The RAS has been fortunate to arrange a docent visit and tour of Dragon Garden which is listed as a Grade II Historic Building by the Hong Kong Antiquities and Monuments Office. Dragon Garden is the largest private garden in Hong Kong and comprises historic, architectural, conservation and cultural features from the East and the West. The garden also features a wide array of historic artifacts from the spiritual journey of its founder, the philanthropist Dr. Lee Lu-Cheung.
In 1949, Dr. Lee Lu-Cheung purchased a barren hill from the Hong Kong Government and spent 20 years planning, designing and landscaping the garden, which today has over 100 plant species and 30 large Buddhist pines. The Dragon Garden featured in scenes in The Man with the Golden Gun, the 1974 James Bond movie, starring Roger Moore. The garden is still owned by Dr. Lee Lu-Cheung’s descendants and today it is the rural campus of Lumina College, with the primary aim of promoting social education.
After leaving Dragon Garden we travel a short distance to Sham Tseng, home to baker, Garden Company Limited, and former home of San Miguel Brewery Hong Kong. Many Chiu Chow people worked at the San Miguel brewery which allocated land for the community to celebrate their festivals. The Yu Lan Festival of the Hong Kong Chiu Chau Community is one of four traditions / festivals inscribed by the HKSAR in the Third National Intangible Cultural Heritage List. The Chiu Chow Yu Lan Festival community notice board in Sham Tseng contains banners informing the community of the Yu Lan Festival (Hungry Ghost Festival in China) observed in both Buddhist and Taoist traditions. Taoist call it the Chungyuan Festival. The Yu Lan Festival includes religious rituals, Chinese Opera and drama, and large flower plaque displays. The Festival is held on the 15th day of the 7th month of the Lunar calendar which this year will be Thursday, 15 August 2019.
A three-minute walk up a steep flight of stairs from the Chiu Chow Yu Lan Festival community notice boards is a small temple built by Chiu Chow (Zhao Zhou) villagers to show gratitude to the ancestors. The four large horizontal Chinese characters above the temple entrance and the vertical couplets are about filial piety. The large characters roughly translate as 'Parents of Heaven & Earth'. The villagers built this temple to show gratitude to their parents and to thank them for their upbringing. The villagers believe that they have been 'born/ assigned to their families on earth by the Gods in Heaven’.
Sham Tseng is well known for its goose restaurants and possibly the best known is Yue Kee Roast Goose Restaurant. With a Michelin accolade, the family-run business since the 1950s is famous for charcoal-roasted goose from its own farm in Guangdong. In addition to roast goose it also offers Cantonese and vegetarian cuisines. RAS members are invited to share a self-pay lunch at Yue Kee Roast Goose Restaurant after the tour. If you would like to join the lunch please let RAS know when reserving your place on the tour and advise if you are vegetarian or have dietary requirements.
9:00 a.m: RAS Group gathers in Jubilee St., Central
Take 962B bus to Sham Tseng & Bus 53 Bellagio to Sea Crest Villa Phase 4, Castle Peak Road
10:00 - 11:30a.m: Docent talk & guided walk of the Dragon Garden for RAS Group
11:30 – 12:30a.m RAS Group tour round Sham Tseng Village & Chiu Chow Temple
12:30 – 2:00 p.m: Lunch (self-pay lunch at Yue Kee Roast Goose Restaurant,
Sham Tseng (Vegetarian option available – please advise when registering)
Venue: Dragon Garden, 32-42 Castle Peak Road, Tsing Lung Tau, N.T. and then to nearby Sham Tseng
Admission: RAS Members $250; Non-Members/ Guests $300 Maximum number is 20 pax
Booking: Email firstname.lastname@example.org before 12 noon, 6 May to reserve your place
Payment: Make cheque payable to ‘Royal Asiatic Society Hong Kong Branch’ and post it to G.P.O. Box 3864, Hong Kong, to be received no later than 6 May to reserve your place
Note: Attendees are advised to wear cool clothing, bring drinking water and anti-mosquito precautions and possibly wear long trousers. The tour is an outdoor activity which includes stone steps, narrow trails and steep paths with various pavilions and pond