HISTORY – A Brief Visual History of The Peak Tram 3

It has been 126 years since the Peak Tram opened in Hong Kong though, technically, it is not even a tram but a ‘cable-hauled funicular railway’. Below is a brief, visual history of one of the city’s most iconic treasures…

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Click to enlarge, via richardwonghk6 on Flickr

The son of Queen Victoria, Alfred, became, the first royal visitor to make a ritual trip to The Peak in 1869. It was noted how His Highness expressed “surprise that the wealthy merchant princes of the colony had not yet availed themselves of the opportunity of the presence in the vicinity of their city of a position offering so bracing a climate, in the hottest time of the year.” Quite.

The ‘Rush to The Peak’ had commenced with Hong Kong’s population rising to 173,475 by 1883. Several dozen of the city’s elite families were now living on The Peak and it was also home to The Peak Hotel. The area remained accessible only by horse or sedan chair. (One local eccentric, E R Belilios, preferred to travel the winding paths by camel, though none of these options were comfortable, especially in HK’s heat).

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Thus, Peak Hotel owner and Scotsman Alexander Findlay Smith, planned to open up the area with a new tram system to connect Victoria Gap to Murray Barracks…


BLOG – Create Your Own Xi Jinping Yellow Umbrella Photoshop Masterpiece 1

President Xi Jinping has become an unlikely mascot of the umbrella movement – especially in Mong Kok, where at least seven cardboard cut-outs adorn the occupy camp’s barricades. More than a humorous aside, the mere presence of the life-size Xi’s is said to “deter” pro-China antagonists – or so it is hoped.

Now you can create your own Xi Jinping yellow umbrella art works like this…


INTERVIEW – Fengsuo Zhou: 1989 Student Leader & Once China’s Fifth Most Wanted

Earlier this month, HongWrong spoke to Chinese dissident Fengsuo Zhou who flew in from the US to visit the main Occupy site in Admiralty. Once China’s fifth ‘most wanted’, Zhou was a student leader during the 1989 protests which led to the Tiananmen massacre. He is now working to raise awareness of the issue of political prisoners in the mainland.

Fengsuo Zhou in his tent

HongWrong: What was your role in Tiananmen and what has happened since?

Zhou: I was a student. I was on most wanted list, number five of twenty-one most wanted nationwide. I was a member of Beijing’s Independence Student Association. I spent one year in prison. I went to United States in January ‘95. I stayed there since.

My recent activity mostly is as co-founder and director of Humanitarian China. We focus on providing humanitarian support for the prisoners of China. That’s one reason why I came here – to speak up for these people who are jailed for their roles in supporting Hong Kong. There are about 100 of them so far.


BLOG – Occupy Mong Kok’s Last Stand: Where Identity Issues Come to a Head 1

A version of this feature appears today on Global Post.

“If they clear here, I think protesters should find an occupy site other than Mong Kok,” says Wong Yeung-Tat, the enigmatic, often controversial, leader of the political group Civic Passion. He knows that the clock is ticking for the pro-democracy movement’s Kowloon outpost but, exhausted as many are, few at the camp have any appetite to leave quietly.

Wong Yeung-Tat

Wong Yeung-Tat

For over 50 days, protesters spread across three protest sites have been occupying roads, demanding full universal suffrage from Beijing. Mong Kok has seen the most drama, with activists clashing with masked triads and counter-protesters angry about the disruption. Now, after complaints of lost income, a minibus drivers’ association has won a court injunction permitting bailiffs to “clear obstructions” around Nathan Road with police backing. It makes for a jittery atmosphere at what is commonly regarded as the resilient frontline of the umbrella movement demonstrations.