Pokfulam village, oldest village on Hong Kong Island and home to many workers at Dairy Farm Company
HF: I have occasionally changed the original script of the following passage in order to aid clarity. ”Pokfulam Village, built over 200 years ago, is one of the oldest living villages in Hong Kong. The earliest written record is found in San On Gazetteer (1819 version). It is believed that the village was founded by some Hakka Chinese (the Chan, Wong, Kam and Law clans) coming from Po On and Fa counties. The village experienced dramatic changes in the colonial era as Hong Kong developed. Many workers at the nearby Dairy Farm Company have resided in the village since the late 19th century.
The village is divided into three districts: Choi Yuen, Wai Chai and Lung Tsai Tuk. Currently there are about 3,000 residents. The village was listed in the New York-based World Monument Fund’s biennial Watch List in 2014, which recognized its value as cultural heritage but also the risk of being demolished. Although the village is facing many challenges, its vivid community keeps much of their indigenous culture and lifestyle, eg the religious rituals of the Fire Dragon Dance every year.”(1)
A Remarkable Survivor of Hong Kong’s Past
Pokfulam, a small village perched on a hillside in the west of Hong Kong Island, is characterized by narrow lanes and alleys twisting through the village, around smal traditional buildings and newer structures. The modest appearance of Pokfulam belies its importance to the history of Hong Kong. The storied Dairy Farm Group, set up in Pokfulam in 1886 to provide Hong Kong with fresh milk, expanded rapidly, offering employment to many of Pokfulam’s residents. The community’s most important tradition is the Fire Dragon Dance that takes place during the Mid-Autumn Festival each year, when villagers insert incense into a straw-filled, hand-crafted dragon to visit each household, bringing blessings and fostering a spirit of community. The dance was inscribed on Hong Kong’s Intangible Cultural Heritage List in 2011.
Pokfulam is a remarkable survivor of Hong Kong’s past, but it is facing pressure from urban redevelopment plans, including a proposal to convert unoccupied Dairy Farm workers’ dormitories into high-density housing. Stringent squatter control policies make it hard for villagers to repair their dwellings, as they are required to use materials that were registered at the time of the last occupancy survey, which was conducted in the 1980s. Thus it is important to study, educate, and advocate the value of traditions and diversity in Hong Kong and to initiate a conservation and sustainable management model for future development.(2)
- Heritage & Urban Development booklet, Date of publication and Publisher unknown
- www.wmf.org World Monuments Fund.
This article was first posted on 9th May 2023.
Related Indhhk articles:
- Pokfulam village, close links to Dairy Farm 1886, SCMP article
- Dairy Farm, Pokfulam, remains of buildings and structures
- Sir Patrick Manson (1844-1922) The Dairy Farm Company
- Dairy Farm Company, traditional products plus expansion both in Hong Kong and elsewhere