Star Ferry, Hong Kong, 1961

Summer 2012 - Volume 16 Number 3

Star Ferry, Hong Kong, 1961


"Star Ferry, Hong Kong, 1961"

oil on canvas

14" x 18"

J Richard Gaskill, MD



Exotic British Crown Colony

Tiny blip on the south China coast

Three dozen years on the lease

Before Vietnam

Mao's Cultural Revolution

nd the major building boom.

Merchant ships of all flags

In Victoria Harbour

Where Star Ferries continually steam

Ten cents Hong Kong, 1½ US

Photographs of drowned bodies

On the landings.

Uniformed officers in shorts

Direct traffic to the left

On Nathan, Gloucester, and Queens

Rolls-Royces and rickshaws

nd double-deck trams

Bicycles piled high with goods.

Floating restaurants and shops

Children begging on shore

Cluttered open-air markets

Laundry fluttering above

Live fowl hanging from poles

Caged puppies trembling in fear.

Lovely women in cheongsams

Businessmen in dark suits

Young sailors on leave

Chinese workers in droves

n occasional neck mass

Postnasal cancer with mets?a

British English in shops

Where bargains abound

Stereos, cameras, and pearls

Illicit ivory and gems

Suits and shoes in two days

Custom shirts while you wait.

Boat people of Aberdeen

On their sampans and junks

Refugee shacks in the hills

Outsiders beware—

The Wan Chai rooftops

nd Walled City of Kowloon.

In the New Territories

Far from the bustle

Small villages and farms

Water buffalo in fields

nd China ominously looms

Beyond the barbed wire.


 a Cantonese people have a high incidence of nasopharyngeal carcinoma, which often presents with cervical metastases.


Dr Gaskill is a retired Otolaryngologist from the Santa Clara Medical Center. In 1961, he was a young Naval Medical Officer on board a troop ship in the South China Sea. This painting and poem recall fond memories of a week of R&R in Hong Kong.


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