Hong Kong’s LegCo Building

The grant facade of Hong Kong’s LegCo Building

One of the highlights of Hong Kong is its strong affiliation to Britain and this outstretches even to architecture and public infrastructures. One of these highlights in impressive outdoor structures is the Old Legislative Council building situated beside the Statue Square on Connaught Road in Central Hong Kong. The impressive 1843 LegCo building used to house the Legislative Council of Hong Kong until 2011 when it transferred to its new and more modern, upscale complex. This structure was built upon the orders of the British governor and the first Hong Kong constitution mandated the operations of the Legislative Council from this historic building. Historically, it took until 1991 when direct elections were administered across Hong Kong to select members of the Legislative Council and it has been directly elected for the first time in 1995 where all seats are up for grabs in local elections. This is Hong Kong’s pride, the LegCo Building, used to be the historic building used by the Supreme Court!  

The 1843 historic Hong Kong LegCo Building previously used by the Supreme Court

I have visited this building based on what I read from literatures and because it is near the Statue Square at Central Park, I just walk across it and took photos. The building was designed by Sir Aston Webb and Ingress Bell. These architects were also responsible for the construction of the eastern part of the Buckingham Palace in London. The entire building was made entirely of granite and in neo-classical design supported by Ionic columns. During the time of the Japanese occupation of Hong Kong, the same building serves as the headquarters of Japanese military police.

The backdoor of the LegCo Building is a statement in itself

The door speaks of history and witnessed the powerful and the trodden who passes her by to the LegCo Building

The LegCo building is where I am fond taking photos of its arch and its windows and doors. They are impressive and I wanted to get a glimpse of what is inside however, it was Saturday and the building is closed. The funny experience I had was when I was asking for directions with two female Hong Kong police. I asked to where the location of the Man Mo Temple and since they have not understood my English, I showed them my IPad notes of the places I wanted to go and asked where the temple is. One lady showed her disbelief that I am bringing an IPad and I am obviously like those they despised on Central Park: Filipinos! I asked her I wanted to get directions to the Man Mo temple and she waved me goodbye as she does not know the directions on the map despite showing it to her.

I took my way back to where I started, the MTR Central Station and find a way to my next destination. My experience walking pass this gargantuan building is enriching as I learn more about how Hong Kong became too British to Asia. I say the Crown has decreed that Hong Kong will be the jewel in Victoria’s hands and truest to what I saw on LegCo, this is what Britain to Hong Kong and Hong Kong to the Brits.

The great Lady of Justice, Themis stood proudly on the LegCo Building. This is the replica of the one installed on Old Bailey in London

The archway of the LegCo Building in Hong Kong, impressive

On my way back to the MTR station, I came across a signage, a caveat to those idling their time in Statue Square and the LegCo building. Lamentably, Filipinos are singled out with its warning because we are fond eating while we idle time away. True, but insanely hurting to a bruised ego already. Worse, it is short of xenophobic to warn everyone in Tagalog, in English and in Cantonese for Filipinos are known to understand English, better speakers of the language too though realistically, the most prone to ignore warnings like these.

Discriminatory or stark reality?

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Categories: Hong Kong | Tags: , , , , | 5 Comments

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5 thoughts on “Hong Kong’s LegCo Building

  1. I don’t find it discriminatory because, first – admittedly we Filipinos love to bring food everywhere, even in buses, parks, beaches, – second – its a fact that many Filipinos live in HK, maybe they put it as courtesy of the number of Filipinos visiting the place.

    Reminds me of the movie “Sphere” wherein the characters went into the future and found a trash can with the words “Basura” inscribed on it. To some it might be meaningless, but the other reason for that is, Filipinos are everywhere and the writer of that movie probably expects that Filipinos will blend in many different countries all over the world or most of em might end up as NASA astronauts, thus the needed inclusion of “Tagalog” words, in labels, signs, etc.

    Japanese do not feel slighted everytime they see Japanese characters printed underneath English wordings in signs all over the world – so I don’t think we must make a big fuss over that sign.

    • My thoughts on it goes this way. Though we may find it odd at times that we loved to eat anywhere we like without even a good housekeeping practice afterwards, they could have just left it in English so as not to target specifically to only Filipinos. The stark realities dictate that we have millions of Filipinos working in HK and I believed, they are well-educated and can understand, speak and write good English as we are best known for, thus, what the need for our language to be there?

  2. Choo

    You see what you want to see, depends of your perspective. My take is that Filipinos are 1/3 the population of Hong Kong and admittedly not allow them are good in English. World domination!

  3. Choo

    Rather than be unhappy with the idea of seeing Tagalog in signages, why not be appreciative that the Hong Kong government takes the extra mile to make the message understandable to us Filipinos. Come to think of it, they must’ve hired a Filipino for the translation.

    • I would rather also want to see Bahasa Indonesia there as I read the same place is also where Indonesian OFWs are staying on their free time. My position always is like this: while I appreciate the Hong Kong government for being multi-lingual in its approaches to something like this, the Filipinos are know speakers of English and we can understand it. Well, of course, unless that capability has changed lately, that Filipinos working there do not anymore understand English or Cantonese perhaps.

      Thanks for your comment Choo. I missed ya na!

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