/, hong kong, new books/Sneak preview: Diamond Hill, Memories of Growing Up in a Hong Kong Squatter Village

Sneak preview: Diamond Hill, Memories of Growing Up in a Hong Kong Squatter Village

This memoir of a native son of a Kowloon-side squatter village – the first book ever on Diamond Hill, in either Chinese or English – is a revelation. Shocking in places, wistful in others, it presents the early days of a life shaped by a now-extinct community. Penned by a high-achieving Hong Kong professional, Feng Chi-shun’s sharp recollections of his humble upbringing make for marvellous reading.

In these fascinating, historically faithful pages, there’s warmth, humour, and an abundance of insights into a low-income Hong Kong neighbourhood that no longer exists – but remains close to the hearts of many who lived there. But this is not just Feng’s story. It’s also the story of a place once viewed with considerable trepidation by non-Chinese outsiders.

Diamond Hill will invite comparisons with Martin Booth’s 2004 hit Gweilo. If you enjoyed the latter, you will likely find the former similarly absorbing, because the young Feng was, for many a “gweilo”, the inaccessible yet intriguing face of an altogether edgier Hong Kong.

For news of the Hong Kong book launch, stay tuned to this blog.

2017-11-05T19:33:18+00:00August 12th, 2009|authors, hong kong, new books|6 Comments


  1. Ka August 29, 2009 at 6:28 am - Reply

    Diamond hill has no diamonds that’s for sure.
    A few of my school friends lived there in the 60’s but I have only been to Lam’s home.

    When I asked Lam why they have rolls of wooden benches neatly lining up in her home , she was quiet. Only at adult age she explain that : her father bought a TV in those days , the benches were seats for the neighbours who each paid 20 cents or more to sit for the evening TV shows. She was too embarrassed to tell at her young age.
    What a great budget night out for merely 20 cents when you don’t own a TV in your home ? And within walking distance, and..possibly could bring your own drink.

    I remember my father used to take us to an eatery in Diamond hill for one of the best Shanghai ‘dam dam mein’ in Kowloon . Food those days were made with genuine hearty ingredients that one never forgets.

    There also was a Chinese lady who pierce ear lobes with bare hand skill. ( Not the same as Alain Robert’s bare hand skill 🙂 )
    We went to have our ears pierced in a group for courage. I still remember, we were lining up in front of the operating counter , pushing everyone else saying , you go , you go first….
    Finally it’s my turn.
    The lady first rubbed my ear lobe with tiger balm oil , promptly and quickly , she poked the stud earring right into my ear lobes without giving any warnings . All I heard was a ‘pop’ , felt nothing . That was a very neat job done, under 10 seconds.

    My sentimental memory of Diamond hill was dear, but don’t remember much geographically. I am glad to see there is a book about the place. Thank you Pete.

  2. Ka August 29, 2009 at 6:35 am - Reply

    correction to my last comment :

    ‘she poked the stud earring right into my ear lobes.’

    should be ear lobe.

    One earlobe at a time of course.( can you imagine otherwise ? no kidding………)

  3. Pete September 6, 2009 at 4:58 pm - Reply

    Thanks Ka! I love stories like this.

    You’ll be pleased to hear that the dan-dan noodle restaurant is covered in this book!

  4. Henry February 8, 2011 at 6:09 pm - Reply


    I remember that TV place! We called it the “Dien-See-Po” (TV store). Besides one TV program for 20 cents, we would also get one small cupful of peanuts. If you see your friend Lam (whom I don’t know), thank her for her dad, for the memories.

    I also remember Diem Diem Mien. Someone told me the place is now located at Wong Tai Sien.

    The book is now available at Amazon. I’m going to get it.

  5. Enoch Kwan June 27, 2011 at 10:28 am - Reply

    This is such a joy to see a book written for our beloved and legendary land of our youth. We moved to Diamond Hill East 7th Lane in 1955. Beautiful place! Lots of great memories. Our home was converted into a plastic factory called GeeRick Plastics. In the late 60s Hammer Hill Road would pass right in front of our home/factory. We are a family with 6 of us kids.
    DamDam Mien had been a great memory as we ate there quite frequently as older teens. Also, the leug cha po and 7 Hai store, Ga Mei, Gum Lung, Tung Wo, Cheung On were all the store dear to us all. Also, the chi-fan (short grain rice) in front of GumLung Cafe was memorable too.
    Would anyone out ther have acces to some 1950’s arial photos of our home (whole or part of Diamond Hill)? I always wanted to trace the route of our activities back then. What about ChiLien and the bean product store just south of it?

    • Pete June 30, 2011 at 5:52 pm - Reply

      Good to hear from you, Enoch!

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