Kowloon City Stories / Contribution

My childhood in To Kwa Wan

In my childhood, our family lived in a tenement building on Hung Fok Street in To Kwa Wan. As a haven for leisure, the rooftops of adjacent tenement buildings were connected and shared. Such architectural design broke the borderline set by concrete walls and staircases, and helped maintain a close bond among neighbours.

After school, I always played hide and seek on the rooftop with the older kids from the same neighbourhood. We scattered around hidden corners, sometimes behind the gigantic chimney and played hard for hours. During the long summer holiday, we nestled underneath the tinplate roof and played paper dolls, aeroplane chess, Chinese checkers, or even water gun games to keep cool. In autumn, the breeze was pleasant and refreshing. We gathered on the rooftop in the Mid-Autumn Festival for moon-watching, enjoying mooncakes and fruits under the moonlight. The kids played with paper lanterns in the shape of rabbit and star fruit, and lit up red candles placed in the mooncake boxes. Neighbours immersed themselves in such a joyful time of reunion. In winter, we had barbeque parties. There used to be a small market on Hung Fok Street where we bought the ingredients. Neighbours shared food with each other and it warmed the hearts in the freezing season.

I feel lucky to have all these moments with our family and friends. Under the urban renewal project, the entrance gate of my building has been locked with the stiff, rigid metal chains. The good old times are gone.

Time never stops, but efforts will pay off. I hope the revitalisation will give the community a refreshing look and write a new chapter for this land.

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