Hong Kong As It Is

Distortion of history

I was shocked to hear from the news that the Hong Kong Canto pop song “At the foothill of the Lion Mountain” (獅子山下) was named the most well known “national affair song”(國情歌) in a survey among secondary students. How was it possible that the song is about national affair when the song, as every Hong Kong adult knows, is the theme song of a very popular TV series in the 70s about the lives of Hong Kong people? It is a song about Hong Kong, a city, not China, the whole country.
I am not blaming the secondary students for the survey result, but I do blame the organization which conducted the survey, the Boys and Girls’ Club of Hong Kong. This was a glaring distortion of historical facts. How can the NGO did such a thing to the yet-to-mature minds of secondary students? It is obvious that history is easy to distort, not to mention a survey.

The reason to distort history in this case is understandable. The buzz word in the town nowadays is patriotism and nationalism. So even if something has nothing to do with nationalism/national affair, some people will make it possible that “this something” finds its way to relate to it.

Hong Kong, sadly, is losing its diversity and identity day by day.

Hong Kong As It Is

Cultural Revolution and Democracy

I know Donald Tsang, Hong Kong’s Chief Executive, is not a politician, but only a civil servant, as he has always been; I know he is not a leader, but only an administrator.

But I never expected that he can be so bad. He can be so ignorant of history that in a radio program, he cited China’s Cultural Revolution as an extreme case of democracy, while Cultural Revolution is in fact a good example of how dictatorship can destroy a whole country.

Further, Tsang thinks if people have all the power, there can’t be good governance. In other words, democracy, people’s power, is at odds with social development and good governance.

It cannot be clearer that why Tsang was picked by Beijing to be the Chief Executive of Hong Kong. His idea about people’s power/democracy, something Chinese government is very fearful about, is just so similar to that of his boss.

View here for the text of Tsang’s interview on the radio program.

Where to Stay

Short-term apartment rental in HK

If you want to rent an apartment for days, or weeks in Hong Kong, it isn’t too easy. For one thing, you are usually asked to rent for at least a month. And do prepare for the high rent. Hong Kong’s rent, just like its property price, is very high.

There are only few choices for short-term apartment rental in Hong Kong, as you may have guessed. It is probably because the property price is so high that most people can only afford to buy one property to live in. For those who can afford to have a spare property for lease, they would rather lease it to local residents on a yearly contract.

Well, you can still find short-term apartments for just a few days or weeks, though the choice is limited. The daily rate ranges from HK$350 to HK$2,000.

For those on the budget, check out rent a room. This company’s self-contained room-apartments offer a range of price (from about HK$400 for 1 person to about HK$1000 for 4 persons per day) to choose from. Its location in Jordan, Kowloon, is convenient. But do expect the apartment is small and pretty basic with little decoration.

You can also check out this site for a higher end market. Most of them are for month-long rent only. But there are few that you can rent on a per-day basis for up to HK$1,300 a day. This site offers daily-pakcage of serviced apartment at about HK$1600 in prime areas of Hong Kong.

If you plan to stay in HK for a month, the choice is a lot wider. Hang Lung Properties, a Hong Kong main developer, offers three locations of serviced apartments on a monthly rental basis. All apartemtns are conveniently located and nicely decorated. You can choose from its apartments of different sizes, facilities and prices. Other choices (most of them expensive choices) include Apartment Kapok, V Serviced Apartments (looks stylish), Eaton House (very expensive), 88 (luxury!) and 153&163 (looks like a typical HK ordinary home).

Here’s more: theV, sytlish studio/apartments, with locations at Happy Valley, Causeway Bay, Wanchai and West Kowloon, with price from HK$13,800 per month for a studio; The Lodge, HK$10,500 -12,800 per month, brand new apartments with boardband and cable TV, near Jordan MTR station and Kowloon MTR station; and the Regent Heights, with more than 100 units of different apartment types, located in Causeway Bay, one month lease required.

Hong Kong As It Is Hong Kong As It Was

What the Star Ferry pier demolition tells us

The management of the Hong Kong ferry company which runs the ferry route from Central to Tsim Sha Tsui, disclosed that following the demolishment of the Star Ferry pier at the Edinburg Square, Central, and moving of the pier to a more remote location, the traffic has decreased by 15%. The company said it would consider a fare hike in the near future.

It is a vivid demonstration of how wrong the HK government has been in ruthlessly demolishing such a historic and familiar place to HK people. The demolishment has not only destroyed a HK legacy and heritage, but also taken away a transport means for the public who now because of the remote location of the pier, have to forfeit its use.

The ferry ride has been an enjoyable ride for me, taking in the harbor view and landscape at both sides of the harbor. Now, physically, I don’t want to walk that long distance to take the ferry; psychologically, I don’t want to use the new pier either – in silent protest against the ugly development of this city and the indifference of its government.

China As It Is Hong Kong As It Is

The hint to applaud

In case you don’t know, in China, when the leadership makes a speech, clapping hands in support of the points they make, from time to time, is common practice. But how can the people know when they should applaud? Easy, the leadership will raise the tone at places intended to be applauded, and then the public will know and acknowledge by clapping hands.

I was watching news yesterday on TV and could not help hold Hong Kong’s chief executive Donald Tsang in awe. Gosh, he was so good in imitating the Chinese leadership when making a speech to the Hong Kong-based Chinese army (PLA, People’s Liberation Army). Where he praised the army for its professionalism and friendliness, he skillfully raised the tone at the end of the sentence, and immediately the audience of the soldiers exploded in applauding. I found it both funny and pathetic.

Well, there must be reasons why Mr Tsang can be HK’s chief executive, and the above episode demonstrates why: You have to behave and think like you boss does.

It is saddening for HK, whose people have worked so hard to build the port city into a world renowned city, only to see they have no say in who with what attributes to lead them, and are told economic prosperity is the only thing they treasure. Their voice is fabricated and not heard.

When the government is spending a great deal of money to celebrate the 10 year anniversary of HK’s return to China, I find myself indifferent to all the fanfare.