The news and film archive British Pathé have uploaded a number of short, revealing old newsreels related to Hong Kong (click here for Part 1). Many of the 1-minute vignettes give an insight into how Britain saw its role in the world, whilst some of the clips are steeped in Orientalist mystification.
Here is an early clip from 1932 celebrating the discipline and loyalty of the colony’s Indian troops, as they “impressed” the “natives” of Hong Kong…
A clip from 1961 discusses the difficulties of gathering census data – especially from boat-dwellers, the illiterate and people who may “not see any sense in it at all!”
Another clip, from the same year features Hong Kong’s ‘flying doctor’ paying a much-needed visit to inaccessible Sai Wan.
A news reel, from 1963, calls upon a classic news trope that is revisited by local and international outlets to this day – bamboo scaffolding.
Pathe also produced softer human interest stories, such as this abacus vs. calculator piece from 1967. Lee Pak Kwan, who would be 58 years old now, puts western technology in its place. (See also: Hong Kong School Children, 1970)
Another more light-hearted vignette shows dragon dancing, Kai Tak Airport, trams, Hong Kong’s skyscrapers, beaches and the countryside. All shot in 1968.
See also: Part 1.