About Me

Wells, BC, Canada
Richard is a working photographer and writer in B.C. His camera focuses on natural history. archeology, travel, and documentary photography. His photography blog may be found at: http://richardtwright.blogspot.com/

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Photographing Luk Keng, Fanling, a Chinese village in Hong Kong's New Territories

Luk Keng village lies along the end of old rice paddies, now a salt water marsh that has become
pasture for feral cattle.

The snow isn't letting up. I'm working on taxes. So for respite I turn to photos I took a year ago in Hong Kong. 
A few days before leaving last April five of us journeyed to Luk Keng, Fanling district, an old Hakka village similar to the homes of the Chinese who came to the British Columbian goldfields around Barkerville in the 1860s. Sometimes called Luk Keng (Deer Neck) Chan UK, it was settled by the Chan and Wong families in 1740 but is now mostly abandoned. It curves around a shallow east-facing bay off Starling Inlet just a few hundred metres south of the border with mainland China. In the past, and not too distant past, being a village with resources, it was raided by people from the north; hence the much publicized but less than spectacular ancient cannon at the far end of the village.

One of the peculiarities of wandering Hong Kong and the smaller villages in particular, is that the path disconcertingly runs through what we consider the front yards, often passing a family washing, or eating, or playing Mah Jong, or just sitting enjoying tea or tobacco. It made us uneasy but here we were greeted with: "Welcome to my village." 
"Welcome to my home," we were often told. 
And Fanling is still the home of emigrants. Amy was greeted by an elderly man and stopped to chat. "Is this your village?" 
 "Yes," he replied in rather good English. "I was born here."
"So, you have been here a long time"
"All my life, but I no longer live here. Just visiting."
"Where do you live?"
"Toronto. I came home to see my family."
An abandoned home or shop, though the right door is still locked.

We spent a few hours here, freely wandering with cameras to eyes and between the three shooters, Rich, Amy and I, likely took hundreds of images. 
The old entrance to the village.

Though abandoned this building still seems to have a use.
Again, abandoned, but seems to see some use.

Grandson Tom did his own exploring and provided us with a great model.

This tree is still used for offerings of worship.

The jungle is wrapping around many old dwellings.

One of many feral Sai Kung cattle roaming the bay. All photos taken with a Nikon D7000 and various lenses. Richard T. Wright photos.
Finally, just as we were leaving, Rich hollared at me. "Hey Dad, there he is." Wildlife is scant in Hong Kong. I had found Water Buffalo on another foray and we had seen lots of birds but I had hoped to find some feral "Sai Kung cattle." We saw them across the bay but they were too far off, but this big fellow walked right in the village, and despite by son's warning, did not charge.
In the three months I have spent there I grew to love Hong Kong and hope for an
assignment to take me back. For Hong Kong is so much more than a cityscape and traffic.

Copyright 2013 Richard T. Wright
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1 comment:

  1. Luk Keng is one of my favourite parts of HK, great photos...