Pines off the Lines
Many records were lost during the wars; but many are lost every year without aid from wars.
Old residents die or depart, and with them go the last chance of clearing up Hongkong’s historical mysteries.
It is the duty of all old residents to write their reminiscences.
It is also the duty of all young residents to find and keep the reminiscences.
Man Chung Fong or Maan Chung Fong has been a mysterious area related to Happy Valley District.
The former name was recorded in several Chinese and English newspapers.
The latter name was recorded in a book about racing, on page 179 of《Pow Mah》written by Henry Ching.
However, its Chinese name, 萬松坊, has a meaning of ‘a lane or memorial archway with a great number of pine trees’.
The related Pine trees could be originated from the time before the Pleasure Garden turned into Yeung Wo Hospital.
The Garden, was a name appeared in many racing records such as newspapers and the book by Governor Henry May, before it turned into Pleasure Garden.
However, except these, few of the anecdotes relate to Man Chung Fong as a patch to its decades disappearance:
1900s and its early years, a terrace of houses called the Man Chung Fong was built in front of the Wong Nei Chong village.
1926-08-12, Report of the land officer for the year 1925 stated the Surrenders item:
“One hundred and fifty-six deeds whereby one hundred and eighty lots were surrendered to the Crown were prepared and registered in the Land Office; the majority of these related to lots which were required for public improvements including practically the whole of the village of Wong-nei-chong, which has now disappeared. ….”
1929-08-27, Poon Tat Mei , a member of Chinese United League, a well-known calligrapher- painter, photographer and correspondent passed away at No. 5 Man Chung Fong.
1932-03-24, a murder happened at Village Road , and one of the related persons, who had a tailoring shop at No. 17, Man Chung Fong .
1938-03-30, a piece of news about a housewife lived at No. 15 Man Chung Fong, Happy Valley, a thief broke into her house and robbed her money and jewellery in the early morning, reported on《Industrial Commercial Daily Press》.
1948-07-25, an ‘ Old Hongkong ‘ column in South China Moring Post of mentioned such name:
“Thirty years ago the upper end of the valley (Wong Nei Chung) was still a wilderness.
The Man Chung Fong terrace ( at the tram terminus) was there, and over the way the pleasure garden known as Happy Retreat ( now the Hongkong Sanatorium).
The trams came in the other way to a dead end at the Grandstands.
Racing men referred to the entrance to the straight as the Village Bend.
Behind the Man Chung Fong terrace it was all paddy fields and peasants’ houses.”
1950s, a tram-waiting pavilion had been erecting at the left side along the entrance corridor of No.15 Wong Nai Chung Road.
1954, a tramway route diagram indicates the Happy Valley terminus at a similar location.
Many historic landmarks have amazing courses of urban developments.
Man Chung Fong might be completely forgotten due to urbanization.
The position, location, orientation might be drastically different as nowadays.
The best examples are the Tramway, Sports Road, the Grandstand.
That could be the same as the Village, which was originally positioned along the Village Road, much higher beyond the race track along Wong Nei Chung Road.
Man Chung Fong is surely the varnishing one among many others in Happy Valley District or in Hongkong.
In that locality, Green Lane and Sing Woo Crescent are the only area named as “Fong” in Chinese.
960 meters = 1/2 mile 170 yards; 1207 meters = 6 Furlong; 1609 meters = 1 mile; 1766 meters = 1 mile 171 yards; 2012 meters = 1-1/4miles; 2816 meters = 1-3/4 miles.
Acknowledgment to Mr Lacuda Mengnah; HKJC Archives; Hong Kong Racing Museum for relevant content.