Tuesday, 20 February 2018

Mini Hong Kong Brings on Nostalgia

A girl looks on at a street scene that looks quite real, but is very small
My dad bugged me to go see the "Feature of HK" miniature exhibition at Olympian City and I finally got around to it because it's closing in two days. I got to the shopping mall at Olympic station after work and there was a line-up to get in. Luckily it was a short wait, but it wasn't fun having to jostle with everyone else not only to get a decent look of the exhibits, but also take pictures.

A traditional shop decorated with Chinese New Year flowers
Nevertheless it was kind of disappointing there wasn't an introduction to the exhibition -- the general public probably didn't care, but it would have been nice to know who the people were behind these pieces -- they are all locals as far as I know, some of whom have even published books on how they make these miniature dioramas.

Some of the pieces were very large, like a replica of the Tai O former police station that is now a hotel, or a series of stalls along cobblestone steps that looks like Pottinger Street, another about wooden huts for people living on Mount Davis Road.

But many of them were small, specific shops, like a cha chaan teng, or a barber shop, jewellery store, shoe shop, one selling roast meats or a general store. The amount of detail that went into each one was staggering, from the individual pieces of candy or fruit in the grocery store to the old school green floor tiles of the barber shop.

The detail of this grocery story is quite amazing!
There was one store that sold snacks like fish balls and egg waffles, lanterns for Mid-Autumn Festival, and another selling dried seafood and even eggs! Even the tea shop had tea cakes wrapped in paper.

People looked at each one, fascinated with the detail and they would comment about how the scene reminded them of their childhood. For most of the visitors who were over 40, it was a trip down memory lane.

A lot of research when into each piece but also trying to recreate the items with as much detail as possible was amazing. It's definitely a labour of love, but perhaps to see people so fascinated with what they have done is probably rewarding enough for them.

A small barbershop complete with green tiles
Nostalgia about Hong Kong from several decades ago is still very emotional for people. It makes them realize how much things have changed in the city, for better or for worse. It will be a theme that businesses will continue to exploit to tug at the heart strings because most people have fond memories of the past.

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