Postcard of the Week: Watercolours of Hong Kong
I took enough photos of Hong Kong myself that I wanted to bring back some slightly more unusual postcards: these watercolours. As I like to highlight contrasts, I chose one distinctly Western-looking watercolour of the skyscrapers on the waterfront, and one distinctly Chinese scene of a fruit shop in a busy street. The way the two very different cultures have interacted in Hong Kong is fascinating, and in some ways it seems they’ve maintained their separate identities at arm’s length from each other. The postcard above, complete with its Cantonese signs, easily gives away it’s location: we are most definitely in Asia in this scene. However in the second scene below, amid the skyscrapers, you could be forgiven for thinking this was from a large American city – Chicago and New York jump to mind for me.
As I mentioned a few weeks ago when writing about St John’s Cathedral in Hong Kong (read here), my great-grandparents and my grandfather lived there almost 100 years ago, during British rule. As such lots of Cantonese furniture and objects have been passed through the family including a painting of Hong Kong at night, looking over Victoria Harbour from Kowloon. It’s similar in composition to the watercolour postcard above, except for one major difference – there are no skyscrapers. My family lived there before the mass construction, at a time when you could still see the silhouette of the peak without a skyscraper interrupting the view. It’s incredible to think how radically the city has evolved since that painting was brought back to Britain in the 1930s…
I loved Hong Kong, especially at night when the whole city lights up! I found it took a while to get used to but once you get into Hong Kong’s way of life and culture, it’s an amazing city that I would go back to any day!