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Monday, April 22, 2024

Life in Hong Kong through Photos

Aggie photographer Nicholas Chan shows what it’s like to live in Hong Kong

The name 香港 (Hong Kong) means “Fragrant Harbor.” In reality, the harbor is anything but fragrant. It does, however, offer quite a view.


Almost one year ago, I left Hong Kong and travelled to Davis in pursuit of a university education. Having lived all my life in hyperactive Hong Kong, I had no concept of the style of living and pace of life outside the city. Throughout my year of study at Davis, and my year away from home, I have learned to appreciate the attributes of Hong Kong that make the city unique. I hope that through the following pictures I can share a few of these attributes.


One way to quickly summarize Hong Kong is with the Chinese phrase 人山人海, meaning volumes of people as great as the mountains and seas.


It is difficult to imagine that 7.3 million people call this city home, but the busy streets make this figure slightly more believable.


A massive population and lack of space combined poses a challenge for housing. Small apartments stacked like sardines in a can are a common sight across the city.


From an elevated perspective, the scale of the city becomes apparent. Skyscrapers reach high across the skyline.


Yet not far away from the hyper-developed city center are streets resembling a time now passed.


Travelling to these places feels more akin to going back in time.


As development in Hong Kong pushes the city toward the future, snippets of traditional architecture serve to retain parts of its history and atmosphere.




Sometimes among the commotion of the city, it becomes easy to lose sight of what actually keeps the city running: the people. Whether it be the people who keep the street stalls running,


Or the people that keep deliveries on time,
Or the people who keep food on the table.


Despite now having to spend the majority of my days away from Hong Kong, I will never forget the quirks and features of the place I call home. Through this journey I have learned to appreciate everything from the largest structures to the smallest details, since only after leaving Hong Kong did I begin to notice them.


Photos by: Nicholas Chan — photo@theaggie.org


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