MattSonArchitectNZ | Gwulo: Old Hong Kong

MattSonArchitectNZ

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I came to Hong Kong at the end of 1980, from Dunedin, in the South Island of New Zealand. I had just turned 12 and attended Intermediate School. My first impressions of Hong Kong was that it had many people, seemed very, "built-up" and had quite a smell (due to landing at the then airport, Kai Tak, which had a bad smell out on the tarmac).

My father was employed as an architect with the then H.K. Housing Department - later renamed the H.K. Housing Authority,

I went to school at South Island School for six months, then, as we transitioned to the mainland, to King George V High School.

My father taught me to drive on reclaimed land next to some 35 storey buildings that were going up at Tai Po (it was scary, as there was nothing preventing us going over edge into the sea!).

I enjoyed a day out on a Chinese junk in the South China Sea, swimming and drinking soft-drinks, then returning to the city with a big orange sun setting and glass buildings down the water glistening.

There was an incident when my father and I went out of his office building to the local housing estate. A vehicle containing Triad gang members arrived, carry .45 pistols. The crowds, including my father and I, ran for cover in a Chase bank, with thick concrete walls. It was just as well the police had been, "tipped-off" about their intentions and one ran out of the bank where we were hiding. Later the gang members were seen, as we passed-by, being held by their hair on the ground.

I enjoyed my schooling there, getting part-way through my, "O Levels" - but my family decided it was time for me to return to New Zealand, after a few months of travelling the globe in 1984 and I went to Nelson College, at the top of the South Island in New Zealand.

 

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