Despite development being challenged by limits to growth, tradition dies hard. Many new development are built on reclaimed land nowadays while old, famous areas of town preserve their character. Think of places like Mong Kok or Tsim Sha Tsui – popular with tourists and famous internationally, yet maintaining not only ‘heritage’ buildings but your typical shopfronts amidst the malls that dot the landscape.
But in the suburbs, the tradition that dies hard takes a different form – the relics of Hong Kong (and China as a whole)’s Taoist and Buddhist culture. I’m not necessarily talking about the ubiquitous or temples you see around the place, but more subtly, tiny shrines like this. You just walk past them casually, even in trails like this one on Lamma Island, where their red stands out conspicuously among nature.
Alternatively, even in alleyways like this, the sacred often gets overlooked as just another fixture. But it’s obvious that at least some are paying attention to them – incense marks the sign that someone is paying attention. Though these may just disappear into the scenery, they remain of intrinsic value to their communities. Now if only someone was there to translate the locals’ stories of this place to understand their significance even more …
Featured locations: Lamma Island, Ping Shan Heritage Trail