As previously noted, LeTV won the Hong Kong TV rights to the English Premier League for three seasons (starting in August 2016), and then did a deal with PCCW’s Now TV - so both will be showing the games for the next 3 years.
Here’s a comparison on Premier League TV Packages in Hong Kong
The MTR is a world-class public transport system. The passengers – not so much. Leading to everyday frustrations, with the occasional moment of madness.
Case one - trying to get off a crowded train. Doors open. I say “Mh Goi”, but no-one moves, so I have to force my way out through a crowd of bodies.
Case two - waiting to get off a very un-crowded East Rail train heading for Lo Wu. Doors open. Two passengers try to push past me. I stand my ground.
One of them actually fell down into the gap between the train and the platform. I’m still not sure how they managed to do that, but I hope they had a safe journey back home.
Netflix has indeed launched in Hong Kong – and most of the rest of the world (apart from China).
Initially, House of Cards wasn’t available. Yes, that’s right – the series for which Netflix is best known wasn’t available on Netflix. Along with a lot of other shows.
The good news is that Netflix Hong Kong does now have the Netflix series House of Cards1. Good work, Netflix people.
1 As pointed out below, they currently only have the first 3 series, which in no way diminishes the achievement by Netflix Hong Kong in securing the rights to a Netflix owned drama series.
What is the first ingredient? Hydrogenated vegetable oil. There is some butter, but it’s the third ingredient, so probably less than 20%.
President should be thoroughly ashamed of themselves for selling this product in Hong Kong.
Yes, it does contain trans fats.
OK, it’s Christmas, but the Sunday Morning Post is supposed to be an English language newspaper.
Debate over MPF protection rages on
Jennifer Ngo | Sunday Morning Post | Sunday, 27 December, 2015
The row over the Mandatory Provident Fund’s offsetting mechanism continues as civil society criticised the government’s lack of commitment in dealing with the problem which had caused a lot of those in the lower-working class to lose their retirement savings.
The offsetting mechanism - where employees’ retirement funds are used to cover their severance or long-service payments by the employers when their job is terminated, or ends - saw 43,500 employees lose a total of HK$3 billion in 2014, according to statistics in the public consultation on retirement protection.
But Wong Shek-hung, advocacy officer at Oxfam Hong Kong, criticised that the government still refuse tto commit to cancelling the mechanism, despite of it being obviously detrimental to helping employees save up for retirement.
“As long as the offsetting mechanism exists, the working class employees will continue to suffer,” said Hung, in a radio show yesterday.
An average of 94 per cent of the employers’ contribution to MPF used up in offsetting, the consultation revealed. And for employees who have a monthly income of HK$7,100 or less - which mean they don’t need to contribute to MPF, only their employers do - this would mean when they leave their job, they leave with no retirement funds saved up at all, because the funds are used to pay off severance or long-service payments.
However, the government stated in the consultation that offsetting is “a complicated matter”, and “cannot be simply retained or done-away with”, and said that the consultation was to “see if employers and employees can come to a compromise and balanced decision”.
Wong said the unjust system had costed the lowest tier of the working class to lose even their meagre retirement savings kept in the MPF system, and said the government should work towards completely abolishing the mechanism.
Chief Secretary Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor denied that the government is shirking away from the offsetting mechanism debate, and that the government “has the determination to deal with the issue”, but that it would take a long-term discussion and examination over whether abolishing it would create big problems for employers.
This is inspired by reading Unfaithful Music & Disappearing Ink, Elvis Costello’s recently published autobiography
The Amadeus Centre could scarcely be a more different venue. It was originally a Welsh Presbyterian chapel, and has been converted into an arts centre (and, apparently, a wedding venue). The main space was set out with tables and chairs (with food and drink being served), and many of the guests were Costello’s friends and relatives. I was in the cheap seats upstairs, and for the interval we repaired to the pub across the road for refreshments.
Elvis Costello looked much happier, minus the beard and the excess weight of a year earlier, but I had no idea what to expect – would it be his songs played with a string quartet?
No. He had written 20 or so songs with different members of the Brodsky Quartet (Michael Thomas and his sister Jacqueline, Ian Belton, and Paul Cassidy). The idea came from a newspaper article about a Veronese professor who decided to answer all the letters addressed to Juliet Capulet. The five of them worked together to develop ideas for letters, which were then set to music.
Once we had a title and had settled on the letter as our lyrical form, the variations came to us very easily: a child’s note, a postcard from a regretful lover, the reply of an eccentric aunt to a begging letter from scheming relations.
Everything about it was astonishing. Costello’s vocal performance, the lyrics, the musical accompaniment, the venue, the atmosphere. Costello was clearly reinvigorated by working in a totally different medium (and having to learn to write four-part musical scores). Fortunately this was just one of many collaborations over the coming years.
Apparently the “classical” critics were rather unenthusiastic at the time, but subsequently it has been performed and recorded by other string quartets, and adapted for other mediums including a jazz quartet and a dance performance.
For me, of course, it will always be about that first performance in London nearly 25 years ago.
This is ridiculous (from The Guardian):
UN health body says bacon, sausages and ham among most carcinogenic substances along with cigarettes, alcohol, asbestos and arsenic
Bacon, ham and sausages rank alongside cigarettes as a major cause of cancer, the World Health Organisation has said, placing cured and processed meats in the same category as asbestos, alcohol, arsenic and tobacco.
The report from the WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer said there was enough evidence to rank processed meats as group 1 carcinogens because of a causal link with bowel cancer.
It places red meat in group 2A, as “probably carcinogenic to humans”. Eating red meat is also linked to pancreatic and prostate cancer, the IARC says.
The IARC’s experts concluded that each 50-gram (1.8-ounce) portion of processed meat eaten daily increased the risk of colorectal cancer by 18%.
Really - they found “a causal link with bowel cancer”? I don’t think so. What they found was that people who eat more processed meat have a higher incidence of cancer. It’s easy to play around with the data and identify some correlation between two items, but if you want to go on to establish a causal link you need to do a much better study that eliminates most of the other variables.
this does NOT mean that they are all equally dangerous. The IARC classifications describe the strength of the scientific evidence about an agent being a cause of cancer, rather than assessing the level of risk.
I think it’s that weasel word “alongside” (used by The Guardian in their headline as well as the body of the article), with its implication that they are somehow equivalent. Which they aren’t.
We know beyond all reasonable doubt that smoking causes cancer, we certainly don’t know that about sausages, ham and bacon. Plus, all they are saying is that your risk of these cancers might go up from 5% to 6%.
Other journalists have added their own speculation. There was a cover story in Time magazine that included the suggestion that it could be the nitrates / nitrites (probably not, as the body produces nitrites) or the process of cooking (grilling, frying, BBQ) - but I’m sure that theory was debunked.
I can think of two simple explanations. People who eat a lot of sausages and bacon might have a generally unhealthy lifestyle and could well be overweight, or could it just be the quality of the meat that is used in cheap sausages and ham? But neither of those would really be news.
A really good article in The Guardian today:
The Murphy family, John, Mary and their adult son Dave, were preparing to spend a 33rd Christmas as landlords of the Golden Lion pub in Camden, north London when they heard the rumours. A mysterious figure was said to be looming in their corner of the industry, harrying publicans, striking down premises. There was “a Grim Reaper of pubs”, the Murphys were told, and he was circling their handsome Victorian building on Royal College Street.
It was December 2011. In front of the pub’s eyelash-shaped bar, beneath a blackboard that, for as long as anyone could remember, had advertised a heavy discount on tumblers of Irish Mist, the family met with a representative of Admiral Taverns. Admiral was the large pub-owning company – a pubco, as they are known in the trade – that leased the Murphy family their tenancy at the Golden Lion. “The rep told us she had bad news,” said Dave Murphy, a solid, red-cheeked man in his 40s.
It’s a long article, but worth a few minutes of your time.
See also Be careful what you wish for on a similar subject.
Well, I wasn't expecting that. LeTV out-bid Cable TV and PCCW's Now TV for English Premier League (EPL) TV rights in Hong Kong, paying US$400 million (double the value of Now TV's current agreement). They had a big launch event this week - and then promptly sold the broadcast TV rights on to Now TV.
Which presumably leaves LeTV with the streaming rights, with speculation that they might offer individual games or a "season pass" (for all of one team’s matches), but nothing has been confirmed.
It should at least be better than the hopeless "Now Player" (I gave up on that after losing the connection three times in the first few minutes of the only EPL game I tried to watch).
LeTV's streaming service only recently launched in Hong Kong, so it makes some sort of sense for them. Well, possibly - in the UK it worked for Sky, but not for ITV Digital or Setanta Sports UK (both closed down after over paying for rights), and I suppose it has helped Now TV in Hong Kong (who first acquired the rights in 2007, only to lose them to Cable TV three years later).
Apparently some of the games will be available in 4K. That's no use to me - my TV only supports 720p (what they used to call "HD ready") and I already have Now TV's so-called "Super HD" service (which I believe is 576p).
Meanwhile, in other streaming news, Netflix have announced that they will launch in Hong Kong early next year.
I received this email after a recent brief hotel stay in China:
Firstly, Thanks for your consistently loyalty with our hotel and [group] as a [loyalty program] member!
Our management team have paid more attention to your staying experience. If there anything happened on you and makes you feel dissatisfied stay experience. Please do not be hesitate to contact with us. We will make arduous efforts to our vission- [fatuous slogan]. Finnaly, I wish you have a good and safety time day by day! We looking forward your come back soon.
Hmmmm…this was my first stay in this hotel, and I only joined their loyalty program at check-in.
I was amused by this story in the Economist: Long live Cantopop - about the University of British Columbia (UBC) offering a course in Cantonese.
I have been listening again to Naked Cantonese (RTHK Podcast), in which Cecilie Gamst Berg tries to teach us to speak like Hong Kong people. One of the many tricks played on foreigners is to pretend that it’s correct to say “Neih” (you) and “Ngoh” (me) rather than “Leih” and “[ng]oh”. Cecilie rightly teaches the latter as current usage (however ‘wrong’ it may be).
Yet the Economist persists with this nonsense in its story:
Newcomers to Vancouver’s Chinatown are richer and speak Mandarin. A sign advertising luxury apartments welcomes potential buyers (in Roman letters) with ni hao, the putonghua greeting, rather than the Cantonese nei hou. A decade ago, dignitaries at Chinese-new-year festivities gave speeches in Cantonese; today they speak Mandarin.
Then we learn that the university has been paid to do this:
The university has rejected four offers from the Confucius Institute, a cultural body financed by China’s government, to expand its teaching of Mandarin. “When a university can reject money, it’s a subtle form of pushback to an overbearing culture,” says Mr King. Instead, in 2013 UBC accepted C$2m ($1.5m) from a pair of philanthropists in Hong Kong to offer Cantonese.
Spotify continues to get itself into trouble, this time by requesting “data about the speed of your movements, such as whether you are running, walking, or in transit”. They say it’s for a new feature called Spotify Running.
Me, I’d be happy if their Windows application would just work. At least now it doesn’t crash (thanks, Spotify techies), but it does take several minutes to start. What is it doing?
And then I found this:
Spotify’s Discover Weekly service was introduced in late July as an attempt to solve the company’s long-standing problems with music discovery. The feature offers up a two-hour playlist based on users’ listening habits, as well as those of similar fans, and is overseen by Matthew Ogle, formerly of music social network This Is My Jam.
“We wanted to make something that felt like your best friend making you a mixtape, labelled ‘music you should check out’, every single week,” Ogle told the Guardian last month. In the month since the feature was launched, it has become a hit with users, with comments on social media calling it “the most fire DJ of 2015” and “scary good”.
Really? Maybe my musical tastes are too eclectic, but so far I haven’t found much that really interests me. Yet it does seem that the consensus on Twitter is very favourable, so it must be me.
Spike is living in Manila and all is not well: A Scam A Day Keeps The Philippines A Third World Country.
I’ve been coming here since 1997. On my first trip, I remember seeing people in the street selling single cigarettes and single sticks of gum. I said to myself, “This is a poor country.” 20 years later, I still pass people selling those single cigarettes.
[…] at the core this is still a desperately poor country and the biggest export here still seems to be people.
Almost everywhere you go in the world you will find Filipinos who have left the country to earn a living. Two of the smartest people I have worked with in Hong Kong are Filipinos, but many of their compatriots are way over-qualified for the jobs they are doing, often in the service industries (it is a rule that musicians in hotels throughout Asia have to be Filipinos).
As Spike says, when the brightest and best leave the country, where does that leave the ones who are left behind?