Category Archives: Tracing China’s Past

HONG KONG TRADITIONS: A History Museum, High Tea, and Modern Lights

If you’ve been following my series, Tracing China’s Past, the following is a look at the final day of my first South China research trip for my novel. Tortillas from The Chungking Café will be loosely based on the history of my Mexican-Chinese grandmother.

I learned “The Hong Kong Story” at the Hong Kong Museum of History. The elaborate, enormous exhibits included an actual fishing junk.

April 14, 2008 – Hong Kong

Yesterday, on my last full day in China, my translator Zhu Zhu and I learned “The Hong Kong Story” at the Hong Kong Museum of History. Our jaws really did drop in reaction to the elaborate, enormous exhibits, which included: an actual fishing junk, a recreation of a Punti ancestral hall, a bridal sedan chair, an entire Hong Kong store that was in business from the late 19th to late 20th century, and a recreation of a traditional Cantonese teahouse of the sort that would have been popular when my great-grandfather Ma Bing Sum was a young man preparing to leave China for America.

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GHOST VILLAGE, LIVE MARKET: Old Culture in Modern Hong Kong

I’ve taken two trips to China to do research for a historical novel. Tortillas from the Chungking Café will be loosely based on the family history of my Chinese-Mexican grandmother. Here are more of my journal notes on Hong Kong, as I continue “Tracing China’s Past”:

April 13, 2008
Hong Kong, China

We visited a place that retained some of the traditional beauty of old Hong Kong: Hoi Pa Village and Tak Wah Park.

Yesterday my translator ZhuZhu and I took the Metro to Tsuen Wan, one of Kowloon’s outlying housing estate districts. Don’t let the term “housing estate” fool you; in Tsuen Wan, as elsewhere in Kowloon, most people live in tiny apartments in dismal, repetitive high-rises. However, we visited a place that retained a vestige of the traditional beauty of old Hong Kong: Hoi Pa Village and Tak Wah Park.

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