Sung Wong Toi
Sung Wong Toi is an important historic relic in Kowloon
Kowloon is an urban area in Hong Kong comprising the Kowloon Peninsula and New Kowloon. It is bordered by the Lei Yue Mun strait in the east, Mei Foo Sun Chuen and Stonecutter's Island in the west, Tate's Cairn and Lion Rock in the north, and Victoria Harbour in the south. It had a population of...

, Hong Kong
Hong Kong
Hong Kong is one of two Special Administrative Regions of the People's Republic of China , the other being Macau. A city-state situated on China's south coast and enclosed by the Pearl River Delta and South China Sea, it is renowned for its expansive skyline and deep natural harbour...

. While its remaining portion is currently located in the Sung Wong Toi Garden (22°19′29.35"N 114°11′21.54"E) in Ma Tau Wai
Ma Tau Wai
Ma Tau Wai is an area in Kowloon City District, Kowloon, Hong Kong. It was originally a walled village between present-day Argyle Street and Prince Edward Road West, east of St Teresa's Hospital....

, it was originally a 45 m tall boulder
In geology, a boulder is a rock with grain size of usually no less than 256 mm diameter. While a boulder may be small enough to move or roll manually, others are extremely massive....

 standing on the top of Sacred Hill (聖山) in Ma Tau Chung
Ma Tau Chung
Ma Tau Chung is an area in Hong Kong north of Ma Tau Kok and east of Ma Tau Wai in Kowloon, Hong Kong. It was a stream emptying into Kowloon Bay and the mouth of the stream stood the Sacred Hill. The stream was with a village on its side.During the Second World War, most of the Indian POWs...

 above Kowloon Bay
Kowloon Bay
Kowloon Bay is a bay located at the east of the Kowloon Peninsula and north of Hong Kong Island in Hong Kong. It is the eastern portion of Victoria Harbour, between Hung Hom and Lei Yue Mun...


Literally Meaning

The name Sung Wong Toi literally means Terrace of the Sung
Song Dynasty
The Song Dynasty was a ruling dynasty in China between 960 and 1279; it succeeded the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms Period, and was followed by the Yuan Dynasty. It was the first government in world history to issue banknotes or paper money, and the first Chinese government to establish a...

. The stone is believed to have been a memorial to the last two boy emperors of the Southern Song Dynasty, Zhao Shi and Zhao Bing, who temporarily lived in Hong Kong from 1277 to 1279.

Sung Dynasty

According to historical records, the two young Sung emperors were pursued by the Mongolian army and fled south, eventually taking refuge at the Sacred Hill along the seashore. Zhao Shi died of illness in Hong Kong, while Zhao Bing died when a retainer put him on his shoulders and jumped off a cliff following the naval defeat of the Sung Dynasty by the Mongols
Mongols ) are a Central-East Asian ethnic group that lives mainly in the countries of Mongolia, China, and Russia. In China, ethnic Mongols can be found mainly in the central north region of China such as Inner Mongolia...

 at the Battle of Yamen
Battle of Yamen
The naval Battle of Yamen took place on 19 March 1279 and is considered to be the last stand of the Song Dynasty against the invading Mongol-controlled Yuan Dynasty...


Yuan Dynasty

After the Sung Dynasty was overthrown by the Mongol army in 1279 AD, local residents inscribed the words "Sung Wong Toi" on this large rock that was on the Sacred Hill at that time.

Note that the Chinese character 王 (pinyin
Pinyin is the official system to transcribe Chinese characters into the Roman alphabet in China, Malaysia, Singapore and Taiwan. It is also often used to teach Mandarin Chinese and spell Chinese names in foreign publications and used as an input method to enter Chinese characters into...

 wáng, which means king) is carved in the stone instead of the conventional character 皇 (pinyin
Pinyin is the official system to transcribe Chinese characters into the Roman alphabet in China, Malaysia, Singapore and Taiwan. It is also often used to teach Mandarin Chinese and spell Chinese names in foreign publications and used as an input method to enter Chinese characters into...

 huáng, which means emperor
Emperor of China
The Emperor of China refers to any sovereign of Imperial China reigning between the founding of Qin Dynasty of China, united by the King of Qin in 221 BCE, and the fall of Yuan Shikai's Empire of China in 1916. When referred to as the Son of Heaven , a title that predates the Qin unification, the...

). Both 王 and 皇 pronounced as "Wong" in Cantonese. At Sung Dynasty, the assent is most likely closer to Cantonese but not the Putonghua. The most likely reason is that the locals wished to avoid angering the new Yuan
Yuan Dynasty
The Yuan Dynasty , or Great Yuan Empire was a ruling dynasty founded by the Mongol leader Kublai Khan, who ruled most of present-day China, all of modern Mongolia and its surrounding areas, lasting officially from 1271 to 1368. It is considered both as a division of the Mongol Empire and as an...

 rulers. It not known whether 皇 was used initially, with the upper part of the character later cut off, or if 王 was used from the start.

Qing Dynasty

In 1807, seven smaller characters were added on the right side of the stone to record the renovation work in the tingmau year of the Qing Emperor Jiaqing.

Japanese Occupation of Hong Kong

During the Japanese Occupation of Hong Kong
Japanese occupation of Hong Kong
The Japanese occupation of Hong Kong began after the Governor of Hong Kong, Sir Mark Young, surrendered the territory of Hong Kong to Japan on 25 December 1941 after 18 days of fierce fighting by British and Canadian defenders against overwhelming Japanese Imperial forces. The occupation lasted...

 in 1941-1945, the boulder was dislodged from its place when the Sacred Hill was leveled for an extension of the Kai Tak Airport
Kai Tak Airport
Kai Tak Airport was the international airport of Hong Kong from 1925 until 1998. It was officially known as the Hong Kong International Airport from 1954 to 6 July 1998, when it was closed and replaced by the new Hong Kong International Airport at Chek Lap Kok, 30 km to the west...

. Fortunately, a portion of the rock inscribed with Chinese characters survived the blasting operation. That part of the boulder, about one-third of its original size, displays the Chinese name of the stone, "Sung Wong Toi."

Modern Days

After World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 this portion of the stone was shaped into a rectangular block and moved to the Sung Wong Toi Garden, a small park especially constructed for it. This park is located in the present-day Kowloon City District
Kowloon City
Kowloon City is an area in Kowloon, Hong Kong. It is named after the Kowloon Walled City, and is administratively part of Kowloon City District....

, at the junction of Sung Wong Toi Road and Ma Tau Chung Road, which is close to the stone's original site. The construction work of the park was completed in the winter of 1945.

See also

  • List of urban public parks and gardens of Hong Kong
  • List of buildings and structures in Hong Kong
  • History of Hong Kong
    History of Hong Kong
    Hong Kong began as a coastal island geographically located off the southern coast of China. While pockets of settlements had taken place in the region with archaeological findings dating back thousands of years, regular written records were not made...

External link and references

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