17 November 2008

The Dark History of Sedan Chairs 轎子的野史

The annual Sedan Chair Race to raise money for charities and to promote Matilda Hospital (明德醫院) was held yesterday morning. Every November, teams representing their corporate sponsors, clad in over-the-top costumes and carrying equally over-the-top sedan chairs, loop around the three-quarter mile route along Mt. Kellett Road on the Peak.

I used to live right on the intersection where Mt. Kellett Road meets Homestead Road. As early as September each year, from my living room window I would see young men and women training for the event, a scene that became synonymous with the arrival of autumn. I watched the race last year with great interest and took a copious amount of pictures, though I was miffed that few local Chinese turned up for the event. This year I was all gung-ho about entering the race with people from work, only to find out that we missed the registration deadline by two weeks.

In the end, I slept in that morning and wound up not watching the event altogether. To make up for missing the hoopla, I decided to read up on how the whole idea of a sedan race came about in the first place...


Read the rest of this article in HONG KONG State of Mind, published by Blacksmith Books, available at major bookstores in in Hong Kong, on Amazon and at Blacksmith Books.


  1. I've just discovered your blog from facebook and am really enjoying it.

    You say that you feel like you belong here as a part of the majority, and like to engaged in some criticism of CCP domestic and foreign policy. However, do you not think that the remnants of colonialism is a harrowing reminder of China's previous weakness?

    The entire institution of the island is based on it's history as a British colony correct? Including, (and forgive me if I'm being presumptuous), your own profession as a lawyer.

    Perhaps it's my own bias, but how can one truly be dominant in a land, when the entire system was built by those that presided over your forefathers?

    I was born in the mainland and grew up in New Zealand. I moved to HK to study around 9 months ago. One thing that really bothered me, and disturbs me still, is how people treat me different when I speak either Mandarin or English.

    Am interested to hear your thoughts on the issue. I understand that it is a very sensitive topic, forgive me if I have offended anyone in any way. It is by no means my intention.

  2. Thanks for your thoughtful comments, Steatoda. Add me on Facebook (jasonngglobal@hotmail.com) and I would love to continue our discussion.