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 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 its own town centre and various government facilities, 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.
The original Ma On Shan Village still houses around 80 families. Yan Kwong Lutheran Church, one of two original churches established during the area's mining heyday, was revitalised in around 2014 as a centre to highlight the history and culture of the old village.
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.
Historically, the three treasures of Ma On Shan were:
1. Iron ore: The deposit is estimated to have comprised over 7 million tonnes. The iron extracted from the 1950s to 1970s was mainly exported to Japan.
2. Azaleas: The azalea species Rhododendron hongkongense was discovered in Hong Kong in 1851 but was mistaken for another, only acquiring its “Hongkong” name in 1930. The species, which is found only on Ma On Shan and a few nearby sites, blooms in April with colours ranging from white to light red. Since 2006, an annual “Ma On Shan Azalea Festival” has promoted the azalea as the symbol of the district, celebrating six locally native species: (Rhododendron championae, Rhododendron farrerae, Rhododendron hongkongense, Rhododendron moulmainense, Rhododendron simiarum and Rhododendron simsii ) Various activities are held, including planting azaleas in housing estates and greenery areas, a photo-taking competition, painting competition, and exhibitions. The event is organised by Sha Tin East Area Committee of the 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 MTRC and various other bodies.
3. Indian muntjac (Muntiacus muntjak): The natural habitat of this species includes Hong Kong and as far west as India, Pakistan and Afghanistan. The male has short antlers and canine teeth and likes to rest in bushes or tall grass. It feeds on leaves, underground roots and tubers, and sometimes tree bark. They live alone and if they are scared or during the mating season, produce a strange bark, hence their nickname “barking deer”. They are timid and shy, with records showing that some local specimens died of fright when captured.
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-storey shopping centre, Sunshine City Plaza. Connecting to Sunshine City Plaza are two other 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 for 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, luggage and more.
Numerous restaurants are 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, a book shop and a classic favourite, a HK "$12" shop.
Sunshine Bazaar is a small arcade-size retail space that features a bank, pet shop, music store, family medical centre and tutorial centre(s).
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.
- Lake Silver
- Double Cove
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 (half-price for students).
Near the sports centre is the Ma On Shan Public Swimming Pool. Adjacent to the pool is the 'SA Poolside Cafe', a popular cafe run by the Salvation Army, staffed by young disabled men and women who provide a valuable service and gain immensely from the experience. The majority of the cafe's profits go towards the Salvation Army. The public library is near the sports centre and swimming pool, offering a free internet service and wordprocessing 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
- ESF International Kindergarten, Wu Kai Sha
- (PDF) https://web.archive.org/web/20110721092543/http://www.statistics.gov.hk/publication/stat_report/population/B1220001012006XXXXB0202.pdf. Archived from the original (PDF) on July 21, 2011. Retrieved March 2, 2011. Missing or empty
- Take a glimpse of Hong Kong’s mining past, EJ Insight, 26 Sept 2015
- "Native Azaleas in Hong Kong" (PDF).
- Ma On Shan Azalea Festival
- "Ma On Shan Azalea".
- "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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