22 February 2019
A view of Pottinger Street in 1958 from Queen's Road Central
A view of Pottinger Street in 1958 from Queen's Road Central

New book gives fascinating peek into 1950s Hong Kong

The Commercial Press (Hong Kong) has just released a fascinating new book that captures the Hong Kong of the 1950s through more than 200 old pictures.

In the book, which was curated by local historian Cheng Po-hung, readers get to see various facets of the old Hong Kong, including the transportation, housing, commercial, medical and education infrastructure. The ’50s were a period of many challenges and hopes, as a lot of mainland refugees came to Hong Kong after a change of regime in Beijing.

The Korean War between 1950 and 1953 stopped China’s export trade and hurt Hong Kong’s re-export-based economy. The city then began transforming into an industrial center and took other steps, paving the way for its eventual bloom as an international city.

The book’s title is inspired by a song made popular by famous singer Leslie Cheung — ‘achieve better living without complaints’, in loose translation — which describes the hard struggle that Hong Kong people waged to establish the city’s current modern economy.

Cheng Po-hung, 74, has been a collector of Hong Kong historical items including stamps, coins, pictures and postcards. He is the honorary consultant of the Hong Kong Museum of History, the Hong Kong Heritage Museum and the University Museum and Art Gallery.

He had earlier published other books, including works that describe the street views of Hong Kong, the restaurants in the old-age, and the time when Hong Kong was under the control of the Japanese army in the early 1940s.

–Contact HKEJ at [email protected]


Tsim Sha Tsui seafront and pier in 1955.

New immigrants in Hong Kong take help to write letters back home.

Students taking Abacus classes in 1953

Small-scale spinning factory, a family business, in 1960

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