Fragrant Little Haven

“A mile or so away, at the top of terraced rice-fields, stood (and still stands) the little village of Hong Kong Wai - the village of the Fragrant Lagoon...It is easy to see ... how finally, as steam succeeded sail, the fragrant little haven on the south yielded to the great harbour over the hill.”    

                                                                                                     ------- Hong Kong, 1841-1862 Birth, Adolescence and Coming of Age by Geoffrey Robley Sayer

Fragrant Little Haven takes a description from Geoffrey Robley Sayer. Hong Kong, means fragrant harbour in Chinese, was only the name of a village at the south of Hong Kong Island before the English came. It was a harbour for transporting the luxury Aquilaria sinensis trees, which produces agarwood, a valuable fragrant wood used for incense and medicine. One and half centuries have passed, the artist found out that at least 180 streets in Hong Kong were named after plants.

Hong Kong is no longer the name of a village, the once prosperous habitat for vegetation now replaced by concrete jungle, with only the names on street signs reminding the passers-by of its forgotten past, past with colonial histories that are heavy, hard to imagine, meanwhile romantic. These hundreds of streets shared the same beautiful and romantic street names, becoming Hong Kong, becoming the history of Hong Kong.