Kowloon City Stories / Contribution

My childhood memories in Kowloon Walled City 2

I had been living on Third Street in Kowloon Walled City since I was born. In my childhood, I spent much time exploring the place and witnessed many interesting stories. Marble shooting was very popular among the kids in the open spaces downstairs. Sometimes the tricky young adults came to take our marbles away by digging them into the treads of their plastic slippers. We played hopscotch by standing back to the court and tossing the bean bag to decide which square to hop to. Card games such as milk caps were also played. After heavy rain, we always enjoyed folding paper boats and watched them floating along the ditch to the next block.

There was a drug supplier in the neighbourhood, so we often saw drug addicts hanging around. Fortunately, the crime rate remained at a lower level and rubbery never happened. When it became chaotic during the police raids, other kids and I would dig out the 555 cigarette silver boxes hidden by the drug addicts from the ditch. Each box contained four lumps of opium. We mixed them with soil and played like clay.

Every part of the walled city was well connected. The city was a gourmet heaven. I still remember the free meals offered by carpentry shops on Lu Pan Patron’s Day. The braised squid and pork in master stock were outstanding. The city’s nightlife was also fun and diverse. A seat for watching monochrome television cost 20 cents. Rumour had it that the shop would turn into a stripper club for adults when the shutter rolled down.

Storm caused severe floods in the walled city. The water level could rise above the waist of an adult. Parents sent their children to school by carrying them on their shoulders. At the end of Third Street sat Lok Sin Tong Primary School, where street hawkers always gathered at the entrance. They sold stuff from snacks, dolls to insects such as Thiania subopressa, a kind of jumping spider, and silkworms. Prize winning games by drawing slips and coloured bamboo sticks were also available. What a scene it was!

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