Saturday, December 02, 2006

Chung King Mansions | An Urban Blight

One glance at the building shows distinctive signs of urban blight. Situated in the heart of Hong Kong’s premier tourist district, Tsim Sha Tsui, and steps away from the beautiful Victoria Harbor, overlooking the Central Business District in Hong Kong Island, is a dilapidated highrise known as the Chung King Mansions. Fronting Kowloon Peninsula’s main thoroughfare, Nathan Road, also known as the Golden Mile, the tower is very evident. The lower levels are occupied by a shopping center with skyrocketing rents. The remainder is home to offices, as well as, many hostels and motels operated by the individual owners and managers on different levels of the building, inexpensive rooms are always available for rent to the traveler on a budget. Neighbors include the world-renowned Peninsula Hotel and many luxury fashion boutiques such as Louis Vuitton and Dior. One would ask why such a building would exist in the center of prestige.

Kowloon Park | An Urban Oasis

Located in the heart of Hong Kong is a park. A typical picture of a park would include children playing and their parents to the side watching. But it is different at this park. It is a daily ritual for many senior citizens to come down every morning to engage in their exercise of tai chi. Tai chi is a traditional Chinese exercise that consists of taking 108 slow and relaxing body movements to sooth one’s mind and body. Under the shining sun, one can typically see a plethora of people working out with their minds patient and flowing with the force. After about thirty minutes, one would see groups of people meandering away from the park and into the seats of a restaurant to enjoy their breakfast of dim-sum. Throughout the afternoon, one would see many elders sitting under the pagodas, playing games of Chinese Chess, tending to their birds and sipping hot tea. It is a pleasant sight in a hustling a bustling city like Hong Kong, a busy financial center as well as one of the most densely populated cities in the world.

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