Seasons greetings -- and thanks especially to those Photo Hunters and other visitors of Christian faith who are taking some time out of their festive program to check out this Photo Hunt entry! (Though, of course, I'm happy to get visitors of any faith -- especially those who *hint* *double hint* leave nice comments on this blog -- any day of the year... :b)
And now to this week's theme -- for which I found a plentiful number photos in my archive that would fit but ended up settling on the two above of large outdoor stoves built in anticipation of such facilities being needed for people fleeing from the invading Japanese military forces who already had been waging a war in China since 1937. (The Sino-Japanese War of 1937 to 1945 was the largest Asian war of the 20th century and, after the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor and launched near simultaneous invasions of Malaya (now West Malaysia) and elsewhere on December 7/8th, 1941).
Accessible via the Quarry Bay Tree Walk, these emergency kitchen facilities are now located within Tai Tam Country Park (Quarry Bay Extension), a place of natural beauty and general quiet these days that actually was a bloody battleground for a time in late 1941. As it turned out however, fires were never lit in earnest inside of these circles because the Battle of Hong Kong lasted for less than a month -- beginning on the morning of December 8th, 1941 (less than 8 hours after the attack on Pearl Harbor) and ending with a formal surrender on Christmas Day that year.
Close to six decades on, these outdoor stoves remain to serve as silent reminders of a time of turbulence that there hopefully will not be a repeat of any time soon -- but, also, if one were to take a closer look, a more innocent function. That is, someone has (or some people have) decided to turn a number of these idle stoves into flower pots out of which a variety of plants grow!
On a day when the general sentiment is to wish peace and goodwill to all men (and women), I'd like to leave you with the image of colorful life growing out of something built in an atmosphere of fear and foreboding. In addition, here's also pointing out that on Christmas Day 1941, within hours of Hong Kong's surrender to the Japanese invaders, a group of British and Chinese military men managed to make a daring escape with the help of Chinese guerillas and local villagers -- and this daring feat is currently being commemorated in an exhibition at the Hong Kong Museum of Coastal Defence that runs through to December 2011.