For this Friday afternoon museum post I’m delighted to bring you this 1982 introductory booklet to the Hong Kong Museum of History.
I first visited the museum in 2007, when I went to Hong Kong by myself. In later years, I took JC there as well. It’s really a fascinating glimpse into Hong Kong’s past and gives a nice outline of Hong Kong’s story (pun somewhat intended as the permanent exhibit at the museum is called “Hong Kong Story”). Who knew that I had a booklet from there all this time?
The details are murky now, but I am 100% certain that my father gave me this booklet. He either brought it over to me here in the United States, or I saw it at his house or office and picked it up with interest, and he gave it to me. There was a boarding pass stub tucked between the back cover and last page from one of the summers when I returned to Hong Kong as a teenager, so it’s probably the latter.
Being a PhD of history, my father liked to keep these types of old things (and being the son of a history buff, I suppose I do, too). At the time he gave me the booklet, it was already over a decade old. Now, it is 35 years old, and has spent at least the past 20 years inside that blue shoulder bag that was also given to me by my father. Amazingly, both the booklet and bag still smell like him, even though he himself has been gone for over 20 years.
In my current state of mid-life crisis, I am embracing minimalism to “lighten my load”, so to speak. For most people, it’s probably normal to own a lot of stuff, and after a few decades on this Earth it’s not uncommon to have roomfuls of things collected throughout the years. When my father died and we had to go back and claim his things at the university, there was an entire storeroom of books and papers. But I wonder if he, like me, ever looked at all those things that he saved and kept in his closet and on his bookshelves. What do we hope to gain by saving all this stuff? Will we take it with us when we leave, or will everything just get shoved into a broom closet/storeroom? It doesn’t make sense to keep things we will never use or even look at, but we still do it.
So that’s probably why I’m scanning all this stuff and putting it out here. At least here, someone from the internet might stumble upon it and look at it with fascination like I did that one day in my dad’s room. Life keeps moving forward in many different directions, and one little spark of interest could change the course of someone’s life, even if that spark comes from the past. No, we shouldn’t live there, but sometimes it’s nice to pay a visit.
As always, I hope you’ve enjoyed this trip down memory lane.
Introduction to Hong Kong Museum of History (PDF, 18.8 MB)