Throwback: Ernie goes from Sai Ying Pun to Central

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Hong Kong Photowalk Series: Sai Ying Pun to Central

In the fall of 2016, I found the time to do a series of photowalks around Hong Kong – see my first one in Sai Ying Pun here. These were slow, leisurely activities, a deliberate digestion of the city by foot – and by lens. In doing so, I think I was able to capture an idea of Hong Kong, a mood or a vibe part imagination, part reality, a vibrant city with an undercurrent of uncertain calm.

Sai Ying Pun & Central

The western districts of Hong Kong Island are the reserve of the city’s young international population. A steady stream of teachers, consultants, bankers, journalists, and lawyers from abroad flows into the fast gentrifying neighbourhoods stretching from Kennedy Town to the Mid-Levels, eager to extract every last ounce of Instagram-able fun (and professional advancement) from one of the more foreigner-friendly cities in Asia. The gentrification/internationalisation of these districts has only increased in the last couple of years, after the MTR extended its metro line on the island all the way to Kennedy Town. Trendy eateries and cafes now line the main thoroughfares and alleyways, jostling up against decades-old cha chaan tengs, landromats, wet markets, and garages.

One afternoon, I met up with two classmates, Manuel and Aki, from France and Japan, respectively, to go on a photowalk from campus towards Central, with no particular destination in mind. It’s not a very long walk, but even in the spaces between it’s possible to see the elements that make up Hong Kong’s particular chemistry at this point in time – the old businesses and the new ventures, the wet alleys and the soaring skyscrapers, the bustling streets and the quiet urban parks, the Chinese majority and the pockets of ethnic diversity, the ache for companionship and the quest for solitude.

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