My rented apartment is along the street, not far from a tram stop. In sleepless nights and early mornings, when the street is quiet and empty, I lay in my bed and listen to the sound of the tramcar and the track rubbing. Just a few seconds later, comes the iconic sound: ding-ding.
Tramways have been running through the Hong Kong Island since 1904, witnessing the development of this city. Back then tramways used the sound of “ding-ding” as a notification for the passengers and passers-by when arriving and leaving a stop, which later turned into a shared memory and become the nickname of it. Nowadays it has become an icon of Hong Kong and have a special position in the heart of the citizens.
In one of the busiest city in the world, it travels through the city remaining at the speed of around 20km/h. Debate has been raging in recent years, arguing whether we should drop tramways since it is less efficient functioning as a public transportation. But the public attitude seems to lean more over to the idea of keeping it, for many Hong Kong people have regarded it as a cultural sign without which would damage the completeness of Hong Kong culture.
With the rapid development of the society, everything we have ever built our memory on could change or disappear entirely within a blink. We have come to a time of losing and confusing. Standing at the crossroad of embracing the new possibilities and saying unnecessary good-byes to some old friends. To me today, the tramway is like a nostalgic chapter in a cyberpunk fairy tale. A tin can filled with authentic memories of the old and romantic imaginations of the young.
More amazingly, people managed to not only keep it with a sentimental touch, but also make it constantly working by adjusting to the need of the market and current time. On one hand maintaining the high quality of service and the original style of this heritage, tramways also stay innovative and make progress such as offering TramOramic Tour, Party Tram and Pilot Cooler Tram catering to the modern needs. It has grown through and with time, for the sake of transportation, nostalgia, tourist hotspot and many other reasons.
Whenever you want to come back, you can always find one to hop on.