Sunday, 14 December 2014

Miu Gok Yuen Nunnery and Martyr’s Grave, Fung Kat Heung

A couple of years ago (2012), I joined a tour of the New Territories led by a local historian, Dr Patrick Hase. The tour was based around his rather interesting book concerning the so-called "6 Day War" that followed the leasing of the "New Territories" to the British authorities in 1899. We took in various sites that were involved in the handover ceremony as well as the various bouts of fighting that broke out afterwards. We started the tour up on Flagstaff Hill in Tai Po, where the flag-raising ceremony was conducted before moving on to Tai Po Tau, Lam Tsuen and then Sheung Tsuen in Kam Tin. The latter was where the decisive large battle was fought but our last stop of the day was to small village to the north of Kam Tin - a village which holds a rather morbid reminder of those events back in 1899. A mass grave containing the bodies of those killed during the short war.

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

#4 Dorset Crescent, Kowloon Tong

You may recall from a previous post (if you made it to the end) that I was particularly miffed (to put it lightly) about the very recent demolition of one of the original Kowloon Tong Estate mansions.

Here’s the problem – yes, there are many original houses still standing, but many have been modified beyond their original design and it seemed as though # 4 Dorset Crescent was a fantastic example of the houses in their original form (along with the green-painted kindergarten on Cumberland Road). I was so happy to have stumbled across the place via Streetview that I wasted no time getting down there to grab a shot only to discover I was already too late. Sadly, the land had been sold the previous summer and the building has since been demolished and the ground cleared (including removing the elegant trees that shaded the front wall).

Something's missing...!?

Friday, 28 November 2014

In search of Bruce Lee’s last filming location

My claims to fame are so few and far between that every so often I feel the need to relive some old glory, and so here is a look back at one of the more challenging, and ultimately frustrating, film location identifications I became involved with back in the summer of 2009.

I had been contacted in May or June time by a chap called John Little - perhaps not that well known to many readers here but a big name in both the bodybuilding and Bruce Lee worlds.For those who don't know, John is famous in the world of fitness and exercise for his regular writing and research into bodybuilding and he also made quite a name for himself as the archivist/author for the Lee estate throughout the 1990's - authoring and editing several books on Lee as well as producing a highly regarded documentary called A Warrior's Journey.

After a self-enforced exile of several years John was in the pre-production phase for a new documentary concerning many of the filming locations used in several of Lee's later films. He had contacted me on the strength of my Lee-obsessed posts on version one of this blog and was hoping to get me involved for the Hong Kong and Macau aspect of the filming.

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Police Station Turrets

Some time ago, my buddy Angus (who, by the way, has his own rather excellent and fascinating HK blog) suggested I write a post about some of the old (and not so old it seems) turrets on many of the police stations dotted around the territory. These things are everywhere and, to be honest, I was baffled as to why they exist in the first place because I really couldn’t envisage them affording any sort of any practical use against a mass of unruly protesters besieging a police station. I should mention this post was originally published long before the Occupy protesters took hold of various parts of town, and way before the police decided to show the world that they are no longer quite the fine force we once took them to be. In hindsight, it seems as though whoever designed these stations wasn't quite as naive about these things as I am and perhaps they may prove to be of some use sometime in the future...

Thursday, 13 November 2014

Walking from Shek Mun Kap to Po Lin Monastery, Lantau Island

There's no originality at all on my part for this post because I have more or less lifted it from one of my favourite books (still a favourite, even after living in HK for nearly 9 years) from Pete Spurrier’s The Leisurely Hiker's Guide to Hong Kongnow in its 5th printing I hasten to add. Additionally, since re-reading Martin Booth's Gwei Lo not so long ago, I suspect this walk is highly likely to be the same one done by his family back in 1953 - the difference for us is that I am sure the path wasn't quite so well-trodden and they got to spend a night at the monastery before the return journey.

Saturday, 8 November 2014

King Yin Lei, Wanchai

It's probably fair to say that of all the buildings in Hong Kong, King Yin Lei has held my fascination for the longest time. Of course, when I first saw the place I was only about 12 years old and it was the intriguing fortress of an evil drug-producing ex-member of the Shaolin temple who, sadly, ended up skewered on the end of a spear courtesy of a kick by Bruce Lee. But it was my, some might say, "unhealthy" obsession with that film (it was Enter the Dragon in case you hadn't guessed) that really kick-started my whole Hong Kong obsession and ultimately led me to come and live here.

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Remnants of the old KCR Terminus, East TST

It may not be immediately obvious to the tourist in HK but along the TST waterfront – where now there stands a windowless, cream-tiled development that encompasses the Cultural Centre, Museum of Art and Planetarium – there stood a rather glorious colonial edifice: the KCR Railway Terminus. The following picture is courtesy of Hong Wrong (original link here).

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Golden Studios - Then and Now

As a long time HK film fan, Golden Studios holds particular interest for me because it was the filming/production location of many classic kung fu films during the 70's and 80's. Golden Studios was, of course, the name of the studios owned and operated by Golden Harvest. Sadly the studios (and, in fact, Golden Harvest's film production activity) is no longer around, but I managed to obtain an aerial photo (from the Mapping office for $120) of the area in Diamond Hill where the studio was located so that at least we can see where it was in relation to the area now.

Monday, 13 October 2014

Remembering the Osprey

Not so long ago, someone started posting pictures on of the after effects of Typhoon Ellen in 1983. Out of this interesting discussion came the mention of a boat that became an unfortunate victim of the typhoon when it sank several miles south of the territory. A barquentine called the 'Osprey'.

Monday, 6 October 2014

Down in "The Tong"

I don't live in Kowloon Tong but I do go through it almost everyday because it's my nearest MTR station and despite popping in on the odd occasion over the years, it wasn't until we moved to Kowloon that I found the time and energy I needed to explore a bit more. You'd be surprised about how much there is to find here. However, it wasn't until recently that my interest in the original Kowloon Tong Estate was piqued because of some old photos posted up on that showed some of the original Kowloon Tong houses.

Let's be specific. When I talk about Kowloon Tong in this context, I am referring to the original garden estate that was built between the KCR railtrack (to the west) and Waterloo Road (to the east). Kowloon Tong itself seems to refer to a much larger area these days - encompassing Yau Yat Chuen and Kowloon City if you believe the real estate agents - but these places weren't developed until long after the Kowloon Tong Estate was built in the 1920's and 30's.

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Old KCR Warning Sign, Shatin

The next post is short and sweet - in my case that's usually for the best - but it's one that illustrates just how different the KCR rail line used to be. It involves a (rather striking) old warning sign located on a pedestrian bridge that crosses the track near in Sheung Wo Che in Shatin.

Friday, 26 September 2014

Luen Wo Market, Fanling

This place has been in the news because it is one of the sites about to be sold by the Govt for redevelopment. Now, before you all cry foul, the good news is that one of the conditions of the land sale is that the old market building - a very stylish single storey art deco structure - must be preserved. Perhaps the Govt is finally beginning to listen to people about heritage preservation (although I won't get my hopes up for other buildings just yet).

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

A Reminder of the Sea Palace, Aberdeen Harbour

If you have read my post about the Tai Pak Floating Restaurant in Aberdeen Harbour, then you should already recognise the name of the two restaurants that are still there - the aforementioned Tai Pak and its younger, bigger brother the Jumbo. Both of which now form what is known as the Jumbo Kingdom.

However, for a time there were more than just those two places. There was also a third, equally extravagant in appearance, called the Sea Palace. I don't have a picture of it myself because the Sea Palace had already gone before I had even set foot in this great territory but, for those interested, here is a link to that features it and, of course, fans of my Film Locations blog will probably know that the Sea Palace can be seen on screen next to the Tai Pak in the following screencap from Enter the Dragon (it's the one with the orange roof).

Monday, 22 September 2014

Lions Club International Pavilion, Shatin

Another quickie, this time we head over to Shatin to look at the Lions Club International Pavilion that sits on a hillside above the MTR East Rail station. It's not quite as impressive as the Lions Club International Pavilion that can be found at Victoria Peak (as seen in Bloodsport), but I guess Shatin Peak (as it is often called by my local friends) offers a pretty good panorama of the valley (formerly a sea inlet) with the added benefit that hardly anyone goes there.

Thursday, 18 September 2014

1a Cornwall Street, Kowloon Tong

Since moving to the area a couple of years ago, I've been continuing my explorations of Kowloon Tong. I'll re-post my article on the original Kowloon Tong Estate houses sometime soon, but in the meantime here is another property that has a rather more interesting history than most.

I found out about this place a while ago whilst visiting the rather excellent Museum of Coastal Defence. One of the display boards in the main exhibition hall has/had a list of current military sites being utilised by the PLA. Rather than write down the list you can have a look for yourself because I took some snaps of the display.

Saturday, 13 September 2014

State Theatre - King's Road, North Point

Time to start rolling out some short but sweet posts that were quite fun to do, I have a whole bunch of them to do in no particular order but I was reminded of this place recently so it's as good a place to start as any. I've also been spending more and more time in North Point on Hong Kong Island recently so I'm getting to know the area a bit better. There are some great points of interest all over but one of my favourites is this old cinema building that sits on King's Road. 

Friday, 1 August 2014

Ng Yuen, Shatin

Not so long ago (okay, I'm lying - it was actually nearly 4 years ago now!) I was having a wander along the Shing Mun River in Shatin when something caught my attention – what looked like the roof of an old colonial-era home. When I crossed over to take a closer look I came across a real gem of a building.

Thursday, 31 July 2014

The Bruce Lee Guide to Yau Ma Tei

As promised, part two of my self-guided walking tours that take in the world of Bruce Lee. I originally posted this entry at the tail end of 2011 and I don't think much has changed in regards of what is still there but I do know the Bruce Lee Club has put up the odd "Bruce Lee Way" plaque or two. Not only is this a great way to see some Lee-related sites in Yau Ma Tei, but it’s also a good solid walk taking you through a large part of Kowloon that wouldn’t necessarily be on the usual tourist/visitor itinerary.

As before it’s mainly Bruce with some local interest thrown in for good measure and you can get the route from Googlemaps where I have plotted out the main sites listed below. This walk involves a lot of crossing roads so make sure you have your best walking shoes on and, seeing as this is HK, it will be hot. Even a HK winter can be warm and a bit sticky especially if you are traipsing around Kowloon with all its poor air flow, busy traffic and heat-radiating concrete.

Friday, 25 July 2014

Lung Cheung Road Lookout - summer versus spring

Following on from the last post on Hong Kong's air quality, here is a post I had originally put up some time in March of 2013. Actually, it was one of the last posts I wrote on the old blog before pulling the plug. The topic was a famous lookout point very near to where I now live and one reasonably fine day I took the kids up there to see what the view was like.

Okay, I admit the film buff in me was also a bit curious because this spot has supposedly been used many times for film locations and, in fact, the first time I had really heard about it was from reading Dan Thomas’ excellent Hong Kong on Film blog. He had identified this place as one of the locations featured in the film Where’s Officer Tuba.

Anyway, despite the very unreliable air quality I figured it was worthwhile highlighting this place. Despite an abundance of tour coaches laid up in the adjoining car park, we had the place to ourselves which leads me to believe a lot of coach drivers use this place to have a kip in between pick-ups.

Hong Kong Air Quality

Here's a quickie for those with any doubt about the varying air quality that you can encounter here in Hong Kong. For purposes of comparison I took a couple of snaps out of my window a while back at different times of the year and although it's a little bit of a generalisation, they do show the differing quality of air at different times of the year.

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Canton-style Shophouses, Territory-wide

Any long-term reader of my blog (or at least the last version of it will probably already be aware that one of my great obsessions since moving here has been the various Canton-style shophouses that, though once prolific, are a bit of a dying breed. It's a big shame because many of these buildings have enormous character - especially when you compare them to the generic office blocks that spring up in their place. Canton-style may or not be an official term to describe the shophouses that have front supporting columns/pillars that extend the first floor of the building over the pavement, offering a slightly more restricted passage underneath but at the same time affording some respite from HK's often harsh climate. The pillars were also used to display the shop/business name before the advent of neon signage.

Monday, 30 June 2014

Walking from Shatin to Taipo

I’ve been planning on doing this for sometime. I did do it - in the opposite direction - using a bike, sometime around 1996 but obviously the whole area has undergone a vast transformation since then and I was curious to see how it had all turned out. So off we set after a nice fortifying lunch at Shatin’s New Town Plaza and headed off to the back of the mall and down the woefully slim ‘pavement’ that runs alongside the cycle track along the riverside.

Friday, 27 June 2014

Remnants of Hillside Military Insignia, Ho Sheung Heung

Back in December of 2012, I published a blog post regarding Military Insignia that have be created on hillsides around the territory. At the time I was just mumbling on at what I thought I could see faintly on the side of Tai Shek Mo (Crest Hill) in Ho Sheung Heung.

Recently, however, it appears that I was absolutely bang on! Less than a year after that original post, various hill fires were started (there are graves up there, so no doubt caused by careless people leaving burning incense next to the graves) and a whole load of the side of the hills was burnt away to reveal...yes, you guessed it, the missing military insignia. There was a bit of discussion in the comments at the time about which regiment the insignia was related to, and now it is very clear who it was.

But anyway, before we get to the updates, here is the original post from December 2012.

Sunday, 22 June 2014

God Kuan Ti – left or right hand?

God Kwan Ti (and various other variants of the name: Kuan Ti, Guan Dei etc) is one of HK's more prolific deities from in the Chinese pantheon, recognisable by his glaring red face, black beard and long Guan Dao (his halberd). Coupled with his ubiquitous appearance (in statue form, of course) inside small shrines of almost any business or home in HK and overseas Chinese communities. He’s usually, mistakenly, referred to in English texts as the God of War but actually his role in Chinese worship is more related to his reputation for integrity and righteousness.

Many years ago I heard a rumour about these Kwan Ti statues regarding whether the statues' halberd was held in its left or right hand. The story goes that if the statue has the halberd in his left hand, then there is a high possibility that the owner of the statue is in fact a Triad (in case the snarl, tattoos, large Mercedes Benz, sharp chopper and ownership of an entertainment label wasn't obvious enough...). I had forgotten all about this little nugget of information until recently when I ventured into a Tsim Sha Tsui eatery and noticed the restaurants door altar had a Kwan Ti statue holding its his left hand!

Friday, 13 June 2014

11.5 Milestone, Tai Po Road - Then and Now

As a quick follow up to my earlier post about walking along part of the old Tai Po Road, I thought it would be nice to sing some praise for the Govt for a change.

I've only been in HK a few years (although I am now an official Permanent Resident :-) ), and it didn't take me long to get very jaded with regards to the Govt's complete lack of initiative and willing about conserving things of antiquity and historical note. The previous version of this blog was littered with many examples of buildings and structures of note that have been left to decay or just demolished to make way for another generic piece of blocky real estate.

Walking along Tai Po Road – Taipo to Shatin Section

Traveling along the Tai Po Road can be quite fun - even when at the whim of HK's notoriously poor minibus drivers. The road has a fair amount of history linked to the original leasing of the New Territories to the British Colonial authorities, and as such has character with its long curving route and often agreeable vantage point over the surrounding scenery. Although parts of it have changed in the intervening years - through either some straightening or just replacement by faster (and more boring) highway, there are still stretches of it that are true to the original road and I always figured it would be interesting to walk it for a change. So, a year or so ago when I finally got my youngest off to kindergarten, I found the time to walk the section from Tai Po to Fo Tan.

Monday, 2 June 2014

Wai Bun Castle, Tai Wai

Hidden away in an obscure corner of Tai Wai is a small park. The park is no different from any other small park in Hong Kong - surrounded by concrete (in this case the Shing Mun Tunnel Road flyover) with a bit of greenery thrown in for good measure - it’s essentially a large HK-style "sitting out area" where lots of oldies gather to play chess and have a natter and possibly an illegal flutter. However, this park has a feature that is quite unique in Hong Kong (as far as I am aware, that is) and gives a little clue as to the prior use of the place.

Thursday, 15 May 2014

The Bruce Lee Guide to Tsim Sha Tsui

Walking tours are quite popular and there aren't many places where they are as easy as Hong Kong. Granted it's not the most pedestrian-friendly place you will have visited - any walk normally involves being hoisted above or below the roads so we don't interfere (heaven forbid!) with the smooth flow of HK's most precious vehicular traffic. Here is one of the walks I had cobbled together for the old blog, following on from the popularity of my original Bruce Lee’s Hong Kong post.

I also have a Yau Ma Tei walking tour article to re-post, but for the time being this is a nice easy-to-follow introduction to Lee fans. Given last year's 40th death anniversary celebrations and all the stuff that went with it (such as the eventual opening of the 5 year exhibit at the Heritage Museum) it seems a good time to put these up again.

The walk itself is about 3.5km in length and shouldn’t take too long unless you want to take full advantage of the locations and get snaps and generally admire the views and I have tried to be as direct as possible given the aforementioned ridiculous aspects of HK’s pedestrian flow - designed to take you past shopping opportunities rather than actually get you from A to B in the shortest time.

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Tai Po Market development between 1892 and 1964

Although living in Kowloon for the past couple of years, I spent the first six (or so) years of my time here residing in Tai Po. I still love the place and feel it's a great balance between being able to conveniently reach the city and countryside. Okay, neither is a 5 minute walk away but Tai Po strikes a good balance and its much quicker to get into HK Island than most people realise. It was wandering around Tai Po that inspired the original form of this blog and as a result of my explorations and inquisitiveness I've developed a fairly good knowledge of the place.

However, it wasn't until I accidentally came across an old photo of my father-in-law's (taken probably around 1953 when he was a fresh immigrant from the Mainland) that I started to develop an interest in the history of the place. The photo itself brought the attention of a local historian, Dr Patrick Hase, who had been asked to write a history of the Catholic Church in Taipo for its 150th anniversary year, and he asked if it could be included in the book.

Monday, 12 May 2014

An Article for HK Time Out: Hong Kong’s Top Diving Spots

The weather is warming up slightly (although you'd be hard pressed to believe it given the massive rainstorms we had last weekend) and this means the local scuba diving season is beginning to rev up. To be honest, the more hardy folks have been diving all winter (sadly, I'm not one of them) and enjoying cooler clearer water and empty (of people) dive sites. So it's time to roll out an article I penned a couple of years ago (for Hong Kong Time Out again) that formed part of a larger stay/vacation piece. Once again this was a printed article only (not available online) but I was given permission by then editor - Jake Hamilton - to put it online. So many thanks to Jake (wherever he may now be) for getting me to write it and then allowing me to stick it up here as well.

Wednesday, 30 April 2014

The Avenue of Stars: A Guide For The HK Film Ignoramus Part 4

The time is right to round off our little educational trip into HK film land and bring the Ignoramuses guide to a close. I feel enlightened after this brief trip through and what started off as a bit of a slagging - because let’s face it, the AoS deserves to be slagged off a little bit - has managed to make me aware of some lesser aspects of the HK film industry. It's just a shame that the path to greater knowledge is littered with bent over tourists huddled on the ground, badly spelt information boards, gaudy plastic molded effigies and tinny 'muzak' being played over and over again on the sound system.

Anyway, the show must go on and so here is the last installment. To catch up on the other articles, please feel free to find them here: Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3. Once again, photos are all courtesy of Thomas Podvin’s HKCinemagic website unless otherwise stated.

Tuesday, 29 April 2014

The Former Tai Po Railway Station at Tai Po Kau, Tai Po

Anyone who catches the East Rail train heading north will, momentarily, just before they arrive at Tai Po Market station, pass a large anonymous yellow tiled building. Its true form isn't immediately obvious due to the limited view from the train windows and the speed at which you pass it. What you see going past your eyes at speed is an residential building called Trackside Villas - a development of apartments seemingly built for KCR (now MTRC) workers.

Whether or not it remains for the use of the rail workers is not known (by me at least), but that's not really why I am talking about it. I'm interested in the place because it sits on the site of the former Tai Po Railway station.

Friday, 25 April 2014

The Avenue of Stars: A Guide For The HK Film Ignoramus Part 3

In case you hadn’t had enough of my verbal diarrhoea and tenuous grasp of HK film and the significance of some of these people (although believe me, I have learned a hell of a lot about it and them since I started doing this particular project – so mission accomplished for me at least), here is part 3.

If you are a late arrival (shame on you, where have you been?) here are the links to Part 1 and Part 2. Once again, all photos are courtesy of Thomas at unless noted otherwise.

This section sees some stars that I have actually heard of! I say I'm an ignoramus (which I am in the general scheme of HK cinema taken as a whole) but I do have a little bit of knowledge of many of the following people simply by virtue of being prominent in the industry when my early childhood interest was piqued. Yes, my interest was strictly limited to films of the action/kungfu genre, but seeing as this was one of the primary outputs of the HK film industry during the 70's, 80's and 90's it’s not surprising I can profess a little less ignorance – but only just. Anyway, let’s get cracking with…

An Article for HK Time Out: Chasing Down The Dragon

Back in March 2011, I had the good fortune to be asked to pen a short article for Time Out HK magazine. The topic, as you may have guessed already, was the various locations used in Enter The Dragon for which my blog had already established itself as a useful online source of info. Anyway, once again for those who missed it and because my stuff never seems to make the cut for the online version, I have attached a scanned version and with Time Out’s permission, you can view it here for yourself.

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

St Christopher’s Home and a Missing Plaque, Tai Po

Here’s a good example of how you should never take HK’s landscape for granted – something I am guilty of all the time despite knowing better. It's also a good example of some of the more useful/helpful things the old blog achieved - helping someone solve a bit of a small mystery. Back in 2010, a nice fellow called Sean Olson posted some old pics on in an attempt to wind up some remaining loose ends concerning his family history. It is the culmination of a decade-long research project – the result of which can be found on Sean’s website: The Hong Kong Legacy. Sean had several old photographs taken in some difficult to locate places and was having some difficulty identifying where they may have been taken. Anyone familiar with both of my blogs should know by now that this is something I find enjoyable and sometimes challenging, and of course the regular posters over at Gwulo are also very handy at this kind of thing.

The photos that piqued my own interest were related to an area not far from where I used to live in Tai Po and was quite familiar with (or so I thought). It’s the area now occupied by a Cheong Kong development called Deerhill Bay, but before the development was built (in 1998) the land was the site of a children’s home/orphanage called The St. Christopher’s Home, run by the Anglican Church.

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

The Avenue of Stars: A Guide For The HK Film Ignoramus Part 2

Here is part two of my idiot’s guide – part 1 found here – (photos courtesy of Thomas Podvin’s excellent HKCinemagic site unless otherwise stated). I should quickly point out that some of the "stars" who were living when I first did this post back in March 2011 (wow! three years has gone quickly hasn't it?)
may have passed away in the intervening time. Still being an ignoramus (sadly the enlightenment achieved by this post was short-lived) I may have left out a few bucket-kickings without realising so please feel free to let me know otherwise. So let's carry on where we left off at number 26.

Monday, 14 April 2014

The Avenue of Stars: A Guide For The HK Film Ignoramus Part 1

As promised, here are the original posts that eventually led to my little article for HK Time Out back in 2011. For the record, my opinions about the place remain unchanged: the concept probably looked good on paper (actually, on second thoughts it probably looked crap on paper too) and the execution is just really very ‘HK’. I can’t put my finger on it other than to say I just get a general feeling of complete and total naffness when I am there. In fact, it’s the same feeling I get wandering through the Peak Tower and through Ngong Ping village – a sort of disneyfication that makes everything seem really false and totally cheesy.

Naffness aside, I have one major peeve that is really my own fault – although I consider myself someone who knows a thing or two about the HK film industry I can’t for the life of me recognize at least half of the names that are stuck to the floor along the waterfront. It’s a true education in how much of an ignoramus I really, truly am. For some of the names I had no idea if they were male or female. Well, rather than take the easy option and forever bitch and moan about how crap it is, I’ve decided to try and accentuate the positive and provide you, my fellow HK film ignoramuses, with a guide to the Avenue of Stars for the non-HK Film aficionado.

An Article for HK Time Out: The Avenue of Stars

A while back I penned a small article for the local Time Out publication outlining, amongst other things, the general naffness of the Avenue of Stars - one of HK's supposedly "top" tourist draws.

The article was inspired by a series of posts I did on the old blog that looked more in depth at each of the "stars" who feature along the promenade. I'll be re-posting them here soon, but in the meantime, here is the original published article (click to zoom in). Sadly, there is no online link to the article, I don't think it made the cut for the website, but still, here it is preserved in digital format for your reading pleasure...or not.

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Tai Pak Floating Restaurant, Aberdeen

The Tai Pak floating restaurant was once one of those must-see places in Hong Kong. I suspect a combination of the novelty, the decoration and the fact that it featured in a few Hollywood films that were shot on location in Hong Kong. I've sifted through many films now whilst doing research for my film locations blog and I can confirm that a large majority of films have featured Aberdeen Harbour and its famous floating restaurants at some point.

Thursday, 3 April 2014

A public service announcement: Tsim Sha Tsui Electronics shops

On the odd occasion, not so much these days, I browse a few travel forums and every so often up crops a recurring classic along the lines “I got ripped off buying a camera on Nathan Road”. The posters are invariably new to the forum and are posting “to warn others” – the irony being that if they had bothered to read the forum before their trip then the copious amounts of other similar “ripped off” warning messages may have caught their attention and saved them some time, money and the inevitable deep psychological scarring.

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

The Former Bela Vista Hotel, Macau

Yes, the former Bela Vista Hotel, because these days this building is used as the residence of the Portuguese Consul in Macau. My initial post was spurred on after reading a very interesting book called Macao by Phillipe Pons (written in the late 90′s and translated from the original French print). He provides such a great summary of its colourful history that I felt the need to share. Understandably, Pons spends a lot of time lamenting over the fact that the modern Macao is now like a Disney Theme park. When you consider that he wrote that in the 90's before the current phase of Disneyfication (i.e. Grand Lisboa, reclamation of the Cotai strip etc), then I dread to think how depressed he must be feeling right now :-(

Saturday, 29 March 2014

Yip Man's Grave, Fanling

Here is a man who has been much in the news over the past few years thanks to the rather large number (relatively speaking) of films that have been made about him recently – so far 5 and counting, the most recent effort is Wong Kar Wai’s contribution starring Tony Leung as The Grandmaster.

Friday, 28 March 2014

Hong Kong Scuba Diving - a quick guide

As an avid scuba diver, and one who has done a fair amount of dives in local (HK) waters, I figured that a post on such a topic might actually be quite useful to non-locals/tourists who fancy taking the plunge when over here but had no idea it was possible (in HK). Or perhaps even a local resident who wants to learn, but feels that HK doesn’t provide a decent enough environment? Yeah, I know, a post on my blog that might actually be useful to someone!

Thursday, 27 March 2014

Bruce Lee's Hong Kong

It seems only right that one of the main posts driving this blog from its inception should be reinstated here on the new one. When I first started doing Bruce Lee locations it was just a little list of Enter the Dragon locations that I had mashed together from various online sources (it turned out that most of that information had originally come from Paul Li - HK's foremost Lee historian).

More film locations were added as time went on as well as places related to his life. What we have now is a significant list of places encompassing many aspects of Lee's life, from his early years, film work and later life in HK up to his death. I have also managed to knock together a few walking tours, which I will reinstate over the coming weeks. But until then, here is the original post, with a few more recent updates added.

Saturday, 22 March 2014

Love Hotels in Kowloon Tong

Love Hotels are a well-established phenomena that, for some reason or another, seem to be associated with a less salubrious side of life in HK. So let’s see what they’re about and dispel a popular myth.

Walk around the leafy clean streets of Kowloon Tong (I should say that Kowloon Tong is not the only place where these establishments exist, it’s just that here is where you will find the larger ones that cater for car owners) and you will see lots of nice colourful neon signs with various characters on them including these two: 酒店

Friday, 21 March 2014

Rainbow Organic Strawberry Farm, Fanling

A couple of years ago we (the family and I) decided to try out a place in Fanling called Lavender Garden. It’s just down the road from the Hok Tau reservoir and BBQ site and, although being a bit of a traipse, is nestled in a lovely part of the territory. Anyway, we inadvertently made the trip again recently (it's a long story involving a school trip, so I will spare you the details) and this time were immediately attracted to a lady at the back of the garden who had some very ripe and juicy strawberries on display (warning: this post may contain peanuts and various offensive double entendre...).

The Sai Kung Shark Attacks, Early 1990's

As the summer gets closer and the sea temperatures start to rise, it becomes prime time for shark activity in local waters. Don't get me wrong, the shark activity seen in HK is now a rare thing and usually involves some sort of juvenile species that may or may not have begun life in one of the remote bays or mangrove forests that fringe some of the less-developed areas.

Several factors could be at play here such as water quality and abundance of fish life - both have a direct effect on whether or not HK waters are attractive to larger species of fish. HK's sub-tropical climate sees the sea water temperature swing from warm tropical in the summer (it gets to about 30°C July/August) to cool temperate during the winter months (around 15° - 17°C) and this wide range of temperature means at any point over the year various types of sharks would have no problem inhabiting local waters, and probably do, it's just that they are rarely if ever seen. 

However, up to and including the 1990's the presence of sharks in local waters was a given and proven beyond any doubt by a number of fatal attacks by one (or more) unknown species of shark just off the east coast of the territory.

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Welcome to the new home of my old blog

Welcome to the new home of my former Myspace and Wordpress blog, Hong Kong and Macau Stuff.

I've decided to move everything over to Blogger for several reasons, largely because I was getting a bit tired of Wordpress in general. It's a great platform but you need to spend a bit of money to get the most out of it, not something I really wanted to do considering this stuff is really just a hobby for me.

Apologies for those who enjoyed reading the various stuff I had on there but do not despair, I will be posting the majority of my content back on here, hopefully with updates, error fixing and more photos. Some of the stuff on the old blog just doesn't really make the grade anymore and will probably just disappear into the ether. Also, seeing as I have a whole other blog dedicated to film and TV locations in HK, then many of the posts I originally did on that topic will also just be transported over there instead of here.

It's a slow process, so I don't expect any of this to be done anytime soon however, I will start off with the more popular stuff I did and work my way back from there. Until the, stay tuned.