Journal archives for January 2015

January 23, 2015

The spirits of Shui Lau Tin

Shui Lau Tin (水流田) is the area that I lived, the name can be literally translated as "Fields with flowing water"

It was a beautiful and relaxing countryside village with a lot of green when I moved in two decades ago. At that time, I could found many birds, buffalo, butterflies, fireflies, goats and stag beetles roaming around!! Unfortunately, all these became a memory as the nature of Shui Lau Tin is being destroyed. Only in the past years, 6 out of 10 of the abandoned field, bush forest or meadows were bulldozed. They were not stopping until every yard of soil is replaced by cement.

In the past 2 years, I have been racing with time and try to record any wildlife, mostly insects that I could find in the area. Many of them were found on a metal construction that near my home. This bug magnet was actually an environment indicator. I was happy at first as I almost lost counts of the species found. Then I was worried because they became less and rarer. Until recently, I have found none. I knew it's winter but it actually not that cold. There were still some bug record at the same time of last year but they were disappearing!!

The fact is local villagers have been overusing the so called "Small House Grant" right and try to build as many 3-stories village houses as they can apply. The building right was a policy to ensure the descendants of local had a house to live. Thanks to the outrageously high premise price in urban area, many non-villagers would consider to move in the rural area of New Territories. I must confess that I'm a non-villager as well. The demand of village houses is very high and they appear as quick as the fungus in spring. Thanks to the flaw in the law and poor enforcement, the policy became an unlimited money cow for premises developers and speculators. For years, villagers were tempted to sell their rights and farmlands in order to earn easy and quick money. We could not blame any of them as they could never grow that much of money by farming. A lot of farmers are getting old and they need money for their retirement. They didn't know or couldn't care much what they are about to sacrifice. We are not only losing our beautiful landscape but also our heritage. It was our next generation who paid for the cost.

All these reminded me the Japanese animation namely "Spirited Away" (千と千尋の神隠し) by Hayao Miyazaki, the spirit of Kohaku river (饒速水小白主) was trapped in the realm and controlled by a evil witch. It was because his real name was forgotten by himself as well as the people since the river got reclaimed during development. Today I'm listing the spirits of Shui Lau Tin here, I hope that they will never be forgotten!

Posted on January 23, 2015 03:31 AM by sunnetchan sunnetchan | 292 observations | 14 comments | Leave a comment