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Showing posts from August, 2013

Where to Stay in Macau - Apartment in Coloane

A few months ago I went with two friends to Macau. As I explained in my earlier post, Macau has much more to offer than just casinos, and I recommend to anyone who stays in Hong Kong for a while to pay a visit to the former Portuguese colony.
In my previous post I forgot to mention where I and my friends stayed, so I'd like to share this information now because it might prove useful to travellers.
Instead of booking a room in a hostel or hotel, we decided to rent an apartment for one night. This is not the cheapest option, but for one or two nights it's certainly affordable. Moreover, we could see how an average apartment looks like and also live there as if we were local people. We used a website called airbnb.com, where you can find flats or rooms to let.
The apartment was located in Coloane, in the southern part of Macau. On the map (see below) Coloane looks pretty far away from the most interesting parts of Macau, but remember that Macau is small. In fact, we always walked fr…

Hierarchy, Conflicts and Communication in Chinese Culture

In the West two opposed images of China co-exist. On the one hand, there is the country of Communism, corruption, government repression, and authoritarianism. On the other hand, there is the country of harmony, group-thinking, compromise.
These two images of the same country are almost irreconcilable. How can we believe in a harmonious, peaceful, altruistic society when we not only know of the turmoils and cruelties of the past, but also hear of the exploitation and hardships of the present?
This double image of China is the result of a misinterpretation. In many respects, this Chinese dichotomy echoes another one, an older one. When Japan stunned the world by industrialising within a few decades, Western perceptions of Japan were, too, dominated by apparent paradoxes. As Ruth Benedict pointed out in her masterpiece, The Chrysanthemum and the Sword, Japan seemed to have two souls that contradicted each other. 

In the eyes of many Westerners prior to World War II, Japan was a riddle. Ther…

Singapore and the Myth of Free Market Economics

Singapore is a success story. As founding father Lee Kuan Yew said in his autobiography, Singapore moved from being a third world country in the 1960s, to being one of the richest countries on earth by the end of the 1990s.
Singapore is a city-state which in the middle of the 1990s was half the size of Hong Kong, with a population of 3.04 million (Kwong / Chau et al. 2001, p. 1). A former British colony, Singapore's political situation after WWII was tumultuous. The city was granted independence from the British Empire in 1958. Singapore's leaders, however, did not want to found a separate state, but to become part of neighbouring Malaysia.
In the 1959 elections, the People's Action Party (PAP), which still rules Singapore today, "promised clean, efficient politics and pledged to address issues in education, labor, housing, health, social security, economic growth through industrialization, and merger with the Malay Federation as a pathway to full independence from B…

How Free Are Media in Hong Kong? About The "Silent Majority" and Media Partiality

How free are media in Hong Kong? This is a question I couldn't help asking myself these days. In a previous post I wrote about Alpais Lam Wai-Sze, a primary school teacher who swore at police officers because they allegedly did not prevent a Communist association from harassing members of Falun Gong, a religious group that is illegal in mainland China.
The media response to this event in Hong Kong was very critical. Not critical of the police, but of the teacher and of Falun Gong. I would go as far as to say that the teacher has been the victim of a slander campaign.
How deep Hong Kong media's self-censorship is, has become clear to me by reading the South China Morning Post (SCMP). The SCMP, which was once considered one of the best English language newspapers in Asia, constantly features pro-establishment, pro-Beijing, and anti-democracy articles. One example of this I could see yesterday, on Monday 19.  
On page A2 appeared the usual column by Alex Lo. I have talked a few time…

Hong Kong and the Anti-Democratic Rhetoric

This month, a video of Hong Kong primary school teacher Alpais Lam Wai-Sze sparked great controversy. During a demonstration on July 14 she was filmed swearing at a police officer. At first it seemed she was protesting against the police cordon and her lack of access, but it later became clear that the reason why she lost her temper was different. Other videos uploaded on YouTube clarify the context of her reaction.
According to the Epoch Times, on July 14 Falun Gong practitioners were harassed by members of the Hong Kong Youth Care Association, a group associated with a Chinese Communist Party agency. The Falun Gong is a religious organisation that is illegal in mainland China, but tolerated in Hong Kong (note).
The teacher scolded police officers in harsh terms for not protecting the Falun Gong practitioners against members of the Hong Kong Youth Care Association, which is known in Hong Kong for having staged anti-Falun Gong campaigns in the past. According to the Epoch Times, "

Why The West Shouldn't Be Afraid of China, but of Its Own Neoliberal Policy

Territorial disputes are a major source of friction between the People's Republic of China and its neighbours in the South China Sea.  Chinese President Xi Jinping's recent statement that China should become a maritime power was echoed by state media such as the Global Times and China Daily. This suggests that the PRC might pursue a more decisive, aggressive foreign policy in the near future. 
However, this is not a new development. In the past, too, the PRC didn't shrink from using force when it was necessary, for example when it occupied Mischief Reef or engaged in maritime clashes with the Vietnamese navy. 
In view of these facts, Westerners ask themselves what they should do. Is China really a threat? Or is it a peaceful power, as many Chinese claim? Should Western governments contain China, or should they disengage completely from East Asia, leaving the solution of territorial disputes to the parties involved alone? 
Why American Involvement In East Asia Is Untenable
Amer…

Paramita - Vegetarian Food in Hong Kong

One of the greatest things about living in East Asia is the rich and delicious vegetarian cuisine. I am not a vegetarian or vegan, but I love to eat vegetarian food and if there were more restaurants that offer this kind of food I think I would avoid eating meat altogether.
Two days ago I went with a couple of friends to Paramita, a vegetarian restaurant in Times Square, in Hong Kong's thronging shopping area of Causeway Bay. Let me share with you some pictures I took that day.

Hong Kong Central Library, Tin Hau Temple and Surroundings on a Hot August Day

It doesn't matter in which form they present themselves - rainy, sunny, typhoon-battered - Hong Kong summer days are a challenge for everyone who likes to take long walks. Today is one of those splendid afternoons in which the glistening sun floods the city with its glowing light and occasional specks of clouds hang in the blue sky. Despite the scorching heat I decided to take a walk around Hong Kong Central library. The temperature stood at 34 degrees Celsius, but the real feel was 39!
How to Get to Hong Kong Central Library
Hong Kong Central Library is located on 66 Causeway Road, Causeway Bay. However, Tin Hau MTR Station is slightly closer to the library than Causeway Bay Station. It takes only about five to ten minutes from Tin Hau to the library. I started my walk from Tin Hau MTR Station.


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Night Walk in Hong Kong

Last evening I felt like taking a short walk, but then I ended up walking for almost three hours. The weather in the summer is always hot and humid, however yesterday it was relatively less hot and humid, and there was no rain. I started my walk from Tin Hau and went to Statue Square, between Admiralty and Central. I took a few pictures of the skyline at night. I think I'll never get enough of the amazing Hong Kong skyline, which is one of the most impressive in the world.