Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Hong Kong: Pak Tai Temple

Yesterday, in the report of an ongoing court case, the following caught the eye:
New City Construction, as McDonnell noted, was the contractor for the "restoration" of Pak Tai Temple on Cheung Chau, which was demolished with the result that all the important architectural items were lost. Source: (Hong Kong) Standard
Important architectural items lost? Surely not. Let's see:
This temple had undergone several major renovations in 1822, 1838, 1858, 1903 and 1989. The latest one by the Chinese Temples Committee commenced in 1999 and was completed in 2003 with a project sum of $13 million. Source: Chinese Temples Committee -- Pak Tai Temple
Thirteen million? Who knew? For a major renovation? But that's for a "major" renovation, not a restoration. What's the difference? Discuss.

Anyway, how about this for a formula: restoration -> major renovation = demolition? Could be. What do you think? After all, during the 'restoration/renovation' the temple was surrounded by shuttering. Work-in-progress was impossible to view by prying eyes. Since when, the last time Mister Bijou went for a walk around Pak Tai Temple -- about a year ago -- all the stonework inside and externally looked remarkably new . . .

Perhaps this oft-quoted statement:
This temple was built in 1783 and is now listed as Grade 1 historical building by the Antiquities Advisory Committee
needs to be re-assessed. Like, for instance:
This temple was last knocked down and rebuilt at the turn of the 21st century but is still listed as a Grade 1 historical building by the Antiquities Advisory Committee.
Truth in advertising, and all that.

(oh, here for photo of Pak Tai Temple)

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