A vivid journey into HK's past

PUBLISHED : Monday, 19 December, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 19 December, 2011, 12:00am


Our Home, Our History - An Illustration By The Hong Kong Heritage Project

From bits of farmland and a tiny port to an industrialised city and then a prosperous international metropolis, Hong Kong has 'stunned the world with its rapid economic development that was globally heralded as a miracle', the picture album Our Home, Our History - An Illustration says.

In the book, the history of Hong Kong unfolds in pictures.

It explains how the development of the city has led to the birth of a kaleidoscopic culture: a blending of local customs with international ingredients, a synthesis of modernity and antiquity.

The story is told from the point of view of the Kadoorie Agricultural Aid Association, China Light, The Peninsula Hotel and the Peak Tram - all linked to the Kadoorie family, Jewish immigrants to Hong Kong. It's the story of how Hong Kong was transformed from a fishing village to one of the most developed cities in the world and the roles they played in that transformation.

The paintings in the album are full of life and energy.

They are drawn like children's sketches: full of stunning colours, creativity and imagination.

The drawings make readers see what happened as though it was happening in front of them; they make the dead past come alive.

It is interesting how the book makes use of the contrast between vivid drawings and black-and-white photos to portray Hong Kong's past.

It is similar to reminding the new generation that, while to them the extraordinary past of Hong Kong is merely a story told by older folk and what is left in dusty photographs, to older people it is a vivid memory that they lived through and are still living.

Our Home, Our History is a book that stimulates readers to feel, think and reflect. We hardly see farms and extensive green fields nowadays; we do not have factories, nor hear exciting choruses of 'Long live the factory girls!', like people in the '50s and '70s did, any more.

What is left are historical sites, and they are being demolished one by one: Queen's Pier, the old Star Ferry Pier, the Wan Chai Market and so on.

The remaining heritage is the only evidence left to show the future generation's our glorious past; no one but the current generation can be responsible for maintaining all the valuable assets.

We are destined to continue to uphold the legacy of Hong Kong's spirit: the spirit of self-reliance, persistence and constant hard work.