Black spray paint on a bright yellow container on a pier. Blue sky and tall buildings in the background.
©Wendy Gan 2024

The Piers Of Kennedy Town

Wendy Gan

This is a working pier with pallets carelessly strewn about, containers piled high, and industrial detritus almost artfully scattered all over. Here the tug boats and their oversized wards come to dock. In the day, this is a place of grimy labour, of goods loading and unloading, ships coming and going. 

Wooden pallets strewn in front of a make shift shelter on a pier. A tug boat is on the left.
©Wendy Gan 2024

In the evenings and on the weekends, the pier becomes a space for play and for contemplation. This is where the denizens of western Hong Kong Island let loose. There is space enough for the dogs who spend their days in cramped flats to stretch out and run, for cyclists and joggers to pick up their pace and race the sea winds, for shutterbugs to catch a blazing pink and orange sunset, for anglers to sit and stare into the restless sea with their fishing lines, for young lovers to gaze into the horizon imagining their futures to be as expansive as the view. 

With an open sky overhead, everyone does as they please. 

A group of photographers on a pier photographing a puddle. The HK harbour and Kowloon with its hills and skyscrapers are behind them.
©Wendy Gan 2024

In a crowded city, it’s a place where you can breathe. 

In 2020, in the midst of the pandemic, just when we needed a space like this to preserve our sanity, the government closed off the pier to the public. 

Its loss was mitigated slightly by the opening of a new waterfront promenade nearby that incorporated a number of piers that had once been used by the Kennedy Town wholesale fish market. 

These are family-friendly spaces. There are railings all round to prevent any accidents and each pier is numbered and themed differently. One even has grass laid down for the many nature-deprived citizens of Hong Kong. 

 Still, the railings cannot keep the hardcore fishermen away from the open water.

A shirtless man fishes with a rod on the edge of a pier with the sun beginning to go down behind him
©Wendy Gan 2024

These are not raw spaces as the working pier was, but sometimes a burst of mild wildness does break out. 

A stray tabby cat lying on the waterfront promenade admires the view of the harbour and Kowloon. A ferry speeds along the harbour on the left.
©Wendy Gan 2024