Kowloon City Stories / Contribution

The 13 streets in To Kwa Wan

The 13 streets in To Kwa Wan

My deepest impression was the 13 streets in To Kwa Wan, because a local friend who once lived in To Kwa Wan called it “Beasts Street”.

To discover all the animal and beast references, I took a walk along Ma Tau Kok Road, passing by Lung “Dragon” To Street, Ying “Eagle” Yeung Street, Tsun “Horse” Fat Street, etc. There are a complete range of birds and beasts (in the street names), which is indeed nice.

What else is there? It is a bit dusty in the tranquility, and there are traces of the prosperity of the past that cannot be taken away by the years that have passed. It is difficult to describe in words. It is better to feel it personally.

One time I was in the taxi, the scent of white orchids slowly blown from the air-conditioning of the front seat. I was curious and asked the driver, he said that he bought it from the 13 streets, 10 small flowers for about $8. I was still young at that time, I guess it was the dozens of small streets opposite the Cattle Depot. I thought it should be a lovely place.

Later on, I learned that Hong Kong people like to name a bunch of connected tenement buildings, for example, the 30 Central (Sam Sap Kan) and 40 North Point (Chun Yeung Street).

(Editor’s note: 30 Central and 40 North Point are collective names for connected buildings or characteristic tenement houses on the same street. The 30 Central used to refer to Bridges Street, but now they refer to Shing Wong Street, Wing Lee Street, and Staunton Street; the 40 North Point refer to Chun Yeung Street, the allusion is that in the 1920s, the wealthy Fujian businessman KWOK Chun-Yeung converted the sugar factory into forty connected tenement houses.)

Each neighbourhood has its own unique historical era waiting for us to explore!

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