Как Гонконг создал жанр киберпанка? FAQ #14


Girls, don’t you think this make-up is a little bit kicky for an educational video? I am going to tell about cyberpunk, hey, so it’s isn’t frankly educational… It’s appropriate for the topic Well Okay Do you even know what is cyberpunk? Well, actually, I don’t.
Then, look… Cyberpunk is is a subgenre of science fiction in a futuristic setting that tends to focus on a combination of lowlife and high tech To say so, you can see skyscrapers made from metal and glass and poor techno-ghettos with their dwellers who can’t even see nature or sunlight These are concrete labyrints and overpopulated anthills (or, should i say “humanhills”) Obviously, those futuristic ghettos are the fruitful soil for prostitution, drug dens and other types of criminal Among the latest hits you’ve probably seen already one can name “Ghost in the Shell” (both new movie adaptation and original animation series) “Bladerunner” (the book, and movies, including the newest one) The elements of cyberpunk world, for instance, the dwellers described are viewed in “Batman” I think everybody know what Batman is And if I, for example, have started now to list all of the games in this genre then the video would probably be several hours long. So i would like to say only two titles i personally like very much, “Deus Ex” and “Shadowrun” series To tell the truth, the concept of overpopulated concrete criminal-infused ghetto has the real prototype, but in order to see this, we would have to use the time machine to go not in the future, but in the past Because until the 1990s this place actually existed I am speaking about Kowloon walled city which was situated in Honkong until it was demolished in 1994 Kowloon is the most overpopulated slum city ever seen by the mankind. Probably, indian slums or brazilian favelas could argue this notorious victory But they still have a long way to go to reach Kowloon’s achievements These monstrous figures have inspired the sci-fi writers and directors They borrowed this type of aesthetics to describe overpopulated cities of the future world The official authorities haven’t been controlling Kowloon for decades, so the real authorities here were the tryads the mafia, the drugs and the human traffic so let’s try to figure out, why and how this place has even appeared. In the beginning, it was a chinese militaly fortress with a small garrison But a few events happened in 19th century The British wanted to import the opium from India to China, and Chinese goverment was, obviously, against the drug traffic. However, Honkong looked like a perfect trade spot and obviously Great Britain was superinterested in conquering this city as well These events leaded to two so-called Opium Wars (forced by the British) In the result, GB was able not only to trade opium freely in China, but also keep Honkong to themselves In 1898 the complementary actuation of the Beijing Treaty was signed. This actuation allowed to keep Honkong to the British side juridically It contained a very small and at first look very unsignificant paragraph. The old Kowloon fortress situated on the Kowloon Peninsula has to be kept in Chinese authorities’ hands It was a small territory, 200 x 100 metres and it had to become an embassy so the Chinese governors who were supposed to live inside could keep an eye on the ex-Chinese territory of HK So in 1898 a tiny Kowloon became a Chinese enclave while being surrounded by British land And Honkong was rent by GB for 100 years While Honkong was developing rapidly, tranforming into buzzing and energetic British city Kowloon remained just a weird point mark on the world map It didn’t have any laws or authorities, because it wasn’t a british property, and the Chinese was too lazy to take responsibility for this tiny land with no citizens. However, it wasn’t unhabited at all – the first step into future criminal history of Kowloon was made by the British again, in the beginning of 20th century The British goverment finally came to realization that opium can affect badly the citizens’ morals and ability to work and their ability to work, so the smoking was prohibited in the British Colonies That’s why allthe opium smokers from HK, both Chinese and British started to occasionally visit Kowloon to smoke there, as it wasn’t the British Colony, and this wasn’t illegal During WW2, Honkong and Kowloon were occupied by Japan Japanese deconstructed the fortress’ walls and usethe stones to build Kai Tak aeroport They kicked away the remains of Chinese dwellers of the fortress But even after the war Kowloon continued to be the Chinese land, at least on the paper because nobody was going to rewrite the whole treaty of the little thing When the war ended Honkong returned into the British power the Kowloon’s population began to rise rapidly because the thousands of Voluntary immigrants from China which was at the moment blushed into deep red communists kicked Kuomintang out of the country Plus Honkong was going through economic rise A holy place is never empty and Kowloon gratefully hosted everybody who was supressed by British Law in HK or those who didn’t possess the British passport to live and work in HK For construction in Kowloon No licenses were needed All you had to do was to make an agreement with the neighbours The only limit was the height of the building The maximum was 14 floors, because Kai Tak aeroport was not too far away and the planes could crash into the houses All the dwellings, all the (often illegal) businesses has to be situated on the Chinese territory which was an area of 3 hectares However, there were no obstacles to condense inside What was going on in the inside? Kowloon has become a city in the city with its own laws, power, manufacturing and rules The policemen from HK cannot trace the criminals here and if there were raids, they would be hold only on the main streets of Kowloon The goverment started to organize full-fledged police operations only in the late 1970s but before that law and order was controlled by triads There weren’t abstract “mafiosi”, but real and powerful bands quite famous, for example 14k and Sun Yee On These are the most numerous and powerful HK triads who exist until nowadays and hold a lot of businesses and operations all over the world. Sun Yee On often goes by the name of New Righteousness and Peace Commercial and Industrial Guild and taking into account they made their name on human traffic, this is sad irony To be honest, both triads and the active locals (Kai Fong Association) were quite good with the maintenance of order Kowloon had water and electricity, post service, even fire protection measures were looked on However, for fire fighting measures The strongest motivation probably was the disastrous fire in 50s when one third of the fortress was burnt down and hundreds of people have gone missing It was more effective than any of social CM existing Here in Kowloon a lot of dentists and medicians were practicing illegally, because they didn’t have doctor license, or for some reason had it but we taken it Not only locals used their service Prices were much low than HK ones that’s why everybody came to Kowloon to visit them Everybody wanted to have a cheap and high quality dentistry. I can’t miss the fact that the prostitution, the drug trade and also gambling never failed to find here the customer However the majority of habitants had no connection to criminal activities and just lived their lives. Everybody in HK enjoyed the fish croquets made in Kowloon ignoring the conditions they were made at In this concrete maze the whole manifacturing businesses were buzzing for example, hairdressers of cafes or any other type of facility every city would have So Kowloon despite of its dark side was an ordinary city after all In 1984 China and Great Britain started the discussion about approaching the end of the lease They decided to return HK back to China on the 1st of July, 1997 A few years before the discussions the authorities started to react somehow on the Kowloon chaos but when the discussions started, it was already an emergency Both Chinese and British started to think, what should they do to the enclave They made a resolution about demolishing and moving the habitatnts to the new HK living areas The resettlement program cost more than 3 mln of HK dollars This was quite a lot at the time Nowadays, on the place of the walled city an adorable park named Kowloon is situated And the ex-dwellers are feeling nostalgic up to now If you are interested to see them and to watch the interviews I would recommend you to visit the Wall Street Journal Kowloon Project Webpage The link is in the description So now when you watch Narrows of Gotham or Perturbator Music Videos you can always understand, where did the creators found their inspiration

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