Neighbourhoods have a story to tell

PUBLISHED : Friday, 20 July, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 20 July, 2012, 12:00am


Whoever thinks Hong Kong is not an interesting place to visit or live in should think again. We are aptly seen as a wonder of the modern world, rising within a century from a tranquil fishing village on China's southern shores to a gateway to Asia. Covering just 1,104 square kilometres, the smallness of the area belies an amazing variety of urban and rural landscapes - historical buildings dwarfed by a jungle of glittering skyscrapers; beehive urban settlement built next to city landmarks; lush green country parks overlooking a world-class nature reserve - all packed into the city we proudly call home.

Like other world cities such as Paris and London, Hong Kong has a plethora of interesting small neighbourhoods. But many of our treasures are often neglected or underappreciated. Tourists seldom venture beyond areas like Causeway Bay, Tsim Sha Tsui, Stanley or The Peak. Likewise, some districts remain unfamiliar to many locals. The South China Morning Post has therefore launched a new series looking into the city's neighbourhoods. The second report appears today on Page C3. Some districts are rich in heritage and home to vanishing trades or colonial vestiges. Some are struggling to retain their unique character in the face of redevelopment. But there are always some people keen to breathe new life into an old area with a facelift or total transformation. The issues with which each district is concerned speak volumes of the city's characteristics and challenges. Each neighbourhood has a story to tell.

Neighbourhoods can be like old friends. They deserve as much appreciation as care for their well-being. The affinity with a particular area is like a long friendship. It can be just a corner shop or a favourite small restaurant. Neighbourhoods can also be like new friends whom we need to get to know better. Beyond that which we are already familiar with lies a great variety of places waiting to be explored.