Hong Kong Snapshot (49) Kai Yuen Street – beauty of HK “Tong Lau”, beauty of Chinese literature 香港隨拍 (49) 繼園街 – 唐樓之美,中國文學之味

Today, I will bring to a place which is not famous to the world, and even not famous to HK. But there are lot of interesting story and history. This is Kai Yuen Street.



Kai Yuen Street is at the mountainside of North Point. North Point is not a tourist spot. Not so many people will go to North Point. But you will be interested by the history.


Kai Yuen Street and the Celestial King of the South China繼園街與「南天王」陳濟棠

Celestual King of the South Ching 陳濟棠
(photo from Wikipedia)

In the early 19th century, China was in turmoil. Many rich people in Shanghai moved the Hong Kong. Most of them stayed in North Point and North Point got the name of “little Shanghai”. One of them is Chan Wai Chow, brother of Chen Jitang, celestial King of the South China.


North Point in 1960s

Who is Chen Jitang? Chen Jitang was the actual governor of Guangdong of China in the 1920s-1930s. He held the power of politic and military of Guangdong. People called him “the Celestial King of the South China”. But later Chen’s power was taken by Chiang Kai-shek, former leader of the Republic of China. The whole family of Chen moved to Hong Kong.

In Hong Kong, Chan Wai Chow, borther of Chen Jitang bought the all Kai Yuen Street and built the big house “Kai Yuen”. Hundred members of the Chen’s family lived there. All people in Hong Kong knew the name “Kai Yuen” at that time. Of course, no one know it now.



Screen Shot 2017-12-06 at 11.49.49 PM.png
The building in the background was “Kai Yuen”
(photo from appledaily)

Kai Yuen Street and Chinese literature- Eileen Chang繼園街與中國文學 – 張愛玲

Eileen Chang (this photo was taken in Norht Point also)
張愛玲 (這照片正是在北角的蘭心照相館拍攝的)
(photo from Wikipedia)
During the period China in turmoil, lot of Chinese writers also escaped to Hong Kong. Interestingly, most of them lived in Kai Yuen Street and the area around. One of them was Eileen Chang, one of the most influential modern Chinese writers. Chang is well known by all Chinese. She moved to Hong Kong in 1952. Referred by her friends Stephen Soong who lived in Kai Yuen Street, she found a house in Kings Road, the road next to Kai Yuen Street. So Kai Yuen Street was her second home as she visited the Soong family serveral time. She wrote two great books “The Rice Sprout Song: a Novel of Modern China” and “Naked Earth” in Hong Kong.


Eileen Chang just walked up this road to visit her friend Stephen Soong

The beauty of Tong Lau 唐樓之美

Now, Kai Yuen has already been rebuilt to Tong Lau (tenement building of old Hong Kong). But from the photos, you may find the beauty of the Tong Laus.

Living in Hong Kong, Tong Lau is common to me until I share stories of Hong Kong in Steemit. I found that many foreigners are interested by Tong Laus, which let me come to Kai Yuen Street.



Beauty of Tong Laus in Kai Yuen Street
A Shanghai style house at the other side of Kai Yuen Street
It’s the style of Hong Kong house in 1950s. It’s the style of beauty

The Tong Laus in Kai Yuen Street are special. It looks like a castle especially the round edge, letting us find the special and creativity of Tong Laus. I am sure photographers may find lot of inspiration here.

But, with the development of the community, one side of the street is now already a construction site and will soon be new buildings. And the other side? I don’t know how long they can stay.


A castle or a ship? Depends on your imagination
The beauty of oldness, but will leave us soon


Screen Shot 2017-12-07 at 12.10.02 AM.jpg
Addree: Kai Yuen Street, North Point, Hong Kong Island
地址: 香港島北角繼園街



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