There’s a hulking, brown colossus looming over Tung Wan Beach on Ma Wan (Park Island). It’s biblical in proportion. Seriously.
In 2004, Andrew Yuen Man-Fai and Pastor Boaz Li Chi-Kwong of evangelical Christian media organisation Media Evangelism climbed Mt Ararat in eastern Turkey and found what they claimed were the remnants of Noah’s Ark. Excited and inspired by their discovery – which they documented on blurry video that was unfortunately corrupted by a “mysterious force” – they returned to Hong Kong determined to build a replica of the famous life-raft.
Four years later, they’ve done just that, with the help of Sun Hung Kai.
Built to scale on government-owned land at Ma Wan Park according to the dimensions mentioned in the Bible, the ark is one-and-a-half football fields long, 22.5 metres wide, and four storeys tall. It will house a museum to educate and enlighten the public, a 3D movie theatre, 200 hotel rooms, and several restaurants. In and around the edifice, there’ll also be both live and model animals, including, curiously, some two-headed turtles that, according to Yuen, exhibit the genius of God’s intelligent design.
Yuen also wants the Ark to spread a message of love and unity – after all, he reasons, we’re all in the same boat. “We have witnessed many crises on earth – not only global warming but also animals going extinct, as well as natural disasters like the tsunami,” he explains. “We want to remind people to love the earth and love life.”
The Ark is expected to open to the public by Easter 2009. There are also plans for a smaller, floating replica (estimated cost: up to $40 million) that will ferry passengers direct from Central to Ma Wan. So far the landed Ark has cost $10 million, which has been funded by a flood of donations from well-wishing Christians. Media Evangelism hopes to raise another $18 million.