Hong Kong & Yaumati Ferry Ticket Stub (1995 or 1996)

Hong Kong & Yaumati Ferry Ticket Stub

This Hong Kong & Yaumati Ferry ticket stub is from the summer of either 1995 or 1996, when my dad took us to Lantau Island.

If you watch Hong Kong movies from the 80s and 90s, any that show scenes of the harbor will likely include a vessel from HYF, and maybe even one of the distinctive vehicular ones. Like the Star Ferry, HYF was one of the icons of Victoria Harbor, but unlike the Star Ferry, it served more of a functional purpose than a tourist one. When Hong Kong ceased to require its function any longer, the ferry service ended.

As always, I hope you’ve enjoyed this museum post.

HYF ferry appearing in movie Sunshine Friends, 1990
Opening scene in 1990 movie Sunshine Friends (笑星撞地球) showing an HYF vehicular ferry

Introduction to Hong Kong Museum of History (1982)

Introduction to Hong Kong Museum of History (1982)

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)

Hong Kong Tourist Association Official Map, 1991

I seem to be finding a bunch of things from 1991 lately. The latest example is this official map from the Hong Kong Tourist Association.

At this point in history, Hong Kong is still a British colony, but it is already a known fact that China will be taking over come July 1, 1997. Many families, including my own, with recent memories of why they fled from China to Hong Kong in the first place (not to mention the even more recent memory of June 4, 1989), have left for places like Australia, Canada, the UK, and the USA. Interestingly, I left Hong Kong before 1991, and I have no idea how I came across this map that I’ve kept for at least a couple of decades now. Maybe my astronaut father brought it to me during one of his many visits.

It’s fascinating looking at this map and seeing how Hong Kong has changed. Parts of the map that show harbour are now reclaimed (e.g. the IFC and the ICC). Instantly-recognizable skyscrapers like the Bank of China building and its neighbor the Cheung Kong Center are either not yet on the map or yet to be built.

Please note that because these are maps, I’ve included the scans in their original resolutions, with file sizes of about 40 megabytes each. You can right-click and download them via the links underneath the thumbnails below. I hope you enjoy this museum post as much as I’ve enjoyed looking at the map.

Hong Kong Tourist Association Official Map Hong Kong Island
Download HK Island here (40 MB)
Hong Kong Tourist Association Official Map Kowloon
Download Kowloon here (40 MB)

Mei Mei Jewellery Company

Here’s an item from 1980s Hong Kong: a shopping bag from a jewelry shop called Mei Mei. In the 1980s, a family friend owned a shoe store at Cityplaza, and we would often visit to get shoes and hang out. We must have acquired this bag during one of those visits.

Many years later, our last night in Hong Kong was also spent at Cityplaza.

Something interesting to note is that the phone numbers listed on this bag are 7 digits, with the first digit preceding a dash and suggesting an area code of some sort. If I recall correctly, back in the 80s 5 indicated a Hong Kong Island number, 3 a Kowloon number, and 6 a Sha Tin (and possibly the entire New Territories) number. Nowadays of course, phone numbers are 8 digits, and you can still see some of the old numbers with their 5s, 3s , and 6s following the leading 2. More information on old-school HK numbers can be found here and here (looks like I may have been wrong about the 6s).

As always, hope you’ve enjoyed this trip down memory lane.

Mei Mei Jewellery Co

The Beer That’s Always Clear

Asahi HK Ad Circa 1938
Asahi ad from the South China Morning Post – October 18, 1938

Tonight’s museum post is another ad from that 1938 edition of the South China Morning Post that we found at Granny’s house. The ad implies that not all (commercial) beers in 1938 were clear. I don’t know much about beer but the idea makes me think of chill-filtering when it comes to Scotch. A quick Google search shows that many homebrewers today have to deal with cloudy beers. Guess that’s just part of the brewing process. As always, hope you’ve enjoyed this museum post!

Handbook of Stocks and Shares of the Principal Public Companies of Hong Kong 1955-1957

I found this book while cleaning out my granny’s house last year. Before the internet, before discount brokers, this was one of the tools privileged people used to invest their money. All hating aside, however, this is a fascinating look into Hong Kong’s past.

First, the cover:

HKSE Handbook of Stocks and Shares - 1958
Some figures from 1955 to 1957, for investing in 1958

And the back:

HKSE Handbook of Stocks and Shares - 1958
Printed at Ice House Street by the Standard Press, Limited, which still exists today

With Chinese New Year coming up, it’s interesting to see that holidays were just as big in Hong Kong in 1959 as they are in 2015:

HKSE 1959 Holidays
Whit Monday?

Somewhat unsurprisingly, HSBC is the first company listed in the book:

HSBC Figures for 1955 to 1957
Wonder if any of the people listed are alive still…

Lastly, the index of the companies listed in this book contains many names that are still familiar today…

HKSE Principal Public Companies Index
Some familiar names to be sure

As always, hope you’ve enjoyed this museum post.

Old Hong Kong Money II (The 10s)

For tonight’s museum post, we have some more old Hong Kong money. First up, an old 10-cent coin from 1982:

Hong Kong 10-Cent Coin Circa 1982
Hong Kong 10 Cents – 1982
Hong Kong 10-Cent Coin Circa 1982
Number 10

It’s interesting to note the number 10 on this coin. If I recall correctly, the only other coin of that period that had an Arabic numeral on the tail was the five dollar coin; everything else had either the denomination in Chinese or the British lion on it (see the other post linked above for examples).

Next up, we have an HSBC 10-dollar bill from 1992:

Hong Kong 10-Dollar Bill Circa 1992
Hong Kong 10 dollars – 1992
Hong Kong 10-Dollar Bill Circa 1992
In HSBC we trust

This 10-dollar bill came from the series that I remember so fondly from childhood, the one seen in various HK movies of the period. They are all printed by HSBC, and the denomination is prominently printed in block English letters front and center with the coat of arms on the left and the watermark on the right, whether the bill (or should I say note?) is ten dollars, one hundred dollars, or one thousand dollars (stacks and stacks of the orange-colored bills in certain movies). It definitely seemed like the HSBC ones were more popular back then. I wonder why?

It’s also interesting to see how both HSBC and Standard Chartered put pictures of their headquarters on their bills. It’s the ultimate pissing contest, like a bunch of teenage boys in a high school locker room. Later on, the Chinese banks got in on the act as well, putting their headquarters on their bills. My skyscraper’s bigger than yours!

Old Hong Kong Money

I’ve been saving up some old Hong Kong money for a while and today I finally decided to photograph and post them here. First up, we have a $10 bill from 1994, printed by Standard Chartered:

Hong Kong $10 - 1994

Hong Kong $10 - 1994

In Hong Kong, different banks can print the same denomination bill with different designs. Generally, the color is the same, but it can sometimes be confusing (i.e 50s and 20s are similar in appearance and people often mix them up). Anyhow, I noticed this bill because it is green (the old color for $10 bills) and because it is paper. Today’s bills are purple and plastic.

Next up, we have some coins, all minted with Queen Elizabeth’s portrait on them:

Hong Kong QE 50-Cent Coins
50-cent coins – heads
Hong Kong QE 50-Cent Coins
50-cent coins – tails

I seem to encounter the old 50-cent coins the most. 20-cent coins are pretty common as well, to the point that I’ve stopped collecting them:

Hong Kong QE 20-Cent Coins
20-cent coins – heads
Hong Kong QE 20-Cent Coins
20-cent coins – tails

Lastly, we have the 1-dollar coins. In my experience, these are few and far between:

Hong Kong QE 1-Dollar Coins
1-dollar coins – heads
Hong Kong QE 1-Dollar Coins
1-dollar coins – tails

These are the coins I remember from my childhood. By the time we came back to Hong Kong in the 90s after first moving to America, the decommissioning of these coins had already begun. Obviously, a special administrative region of China cannot have Queen Elizabeth’s portrait on its currency, so they’ve replaced it with Hong Kong’s flower, Bauhinia blakeana (it’s also on Hong Kong’s flag).

I’m trying to get lean again so I’ll be putting these coins and the bill back into circulation. Now that they’re in the museum, I’ll just view this post whenever I need an old HK money fix. Hope you’ve enjoyed this museum post.

HE USED to steer clear of her

ODO-RO-NO Ad, 1938
ODO-RO-NO Ad – SCMP – October 18, 1938

Here’s another ad from that old newspaper that was found at my Granny’s house. This one is an ad for Odorono, an early deodorant. Smithsonian.com has a nice history of the product on its site. Just like the Brylcreem, Odorono is still sold today (though probably in a different form).