Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Hoist it!

Typhoon season has rolled around again with our first typhoon signal of the year 'hoisted' this week, although Tropical Cyclone Talim turned out to be a bit of a damp squib for Hongkongers. If you have ever wondered about the use of the verb hoist, as I did at first, wonder no longer. These exhibits in Macau's Guia Fortress and at the HK observatory HQ in TST revealed all to me: 

These black wire objects are in fact the same as the familiar T or triangle-shaped typhoon symbols we are used to seeing on the TV or online weather report. In the past, before such newfangled technologies as the internet existed, these signals were literally hoisted to the top of a mast for all to see the state of meteorological affairs (assuming visibility was more than a few metres!) at 42 signal stations across the territory. The last of these, Cheung Chau, was only decommissioned in 2002 apparently.

Officially, the verb 'hoisted' has been replaced with the verb 'issued' by the HK Observatory, but old habits die hard. I rather like its nostalgic, nautical ring and will endeavour to perpetuate its use where possible! Mwahaha.

More about Hong Kong typhoon signals on Wikipedia.

The esoteric side of Hong Kong typhoon lore.

Another Time Out HK page out today, in 'the sixties issue'! Take a look at this fortnight's retro signage (sixties and earlier!) and at least one blogger I know knows the answer to where in Hong Kong is this? Click to enlarge.

All content © Emilie Pavey

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