Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Hong Kong 1898 film

Archive footage of Hong Kong made in 1898 by Thomas A Edison. This is such a beautiful clip. Notice the people looking at the camera wondering what the foreigner is up to. This men are wearing "queue" long pigtails, which by law Chinese had to wear as a sign of subservience to the Qing (Manchu) Empire (there was still an Emperor then). There are sedan chairs too, and a business man in white summer samfoo walking behind a coolie carrying his bags. The cloth the people are wearing is a kind of cotton waxed so it's slightly rainproof and shiny. Once everyone wore that, but it stopped being made around 1960. Why so many bamboo poles? that was the standard method of carrying any kind of item. See the fisherman's hat, round top, round brim, and the conical hat which I can't remember seeing. Maybe these people are working near the docks, which would explain all the carrying. These are the little details that history books don't cover but which were so much a part of real life. Hong Kong 112 years ago ! And watch at the very end, when a Chinese moves in front of the camera. They'd bever seen such a thing before and the Chinese probably wanted to see what the cameraman was looking at.  Then the white cop in white helmet HITS the Chinese with a stick. Not hard, but that in an nstant is what colonialism was like.

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