Previously, SAI KUNG BUZZ published responses from readers to our Unscientific Survey. We had asked residents two questions:
- Why do you think Sai Kung has such strong community spirit? and
- What suggestions do you have for further enhancing that spirit?
Here are some responses we didn’t have space for earlier.
IAIN LAFFERTY, TEACHER AND COLUMNIST
Q1. To employ an old fashioned musical metaphor, residents of the “Kung” are united by their preference for the “B side” of Hong Kong life. We are not so impressed by the superficiality of Wan Chai or Lan Kwai Fong and we would rather sit on the square watching our kids misbehave while, unfortunately, paying similar prices for our food and drink. It was Paul McCartney and George Martin’s autocratic decision to make “Hello Goodbye” the A side to “I am the Walrus” that ultimately led the Beatles into a reversion rather than a renaissance. So if Sai Kungers are anything, then perhaps we are the Walrus, sidelined for our originality and wit, by those who prefer the busy Island life.
Q2. Listing the factors that would make Sai Kung a better place to live in is no different to looking at those improvements that would enhance life in Hong Kong as a whole. Reducing the disparity in wealth, better local government, proper planning, coherent policies on education, health, traffic & housing, sustainable development, less governmental corruption & incompetence etc, etc. In short, may I suggest, what is required to further enhance the spirit of Sai Kung, and beyond, is democracy and whether you are Lennon or McCartney, Harrison or Starr (or for that matter Yoko Ono) we can all surely agree on this.
JOHN BARFORD, PROFESSOR, UNIVERSITY OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
Q1: Not sure I can be too positive here. With the lousy development planning and traffic, the old Sai Kung is effectively finished. The calmness, “everyone knowing each other”, will be replaced by traffic chaos, overcrowding and a more mean spirited resident. Small shops will be replaced by bigger franchises (Deli France etc). Lots of my favourite small shops have already disappeared.
Maybe the old town can be saved but I doubt it, given the greed that “development” encourages. When I first came to Sai Kung (as a visitor) about 19 years ago, it reminded me of Japan with small shops and lane ways, which is what I loved…
The link below says it all
CHRIS DAVIS, PHOTO-JOURNALIST
Q1: Anywhere that has several slightly rude street names is a great start for building a community that doesn’t take itself too seriously. Another defining community ‘joiner’ isnobody cares very much about what you do for a job. Furthermore, indigenous locals alongside Sai Kung locals wear clothes that in London, New York or Sydney would have people giving you money and providing directions to the nearest shelter for the homeless.
Q2: More activities that bring indigenous locals and Sai Kung locals together advertised and promoted in both English and Chinese. The Sai Kung Zumba folk seem to do this pretty well. How about a set of stocks in the Square and communal pelting with leftover fruit from the markets of out-of-town landlords that keep pushing commercial rents up? On the cultural side, perhaps evenings of Erhu and Thomas Hardy-esque fiddle playing combined with strong cider might generate integrated fun, but this ‘’coming together’’ could also lead to bouts of rural rogering and unwanted pregnancies.
CHRIS HANSELMAN, FISH IMPORTER
Q1: I believe there is a general love of the community, and the environment and a sense to maintain and build it. I believe this comes from the fact that Sai Kung really started to become a home for long term Hong Kongers, both local and expat about 20 years a go. It was a cheaper place to live and a wonderful environment to live in. Of course property prices are ridiculous now, but people have made this community their home and they don’t want it spoilt and want to retain the essence of the old Sai Kung Most people seem to want this.
Q2: We need to be strong and stop politicians and money grabbers from changing what it is essentially a beautiful town. I think we may be too late and unfortunately as Government does not seem to care. But we need to encourage more activities which show and exhibit fully Sai Kung for what is its…… and then build on what we have to offer. Be strong in the face of this never ceasing drive for development and growth.