Tse Pak- chai – Kitchens in northeastern New Territories
Style of the Northeastern New Territories – “That’s what we call life”
“The government wants to turn northeastern New Territories into three new towns. But what is northeastern New Territories actually? Who lives there? What sort of life are they living? I believe by showing images of the people who live there and the place itself, we will help connect the public with the place and help them make informed decisions on the future of this little-known part of Hong Kong. Otherwise northeastern New Territories will just be the name of a place which has no meaning to the majority of the population.
I decided to feature kitchens because I realised kitchens in the rural areas are completely different from those we are used to in high-rise apartments. It is a very effective way to show the differences between those living in rural Hong Kong and those who live in the urban parts of the city. A kitchen in the rural area is normally 200 sq. ft and the whole family eats their meals there. This is the kind of ‘good life’ image that we see in Hollywood movies. But the kitchens we have in urban Hong Kong are so small that they can’t even have two people cooking inside at the same time.
After spending several months among the villagers, I realised the villages in northeastern NT have a long history. They have been there for more than a century. In some villages, such as those in Ping Yeung, the old people speak only Hakka. Most of the families have deep roots in the area. The reason that they are not categorised as indigenous people like those who have their representatives sitting in Heung Yee Kok is all because of government policy.”