Learning English through Popular Culture

Some of Hong Kong’s housing estates have become extremely popular places to take Instagram photos.

As part of a class assignment, you interviewed Instagrammers and residents at a housing estate which has been listed as one of the top 10 places in Hong Kong to take Instagram photos.

  • Write an essay for your assignment.
  • Explain what attracts Instagrammers to Hong Kong’s housing estates and how residents feel about this.

In Memorial of Housing Estate

In recent years, social media like Instagram has become popular among the youth. Photos are taken, uploaded on the app and shared among friends. In order to attract more likes, there is a growing trend among the youth to take idiosyncratic pictures of bizarre architecture as well as buildings reminiscent of old Hong Kong. These places provide a distinctive backdrop for the instagram photos. Social media has turned these places into famous instagrammable spots which attract many tourists to take iconic Instagram photos. 

One of the scenic spot is Choi Hung Estate, one of the well-known public housing estates in Hong Kong. The rainbow-colored apartments were neatly knit together which produce photos of a colorful background and a warm effect. The popular instagram location is the basketball court in front of the estate buildings where jump shots are performed and memorable moments are captured. “It brings back childhood memories of the neighbourhood where I grew up and spent my happy days.” One of the instagrammers said and alluded public housing estates to the collective memory of Hongkongers who are nostalgic about Hong Kong in the past. 

The other famous instagram spot is Yik Cheong Building in Quarry Bay, the so-called Monster Building. The densely-packed residential flats were closely stacked together, towering on three sides, leaving a courtyard in the middle. Instagrammers snap stunning pictures of the monstrous architecture which gives an overbearing feeling. They also take the famous “lookup” view framed by the building. Apart from the famous shots, visitors pose for portrait and take selfies in the courtyard. “The high-rise building is unique and special in Hong Kong. It looks like a hidden gem in terms of architecture which features urban density so characteristic of Hong Kong. It gives a sense of character to the Instagram photos.” One of the instagrammers said.  

The two famous instagrammable spots have attracted crowds to take Instagram photos. One of the residents of Yik Cheong Building welcome the influx of tourists and are delighted that a new local coffee shop is opened nearby due to the promotion of social media. However, another resident is less positive. “In order to get an ideal frame, the instagrammers would go so far as to obstruct the way of the residents and also stop the road traffic. They pose a danger to themselves when they are getting so close to being hit by cars.” A resident from Choi Hung Estate said that signs against shooting photos and disturbing residents are just ignored. “Instagrammers make so much noise and disturb peace of the surroundings. What’s more, young residents can’t play basketball in the court at weekends when so many people come to visit the place.”

Instagram has brought fame to some neglected places. It is praiseworthy that through Instagram photos, we are reminded of the culture and tradition that we may have forgotten. It is hoped that instagrammers would find out more noteworthy places to raise our awareness of the diverse culture in Hong Kong.

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