Sunday, 5 August 2012


An urban area in Hong Kong, comprising the Kowloon Peninsula and New Kowloon. It is bordered by the Lei Yue Mun strait in the east, Mei Foo Sun Chuen and Stonecutter's Island in the west, Tate's Cairn and Lion Rock in the north, and Victoria Harbour in the south.

Lowry visited Hong Kong on his voyage to the Far East in 1927. Lowry arrived on board Pyrrhus on July 19th 1927 and departed on the 21st.

Lowry refers to Kowloon in his novel Ultramarine "I am on a ship, I am going to Japan - or aren't I?" then he lists all the places he is due to visit including Kowloon (Ultramarine Pg. 18); "Later, in the dock, at Kowloon it was, he had been able to show that at least he was the fastest and most skilful swimmer on board the Oedipus Tyrannus" (Pg. 25); "Why,! I went a shore at Penang. And in Singapore and Kowloon and in Port Swettenham too!" (Pg. 58) and "Behind the ship the Peninsular Hotel at Kowloon loomed darkly.." (Pg.77). Later Lowry referred to Kowloon in his novella Lunar Caustic; "And in Singapore. No, Kowloon. Jesus! We shot every bastard on the way whether they were innocent or not." (Psalms Pg. 291)

Reclamation Road
Stan Hugill describes Kowloon's sailortown as follows;

....over in Kowloon, in Reclamation Road, were to be found more prostitute dwelling. Thes were nearly all tenement houses, filled with scuppers with rickshaw-pullers, professional beggars, sew-sew girls, and of course, prostitutes. The sew-sew girls and young prostitutes, often one and the same thing, hung every ship making fast in Kowloon, dodging the Sikh watchman with ease, although at times he would chase them with his lathi or bamboo stick. The sew'sews had a song which ran:

A.B.C.D Tai toi luk chi,
Lai-yan u doh, choi pi, pi!

which roughly translated means: "The Sikh policeman is no good at catching people; all he can do is blow his whistle." The girls who, in previous years, climbed up the sides of ships at anchor, and known to the old time sailortown as "Midnight Fairies", were stilla round, but now, since their fee had gone up, were called the "Dollar Princesses". ( Sailortown Pg. 326-27)

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