The ‘Disappearing’ Buildings in Hong Kong (II) – The Forbidden Public House in Tsing Yi

  • By
  • Doris So
  • February 21, 2017

Tsing Yi is an island in Hong Kong. It has been developed into a new town with numerous malls, recreational facilities and residential buildings.

There are still some unique traditions preserved amongst Tsing Yi inhabitants. For example, the male members of the indigenous inhabitants have the rights to apply for Ting Uk and to inherit properties. Tsing Yi holds Tsing Yi Bamboo Theatre every year during Chun Kwan’s and Tin Hau’s birthdays. There are Cantonese opera and night market that sells food and snack. Tsing Yi will be full of people every year in these periods.

Ting Yi has some interesting traditions, other than that, let’s find out the historical and unique buildings there!

Chung Mei Lo Uk Village

This is the entrance of the private car park in Chung Mei Lo Uk Village. The barrier gate is specially controlled by the staff with a steering wheel.
This is the entrance of the private car park in Chung Mei Lo Uk Village. The barrier gate is specially controlled by the staff with a steering wheel.

Chung Mei Lo Uk Village is one of the oldest villages in Tsing Yi. Each of the old villages in Tsing Yi has a history of at least 200 years. It is estimated that Chung Mei Lo Uk Village was merged and moved to the current place around 1970s and 1980s due to the reclamation.

The houses have three floors and most of the families have attached grilles on the balconies to prevent thefts.

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Chung Mei is not only a village, it is also a market. There are various kinds of shops and stores, such as selling clothes with low prices and some traditional snacks. You can also easily find restaurants and salons around the village.

There are several traditional salons.
There are several traditional salons.

As it was still during Lunar New Year, the majority of the shops were closed. However, a few of them started to prepare for the opening after the holiday.

The resident and the shop owner in the market.
The resident and the shop owner in the market.

The inhabitants in the village were Chan’s and Tang’s families. There are two ancestral halls in the current area and both of them are the halls of Chan’s families; however, Tang’s ancestral hall is not found.

Chan's ancestral halls.
Chan’s ancestral halls.

The relationship between the residents and shop owners is very close. At every time they meet, they chit-chat for quite a while to know more about each others’ daily lives. This little scene has already shown the bonding created in this village.

Cheung Ching Estate

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Cheung Ching Estate started the construction since 1970s after Tsing Yi Bridge was built. It consists of eight blocks in total, Ching Chung House and Ching Pak House were the first two houses that were opened for sale in 1977.

Six of the houses are twin towers, which have a special design in having a void in the middle. The design was originally for air circulation and minimizing the risk of thefts.

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Although, the twin tower was designed to benefit the residents, it has brought out some undesirable tragedies. The twin tower has a minimum height of 36m2 that gives some feelings of fear and frustration when looking from the bottom to the top or the other way round. Thus, it may have “encouraged” the residents to commit suicide by jumping off. There are also other problems like the large land area and privacy of the residents, hence, twin towers have already been stopped constructing anywhere in Hong Kong from 1980s.

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The “forbidden” twin towers may fear the residents, they are still popular to photoholics. The common photos taken at the twin towers are shooting at an angle from the bottom to the top, which creates an multiple geometric image. Photos that can show the beauty of twin tower can be taken no matter in the morning or at night.

Other than in Tsing Yi, twin towers are also situated in Kowloon City, Sha Tin, Tai Po, Tuen Mun and Southern District, etc.

To get there:

As Chung Mei Lo Uk Village and Cheung Ching Estate is quite far away from the MTR station, minibuses or buses have to be taken for arrival.

Minibus (get off at Chung Mei Lo Uk Village stop):
88A, 88D, 88F, 402S

Buses (get off at Hong Fu House Cheung Hong Estate or Ching Mui House Cheung Ching Estate):
41, 42C, 43B, 243M, 249M, 948, N241