯合使用。1942香港正值第二次世界大戰的日治時期，日治期間日軍曾徵用赤柱警署作分區總部。 今天「赤柱之虎」毛皮上的虎紋已難以辨認，但那年月不少華南虎會由廣東南下，來到氣候較暖的新界郊區甚至九龍過冬。老虎又是游泳高手，可以游到港島登岸。這頭老虎來到港島最南端的漁村，卻成為最後一頭在香港被獵殺的老虎。 當年任教香港大學生物學系的 Geoffrey Herklots在淪陷期間，遭日軍囚禁在赤柱集中營。他撰寫的《 Hong Kong Countryside》描述，曾聽過老虎夜間闖入集中營的菜園，也見過類似老虎的爪印，守衞深夜巡邏時因此非常緊張，甚至曾向誤作老虎的囚犯開槍。後來傳來老虎被殺的消息，但赤柱的村民都難以置信老虎可以游泳過海，認為牠是馬戲班逃出來的老虎。 至於射殺赤柱之虎的亞星先生，英文名是 Rur Singh。傳說他晚年曾重臨舊地，憑弔虎皮，但是真是假，已無從稽考。
Another fascinating book written in the 1950s, this writer must be a colour-lover.
At first the Hongkong islands blended with the mainland. The whole thing was vague and moist-looking, light green, with clouds and blue sky mingling indefinitely above it. It was usual summer weather. As we get closer I saw that the tops of Hongkong Island’s peaks were lost in a wet gray cloud, and I knew big houses up there, away from the city’s noise, would be blind and dripping clothes and books mildew there if neglected for a moment; the houses have dry-storage rooms with stoves kept lit.
We got into Hong Kong waters and passed Wanglan Light, which looks on the South China Sea from a rock and was one of the key restoration jobs after the war. A Hong Kong paper not long ago called the lighthouse the “most modern in the world”; anyway, it sparkled wonderfully in whitewash that morning. There were some junks round it in the blue water. We passed it and saw Sheko, a small preserve on Hong Kong Island’s east end for taipans, top European businessmen; their houses stood out oddly from the green landscape. Next to it we saw Big Wave Bay, with a ribbon of clean dun beach, and on the headland next to that – Cape Collinson – an army camp, with Nissen huts. We rounded that cape, taking it on our left, and confronted the bay called Sai Wan, had grown larger. The flimsy little weather-beaten huts there fascinated our navigator. “Extraordinary,” he said. “They look like crates.” They did. They looked like piano-boxes.
[…] And then we faced the city. A dark cloud-mass brooded on Victoria Peak, which rises right above it. The sides of the Peak were smoky gray-green in that light; the city struggled up them, chiefly apartments and taipans’ house on the higher levels, different off-whites in color.
A hole broke in the cloud, and a bit of Peak-flank showed bright emerald, with the houses glistening. Junk sails were moving to and fro in the foreground, and the water was flat and green (sometimes it is deep blue, sometimes gray).
Two Peak trams were in motion on their track from the city to the top – it looked vertical from our angle. One was going up, one coming down, at either end of their cable, like clock weights. That is the principle they work on, their answer to the steepness.
Big ships were in the harbor by the dozens. One, an American President liner, was tied up on the Kowloon side to the right. Others were anchored in midstream, and some had lightering junks clustered round them like nursing puppies. Ferries, launches, sampans, tugs, and other junks piled back and forth.
We moored to a buoy near Kellett Island, the site of the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club. […]
I went out later that morning to look at thigns and pay some calls… […] Chinese women especially are nice to look at here. The fashionable ones are nearly always slim; they wear bright silk slim dresses in Chinese style, with high collars, and slits in the skirt sides. Poor women wear deftly tailored trousers and jackets, and have thick gloosy black pigtails down their backs; the backs give a feeling of grace and spring, the effect partly, I believe, of jacket and pigtail, but also of the hard work Chinese women do, and the poise it gives them.
[…] Coolies wear Chinese pajama-suits; in hot weather they favor a shiny black material called fragrant cloud linen. They chant to keep time when they carry things, and this blends with the traffic noise, which otherwise is like that of any city.
[…] Reuters is a news agency, but in Hongkong it is also an unofficial club, a gathering place, for correspondents. Its facilities are gladly made free for all. The man ultimately behind this Christmas mood is a broad, gray-haired Irishman named Bill O’Neill, who has been in the Far East two or three decades, who once walked fifty miles in a day near the Lower Yangtze, and who is worshipped by everyone in Hong Kong fro among other things, his behavior when interned by the Japanese at Stanley Camp.
Reuters is a news agency, but in Hongkong it is also an unofficial club, a gathering place, for correspondents. Its facilities are gladly made free for all. The man ultimately behind this Christmas mood is a broad, gray-haired Irishman named Bill O’Neill, who has been in the Far East two or three decades, who once walked fifty miles in a day near the Lower Yangtze, and who is worshipped by everyone in Hong Kong for among other things, his behavior when interned by the Japanese at Stanley Camp.
We drank some tea and chatted in the quiet old high ceilinged office. Reuters is in one of Hongkong’s early downtown buildings, which run almost twenty feet between ceilings and floors, and which are sometimes paneled in hand-carved teak. In the war the office was used as a Japanese torture chamber, and the night desk-man still hears ghostly cries and moans.