Oct 222013

This is yet another historic day for Hong Kong – 120,000 people turned up to protest the government’s decision not to issue the free-to-air TV license to Hong Kong Television Network (HKTV) last Sunday. 500,000 people gave “like” to a Facebook page calling for protest against the government’s decision and then this past Sunday, thousands of people, most of them wearing black in response to the organizer’s call, marched from Causeway Bay to the Government Headquarters in Admiralty. photo (3) photo (86)

When I approached Admiralty, I was both excited and surprised to see a sea of people converge on the government site to rally against CY Leung and his government’s decision. It evoked the day when thousands of people converged at the same place to protest the implementation of national education in school curricula. The sense of solidarity gripped the people attending the rally who clapped hands and waved at each other.photophoto (85)People made speech, denouncing Leung and defending Hong Kong’s core value, bringing with them amplifier and microphone to make their voice heard.photo (2)And all sorts of banners in the mockery of the government’s decision were exhibited during the march.photo 1 (15) photo 3photo (4)photo 1 (16)CY Leung’s government is a joke in the minds of Hong Kong people – how much public outcry Leung has aroused since he was elected by a mere 689 votes in a Beijing-rigged election. While a reasonable person would think that HKTV deserves the license for its entrepreneurial spirit and efforts to revive Hong Kong’s TV golden era and creative industry, his government threw it out, saying that this is good for the health of the local TV industry. In other words, it wants to promote the health of the TV business by forestalling any disruptive forces that would change the established order, keeping HK people forever at the mercy of the monopoly of TVB, the current major player. ATV, kowtowing to Beijing and controlled by “red” capitalists, is another current player, whose TV programs are simply rubbish. The fact that ATV can still exist despite its very poor performance and reputation, is another joke.

Though Hong Kong people have long been deprived of quality TV programs, it took the government three years to finally make a decision regarding issuing new TV license, a decision that is so unreasonable and ridiculous that draws the ire of the public. People are angry that there is no justice but political motivation behind the decision. photo (5)What is more, the government keeps saying that it is the collective decision of the cabinet (i.e. Executive Council) whose deliberations should be kept confidential. Who are these people on the cabinet btw? They include mostly Leung’s loyalists who Leung appointed to the cabinet so that he could return their favor of supporting his bid for Chief Executive. If the cabinet has no responsibility to explain their decisions which are of great public interest on the flimsy excuse of confidentiality, then Hong Kong affairs will be in the hands of a select few who are not held accountable for their decisions. Why should Hong Kong’s future be governed by them? They have no mandate from Hong Kong people to govern or make decisions on their behalf! That this happens in Hong Kong, the so called Asia’s world city, is another big joke.

photo (87)

Flashing anti-Leung poster from a tram in support of the rally

Since Leung took power, Hong Kong people have taken to the streets a few times en masse. You only need to be in the march to feel how much people here despise him and want him out. I hope Beijing can see that we Hong Kong people want real democracy and to elect our leader, not one that implanted from above like Leung, an idiot and one with no integrity, not to mention leadership and vision. Forcing people to bow to the will of those with power can only backfire, one day.

 Posted by at 11:15 pm
Sep 122013

Hiking Route: Shek Pik Reservoir -> Kau Ling Chung ->Fan Lau ->Yi O->Tai O

Date: 7 September 2013

This hiking route comprises section 8 of Lantau Trail (鳳凰徑) from Shek Pik Reservoir (石壁水塘) to Kau Ling Chung (狗嶺涌), and Section 7 from Kau Ling Chung to Yi O (二澳)and then Tai O(大澳). It was a tough walk because the distance is long, about 18 kilometres, and  took me and my friends six hours to finish (we were slow, of course). It was tought also because section 7 had part of the trail covered in water, making it very muddy. This may be because the preceding days had been raining heavily.photo (82)photo 1 (13)Regardless of raining or not, the section of trail leading to Yi O from Fan Lau is quite off the beaten path and is redolent of remoteness. Approaching Yi O, a village abandoned since 1990’s, a sign was put up, asking people not to enter for safety reason. Undeterred, we pressed on, and came to the site of old Yi O village, which saw traces of construction and farming on a vast stretch of land without any trees.photo 2 (14)The sign was put up by the former Yi O villagers, I later learnt. They have argument with the Government over land use, and have burned down a large area of trees, avowing to stop all other people from entering their village.

From Yi O, you have to pass a couple of crossroads before landing on a concrete pavement leading to Tai O. There is no signage (well, it is understood if the villagers do not welcome visitors). We decided to follow the path where bicycle ruts could be seen as we saw previously villagers biking. This worked and we soon left the muddy path and were on the paved way to Tai O.

At the intersection of Yi O and the paved way is an expanse of marshes. It is starkly beautiful and quiet there.photo (83)

photo 4 (6)photo (84)The starting section, i.e. section 8 from Shek Pik to Kau Leng Chung, is a bit boring, as the trail is mostly along a catchwater. After leaving the catchwater, the walk was getting more interesting.  A number of waterfalls caught our attention.

photo (77)This hiking route’s culmination is Fan Lau, which is at the southwest end of Lantau Island and Hong Kong territory.

photo (78)photo 2 (12) The waters at Fan Lau, a peninsula, are brown as they are close to Pearl River Estuary. A number of sites of historic value dot Fan Lau, including Fan Lau Fort which is a declared monument and was built in Qing Dynasty for defense.

There is a hiking trail through Fan Lau, but on the day of hiking, it was such sweltering heat that my friends and I decided not to deviate from Lantau Trail to explore Fan Lau. And we were very grateful that at the mostly abandoned Fan Lau Village, a Mr Chan, a retired fireman, is running a small store to provide hikers with much cherished drinks and instant noodles. Imagine no place to unwind during a 6-hour gruelling walk under intense heat. Mr Chan’s store felt like an oasis for us.photo 3 (6)The store has a nice terrace looking out to a big garden. Mr Chan grows chili in the garden and makes chili paste and sells to hikers. He also grows custard apples (番鬼荔枝) in his garden. Asked why he chooses this fruit, “my mother left me with the trees,” he said. He gave each of us a custard apple for tasting.

The hike ended at Tai O’s bus station. Walking on the long bridge leading to the bus station one could still see some refreshing unique scenery. It ended on a pleasant note.photo (79)

It is about 1 hour 40 minutes to walk from Shek Pik Reservoir to Kau Ling Chung, and 1 hour from Kau Ling Chung to Fan Lau, and another 3 hours from Fan Lau to Tai O via Yi O.

How to get to the starting point:

Take bus No. 11 from Tung Chung MTR station, and get off after you see Shek Pik Reservoir. There are signs near the bus stop pointing to Tai Long Wan Tsuen (大浪灣村) and Wang Pui Road (宏貝路). Follow the road and you will be on section 8 of Lantau Trail.

 Posted by at 11:58 pm
Aug 202013

The Chinese University of Hong Kong has the most beautiful campus among the city’s universities. The following are some snapshots taken not long ago at its Chung Chi College, just a stone’s throw away from University MTR Station, at the base of a hill. The College is no doubt the most accessible place of the university and attracts visitors for its peaceful and scenic environment. photo 4 (2)photo 2 (9)photo 1 (7)photo 3 (2)There is a canteen at the lake side which remains open during the summer. So you can have a stroll around the college before unwinding here with some drinks and snacks.

 Posted by at 6:25 pm
Aug 042013

It is very likely that you will not notice the existence of Yau Ma Tei Fruit Market even if you pass by Yau Ma Tei. For the market is bustling with activity only from midnight. It is not a retail market, as you can image. It is a wholesale market with lots of trading and transportation activity going on when the city sleeps.

Having been designated as a heritage place, the market enters its centennial year this year. It has long been Hong Kong’s major fruit trading place and its peak time fell in the 1980s and 1990s when the market was thriving with more than 330 stores. Now the number has dwindled to about 230 facing stiff competition from mainland China as well as supermarkets.

It is a typical scene that hourly workers, shirtless, transport cartoons of fruit across the area. It is said the market is embodiment of Hong Kong’s can-do spirit, as you have a sense here that people diligently do menial jobs and rigorous trading just to make a living.

During the day time, while the place is largely quiet, a few stores are open and sell fruit in bulk.photo (73) I was told that these buildings are the oldest in the whole market dating back 100 years.photo 1 (11)

photo 2 (11)How to get there:
Take Exit B2 of Yau Ma Tei MTR Station; Walk along Waterloo Street toward the direction of Potland Street. Turn left at Reclamation Street. Continue along the Reclamation Street and the market is at your right hand side.

 Posted by at 3:45 pm