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70代末的秀茂坪

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附上另兩張相片,一張以「大上托」為背境(攝於80年代),可以見到秀茂坪新區和舊區,最特別的,是「大上托」雖然只得419米高,山頂被一團雲所遮蓋著。大上托上的「安達臣礦場」的開採,已開至山頂。
另一張相片(攝於70代),雖然是拍攝母校官塘瑪利諾書院,但也可窺探到秀茂坪的面貌。

附上的相片,可見到秀茂坪舊區14和16座,背後應是木屋區大勝村。

秀茂坪是一個很多人認識的地區,它的發展,比官塘沿海一帶較遲,原因當然與它的位處半山這一個先天的地理環境有關,因為要先開採秀茂坪山坡上的泥土,用來作為官塘沿海一帶的填海使用,才可以將一大遍的山坡,闢為興建公共房屋之用。有人說秀茂坪從前叫「掃墓坪」,因為那裡有一個墳場,名叫「七號墳場」。

我收集秀茂坪未開發之前的資料並不多,但據我從多張不同年份的相片了解,那裡該沒有大型的墳場存在過。從一些相片看到,曾有一些農田在秀茂坪的山坡上開墾,部份田地在官塘(翠坪道)建成初期,仍然在山坡上出現。在此我希望有熟識秀茂坪歷史和發展的人士指正一下。之前提過,秀茂坪的開發,與官塘發展初期的移山填海有關,事實上,秀茂坪本身,也就是官塘發展的一部份。整個秀茂坪的發展,被規劃成一個興建公共房屋的區域,並取名秀茂坪,而秀茂坪最先建成的十多座公屋,就是普遍被人稱為舊區的一帶地方,即現時曉光街和秀麗街一帶的曉麗苑所在地。從前乘坐往秀茂坪舊區的小巴,要乘坐車頭掛著「八層」字樣那條路線的,原因是舊區的樓宇都只得八層高(連地下商舖的一層),同類型的公屋有從前官塘(鯉魚門道)外、從前的油塘、從前的部份葵涌及從前的柴灣等等。這一類舊屋比再舊一些的七層大廈的不同之處,除了樓層和高度不同,天台上並沒有設置學校,而走廊也變為在樓層的中央部份,將全層貫通,這種走廊的設計,也是較後期的大部份公屋所採用的模式。而浴室廁所都再不是公共的,每戶都有獨立的廁所,但全都設在每層樓的末端(這是後期經改善後的設計),住戶要如廁或洗澡,就與住在七層大廈的居民沒大分別,但衛生情況經已得到改善。而樓宇內並沒有裝設升降機,但早期的居民,以至當年的香港人都較為挨得。

很多人都記得秀茂坪區發生過「六一八」雨災,但事實上發生的地點較接近當年的官塘(翠坪道)(現時官塘瑪利諾書院南面的山坡)。反而較少人記得一九七六年在秀茂坪舊區曾發生的「八二五」雨災,當年豪雨令到第十五座(座數有待考證)後面一幅護土牆崩塌,山泥湧入地下和一樓的單位,活埋了十多二十人。欲知詳情,可在每年八月二十五日收看亞視的當年今日(一個不錯的電視節目,由當年伍國任作旁白至今播了二十多年,一直將近史累積下來,但當中也有些因該電視台的政治背景而沒有報導)。至於舊區的落成時間,應該在六十年代中。而秀茂坪舊區的東北面是秀茂坪新區,即秀茂坪道與秀明道一帶,新區的公屋,都是十多、二十層高的,那類型的公屋樓宇,曾經是全香港為數最多的公屋,例子比比佳是,有從前的官塘(翠坪道)、慈雲山、黃大仙,黃竹坑、高超道、葵芳等等,一一都經已重建了,還有現在還未重建的瀝源、荔景和還未清拆的牛頭角下等等。這類公屋每戶的浴室(也是廁所)都是設在單位內的,害怕半夜走到走廊盡頭如廁的居民,晚上再也不需要用「痰罐」盛載「夜尿」了。由於樓層高,也令升降機首次在公共房屋裡出現,但居住過這類公屋的人都知道,升降機只能到達樓宇中的其中三四個樓層,居民大都仍要依靠樓梯上落,但這也令到這類公屋的樓梯成為罪惡的溫床。過去在這些屋的樓梯曾發生過無數如劫殺、姦殺和搶劫傷人等等的嚴重罪案。秀茂坪新區面積廣闊,因此亦分為上秀茂坪和中秀茂坪,也令舊區變成為下秀茂坪。

新區始建於六十年代中,記得當我一家於一九六四年搬到官塘的和樂居住不久後,家父曾帶我和家人乘車到秀茂坪遊逛(約在一九六五、六六間),當時新區仍是一大遍建築地盤,沙塵滾滾。自小家父重視我的學業,亦鼓勵我多作運動,從小學開始,每一至兩個星期,便帶著我和姊姊到秀茂坪一帶行山,行的當然是「石屎」行人路,每次都沿著整個秀茂坪區走一圈,對一個七、八歲的小童說來,是「甘」的,卻為我的好體魄打了底。在行山的過程中,我見證了秀茂坪新區的開發,記憶中,新區中最早「入伙」的,是現今秀雅、秀樂樓一帶的幾座公屋,在行山的初期,那幾座公屋經已入伙了。而近現時秀茂坪中巴士總帶的公屋是較遲「入伙」的,記得在行山初期,當時那幾座公屋雖然經已建成,但內部設施的裝備,以至髹漆工程,還在進行中。而秀茂坪新區最後落成的幾座公屋,是若在一九七零年後才「入伙」的,因為記得在行山初期,那裡還在進行打樁工程,但工程的進度驚人,很快秀茂坪重建前的最後六座便樂成「入伙」了,這幾座公屋的舊位置應該現今的秀逸樓,秀豐街與秀茂坪道一帶,但由於在秀茂坪區重建的過程中,將秀茂坪道其中一段較弧形的路面拉直了,原來是弧型的一段,改建為從前沒有的秀豐街(路面海拔高度也改變了)及將寶琳路與秀茂坪道的交匯處向北面重置,因此上述幾座公屋的舊位置已較難確定,從前在秀茂坪四十幾座住過的居民,相信很難正確地尋找到舊址了。其中一件比較有趣是,秀茂坪首批被清拆重建的公屋,卻竟然是上述最後期建成的幾座。原因何在,想想這幾座公屋,正籍傳聞中六十年代末至七十年代初「鹹水樓」最興盛的時代建築,再想想同期建築而及後也因樓宇結構出了問題,在八十年代便要匆匆拆卸的葵芳第六座吧!整個秀茂坪由第一座至四十五座,公屋的總座數卻不是四十五座,因為部份座數的樓宇是沒有興建過的,但詳情我卻沒有資料。而類似的情況,在從前的牛頭角上也出現過(牛頭角上是沒有第五至第八座的)。秀茂坪舊區那邊為第一至第十幾座,新區的南面,由二十幾座開始至北面的第三十九座,至從前位於上述秀茂坪道弧形部份以東山坡開鑿後,興建的第四十至四十五座。而且建築的次序,亦不是全部由座數細的公屋至座數大的順序興建。

當年舊區座數細的十多座建成後,在新區的北面邊,是先興建座數為三十多的幾座,然後再在南面興建座數為二十多的幾座,最後才是座數四十及以上的最後幾座。無論如何,當年秀茂坪是繼慈雲山,這個全港最大的公共屋(慈雲山最大的座數好像是是六十一或六十二)後,穩坐老二之位。雖然秀茂坪的名字會令人聯想起公共屋,但事實上,在秀茂坪區除了公屋和相關的社區設施,亦有兩個私人發展的屋苑,都是位於曉光街近舊區那邊,一個是富華閣(即從前金茂坪戲院所在的樓宇),另一個是曉光閣和曉明閣兩座相連樓宇組成的屋苑。富華閣若於一九七五年落成售買,是典型的華懋地產的住宅(從頭尖額窄的外型便分辨得出來),曉光閣和曉明閣卻在富華閣落成三兩年後才落成。金茂坪戲院早已結業,並闢作貨倉,平日無人進出,顯得凋零,也因此成為鬧鬼的地點了。事實上,這兩個屋苑的商舖部份早已凋零,不像戲院全盛時代之時,在金茂坪外會人頭擁擁。那裡也曾有過一間私校的中學在辦學,也有過運輸署的牌照換領處,也有過私營老人院在設立。

在八十年代,曉光閣和曉明閣曾發生過一宗劫殺案,案中一對在上址居住的母女被殺害,而警方最後查出兇手是她們的一名親友。年幼時家住和樂新安樓413室,家中「騎樓」的近景是官塘(翠坪道)的七層大廈,較遠是秀茂坪的舊區,舊區後面便是新區。而新區之後,便是被安達臣礦場每天爆石開墾得面目全非的大上托(一座四百一十多米高,山勢並不險要,並有點像一條伏下來的鱷魚,但又並不是樂意(鱷魚)山的山)。小時候,我對秀茂坪最多的接觸,當然在「騎樓」的遠觀(包括用望遠鏡窺探),當家父帶我行山的時候,卻也只是在它的外圍步行,而絕不會走進屋內遊逛,原因是家父說秀茂坪那裡「雜」(治安不好,「飛仔」和「牛皇仔」多)。因此,我與秀茂坪的親身經歷,都是在就讀中學以後(當時家父已去世)。最能令我有勇氣,並經常走到秀茂坪這個從少便被灌輸為蠻荒區域的原因,其實是蘇小姐(別名),她是官塘區一間著名女校的校花,雖然在求學時代,我絕不敢去追求她,但中四那年(中一便認識當時經已就讀中四的她)也曾向她表示過對她的傾慕,自此,由翠坪道通往曉光街的一條長樓梯(建在六一八雨災後平整過的山坡上),我曾無數次經那裡送她返回她在秀茂坪的家,第拖一次她的手,也是在這條樓梯,在及後的十餘年,我的感情生活,以致我寫的兩部以「靜火」命名的長篇小說,都離不開蘇小姐。在中學時期,我也曾到過上秀茂坪的社區中心當義工,負責輔導小學生的功課,和組織帶他們去郊野旅遊等等的活動。在我畢業後未正式工作的一段時間裡,我喜歡沿著秀茂坪區的道路練習跑步,那是一條頗長的路線,由和樂開始,沿協和街、曉光街、秀明道、秀茂坪道,將軍澳道、鯉魚門(一小段)道至翠坪道返回和樂,足有九公里長,有的時候會將路線倒轉來跑。記得有一次,我還在曉光街遇上放工回家途中的蘇小姐……。當年將軍澳隧道,以至整個將軍澳區仍未開發,將軍澳道上的車輛還是非常的疏落。

工作之後,在一次燒烤活動中,認識了之前我在一間文具店裡經常遇見,我對她有好感的女子Joyce(別名),Joyce是居住在富華閣的,在我家裡用望遠鏡,應該是可以看到她的房間的。雖然因種種原因(主要是蘇小姐),我並沒有追求Joyce,但每次與Joyce她約會後,送她回到富華閣地下分別前,她總會對我說:「打俾我!」。這總代表著Joyce會接受和期待我下一次相約她,令我感覺無限的溫馨。記得一次,與Joyce她去飲酒,兩人都飲到半醉了,零晨三四點才送她回家,在車上,給她依偎著,不禁在她額上輕輕一吻,回到秀茂坪下車後,終於第一次陪同她乘坐升降機到她家門前,在臨別前輕擁著她,在她臉上深深一吻。當時我知道,只要時我想進入她家裡「再坐一會」,兩人當時內心的火花便必定會燃燒得一發不可收拾。但可惜,當時我還是選擇了做個「笨拙的紳士」。因我近年在油塘區工作,我再到將軍澳道練跑,雖然仍可以一口氣沿將軍澳道跑上秀茂坪,但沿途的大量重型貨車在身邊疾駛過和呼吸著每一口都是的廢氣,令我不得不放棄這條從前是練習長跑的好路線。今年初,我多次沿著秀茂坪的各條道路練跑,發覺整個秀茂坪區的公共房屋重建都幾近完成了,區內被分拆成為曉麗苑(舊區)、秀茂坪(新區)和寶達(從前沒有開發的)。我也再難找到昔日秀茂坪和我從前感情的點丁兒味道。但我並沒有感覺失望,因為轉變才是永恒的。

Ah On (main picture) and Dick Ho (insert)

(Adapted from HK magazine: http://hk-magazine.com/feature/losing-our-religion, December 5th, 2008)

Even our gods aren’t spared from our relentless urban redevelopment, writes June Ng.

Chai Tin Tai Shing—also known as the Monkey God—is said to be one of the few Taoist deities that can possess a human being in order to issue orders or guidance to our earthly realm. Legend has it that during a 1968 ritual, the Monkey God himself chose the site for the Tai Shing Temple in Sau Mau Ping, a squatter village known as Tai Shing Tsuen that once sheltered many Chiuchownese and Fukienese immigrants. The temple became the largest of four such buildings in the area, earning it the nickname Tin Shun Tseun, or “Village of Gods.”

Forty years later, however, the gods have been evicted. The government is planning a $3.3 billion development project at Anderson Road in Kwun Tong, in between Sau Mau Ping Road and Anderson Quarry. The land is to be converted into a residential area, including a public housing estate that can accommodate 48,000 people. The temples, while not on the site of the proposed buildings, stood in the way of a major road linking the area to the center of town.

The government first announced its development plan in 2000, but Sau Mau Ping residents tried to persuade authorities to change the design in order to preserve the temples. “We don’t object to building a public housing estate because it’s good for the people,” says Lam Cho-shut, chairman of the Tai Shing Temple Committee. “It’s possible to change where to build a road. But the government refused our suggestion because it might cost an extra $30 million.”

In the end, the Committee finally agreed to rebuild the temple along Po Lam Road. But when Joy Wong, a contributor to the blog “Living in Kwun Tong” (kwuntong.wordpress.com), and a photographer friend went to visit the temple cluster, she was shocked to find only ruins. “It’s heartbreaking to see that things in your community can disappear like that,” she says. “Something that’s always there and you never pay attention to, but once it’s gone you realize its significance.” Within three months, she says, all traces of the temples were gone.

So where are the gods now? Tai Shing Temple, together with its two neighboring temples, is in an old shipping containter until the Lands Department completes foundation work on the new site. (The Tin Hau Temple, which had honored the goddess of the sea, has ceased to exist after the temple master decided not to run it anymore.) But it’s not worship as usual. “At first they wouldn’t let us display the incensory for paper offerings to our gods, because the authorities say the land is for warehouses—which are for storage purposes only,” says Lam. “And people have to stay five meters away from the slope for safety reasons, even though the perimeter is already surrounded by fences. So how can people have space to walk in and worship the gods?”

It’s easy to dismiss such worship as sheer superstition with over-the-top rituals—worshippers, for example, might ask the Monkey God to possess them and then perform acts such as washing their face with boiling oil, walking on burning charcoal, or climbing a ladder made of blades with their bare feet. Some believe drinking the ash of paper offerings can cure diseases. But Cheung Sui-wai, a history professor at the Chinese University, sees these rituals as part of Hong Kong’s cultural heritage, reflecting the lives of early non-Cantonese immigrants such as the Chiuchownese and Fukienese. “A lot of new immigrants did not speak Cantonese, but only in their own dialects,” he says. “So the district temples naturally became essential places for them to socialize.” While times have changed, that sense of community has not. Residents of Sau Mau Ping still celebrate the Monkey God’s birthday, although on a smaller scale this year after the basketball court they had been using was torn down.

The Tai Shing Temple’s case is not unique—according to Kwun Tong district councilor Lau Ting-on, there are approximately 23 temples in East Kowloon, some of which will be affected by redevelopment in Kwun Tong and Ngau Tau Kok. Lau stresses that he is not opposed to redevelopment, but that a balance should be struck between urban development and traditional culture, as temples bear significant historic value and provide comfort to early non-Cantonese immigrants. Lau is even planning to write a book detailing the stories behind the district’s temples.

When asked whether they would help preserve temples under threat, the Home Affairs Bureau’s Chinese Temple Committee (CTC) replied, “All properties/structures including temples affected by urban redevelopment projects shall be dealt with by the project proponents concerned in accordance with the law. This falls outside the purview of the CTC.” And, in actuality, the CTC only directly administers 24 temples, most of them already graded historical buildings—which means most small temples like this one in Sau Mau Ping pass by unnoticed. The CTC also refused to say whether any surveys had been done on the conservation value of temples in Hong Kong.

While the structures and related property can be preserved, many of our religious ceremonies are likely doomed to fade away. “The government does not support this intangible cultural heritage, especially religious rituals,” says Professor Cheung. “They respect visitors but not the community. All they think about is whether or not a place has tourist value. The need to provide for religious ceremonies is definitely not accounted for in our urban design.”

一直對自己的居所後面山坡的廟宇十分好奇,但一直以為「一眼睇晒」、「無特別」,直至剛過去的大聖爺誕才走一趟,和給摧毁的「天神村」會面。

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是的, 我們來得太遲了。如果不是朋友買了新相機去拍照, 如果不是今年在觀塘秀茂坪大聖宝誔, 農曆九月初一那天多問了幾句, 我們還不知道大聖廟的原址在那裏。原來今年四月時, 大聖廟仍然位於原址。令人感慨的是, 城市發展來得太快, 還未及回應, 己經溜走和拆走了。

From 大聖廟

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觀塘市中心重建在即, 店子一個地一個被關上。不論是你的觀塘故事, 又或者透過同街坊傾偈, 所知道的故事, 又或者是攝影和錄像, 都歡迎你跟我們一起紀錄觀塘。我們希望透過這個網頁眾集一班朋友, 紀錄將要逝去的觀塘, 並了解這裏的過去, 再檢討現在的觀塘發展, 是怎麼回事了? 你可透過發郵件到kwuntong2007@gmail.com 或留言在comment裡。 flickr的相,請用「kwuntong」tag住,就可以在下面「看看"我"的官塘」中見到大家的照片

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