Saturday, February 12, 2011

Education (This week's Photo Hunt theme)

If these walls could talk, they would have much to tell us about education -- particularly that which takes place in far flung rural areas in Hong Kong --for they belong to the now ruined buildings of the abandoned Lin Fa Shan School that now lies in the middle of Tai Lam Country Park (which came into being in 1979) -- and which I've encountered on hikes through that section of the Big Lychee.

According to the country park's website, In the past, tungsten and other ores were mined in Lin Fa Shan near Route Twisk. Production ceased after the war as ore prices dropped, but old mines have remained to this day. (Hmmm... so... maybe the "hidden holes" and "hidden caves" that I got warned about in Tai Lam Country Park are the entrances to some of these old mines?)

Although I have seen my share of abandoned and semi-abandoned villages while out hiking in Hong Kong, I actually didn't see any in Lin Fa Shan -- aside from the ruined school buildings there that is. And internet searches post-hike have yielded very little information indeed about the village or the school itself.

So, if its walls could talk, here are some questions I'd like to ask it: When did Lin Fa Shan School actively exist as an educational institution? How many pupils did it have each year? I'm going to presume it was a primary school -- if so, did many of its students go on to secondary school and does this school have any notable alumni? How far away did the pupils live from the school and need to walk to it and back home (since I also can't see any actual roads leading to and from the educational institution)? What sort of education did one receive there? (I'm thinking in Cantonese and pretty elementary -- but maybe more practical-oriented than most too?) Do any of them return to site from time to time -- if nothing else than for nostalgic reasons?

See? This is what happens when I hike in Hong Kong -- or, for that matter, stroll about its more urban areas. That is, I find things that make me curious about this and that part or aspect of Hong Kong society, culture, history and wildlife! (And yeah, I will also say that visits to the blog homes of other Photo Hunt participants do often similarly get me wanting to know and learn more and more about the big, wide, interesting and diverse world out there. So, yes, I do appreciate that this particular meme founded by tnchick is working to encourage and assist my continuing education! :b )


Carver said...

This was a fascinating post for me. I'd love to hike there and talk to those walls, especially if they'd talk back and answer my questions. I love the shots you took. I think that is so interesting to have the ruins of a school in the middle of a park. Great take on the theme. Happy weekend.

Liz said...

Great shots. I would love to see those ruins too.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Liz @ MLC

magiceye said...

loved your take on the theme..

Randi said...

Wonderful!! You managed very well on this difficult theme.
Happe weekend.

YTSL said...

Hi Carver --

I'm hoping that maybe someone (or more) with answers to my queries will come across this blog entry and respond to them. That would be great, right? :)

Hi Liz --

The ruins are a bit out of the way as far as most of Hong Kong is concerned but there are a couple of really nice hikes for which they are along the way. Maybe when/if you come to Hong Kong, you can give at least one of them a try. :)

Hi magiceye --

Am glad you did so. :)

Hi Randi --

Actually, didn't find this theme too difficult. Thought last week's was more difficult, to be honest! :D

bing said...

very interesting. i would also ask those questions seeing the ruins of a school. if the walls could talk, i bet there would be lots more interesting stuff to learn.

upto6only said...

nice take. I felt sad for the ruined school.

happy weekend

Colin Campbell said...

Old buildings always have a story to tell. Very interesting as always. Have a nice weekend.

ipanema said...

great post. i love the old structure.

happy weekend! :)

Unknown said...

ruins are always interesting, and always make us wonder of its history. the remnants of this old school is fascinating.

Trekcapri said...

Hi YTSL, very cool take on this week's theme and I love your photos of these old school house structures. When I see interesting things I also wish they could talk with their stories . . . the things we could learn if that was possible. Love your commentery at the end.

Have a great hiking weekend!

gengen said...

Nice choice for the theme. It is a kind of history that you will not forget...Happy hunting.

Susan Demeter said...

I find I learn a lot thanks to this meme too, and in particular I enjoyed this entry on the abandoned school. What terrific atmospheric shots. It evokes a sadness for a time when the students would have been learning, and the old building was in its prime.

YTSL said...

Hi Bing --

*Sigh* If only those walls could talk indeed...!

Hi upto6only --

Try to look on the bright side and imagine the good times spent in that school!

Hi Colin --

Thanks and hope you have a good weekend too. :)

Hi ipanema --

Thanks -- and I really did enjoy exploring that area. :)

Hi Luna Miranda --

Hope I won't have to wonder too long/forever re this school... ;)

Hi Trekcapri --

Thanks for the cool comments re the post. Re hiking: hmmm, alas, maybe not this weekend as the forecast is for rain tomorrow and I was busy doing culture vulturing and foodie things today! ;(

Hi gengen --

I hope the buildings won't disintegrate too fast -- because I fear that if they do, that school's existence will be easily forgotten/not realised by many.

Hi Sue --

Wouldn't it be great if some photos could be found of the school when it was in use?

Marta said...

These are great. I love the second one with the jungle growth taking over the concrete wall. Definitely if these walls could talk.

Gattina said...

Very interesting post as always !

Eden said...

I often have those wonderings when I see old schools or even school structures of present days. Great take on the theme.

Mine is up here:

Fruitbearers said...

I like hiking and I like taking pictures of old, abandoned buildings :). The history behind those always interest me.

My photo hunt this week is up at .

YTSL said...

Hi Martha --

Am not sure if Hong Kong's foliage is real jungle material -- compared to that of Malaysia's rain forest, it seems so much less dense. But... it sometimes is all relative, isn't it? :D

Hi Gattina --

*Blush* at the "as always" part -- thanks for that. :)

Hi Fruitbearers --

Sounds like we should go hiking together, complete with photo-taking equipment, some time then... ;b

Ann, Chen Jie Xue 陈洁雪 said...

Are you sourcing places to shoot a Kung Fu movie? This would be a better place to trek than Malaysia as it won't be so hot.

YTSL said...

Hi Ann --

Teehee at your kung fu movie location sourcing suggestion! And I have to admit that I sometimes have fantasies of being engaged as a Hong Kong movie location scout based on my blog photos and accounts. :D

And yes, most of the year, Hong Kong is a far better place than Malaysia to hike -- but believe it or not, it can get quite a bit hotter in Hong Kong in the summer than at any time in Malaysia! :O

jams o donnell said...

Another great take on the theme. You always provide a view of Hong Kong I never imagined existed

Anonymous said...

Interesting - I always think of Hong Kong as this crowded metropolis - the thought that there are rural portions with abandoned settlements was an education for me.


YTSL said...

Hi jams --

Thanks -- and am glad that I'm broadening your knowledge of Hong Kong by and by. :)

Hi JDeQ --

There are sections of Hong Kong that is indeed very high density and urban -- but, yeah, Hong Kong is indeed physically so much more diverse than many people realize. :)

Pete said...

Did you go inside the school to see if anything remained? Sometimes you can find old exercise books etc that can give a clue as to when it was last used. There must be dozens of these abandoned village schools across HK and they are always fascinating to find.

Irene said...

Interesting post. Thanks for dropping by ;)

YTSL said...

Hi Pete --

I didn't go inside because the undergrowth was pretty thick and I didn't want to accidentally step on a snake or something along the lines. (Incidentally, that area is a haven for grasshoppers -- or, at least, was on the day I went there!) From the outside looking in, didn't see any old exercise books -- but did spot some... used condoms *yuck*!

Hi Irene --

Thanks and you're welcome. :)

YTSL said...

Hi Eden --

Don't know why but Blogger detected your comments as Spam! Have belately realized that it's otherwise -- thanks for visiting!