29 May 2007

2 Days!

China must be having a bad week. The pollution levels have been low the past two days. And guess what!!?!! That means clear skies! We have now had 2! -----pause---- 2! days of clear skies in a row! Consecutive clarity!? Wholy Tienemen Square Batman!

Of course this rarity had to happen during the week while I am required to be inside sucking in dried out AC'd air. Oh well. The days seems to be a bit longer now, it stays bright till around 6:30. I am hoping that the cleaner air is a sign of things to come. I remember when I got here in August the air was actually clearer, so maybe this means that while it will be rediculously hot outside at least we can see the sky. In the following picture is the view out my window right now, it's sunny! I can see blue sky too! Wow that makes me happy.

Now what would a LIHK post be without a jab at China? Useless! So here it is. I hadn't realized it, but when Hong Kong originally found out about the T-Square incident, get this - 1 MILLION people marched out on the streets in protest. That's nuts! As much as HK is quite reserved, the slightly un-easy political uprisingness makes me happy. Oh ya, the Beijing appointed nerd who runs this place is yet again letting public opinion become meaningless as his government prepares to rip down yet another historic monument - Queen's Pier. Sigh...

Here's the sky >

Bye-Bye High Rise

Guess what? I am moving again! I figured it was about that one year span where I needed to pack up everything and cause myself extra stress by moving yet again. Actually, Mai and I have been thinking of moving for awhile now. We are staying in Hong Kong, just moving closer to Central / 'downtown.' We found an apartment already, and will be moving June 23rd if all goes to plan. We paid our deposit, so no turning back now. The main reason for moving was location. Where we are now is really nice, but it's a pain in the arse to get anywhere other than a few select locations. I would say moving should save me about 40 minutes a day in travel time to and from work combined. That's a huge chunk of time I could be putting to better use. As soon as we move in I will post some photos of the new pad. In the meantime, I don't know if I have posted many photos of where we currently live, Island Resort. Basically, it's huge. There are 9 towers (I think) that would put Lord of the Rings to shame. Each tower is 60-something floors high and there has to be at least 20K people living in the whole complex. The facilities are amazing, we really need to take advantage while we still can. Here is the view out my window. We live high-up but I have gotten quite used to it. I'm hoping we get at least one Typhoon before we move so I can see what it's like. More on the view in my next post...

28 May 2007

CBC you suck!

I haven't cared too much about hockey this season. That stems mainly from me being in Asia and they don't even know what ice is here. Now that a Canadian team is in the Finals (again) I was quite happy to see that CBC was streaming live online broadcasts of all the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Even though the time change makes it a pain to watch any games on days I work, it was cool that CBC was offering this service for those Canadians who didn't have a TV or weren't in the country.


CBC is full of shit!!!!!!!! Not only can you NOT watch live online hockey anywhere but in Canada, you can't even watch games that happened a month ago! There is NO reason why they can not play archived games other than they are being jerks to anyone who doesn't live in Canada. I can happily prance around watching Peter Mansbridge all night long, as Newsworld is shown in Asia. But for some reason, the one thing every Canadian seems to enjoy in some form, HOCKEY! noooooooo, wouldn't want to show that anywhere but in Canada, some other country might catch on and learn how to play or something.

And why would it be limited to Canada only? CBC does not hold the only rights to NHL games, TSN also shares some. It shows archived games that were originally on TSN. So how can it be a rights issue? Gaaaah! Who doesn't have a TV in Canada that they can watch hockey on? All the games are at 8pm, so no one would be watching on their work computer. It makes no sense to me to have an online broadcast for Canada only, when everyone is either at the bar or at home watching it on TV. I would even pay for it if I had to. They could make so much money. I have seen online petitions in the thousands trying to get CBC to play the games internationally.

I even went the illegal route and tried a Canadian Server Proxy. But it didn't work! AHHH!


17 May 2007

Chinese history you won't hear about in China

"The Tiananmen Square protests of 1989, also known as the Tiananmen Square Massacre, June 4th Incident, or the Political Turmoil between Spring and Summer of 1989 by the government of the People's Republic of China, were a series of demonstrations led by students, intellectuals and labour activists in the People's Republic of China between April 15, 1989 and June 4, 1989. The demonstrations centred on Tiananmen Square in Beijing, but large scale protests also occured in cities throughout China, such as in Shanghai.

In Beijing, the resulting crackdown on the protestors by the PRC government left many civilians dead, the figure ranging from 200–300 (PRC government figures), to 2,000–3,000 (Chinese student associations and Chinese Red Cross), although the PRC government asserts and most independent observers agree that these deaths were not in the square itself but rather in the streets leading to the square. [1]

The protestors came from disparate groups, ranging from intellectuals who believed the Communist Party of China-led government was too corrupt and repressive, to urban workers who believed Chinese economic reform had gone too far and that the resulting rampant inflation and widespread unemployment was threatening their livelihoods.

After the protestors defied government calls to disperse, a split emerged within the Communist Party of China on how to respond to the protestors. Out of the party turmoil, a hardline faction emerged and the decision was made to quell the protests, rather than to heed their demands. [2]

On May 20, the government declared martial law and, on the night of June 3 and the early morning of June 4, army tanks and infantry were sent into Tiananmen Square to crush the protest and disperse the protestors. Estimates of civilian deaths vary: 23 (Communist Party of China), 400–800 (Central Intelligence Agency), 2600 (Chinese Red Cross). Injuries are generally held to have numbered from 7,000 to 10,000. Following the violence, the government conducted widespread arrests to suppress the remaining supporters of the movement, banned the foreign press and strictly controlled coverage of the events in the PRC press. The violent suppression of the Tiananmen Square protest caused widespread international condemnation of the PRC government."

China vs. Google

From a blog in China >>>

"Controversy has occurred over Google's decision to adhere to the Internet censorship policy in mainland China, colloquially known as, "The Great Firewall of China". Google.cn search results are filtered so as not to bring up any results concerning the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989, sites supporting the independence movements of Tibet and Taiwan or the Falun GongPeople's Republic of China. This is interpreted by some activists as against the "Don't Be Evil" corporate philosophy of Google. movement, and other information perceived to be harmful to the

The People's Republic of China (PRC), whose human rights have been criticized by people in both China and the international community, has in the past restricted citizen access to popular search engines such as Altavista, Yahoo!, and Google. The mirror search site elgooG has been used by users in mainland China to get around blocked content. This complete ban has since been lifted. However, the government remains active in filtering Internet content. In October 2005, Blogger and access to the Google Cache were made available in mainland China; however, in December 2005, some mainland Chinese users of Blogger reported that their access to the site was once again restricted.

In January 2006, Google affirmed its intent to filter certain keywords given to it by the government of the PRC. The restrictions will apply to thousands of terms and websites.[2] The censored content will appear on a website called google.cn. Google was heavily criticized for the move, yet it claims it is necessary to keep the PRC government from blocking Google entirely. The company does not plan to give the government information about the users who search for blocked content, and will inform users of restricted categories.[3] Google states on its help pages that it does not censor content, but it does block pages as demanded for in certain jurisdictions, such as DMCA requests in the United States.

Most Chinese Internet users did not express much concern about Google's choice, with one blogger saying that censorship is a fact of life in China and Google could not have done any better.[4][5] Also, Google offers to Chinese internet users a choice that protects their privacy better than existing search engines available in China, since Google keeps confidential records of its users outside China, unlike domestic search engines that could be compelled by the government to hand over information at any time.[6] The following message appears at the bottom of the Google search result page whenever results are blocked: "In accordance with local laws and policies, some of the results have not been displayed." Currently, Google is the only major China-based search engine to explicitly inform the user when search results are blocked or hidden.

On the other hand, Google has been accused of hypocrisy for agreeing to China's demands and fighting the US government's requests for information concerning Google-users, by groups such as Reporters Without Borders[1]. Critics say that Google had made a great deal of its mission statement, in that it was different from other "evil" internet corporations, to gain support when it started.

On February 5, 2006, google.com was banned by China Telecom in an attempt to force users of Google toward the google.cn domain, however the ban was lifted shortly thereafter.

On February 14, 2006, some internet users participated in a "mass breakup with Google" whereby users agreed to boycott Google on Valentine's day to show their disapproval of the Google China policy.[7][8]

A simple test can be performed to quantify the number of pages which google.cn censors as compared to those listed in google.com. Search using this string to compare the approximate dot-com index differential: site:.com Other top level domains can be compared similarly (.org, .cn, etc.). Searches for essential html tags, such as returns the difference for all domains."

14 May 2007

Shoes Shoes Shoes

Hong Kong has selection. Lots of it.

You can imagine my surprise to see not two, but three different people wearing the exact same shoes on the MTR. The 3rd person did not even know the other two. In a land filled with half a billion shoe stores, I am amazed.

09 May 2007

Sick Day

I am currently at home sick for the day. This is nothing new (being sick). It's practically amazing if you are not sick in Hong Kong. I'd try and count how many people are hacking and coughing on the MTR trains every day to work, but I'd need an abicus or something mathematical and it would get way out of hand. But good news, Hong Kong and China have 'promised' to start cutting pollution in the area by 2010, just in time to realize that every single ex-pat has left due to the disgusting air. Good luck Hong Kong. The pollution has only increased about 10000% since the Brits left power, yet the government thinks HK is prospering so much more. How many more people are dying of lung cancer?

Oh ya, I'm supposed to be talking about being sick...

Today I thought would be a good day to fill everyone in on how the past few weeks have been going and what I have been up to. It's actually been a busy few weeks.

To start I have been doing some video work for an online based style/fashion/university type of magazine from London. (LifeAtUni.com) I am creating a 'Video Lookbook.' Note: I have ONLY been doing video work, I have absolutely NOTHING to do with how the website looks. I will not comment on what I think of it's look for fear of being fired. Oh wait, can you be 'fired' from something you do for free? Not sure, anyway, the site has improved a lot but I think it could use some work, the intent is there at least. There is lots of good content on the site, it just needs to be presented better. I am happy to say that the videos I have been shooting/editing for them are looking awesome.

The process and idea for the videos is somewhat random. I go wander around HK's trendier areas with a girl Anna from London (also teaching English here) and she interviews them. It's my job to make them look good on film and edit out all the gibberish...er...Honglish. We are supposed to find good looking, trendy, fashionable etc. people and Anna asks them a few questions about what they wear etc. It's not superficial at all, haha. I quite enjoy it, and it will give me a great experience even if it's not paid. I have already improved my editing skills.

The videos are not currently on the site yet, but in the next weeks or so they should be. I will let you know.

Also something I will be doing, possibly later today actually, is creating some banner images for a Hong Kong website called HipHongKong. This site is really well done, it looks great, and it has some good tips. Also I am going to submit some photo album series for them to post on their site. And guess what, the girl who runs it offered to pay me for the banner images! Woohoo. The banner will consist of images and drawings somewhat similar looking to my paintings I did at ACAD. They should turn out really awesome. I hope to finish them ASAP and get them posted on the site.

So that is what I am doing in terms of creative work in the next little while. I continue to take tonnes of photos, and I continue to be lazy about doing anything with them. Check out my photoblog if haven't in awhile, it's been updated quite a bit in the last week.