26 April 2008

It's Hockey Season!

Hmm, somewhat hard to believe it's still hockey season when the thermometer reads +30. There is only one Canadian team left playing for The Cup, but I'm pretty sure it has less Canadian players on it than others. In any regard, I will never cheer for a hockey team from a city that never gets snow. Go Canadiens!

In this time of puck slapping, I remember my favorite chant from a hockey crowd. It occurred at the World Junior Hockey Championships in North Dakota, USA. I stress, it was in the USA. Team Canada was playing Team USA in the final, gold medal game. With the Canadian team winning, and the USA team skating up ice with the puck, the crowd was chanting,


Only a bunch of Winnipeggers would have the nerve. The chant of "US SUCKS!" during the American anthem in Vancouver also ranks pretty high-up (although pretty classless).

New Tourist Attraction?

Something to look out for if you're in Beijing the next couple of months. When I was there in November it was quite evident the city was trying to 'clean up' it's look for the Games. He obviously didn't see the sign that said no pictures.

"22.04 - Beijing resident arrested for filming his eviction to make way for Olympic installation

Wang Lianming was arrested for trying to film his family’s eviction from their home in Yangshan, a neighbourhood in the Beijing district of Chaoyang, in an operation carried out by around 200 police and security guards in order to demolish houses and make way for Olympic Games installations, reports Chinese Human Rights Defenders (CHRD). The police threw him to the ground, handcuffed him, seized his camera and threatened to detain him for up to 15 days. He was taken to a nearby police station and released a few hours later.

According to the organisation Civil Rights and Livelihood, Wang’s family was not notified that the Chaoyang district court had ordered their eviction. No compensation is offered for such expropriations, which therefore violate article 11 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, signed by China. The CHRD has urged the Chinese to put a stop to the evictions being carried out in order to renovate Beijing for the Olympics."

Hong Kong vs. Toronto

The issue? Public Transport (or lack of it currently).

In light of the sudden transit union strike in Toronto, it made me think what would happen in Hong Kong if the same thing happened. I'm not sure if you are even allowed to strike in Hong Kong, but it would be quite the mess if it was possible. I thought everyone in Canada has a car? What's the big deal? This just makes the oil companies smile even more as people are forced even more to use their own vehicles. It's no big surprise people have little faith in public transport in Canada.

My favorite thing about Hong Kong has got to be how easy it is to get around. Not only is there the MTR/KCR(kcr = mtr now), the city has many double-decker buses, mini-buses, trams, and ferries, not to mention the thousands of taxis you never have to wait for, not even a minute in most cases. The MTR (subway for you North Americans) operates so efficiently you never have to wait more than 5 minutes. During rush-hour the trains come continuously. Did I mention it is also probably the cleanest subway in the world?

I can hear all you doubters now, "Oh it must be soooo expensive to ride the train, ferries must charge an arm and a leg!"


You can take the MTR virtually anywhere in the major areas of the city for less than $2 CDN/US, anywhere! It costs less than $1 to go anywhere within the main HK Island. To cross Victoria Harbour costs about 25cents. An average bus or mini-bus ride is also less than $1. In a word, it is CHEAP!

If their was one city in the world that every city should be based on in terms of infrastructure and planning, Hong Kong would be it. It is extremely easy to go anywhere and it costs next to nothing compared to driving to and from work in any personal vehicle. Yes the buses do pollute, so I would like to see them banned from HK Island and Kowloon as they are not needed. Mini-buses are perfectly capable of getting people to and from the short distances from the main train stations. All they need are more of them, and less or NO personal cars in the major urban areas. The MTR already has plans for expansion to other areas of the city that will only enhance it's extreme efficiency.

Now, back to that strike in Toronto.

I understand why the union wants to strike, but they really should not have the right to. They have every right to turn down a contract, but effecting people whose lives depend on their service should be illegal. What would happen if hospitals and doctors decided to shut their doors with only one hour notice? I don't think anyone would be too happy. Everyone wonders why the public transport system is so crappy in Canada, but it's very simple to see if things like this are allowed to happen.

It's sad that every city can't have amazing bus and train services like Winnipeg...cough! cough! cough, snicker.... snicker...hack....hack.......Oh man........cough.....cough....cough...

Seriously, Hong Kong MTR rocks! (too bad MTR also stands for Mass Transfer of Rarediseaseslikesars.)

24 April 2008

Gas prices, do I care?


Having lived in a city-centre for the past 7 years, I could care less how much the price of gas is. I only owned/drove a car for about 2 years; even then it didn't really effect my cash-flow. Not the gas price at least. Accidents, insurance and parking are another story... For the past 2 out of 3 years I have spent absolutely nothing on transport to and from work. NOTHING! When people say I am lucky or spoiled for living close to where I work, I just laugh. I am not lucky, I am smart. I am not spoiled, you are an idiot! If people chose to live an hour away from where they are employed, they lose all right to protest gas prices. They lose the right to protest many things. Urban sprawl is causing much more damage than rising gas prices.

It only makes me laugh even more to see how many citizens are asking when the government is going to put a stop to this 'madness' and hault the rise in oil price/profit. How can any semi-intelligent person think the government(s) gives a damn. They are making money, lots of it! Do they need it? Probably not, but do they have a hidden agenda/goal in depriving you of your hard earned money, absolutely! Now what could a 'democratic' government possibly gain from a poor and starving community? POWER! Anyone in the rural areas is at the mercy of oil, and they will force that burden upon city dwellers when they rush the urban areas and rents skyrocket. It's already happening. They are being forced to either spend more money/save less, or move back into the cities, which have no room (because North Americans sure do love them houses). Either way the government is happy.

Why cause all this protest, unrest, poverty, hunger etc. etc. etc. whilst there continues to be huge discoveries of oil everywhere? Canada obviously has massive amounts of it, we are the biggest international supplier to the US! And their gas is cheaper! (not for long)

I'm not saying I totally agree with crazy conspiracy theories, but the last two films I have watched only help my brain hurt. I recently watched Zeitgeist and End:Game, Blueprint for Global Enslavement. Both films go slightly overboard in my opinion, but I agree with many facets of both films. If you haven't watched either, I suggest you do. If nothing else it may possibly make you think, or feel really really crappy if you beleive it all.

Both films outline how the world governments as we know them, are systematically merging together to form a world super government (New World Order) and in the end kill off 80% of the human population to provide for a more 'balanced' society of sorts. I told you it was a slight stretch, but it is very believable especially when they(the film makers) are continually being proven right by what happens in the world. Who knows maybe it's all a cover for something else that's a cover for something else. You can't trust much these days... Back to the gas >

What do you think would happen if the world appeared to run out of oil, and the price got so high that no one could afford it? People would flood to the cities, there would be mass starvation, third world countries would collapse without aid, personal travel would stop, international trade would cease. Basically if it happened today, in an instant, we'd be SOL. It's highly unlikely that the price of oil would jump a few thousand % in one day, but is it impossible? Who do you think regulates the price of oil? Just think what might happen. And go watch the films, if nothing else they are entertaining if you don't agree with them.

Sure there are many other ways of producing energy, but they are not developed enough, and continue to not be developed to a point where the world population could survive in an instant if need be. How strained would we be for energy if and when a third world war erupted? What if aliens attacked!?!?!?!?

As I said I could care less how much the cost of gas is, because it doesn't effect me personally, not yet at least. If every person on the planet chose not to drive to work the supply of gas and oil would be so overwhelmingly ridiculous we would never run out. Sadly even if people's habits were to change drastically, I fear it would have little impact on the major events that will most likely happen and change our lives, and the planet's forever.

Anyone for a walk?

21 April 2008

so close, yet so far.

Where have all the emails gone? Has Facebook really become so popular that people would rather share private information with a few million people than send a nice old fashioned intimate email? Does it hurt to actually call someone by their name, not just include them on a list to be forgotten?

I will admit I use Facebook, but the amount of time people waste sending meaningless crap to each other is quite astonishing. It's a nice place to see photos and videos of other people, but there are many other sites that have been around for much longer that do exactly that, and BETTER. So why would anyone use Facebook when there are many more secure and private methods available?

PEOPLE ARE LAZY! (and generally lack web intelligence)

Wow I know it's surprising. Ok, people have been getting more and more lazy ever since the Internet was invented so it's nothing new. What bothers me is how people actually message and 'poke' each other in the same room. Or send a message on a computer to someone they could pick up the phone and hear the voice of.

My main beef is how people can seem to become even less inclined just because of a few time zones. The only reason I continue to put up with Facebook is because I would never hear a thing about what is happening or has happened to my 'friends.' I use this term loosely because that's exactly what it has become. Does anyone in the world actually have over 100 friends? Over 20 even? Not good ones usually that's for sure.

It's annoying how when you move away everyone seems to forget what timezones are, and how easy it is to calculate a good time to call. And I've been in Hong Kong almost 2 years. On a weekly basis I'm still asked what time it is here.

Phone calls I can do without, but not even an email? How lazy has everyone become?

Here's a review:

Hong Kong is 12 hours ahead of Eastern Time, 13 ahead of Central, 14 of Mountain, and 15 of Pacific. (as of the time change) Note: Emailing can be done regardless of what time of night it is

I look forward to not hearing or reading from anyone...

19 April 2008


Edit: It fizzled, although we has some nice black rain for awhile.

HK's first encounter with a typhoon seems to be fizzling. Tropical Storm Neoguri is about 200km away and it's getting slightly closer, but has made landfall and is degrading

It's not that I want to witness massive destruction or anything, but I really want to see a Typhoon! I've been here almost 2 years and nothing. Every time I go away seems to be when they hit. The drainage ditches have turned into nice little waterfalls on the hill behind my apartment, so that's kind of nice.

18 April 2008

China has a face to lose?

Before I start, notice above how it says "CHINA" not "Chinese," as in I'm poking fun at the government not the people. And yes, I'm well aware some people think a country and its people are the same thing. When a large chunk of the people don't have a clue about what their government is doing, it is NOT the same thing!

So... China has been in a huff about 'losing face' over recent events. Poison food, protests, pollution, death penalty etc. All of this caused the government to change the 'www' into the 'cww.' Instead of showing how much they have changed, China has gone back to old ways of hiding behind its borders and shutting off the world. There's nothing wrong with this, go ahead, be a hermit. Just don't complain how no one will treat you as a world super power and sure as hell don't try and put on the Olympics and think no one is going to notice all the problems within your country. This goes for any country, not just China.

Evidence of hiding? Well the Internet shutoff is a pretty big example considering how many people in Asia are wired to a computer. The biggest show of cowardliness is how the China Visa Authority has decided to block any multi-entry Visas for anyone coming from Hong Kong. It has also risen prices of single visit visas, by a lot. This further demonstrates my main peeve against China. No matter where you go, no matter who you talk to and what you are doing, someone is trying to rip you off. This happens naturally being an outsider in most places, but it is absolutely ridiculous in Beijing.

The torch relay has been pathetic, a complete and utter failure. They should stop now. Did anyone see the 65? laps around a field in Pakistan? Even in a closed secure setting, men in jumpsuits were still pushing people back from the torch. The Olympics are going to be ridiculous, and anyone who says they are only being used to protest because it is 'convenient' is missing the point of protesting.

Personally, I have had 'issues' with how China handles itself long before this Olympics mess, so I'm hoping everyone keeps up the pressure and doesn't stop on 080808.

12 April 2008

Ng Tung Chai Waterfall - Tai Mo Shan Park

There are many small waterfalls in HK, but Ng Tung Chai is supposed to be the biggest in the country park of Tai Mo Shan. It also gets some of the most rain in HK. After getting lost in the small village of Ng Tung Chai, we finally found the start of the trail up to the waterfalls. Maybe it's because I can't read Chinese, but I'm pretty sure the trail was not very well marked in the village. I was expecting it to be jam packed because it was Sunday, but the trail was quite dead. There are 4 waterfalls in all, and it took about 1.5 hours of hiking/stopping/photos/eating to get to the top. If you were just hiking up it would probably only take 30 minutes if you were quick. The 4th waterfall is also 'closed' due to a landslide, but the trail remains marked with a warning to proceed at one's own risk. Having hiked in the Rockies in a snowstorm or two, I'm pretty sure it would not have been to bad, but we didn't go past the 3rd as we were already sweating too much. The picture above is from the 2nd/Middle waterfall. Also I saw a nice green snake trying to hide. It freaked Mai out, but I remember reading somewhere that there are not any poisonous snakes in HK, except for pets who have been let out in the wild maybe. There were many small lizards, and birds everywhere who are very noisy. All in all a great place to hike, but it does take awhile to get there from HK Island. It was very hot and humid, but lots of shade. The rain makes the trail very slippery, but the waterfall gets bigger after a nice rainfall. Bring lots of water!

Directions: Find your way to Tai Po Market MTR station. From there, the bus 64K will take you to Ng Tung Chai. Most of the buses now have electronic displays of the upcoming stops in Cantonese and English so that is very helpful. I believe it was the 18th stop. Once off the bus, follow the small windy paved road (about 20m from the bus stop) up the hill to the town of Ng Tung Chai. The hiking trail is on the right hand side of the road walking up from the highway. It may be marked but not in English. The trail is paved up until a large temple/shrine. Past the shrine there is a map showing the two trails up to the waterfalls. It would be nice if this map was at the bottom of the hill! If you get lost, draw a picture of a waterfall and I'm sure someone will point you in the right direction.

09 April 2008

The Big Hanger in the Sky

Oasis Airlines has gone belly-up. No more cheap flights to Vancouver and London. I only flew with them once, but that was enough to show me there was no way they were making any money. It was about as no frills as you could get with service as friendly as Manitoba drivers.

I didn't really see flying with them in the future, but this is bad for everyone as it takes away cheap competition. Cathay Pacific will no doubt raise its fares back up to where they were a year ago. No worries though, because it will still likely be cheaper to fly HK-Vancouver, than Van-Toronto.

08 April 2008

Lost in Hong Kong - Now Available in China

Edit: Hooray everyone can now watch crappy Canadian content!

As of April 1st, 2008 Blogger is supposedly unblocked in China once again. CBC/CBC Radio continues to be blocked, suckers!

I imagine all the negative information and ranting (such as me) will insure that sites such as Youtube, Wikipedia, and Blogger are blocked once again in a very short time.

On a brighter note, protesters were seen launching themselves at an athlete in a wheelchair carrying the Olympic torch, in Paris I believe it was... This just gives everyone an excuse to label all protests as senseless and violent. Get some class morons!

06 April 2008

Memo from China

Re: What not to let reporters do.

Click here for a story regarding Chinese policy on how to deal with international journalists. At the bottom of the page is a 'classified' memo sent out to local authorities from the Chinese government. It's possible it isn't true, but it comes from a 'credible' source (they're French - Jacques says they're lieing) .

IOC - International Organization of Cowards

Oh Jacques Rogge you make me laugh. In a letter to all members of the IOC, he stated the following

no "credible" government or organisation is supporting the idea of a boycott."

Just so everyone knows, FRANCE has been seriously considering it for the past 3 weeks! I'm sure all the great people of England from the 7's last weekend would agree France is not a credible government, but commmmmmon Jacques, wake up!

The IOC, and many others, have been saying the Olympics have nothing to do with politics. I ask then, why does every country walk out with their flags waving around? What is this 'Olympic Charter' all about? I agree that the IOC shouldn't be the one to help resolve what's happening in Tibet, but since they gave the games to China based on a few 'promises' made by the Chinese gov, maybe they should have something to do with resolving what's going on in China. There's a heck of a lot else going on other than the Tibet crisis. If they don't want to get involved, they never should have awarded the games to someone they're utterly afraid of.

Free Hu Jia!

update: Sign the Petition!

Three-and-a-half-year jail term for Hu Jia

I suggest you read the article above, except for my mom, it would only scare her.

05 April 2008

CBC blocked in China

"The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation has formally complained to China's ambassador to Canada about the continued blocking of the broadcaster's websites in China.

CBC president Hubert T. Lacroix outlined his concerns in a letter to Ambassador Lu Shumin on Friday.

Access in China to CBC's French-language website Radio-Canada.ca has been blocked for six months, while access to the English site CBC.ca has been cut off since January, Lacroix said. " - cbc.ca

This is hilarious. Is AirFarce getting too racy? Maybe they just don't like Don Cherry.

Edit: no longer blocked, fire away chicken cannon!

04 April 2008

Hong Kong Hikes

Lately I've had a bit of the hiking bug. There's so many places in Hong Kong worth exploring I feel as if I haven't even seen most of the New Territories. During the Easter holiday, we went hiking in Sai Kung, out towards the eastern shoreline to a place called Tai Long Wan. This is a picture just up the hill from Sai Wan Beach. I also posted more photos of the area on my photoblog as well.

Tomorrow we are hoping to go to another area in the NTs, close to Tai Po. It's called Tai Mo Shan country park, and it's home to the tallest peak in Hong Kong. It's not big by mountain standards, but there is frost there quite often. I'm hoping we can find the place called Ng Tung Chai waterfalls. They're supposed to the best, and some of the only, waterfalls in HK.

02 April 2008

At least someone is reading.

I received my first anti-me comment! I feel special. If you want you can scroll down to the 'Otherside' post about a week ago and read the comments. If wheeling a mouse is too strenuous, I will summarize.

"...Don't blog if you can't get the facts right. Chinese media has been in Tibet the whole time. Why is someone as anti-China as you allowed into Hong Kong. If anything, China is being too soft..."

Maybe we should just send some tanks to smash them all? How about a public execution? I've seen the nice new "bird-cage" in Beijing, I'm sure blowing off some heads wouldn't rattle the IOC. Heck, since no one is going to the opening ceremonies anyway, why not make THAT the opening ceremony. "Free Tibet!...of all Tibetans!"

Alright seriously. I'm not one to really care if someone doesn't like what I write, it actually makes me happy to have some opposition finally. But in all honesty, your comment does nothing but confirm why I blog. People are idiots!

1) First of all, since when does blogging require that one tell the the truth? Ever hear of satire? If the nameless commentator is from China I suppose that's a possibility. Why does everything I write have to be truthful? There's all kinds of crap on the Internet, most of it false information. Still, I'm pretty sure I'm usually just giving my opinion and not preaching any hard truths, and most of what I say has been said by many many others.

2) If the Chinese media has been in Tibet the whole time, why did they choose not to prove it was all the Tibetan's fault and not the Chinese? Does it not seem fishy for the government to come out so strong against responsibility, and then not back it up with proof if they have it? Especially when they made such big promises about human rights? Just saying, seems fishy. I could care less if the Chinese media has been there the whole time, and I'm so sorry I said no one was getting in locally. That's just what the HK media said, but wait...I thought China still thought HK was China, so is China telling lies about China?

3) Did you know that Hong Kong was British for quite some time? There's actually quite a few people here who aren't too fond of China. Actually, at least a million of them. They all marched in protest against the Tienanmen Square incident. Oh I'm sorry, that never happened, sorry I'm telling lies again... Also, take a gander at the SCMP, or have a look through HK Magazine. If you think I should be deported, you'll love them.

4) If China is being too soft, maybe they should enlist the Dalai Lama, I hear he's quite a mean spirited old guy.

Like I said, I enjoy hearing people's opinion, as long as they are from a country where they are allowed to voice their opinion. I wouldn't want to get anyone in trouble...