As part of the Festival of the Mind activities hosted by the University of Sheffield I participated in a session called Tales from the Ivory Tower. The aim was to talk about research in a story telling format. Here is the video of my storytelling, which focuses on social inequality and eating sparrow in Hong Kong.
As you head up the mid-level escalator, just to the right of the bottom, you will see a small street (wet) market. Known as Graham Street Market (but actually comprising parts of Graham, Gage, and Peel Streets), the activities here have been part of Hong Kong Street life for over 150 years (172 years according to a recent article in Hong Kong Magazine). This street market has survived Japanese occupation and previous rounds of urban development, but that is about to change. The market traders are being evicted and building clearance has begun (as evidenced in the photograph). In one fell swoop, the street life that calls forth community, memory, and a way of life will shortly be erased from the landscape. One has to wonder what is the mentality that allows for this sort of urban erasure and consider the depth of what is lost. Continue reading
When I first saw these wrapped in plastic, for sale in the market, I though they were candies. Chewy candies. The deep orange colour looked like a promise of tartness. Later, as I walked through the village of Tai O, I saw this basket sitting on a white table out in the sun. Full of salt and fresh egg yolks, I realised that what I saw was not candies at all. Unappetising now, the flies buzzing around make them seem even less so. I am told, however, that my prejudices are wrong. These things that I struggle to think of as food are according to some “quite good”. Continue reading
In the center of Mong Kok is what appears to be an old, run-down market; its single-story stature at odds with the high-rise buildings that surround it. If you wander past by day you might think that the market is just hanging on as only a few sellers on the periphery will be open and selling fruits. A meander through might also leave you thinking this is largely an abandoned space, and yet it beckons. Continue reading