Monday, 7 February 2011

HK Day 2: Kowloon Park

Where Islam Meets Consumerism. Where Green Oasis Meets Concrete Jungle. Where Wild Life Meets Shoppers.

sunny 24 °C


While Ada looked for her shoes in Parklane Shopping Arcade, I decided to take a trip to the Kowloon Park right behind it. I went there a couple of times 2 years ago and enjoyed it. It's quiet on the weekdays that provides an green oasis in the midst of hectic Tsimshatsui. The aviary and bird park also gives you something to watch while you do your relaxing stroll. Today falls on the weekend, and the park took on a different character. It becomes very lively with crowds, and you can watch people and birds alike (or people who feed birds).

Kowloon Park, Tsimshatsui, Hong Kong


Most of the crowds gathered here were Indonesian domestic workers. Like the Pinoy maids, the Indonesian counterparts gather on the weekend with their fellow country folks in parks, and sidewalks. Working far away from your homeland, the sense of isolation could be eased in the companies of your own people. I can relate to their experiences. Been there, done that. Not as maids, but as somebody who led his life away from the  world he grew up in at a young age (describing me in the 3rd person would distance my pain and makes it more bearable. I don't feel so bad anymore. Sorry, he doesn't feel so bad anymore).

Kowloon Mosque and Islamic Centre, Tsimshatsui, Hong Kong
Kowloon Mosque and Islamic Centre

Kowloon Mosque and Islamic Centre, Tsimshatsui, Hong Kong
Pigeons like dome

This park is a logical gathering place for the Indonesian expats because it locates right behind the biggest mosque in Kowloon (I think the biggest in HK, and I think the Pinoy tend to concentrate in HK Island, especially around the Statue Square in Central). Looking at some of the shopping bags, I guess they prayed, then shopped, then had lunch break at the park, more praying, perhaps more shopping before the day ends. An interesting alternating material and spiritual cycle being so conveniently set up with Fairlane Shopping Arcade locates next to Kowloon Mosque and Islamic Centre.

Indonesian workers relaxing in Kowloon Park, Tsimshatsui, Hong Kong
Indonesian maids relaxing in Kowloon Park

Common shelduck, Kowloon Park, Tsimshatsui, Hong Kong
Common Shelduck (Tadorna Tadorna)
You ain't see double. There's only 1 duck, just with 2 names. Many panda with names like that: Jia jia, Xin Xin, etc.


The busy dizzying shop signs all trying to vie for your attention and business.

Shop signs, Tsimshatsui, Hong Kong Shop signs, Tsimshatsui, Hong Kong
Shop signs, Tsimshatsui, Hong Kong Shop signs, Tsimshatsui, Hong Kong


Since this is the 2nd day of Chinese New Year, most of the people you see on the streets of Tsimshatsui are Indo and Pinoy domestic workers, and tourists. Of course Tsimshatsui is always filled with non-locals, but with Chinese New Year where locals aren't out doing shopping, but visiting each other, the foreigners are made up almost 90% of Tsimshatsui's faces in the streets (despite the fact that Kowloon is the most densely populated place on earth).

Just as I'm about to call a day, at the stair connecting the Parklane Arcade and Kowloon Park, a dragon dancing troupe appears. Lion dancing is usually a common sight during Chinese New Year in Chinese communities across the world, but dragon dancing isn't as commonly seen. I've seen lion dancing a few dozens of times, but dragon dancing only twice, including this time. I was lucky, I guess. Dragon dancing is less dangerous and strenuous than lion dancing, but far more people to wield it.

Dragon dancing, Kowloon Park, Tsimshatsui, Hong Kong
Dragon dancing

Dragon dancing, Kowloon Park, Tsimshatsui, Hong Kong Dragon dancing, Kowloon Park, Tsimshatsui, Hong Kong Dragon dancing, Kowloon Park, Tsimshatsui, Hong Kong


These days the biggest tourist group in HK is of course Chinese Mainlanders. Since HK has always somewhat a chaotic place, but with this additional Chinese tourists, the chaos has just increased 2 folds.

Oh, did I mention admission to Kowloon Park is free?

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