Ma On Shan (town)
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|Ma On Shan|
A view of Ma On Shan and the Tolo Harbour
|Literal meaning||Saddle Hill|
Ma On Shan (MOS) is a new town along the eastern coast of Tolo Harbour in the New Territories of Hong Kong. Although it was initially an extension of Sha Tin New Town, it has been designed to have its own town centre and is now classified as a separate new town in government reports. Administratively, it belongs to Sha Tin District.
Ma On Shan is located by the west face of the twin peaks of Ma On Shan, which can be translated as "horse saddle mountain". The town is built on the strip between Tolo Harbour and Ma On Shan mountain. The north end of the town reaches the settlement of Wu Kai Sha and the southern Tai Shui Hang.
Deep inside the slope of Ma On Shan was an iron mine. The mine was long abandoned before the more recent new town development. The quarrying workers spoke a language which is a combination of various languages in Southern China.
The three treasures of Ma On Shan
1. Iron Ore – The storage is estimated to have over 7 million tonnes. The iron extracted from the 1950s to 1970s was mainly exported to Japan.
2. Azalea – The Hongkong Azalea Rhododendron was discovered in Hong Kong on 1851 but was mistaken as another species. It did not have its “Hongkong” bearing name until 1930. The period of blooming is on April with colour ranging from white to light red. The species could only be found in Ma On Shan and various other sites. Starting from 2006, the Sha Tin East Area Committee of District Council, Sha Tin District Office, Civil Engineering and Development Department, Leisure and Cultural Services Department, Ma On Shan Promotion of Livelihood and Recreation Association, the former KCR (Now MTR) and various other committees would hold the “Ma On Shan Azalea Festival” every year. The festival aims at promoting azalea as the symbol of the district and various activities such as planting azalea in housing estates or greenery areas, photo-taking competition, painting competition, exhibition etc.
3. Muntiacus muntjak – Its habitat includes Hong Kong and could reach west until India, Pakistan and Afghanistan. The male has short antlers and canine teeth and like to rest in bushes or grassland with tall grass. It feeds on leaves, underground roots and tubers, sometimes bark of the tree. They live alone and if they are scared or during the mating season, they would produce a strange bark, hence their nickname “barking deer”. They are timid and shy, with records showing that some of them being scared to death when being caught in Hong Kong.
Development of public housing estates commenced in the mid-1980s, with Heng On Estate completed in 1987, followed by Chevalier Garden in 1988. The Ma On Shan Line of the MTR was opened in 2004.
Whilst Ma On Shan is a relatively small town in the New Territories, it is well known by Hong Kong residents and expatriates alike. The town features a three-story shopping centre, Sunshine City Plaza. Connecting to Sunshine City Plaza are two other major shopping centres; Ma On Shan Plaza and Sunshine Bazaar.
Ma On Shan Plaza
Ma On Shan Plaza is a shopping centre in the town centre of Ma On Shan in the Sha Tin District. It is located on Sai Sha Road, and is connected to the Sunshine City Plaza and the Ma On Shan Station of the MTR Ma On Shan Line by footbridges. It is an associated shopping centre built together with the residential estate of Bayshore Towers, developed by Cheung Kong Holdings. The shopping centre has been famous of its indoor merry-go-round for the amusement of visitors who purchase items in any shops in the shopping arcade up to a certain amount. The merry-go-round, together with the water-operated clock tower next to it, has been the symbol of the Ma On Shan Plaza.
Sunshine City Plaza
Three floors of shops mean that Sunshine City Plaza is a one-stop place to buy almost anything. The majority of shops are clothing shops, including such well-known labels as Levi's, Bauhaus, K-Swiss, Adidas, Giordano, and over fifty other shops, mostly specialising in women's fashion. Sunshine City Plaza also boasts a large 'Citistore' department store which sells many things: clothes, mattresses, beds, toys, electrical appliances, baggages and more.
Numerous restaurants abound in the plaza and as well as local Cantonese favourites; you will find McDonald's and KFC outlets as well as a Cafe de Coral. A large "Wellcome" supermarket is present as is a pharmacy, cosmetics shop, hairdressers and tea houses, bakeries, shoe-shops, sweet shops, book shops and a classic favourites, two HK "$10" shops.
Private housing estates
Ma On Shan is an area with a high density of private housing estate. Some of the larger private housing estates in Ma On Shan are:
- Monte Vista - built by Hutchison Whampoa in 2000, and consists of 1,606 residential units.
- Sunshine City - constructed by Henderson Land Development in 5 phases during the 90's, contains more than 5000 residential units.
- Villa Athena - built by Sun Hung Kai Properties Ltd. in 1994 and consists of 1,180 residential units
- Vista Paradiso - built by Hutchison Whampoa in 1998, and consists of 2,032 residential units.
The Ma On Shan Sports Ground opens all week. Badminton courts and table-tennis tables abound, and the cost of a badminton court for one hour is around HK$60. Students, however, receive a discount, and can book any facility for half-price, upon proof of their student status.
Near the sports centre is the Ma On Shan Public Swimming Pool. Adjacent to the pool is the 'SA Poolside Cafe', a cafe run by the Salvation Army, in which young disabled men and women have the opportunity to undertake training and work in the cafe. Supervised by an experienced team, the majority of the cafe's profits go towards the Salvation Army, and despite what one may be inclined to think, the food is excellent and cheap. The Public Library is near the Sports Centre and Swimming Pool, and there are free internet service and word-processing facilities.
- Renaissance College Hong Kong 
- Hong Kong Taoist Association Shun Yeung Primary School 
- Ma On Shan Ling Liang Primary School 
- Tak Sun Secondary School 
- Li Po Chun United World College 
- Po Leung Kuk Chong Kee Ting Primary School 
English Castle Language School, Ma On Shan
- "Heng On Estate". Hong Kong Housing Authority. www.housingauthority.gov.hk. Retrieved 2011-02-08.
- "Chevalier Garden". Hong Kong Housing Authority. www.housingauthority.gov.hk. Retrieved 2011-02-08.
- "The Financial Secretary inaugurates MOS Rail today". Kowloon-Canton Railway Corporation. 2004-12-21. Retrieved 2009-08-07.
- Profile of Monte Vista
- Official website of Monte Vista
- Official website of Villa Athena
- Information page for Vista Paradiso
- Hong Kong Property
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