Hei Hei Let’s Go!

Wedding Card Street Protest, Tuesday, January 16th (today)
6pm, Wan Chai, meet in Amoy Street

The Star Ferry action group is sponsoring this. There’s no chance of saving sweet little Leih Dung Gaai, the narrow curving lane in Wan Chai that was home for decades to so many wedding card businesses. But we won’t let it die without making some noise.

I’m thrilled to see the Star Ferry activism spilling over into a preservation movement for culture. The HK government and “official” heritage commissions  tend to fixate on buildings and historic sites, material and invisible.

Yes, invisible. Take yourself on a walk sometime along the government’s truly bizarre “Sun Yat Sen Trail”. It’s got to be the most post-structuralist tourist attraction in existence. What they’ve done is created an extensively signposted and placard-guided stroll around Soho, Central and Sheung Wan, pointing out the places where Sun Yat Sen used to eat, study, hang out.

Emphasis on used to. The problem is, most of these buildings and places were torn down decades ago. The “Sun Yat Sen Trail” is a walking tour of empty space.

It’s ghostly, really. You stand, say, on the corner of Lyndhurst Terrace, trying to conjure up the scene evoked in the trail’s placard–a lively restaurant where Sun Yat Sen used to chat about Chinese nationalism, or poetry, or revolution, with his cronies. But there’s no trace of the restaurant or its building. In front of you is a shop selling lighting fixtures, across the street a nail salon.

Anyway, like I said, I’m ecstatic that people are coming together in an organized way to stand up for the traditional culture and communities of Hong Kong. Twenty years from now, I don’t want to walk down Graham Street and read helpful signs telling me about the bustling street market (gaai sih) that used to line the lane before they built Centre Stage 8. I don’t want to stand at the bottom of the street, read a placard, and try to imagine the smell of stinky tofu.

I want to go to the gaai sih and buy my chau dou fu.

Meet at 6pm in the vacant lot on Amoy Street, the little street parallel to Wedding Card Street (just off Queen’s Road East)


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