Photo Essay- Beyond the colours of Chungking Mansions

The world has long been captivated by the cultural richness in Chungking Mansions, the 17-storey building on Nathan Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, known as Hong Kong's "little United Nations" of for its clusters of residents and tourists of African and Southeast Asian origin.

Popular travel guidebook Lonely Planet describes it as one of the recommended guesthouses for budget travellers. But the multi-racial haven is also notorious for its potential danger. In 2013, a female university student from Beijing was allegedly raped by an Indian worker in a guesthouse.

Residents and shop owners in the landmark cultural icon have been lurked by the tension of racial stereotypes. As The Young Reporter walked through the labyrinth-like aisles with restaurants offering exotic cuisines, second-hand mobiles grey markets and hair salons, the camera was not welcomed. Most of the people were concerned where the photos would go.

"Are you from CS (Customer service related department)?" was the most frequent question asked.

They feared being captured on newspaper and being linked to people involved in previous crimes in Chungking Mansions.

They were mostly intimidated by the camera but returned with smiles and greetings after explanation. The gesture of inviting each other to join in the photo shooting showed the friendliness and intimacy among the residents.

"The media is too powerful. If it says we are dangerous, we are. The number of visitors has been shrinking since the massive reports, "An Indian restaurant owner who was willing to open up said.

He lowered his defence and handed a dish of kebab, an Indian style wrap, to The Young Reporter. "But we are doing business only. If you don't offend me, I won't touch you."

 

By Amie Cheng

Edited by Alpha Chan

 

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