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Tung Chung revisited

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Tung Chung is a town near the airport, and it’s an important connection to other parts of Lantau Island like Buddha and Tai O. I have travelled Tung Chung for so many times and in different ways, by bus, rental bike, or sometimes just stayed in a library or cafe. This time, I planned to revisit Tung Chung Fort and Ma Wan Chung village only, however I changed my mind to give up the fort and go to Tung Chung Battery instead when I saw a sightseeing map on the street.

其實不是第一次在東涌逛,每次都以不同形式遊覽:如乘接駁巴士、騎單車、只去車站旁的圖書館和咖啡店⋯⋯而這次本來的計劃是重遊東涌炮台和馬灣涌村,但看到上面的街上地圖,決定把未造訪過的東涌小炮台(不是東涌炮台),再步行至東涌站。

Hau Wong Temple
Hau Wong Temple

1. Hau Wong Temple (侯王宮)

Hau Wong Temple is located at the beginning of Tung O Ancient Trail, the 4.5-hour walk connecting Tung Chung, Sha Lo Wan and Tai O (a famous and beautiful village in Hong Kong). The trail is only suitable for walking on foot but my friends and I tried to ride bikes there, but it was too hard to do so. That was stupid but it becomes our life memories.

There are several statues in the forest which is not within the designated area of the temple. Interesting. In a city which is planned, everything seems to be controlled and organized but there are still something outside the pattern. If you focus on mortality, you may find those as deviance, while the others realize mess is not a necessary evil sometimes.

這裡是進入需4小時半、往沙螺灣和大澳的「東澳古道」起點。記得與友人經此路去沙螺灣,但不是步行,而是在騎在附近租的單車,那條路若是走的不難,但是騎腳踏車途中很多坡道,所以要搬車喔。辛苦但是很難忘。

廟外的樹林有關公等雕像,城市即使如何規劃得井井有條,都還會見到規律以外的事物。在道德觀念重的人來說,可能是越軌行為,但其實所謂越軌,其實是一個讓城市變有趣、變更好的訊號而已。

The village
The village

2. Ma Wan Chung village (馬灣涌村)

A village next to Yat Tung Estate, the modern high-rise public housing provided by the government. I didn’t know there is a typhoon shelter for residents until I came here again. Besides, there is a bridge to another village in which I haven’t been to. But I didn’t go inside as there was a sign outside the village claiming it was a private area. I ended up returning back, and left Ma Wan Chung to find a new way to Tung Chung Battery.

I imagined those villagers who have lived for long noticed the great changes nearby, especially with the construction of the public housing and the new giant airport opposite to them.

這是公共屋邨逸東邨旁的小村落,不是第一次造訪,但今次才知道有避風塘,有橋駁到另一個村莊,但註明是私家地,所以沒進入(本來想沿那邊去東涌小炮台)。

我相信老村民定必見證這裡附近的重大變遷:包括逸東公屋的建成,還有對面本來是天然島的赤鱲角,被移平變成機場島。

Tung Chung Battery
Tung Chung Battery

3. Tung Chung Battery (東涌小炮台)

Tung Chung Battery is between Yat Tung Estate and Tung Chung MTR station. Getting there from Yat Tung Estate needs 10-minute walk through a quiet road with some dogs who are homeless and sometimes hide in the forest. The Tung Chung Battery remains part of the wall nowadays. There is also Lime Kiln made in Tang Dynasty but it’s not the whole now. Then I walked through a stair to a small road to go back to Tung Chung MTR station.

Yat Tung Estate is a part of Tung Chung. The best way to commute in between is by bus, with only a few minutes journey. You can also walk, but it can take you at least 20 minutes to complete. Whatever in a hilly road I tried this time, or in pavements, they are both quiet and I think people may feel unsafe, hot to walk through. Perhaps, riding a bicycle is the best option if pollution is considered. The experience let me question if Yat Tung Estate is a bit isolated from the town centre…

東涌小炮台在逸東和東涌站之間,由逸東站要步行十分鐘,那條路人煙稀少,樹林中有流浪狗。感覺一離開屋邨,就進入較為自然的地方。這裡除了是小炮台的遺跡,還有唐代灰窑。兩者不算完整。

在那邊沿樓梯有一條小路,可通往東涌站附近。從逸東邨到東涌站,一般靠數分鐘的巴士接駁,或是步行:沿大馬路,但是街上什麼都沒有,騎腳踏車或許好一點;或我走過的山路。經過這些路,能體會即使逸東邨也是東涌的一部分,但它和市中心是割裂的、疏離的、自成一角的。

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4. Airport

The airport is open in 1998, followed by the second terminal and the upcoming third runway. The Chinese font of the sign was once changed and its beauty gone. And most importantly, how come the people far away could read the sign? The staff here adopted the ugly font used in Microsoft Word, and Taipei Airport followed after then!

But the good news is that most of the ugly font signs has been removed. They used the bold font similar to the one and helpful to visitors at the beginning, although the font spacing is a bit large.

1998年開放的機場,在多年間變化不少:包括第二大樓,還有第三條跑道的計劃。客運大樓內標示所用的中文字體,一直讓我很介意,因為它曾由黑體改為新細明體,但又不是香港地下鐵的地鐵宋體,除了醜外,字體太幼,遠處的人看不見。我不是字型專家,但會對所用的字型敏感。這麼醜的字體,居然讓桃園機場模仿。不過,這次再造訪,新細明體終於變回了黑體了(但還有小部分沒改),雖然沒剛落成所用的美、字距有點大,但看了還算有點安慰,至少達到了實用性。


View of Tung Chung town
View of Tung Chung town

Tung Chung and Chek Lap Kok have become a town and an international transport hub respectively from villages. The modernized urban area doesn’t erase everything in the past. The nature is not that far in fact but the design can change one’s impression, especially when Yat Tung Estate is surrounded by high fence with only fewer exists. You will feel like staying in a comfort zone, or like a frog in a well. If you leave the zone, you will find something fascinating outside, you will see the high-rise building far away. But you easily go back to the city in the following few minutes…

東涌和赤鱲角,由小村莊變成新市鎮和國際交通樞紐。在步行過程中,感到城市和大自然既近且遠,既遠且近。尤其在公屋範圍裡,只能看到山水,但範圍以外由很高的圍欄圍住。當然走出去不難,但是不會讓人去留意可以行出去。當離開公屋範圍,由較為人氣的社區一瞬間走入人煙稀少且寧靜的自然和村落。好像是沒留意的人就留在舒適圈;有留意的,外面精彩的世界就屬於他們,經過小路遠望高樓,有種「我去了很遠」的感覺,但是只要多走幾步,就會回到城市的範圍。在舒適圈內外不停的穿梭中⋯⋯

Hong KongAlvin CTung Chung