A day of museums with Anita and Derek Pang

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I was supposed to be going on a night hike with Derek to take some photos, but the rain put paid to that. According to Anita, it had been raining since May and looked likely to continue for ever! So, we started our day at the Hong Kong Museum of History while it continued to rain outside. 

Lawrence and I arrived a bit early, so we explored the permanant exhibition of The Hong Kong Story. It’s odd to find yourself walking around ‘old’ exhibits of things you have seen for real. As Lawrence and I are researching into maritime trading in Southeast Asia, I just had to take some photos of boats.

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Since I do not like travelling on boats, the one festival in Hong Kong I missed out on was the Cheung Chau bun festival where contestants climb up a tower made of steamed buns. Nowadays they wear harnesses as falling from the tower is not uncommon. Here is a version of the bun tower, and a model of the parade on the island where children are dressed up and stand on tiny raised platforms to be carried around the island.

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I rather liked the mock-up of a bridal palanquin, but the clay-headed models were a bit odd.

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The special exhibition we’d all come to see was ‘An Age of Luxury; the Assyrians to Alexander’. It was the last day of this exhibition and it was crowded so quite hard to get up close to some really fine pieces on loan from the British Museum. A novelty for me was a digital version of the relief carvings on a wall panel from a palace in Nineveh, Iraq (7th century BC). The carvings were animated to give an explanation for the meaning of the men and equipment in the carving. Here’s just a taster of some of the exhibits...

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Next we took the Star Ferry across from Kowloon to Hong Kong island to visit the heritage site now known as Tai Kwun. The Central Police Station compound consisted of the former Central Police Station, the Central Magistracy, and Victoria Prison. 

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The fine old buildings have been renovated with museum/exhibition spaces, and cafes, so we started off at the Lock Cha teahouse where tea is served the Chinese way.

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One room had been devoted to a brief history of policing in Hong Kong, with lots of old photos on the walls and some interesting miniatures depicting the variety of activities in this community.

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The inaugural exhibition was called the ‘100 Faces of Tai Kwun’ and aimed to tell the lives of the people who lived and worked in and around Tai Kwun. It was a very well thought out exhibition and one which I think other cities should consider to tell the stories of their communities. I really liked the video presentations of real life characters, and the written boards summing up people and their working life here. For continuity, all the art work was done by the same person, a local illustrator known as Flyingpig.

And there was some scope for interactive displays…..

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The rain had stopped in time for us to head up the escalator to the Greek restaurant ‘Santorini’ in Elgin Street, for more delicious food, booze, and great company.

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© Helen Gray 2020