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I’m Sorry. I didn’t get that.

I’m Sorry. I didn’t get that.

Hong Kong, in the eyes of animation artist Kongkee


Kong Hong-chuen (Kongkee) is one of the few animation artists in Hong Kong. In 2017, he started to work on his feature-length animation film Dragon’s Delusion. With participation from local creative forces and capital raised through crowdfunding, he united wisdom and strengths from a diversified universe. The group has collectively contributed to the creation and production of an exceptional film. The art and culture attractions recommended by Kongkee are an extension of such creativity and human touch. Exploring the streets of Hong Kong from his unique lens, anything could be screen-capped as a ‘mobile’ image — representation of a city that is always dynamic, transient and full of surprises.

Dragon's Delusion

Credit: Image from Dragon's Delusion

You don’t know what you don’t know about Mong Kok

Mong Kok footbridge

Kongkee has worked and lived in different districts. He grew up in Tai Po. After graduating from The Chinese University of Hong Kong, he shared a studio with an artist friend in Fo Tan. He subsequently moved to Wan Chai and Ngau Tau Kok, with his current studio located in Kowloon Bay Factory Estate. 

Having spent his life in various corners of Hong Kong, Kongkee distills from his observations on the diverse experiences he has been having. About 10 years ago, he and his wife moved into the Mong Kok and Prince Edward area. “While the location is well-connected, there are also quiet places amidst the hustle and bustle,” he says. He describes Prince Edward Road West as a dividing line between the buzz and the quiet. "If you want to take a stroll, you can head to Festival Walk  in Kowloon Tong, or to Garden Hill  in Sham Shui Po. Hong Kong is often referred to as a concrete jungle, but in most areas the mountains are visible. Life in the city is very convenient yet also close to nature, and this is unique to Hong Kong."

Amidst the lively and thriving neighbourhood of Mong Kok, a pedestrian footbridge runs along Sai Yee Street and Mong Kok Road. This is where Kongkee frequents almost every day; a spot that truly reflects the wisdom of Hong Kong people in optimising every single inch of public space. Here, pedestrians find themselves crammed between residential buildings that are almost within an arm’s reach. In Kongkee’s eyes, while this footbridge is epitomic of this high-density city, how the space is utilised also contributes to the unique scenery of the place. "In foreign countries, people gather in the squares outside churches. This kind of public space is comparatively rare in Hong Kong,” he explains. “Instead, there are lots of shopping malls and pedestrian footbridges, lending themselves as inclusive space for various utilisations when land is limited. Pedestrian footbridges in Hong Kong are full of vitality.”

Where to find arts and culture

Like Mong Kok, Wan Chai is another district that is full of life. Kongkee used to run a studio in Foo Tak Building. Located in-between Wan Chai and Causeway Bay, this residential-commercial building has been serving art and culture practitioners at a lower-than-market rental since 2003. For 10 years, he witnessed the flourishing of some local art and creative activities and ACO bookstore, also located in the space, is seen as one of the best of its kind. Apart from being a showcase of independently-published illustration books or zines, it has been an advocate of impromptu collections which surprises visitors at every visit. In addition, Kongkee recommends Gallery Exit in Aberdeen. The gallery promotes a multitude of local creative works throughout the year, offering visitors a rich and diverse expression of the contemporary scene.

It is not easy for art and culture to be grounded and rooted within the narrow confines of this highly commercialised city. Hence, whenever a new space opens, Kongkee pays special attention to it, such as comic book seller ‘zbfghk store’ which opened in Kwun Tong a few months ago.

"Besides selling comic books, zbfghk has also participated in many activities promoting comic culture,” he says. “Recently, the store owner has also experimented in the publishing of comics via exchanges with foreign comic organisations. Such initiatives, amongst other efforts, broadens our horizons." Kongkee believes that a bookstore is where cultural exchange takes place. He also remarks that a new hybrid of “book-store-cum-coffee-shop” has emerged. A great example would be ‘Parallel Space’  in Sham Shui Po where an exhibition space is also featured.

Mobile and transient streetscapes

Fook Le Model

Over the years, Tai Nan Street Get me there {{title}} {{taRatingReviewTotal}} {{taRatingReviewText}} Address {{address}} Website {{website}} More info  in Sham Shui Po has evolved into a cultural hub. And yet, as Kongkee remembers, Sham Shui Po has enjoyed a profoundly rich culture of its own for a while. ‘Fook Le Model’ is a gathering point for toy and comics lovers. Kongkee finds the space very intriguing. “The way items are arranged shows its true character. There are so many details involved, such as stickers or small accessories that are full of fun. While most of the customers are ‘otaku’, visitors of different demographics also come and browse,” he explains. 

29 Coffee

While different districts exude different aura, 29 Coffee just has its own way of making a presence. Sitting at the ground floor of an industrial building on Tai Yip Street in Ngau Tau Kok, adjacent to small restaurants and food stores serving office workers nearby, Kongkee is fascinated by its authenticity and benevolence. "The counter is very small, but coffee is made with great attention and you feel the effort in bonding with the customers. It is a typical mom-and-pop store. Although it does not seem to fit in well with the physical proximity, there is so much life of its own. There are people who come check in every day. Its existence is no different from the grocery stores we used to have when young,” Kongkee says.

Ngau Tau Kok

On the same street, you can also find Kongkee’s favourite graffiti. This wall may look plain now, but famous creative artists ‘Start from zero’ and ‘Graphicairlines’ once left their artistic marks. Meandering on the periphery of the city, as graffiti emerges in new places, old art is wiped out. Fascinated by such ever-evolving creativity, Kongkee often takes photographs of graffiti that interests him. “Wherever there is graffiti, it promises to be a place of vitality,” he says.

Cityscapes of woven memories

Kwun Tong Ferry Pier

Adjacent to Ngau Tau Kok, Kwun Tong has been undergoing extensive redevelopments in recent years. Nonetheless, new things may serve to bring back the past. In Kwun Tong, a place where the new meets the old, Kongkee recommends the Kwun Tong Ferry Pier, a tranquil attraction away from the busy district centre. He describes it as a strange space seemingly co-existing in another dimension. "Although the pier is a bit shabby, the scenery here is still somewhat akin to the Hong Kong I remember as a child — there are not many people, and things here are not fancy. Get on a ferry and slowly you will sail through to North Point," he explains. 

Golden Scene Cinema

Golden Scene Cinema, which opened in Kennedy Town a few months ago, also reminds Kongkee of his childhood. Surrounded by busy streets, the small cinema is located next to the tramway on Catchick Street. When Kongkee was young, he watched classic Hong Kong films in the old theatres of Fanling, Sheung Shui and Tai Po Market. “While streetscapes are constantly changing over time, different people and activities are still going on. You will never know what comes up next — that is why this place feels so real,” Kongkee says.

As an artist, Kongkee is often asked how he gets inspired. “You must be able to absorb like a sponge. The key point is not where you are, but how you manage to maintain this state (as a sponge)," he replies. Maybe to live and to feel while traversing across different areas of Hong Kong is one of the ways he maintains his ‘sponge-like state’.

Neighbourhoods and art and culture attractions recommended by Kongkee:

  1. zbfghk store
    Room A, 11/F, King Win Factory Building, 65–67 King Yip Street, Kwun Tong, Kowloon

  2. ACO (Art and Culture Outreach)
    14/F, Foo Tak Building, 365–367 Hennessy Road, Wanchai, Hong Kong Island

  3. Footbridge across Mong Kok Road and Sai Yee Street, Mong Kok, Kowloon
    4Street graffiti in Tai Yip Street, Ngau Tau Kok, Kowloon

  4. 29 Coffee
    Shop D, G/F, 29 Tai Yip Street, Ngau Tau Kok, Kowloon

  5. Kwun Tong Ferry Pier, Kowloon

  6. Fook Le Model
    66A Un Chau Street, Sham Shui Po, Kowloon

  7. Parallel Space
    202 Tai Nan Street, Sham Shui Po, Kowloon

  8. Gallery EXIT
    3/F, Blue Box Factory Building, 25 Hing Wo Street, Aberdeen, Hong Kong Island

  9. Golden Scene Cinema
    2 Catchick Street, Kennedy Town, Hong Kong Island
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