Salute for returning to the soilLocal | Bernard Charnwut Chan 13 Jan 2021
Did you know that a Hong Kong heritage preservation project just received some well-deserved international recognition? Lai Chi Wo village won an Award for Sustainable Development from Unesco Asia-Pacific.
I remember hiking to remote Lai Chi Wo more than 12 years ago. It took a few hours of walking on a footpath to reach the 300-year-old Hakka village. The majority of the original farming community had moved away, and most of the houses stood empty and abandoned.
Since then Lai Chi Wo has been transformed by a collaboration between NGOs, the government and HSBC together with the remaining local villagers and experts from the University of Hong Kong.
More than 20 villagers are now in residence and actively farming, and five hectares of fields have been rehabilitated.
Nowadays we hear a lot about environmentally sustainable agriculture and the need to rediscover less intrusive, organic methods of food cultivation. But the original Hakka inhabitants of Lai Chi Wo had been practicing this kind of farming for centuries.
The new project has helped bring this Hakka rural culture back to life. It's wonderful Unesco has recognized it.
Today, Lai Chi Wo is easier to access than when I visited. A ferry runs from the Ma Liu Shui pier on weekends and public holidays.
There is an informative center you can visit and a self-guided path through the village's feng shui woods. It's a great place for a family outing.
Bernard Charnwut Chan is chairman of The Jockey Club CPS Advisory Committee