Ding Ding Stories: Who is Riding Hong Kong’s Trams?

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Nicolas Petit for Zolima CityMag

“Inside this peaceful oasis, you have more time to reflect.”

Wong points out the No. 120 tram with excitement when it passes by. “That is the only one of its kind circulating in Hong Kong!” he exclaims.

“Coming from the New Territories, I definitely think that the tram is one of the unique features of Hong Kong Island. I remember walking around Wan Chai and hopping on the tram when I was younger. I think the image of the tram has changed with time as well, before perhaps it was simply a form of public transport, whereas now it has become something different.

“When you enter a tram it is like entering a different world. The world outside the tram runs at a different speed from the internal world. You can kind of sit back and watch the speed of people rushing for traffic lights, horns beeping, and yet inside this peaceful oasis, you have more time to reflect. Sitting still is conducive to thinking and people get on the tram knowing that it will stop at every single shelter, that the driver cannot run a red light. So you’re not so focused on time. When we slow down, there is finally space for our thoughts.”

Wong Ming-fung
Stationmaster for New Lantau Bus Company, living in Tung Chung
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Nicolas Petit for Zolima Citymag

“I know Hong Kong and trams from my grandparents and movies. Coming back now is like coming a full circle.”

“This is is my first time in Hong Kong. I now live in Seattle. My family emigrated from Hong Kong to the US to give me the opportunities they thought they could never have here. I was raised by my grandparents, so the Cantonese dialect is highly sentimental for me. To hear it spoken everywhere is so special.

“In the United States, I have been conducting research on Chinese immigrant labour rights in the past and how the restaurant business was often the only source of work. It was about fulfilling the American Dream, so coming back now to Hong Kong is like coming a full circle.

“I walk around this neighbourhood with nostalgia for the life I could have had, the small alleys, and the small shops and of course the tram. It is so iconic.

“Growing up, I saw the tram in Hong Kong movies, it was always so picturesque. My relatives probably saw the tram as innovative at the time and now I see it as historic, but we both look at it with the same sense of awe.”

Anna Fun
Chinese-American researcher

Visit the Ding Ding Diaries website to read more stories, and submit your own story for a chance to be featured on a tram. 
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