Articles about Hong Kong

Like Shanghai with a dash of London: notes from a year in Wanchai.

Luo Hu Commercial City — Shenzhen, China

Next time you’re in Hong Kong, catch the train up to Lo Wu station, go through HK immigration and walk across the border into mainland China. Once you go through Chinese immigration and get though the thicket of taxi touts, the first building you see is Luo Hu Commercial City. Its five floors contain hundreds of tiny shops, mostly selling “brand name” clothing, shoes and accessories. There are also dozens of tailors who can make or copy anything. If you prefer, there are electronics, DVDs, souvenirs, home furnishings, and maybe a few other things I’ve forgotten.

Luo Hu Commercial City

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Postage Stamps

The current Hong Kong local postage stamp is one of the most beautiful I’ve seen. For just $1.40 (20 US cents) you can have a tiny work of art, suitable for framing. The great thing is that if you send it to somebody as a present, it pays for its own postage. It’s the gift that sends itself.

Hong Kong postage stamp

It’s also one of the biggest stamps I’ve seen – you’d be hard-pressed to fit it on a small postcard. While I was poking around in my files, I also found this fun stamp.

Round NZ postage stamp

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Hong Kong Rugby Sevens 2004

We spent an entire weekend in Hong Kong Stadium watching rugby, as the world’s best teams (and several of the world’s mediocre teams) competed for the coveted HK Sevens Cup. England were the hot favourites, having won the Sevens for the last two years and the Rugby World Cup last year, but New Zealand are always highly fancied, and Argentina were looking good too. Of course, I was supporting New Zealand – it’s something to do with my genetic make-up. (Though I don’t usually wear make-up.)

Actually, I had another reason for hoping England wouldn’t win – their fans like to sing, and their enthusiasm is matched only by their tunelessness. And why do they choose “Swing Low Sweet Chariot” as their theme song? It has as much to do with rugby as it has with inorganic chemistry. I guess they’re not called the Barmy Army for nothing.

The Sevens rugby games are played by teams of seven, in two seven-minute halves. This makes for a pretty fast-paced game. The first day’s games were all “pool matches”, designed to sort the teams into grades for the finals. There were lots of one-sided games between big fish (NZ, England, Australia, South Africa, etc.) and minnows (Chinese Taipei [sic], Singapore, etc., and of course the hosts Hong Kong). There were quite a few scores in the 50-nil range, with no unexpected results.

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Chet Lam + The Pancakes + Ketchup — live in Hong Kong

This was meant to be nothing more than a concert featuring three local Hong Kong singers. But it turned out to be lots of fun, if often incomprehensible, and had more strange, unexpected moments than you could shake a stick at, unless you’re really good at shaking sticks at strange, unexpected moments.

As a nod to the independent pop music scene in Hong Kong (such as it is), the Arts Festival included this show, featuring three local singer-songwriter types performing with a four-piece backing band.

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Horses Across Hong Kong

Looks as if there probably won’t be a Cow Parade in Hong Kong; they already have something similar. In true Hong Kong style, it’s related to money – in this case, to horse racing, the only legal form of gambling here.

The Currency Horse

To celebrate the December racing carnival, each year the Hong Kong Jockey Club places a number of decorated racehorses around Hong Kong. I’ve seen a few around Central, above is the Currency Horse, and this one is Beautiful Women of the World:

Beautiful Women of the World

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Elvis is not dead – he just lost some weight and moved to Hong Kong.

Melvis is essentially a Hong Kong Chinese busker who looks (or at least, dresses) like Elvis (in his Las Vegas incarnation) and performs short and almost incomprehensible Elvis songs at the drop of a hat.

We were out last night, and one of the guys with us saw Melvis in the street and asked him to come in and play for us. He did a very short Hound Dog, and a brilliant A Little Less Conversation. He has a remarkable talent for cutting to the very essence of each song, leaving out frills like melody and recognisable lyrics.

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Prince — live in Hong Kong

Like many others, we scored free tickets to the Prince gig staged as part of the Hong Kong Harbour Fest. I had never seen Prince before, and hadn’t heard much of him recently, but the show was excellent.

Prince on stage

He moved and grooved all over the purple stage, singing a good range of well-known and more obscure songs. The band was fantastic. Just smooth funkiness from beginning to end.

Harbour Fest venue

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Hong Kong

Visited for a few days. Bustling and exciting, as I remembered it. Every third shop sells mobile phones. The Peak still has an unbeatable view.

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