Hong Kong Food Culture Series – Wetlands in Four Seasons – Winter Walking Tour

Hong Kong Food Culture Series – Wetlands in Four Seasons – Winter Walking Tour

For those of you who don’t know there are several ongoing initiatives here at Hong Kong Sacred Spaces. One of these initiatives is to delve into the research around Hong Kong Wetlands and Food Culture. Think of all the yummy oyster sauces and dried shrimp pastes that we have here and you’ll get the idea of how important these coastal areas are. Most of this research was provided (very generously) by Professor Sydney Cheung, an Anthropologist from Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) and a local expert on Hong Kong Wetland Culture, who literally wrote the book (actually several) on the subject. Part of what he passed on to us is a series of walks that he and his students developed to allow Hong Kongers to enjoy the fertile northern wetlands from the perspective of the four seasons. These wetlands are now mostly a source of leisure but for generations, they were a source of food and shelter and their maintenance an important part of everyday life. As a “first-step” in this engagement, we’ll start off the New Year right with a local walk which we’ll uncreatively call: Winter that will get us up to Yuen Long and start to explore the region. We’ll specifically keep an eye on seasonal details and try to document the changes that we see. I’m also working with Prof. Cheung to develop events specifically around Soy Fermentation and Oyster Farming so they’ll be lots to look forward to. Spring, Summer, and Autumn will be scheduled in the weeks and months ahead. I’ve created a bilingual resource page for you all to peruse at your leisure.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The 3 Ys “Ying, Yang, and You”

The 3 Ys “Ying, Yang, and You” by Sifu Kerby Kuek

The following videos were made during the “Ying Yang and You” lecture Sifu Kuek gave Hong Kong Sacred Spaces members.  It was the second in a series of events related to Daoism in contemporary life.  The “Three Ys” lecture was designed to connect our Daoism 101 class to more complex topics like Bagua 八卦 and authentic Feng Shui 風水.

More FREE events are planning for the weeks and months ahead so stay tuned!

Part 1

 

Part 2

Enjoy Tai Hang Fire Dragon Dance

Enjoy Tai Hang Fire Dragon Dance

Sometimes I read things that I’ve written for previous events and I can’t believe how naive I was!  Like this sentence:

“…Sacred Spaces has done many things in the past months.  We’ve visited many culturally significant places and received tours at locations all over Hong Kong.  The one thing that we have NOT done is take part in any festivals.  This error will be corrected very soon!…”

Yeah, right.  Very soon indeed.  Last year’s Tai Hang Fire Dragon Dance was, in fact, the LAST festival we attended as a group!  Well, let’s make it an annual tradition shall we.

Tai Hang Map

Sacred Spaces will attend the second to the last night of the Tai Hang Fire Dragon Festival in the Tai Hang section of Causeway Bay.  According to the Tai Hong Dragon Festival Website:

“When the people of Tai Hang village miraculously stopped a plague with a fire dragon dance in the 19th century, they inadvertently launched a tradition that has since become part of China’s official intangible cultural heritage.

Festival Preparations

Tai Hang may no longer be a village, but its locals still recreate the fiery ancient ritual today with a whopping 300 performers, 72,000 incense sticks, and a 67-metre dragon. The head of this beast alone weighs 48kg, so it’s not a creature to be taken lightly! The commemorative performance wends its way in fire, smoke and festive fury through the back streets of Tai Hang over three moon-fuelled days.

Spinning

大 坑 火 龍一連三天,近300人舞動著長達67公尺、插上逾萬枝線香的火龍飛舞,煞是壯觀!意想不到的是,這項有逾百年歷史的舞火龍習俗,就在銅鑼灣繁華的購物區附近展開!一片鑼鼓聲中,火龍穿梭大坑一帶的大街小巷,頓時煙香繚繞、火光閃爍,充滿生氣!

這道香港獨有的美麗風景,源於19世紀居民為求消除瘟疫而起,如今更成為國家級非物質文化遺產。”

…and there are some picture from our group last year

The “Dragon”
Lantern Float

and check out my video from two years ago!

If you’re interested RSVP here and meet us at Tin Hau MTR Station, Exit A1 on October 5th, 2017 at 7 PM.

Visit Devil’s Peak and Lei Yue Mun

Visit Devil’s Peak and Lei Yue Mun

Several weeks ago Hong Kong Sacred Spaces went to the Hong Kong Coastal Defense Museum 香港海防博物館 near Sau Kei Wan 筲箕湾 on Hong Kong Island. When there the group kept looking across the Lei Yue Mon 鯉魚門 channel to the hills just opposite and our docent guide told us about a fort, now in ruins, lay just on the other side.  The name of that fort was Devil’s Peak 魔鬼山 and it was a major part of Hong Kong’s naval defenses at the beginning in the 20th Century consisting of Gough Battery, the Devil’s Peak Redoubt, and the Pottinger Battery. These defense fortifications were “state-of-the-art” at the time and included several serious guns pointed at the Eastern Approach.  Bad news to the uninvited.  The fortifications are ruins now but they have become part of the “ghost” forts of Hong Kong.  Fortifications that were not maintained by previous leadership: Ming, Qing, or British.

Sacred Spaces will exit from the Yau Tong MTR 油 Station and walk 20 minutes to the section of the Wilson Trail where the structures are sited and explore these forgotten sentinels.  We’ll then head down to the shore line and visit the Tin Hau Temple that’s positioned just next door to the Lei Yue Mun Fishing Village and Seafood Market. After our time exploring both high and low we’ll head over to the fish market for a seafood lunch.

Devil’s Peak

Come along for a little fun and exploration.  You’ll get a chance to see several layers of Hong Kong history and culture.

Lei Yue Mun

As always I’ve put together some materials for the interested.  They include a few reports written some ago describing the installations in great detail.  A survey of the Pottinger Battery and a Report on the Redevelopment of Lei Yun Mun from HKSAR Government.

If you’re interested in exploring with us on Saturday, September 30 from 9:45 AM to around 12 noon, click here to RSVP.

First and second photos are from wiki commons, the third is from Hong Kong EPD www.epd.gov.hk/

Ping Shan Heritage Trail Event Itinerary

The 香港 Sacred Spaces Ping Shan Heritage Trail Event Itinerary

10:00 AM – 10:15 AM

Gather at Yuen Long 元朗 MTR Station, Exit E (Light Rail Station)

10:15 AM – 10:45 AM

We’ll be taking the Light Rail (610, 614, 615, and 761P) from Yuen Long Station to the Ping Shan Station.

11:00 AM – 1:00 PM

We’ll then head to the Ping Shan Tang Clan Gallery cum Heritage Trail Visitors Centre to start our walk.  We’ll then make our way through the trail stopping at the most interesting sites along the way.  Highlights include:

• Sheung Cheung Wai Walled Village

• Shrine of the Earth God

• Tang Ancestral Hall

• Yu Kiu Ancestral Hall

• Kun Ting Study Hall

• Hung Shing Temple

• Ching Shu Hin Study Hall

• Entrance Hall of Shut Hing Study Hall

If you’re interested in some light reading you can review the official PSHT booklet available here.   It gives more detail for each element along the walk with some of the standout features that the structures contain.  It is well worth the read.

Afterward, with a little luck, we can head into Yuen Long have some lunch and pick up some “wife cakes” along the way!

Other items we’ll discuss:

The 5 clans of the New Territories Hau (侯), Tang (鄧), Pang (彭), Liu (廖), and Man (文)

Uks, Wais and other Walled Structures

What’s a pagoda for anyway?

Explore Ping Shan Heritage Trail / 屏山文物徑 for FREE

香港 Sacred Spaces will walk the famous Ping Shan Heritage Trail 屏山文物徑 in Yuen Long 元朗 New Territories West. This famous walk Includes many interesting heritage buildings like the Tsui Sing Lau Pagoda 聚星樓 as well as several temples, shrines, and ancestral halls all with a few hour stroll.  Some other interesting features:

• Sheung Cheung Wai Walled Village

• Shrine of the Earth God

• Tang Ancestral Hall

• Yu Kiu Ancestral Hall

• Kun Ting Study Hall

• Hung Shing Temple

• Ching Shu Hin Study Hall

• Entrance Hall of Shut Hing Study Hall

We’ll start at the relatively new Ping Shan Tang Clan Gallery cum Heritage Trail Visitors Centre which is a short walk from the Ping Shan Light Rail Stop. We’ll then proceed through the trail until we get to the TSL Pagoda (Hong Kong’s oldest and tallest) before getting on the West Rail at Tin Shui Wan Station 天水圍站.  Don’t miss this opportunity!

 

 

Please note: Please bring your comfortable shoes and some water because it will probably be hot and sunny, oh, and don’t forget batteries for your portable fan. Don’t worry they’ll be 7-Elevens everywhere!

Please note that the event is scheduled for July 22, 2017, at 10:00 AM. To RSVP and for further details please click here. If you’re interested in some light reading about the PSHT that you can take a look at the Official Ping Shan Heritage Trail Walk Pamphlet.

Visit Tai-Yi Daoism School & Metaphysics Research Center

In the never-ending quest to find the best in Chinese Culture, the organizers of 香港 Sacred Spaces are always searching high and low to chase down the qualified instruction and institutions.  A few weeks back I had the pleasure of spending a few hours with Shifu Kerby Kuek to talk about The Tai-Yi Daoism School & Metaphysics Research Center in Sheung Wan.  I am left with the sense the Sifu Kuek has developed an excellent Institute for Daoist Learning which he is eager to share with the public.

Many of you might have read some of Kerby’s journalism as he writes articles in both Chinese and English for many local newspapers on various subjects including business, Feng Shui, and Chinese culture.  The Tai-Yi Daoism School & Metaphysics Research Center is a labor of love to help promote Hong Kong Chinese Culture to the world through the lens of Daoism. Although the Center has regular weekly classes on various topics, Sacred Spaces has been honored with an invitation to hear a talk from Mr. Kuek himself outlining Daoism and Metaphysics, including Feng Shui and how it all related to the great body of Chinese Thought. Don’t miss this opportunity to meet Mr. Kuek and visit the Center.

The event is being held July 6th, 2017 from 6:30 PM to 9:00 PM. If you’re interested in coming please RSVP here.

 

Itinerary for Sam Tung Uk and Yuen Yuen Institute Event

Sam Tung Uk & Yuen Yuen Institute Event Itinerary

July 1, 2017

10:00 AM – Meeting at Tsuen Wan MTR, Exit B3

Gathering at MTR Station.  Introduction and Attendance Taking

10:15 AM – Walk to Sam Tung Uk Museum ( Approx. 7 – 10 mins.)

You may be interested: Sam Tung Uk is a “Hakka” Walled House built by a Fujianese clan.  Hakka Walled Houses are designed with central dwelling units at its core with additional units built around as family grows.  Last family member vacated STU in 1980.

Sam Tung Uk website and wiki page

11:00 AM – Walk or return to Tsuen Wan Station Bus Terminal to take Green Minibus 81 to Yuen Yuen Institute (Sam Dip Tam)

11:30/45 – Start Touring Yuen Yuen Institute

YYI Official website (Chinese only) and wiki page

13:00 – Event “Officially” over lunch either at YYI or Tsuen Wan Town

Visit Sam Tung Uk Museum 三棟屋博物館 and the Yuen Yuen Daoist Institute 圓玄學院

Arch at Yuen Yuen Institute

This week 香港 Sacred Spaces is traveling to Tsuen Wan 荃灣, a gentrifying industrial area of full of surprises.  First up on our itinerary the Sam Tung Uk Museum 三棟屋博物館 just minutes from the Tsuen Wan 荃灣 MTR Station.  Afterward, we’re heading to the venerable Yuen Yuen Institute 圓玄學院, a Center for Daoist learning in Hong Kong.

While I did the research for this event, I came across one important name that proved critical in understanding the history and culture of the New Territories.  Dr. James Hayes looms very large in Hong Kong History circles, and rightly so, as he literally wrote the book (several in fact) on the New Territories. His efforts very often highlighted Tsuen Wan because he was a colonial officer there and witnessed the remarkable transformation it made.  In the midst of this is the Sam Tung Uk Museum 三棟屋博物館.  The Sam Tung Uk was a Hakka Walled House built by the “Chan” clan originally from Fujian Province. A three-beamed structure commonly built in South China. Believe it or not, the Uk was a residence until 1980 when the last descendant finally cleared out. The Hong Kong Colonial Government then declared it a monument.

Sam Tung Uk represents an older style of building but in the background, the Tsuen Wan New-Town Towers loom large in contrast.

Sam Tung Uk

Once we’ve spent some time at the Museum we’ll walk make our way to the famous Yuen Yuen Institute 圓玄學院.  Yuen Yuen is one of the largest Daoist Centers in Hong Kong and hosts a variety of activities acting as a kind of retreat space.  The Institute may be one of the most famous cultural institutions that you NEVER heard of.  It is really a center of learning for all three of the major Chinese thought systems: Confucianism, Daoism, and Chinese Buddhism.  An example is the YYI’s reach of its spin-off organization International Taoist Tai Chi Society 國際道家太極拳社. Since its founding, ITTCS has been key in the spread of Tai Chi around the world with 40,000 members in over 26 countries.  Just another example of how Hong Kong’s influence can be felt, sometimes indirectly, around the world.

We’ll tour the grounds on our own mini-retreat and enjoy some of the other local area temples as we walk back to the MTR Station.

If you’re in Hong Kong and are interested in attending on July 1, 2017, just click here for tickets.  It’s FREE!

Photos: HK Tourism, Sam Tung Uk Museum