Sunday 2 January 2011

Hong Kong under the lens

Waiting for the Peak tram we were recommended to visit Hong Kong Park, down the road.  The park is quite small for a big city park, neatly partitioned into distinct sections.  It can be packed but you can still find a feng shuied corner to yourself - 'anything but natural', as our Hong Kong encounters book describes it.

The treetop giant aviary walk through is impressive, as is the size of lenses and number of cameras (see photo).  This isn't restricted to the Aviary, or the boys with toys.  If Freya stands still for too long cameras come out and young and old, men and women start clicking (photo)

The government is at it too.  Family photo left, shows the large CCTV fitted throughout the park, four alone in the children's play area, fitted with wind screen wipers for those wet and humid days.

CCTV isn't the only monitoring of activity.  In next photo the staff - cleaning and security - outnumber the users.  Even on a quiet morning there are parts of the park which must always be busy, however the staffing and volunteer help is huge.

They need high staffing to enforce long list of misdemeanours, but also some great events and activities.  Apart from tai chi in the designated tai chi area, there is the 'Community arts network' providing an 'arts programme to be conceived according to the need of the promote the growth of different communities through art'

There is also 'stories in the park' with Uncle Hung, 'sounds in the park' and 'Games in the Park' programmes.

The park is clean and safe - I'm not sure it would be possible to be anti-social here, and the comfort everyone has with both taking photos and being photographed is refreshing.  It doesn't fit with the child abduction and other street crime we have been warned about.

On the way back we are accosted by a Buddhist monk selling charms.  He laughs at our measly donation.  Later we are told we probably had a close shave with the legendary Triad, as monks are part of the organised crime racket!

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