Time in a bubble…
Sadly to say Sai Yeung Choi Street is no more!
Well, let me clarify this – the scenes featured in this post and the associated photo gallery are now no more. However, its time. this street was a mini-mecca for the arts and street entertainment in Hong Kong.
Back in 2000 or so, it was decided to “pedestrianise” this street – much in the same way as the nearby Ladies market and Temple Street were. The difference being, that Sai Yueng Choi was a bigger and much broader street and one that coursed through prime shopping territory. The difference between the two aforementioned tourist spots and Sai Yueng Choi Street was that, artist and entertainers were “invited” to set up their pitches on the street to sell and promote their work. Here, the action was alive.
It was a great experiment. But, alas, all this came to a close in 2018 when the authorities, sensitive to complaints and criticism, opened up the roadway to traffic again.
For as long as this social and cultural experiment lasted, Sai Yeung Choi Street – or to give its full name, Sai Yueng Shoi Street South – became a special place to the many people who came here to either set up stalls to sell their wares, apply their crafts and skills or to entertain the passing parade. The street was a huge draw and the throngs of people were drawn to the area. The images presented here were taken over several years. They are presented in no particular order – more just to inform and help share the experience…
I really have to love this image – it’s such a “West” meets “East” thing. The of credulity of the passing pedestrians just about says it all – almost a look of disdain if not thinking the unfathomable. Of course, this guy is a mime artist and, he would strike and stand dead still in this pose for longish periods of time. And NO, it is no moving – as though caught in mid-stride. This was part of his act. It may have gone down well say in a place like Covent Garden in London, in downtown Montreal or elsewhere in the “western world”. But, here in Hong Kong, something of a long stretch. But yes, courage and tenacity…
For something more local. I was too close to this street performer but, he is also actually doing a balance act as well – as in standing on a plank that is a top a cylinder.
Even some of Hong Kong’s better know entertainers would take to Sai Yueng Choi Street to perform and promote their music.
A toy maker demonstrating and selling his wares.
While kind of everyday, there was some amazing talent out there. This street performers talent – skipping while bouncing a volley ball at the same time. He was pretty darn good.
Ah, the ladies from Shanghai. I’m just saying that. While I’m quite sure she’s from the mainland, not too sure about Shanghai though. As entertainers, these singers were popular – for their repertoire of popular ballads and traditional folk songs.
At the time and on any given day or night, there was a little something here for everyone. Alas, all this is now no more. This particular street has now been given back the delivery trucks, cars and high performance motorbikes. Similar events and happens take place elsewhere around Hong Kong but, they tend to be sporadic or on weekends only and that sort of thing. The buzz along Sai Yueng Choi Street South [ 西洋菜街 ] was certainly different if not eclectic. In a sense, the scene along this street really had something going for it. In a way, here you could witness Hong Kong at play.
Did you learn anything from this little tour? Feel free to comment below. If you’re interested, more pictures featuring Sai Yueng Choi Street can be found at this photo gallery link – SHANGHAI STREET, HONG KONG
This post, “Discovering Sai Yeung Choi Street” is another blog story in the “Hong Kong street guides” series. If you like what you’ve found here, feel free to check out the other post in this series – I don’t think you will be disappointed.
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You can find out more about Rogan and why he does what he does here on his ‘Artist’s Statement’ page.