Hong Kong Snapshot (29) (With Video) Sheung Wan(1) – Wing Lee Street, witnessing the sorrow of HK 香港随拍(29) (附有视频) 上环(1) – 《岁月神偷》的永利街，见证香港的悲哀
It was not a well-known street. It was only street shorter than 100m. Because of a HK film “Echoes of the Rainbow”, It went into the eyes of HK people. And because of it, It becomes a street of neither fish nor fowl. It is Wing Lee Street.
Wing Lee Street is located in Sheung Wan. Sheung Wan is one of the earliest developed district in HK since HK became the colony of Britain in 1842. Today, Sheung Wan still keep a lot of history and character of the colony.
Wing Lee Street is actually not a street but a path only. There is no car in the street. It’s only a path outside the tong laus (tenement buildings of old HK) of the street. It you don’t know Sheung Wan so much, you may probably not be able to discover the street. But the film “Echoes of the Rainbow” change it’s life.
“Echoes of the Rainbow” is a HK film with the story about a working family of HK in the 1960s. It is also the life experience of the director. The film was awarded four prize of the HK film award and it was also awarded Crystal Bear for the Best Film in the Children’s Jury “Generation Kplus” of the 60th Berlin International Film Festival. It was the representative of HK to compete for a best foreign language film Oscar. The background of the story is Wing Lee Street, the only street in HK still keep the style of the 1960s.
電影中的永利街 Wing Lee Street in the Film (from film shot)
The street was initial under the urban renewal project of HK. Since being awarded Crystal Bear for the Best Film in the Children’s Jury “Generation Kplus” of the 60th Berlin International Film Festival, the noise to preserve the culture of the street was raised and finally the HK government changed its mind and decided to preserve the street. But it sucks that it makes Wing Lee Street is now neither fish nor fowl.
Since the HK government decided the preserve the Wing Lee Street, it started the renovate of Tong Laus of the street. It seems to be a good thing but it destroys the original style and culture of the street.
Wing Lee Street was initial a concentration of HK small printing companies. It was also a closed community. Neighbors helped and lived with each other, which shows the old days and warm hospitality of HK. But the HK government acquired all the buildings of the street. Old residents left and old printing companies moved out. The street now become a dead street.
Today I arrived Wing Lee Street. I still can saw the old Tong Laus of the 1960s. But the Tong Laus have been renovated and lost their old style. They are just like new buildings. There is still one Tong Lau not renovated. You may see the great different between them.
I entered one renovated Tong Lau but couldn’t go into the house. Going back to the street, I looked up. All terraces had nothing. I doubted if there were people living. Then I entered the tong lau that still not renovated. And I found it’s already a renovation site. I still could see some old style of HK from the house. But I was sure that it would all be lost after one to two months, become a normal flat in HK.
I stayed in the street for around half hour. I couldn’t see any person but one security only. I really didn’t know if there was still people living in the street. I only knew, the preservation work of the HK Government had brought the street to death. The old street with warm hospitality had gone. I thought it was even better for the street to be renewed.
Maybe, the street portrays the reality. We already can’t find the warm hospitality just like the film “Echoes of the Rainbow” in HK anymore. We seem don’t know our neighbours. Even Wing Lee Street should follow the trend and give up its original style，to be indifferent, just like today HK. I srongly recommend you to watch the film “Echoes of the Rainbow”. We can only revisit the old Wing Lee Street from the film and feel the old feeling of HK, the human kindness of the old HK. I would say, I watched the film just before I write this article. My last cry was 5 years ago. And this film made me shed a tear. The tear was not due to the story of the film, but the sadness of how HK become, becoming a city I feel strange. Here is the link of the film (sorry I can’t find the film with English subtitle ><): https://ok.ru/video/78376929801
How would the future of HK be? Should we pick back up the spirit of the film, or keep the short sight and Utilitarian of today HK? HK was a very special and one of the best city in the world. I don’t want to see HK to sink and become an ordinary city when I am still alive. This is my complex to HK, but it also make me feel weak all over.
Again, a video for you!
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