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September 2015



The really useful magazine September 2015

PEOPLE 2 Snapped! Southside’s social life. THE PLANNER 6 Happening in September What’s on. NEWS 12 What’s going on? In your backyard. GIVEAWAYS 18 Free stuff Fab things to win. FIVE MINUTES WITH... 20 Kevin Chow Elephant Grounds head barista spills the beans.

LOCAL 22 District decision maker Interview with the Wong Chuk Hang district councillor. NEWS FROM THE GREENS 24 Tunnel vision Paul Zimmerman asks, “where are Hong Kong’s common service tunnels?” FEATURE 26 Inside Wong Chuk Hang Discover the people and places of Wong Chuk Hang. EATING 34 Black Kite brewery Two brothers craft their own beers. Plus nibbles.

EDUCATION 40 Bebegarten Behind the scenes of One Island South’s education centre. LIVING & HOME 46 Get crafty Discover the craft revival weaving its way to Hong Kong. OUTDOOR 50 Lugard Road Take a stroll. BIG DAY OUT 52 Treasure island Cheung Chau: beyond the buns.

HEALTH & BEAUTY 62 Doctor in the house Health experts give some expert advice. PETS 64 A dog is for life The commitment of having a dog. HONG KONG CREATURES 64 Plum Judy The dancing butterfly. SOUTHSIDE SECRETS 72 The “Old House” Wong Chuk Hang San Wai.

TRAVEL 58 Dong’ao delight Club Med’s newest resort in China opens.


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SEP 4-5 Hong Kong Darts Masters Eight of the world’s best dart players including will be in town as the World Darts Masters stops by Hong Kong for the first time. Tickets start from $499 from Use code “PRDART” to receive twenty percent off. Hong Kong Observation Wheel, Central.

SEP 13

MTR Race Walk

Watch top race walkers from across the world compete for the men’s and women’s titles and cheer on any family and friends who are participating. Funds raised will go to the Hospital Authority’s Health InfoWorld to support its work on enhancing disease management skills. 7:20am-2:45pm, Chater Road, Central,

SEP 3 Public Holiday Public holiday to celebrate the 70th anniversary of Japan’s surrender in Hong Kong.

SEP 4 Free Craft Beer Tasting

SEP 3-26 The 9th Annual Hong Kong International Comedy Festival Rib-tickling entertainment. Tickets available at Tickets for finals on September 26 can be purchased from Event information from, 6220 4436.


We’d tap that. Available every Friday until September 25 at ABOVE, Ovolo Southside, 64 Wong Chuk Hang Road (entrance at Yip Fat Street),,3460 8100.

SEP 4-6 Hamlet Performing Hamlet in every country on Earth, this is Hong Kong’s turn. “To see, or not to see?” It’s a no-brainer. Lyric Theatre, HKAPA, Wan Chai. Tickets $395-$795 from, 2547 7150.

SEP 4-6 Pinocchio The fibbing puppet is brought to life by the Hong Kong Ballet. September 4 (evening show only); September 5-6 (afternoon and evening shows). Grand Theatre, Hong Kong Cultural Centre. Tickets $140-$1,000 from URBTIX,, 3761 6661.

Photo: Paul Dubbelman

happening in September

SEP 6 Giddyup! The horse racing season begins at Sha Tin Racecourse. Day-racing only,

SEP 6 AND 20 Free Flow Craft Beer Sunday Brunch Eat and drink to your heart’s content. Also available on October 4 at CIRQLE, Ovolo Southside, 64 Wong Chuk Hang Road (entrance at Yip Fat Street),, 3460 8100.

SEP 10 Hedge Fund Fight Nite After four months of rigorous training and monthly eliminations, 12 ‘first time’ boxers will compete in a grand finale to be crowned winner. The evening also includes drinks, followed by a four-course black-tie dinner and a live charity fundraising auction. All proceeds raised on the night will go to Beam International Foundation, Operation Breakthrough and the Sovereign Art Foundation. Tables of 12 start at $24,000. 6:30pm onwards, The Ironmonger Arena at The Hong Kong Observation Wheel, 33 Man Kwong Street, Central, 2973 0372,

SEP 13 Discovery Bay Sunday Market Artists, makers, designers and bakers sell their wares. Free, 11am-6pm. Discovery Bay Plaza,

SEP 15-20 The Naked Magicians Full-frontal illusions - not quite as saucy as it sounds. Drama Theatre, HKAPA, Wan Chai. Tickets $395-$595 at, 3128 8288.

SEP 17-27 Sundance Film Festival 2015: Hong Kong The Sundance Institute returns to Hong Kong for a second year with a line-up of cutting-edge independent films. All events are located at the Metroplex, Kowloon International Trade and Exhibition Centre, Kowloon Bay. Tickets for screenings start at $90 for adults., 2620 2200.

SEP 16 - 20 La Soirée

SEP 6 Butchers Club Southside Market Long Lunch Join The Butcher’s Club as the Southside Market Long Lunch restarts. Unlimited food, drink, music and entertainment from noon to 5pm. Tickets $550 (free for under-eights) from The Butchers Club Deli Rooftop, 16/F, 18 Wong Chuk Hang Road, Aberdeen, 2884 0768.

The award-winning cocktail of cabaret, new burlesque and circus sideshow is coming to Hong Kong. Get your tickets now. Lyric Theatre, Academy for Performing Arts, 1 Gloucester Road, Wan Chai. Tickets $395$1,095 from, 3759 7617.

SEP 16 - 20 Louis Pearl The Amazing Bubble Man Art, magic, science and bubbles. Drama Theatre, HKAPA, Wan Chai. Tickets $395-$550 from, 3128 8288.

SEP 19 Celebrate the mid-autumn festival at EtonHouse Head to EtonHouse for a morning of mooncake making, lantern painting, tea appreciation and music. Free entry. 10am-1pm. 102, 1F Red Hill Plaza, 3 Red Hill Road, Tai Tam, 2353 5223,



SEP 27 Moon Festival Feast on moon cakes and look out for the colourful lanterns. Head to Tai Hang to watch the traditional Fire Dragon Dance, which has been performed there for around 100 years. September 26 - 28, 8.15pm, Tai Hang, Causeway Bay. For enquiries, call 2577 2649,

SEP 28 Public Holiday Day after Mid-Autumn festival. Long weekend.

SEP 28 Muse Live in Hong Kong 8pm, Asia World-Expo, Tickets $780 from, 3128 8288


SEP 19 Family yoga Miles ELP International Academy will collaborate with Pure South to hold a free family yoga session on the rooftop of the pulse. Each child under six must be

accompanied by at least one adult. 5-6pm, Rooftop, the pulse, 28 Beach Road, Repulse Bay. To sign up, email


BOOK NOW OCT 12 Beyond the Barricade A medley of songs from Les Mis, Phantom, Jersey Boys and more. Lyric Theatre, HKAPA, Wan Chai. Tickets $445-$895 from, 3128 8288.

OCT 16-18 Secret Island Party Stay for the day or sleepover at this weekend of art, music and performance. Tickets $250$750 from

OCT 9-10 Beertopia 2015 The city’s largest craft beer festival returns for a fourth year. With over 500 beers from breweries across the world as well as an array of stomach-lining snacks, games (including giant beer pong), live bands and DJs, what are you waiting for? Friday, October 9 (6-11pm); Saturday, October 10 (12-11pm). Central Harbourfront Event Space, 9 Lung Wo Road. Tickets start at $280. Book by September 21 for the early bird discount at

OCT 25 Rat Race Central OCT 9-11 Charlie & Lola’s Best Bestest Play Join Charlie and Lola and all their friends in the hit show featuring puppetry, visual effects and lots of audience interaction. Drama Theatre, HKAPA, Wan Chai. Tickets $225 - $435 from, 3128 8288.

Suits go cuckoo for this fancy dress obstacle race in aid of Mindset. Register by Sep 18 at

NOV 24 Elton John: All the Hits Join the Rocket Man for a romp down memory lane. HKCEC, Wan Chai. Tickets $488-$2,388 from, 3128 8288.

Got an event? We can publish the details for free. Email


Boxing Champion boxers Willis Chan and Zoie Tang endeavour to put clients to the test with a series of grueling workouts. Boxing coach Willis says, “Muay Thai uses the whole body and is an excellent sport for beginners to pick up. Basic fitness rapidly improves after just a few sessions”. After an intense session of punching and kicking drills, regular client Christabel is delighted with her workout, “Boxing coach Zoie trains me really hard and I love that we accomplish so much each session” she says. “I live close by to Pure South and I heard about the Muay Thai classes through a few friends. It’s really important for me to vary my workouts to keep my motivation level high”.

Train together with the com Pure South

Yoga Think you know yoga - think again. With a comprehensive range of classes including hot yoga, aerial and wall rope yoga, Pure South’s instructors will open up a whole new world of yoga workouts. In a purpose-built studio insulated from outside distractions, instructor Daniel Sierralta leads a class of yogis. He explains the wide-range of benefits of taking time out of busy schedules to practice yoga, “yoga takes us down both a physical and intellectual path while working on strength, flexibility and learning how to breathe” he says. “Taking time to focus on ourselves, even if only for an hour each day, is really important for our well-being”. Yogi Julia explains what makes her sessions at Pure South so enjoyable, “Group sessions are really helpful for me. I like to hear other people around me all breathing in unison and feeding off of that group energy”.


Group Fitness

(Sponsored Feature)

Working out alone is tough. Pure South’s Group Fitness classes include Spartan training, Pilates and dance, which offer you the chance to train with like minded individuals. Andres Vesga, instructor for Group Fitness classes, has honed his fitness classes through years or tried and trusted methods. His Movement SHM class (Strength, Handstands and Mobility) is a 90 minute workout focussing on whole body movement and strength. Andres explains his core principal is to “teach people how to move better to offer participants better control over their bodies”. He also stresses the importance of group classes, “working out with those who share the same mentality can only help us to improve” he says. “By striving towards the same goals we can push each other to leading a healthier lifestyle”.

mmunity – the pulse

Pure South, the latest hybrid yoga and fitness centre located in the pulse, is bringing together the whole Southside community. Combining not just a spacious fitness area, dedicated yoga and group fitness studios, Pure South offers an unrivalled number of classes for exciting health and wellness solutions at a stunning beachside location. Text by Callum Wiggins, photos by Epo Wu, design by Kelvin Lau

Leading a healthy lifestyle A healthy lifestyle can not be attained without a healthy diet. Whether refueling post-workout with a delicious nood food cold-pressed juice or catching up with new friends over a cup of coffee, the welcoming and positive environment at Pure South means clients will always have a space to relax and unwind at any time of the day. In a rush? Simply grab ready-to-go refreshments, superfood smoothies, and raw food items. State-of-theart facilities, motivated instructors, personal trainers and boxing coaches, as well as Pure South’s enviable beachside location amounts to an unbeatable workout experience.

Pure South – the pulse Level 1, The Pulse, 28 Beach Road, Repulse Bay 8200 0908



in your backyard

Slideluck II - Potluck art

Returning for a second year, Slideluck provides an audience for budding artists to showcase their work. Everyone brings a homemade dish, then shares their food and artwork with the group. This year’s theme is “Contrast”. Submit your entry by September 21 for the chance to be chosen as one of

the 20 entries showcased on the evening. Alternatively, forget the artwork and simply turn up for the food and the opportunity to critique other people’s work. October 16, 7pm, The White Loft, 10/F Yally Industrial Building, 6 Yip Fat Street, Wong Chuk Hang. Free entry. RSVP to

Southside squeeze Southern district councillor Paul Zimmerman has set up an online petition calling for restrictions on tour coaches. There are concerns that new developments - including more shops, hotels, and a possible car park in the centre of Stanley - will exacerbate the traffic, while the new South Island MTR line due to open next year will connect only the Aberdeen area. Zimmerman’s petition suggests introducing a permit system for non-franchised buses on Repulse Bay Road, Island Road, Stanley Gap Road and Tai Tam Road. Preference would go to buses run by schools, residential buildings and employers. However, the Transport Department claims the roads have sufficient capacity and instead blames the “prolonged stopping of vehicles” to drop off or pick up passengers. It said any permit system would have to be “carefully examined as it would not only affect tourists but also bring unnecessary disturbance to various stakeholders”. Read the petition at

Get a move on with Sport4Kids

Auditions open for 2016 Youth Theatre Production Spectacular Exercising vicariously through your children? Time to get moving with Sport4Kids, who are offering parents a chance to work out with one of their certified personal trainers while your little one enjoys a Mini-Sports class run by the Sport4Kids team. A great way to get fit and meet other parents. Toddlers can have fun trying out a range of sports - from tennis to basketball - that will enhance their motor,


coordination and social skills. Available for parents with children aged 18-months to four years at the following locations: Parkview (indoor and covered facilities), Sun Yat Sen Park, Hong Kong Park and Sai Kung, Wai Man Road Playground. Children under two must be accompanied by an adult. To book email, 2773 1650,

This year, under the leadership of new director Daryl Walker, Colour My World embarks on an adventure into the fairytale land of once upon a time. Combining fantastical tales from across the world to create one unique full-length theatrical production, there will be plenty of roles to enable budding actors and actresses to shine. Auditions for children aged seven and above will be held over the first and second weeks of September. Download the enrolment form online. Colour My World, Room 108 Aberdeen Marina Tower, 8 Shum Wan Road, 2580 5028,



Paperclip lets new offices in Sheung Wan ESF applications open for years 1 and 7

The co-working space has expanded to offer serviced offices within the same building. Founder Deepak Madnani says the offices will be cheaper than Grade-A offices in the area and is aiming for professional services, investors, IT companies and overseas companies looking to set up branches in Hong Kong. Paperclip is situated on Wing Lok Street, just a stone’s throw from Sheung Wan MTR station. Its current tenants are all Hong Kong start-up companies, with around 80 percent of them


run by expats. According to Madnani, they choose a co-working environment not just for the physical space, but for the community, workshops, events, mentoring and networking opportunities. Whilst most other co-working spaces in the city are just trying to fill up existing space rather than expand, Madnani is confident his investment will pay off. “More and more companies are coming and investing into start-ups here. Hong Kong’s role will not change.”

Parents looking to enrol their children at their local ESF school should get their skates on. The application window for enrolment in year 1 and year 7 opens on September 1. Apply online at by September 30. Parents who wish to gain interview priority for their children may apply for Nomination Rights Schemes from September 2. Applications for Renaissance College and Discovery College should be made separately. The two private independent schools also have their own Nomination Rights Schemes. For pre-primary education, parents may apply to the new ESF International Kindergarten in Tung Chung from October 1-31. Children attending an ESF International Kindergarten will receive priority for interview at all ESF schools.



Giant panda in Ocean Park becomes world’s oldest

Theatre try outs at Faust Faust’s 17th season will commence on September 17. Before then, the international youth theatre group will be hosting free trial drama workshops for children aged three and above on September 5 and 6. Faust’s theatre workshops will provide any young thespian with a thorough grounding in the theatre world with workshops across Hong Kong throughout the week including new locations in Pok Fu Lam and Discovery Bay. To secure a place at the trial workshop in Sheung Wan, parents can call 2547 9114 or email

Calling a 37-year-old female ‘old’ in any other circumstances is likely to get you into trouble, but Jia Jia, a 37-year-old panda at Ocean Park has become the oldest ever giant panda in captivity. Born in the wild in Sichuan, China, she was given to Hong Kong in 1999 to mark the handover of the SAR by


Britain two years earlier. The previous record was held by Du Du, a male panda who was also caught in the wild and died in July 1999, aged 36. Although the exact birth dates of Du Du and Jia Jia are unknown, Jia Jia is understood to have claimed the title by a few months.


free stuff

win at

Venetian Macao Open

photo: Venetian Macao Open

One of the highlights of the Asian Tour, the Venetian Macao Open returns to the Macau Golf & Country Club in October. One lucky reader will win one night’s accommodation at Holiday Inn Cotai, a pair of return ferry tickets from Hong Kong, a pair of VIP hospitality passes and signed merchandise to be picked up at the tournament. Macau Golf & Country Club 15 -18 October 2015 Deadline: Sep 30

Sport4Kids Sport4Kids are experts in getting young children into sport. This month Sport4Kids are giving away an adult & toddler (18months- two years) “Fitness 4 the Family” package, valued at $2,000. This is a fantastic way for parents to get fit and meet other like minded parents, whilst their toddler receives a fun-filled introduction to a range of sports and games. Deadline: Sep 23


Asia Contemporary Art Show

One of Repulse Bay’s newest restaurants, Hotshot pays tribute to the Californian lifestyle of the 1960s. Opened by Le Comptoir, the group behind Bibo, TRi and The Ocean, the design welcomes a revival of the fun and casual “come as you are” philosophy. We’ve got a $1,000 dining voucher to send some cool Californian vibes your way. G/F, Shop 114-115, The Pulse, 28 Beach Road, Repulse Bay, Hong Kong, 2515 1661 Deadline: Sep 30

The Asia Contemporary Art Show, featuring thousands of artworks from Asia and around the world, is back in Hong Kong between October 8 and 11. We have six pairs of tickets to giveaway so you can browse and buy original paintings, limited editions, and more from some of the world’s most interesting and promising artists. October 8 - 11 Conrad Hong Kong Deadline: Sep 25

To enter, click the Giveaways tab on our website, Deadlines vary. 18 | WWW.SOUTHSIDE.HK


five minutes with...

spill the beans


Senior Consultant Editor Jane Steer Editor Callum Wiggins Shreena Patel Digital Editor Annie Wong


Art Director Kelvin Lau Graphic Designer Jack Yip

Thanks to Adele Brunner Anji Connell Carolynne Dear Evie Burrows-Taylor Paul Zimmerman Rory Mackay Sally Andersen Sarah Fung Steffi Yuen

Kevin Chow


Annie Wong meets the head barista of trendy Elephant Grounds in Wong Chuk Hang.

Tom Hilditch

Published by

Fast Media Floor LG1, 222 Queens Road Central, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong

Photo by: Treasure Island

Expert barista Chow can be found behind the counter most days at Elephant Grounds

I’ve been working at Elephant Grounds since the Wong Chuk Hang store opened and we had our first anniversary in June. It is a good change of pace working in Wong Chuk Hang. Everyone is here to enjoy themselves and they are happy to stay and chat about their day or learn more about our coffee. I spend a lot of time in Wong Chuk Hang. I like that I can go straight from work to the beach or to a chilled dinner in Shek O. The southside area is laidback and is a different side to Hong Kong. There is a good mix of people here. Fashionistas, tea sellers and even raw chocolate bar makers. I think these are the people that make Wong Chuk Hang that much more interesting. This is the first job that’s made


I get to know regulars that come in every day me look forward to going into work every day. I get to meet people from all walks of life and I also get to know regulars that come in every day. Controlling the quality of our coffee is difficult. We make sure we use the best and freshest beans available. It needs to be constantly monitored and tasted. The brewing parameters for making the perfect espresso are constantly changing. You really have to be involved with every cup you make. Becoming a barista all started after I had my first speciality

coffee, it blew my mind. I tried a Yirgacheffe coffee and I couldn’t believe that a coffee could taste like blueberries. I started reading books and blogs about coffee and I came to realise that I wanted to be the person that works behind the counter. Travelling to different cities and visiting their coffee shops gave me lots of inspiration especially Japan. I like to have a piccolo in the morning. It’s short and strong and it helps kick start my day. If you’re unsure of what type of coffee you want, we will help you to find that one drink that suits your mood. Alternatively, try our coffee workshops to learn how to make the perfect cup of coffee at home. Elephant Grounds, 1/F, The Factory, 1 Yip Fat Street, Wong Chuk Hang, 2562 9000,


local Sales & Marketing Head of Sales & Marketing Karman So Sales Manager Oliver Simons Sales & Marketing Executive Alastair Grigg John Lee Office Security Cat the dog

Accounts Manager Connie Lam


Apex Print 11-13 Dai Kwai Street, Tai Po Industrial Estate, Tai Po, Hong Kong

District Councillor Kevin Tsui Yuen-wa, on the streets of Wong Chuk Hang, is nearing the end of his second term.

District decision maker Callum Wiggins discusses Wong Chuk Hang with its district councillor Kevin Tsui Yuen-wa. @southsidemag

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How did you become Wong Chuk Hang’s district councillor? I’ve been working in Wong Chuk Hang for over 10 years. This is my second term as district councillor and I am in the last year of my second term. I majored in political science and I’ve been interested in politics since I was at school. After my graduation I decided to stay and work in Hong Kong and I subsequently joined the Democratic Party. Later I was assigned to work in Wong Chuk Hang in the community office. After a year I was asked whether I was interested in running for district councillor. A whole new constituency was being created which meant that I did not have to face the incumbent councillor and everybody was starting on a level playing field. Thankfully people felt that I was capable and I was elected.

The feel of Wong Chuk Hang is changing slowly How did you develop an interest in politics? I moved from Mainland China to Hong Kong in 1995 when I was 15. Before that I was very curious about politics in China and Hong Kong. I always wondered why things were so different between reality and books that I read in China. The books said that everything was harmonious and wonderful but what I saw in reality was very different. I saw many problems but I didn’t know the solutions. That’s why I chose to study politics. When I came to Hong Kong I read a lot about

history and politics, especially the June 4 movement. That almost crushed my dream of China. I considered myself as a very patriotic individual and I had aspirations for China to become a stronger nation. During my studies it made me wonder why we had to suffer such tragedies. I wanted to find solutions to make China a more liberal and democratic nation. What projects do you have planned for Wong Chuk Hang? The community complex that I have proposed is still in the preliminary stages. The government has accepted my idea and agreed with my proposal. The government is still deliberating what kind of facilities and services will operate within the complex. I personally would like a small library, youth centre, post office and children’s playground. After the demolition

Wong Chuk Happening of Wong Chuk Hang estate, these kinds of facilities are greatly needed and lacking in the local community. The project - to be built on the current temporary bus terminal - will certainly be finished but I’m not sure what facilities will be provided. What are the main issues you are working on to improve the area? Traffic is the main issue in the Southern district and it is the issue which we receive the most complaints about. When a new development is being considered our first priority must be whether it will make the traffic situation worse. I believe that after the MTR is opened, the traffic situation will become much better. People also have to face the challenge of rising rental prices. In fact, as the area changes from

an industrial to a commercial and residential area we are facing many new challenges. It isn’t common for a district councillor to have so many new issues to tackle. How has Wong Chuk Hang changed since you became district councillor? The feel of Wong Chuk Hang is changing slowly. Many people still think of Wong Chuk Hang as an industrial area, especially those from outside the Southern district. They think it’s old and a little bit dirty. Not many people know that there are so many galleries, new hotels and more and more restaurants opening. When the MTR opens it will only take five or ten minutes to travel from Admiralty and that will completely change people’s perceptions of Wong Chuk Hang.

Will you run for district councillor again later this year? I’m considering to run for the district elections again later this year but so far I am undecided. If I was to run for the position again, I would work hard to make sure that the community complex happens and becomes reality. I would also fight for the rezoning of the police school. The land that is currently occupied by the police school is large enough for a number of public housing and private flats. The New Territories has much more land available which would be better suited. Would you ever choose to return to Mainland China for a career in politics? I would not go back to Mainland China to engage in politics. Frankly, it would be dangerous to do so. I hope that if we achieve

universal suffrage in Hong Kong then this will be a good example for Mainland China and the Central Government. We must show that a democratic movement is not dangerous or a direct threat to China. In Hong Kong we have a lot of personal freedom but we don’t have a democratic government. Any final words? I want all residents, no matter where they come from, to contact the district council to raise any concerns that they may have. In the Southern District Council, all our documents are available in Chinese and English and I hope that we are accessible to everyone. To find out more about the Southern District Council visit or call 2814 5800.


news from the greens

tunnel vision

Tunnel vision Paul Zimmerman explains why common services tunnels are key to making Hong Kong a smart city. is accelerating the pace of urbanisation, but backward underground pipelines appear to be a big dragging force,” Li said, according to People’s Daily. “It is necessary to step up our efforts on construction of better underground pipelines.” 10 cities including Haikou, Xiamen and Suzhou have been selected to carry out the pipe improvements over the next three years, at a cost of 35.1 billion yuan ($43.8 billion). Singapore has already built long stretches of common services tunnels.

Shared underground tunnels for common services such as sewage, water, electricity, gas, telecoms and broadcasting are expensive and cumbersome to retrofit under existing roads. They also require coordination of the works with the different companies who need to redirect their underground utilities. It is a big one-off investment of money, time, and roadworks. Is it worth it? Premier Li Keqiang thinks so. “China


It is time for Hong Kong to put them in place But Hong Kong still believes that every utility should take care of its own. As a result residents suffer repetitive opening and closing of roads. Even for a greenfield site such as Kai Tak, the Government is refusing to put in common services tunnels. The safety excuse

– what if a pipe bursts or gas explodes – is outrageous as separation can be designed in. The real reason is responsibility: the urban pipelines would be the Government’s management and maintenance responsibility and require staffing up. A less laissez-faire attitude where we put utilities underground would mean a lot less opening and closing of roads, less construction waste, traffic jams, roadside air and noise pollution. Trees would do better too, as the tunnels would prevent the repetitive damaging of roots. Common services tunnels should be known as common sense tunnels. It is time for Hong Kong to put them in place if we truly care about being known as a smart city. Paul Zimmerman is the CEO of Designing Hong Kong, a Southern District Councillor and the co-convenor of Save Our Country Parks alliance.



Inside Wong Chuk Hang Callum Wiggins and Shreena Patel take a closer look at southside’s concrete jungle.

There is certainly a buzz around Wong Chuk Hang. We’re not just talking about the noise of the traffic and continual construction, but also the buzz of creativity emanating from within. Amidst noisy roadworks, tall grimy industrial buildings and the mass of concrete that is the new MTR line, outsiders may be forgiven for wondering where exactly this creative output is coming from. But just as you should never judge a book by its cover, don’t judge a building by its outer facade. Inside the imposing industrial warehouses there are treasures to be found, from craft beer and chocolate to private dining, art workshops and galleries. Named after a nearby stream that once flourished with yellow bamboo, Wong Chuk Hang is undergoing a rapid transformation. In the following pages are some of the people and places we encountered on our visit. Each offers something slightly different but all require an elevator ride to get there. It seems that for Wong Chuk Hang the only way is quite literally up.


wong chuk hang-ing out

Kylie Platt, Founder, Mirth The Mezzanine Floor, Yip Kan Street, Once an old stool factory, lifestyle store Mirth has taken over and transformed the former industrial space. Now selling furniture, interior accessories, children’s toys, clothing and much more, founder Kylie Platt is delighted she found Mirth’s home long before the words ‘Wong Chuk Hang’ and ‘up and coming’ were being ushered. Why did you choose Wong Chuk Hang? Five years ago, when I was looking for a space to open Mirth, I shared a warehouse on the top floor of the building that Mirth is now in for my children’s clothing lines. For Mirth, I wanted something that was large and had an industrial feel - it turned out that it was right under my nose! At the time there were virtually no other business in the building; now it is completely full. We would never be able to have such a large space in Central or Wan Chai.

Phil Akashi, PHIL AKASHI Studio 7E, Derrick Industrial Building, 49 Wong Chuk Hang Road, Born in Belgium but based in Hong Kong, Phil Akashi’s art is inspired by his fascination with Asian characters and traditional seals. His artworks are in private collections worldwide and have been featured in international publications such as the Guggenheim and Rolling Stone. You may have already seen elements of his most recent endeavour, a street art project entitled ‘Legend of the Dragon’. The project spans nine cities in Asia and launched with installations in Deepwater Bay (now removed) and Wong Chuk Hang (around 55 Wong Chuk Hang Road). Why did you choose Wong Chuk Hang? I moved to the studio in Wong Chuk Hang at the end of 2013. Here, I can rent a larger space at a more affordable price. What’s the best thing about the area? I love being near the mountains and the beaches yet still only 15 minutes from the “rat race” in Central. I also love the dynamism; the whole neighborhood is in a fast-moving transition and it is already one

of the best contemporary art destinations in Hong Kong. The huge lofts, the high ceilings, the growing numbers of artists studios, galleries, hotels, restaurants, private kitchens, offices and creative agencies, make it unique. There is something new here every week, but you have to be curious and to “push doors” to really enjoy it. I try to visit a building at least every month, starting at the rooftop and taking the stairs down and getting lost along the way. Is there anything you don’t like? I would like to see more public art initiatives. There is a lot of potential to make the neighbourhood more attractive with well thought out public art projects. I’d be happy to share my ideas and to participate in monumental projects hand in hand with galleries, businesses or public entities.

What is the best thing about Wong Chuk Hang? There are so many ‘hidden finds’ in the area. I love the vibe of creativity and I am constantly meeting people who are doing new and interesting things. In the past we had to give detailed instructions on where Wong Chuk Hang was as everyone knew Ocean Park and Aberdeen but not the ‘lost’ space in between. As more and more creatives, galleries, restaurants, cafes, gyms and offices move to the area it has definitely got a real buzz about it. What is the worst thing about Wong Chuk Hang? The construction. The impending arrival of the MTR is great and I am sure it will enhance the area but also brings with it a whole new level of change.

Where is your favourite place to go in Wong Chuk Hang? I love to grab a beer after work at the offices of The Artist in Genesis Building. They produce some of the best craft beers and chocolates in the city. I also enjoy the pizza at GCX and having a drink at Above.



The Artist Unit A, 7/F, Genesis, 33-35 Wong Chuk Hang Road, If Austin Powers, Captain Kirk and Richie Rich ever designed a building, it might look something like the lobby of Genesis. It features a pink LED wall, a mirrored ceiling, a curved leather sofa with a printed velvettextured back and a Rolls Royce. A small step of steps leads up into the futuristic lift lobby complete with an octagonal door illuminated in neon. Oh, and there’s also a rather conspicuous five-metre tall sculpture of a hand with its index finger pointing


upwards sitting in the centre (a reference to Michelangelo’s scenes in the Sistine Chapel from the Book of Genesis, from which the building gets its name). On the seventh floor resides The Artist, producer of Belgian craft beer and chocolate. Founded by cousins Benjamin Cox and Olivier Gilson, The Artist sells three types of craft beer (white, blonde and raspberry), all of which are brewed in a farm in far-away Belgium using local ingredients and expertise. Customers can even customise their bottles with portrait photos - a fun touch. Like the beer, the chocolates are also made in Belgium

and come in a variety of flavours. We were recommended the Ms. Classical made with speculoos, a popular Belgian biscuit, which were delicious with a bit of crunch. Unlike much of the chocolate in Hong Kong, which contains preservatives such as palm oil enabling it to last up to two years, these chocolates are made using fresh ingredients and last a maximum of six months. Whilst Gilson and Cox envisage The Artist as a mostly online business they have been using their well-stocked tricycle to do a number of pop-up events around the city. Keep your eyes peeled.


feature Michael Erlik, Executive Chef, M Cuisine Shop B, 17/F, Derrick Industrial Building, 49 Wong Chuk Hang Road, Hidden behind a large dark wooden door on the 17th floor of one of Wong Chuk Hang’s many industrial buildings, Chef Michael Erlik is cooking up a storm. After working as a private chef to some of the city’s wealthiest residents, he launched M Cuisine in 2013. “M Cuisine is where I bring all my passion towards hospitality and two decades of international cooking experience together in one place”, he says. Erlik hosts private events, cooking classes and wine tastings, all centred around healthy and delicious Mediterranean cuisine, from tapas to tabbouleh. He is testament to why Hong Kong is known as the sourcing capital of the world, importing an array of seasonal produce to create his menus. Why did you choose Wong Chuk Hang? Many of my clients live in southside and Wong Chuk Hang has just the right combination of location and great industrial spaces. The area has huge potential and will be much busier with retail and trade in the coming years, especially once the MTR opens.

Is there anything you don’t like? The afternoon rush hour traffic going back to Causeway Bay through the Aberdeen tunnel. But hopefully the MTR will help to reduce that. Where is your favourite place to eat? The Thai restaurants in the Nam Long Shan Road cooked food market. Thai guys serving authentic Thai food - that’s a rare thing to find in the city.

DineArt Unit A, 16/F, Kwai Bo Industrial Building, 40 Wong Chuk Hang Road, Tucked away on the 16th floor of Kwai Bo Industrial Building, DineArt embodies everything that Wong Chuk Hang’s reimagined spaces have to offer. Art and food are fused together in a 4000 sq ft area including an art gallery and private kitchen with dining space for up to 32 guests at lunch and 24 guests in the evening (private dining only). Chef Cosimo Taddei has created a menu full of authentic Italian flavours which is proving extremely popular with diners looking for more than your average over-priced meal in Central. Both the art and the food change regularly. Chef Cosimo changes his lunch menu, which features fresh pastas and signature chicken, fish and beef dishes, on a weekly basis (set lunch starts from $98). We opted for the salmon which was beautifully presented and cooked to perfection. Large leather sofas are equally inviting for catch ups over coffee. Evening private dining is available to groups with a minimum of 10 and maximum 24 guests who can enjoy exclusive access to the whole space.






Mimi Brown, Founder, Spring Workshop 3/F, Remex Centre, 42 Wong Chuk Hang Road, Spring Workshop is a nonprofit artspace. It offers residencies to artists from all over the world, from writers and painters to filmmakers, as well as a space to exhibit their creations. Since opening four years ago, Spring has had over 8000 visitors. Its autumn program “Des hôtes” will explore the roles of host and guest through a range of events including chocolate readings and hypnosis sessions. Why did you choose to base Spring Workshop in Wong Chuk Hang? It’s the secret part of Hong Kong that I was looking for, plus its industrial vibe is a nice change from the air-conditioned shininess of other parts of the city. It has real heart and combines the past, present and future of the city. Old factories that smell of printing presses and candles, the Tai Wong Yeh temple with its huge incense coils, the Nam Long Shan

Cooked Food Market with its great milk tea and the new MTR station all exist alongside each other. What is the best thing about the area? Despite the endless construction, it feels like a neighborhood. Everyday I bump into people I want to see. It’s also incredibly convenient; you can take the kids to the doctor, buy them school shoes, have lunch, find a party gift and exercise all within a few blocks. Where is your favourite place to hang out? I love to eat at MUM, Elephant Grounds, 3/3rds and the private kitchens of Maria Bizri and Andrea Oschetti. I also enjoy a drink at Ovolo’s rooftop bar or beside our urban farm on the terrace of Spring Workshop. It’s always nice to pop round to see friends in their studios and I love the Bubble Soccer on the fifth floor of our building, Leo’s Fine Foods on the eighth and Elite Personal Training in Regency Center.



pint-sized perfection

Brothers David and Daniel Gallie enjoy a pint of their own Black Kite craft beer.

Made in Hong Kong Shreena Patel meets the brothers behind one of Wong Chuk Hang’s newest breweries. Photography by Epo Wu. Hong Kong has embraced the craft beer revolution with open arms; the city now has its own Craft Beer Association and an extensive selection of microbrews, imported from the farthest corners of the planet. However, as Hong Kong’s thirst for craft beer has grown, a number of domestic brewers have entered the scene to show what the SAR has to offer in the way of malt and hopsbased beverages. Last summer, we took a peek at Ap Lei Chau’s Young Master Ales, set up by Indian-born financier, Rohit Dugar. This month, we speak to Hong Kong-born brothers David and Daniel Gallie, founders of Black Kite Brewery which launched this April in Wong Chuk Hang.

We’re still about 15 to 20 years behind the U.S. university in America, and thought it would be great to eventually brew good beer in Hong Kong, where we had grown up with the typical “boring” beers. We both happened to leave our office jobs around the same time, and saw that the craft beer market was really picking up in Hong Kong.

What did you do before Black Kite Brewery? (David) I was an auditor for a Big 4 accounting firm, then worked in compliance for a private bank. Dan worked in IT for a construction company and then joined a startup medical tech company.

How is the craft beer scene developing in Hong Kong? We’re still about 15 to 20 years behind the U.S., but the gap is closing. On the plus side, the fact that there is less competition in the market right now allows smaller breweries like us to enter and grow.

Why did you start a microbrewery? We first started drinking craft beer while at

Why did you choose Wong Chuk Hang? We wanted an industrial area that was


convenient for transport. With all the buses that come through, and the MTR arriving next year, Wong Chuk Hang was perfect. How easy was it to set up the shop? Renovation was a pain especially as we had to comply with all of the food factory licensing requirements, many of which don’t make sense for a brewery. For example, we have to have a grease trap, even though we don’t use or produce any grease. If we did, our beer would taste awful. Where does the name Black Kite come from? Black Kites are the large birds of prey that you see soaring between the city’s hills and skyscrapers. We used to love watching them from our office windows. They’re actually dark brown. Where do you get your ingredients? Our malts are from Germany and the UK, and our hops are from America, Australia and Europe. We also hope to get some hops from New Zealand soon.



(from left) a freshly poured wheat craft beer; the brewing room at Black Kite Brewery.

How much beer do you produce a month? We have capacity to produce around 10,000 litres a month which is about 20-30,000 bottles. We have six beers at the moment: a pale ale, wheat (Hefeweizen), IPA (India pale ale), brown ale, porter, and a golden ale that we do for Hullett House in Tsim Sha Tsui. We’re also experimenting with other, less conventional styles. We’d like to make seasonal or even monthly specials. What makes a Black Kite brew special? We’ve designed our core beers to be easy to drink, while still having lots of flavour. Our wheat is our most popular at the moment, and is one of only a few Hefeweizens available in Hong Kong. I love all of our beers, depending on how I feel at the time, but I do find myself reaching more frequently for our IPA. How did you come up with the formula? Our brewmaster, Johannes Lux, designed all of our recipes based on tastings we did together, to get the profiles that we wanted. It was his suggestion to do a Hefeweizen, and we agreed it was a great idea. Where can you find Black Kite beers? You can find our beers at The Globe, Hullett House, Mrs. Pound, Beer & Fish, Casa (Kennedy Town and Sai Kung), and The Ale Project. We should also be in The Roundhouse soon. What challenges do you face? At the moment we sell kegs but it’s tough to get into a lot of bars as many already have exclusivity agreements with some of


We would love to eventually have a brewpub or a taproom the major brands. That’s why we’re thinking about bottling or canning. Cans would be the obvious choice: they protect the beer against UV damage; they’re lighter to carry; and they’re easier to recycle (at least in Hong Kong). Unfortunately, people still consider cans to be less prestigious than bottles so we may end up bottling. There’s a common misconception that cans impart a metallic taste; in fact, they have a lining which prevents the beer from touching the aluminium. In any case, beer should be poured into a glass to properly enjoy the flavours and aromas. Do you have plans to expand? We would love to eventually have a brewpub or a taproom, as well as a bigger brewery. What’s the secret to brewing a good beer? Cleanliness! Most our time is spent cleaning and sanitising our equipment. What’s your favourite beer? The cold beer in our hands! We’re always looking forward to trying new beers. Fancy a group tour or tasting session? Whilst Black Kite doesn’t yet offer organised sessions, email and they’ll try to sort something out. 11B Derrick Industrial Building, 49 Wong Chuk Hang Road, Wong Chuk Hang,

Other Hong Kong home-brews : Also made in Wong Chuk Hang, Fat Rooster’s Hong Kong IPA and Red Ale are available on tap all year round at a number of bars and restaurants across the city. Launched earlier this year in Chai Wan, Gweilo translates literally as ‘ghost chap’. Its session style ales range between 4% and 6%. Established in 1995 as the city’s first craft brewery, Hong Kong Beer Co. has six year-round brews available, including ‘Dragon’s Back’ and ‘Big Wave Bay’. The trio behind Mak’s Beer describe their first beers as having a fruity smell and containing delicate hints of malt and tangerine. Founded last year by husband-andwife team Laszlo and Michele Raphael, Moonzen Brewery produces five beers, each with recommended food pairings. Giving the middle finger to bad beer (see the website), Yardley Brothers is based in Lamma Island. Established earlier this year, it already exports abroad. Brewed in Ap Lei Chau, Young Master Ales’ beers are on sale in some of the most prestigious bars in Hong Kong, including the Captain’s Bar at the Mandarin Oriental and the Lobster Bar at the Island Shangri-La.




News from the dining scene Sweetpea Patisserie Run by Angel Yeh, Sweetpea Patisserie caters to all events and its cakes and pastries are 100% homemade. New desserts to the summer menu are white peach bavarian cake, Mont Blanc bavarian cake with earl grey and chestnut truffle, pistachio rose water tea cake, and lime and coconut cheesecake. Sweetpea Patisserie uses organic ingredients (except cream). Regular workshops are also available. Sunset Dining at M Cuisine Mediterranean private dining restaurant and caterer, M Cuisine, is making the most of the summer season with “Santorini Sunsets”, a themed six-course dinner menu. The new menu ($980 per person for a table of eight) includes Mediterranean octopus confit, wild caught sea bass and orange blossom baklava for dessert. All dishes on the menu are available for outside catering. Unit B, 17/F, Derrick Industrial Building, 49 Wong Chuk Hang, 2556 8664,


Sweetpea Patisserie

CulinArt’s September menu Wine and dine at Private Kitchen, CulinArt. Headed by chef Cyrus So and pastry chef Cat Chow, the September menu ($1,080 per person) includes a selection of starters, including grilled octopus and seared diver scallops and baked lamb leg or roasted seabass as mains. There are several new additions to their canapes menu featuring herbed goat cheese in candied pickled beets and smoked almonds. 22B, Kwai Bo Industrial Building, 40 Wong Chuk Hang Road, Aberdeen, 2580 0919,

Bibo’s weekend brunch

Bibo’s weekend brunch Art gallery and fine dining restaurant, Bibo, has re-launched “Bohème weekend brunch”. Enjoy a galore of french pastries with free flow cocktails and juices. A three-course menu with a selection of summer-inspired starters follow, including Hokkaido scallops and Brittany oysters. For mains, choose between Wagyu beef tartare, a Wagyu and foie gras burger, and roasted eggplant and zucchini Mille-Feuille. Two seatings on Saturdays and Sundays, 11.30am and 1.30pm. 163 Hollywood Road, Sheung Wan, 2956 3188,



early learning

Bebegarten With rising concern about the effects of Hong Kong’s competitive culture on children, Shreena Patel visits Bebegarten, an alternative model for early years education.

Natural materials have been used to create open malleable spaces.

Education, education, education. We all know it’s important but are we getting it right? In Hong Kong, children as young as two-anda-half are being trained for kindergarten admission interviews. Many parents hope that securing a place at a top pre-school will lead to admission at equally prestigious primary and secondary schools, but competition is fierce. Fear of losing at the starting line means the pressure on both parents and children to spend more and learn faster is mounting. The team at Bebegarten thinks it’s time for an alternative approach. Launched in 2013 in Wong Chuk Hang, Bebegarten specialises in early years education for children aged six months to six years. “Bebegarten was launched as a much-needed platform for change in the city”, says Head of Curriculum Ginny Humpage. “We have designed everything from scratch, based on what research and experience tell us are the most important


Bebegarten was launched as a much-needed platform for change elements for early years education; the opportunity for children to establish sensory foundations, the freedom to learn in their own way without undue pressure and ownership of their environment.” The 10,000 plus sq ft space in One Island South contains a large reception area, five classrooms, a designated baby room and playground for under-threes, an art studio, a performing arts studio, a large play area for over-threes to blow off steam, and a feeding and changing room. Inspired by the innovative Reggio Emilia schools which embrace the environment as a third teacher, all classrooms have big windows looking back into the school

as well as out onto Wong Chuk Hang. Natural colours and materials are used throughout to create open, malleable spaces which the children can make their own. Humpage, who has over 20 years of experience in early childhood education, explains that being guided by the children is a key aspect of Bebegarten’s ethos. “It’s important for children to have a voice and know that their opinions and ideas matter. Encouraging them to design the classroom spaces keeps everything fresh and makes them feel empowered. This motivates them to share, explore and learn.” Bebegarten follows a bespoke ‘emergent’ curriculum, “The Language of Children”, designed to constantly evolve in response to the changing needs and interests of children, parents and teachers. Under-threes are typically given the freedom to explore different “sensory stations” or activities such as treasure baskets designed to build their



Over-threes blow off steam in the large indoor play area.


education sensory foundations. Rather than learning through textbooks, older children are encouraged to take more ownership of their classes. “If you want to empower children, you can’t replicate lesson plans year after year”, says Head of School Shaun Chapman. “That’s where skilled teachers come in. They listen to the children’s ideas and figure out how to incorporate the relevant learning objectives. For example, we won’t use flashcards to teach Mandarin. Instead, we might make Chinese dumplings, sing songs or play games all in Mandarin. Children here learn through experience which is much more meaningful and makes them come in enthused and wanting to learn.” Humpage explains that the team at Bebegarten must often educate the parents as well. “Parents often draw comparisons with other children when thinking about their own child’s development, but we remind them that it’s not a race to the top of the tree”, she says. “If children start to learn more complicated concepts without first building a strong foundation, they will hit a point where they start to struggle.” Each day at Bebegarten begins with morning aerobics. Healthy snacks are prepared by a nutritionist so there are no sugary sweets in sight. English is the main language

Each day at Bebegarten begins with morning aerobics of instruction but the school does offer bilingual programmes in Mandarin for underthrees. There is also a range of enrichment programmes, from art and drama to music and dance. For each class, there is a maximum of eight children per qualified teacher and no more than sixteen children in total. In line with its inclusive approach, the school also employs a Special Educational Needs Coordinator to support teachers and families with children who have additional needs. Glancing around the reception, there are several parents and children chatting and playing, waiting for their classes to begin. A little boy runs past me towards the sofa to give his dad a hug. “We want to encourage a sense of community”, Chapman says. “If parents observe something at home they can discuss it with our staff. It’s about us all working together for every child. Parents are welcome to join the classes or even just wait at reception to provide some reassurance to their children. Not everyone is ready to let go at the same time and there is no stigma here.”

Whilst it may not all be about school admissions for the team at Bebegarten, the statistics do not disappoint. In the school’s two years of operation, the large majority of its 73 primary leavers have obtained places at their first choice primary schools. “There is a lot of panic throughout Hong Kong about primary school interviews”, says Humpage. “We support families throughout the process by holding workshops and speaking to Heads of Schools and Admissions Directors every year about what they are looking for. Our goal is to make sure each child who leaves here is confident, happy, capable and socially welladjusted. If a child is all those things, anything is possible.” Bebegarten Education Centre, Unit 301-305, level 3, One Island South, 2 Heung Yip Road, Wong Chuk Hang, 3487 2255,


sponsored column

How to ace a school interview Part two of ITS Education Asia’s scoop on primary-school interviews for five-year-olds Parents who are new and old to Hong Kong are often surprised by the lack of school places but more surprised by the fact that children as young as three years old face school interviews. What really happens in an interview? The following outlines what children aged four- to five years are tested on during the interview. During group activities students are asked to complete puzzles, write their names, colour a picture, draw shapes and actively engage. Teachers ask students questions on the following; family members, favourite book or toy, preschool friends and teachers, where they live and what they like to do at home. Children are evaluated on their ability to work alone and complete an activity with little guidance from the teacher as well as interaction with other children in the group and their pencil grip. Children are tested on their English communication skills, level of vocabulary and ability to hold a conversation with the teacher by using extended sentences.


During a group story time the teacher will ask questions to examine who is concentrating on the story and who can completely understand the story. Some kids will be quiet, while others will be jumping up and down trying to get the first word in. Another interview activity includes a child being handed a simple picture or illustration and asked to describe what he or she sees. This is to test a child’s fluency in speech and creativity. A parent can practice the general skill with their child, but any specific coaching or prepping is difficult as each picture is different. How can parents and children best prepare for interviews? Some parents and educators argue the best preparation for school interviews is no preparation at all. That way, the child’s personality, talents and temperament will shine naturally. However, this is not the time to hope for the best. We are not advocating sending your child to interview boot camp but some low-key preparation helps. Extra playdates for instance, and maybe drama classes or storytelling classes

would be helpful if a child is quite shy. There is also the etiquette of school interviews. Children are expected to formally greet the teachers, thank the teacher at the end of the interview, and say goodbye while looking the interviewer in the eye. Some schools take this social aspect of the interview quite seriously. It is important to prepare your child for a school interview without creating unnecessary anxiety in either of you. It’s also important to remember that you should not anticipate your child’s behavior during a school interview as they may not respond in the same way you have observed in the past. ITS Education Asia provides an education consulting service that works with families and employers to find the right schools for individual children in Hong Kong, from nursery to secondary schools. ITS also offers research, policy and advisory services for corporations. For more details, contact, 3188 3940 or


living & home

Southside gets crafty Anji Connell finds out why crafting is the new black. They say everything goes in cycles and never has it been more true. In a backlash against a global obsession with technology, people throughout the city are using their fingers and thumbs to do something other than tap and swipe. Hen nights now frequently involve sitting around crocheting or embroidering; knitting has even become cool enough to have its own form of street art, known as “yarn bombing” or “kniffiti”. Local textile artist Esther Poon, who incredibly is allergic to yarn, brought the activity to the city’s attention last year when she adorned the streets of Sheung Wan with her colourful creations. Aside from the benefits of crafting for one’s manual dexterity (and being able to mend the odd pair of trousers), it can give a new lease of life to old and tired objects. With a bit of imagination and skill, even the dreariest of


Hen nights now frequently involve sitting around crocheting or embroidering armchairs can be transformed into something beautiful. Whilst uniformly-shaped and massproduced items certainly have their place, there is something endearing about an object that comes with its own unique story and perhaps some uneven stitching. Many crafters have been able to turn their hobbies into businesses. E-commerce craft website ETSY launched in 2005 as a marketplace for handmade and vintage items and now has over 54 million users. In 2014, it generated total sales of almost

US $2billion. But crafts aren’t just for adults. According to Kidspot Australia, crafts have clear developmental benefits for children. “Crafts not only keep children entertained on rainy days, but also extend their fine motor skills, helping them to develop concepts like colour. As a learning activity, crafts have often been passed over in favour of more academic pursuits. But developmentally appropriate craft activities encourage children to use their imagination and can aid learning in other areas, from language to science. By creating something on their own, they become more confident about making decisions and choices.” In Hong Kong, crafting workshops have popped up throughout the city. People aren’t content with buying handmade; they want to make it themselves. Ingrid Keneally, southsider

living & home

crafty devils

(above) 70’s macramé has experienced a comeback; (below) a macramé class at Mirth

and long time crafter, saw a gap in Hong Kong’s creative offerings and since last December has been offering a series of textile workshops. “I have always been fascinated by textiles and handmade items”, Keneally says. “My mother was a professional potter. She could also sew, knit, crochet, embroide, spin wool and hand-dye yarns and fabrics.” Keneally’s first five-week series of workshops in pom-pom wreath and dreamcatcher-making sold out completely and it wasn’t long before she began approaching other artists, including Australian textile artist Natalie Miller, to come and teach in Hong Kong. Embracing the 70’s style revival, Miller ran a series of macramé workshops at Mirth in Wong Chuk Hang earlier this year. “I have been painting, drawing, making and creating for as long as I can remember”, she says. “My mother was a professional dressmaker and macramé maker and my grandmother was a knitter, so I have grown up around textiles all my life. I found that my work as an architect had become

People aren’t content with buying handmade; they want to make it themselves very dependent on computers and technology. I needed to make things with my own hands to regain a sense of touch. If I’m not making things, I don’t feel fulfilled.” If you’re a bit late to the craft party, don’t worry. Miller will be coming back to the city in early December for a second round of macramé and weaving classes. And Keneally has lined up a host of other crafters to hold workshops in the city later this year including embroidery expert and designer Cath Derksema and Morrison Polkinghorne, an Australian textile artist specialising in 18th century tassels and trims. So what are you waiting for? Get crafting.


living & home

Mirth in Wong Chuk Hang regularly hosts craft workshops.


living & home Upcoming workshops Granny Square Cushion Workshop Learn how to make a granny square using brightly coloured yarns, s magic circle, chains and double crochet. Tools and yarn provided. $380, September 19, 2.30-4.30pm, KPC Yarn Studio, 1/F Novel Industrial Building, 850-870 Lai Chi Kok Road, Lai Chi Kok,

techniques. Everyone leaves with their own hand-dyed muslin scarf, but feel free to bring any of your own cloth items to experiment on (pillow cases and plain white t-shirts work well). US$170 pp. October 3, 10am-1pm, Mirth, The Mezzanine Floor, Yip Kan Street, Wong Chuk Hang, 2553 9811,

Tassel making workshop Led by Morrison Polkinghorne, an Australian textile artist specialising in 18th century tassels and trims. 6.30pm, November 18, Tang Tang Tang Tang, 66 Johnston Road, Wan Chai. Price to be confirmed.

Embroidery workshop In the first of two workshops at Mirth, Cath Derksema of Prints Charming will teach students the blanket stitch, lazy daisy stitch, and more. You will be provided with materials to help you make a cushion for your home. US$150 pp. October 2, 10am-1pm, Mirth, The Mezzanine Floor, Yip Kan Street, Wong Chuk Hang, 2553 9811,

Craft + yoga Keneally and Miller have teamed up with nutritionist and yoga instructor Alexis Smith to offer a six-day retreat at Ban Sairee, a luxury private beachfront villa in Koh Samui, Thailand. Nourish your mind and body with healthy food and daily exercise, including yoga and skipping. The course includes cooking demonstrations, full use of all villa facilities, including the swimming pool, kayaks, tennis court, and 10 three-hour-classes in weaving, macramĂŠ, screen printing, crochet and dyeing. November 10-15, Ban Sairee, Koh Samui, Thailand. There are only 14 places. To book, contact,

Co-crafting The Crafties offer co-working space for crafters with a purpose with access to workshop facilities, supplies, a library, and a place to mingle with like-minded people. Desk space may be rented on an hourly basis. You can even market your products at The Crafties Campus and The Crafties Souk or organize get-togethers through The Crafties Social. Craft workshops are available for adults and children, from crocheting to jewellery-making. Check the website for details,

Japanese shibori dyeing Australian textile artist and designer Cath Derksema creates sumptuous colours from ingredients like beetroot, onions, coffee and tea. Learn how to dip-dye using traditional



Lugard Road

Photo by Barbara Park via

Callum Wiggins takes a stroll along one of Hong Kong’s iconic trails.


It doesn’t take long for visitors to Hong Kong to make a stop at Lugard Road. Named after Sir Frederick Lugard, Governor of Hong Kong from 1907-1912, the road together with Harlech Road - circles The Peak providing some of the best views of Victoria Harbour and beyond. While long-time Hong Kong residents may be put off by the thought of hordes of tourists, taking

a stroll along Lugard Road is still a pleasure that should not be taken for granted. Proposed developments to turn the road’s oldest property, No. 27, into a boutique hotel could disrupt walkers and damage the accessibility of the area if plans go ahead. Still an impressive engineering accomplishment to this day, Lugard Road is also the start of the the

50km Hong Kong Trail which was voted one of the top ten trails in the world by the Lonely Planet. Construction of Lugard Road began in 1913 after the Public Works Department signalled the road would be “principally used as a promenade, a wonderful panoramic view of the City, harbour and surroundings being obtainable from it.” Despite construction being

delayed by the First World War, when many non-essential projects were put on hold, the road was finally finished in 1921 at a cost of around $88,000. Workers were said to have encountered “considerable difficulty on account of the rocky and precipitous nature of the hillside to be traversed�, according to the Public Works Department records. The white hand rails

were one of the final pieces of the project to be completed. From then on, visitors have been able to look down on one of the busiest and most vibrant metropolises in the world. Get up early and hike up to Lugard Road to avoid the crowds or save it until the evening to see the city in all its illuminated neon glory.

Photo by Nick Seymour

sunday strollers


big day out

beyond the buns

Treasure island Callum Wiggins explores Cheung Chau. Now that September has arrived and the humidity is finally starting to relent, the island of Cheung Chau is a perfect day out offering plenty of activities for culture vultures, treasure hunters and surfer dudes alike. The island may be better known to some as “Dumbbell Island” because of its shape or even the more grim “Death Island” after a number of charcoal-burning suicides were carried out there in the late 90s and early 2000s. In 2005, then local councillor Lam Kitsing suggested converting the area - including the notorious Bela Vista Villa, the scene of many of the suicides - into a macabre tourist attraction, complete with haunted flats and a ‘charcoal-burning museum’. However, the proposal was greeted with a generally hostile reception and never implemented. Despite Cheung Chau’s tragic past, it has much to offer. Thousands of people flock there every year for one of Hong Kong’s quirkier traditions, the five-day Cheung Chau bun


The loot is long gone, if it was ever there, but the cave remains popular festival in May. While it’s entertaining to watch the race up the bun towers, the island is fun to visit year round. Here are our top five things to do in Cheung Chau: Get on your bike Cheung Chau has no motorised traffic, making it a welcoming environment for strollers and cyclists. You can rent a bike near the pier. Cheung Po Tsai Cave Kidnapped by pirates at the age of 15 and raised as an outlaw, 19th century pirate Cheung Po Tsai followed in his adoptive

family’s footsteps and was the scourge of the South China Sea, with up to 50,000 men and 600 ships, according to some reports. After surrendering to the Qing Government in 1810, he was given an officer position in the Chinese Navy (well, if you can’t beat ’em, join ‘em). Cheung Po Tsai had bases in Stanley and Ma Wan, but he’s most closely associated with Cheung Chau, where he is said to have stashed his booty in a cave. The loot is long gone, if it was ever there, but the cave remains a popular sightseeing spot. From the ferry, turn right along the harbourfront and pleasant Cheng Chau Sai Tai Road with its shops and bicycle rental places (don’t worry, the throngs of bikes and trikes disappear as soon as the road narrows and heads uphill). Follow the signs to a path to the cave, a discrete hole among the boulders. Inside, you can scramble down a ladder and through the cave for a few minutes (take a torch) to its “back door” overlooking the sea. Afterwards wander down, past Reclining


big day out

Island life (clockwise from top left): the view from Cheung Po Tsai Cave; drying fish; the harbour wall; a fisherman dries his catch.


big day out Rock (five giant eroded rocks, the largest of which appears to be perpetually on the verge of sliding into the sea) to tranquil Pak Tso Wan beach, which has more lovely views. Head south Beyond the cave, the peaceful southern half of bell-shaped Cheung Chau has more glorious views from Peak Road West. Stop by the crematorium and memorial gardens, stroll the low-rise residential streets and enjoy the quieter side of Hong Kong life. Temple tour In Hong Kong, you’re never far from a Tin Hau temple. Cheung Chau is no different. Near the cave, the temple’s pavilion offers a great vantage point of the fishing boats in the harbour. Inside the temple itself you’ll find a centuries-old bronze bell dating back to the Qianlong era. Head east to see Kwan Kung Pavilion which houses an eight-foot statue of Kwan Kung, the Han dynasty (206 BC – 220 AD) general who later became deified. The statue is made from an entire camphor tree. At the other end of the village, the large Pak Tai temple on Pak She Street is the focal point for the Bun Festival. It was built in 1783 in honour of Pak Tai, also known as

Supreme Emperor of the Mysterious Heaven, a sea divinity said to have protected islanders from an outbreak of the plague. Look for the sculpted dragons on the roof and a Song dynasty iron sword within. North of here lies the North Lookout Pavilion, not technically a temple but the highest point on the island. Climb up here at sunset for gorgeous panoramic views of the island and the surrounding waters.

Where to eat

Hit the beach Cheung Chau has a few pleasant beaches for sunny days. The main beach, Tung Wan, is the longest with views of Aberdeen and Lamma Island, but it can get crowded at weekends. Just south of the main beach, Kwun Yam Wan or Afternoon beach is smaller but much more picturesque. Follow in the wake of Hong Kong’s only Olympic gold medalist, windsurfer Lee Lai-shan, who trained off Cheung Chau. Windsurfer rentals are available.

Fishballs Some people go to Cheung Chau just for the fishballs at Kam Wing Tai, just behind McDonald’s, which fries skewers to order. The giant fish ball skewer is the most popular, but we also liked the cheese and tofu puffs. 106 San Hing Street, 2981 3050.

How to get there First Ferry runs a 24-hour service to Cheung Chau, departing every 30 minutes at peak times, from Central Pier 5. The journey takes 40 minutes on a fast ferry or an hour on a regular ferry. For the timetable, visit www.nwff.

Mango Mochi Cheung Chau is famous for this Japanesestyle treat: chunks of sweet fresh mango wrapped in glutinous rice and coated with icing sugar. They sell out fast, so make a beeline for the mochi shop as soon as your ferry docks. $7 each from Tin Yin Dessert, 9 Tai Hing Tai Road.

Seafood Cheng Chau still has an active fishing fleet and seafood restaurants dominate the waterfront with a row of alfresco tables, ready to dish up the day’s catch. They all serve similar fare, so pick a table with a good view and relax with your favourite Cantonese seafood dishes and an ice-cold beer.





Dong’ao delight As the latest Club Med destination opens in China, Callum Wiggins hops on a ferry to check out the family resort. 58 | WWW.SOUTHSIDE.HK


The impressive view from the 4 Trident resort overlooking the outdoor pool and beach.

The youthful and international team are rarely seen without a smile

Living in Hong Kong we are blessed to have an array of exciting travel destinations just a few hours flight away. Routes to Thailand, Vietnam and other well-known Asia destinations are paths well travelled. A less likely journey for many families is to our closest neighbour - China. But with China increasingly looking to develop its international tourism industry, the options for family holidays are on the up. Dong’ao, a small island located about an hour’s ferry journey from Zhuhai, was once a sleepy island with a small fishing community. It has now transformed into the third location for Club Med’s ambitious expansion plans into China. Following successful resort openings in snowy Heilongjiang and picturesque Guilin,

Club Med has opted for beautiful beaches and thrilling water sports to draw in families from all over the region. The resort Whisked away on shuttle buses straight from the ferry, the Club Med experience begins with friendly staff accompanying guests to either the 4 or 5 Trident resort. Club Med makes full use of its generous surroundings and both resorts feel noticeably spacious, something guests from Hong Kong will certainly appreciate. The 5 Trident resort is a designated secluded and intimate area of the Club Med resort. 72 rooms offer a luxurious stay in peaceful surroundings with an infinity

pool overlooking the sea. A shuttle bus taking guests to the main 4 Trident resort operates throughout the day and takes just a few minutes. The majority of the dining and leisure activities as well as the kids zone are located at the larger 4 Trident resort and this is where I would recommend families to stay. Don’t wait too long before escaping for some quiet time by checking out the Club Med Spa by L’OCCITANE which offers a range of blissful treatments including a thoroughly recommended full body therapeutic oil massage. A number of restaurants are located around the resorts and guests can tuck into an abundance of fresh seafood and international dishes. During our stay the choice of food was well rotated and there were always new dishes to try, although the all-you-can-eat style of dining did start to feel slightly gluttonous after a few days. The Club Med experience The Club Med holiday experience is largely down to its staff. ‘G.O.s’, or ‘Gentils Organisateurs’ are integral to establishing the Club Med vibe from the start until the very



(clockwise from left): children enjoying the kids’ zone; the G.O.s dressing up; trapeze practice at the sports centre.


travel end of your stay. A typical day may see a G.O. join families for breakfast, lead the morning bike ride and then traverse the waves during afternoon sailing classes, before finally joining the cast of the evening show. The youthful and international team are rarely seen without a smile and their enthusiasm soon rubs off on guests. Key to the Club Med experience is the all-inclusive concept, which may take a day or two to get used to. Everything is paid for before arrival so wallets and purses can be left safely in rooms. This should make budgeting the family holiday much simpler and avoid any unwelcome surprises upon checking out. Kids’ zone A family holiday should mean that everyone gets to enjoy themselves, including parents. A specially trained team of G.O.s will take care of and entertain your little ones throughout the day. The Petit (2 - 3 years), Mini (4 - 10 years) and Juniors’ (11 - 17 years) club can all be pre-booked before arrival or joined on the day. The indoor and outdoor activity centres feature a wide range of games and activities to keep everyone occupied. Best of all, the

Parents will appreciate the easy and simplicity of it all kids’ zone has a paddling pool specially designed for very young children. Quality kidsfree time can also be extended by signing them up for the Pyjamas Club. The club allows parents to leave their children guilt-free with G.O.s in a special sleepover zone equipped with comfy beds, couches and movies. Sports and activities Secluded and surrounded by ocean views and rolling hills, guests are well advised to tear themselves away from the buffet for at least a few hours. In just a couple of days we managed to squeeze in cycling, hiking, sailing, kayaking, and stand up paddle boarding. Jet skis and banana boats are optional extras. A fully-equipped fitness centre, archery range, pole dancing studio, indoor and outdoor swimming pools and beach volleyball area mean the resort is crammed full of leisure and sports activities for all ages. For kids with a head for heights, the flying trapeze class is

an afternoon well spent - which incidentally leaves even more alone-time for parents at the pool. Last thoughts A Club Med Dong’ao vacation will not leave the family any wiser about Chinese culture but then that’s not its intention. Children will remember the time they did a double somersault from the trapeze while parents will appreciate the ease and simplicity of it all. Having such a beautiful resort in close proximity to Hong Kong while skipping the airport is a pleasant surprise and makes for an easier travel option with kids in tow. Applying for a visa before arrival is an inconvenience and does add to the cost of your holiday but the process is relatively easy (we chose China Travel Service, Club Med Dong’ao is an impressive new resort and will undoubtedly prove to be a popular destination for families in search of sun, sand and good times. Details of Club Med Dong’ao packages and online booking can be found at or call 3111 9388.


health & beauty

myth buster

Trust me, I’m an expert Searching for answers to some common health questions, Shreena Patel quizzes the experts at Matilda International Hospital.

Dr Hans Schrader Executive Medical Director 1. Will wearing sunblock stop me from getting Vitamin D? Sunblock filters out UV light to prevent skin damage. Since Vitamin D conversion in the skin is UV dependent, this means sunblock will also reduce Vitamin D production. But, no sunblock is 100% effective, so you will still produce enough. 2. Are aluminium-based antiperspirants dangerous? Aluminium chlorohydrate is the most common active ingredient (15-20%) in antiperspirants. It’s a salt which acts directly on the cells in the sweat glands to reduce the amount of sweat produced. But it’s not a heavy metal salt and will not accumulate in the body. Numerous scientific studies have shown that there is no correlation between aluminium salts and disease. 3. Why is my hair falling out? Each strand of hair has a growth cycle: it grows, lies dormant for several months and then falls out. After times of significant stress (severe infection, trauma), hairs become tuned in the same growth cycle and will fall out simultaneously, but after a few months hair should take up its normal density and cycling. If you are losing patches of hair then consult a dermatologist.


Eyckle Wong Physiotherapy Manager Did you know...there may be some truth to the old wives’ tale that hair loss is passed down on the mother’s side. A study by European researchers in 2005 suggests that the primary gene for baldness is contained in the x-chromosome, which men can only inherit from their mothers.

4. Why does my stomach growl when I’m hungry? We are all subject to a 24-hour rhythm which directs the waxing and waning of digestive hormones responsible for producing feelings of hunger. If such hormones are released, the stomach will start its digestive processes, churning liquid and gas which produces the growl sounds. 5. Is there a baldness gene? Baldness is related to the presence of testosterone and androgen receptors in hair. Many family traits are fixed in our genes and inherited. Baldness is probably the result of a number of genes being present.

6. When is the best time to exercise? Tests conducted between 8am and 8pm show the effect on aerobic exercise training (muscle strength, cardiovascular system, weight loss and fitness) is similar in the morning and afternoon. But for anaerobic exercise training (short duration, high intensity exercise), tests showed strength performance to be less impressive before noon than in the mid-afternoon and early evening. This is because body temperature is higher (which also contributes to greater flexibility) and muscle strength is greater later in the day.

7. Should I do the “INSANITY” workout?* Good levels of physical strength, flexibility, and proprioception should be achieved before starting this type of training. Those with medical issues should consult a physician beforehand. Some studies show that this kind of high intensity interval training (HIIT) can enhance metabolism, improve weight loss and burn fat, but more evidence is needed. *A 60-day total-body conditioning workout that involves 30-minute bouts of very high-intensity aerobic and resistance exercise.

Karen Chong Registered Dietitian 8. Should I go gluten-free? A strict gluten-free diet is only advised for people who have celiac disease and those diagnosed as gluten intolerant. Since it eliminates a lot of whole grain products, including all wheat, rye, barley and oats, it may not provide enough dietary fibre and other important nutrients to the body. Also, “gluten-free” doesn’t mean “healthy”. For example, gluten-free cookies can still be high in sugar and fat. 9. Is it bad to eat late at night? Not necessarily. It’s the quantity and quality of the food that counts. Eating a full meal late at night may affect your quality of sleep and, due to reduced levels of physical activity at night, it’s more likely that the excess calories are turned into fat. If you’re really hungry try light and healthy snack, such as a low-fat yoghurt with fruit, a small peanut butter sandwich, or a glass of low-fat milk and a few crackers. 10. I’m on a vegan diet. How should I get my protein? Vegans must get their daily protein from plant-based food such as beans, lentils, seeds and nuts. Soybeans and quinoa are a good source of high biological value protein as they contain all the essential amino acids, just like animal sources of protein. 11. Is Greek yoghurt healthier than regular yoghurt? Comparing the full fat versions, Greek yoghurt is much higher in fat than regular yoghurt. If you want the healthier choice, choose low-fat Greek yoghurt. It is higher in protein and calcium than regular low-fat yoghurt.

12. Are smoothies good for you? If they are made from fresh whole fruit and contain the pulp (and thus the fibers) and no added sugar, syrup or cream, then yes. But since they don’t involve chewing and are easy to consume, watch out for portion size. Count the number of servings of fruit they contain and avoid over consumption.

13. Is a glass of red wine a day good for your health? Red wine contains antioxidants, one of which is called resveratrol and may offer cardiovascular protection by helping to prevent blood clots. To benefit, consume red wine in moderation (no more than two glasses a day for men and one for women). However, this doesn’t mean that those who don’t drink should start (alcohol is also a source of calories). 14. What’s worse for me, regular soda or diet soda? Most soda drinks contain artificial chemicals such as colouring, preservatives, and flavorings. Regular soda has added sugar, typically in the form of sucrose and corn syrup, which adds a lot of calories. Diet soda usually contains artificial sweeteners which are almost calorie free. But remember, diet soda won’t make you lose weight.



top dogs

A dog is for life Sally Andersen explains why having a dog is a not a right, but a privilege. Now that the summer holidays have come to an end and the children are back at school, I have been wondering what I would do if I ever had the opportunity to go somewhere. I used to love exploring, especially if there was a beach and beautiful clear water involved, but it’s been a long time since I was able to leave the dogs and get away. In fact, I haven’t spent a night away from home in almost a decade and I don’t even know where my passport is. There are always dogs to be taken care of if they are sick, elderly, newborn puppies, or simply just dogs. I know people think I’m crazy but there is nobody else to do it. Having dogs is a commitment. Of course you can board individual pets for holiday periods, and there are more and more comfortable kennels and home-from-home places that will take dogs in, but when adopting a dog you have to bear these things in mind. It’s not cheap if you want your dogs to have a nice holiday too and anywhere reputable will also insist that the dogs are fully vaccinated. Vet bills aren’t cheap either, and this is another consideration when thinking about adding a dog to your home. Are you prepared to pay for not only the basics, but also emergency surgery if it ever comes to that? Whether you spend a lot of money on importing a named breed from abroad or adopt a lovely

mutt from a rescue organisation, there’s no guarantee of perfect health for the duration of the dog’s life. Aside from genetic weaknesses that often affect “pure” breeds, there are external factors like tick fever or car accidents that can come at any time. For expats there is the additional and important consideration of relocating with your pets when the time comes. While some company packages include the cost of moving one or two animals as part of the family, for many it’s a big lump sum that has to be covered. As an animal rescuer, there’s nothing more heartbreaking than to see dogs that you have entrusted to an adopter being left behind with the furniture when the movers arrive. Unless you can afford to ship your dog to whichever country you will be moving to, please don’t make a promise that you know you can’t keep. A commitment means just that, whether it’s a couple of years or as long as two decades. Smaller dogs can live to be 20, and with good vet care and no accidents, even larger dogs can easily reach 15 years or older. Having a dog is not a right, it’s a privilege. That means that even the greatest of dog lovers may not be able to have a dog in the home if work or money constraints don’t allow, not to mention the fact that many apartment

hong kong creatures Plum Judy aka Abisara echerius The Abisara Echerius butterfly is also known as the Dancing Judy or the Plum Judy. The small butterfly has a wingspan measuring from 35mm - 40mm. During wet seasons, males have maroon brown or purplish brown wings with a blue gloss on the upperside, and the underside is dull brown. Females have much paler wings and no blue gloss on their wings. During dry seasons, the plum judy has paler wings in general. The butterflies can be found throughout the year in Hong Kong, Mainland China, Nepal, India and Burma. They lay their eggs on the underside of leaves on host plants, like Maesa indica and Embelia ribes, as the immature stages of these butterflies typically


feed on the underside of the young leaves. The eggs take around four days to hatch and the green caterpillars take another 12 days or so to form a pupa, which takes about six days to mature. The Plum Judy is a very active butterfly and is called the Dancing Judy because it ‘dances’ at the tops of trees and amidst foliage. The dance along branches consists of repeatedly landing and turning around almost immediately after alighting. The turning movement is believed to help in evading predators by causing confusion. Steffi Yuen.

complexes and landlords don’t welcome pets. It’s short-sighted and foolish to think that you can get away with it because “lots of other people keep dogs”, as many have found out when the notice arrives telling them either the dog goes or they do. Fostering, adopting a senior dog, or volunteering are just three ways a dog lover can fulfill their desire to be around dogs without the full lifetime commitment. There is no shortage of dogs or puppies desperately in need of temporary homes, or organisations urgently wanting dog walkers. Sally Andersen is the founder of Hong Kong Dog Rescue, a charity that rescues, rehabilitates and re-homes unwanted or abandoned dogs.



STRESSED BY YOUR PET?!!! PET BEHAVIOUR PROBLEMS? Hong Kong’s first and only Behavioural Veterinary Practice can help resolve aggression, fear, anxiety, separation related problems, compulsive disorders, inappropriate toileting, noise phobias etc.

Not all behavioural problems are simply training issues.

Dr. Cynthia Smillie BVM&S PG Dip CABC MRCVS

Tel: 9618 2475


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Carpet washing & Repairs Professionals

Our Cleaning & Repair services are among the best in hong kong We also selling Persian carpets and rugs for your home

Free pickup & Delivery MR IQBAL Tel: 90180897 28513665

Email: website:

To advertise, email or call 2776 2772




To advertise, email or call 2776 2772


To advertise, email or call 2776 2772




To advertise, email or call 2776 2772


To advertise, email or call 2776 2772


southside secrets

golden oldie

Clockwise from left: the main entrance; the central hall and altar; around the village; the feng shui screen wall.

The “Old House” Shreena Patel discovers a piece of Hong Kong’s history in Wong Chuk Hang San Wai. Hidden in plain sight between Ocean Park and one of the city’s wealthiest neighbourhoods Shouson Hill, the urban village of Wong Chuk Hang San Wai is easy to pass by without noticing. In fact, we did. A few times. Having decided to write this month’s backpage on the “Old House” in Wong Chuk Hang, we set off to find it. But after wandering up and down the busy main road for 20 minutes in the searing heat we were no closer to locating the hidden gem. That is, until one of the less stubborn members of our party asked the owner of a small open-air cafe by the roadside for directions. To our relief she charged off purposefully into a maze of small houses and cafes behind her, beckoning for us to follow. Through the narrow twists and turns of the village we walked past old cottages, small shrines, hanging laundry, and over the narrow streams which run through its centre. Wong Chuk Hang “San Wai” (“new walled village”) was established in the 1860s and 70s.


Its last occupant resided in the house for over 60 years until 1989. Once a major settlement of Wong Chuk Hang, it is the birthplace of the “Grand Old Man of Hong Kong” himself, the late Sir Shouson Chow. In fact, some of his descendents still live here and the adjacent Shouson Hill, where he built Pine Villa, was named after him. After a very short walk we reached our destination. Now in the hands of the government, the Old House at No.10 was built by the Chow family in around 1890 and stands as a quiet reminder of their settlement in the village. Its last occupant resided in the house for over 60 years until 1989. A feng shui screen wall stands outside to fend off unwanted spirits.

According to ancient Chinese beliefs, ghosts only travel in straight lines so a screen wall outside the main door would help to obstruct their entrance. The shadow of the approaching ghost on the screen would also help to scare it away. Nowadays Hong Kong is seen as a safe place but the Chows weren’t taking any chances: stone mortars on the floor of the entrance could be used to help strengthen the doors against the invasion of bandits. A decorated altar in the main hall is adorned with carvings of two phoenixes adoring the sun, symbolizing glory and grandeur. At the altar’s centre lies the soul tablet of the Chows’ ancestors for worship. Unsurprisingly perhaps, given the city’s less than sentimental attitude towards architectural preservation, the Old House is one of the few traditional Chinese vernacular houses preserved on Hong Kong Island. It is only open to the public on weekends and certain public holidays, 9am-1pm and 2pm-5pm.

Southside Magazine September 2015  
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