Hong Kong: Old Shops

I recently visited Hong Kong  (for one day…) and whilst there I picked up a book called ‘Hong Kong: Old Shops’, by photographer Simon Go. The book explores and documents an important side to Hong Kong’s heritage, prior to the arrival of the post-industrial age. Today, Hong Kong is keen to present itself as a “world city”, and seemingly wishes to remove all traces of these shops, and shop owners as re-development plans forge ahead. Some words from the introduction:

“Though appearing dusty  and rusty, dim and chaotic at first sight, old shops actually have their own sense of order. The good are thoughtfully displayed, reflecting shop owners’ character and aesthetic preferences. They are a living testament to the City’s multicultural character and unique history.

Old shops in Hong Kong are run on the principles of integrity and industriousness. These people-orientated qualities are missing in today’s business world, where profit maximization and market cornering are the favoured strategies. Acknowledging traditional values is not about looking backward; it is about restoring faith in fundamental human values.

Hong Kong seems to be unable to work out a model of urban development that is compatible with its own cultural heritage. Every form of nostalgia is being brushed away. When will our City learn to respect and cherish its own history?”


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