On any given Sunday or public holiday, one will notice that certain parts of Hong Kong are inundated with young and happy Filipina women (Indonesian as well) partying and having a good time in various public spaces such as parks, closed off streets, underpasses, overpasses and all kinds of public nooks and crannys. And, most surprisingly, as is depicted in this photograph, in the open atrium underneath the local headquarters building of HSBC (a/k/a "the Bank").
In bygone times, it was said that no major decision could be made in Hong Kong unless it was first run by the Board of Directors of "the Bank".
Today, it can be said that without the dedicated service of the thousands of Filipina and Indonesian maids partying on their day off around the premises of the Bank on Sundays, this global financial metropolis would come to one big grinding halt.
The area occupied by the housekeepers under HSBC and other locales around the city, is a fine example of what has been referred to by academics as “messy urbanism”, the improvised use of public space in a manner not originally contemplated by city planners and designers. A street manifestation of spontaneous human self organization. A fascinating cultural subject for those who have traveled all around Asia. Every Asian culture/country has it's own unique but interrelated style of urban messiness (see: Messy Urbanism—Understanding the Other Cities of Asia, Manish Chalana and Jeffery Hou)..
One can spend a whole day photo-documenting the messy urbanism of the happy and ubiquitous Filipina maids all around the Central District on Sundays. And one very popular image capture is the view of all the maids aiming from the street or the upper level of Hong Kong's beloved "ding ding" (trolley cars) into the HSBC atrium where the maids are all picnicking behind their precariously but cleverly jury rigged cardboard screens.
I tell my photographer clients to wade into the area where the maids are situated and aim their cameras out into the street. By doing this you can see that you will wind up with an image that tells a slightly more intriguing story. Here you are with the maids parked in their improvised cardboard cabanas and you can see one of the famous HSBC Lions, the showcase Ralph Lauren shop in the tony Prince's Building, and the two security guards having a slightly heated exchange. I like the way this image came out. Plenty to draw the viewer's attention. Plenty to talk about. Try this camera angle when you are there on any given Sunday. And remember to shoot wide!
Naturally, I have plenty more to say about the socio-economic phenomena of large scale South East Asian maid immigration, the Bank, the actual building, the plight of the two Lions, Hong Kong style messy urbanism and the fascinating history of the entire area immediately surrounding this locale on my Premium Private Walking Tours of Hong Kong Island.
To my way of thinking, there should always be more to a compelling image than simply what meets the eye!
Hope to see you soon on the Streets of Hong Kong!
End of Dispatch
ABOUT STREETS OF HONG KONG PREMIUM WALKING TOURS
I am an American of Asian descent from NYC who has spent many years living and working throughout Asia, most recently based from a very old Chinese neighborhood called To Kwa Wan in Old Kowloon for 15 years. I am also a retired international lawyer with strong Asian roots and I have reinvented myself as a professional artist, photographer and street savvy Hong Kong premium tour guide.
I specialize in premium private walking tours with an emphasis on street culture, local history and, for those so inclined, all levels of photography. My private tours are personalized to match your unique interests. Inasmuch as I am a professional photographer, all of the points of interest covered in my repertoire have a very strong visual appeal coupled with a well informed narrative adding dimension and context to your images.
Whether you are into simple travel snapshots, social media image sharing or serious landscape, architectural or urban street photography or just enjoying the Hong Kong experience, I am in a position to maximize your time spent in Hong Kong and its surrounding locales to the fullest.
Hence, my mission can be encapsulated as follows: To provide all of my clients with an entertaining, deeply informative and street savvy premium travel experience ultimately leading to cherished memories, a portfolio of stunning on-tour photographs, an urge for further investigation and a strong desire to navigate your way back to this wonderfully engaging city.
My premium walking tours are ideal for acclimating and orienting first time visitors to Hong Kong as well as for returning visitors eager for a new experience.
I accept engagements up to one year in advance or, subject to my availability, last minute and/or same day. Families with children are always welcome and children 16 years and under are free of charge. Special needs clients are also welcome.
You can book a tour or send me an inquiry now by going to my Contact/Booking Page.