Friday, 4 February 2011

Night of the big bang

A traditional Hong Kong sport (apart from betting on horses and pouring concrete in the harbour), is blowing things up.

Gunpowder, firecrackers, your neighbour's facial hair, combustible chemicals stuffed into a hollow length of bamboo, it's all fair game if the excuse is New Year.

I'm told that this happy-go-lucky festival of explosion takes place around a night when you're not allowed to go to sleep. Apparently there is a tradition that at New Year you must stay awake all night. Family members may even give you a good kicking if you nod off. Maybe that is an unreliable reporting of a traditional custom, but I didn't find the idea comforting that the bloke in charge of lighting 345 firecrackers hadn't slept for 36 hours.

Anyway, someone who may or may not have slept is in charge of blowing up Victoria Harbour. The container ships are prevented from streaming in, the ferries are shut down, the sampans put away, and six million people try and crowd onto every available viewpoint to watch 23 minutes 23 seconds of a reenactment of the Big Bang.

It's the artillery works all over again. With picture rabbits, lit up in fire colours. A big boom boom boom. Don't mess with it. Hong Kong is proving something to the world. It can bang bigger than you can.

As you can see, Grit's photographs reduce the night to something that resembles a particularly uninspiring November 5th party over by the Birmingham flyover. Prettier pictures over here instead.


sharon said...

Very pretty, and I bet the NY fireworks were not accompanied by a load of drunken yobs as they so often are here!

Gweipo said...

somewhat safer here than China, where you can buy every and any fireworks on street corners and people set them off everywhere as well!

Grit said...

only a little bit of quiet drunken yobbery in our corner sharon. i swear it was only with a pot plant.

you are right gweipo. in the last few days i saw an elderly woman show a toddler boy how to throw firecrackers at the ground for maximum effect. what would ROSPA make of that i wonder?!