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.

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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

    • Vox mind your own business albino foreigner

    • 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!!!!!!!

  • lmao most of the movies were Wong Kar Wai's

  • The night scene like a surreal movie set with smells, sounds and noise, chaotic and disorderly order ,a bit sense of danger and tension in the air, exciting and igniting. A twirl of suction of everything, all energies of mismatch and mishap all together in a split second, you are overloaded with information and overwhelmed. Too much going on around you at the same time! Too fast too. Cinematic and dramatic. That s HK.

  • Contact for master wu? I want one of those darn neon for music venue

  • These series are truly beauitful. Thanks, Vox!

  • Dope series! Tuning in from London

  • Japan please don’t sacrifice your culture just to be like some boring ass American!!

  • so well madw this video

  • A fun game: when you go out a night, try to tell apart neon and LED lights. In Hyderbad, it's mostly LED.

  • Time for future funk

  • NEON >>>>> led

  • *O U T R U N I S L I F E*

  • Honestly, I prefer the looks for neon, it's more clean and minimalist and cool looking.

  • Why are you making so many videos on HK????

  • Neon peaked in the 70's ? Thats way off. In the 70 neon antiques cover the antique shops

  • What is the song started at 0:08?

  • #PrayForNeon

  • Loved the music tracks in this video. Can Vox please make it available on Spotify or something? Thanks!

  • But without neon lights, how would we make vaporwave and synthwave album covers?

  • so neon lights, relative to LEDs, are expensive, unsafe, difficult to make, and inefficient? Sounds like LEDs taking over is a great idea.

  • I love the editing of this video omg is so good!

  • Hong Kong's skyline puts every American skyline to shame.

    • Saw it before this one...doesn't change the fact that HK's skyline puts every American skyline to shame lmao. Btw, I live in NYC.

    • watch the next episode about cage homes...

  • That Intro music was hype

  • I'm sad the Borders episodes are so short these days! Love this series!

  • I geuss we need to move onto led

  • Those Leds are ugly as hell

  • Those Leds are ugly as hell

  • Can you post a list of the songs you use in your videos?

  • More video on Hong Kong please

  • Outro song name, please !

  • And that kind of videos is what I like from Vox.

  • Nah If I needed a sign I would still go with neon you cant beat custom and hand made.

    • Yet I can still do custom diodes or LEDS ;)

  • 某香港人睇咩?

  • Light pollution. Yay. Calling neon lighting an "aesthetic" is very, well, kind. Good thing the government is putting some restraints on their use. Also, LEDs are much more energy efficient

  • amaizing series

  • Outro song: Tom Hillock, Nicolas Boscovic - Golden Halo

  • I love the work you do on this series brother. Keep it up!

  • Yooo these editing skills

  • 4:15 How did you translate what he said from installation to "simple installation" It kind of puts him in a bad light, almost as if to trash on LEDs considering he produces neon lights

  • MY CITY SHINES LIKE A DIAMOND

  • So many homg kong stores uses neon lights for signs.

  • Colour Grading: Teal and Orange. Teal, the worlds ugliest colour unless its in aqua marine setting. And orange Then you manipulate the man speaking's skin tone to make it look tanned. Stop it. BOOOO!

  • The music is on another level.

  • damn this video is so slick

  • Love this series, keep up the amazing work

  • I like the music intro

  • These types of vids is what makes Vox great. Stay out of climate and political things.

  • you guys should go to Kaliningrad Oblast

  • This camera quality is out of this world!

  • Things change

  • Future bass

  • I'm not a big fan of Vox. I won't go there. I will say I was surprised. This is an interesting and informative video as I had first assumed, (You know; "ass-u-me". heh-heh), that they were going to say something about the Chinese government. I guess I spoke to soon. Right after I wrote the above he talks about how government regulations came down on "unsafe" signs through "safety codes". I hate, Hate, HATE the Better Homes and Gardens Gestapo that is Code Enforcement that dictates every part of what you do to your own home. How high fences and hedges can be. Having to get expensive permits to put in a f-ing window. I think you even have to get a permit to re-frame a door in your house. You see these "new" cities being created in places like California. The first thing they do is establish a Code Enforcement office. With Code Enforcement goons preying on people with "eyesores" like a 64 pickup truck in their back forty. What used to be rural areas are now part of the city and subject to fees, fines and every other onerous regulation. So I guess I'm left wondering how much influence the Chinese government has on local government.

  • illusion 100

  • Really love this Hong Kong series! So interesting. Hope you do mainland China.

  • I don't think I have ever seen an informative video on US-tv so SATISFYING. The *editing* is FANTASTIC.

  • I appreciated this, great video

  • It’s called evolution

  • 5:20, looked it up and the dude is right, neon lights exist since 1917 (=over a hundred years)

  • just as vegas lost theirs years ago

  • Is neon lights bad for the environment?

  • Between the decline of neon and shutting down the pedestrian zone in Mongkok, HK's nightscape really is transforming :/

  • I like the Jackie Chan at 0:30 it looks just like the meme version & is that Bruce Lee to the left of him?

  • where can i find glowstone

  • Episode 4 is out! Let's see what Johnny got wrong this time. EDIT: Can see no mention was made that HK had more Neon than Las Vegas. That would have helped contextually to understand how much HK had at one point.

  • Nice sountrack man!

  • If your house has been devastated by flooding, then raise it up on stilts or pilings. Protect your investment!

  • The use of Osiris' M31 LUT is too strong in this video. It makes the Hong Kong lights look dull.

  • Damn, the intro's production value up until 1:25 is through the roof! Nice job!

  • LED blows, NEON 4 LIFE

  • 3:05 song name!

  • Deja vu

  • awesome video

  • Fantastic music

  • OMG, why do you feel the need to make the music volume twice that of the speech volume?

  • Cool soundtrack

  • Vox is the MVP

  • Artistically it sucks but economically and environmentally neon can't be the popular choice. It has to be a niche thing.

  • You are talking about neon lights on Hong Kong and you don’t even mention Wong Kar-wai or Christopher Doyle? Shame on you!

  • This is the least thing I like in Hong Kong. Those lights in the daytime are so annoying.

  • That well quaffed hairstyle and subtle hipster aesthetic make you an important part of the visual culture too

  • WHAT IS THE MUSIC AT THE BEGINNING BOOP BOOPBRRRHFG??

  • the editing is insane

  • Good.

  • omg the music in this ep!!!

  • I love the look of neon so much

  • Do a comparison of US and British Virgin islands

  • They could easily make LEDs look like Neons by diffusing the light..

  • Thanks to Nikolai Tesla

  • "These signs look like neon" - Not at all! LEDs are different. Same goes for the little light bulbs that emit a soft glow.

  • Love neon lights

  • my ancestors were neon light manufacturers where are my reparations from the LEDists.

  • Artesian is one of their tags :thinking:

  • Buh buh buh buh boundaries

  • the editing on this actually made me nut wow 😱

  • Neon lights are beautiful. If I were world’s owner I’d build skyscrapers with lots of neon lights everywhere. Oh I love big dystopian cities ;)

  • LED is more efficient than the old NEON

  • Can't you put led in tubes to make them look like neon or something

  • Out with the old in with the new, the future is now!

  • that intro tho

  • nothing mentioned of what the gases are like if the sign breaks? to humans, the environment etc? ajabaja.