Pride of Place: Karen Wong

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Pride of Place: A series in which teaching staff and students from the English Department reflect on a place in Hong Kong. [Read all entries.] [Revisit the “Pet Sounds” series.] [Revisit the “Headspace” series.] [Revisit the “Ongoing” series.] [Revisit the “Interrogative” series.]

Pride of Place_photo.jpg
© Desmond Pang, Winner, Hong Kong, National Award,  2015 Sony World Photography Awards

From Personal Memory to Collective Memory: Nam Shan Estate

Nam Shan Estate (南山邨) is a public housing estate situated in Shek Kip Mei, Kowloon. The first time I visited Nam Shan Estate was for a reunion dinner with students I met in the English Society Orientation Camp 2013. We dined at a restaurant called Ban Heung Lau (品香樓) and I even bumped into my cousin. She was a City University alumna and was also there for a reunion dinner.

My memory of Nam Shan Estate did not end there. The place has become more popular because of a photograph by Desmond Pang, a local photographer. The photo, which shows a playground surrounded by buildings, made Desmond a National Award winner of the 2015 Sony World Photography Awards. I have brought some friends from France there and also taken some less professional photos of my own. My friends marvelled at the packed buildings in the estate, a feature of Hong Kong architecture. Sometimes we fail to appreciate things around us. Being used to them, we take them for granted. By slowing down a little bit, or by taking a second look, things can be more beautiful than you expect. It is always the most delicate presence that is enchanting and worthy of attention. When everybody in a community takes notice of a landscape’s beauty, every single fond memory can turn into a prodigious collective memory.

Nam Shan Estate also presents a dazzling array of Hong Kong food. You can try a variety of local street food, from egg waffles sold in a grocer’s shop to “cart noodles” (車仔麵) served at the dai pai dong (大排檔) inside the estate’s street market. I recommend the local ice-cream stall there, which sells ice-cream for a jaw-dropping seven dollars a scoop. There are different flavours to choose from (including more special ones like “banana and cookie” and “sweet potato”). If you would like to visit Nam Shan Estate, it is just a few minutes’ walk from Exit B2 of Shek Kip Mei MTR station. Bring someone you love to somewhere you will like.

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Karen.jpgKaren Wong Kwok Hing is a graduate of the Department of English and Department of Education (Class of 2018). [Read all entries by Karen.]

 

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