Friday, July 31, 2009
In almost every place you find crowds in Hong Kong the presence of folks standing in the streets handing out promotional leaflets is unavoidable. These marketing staff are paid to either distribute sheets of paper containing offers of cheap three-in-one breakfast set, cheap massage services or affordable office spaces for lease.
Many are polite and are gracious even when met by disinterested pedestrians. Some are pesky and try to make sure you get one copy. Others are rude and block your way so the only way to proceed with the journey is to grab one sheet.
I have always wondered how effective are these marketing strategies. For one, I guess deploying a leaflet distributor each in Mong Kok, Causeway Bay, Central and Wan Chai is cheaper alternative than posting ads on a newspaper. But maybe the number of eyeballs they attract to read the ads is low, not to mention the effectiveness.
Is this done to make an employee busy? Just for example, if a noodle shop opens at 10am, its servers report to work at 9am. But since they can't serve meals until the next hour, they are put to use by distributing papers.
A more subtle yet cluttered way of promoting a guitar lesson, loans or rooms for rent comes in the form of bills posted on walls, lamp posts and just about every place where paper and glue would stick. I often notice sneaky middle aged men and women or fast moving teens armed with a taking this job. They typically frolic in the street finding the right lamp post, wall or even advertising frame on bus stops and stick pieces of paper on them, one at a time.
Despite apparent low yield (or so I think), these strategies somehow work for certain businesses. Many leaflet distributors continue to crowd the streets offering freebies (which Hong Kong people are fond of collecting) despite annoyance they bring to people.
Photo credit: superlocal
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Failing to learn English can wipe out millions. This is what an elderly woman lured to buy suspicious minibonds found out a little too late.
While I think banks offering this mega risky financial investments should be prosecuted for taking advantage of elderly people who accumulated wealth over years of hard work, victims have themselves to blame too. Putting too much trust on people to manage wealth and the apparent attraction to earn even more is just as tempting.
But what this 77-year old woman failed to do was to understand papers printed in English. Instead she relied on her UBS financial managers and signed the papers, thinking that a signature translates to "by signing this document I hereby allow UBS to multiply my investments over a short period of time". Unfortunately, the timing couldn't be worse; it happened just as markets crashed. As a result, she lost more than HK$200 million of her money. Good thing she's still a millionaire: her UBS balance is HK$1.6 million.
No wonder when I noticed people protesting in front of US Consulate in Central to request for investigation months ago, they wrote signs in Chinese instead of English.
a) Financial investments involve risk: Just read the footer of Fidelity, Shroeders, and JP Morgan
b) Read the fine print before signing documents. Part of content may say "we reserve to keep your money as long as we wish".
c) Learn English.
Photo credit: heycreation
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
During the time of recession (or maybe even during good times), one selling point a jobseeker can prove invaluable is the alma mater he or she comes from. And based on a study, University of Hong Kong graduates continue to be the most sought after candidates in the city.
It's not surprising that Hong Kong University tops the survey, owing to its lofty rankings not only in Hong Kong but in whole of Asia, although Chinese University is also among the top University ranking ladder. The rankings were based on feedback provided by employers.
University of Hong Kong - 24%
Polytechnic University - 16%
HK University of Science and Technology - 13%
Chinese University of Hong Kong - 10%
While an employer's decision on hiring a candidate is influenced by where he or she graduated, it's also helpful to have an outstanding employee coming from the same university. So recent graduates can tap their outstanding alumni and find out where they're employed?
Photo credit: snuffy
Monday, July 27, 2009
The following ad's message is simple: keep your surroundings clean. If you keep throwing litter, soon that pile of garbage will get back at you. But this old Hong Kong ad also features how the city looked like in the past. Old buildings that were not called "old" then. Commercial-free tram stops. Vintage clothing.
Sometimes I wish I lived in this era.
Saturday, July 25, 2009
If you're observant enough inside supermarkets, there are definitely less plastic bags distributed by cashiers in the counter. Customers have been more diligent bringing their own recycle bags. That could indicate success in the government's effort to reduce the use of plastic bags.
However, if you're doubly observant, this effort has been undermined by supermarkets themselves as you must have seen more items are pre-packaged and that leaves customers with little or no choice but to add plastic material into their grocery bags.
Fruits, vegetables, and shampoo are among those items I notice that have increased plastic packaging in supermarkets. I bet not all customers want it this way, as they can squeeze smaller items into the shopping bag without the need for extra packaging. I understand the need to separate food stuff from items like detergent or bleaching agent, but this does not apply all the time.
So will the government start charging 50 cents to supermarkets for these extra plastic bags?
Photo credit: marky1969
Thursday, July 23, 2009
Hong Kong Book Fair is an attractive event for local people. Hong Kong has a pretty much strong reading society, in my opinion. This means the proliferation of alternative means of learning such as the web or gadgets has not deteriorated the value of books, magazines and other reading materials.
However, there is a trend of using models to attract customers and generate sales. I wouldn't say growing trend because I am not sure if this is a recently discovered marketing ploy or already an integral part of Hong Kong's culture. Not just models who are seen peddling books (see photo) but models themselves featured in books that shocked parents requested that books featuring "pseudo-models" to be relegated to an adult corner.
Apparently it is now possible to repackage racy photos that normally appear on magazines into a book and easily gain access in a book fair to compete with literary and educational materials. And easily sold out. And why not, high profile pseudo-models featured in the so-called books also have their own autograph signing sessions packed with drooling fans.
The books were not classified as indecent or obscene but naturally parents object their presence on prominent booths in the fair. Understandably they want these books relegated into the adult section. This obvious demand for sizzling photos could spawn a breakaway trade show: the Pseudo Model Artistic Book Fair.
Book fairs are held on summer vacations where children and parents can go together to find educational materials in preparation for the next school year opening in September. But will Chrissie Chau's book that featured her in revealing bikinis and underwear going to be a good teaching material?
Or this book fair has been too commoditized that at the end of the day, only materials that sell the most deserve the most prominent booth the next day?
Whether it is educational or not (I leave that to your imagination), Chau -- one of the pseudo models participating in the fair and is known for her slimming ad on bus TVs -- is proud of the photos. At the same time, she denies she looks like she's a Japanese adult video star. I am sure many others are proud owners of the book too, after 10,000 copies of it were sold immediately. We can't and shouldn't judge Chrissie Chau, and other pseudo models as much as we shouldn't judge the book merely by its cover.
If you want to have a look, you can visit the book fair at Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition in Wan Chai. Tickets are HK$25 for adults and HK$10 for children. Opening hours is from 10am to 10pm.
I wonder what kind of carnival would next year's Book Fair would look like, or will we see the Pseudo Model Artistic Book Fair (or a more appropriate name) coming to reality?
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
It's not easy being a reporter for TVB in Hong Kong or any other broadcaster. The seasonal risk of being assigned to field reports from the scene such as typhoons can be a challenge. As if their job is at the same level as the Government Flying Service who risk lives to save lives. In the case of news reporters, they sometimes risk lives or sanity to bring information to the masses. Yet some of them get the pink slips when the going gets tough.
Living in Hong Kong is cheapest, if you live only with a McDonald's Big Mac each day. That's how the Economist's table of relative price of a piece of this popular burger shows. In Hong Kong it costs US$1.72, but if you're elsewhere it costs higher:
I'm Loving It? Not so sure.
Here's the table of price comparison from The Economist.
Source: The Economist
Monday, July 20, 2009
The government reports that only 46% of 1,055,466 total number of emergency 999 phone calls are for real. A big portion of these calls don't fit under 999 emergency dial call. The problem is that many of these undeserving calls originated from 1) people who think their case is classified as emergency and dialing 999 is appropriate and 2) people who simply wanted to prank or find out how emergency response team answer calls.
Police say misuse will delay the handling of genuine emergencies and endanger lives of people at risk by delaying their access to service.
Easy to remember
999 is a convenient telephone number to call. Such easy to remember number is good news to those who can hardly memorize a lot of things. But at the same time, it's a bane to those receiving the calls who may get to deal calls with either abusive (hanging up once someone answers the phone) or innocent (I'm sorry I thought I can call '999' if thieves ransacked my shop last night) nature.
Mobile phones are one of the main sources of accidental or prank calls. Due to its repetitive format, 999 gets easily dialed without the knowledge of the mobile phone owner.
One way to prevent proliferation of hoax, prank and accidental calls is to punish those who make hoax calls. Others are resorting to shame campaigns by rebroadcasting prank calls to almost a million people.
Punishments are good deterrents but I am sure these are not the only solution. Proper public education like introduction in school on when to call should help minimize the problem.
Wrong 999 calls are a big problem that should be addressed in order to facilitate quick response to real and genuine emergency cases.
Photo credit: M Bing Bing
Saturday, July 18, 2009
Cadbury has been promoting itself through various marketing tactics in Hong Kong. One of the more popular avenues has been on television where the ad features two children seated waiting for a photographer to shoot a family portrait (sans parents). As the lensman prepares his wares, the kids start raising eyebrows in tune with an electronic pulse music being played.
There is no indication that it's from Cadbury -- no chocolate bars, no conversation -- only Cadbury's distinctive purple color worn by the girl and the image of the choco bar at the end of the video. And you know what, this looks offensive to some people in Hong Kong. At least 20 people filed complaints to the Television and Entertainment Authority, according to an entry in Apple Daily (thanks Tweeps @davko1, @twittykim for the info). Some might say that the TV ad teaches children bad habits like raising eyebrows even if there's no reason to do so. Some might say there is no way they'd be convinced to grab a couple of Cadbury Fruit and Nut at a nearby confectionery shop because the electronic music and raising of eyebrows don't mean anything.
I guess that's what we mean by being creative. I think the ad is fine, but I guess I don't share the same feeling with other people as much as I got with Langham Hotels Big Deal campaign. What's cool for me doesn't mean it's cool to others.
I myself have questions on how creative advertisements are made. When I look at ads made in the 50s or 60s, ads were filled with models that smile regardless of what product they endorse: softdrinks, razor shaves, cigarettes or jeans. The look they project appears to entice everyone to buy the products AND enjoy a happy life. Even when blatantly peddling a cigarette that is proven not to touch your lungs a bit.
Fast forward to the 90s, models often display blank faces and seldom smile. But maybe that's what makes ads appeal to target audience, the subtle feeling that's not necessarily expressed through smiles. I'm not into creative advertisinga so I leave it to the experts.
Can Hong Kong stick with those boring ads often seen on RoadShow bus ads (or dwell on those that offend certain social groups) and restrict creative juices from flowing out? I'm afraid it shouldn't.
Photo credits: sexywhynot, lemonysarah
Friday, July 17, 2009
Are you looking to move to Hong Kong but put off by the constant barrage of news telling you that Hong Kong's air is so bad? At least you may want to consider the least polluted in terms of fewest number of hours of unhealthy air: Tai Po district.
Tai Po is located in the New Territories, north of Kowloon and Hong Kong island, and is known for historic museums, water sports venue and "wishing trees". This district is mostly residential though.
I am not surprised by the ranking because Tai Po is bounded by nature reserves and parks which help keep air fresh. While it's closer to China's Guangdong province, known for factories that emit toxic waste, these factories are located on the other side of the province.
Don't fancy Tai Po and wanna see alternatives? Here's a ranking from best to worst.
1. TAI PO
3. EASTERN (I live here)
4. TSUEN WAN
5. KWAI CHUNG
6. TUNG CHUNG
7. CENTRAL AND WESTERN
8. YUEN LONG
9. KWUN TONG
10. TAP MUN
11. SHAM SHUI PO
Not all districts are ranked (Southern is conspicuously missing) but I am glad I live on one of the "cleanest". But at the same time, if I am complaining of air quality in Quarry Bay, I'd remind myself I live in Eastern, one of the "not so polluted" places you can live. Other locations could even be worse.
Everyone shouldn't consider these findings as accurate and consider unfortunate if they live in Sham Shui Po or very lucky to be in Tai Po. If you live in Tai Po but quite a distance from where air pollution measurements were made, the readings in your area could be different. At least my mind's been taken to a "placebo effect" spin, thinking that I am on one of the healthiest places in Hong Kong although this may not be necessarily true.
Graphic used with permission from SCMP, Environmental Protection Department, Hong Kong SAR Government
Another first for a Filipino swine flu case.
After a Filipino became the first recorded case of swine flu in Macau and another Filipina first in Saudi Arabia, a 42-year old Filipino sailor was confirmed to be the first case of H1N1 death in Hong Kong.
My understanding is that he's not based in Hong Kong but boarded a cargo ship that arrived in Hong Kong late June. He returned in early July and already began showing signs of the flu.
The death was first linked to methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) but health authorities also found out the death was related to swine flu. There are 85 new H1N1 cases yesterday, taking the total to 1,552 in Hong Kong. There are six serious cases but the Filipino death overshadowed all of them.
Does this mean Filipinos are more susceptible to the disease? Maybe not because of blood/race but because many of us are front-liners (nurses, sailors, flight attendants, teachers and caretakers) that make it easier to get infected than others. Or maybe just plain coincidence.
We all hope there's no racial discrimination but Filipinos also hope that there's no stereotyping of us as disease carriers.
Photo credit: Uberdoog
Thursday, July 16, 2009
After more words and less photos, I am trying to strike a balance on my blog posts. I hope you liked the compilation of photos I use to describe the feeling of living in Hong Kong.
Yummy Vietnamese Restaurant | Photo credit: * Andrew
Kiss My Kids | Photo credit: Reuben
Bla Bla Bra | Photo credit: potatowned
Chicken on the Run | Photo credit: philippebierny
Whynot Technology | Photo credit: Vucko1000
Honest Pharmacy | Photo credit: superlocal
Need Hair Cut Salon | Photo credit: soed
(Man) Fat Shoes | Photo credit: Alexson Chu
Delicious House | Photo credit: ddjang
Crazy Room | Photo credit: Bakerchick2
If you like the list, you may want to find out photo evidence why I like Hong Kong (photo gallery).
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
A Frenchman known as Zevs plus a couple of his assistants have been arrested for "liquidating" the logo of a famous French brand in the early hours of the morning yesterday.
By pouring liquid on a Chanel logo in Chater House in Central, the graffiti artists got arrested for alleged vandalism after police received a call relating to the incident. Some might call it art but the police might say otherwise.
Monday, July 13, 2009
We may hear various cases of employers firing their domestic helpers. I think the following are the most common reasons to do so:
1 Disease and Persistent Ailment
If a domestic helper develops an ailment that makes her/him unfit to work, the employer may terminate the employment contract.
2 Deception and Misrepresentation
Domestic helper lied and allowed someone to misrepresent on her behalf. For example, someone could claim as previous employer for reference purposes. Once the employer finds out, the maid gets fired immediately.
The domestic helper abuses her employers. She stays comes home drunk and unable to perform her duties or brings friends to her employer's house without prior permission.
4 Employers Leaving Hong Kong
The employers of the domestic helper decides to leave Hong Kong and left with no choice but to cut her employment contract short.
5 Misuse of Private Properties
Domestic helper is caught using her employer's computer without prior permission or unauthorized use of other household equipment.
6 Guarantor to a Debt-ridden Friend
Being a guarantor to a friend hounded by debt collector isn't necessarily bad. But it turns nasty when collectors get hold of employers' home phone number and ask for payment.
7 Jealous Employer
The female employer gets jealous of the domestic helper for whatever reasons, from the male employer's treatment to insecurity. Or maybe when she's caught making out with her male boss.
8 Bad Behavior
Domestic helper can't help but frequently gets involved in argument with her employers over petty things. Her employers shout commands, and she yells back.
Domestic helper gets caught stealing money and/or jewelry owned by her employer. Others are caught on camera taking out cups of rice, cans of baked beans or assorted fruits. She lands on local paper and every reader of The Sun and Hongkong News gets to know her.
Domestic helper is released because of constant communication problem. Grandma and grandpa can't speak English and their Filipina helper can't talk in Cantonese. So they have to hire an Indonesian who speaks fluent Cantonese instead and lets go of the Filipina.
11 Violation of Applicable Laws
Employers of the domestic helper owns a bakery or flower shop and asks the domestic helper to act as saleslady or cashier in the business. This scope of work is clearly not stated in the contract. Both employer and helper gets caught. Employer serves jail time, helper looks for new work.
Domestic helper often watches TV or talks on the phone while her 16-month old ward is left to starve or falls from the couch. Ouch. Maid gets the boot for negligence. Worse, she might be asked by the court to pay her employers sum of money to compensate injury of kid and distress shed caused them.
Domestic helper came from the Philippines with no prior experience working at home (probably a) from a strict well-to-do family b) from a bitter breakup with boyfriend c) seeking adventure and escaped to Hong Kong). She can't get ironing of clothes done. Can't maintain sanitation at home. Eventually, she is shown the door.
Employer and helper maintains great working relationship until one day. Employer gets laid off from her financial management job in Admiralty. She can't support the helper anymore and asks to terminate the domestic helper contract.
Note: If a domestic helper gets pregnant during the duration of her contract, her employer cannot fire her. Otherwise, employer gets punished by the anti discrimination law. Instead, employer provides maternity leave with pay.
Photo credit: Ian Riley
Friday, July 10, 2009
Bright (Victoria Peak)
Photo credit: Mark Austria
Green (Tai Tam)
Photo credit: David Bailey MBE
Organized chaos (Central MTR)
Photo credit: Wasted Down
Vibrant (Tsim Sha Tsui)
Photo credit: combatwomb4t
Tranquil (Cheung Chau)
Photo credit: randomwire
Photo credit: VLKR
Relaxing (Shek O)
Photo credit: OnePlusOne
Luxurious (Tsim Sha Tsui)
Photo credit: dcmaster
Exciting (Causeway Bay)
Photo credit: Chris M-S
Grand(Tsim Sha Tsui)
Photo credit: fredrikn
Enjoyable (Shek O)
Photo credit: dennisky
Fresh (Causeway Bay)
Photo credit: unlimited inspirations
Unique (Mong Kok)
Photo credit: Jonnyfez
Opportunity (Tin Hau)
Photo credit: quickspics
Cool (Mong Kok)
Photo credit: mischiru
Healthy (Sai Kung)
Photo credit: yunmeng
Hannah Wilson, Hong Kong's swimmer at the World Student Games in Belgrade has won her second gold medal in the women's 100m butterfly, adding a new accolade after being the first woman to win a gold medal in the Games in a new record fashion in the 100m freestyle.
She was born and raised in Hong Kong to British parents, so she had to give up her British passport to be able to represent Hong Kong in swimming competitions. At 20, She is already a veteran of both Athens and Beijing Olympics.
Here are the details of her gold medal winning performances.
Gold - Hannah Wilson (HKG) 54.35
Silver - Aleksandra Gerasimenya (BLR) 54.75
Bronze - Miroslava Najdanovski (SRB), Madison Kennedy (USA) 54.96
Gold - Hannah Wilson (HKG) 58.24
Silver - Hong Wenwen (CHN) 59.19
Bronze - Ayano Kuroki (JPN) 59.44
She is also preparing for the December East Asian Games to be held here.
The former Island School student is now studying at the University of California, Berkeley in the United States.
Photo credit: HKSwim
Thursday, July 09, 2009
A busy cosmopolitan city like Hong Kong still has a place for shoe shine business. At least those done traditionally by hand.
In Theatre Lane just across Lan Kwai Fong and in front of a building under construction, a band of elderly men -- sometimes a woman joins them (photo) -- are often seen cleaning shoes of office executives who may just be so busy to clean their shoes themselves. Or maybe they like to see these men earn more while their footwear looks snappy.
Their presence may look legitimate for some of them have worked in the area for more than 15 years. But actually they don't have a license. They used to avoid Food and Environmental Hygiene Department staff accusing them of obstructing roads and operating without a license. They operate in an area that gets so crowded. Hong Kong does not allow hawking without license although some still get away with it.
The government is set to issue them licenses and this is a good step to providing them with more right to do their business while keeping Hong Kong men's shoes shiny.
Photo credit: alliebeans19
Centre for Food Safety, via SCMP, has warned the public that some bakery products contain too much trans-fatty acids, a culprit that causes coronary heart disease, diabetes, obesity and other ailments.
Cream soup with puff pastry, commonly served in Maxims and Cafe de Coral (photo), is among those that have considerably high amount of trans fatty acids at 0.50g/100g. So when you go to these fastfood shops again, you are now armed with knowledge on what ordering a piece of this cream soup does to you..
Here are the other bakery products that contain high amounts of this potentially lethal ingredient.
TUNA PUFF (0.98g trans fatty acids / 100g)
CURRY PUFF (0.91 / 100)
POUND CAKE (0.68 / 100)
CREAM SOUP WITH PUFF PASTRY (0.50 /100)
PANCAKE WITH BUTTER AND SYRUP (0.48 / 100)
CHEESCAKE (0.45 / 100)
COCKTAIL BUN (0.43 / 100)
GARLIC BREAD (0.39 / 100)
CHEESEBURGER (0.33 / 100)
MUFFIN (0.30 / 100)
The World Health Organisation recommends that an adult should consume less than 2.2 grams of trans-fat a day. So eating them doesn't necessarily kill us. Eating excessively might. Ordering something delicious like those listed above? Think again and count how many of these pastry favorites we need to eat each day.
Photo credit: Ja-ae
Wednesday, July 08, 2009
Ex-colleague Dwayne is a keen observant of daily Hong Kong life.
People who buy handsfree mics for their mobile phones, only to walk around holding them up to their mouths!
HK people often use a hands-free device like this. It's not so hands-free, is it?
Why don't you try a more effective phone accessory that really adheres to how hands-free phone should work.
Photo credits: tonteau, fgirardin
Hat tip: Dwayne
With the commencement of the plastic bag levy, Hong Kong adds another item into its list of green initiatives. Just about a week ago, smoking indoors is no longer permitted (unless of course you are willing to face the law and pay the fines). Even before that, Earth Hour was eagerly awaited and highly publicized event.
Hong Kong companies are proud to show they are riding the green bandwagon. HSBC for one is happy to decorate Hong Kong MTR Station in Central with its green credit cards to show it cares for the environment. That's lame because HSBC continues to send me useless promotions by post and sets temperature in banks so low that they use far greater amount of energy than they should.
People are also trying to be environmentally friendly, in a fashionable way. But when asked to bring recycle bags or pay the 50 cent levy, folks are embarrassed to bring them and want more free plastic bags. When it's raining, will buildings charge for umbrella jackets to avoid littering (see photo)?
This brings a legitimate question raised by CNN: is Hong Kong's green initiatives a serious business or just merely riding trend?
Photo credit: russtproof
Tuesday, July 07, 2009
When the news broke that Michael Jackson was rushed to the hospital, it was early morning in Hong Kong. Yet many people have become aware of his condition very quickly, thanks to giant TV screens that relay mostly local news, and the propensity of Hong Kong people to read the news wherever they may be.
A familiar sight is also happening in front of many video shops in the territory. As a tribute to Michael Jackson (and hopes of getting more customers to buy MJ related videos and songs), video shops in Hong Kong often have screens near the entrance so people can watch films and concerts while passing by. This time it's the King of Pop that graced screen and in no time, crowd gathered in front.
That just shows Hong Kong's affinity for Michael. According to AllMichaelJackson.com, Michael Jackson, toured the Far East for a concert as part of the Jackson 5 in late 1974 when many of us were not yet born. We wished he would return for another one, but it's not gonna happen anymore. Earth lost one superstar and heaven just got one. Michael, thank you for the music.
Photo credit: Kin Cheung (via Current News Stories), jannetteyb
One of the most active search terms last year was related to the undressing of a teenage Yoshinoya part-time cashier by three colleagues and getting raped by one of them, High Court was told.
One of the suspects was the Japanese food outlet's assistant shop manager while the rapist was a part-time kitchen worker. The offense took place early last year but the case became popular as the whole incident was filmed by the manager and the video was uploaded to the Internet for everyone to see. I learned it was also available on mobile phones. The victim appealed and threatened she would report the case to the police but the assistant manager ignored her pleas and continued to film the whole incident.
While this has definitely put the victim in very shameful situation, the incident has also affected her family, the suspects' families and cast a dark shadow on Yoshinoya and its hiring practices. So far I don't see the Yoshinoya brand tarnished much based on this crime and patronage by the public never seemed to wane. That's because people go there to eat and the crime didn't involve compromising the quality of food (and maybe service). Unlike the Domino Pizza incident where employees videotaped themselves doing nasty things on its products.
The welfare of the Yoshinoya girl should be upheld and culprits be punished according to applicable laws. The crime took place not long after the Edison Chen sex photo scandal exploded its way to become among the top newsmakers of 2008. Were the suspects under the impression they're movie stars or porno artists?
The victim is a faceless representative of other sexually abused members of the society. By being relatively obscure compared to high profile actresses like Cecilia Cheung and Gillian Chung, may the Yoshinoya girl get the justice she truly deserves.
Photo credit: moka mon
Sunday, July 05, 2009
One familiar treat to a Filipino in Hong Kong is Jollibee. This fastfood outlet brings memories back home. That distinctive smell within the vicinity in Central is one remedy of a typical Pinoy homesickness. This is one little advantage for Filipinos in Hong Kong over counterparts in other overseas stints.
When I arrived in Hong Kong in 2001 there were at least two outlets in Hong Kong island, and another in Kowloon if memory serves me right. However, this dwindled down to one sole survivor, the outlet located in Central:
Shop Z4, G/B Eurotrade Center, 13-14 Connaught Rd. Central, Hong Kong
Tel. No. (852) 2522 7930, (852) 2522 7553
Fax No. (852) 2854 1977
MTR Exit A
This outlet is composed of two levels, ground floor and at basement where more seats are available. On Sundays though, these seats are often occupied and one should know the art of securing seats. Just like in many fastfood outlets in the city, the cleaners are usually the elderly people, while the youngsters are confined in the kitchen and cashier sections. While I notice many Jollibee outlets in the Philippines are more accommodating "Hi, hello sir welcome to Jollibee", front-end staff here are more pragmatic and serves orders quicker.
There are many Filipino eateries in Central district, owing to the fact that this is where Filipinas usually spend their weekends. Many of these food outlets are located at the World Wide House nearby and serve typical Filipino dishes like ginataan, dinuguan, pinakbet, pancit and more. Yet, the distinctive taste of Jollibee offerings makes it a terrific choice.
The general atmosphere is truly Filipino, The fact that the food produced at is very much the same as how we taste chicken joy or Champ burger truly makes Jollibee Hong Kong an authentic Jollibee rather than just a food outlet that borrowed the name and whose food tastes different. My favorites are chicken joy, deep-fried chicken and palabok, rice noodles garnished with shrimp sauce, crushed pork rind and shrimp.
In my earlier years here, typical observation includes the sight of a talkative elderly woman sharing her long experience in Hong Kong while selling wares on the side. Others are even more blunt. They approach you and ask if you want DVDs and CDs they claim are genuine but are definitely bootleg versions. Since many Filipinas have limited options for recreation during the work week, they sometimes don't hesitate to buy these products.
As in any typical Filipino gathering, you'll experience the familiar noise inside Jollibee Hong Kong. Laughter among friends, staff yelling for more fresh chicken or fries, or some petty arguments over the phone or seats make up a lively basement.
I may not eat there often but I hope Jollibee continues to serve the Filipino community for a long time. It's not just the food that makes Jollibee popular. Its presence itself is an endearing reminder of great memories.
Photo credits: takejiro, b8b8ng
Saturday, July 04, 2009
Aberdeen, where you find Jumbo Restaurant and fresh seafood restaurants.
Bauhinia, the flower whose presence is immortalized in Hong Kong's flag and coins.
Cheung Chau, an island famous for the bun festival and unfortunately infamous for suicides.
Dragon boat festival, a popular summer event where paddlers showcase their skills on Hong Kong's beaches and rivers.
Escalators in Midlevels, longest covered outdoor escalator in the world.
Ferry: Star Ferry, First Ferry, Macau Ferry, a common transport means between Hong Kong's islands.
Golden Computer Centre in Sham Shui Po, your one stop shop for computer products and accessories.
Happy Valley, home to Hong Kong island's horse racing spectacle.
Indonesians, a large group of foreigners that help Hong Kong clean and orderly.
Jardine House, that building in Central with circular windows.
Kowloon, Hong Kong island's bigger sister across the Victoria Harbour.
Li Ka-shing, Hong Kong's richest man.
Mong Kok, the microcosm of Hong Kong, merging traditional and modern way of life.
Neon signs, the trademark symbol of Hong Kong's nighttime business.
Octopus card, the indispensable card that can lets you board trains, buses and buys you meals.
Peak Tram, truly a Hong Kong icon that allows one to take a sneak peek of Hong Kong, Kowloon and beyond on a clear day.
Queens Road East, Queens Road Central, Queens Road West, a testament of Hong Kong's royal affinity in the past.
Repulse Bay, an affluent district characterized by seafront homes and relatively quiet neighborhood.
Shopping, often associated with this bustling metropolitan city.
Tea restaurants, also known as cha chan tengs, ubiquitous even in a modern city populated by about 10,000 restaurants.
University of Hong Kong, the city's top institution of higher learning and among the best in the region.
Victoria Peak, Victoria Park, Victoria Harbour, Hong Kong's homage for England's Queen Victoria.
Weather, humid, very cold weather warning, very hot weather warning, typhoon signal numbers 3, 8 and 10. All of that is possible in Hong Kong.
Xianggang, Mainland Chinese term for Hong Kong.
Yau Tsim Mong, one of the busiest districts and home to interesting attractions, night market, Avenue of the Stars, Golden Mile and more.
Zeman, Alan, Mr Lan Kwai Fong and the force behind Ocean Park.
Photo credit: guzhengman, ttstam, 62Lofu