I went to visit Dr Sun 歷史足跡
Following my wander around Central, I went to visit Dr Sun one day. Dr Sun Yat Sen is the founding father of modern China and was pivotal in overthrowing the Qing Dynasty in 1911 to form the Republic of China. Despite the subsequent political differences between Taiwan, China and Hong Kong, Dr Sun is still highly respected by all the Chinese around the region, as well as the rest of the world. Dr Sun spent some of his earlier years studying in Hong Kong in the late 19th century. Traces of his footsteps can be found on many places around Central and mid levels. One such place is the Dr Sun Yat Sen Museum.
Visit Dr Sun
The museum is located within a century old mansion at the mid levels called Kam Tong Hall. This was built by the richest Chinese merchant, the Hotung family in 1914 during the early years of British colonial rule. Back then, only the British could live at the mid levels. The Hotung family were the first Chinese family that were allowed to move into the area.
A big bronze statue of the young Dr Sun stands outside in the courtyard. He is holding some Chinese and English books and still wearing the traditional chinese style clothes from the Qing dynasty. This is a reflection of his love of education and reform, the transitional period from old to new, and a sign of moving towards the new world.
Inside the museum
The four storey house is filled with lots of very valuable artefacts about the Dr Sun’s life, in particularly about his time in Hong Kong. There was a lot of information about his journey on how he was nurtured to become a great revolutionary leader, his 16 year exile in London and Japan and touring of Europe and US to raise awareness and funds for his revolutionary causes. His life story can’t really be condensed in a few sentences. If you’re interested to find out more you can read it here. I prefer visual learning, and the museum was a great way for me learn more about this great statesmen.
There weren’t many other visitors when I was there, and the staff were very helpful in explaining everything. They especially reminded me where I could and couldn’t take photos. Pretty much the entire interior of the house, and all the artefacts on display were off-limits. The main banquet hall and the staircase were the only area where photography was permitted.
The focal point of the house is the grand staircase. This teak staircase extends from the ground floor to the second floor and truly brings out the grandeur of the house. Luckily I was able to get some decent photos as there weren’t many other visitors.
The balcony is on the second floor. It has a lovely curved balcony and beautiful tiles. Strictly speaking this isn’t the inside of the house, so I took the liberty of taking a few photos here.
I had another nice chat with the staff once I got back downstairs . They were quite surprised with my interest in the house as most locals and Chinese just wander around for a look. I told them that I used to live in UK and loved to visit old English houses. They were very eager to tell me more behind the scene stories about the work in restoring the house and the involvement by the Hotung family’s descendants. A few of them have returned to their former home after it was converted to the museum and were quite touched when they reminisce about their time here.
In return I told that I briefly met one of the many descendants during my time in London, that’s why I am aware of Kam Tong Hall. They were quite excited when they were aware that more descendants are scattered around the world and wish that more of them could return and give their side of the story in order to preserve the history and memory of this majestic house.
If you’re ever in Hong Kong, and are interested to find out more about the history of Hong Kong, please do visit Dr Sun Yat Sen Museum. You can find more information about it here.