A return trip to Hong Kong in November 2016

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Because Lawrence was due to be awarded the Proverse Prize 2015 for his novel ‘Adam’s Franchise’ on 22nd November 2016 in Hong Kong, we decided to make our first return trip there since leaving in August 2015. We stayed with Anita and Derek Pang in Fanling Wai, saw a show in Macau to celebrate mine and Anita’s birthdays, took Anita’s dog Mimi for walks in the park and explored Fanling, and caught up with many friends. Here are a few (!) photos to record our activities.

Fanling Wai

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Fanling Wai is in the far north of the New Territories of Hong Kong, between Fanling and Sheung Shui. ‘Wai’ means walled village and the green-roofed brick building above is part of the gun tower and the old village wall. Just outside are some cannons which date back to 1669, and were buried under the foundations for safe keeping during the Japanese occupation. In the foreground is the fish-filled village pond, but no fishing is currently allowed. On the other side of the pond (see below) is an open space reserved for major village celebrations.

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Houses in the New Territories are a prescribed 3 stories and 700 sq.ft. per floor, and are built with little thought to the notion of town planning. Here is the view from Anita’s flat on the top floor, and some other houses in the village.

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North District Park

In the afternoons when Anita and Derek were working, we were tasked with taking Mimi for a walk. She was not allowed inside the park to frolic in the grass, so photos of the park were taken on another occassion. On entering the park enroute to Sheung Shui, we came across a gang of street cleaners heading out for the day.

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When we arrived in Sheung Shui, we came across gangs of Chinese shoppers (mainlanders) with their suitcases bulging with milk powder and pharmaceutical/beauty products. Most of these shoppers looked warn out and desperate for transport to take them back into China. It would seem that even the local Sheung Shui shopper finds it hard to find shops selling anything other than these products; a very strange state of affairs.

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The park itself is quite pretty, with an elegant pond in Chinese style. All around the park were rows of Bauhinia and Banyan trees. 

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Lung Yeuk Tam Heritage Trail

A 30 minute walk from Fanling Wai is the start of the Lung Yeuk Tam (Mountain of the Leaping Dragon) Heritage Trail (see www. discoverhongkong.com for details). So, on a muggy Saturday afternoon, we all headed off to see what we could discover. Sign posting was a little inconsistent, so I hope I have labelled these locations correctly.

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Our first stop was on the way to the trail, at a huge temple built amongst Fanling’s industrial estate, near On Lok Tseun garden. The detailed carvings here were spectacular.

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Next, we walked towards Shung Him Tong. Clearly this had been quite a propserous village at one time, with its own mail distribution centre, but now seemed a little run down.

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The contrast between the old and new is striking, with glimpses of the old farming practices of the New Territories.

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Here is the entrance to grave yard for another branch of the Pang (Derek’s) family, and Anita waiting under a huge and glorious banyan tree.

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The next village was Ma Wat Wai, belonging to the Tang clan. Opposite the old village walls was a modern New Territories village.

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Finally, we approached Lo Wai and its ancestral hall. This was the end of the trail according to the website map, but not according to the details inside this hall. We will have to save that part of the trail for another time.

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A trip to Macau

To celebrate our birthdays, Anita had booked us all in to stay at the new Parisian hotel in Macau and watch the last show of Micheal Jackson’s ‘Thriller’. The show was great and we enjoyed a lovely dinner of streak frites in the Brasserie. To increase the Frenchness of the hotel, dancers, singers and mime artists popped up around the cafes and shops, performing the cancan, etc. under the watchful eye of a minder.

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The Proverse Prize 2015

Since our excuse for visiting Hong Kong (as if I need an excuse!) was for Lawrence to receive his prize for a major work of fiction, I should include a few photos of the event here. I was the official photographer that evening at the Helena May, in Central. In the lower photo are David Attali along with Remo Notorianni and his wife.

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Eating, eating, and more eating!

I regret that I forgot to take photos of all events, but here are a few of the occassions where we met up with old friends for dinner. Firstly, my birthday dinner with Mio and Nick Debnam, and Edwin and Jan Kong, at Cafe Gray.

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And, a delicious pizza in Wan Chai with David, Cyann, and Kate Attali.

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And, with my Tai Chi classmates in CUHK.

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It was a great pleasure too to meet up with old friends from CUHK. We drove out to Sai Kung to enjoy a delicious seafood dinner. In the photo below are Lawrence and Helen Gray, Francis and Amy Lam, Derek and Anita Pang, and Alaster Lau.

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And what did we eat here? Well, Alaster and I went round to the fish tanks to make our selection, but I do not have a photo of the prepared food as we devoured it too quickly!

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We did not eat this squid, but it swam up to the front of the tank to great me, so I had to take its photo! 

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Hong Kong harbour 

While I was in Hong Kong, I bought a new camera and a couple of prime lens. So, the following photos were snapped enroute to a meeting Wing Tai Cheung for dinner, just to test out the new toys.

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We spent just over two weeks in Hong Kong, and it was great, but tiring, meeting up with everyone. Hong Kong felt familiar yet different, and frequently used routes on the MTR suddenly became uncertain routes. The weather was variable and very cold for the first few days, so we returned to Malaysia full of colds; hence the delay in writing this blog.

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© Helen Gray 2021