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.
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.
There’s not too much wrong with Hong Kong International Airport. Apart from the North Satellite Concourse, that is.
It was opened more than 5 years ago (for smaller plans such as the A320 / A321), and yet the only way to get there (or back) is by taking a shuttle bus across the apron….
…which is also used by large planes.
As the planes take priority, the buses often get delayed on the tarmac. And it doesn’t take much for the whole system to grind to a halt. Recently I had a lengthy wait for a bus to arrive, and then, once it departed, it moved just a few hundred metres - and we had to wait for another 7-8 minutes before it could continue the short journey to the North Satellite Concourse. Total delay – around 20 minutes, and too much time spent standing on a crowded bus.
The best solution from the smart people at HKIA is advice to passengers to allow extra time to get there. Thanks a lot.
Needless to say, it doesn’t have a lounge (there is a Starbucks if you want to pay for food and drink, which I don’t - thanks all the same).
Is this really an improvement on buses that go directly to planes parked a little further away (which they also still do)?
The SCMP reports that Page One in Causeway Bay has closed (Bookshop at end of last chapter in Times Square), though it seems possible that it may re-open if space can be found. So not really the end of the last chapter, then.
The one in TST moved recently and became a “concept store”. At first sight it appears to have become a magazine store with a few books, but hidden away upstairs is a reasonable size bookstore.
The concept, of course, is high-priced books, but the SCMP seems not to have picked up on that:
[T]he closure of its Causeway Bay branch signaled wider difficulty for English-language bookshops, publisher Jimmy Pang Chi-ming said.
"Hong Kong people read few books. They read fewer English books, and even fewer hard-cover collectables," he said.
Well, maybe they do read books but don’t want to pay excessive prices. English books are typically marked up by 25% in Hong Kong. Strangely the same books are available in Bangkok without that mark-up, or in India for significantly less.
Or you can buy from Amazon or Book Depository.
Thank a lot, Cable TV, I really wanted to see the latest ISIS beheading video. It’s not available on other media outlets (who have this strange idea that showing these videos only gives ISIS more publicity), and no need to search for it on the old Interweb thingy.
Just exactly what I wanted to watch on my journey home from work on the MTR.