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.