The Paradox of history: NT frontier closed area


John Choy
  • Sat 05-09-2015 to Sat 19-09-2015

Anita Chan Lai-ling Gallery

free admission



2015. A double-decker bus quietly idles inside the Frontier Closed Area, on Crown Land. Out on the street of England in 1981, decommissioned on this island in 1997, it seemingly has captured the gradual lowering of the Union Jack in our city until its last time. Coincidence? Or history?

Also in the closed area, stands a discoloured motto board in the front of a classroom of an abandoned village school; on it writes, "Don’t live in the past, but live out your best today.”

Perhaps history is only illusionary. Or, it is some kind of melancholy and loss as one "fails to cut away, fiddling into disarray”? But, if there’s no dialogue between today and yesterdays, will tomorrow ever dawn?

This New Territories Frontier Closed Area with the burden of history on its back, that lets us glimpse into the paradox vaguely visible, will it be still there tomorrow? How about the New Territories, Hong Kong……?

p.s. Closed area refers to a place that could not be entered with out permissions from relevant departments. Before 1951, when China and Hong Kong were yet to establish boundary control points, the people of these two places were enjoying their freedom of movement. Then the civil war in China had the defeat Kuomintang packed and fled for Taiwan as the Communist Party took over. The then Hong Kong Government was so worried about that the mainland government would propagate its communist ideology to its territory and undermine its ruling foundation, that it amended the Public Order Ordinance to create the New Territories Closed Area. This restricted area which peaked at 2,800 hectares, spanned across the North District, including Sha Tau Kok city, Lo Wu, Man Kam To, Ta Kwu Ling, and Yuen Long District's Lok Ma Chau area,. Since 2005, the Hong Kong Special Administration Region Government began to explore the possibilities of opening the area up, and had set the timetable of doing so phase by phase.


Currently a freelance photographer, John Choy was born in Hong Kong in 1966.

He worked as a photographer for a series of local newspapers and magazines, as well as Information Services Department from 1989 to 2001

Choy is obsessed with the ‘unseen landscapes’ in the city, and documenting these by using experimental new techniques and forms of expression. He took part in group exhibitions including “Imaging Hong Kong: Contemporary Photography Exhibition” (2008), “Light and Shade: Life Passé in Old Estates Photo and Video Exhibition” (2009), “China Lianzhou International Photo Festival” (2009), "City Flâneur: Social Doentary Photography" Exhibition (2010), “Just another exercise” solo exhibition (2010), Dali International photo Festival (2010),  “ Roads . Light “ solo exhibition ( 2011), " Lower Ngau Tau Kok Estate " for RUN RUN SHAW CREATIVE MEDIA CENTRE GRAND OPENING FESTIVAL ( 2011), and “ painting with light, a Central without people” at the Fringe Club Hong Kong (2013), Dances with the green...An Exhibition on the northeastern New Territories (2014) and This Slow That Fast: Animamix Biennale 2013-14

Choy published a photography catalogue naming Hong Kong Photographers: John Choy in 2005 and Lower Ngau Tau Kok Estate in 2010.

En  |    |