The charm of Mongkok’s street billboards


On the 25th anniversary of Hong Kong’s return to the motherland, I visited the city I had long dreamed of seeing with much anticipation and a bit of nervousness. After the 7-day quarantine period at home, I came to Mongkok for the first time, one of the biggest tourist attractions in the world. Its streets and crowds were as bustling as I imagined.

Mongkok is a very welcoming place. Once I got there, I discovered that there were no scenes like in TVB dramas where the streets were filled with sword fights or the cars went into wild chases. Walking along Nathan Road in Mongkok, there were many special billboards which showed me the charm of this street. My friend and I walked around Mongkok all afternoon; I found these street billboards to inform me about the historical atmosphere and great regional characteristics of Hong Kong. As an advertising student, I’m always drawn to unique street billboards because I believe these elements are an important component of urban space. they not only convey a lot of commercial information but also serve as a good guide for the public and visitors.

Buildings in Mongkok are not very tall. If I considered the streets as the first boundary of the urban space and the outer contour of the buildings as the second boundary, then the street billboards of the commercial buildings that create the vertical profile of the street space could form the third limit. In other words, a large number of street billboards conceal the facade of buildings and become an extension of buildings, becoming important components and prominent characters of the street space. They even allow us to experience Hong Kong culture and art when we walk down the street.

The stores in Mongkok were a bit crowded, so these different street billboards could help us know the features of different stores directly when we were walking on the street. I thought these street billboards demonstrated a very distinctive mode of business competition, and they made me admire the wisdom of ancient Hong Kong people. We all know that Hong Kong has limited land with a large number of residents, so they used this method to maximize space utilization to promote Hong Kong’s social and economic development. This wisdom is fully demonstrated by the layout of these billboards.

Most street billboards in Mongkok are presented in Cantonese or Mandarin, only foreign companies use English billboards. So even though we are students from Mainland China, these street billboards can also be a good guide for us to go shopping in Mongkok. Even though there were many crossroads on the road, we didn’t have to worry about getting lost, it made us feel like we were still on the Chinese mainland.

I always think that the billboards along the streets show the unique charm of a city, so in my eyes, the billboards in Mongkok are beautiful sights in the streets. They showed me the unique style of modern Hong Kong, especially on the 25th anniversary of Hong Kong’s return; I was even able to see signs posted on street billboards to celebrate this event, which made me very happy.

The street billboards in Mongkok pleasantly surprised me and I look forward to experiencing more interesting culture in Hong Kong.

Liu Fei graduated from City University of Hong Kong.


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