It’s amazing to see how much civilization has changed from our ancestors. We live in a world today that is readily shaped for us. We have endless opportunities to grow and to learn, but what was it like before? I often take everything I have for granted without thinking about how it came about. Luckily, I got to revisit the past of Central, Hong Kong through a tour guide from Gabi. As we walked to the past, we were also preparing to walk into the future of an even more technologicly developed country.
Our day started at 9AM to make sure we got to tour most of Central on Hong Kong Island. We took a ferry there to see the geological features surrounding the island. Without even knowing, I had already visited the island prior to the tour; I just did not know because I took the MTR there. The ferry ride took only five minutes, but I got to see the original ports that used to be the only option to travel to and from Hong Kong Island. Once we got off, we walked through a large building with forty-eight floors to get a good view of what the island had in store. The views were amazing! All the buildings were strategically built and placed. Gabi taught us that HK island is natural. Instead of changing the land to fit the buildings, the British accommodated it. Some buildings are built on a slope, with others are on the flatter parts of the land. After, we walked through Central to dive into depth of the symbolism behind certain buildings.
Hong Kong Island was dominated by the British until the Chinese came to claim the land. It was a tricky process filled with mind games between the two groups. Essentially, they “fought” each other with symbolism through architect. For example, the Bank of China Tower was built to resemble the same structure as growing bamboo, which stands for livelihood and prosperity. The structure has triangular frameworks and grows narrower the higher the building is. It is coated with glass curtain walls all around, having a distinctive characteristic. However, the sharp edges caused controversy among practitioners of feng shui, saying that it caused negative energy.
During the 1990s, the Chinese were trying to fight for government. The great symbolism behind the Bank of China Tower is that the tip cuts diagonally toward the church. The two groups decided that one would belong to the Chinese, while the other side belongs to the British.
Meanwhile, two other structures were built to push the “bad energy” of feng shui away from the Bank of China Tower. These two towers were built on both sides of the bank to create a triangle. One was built with completely flat edges with squared patterns and a mirror. The purpose was to reflect the bad energy up and away without contributing to the bad feng shui. The other building across the mirrored one was built with a curve to trap and follow the energy from the Bank of China Tower.
These skyscrapers make a great view, but it’s even nicer to be able to learn about its history. These buildings all come with stories that shaped civilization for the better. Without them, Hong Kong would not be what it is today. It’s easy to admire, but it’s hard to understand the true beauty of it all. Once in a while, we should dive into our ancestors’ history to truly appreciate the wonderful views they gave us.
The true lesson of today’s tour is that we must never forget our roots.