Sidelights and change in Hong Kong and South China: 1955-2005

My focus for many years has been on how to improve the degraded lands of South China, seeking methods and wise people to make it possible. However, it was difficult to ignore other interesting sights and aspects of society that always were there while I worked and wandered.  So, this collection of photographs has little to do with degraded lands and more to do with change and a person’s discovery of interesting, new sights.  The span of time considered here covers 50 years in and out of Hong Kong and South China.  Let’s take a look.


Rickshaw, Kowloon, Hong Kong, 1955

A rickshaw heading south on Nathan Road in Kowloon, Hong Kong. This was a common method of transportation in 1955. Today, it is largely  replaced by taxis  (Photo by W.E. Parham)

Nathan Road, Kowloon, Hong Kong 1955

View looking south on quiet Nathan Road, Kowloon toward Hong Kong harbor in 1955. Today, the road is full of traffic. (Photo by W.E. Parham)

Kowloon Street, 2000

Neon lights keep many streets brightly lighted late into the evening in Hong Kong, 2000.  (Photo by W.E. Parham)

UHK faculty residence, 1974

A University of Hong Kong colonial-style, faculty residence; 1975. (Photo by W.E. Parham)

Old Hong Kong home, 1975

An old colonial-style home on Hong Kong Island in 1975.  The barren area above is the site of the massive, 1972 landslide.  (Photo by W.E. Parham)

Queen and King

Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip passed through Kowloon in 1975 on the way to Hong Kong harbor and a city celebration.  (Photo by W.E. Parham)

HK street vegetable market

A Hong Kong, street vegetable-market; circa 1982.  Much food shopping is done at such sites. (Photo by W.E. Parham)


A pile of mountain apples at a Hong Kong street market, 2005.  (Photo by W.E. Parham)


Purple and green dragon fruit in a Hong Kong street market, 2005. (Photo by W.E. Parham)


Hand-crafted noodles is an interesting and handy Chinese skill.  An amount this large can be made in about five minutes by one person; Hong Kong, 2005.  (Photo by W.E. Parham)


The finished product, uniform-size noodles, can be made routinely by an able Chinese chef; 2005.  (Photo by M.C. Parham)


Home of the few remaining Chinese white dolphins, a site just north of Lan Tau Island in the mouth of the Pearl River Delta; 2005.  (Photo by M.C. Parham)

Unloading ship, H.K.

The general method in 1967 of using booms to unload a freighter’s cargo into awaiting junks in Hong Kong harbor.  (Photo by W.E. Parham)


Container ships replaced most old-style freighters in Hong Kong by 2003.  Large cranes unload containers effectively.  (Photo by M.C. Parham)

Dong'ao Is., pirate warning light, PRC

This smoke-signal tower on Dong’ao Island was used during south China’s pirate era to warn others on nearby islands when pirate ships approached. (Photo by W.E. Parham)

Direct hit on HK bunker from WWIIJapanese artillery in WWII scored a direct hit on this British Army bunker on Hong Kong Island during the last days of 1941; 1967.  (Photo by W.E. Parham)

Hong Kong Island, 1969

One of many banners in Hong Kong Central extolling The People’s Republic of China’s (PRC) 20-year celebration in 1969. (Photo by W.E. Parham)

Mao saying on Dong 'Ao

A Mao saying remaining from the Cultural Revolution in an abandoned house on Dong’ao Island, Zhuhai; 1991.  Mao quote says: “We should rely on ourselves. Of course, we would like foreign support but we cannot count on it. We should rely on the creativity of all of our own civilian and military people.”  (Photo by W.E. Parham)

300px-Fatshan_II_lo_res.jpg (300×222)

Hong Kong to Macau travel time on the Fat Shan steamer in 1967 trip was about 4 hours.  This allowed time to sip a gin and tonic out on the deck.  (Photo credit Wikiswire)


Common Hong Kong to Macau travel in 2003 was by jetfoils and hydrofoils; the trip took a little less than one hour, fast but had little charm of the old steamers.  (Photo by M.C. Parham)

Flower carved from ivory, Guangzhou, 1982

Ivory carvers in Guangzhou, 1982, before the ban on selling new ivory carvings.  (Photo by W.E. Parham)

Incense coils

Incense coils hanging in a Hong Kong temple.  Once lighted, the coil burns for a long time until it reaches the top; 2003  (Photo by W.E. Parham)

Red Guard writing on Gov's. house, 1967

The Governor of Macau’s mansion covered with Red Guard graffiti as a result of the Red Guard takeover in 1967.  (Photo by W.E. Parham)

Hong Kong harbor 1955

Hong Kong harbor at night from a Kowloon rooftop in 1955.  Central Hong Kong is the bright spot in the right center of the photo. (Photo by W.E. Parham)

HK old and new buildings, 2000

Hong Kong at night, 2000.  (Photo by W.E. Parham)


Tower karst at Zhaoqing, Guangdong in 2005.  These hills are remnants of erosion and solution effects of water on thick layers of limestone.  (Photo by M.C. Parham)

Commune hospital serving 75,000

A small, Chinese commune hospital north of Guangzhou serving 75,000 people in 1982.  (Photo by W.E. Parham)

Diaolou, defensive tower, 1900-1931 construction

A daiolou, a fortified Chinese home built mainly between 1900 and 1931 in Guangdong.  Wealthy, returning  overseas Chinese feared being robbed by bandits so they built barred, thick-walled, defensive houses.  The family lived on the upper floors; Zhuhai, 2003.  (Photo by M.C. Parham)

Hong Kong harbor, 1955

A view of Hong Kong harbor taken from The Peak in 1955.  Kowloon is on the far side.  (Photo by W.E. Parham)

Hong Kong harbor, 1982

The same view of Hong Kong as above but taken in 1982, 27 years later.  (Photo by W.E. Parham)


Common items used by opium smokers during the 1800s; display is in the  Maritime Museum, Macau; 2003  (Photo by W.E. Parham)

Junk, Aberdeen, Hong Kong 1955

Chinese junk leaving Aberdeen harbor, Hong Kong; 1955.  (Photo by W.E. Parham)

Sai Wan, Cheung Chau (2)

Fishing junks gathered at Sai Wan, Cheung Chau, 1998.  (Photo by W.E. Parham)


Ceramic dragons on top of Cheung Chau’s Pak Tai temple; 2003. (Photo by M.C. Parham)

Mag Dogs, Hong Kong

Mad Dogs, in 1995, a Hong Kong-British saloon, which drew on R. Kipling’s words, “Only mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the noon day sun.”  A small, circular, bronze plaque once was glued to the The Old China Hand’s bar, an Australian watering-hole in Wanchai, which said, “The exact center of the universe.”  Such centers come and go in Hong Kong.  (Photo by W.E. Parham)

Ned Kelly's band stand, Hong Kong

The band-stand at Ned Kelly’s dixie-land bar in Kowloon, Hong Kong.  The leader is Australian but the band members were and probably still are all orientals yet the music sounds  much like dixie you hear in Chicago; 2005.  (Photo by W.E. Parham)


A common, laterally-sliding door in Zhuhai, made of wooden bars used to protect the family; the bundles of branches are  for cooking fuel, Zhuhai; 2005.  (Photo by W.E. Parham)

washing cockatoo, ZARC, '01

A sulfur-crested cockatoo enjoying a hose bath; Zhuhai, 2003   (Photo by W.E. Parham)

plastic-bag factory, Zhuhai, PRC, 2005

A Chinese plastic-bag “factory” in the Pearl River Delta, 2005. Factory workers are mostly migrant farmers.  (Photo by W.E. Parham)

evening on Cheung Chau

Cheung Chau at sun down, a small island about 10 miles west of downtown Hong Kong; Lan Tau Island is in the distance; 1999.  (Photo by W.E. Parham)


  1. Wonderful photos! Grateful too for the descriptions and dates.

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