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Posts tagged ‘Hong Kong’

The treasures of Ping Shan

Ping Shan_1

Long before the British set foot on Hong Kong’s shores, five great family clans took root in the New Territories. Of these, the oldest and most influential was the Tang, with a history of local settlement going back 900 years. It is a lineage rich in tradition and folklore: one branch even claims royal descent, thanks to an ancestor who married a princess as the court fled southwards ahead of the Mongol army. Read more

25 years of mourning

Tiananmen Vigil_1

One by one the candles were lit, a steady stream that ran across the six football pitches stretching the width of Victoria Park, spilling over into the nearby basketball courts and central lawn. For the first time I was attending Hong Kong’s annual vigil commemorating the Tiananmen massacre of June 4, 1989, in the middle of a crowd numbering over 180,000 by organisers’ estimates. Read more

Lai Chi Wo: a near-empty nest

Lai Chi Wo_1

Deep inside the northeastern New Territories, within sight of Mainland China, the Hakka village of Lai Chi Wo remains eerily quiet on the first day of Chinese New Year. Even on this day of celebration, the village exists in a semi-abandoned state, with the confetti-like remnants of firecrackers scattered at the threshold of several houses. Read more

Stanley: vestiges of the past


When family friends and relatives are in town, my father makes it a point to take them to Stanley. He goes not for its famous street market – where stacks of knickknacks and souvenirs can be found – but to soak up the town’s ambiance and history. Read more

Postcards from Lamma

Fish farms and restaurants, Sok Kwu Wan

The last time I set foot on Lamma Island, before taking Bama there this Chinese New Year, was at least four or five years ago on a boat trip with a pack of old friends. The name Lamma, literally ‘Southern Y’ in Cantonese, is a reference to the heavily indented coastline which resembles two forks, one pointing northwards and the second facing east. Read more

Sai Kung: a second helping

Beaches of Tai Long Wan, Sai Kung

The old man hovers over our table and grins, lowering his voice to almost a whisper. “Order the Singapore noodles,” he admonishes, “It’s the best.”

Long a staple of Hong Kong’s ubiquitous cha chaan teng – those small teahouses and diners serving generous portions of comfort food – Singapore noodles are in fact a Cantonese creation. It is something of a misnomer; gastronomes would be hard pressed to find this exact dish in the Southeast Asian city-state, so famous for its street food. Read more

Horsing around Hong Kong

Salted duck eggs in Tai O, Lantau

“Is there anything worth seeing on the other side?”

Map unfurled, the two visitors gestured at the skyline as the city lights flickered on across the harbour. It was a valid question but also a remarkably silly one, and I listened intently as a solo traveller tried his best to answer their query. Had they asked me, I wouldn’t even know where to begin. What were they interested in? What kind of sights did they want to see? Aspects of traditional culture? Street markets? Or the island’s less-trumpeted beaches and hiking trails? Read more

Countdown to Bali

The beautiful Bali Starling, or 'Jalak Bali'

It came in the porcelain mugs we had bought in Canada, painted with black bears or mounties or totem poles. Sweetened with sugar, the otherwise colourless health drink had wisps of white on a slightly hazy surface.

“Bali water,” my mother would say, and she’d motion us to take a sip. Read more

Kowloon: Beneath the banyans

Urban jungle, Kowloon

Amid the neon signs and rush hour traffic on Nathan Road, stand silent reminders of a time when Hong Kong’s streets echoed to the sound of horse-drawn carriages. Read more

Mascots in peril

Busy sea lanes

The engine slows to a crawl. Aboard the junk boat a gaggle of locals and foreign visitors wait in hushed anticipation, clutching the railing with cameras at the ready. An endangered Chinese White Dolphin has just been seen frolicking among the waves. Read more