Treetops do not touch each other, in a photosynthesis phenomenon known as crown shyness.
treetops do not touch each other, in a photosynthesis phenomenon known as crown shyness


 REBEL REBEL  img: citizens behind umbrellas act as barricade across nighttime street. caption: Umbrella Movement was superseded in 79 days.

The Umbrella Move­ment in Hong Kong is a close cousin to Extinc­tion Rebellion, both are premised on pushback to an encroach­ing efface­ment of other cultures, other minds. In HK’s case, one reason is to inject a patriotic education curriculum into the syllabus. Umbrellas in these situations were deployed to shield from tear gas and pepper spray. This inaugural movement for basic human rights for the citizens of HK took place in 2014, and was over with in 79 days.



img: citizen waves h.k. flag. caption: This rebellion is about facial recognition technology deployed to turn h.k. into a prison.
 TEAR GAS 
Nighttime faceoff between police and citizens in the Mong Kok neighborhood, October 17. foto: ed jones agence france-presse getty images


img: nighttime face-off in Mong Kok neighborhood between citizens and police. caption: Student Leader Tommy Cheung: There was panic and anger on 28 September 2014, when police tried to clear the streets by firing rounds of tear gas. We had never experienced eyes stinging, or how to protect ourselves. My instinct was to run.

citizens figured out how to defuse incoming tear gas: first cover with traffic cone, then pour water into hole at top.


 VIGIL 4 TIANANMEN 
There has been a candlelight vigil held in Victoria Park every June 4, in memory of 1989 Tiananmen. In 2021, Kayla Chan, 25, showed up.


img: Kayla Chan holds an umbrella in daytime Victoria Park 2021. caption: A security law was enacted in 2020. Citizens defied a police ban and gathered to mark Tiananmen 1989 by holding a candlelight vigil in Victoria Park.

In 2014, police showed up at the candlelight vigil and released tear gas. In 2023, Victoria Park taken over by a jigsawed carnival and bazaar combination, featuring foods from different regions in China.

 City of Dead Roads 
img: HK is a neon-lit ghost town at night. caption: omicron emptied streets.

 Gear 
img: citizens were gas mask helmets, carry shields, use bow and fire-arrows. caption: citizens bolted ­barricades into roads using power drills, and cleaned up after the ­police departed.
via nakedcapitalism 10.22.2019: Dr Wong Tsu @HongKongHFF ... an example of what sets apart HKers from other protesters around the world. [L]eaflets are left on "refurbished" shops to explain the reasons behind these targeted actions. Also note: *no looting*. #antiELAB #HongKongProtesters #HongKong.

 2018 TRIAL 
Nine defendants stood trial for disturbances caused by the Umbrella Movement: Lawmakers Tanya Chan and Shiu Ka-chun; veteran democrat Lee Wing-tat. Founders of the movement pastor Chu Yiu-ming, sociology professor Chan Kin-man, law professor Benny Tai. Activist Raphael Wong; student leaders Eason Chung and Tommy Cheung.
img: bailiff watches as Eason Chung speaks from the docket; screenshot from Blue Island 2022. caption: student leader Eason Chung addressed the judge: I have nothing to plead...
I have nothing to plead. The person you’re prose­cuting at this moment is not [Eason Chung, i.e., Defendant 7], nor is it D1, D2, D3, D4, D5, D6, D8 or D9.
Today, you are pros­e­cut­ing anyone and every­one who participated in the Umbrella Move­ment. You are prose­cut­ing all who cherish HK. So, your Honour, what you need to know is not D7’s background, or why he joined the movement. What your Honour needs to know is the background of everyone who joined the movement.
Those who willingly gave their time, their effort, their past, their future (gore lui, mei loy), and their lives for the people of HK. Why do they stay in this city without giving up, even when hope is as faint as the light of a firefly?
Your Honour, if you wish to seek the answers, you won’t simply find them in written state­ments, a few letters, or some impas­sioned speeches. We refused to be sub­ser­vient to pro­visions, to author­i­ty, and to institutions.
We want to venture into an unknown world. A world where history and the present are en­tangled, where indi­vid­ual endeavours interact with un­antic­i­pated turns of events. We are about our world, not our position in it. In this process, there is no saint to follow, to lead. We are confused. We worry about the self that we strive to con­struct will collapse and be obliterated. Yet, we will someday rise from ashes. This belief is all we can hold on to right now.
Whether you are a judge, a barrister, a teacher, a pastor, a journalist, a correctional service employee, a legislator, a student, an assistant, a supporter or an oppo­nent – before these identities, we are first of all human being.
If this holds true, if we indeed are human beings, I have no need to make an appeal. All of us, sitting here today, have a respon­si­bility to step out of a courtroom, out of the legislature, out of the media land­scape, to leave all inter­me­dia­ries, and get to know the world in person. To experience the world ourselves. None of this can be explained in this courtroom.

Showing dexterity for cursive, students spray on school walls: Rioting > 10 years in prison. But we have no choice., and wear Guy Fawkes masks to graduation. foto: tyrone siu reuters foto: tyrone siu reuters


img: university walls with graffiti; graduating students at HK polytechnic u. wearing Guy Fawkes masks.

 S.O.S. U.S.A. 
2019 was a turning point. The U.S. had passed a ‘HK human rights and democracy act’ that year; citizens mostly were jubilant. They had also been paying scant attention to other human right protests; when Black Lives Matter coalesed in 2013, in response to the death of George Floyd. Then the head of Human Rights Watch was denied entry in January 2020.



img: citizens carrying u.s. flags march. caption: march of gratitude to the U.S. img: banner on nighttime street pole, featuring ad for movie Joker film, next to burning subway station entrance. caption: joker gloats as subway station burns

 ASYLUM 
Citizens show support for Edward Snowden by carrying signs: Stop Human Rights Violation; Protect Privacy and Liberties; Stop Surveillance Operations; Big Brother Is Watching You; HK Hero Home; No Extradition. Minor at a rally carried a sign in one hand and a mask of Snowden in the other.



img: minor at a rally carries a sign in one hand and a mask of Snowden in the other. caption: ex-national security agency contractor leaked intel on u.s. surveillance programs. He made it to HK in may 2013 and was taken in by a community under threat from their own country's surveillance programs.
 HK LENNON WALLS 
Citizens, especially students, took up the practise of mounting lennon walls: large assemblages of post-it notes scribbled with political thoughts. The first john-lennon wall was in then-communist Prague, where paint was, still is, the pen of choice.



HK lennon wall 2014; proposal for a lennon-wall design as flag of HK


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 SLAVE    Ef­forts in Hong Kong to halt the sell­ing and buy­ing of young Chi­nese girls into bond­age, as was com­mon in China, re­sult­ed in the hir­ing of Phyl­lis Har­rop to be the gov­ern­ment’s li­ai­son.
The Private Life of Old Hong Kong: Western Women in the British Colony 1841 to 1941 by Susanna Hoe

In 1938, leg­is­la­tion to abol­ish the mui-tsai sys­tem was signed into law, and PHYL­LIS HAR­ROP was ap­point­ed as­sist­ant sec­re­tary for Chi­nese af­fairs. When Phyl­lis answered the ad in 1937, she thought that she was be­ing hired as a sec­re­tary. She had gone to Shang­hai from Eng­land in 1929 to see the world. There she worked as a secre­tary until an ill-fated mar­riage to a Ger­man baron in 1934. Leav­ing him, she worked in Japa­nese-dom­i­nat­ed Man­chu­ria and had some con­tact with the world of the secret ser­vice. Now, in Hong Kong, she was giv­en an as­sign­ment to pro­tect young girls.
One raid that Phyl­lis had con­duct­ed in per­son had dis­cov­ered seven­teen trans­ferred girls who were about to be shipped abroad. Phyl­lis set about pre­par­ing her­self for her real job, be­com­ing as soon as possible pro­fi­cient in Can­to­nese and the rele­vant laws of Hong Kong. She built up a staff of Chi­nese wom­en not afraid to work hard, and two police in­spec­tors and a ser­geant were sec­ond­ed to her. As well as that team there were about one hun­dred Chi­nese detec­tives. It was not easy. The police depart­ment, in­struct­ed to re­fer to her all cases con­cern­ing wom­en and chil­dren or fam­i­ly af­fairs, ob­ject­ed to hav­ing to deal with a wom­an. She found that notice of a forth­com­ing raid on a “sly broth­el” (i.e. il­le­gal) was leak­ing out so that any evi­dence of law-break­ing had dis­ap­peared by the time the police ar­rived.
Sub­se­quent­ly she made a prac­tice of go­ing on raids and was seen as quite a cha­rac­ter, as well as a friend, among the Chi­nese. Phyl­lis took her work seri­ous­ly but she did not take herself ser­i­ous­ly, laugh­ing­ly de­scrib­ing her job as “pro­tect­ing way­ward girls”. Phyl­lis gives her for­mal title in “Hong Kong Inci­dent” (1942) as “nui wa man dai yan”. It meant, lit­er­al­ly and in­ac­cu­rate­ly, the lady secre­tary for Chi­nese af­fairs’. But it meant col­lo­quial­ly “big lady.


 AXIS HK 
Hong Kong: Epilogue to an Empire by Jan Morris

“The Ger­man pres­ence in occu­pied Hong Kong wasn’t entire­ly neg­li­gi­ble. Ger­mans ob­served dur­ing the actual course of the fight­ing in­clud­ed an offi­cer and a civil­ian wear­ing a swas­tika em­blem on his lapel. Both ap­par­ent­ly made some at­tempt to inter­cede with the Japa­nese forces on be­half of their fel­low Euro­peans. Short­ly after the take­over, on De­cem­ber 30 1941, a num­ber of German offi­cers with nazi arm­bands are said to have watched the al­lied POWs being herd­ed in­to cap­tiv­ity. One Indian eye-wit­ness reported, ‘I have noticed many Ger­man advis­ers and I under­stand that the Ger­mans are in charge of artil­lery oper­ations’. At one point in the early months of the Occu­pation a Ger­man ges­ta­po man in Hong Kong was said to have com­ment­ed ‘that the Japa­nese would nev­er have got where they were if it had not been for the Ger­mans’. The Defag Co., a sub­sid­iary of the in­dus­trial giant I.G. Far­ben, was ob­served to have en­tered along with the Japa­nese. [I.G. Far­ben, the par­ent com­pany of Bay­er, man­u­fac­tured Zyklon B, the poi­son gas used in the Holo­caust.] Civil­ian visit­ors in the fol­low­ing year in­clud­ed Dr Erich Kordt, the Ger­man chargé d’af­faires in Nanking.”


 1944 OCCUPATION 
Techniques of Japanese Occupation by Robert S Ward

At the begin­ning of the sec­ond week of the war [Jan­uary 1942], the con­trol­ler of land tran­sport is­sued a notice in the Gazette Extra­ordi­nary stop­ping all pri­vate motor­ing and limiting the sale of gaso­line to cer­tain des­ig­nat­ed pumps where officers of the Tran­sport Ser­vice checked on all per­sons desiring to buy it. Near­ly all the private­ly owned cars and trucks in the Colo­ny had been req­ui­si­tioned much ear­li­er in the con­flict; but this order stopped what re­mained of pri­vate traf­fic. The buses had been req­ui­si­tioned, and the street­car ser­vice, which for days had run only dawn to dusk, was now in­def­i­nite­ly sus­pend­ed.
Shop fronts through­out the busi­ness dis­trict were board­ed over; such busi­ness as was be­ing done, with a few ex­cep­tions, car­ried on through lit­tle peep­holes or half-sized doors in the board­ing. Every­where glass store fronts and win­dow panes were criss-crosed with past­ed slips of paper to pre­vent them from shat­ter­ing with the con­stant rever­ber­ations of shell­fire and the con­tin­ual thud­ding of ex­plod­ing bombs or shells.
The streets were sprayed with a rub­ble of plas­ter and bricks and were in some places piled so high with debris as to be im­pass­able. Many houses and build­ings, par­tic­ular­ly those of the old­er type of con­struc­tion, were pul­ver­ized. The un­remit­ting shell­ing made whole blocks un­in­habit­a­ble even in areas where the actual dam­age was rela­tive­ly light­er. As the hos­til­i­ties pro­gressed, more and more of the mid-level and Peak dwel­lings were lit­eral­ly blown off the side of the hill – among them the resi­dence of the Amer­i­can consul-gen­eral, whose home was total­ly wrecked.







-|  July 2024  |-





 TIME TRAVEL: 2013

The Four Seasons

unesco world heritage sites

   Namib Sand Sea became a world heritage site in 2013 because atmo­spher­ic conditions provide exceptional visibility of landscape features by day and the dazzling southern hemisphere sky at night. Essentially uninhabited except for several small villages, this much sand is an ideal laboratory to track dune types and elevations reach, monitor how playas are formed, and study the totality’s behavior to air currents. Gazelles prance across Namib

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   In 2013, a com­mit­tee from the United Nations opened its 37th session in Siem Reap, Cambo­dia, then concluded while in Phnom Penh, Vietnam. A short list for world-heritage site des­ig­na­tions was released: All have historical heft, and each imparts the gift of time travel. The criteria for induction, worked out by the United Nations Edu­ca­tion­al, Scientific and Cul­tural Organi­zation (UNESCO), is a parcel unique on Earth.


   Founded in the 1400s and developed to be a desert destination, Agadez was the southern gateway to the Sahara desert, the last town before reaching Tripoli, on the Mediterranean sea.
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agadez

   For 3,000 years, people have lived in this dry desert in central Iran, adapting to and in symbiosis with the environ­ment. A 2006 census of the Cultural Landscape of Meym­and showed at that time a population of 673, living in 181 families: nomadic agro-pastor­al­ists, moving twice a year and bringing live­stock, to tend to orchards and small vegetable plots. In spring they go up the moutains, where their animals can graze, and live in stone-walled houses with thatched roofs of wild thistle. Winter is spent in the valley, their houses hand-dug from soft rock. Due to the harsh terrain, water is precious, so rivers and springs are diverted to reservoirs, while wells can bring water up from subter­ranean pools.


   The Medici Villas and Gardens in Tuscany was begun during the 1400s, and was altogether a new type of princely residence. Built in a pastoral setting, the gardens became stewards to their surroundings, while the residents lived for knowledge, the arts, and leisure - humanism. First, though, the builder had to survey the grounds, adjust the landscape, lay down lawns, put up villas, all in a quest for resonance with nature - renaissance.


   Taking on its iconic form thousands of years ago, when the shinto school for ascetic bud­dhism was beginning to stir, Mount Fuji stands alone in the middle of Japan, showing superb symmetry no matter from which side the extinct volcano is viewed. Desig­nat­ed a sacred space in 2013.
two paintings of mount fuji

   This 2013 cultural property is in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. Ringed by mountains: an ancient city, guarded by walls and gates, containing several palaces, an astronomical and meteorological observatory, and a tomb complex, and became a welcoming place for philosophers to gather. The Historic Monuments + Sites in Kaesong are twelve separate structures and sites (which together make a geomantic map), to tease out how neo-confucian manners, buddhist feelings and taoist rites trickled into native customs, to show assim­i­la­tion of the cultural, spiritual and political values, spanning five centures, of the various states that existed on the Peninsula.


   The masterpiece in absolutism was awarded in 2013 to Bergpark Wi­lhelm­shöhe, a german palace in Kassel on 590 acres. The garden is part french-formal, part italian-baroque, both can peek into the windows of the neo-classical residence, but shun an artificial ruin of a gothic-revival castle. The out­door feature is an irresistible theatre of water, devised in long-ago 1689. Hydro-pneumatic devices and reservoirs use under­ground pipes to direct water flow, and manual labor is used to control the locks. The resulting orchestral maelstrom, abetted by rustling leaves, is made up of basins, ponds, grottoes, a lake, fountains, waterfalls of various heights, and a gone-wild rapid. Surveying all this from atop of the grounds is Hercules, 70.5m (231ft) tall and sheathed in copper, who came in 1701 and never left.


   The Basque historic whaling sta­tion in the fishing village of Red Bay, Labrador, together with other nearby whaling stations, helped turn whale-oil pro­duc­tion into a large-scale busi­ness. This 2013 world heritage site is the earliest, most com­plete, and best preserved exam­ple into euro­pean whaling practices in the 1500s, a dangerous 80-year period of pros­per­ity. Whaling crews would end up transporting millions of barrels of whale oil, from New­found­land and Labrador, to Europe - a treasure then as valuable as gold brought home by conquistadors.

   This ancient city, Tauric Chersonese and Its Chora, is a preserved site in Ukraine, and an example of sensible land organization by a polis 'city'. Tauric Chersonese is a settlement made up of six urban neighbor­hoods, and chora 'retangular plots of equal sites' is the land alotted each household.


   This city sat along the Silk Road, became a trading gate­way between east and west, where goods and cultural cus­toms changed hands and minds. Bolgar His­tor­ical and Archae­ological Com­plex contains epochs of history.


   When salt deposits were discovered under Poland, beginning in the 1200s, royal interest ensured this precious spice be granted native patronage. Now two of them, the Wieliczka and Bochnia Royal Salt Mines, is the epitome of tech­no­log­i­cal human progress. Together, the two salt mines cover a walking distance larger than from Krakow to Warsaw: 252km (157mi).


children playing dockside next to a pier, on the horizon a ship is seen

   First it was a port in the Fiji Islands, then was a hub for sea routes from all directions, traveling through Melanesia on their way somewhere else, and became a town offering rest and recreation for sailors, and respite ships. The oldest social orga­ni­za­tion in Poly­nesia is here, so is the oldest hospitality house. The oldest Masonic lodge in Oceania (b.1875) still holds meetings, where they discuss articles in the Fiji Times (b.1869), still being printed. Festooned with mango trees and coconut groves, Lekuva seeped into history sometime during the 1950s.


   Two adjoining parks in Lesotho’s tundra country became an ecological landscape recipient in 2013 and now is one: Maloti Drakensberg National Park, home to endemic plants - tropical to alpine, birds, lakes, and interesting rocks.
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   Where headwaters from five rivers originate is the land that gives life, Pimachiowin Aki, part of the ancestral lands of the Anishinaabeg people of Manitoba, Canada. They have a lifelong practise of 'keeping the land' ji-ganawendamang gidakiiminaan, making seasonal outings to commune with the goddesses and gods of the Fish, the Hunt, and the Gathering.


   Looking the same today as it did some four million years ago, Tianshan Xinjiang manifests ongoing biological and ecological evolutionary processes. This 2013 natural property is a powerhouse combo made up of three parks and three nature reserves, each with their own values, and sits on land touching Kazakstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, the Uyghur Autonomous Region (Xinjiang), and China.


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eight polish tserkvas:
Birth of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Chotyniec)
St Michael the Archangel (Turzańsk);
St Michael the Archangel (Smolnik);
St James the Less (Powroźnik);
Virgin Mary's Care (Owczary);
St Paraskevia (Kwiaton);
St Parskevia (Radruz);
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St Archangel Michael, a ukrainian tserkvas in Uzak

   Seen in the proper light, these churches in the Car­pathian Region, the Wood­en Tserkvas of Poland and Ukraine, are depictions of the creation of the universe. To this day, parishioners go on high holy days and practice an unbroken liturgy, in buildings of horizontal-log construction on stone foun­da­tions, with three-sectioned interiors topped with domes - built between the 1500s to 1800s: renaissance to post-alchemy.

eight ukrainian tserkvas:
Birth of the Theotokos (Nizhny Werbiaz);
St Archangel Michael (Uzak);
Ascension (Jasin);
Holy Spirit (Rohatyn);
St George (Drohobych);
Holy Trinity (Zolkiew);
St Demetrius (Matkow);
Pentecost (Potylicz).
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aerial view of an archaeological site of a preserved pearl port, buried in sand

   Founded by pearl merchants in long-ago Qatar, on the shores of the Persian Gulf, this archaeological site recipient offers a singular insight into a history of the underwater pearl. Summer was its season, and folks up and down the coast, as well as from inland, would head for 'pearl town' to seek work: to dive and fetch them; to buy and trade them; or to protect the town and its wealth from outside attacks.

different colored pearls
Children living in this oyster­land treat pearls as toys, and play 'turtles and pearls'. The game takes place underwater, and players hold a pet turtle and jump in. The turtle is used as a projectile to hit at a colored pearl, on a game-board, among bowls of different-colored pearls: the aim being to hit another pearl of the same color out.

When a successful attack in 1811 finally managed to sack the enterprise, residents moved inland and rebuilt, abandoning their home, which was later discovered buried in sand. Al Zubarah is comprised of a fortified town, an inner and an (earlier) outer wall, screening walls, two forts overlooking the harbor, and a sea canal.


   The university in Coimbra was founded in 1290, the sec­ond oldest continuous insti­tu­tion of higher learn­ing in Europe (the Uni­ver­sity of Paris is older). In 2013 the town was deemed ... an integrated university city, with a specific urban typology, as well as its own cere­mo­nial and cultural tradi­tions.
student rally in Coimbra

   The land­mark in this natural prop­er­ty can be seen from miles around: a glacier-clad ex­tinct vol­cano rising up on semi-arid savan­nah grass­lands in the tropics. Mount Kenya, known to the Kikuyu tribespeople as mountain of brightness, was designated a world heritage site back in 1997, the second highest peak in east Africa. The site was extended in 2013 and renamed as Mount Kenya-Luwa Wildlife Conservancy, to include a traditional route for migrating African elephants, already roaming through different kinds of forests, home to rhinos and buffalos, baboons and bushbucks, white-tailed mongoose, x-size hogs and bush-pigs, leopards and hyenas.


   This complete and coherent group recipient is the Hill Forts of Rajasthan in northwestern India: six defense settlements spread across the rocky terrain of two mountain ranges, built by rajput (8th to 18th century) warriors who made use of natural defenses in the landsdcape to rein­force their might. These six forts are:

Amber, built with four gates facing the four cardi­nal directions. The princi­pal buildings followed the contours of the hill and impor­tant rooms had a view of the lake.
        Access to Chit­taur­garh, draped over a hill­top, and the grandest of the six forts, can only be gained by passing through seven gates.
        Built of yellow sand­stone, Jaisalmer has a single gateway. The defensive walls, seen against the back­drop of the yellow desert, blended during a certain time of day, and turned invisible.
        The defensive wall of Kum­bhal­garh has seven stone gate­ways, each leading to a pas­sage that zigzagged and pock­marked by small side cells.
        Sitting high above dense jungles, Ran­tham­bore has stonewalls, towers, strong­holds, and four gates. The main approach is a steep ascent, with stairs cut into rocks.
        Built where two rivers meet, Gagron sat on a flat hilltop and watched over trade routes.


   Part of the vast Eastern Mindanao Biodiversity Corri­dor, Mount Hami­gui­tan Range Wild­life Sanc­tuary is in a pristine penin­sula and home to an aboriginal pygmy forest, an endangered eagle (left) and a threatened cockatoo (right). three photos: endangered philippine eagle, endangered cockatoo, mountainsides

   In the Mountains of the Pamirs, where the highest ranges on the Eurasian continent meet, there is a high-altitude park that undergoes frequent strong earthquakes. Seldom visited, sparsely inhabited hence unspoiled, Tajik National Park is otherwise home to endemic fish, indian goose, siberian ibex, marco-polo sheep, brown bear, and snow leopard – co-existing in a land of rivers (170), lakes (400), and glaciers (±1,000).


   Spewing lava consistently for centuries, a natural property since 2013, Mount Etna in Sicily is alive, and a favorite haunt for volcanologists, near enough to monitor “ongoing volcanic landform processes” as they occur.


rice terraces semi-hidden by fog

   There is a vast farm ranging across mountains in southern Yunan, its current condition shaped by countless hands for more than a thousand years, turning mountainsides into terraces, and each terrace a rice paddy plot. Honghe Hani Rice Terraces is irrigated by springs flowing into four trunk canals, which branch off into 392 ditches, the whole being maintained communally. The water comes from springs, which originate from clefts in granite rocks that channel rainfall collecting in sandstone deposits. The sandstone traps the water and releases it gradually as springs.


   Built for a sultan as a compound set within a rose garden, the Golestan Palace Complex is the real deal: seventeen palaces; a tall tower affording pano­ramic views; wind towers to funnel upper air so as to promote an indoor breeze. Built with geometric precision to achieve spacial volume and organi­zation, the rose garden is split in two: a smaller one on a north-south axis, with passageway to a larger garden, along a northeast to south­west axis.

inside-outside view from the Karim Khani Nook in Golestan

  UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE  Princess Konohana-sakuya is the shinto spirit of Fujisan.
Kono­hana­sa­kuya-hime, the shin­to spirit of Fuji­san, is a vol­cano god­dess, and pre­sid­ing dei­ty for the pre­ven­tion of fires.

Fujisan

Taking on its iconic form some five thou­sand years ago, becom­ing the locus for ascet­ic bud­dhism of the shin­to school (be­cause blessed by superb sym­me­try?), Mt Fuji stands alone in the cen­ter of Japan, and has in­spired art­ists for many cen­tur­ies. Rec­og­nized as a “sacred space”, in 2013 Mt Fuji be­came a UNESCO World Heri­tage Site.

Mt Fuji Japan
Each item, unto the crest of a wave, in cosmo­logi­cal Japan is im­bued with its own kami “spirit”. The kami of Mt Fuji is a prin­cess, her name is Kono­hana-sokua­hime.
Mt Fuji, in shin­to cos­mol­o­gy, is occu­pied by a kami “spirit”. The Japan­ese have im­bued the world, un­to a blade of grass, each with its own kami. Prin­cess Kono­hana­sa­kuya-hime is the kami of Fuji­san, pres­ent wher­ever cherry blos­soms are found on Mt Fuji: Fujisan-konohana-sokuahime “Fuji caus­ing the blos­som to bright­ly bloom”. The fuji­ko branch of shin­to adds to the moun­tain a soul, en­dow­ing it with exist­ence. Mean­while, bud­dhists re­gard the vol­cano as a gate­way to an­oth­er world. The summit is ringed with eight peaks, and a hike to visit all of them can take about half a day.

Mt Fuji Japan
While her husband Astraeus “dawn wind” teases prim­eval god­dess Nyx “night” to leave the Sky, winged dawn god­dess Eos “auro­ra” ar­rives in her twin-horse chariot to an­nounce the advent of the Sun over Mt Fuji.
Hiking to the sum­mit to greet the morn­ing Sun is a com­mon occur­rence, and for as long as any­one can remem­ber, there is and al­ways has been, a choice of only four trails lead­ing to the top. There is a term, as in “My gorai­ko was ob­scured by clouds and rain blot­ted out the hori­zon”. For lucky ones, though, the al­pine sight of morn­ing peek­ing over the hori­zon, the depart­ure of night, can trig­ger a pal­pable shift, “some­thing we all know hap­pens reg­ular, see but not see ...” – gorai­ko, shinto speak.

Mt Fuji Japan
A macabre four­teen square mile pine for­est at the base of Mt Fuji, where it is dark on the ground and light at the top.
There is an im­mense pine for­est, a lethal leafy laby­rinth, ring­ing the north-west base of Mt Fuji. Aokiga-hara-jukai “the sea of trees” is alarm­ing­ly dark dur­ing day­time, and likened to a walk on the sea bot­tom. The for­est floor still and silent, the tree­tops sway­ing and musi­cal – leaves play­ing with wind and sun­light. Thought to be haunt­ed, the for­est is a sui­cide des­ti­na­tion spot.

Mt Fuji Japan
The village of Yoshi­da re­sides on the slopes of Mt Fuji, and plays host to an an­nual two-day fire festi­val, in hon­or of Kamuy-huci, the kami of fire.
The shinto em­bod­i­ment of fire, hearth god­dess Kamuy-huci, visits Mt Fuji once a year, wear­ing bud­dhist beads for a pow­wow with the kami of Fuji­san. They meet at a trail stop on the way to the sum­mit, in the vil­lage of Yoshi­da, rife with rus­tic rumors of inter­est­ing in­sights in­to a psycho­analysis of fire. Yoshi­da hosts an an­nual autumn fire fes­ti­val, which is over and done with in one night and fol­low­ing day, involv­ing prac­tises to con­clude the climb­ing season, and there is festival foot­age.

Mt Fuji Japan
Mt Fuji has starred in numer­ous sci­fi scen­arios, fea­tur­ing hy­brids as well as mutat­ed Japan­ese be­ings born af­ter the Sec­ond World War.
As a stand-in for the future-per­fect land­mark, Mt Fuji has has been fea­tured in numer­ous sci­fi movies. “The X From Out­er Space”(1967) be­gins with a heli­copter land­ing in full view of the moun­tain, whose peak has al­so served as a stag­ing ground for count­less mutants born af­ter the Sec­ond World War, begin­ning with God­zil­la the fire-breath­ing giant lizard. Ready to fight and best them are super­men and super­wom­en in bat­tle-suits, or else heroic be­ings from oth­er plan­ets, time trav­el­ers, as well as a legion of cy­borgs and robots. The first to show up was Gold­en Bat aka Phanta­man, who was sent for­ward in time to the year 1930 by Atlan­tis science. A few were born with fire pow­ers: sib­lings Shiro and Leyu Yoshi­da; bud­dhist Izumi Yasu­nari. Tet­suo Shi­ma (Akira) came to light in 1988, harbor­ing the seeds of des­truc­tive psy­chic powers, while Iron Man (aka Tet­suo) was an 1989 cy­borg with a trag­ic sex life.

Mt Fuji Japan
The top image shows Mt Fuji in 2019, aboard the Inter­nation­al Space Station.
Fujisan is a rela­tive­ly young and ac­tive vol­cano, six­ty-two miles south-west of Tok­yo. It sits on a slab of rock at the “trip­le junc­tion” position, radi­at­ing tec­ton­ic­al­ly down to­wards the Fili­pino Plate, west t­owards the Eur­asian Plate, and east to meet with the North Ameri­can Plate – the Okhotsk. There have been twen­ty-one recorded erup­tions, the last was an 8.4 on Octo­ber 26, 1707, des­troy­ing seven­ty-two houses and three bud­dhist tem­ples; power­ful enough to blow a scoop out at the tip, form­ing a new crater on the east­ern flank. A meteor­ologi­cal read­ing, from Feb­ru­ary 4, 2013, is typ­ical of current times:

The vol­cano re­mains calm. How­ever, an in­creased num­ber of small quakes near and un­der Mt Fuji are visi­ble on our lat­est data plot of near­by earth­quakes (with­in 30 km radius). While all of these are very small and the num­ber is cer­tain­ly not alarm­ing, the vol­cano re­mains inter­est­ing to watch. ...


  UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE  open-air cafe on campus rooftop looks out on Coimbra


⇞   CITY OF STUDENTS
The Inquisition came to Portugal in 1567, and Coimbra was one of the three places tasked to conduct it. Afterwards, the University re-estab­lished freedom of research, strengthened their statutes, reorga­nized the syllabus to re-establish freedom of research, and put emphasis on an educa­tion in the vernacular. students at an outdoor event


⇞   UNIVERSITY OF COIMBRA
Bell Tower on the Great Courtyard



The University originally taught law, rhetoric, mathematics, theology, medicine, grammar, Greek. Seventy or so professors and lecturers manage five faculties: direito (law), mathematica, medicina, philosophia, theologia. The ordinary degree resulting in the title licenciado (graduate) will take five years. The degree of douto (learned) takes one more, plus a second examination. Medical students study for eight years. Semester starts in autumn and ends when spring is over. The university system is city-wide, and hosts sports and theater events for its citizens; participates in nurseries and kindergartens, botany and preservation.

Academic seasons are marked by rituals, originally symbolized as colors. End of semester is celebrated in the noisy Festa das Latas. The oldest is Queima das Fritas (Burning of the Ribbons), a totality that takes eight days to play out. The ribbons are
light-blue = science [art];
dark-blue= letters [mind];
yellow = medicine [body];
purple = pharmacy [body].

⇞   LIBRARY



⇞   STUDENT BODY
The estudantes (students) make up about a third of the town's inhabitants, and their graduation ceremonies take up the whole of May. A localized form of fado (sad song) is performed, by male students only, and only at 10pm on the steps of the Old Cathedral, with lyrics more intellectual and romantic than the genre requires: love songs tuned to passions and sentiments, perfuming the air with student lamentations until dawn.




⇞   FRATERNITIES




⇞   LUíS De CAMõES


⇞   CITY OF CULTURE

Up until the middle of the 20th century, Coimbra was largely inaccessible to travellers passing through. Sacheverell Sitwell visited in the 1950s, and found fault with the new:


⇞   FORT AEMINIUM



Treetops do not touch each other, in a photo­syn­thesis phe­nom­e­non known as crown shyness.
treetops do not touch each other, in a photosynthesis phenomenon known as crown shyness


 REBEL REBEL  img: citizens behind umbrellas act as barricade across nighttime street. caption: Umbrella Movement was superseded in 79 days.
The Umbrella Move­ment in Hong Kong is a close cousin to Extinc­tion Rebellion, both are premised on pushback to an encroach­ing efface­ment of other cultures, other minds. In HK’s case, one reason is to inject a patriotic education curriculum into the syllabus. Umbrellas in these situations were deployed to shield from tear gas and pepper spray. This inaugural movement for basic human rights for the citizens of HK took place in 2014, and was over with in 79 days.



img: citizen waves h.k. flag. caption: This rebellion is about facial recognition technology deployed to turn h.k. into a prison.
 TEAR GAS 
Nighttime faceoff between police and citizens in the Mong Kok neighborhood, October 17. foto: ed jones agence france-presse getty images



img: nighttime face-off in Mong Kok neighborhood between citizens and police. caption: Student Leader Tommy Cheung: There was panic and anger on 28 September 2014, when police tried to clear the streets by firing rounds of tear gas. We had never experienced eyes stinging, or how to protect ourselves. My instinct was to run.

citizens figured out how to defuse incoming tear gas: first cover with traffic cone, then pour water into hole at top.


 VIGIL 4 TIANANMEN 
There has been a candlelight vigil held in Victoria Park every June 4, in memory of 1989 Tiananmen. In 2021, Kayla Chan, 25, showed up.



img: Kayla Chan holds an umbrella in daytime Victoria Park 2021. caption: A security law was enacted in 2020. Citizens defied a police ban and gathered to mark Tiananmen 1989 by holding a candlelight vigil in Victoria Park.

In 2014, police showed up at the candlelight vigil and released tear gas. In 2023, Victoria Park taken over by a jigsawed carnival and bazaar combination, featuring foods from different regions in China.

 City of Dead Roads 

img: HK is a neon-lit ghost town at night. caption: omicron emptied streets.

 Gear 
img: citizens were gas mask helmets, carry shields, use bow and fire-arrows. caption: citizens bolted ­barricades into roads using power drills, and cleaned up after the ­police departed.
via nakedcapitalism 10.22.2019: Dr Wong Tsu @HongKongHFF ... an example of what sets apart HKers from other protesters around the world. [L]eaflets are left on "refurbished" shops to explain the reasons behind these targeted actions. Also note: *no looting*. #antiELAB #HongKongProtesters #HongKong.

 2018 TRIAL  Nine defendants stood trial for disturbances caused by the Umbrella Movement: Lawmakers Tanya Chan and Shiu Ka-chun; veteran democrat Lee Wing-tat. Founders of the movement pastor Chu Yiu-ming, sociology professor Chan Kin-man, law professor Benny Tai. Activist Raphael Wong; student leaders Eason Chung and Tommy Cheung.
img: bailiff watches as Eason Chung speaks from the docket; screenshot from Blue Island 2022. caption: student leader Eason Chung addressed the judge: I have nothing to plead...
The person you’re prose­cuting at this moment is not [Eason Chung, i.e., Defendant 7], nor is it D1, D2, D3, D4, D5, D6, D8 or D9.
Today, you are pros­e­cut­ing anyone and every­one who partici­pated in the Umbrella Move­ment. You are pros­e­cut­ing all who cherish HK. So, your Honour, what you need to know is not D7’s background, or why he joined the movement. What your Honour needs to know is the back­ground of every­one who joined the movement.
Those who willingly gave their time, their effort, their past, their future (gore lui, mei loy), and their lives for the people of HK. Why do they stay in this city without giving up, even when hope is as faint as the light of a firefly?
Your Honour, if you wish to seek the answers, you won’t simply find them in written state­ments, a few letters, or some impas­sioned speeches. We refused to be sub­ser­vient to pro­visions, to author­ity, and to institutions.
We want to venture into an unknown world. A world where history and the present are en­tangled, where indi­vid­ual endeavours interact with un­antic­i­pated turns of events. We are about our world, not our position in it. In this process, there is no saint to follow, to lead. We are confused. We worry about the self that we strive to con­struct will collapse and be obliterated. Yet, we will someday rise from ashes. This belief is all we can hold on to right now.
Whether you are a judge, a barrister, a teacher, a pastor, a journalist, a correctional service employee, a legislator, a student, an assistant, a supporter or an oppo­nent – before these identities, we are first of all human being.
If this holds true, if we indeed are human beings, I have no need to make an appeal. All of us, sitting here today, have a respon­si­bil­ity to step out of a courtroom, out of the legislature, out of the media land­scape, to leave all inter­medi­aries, and get to know the world in person. To experience the world ourselves. None of this can be explained in this courtroom.

Showing dexterity for cursive, students spray on school walls: Rioting > 10 years in prison. But we have no choice., and wear Guy Fawkes masks to graduation. foto: tyrone siu reuters foto: tyrone siu reuters


img: university walls with graffiti; graduating students at HK polytechnic u. wearing Guy Fawkes masks.


img: handcuffed ten-year-old escorted by two police. caption: a ten year old was arrested for shouting revolution of our time glory to HK img: citizen dressed as Kumamon holding light saber. caption: provoking a ban on face coverings at public gatherings, citizens showed up wearing cartoon character masks and other things Kumamon is a mascot created to draw tourists to the Kumamoto Prefecture in Japan.
 S.O.S. U.S.A. 
2019 was a turning point. The U.S. had passed a ‘HK human rights and democracy act’ that year; citizens mostly were jubilant. They had also been paying scant attention to other human right protests; when Black Lives Matter coalesed in 2013, in response to the death of George Floyd. Then the head of Human Rights Watch was denied entry in January 2020.



img: citizens carrying u.s. flags march. caption: march of gratitude to the U.S. img: banner on nighttime street pole, featuring ad for movie Joker film, next to burning subway station entrance. caption: joker gloats as subway station burns

 ASYLUM 
Citizens show support for Edward Snowden by carrying signs: Stop Human Rights Violation; Protect Privacy and Liberties; Stop Surveillance Operations; Big Brother Is Watching You; HK Hero Home; No Extradition. Minor at a rally carried a sign in one hand and a mask of Snowden in the other.



img: minor at a rally carries a sign in one hand and a mask of Snowden in the other. caption: ex-national security agency contractor leaked intel on u.s. surveillance programs. He made it to HK in may 2013 and was taken in by a community under threat from their own country's surveillance programs.
 HK LENNON WALLS 
Citizens, especially students, took up the practise of mounting lennon walls: large assemblages of post-it notes scribbled with political thoughts. The first john-lennon wall was in then-communist Prague, where paint was, still is, the pen of choice.



HK lennon wall 2014; proposal for a lennon-wall design as flag of HK


| Top |





 SLAVE  Ef­forts in Hong Kong to halt the sell­ing and buy­ing of young Chi­nese girls into bond­age, as was com­mon in China, re­sult­ed in the hir­ing of Phyl­lis Har­rop to be the gov­ern­ment’s li­ai­son.
The Private Life of Old Hong Kong: Western Women in the British Colony 1841 to 1941 by Susanna Hoe

In 1938, leg­is­la­tion to abol­ish the mui-tsai sys­tem was signed into law, and PHYL­LIS HAR­ROP was ap­point­ed as­sist­ant sec­re­tary for Chi­nese af­fairs. When Phyl­lis answered the ad in 1937, she thought that she was be­ing hired as a sec­re­tary. She had gone to Shang­hai from Eng­land in 1929 to see the world. There she worked as a secre­tary until an ill-fated mar­riage to a Ger­man baron in 1934. Leav­ing him, she worked in Japa­nese-dom­i­nat­ed Man­chu­ria and had some con­tact with the world of the secret ser­vice. Now, in Hong Kong, she was giv­en an as­sign­ment to pro­tect young girls.
One raid that Phyl­lis had con­duct­ed in per­son had dis­cov­ered seven­teen trans­ferred girls who were about to be shipped abroad. Phyl­lis set about pre­par­ing her­self for her real job, be­com­ing as soon as possible pro­fi­cient in Can­to­nese and the rele­vant laws of Hong Kong. She built up a staff of Chi­nese wom­en not afraid to work hard, and two police in­spec­tors and a ser­geant were sec­ond­ed to her. As well as that team there were about one hun­dred Chi­nese detec­tives. It was not easy. The police depart­ment, in­struct­ed to re­fer to her all cases con­cern­ing wom­en and chil­dren or fam­i­ly af­fairs, ob­ject­ed to hav­ing to deal with a wom­an. She found that notice of a forth­com­ing raid on a “sly broth­el” (i.e. il­le­gal) was leak­ing out so that any evi­dence of law-break­ing had dis­ap­peared by the time the police ar­rived.
Sub­se­quent­ly she made a prac­tice of go­ing on raids and was seen as quite a cha­rac­ter, as well as a friend, among the Chi­nese. Phyl­lis took her work seri­ous­ly but she did not take herself ser­i­ous­ly, laugh­ing­ly de­scrib­ing her job as “pro­tect­ing way­ward girls”. Phyl­lis gives her for­mal title in “Hong Kong Inci­dent” (1942) as “nui wa man dai yan”. It meant, lit­er­al­ly and in­ac­cu­rate­ly, the lady secre­tary for Chi­nese af­fairs’. But it meant col­lo­quial­ly “big lady.


 AXIS  HK 
Hong Kong: Epilogue to an Empire by Jan Morris

“The Ger­man pres­ence in occu­pied Hong Kong wasn’t entire­ly neg­li­gi­ble. Ger­mans ob­served dur­ing the actual course of the fight­ing in­clud­ed an offi­cer and a civil­ian wear­ing a swas­tika em­blem on his lapel. Both ap­par­ent­ly made some at­tempt to inter­cede with the Japa­nese forces on be­half of their fel­low Euro­peans. Short­ly after the take­over, on De­cem­ber 30 1941, a num­ber of German offi­cers with nazi arm­bands are said to have watched the al­lied POWs being herd­ed in­to cap­tiv­ity. One Indian eye-wit­ness reported, ‘I have noticed many Ger­man advis­ers and I under­stand that the Ger­mans are in charge of artil­lery oper­ations’. At one point in the early months of the Occu­pation a Ger­man ges­ta­po man in Hong Kong was said to have com­ment­ed ‘that the Japa­nese would nev­er have got where they were if it had not been for the Ger­mans’. The Defag Co., a sub­sid­iary of the in­dus­trial giant I.G. Far­ben, was ob­served to have en­tered along with the Japa­nese. [I.G. Far­ben, the par­ent com­pany of Bay­er, man­u­fac­tured Zyklon B, the poi­son gas used in the Holo­caust.] Civil­ian visit­ors in the fol­low­ing year in­clud­ed Dr Erich Kordt, the Ger­man chargé d’af­faires in Nanking.”


 1944  OCCUPATION 
Techniques of Japanese Occupation by Robert S Ward

At the begin­ning of the sec­ond week of the war [Jan­uary 1942], the con­trol­ler of land tran­sport is­sued a notice in the Gazette Extra­ordi­nary stop­ping all pri­vate motor­ing and limiting the sale of gaso­line to cer­tain des­ig­nat­ed pumps where officers of the Tran­sport Ser­vice checked on all per­sons desiring to buy it. Near­ly all the private­ly owned cars and trucks in the Colo­ny had been req­ui­si­tioned much ear­li­er in the con­flict; but this order stopped what re­mained of pri­vate traf­fic. The buses had been req­ui­si­tioned, and the street­car ser­vice, which for days had run only dawn to dusk, was now in­def­i­nite­ly sus­pend­ed.
Shop fronts through­out the busi­ness dis­trict were board­ed over; such busi­ness as was be­ing done, with a few ex­cep­tions, car­ried on through lit­tle peep­holes or half-sized doors in the board­ing. Every­where glass store fronts and win­dow panes were criss-crosed with past­ed slips of paper to pre­vent them from shat­ter­ing with the con­stant rever­ber­ations of shell­fire and the con­tin­ual thud­ding of ex­plod­ing bombs or shells.
The streets were sprayed with a rub­ble of plas­ter and bricks and were in some places piled so high with debris as to be im­pass­able. Many houses and build­ings, par­tic­ular­ly those of the old­er type of con­struc­tion, were pul­ver­ized. The un­remit­ting shell­ing made whole blocks un­in­habit­a­ble even in areas where the actual dam­age was rela­tive­ly light­er. As the hos­til­i­ties pro­gressed, more and more of the mid-level and Peak dwel­lings were lit­eral­ly blown off the side of the hill – among them the resi­dence of the Amer­i­can consul-gen­eral, whose home was total­ly wrecked.




-|  July 2024  |-



  PSYCHEDELIC  PARK 

Tycoon How Aw-boon lived in a residence overlooking Happy Valley, on a Hong Kong mountain side with a steep grade. He and his brother had made their fortune in 1920s Rangoon, selling an analgesic balm which quickly becomes a staple in family medicine cabinets throughout Asia.


The late-1940s two-story house that How built for his fam­ily had veran­dahs sur­round­ing the upper-floor, a swim­ming pool beneath a chin­oi­serie rock wall and a three-car garage. The prop­erty was other­wise sheer cliff, so How looked up at his verti­cal land­scap­ing chal­lenge, saw that it was edged with the Sky, and decided to build his Tiger Balm Gar­dens as an over-the-top sino folly. He had no plan draw­ings, but hired talent. The end result is real­ized by master crafts­men Kwek Hoon-sua and Kwek Choon-sua, broth­ers from Swa­tow, and their crew: tableaux aris­ing from the tears of Tao­ism and the breath of Buddha. On top of this curated cos­mol­ogy sits a seven-story snow-white pagoda.



The garden is acces­sible only by stair­cases, go­ing up and down, which dis­orients and, if not for gravity, melts away a sense of bear­ing. The cement stair­case sys­tem was created by add­ing build­outs and brackets to enhance exist­ing rock. There are look­out points, nooks, bridges, caves. Vistas disap­pear when turn­ing a corner, forks in the road ac­crue; seem­ing short­cuts to desti­nations will result in labyrin­thean obstacles.


Visitors to this psy­che­delic park get am­bushed by deities and demons. Cloud caves of heaven above, below the stock­ades of hell; both bound to make your acquain­tance. Here are in-the-round depic­tions from Jour­ney to the West, the punish­ments wait­ing in Hell for specific wrongs, and other myth­ologies, all created from several appli­cations of plaster-of-paris shaped with chicken wire in wet cement, and paint­ed with a confucian palette.

The Tiger Balm Gardens beguiles with the very first steps.




 c.1912 
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1929 photo showing headquarters of Alex Ross & Co., with a Model T Ford parked outside.
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The first distributor of the Model T by Henry Ford in Hong­kong was Alex Ross & Co., with headquarters in Prince’s Building, Central District.
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1920 photograph of Alex Ross & Co.'s garage and repair shop.
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Maintenance happened in the garage on Salisbury Rd in Kow­loon, next to Star Ferry and the Kowloon Canton Rail­way terminus. Vehicles on offer were capable of 25 miles to the gallon and could be ordered in any colour as long as it was “blue or grey.
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Aftermath of the 1927 typhoon shows three bright young people smiling and sitting on a damaged Model T Ford.
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The typhoon of August 20 1927 damaged the garage, which had at the time twenty motor cars and six motor cycles.
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1908 ad for the Model T Ford.
 1920s  Movie poster for 1929 Hollywood musical 'Paris' with Irene Bordoni and Jack Buchanan. Circa 1930 photograph of dancers at a Peninsula Hotel ball. +
In the beginning, there were very few movie houses wired for sound. The Majes­tic (1928) on Nathan Rd was one of the first, and their New Year’s offering for 1930 was technicolor Holly­wood musical Paris, now a lost film. The Penin­su­la Hotel hosted casual tea dances by day and formal balls by night.
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Two issues of 'Tavern Topics', a cover of a saxophonist giving his all to a swaying couple, a cover of a decked-out couple with cigarette holders dangling from their mouths. +
Monthly magazine published by the Peninsula Hotel’s parent company, Hong Kong and Shanghai Hotels Ltd.


  (1886- )  1955 color ad for Dairy Farm Co gives a description of their food specials, and a photo of the farm. +
The Dairy Farm, Ice & Cold Storage Co., Ltd. was founded by Dr Patrick Manson with a herd of eighty cows. By the mid 20th century, there were 1,600 tuber­cu­lo­sis-free dairy cattle, chicken farms, and piggeries of­fered for retail using modern butchery meth­ods. In addition to dairy and provision stores, Dairy Farm operated twelve soda foun­tains and restaurants. Cold stor­age facil­i­ties could handle im­port­ed refrigerated meats, game and poul­try, quick froz­en foods, canned, bot­tled and pack­aged goods, and dairy prod­ucts of every variety.
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1952 menu for Dairy Farm restaurant. There are nine beef dishes prepared from prime tender beef: t-bone steak, steak, rump, sirloin, hamburger, pot roast, casseroled, curried, and the minute steak, which retails for HK$4.50. Served with garden-fresh vegetables in season.
 (1927- )  Two photographs of the Peninsula Hotel, circa 1920s. The first is from atop nearby Signal Hill, and shows the five-storey hotel with its view of Hongkong harbor. The second photo shows the front entrance. +
In 1921, the people running the Hong Kong Hotel were ap­proached by the gov­ern­ment to build a hotel on the tip of Kow­loon. On open­ing day in 1927, it was promptly requi­si­tioned as temporary accommodation for British troops. The following year it was handed back to the own­ers, and a new opening date of December 11 1928 was an­nounced, bringing local sheiks and flap­pers to its ball­room dance floor. During the Occu­pa­tion, the hotel became head­quarters for Lieut. Gen. Ren­su­ke Iso­gai, who renamed it the Toa Hotel. After the war, the owners took it back, only to have it be requi­si­tioned a second time for allied civil servants and ex-POWs. The Peninsula re­opened again in 1946, resum­ing a tradi­tion of sup­ply­ing “hot” rhythm for the bright young people.
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Matchbox cover
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Matchbox cover issued to offi­cers during the Occupation, who had a right to use the facil­i­ties at the Peninsula Hotel, head­quarters for the Japanese Im­pe­rial Armed Forces.


 1883  Waglan Island, on the eastern entrance into Hong­kong harbor, plays host to a meteo­ro­log­i­cal station, a saluting bat­tery, and a light­house. These are navi­ga­tion­al aids for guidance through a chan­nel into a well-lit harbor “sin­gu­lar­ly free from sub­merged dangers.
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Undated hand-tinted vintage postcard showing the compound, saluting battery, meteorological station and lighthouse.
 1920  Deep-focus 1921 photo shows both the Repulse Bay Hotel on the hillside and the beach, bay and cabanas down below. +
Opening on New Year’s Day 1920, greeting guests from the Central Dis­trict on a new­ly built road over the mountain, the “old lady on the Riviera of the East” could offer comfort already on “a well-made road, lead­ing to the main steps, in front of which is a miniature Italian garden, artistically laid out and provided with a foun­tain.
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There are six parallel-parked Model T Fords in this c.1926 photo at the Repulse Bay Hotel; in the background Repulse Bay stretches to the horizon. +
From the main steps guests reach a spacious balcony which runs the entire length of the facade. There is a 3,500 sq-ft hall with its own verandah. Each bedroom measures twenty-foot square, and comes with its own white-glaze tiled bath­room featuring hot and cold water.
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1960 aerial color photo of the Repulse Bay Hotel compound and grounds. +
Located on the Island side facing the sea, this “hotel with­out its like in the East” pro­vid­ed living quarters in the back for staff, and was orig­in­al­ly con­ceived as a self-con­tained “pleas­ure resort.” Dur­ing the war it was used by the Occu­pation, part­ly as a hos­pi­tal, part­ly as a recu­pe­ra­tion center.

 (1868-1952)  Hong Kong Hotel, Queen’s Rd at Pedder St, is the first world-class hospitality house in Hongkong, where management has provided a special launch to meet ship passengers and ferry them to the hotel’s pier. A six-storey north wing facing the waterfront opened in 1893, but was con­sumed in a fire in 1926.
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Newspaper ad for the Hong Kong Hotel contains no illustration and is all in text, which can get granular. The hotel overlooks the habor and is next to Pedder Wharf, the principal landing stage on the Island, and situated in the heart of town. Descriptions follow of accommodations, amenities, dining choices.
 (1892-1951)  Begin­ning around 1892, entrepreneural broth­ers Sam and Mar­cus Samuel began to ship kerosene in bulk to China, where they found a ready mar­ket. Then part­nering with Royal Dutch Petrol­eum for a joint ven­ture, they be­came Asiatic Petrol­eum Co. Today it is what­ever Shell Oil’s latest brand­name is called.
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Photo taken in the 1910s showing  seven-storey South China headquarters of Asiatic Petroleum Co.
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The end of Pedder St runs into the Asiatic Petroleum Co. build­ing, where a clock tower once stood. On the right (not shown) is Jar­dine’s head­quarters. On the left (also not shown) is the Hong Kong Hotel, making the two-block long Pedder St the “financial district of Hong­kong, China.

  (1866- )  
1897 photo of the headquarters of Butterfield & Swire, on Connaught Rd in the Central Praya district, and fronting Hongkong harbor.
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Hongkong was founded as a Brit­ish colony in China, “nei­ther a settlement nor an ac­qui­si­tion of natural re­sources,” but to trade in the Far East. Government was to serve the interests of mer­chants, and the first to make use of the opportunity was Jardine Matheson & Co. Fol­lowed soon enough by Dent & Co., Lindsay & Co., Dod­well & Co., and John D. Hutch­ison. There was also a cargo-&-passenger shipping company, Butterfield & Swire, which had an office in Shang­hai, opened in 1866. Now they came to Hongkong, began to diver­si­fy, went into the sugar refin­ing trade. Then the partnership with Richard Shackle­ton Butter­field was severed, and the firm’s re­main­ing two partners, brothers John Samuel and William Hud­son, rebranded the company as Swire’s. After the Second World War, they opened up an air­craft repair shop at Kai Tek Air­port, as a springboard into the emerg­ing com­mer­cial airline field.
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A truck drives down an airport runway, mounted on the back is on airplane propeller, facing backwards and running, going out for a test.
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Lion Rock has watched over the rehabilitation of Hong­kong’s original aerodome to be­come an international air­port, now is keeping a safe distance as the Pacific Air Main­te­nance and Supply Co., is conducting a test.
Hand-tinted 1899 photo, taken from a boat out at sea, of the Taiko Sugar Works and its wharves.
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1899 photograph of the sugar refinery works located dock­side, between Hong­kong Island and Lam­ma Island, and facing the South China Sea.
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Menu for the annual dinner put on by the Sugar Refining Trade of Hong Kong. This was held in 1894 at the Victoria Hotel, and there were four starters and two fish choices. Five meats were represented plus curries. Roast pheasant, roast wild duck. Asparagus, cabbage or potatoes. Dessert was vanilla ice cream, butter sponge cake, yolk or almond cake, finger cakes, blanc mange, raisin pudding, cream puffs, almond cream, maraschino and orange jellies, gooseberry tart.



  (1850-now )  Lane Crawford's second location, in 1905, was to this five-storey building at 4 Ice House St. +
1893 ad for Lane Crawford, offering complete outfits for tourists: sun hats, binoculars, deck shoes, rubber sea boots, walking boots, shoes. There are travellers' cooking stoves and reading lamps, camp furniture, travelling chess sets, travelling inkstands, note books and diaries. Manila cigars, cheroots, pipes and smoker's sundries. Flasks, books, revolvers and firearms. Etc.
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More ancient than Harrods, Lane Crawford Department Store was founded by one Thomas Ash Lane, formerly a butler in the East ­India Co. factory at Canton, who went to Hongkong in the early 1840s and, together with Ninian (Norman) Crawford, went into business carrying goods. They opened their doors in 1846.
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1903 ad for Lane Crawford, listing departments devoted to home furnishings, luggage, tailoring, sports and miscellaneous. There were offerings of wines, spirits and musical instruments. Services for shipchandlers and upholsterers could be procured.

 (1828- ) 
Intact nineteenth century figurehead showing lion and unicorn on both sides of a plinth with  a lively fish sitting on top. The whole adorned with flags, shields, spears.
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Figurehead recovered from a wreckage at sea belonging to Jardine Matheson & Co.
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In 1828, Scotsmen and “country mer­chants” William Jardine and James Mathe­son became partners, buying Malwa opium in Bombay from a Parsee merchant named Framjee Co­wasjee to sell in Can­ton. Organized and efficient, they soon controlled approximately one-third of foreign trade with China, most of it in opium.
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The men who worked Jardines Mathe­son were expected to be disciplined sailors, yet like all Europeans would have been familiar with a bar room drink of alcohol, tobacco juice, sugar and arsenic called a “canton gun­powder.”
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Here is James Matheson’s verdict for one of his ship masters: The Gazette was un­necessarily delayed at Hong­kong in con­se­quence of Captain Croc­ker’s repug­nance to receiving opium on the Sab­bath. We have every respect for per­sons enter­taining strict relig­ious prin­ci­ples, but we fear that very godly people are not suited for the drug trade.
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This is William Jar­dine’s recruitment letter to a European mis­sion­ary who can speak Chi­nese: “We have no hesitation in stating to you that our principal reliance is on opium. Though it is our earnest wish that you should not in any way hinder the grand object you have in view [dis­tri­but­ing the Bible trans­lat­ed into Chi­nese], by ap­pear­ing interested in what by many is con­sid­ered an im­mor­al traf­fic; yet such traf­fic is so ab­so­lute­ly nec­es­sary to give any vessel a reas­on­able chance of de­fray­ing her ex­penses that we trust you will have no obje­ction to inter­pret on every occa­sion when your services may be requested.
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1868 photo by John Thomson of William Jardine's home, a two-storey many windowed manion on a rise, and set in a landscaped park.
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By 1868, William Jardine was very wealthy, and had built himself a land­scaped home.



 Tiger’s Mouth  Map of the Pearl River Delta showing proximity of Canton, Macao and Hongkong.
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A twenty-mile wide gulf in South China is home to Canton, Macao and Hong­kong. The river flowing into it is short, being a coastal convergence where three other rivers meet. Banks were once lined with banana and sugar-cane groves, with orange trees and rice paddies. Euro­pean sailors came and before long had given a name to where the delta begins and the river ends: Bocca Tigris, mouth of the tiger, to denote the dangers going upriver. Halfway to Canton was an island, and where a warehouse with a wharf was sit­u­at­ed. Business was conducted in Can­ton, where a stretch by the Pearl River was turned into an on-site compound for Euro­pean and Amer­i­can companies, in the business of mak­ing trade here, in the golden trian­gle of China.
 South China Sea 
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More than two hun­dred species of fish call the Pearl River Delta home. Bream, herring and dace. Anguilla Mar­mo­ra­ta and rat­mouth bar­bell. The man­da­rin, the big­head and four varieties of carp – silver, grass, golden, common.
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Color drawings of seven locally prized seafood: leopard-coral trout, green wrasse, medura garoupa, yellow garoupa, horsehead, red-tailed mackerel, crayfish. +

  TEA TIME 
The must-dos for brew­ing a prop­er pot of tea, and how a con­stitu­tion­al drink­ing regi­men – the bit­ter made palat­able with sugar and milk or lemon – calmed a nation’s nerves.
sugar bowl


Ben Franklin's teapot
That morning
I heard water
being poured into
a teapot. The sound was an ordinary, daily, cluffy sound. But all at once, I knew you loved me. An un­heard-of-thing, love audible in water falling.


teacup and saucer
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A steadfast­ness in duti­ful habit­ing in all mat­ters relat­ed to tea is a core require­ment of Brit­ish­ness, and in 2013 the stan­dard came up for a re­view: “... the of­fi­cial spec­i­fi­ca­tion for how to make a cup of tea, is of­ficial­ly ‘un­der re­view’”. Some­thing the Brit­ish Stan­dards In­stitu­tion per­forms as part of a “sys­tem­atic period­ic review”. The stan­dards are “de­vised for the con­ven­i­ence of those who wish to use them”, and cop­ies were ob­tain­able free of charge.
Framed photograph of two policemen drinking tea with Fred Thompson.
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When his desk phone rang, one day in Novem­ber 2015, the Mid­dle­ton police­man picked it up and spoke with a man who re­quest­ed police to come by. Of­fi­cer Andy Rich­ard­son took down the ad­dress, drove over with a col­league, end­ed up stay­ing for tea. He tweeted: “Just dealt with a 95-year-old cou­ple, called and said they were lone­ly. What else could we do? We’ve got to look af­ter peo­ple as well. It’s not just fighting crime, it’s pro­tect­ing peo­ple in what­ever sit­u­a­tion they find them­selves.” Fred Thomp­son, the elder­ly man from Man­ches­ter, Eng­land, who made the call: “You feel some­body cares and oh that does mat­ter ... sim­ple things they talk about, noth­ing very spe­cial but they showed that they cared by be­ing there and talk­ing to you.”

Screenshot of butler Charles Laughton pouring tea.
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She: (looking at water) It’s hot! ...
He: Can I be of any assis­tance?

Oh no. Men are so help­less in the kitch­en. (she picks up ket­tle, pro­ceeds to pour into tea­pot.)
Oh no. Always bring pot to the ket­tle, nev­er bring the ket­tle to the pot.

Well lis­ten I’ve been mak­ing tea for long­er than I can re­mem­ber–
Don’t let’s get in­to dif­fi­cul­ties about this. But you must lis­ten to an Eng­lish­man about tea. When mak­ing tea, al­ways bring the pot to the ket­tle and nev­er the ket­tle to the pot.








Oh, your knowl­edge is sur­pris­ing.
Don’t see why you should say sur­pris­ing. The best cooks have al­ways been men. I my­self have pro­nounced views on the prep­ar­a­tions and serv­ings of food. Have you?
Oh yes.

You know some­thing nice that would go with tea?
Eh yes, yes. The in­gre­di­ents are quite sim­ple. Do you have a lit­tle flour?

Oh would you?
Flour, but­ter, milk and salt.

Oh you seem so at home in the kitchen.
Ah it would be dif­fi­cult to de­scribe the in­tense satis­fac­tion that I’ve al­ways derived from cook­ing.

George Orwell holding a teacup.

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Just after World War II, dur­ing a period of acute food ration­ing in Eng­land, George Or­well wrote an arti­cle on the mak­ing of a de­cent cup of tea that in­sist­ed on the ob­serv­ing of eleven dif­fer­ent “golden” rules. Some of these (al­ways use Indian or Ceylon­ese, i.e., Sri Lan­kan tea; make tea only in small quan­ti­ties; avoid silver­ware pots) may be con­sid­ered op­tion­al or out­mo­ded. But the essen­tial ones are eas­ily com­mit­ted to mem­ory, and they are sim­ple to put into prac­tice. If you use a pot at all, make sure it is pre-warmed. (I would add that you should do the same thing even if you are only us­ing a cup or a mug.) Stir the tea be­fore let­ting it steep. But this above all: “[O]ne should take the tea­pot to the ket­tle, and not the oth­er way about. The water should be actual­ly boil­ing at the mo­ment of im­pact, which means that one should keep it on the flame while one pours.” This isn’t hard to do, even if you are us­ing elec­tric­i­ty rather than gas, once you have brought all the mak­ings to the same scene of opera­tions right next to the ket­tle. It’s not quite over yet. If you use milk, use the least creamy type or the tea will ac­quire a sick­ly taste. And do not put the milk in the cup first – fam­ily feuds have last­ed gen­er­a­tions over this – be­cause you will almost cer­tain­ly put in too much. Add it later, and be very care­ful when you pour. Final­ly, a de­cent cy­lin­dri­cal mug will pre­serve the need­ful heat and flav­or for long­er than will a shal­low and wide-mouthed – how of­ten those at­tri­butes seem to go to­geth­er – tea­cup. Orwell thought that sugar over­whelmed the taste, but brown sugar or honey are, I be­lieve, per­mis­si­ble and some­times nec­es­sary.

Morrissey holding a glass of milk.

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Morrissey: I abso­lute­ly nev­er get sick of drink­ing tea. It’s a psy­cho­log­i­cal thing real­ly, it’s just very com­pos­ing and makes me relax. It’s just so much ... Oh yes, yes, I’m very avid, I have to have at least four pots a day.

For those of us who don’t know how to make a pot of tea, what do you do?
M: [mumbles]

Well I would do that with­out even think­ing about it.
M: Right and also you have to use real milk you can’t use the UHT fake stuff, you have to use prop­er milk. ... Well you real­ly have to put the milk in first which many people don’t.

Put the milk in with the water, be­fore you boil the water?
M: No, you’re con­fused al­ready no, you put the milk in be­fore you pour the water in or the tea, which­ever.

Okay, so what about the actual brew­ing of the tea?
M: The brew­ing of the tea, it’s very im­por­tant that you heat the pot be­fore you put the water in, if you use a pot. I know most peo­ple who just throw a tea­bag in­to a cup but in Eng­land of course you have to make a pot of tea and you have to heat the pot first with hot water and then put the tea­bags in – I can’t be­lieve I’m say­ing this – and then put the hot water in and then just throw it all over your­self, rush to Out Patients and write a real­ly good song.