Hong Kong & Macau


And I like to roam the land
May 18, 2002
I know they're not technically nations but seeing as they are culturally distinct and have a special political status, I feel a separate thread from 'China' is appropriate. I put them together because they're close by to each other and share a lot in terms of language, culture and identity.

I know little about Macau but Hong Kong is a very Fortean place. Belief in ghosts, urban legends and all sorts of paranormal stories are widespread. I hope we can collect a grab-bag of such stories and places.

This morning I visited the 'Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery' in Sha Tin, a popular tourist attraction which I've somehow managed to miss so far. It turns out it's right on my doorstep. It's a beautiful place, reached by a winding stairway up the hill which is lined by gold-painted wooden carvings of religious personages. Some stand on giant crabs, water monsters, and supernal tortoises. Some have ten-foot arms or eyebrows that droop to the ground (like the eyelids of Gogol's Viy). On reaching the first hall, the incorruptible body ('diamond indestructible body', per the label) of the monastery's founder Yuet Kei is on display, though encased in wood.

Photos of the body weren't allowed so I didn't take one but whoever wrote this blog did, if you want to take a look:

EDITED to include links to related threads:

Mermaid In Hong Kong (general forteana)
Last edited:
Amazing place.

And on a mundane level....Hong Kong is still allowed to drive on the left, in a UK/Japan style (I see from the blog road pictures) yet China of course drives on the right.

Special Administrative Region or not: will it continue with this differential forever & always?
Amazing place.

And on a mundane level....Hong Kong is still allowed to drive on the left, in a UK/Japan style (I see from the blog road pictures) yet China of course drives on the right.

Special Administrative Region or not: will it continue with this differential forever & always?
I remember there was some debate on what side to drive on on the HK - zhuhai bridge, but I'm not sure how they settled it. The government has been pointlessly and politically eradicating british-era postboxes so who knows what other colonial hang ups they may later want to do away with.
Special Administrative Region or not: will it continue with this differential forever & always?

Trusting the Chinese government to preserve what is unique about Hong Kong is like trusting a wolf to preserve your flock: he might surprise you by doing so, but it's hardly the most likely outcome.

As to Forteana, statues and monuments on turtles are often hopes for longevity. In several Asian cultures the umbilical cord of a baby of important lineage is buried beneath a turtle in the hope of forging a sympathetic affinity between the child and this long-lived species.
Last edited:
Borderline 'Fortean', but here's an interesting little set of picture portraits of Hong Kong's disappearing trades:

Good photography of subjects:

Traditional-Seal Maker,
Paper-Effigy Maker,
Copperware Craftsmam,
Birdcage Maker,
Fortune Teller,
Mahjong Tile Maker,
Letter Writer,
Stencil Maker,

Promoting this newly published book:

Sunset Survivors: Meet the people keeping Hong Kong’s traditional industries alive

By Lindsay Varty
with photography by Gary Jones

Sunset Survivors tells the stories of Hong Kong’s traditional tradesmen and women through stunning imagery and candid interviews. Covering a myriad of curious professions that are quickly falling into obscurity, from fortune telling to face threading and letter writing to bird cage making, readers soon find themselves immersed in the streets of old Hong Kong.

Filled with interviews, photographs and little-known facts about the city’s twilight industries, Sunset Survivors is a tribute to those who keep the flame burning in a city besieged by foreign imports and stiff competition. This book is a celebration of Hong Kong’s cultural identity. It preserves the memory of these hardy men and women, and educates visitors and locals on the foundations on which the city was built.

An up-close and personal look at the industries and workers that gave rise to the Hong Kong of today, Sunset Survivors is more than just a travel or coffee-table book; it is a tribute to the city’s character, a celebration of its roots and a guide to its evolution.

In a city undergoing a dramatic cultural shift, balancing social and political upheaval, the need to document Hong Kong’s traditional livelihoods has seldom been greater. Capturing the true personality of this metropolis, Sunset Survivors is a vital piece of history.​


Calçada do Amparo
What looks to be a lovely and very up-market part of Macau has an utterly sordid history. During WW2 with mass starvation due to the war running rampant, this particular alleyway which is now full of expensive restaurants and has a nice park nearby was actually the center of major cannibalism. People were allegedly snatched off the streets in broad daylight and eaten fresh within the hour. What is spooky is that they say the ghosts of the eaten still roam the streets at night there.

UFO Sightings over Wah Fu estate in the 1970s

Just pie in the sky?

Google translated from a facebook page:

<Huafu Village witnessed UFO>

Wah Fu Tsuen is the first housing estate in Hong Kong and the most mysterious estate. For Hong Kong people, the most mysterious thing is that Huafu Village is a public housing estate, but it has the same geographical advantage as a luxury home. However, if you want to get something, you have to lose something. It takes courage to live in Huafu Village.

Mass grave and no coffin

Do you know that Huafu Village is actually a mass grave? Huafu Village is just a village name, but the famous name has already concealed its original name - Jilong Bay. Chicken Cage Bay is named after the terrain is difficult to cage. Since the opening of Hong Kong, this is already a Chinese cemetery. It is called the Jilong Bay Cemetery. Until the Japanese occupation, many people killed by the Japanese army were buried here and became mass graves. It was not until 1956 that the public fee field moved to Hehe Stone. Later, in 1963, the government decided to build a public house in Jilong Bay, named Huafu Village, which was officially completed in 1968.

Therefore, some people say that Huafu Village is not arrogant and there is no reason. Legend has it that there is even a "no coffin". It is said that this coffin was originally moved to the Heshi Stone in the same way as other coffins in 1956, but when the staff moved it away, some people disrespected it, so the strange things happened one after another, and then the words had to be chopped. The idea is not to be ill, or to have a misfortune; there is also a saying that the coffin was discovered when the road was opened and the village was ready to be built. Afterwards, the relevant personnel had to seal the coffin to prevent someone from accidentally approaching and causing disaster. Now the coffin is still in place.

So, where is the "not coffin"? It is said that there is an underground passage under the bus stop. The left side of the bus is a sealed stone wall. There is no door, there is a long water pipe, and there is a small hole in the wall to prevent landslides. The coffin is in this place. If you study it carefully, this wall is a bit strange, because this underground passage, especially for the residents to make a big circle, a small basketball court-like place, is so empty.

However, in the past 50 years, what strange things happened in Huafu Village? No. Whether it is because no one dares to provoke this coffin, it is not known. Of course, no one is willing to try it.

UFO covering two public housing estates

Huafu Village does not provoke ghosts, but it causes unidentified flying objects? The scene of witnessing an unidentified flying object in Huafu Village can be regarded as a classic of the unidentified flying object community.

It was a night in the early 1980s. Almost all the residents of Huafu Village looked up to the sky, stayed at home, and did not dare to run out of the house. After seeing, they saw a polygonal, black object in the air. Staying still, this object is very large, covering almost two public housing. Everyone was surprised by this unidentified flying object, and he couldn’t tell why. In a short while, the unidentified flying object slowly rose, and the bottom edge was lit with a white light. Suddenly, the middle part had blue and green lights, and the crust suddenly vibrated, and there was a "beep" sound like a super robot. Five minutes later, the unidentified flying object flew away in the direction of Lantau. However, there is no such thing as an unidentified flying object on Lantau Island.

Although there are a lot of people, it was in the early 1980s, there was no mobile phone filming, and not many people took the camera to shoot. Later, there were only more rumors, saying that no flying objects appeared twice or even more times, but everything was just rumors.

Whether it is not a coffin or an unidentified flying object, Huafu Village is the first public housing estate in Hong Kong to become a more legendary place. It is said that the government intends to rebuild the village of Huafu, but everything has not been implemented. At that time, will they move the coffin, and the legend of the coffin will be true and false, and it will be known at the time.
The Hong Kong UFO Club. Founded by the aptly named Moon Fong.
You are really not alone … Why 10,000 Hongkongers are watching the skies for UFOs
City of gods: Hong Kong’s varied cast of ancient deities explained

A little intro to the confusing world of Chinese folk religion as is still widely practiced in Hong Kong. As the article points out, it's a highly syncretic system that is different in the south to in other areas of China (interesting, when I went to Sichuan, Buddhist temples were in the majority and Taoist/CFR ones in the minority. In Hong Kong it's the other way round, with Buddhist temples being much rarer and probably rarer than Christian churches).

I don't understand it very much at all but as far as I understand:

1) many don't see it as 'religion' as such so much as a way of life, therefore you can be a Buddhist or a Catholic or whatever and still leave oranges on your parents' grave

2) Some of the minor 'gods' are more like what would be called 'saints' in the Christian religion: historical personages who became deified. This is an extension of so called 'ancestor worship', wherein you venerate deceased family members. The word '仙' ('Sin' in Cantonese) may be translated as 'Fairy' or 'Immortal' but in the case of Wong Tai Sin, a place named after a deified monk, would be better understood as something like 'saint'. (This is not the same word used for Christian saints, which at least in placenames is 'sheng' ('聖') in Hong Kong and 'san' ('三') in Macau, loans from English and Portuguese respectively)

Some specific gods:

Why Guan Yu – warrior god known as Duke Guan – is worshipped in Hong Kong and Asia by police, gangsters … and businessmen alike

The many legends of Guanyin – or Kwun Yum – the goddess of mercy revered in Hong Kong and around the world

(You may remember her from TV's Monkey)

Another god (perhaps more properly a generic name for a type of god) is Shing Wong, the City God. This is a tutelary deity or Genius Locus who looks after the settlement his temple is located in.

I have seen shrines to this guy outside people's flats: Tou Dei Wong (Land God). This snippet from the wikipedia is very interesting:

Village Gods
The Village God has developed from land worship. Before Chenghuangshen ("City God") became more prominent in China, land worship had a hierarchy of deities conforming strictly to social structure, in which the emperor, kings, dukes, officials and common people were allowed to worship only the land gods within their command; the highest land deity was the Houtu ("Queen of the Earth").
Last edited:
American couple rent a haunted flat:


Among my husband’s colleagues in academia, those from Hong Kong were aghast that we would even consider taking the flat. We did give it some serious thought, visiting on several occasions to see if we “sensed” anything before signing the lease. It felt fine. We hadn’t found anything else nearly as nice, and the location was perfect for us. Other places we had looked at were taken within days; this one had been vacant for months.

“It’s like it’s just sitting there waiting for us,” I told my husband. In New York, we had lived in places that were much older. “Who knows who may have died there through the years,” I pointed out.

Neither of us smokes, but we often smelled cigarettes in our flat – smoke seeped in under the front door from the vestibule, which was thick with it. This happened after midnight and only in our vestibule – there was no smoke on the floors below or above.
Their neighbour gets home late and has a cigarette in the corridor/stairwell - prove me wrong.
Not quite Fortean, but an enlightening essay on the dark & mysterious Kowloon Walled City.
Visiting Hong Kong in in 1980 we took a city tour that visited the Walled City. Our guide took us around 20 meters down a dark and dingy alleyway filled with small shops on either side of it whilst telling us tales concerning the myriad of drug dealers, Triads and prostitutes who worked there. I recall that it was damp underfoot with God knows what and smelled of boiled cabbage. A wholly unpleasant place.

The Strange Saga of Kowloon Walled City
The most densely populated city on Earth had only one postman. His round was confined to an area barely a hundredth of a square mile in size. Yet within that space was a staggering number of addresses: 350 buildings, almost all between 10 and 14 stories high, occupied by 8,500 premises, 10,700 households, and more than 33,000 residents.

The city’s many tall, narrow tower blocks were packed tight against each other—so tight as to make the whole place seem like one massive structure: part architecture, part organism. There was little uniformity of shape, height, or building material. Cast-iron balconies lurched against brick annexes and concrete walls. Wiring and cables covered every surface: running vertically from ground level up to forests of rooftop television aerials, or stretching horizontally like innumerable rolls of dark twine that seemed almost to bind the buildings together. Entering the city meant leaving daylight behind. There were hundreds of alleyways, most just a few feet wide. Some routes cut below buildings, while other tunnels were formed by the accumulation of refuse tossed out of windows and onto wire netting strung between tower blocks. Thousands of metal and plastic water pipes ran along walls and ceilings, most of them leaking and corroded. As protection against the relentless drips that fell in the alleyways, a hat was standard issue for the city’s postman. Many residents chose to use umbrellas.
Found on the excellent Facebook group 'Hong Kong in the colonial era'

1970s: During the Maiden’s Festival, which occurs on the 7th day of the 7th moon, women visit the phallic-shaped rock on Bowen Path and request suitable husbands for their daughters or the continuance of their husbands’ affections. (Does anyone know if the rock is still there?)
An article on Tigers in early 20th century Hong Kong. There's an element of the ABC as Tigers are not native to the area but there definitely were some about (escaped pets? The article suggests they came over the border from Southern China as their native range was threatened - but how did some make it over to Hong Kong Island?). I've seen the skin of the last Hong Kong Tiger in the temple at Stanley.

Last edited:
This is novel - a group bus tour during which nobody is expected to see much of anything. Hong Kong has unveiled a bus tour specifically intended to let riders sleep during a 5-hour trip around the territory.
For sleepy Hong Kong residents, 5-hour bus tour is a snooze

Travel-starved, sleep-deprived residents might find a new Hong Kong bus tour to be a snooze.

The 76-kilometer (47-mile), five-hour ride on a regular double-decker bus around the territory is meant to appeal to people who are easily lulled asleep by long rides. It was inspired by the tendency of tired commuters to fall asleep on public transit. ...

Tickets cost between $13 to $51 per person, depending on whether they choose seats on the upper or lower deck. A goodie bag for passengers includes an eye-mask and ear plugs for better sleep. ...

The first “Sleeping Bus Tour” last Saturday sold out entirely. Some passengers came prepared, bringing their own blankets and changing their shoes to slippers, while others brought travel pillows. ...
FULL STORY: https://apnews.com/article/oddities...el-hong-kong-3d57e87e411ffaaf4ef655a66b205dc3
'Don’t flaunt power, Lunar New Year fortune stick warns Hong Kong officials; rural leader says authorities should heed public opinion'

Drawing a 'fortune stick' at a temple at Chinese New Year lets people see what the year ahead has in store for them. The guy in this article is chairman of an organisation representing rural areas and villages, which for complicated reasons has a lot of political power. He's claiming that the 'fortune stick' he drew says that the government should be more heedful of public opinion:

Interpreting the prophecy, Lau said: “The authorities should stay prudent and cautious to maintain the hard-earned success after Hong Kong has moved from chaos to stability and, subsequently, prosperity.

“They should also widely gauge public opinion, especially on the grand vision of the Northern Metropolis. [Beijing]”

This looks like a political statement, couched within an appeal to augury - perhaps the least controversial way someone in his position could disagree with policy.

The stick in question said “Those who are powerful should not flaunt their power and prestige. They should work hard on listening to advice.”

I think some of the policies in question might be to do with covid regulations, which are slowly being relaxed but are still fairly extreme compared to most of the world, and which come down from Beijing - something locals often feel disgruntled by.
Last edited: