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Art, Ghosts, Parks and Markets.

A stroll around Sai Ying Pun.

sunny

Recently I've been photographing and writing about lots of street art. Every time I try to research it, street art in Sai Ying Pun pops up, so I decided this must be the most famous place for street art in Hong Kong and I would have to check it out. Today, as soon as I had finished all my Zoom teaching, I set out to explore. I currently spend so much time sitting down in front of a computer that getting out and moving about felt like luxury.

I travelled by train to Sai Ying Pun and took exit B3 to find the street art. Sai Ying Pun was originally a fishing village. Then when the British colonized Hong Kong, there was an army camp, known as West Camp, here. In 2015 the Island Line of the MTR was extended to Kennedy Town and Sai Ying Pun was one of the new stops on the line. This made the neighbourhood more desirable and started off a process of gentrification that saw an influx of the middle class to this area. This in turn brought about an increase in the number of cafes, restaurants and bars here and resulted in the creation of lots of street art!!

Sai Ying Pun has benefited from an urban art project called Artlane. This was the brainchild of the Henderson Land Development Agency. The art occupies and brightens up three streets. Unfortunately, parts of the streets were under construction, so I could not view everything.

Before I even reached the street art, I was impressed by the MTR station which had 3-d models of Hong Kong street scenes. I thought they were superb. They were very realistic, as they included construction sites, scaffolding, street sweepers, rubbish collection and more.

3-d models in the MTR by Louise Soloway Chan.

3-d models in the MTR by Louise Soloway Chan.

3-d models in the MTR by Louise Soloway Chan.

3-d models in the MTR by Louise Soloway Chan.

3-d models in the MTR by Louise Soloway Chan.

3-d models in the MTR by Louise Soloway Chan.

3-d models in the MTR by Louise Soloway Chan.

3-d models in the MTR by Louise Soloway Chan.

3-d models in the MTR by Louise Soloway Chan.

3-d models in the MTR by Louise Soloway Chan.

3-d models in the MTR by Louise Soloway Chan.

3-d models in the MTR by Louise Soloway Chan.

The street art was right next to the MTR exit and very easy to find. It certainly brightened up the whole area.

Cat and Flowers. Part of Little Girl Watering Plants by Hong Kong artist Zue Chan.

Cat and Flowers. Part of Little Girl Watering Plants by Hong Kong artist Zue Chan.

Little Girl Watering Plants by Hong Kong artist Zue Chan.

Little Girl Watering Plants by Hong Kong artist Zue Chan.

Rainbow Staircase by Blessy Man and Henry Lau.

Rainbow Staircase by Blessy Man and Henry Lau.

Joy of Music and Art by Noble Wong.

Joy of Music and Art by Noble Wong.

Joy of Music and Art by Noble Wong.

Joy of Music and Art by Noble Wong.

Animal Town by by Blessy Man and Henry Lau.

Animal Town by by Blessy Man and Henry Lau.

Animal Town by by Blessy Man and Henry Lau.

Animal Town by by Blessy Man and Henry Lau.

Music Town inspired by Vienna by Zue Chan.

Music Town inspired by Vienna by Zue Chan.

Music Town inspired by Vienna by Zue Chan.

Music Town inspired by Vienna by Zue Chan.

Music Town inspired by Vienna by Zue Chan.

Music Town inspired by Vienna by Zue Chan.

Autumnal Staircase.

Autumnal Staircase.

Wine, anyone? Music Town inspired by Vienna by Zue Chan.

Wine, anyone? Music Town inspired by Vienna by Zue Chan.


Autumn on the river.

Autumn on the river.

Autumn on the river.

Autumn on the river.

Autumn on the river.

Autumn on the river.

A day in the rainforest by and dear, Hong Kong.

A day in the rainforest by and dear, Hong Kong.

Adventure by Graphic artist Rao Amandeep, for some reason this reminds me of willow pattern plates.

Adventure by Graphic artist Rao Amandeep, for some reason this reminds me of willow pattern plates.

Chicks painted by Ceet Fouad.

Chicks painted by Ceet Fouad.

Joy of Music and Art by Noble Wong.

Joy of Music and Art by Noble Wong.

Geometric Art, makes me think of licorice all-sorts.

Geometric Art, makes me think of licorice all-sorts.

Bruce Lee by French artist Ceet Fouad.

Bruce Lee by French artist Ceet Fouad.

When I had finished looking at the street art, I headed upwards towards High Street because there were a couple of buildings there I wanted to see but I ended up walking all the way to Bonham Road as I kept finding more and more attractive buildings.

One of the first of these was Kau Yun Church. This church is associated with Kau Yun School. The school was founded after the Second World War when Hong Kong was in a ruined state and many children were in danger of being deprived of an education.

Kau Yun Church and School.

Kau Yun Church and School.

Kau Yun Church and School.

Kau Yun Church and School.

Kau Yun Church.

Kau Yun Church.

Further up the road was the Rhenish Mission School which also has its own church.

Rhenish Mission School.

Rhenish Mission School.

Rhenish Mission School.

Rhenish Mission School.

Across from the Rhenish Mission School was the very impressive Kings College. This was built between 1923 and 1926. When the Pacific War broke out in December 1941, King’s College was used as a first aid station. During the Japanese Occupation of Hong Kong, the school was used as a stables for military mules and horses by the Japanese Army.

Kings College.

Kings College.

Kings College.

Kings College.

Kings College.

Kings College.

Although I had not intended to go to Hong Kong University, I was by this stage so close I thought I might as well take a look. I trained as a teacher at Hong Kong University about twenty years ago. It has some beautiful buildings, but due to flyovers and other roads, it is not easy to photograph. The sun was also in the wrong place for a photo. I could not get a decent shot of the main building.

Hong Kong University Museum and Art Gallery.

Hong Kong University Museum and Art Gallery.

One of the entrance ways to Hong Kong University.

One of the entrance ways to Hong Kong University.

In this area there were also more churches and schools.

Saint Anthony's Church.

Saint Anthony's Church.

Saint Paul's College.

Saint Paul's College.

Sai Ying Pun is home to many trendy restaurants, cafes, bars and arts and crafts shops. I passed lots of these on my walk to my next sight.

Cafes, restaurants and bars.

Cafes, restaurants and bars.

Cafes, restaurants and bars.

Cafes, restaurants and bars.

Cafes, restaurants and bars.

Cafes, restaurants and bars.

Cafes, restaurants and bars.

Cafes, restaurants and bars.

Cafes, restaurants and bars.

Cafes, restaurants and bars.

Cafes, restaurants and bars.

Cafes, restaurants and bars.

Cafes, restaurants and bars.

Cafes, restaurants and bars.

Cafes, restaurants and bars.

Cafes, restaurants and bars.

Cafes, restaurants and bars.

Cafes, restaurants and bars.

Cafes, restaurants and bars.

Cafes, restaurants and bars.

Art and craft shop.

Art and craft shop.

My next sight was two beautiful old historical buildings with a rather sad history: Sai Ying Pun Lunatic Asylum and Sai Ying Pun Mental Hospital.

The Mental Hospital is apparently one of the most haunted buildings in Hong Kong. During World War II, Japanese soldiers tortured and executed people here. Ghostly happenings include: hearing women crying when there is no-one there, mysterious footsteps, ghosts which suddenly appear only to burst into flames, and headless ghosts.

Most of this building was demolished and a modern building constructed in its place, but the facade of the old mental hospital with its archways and shuttered windows was retained. This building dates from 1892. It was initially used as quarters for the foreign nursing staff of the Civil Hospital. Then it was converted into a mental hospital for female patients and continued as such until 1961. It then remained vacant for several years until the government decided to use it as a community centre which opened in 2001.

The lunatic asylum first opened in 1891. It could accommodate 16 patients. This building is now used as a methadone treatment clinic.

The Old Lunatic Asylum.

The Old Lunatic Asylum.

The Old Mental Hospital.

The Old Mental Hospital.

The Old Mental Hospital.

The Old Mental Hospital.

The Old Mental Hospital.

The Old Mental Hospital.

The Old Mental Hospital.

The Old Mental Hospital.

The Old Mental Hospital.

The Old Mental Hospital.

The Old Mental Hospital.

The Old Mental Hospital.

The Old Mental Hospital.

The Old Mental Hospital.

The Old Mental Hospital.

The Old Mental Hospital.

Just across the road from the Old Mental Hospital is the King George V Memorial Park. There are two memorial parks to George the Fifth in Hong Kong. The other is in Jordan, Kowloon. This is a pleasant park with strong walls like a fortress and lots of sports facilities, sadly all closed. There is a basketball court, a football ground, sitting out areas, a public toilet, and a child care centre. The original park sign has become engulfed in tree roots. There are trees clinging to most of the park walls.

Huge Banyan Tree near the entrance.

Huge Banyan Tree near the entrance.

Overlooking the park.

Overlooking the park.

Overlooking the park.

Overlooking the park.

Stairway.

Stairway.

Park Sign.

Park Sign.

Walls.

Walls.

Clinging Tree Roots.

Clinging Tree Roots.

Original park sign surrounded by tree roots.

Original park sign surrounded by tree roots.

Clinging Tree Roots.

Clinging Tree Roots.

Clinging Tree Roots.

Clinging Tree Roots.

I then walked down the hill to the waterfront. On the way I passed lots of dried fish shops and other Chinese dried goods shops around Des Vouex Road West. The air was filled with the salty perfume of the sea. There has been a seafood market here since the nineteenth century. Products available here include dried abalone, sea cucumber, fish maw, and dried mushrooms among many others.

Chinese Dried Food Store.

Chinese Dried Food Store.

Chinese Dried Food Store.

Chinese Dried Food Store.

Chinese Dried Food Store.

Chinese Dried Food Store.

Chinese Dried Food Store.

Chinese Dried Food Store.

Chinese Dried Food Store.

Chinese Dried Food Store.

Chinese Dried Food Store.

Chinese Dried Food Store.

Chinese Dried Food Store.

Chinese Dried Food Store.

Leaving the seafood market, I continued towards the waterfront. I crossed the major road here using a footbridge and strolled into Sun Yat Sen Memorial Park. Although it is January and the weather was quite cold here just a few days ago, today was incredibly hot. There were even people lying out on the grass sunbathing in their swimming costumes. That's how hot it was.

Sun Yat Sen Park has a statue of Sun Yat Sen, a huge green lawn, fountains and harbour views. There are also sports facilities here, including a large swimming pool.

Dr. Sun Yat-sen, the father of modern China, studied and plotted to overthrow the Manchurian overlords of the Qing Dynasty while living in the western district of Hong Kong.

Sun was born in the village of Chuiheng in Guangdong Province. He was educated at secondary and tertiary level in Hong Kong before opening a medical practice in Macau. Sun helped plan the failed Guangzhou uprising of 1895. After that he was banned by the government from entering Hong Kong. He used to meet his fellow conspirators on a boat, which would have been moored where his park stands today, as the land for the park has been reclaimed from the sea. After being banned from Hong Kong and China, Sun lived in exile for sixteen years. He was finally able to return to Chinese soil after the successful Wuchang Uprising of 1911. The following year, he became the first president of the Republic of China. He died of liver cancer in 1925.

Sun Yat-sen Park has lots of symbolism. The crosses at the fountain represent Sun's conversion to Christianity. The water of the fountain represents his baptism.The bell tower is shaped like the entrance to Hong Kong University where he studied and has five bells which represent his five powers constitution.

Archway and Sun Yat-sen Statue.

Archway and Sun Yat-sen Statue.

Sun Yat-sen Statue.

Sun Yat-sen Statue.

Sun Yat-sen Statue.

Sun Yat-sen Statue.

Scene from Sun Yat-sen's life.

Scene from Sun Yat-sen's life.

The art work above shows the Four Bandits, a nickname given to a group of four young students who were keen on discussing current issues in China, and on overthrowing the corrupt Qing dynasty run by the Manchus. The Four Bandits were: Yeung Hok-ling, Sun Yat-sen, Chan Siu-bak and Yau Lit. The meeting place for the bandits was Yeung's family shop located at 24 Gough Street. The art work is based on a photograph taken at the Hong Kong College of Medicine for Chinese. The fifth person who is standing was Kwan King-leung. The photo was taken around 1888.

Crosses and Fountain.

Crosses and Fountain.

Crosses and Fountain.

Crosses and Fountain.

Fountain and Crosses.

Fountain and Crosses.

Fountain and Crosses.

Fountain and Crosses.

Five Bells Tower.

Five Bells Tower.

Five Bells Tower.

Five Bells Tower.

Enjoying the view.

Enjoying the view.

View across the harbour.

View across the harbour.

Skyline.

Skyline.

Statue with swimming pool behind it.

Statue with swimming pool behind it.

Monument near park.

Monument near park.

After leaving the park I headed back towards Sheung Wan and paid a visit to Western Market. This is housed in a beautiful old building. Western Market was built in 1906. The current market was the North Block of the original Western Market. The South Block was demolished in 1981. The market contains craft shops, flower shops, cloth shops and a cafe.

Western Market from the north side.

Western Market from the north side.

Western Market from the south side.

Western Market from the south side.

Sentries guard the entrance.

Sentries guard the entrance.

Phone Box.

Phone Box.

Phone Box.

Phone Box.

Escalator.

Escalator.

Through the upstairs circular window.

Through the upstairs circular window.

Flower Shop.

Flower Shop.

Flower Shop.

Flower Shop.

Arches and Lights.

Arches and Lights.

Cloth Shop.

Cloth Shop.

Stained glass.

Stained glass.

Stained glass.

Stained glass.

After leaving the market, I walked to the MTR where I stopped to photograph some beautiful models created by talented school children as part of the Art in the MTR initiative before returning home.

Models in the MTR.

Models in the MTR.

Models in the MTR.

Models in the MTR.

Models in the MTR.

Models in the MTR.

Models in the MTR.

Models in the MTR.

Models in the MTR.

Models in the MTR.

Posted by irenevt 09:33 Archived in Hong Kong

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Comments

That's an area I will have to visit if we ever return to Hong Kong. I love all that street art and the models in the MTR station are fantastic!

It seems a bit odd given how things are here right now to see people sitting eating in restaurants but I guess you're doing better than we are and can afford to be a bit more relaxed.

by ToonSarah

Hi Sarah, restaurants here are only open until 6pm and we can only sit in groups of 2. We need to wear a mask to get in and we are temperature checked on entry. The government tried closing them all day but as so many workers have to eat out for lunch they had to sit in lines along the pavements, under bridges, on steps to eat and it was chaos so the decision was reversed.

by irenevt

This blog was fascinating. You covered so many different topics but all about one neighborhood. I love street art. We have one small area here in Baltimore called graffiti alley that is covered in street art. But your journey from street art, to lunatic asylums, some old history and even ghost stories. I completely enjoyed all of this.

by littlesam1

Hi Sam,
I'm glad you enjoyed my blog. There turned out to be more in this neighbourhood than I was expecting.
All the best,

Irene

by irenevt

Thinking about old asylums gives me the creeps but other ways I liked taking this walk with you! :)

by hennaonthetrek

I love old buildings, but I guess a lot of bad things happened in that one. It's still beautiful though.

by irenevt

Loved all the street art. Here it tends to be teenagers spray painting their initials all over everything. That's not art in my book . . .

The Art in the MTR initiative is a wonderful idea. I loved what the kids did. They are so creative and covered the entire world.

by Beausoleil

Hi Sally, I loved the 3-d models of street scenes. They were just so detailed.

by irenevt

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