I had never been to To Kwa Wan before I joined this summer programme. I used to think that To Kwa Wan was simply an old district in Kowloon. Having visited the district in person and listened to the sharing of the tour guide, I gained a deeper understanding of the district. In addition to being a physical place, To Kwa Wan is essentially a community marked by an acute sense of human touch, as well as an old district undergoing urban renewal. There is a vivid memory that lives in my mind: I was intently searching for the assembly point after a break when an old lady came and checked in with me upon noticing my worried face. Her regards warmed my heart. I think this sort of heartwarming tenderness, even more heartwarming than neighbourly care, is unique and native to To Kwa Wan. At the end of the day, urban renewal is a fate from which To Kwa Wan cannot escape; I understand that all good things must come to an end, and that “out with the old, in with the new”. Time passes and things change. What has existed is destined to be part of history eventually. No matter how things change, one’s memory remains unchanged and the same. There is always one To Kwa Wan that lives in the very heart of every one of us.
I recorded the ongoing urban renewal that To Kwa Wan has been experiencing by photographing one of the distinctive streets of To Kwa Wan—Ngan Hon Street. Ngan Hon Street is special in that one side of it is a row of shops still in business, with another side of it being a row of shops forced to be either closed or relocated. It is very telling of the situation that the district is now in.