Sunday, December 11, 2011

First day continued: Central, Statue Square, Occupy Hong Kong, etc.

A lot of streets and other locations have English (or, well, Scottish) names, but they all have Chinese names as well, with usually no relationship between the two. 

The movie I saw the night before I left for HK was just about to open there - the excellent American action-thriller Drive, which apparently has a much longer title in Chinese. Any readers who wish to translate are welcome to - I'm curious.

The Legislative Council building, built roughly 100 years ago as the supreme court building, overlooking Statue Square.

I believe that's Tagalog at the bottom of this sign - apparently, Statue Square is such a popular gathering place for Filipino emigre workers on their days off that it was thought worthwhile to add that translation.

The square is so named because it used to contain a statue of Queen Victoria. She's been moved, but the name still applies because of this specter of Sir Thomas Jackson, founder of the Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation, better known nowadays as HSBC.

And here's the HSBC headquarters, right across the street from the square. It's one of the more interesting modern skyscrapers in Hong Kong, a place offering a lot of examples of the generic blandness of modern architecture.

The two lions in front of the building are the only remainders from the old HSBC building. They're known as Stephen and Stitt after two former bank directors.

I've read that these scars are bullet holes from the battle in 1941 when the Japanese army invaded and took the island. Not sure if that's apocryphal.

There's a pedestrian plaza/underpass below the building...

... from which you can look straight up through the atrium running up the center.

Much of the space is currently taken up by Occupy Central, HK's very, very small version of the Occupy Wall Street movement. Some of their banner art is remarkably creative, if not always terribly transparent in its symbolism, to me at least.

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