Alvin In The Room: Journal

Wo Hop Shek columbarium: think about death in a peaceful environment

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A columbarium is a place for storing cinerary urns, for people to visit their friends or relatives who passed away in order to pay their respects, for thinking life and death. It's not only functional, but also meaningful and symbolical.

I didn't study architecture during my university studies, but I did read some books and articles, knowing that an architecture is more than the kind of decoration which makes a place more beautiful, stunning; while it is a kind of to fulfil some individual and social meaning, and even pursue some values. An apartment, for example, consists of flats for individuals, couples and families so that they can be protected from privacy and outside danger; the inside space facilities harmonious relationship with other members and natural environment (say lighting) while the outside public area allows more exchange with neighbours. The architecture results in a strong community carrying different kinds of meaning in one's life. Architecture is beyond a container, a physical shelter.

A few years ago, there was a new columbarium completed in Wo Hop Shek. It was set up to address the insufficient storage of cinerary urns in the city, and the social perception of the facility. A columbarium should not be a bad thing. It can be in the form of a park located outside the urban area, with water, grass, trees and natural lighting contributing to a peaceful environment even inviting all kinds of people to pay visit, to think about life and death.

Yes, I did go there just for visiting this lovely architecture, not because my friends or relatives are there. I wandered around in this quiet place which made me think easily. Death is what everyone will reach one day while we always forget, or deny by stating that 'it's still far away from me since I am still young'. It can happen when we get old. It can also be in a sudden so there are quotes like 'live each day as if it was your last'. If you are aware of death, you will never argue something unnecessary; you will not be worried too much about the loss of, money, for example; you will not procrastinate but focus on pursue your happiness.

Whatever locals or travelers from overseas, I do recommend going there even though you don't have your relatives and friends there, especially when you are uncertain about your future, don't know how to figure out some problems. Escape from them temporarily, and get there. Maybe you will find some of the answers, or realize something...

靈灰安置所是一個安放骨灰的場所,供人們悼念已逝去的親友,思考人生和死亡的地方。它並不只是功能性,也有象徵意義。

在大學我並沒有修讀建築,但是我也閱讀有關的書籍或文章,瞭解建築不只是漂亮的裝飾,它的設計還有助實現一些個人和社會意義,甚至推動著某些價值。例如一個屋苑,包含了適合個人、伴侶和家庭居住的單位,在屋簷下私隱受到保障,人身得以安全。除此之外,室內的空間佈局設計讓人們相處融洽,也讓人與外界自然(如自然光)有更多的接觸。室外的公共空間讓鄰居們互相認識和交流。於是建築不只是一個實體,而且帶來了社群,也為人生帶來更多的意義。

幾年前,和合石橋頭路的一個靈灰安置所落成。這個設施主要為了解決靈灰安置不足的問題,也藉新建築讓人們對它有新的看法,希望他們不再認為靈灰安置場所一定是不好的地方。所以,它以公園或是花園的形式呈現,以流水、草、樹、陽光構成寧靜的環境,邀請人們來到這裡參觀,思考一下人生和死亡。

我之前也到訪過,但不是因為有朋友或是親人在那裡。在那裡隨意逛逛,容易投入思考。死亡是每個人最終都會遇到的事情,但往往被人所遺忘,或是因為「我還年輕」而認為死亡很遠。的確很多人隨年老而死去,但也有不少人年紀輕輕就有一天患病或突然離開,所以為何有些人說「你每天都要當自己人生最後一天而活」。意識死亡,也許對某些根本不重要的事情不再執著;不再擔憂如金錢上的損失;不再拖延而專注在追求快樂。

不論是遊客還是本地人,我都推薦這個地方,尤其當你對前途沒安全感時,或不知道怎樣面對或解決一些問題時。暫時放下它們,來到那裡,或許找到一些答案,或是領悟到什麼⋯⋯

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Columbarium and Garden of Remembrance

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To get there, take bus routes 73, 74A, 74D from Tai Wo MTR Station. Get off at Kau Lung Hang bus stop and walk for about 5 minutes.

於太和港鐵站搭乘73、73A、74D巴士,於九龍坑站下車,然後步行5分鐘。