“인리향천, 선리항침 (people leave their hometown for cheapness, and ships sink when they leave the port).”
This is a comment posted by a netizen on the news that the floating restaurant of Hong Kong’s famous ‘Jumbo Kingdom’ sank into the sea while being towed to Southeast Asia after leaving Hong Kong, where he had been with him for 46 years.
There is an old Chinese saying, ‘When a person leaves their hometown and goes to another place, they are disrespected (Inlihyangcheon)’. Citing this, a netizen expressed disappointment, saying, ‘The ship left Hong Kong and went to another place, and it sank (Seonri Port)’. Jumbo Kingdom, which has lived and lived with Hong Kong for 46 years, can be read as meaning that they wanted to be with Hong Kong until the last moment.
The British Queen, a ‘Hong Kong specialty’ visited by Hollywood actors
‘Jumbo Kingdom’ was once the world’s largest floating restaurant located in Aberdeen Harbor, southern Hong Kong.
Constructed in the style of an ancient Chinese imperial garden, it was designed with the dragon and golden colors symbolizing the emperor, boasting splendid grandeur. In particular, at night, the golden and red lights from above the sea combined to create a beautiful night view. Famous as Hong Kong’s famous landmark, tourists from all over the world flocked to take pictures with this place in the background.
In addition to Hong Kong films such as ‘Food God’ and ‘Mugando 2’, it has also appeared frequently in Hollywood films such as ‘Resident Evil’ and ‘007 James Bond Series’. Celebrities such as Queen Elizabeth II of England and Hollywood actor Tom Cruise also enjoyed visiting. It is known that more than 30 million customers have visited the 4,180 square meter area.
The world’s largest floating restaurant built by two Hong Kong conglomerates
The predecessor of Jumbo Kingdom is ‘Geotangdun (歌堂躉)’. In the 1920s, converting floating houses into restaurants became fashionable among Hong Kong’s floating residents. The floating house converted into a restaurant was called Geotangdun, and traders traveling to and from Hong Kong at that time enjoyed visiting Geotangdun to eat seafood.
In particular, after World War II, as Shanghai capital and factories flocked to Hong Kong to escape the oppression of the Chinese Communist Party, industrialization in Hong Kong progressed rapidly and Hong Kong trade flourished. Thanks to this, Chinese shipowners made a lot of money, and the floating restaurant economy was booming. According to data from Lingnan University in Hong Kong, in the 1950s, there were about 10 floating restaurants anchored in Aberdeen Port, Hong Kong.
In the 1960s, Hong Kong’s famous conglomerate Wang Laoji (王老吉) also jumped into the floating restaurant business, but suffered huge losses from a fire during construction. At this time, Stanley Ho, who is considered to be one of the four biggest conglomerates in Hong Kong, and Zhou Dafu Group Chairman Zheng Yutong were handed over 30 million yuan of business to rebuild the floating restaurant.
After many twists and turns, the floating restaurant that opened in Aberdeen Harbor in 1976 is today’s Jumbo Kingdom. Since then, it has acquired another floating restaurant, Taipak, right next door, earning the title of the world’s largest floating restaurant.
The collapse of Hong Kong’s status…The fall of the Jumbo Kingdom
However, in recent years, Jumbo Kingdom’s influence has gradually begun to decline. In particular, Hong Kong, which was faced with political and social storms due to the extradition law and national security law, lost its reputation as a shopping paradise and financial hub in the past.
Eventually, in early 2020, the outbreak of Corona 19 stopped tourists from visiting Hong Kong, and on March 3 of that year, Jumbo Kingdom declared an indefinite suspension of business. At that time, the accumulated deficit alone was said to have reached HK$100 million. In this way, the splendid night view of Jumbo Kingdom from Aberdeen Harbor became a ‘memory of the past’ that can no longer be found.
They have been looking for a new owner for Jumbo Kingdom to revive Hong Kong’s famous products, but it has not been easy. In November 2020, Jumbo Kingdom’s parent group, Aberdeen Food and Beverage Group, announced a plan to donate the restaurant to Hong Kong’s Ocean Park, but it ultimately failed at the end of last year.
This is due to the huge cost of running a restaurant on board. Aberdeen Food and Beverage Group has spent an average of 1 million yuan a year on ship inspection and repair, and had to renew its business license. However, in the recent difficult situation in Hong Kong’s economy, there was no new owner who would bear these costs and run Jumbo Kingdom.
In the end, Aberdeen Food and Beverage Group ‘gived up’ the management of Jumbo Kingdom, which was about to expire its business license this month. Due to the recent re-spread of Corona 19 in Hong Kong, it was decided that it was impossible to resume business in a short period of time.
As soon as it left Hong Kong, it sank after four days
Jumbo Kingdom, which could no longer dock at Aberdeen Port, left Hong Kong. When Jumbo Kingdom left Aberdeen Port on the 14th when it was pulled by a tugboat, Hong Kong local media reported that “Hong Kong citizens recorded their ‘last farewell’ in their own way.”
In fact, Jumbo Kingdom was planning to leave Hong Kong and go to Southeast Asia to find a suitable port after repairing and repairing the ship. However, on the afternoon of the 18th, four days after she left Hong Kong, she was doomed to sink into the sea while she was passing the Sisa Islands (Paracel Islands) in the South China Sea. It is known that the salvage work will be practically difficult as the depth of the sinking site exceeds 1000m.
Hong Kong local netizens could not hide their sadness. According to a local report, a netizen said, “The tragic ending of the Jumbo Kingdom is another metaphor for the sinking of Hong Kong” in relation to the current grim situation in Hong Kong.
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