Monday, March 31, 2008

Wuhan City old town

Wuhan City
Wuhan City old town

Sometimes as an outsider, one is struck by the rusticity of this intricate old town, and perhaps the immediate signs one can read are the textures of failing plaster walls and stainings from the weathering, and maybe the architecture style in juxtaposition to the so-called contemporary style (shudders a lil here at this terminology used).

But one never truly understands the spirit it embodies unless one has lived here, which is quite sad to see if they themselves are willing to relinquish that value. Then again, this is subjective.

My friend who was here with me can tell you how much I loved the feel of this place, albeit being there only for a very short while. The language of it is a lil quirky in that context, but it just appear right somehow.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Wan Chai Market

a few weeks back one half of qmark (Hongguan) and one half of proconservation (me) were in Hong Kong to intern as part-time lan kwai fong trash collectors(the pay was good you see). On our day off we went to visit the Wan Chai Market after hearing much about it online and through some friends from Hong Kong.

Wan Chai Market

Wan Chai Maket was constructed in the 1937. People call its facade bauhaus inspired but its more streamline moderne to me (and according to wiki)

Anyway this article isn't about style or facades but more of the resilience against opulent development.

Wan Chai Market, originally uploaded by jonolist.

Here are the store owners who refuse to move out after the authorities repossessed the building and sold it to some developer. Its gonna be another high density residential/commercial area (with only its front area and facade preserved). we heave a collective sigh at its poor attempt in conservation.

power to the people who refused to move out though. Stall holders once held banners (angry looking passionate ones, not the toned down non existent Singapore variety) protesting against the governments plan to remove certain streets and redevelop the market. It then got political with complaints against the democratic system which resulted in the China government sending people there to survey hong kong's political system. I don't really have a clear picture what happen all i know was that it got quite messy. (i shall find out after submissions though...of if anyone can email us some clarifications?)

this place has damn lots of history which you can read more about here.
and the protest here

(apparently its basement was once used by Japanese troops as a corpse storage facility during the Occupation.)

when your in Hong Kong, do visit this place and the nearby "blue house" to see what hong kong really is all about. (its much cheaper than Disneyland!)

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Of Some Old Melaka Shophouse

Melaka's Abandoned Shophouse, originally uploaded by jonolist.

Dotted along Melaka's old town are some abandoned shophouses, left there unkept and so unloved. But because of its derelict state, vacancy , coupled with the broken roofs and floors, they reveal an experience unconventional to the typical shophouse. Narrow large space lit by large openings in roofs, natural light filtering through dusty windows, walls worned out and peeling, shadows falling giving a new texture, creepers growing out of control, double if not triple volume spaces opening up as you walk deeper and deeper in.

Abandoned, originally uploaded by jonolist.

It's hard to decide if anything should be done to these shophouses now, it is only a matter of time before something is done, good or bad. But if you do have the chance, go climb over windows, peek through doors and just go sneak in. They can tell us so much and if you look further in, prod and probe a little, you never know when you'll discover little treasures because we all learn something new everyday.

Time, originally uploaded by jonolist.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Of Old Guards

Sea of Clay

The roofscape of Melaka's old town tells us so much about the history of development around this area. Further beyond the shophouse roofs are the tiled roofs of housing units built in the 70-80s and the thatched pitched ones of neighboring kampungs. Behind these are newer developments built just recently and beyond them high rise apartments and then who knows what's to come? reclamation works seem likely (and unfortunate)

Old guards, originally uploaded by jonolist.

Every shophouse roof has its tipped shaped with relation to certain elements eg fire water earth, each tells it own story. Many though are losing them, along with disappearing trades and lost family traditions. The next time i come up to this roof deck again, it may not be the same sight. So whenever the opportunity arises go up to your own roof wherever you live and find some unique treasure before they disappear quickly!