For weeks I’ve been noticing, while “vigorously walking my dog” from Pui O to Mui Wo, that work has been going on to turn the previously dark brown, timber-made pavilion on top of Lam Saan into a tiled concrete monster, Tuen Mun style.
Yes, I know. Wood: (from rainforest) Bad! Concrete and tiles: Good! Surely the powers that be had a reason for turning something reasonably beautiful into something screamingly ugly, as they always do.
Although the old pavilion, made from non-renewable and politically incorrect material though it was, looked pretty good and blended in well with the over-all environment: trees, I was sure that there had to be a good reason behind suddenly changing it into a fright-fest seldom seen outside downtown Kowloon…
Imagine, therefore, my mild surprise when yesterday I decided to walk in the complete opposite direction to that of Mui Wo, namely toward Cheung Sha, to see the exact same work thing being carried out on the identical wooden pavilion near that fabled beach!
Some workmen were milling around carrying things, so I asked them what the purpose of turning a dark wood, blend-in with the environment-looking pavilion into a concrete-tiled monster eyesore worthy of the worst of government inner-city lack of planning, could possibly be.
“Oh, it was old and leaking. Broken, in fact.”
Oh really? The last time I saw it (about three weeks before) it was brimming with health, looking every inch the sturdy, rainforest-stolen wooden structure it was, not letting a drop of water in.
“No, broken. And anyway, no good.”
So what about the other identical pavilion, the one at Lam Saan?
“Yes, we’ve been told to replace them all. They all got broken at the same time.”
So what did you do with the wood?
A remarkable coincidence? Yes! The government has in their (its) infinite wisdom foreseen that all the wooden pavilions in Hong Kong’s country parks, made of the best and hardest wood imaginable, are now leaking and not fit for human usage.
These dubious structures, thank god I never sat under them at the peak of their water-leaking danger, have now been replaced with something looking suspiciously like the key features of Hong Kong’s every new town.
Who says that just because you live in the fabled green lung of Hong Kong , otherwise known as Lantau Island, you shouldn’t enjoy the aesthetic benefits of living in Mong Kok or Tuen Mun?
Tiles are the new black. All new village houses under construction are covered in them, as well as wrought railings, faux columns and Disney cake-icing style decorations. Yes! We are firmly ensconced in the bosom of the motherland and the mainland is now well and truly established in Hong Kong. Or vice versa.