IDENTITY Communications might be the intelligent multicultural marketing agency, but our team also has heart. As Hong Kong’s neon lights fade, Brenda Leung, IDENTITY’s Insights Manager reflects on her childhood memories of the Pearl of the Orient.
One of my most vivid childhood memories is of evenings at Victoria Peak, Hong Kong Island with my family. Hong Kong at night is breathtaking. Looking down to Victoria Harbour, all my attention was captured by the vibrant, warm and inviting hue of Hong Kong’s iconic neon lights – glowing and blinking on skyscrapers that reflected on the harbour. It is this view that leaves a lasting impression for the 27m overnight tourists who visit Hong Kong every year. It is this view that gives Hong Kong its nickname of the “Pearl of the Orient”.
Walking through the city of Hong Kong, the city’s lights are spectacular. Neon’s brilliant blaze has always been used by businesses to attract customers. Big neon light boards are found on the façade of commercial buildings, department stores, shopping centres, restaurants, clubs, with those colourful lights shining, sparkling and twinkling into people’s eyes. It is a city that embraces neon. I have no idea who made those neon lights and how they are made, but they are definitely the representative of the dynamic, bustling, fast pacing and never stopping lifestyle of Hong Kong. There is so much ambient light that you can even read a book at 2am if you sit by the window of an apartment in Mongkok, Tsimshatsui or Wanchai.
The neon lights in Hong Kong also mark the beginning of the fun of its exciting nightlife, where retailers open until midnight and restaurants until the early hours of the morning. Other than the nickname of “Pearl of the Orient”, Hong Kong is also known as “Shoppers’ Paradise” because the shops stay open until late, with the purpose of entertaining the residents and tourists alike. When you have finished a movie at 1am, you can still make your way to a nice eatery where you can stuff your belly to recharge for the next day. Hong Kong is truly a city that never gets dark or comes to a stop.
Light is an important part in celebrations in Hong Kong. Occasions or festivals like Chinese New Year, Hong Kong Establishment Day and Chinese National Day are times to celebrate with fireworks. Breathtaking fireworks glow over the Harbour with crowds of people lining the harbour on both sides to witness the spectacular display.
I read that recently, Hong Kong has shifted from neon lights to LED for cost effectiveness, safety and other technical reasons (watch the video above for the full explanation). That’s a shame, neon lights can be handcrafted to create different shapes and unique characters. When compared with LED, neons are brighter, glow with a larger variety of colours to help sign boards stand out.
Whatever happens to the lights of Hong Kong, in my heart nothing will stop the vitality of the city I love. In my heart, Hong Kong will still always be a city of energy and intense lights, and its sparkle is eternally vibrant.