Travelling through Cha Kwo Ling- A Memoir of the Urban Village (5C09)

Date: 21/09/2023

Good morning, everyone! I am Emily from class 5C.


When we talk about history, we might think about the powerful Bourbon dynasty, or the innovative inventions during the Industrial Revolution, or a German with a mustache who threatened peace of the world. We are familiar with the historical events in the textbook, but are we equally familiar with our own local history? Let’s listen to the perspective of the ordinary Hong Kong citizens.


Today, I’m going to share the book—Travelling through Cha Kwo Ling- A Memoir of the Urban Village to all of you. Imagine yourself walking into a narrow, dim alley, squatter houses constructed randomly. Under an old, tall tree which is a foot away from you, some elderly are reading newspapers, some are chatting, kids are running everywhere and cats are sunbathing on the floor.

Just like going back to the 1970s, the time stopped ticking in this urban village in the Kowloon Peninsula, Cha Kwo Ling.


Reading this book, we can follow the footsteps of the villagers, take a look inside Cha Kwo Ling. There are no skyscrapers, no high-end restaurants or convenient stores which open “24/7”, only teahouses, cafes, and stores that sell basic commodities. Life here is simple. During lunchtime, you see a teahouse with a sharp green signboard contrasting the red titles, cracks and a bit dusty. Stepping inside it and sitting down on the small, crowded booth, there are no musicians playing violin near your table, no romantic candles and lightings. Instead, the cracking noise from the ceiling fan and laughter of other customers surround you. While the classic old fan blows away the heat of summer, fishball noodles in a bowl with rooster design is placed in front of you, with the steam coming out from it. You can’t wait anymore and eat it all up without taking any photos of the food.


After an exhausting day of work in the quarry, you walk back home under the moonlight, suddenly you remember that your house is running out of liquefied petroleum gas, so you go to the Kai Kee Store to buy some, the shopkeeper’s wife smiles friendly at you and offer you extra cans of soft drinks. A neighbor comes to the shop to grab a bottle of oil and go without paying, shouting “I’ll pay tomorrow”. You and the other customers witness it and joke about it with the shopkeeper who is pushing a trolley.


Life here is bittersweet. Things are dated, aged, houses and streets are crowded. The location is inconvenient. It is a place away from the hustle and bustle of the city, you can’t even find its detailed information in Wikipedia. Such a nostalgic village, carries lots of unforgettable memories and a heartwarming neighborhood. Villagers in Cha Kwo Ling have strong bonding and trust, which support them to live through tough lives. However, the houses are going to be turned into modern luxurious mansions. The Cha Kwo Ling village will be demolished and developed in the near future. The scenery might be gone soon, but the good old times will stay in all villagers’ hearts, recorded in this book. It will never fade.


Though the history of Cha Kwo Ling may not bring along revolutionary changes as some historical events do, the sweet and touching memories among the villagers are irreplacable. It may be hard for us to preserve the place, but luckily we still get books and videos to record the precious memories and stories. Let’s take a look at the beautiful things around us. It worths your attention. Thank you!

Postal address : 2B Tai Cheong Street, Sai Wan Ho, Hong Kong E-mail : Tel : (852) 2568-4817 Fax : (852) 2568-0336