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January 2017

The really useful magazine January 2017


PEOPLE 4 Snapped! Sai Kung’s social life. THE PLANNER 8 Happening in January What’s on. SPECIAL FEATURE 16 Kung hei fat choi! How to lai see and 2017 Chinese horoscopes. NEWS 18 What’s going on? In your backyard. GIVEAWAYS 20 Free stuff Fab things to win.

22 Claire Billson The Sai Kung artist behind our Christmas cover. LOCAL 24 Breaking and entering Burglaries around town. ON PATROL 25 Police blotter Updates from the Sai Kung Police Station. VILLAGE FOCUS 26 Tai Mong Tsai Battlegrounds during the Japanese occupation. INTERVIEW 28 Sarah Brennan On roosters, reading and the perils of tech.

COVER STORY 30 Sai Kung’s best restaurants Chow your way through the Kung. Plus recipe. EDUCATION 40 Hong Kong Academy Kate Davies takes a tour. BIG DAY OUT 46 Plover Cove Reservoir Rory Mackay goes on another adventure. TRAVEL 48 Lapland A winter wonderland. HEALTH & BEAUTY 54 Refresh and rejuvenate Top massages in town.

PETS 56 SPCA case stories SPCA Inspector Bob reflects on his work. DOCTOR, DOCTOR 56 Ask Dr. Pauline “What was your most unusual case?”. Plus Walkies. NEWS FROM THE GREENS 58 Paul Zimmerman asks… “Where’s the money for our harbour fronts?” VINES IN SAI KUNG 64 Let’s Make Sai Kung Great Again! Destruction of the country parks, getting crabs and taxi drivers.


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Kate Davies

Max Yip

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JAN 15

The Clearwater Bay Chase 2017

10km run from Clearwater Bay Marina to Clearwater Bay Beach II and back. It’s not for the faint-hearted! All enrollment fees go to support Breakthrough and its Liberal Studies Project. 8.30am-12pm. The Clearwater Bay Golf and Country Club. Call 2335 3878 or visit cwbchase or for more information.

JAN 1 & 2 Dragon and Lion Dance Festival Ring in the New Year with colourful dragons, lions, acrobats and more as celebrations for the start of 2017 take to the streets. Performances take place across Hong Kong, from the Star Ferry to Ocean Park and Victoria Peak.

UNTIL JAN 1 Winterfest Hong Kong’s festive offerings include the Pulse 3D Light Show and the classic Statue Square Christmas tree. Look out for special appearances by Santa Claus and friends while a Christmas choir will serenade the crowds with festive carols. This year lovebirds can buy


a lock for charity and hang it to the railings for posterity too.

UNTIL JAN 2 Ocean Park Christmas Sensation 2016 Attractions include a 4D stage show, the all-new Penguin Dress-Up Delights and the Cyber Illusion Spectacular stage show featuring world-class illusionists, Michael Boyd and Cassandra Gasser (finalists of the reality show, Australia’s Got Talent). Watch them perform lightning-fast costume changes, disappearances, double levitations and fire cage escapes. Make sure to visit Santa’s Tree Hut and the Park’s signature, giant 40-foot Christmas tree.

PAPINEE World at the Mandarin Oriental


This Christmas, Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong’s hotel lobby has been taken over by storytelling social enterprise PAPINEE World. Local and visiting guests of all ages are invited to enjoy a multisensory fantasy land where they will be magiced to different cities around the world - from London to Paris and the Japanese gardens of Tokyo - without having to step foot on a plane. Meanwhile, Café Causette has been converted into a PAPINEE Storytelling Café with storytelling events for children. To see the full exhibition, visit Pearl Lam Galleries. Doors are open exclusively to underprivileged and disadvantaged local children Monday to Friday, 10am-4pm, but the general public can visit from 4.30pm onwards, and all day on weekends. For more information, visit Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong, 5 Connaught Road Central, 2522 0111. Pearl Lam Galleries, No. 1, Soho 189, 189 Queen’s Road Central, Sheung Wan, 2857 1328.

happening in January JAN 6 Kidz Night Out Held from 5.30-8.30pm, Kidz Night Out aims to provide an educational experience for children, where they can learn, build and play with LEGO. Pizza and drinks are included. $300 per child or $250 for current students. Book by calling 2791 0007. For more information visit


planner KidsFest 2017


The biggest children’s theatre festival returns for another year of fun-filled performances at the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts. One production not to miss is Gruffalos, Ladybirds and Other Beasts which will feature Julia Donaldson herself live on stage. Tickets available at or call 3128 8288.

JAN 7 & 14 The Youth Chinese Opera Organised by the Sai Kung Kai Fong Committee, The Young Academy Cantonese Opera Troupe will be performing Cantonese opera to showcase traditional culture. 7-10pm on Jan 7 at Tin Hau Temple Sai Kung, 2-5pm on Jan 14 at Hang Hau Community Hall. Visit for more information.

JAN 8 Discovery Bay Markets DIY Indie arts, crafts and small traders fair. Stay for dinner at one of the designated D’Deck restaurants and enjoy a free ferry ride back to Central. 11am-6pm, Discovery Bay Plaza, Discovery Bay, Lantau.

JAN 14 SCAD Hong Kong Workshop Day Prospective students and their families can explore the innovative learning environments at the historic North Kowloon Magistracy Building and the university’s home in Sham Shui Po.

Meet with SCAD representatives and join the interactive workshop. Free, 2pm-5pm, 292 Tai Po Road, Sham Shui Po. For more information, email or call 2253 8044.

JAN 14 & 15 New Year Open House Join Helen Smeaton at The Art House Asia’s New Year Open House. View new artworks for 2017 and receive special offerings on paintings, sculptures and decorative items. 30 Siu Hang Hau, Clearwater Bay. For more information, visit or call 5648 7474.

JAN 15 Cantonese Opera Fun Day Experience the glamour of being a Cantonese opera artist at this event. Try on traditional costumes and makeup. There will be live performances on the day. Free, 1-5.30pm, Sha Tin Town Hall. For more info, visit

JAN 19 The Last Gibbon book signing The launch event of Sai Kung resident and author Matt Cooper’s new book, The Last Gibbon. 6-8pm, Kidnapped, 7 Man Nin Street, Sai Kung. RSVP at www.matthewcooperbooks. com

JAN 19-25 The 8th Hong Kong International Chamber Festival A week of music - including workshops, concerts and talks - with international artists. Performances from Brett Dean, Laurent Perrin, the Borromeo Quartet and Artistic Director Cho-Liang Lin. Tickets start from $100, opening night $380 from


Yew Chung Early Childhood Education Information Session

happening in January

JAN 19

starts and finishes at High Island Reservoir in Pak Tam Chung. Race starts at 8am. $500 registration fee, registration deadline Jan 8, or earlier if quota is filled. Participants must be 18 years or older. For more information, email

Get to know the school’s background, international curriculum and educational philosophy at their information session with talks from the co-principals and school leaders. Registration starts at 2pm on the day, session is from 2.30-4pm. The information session will be held in English. Auditorium of Yew Chung International School, 3 To Fuk Road, Kowloon Tong. For more information email admissions@

UNTIL JAN 23 The World of Tim Burton Exhibition Take a look into renowned film director, Tim Burton’s original work, artistic practice and his uniquely envisioned world. 10am-10pm, ArtisTree in Quarry Bay. Tickets at

JAN 29 Walk for a Cause

UNTIL JAN 22 Wicked The spellbinding musical, which has cast its magic on more than 50 million theatre goers worldwide, takes to the stage at the Hong Kong Academy for the Performing Arts. Inspired by L. Frank Baum’s Wizard of Oz, find out how the wicked witch of the west became so wonderfully wicked. Tickets from $445 at, 3128 8288.

A charity walk organised by the Fat Big Heart Sai Kung Hong Kong. The walk starts from Tsam Chuk Wan at 10am (arrive at 7.30am to register on the day) and finishes in Pak Tam Chung. $35 registration fee, call Liezel Villariez to register 9341 5216.

JAN 22 Gammon China Coast Marathon and Half Marathon 2017 JAN 21 Lantau Base Camp Ladies Race Hong Kong’s first women-only trail race to raise funds for Hong Kong Cancer Fund. The race stretches across Mui Wo giving runners beautiful views of Chi Ma Wan. Choose from either 11km or 20km. Entry free is $350. For more info visit

Train ahead for this gruelling marathon which

Ballet Classics for Children: Cinderella Be entranced by the beauty of dance and music with the adaptations of ballet classics by choreographer Yuri Ng. Tickets $180, $280 from Studio Theatre, Hong Kong Cultural Centre.

JAN 20-22

JAN 21 & 22 Drama Be captivated by a drama performed by famous troupes and adapted from awardwinning playwright U.S. Craig Pospisil. The drama will show the panoramic view of life and its complicated interpersonal relationships. Organised by the Sai Kung Tseung Kwan O Women’s Association. Hang Hau Community Hall, Hang Hau. 8-10pm on Jan 21, 3-5pm on Jan 22. Visit for more information.



BOOK NOW FEB 16-MAR 18 Hong Kong Arts Festival The 45th Hong Kong Arts Festival will showcase over 150 performances and over 250 special activities. This year will showcase two trilogies - HKAF commissioned and produced, A Floating Family and New York’s Public Theatre, The Gabriels. Visit for more information.

dance music with some of the world’s chart-topping artists like Black Eyed Peas, Zedd, Iggy Azalea and Redfoo. Hong Kong favourite, Leon Lai will be holding a special concert during the festival. Held at Central Harbourfront. Tickets from

MAR 16-19 Taste of Hong Kong A food lover’s paradise. Sample signature dishes from some of Hong Kong’s top restaurants and artisan producers at the festival. Central Harbourfront. For more information, visit

FEB 18 MSIG Sai Kung 50 There are 12km, 21km and 50km trail and hike options in the MSIG Sai Kung 50 starting from Pak Tam Chung Picnic Garden, Sai Kung. Entry fees start from $280. Visit for more information.

FEB 25-26 Dragonland Music Festival Hong Kong’s first outdoor concert combining pop and electronic

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special feature




things to do during

Clean up

Homes are thoroughly cleaned in the run up to Lunar New Year, with dust swept into the middle of the room and then out the door to symbolise sweeping bad luck away. Going one step further, some homeowners paint door frames and windows in order to welcome good luck in. However, it is considered bad luck to clean during New Year week, as you may sweep away the good fortune – so get your home in order before January 28.



Watch the Chinese New Year Night Parade



The Cathay Pacific International Chinese New Year Night Parade has been the highlight of the season in Hong Kong for over 20 years. The parade features spectacular floats and international performers including marching bands, cheerleaders and dance troupes as they make their way through the streets of Tsim Sha Tsui.

Visit the Flower Markets

Brace the crowds and visit the flower markets to brighten up your home during Lunar New Year. The biggest of all takes place at Victoria Park which attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors each year. Orchids are particularly auspicious to buy but any flowering plant that takes your eye will do. Offerings have expanded far beyond flowers and plants in recent years as visitors can also pick up decorations, homeware items and souvenirs. Jostle with the crowds on the last day of the market to pick up a bargain when prices are slashed.


Buy a kumquat tree

Oranges symbolise abundant happiness, while tangerines with the leaves attached have the additional meaning of a secure relationship between giver and receiver, making them popular gifts at Lunar New Year. Many homes are adorned with potted kumquat trees, studded with tiny orange fruit that symbolise prosperity and good fortune. The fruit’s Chinese name, kam gat shu, sounds like the words for luck and gold. Attach red lai see packets containing a banknote for a really authentic touch. Bear in mind that the trees are grown more for aesthetic appeal than for great-tasting fruit.


The parade starts at 8pm and free-standing spectators can watch the show along Canton Road, Haiphong Road and Nathan Road. Arrive early as the crowds can get busy. Ticketed spectator stands open from 7pm and tickets can be bought from the Hong Kong Tourism Board Visitor Centre at the Star Ferry Concourse in Tsim Sha Tsui.

kung hei fat choi


Watch the firework display

Grab a good spot along the harbour to catch the amazing annual fireworks show. Fireworks and firecrackers are believed to scare away evil spirits, so expect a spectacular display. The fireworks usually take place on the second day of the Lunar New Year - January 29 this year. Visit for more details.


Give lai see

Not sure how much to put in that red pocket? Here’s our handy guide to spread festive cheer: $20 for an acquaintance you see regularly but don’t know well, such as a doorman. $40 for somebody close to you such as friends’ children or your hairdresser. $100 as a generous gift to someone you care about and is generally the minimum a boss gives an employee. $500 plus – this is not unheard of, but it is usually given with a good motive or during birthdays or weddings. DO SAY: “Sun tai kin hong” - when giving lai see to express wishes of good health. The 15-day grace period Lunar New Year is celebrated for 15 days from day one of the lunar calendar, and lai see is given only during this period – not before or after. This year, the grace period falls from January 28 until February 11.


Win big at Chinese New Year Race Day

Strike it lucky on the first races of the year at Sha Tin Racecourse. Hopeful punters descend on the course with the first races of the day January starting from 11am. Visit for more details.



Visit the Lam Tsuen Wishing Trees

The Lam Tsuen Wishing Trees are a popular shrine located in Fong Ma Po village near to Tai Po. The two banyan trees are visited by thousands of people during Lunar New Year celebrations. Previously, joss paper was tied to an orange and thrown into the tree in an attempt to hang it from a high branch to bring good luck. While the tree undergoes a period of recovery, wooden racks have been erected besides the trees to hang wishes from. An artificial tree now stands next to the Tin Hau Temple to allow fortune-seekers holding plastic mandarins with wishes attached top throw onto the branches. One mandarin should be about $25. Take bus 64K or 64P from Tai Po Market station, get off at Fang Ma Po.

Calligraphy 101 Look out for these auspicious characters and phrases.

福 Luck, prosperity "Fuk"

樂 Happiness "Lok"

壽 Longevity "Shou"

新年快樂 Happy New Year "Sun lin fai lok"

恭喜發財 Prosperous New Year "Kung hei fat choi"


special feature

Lunar New Year horoscopes What’s in store for you in 2017?

Year: 1960, 1972, 1984, 1996, 2008

Year: 1961, 1973, 1985, 1997, 2009

Year: 1962, 1974, 1986, 1998, 2010

Resourceful and versatile, nothing will stand in the way this year for those born in the year of the rat. Challenges may come thick and fast but you will be well prepared to not just weather the storm, but emerge brighter on the other side.

Both good and bad news await for those born in the year of the ox. You will be defined this year by success in both your personal relationships and career. Remember to network and socialise to capitalise on this fortunate time. The bad news? It won’t come easy due to the influence of the rooster, so you will need to work hard and persevere.

After a year of bad luck, there’s light at the end of the tunnel as 2017 is shaping up to be a better year for those born in the year of the tiger. It’s looking like a lucky year in the love department, so if you’re single get ready to mingle. Already married? Go the extra step for your partner and strengthen the bonds of your marriage.

Year: 1963, 1975, 1987, 1999, 2011

Year: 1964, 1976, 1988, 2000, 2012

Year: 1965, 1977, 1989, 2001, 2013

2017 will be a year of uncommon change and hard work for the usually relaxed, easy-going “artiste” of the zodiac, as it confronts its exact opposite: the rooster. But keep calm and carry on. Take the time to do little favours for others that boost their spirits. You may confront a few problems this year, but you will find the solutions by trusting your innate sense of creativity and thinking outside the proverbial box. Finally, you will soon receive a surprising request - think carefully before you accept or reject.

Typically strong-willed and forceful in character, those born in the year of the dragon may have to reign in their enthusiasm and take more democratic approach to problems this year. Being thoughtful and pragmahc could bring greater rewards for you and those around you. Trying new things and pushing yourself out of your comfort zone is also greatly encouraged in what could potentially be an extremely prosperous year.

This year will be a great year to socialise and be the enigmatic creature that you are, snakes. You’ve got great energy around you so pick up a new hobby and try something new acquaintances that you meet might play an important role in your life. You may encounter some health problems along the way - sore throat, blisters, dry skin - but nothing serious. It’s recommended that you go forth with caution and not make any major changes this year, 2017 is a year about making incremental progress and improvements.


kung hei fat choi

Year: 1966, 1978, 1990, 2002, 2014

Year: 1967, 1979, 1991, 2003, 2015

Year: 1968, 1980, 1992, 2004, 2016

This year isn’t going to be your best year but it also won’t be your worst. You will be demanded to be thorough, realistic and clear in your approach; your hard work will be reaped with rewards later down the track. Travelling is the most favoured aspect for horses in 2017, so travel when you can to regain energy and find beauty in your surroundings. Your fortune, professionally and financially, will turn towards the end of the year, especially in the last few months as we enter the year of the dog.

Don’t expect the year of the rooster to be one of smooth sailing. This year you will face many difficult challenges in many different areas of your life - whether that be your career, love or health. But it’s not all doom and gloom, keep the positive vibe going and tackle the challenges head on to reap the rewards.

Resist the urge to scratch that itch and be less hasty with your decision making. Suddenly changing job or taking a spontaneous holiday may not be as rewarding in the long run. Seek advice and wisdom from those that you trust. Your relationships will remain steady and true and this will give you great comfort before embarking on a year of change in 2018.

Year: 1957, 1969, 1981, 1993, 2005

Year: 1958, 1970, 1982, 1994, 2006

Year: 1959, 1971, 1983, 1995, 2007

2017 is your zodiac year, which usually means a bit of bad luck. But don’t panic, my righteous and resourceful friend. Surround yourself with gladioli and cockscomb for good luck and bring more gold, brown and yellow into your home and work environment. Avoid the colour red. Lucky days for you this year are the 4th and 26th of the month. Finally, remember, the key to moving forward is letting go of the past.

The year of 2017 will bring great changes to those born in the year of the dog. It’s the year to be more open to opportunities you previously considered but never took the leap in taking. Whether you are considering changes in your career, relationship or personal setup, now is not the time to be conservative. You will be rewarded for your courage. Woof!

Stand up tall and make yourself heard, 2017 is the year to shine at work. Whether it’s that long-awaited promotion you’ve been dreaming of or finally getting the recognition that you deserve, this is the year to make it happen. Strike when the opportunity arises and don’t let self-doubt hold you back. You’re a winner.



Former policeman releases new book

Tesla introduces new superchargers in Tseung Kwan O

Sai Kung resident and Chairman of the Royal Commonwealth Society, Peter Mann, has published a book, Sheriff of Wan Chai. He details his experience in serving in the Hong Kong Police Force and how he helped govern Hong Kong’s last decades as a British colony. “My mother was an author and I always wanted to write a book, but truly ours was the very last generation who could leave England to enjoy a colonial lifestyle.” says Mann. The memoir recounts Mann’s involvement in all levels of Hong Kong society, “There haven’t been many books by someone who was both a policeman and an administrative officer. Someone who had been on duty during the police mutiny in 1978 and had seen the dark underbelly of Hong Kong in gambling dens, hospitals and public housing estates.” says Mann. Mann arrived in Hong Kong in 1976 as a police inspector, commanding a sub-unit and led a district vice squad in Kowloon before joining its Administrative Service in the fields of transport, housing, security, environment and

Electric car giant, Tesla, has announced the addition of new supercharger stations at East Point City in Tseung Kwan O. While there are no plans yet to to install chargers in Sai Kung or Clearwater Bay, the additional two superchargers is a step forward in accommodating the growing Tesla community, while enhancing the charging network in the Kowloon East and New Territories West districts. The charging stations are open all day at the shopping centre. There are currently over 200 destination chargers and 58 superchargers across Hong Kong. Tesla has also introduced two new superchargers at YOHO Mall in Yuen Long.

tourism. He has also served as a District Officer in Wan Chai. Sheriff of Wan Chai is available at Kidnapped in Sai Kung and all Bookazines in Hong Kong.

Ronaldo Academy launches at Hong Kong Academy Fans of Brazilian football legend Ronaldo will be pleased to hear that his style of football is coming to Hong Kong, with the launch of Ronaldo Academy. Through the academy and its training methodology, the two-time World Cup winner, three-time FIFA World Player of the Year and second highest scorer in World Cup history intends to share his knowledge of football, ability on the field, and love for the sport with younger generations.


Classes are co-ed (suitable for ages 5 to 17) and take place at Hong Kong Academy in Sai Kung (33 Wai Man Road). Course fees are $3,000 and include 14 one-hour Ronaldo Academy methodology football training sessions (one per week), a Ronaldo Academy shirt and a certificate of achievement. Season 1 begins on February 7. More details at

in your backyard

New children’s book on endangered Hainan Gibbon Sai Kung-based author Matt Cooper has published a new book, The Last Gibbon. “I read about the Hainan Gibbon in an article on the BBC website about two years ago and was shocked to hear that the most endangered primate in the world was just an hour’s flight from Hong Kong and yet I’d never even heard of it,” says Cooper. “I asked around and even a friend from Hainan itself hadn’t heard about the gibbons! So I decided to put that straight by writing a book that introduced children - and, hopefully, their parents - to the gibbon and its precarious situation.” The book, endorsed on the back cover by Dr. Jane Goodall herself (primatologist, anthropologist and famous for her lifelong work with chimpanzees) also includes a non-fiction section where readers can learn more about gibbons in general and what they can do to help them. “[Dr. Goodall] is one of my heroes so to meet her in person was amazing,” says Cooper. “I plan to visit Hainan in the near future to see the gibbons in the wild - apparently it’s a difficult trek to reach them and I’ve read that Hainan is home to the most poisonous tree in the world so that could be interesting!”.

Walk for charity

Cooper will be having a launch event and signing books at Kidnapped Sai Kung on January 19 from 6-8pm. The event is free entry and wine and nibbles will be provided. RSVP through The Last Gibbon is available at most bookstores in Hong Kong, including Kidnapped, 7 Man Nin Street, Sai Kung.

Go barefoot in the 10th Spring Charity Barefoot Walk for Children event. The walk will stretch across 4km around the golf course of The Clearwater Bay Golf & Country Club with three formats; individual, family and group. Following the walk, there are family workshops in which parents and children can learn to build simple facilities such as temporary shelter, a borehole and a latrine. All funds raised will be donated to support World Vision’s nutrition and hygiene projects in South Sudan. A total of 1 million people, half of which are children, have fled to neighbouring countries due to the ongoing conflict which has led to food insecurity and serious hygiene issues. The walk will be held on Feb 4 starting at 10am with an opening ceremony. A minimum fundraising amount is requested for individuals to participate in the event. Sign up before January 23 to take part. For more information or to donate visit



win at

Ultimate Performance Ultimate Performance was conceived with one simple vision in mind — to create and implement the most effective consu ltative health and fitness model in the personal training industry. Their trainers are absolutely obsessed with making sure their clients see results. We’re giving away one hybrid two-week membership including two personal training sessions, body fat measurements, a movement assessment, a nutrition plan and access to unlimited group classes for two weeks. Deadline: January 25

Sleep Naked

Snow Fox

Escapade Sports

Famed for their hotel-quality bed linens, Sleep Naked also produces robes & wraps that are made from 100% pure 500g combed cotton — true five star quality. Their bath robes and wraps are available in three different colours in cotton velour towelling, with design and size options for both children and adults. We’re giving away two his and hers robe sets in beige and grey.

Snow Fox Skincare is a simple 3-step regime for flawless skin. It uses only natural, certified organic ingredients that are 100% vegan and cruelty-free. The range is great for all skin types, especially for hypersensitive skin - with no parabens, SLS, phthalates, petrochemicals, preservatives or harsh chemicals. With daily use, the range will even out skin tone, balance oily sebum and maintain hydration. One lucky reader gets a full set of Snow Fox products.

Rugby fans will love this one — just in time for the New Zealand tour, Escapade Sports has received exclusive rights to sell the British & Irish Lions official replica match jersey. Made using VapoShield technology, each jersey is waterrepellent and quick dry. One lucky reader will win a jersey.

Deadline: January 24

Deadline: January 26

Deadline: January 23

Subscribe to our e-newsletter to get all our giveaways delivered straight to your inbox:



five minutes with

Claire Billson Publisher

Tom Hilditch

Annie Wong speaks to the artist behind Sai Kung and Clearwater Bay Magazine’s Christmas cover.

Editorial Editor-in-Chief Shreena Patel Editor Annie Wong


Contributing Editor Carolynne Dear Callum Wiggins Senior Staff Writer Eric Ho


Design Manager Cindy Suen


Graphic Designer Anna Schulteisz

Thanks to

Daniel Tsang Dr. Pauline Taylor Gladys Ng Jaki Faulkner James Stevenson Jasper Cheung Kate Davies Max Yip Paul Zimmerman Rory Mackay Stephen Vines

Published by

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

3 I am an artist. I’m passionate about my art. A few years ago, I took it up full time. I used to be a barrister and as much as I love the intellectual challenge, I wanted something more peaceful and more flexible.

don’t really stick to a particular style. The subject almost leads me to how I am going to paint it. My first exhibition was at the Contemporary Art Show. I sold a lot and even more encouragingly, the feedback I had was amazing.

My husband, an architect, designed and built our house in Ta Ku Ling San Tsuen. We moved to Sai Kung 15 years ago when our son, James, was born. I stopped working whilst our children grew up. I love the normality of life here - we can live in a house with a garden and step out of the house and be in the hills.

My Ground Level series was my first serious attempt. It was done with a palette knife. I loved capturing the movement of the workers and highlighting the great work that they do. Luckily people, not just family and friends, loved it.

I have always loved art. I didn’t study it at school and didn’t intend to make a career out of it as I had no idea if anyone would buy it. I work mostly in oils and I


The series I am currently working on is all about the gorgeous heavy silks of traditional Asian dress - mostly Korean Hanboks at the moment. This is done with a brush to capture the glowing richness of the fabrics. I chose this because the silks are

beautiful and tactile. I wanted to challenge myself to see if the growing richness can be translated onto canvas. Painting is a very solitary thing to do. Sai Kung has the potential to be a great art hub but needs to avoid the ‘parochial’ label. You just have to keep doing it. Keep painting, drawing or sculpting. Knock on every door you can find to get advice and opinions. Each time someone buys a piece I get a thrill. I am still amazed that people want to buy my work. To see more of Claire’s work, visit www. clairebillson. com


A year after Anthony’s passing


hen someone dies a lot of unexpected things happen. Not only is that person gone, but all the knowledge that person held inside their head is gone. Anthony Blair Sweet died on December 23, 2015. Candy (Anthony’s widow) and I (Anthony’s business partner) had to pick up the pieces of the Anthony’s Ranch and try and make it continue. I was a passive investor in Anthony’s Ranch until his death and did not pay attention to the details. The food was good, beer was cold, and my family really enjoyed the atmosphere there most weekends. So with Anthony’s death I felt obliged to become more active in the operations. Many people have supported the establishment over the last year and expressed their ongoing support to Candy and me to keep the place going. We are very grateful for all the customers’ contributions. I am also very grateful all the staff that stuck around, who acquired knowledge on cooking

American BBQ food and the general hospitality processes from Anthony. I do not think that the quality of the food has skipped a beat. The “Coldest Beer in Hong Kong” slogan got hard to live by as our beer system needed upgrading but we recently accomplished this. When Anthony died, Candy and I went about the task of inventorying things. I did a series of checklists - meeting customer’s needs, adjusting the menu, upgrades to the restaurant, processes of ordering stock, meeting staff’s needs - these are just a few of the things that we considered to making Anthony’s a great dining and drinking experience. I’d like to say a big thank you to the Sai Kung community for supporting Anthony’s Ranch. We hope you will all come again and again. Our recent renovations to the bar area amongst other additions has brought new light into the premises. Come have a look when you are in the neighbourhood. Paul Walsh

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Sales & Marketing Sales Director Oliver Simons

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PA to the Publisher Amanda Chia Accounting Executive Jason To Office Security Cat the dog


Apex Print Limited 11-13 Dai Kwai Street, Tai Po Industrial Estate, Tai Po, Hong Kong @saikungmag GIVE US A CALL! Admin: 3568 3722 Editorial: 2776 2773 Advertising: 2776 2772, 3563 9755 Sai Kung and Clearwater Bay Magazine is published by Fast Media Ltd. This magazine is published on the understanding that the publishers, advertisers, contributors and their employees are not responsible for the results of any actions, errors and omissions taken on the basis of information contained in this publication. The publisher, advertisers, contributors and their employees expressly disclaim all and any liability to any person, whether a reader of this publication or not, in respect of any action or omission by this publication. Fast Media Ltd cannot be held responsible for any errors or inaccuracies provided by advertisers or contributors. The views herein are not necessarily shared by the staff or publishers. No part of this magazine may be reproduced in any way, part or format without written permission from the publisher.


CCTV images showing suspicious persons outside a residential complex.

Breaking and entering

Police increase patrol operations as burglary cases in Sai Kung is on the rise, writes Annie Wong. Additional reporting by Eric Ho.


total of $1.7 million has been stolen from burglary cases in Sai Kung in 2016. Even though village house burglary is nothing new to Sai Kung, the recent string of thefts have struck a chord and police are urging residents to lock up. The top hotspots for burglaries include Hing Keng Shek, Tai Wan Village, Po Lo Che, Ho Chung, Chuk Yeung and Sai Kung Town. Quick cash crimes become more prevalent in the fourth quarter of the year and police are noticing an upsurge of village house burglaries as we approach Lunar New Year. The year end of 2016 saw the number of burglary cases jump from one in October to 10 cases at the end of November, 21 cases in the fourth quarter of 2016 and a grand total of 56 cases.* A string of burglary cases in the area has prompted heightened patrol operations and publicity campaigns by Sai Kung Police.

A recent case involved three men from Mainland China targeting a house in luxury residential complex Bella Vista on Silver Terrace Road and kidnapping of the victims on December 17. The three culprits entered the premise with knives and stole $150,000 and locked the victim’s maid in the toilet before forcing

Hillsides are considered as a natural hideout for these criminals

the residents, 67-year-old veteran architect, Ma Kim-see, to drive to an ATM to withdraw $20,000 and his wife to buy jewellery worth $260,000 at East Point City in

Tseung Kwan O. The victims were unhurt, with one culprit arrested while attempting to escape. The case has prompted an air, sea and land search for the remaining two men. Police suspect a gang is behind the crime, as tactics were similar to those used in the highprofile burglary and kidnapping of Bossini heiress, Queenie Law. Burglars stole $2 million in cash and valuables before kidnapping Law from her home in Clearwater Bay in April 2015. She was freed after her father paid a $28 million ransom. Another case on December 15 saw three masked men break into a house in Greenpeak Villa on Pak Kong Au at 3am. The group broke into the house by prising open the window on the first floor and fled with $15,000 worth of posessions. One of the most serious cases to have occurred in Sai Kung during 2016 took place in Hing Keng Shek, where the burglars made off with jewellery and cash, totalling around $300,000. No arrests has been made so far.

CSI Sai Kung

Top hot spots for burglaries in Sai Kung.

Village houses that have fallen victim to burglaries are usually ones with poor security or that the doors were unlocked. “Residents living in houses situated near the hillside should consider having extra security measures for their homes. Hillsides are considered as a natural hideout for

these criminals to observe and wait for their opportunity to break in.” says Assistant Divisional Commander (Operations) Max Yip. To strengthen the community’s engagement in deterring crimes, police have organised all-year-round publicity campaigns, including leaflet distribution and door-to-door knocking. The Neighbourhood Watch Scheme

was launched by the Sai Kung division in 2010, acting as an extra medium to educate the community on crime trends. “Currently, we have recruited around 500 ambassadors, they receive a weekly crime alert as well as ad hoc crime information. I hope the community is more aware because of the scheme.” explains Yip. “We have been stepping up patrol and mounting covert operations at vulnerable spots in Sai Kung. In fact, efforts from local residents play a large role in the effectiveness in deterring burglary,” says Miscellaneous Enquiry Sub-unit Commander Gladys Ng. “Just by locking up doors and windows before leaving the house or before bed could make a difference. Installing alarm systems and sophisticated locks would further discourage robbers from breaking and entering.” adds Yip. By joining forces with the police, residents can help minimise the number of burglaries around the area, making Sai Kung the least favourable spot for opportunistic crimes. *numbers and details are accurate at the time of publishing. Got a local story? Have your say by emailing

Police blotter Assistant Divisional Commander Max Yip documents recent cases from Sai Kung.

- A 5 month old baby girl was abandoned on

December 5 at a barbecue site in Tai Mong Tsai. A ‘lai see’ envelope was found on the baby in which it had ‘5 month old baby, cerebral palsy’ written in Chinese on it. Two reports came in about the incident, the first was made by an anonymous person. The police are suspicious of the informer who provided a fake number, gave no name and cannot be located.

-Burglars broke into an empty house along

Hiram’s Highway in December through a locked window. It was reported by the victim’s sibling who visited the house regularly. The total value of stolen property is yet to be determined as the victim is currently overseas.

-A male in his twenties fell victim to a form

of phone deception after accepting a friend request from an unknown female on SKOUT (a mobile social networking app). It was reported

that they had 10 minutes of naked video chat through Skype. $1,500 was demanded, to which the victim paid. A further $2,000 was requested and so the victim filed a report to the police.

-The victim had seen a vacuum cleaner for sale worth around $5,000 on a Facebook group. The victim transferred the money to the seller. After waiting six months, the victim has still yet to receive the vacuum cleaner.

-A 20 year old male student was reported

missing by his parents after he left to go camping in Long Ke. Attempts were made to contact him several times but to no avail. Police conducted searches in Long Ke and surrounding areas, lasting over 10 hours. Finally, the missing student called his parents to let them know he had moved to a different location due to the bad weather but had no reception to update.

-There were 22 cases of hikers who needed

rescuing throughout the last month. Police suggests hikers be adequately prepared and to hike with a group of people.

-A traffic accident left a bus flipped on its side

in late November. The bus driver claimed the accident occurred as a result of him avoiding another car driving recklessly. Police have yet to find the aforementioned car.

-Police have been stationed around the

East Dam of the High Island Reservoir as a deterrent to taxi drivers that have overcharged customers and to warn them of the regulations. For more information, contact Sai Kung Police Station, 1 Po Tung Road, Sai Kung, 3661 1630


village focus

Tai Mong Tsai

Sprinkled with lush greenery, Eric Ho visits the battlegrounds of the Dongjiang Guerrilla Force.


ai Mong Tsai has become a favourite weekend destination for many families in Hong Kong. Situated along the southern edge of Sai Kung West Country Park, Tai Mong Tsai is loved for its close proximity to nature and wildlife. The village can be reached via a fairly inconspicuous path located at the far end of Tai Mong Tsai car park. There you will find two small stores selling a range of food and drinks. Head down the stairs and under the thick cover of trees and bushes. A single path stretches over the steady stream flowing below and past many clusters of tall bamboo gently swaying in the wind. After a short walk, the jungle of greenery opens up into the small peaceful village of Tai Mong Tsai. Despite the fairly busy road located only a couple of hundred metres away, the village is blessed with beautifully serene surroundings. The dense foliage surrounding the village muffle out the sound of cars driving by. Instead, sounds of rustling leaves accompanied by birds singing can be heard. Residents here need only look outside their windows to enjoy sweeping landscapes and some of the wonders of Tai Mong Tsai’s stunning nature.

Tai Mong Tsai was home to the battlegrounds of the Dongjiang Guerrilla Force during the Japanese occupation. The hilly topography found here and all over the Sai Kung Peninsula once protected the fighters against the Japanese army. It was in some parts of Tai Mong Tsai where they would carry out missions behind enemy lines such as rescuing allied troops and transporting them out of Hong Kong and into safety. Located near the campsite in Tai Mong Tsai, a monument was built to commemorate the freedom fighters who had lost their lives during World War II. Over $1 million was raised by old members of the Dongjiang Guerilla Force and Sai Kung residents to build this monument, which was completed in 1989. Sai Kung residents still hold local commemorative events here every year on August 15, the anniversary of Emperor Hirohito’s message of surrender in 1945. Those who live outside of Sai Kung often venture into Tai Mong Tsai to taste the life of the countryside - favourite activities include hiking, camping and barbecuing. Tai Mong Tsai has become so popular that it now has a whopping total of 152 barbecue pits! Want to have your village featured? Email

One of the three memorial monuments for Sai Kung Martyrs during World War II.

How to get to Tai Mong Tsai • Take No.94 bus from Sai Kung Town, alight at Tai Mong Tsai Tsuen. Costs $6.80. • Take a taxi from Sai Kung Town, costs around $60.




Rooster tales Tai Po resident and children’s author Sarah Brennan on roosters, reading - and the perils of tech. By Carolynne Dear.

It’s funny,” muses Sarah Brennan, sitting back with a latte in the comfortable confines of Cafe Causette, where we’ve met up to talk about the release of her latest book. “Bookcases these days never seem to contain books anymore - they’re always full of ornaments and photo frames.” It’s an interesting observation from a writer who is passionate about print and travels the world promoting not just her own stories, but reading in general, to school children. We are living in an age where technology is fast overtaking the written word, something of which Brennan is very aware of. But more on that later. Australian by birth, Brennan has always loved writing and has achieved celebrity-like status in Hong Kong for her Chinese Calendar Tales series (my own two primary-aged children were in awe when I told them who I would be meeting for coffee, and demanded signed copies of their favourite books). Each tale - ten have been published to date - follows the story of an animal based on the current Chinese zodiac year. This year is the turn of the Rickshaw Rooster. “Writing and children, they’re my two loves. So I have my dream job,” she smiles, as the Mandarin Oriental staff bustle around with second coffees and water. Brennan’s first book, A Dirty Story was published in Hong Kong in 2004 and was an instant success with local school children. She followed it up with An Even Dirtier Story. “I was promoting these books in schools and the children were loving them, but then I started feeling a bit guilty,” she says. “Being in Hong Kong, there were obviously lots of Asian children in the classes and I thought it would be lovely to do something about their culture rather than submerge them with yet more western ideas.” So she went away, set up a publishing company and wrote The Tale of Chester Choi, the story of a Chinese dragon who loves eating children but is secretly lonely.


“This was a bit of a dummy publication to see if it worked - actually I needed it to work to pay the start-up bills - but I took it into schools and it seemed to be very popular, so then I wrote The Tale of Run Run Rat (to coincide with Beijing’s Olympics and the year of the rat). A few months after that, to my huge surprise, I walked into a party and everyone started clapping. To my utter joy, Time Out had run a piece on favourite children’s books in the territory and The Tale of Chester Choi and The Tale of Run Run Rat had come in at number one and number two respectively, beating Harry

Potter who was at number three. So to my absolute delight, for six weeks and in Hong Kong only, I beat Harry Potter!” Brennan then decided to introduce elements of Chinese history and culture into her stories - The Tale of Ozzie Ox is based on Chinese farming practices, for example, and The Tale of Temujin on Genghis Khan. And the rest, as they say, is history. But what makes her books so popular? “I write what I want to write and I don’t hold back because my readers are children. I love the beauty of words, so my text is often littered with longer words and more complex vocabulary,” she explains, using the “precocious Princess Precious” in The Tale of Temujin as an example. “Children are clever, I haven’t had any complaints so far.” The books have been hugely popular, both in Hong Kong and overseas. “I think with the emergence of China, schools are keen to pick up on something that will encourage the learning of Chinese culture and history. It’s also fantastic to see the looks on the


faces of Chinese children in the overseas schools that I visit. When I’m in an Australian or British school and start talking about the Chinese zodiac their faces just light up they’re thrilled to hear somebody talking about their culture.” Brennan is keen to point out that Chinese history has been fundamentally important to the development of western nations. “Ancient Chinese history has informed a lot of western history,” she says. “Of course for hundreds and hundreds of years you had a very active Silk Road promoting crossfertilization not just of trade, but of culture, religions and ideas. If we’re talking about books, print-quality paper and the printing press are classic examples, both were developed by the Chinese in the second and eleventh centuries respectively. We always talk about Gutenberg and the first printing press, but the world’s first movable type printing press for printing paper books was invented by a Chinese innovator, Bi Sheng, in the eleventh century.” This and Ts’ai Lun’s paper creation, in the second century - sheets made of fishnets, rags and hemp waste that could withstand the rigours of printing, unlike papyrus - boosted literacy across China. When it finally arrived in Europe in the 1440s, the printing press also made a huge impact on western society, particularly as it needed fewer alphabet characters than the ancient Chinese version with its thousands of symbols. Soon books were rolling off the presses quicker and cheaper than ever before. But as enthusiastic as she is about her trade, Brennan does have a bug bear - the thorny old issue of tech. When I bring up the subject, she groans.

“Look, I’m just the messenger, I’m in no way an expert. But I do talk a lot to teachers, I do interact a lot with students, and I do read a lot of emerging research. And experts are finding that as the use of tech increases, literacy is on the decline. I believe there must be a correlation here.” She quotes research from global five-yearly literacy tests for grade four students in schools where English is the teaching medium. “The results for Australia were appalling,” she says. “And this is a country that is one of the most digitalised in the world in terms of its primary schools.”

... experts are finding that as the use of tech increases, literacy is on the decline.

Studies carried out on students in the US assessed recall after a TED talk - “there was a huge difference between those who had used pen and paper to take lecture notes, and those who had used an iPad.” The theory goes that because writing manually is a slower method of note-taking, we automatically listen and process what we’re hearing to filter what we need to write down, whereas with an iPad, we are merely recording the content without thinking about it. It is also believed that there is a huge deficit in the absorption of information into the brain when using a screen rather than a notepad because of the movement of the pixels that make up screen text. It is thought this movement interferes with the

crossing of the information into the deep brain. Brennan recommends reading The Shallows: What the Internet is doing to our Brains by Nicholas Carr. “We’re in an experimental age and I do think the clock will turn back at some point. Young children need to know how to concentrate, focus, listen and analyze, and the digital medium isn’t helping them to do any of that. Give students an assignment these days, and the “skill” is making a cut and paste from Google not look plagiarised, it’s got nothing to do with actually learning about the subject area. Digital devices have not improved results in any way, so why are we still investing so much time in them?” It’s a good question, but not one we’re likely to see an answer to any time soon. In the meantime, she is revealing very little about her latest creation, The Tale of Rickshaw Rooster, except to say the story has a modern Chinese setting. “It’s being published in Hong Kong in time for Chinese New Year, and then I’ll be doing a big launch in March at the Shanghai Literary Festival,” she says with a smile. I know of at least two small children at home who can’t wait. The Tale of Rickshaw Rooster is available in Hong Kong bookstores and from Brennan’s website,


cover story

Sai Kung’s best restaurants Annie Wong scouts for the top restaurants in the Kung. 30 | WWW.SAIKUNG.COM

forks and knives at the ready Casa Offering tasty tapas and craft beers on tap, Best for a drink Casa has become a local favourite since it opened on Hoi Pong Square in 2013. It sports minimalistic and rough-around-the-edges decor with bar stools are dotted on either side of the restaurant. However, if you want to dine alfresco, there is plenty of space outside with long benches and tables. Although the menu is kept simple with a short list of snacks and tacos, the food is packed full of flavour.

The Conservatory Opened just last month, The Conservatory Best for special occasions is a breath of fresh air for Sai Kung. Run by Clearwater Bay-based husband and wife duo, Robert and Kim Cooper, the Enoteca Group have taken the success of their SoHo restaurants to the Kung. The restaurant’s white walls are furnished with banana leaf patterned panels and wooden ceiling fans giving the space an elegant colonial ambience. Thanks to the open window front, it allows natural sunlight to fill the restaurant. Dishes are made to share, with the menu having a heavy focus on Mediterranean-style small plates and homemade thin crust pizzas (starts from $118). If you want to sample a few dishes, order the white wine platter or the red wine platter (both $248) which includes a selection of their signature starters like goats

The team prides itself on combining flavours and ingredients from around the world so you’ll be able to find tacos filled with different fillings including tagine lamb, bbq bourbon beef and seared tuna. While there are cocktails, wine and homemade soft drinks on offer, Casa keeps the emphasis on its selection of craft beer. Beer lovers will find Lion Rock Pale Ale, Moonzen, gwei.lo IPA and a special beer crafted especially for Casa. Open daily, 11am-11pm. Shop 1, Hoi Pong Square, Sai Kung, 5594 0007.

cheese stuffed piquillo peppers, parma ham and toasted foccacia. The breakfast menu is filled with classic items as well as healthy fruit and granola bowls. Kids don’t miss out either, options include free-range egg and soldiers, bacon toastie, baby bruschetta and whole wheat banana and chocolate pancakes. Like most other restaurants in the square, The Conservatory also has outdoor tables but the team is working on providing seating on its second floor which will overlook the square. G/F, 26 Wan King Path, Sai Kung,


cover story Get to know… Chef Gary Cheuk of One-Thirtyone

One-Thirtyone Situated just outside of Sai Kung town, One-Thirtyone Best for fine dining is one of the more unique restaurants in the area, giving guests a dreamy experience from start to finish. Plotted in a three-storey building on a big block of land in Tseng Tau Village, the restaurant is set in a picturesque location, with a beautiful view of the sea and Three Fathoms Cove. During the day, diners can sit outside and enjoy the sunshine. The space also has a large lawn where children and dogs can run around freely. When the sun sets, the space is dimly lit producing an intimate

“I was born and raised in Hong Kong. After three years of studying hotel management and six years of practicing as a chef in Switzerland, I learned classic French cooking and fell in love with it. I started working at One-Thirtyone in 2005 and decided I needed a change after six years of working here. I rejoined the team in June 2015. I like working at One-Thirtyone because of the amazing surrounding, the freedom of food creativity and the support of the team. I create my menus according to seasonal ingredients. I think the combination of taste and quality of food should always come first, presentation comes a close second. I have incorporated some molecular gastronomy ideas into my dishes like foam, gel and spherification. There are too many favourite dishes of mine to list but the foie gras creme brulee is a highlight for me.” and romantic setting, perfect for a cosy date night. The food is just as good as its location with Chef Gary Cheuk serving up modern European cuisine with a twist of French food. Dishes are delicately presented and changes depending on the seasonal produce. One-Thirtyone also has a small farm next door where herbs and some vegetables are grown and are used in its dishes. The space is available to be hired for private events and dinner parties. 131 Tseng Tau Village, Shap Sze Heung, Sai Kung, 2791 2684,

Casa Cena A newcomer to the square and sister restaurant to the Best for a quick bite original Casa, Casa Cena has a Japanese-American concept, playing with different flavours and ingredients. The diner specialises in mini burritos; toppings include black bean and mango ($80), beef chilli con carne ($90) and prawn and mango ($100). For something more satisfying, try the bbq lamb and guacamole burger ($100) or the cena burger ($120; minced ribeye beef with pulled pork, lettuce and cheese, served with a side of fries). Casa Cena also serves breakfast, fresh juices and coffee.


9 Sha Tsui Path, Sai Kung Square, 2757 1020,

forks and knives at the ready Takka Fusion Takka Fusion plates up modern Japanese food Best for causal dining including sushi rolls, sashimi and donburi (rice bowls). The lunch sets are reasonably priced and include all your favourite Japanese classics. The restaurant is decked out in dark, rustic decor with only a handful of tables. Its recommended to go early as it draws in a crowd at lunch and dinner service, especially over the weekends. Takka Fusion opened up its original location on Fuk Man Road which has now closed down following its move into the square mid last year. 15 Sha Tsui Path, Sai Kung, 2792 2202,

Classified With multiple branches across Hong Kong, the Best for brunch Sai Kung outlet is the most family-friendly. Situated in the square, the restaurant is adorned with wooden shelves and rustic hanging lights. With tables comfortably spaced, there are a handful of tables on the ground level with a large communal table for bigger parties, there is also seating available on the second level. Whether you’re popping in for its signature coffee or a proper meal, Classified has got you covered. Expect simple but satisfying meals like eggs benedict ($100), and french toast

with banana, hazelnuts and syrup ($58), otherwise order some starters that are perfect for sharing. If you’re on the go, Classified also whizzes up nutritious juices or indulge in a thick, creamy milkshake. 5 Sha Tsui Path, Sai Kung, 2529 3454,

Cali-mex You voted, and Cali-mex listened. Following on Best for comfort food from this year’s Sai Kung Readers’ Choice Awards, where there was an overwhelming response for Mexican food to be brought to the area, Cali-mex finally opened in the square in October. The Sai Kung branch offers spacious seating, full table service, extensive cocktail and a kids’ menu. Besides burritos, quesadillas, tacos and nachos, the menu features off the grill items like rib-eye steak ($198), grilled chicken breast ($158), and fish fillet ($148), with sides at an additional cost. Available from 11am-4pm, the weekend brunch ($238) includes free-flow chips and salsa, a ‘cali-mex’ classic main, dessert and bottomless fruit juice, Jarritos, beer or champagne. Cali-mex now offers a delivery service to Sai Kung, Clearwater Bay and surrounding areas. 22 Wan King Path, Sai Kung,

Chinese Kitchen Make your way to Chinese Kitchen for an authentic Best for adventurous eaters Hunan chow down. Dishes pack a punch of flavour and use different traditional herbs and spices. Five spiced sliced beef ($138), steamed fish head with chillies (half a pot $168; full pot $268) and razor clams with garlic and chillies ($48

each or $98 for two; need to be preordered) are popular, not only in Hunan but the Kung. Level of spiciness can be adjusted to suit personal taste. There are non-spicy and vegetarian dishes on the menu as well. Most dishes are available for takeaway. G/F, 16 Wan King Path, Sai Kung, 2192 2348,


cover story Piccolos A Castelo Concepts restaurant, Piccolos, has Best for all-day dining a modern yet dainty vibe. The menu is Italian fusion with a good mix of meat and seafood dishes. The eatery offers an extensive range of dishes, from pork belly lollipops ($125) and crumbed calamari rings ($125) to New Zealand tenderloin ($208) and linguine vongole ($150). Save some room for their selection of sweet treats - you can’t miss the chocolate chip cookie skillet ($75) which is served with chunky choc chips, caramel sauce and vanilla ice cream. The kids menu includes fish and chips, spaghetti bolognese, chicken fried rice and kids pizzas ($70 each; for 12 years and under). Piccolos’ second floor can be hired for private parties and occasions. G/F Wan King Path, Sai Kung, 2791 9233,

Steamers Steamers has remained in its original location since Best for get-togethers opening eight years ago. It has established itself as a favourite amongst locals for its pub menu and ice cold beers. By day, Steamers has a relaxed vibe, allowing guests to sit and chat for hours. By night, Steamers is buzzing hot spot. The restaurant is filled with TVs streaming sport and live music a few nights of the week. Even though Steamers is mainly a pub, it provides a few kids’ options as well. Tuck into Steamers’ mean full brekkie which comes with eggs, sausages and toast ($118) which is available till late morning. Otherwise take the family out for a good old Sunday roast ($168) which comes with broccoli, carrots, peas, roast potatoes and gravy with an option of beef, chicken or lamb.

Jaspas Another restaurant by Castelo Concepts, Jaspas Best for families is a long established eatery in Sai Kung square and the first Jaspas in Hong Kong. The restaurant’s laid back atmosphere fits perfectly into the vibe of the fishing village with its simple decor and spacious dining area where children have plenty of space to run around. Jaspas keeps kids entertained with paper and crayons at the table for them to scribble on.


Jaspas serves up comfort food all day long with an extensive breakfast and lunch menu. Both popular favourites at Jaspas, don’t miss out on the Jaspas Super Sub, available in half ($60) or full loaf ($105) and the Mini Baby Back Ribs ($185). There are also a handful of vegetarian options available, like the veggie fajitas ($138) and the pumpkin and mushroom risotto ($145). All meals are large enough to share amongst the whole family. Make sure to grab a seat outdoors to experience all that Sai Kung has to offer. Open from 8am till late. 13 Sha Tsui Path, Sai Kung, 2792 6388,

66 Yi Chun Street, Sai Kung, 2792 6991,


cover story

Seafood restaurants

Hung Kee Seafood Restaurant Occupying a large space on the waterfront with massive fish tanks showcasing all the seafood the restaurant has to offer, Hung Kee Seafood is hard to miss. Located down the very end of the waterfront, there is plenty of space indoors but if the sun is out, grab a table outside to Best for atmosphere

enjoy the view of the water. Try their signature lobster and noodles with cheese sauce or the black bean with scallop, as well as fried rice in crab shell and e-fu noodles. The restaurant offers set meals as well as a la carte. Shop 6 & 9-10, G/F, Siu Yat Building, Sai Kung Hoi Pong Square, 2792 1348.

Loaf On Tucked away in Sai Kung old town, Best for variety Loaf On won the area’s first ever Michelin star in 2010. Still a perennial favourite, the restaurant serves up piping hot and lip-smackingly good food. Recommended dishes include razor clams in black bean sauce, chilli and garlic deep fried tofu and salt and pepper fresh whole abalone. Alternatively, for something lighter, try the scallops with vermicelli glass noodles and garlic. Whatever your seafood of choice is, Loaf On is sure to hit the spot in both flavour and freshness. 49 See Cheung Street, Sai Kung, 2792 9966.


forks and knives at the ready Chuen Kee Seafood Restaurant Serving a similar menu to the other seafood restaurants along the waterfront, Chuen Kee does it a bit better than the rest - winning an entry into the Michelin guide a few years ago. The long-established restaurant is slightly more comfortable with space and atmosphere. Diners can pick their own seafood from the overspilling tanks and hand it over to the waitress and let them know how you want it cooked. If the ground floor is too crowded, rise above and book a table on the balcony at Chuen Kee. The salt and pepper mantis shrimp is a winner or go simple and order steamed fish either garoupa or snapper - which is bathed in a deliciously sweet soy sauce, topped with julienned ginger and spring onion. Best for views

87-89 Man Nin Street, Sai Kung, 2792 6938.

Top 5 snacks in Sai Kung 1. Portuguese egg tart Chan Fuk Wing Bakery, 9 Man Nin Street, Sai Kung. 2. Pineapple bun Sai Kung Cafe & Bakery, 6-7 Kam Po Court, 2 Hoi Pong Square, 2792 3861. 3. Pepperoni pizza slice Paisano’s, Shop 27, Chan Man Street, Sai Kung, 2791 4445,


Sing Kee Seafood Restaurant

Pull up a chair at Sing Kee, Best for visitors a hidden gem at the end of Sai Kung old town. Sing Kee was awarded a Michelin star in 2015 and rightly so. There are several must-try dishes at Sing Kee including steamed scallops with vermicelli and red wine sauce. Sing Kee’s crispy chicken is also a winner - it’s crunchy on

the outside and soft and juicy on the inside. The restaurant is located in a spacious three storey building. Book ahead as there is a limited number of outdoor tables. Like most seafood restaurants on the waterfront, guests can choose their dinner from the fish tanks on the ground floor.

4. Black sesame soup Honeymoon Dessert, G/F, 10 Po Tung Road, Sai Kung, 2792 4991. 5. Smoothie bowls Little Cove Espresso, 34 See Cheung Street, Sai Kung, 9474 0781,

33-39 Sai Kung Tai Street, 2791 9887.



No-bake raw vegan cheesecake Jacqueline Faulkner whips up a healthy raw cheesecake.


his seriously easy raw (cheese) cake is a healthy treat alternative, packed full of whole foods to keep you healthy and satisfied. Although we don’t grow nuts at Permaclub, we do decorate our desserts with flowers throughout the seasons. Hibiscus flowers come in so many pretty colours and sizes and look divine - just make sure you get an edible variety from a reliable source who don’t use pesticides. Alternatively decorate with delicious seasonal fruits and enjoy! Method • Soak for two hours or overnight (some organic stores sell ones you only need to soak for 10 minutes) • Grind raw walnuts and dates in a processor until a bit sticky for the base • Grind cashews, agave/honey, lemon juice, vanilla extract and coconut oil in a processor



• Layout across the bottom of your cake dish (no need to grease with butter) • Spread mixture and freeze for about three hours or overnight if you prefer • Decorate with edible flowers of choice

Ingredients Base: • 2 cups raw walnut • ½ cup dates Topping: • 3 cups raw cashew • ½ cup agave or honey • ¼ cup lemon juice • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional) • ¾ cup coconut oil

Jacqueline Faulkner is Community Manager at Hong Kong Permaclub which aims to improve and promote environmental sustainability, clean food and a healthy sustainable lifestyle in Hong Kong. For more information visit or email:


Free delivery. View in your home by appointment. PHONE 56487474 Whatsapp 56487474 Clear Water Bay.

The Art House Asia



Hong Kong Academy

Kate Davies finds out how the school is keeping its students on their toes.


open day



Who is God?” “How does the brain work?” “How do bones grow inside your body?” These are the questions on the minds of children, handwritten on post-it notes and stuck to a wall in one of Hong Kong Academy’s kindergarten classrooms. Questions that might make a parent like myself quietly panic, but not the teachers. They encourage kids of all ages to volunteer what they know about subjects, ask what they don’t and then help them find answers on their own. It’s part of a conceptual, inquiry-based learning programme that underlies the school’s entire educational ethos. The fundamentals of this mission are where Hong Kong Academy’s story begins. Some 16 years ago, two parents, Teresa Richman and Ben Frankel embarked on a journey to create a place of learning for children who acquired knowledge in ways different to the fixed teaching standards of the day. They set up an environment they felt was inclusive, individualfocused and community-minded. It is a model that the current principal, Stephen Dare, helped grow for a student population that now counts student numbers in the hundreds. From the fledgling kindergarten on Stubbs Road, the school has moved twice on Hong Kong Island to accommodate the burgeoning student body and is now in its permanent, purpose-built campus in Sai Kung. Today Hong Kong Academy is a fully fledged independent, international nonprofit day school that offers the International Baccalaureate (IB) Primary Years, Middle Years


and Diploma programmes. The class sizes are deliberately kept small so as to ensure a low student-to-teacher ratio with most having two or more teachers to make sure accelerated learners as well as students needing support are well looked after. At just three years old, the Sai Kung campus is big, open, modern and, thanks to a lot of glass, full of natural light. There is a clear nod to sustainability in the building’s design and construction materials, but more importantly the students are active in learning about and protecting the environment - from small beginnings such as the kindergarten garden, to more ambitious service learning projects - including activities such as beach cleanups - that are built into the secondary school curriculum. The principal of HKA’s secondary school, Leanne Dunlap, has only been a part of the staff for a year and a half but has been impressed by what the school stands for. “Any child who comes here to visit will want to stay, I have no doubt about it… A part of that should be directly attributed to Dare and the school’s vision, I know that’s why I came here”. Dunlap says she didn’t interview for her position thinking she would actually take the job, thought that interviewing with HKA would give her good practice for other interviews. “But when I reached the second day I knew this was where I wanted to be,” she says. I felt like I’d won the job lottery!”. The school now boasts more than 630 students aged three to 18, all of whom

are taught on the same campus. While the primary and secondary schools are largely kept separate day to day, there is overlap in the use of some spaces. The school also shares its facilities with the wider Sai Kung community who make use of the indoor sports hall and multi-purpose theatre. In return, students use the local council-run stadium, sports ground and swimming pool nearby. When Dunlap joined HKA, the secondary school was running a seven-period day which included ten minutes passing time between classes and one long break.



“It was a hectic day for the students.” she says. So, she suggested a personally-created, and coined ‘Rotating Block Schedule’. The framework is not unusual: four classes a day at ninety minutes each with three breaks between them, including an hour for lunch. The kicker is that the classes rotate, meaning if you start this Monday with Maths and finish Friday with Science, next week those classes will be at different times on the schedule, keeping everyone on their toes.


It took an open-minded administration to give it a try, but what has turned out to be a scheduling victory is part of the reason Dunlap tells me the school is succeeding. The leadership body and the teachers see the need to be flexible, adapt and grow according to what’s best for the students. “The idea that everyone has to be a life learner is intrinsic to what we teach so we have to model it”. And they do: every Wednesday is a half-day for students as teachers gather in

the afternoon to continue their own personal development. Personally, I found the idea of a half-day every week a bit unusual, but I’m told the older students use this time to get ahead in their work. After seeing the types of projects that some of the middle school students were developing, I can understand why they’d be grateful for a little extra time. A brief tour of the library concludes with a look at one of the middle school student’s end of year projects: a working bicycle assembled from scratch. I’m also told another student intends to patent and sell his project: a working vacuum cleaner made in the shape of a glove. What these 16-year-olds were achieving made me somewhat less proud of my latest effort in successfully assembling an IKEA stepladder on my own. For the students though it is about more than the product, it is a lesson in solo time management, motivation and exploration, and they have as much support from teaching staff as they need. The final two years of the IB programme are by far the toughest as they determine what the student’s next stage in life will be. The approach to these years is broken into three ‘paths’ - HKA Diploma with full IB diploma; HKA Diploma with up to six IB certificates; and solely the HKA Diploma which is run along

open day

School Report

Established: 2000 Class size: average of 22 Curriculum: Baccalaureate World School PYP, MYP, IBDP Fees 2016/2017: $131,000-$206,500 Non refundable capital levy: $25,000 (if no debenture) Address: 33 Wai Man Road, Sai Kung Tel: 2655 1111

similar lines to a US high school diploma. “Any student can pass the diploma programme with support,” says Dunlap. “We don’t screen anybody out. HKA caters for the gifted student and the student who needs support but wants to do the programme”. Support is expected at home and parents are encouraged to take part in the school’s operations. The HKA School Board itself is made up mostly of parents, who also encourage

their counterparts to voice their opinions on school issues. Parents and guardians are also encouraged to volunteer in the school shop and are welcome to participate in activities, or to sit and have a coffee in the school cafe. I’m told that parents are viewed as “partners”, and Dunlap is frank about the fact that the families who join the school need to value academia as much as the social and emotional well-being of the child.

“If we do nothing else – given what’s going on in the world – we need to turn out good people. People who have a moral compass, people who stand up to demi-gods, people who speak for those who don’t have a voice. This generation of kids will change the world, I have no doubt”. In the hands of a leadership with her confidence, dedication and enthusiasm, they may do just that.


big day out

Pearl harbour

Rory Mackay heads to Plover Cove Reservoir, Tolo Harbour and beyond.


f you fancy exploring a natural world that most folk don’t know about within Hong Kong, then a day trip to Plover Cove Reservoir might be in order. The area is easily accessible via public transport and totally worth the effort to reach. Nestled amongst rolling hills, it’s the gateway to the eastern expanses of Tolo Harbour and Double Haven. Begin the trail at Tai Mei Tuk and venture out


into the wilds of northeastern Hong Kong to discover hidden gems. Once there, you certainly won’t be in a rush to leave. Getting to the start point can take a little time from Hong Kong Island, but it is a relatively hassle free trip. Take the MTR to Tai Po Market, then catch a bus (either the 20C minibus or 75K KMB bus) or grab a taxi for around $70 to Tai Mei Tuk. Before you shoot off, stop for a bite to eat and stock up on refreshments in Tai Mei Tuk, as there are no facilities out on the trail. Once refreshed and all set to go, make your way towards the water sports centre and continue up the small road until you reach the lake. Soon, you’ll be greeted by the sight of Plover Cove Reservoir’s dramatic two-kilometre dam wall. Plover Cove was the world’s first ‘at sea level’ freshwater reservoir, its construction began back in 1960 amid disputes with China over Hong Kong’s water supply. Walking the dam wall is usually a relaxing experience of solitude and tranquillity, as you gaze across the dazzling waters of Tolo Harbour. Tolo Harbour was the heart of Hong Kong’s once thriving pearl industry. It is understood that pearls were first collected here, as an imperial monopoly, as far back as the Tang Dynasty. The industry continued intermittently until the early stages of the Ming Dynasty, when

the great outdoors

the imperial monopoly ended due to exhaustion of the beds. Gathering oysters from the seabed was dangerous and cost many lives. The pearl fisher was tied to a weighted rope, lowered from the boat into the sea and left there to collect oysters until the boatmen pulled him back up. During the mid-1950s, the Japanese invested in pearl farms in Tolo Harbour and Long Harbour, rearing various kinds of clams and sea snails. There were four pearl farms in total, located in Sham Chung, Lo Fu Wat, Ngau To Wan and Fu Long Wat. On a weekday or public holiday, the promenade is abuzz with folk enjoying the outdoors in various ways, be it windsurfing and kitesurfing out on the water, or casting a line from shore in the hope of landing a fish. Watch out for manic cyclists and kite flyers too! Once at the far end of the dam wall you will arrive at a small island in the middle of the harbour. Turn left and continue through the gate. Now you can leave the cyclists and most others behind and venture into the heart of the route. Keep the calm turquoise waters of the reservoir on your left and the darker more rugged seas on your right, as you follow the twisting and turning road around scenic nooks before traversing a few smaller concrete dams. After this the hiking trail begins in earnest, rising and dropping many times over small hills, each one more dramatic than the last. It’s up to you how far you wish to venture before turning back. For intrepid types who wish to do the entire circuit around Plover Cove Reservoir or venture

A stunning sunset over the reservoir.

towards Double Haven, the trail over the hills to Wu Kau Tang or Double Haven is fulfilling but requires a full day of hiking. The approaching winter months lend themselves to undertaking such distances, but make sure you are thoroughly prepared. I recommend beginning at Wu Kau Tang instead of Tai Mei Tuk. An infrequent but reliable minibus service (20R) runs there from Tai Po Market MTR. This way, if you are circumnavigating the lake, it is nice to finish at Tai Mei Tuk where there are plenty of amenities and transport options. Overall, this is an adventure for all. A safe and pleasant excursion catering to the needs

of families, yet one that is engaging and flexible enough to challenge the most intrepid outdoor adventurers in Hong Kong. These approaching winter months are ideal for such activities, so what are you waiting for? Get out and explore the open spaces in this stunning part of the territory.

Rory Mackay runs adventure company Wild Hong Kong. For details, visit



A Lapland WINTER WONDERLAND Callum Wiggins heads to Finland in search of the Northern Lights.


arctic adventures




n an old Finnish folk tale the Northern Lights are conjured by the arctic fox. It is said as the fox runs through the snow its tail sweeps snow into the sky creating the Northern Lights. The lights, as many can attest who have searched for them of an evening, can be as elusive as the arctic fox itself. Thankfully Lapland remains one of the best locations in the world to see the lights. With specialist light hunting companies employing the latest in live aurora tracking technologies, chances grow even stronger.


Arriving in Rovaniemi, the capital of Finnish Lapland and a one-hour flight from Helsinki, we meet our tour guides for our first evening of Northern Lights hunting. Beyond Arctic (www. runs small photography tours to hunt down the unpredictable phenomenon. Friends Juho and Juho use aurora forecasting feeds and local weather reports to stand the best possible chance. Wrapped up in layer upon layer of warm clothing to brave the minus-20-degree-celsius conditions, our quest begins with a drive some kilometres away from Rovaniemi to escape any unwanted light pollution. Setting up camp by the edges of a frozen lake, our hunt for the lights takes a surprisingly short amount of time. A greenish hue becomes visible in the sky above just mere minutes after arriving. The hue gradually becomes more visible and a clear streak of green light comes from a northerly direction. Just as quickly as the lights arrived, they soon begin to fade away. Our spirits are raised and expectations high as

we continue our journey deeper into Lapland’s wilderness. A tour with Beyond Arctic comes readily equipped with sophisticated cameras and tripods; this allows amateur lights hunters like us to enjoy the evening without worrying about getting the perfect photo.

Warming up at the camp fire

Setting up camp again about 20 minutes further from Rovaniemi, Juho and Juho are confident that this is the ideal location and a roaring fire is soon keeping us warm at the campsite. We roast sausages and brew a fresh pot of coffee while we wait. The frozen lake cracks and howls. It’s not too long before the arctic foxes come out to play once again. From small whispers of greenish light, stronger vibrant streams of light suddenly appear with an intensity that is reflected by the frozen lake. The camera shutters click as we gaze with wonder into the sky. The minutes pass by as we watch the show in silence before the lights begin to fade. We’re lucky to have been treated to such a long display of the notoriously unpredictable aurora.

boundary Arctic Circle

Our evening with Beyond Arctic is rounded off with freshly cooked pancakes on the dying campfire and we take our tired but contented souls back to the warmth of the hotel.



The sau n a

Hitching a ride

n Lights r e h t r o N e l b a The unforgett

Feeding th e reindeer Fancy a dip? Wilderness tours in Luosto Leaving Rovaniemi we take a a short 90-minute bus trip to the small town of Luosto. For those looking to stay somewhere a little out of the ordinary, Santa’s Hotel Aurora is comprised of 10 glass-roofed igloos. Each room is even equipped with a mobile phone to signal guests when the aurora is in the vicinity. On our first day in Luosto we meet Mr Eero Fisk, the founder of Kairankutsu - Call of the Wilderness tours, which takes small tour groups into the Lappish wilderness. Pyha-Luosto National Park, known for its deep gorges and ancient hillside trees, has a number of hiking routes open to the public. Our guide Eero belies his years and energetically hikes through the park, pausing frequently to share his vast knowledge of the natural landscape and tips for hiking in the wintry conditions.


Vibrant streams of light suddenly appear with an intensity that is reflected by the frozen lake.

instructed to hug the tree and feel a connection to the forest. Thankfully we have chosen a quiet day to hike the park. When our paths do cross with other hikers, Eero is quick to enquire about their route and whether they are familiar with the conditions. In the harsh winters of Lapland with its vast landscapes, becoming lost or getting into difficulty can quickly become treacherous and the terrain must be respected.

Wildlife Our exploration of the park sees us track animal footprints, scavenge for wild berries under a blanket of snow and even adopt a tree. “When a tree calls out to you we will stop and you will connect with your tree”. Eero explains. “You will always remember your tree and it will always remember you”. Noticing a rather robust looking birch in a small clearing, I tell Eero that a tree has caught my eye. Taking a few moments to fully take in the impressive specimen, I’m

Reindeer are vital to the local economy in Lapland with each and every animal owned by a reindeer herder. Lapland’s 200,000 reindeer are rounded up twice a year for counting and ear marking. Each herder makes his or her own distinct marking in the reindeer’s ear for identification as these designs are often passed down through the family. The Kopara Reindeer Park welcomes the public to learn more about the reindeer by

Plan your trip

ride on a A husky sle!igh frozen lake

Gazing at th e ful moon

getting up close to see the animals. Feeding time is a frenzy but the reindeer are generally tame and well-trained especially in the case of the selected sleigh pullers.

Lapland is a destination with something for everyone, and not just for Christmas. There are plenty of outdoor hikes and excursions not to mention extreme sports for thrill seekers. Culture vultures will be happy with a number of quality museums and exhibitions of the people and history of Lappish culture.

Sleigh rides through the forest are an excellent way to venture into the local surroundings and riders are kept warm under thick reindeer hides. Book in advance during the busy winter season.

When to visit: December to February are the peak months for tourists and winter activities. Why visit: Finland celebrates 100 years of independence during 2017 so expect a number of national celebrations and centenary events. Flights: Fly directly from Hong Kong to Helsinki with Finnair and take advantage of Finnair’s up to five night stopover. Visit for more details. We stayed at: Arctic Light Hotel, Rovaniemi, Santa’s Hotel Aurora, Luosto, More information:


health & beauty

Refresh and rejuvenate

The top massages to get you recharged for the new year. By Annie Wong.

Total relaxation at Sense of Touch.

Sense of Touch Choose from five types of massages including Sense of Touch Massage Therapies - Deep Calm and Detox ($680 for 60 minutes; $980 for 90 minutes), Total Tranquility Couple’s Massage ($1,340 for 60 minutes), Fusion Massage ($730 for 60 minutes), Deep Tissue Massage ($780 for 60 minutes; $1,030 for 90 minutes) and Tranquil Head Massage ($400 for 30 minutes). To get the full spa experience, Sense of Touch offers several signature treatments (starts from $1,081) that include a massage, facial and manicure or pedicure. Throughout the month of January, Sense of Touch is offering a two for one offer on selected treatments. Several branches across Hong Kong including G/F, 77 Man Nin Street, Sai Kung, 2791 2278, Sabai Day Spa Located in the heart of Sai Kung, Sabai Day Spa offers a range of massages and beauty services. A traditional Thai massage


will include certified therapists using hand compressions, stretching and manipulation techniques to release tension and improve circulation. For something more simple, opt for the 30 minute back massage which will help relieve aching muscles. Other massages include sports massage, luxury aromatherapy massage and a neck and body massage. 2F, 10D, Po Tung Road, Sai Kung, 2791 2259, Zone@SaiKung Put up your feet and relax with a foot massage ($180 for 45 minutes) or detox with a lymphatic drainage massage ($240 for 45 minutes). Children can enjoy a body and foot massage ($120 for 30 mins). Zone@SaiKung’s service menu also includes sports massage, traditional Thai massage, hot stone massage and pregnancy massage. Shop F, 16 Po Tung Road, Sai Kung, 2886 8804,

Tala’s Hair and Beauty Centre Owned by Mojdeh Kazemi, popular hair salon, Tala’s, has a great team of hair stylists and beauty therapists. Its services not only includes haircuts, colouring and hair treatments but also foot massages (30 minutes for $160), full body massages (60 minute for $500), or get a combination of neck, shoulder and back massage (30 minute for $290). 56 Po Tung Road, Sai Kung, 2335 1694,

treat yourself Melo Spa Pamper yourself at award-winning spa, Melo Spa, at the Hyatt Regency Sha Tin. Choose from several massages and packages from Melo Spa’s luxurious menu including their Signature Massage ($1,040 for 60 mins or $1,470 for 90 mins) which uses a pomelo and lemon-infused oil, Balance ($2,250 for 2.5 hours), Detox ($1,570 for 2 hours). Children can get their feet massaged ($320 for 25 mins), or indulge in a foot massage and mini mani ($480 for 50 mins), and other treatments are available.The spa also has a fully-equipped fitness centre, sauna, steam and spa. 18 Chak Cheung Street, Sha Tin, 3723 7888,

Try Melo Spa’s Signature Massage.

Can you imagine spending 30 years like this?

Oliver spent three decades in a tiny cage – alone and in agony – repeatedly violated for his gall-bladder bile. Today there are still thousands of bears, just like Oliver, who face abuse and suffering every single day. You can stop this cruelty. Join Team Oliver, our global community of people dedicated to ending the suffering of China’s forgotten bile bears. Find out more and watch Oliver’s incredible story at: Call Animals Asia Hong Kong on: 2791 2225



An inspector calls SPCA Inspector Kwong Tze Shun (Bob) has been in the job for 20 years. He reflects on two decades of rescuing animals. When I joined the SPCA Inspectorate in 1995, there were no other animal welfare organisations or government departments devoted to animal rescue. I heard about the job from my girlfriend at the time and thought I would give it a go. Before joining, I underwent a physical examination and language test. I received some basic veterinary training but most of the training is on the job. On my first day I was partnered with a senior inspector on a dog rescue case in Tuen Mun. The dog had been involved in a car accident that left him immobile in his hind legs. He was still able to move rapidly with his forelegs and ended up falling into a water catchment. We rescued him and took him to the SPCA’s 24-hour hospital.

During my early years of service I often had to go into villages where many homeowners loved to keep dogs as guard dogs. Often, the dogs were not provided with adequate food and water - it was hard to know whether they had been abandoned by their owners or if they had just been left unattended temporarily. We would undertake multiple home visits and speak to neighbours to ensure there was no animal cruelty. In my experience, most cases of mistreatment are due to owner negligence. Only a small portion involve intentional cruelty. It’s more common for us to rescue a lost or injured pet and return it to the owner, than rescue a pet that is being mistreated by its owner. 10 years ago, we were at a loss as to what to do when we received dogs and cats suspected of having been poisoned. Now, we send their bodies to the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) laboratory for toxicological testing. The evidence obtained can greatly assist our investigations. The manpower, resources and hard work involved is immense, something of which the public is probably unaware. In my 20 years of service I have learned much about animals and - most importantly - how to communicate articulately and patiently between pet owners and informants. During this time, I think Hongkongers’ attitudes towards animals have drastically changed: there is greater awareness of animal welfare. However, there is still no consensus on the form it should take, which produces misunderstanding and can be dispiriting. What we hold inviolable is to save animals from unnecessary suffering. I have a twelve-year-old pug at home and every time I rescue a pet and give it back to its owner, I am very aware of the significance of the SPCA’s work. The SPCA Inspectorate are on call 24/7, rescuing animals across Hong Kong. If you see an animal requiring assistance or suspect animal cruelty, call the animal rescue hotline on 2711 1000.




Pets Central veterinarian Dr. Pauline Taylor answers your questions. Q: “What is the most unusual case you’ve ever encountered?” - Morgan, Tai Tam A: I remember one day many years ago when I was living in New Zealand. A middle age dachshund “Kora” presented to my clinic with intermittent vomiting and lethargy. Kora lived at the coast and used to walk a few miles every day with her owner along the beach. Recently though she wasn’t so keen to walk and seemed to run out of puff. Upon examination of Kora’s abdomen, a painful swelling as thick as my wrist and over two feet long was easily palpated. X-rays showed a thickened part of the small intestine. The entire gut was solid, instead of being tube like and round to allow the passage of food. The area was blocked but I had no idea what could be stuck there... What on earth had Kora eaten that looked so solid on X-ray? Kora went to surgery the same day and what I found was a solid plug of sand through nearly three feet of the intestine. The sand was very crumbly and hard, dry and rock like. It turned out the owner rarely washed Kora’s feet after her walks. Kora must have licked her feet to clean them up and had swallowed small amounts of sand for years. It was a tough job to get the sand out - it involved using a teaspoon like a small spade. The message here is to always rinse your dog in fresh water after a trip to the beach especially the feet - to stop the ingestion of sand. Got a question for Dr. Pauline? Email




With Michael Sadarangani, owner of Maven Sai Kung.


Show me the money

Paul Zimmerman asks, “Where is the money for fixing harbourfronts?”

Q: How many dogs do you have and what are their names? I have three dogs. Bon Bon is a 17 year old cross Terrier and Corgi, Butterfly who is a 7 year old Skye Terrier and I have a mongrel named Kaiser who is just 2 years old. Q: How did they come into your family? Bon Bon was adopted when we went for a walk in Nam Wai Village. He has turned out to be such a striking handsome adult dog, so domineering and determined and of course with a small dog complex. Butterfly was adopted from a pet store owner who had to give her up. Kaiser was found on a bridge outside my home at 4 weeks old when I took Bon Bon for a walk two years ago. He was a tiny little thing that could fit in the palm of my hand - today he is 36 kgs with very long legs. When he is standing on his two feet, he is taller than my wife! Q: Favourite dog walk in Sai Kung and why? Bon Bon can’t walk anymore so we have to carry him everywhere. I have a special route from Hiram’s Highway via the outskirts of HKUST and around Tai Po Tsai, behind TVB and back again. It passes the bridge where I found Kasier. It’s a city walk but there are wide footpaths, benches along the way to rest and parts of the walk is shaded and have heavy tree cover. The other route is Che Keng Tuk village. There’s a dog park and they have a small pier where dogs can swim in the sea. The water is shallow and safe for small dogs. Q: Best place for dog products and accessories? Whiskers N Paws, and Fat Fat Grooming House. Q: Any advice in owning or adopting a dog? Please adopt where possible - there are so many dogs given away, rescued and waiting for a good home. Sai Kung Stray Friends & Hong Kong Dog Rescue do brilliant work. SPCA has breeds if you only want a pedigree dog. But don’t get fussed over breeds though - mongrels are extremely faithful and loving. There are other things to consider like preparing for dogs as they get older, pet insurance, and owning multiple dogs. Q: Who looks after your dogs when you’re away from Hong Kong? My mum looks after them and I am blessed with two wonderful helpers Stella & Rodel who love our dogs like we do and really take good care of them.



he great thing about accessible waterfronts is just that – they are accessible. And for many people – including the elderly, mums with prams and people with little time – they are more accessible than our gorgeous but mountainous country parks. My involvement in planning and politics started with a small project in 2002, trying to focus people’s minds on the opportunity to fix the waterfront of Victoria Harbour when it became clear that reclamation would end. In response, the government set up an advisory committee in 2004 dedicated to enhancing the 73km harbourfront. I am still involved today. A third of the Victoria Harbour waterfront supports marine and water dependent uses, including container and cargo handling, watersports and sewage treatment. This will continue in the long term. But one day, 46km of waterfront will be available for public enjoyment. Short sections are already accessible by pedestrians but connecting these is very slow. In part, this is because we are waiting for the Express Rail, the Central Wan Chai Bypass, the Central Kowloon Route and the redevelopment of Kai Tak to be completed. Other sections where land is readily available – such as the waterfronts of Cha Kwo Ling, To Kwa Wan, Hung Hom, Quarry Bay and Sai Ying Pun - are held up simply due to a lack of funding. There is no commitment. The Transport Department appears to be in no hurry to find alternative solutions for the parking of goods vehicles and coaches. As a result many of our waterfronts continue to be occupied by temporary parking, storage and other incompatible uses. With the announcement of plans to invest $5billion in the expansion of Disney, we have to ask: why is priority given to tourism over fixing the city for the residents? Why is signing off big projects so much easier than fine-tuning the city with many small projects? Fixing our waterfronts will benefit residents every day - and visiting tourists. So for now – let’s say no to Disney until the waterfronts are fixed.

Paul Zimmerman is the CEO of Designing Hong Kong, a Southern District Councillor and the co-convenor of Save Our Country Parks alliance.


where to find us

Sai Kung Magazine continues to extend its reach in the community, here is the latest in distribution news. 30,000 readers. 10,000 copies.



Sai Kung Town Hebe Haven Marina Cove KOWLOON Silverstrand Tseung Kwan O Clearwater Bay


Restaurants, Bars and Cafes -

AJ’s Sri Lankan Restaurant Ali Oli Bakery Bacco Big Fish Butcher King CC Café Casa Cava Chip In Classified Colour Brown Fiesta Fiesta Firenze Grande Restaurant Five Coffee Company Italiano’s Jaspas May’s Sawadee Mike’s Chicken Comida de Portugal Paisano’s Pepperonis Pizzeria La Gondola Sauce Sawadee Thai Starbucks Steamers Takka Fusion T.C. Deli Tree Cafe (Horizon Plaza) The Duke of York


The Dutch The Sandwich Club, HKUST Union Jacks Vilavila Gourmet Village Restaurant

Shops -

The Bottleshop The Courtyard East Point City Shopping Mall Everything Under The Sun (Horizon Plaza) Final Fragment Fusion, Centro Plaza Fusion, Clearwater Bay Ka Ying Curtain Craft Leisure Book Shop Life’s a Breeze (Horizon Plaza) Look Upstairs One Kowloon Patsy House Rich On House Property Agency Sai Kung Market Schmidt Vinothek Taste (East Point City) Today Speed Photo Finishing Mirth TREE Watsons Wine Cellar Wood + Kitchen

Pets and Vets

Schools and Kindergartens

- Pets Central - Sai Kung Animal Hospital


Private Clubs and Hotels -

Clearwater Bay Golf & Country Club Equestrian Centre Hebe Haven Yacht Club Hillview Court Hyatt Regency Hong Kong (Sha Tin) Marina Cove Residence Oasis The Giverny The Portofino Victoria Recreation Club

Anastassia’s Art House Clearwater Bay School Garden House Hong Kong Academy Hong Kong Adventist College Kellett School Mills International School Music Horizon Sunshine House Sai Kung English Tutti Music Woodland Pre-School

Health and Fitness -

Allure Escapade sports OT&P (Razor Hill) Pole Paradise Queen’s Castle Organic Day Spa Sai Kung Healthcare Centre Sara Thai Massage Seasons Fitness (Central) Sense of Touch Tala’s Hair and Beauty Zone @ Sai Kung Reflexology Centre



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Taxi drivers overcharging customers.

Getting crabs Have you been following this online outburst concerning the activities of Mandarin-speaking men who were spotted gathering tiny saltwater crabs at the Wu Kai Sha beach in Ma On Shan? Netizens seemed particularly interested in the fact that they then proceeded to eat them raw. On the one hand they have exposed themselves to a nasty risk of food poisoning and on the other they were disturbing the habitat of these crabs, which play an important role in the ecology of this environment. What makes this story all the more compelling is that the area where all this was going on is known as the ‘Heart of the Ocean’, a beach with something of a reputation for accommodating lovers in search of a quiet space.

Photo by: Chong Fat

Wang Chau.

CY sets his eyes on country park destruction… for the public good, of course Groping for nice things to say about Leung Chun-ying, Hong Kong’s Chief Executive, some people maintain that at least he is genuinely committed to environmental issues. However this does not seem to apply to preserving the country parks, the largest of which are in the Sai Kung area. Speaking recently to a youth group he joined the chorus of property developers who persistently argue that the key to solving the housing crisis is to reduce the size of the country parks and use them for housing development. In his address Leung echoed their views, saying, ‘if people allow me and the government to develop land that they consider to be sacred and inviolable – if no one opposes it – I would be able to provide housing sold at its production cost. It would be cheaper than Home Ownership Scheme flats’. This will be music to the ears of some landowners and others who are determined to ignore the fact that there is considerable space available in the many brownfield sites dotted around Hong Kong but as we have seen in the notorious case of the Wang Chau development, these areas are left undeveloped because this administration dares not confront the highly influential New Territory landowners who are holding out for larger and larger amounts of compensation. Leung continued his peroration saying, ‘even if the current and the next administrations don’t think about the relationship between residential land use and country parks, your generation still needs to give some thought to it.’ Fortunately many young people have given this matter a lot of thought and that’s why they have joined the ranks of those determined to protect the country parks and are highly unlikely to follow Mr Leung’s advice over keeping silent while the parks are despoiled.

Here’s hoping against hope for 2017 So, here we are in 2017, marking the 20th anniversary of the establishment of the Hong Kong SAR and a year, if the last one is anything to go by, that is quite likely to be rather turbulent. Sai Kung likes to think of itself as a place offering shelter from some of this turbulence but we cannot avoid it. We are, for example, living in one of the constituencies affected by the expulsion from Legco of one of the Youngspiration legislators, so sometime this year we shall be having a by-election. The big private estate housing developments in Clear Water Bay Road and near the Sai Kung town centre are likely to be completed during the year, adding considerably to the density of the local population and the government is eagerly eyeing other parts of Sai Kung for redevelopment. The Hiram’s Highway Phase 1 expansion will be at full pelt during the year and goodness only knows how this will affect access to the district. Meanwhile there is a backlog of applications for redevelopment of land within the country parks area – if the past is a guide to the future it is likely that the authorities will be giving them the go-ahead. However let’s try and stay positive; to paraphrase a large and rather obnoxious American fellow with a distinctly populist touch and bad hair issues – Let’s Make Sai Kung Great Again!

The perils of defending taxi drivers I should perhaps have known better than to use this space to speak up in defense of local taxi drivers, several friends have mocked me for doing so. And now we are getting reports of taxi drivers being arrested for gouging passengers visiting the High Island Reservoir. Undercover police officers were alerted to this scam and as a result of their work they arrested a couple of drivers for overcharging. In one instance a ride that should have cost $120 ended up costing $425. All I can say is that this has never happened to me but then again I live in Sai Kung and have a pretty good idea of fare levels in this area.

Hiram’s Highway.

Photo by: Seewide

Photo by: Exploringlife

Country park destruction, getting crabs and taxi drivers, writes Stephen Vines.

‘Heart of the Ocean’ in Ma On Shan.

Stephen Vines is a journalist, broadcaster and entrepreneur. He is the former editor of the Eastern Express and Southeast Asia correspondent for The Observer.

Sai Kung Jan 2017  
Sai Kung Jan 2017