Posts Tagged 'business'

The Noon Day Gun, Hong Kong

This is one of the most interesting colonial relics that continues to thrive in Hong Kong today. As rare as it is for a 22 year old male to be up and out of the apartment by 11:30am, I found myself at the Noon Day Gun one day.

It’s one of those traditions that comes from some weird and quirky routine that evolved into a tradition. The Jardine and Matheson company which has been on Hong Kong soil since the 1840s, bought this first plot of land at East Point on Hong Kong island – the first of auctioned land to be bought. It was custom for the detachment of guards deployed there to provide a gun salute whenever the head of Jardines (called the Taipan) arrived or left Hong Kong by boat.

The story goes that a senior Naval Officer arrived in Hong Kong, hadn’t heard of the practice and arrogantly banned it without knowing it was one of those quirky routines of eccentric British Imperialism. The decision was reversed by, presumably, someone in love with the romantic side of colonialism and as a punishment, Jardines was ordered to fire The Noonday Gun as a time signal for Hong Kong for perpetuity.

Therefore, it continues to this day, showing how the multi-national company keeps their word and fulfils this eccentric obligation.

Apparently the practice ceased during the Japanese occupation from December 1941. During the 3 years and 8 months of Japanese-occupied Hong Kong, the original cannon went missing. Yet after the liberation, the Royal Navy presented Jardines with a six-pound gun as a replacement – the practice was restarted in August 1947, with it also firing every New Year’s Eve too. That gun was replaced in 1961 after too many noise complaints, and replaced with the 3-pound gun that is there today. I can vouch for its loudness though – that thing is a lot more bloody louder than it seems!

It’s worth it to take 20-30 minutes out of your tour of Hong Kong to go and check out this quirky practice. There’s only usually a small crowd that gathers – mostly tourists, and you can check out the actual guy embankment for 30 minutes after the Jardine’s representative has fired it at noon.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The Jardines Representative emerges from a small outpost at 11:55, checks his watch frequently before marching over to and ringing the bell before firing the gun.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe Noon Day Hun flanked by disused cannons  for decoration.

How to get there:

According to the Hong Kong Tourism Board, alight the MTR at the Causeway Bay Station, Exit D1. Walk along Lockhart Road to Cannon Street. Then walk along Jaffe Road to the World Trade Centre. (Basically walk to the harbor front). You access the Noon Day Gun through a tunnel next to the hotel – it would be easy just to ask one of the concierges or security outside the hotel – the tunnel is hard to find, down an alleyway and under the hotel. In the tunnel you pass 2 long green pipes called ‘Sea Water Supply’ and ‘Sea Water Return’ to the hotel. Don’t worry, I’m sure the security are used to tourists asking by now!

Advertisements