So, the unthinkable happened. Or rather, the inevitable. My Octopus card, which I was reluctant to link to my credit card for this EXACT reason, went missing.
At first, I thought I'd just misplaced it, so several weeks passed before I decided to check my bank account to see whether someone had actually stolen it. I mean, what were the odds, really? There was nothing on the card that would indicate it being linked to a credit card, and who the hell steals an Octopus card anyway?
The answer: [insert squinty glare] SOMEONE.
I'm afraid I have no further details on this certain someone since my only option was to cancel the credit card link and the Octopus card once I saw that the card had been topped up 3-4x since I had lost it. Luckily, it was only HK$150 per time, but it was still a sh*tty feeling to know that someone, somewhere had been using my Octopus card (and spending MY hard earned cash!!).
I did end up canceling the card immediately, but this whole thing got me thinking. Instead of canceling the stolen card, why don't the Octopus authorities just track the spending/traveling pattern of the card to locate the perp, and catch them red-handed instead? It must be pretty easy since you can always see the last 10 trips made on the card, not to mention purchases made.
Why let them off so easy?? Octopus people, I'm talking to you. It's about time you bring justice to Octopus thieves instead of letting them off the hook. Who's with me??
My tribute to Joshua Wong, the 17-year-old political activist in Hong Kong who may scrawny and nerdy-looking, but an inspiration to so many (including me). Read more about him here.
#OccupyCentral #supportHK To everyone out there who might be hearing otherwise, the protests are very calm and peaceful, everyone is just sitting around, being supportive, recycling garbage, helping one another out, whether by spraying mist to help cool down, passing out free bread, water, masks, towels, etc. chanting, singing, studying, etc. #ILoveHongKong
So you may have already heard about (or seen) this impossibly pointy haired man shaping his hairstyle in the MTR, and the way he did so with the exaggerated movements seemed so ridiculous that I was pretty sure he wasn't real (ie. that it was a prank of some sort).
But lo and behold, while I was in the 24-hour Wellcome's cookie aisle last night, I saw Mr. Pointy Hair himself next to me checking out the cracker options.
I couldn't help but get excited at the sight of him and the pyramid of hair that sat on top of his head. Stiff and full of gel or hairspray, or both.
He seemed to notice the stares (as he kept looking at me), probably because I kept glancing at him too. And something told me that he must know that he's become somewhat of an internet sensation, because he seemed to welcome the attention as he walked through the aisles.
For those who have yet to view him in action, here it is:
A lot of people have the impression that Hong Kong people are unfriendly, rude or impolite. And it's understandable, given how many there are that:
don't open doors for others
don't yield or give way - EVER
don't make eye contact or conversation with strangers
speak in a rough manner or just loudly
poke you in the eye with umbrellas
don't help you if you fall down
(..the list goes on and on)
BUT... I have to say that nice Hong Kong people DO exist, and here's proof:
Just yesterday, when I was at my favourite fruit stall in Causeway Bay to buy some longan fruit (only HK$12 for two pounds) the guy threw in a free mandarin orange for me, for no reason at all, with a big smile on his face.
Then, at night, when it started to pour down, I was walking home in front of a HK lady with an umbrella, and while I was at a stoplight waiting to cross the street, she offered to share her umbrella with me until I reached cover. After she reached her building and went inside, she came back out to ask me if I wanted to borrow her umbrella -- me, a total stranger!
And today, when I was crossing the road in Sheung Wan, I was looking the wrong way when a HK lady reached out and stopped me from stepping right in front of a moving tram, saying "Watch out, miss!"
So, has HK always been this nice or has something changed? Has anyone else had similar experiences (and I'm not talking about people you've known for a while, but total strangers)? Let me know!
Question: What do you call men with combovers in Thailand?
Now why didn't I think of that... (thanks to my colleague in Thailand who enlightened me). Apparently it's a term first coined by the Japanese, who refer to men with combovers as 'barcode dudes'. Love it!
It's been a while since I came across something worth blogging about, but we can all thank the psycho lady who was in the line to buy tickets on Sunday for The Peacock, a dance performance by Chinese dancer and choreographer Yang Liping.
The show was held over Easter weekend at the Hong Kong Cultural Centre and completely sold out, but a limited number of tickets were being released every morning of each show (10am). I arrived at 9:05am on Sunday and there were already 25+ people ahead of me(!).
Anyway, the line was pretty civil until around 9:30am when I heard a woman shrieking, "Shut-up, shut-up, shut-up!!" in a Mandarin accent. In the next few minutes I also heard her shout a few English words like, "No respect, si-tu-pid, Im-a tee-cha!!" and even "Faak-u!!"
Turns out it was a middle-aged Chinese woman sitting on the floor in the queue, about the 10th person in line, and she was verbally assaulting an elderly Hong Kong Chinese granny who was a few people in front of her.
She was saying horrible things like, "You greedy bitch, why are you taking so many pamphlets, why don't you take 100?!!" and "You're such an old bitch, that's why your sons and daughters and grandsons don't even come to see the show with you, and that's why you're in this line alone!!"
Eventually the old granny left the queue to get some space, and the HK Cultural Centre staff went to apologise to her on the lady's behalf.
After that, things escalated as the woman started picking on other people, shouting things like, "I didn't see you in line at 7am, don't cut in line you asshole, I was here at 7am, not you! That stool was green before and now it's pink, I remember clearly! What are you, a magician?!!" and on and on it went.
One woman challenged her back and said she was just in line to buy one ticket for her mom, and the psycho lady screamed back, "Your mom is DEAD, if you manage to get a ticket your mom is DEAD, in fact, she's already DEAD!!" and that made things even worse (it's pretty much universal that when you mess with someone's mom, you've crossed the line).
Someone eventually challenged her to call the cops, and that's exactly what the psycho lady did, reporting to the police that there were people cutting the queue and she wanted them arrested. When the cops came 15 minutes later, the psycho lady stepped out of the queue to point out the queue-cutters, but it became quite obvious to them who was the real problem.
At first, the police officers were polite with the psycho lady, until they asked for her HKID and she realised that she was being targeted, not the others. She proceeded to scream at the cop, "You're never going to get a promotion, you useless cop!! Screw you, screw you, hope your entire family dies!!!"
At that point, the cops finally realised they needed to get her out of the box office area, as she was making everyone uncomfortable, so the guy cop yelled in her face, "I TOLD YOU TO GO OVER THERE!!" to which she just screamed back in a sobbing voice, "NO, NO, NO!!!" over and over.
So, there she was, screaming her crazy head off, surrounded by HK Cultural Centre "security" staff and two police officers, and NO ONE is laying a finger on her. The cop tells the security staff to grab her and pull her to the side, but they don't dare, and neither does the cop. Eventually, they gang up on her and sort of block her from the box office like a human wall.
When the box office opens at 10am, she rushes to the front of the line and attempts to buy tickets, and people in the line start shouting, "Line up, you bitch!" and "Eat shit, bitch!!" She doesn't respond and is again blocked off by the security people.
She screams and curses the whole time while the line moves, and when she sees the woman who was behind her in the queue get up to the box office, she freaks out and shouts, "I WAS BEFORE HER, I WAS BEFORE HER!!!! NO NO NO, IT'S MY TURN NOT HERS!!" So the frightened lady scurries back in line, and get this -- the cops and security actually let the psycho lady through to BUY TICKETS to the show!
She gives the lady behind her a thumbs up and then orders her tickets, and when she is told that the HK$480 tickets are all sold out, she turns around and says "FUK YOU, THEY DON'T HAVE ANY LEFT AT 480 NOW, FUK YOU!!" while giving the middle finger to the security guards.
Finally, she gets her tickets and leaves the box office counter, followed by her entourage of security personnel and police officers, and she goes towards the end of the queue, shouting, "I'm going to talk to BBC, CCTV, Mingpao, I want a lawyer! I want a doctor!! I'm going to tell everybody!!" And then, she GETS BACK IN LINE for a second round!! There, it all starts again as she starts screaming intermittently at anything and anyone, and the police officers have left the building.
Does anyone see a problem with this!? To be honest, I believe that this woman has a serious mental illness, so she shouldn't be held responsible for her horrible behaviour, but she does need to be controlled (read: thrown out of the building and not allowed to buy tickets to the show!) Given her level of psychosis, what if she made the same fuss at the actual performance?
The security personnel even said that she was there the day before, doing exactly the same thing, and no doubt she was there again on Monday morning to disturb the peace while getting another pair of tickets to the show again.
And what's with the no-touching policy when you're a security personnel? What's your purpose if you aren't maintaining the peace or protecting the general public from potential dangers (ie. her)?!
In the US, she'd have been given a warning and then physically thrown out if she didn't behave. In Canada, well, we would have asked nicely and probably escorted her out of the building while apolgising profusely. But Hong Kong? You've got to be kidding me!
P.S. For those who are interested, Yang Liping is an amazing Chinese dancer known for the peacock dance. I've never seen anything like it, here she is doing the Moon dance:
P.P.S. I did get some video of the psycho lady, but after hours of failed editing, it's really not worth posting. If anyone has a good rec on an Android video editing app, please share!
P.P.P.S. Okay so I did eventually edit the video but it's all sorts of messed up (can't rotate video, for instance) but if you're interested, view it here!
Confession: I'm a horrible Chinese. It's four days from Chinese New Year and I still haven't cleaned or decorated my home!! (Half of that's because I'm not really sure how to -- yup, I'm kinda clueless.)
I know we need to have fresh flowers in the home since they represent 'new birth and regrowth' in the new year, but which ones should I get? If you're having the same dilemma as me, here's a quick guide to some of the most popular choices:
What they do: Help you live longer; give single people hope.
Why: The blossoms symbolise growth, prosperity, long life and romance.
Where to put it: In the oldest and nicest porcelain vase you have -- it's believed that the older the vase, the longer the flowers will bloom.
What it does: Make the money roll in.
Why: Gumgut (in Cantonese) is a pun for gold (gum) and good fortune (dai gut).
Where to put it: In doorways.
What it does: Make you rich.
Why: Its yellow and white flowers represent gold, silver and wealth. Plus, they smell good.
Where to put it: In a shallow dish with smooth pebbles and filled with water.
What they do: Bring luck and good fortune.
Why: Known as the 'flower of riches and honour' in Chinese, they symbolise feminine beauty, love and affection. Red ones are most popular for CNY.
Where to put it: Anywhere that looks good!
What they do: Bring money in (surprise!)
Why: The Chinese name 'yin liu' means 'silver willow', which sounds like 'money flowing in'. If they bloom during the first 15 days of CNY, you've hit the jackpot!
Where to put it: In a container of water at room temperature in a cool, shaded area.
Other popular flowers include orchids, lilies, azalea, sunflowers, and pretty much every flower under the sun (except roses, I think). For more on CNY flowers, check out this handy guide.
I love watching Apple Daily's action news videos for two reasons: they're super sensational, and they use silly Cantonese slang to report (as opposed to serious news anchor talk that I can barely understand). My understanding of formal Cantonese is pretty crap, and to be honest, I don't always catch everything that's said on Apple Daily action news either, so the animated bits definitely help a lot.
The other day, I watched this video about the Moon Cup in Hong Kong, which is a reusable menstrual cup that gets put inside a girl's you-know and collects you-know-what during that time of month. The reporter went around town asking for ladies' opinions of it and as expected, most were grossed out.
Moon Cup: available in candy colours!
Then, they asked a medical expert for HIS opinion and I couldn't believe my eyes/ears. Here's what I thought I heard he said:
"Hong Kong girls and Chinese girls -- when we stick one finger in [their hoo-ha] to examine them, they can usually accept this. But when we stick two fingers in, it already hurts. So, you can see that this [Moon Cup] is already bigger than my two fingers, and if you try to force it in, not all women will be able to accept this. "
I watched the video a few more times to see if I heard him right. And I did hear right!! So, is he saying that Hong Kong and Chinese women can't accept (and have never had) anything larger than one finger down there...?? And that's why they can't use the Moon Cup? Umm...riiiiiight. Sounds like bullshit to me! Or that's just really sad.