The locals called it the “Instagram Pier”; and at a time as photographer-luring as impending sunset, it didn’t take much figuring out why this dockland of Hong Kong Island, near Kennedy Town, was fittingly named so.

It’s swarming with cameras, smartphones, tripods and assorted props. A wedding-attired couple idled whilst their photographer preyed for dusk. The group of local Instagrammers I was with was feasting on creative angles, puddle reflections, anything golden-hued.

But while all eyes fixed on the westward gaze, I turned mine to the animation on the watery channel bisecting the island and opposite Kowloon Peninsula. All kinds of seafaring vessels ferried across the harbour, some passenger carriers zipping by with sheer velocity, others cargo ships tumbling precariously, more akin to floating platforms with colossal cranes.

Even when I was born and raised in this city, with the Victoria Harbour frequenting my glimpse, I’d rarely paid close attention to its most significant thoroughfare and lifeline – let alone given it a romantic notion.

If Hong Kong were a living organism, and its finance and commerce the nerves and electric impulses, then the trails of cargo ships and passenger carriers drew the blood vessels perpetuating its cells, its spirit, its conscience – its people.

And on this evening, poised on the Instagram Pier, my epiphany bore a better understanding of my birthplace.