Have just returned from Hong Kong where I worked on several new photo essays … and the first of these – “The Dogs of Sai Kung” – has now been posted to my web site and the site of my collective ‘fotostrada’.
The fishing village of Sai Kung in the New Territories of the former British colony is a microcosm of the now Hong Kong obsession with the dog as a pet … and not as a menu item. Here’s the text that accompanies the essay …
“The Chinese – and by obvious association the Hong Kongese – have long been accused of devouring ‘anything that moves’ including meals of our beloved canines.
However, the fishing village of Sai Kung in the New Territories of Hong Kong has embraced the dog as members of the family unit with a passion bordering on obsessive. In the 1970s Hong Kong government policy was to actively dissuade the population from having too many children. It worked … and the human birth rate in Hong Kong is now one of the World’s lowest at 1.10 per woman of child bearing age (2010), far below the replacement rate of 2.1. To compensate the locals have taken to treating their pet woofers as an integral and substitute part of the family.
Sundays sees the locals parading their pooches in prams along the pretty waterfront where they join their human ‘parents’ for exercise and lunch at the tables in the seafood restaurants. The town is awash with dog boutiques and even a doggy bakery where you can buy your precious pooch individual doggy pies and other fresh baked treats.
Lavish attention is paid to the grooming of the creatures and competition is fierce … just like comparing human babies.”
Images © Brian Cassey 2012