Thursday, July 10, 2014

Weird Queuing Culture of Hong Kong

In Hong Kong, people queue to buy all kinds of everything – houses, stocks, LV or Prada. Some people queue to buy these expensive or luxury items to speculate. What about queuing to buy cookies? When someone told me that people queue in Tsimshatsui to buy cookies and speculate for money, I was really unable to believe. This is the weirdest thing I ever heard. How much money people can make out of speculating cookies?


When I first pass by this shop with a queue of about 100 people, it made me wanted to find out what they were queuing for.  Cookies.  In fact, these are not celebrity cookies or luxury brand cookies.  I thought most of you may have never heard of this shop.  It is just a high street bakery with only two branches (one in Tsimshatsui and one in Central) and a 5-page website having only couple of photos on each of those pages.




Today when I pass by this shop again, it was midday around 34 degrees Celsius and the queue was as usual – LONG.  Each time only around 10 customers were allowed to enter the shop to buy cookies. What made these people to queue under the sun to buy cookies?  Certainly I’m not the only one curious about this weird scene.  Every time I pass by this shop there were many people taking photographs, although one of the shop posters says ‘photography not allowed’.


The legend did not stop there.  The shop had little to no decoration, having only a stack of cookie boxes at the entrance along with several posters.  One of the posters stated their rules of selling.


·     Accept cash only
·     Do no accept telephone or online order
·     Each customer can only make one purchase per day (not sure how they monitor this)

·     Each customer can buy a maximum of five boxes only


Top notice:  
Accept cash only

Middle notice:  
Working hours - 10am - 7pm Tue through Saturday, close on Sunday (What about Monday??!!)

Bottom notice:  
Price list in Chinese, Japanese and Korean

There were only two core products – 4 or 8 Mix Butter Cookies in large or small boxes.  Small box $65 (320 grams), large box $120 (640 grams).

I have an interesting calculation here.  Assume they can entertain 100 customer per hour and they work 9 hours a day, and each customer buy 5 boxes averaging $450 sales per customer, their turnover will look like this:

Daily: $450 x 100 x 9 = $405,000
Weekly: $405,000 x 6 = $2,430,000 (assume they work on Monday as well)
Monthly: $2,430,000 x 4 = $9,720,000


A cookie shop has a monthly turnover of close to HK$10 million is really amazing.  Would you consider quitting your job and learn to make cookies?  

Hong Kong Travel Blog
Weird Queuing Culture of Hong Kong

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

City of Demonstration – Hong Kong

Hong Kong dominates the headlines of most media worldwide today. July 1, the date of the establishment of the HKSAR, has been an important date for demonstrators in Hong Kong since 1997.

If you want to visit Hong Kong to see something which is REALLY UNIQUE here, July 1 is a good date.  However you have to be SERIOUSLY responsible for your own safety.  Look for some safe places or book a hotel along Hennessy Road and request a room overseeing the Hennessy Road.  I would say this is the safest way.  But mind you, you won’t be able to leave the hotel between 2 and 9pm, as there are road blocks for the demonstrators.


Hong Kong - July 1, 2014
Along Hennessy Road

Depart from the Victoria Park

Gathering at Central

Photo source:  Bloomberg

How Many Protestors Are There?

Was about 500,000 yesterday (July 1, 2014)

Was about 1,000,000 some ten years ago (July 1, 2003)

With these numbers, do you think you want to come to Hong Kong and see it yourself?  The good thing is, it happens VERY PUNCTUALLY once every year on the same date July 1, regardless of weather or anything.

News Headlines for Hong Kong, July 1, 2014

Now let’s review some of the headlines from some major media.

The Guardian

Hong Kong pro-democracy march attracts tens of thousands.Organisers expect 500,000-strong 1 July rally, and student activists plan 24-hour occupation of business district.

New York Times

Huge Crowds Turn Out for Pro-Democracy March in Hong Kong, Defying Beijing.

Wall Street Journal

Massive Hong Kong Democracy Protest, Unwanted Party-Crashers.

CNN

After almost 800,000 Occupy Central 'votes,' Hong Kong readies for massive protest.

Bloomberg

H.K. Police Clear Protesters After Decade’s Biggest Rally.

July 1: a short history of Hong Kong's march for democracy

South China Morning Post has this video article.  Sit back and take one step further to get to know the history of Hong Kong demonstration.  Highly recommended.

Hong Kong Travel Blog - City of Demonstration

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Hong Kong Police 170 years Anniversary

Exhibition Marks Force's 170th Anniversary 

The Hong Kong Police Force 170th Anniversary Exhibition will be held at the former Wan Chai Police Station on three consecutive weekends - May 31, June 1, 7, 8, 14 and 15 from 10am to 6pm.

It features police uniforms and equipment from different eras, and awards handed out to commend force members for serving the community. The former Wan Chai Police Station report room and the officers' mess have been restored to their original condition. 

Vintage and serving police motorcycles are displayed at the compound for photo-taking and the Police Band will perform at the venue. 

Big Head in Green 大頭綠衣
Big Head in Green is a nick name of Hong Kong Policemen at the early stages.  The name resembles their outfit.  We had a brief chat with this 'Big Head', he was a retired policeman, used to serve in a special armed force at the Airport.  He even showed us some brilliant photos of his golden days.


Police motorbikes at various stages.  The one below is the current model.


I don't seem to see these traffic pagoda for many years.  Now we can remember this from our childhood and pretend to be a traffic police.
There were many volunteer tour guides.  The one standing behind the traffic pagoda.

There were also performance from the Police Band.

Free post cards and souvenirs on sale.


Hong Kong Police 170th Year

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Hong Kong Chinese New Year Weather

If you want to find how the Hong Kong Chinese New Year weather is, you probably want to visit Hong Kong to experience the New Year atmosphere here. If that’s the case, I have something interesting to tell. 

Statistics indicates every three Chinese New Year (CNY), two of them fall on February. In the past ten years (2004-2013), there were 6 CNYs fall on February. 

Going through the internet, it’s easy to find some general information about Hong Kong weather in February, such as cool, dry, sunny, etc., easily accessed information that I don’t want to repeat here. But weather is sometimes predictable while sometimes not. The cool February here did have a record of 28C degrees in 2009. Dry February is also not true all the time.

Chinese has a saying of ‘dry winter wet year’. If this is your first time hearing about this, let me explain a bit. 

December 21 is the Winter Solstice. Chinese tradition weights Winter Solstice heavier than New Year, Hong Kong is no exception. Some companies even arrange for staff to finish work early in order to go home to prepare family dinner. Chinese believe if Winter Solstice has no rain, the upcoming Chinese New Year will rain. No one knows how this relationship is being established. One of the reasons could be due to its recurrence. 

While Winter Solstice is always December 21 (occasionally 22), Chinese New Year may be as early as January 22 (2004) or as late as February 20 (1984), the days between Winter Solstice and CNY ranges between 31 and 61 days. What has caused a relationship between a dry day in December and a wet day in the following year 31 to 61 days apart is something interesting to discuss. 

Let’s first of all define dry and wet. 

Let say dry means rainfall of less than 0.1mm; wet means rainfall of 0.1mm or more. Interestingly, over the past decade (2004-2013) were all "dry winters" in Hong Kong, and seven were sunny. However there were only four years of "wet year" and therefore "the dry winter and wet year" accuracy rate is only 40%; if we count in new year eve and the 2nd and 3rd day of CNY, the accuracy goes up to 60%. 

On climate science, Hong Kong in December by the cold and dry continental air, the higher the chance fine; began in January, warm and humid maritime airstream start to affect the south China coastal areas, the weather became cloudy with occasional fog, falls cold air southward, the two streams meet they form clouds and rain, so the "dry winters" and "wet years" is actually not directly related. 

Even so, ‘dry winter wet year’ did happen 5 years in a row (1992-1996).

Flower Market at Hong Kong Chinese New Year Eve 2010 - February 13

So how is the Hong Kong Chinese New Year weather like?  Apart from cool, dry and sunny, it may rain due to the ‘dry winter wet year’ effect.

2013 winter was dry; 2014 CNY falls on Jan 31, which means Feb 1 is the second day of Chinese New Year.  Considering the 60% accuracy of ‘dry winter wet year’, you’re on the safe side to visit Hong Kong with an umbrella, if you tend to come here to experience the Chinese New Year atmosphere.

Hong Kong Travel Blog - Dry Winter Wet Year

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Dog Parking at Stanley

Stanley is a good place for dog lovers to walk their dogs.  On weekends or holidays, you can treat this place as a mini dog show.

Today is the New Year Day of 2014.  To avoid the marching crowd in the city, I come over to Stanley and spend an afternoon here for a leisure walk and take some dog photos.

As there are many dog lovers in this area, there are many related services here - dog hotel, dog grooming, dog doctor, dog training...dog everything, including dog parking.  Dog owners just park their dogs outside the supermarket, and pick them up after shopping.



Dog owners can easily make friends, especially when their dogs start greeting each other.



Dog parking is also available at restaurants.  In fact, dog owners just sit next to their dogs, so they are still paying attention to each other.



Dogs of all sizes and colors can be found.  See, they even have their 'personal' carpet!



A leisure walk at Stanley waterfront would allow viewing two landmarks which were being relocated from Central.  Yes, relocated from Central.  

Murray  House was originally in Central and the whole building was being moved here in 2001.  You can now find all kinds of restaurants here.
So as the Blake Pier which was also situated in Central previously.


Blake Pier and Murray House


Friday, December 13, 2013

Star Ferry on Sunday

Star Ferry is not only a ferry!
When you are told of Star Ferry, you may think of a ferry ride from Hong Kong Island to Kowloon and vise versa.  Of course this is true, but if you come on Sunday, Star Ferry has a lot more to offer.

Last Sunday a friend of mine was invited to do a show there.  So I went there to support her and took a video around what's happening at the Star Ferry at Central.  Click on the video below, and I'll tell you more.

 

When I got off the tram in Central at Worldwide House, I walked over the footbridge to Star Ferry.  On the footbridge level there was weekly organic vegetable market which were held every Sunday where local organic produce are sold.  This level is where you actually take the ferry, visit the visitor's centre, take a break at the Subway coffee shop or fine dining at the WaterMark.  There are spacious observation decks around.  You can relax and admire the beautiful Victoria Harbour.

On the ground level, my friend and her team were invited to do some cultural performances.  The video above captured some Cantonese music, while my friend was invited to sing.  Some dragon dances and other local cultural shows were held.  There were also many other mini stores where you can learn to fold a grasshopper, do some mini handicraft, or learn some organic cooking.

On the ground level is also the terminus of the Big Bus.  You can start a hop-on hop-off bus tour around Hong Kong.  I have copied the video from the Big Bus website to give you an idea of what a Big Bus Tour has to offer.

  

Right next to the Big Bus terminus is the Hong Kong Maritime Museum.  Hong Kong is a harbour.  Hong Kong people's lives are closely related to the sea.  You'll find interesting facts and history here together with a very nice souvenior shop.


Come share the fun at Star Ferry!

Daily 06:30 - 23:30
Upper Deck adult - HK$2.5 on weekday and HK$3.4 on weekends

On the footbridge it is connected to the IFC Shopping Mall.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Cantonese Operat Day 2013 - Hong Kong

The annual Cantonese Opera Day in Hong Kong was held yesterday - the last Sunday of every November.  I used to be a volunteer worker for the event.  But as an opera lover, I decided to switch my role to be an audience since last year.  That way I had more time to enjoy the event.

At the Cultural Centre along Tsimshatsui waterfront, there were various events and performance to promote Cantonese Opera.  This year there is a slogan of 'The Young and The Vigorous'The performers were very young and even with school boys and girls.  They all do very well.

Here is a snapshot of The Legend of the White Snake.  And the flag show below resembled water flooding when the White and Green Snake trying to rescue the husband of the White Snake.  It was really wonderful and gained plenty of applauses from the audiences.


Well, apart from free shows, I'm glad to see that many young people love and participate in the traditional Canontese opera art and performance. With the beautiful world famous Victoria Harbour as the backdrop, it was a very enjoyable Sunday.

Hong Kong Travel Blog