Tai Kwun: A neighborhood community conscious centre for heritage & arts
The well-known revitalized Tai Kwun (Central Police Station compound) has been drawing people’s attention since its opening in May 2018. I’m sure you have heard or been to Tai Kwun either to enjoy the charm of the majestic historical buildings or one of the many exhibitions or art performances it show cases.
Some major shows have been done there such as Murakami VS Murakami at JC Contemporary the gallery. Tai Kwun 101, one of the large scale exhibition showcases 101 objects related to the Central Police Station compound and chronicles interesting stories about what actually happened in these historic buildings over time.
It is where a one-stop-shop for law and order in Hong Kong was not so long ago. Imagine for a second that you are arrested and suspected to be a criminal. The legal procedure would go quick and easy: You get caught by police, you go to the court. Found guilty? After getting your sentence you go straight to prison. Time-saving and convenient if you look at the positives of the situation 😉😉. These are big picture though, there is always something you can re-discover the same site over and over. Let’s see the little stories.
Source: Tai Kwun
Mango tree, a magic tree at the heart of Tai Kwun. It’s been here for decades and its legend is that when the tree has mango, big things would happen and some officers there would get promoted. Funny? I agree. Don’t overlook these kind of little things in the site because everything has a story behind it.
Strolling around the site you will notice the 'Ladder store'. This store was a relatively high security place and used to be under lock and key because ladders were a good tool to escape the prison!!! So even though ladders are not normally classified as "valuables" in the prison context they need to be looked after very carefully 😊.
The management of Tai Kwun is also very caring and respectful towards people living in the vicinity. To the Central neighborhood, it offers complimentary noon theater on Mondays and Wednesday; covers a wide range of performances such as concert and dance, it is especially for people who are working around the area and can bring their lunch to Laundry Steps because the show is from 12.45pm-1.45pm.
We are having an extended winter season with a perfect weather now: warm with low humidity and breeze. Sitting on the stairs eating and watching the show can be quite therapeutic. I had seen the performance added in festive elements such as Christmassy style and Chinese New Year songs.
In other words, it is more than a declared monument to visit. Tai Kwun serves the community around as well.
This spot is popular among visitors, Instagram friendly. Look at the bridges, do you wish to know what they suggest? No worries, you can also consult the lovely Visitor Experience Team members who are dressed in light grey uniform. They usually station at every Heritage Storytelling Space, not only redirect you to water dispenser/toilet/restaurant but also they are able to tell history about the heritage. Mind you not all of them speak good English. If you want to discuss or learn more about the site they are more than happy to share. Just ask, they are friendly!
Pay attention to details surrounding you and you won’t miss interesting stories. Every nook and corner of Tai Kwun has much to look at. For instance observe at the stoned pavements, trees, paintings etc. Now it’s your turn to find out and enjoy!
As soon as Corona virus risk infection is behind us, Localhood shall be organizing a tour for its volunteers and members. So stay tuned!