YMCA 1980s | Gwulo: Old Hong Kong

YMCA 1980s

YMCA 1980s
Date picture taken (may be approximate): 
Friday, January 1, 1982


as a teen, I spent a lot of time at the Y on Salisbury Rd (1978-1981). i even worked odd jobs at the swimming pool and the gym for a few summers. to me, as a chinese boy from public housing, the Y on Salisbury was a fascinating place. i know the swimming pool very well. in the late 70s, most of the swimmers were whites and residents from around TST, predominately of indian descent. back then, there were not many chinese, local chinese had to pass an english proficiency test to join because this was the "English Y" as opposed to the "Chinese Y", the colonial sentiments although they were working hard to expand membership to be more inclusive. in cantonese, this was the "Sai Ching Huey" for "western young men's association".  if Wong Kar Wai could make a movie about Chung King Mansion, i think the "English Y" deserves a movie. just a few interesting tibits

the place had some long time residents, all retired ex military English on pension. they were interesting people, still a lot of imperial "empire" dignity and pride but also fun to chat with. when the "east wing" was taken down, they all moved out, don't know where. i especially loved the "Roof Garden" (below the big YMCA signage in the picture) where you could see the entire HongKong harbor and enjoy a pot of english tea for cheap. the view was amazing, no obstruction from Space Museum and the smog. you could sit for hours and the waiters never rushed you to move....it was at the Roof Garden i met peoples, young and old from around the world and truly expanded my understanding of the world e.g. i met the first african american student who was enroute to China for college, until him, i did not know there was black people in US, i also met, dated and kissed the first english girl, until then, i thought kissing an english girl would be different -:). finally, the antique elevator, something you could only see in Bogart's movies. today, although i no longer home in hongkong and after many continents and cities around the world, the Y on Salibury Rd is still my top fascinating place.