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The charm of Mongkok's street billboards

By Liu Fei | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2022-08-25 16:12


On the 25th anniversary of Hong Kong's return to the motherland, I visited the city I have been longing to see for a long time with a lot of anticipation and a little nervousness. After the 7-day quarantine period at home, I came to Mongkok, one of the greatest tourist attractions in the world, for the first time. Its streets and crowds were as busy as I imagined.

Mongkok is a very welcoming place. Once I arrived, I found there were no scenes like in the TVB dramas where the streets were filled with sword fights or cars went on wild chases. Walking along Nathan Road in Mongkok, there were a lot of special street billboards which showed me the charm of this street. My friend and I walked around Mongkok all afternoon; I found these street billboards informed me of the historical atmosphere and great regional characteristics of Hong Kong. As a student majoring in advertising, I am always attracted by unique street billboards because I think these things are an important component of the urban space; they not only convey a great deal of commercial information but also serve as a good guide for the public and visitors.

The buildings in Mongkok are not very tall. If I considered the streets as the first boundary of urban space and the external outline of the buildings as the second boundary, then the street billboards of the shop buildings which create the vertical profile of the street space could form the third boundary. In other words, a large number of street billboards conceal the façade of the buildings and become an extension of the buildings, becoming important components and striking characters of the street space. They even allow us to learn about the culture and art of Hong Kong when we walk along the street.

The shops in Mongkok were a little crowded, so these various street billboards could help us know the characteristics of the different shops directly when we walked on the street. I thought these street billboards demonstrated a very distinctive mode of business competition, and they made me admire the wisdom of the former Hong Kong people. We all know that Hong Kong has limited land witha large number of residents, so they used this method to maximize the use of the space to promote Hong Kong's social and economic development. This wisdom is fully demonstrated by the layout of these billboards.

Most of the street billboards in Mongkok are presented in Cantonese or Mandarin, just foreign businesses use English advertising boards. So, even if we are students from the Chinese Mainland, these street billboards can also be a good guide for us and makes it convenient for us to shop in Mongkok. Even though there were a lot of crossroads in the road, we did not need to worry that we would get lost, it made us feel as if we were still in the Chinese mainland.

I always think that the billboards along the streets show the unique charm of a city, so in my eyes, the billboards in Mongkok are beautiful sights on the streets. They showed me the unique style of modern Hong Kong, especially on the 25th anniversary of Hong Kong's return; I could even see some signs which are affixed to the street billboards to celebrate this event, which made me feel very happy.

The street billboards of Mongkok made me pleasantly surprised, and I am looking forward to experiencing more interesting culture in Hong Kong.

Liu Fei is a postgraduate from City University of Hong Kong.

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