Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story - Jason Scott Lee (1993) - Kennedy Town, Hong Kong

A nice angle of Kennedy Town at the far west of Hong Kong Island taken from the harbour as a fishing junk sails by.

Some of the buildings we can see along what is Kennedy Town Praya are still around, but some have also been replaced since the film was made - to be replaced by even taller residential blocks.

One thing has has disappeared for good is the sight of these traditional fishing junks, however, our good friend wikipedia assures me that the one we can see above is in fact the Duk Ling, so you can still come here and actually get on board. Unlike its rather fake looking counterpart - the Aqua Luna - the Duk Ling does have an authentic history as a fishing junk before restoration.

I'm told (but can't confirm) that before the HK Tourist Board chartered the boat for actual cruises around the harbour, the Govt paid the owner a massive fee just to have the thing sail up and down the harbour front all week.


  1. The name is incredibly cheesy and her history *very* suspect, but yes, Duk Ling is the closest thing we have left to the real deal. (Her real name was supposedly "Ap Ling", before being changed to the saccharine moniker she now bears.)

    When I say the history is suspect, I mean it. Nobody can even agree on when or where she was made, let alone her original purpose. Depending on whom you ask, she was built some time between the 1940s and 1960s. Some reports have her being built in Macau, others in Tsuen Mun. Some claim she was originally a fishing boat until Pierric Couderc bought her in the mid-1980s, while others have it that she's been a promotional vessel pretty much right from the start. (And that's my guess: I highly doubt she was ever a real junk.)

    Interestingly -- and I had no idea until Googling this just now -- she sank in Aberdeen Typhoon Shelter in September 2014. She was left sitting on the bottom for two months to become a barnacle-encrusted hulk, before being sold, raised and sent to Zhuhai for refurbishment. Now she's a charter vessel:

    Certainly, Couderc was paid by the HKTA to sail her around the harbour for many years. That's a story I'd heard at the time, and it's confirmed in the links above.

    She's still infinitely better than the ridiculous monstrosity that is Aqua Luna, though. That showboat barely even resembles a junk -- it's hull is completely wrong, and its sails are nonsensically small and ineffectual. (I'd be willing to bet that it's never been even remotely possible to actually sail her.)

    And so even with her idiotic name, I greatly prefer the Duk Ling. Shame there aren't any real junks left, though -- there were still a few around when I was a kid...

    1. I had no idea it had even disappeared, it just shows how much attention I pay to tourism and how often I actually make it down to the harbour front these days. Hmmm, I reckon there is a gap in the market for traditional junks then - all I need is some capital :-)

      I agree about the aqua luna - the sails were obviously an afterthought by some idiot. The. although most people seem to be fooled by it so I guess it has paid off.

    2. Let me know once you get that capital together. I could definitely be persuaded to become a fairly affordable live-aboard captain. I already know the waters and I've piloted a 454 foot / 138.5 meter LPG carrier, so I'm pretty sure a junk's within my abilities. ;-)

    3. I'm impressed - were you joyriding? ;-)

    4. Hah -- no, my first job was as a deck officer cadet on a Maersk LPG carrier. This is her, although later in her career after she was sold to another company:

      Curiously enough, she ender her life just a stone's throw from where I started mine. She was scrapped in late 2003, just 50 miles or so from Hong Kong as the crow flies, at a ship breaker in Xinhui.

      When I was on her, she was on the Atlantic run, though. She criss-crossed back and forth between Europe (France, the Netherlands, Spain, Germany and Sweden), and the USA (Texas and Lousiana) in my time aboard, and her next port of call after I left her was in Mexico.