A friend shared an excellent New York Times article on the loss of Hong Kong’s jungle of neon signs which are slowly being replaced with LED versions which while brighter and easier to maintain lack the same warm glow as neon and the more I read the more nostalgic I felt as the territory has always been one of my favorite destinations.
I won’t claim the switch has been something I’d noticed in recent trips including my last in February for Chinese New Year which could be why the story resonated with me as it’s been more of a subtle change over time than a definite end such as the closure of Kai Tak Airport or the demolition of the Kowloon Walled City. While the signs are staying losing the neon reminds me of other lost local landmarks such as Checker cabs in New York City or the vanishing of the iconic red phone boxes around the U.K. as I’d read about in this BBC article a few months back.
Maybe it’s a little nostalgic as my logical side knows few things remain unchanged forever but the emotional side mourns these little losses and feels that by degree the world looks more and more alike the more I travel.
For those interested in learning more there is a great video on the making of neon signs presented by M+, Hong Kong’s museum for visual culture whose permanent facility is currently under construction in West Kowloon.