This neighbourhood is a community and a treasure chest of culture to be experienced. I chose to shoot images based on design and thought. One such example is ‘Chay Lay Gi’. This vendor took great care in using recycled cardboard as her labels. Take note of the $ sign with her distinct extra-large handwriting! Old-school as the new-modern. I invite you to visit and travel to this area and see if you can find these distinct images like a scavenger hunt. Even though I shot these works a few years ago, it was amazing to see that many are still in the same exact spot. Have fun, learn a little Cantonese, and thank you for joining me on this journey with Déjà Vu. A very special thanks to Hotel Stage in allowing me to showcase this collection at MUSE.
Walk good, Monique Lai
10 MAY – 30 JUNE 2016
MUSE, HOTEL STAGE:
1 CHI WO STREET, KOWLOON, HONG KONG
Prints & Artwork
'Dai Jaap Hai'
When Shanghai hairy crabs are in season, all are tightly bound and displayed for sale. Here they are attractively placed in order one right after the other in rows, and seated next to the other like mini-soldiers.
'Canomb Doc Joc'
A typical Thai snack that is very common and easy to find in this neighborhood. These delicate crisps are packaged in these see-through bags and I will tell you, not a single one was broken; no crumbs.
'Woo Dip So'
This bakery has been around for nearly half a century. I liked their flower branding a lot. It made me smile just as much as the 'Woo Dip So', a childhood favourite of mine.
These glazed pots are used to make traditional chinese healing tonic soup. Note the creative handle design and the spout.
'Gook Faa Cha'
This shopkeeper uses these old-style juice machines for her teas. I kept coming back here as I wasn’t sure I could capture the essence of this space. One of the most special images of this collection; this traditional-style tea shop still exists, and the order of their teas have remain unchanged.
'Cha Yip Daan'
Here is a prime example of a traditional Hong Kong delicacy, the chinese marbled tea eggs. After so many years, they are still 3 for $10!
'Haa Mmm Cha'
Afternoon tea is a fun Hong Kong-style tradition, and what I liked most about this café was not only the menu itself but the Fanta sticker slightly peeking from its corner. The menu has changed over the years, but this Fanta sticker is still there today.
What I liked most about this store is how they've beautifully arranged the variety of 'Doong Goo' in practical see-thru plastic bags. Simply rolled down carefully and systematically, this minimal look and design is as effective as it is efficient in organization.
I love 'Waa Mui' and of course, this caught my eye. All are neatly packaged so they can be tucked inside your purse for a quick and easy 'sour' fix.
'Chay Lay Gi'
Her label is what initially caught my eye. This vendor takes great care in recycling her cardboard boxes to use as fruit labels and continues to do so to this very day. Please take note of her distinct large handwriting, and the $ sign.
'Yau Yu, Haa Mai'
This is a beautiful neat and tidy shop that sells dried seafood, and today, they are in the same exact order as it was then. Please note that the corners of the 'Haa Mai' bins are extremely clean!
'Sai Yee Deem'
It was beginning to get quite dark and as I was passing by, I took notice of these chinese characters. The strokes were quite impressive and with the patterned blanket sitting on top of a pile of freshly folded ready-to-be-picked-up bags, I just wanted to remember this.
'Gai Daan Jai'
Not only is this one of Hong Kong's fun eat on the go snacks, I wanted to bring attention to this display case that stores the 'Gai Daan Jai'. I was impressed it was kept clean as there are no other visible crumbs except for these 2 that must have just fallen.
I could see that these 3 outfits were carefully selected for the window. Who doesn't love a great faux fur jacket! What was fantastic was that they used a simple curtain rod to hold this fabric backdrop, and the 'Sale Sale Sale' signs were whimsically displayed above.
There is nothing more sweet and charming than a little toy to cheer you up. Yes, I know magnets are not toys but I named it this because it was way too adorable to call it anything else.