A rather striking feature on the ever-changing Hong Kong landscape is that of scaffolding, lining (eternally) the sides of buildings in a consistent web of construction. Not just any scaffolding though – for those of you from countries with stringent occupational health and safety laws and reinforced steel tubing, at this point clear your mind…
A city of breathtaking skyscrapers has been built, renovated and maintained using an impressive natural resource – bamboo. ‘Taap pang’ AKA the dudes-who-scale-the-sides-of-buildings erecting these scaffolds can regularly be seen climbing monkey like up and down the sides of scarily high buildings. And no, they don’t wear any kind of harness, merely relying on their own nimble extremities to get them up and down.
The 23-foot poles arrive at the worksite, are plonked on the ground in piles and are passed up from the ground, often by women and men of quite advanced age, and kinda shimmied up the the sides of the buildings using a combination of ropes and hands. Said poles are then tied together using what look disconcertingly like those twistie-tie things that adorn the tops of bread bags.
The last step is the covering of the scaffolding with sheer gauze-like material – why, we’re not quite sure. But the end result is buildings, depending on the colour of the material, looking somewhat like wrapped gifts.
Obviously, you can’t help but notice these oddities all around you, wherever you happen to be in Hong Kong. But recently, we received note that our building would be undergoing renovation and we had a first-hand insight into the process. The first thing that struck was just how quickly these go up – the job began on the dot of 9am one weekday morning and at approximately 2pm that same afternoon a face appeared at our kitchen window, while we were innocently making a cup of tea.
Even when you’re anticipating the scaffold going up, NOTHING can prepare you for the sight of a face at your 19th floor window. Weeeeeird.
There’s not much else to say about all of this, other than what happens when its time for the scaffolding to come down…which is that it rains little bits of plastic down on the streets below, landing on the footpath, the road, your head while you’re standing at the bus-stop.
For an extra cool article about these feats of death-defying engineering, check out this link: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2290166/Hong-Kongs-ultra-modern-skyscrapers-built-scaffolding-BAMBOO.html