The decline of Hong Kong's iconic neon glow

Published on Aug 8, 2018
Neon is fading.
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With original music by Tom Fox: m.soundcloud.com/user-416166523
Explore neon culture through this local museum project: www.neonsigns.hk/?lang=en
Master Wu started making neon signs in the ’80s and has been filling Hong Kong’s streets with bright neon signs ever since. But recently, Master Wu has seen his business slow down as brighter-burning and more energy-efficient LED signs emerge. In addition to getting fewer requests, Hong Kong’s iconic neon landscape is also losing thousands of signs per year, ushering in the end of the city’s neon era.
As Hong Kong’s neon lights start to fade, I spent some time with Master Wu at his neon shop, where he showed me how he makes neon signs, and took a look at Hong Kong’s changing cityscape.
Vox Borders is an international documentary series by Emmy-nominated producer Johnny Harris exploring life at the edge of nations. For more, visit vox.com/borders.
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Comments

  • Want to keep up with the latest from Vox Borders? Sign up for Johnny's newsletter for regular updates: www.vox.com/borders-email

    • I loved this video, but I have a "weird" question: what was the font used at the beginning to spell Hong Kong? I would love to use it in my projects.

    • Wuwuwuwuwuwuwuwuwuwu senpai

    • Vox The production quality is always well executed using facts.

    • Vox 羊毛フェルト作り方初心者

    • I am from from Hong Kong and you accidentally took a picture of Hong Kong’s burial home!!!!!!!

  • Nice to know my hometown inspired the aesthetics of Cyberpunk and other sci-fi subcultures, gotta love that aesthetic.

  • 1:10 someone knows where the red sign is located?

  • Today, Neon light. Tomorrow, Cantonese

  • Ok vox but should I chose neon or led kit for a car?

  • This series is alright, but I hate the walking and talking shots. Where is he even supposed to be going?? What are you in such a hurry for???

  • Hong Kong would be a great city , if it weren't for those Super Rude Hong Kong People. Ching Chong Ling Long Ting Tong

  • 白皮猪根本不懂中国历史,中国的发展经历了多少困难。

  • Neon light is the 🐐 -TMMJ

  • Am I the only one who can understand Cantonese

  • There is a definite rise in neon lights in Austin, TX, especially on SOCO. I just love them.

  • He is no fan of China or Hong Kong.

  • The edit is awesome! I love this video so much I may learn something of the transition.

  • :(

  • I remember seeing this when I went back to China last year..... in Chinese and when I went to China everywhere there are neon lights but the ones in Hong Kong are definently the most beautiful

  • Everything that has even a smudge of unique beautiful individuality is slowly being replaced with soulless mass produced rubbish.

  • stumbled across this channel. glad I did. Great presentations, great presentor/narrator, please make more!

  • vox in 10 years "The re-rise of Hong knogs iconic neon glow."

  • Neon almost always looks cooler lol. Thankfully in Philadelphia where I go to school A LOT of new highrises are built with neon lights integrated into their exterior walls, very cool and futuristic.

  • Cant beat neon, Only the remarkable signs should be saved.

  • I always thought Japan was known for it's neon lights Anyways i like the neon lights better

  • Led sucks!

  • Oh the chinese commies r making LEDs to take down poor innocent neon lights of hong kong.. 😂🤣 this dude is a capitalist stooge and is only propping up capitalist propaganda against socialists

  • Hong Kong - the city that inspired Cyberpunk

  • Why is Vox rooting for neon lights so much? Is it a fetish they have?

  • Neon is a colour less gas you know.

  • 4:50 here's the song, been looking for too long lol soundcloud.com/artpopst/tom-hillock-nicolas-boscovic-golden-halo

  • The music you keep using for the Borders series is not only painful to hear in its composition, but also ridiculous in volume compared to the dialogue--the part that is IMPORTANT and NECESSARY. Your taste in indie music may be too distracting and painful, and that's your choice, but the volume levels need to emphasize the voices and make them heard. Otherwise, I have no incentive to watch your crap if I can't hear what you want to tell me. Borders isn't the only perpetrator of this terrible volume dynamic, but it is the worst. Please stop this. Believe it or not, I came to these videos for what you have to say, not for ear-grating crap that I didn't consent to or expect from the title or thumbnail.

  • Why is the music so loud and distracting? 🤨

  • What's that outro song??

  • warning:comment section contains neon jokes.

  • yeah, because the growing population living in cages is really worried about old, inefficient lamps being replaced with LEDs 😒

  • I love this. Love the way Johnny creates his videos. The filming, the narrating style, the atmosphere he creates, it's just amazing. Vox Borders is undoubtly my favourite series in the entire channel. Keep up the awesome work!

  • kudos to the video editor... the transitions in the beginning + the music was so good

  • The score from 1.12- 1.26. Amazing

  • Amazing editing!!!

  • What does health have to do with removing neon lights??

  • What's that beat at the end? Anyone please?

  • i love this series!

  • This video really popped off

  • Guys have a look at the neon museum in Warsaw Poland - really awesome!

  • now i wanna go to Hong Kong to take pictures of the aesthetics

  • Why not use LED in a tube with a diffuse filter? Kinda like those lightsabers theyve been making recently

  • Neon lights are very pretty imo.

  • Wow that hipster vlogger whip editing was god awful. Please stop

  • I approve, the streets are less cluttered, saving electricity,

  • I find Neon light better for many reasons. It's just iconic

  • Does anyone know the name of the song at the end? The outtro ?

  • El neon jamás tendrá rival

  • I actually feel bad for the people who lives in the building or across where all the neon lights or led lights are hung. Good luck having a dark enough environment to sleep in with all those lights shining through.

  • That intro and the music in it....so satisfying!! I love your work Vox!

  • There's nothing more amazing than a really beautiful neon sign.

  • Music in this series is really nice!

  • Why not just use handcrafted tools out of stone again, because it's more of a "craft"?

  • Anyone know the song 3:00?

  • 0:12 nice combination of future bass and neon theme! Love it 👍

  • i was doing that for almost a year in Ethiopia. i used to be a neon Bender. old memory! now am a scrolling LED expert. as much as i hate to say this, eventually we have to move on and adapt the future.

  • Wow, I think those LEDs are really disgusting? I prefer the Neon!

  • China's most iconic aspect? Mmhh.. No id say it's the smog of sky pollution

  • The future is not painted in just the glow of neon lights anymore, but in the simmer twinkles of the LED and flashes of a computer screen along with the nostalgic neon glow.

  • It’s not cool to change a movies aspect ratio from its original to 16:9. Not even for a political format.

  • 0:22 you literally filmed a funeral home. smh.

  • Ughhh the LEDs doesnt have that soft glow when it lights up. Hopefully neon lights will thrive back into the spotlight.

  • Part of me will always be nostalgic for neon, but it's the past and It belongs there along with VHS players.

  • what song is it around 3:10?

  • Tokyo is more mouse for neon lights, they literally call it Neo Tokyo in manga

  • It's going to be a very sad day the day that neon signs disappear for good and all we will have left are cyberpunk movies and games and city pop music to remember this amazingly beautiful *AESTHETIC* . The nostalgia is will kill so many people. 😭😭😭

  • LEDs are brighter, cheaper, more efficient, more versatile, and with a wider range of colours.

    • +Countess' Slave I actually like LED alot. Especially gorgeous bright OLED TVs and cellphones.

    • 05candyman and extremely unpleasant and unsatisfying to look at

  • I like LED better

  • The music is dope.

  • Enjoyed the video, but especially wanted to thank you for the larger subtitles. As a visually impaired viewer, that was super helpful!

  • I had taken some glass classes at a museums glass workshop, they offer a Neon making class, I want to try it. Let's preserve craftsmanship!

  • hong kong is a third rate city now. like all the kong girls

  • Damn, Vox. This series is fireeee!

  • for money....

  • Neon lights were great, but we shouldn't linger in the past; instead we should embrace the new.

  • not enough is being said about the extraordinary videography. stunning

  • Amazing series!

  • I want a wall of neon signs from hong kong if someone can help me out.

  • Keep in mind a big part of why LEDs are cheap and bright is due to phosphors. Pretty much all the LEDs you can buy use phosphors. Neon lights could similarly use phosphors and make them nearly an order of magnitude more efficiency similar to CFL lamps.

  • I FREAKING LOVE ALL OF THESE HONG KONG VIDEOS OMG

  • using a few of the same shots from last episode RREEEEEEEEE

  • I love neon lights but they’re kinda expensive

  • what is the intro song?

  • The editing is amazing

  • neon lights? dats racist!

  • You should visit northern ireland and touch their history

  • What a shame. I will always remember how these neon signs light up the Hong Kong night and skyline.

  • What’s up with all these HK videos lately ?

  • Same reason we don't see Model Ts still running around. They're romantic yes, but we can relegate them to the enthusiasts and hobbyists. There is a place for preservation and conservation but society as a whole needs to move forward.

  • 0:30 I’ve been there just yesterday when this comment was made. It is one of the streets in Mong Kok with all the small night shops. I am pretty sure.

  • I think LED can also be made into the forms of traditional Chinese characters, but it will cost a little more money.

  • LEDs lightings are more suitable for in house lighting. NEON lights are still more aesthetically pleasing and dramatic for Signages.

  • I want to see a story done on Catalonia in Spain, I think that would be really cool to see.

  • 2:45 Neon gas give _YELLOW_ color, just as shown in the video. Not red as stated.

  • rip aesthetic vibes

  • The editing in the beginning of this video reminds me of 2015-2016 One Direction Vine edits... in a good way.

  • I live in HK and even thought neon lights are beautiful they are some time annoying cuz the light is very bright and hurt the eye

  • Still prefer neons

  • If only I could find someone to love me the way Master Wu loves Neon! 😍😍