Monday, October 30, 2006


CHOI v. search

Monday, October 16, 2006

The Bund

KHANG n. river
The Bund is a bustling district in Shanghai. It stretches along the western bank of Huangpu River. It is now considered one of Asia's leading financial hubs. For those of us who grew up watching 80s TV shows, the Bund might remind you of a popular Hong Kong godfather mini-series starring Chow Yun-Fatt. Long pang... long yau... so the song goes.

For a small town boy like myself, the buildings and structures that grace the Bund are truly a majestic, awe-inspiring sight. The traffic rushed past at dizzying speed and the lights are almost blinding; it has all the effects of making you feel really small.

I wanted to see the famous bridge featured in the Spielberg's movie Empire of the Sun, disappointingly, nobody knew. Almost everyone enjoying the walk along the Bund were tourists.

Then I came across this intriguing statue:

Is this Chairman Michael Jackson or King of Pop Mao?

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Escape to Shanghai

KWAI-LAN n. (derogatory) tormentor

Hong Kong International Airport really deserved to win the World's Best Airport award. It definitely gets my vote, you don't know how relieved and how good I felt to be there after the heavy spending in the city!

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We took the budget airline, Dragon Air, a subsidiary of Cathay Pacific Airways, to our next holiday destination. I was glad the trip to Shanghai was at the very end of China's Golden Week. I'm sure Shanghai is busy enough without the week-long influx of Chinese out-of-towners.(Workers in Chinese companies have only three 7-continuous days of paid public holiday each year. No Raya break, no Christmas holiday, no New Year's Day celebration, no Wesak Day-off. Those living and working in Malaysia and Singaporea are a lucky bunch!)

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Shanghai has just hosted the Formula 1 Grand Prix. I did not catch the Alonso-Schumacher duel on TV, but I did not need to be reminded of it. Our cab driver drove like he was determined to get us to our hotel in the shortest possible time. My mate in the front seat said it felt like he was in a Daytona arcade game. As for me, I was laughing nervously at the back. Secretly, I was thinking of ways to drown this frightening experience, I even tried humming to the tune of: I wonder if you know, how they live in Tokyo, if you see me then you mean it, then you know you have to go, Fast and foo-rios (Drift, Drift, Drift)! Fast and f00-rios (Drift, Drift, Drift)!!!

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Someone in the hotel later told us that every cabbie here is equally kwai-lan; in Shanghai, they all drive like that. Anyway... I was glad to be out of the taxi. Gave him some renminbi to go far far away.

We arrived at an amazing location. Our hotel was located in the heart of Shanghai, the place was surrounded by modern shopping malls and office buildings. The hotel grounds were landscaped to perfection. It did not have the Made In China feel. The place was built in 1935 but the rooms were refurbished recently. It boasts art deco design and European architectural style, and the place has welcome over 300 head of states (according to a travel website), people like King of Spain and the Queen of Denmark, two US presidents Ronald Reagan and Richard Nixon, two British Prime Ministers Edward Heath and Margaret Thatcher, Japan Prime Minister Masayoshi Ohira, Singapore Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew stayed here.

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Sadly, just adjacent to this luxurious 5-star hotel was an old, dilapidated Shanghainese building, you could even see Lao Ah-Ma pouring hot water in her bath-tub from the hotel room. Urban life here is indeed an example of great economic contrast.

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Next entry: The Bund

Saturday, October 07, 2006

No frills Hong Kong (Part 3): Hong Kong at night

MEI-SI adj. night-time

Hong Kong is definitely not bo(w)ring at night. Like cockcroaches, they become alive at night. My favourite place has to be the Temple Street Market. So much to see, so many things to buy, and so many tempting seedy places I cannot visit e.g. mahjong house, etc etc.

For some reason, even after heavy, seemingly victorous bargaining, you always left feeling cheated whenever you buy anything at Temple Street Market. I bought this glass dragon for HKD$40, having hacked off HKD$40 from the starting price.

And I still have a this lousy feeling that it cost less than HKD$5. I am hoping this is just psychological.

Hong Kong open-air markets lure every idiot tourist like myself, I feel so vulnerable here. It is like there is this invisible force that compels one to buy something... anything. Usually something utterly unnecessary. Yes, like a glass dragon.

How could I escape? This helpful travel agent found us a hotel conveniently located between the two largest open-air markets in Hong Kong: Temple Street Market and Ladies' Market. Pok-kai man!

Hong Kong is definitely a place worth exploring if you have cash. As for me, I am getting out of here fast...

Next entry: Escape to Shanghai

Thursday, October 05, 2006

No frills Hong Kong (Part 2): a photo journal

BO SIKAN adj.,n. no time

Another day in Hong Kong... feels like being trapped in a London Super-Chinatown.

How I know this Spaghetti House is not halal...

Hong Kong is so well sign-posted. Kuching should learn from this city. They even tell people how and where to stand. This was taken at an MTR platform.

Did I say that this city is intense? Everything is conducted at break-neck speed. This woman must be a surgeon during her lunch break.

Space is at a premium here. Even in restaurants. I have so far shared table with complete strangers at every single meal!

To my friends in Kuching, whom I once laughed at for having little choice but to live through the hazy months whereas, I, could escape from it by going to exotic holiday destinations. I beg your forgiveness...

I miss home.

Next entry: Hong Kong at night

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

No frills Hong Kong (Part 1): hiang khang lang hi kang lhang?

HIANG KHANG n. a cultural vacuum (just joking...), one of China's S.A.R.
HI KHANG LHANG n.,adj. deaf

Sisuahlai is writing in Hong Kong. Why is everything so intense here?

The typical Hong Kong natives don't talk, they shout. Like this makcik in the sampan. There were only 6 of us, but she had to communicate by shouting. I have several theories for this decibel tolerant trait:

(1) Genetic predisposition to early hearing loss
(2) Hong Kong is short of physical space, therefore the instinctive need to expand personal space
(3) Stronger diaphragms
(4) Immune to laryngitis, therefore can flog the voice

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Okay, I know this is no gondola with all its romantic attachment, I do understand that Aberdeen Harbour is no Venice. But at least la, don't go and spoil the atmosphere further with that shouty shouty voice.

Makcik, sieh sia tampok can, why like that?

Not chiet full izit?

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Don't try this with a baby

LHONG v. collision

How dare they transport a child like this? Don't they know the haze situation in Kuching is terrible?

This reminds me of...

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