Reminiscences: Life in Hong Kong's Built Heritage
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Romance and Marriage


On 2 September 1937, one of the most serious typhoons in Hong Kong history hit the territory. It was called “The Great Typhoon of 1937”. I remember meeting two students from St. Stephen’s Girls’ College the day after the typhoon. One of them fell down as she was walking up the ramp, and I helped her to the tram stop.

Later on, I met the girl again on my way to school. I took courage to send her my regards. She told me she was named Mary. From then on, we would chat with each other whenever we met. After graduating from secondary school, we continued our contact by letters and we gradually fell in love.

We usually met at Kowloon-Canton Railway Clock Tower in Tsim Sha Tsui. I went there by train from Tai Po Market Railway Station. We liked to walk and chat along Nathan Road and in Kowloon City.

At the end of 1941 when Japanese troops invaded Hong Kong, I lost contact with Mary. I believed she had left with her family to find refuge in her ancestral village in the Mainland. During the three years and eight months of the Japanese Occupation (1941-1945), I insisted to send a letter to her home on Stone Nullah Lane every month, hoping that she had safely returned. But nothing was heard from her.

In December 1945, I finally received a reply from Mary! She said her family had returned to Hong Kong safely. I was so excited to have tears in my eyes. I couldn’t wait to see her again. After the horror of war and separation, we cherished more of our relationship. We got married in 1947. Our wedding ceremony, ancestral worshipping and banquet were hosted in Tang Tsing Lok Ancestral Hall. Two years later, Mary gave birth to twins, a boy and a girl. Of course, our son went through the celebration ritual of lantern-lighting at Tang Tsing Lok Ancestral Hall, just as I did after I was born.

Former Kowloon-Canton Railway Clock Tower

The former Kowloon-Canton Railway Clock Tower, completed in 1915, was built with red bricks and granite in Classical Revival style. It is 44 metres high and has a lightning rod on top of the dome. The Tsim Sha Tsui terminus building was demolished in 1978, leaving only this clock tower, which has stood as a Hong Kong landmark ever since.

Old Tai Po Market Railway Station

Built in 1913, old Tai Po Market Railway Station is the only railway station in traditional Chinese architectural style. The facade, roof and gables are patterned on a Chinese style. This station ceased operation in the early 1980s. It now houses the Hong Kong Railway Museum.

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With the pressing threat of the Japanese invasion of Hong Kong, my parents took us to our ancestral village in the Mainland. When the war ended, we returned to our home on Stone Nullah Lane. When I found Ying-wo’s letters filled with love and longing, I was moved to tears and wanted to see him as soon as possible, so I mailed him a letter from Wan Chai Post Office telling him that I was safely back in Hong Kong with my family.

Old Wan Chai Post Office

Built in the early 1910s, the old Wan Chai Post Office is the oldest surviving post office building in Hong Kong. It features a traditional Chinese pitched-roof structure with unique gables and mouldings. Since 1993, the building has been used by the Environmental Protection Department as Wan Chai Environmental Resource Centre.

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  • Former Kowloon-Canton Railway Clock Tower

  • Kowloon-Canton Railway Kowloon Terminus

  • View of Kowloon-Canton Railway Kowloon Terminus from Victoria Harbour

  • Old Tai Po Market Railway Station