Sam Tung Uk Museum: A Taste of Classic Hong Kong Life

By Samuel Phineas Upham

During the 1700s, the Chan clan moved into Guangdong from Fujian. Their goal was to try and settle down, creating a farming village for stable foodstuffs. They were Hakka people, who built a walled city to defend themselves and protect their crops.

The village site was inhabited all the way until the 1980s, when it was finally vacated. In March of 1981, the Hong Kong government declared the site a historical monument.

The site has been turned into a museum, with its twelve original houses preserved. Some small modifications have been made, such as adding a reception area to certain rooms, but the goal was to preserve this slice of Hakka life. The structure has a main exhibition hall, which has exhibits that change roughly every six months. The orientation room also contains documents that depict the restoration process in detail.

The layout of the village is designed to mimic a chessboard. It’s symmetrical, with an entrance hall and ancestral hall both on the center axis that runs through the village. The village’s “walls” are made of rows of houses that create an impenetrable barrier at the sides and rear of the village.

The office recently came under the supervision of the Intangible Cultural Heritage Office, which can trace its roots back to a movement that started in 2009. The office was created to try and catalogue the many cultural heritage sites housed within Hong Kong’s borders. Today, the village is open for public viewings, with free admission.

Samuel Phineas Uphamis an investor from NYC and SF. You may contact Phin on his Samual Phineas Upham website or Facebook page.

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