Sunday, September 8, 2013

Mongkok Scenes from Mong Kok

Mong Kok is a densely packed district in Hong Kong. Its name can also be found written in Latin script as "Mongkok". Even government websites can be conflicted about the format of the name, sometimes using both forms within a single address. The Hong Kong metro and the Hong Kong newspaper South China Morning Post both regularly use "Mong Kok", so I will go with that.

Whatever the spelling, the area holds much to discover and a single block can contain a dizzying array of culture. The Hong Kong Tourism Board provides this description:
Mong Kok is Hong Kong’s most congested shopping and residential district, but don’t let that scare you away. The neon-bathed historic streets that wind through one of the densest parts of the world are worth visiting - just for the ‘peoplescapes’ alone. It just so happens that the shopping is excellent too.

The neighbourhood includes one of Hong Kong’s most popular markets, the Ladies' Market, and also has a ton of shopping streets, which are a common feature in southern China. Conveniently, these are where a cluster of merchants sell one type of product on a single street. Mong Kok has entire streets and street sections dedicated to the sale of goldfish, flowers, birds, sneakers, kitchenware and wedding dresses.
I have been there on numerous occasions and would list Mong Kok as a must-see place for visitors to Hong Kong or those seeking to ponder humanity. The strong impressions Mong Kok has left make me wonder if its single-word spelling would be well suited for a new adjective.

I had the opportunity to visit Mong Kok yet again just a few days ago. Below is a set of photographs in the order I encountered the various scenes. They represent just a sliver of life there and do not capture the streets when they are especially jam packed with people or provide a sense of how a large number of stores, offices, restaurants, guest houses, and residences can compactly fit inside a single building. But together they still give me a feeling that is so... mongkok.

Above-ground view of one of Mong Kok's streets

Above-ground view of one of Mong Kok's street markets

A section of Mong Kok's most extensive elevated walkway

On the elevated walkway

Parked minibuses

Fish for sale at the Fa Yuen Street Market

young woman wearing a shirt with the message "This is me This is who I am I've finally learned to LOVE myself. Wohooo"
A shirt with a message

No lack of advertising

Street-level advertising

An almost quiet alley

A relatively quiet moment at a busy intersection

Freshman participating in a flash mob song and dance for a university orientation activity

Posing for a professional photographer

Crossing Portland Street

Colorful buildings

A high-level view inside the architecturally intriguing Langham Place shopping mall


Another street

Fruit for sale

More fish for sale

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