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January 2017 Kung Hei Fat Choi!

The Repulse Bay: a history

Your guide to Lunar New Year PLUS: A Lapland adventure

and Your 2017 horoscope

A good brunch is just so hard to find these days...

Incredible! The cat really does look grumpy! You need to pick up a copy of Southside Magazine, darling. (Pg. 46)

Not another cat video! If only I’d gone to that new art exhibition instead. (Pg. 42)

Yes... amazing.


The really useful magazine January 2017

PEOPLE 4 Snapped! Southside’s social life. THE PLANNER 8 Happening in January What’s on. FAMILY 14 Cock-a-doodle-doo Your guide to Lunar New Year. Plus your Chinese Zodiac horoscope. NEWS 20 What’s going on? In your backyard. GIVEAWAYS 22 Free stuff Fab things to win.

FIVE MINUTES WITH... 24 Henry Chai Man Hon District Councillor for Wah Fu North. LOCAL 26 Cops and robbers What’s behind the recent string of high profile burglaries in the Southside? NEWS FROM THE GREENS 28 Paul Zimmerman asks… “Where’s the money for our harbourfronts?” COVER STORY 30 The old Repulse Bay Hotel A journey into the past. EDUCATION 38 Victoria Shanghai Academy Rebecca Simpson takes a tour.

ARTS & CULTURE 42 3DPRK A new exhibition of 3D images shot in North Korea. We speak to the artist. EATING 46 Brunch o’clock Our top brunch spots. Plus Nibbles. TRAVEL 52 Lapland Journey to a winter wonderland.

PETS 66 Desexing demystified FAQs and common misconceptions. DOCTOR, DOCTOR 66 Ask Dr. Pauline “What was your most unusual case?” SOUTHSIDE SECRETS 72 Murray House A haunting history.

INTERVIEW 60 Sarah Brennan On her new book, plus roosters, reading and the perils of tech. HEALTH & BEAUTY 62 New year, same old you? Where to keep fit in Southside.


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Kate Springer

Dr. Pauline Taylor

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people Snaps from Southside


say cheese


people Stanley Plaza Enchanted Christmas Market


say cheese Clockenflap 2016

Share your event photos with us at Get snapping!


photo by Belinda Bamford



Music by the Sea

Stanley’s monthly busking event is back. With a variety of songs ranging from classic, pop and even originals, why not head over and relax by the sea with some great live music. 2:30pm-4:30pm, Stanley Plaza.

JAN 1 41st New Year Swimming Lifesaving Championships Hong Kong Life Saving Society’s New Year race is back for its 41st year. The 600m race starts from Middle Bay Beach and finish at Repulse Bay Jetty. Last year’s event saw over 2,600 participants with the oldest aged 81! The race begins at 10am.

UNTIL JAN 1 Winterfest

UNTIL JAN 2 Disneyland

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.

Goofy is bringing Christmas cheer to Hong Kong this year as he dons his Santa costume and greets guests during Hong Kong Disneyland’s “A Sparkling Christmas” . Tell Santa Goofy what you’re wishing for this year or send a limited edition Christmas postcard through the Santa Goofy mailbox. An 18-metre LED-wrapped Christmas tree is not to be missed while the night parade is a visual feast of seasonal decorations with Christmas carollers singing all your favourite tunes. Visit for more details.

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 2 Ocean Park Christmas Sensation 2016 This year’s attractions include a 4D stage show, the all-new Penguin Dress-Up Delights and the Cyber Illusion Spectacular stage show

happening in January KidsFest 2017

JAN FEB 152-

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.

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. Visit the park on the evening of December 17 to enjoy carols under the tree and have the chance to help Santa turn on the Christmas tree lights.

UNTIL JAN 4 PAPINEE World at the Mandarin Oriental

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.

JAN 8 Discovery Bay Market 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.

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


planner JAN 14 Bryan Adams Get Up Tour Multi-platinum selling artist Bryan Adams returns to Hong Kong after his last show in town in 1993. One of Canada’s best-selling artists, Adams is stopping by Hong Kong as part of his worldwide Get Up Tour 2017. Tickets $480-$980 at or call 3128 8288. Asia-World Expo, Hall 10.

JAN 15 Cantonese Opera Fun Day


AIA Christmas Carnival Roll up, roll up! The AIA Great European Carnival returns to Central Harbourfront. Attracting more than one million visitors last year, the carnival will once again play host to fairground rides, games, dance shows, pantomimes and magicians. More than one million cuddly toys are there to be won! Tickets start at $90 for children and $125 for adults. More information at

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 20 Metallica in Hong Kong Channel your inner rock god or goddess as Metallica debuts in Hong Kong. Tickets start at $580 from 8pm, Asia WorldExpo.

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.

JA 20-2N2

JAN 20-22 Global Game Jam Hong Kong 2017 Global Game Jam (GGJ), the world’s largest game hackathon returns to Hong Kong. The weekend long event encourages individuals to come together and create a game. GGJ is open to people from all backgrounds, including those with no experience in coding. Registration ends Jan 22. 9am-7pm, Cyberport. For more information, visit

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 views of Chi Ma Wan. Pick either 11km or 20km. Entry free is $350. For more info visit

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.

JAN 22 Gammon China Coast Marathon and Half Marathon 2017 Train ahead for this gruelling marathon which 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

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 25 & 27 First Aid skills Dr. Alan Wong talks about and demonstrates essential first aid training for parents of young children and caregivers to prepare them for child related emergencies. Topics include what to do for choking, burns, bites, stings, and how to spot, prevent and take care of pediatric illnesses. January 25 (10am-noon); January 27 (2-4pm). Free of charge. Six participants per session (private group sessions can be arranged separately). To register, contact The Child Development Team at One Island South, Wong Chuk Hang on 2511 3326.

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BOOK NOW FEB 3-5 Legends in Concert

FEB 12 Standard Chartered Marathon

The live celebrity tribute show features an allstar cast of Elvis Presley, Adele, David Bowie and Madonna direct from Las Vegas to The Parisian, Macau. Running for 33 years, Legends in Concert is Las Vegas’ longest-running live entertainment show. Tickets $180-$480 from, 3128 8288.

Hong Kong’s annual marathon is back with full, half and 10km marathons, plus 3km and 10km wheelchair races. Starts on Nathan Road, Tsim Sha Tsui. The public ballot is closed but charity entry is open until Dec 7.

festival. Central Harbourfront. For more information, visit

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

MAR 20-25 Art Central Art Central returns to Central Harbourfront for its third edition, featuring over 100 leading international galleries. Large-scale installations, performances, talks and panel discussions await Hong Kong’s growing art community. Tickets start from $230 from

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

Search and List with Savills Hong Kong 2842 4411 / Kowloon 2378 8631 / Discovery Bay Hotline 2987 1919 12 | WWW.SOUTHSIDE.HK Southside_Jan17_OP.indd 1

9/12/2016 15:34:25


special feature

8 8


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 closer to you such as friends’ children or your hairdresser. $100 as a generous gift to someone you care about. This is generally the minimum a boss gives an employee. $500+ – this is not unheard of, but it is usually given with a good motive or on birthdays or weddings. DO SAY:


Watch the Chinese New Year Night Parade - JAN 28

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.

The parade starts at 8pm and freestanding 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.

“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.


Visit the Lam Tsuen Wishing Tree

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. Fortune-seekers holding plastic mandarins with wishes attached can throw them 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.



special cover feature story


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.


Win big at Chinese New Year Race Day - Jan 30

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 starting from 11am. Visit for more details.


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.

2 Grab a bargain on the last day of the flower market at Vicotria Park.


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 mandarin trees, studded with tiny orange fruits 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.


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.

Calligraphy 101 Look out for these auspicious characters and phrases...

福 Luck, prosperity

樂 Happiness

壽 Longevity

新年快樂 Happy New Year

恭喜發財 Prosperous New Year


special cover feature story

YOUR 2017

Find your Chinese Zodiac animal an

The Dog

The Pig

The Rat

Year: 1958, 1970, 1982, 1994, 2006

Year: 1959, 1971, 1983, 1995, 2007

Year: 1960, 1972, 1984, 1996, 2008

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.

Resourceful and versatile, nothing will stand in the way in 2017 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.

The Dragon

The Snake

The Horse

Year: 1964, 1976, 1988, 2000, 2012

Year: 1965, 1977, 1989, 2001, 2013

Year: 1966, 1978, 1990, 2002, 2014

Typically strong-willed and forceful of 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. A thoughtful and pragmatic approach 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 for socialising and being the enigmatic creature that you are, snake. You’ve got great energy around you so pick up a new hobby and try something new - acquaintances whom 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. 2017 is a year of incremental improvement.

This year isn’t going to be your best year, but it also won’t be your worst. You will be have 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.


kung hei fat choi!


nd see what 2017 has in store for you...

The Ox

The Tiger

The Rabbit

Year: 1961, 1973, 1985, 1997, 2009

Year: 1962, 1974, 1986, 1998, 2010

Year: 1963, 1975, 1987, 1999, 2011

Both good and bad news await 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 thanks to the rooster’s interference - 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.

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. Finally, you will soon receive a surprising request - think carefully before you accept or reject.

The Goat

The Monkey

The Rooster

Year: 1967, 1979, 1991, 2003, 2015

Year: 1968, 1980, 1992, 2004, 2016

Year: 1969, 1981, 1993, 2005, 2017

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.

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.



BAMBOO JUNGLE GYMS LAUNCHES IN TAI TAM TUK opportunities for city kids to experience nature in a hands-on, accessible way and connect it to the bamboo we see all around us. Bamboo biodiversity jungle gym is a great start. Wouldn’t it be amazing if every beach, every country park could have a customised bamboo jungle gym?” Combining local skills, heritage and sustainable practices, the bamboo was sourced from a long established family business in Shek Kong and built by a third generation Hong Kong bamboo scaffold master. It stands on wood chip from Hong Kong’s only wood recycling company. Open until the end of February to limited school groups in English or Chinese. For further enquiries or to arrange a workshop, email

NEW CHILDREN’S BOOK ON ENDANGERED HAINAN GIBBON Hong Kong-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!” Available at most bookstores in Hong Kong, including Bookazine, The Repulse Bay Arcade, 109 Repulse Bay Road.

PETITION FOR M&S FOOD AT CYBERPORT Struggling to find a good maple-and-pecan twist on the west of the island? A petition has been launched by a longtime member of the Pok Fu Lam community, urging Cyberport’s


management to “strongly consider” opening a Marks & Spencers Foodhall in Cyberport. 272 have signed the petition so far. You can show your support at

Photo by Philipp Engelhorn

A pop-up jungle gym for children, made from 113 bamboo poles, has been constructed in Tai Tam Tuk Village as part of the Agricultural Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) Biodiversity Festival 2016. Designed by the Tai Tam Tuk Foundation (TTTF), this pilot hands-on education project aims to teach children about the ecological, commercial and cultural values of bamboo, Hong Kong’s wonder natural resource. “Like Sir David Attenborough said, ‘people won’t protect something that they don’t care for, and they won’t care for something they’ve never experienced’,” says Jenna Ho Marris, co-founder of TTTF. “We have 60 species of bamboo in Hong Kong and see it on buildings everywhere in our city. We’d love to create


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 West Island School, 250 Victoria Road, Pok Fu Lam. Course fees are $2,600 and include 12 one-hour Ronaldo Academy methodology football training sessions (once a week), a Ronaldo Academy shirt and a certificate of achievement. Season 1 begins on January 21. More details at

in your backyard

NEW BOOK APPLICATIONS BY FORMER OPEN FOR STANLEY DRAGON POLICEMAN BOAT RACES Applications for the Sun Life Stanley International Dragon Boat Championships 2017 are now open. The races, which see competitors battle it out on a 270 metre course off Stanley Main Beach, will be held on May 30 (8am-5pm). Applications close on May 5. Register your team at

Chairman of the Royal Commonwealth Society, Peter Mann, has published a book, Sheriff of Wan Chai, in which he recounts his time serving in the Hong Kong police force and helping to govern during 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 work and 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 was on duty during the police mutiny in 1978 and saw 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. He led a district vice squad in Kowloon before joining the colonial government’s Administrative Service and working in the fields of transport, housing,

security, environment and tourism. He also served as a District Officer in Wan Chai. Sheriff of Wan Chai is available at Bookazine, The Repulse Bay Arcade, 109 Repulse Bay Road.


win at


enter to win! Snow Fox Snow Fox Skin Care is a simple 3-step regime for flawless skin. It only uses 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.

Ultimate Performance

Deadline: January 23

Ultimate Performance was conceived with one simple vision in mind — to create and implement the most effective consultative 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, bodyfat measurements, a movement assessment, a nutrition plan and access to unlimited group classes for two weeks. Deadline: January 25

Escapade Sports

Sense of Touch

Sleep Naked

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 water-repellent and quick dry. One lucky reader will win a jersey.

Multi-award winning spa group Sense of Touch is opening a new Retreat at Le Méridien Cyberport. Chic and pulsing with an urban cool, the spa nestled amongst a backdrop of greenery while overlooking the South China Sea, it is stylishly designed for a unique pampering journey for both body and mind with another level of relaxation.

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.

Deadline: January 26

Enjoy a Southside escape with a complimentary 30-minute tension relief back massage and relaxing foot massage worth $840. You can also upgrade your getaway with an Afternoon Tea Set for Two for only $280.

Deadline: January 24

Deadline: January 27

Subscribe to our e-newsletter to get all our giveaways delivered straight to your inbox: 22 | WWW.SOUTHSIDE.HK


five minutes with


The District Councillor of Wah Fu North talks to Robyn Or about the future of the area.

Tom Hilditch


Editor-in-Chief Shreena Patel Contributing Editor Callum Wiggins Annie Wong Carolynne Dear


Design Manager Cindy Suen Graphic Designer Anna Schulteisz

Thanks to

Amanda Sheppard Belinda Bamford Graham Turner Hayden Kwok The Hong Kong Heritage Project Hong Kong Historical Aircraft Association Rebecca Simpson Robyn Or Paul Zimmerman Dr. Pauline Taylor Peter Hibbard The Hong Kong and Shanghai Hotels, Limited

Published by

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

Photo from the Hong Kong Historical Aircraft Association

Inset: the July 1 protests saw half a million Hongkongers take to the streets.

I have been District Councillor of Wah Fu North for four consecutive terms. Back in college, I studied Social Sciences and majored in International Politics and Law. Learning that society and human behaviour can be explained and changed by systematic political movements inspired me to become a politician. I began my political career working in the office of Yeung Sum - the second chairman of the Democratic Party. He was keen on building a better society in terms of social welfare, human freedom and basic rights. Later, when I ran to be a District Councillor, fighting for democracy and a better welfare policy were two of my key election platforms. On July 1, 2003, we protested against Basic Law Article 23 (also known as the “anti-subversion law”), the basis of a security law proposed by the then government. I believe the proposed bill would have limited the freedom of Hong


Kong society. Moreover, within the package of proposals to implement Article 23, the government proposed an emergency police power to enter and search premises without a warrant.

people from the neighbourhood talk to me. Sometimes they share information and personal requests, sometimes we talk about public issues like the redevelopment of Wah Fu Estate. On weekends, we set up a counter, usually in the centre of Aberdeen, to meet with the public.

The protest was huge - half a million people took to the streets.

My colleagues say I am too rational, but I think it’s a good way to approach my work. My parents always encouraged my brother and me to think critically.

The protest was huge - half a million people took to the streets. Ultimately, it led to the resignation of two Executive Committee members and the withdrawal of the bill. It also brought votes to our party. My office is located at Wah Tai House. Whenever I walk there,

I also teach Politics at the Open University on a part time basis. My students come from all walks of life and class discussions are full of diverse opinions, which spark new thoughts and ideas regarding society’s problems. Technology has fostered better communication, especially in district work. I set up an official Facebook page for my office two years ago where I share community news and policy

Photo by By Agent Rouge - Flickr.

Senior Staff Writer Eric Ho

politicking The terms of Article 23 provide: “The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region shall enact laws on its own to prohibit any act of treason, secession, sedition, subversion against the Central People’s Government, or theft of state secrets, to prohibit foreign political organizations or bodies from conducting political activities in the Region, and to prohibit political organizations or bodies of the Region from establishing ties with foreign political organizations or bodies.” updates. It works well and helps me to collect the first reactions from the public whenever there is a plan from the government. Being a District Councillor has made me more patient and humble. I have learnt that time is a big factor when implementing a new policy: people need time to digest every piece of information plus time to be brave and prepare themselves for change. During my 13 years of service in Wah Fu, my team and I have worked hard to fight for an MTR line for the south of Hong Kong island, the fair rationalisation of bus routes and the redevelopment of one of the oldest

public housing estates in Hong Kong: Wah Fu Estate. After redevelopment, the estate will be a combination of public housing and Home Ownership Scheme flats. It is important to strike a balance between development and heritage preservation. As Wah Fu Estate looks almost the same now as it did 49 years ago, we hope to preserve at least two blocks as part of the revitalisation process. The biggest challenge of working at an estate like Wah Fu is making sure everyone can receive and understand our message, especially when change must be agreed by the majority before real implementation can take place. For example, there was a divergence of opinions regarding the installation of security systems in each block. Opposers worried that the installation of a security door in the lobby would cause them inconvenience. We had to explain that a change of habit could give them greater peace of mind about their property. I love photography. I got my first film camera when I was a college student, but the photography function on smartphones is so good now that I tend to just use my phone. City landscapes, architecture and natural scenery are my favourite subjects to shoot.

Wah Fu is full of stories - from UFO sightings to the personal anecdotes of longtime residents. Recently, I’ve noticed more solo travellers coming here. They like to take photos of Waterfall Bay, visit vintage cafes and look at the symmetry of the architecture. I once met some Japanese travellers, who were interested in exploring old public estates in Hong Kong. My favourite place in Wah Fu is Waterfall Bay as it is the origin of modern Hong Kong history - it is said that the fresh water from the waterfall gave the city its name - “Hong Kong” in Cantonese means “fragrant harbour”. My wish for 2017 is to speed up the redevelopment of Wah Fu Estate. There are currently around 13, 200 people living there. The Housing Authority has proposed building six venues to house these existing residents while the redevelopment takes place, but residents of Chi Fu Fa Yuen are worried that the construction will destroy the surrounding natural environment. This has delayed the schedule. On a personal level, I hope Hong Kong property prices will fall.

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TRUE CRIME A string of high-profile robberies has left many Southside residents on edge. Graham Turner reports.


tarting back in May last year with the theft of $600,000 worth of cash and valuables from a luxury property on The Peak, there has been something of a crimewave throughout the Southside’s more affluent areas. Almost 10 high-profile cases have been investigated within the space of just a few months, with millions of dollars in cash and valuables stolen. Those whose homes have been targeted include billionaire tycoon and founder of Chow Tai Fook, Cheng Yu-tung, whose Repulse Bay residence was robbed on the afternoon of August 8. Although no one was hurt, a number of gold statues were stolen. Commenting on the incident, Yu-tung’s eldest son and Chairman of New World Development, Cheng Kar-shun, spoke of his relief that no one was harmed: “My family members were at home, but the bedrooms were

locked so he couldn’t enter”. The burglary was reported just hours after British banker Giles Scott subdued an armed burglar in his apartment in a separate incident on the same road. Other high profile individuals whose homes have been burgled

Almost 10 highprofile cases have been investigated within the space of a few months.

within the last year include billionaire American businessman and recipient of the Gold Bauhinia Star medal Jim Thompson (Deep Water Bay), Hong Kong’s thirdrichest man Cheng Yu-tung (Repulse Bay) and Angela Leong

On-kei, Executive Director of Macau gaming operator SJM Holdings and the fourth wife of Macau casino mogul Stanley Ho Hung-sun (Repulse Bay). One of the most recent incidents saw $2.3 million in cash and valuables stolen from the home of the granddaughter of late Communist Party leader Hu Yaobang - again in Repulse Bay. So far few arrests have been made, with the exception of the burglar in the Scott case - an unemployed mainland resident on a two-way permit who had taken $50,000 in cash and valuables from the property - and a 26-year-old man from Guizhou province, who was found to be in possession of valuables stolen from Jim Thompson’s home and apprehended about one kilometre away from the property. Despite the close proximity of these robberies to one another, police are unwilling to speculate on whether there is any other

cops and robbers connection or if it is the work of one group. Inspector Vevina Chan Shuk-ping intimates that this is a flash in the pan. “Despite the recent spate of break-ins, police figures show reports of burglary [in Hong Kong] declined 4.6 percent to 1,407 over the first seven months of the year, compared to 1,475 in the same period in 2015,” she says. Nevertheless, Inspector Shuk-ping implores residents of the area to exercise caution: “Culprits carrying cameras may pose as tourists to scout around and take photographs of their targets in the daytime before returning to strike at night while residents are asleep. Some of the cases also happened during long public holidays when tenants were out of town.” District Councillor for Pok Fu Lam, Paul Zimmerman, also warns residents to be vigilant. “Some 58 burglaries were reported in the Western and Southern District during the first eight months of 2016,” he says. “68 were reported in the whole of 2015. We have had attempted and successful burglaries in Consort Rise and Villa Cecil in the past two months. We urge all residents to work closely with your building management on reviewing the perimeter design, access controls, staff training and security measures. Our green slopes are our treasure – but also an opportunity for others.”

Patrols by uniformed and plainclothes officers from the force’s Emergency Unit and ­Police Tactical Unit have been boosted around Repulse Bay and camouflaged officers will be

Our green slopes are our treasure - but also an opportunity for others.

Need to know For a list of simple precautions advised by the Hong Kong Police Force, visit In case of an emergency, dial 999 for the police. Aberdeen Police Station 4 Wong Chuk Hang Road, 3661 1614

­ eployed to carry out surveillance and special d operations, especially at night. Police are also appealing to residents and security staff to stay alert and ensure their security systems are in working order. Many of the burglars have gained entry by prying open glass sliding doors or through windows so police have advised to reinforce these or fit them with alarms if necessary. Got a local story? Have your say by emailing

Peak Police Station 92 Peak Road, The Peak, 3661 1604 Old Stanley Police Station 77 Stanley Village Road, Stanley, 3661 1616


news from the greens

SHOW ME THE MONEY Paul Zimmerman asks, “Where is the money for fixing harbourfronts?”


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 Wanchai 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 finetuning 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.


cover story



The Repulse Bay Hotel

As The Hong Kong and Shanghai Hotels, Limited (HSH) concludes its 150th anniversary celebrations, Eric Ho and Shreena Patel look back at one of its most iconic ventures: the Repulse Bay Hotel.


cover story

The hotel under construction.


he Repulse Bay, with its rumoured feng shui designed tower and colonial style arcade, has become a prominent structure along the Southside. But it was the old Repulse Bay Hotel, which previously stood in the same spot, that helped the name to reach iconic status. The idea to create Hong Kong’s very first beach resort hotel came from James Taggart, then Manager of the Hongkong Hotel. Taggart was particularly fond of Repulse Bay (or Shallow Water Bay, as it was known) as it was

Mr. and Mrs. James Harper Taggart outside the Repulse Bay Hotel, 1923.

The luggage

labels used by the Repulse Hotel and ot Bay her hotels ru n by HSH.

one of his favourite camping spots. The area was developed into a beach in the 1910s and, once an agreement had been reached with the Governor of Hong Kong to build a road accessing the area, work on the hotel began in 1918 to the designs of Denison, Ram and Gibbs. The Repulse Bay Hotel officially opened its doors to much fanfare on New Year’s Day in 1920. At the time, Hong Kong lagged behind other Asian countries such as Japan in terms of tourism. The opening of the hotel was a key step towards the development of the colony as an international tourist destination. The then Governor of Hong Kong, Sir Edward Stubbs KCMG, officiated the opening ceremony, joking that, “from the point of view of the tourist it is a great advantage to have a place of this kind, but whether, from the point of view of the colony, it is a great advantage to have tourists is a matter on which there is a little difference of opinion.”

Did you know? HSH (incorporated on March 2, 1866) was one of the first companies to be listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. It remains the oldest registered company in Hong Kong. It owns ten Peninsula Hotels around the world, plus The Peak Tram, The Peak Tower and The Repulse Bay Complex in Hong Kong.



cover story Charles de Ricou

Repulse Bay “Air Day”, June 1920: many came to see the first successful flight arrive in from Macau.

Celebrations lasted into the night and included a dance to the Repulse Bay Waltz, written by Mrs Taggart herself. The Hongkong Telegraph described the hotel as “The Hotel of the Three S’s - site, sanitation and service,” remarking, “the hotel, far from being a disfigurement of national beauty, admirably fits in the the scheme of things and stands out as an article structure in an artistic setting.”

Celebrations lasted into the night and included a dance to the Repulse Bay Waltz.

At the time, Repulse Bay was still only accessible by boat, and the hotel became the perfect retreat for people seeking to

escape the crowded streets of Hong Kong. The breathtaking sea views from the hotel’s 140-foot long balcony coupled with its elegance and charm cemented it as one of the Crown colony’s premier hotels. Inside, a 3,500-square foot hall doubled as a dining room and ballroom. The ensuite rooms were equipped with the latest mod-cons of the era, including electric heating and telephones, with triple-filtered ice water on tap. A residential east wing with 19 rooms opened in 1921. The completion of Stubbs Road (connecting Repulse Bay and Central) in 1923 meant that you could reach the hotel by car from Central in just half an hour. A bus route was introduced between the two areas, now one of the oldest bus routes in Hong

By the early 1960s, the hotel had added two Volkswagen minibuses to its fleet.


The same year the hotel opened, Charles de Ricou, an aerial pioneer, launched a flying boat service between Repulse Bay and Macau. De Ricou was born in Hong Kong but educated in France. After completing his studies and with was described by some as a natural talent for engineering, he returned to the Far East and found work in electrical companies in Hanoi and Haiphong. When the First World War began, he decided to serve as a pilot in the resistance. Seeing an opportunity to use the surplus aircraft, spare parts and trained pilots left over at the end of the war, he formed the Macau Aerial Transport Company, with the aim to deliver regional mail, cargo and passenger services. He offered “Flying Days” from Repulse Bay beach, bookable at the Repulse Bay Hotel. However, he did not manage to obtain official permission to fly to his intended destinations, forcing him to abandon the project. De Ricou returned to France to become the head of Bollack Netter and Co, an automobile company. Continuing on his adventures, de Ricou once again joined the resistance during the German occupation of France in World War Two. He was awarded the Croix de Guerre and the Order of Christ of Portugal for his services.

The area was also popular with daytrippers, who would rent seasonal matsheds on the beach below.


Verandah in the 1920s.

Kong. A private motor coach service was also launched, connecting the Hongkong Hotel in Central with the Peak Hotel and the Repulse Bay Hotel. Not only did the buses transport guests arriving by steamship and plane, but they were also popular with daytrippers and holidaymakers who rented “mat-sheds” on the beach below the hotel. The Hong Kong Daily Press reported on the first official run of the six new motor coaches, “nothing approaching this vehicle has been seen in the colony.” In 1932, the tea room and verandah were renovated and 2,000 rose trees were added to the grounds, along with another tennis court. The Repulse Bay Lido, a dining and entertainment complex, opened in 1934. Following the outbreak of World War Two, the Imperial Japanese Army seized the Repulse Bay Hotel on December 23, 1942, converting it into a Japanese military hospital. In 1943, the hotel reopened to the public as the Midorigahama hotel. The Japanese army surrendered on August 15, 1945 and the hotel was returned to HSH, upon which it became a temporary home for the Royal Navy before being taken over by the Civil Affairs Administration. Later, in the 1970s, effects of the oil crisis raised doubts about whether the hotel could continue to exist in its current form. A decision was made to replace the west wing of the hotel with two 25-storey blocks of apartments.

The view of the Repulse Bay Hotel.

Afternoon tea in the original Bamboo Bar.

Did you know? The ‘hole’ in The Repulse Bay building is rumoured to have a purpose when it comes to feng shui. Legend has it that a dragon resides higher up in the mountains and travels down to the sea to drink and bathe. Hong Kong’s increasing number of tall buildings are blocking the dragon’s path, thus creating bad feng shui. The solution? A gaping hole in the middle of the building for the dragon to pass through.


cover story

Playing chess in the reading room.

Speaking to the China Mail in 1973, former General Manager of The Peninsula Peter Gautschi intimated that the hotel’s days were numbered. He was reported to have said, “old hotel has been uneconomical for the last 15 years. It’s only because we like it so much ourselves that it has not been pulled down before.” Three years on in 1976, the Repulse Bay Apartments opened with 212 units, with the surviving original 32-room hotel building still in

The Imperial Japanese Army seized the [hotel] on December 23, 1942.

operation. In 1978, HSH commissioned a team of consultants to look at ways of redeveloping the site to preserve at least part of the hotel building, but these options were found to be uneconomical. The Repulse Bay Hotel closed in June 1982 to a fanfare of balls, dinner dances and a classic motor car rally, before it was knocked down to make way for the The Repulse Bay which exists today. Later on, The Verandah restaurant was constructed as a replica of the original hotel, keeping much of the same


The hotel’s charm attracted many of the rich and famous.

classic colonial design. This is most evident inside The Reading Room, in which the hotel’s original fireplace has been installed. The water fountain from the original restaurant also remains. During its operation, the Repulse Bay Hotel attracted an array of international guests, even royalty: Spain’s Prince Juan Carlos and Princess Sophia spent their honeymoon at the hotel. Other celebrities who once strolled the hotel grounds include actors Peter Sellers and Marlon Brando and writers George Bernard Shaw, Noel Coward and Nobel Prize winner Ernest Hemingway. Together with his third

How to get there 109 Repulse Bay Road, Repulse Bay. Dotted throughout the arcade are exhibits showcasing the history of the Repulse Bay Hotel. Most are located within the lower lobby of The Repulse Bay. If you want to see the original fireplace and Ernest Hemingway exhibits, make to sure to check whether The Reading Room has been hired out for a private function prior to your visit - you can do so by calling The Verandah at 2292 2822.

yesteryear wife, Martha Gellhorn, Hemingway travelled to Asia to cover the happenings of World War II. The couple made Repulse Bay Hotel their home for a year, during which they frequently travelled in and out of China. There is even a small historical gallery in The Reading Room of The Verandah, dedicated to Hemingway’s time in Hong Kong reporting on the China Front. Although no longer standing, the original hotel can still been be seen in several movies - including the Hollywood classic Love Is A Many Splendored Thing and the Oscar-winning Coming Home. The hotel is also the backdrop for Eileen Chang’s famous novel, Love in a Fallen City.

The performing orchestra outside the Repulse Bay Hotel.

With regards to research and photographs, thanks to Peter Hibbard (author of “Beyond Hospitality: The history of The Hongkong and Shanghai Hotels, Limited”, available at $390 from, The Hong Kong Heritage Project, Hong Kong Historical Aircraft Association,, and The Hong Kong and Shanghai Hotels, Limited.

Repulse Bay Beach in the 1970s.





school visit

Rebecca Simpson goes beyond the school gates at Aberdeen’s bilingual international school.

Happiness is central to learning,” assures Principal of Victoria Shanghai Academy (VSA), Ross Dawson, and he would know. This is a man who has fused decades of education experience, a Master’s Degree in IT in Education and now a recent sabbatical studying Coaching Psychology at Sydney University. On paper he’s the perfect candidate to shepherd the modern student to great academic and personal success. In person he is passionate about education and the wellbeing of students. It’s no wonder VSA is delighted to have him back, now taking up the position of principal. VSA is a unique school in Hong Kong being one of a few schools that offers the IB Primary Years Programme in a bilingual format. What sets VSA apart is its ‘East-meets-West’ approach to education. East-meet-West is an overused term in our city, but at VSA the school is actively positioning itself in the middle of both Western and Chinese educational cultures – and that approach is very special indeed. What does East-meets-West mean, in practical terms? It means VSA is a through school offering an IB education with a wellness focus that begins at a Primary school level, and this is married with a Chinese work ethic and an enormous respect for the value of education. It’s also a truly bilingual school, Primary classes are taught in both English and Mandarin Chinese, and high school is taught in English with all students fluent in Chinese. Mindfulness in the classroom Hong Kong students are often in the news for the immense pressure they feel to perform at school. At VSA, in his new role as Principal, Dawson is leading a mindfulness program that

aims to help students learn the skills they need to deal with the stresses and challenges life throws at them. He shares that the wellbeing of students is a focal point for VSA’s leadership. The teaching staff is passionate about enquiry-based learning, the way technology can aid teaching and the science behind well-being and how our brains function best. Dawson shares that the school’s goal is that “all students are happy, healthy and accomplished. It’s in that order for a reason”. The school’s mindfulness program is inspired by MindUP, a product of the Hawn

Foundation. Simple practices like stopping for a minute to enjoy VSA’s incredible view of Aberdeen Harbour are encouraged and can set the tone of the day. “Empathy and gratitude are two big things we can all work on in life to make our lives happier”, says Dawson. It’s a good news day in education when we hear about a Hong Kong school that simultaneously values the happiness of students and encourages an inquisitive nature with a determination to do well. It’s a balancing act, but one that VSA is rehearsing with great detail from all angles. VSA’s bilingual offering In the Primary years, VSA offers a bilingual classroom experience whereby each class is taught simultaneously in English and Mandarin. “It’s a unique offering at VSA that we have two teachers in the classroom teaching simultaneously,“ shares Dawson. Practically, this means two teachers working very closely to deliver a lesson so that students learn concepts in two languages. Dr Judith Guy, Head of Academy and Secondary Principal at VSA, explains, “you may have two tables of children working together – one working with the Chinese teacher in Chinese, and the other in English.”



This allows children to concurrently develop vocabulary about a particular unit of enquiry in both English and Chinese. “And that’s a lot of what Primary education is about, vocabulary acquisition,” she says. As one of only three schools in Hong Kong to offer a true bilingual IB Primary Years Program (PYP), VSA’s proposition is attractive to many parents. However the reality


is that a minimum standard of Chinese and English must be met, even for admission to P1. Most VSA students join the PYP from Victoria Educational Organization (VEO), VSA’s kindergarten partner, which also offers a bilingual curriculum, readying students for a bilingual PYP. For non-Chinese speaking families, a bilingual education does require some

school visit additional support outside the classroom. “Like with learning any language, you do need some exposure to it outside of school”, says Dawson. “It is ideal if children have playdates or an extracurricular activity, like learning an instrument, in that language.” Teaching with technology Technology plays a daily role in the lives of VSA students. Each pupil from Year 6 onwards is guaranteed the use of their own personal laptop. “We are trying to do a lot of work with both our student and our parent body, around responsible use of technology.” explains Guy. Students at VSA are learning to be better digital citizens, and so are their parents. “It’s a two-pronged approach really”, adds Dawson, who sees this technology-based education falling into two parts with the first part being to protect children. “Parents really need parental software on all devices,” he encourages. The second part is a focus on education and teaching students to be a good digital citizen. At VSA these conversations falls into the ‘Who We Are’ unit of learning where students explore relationships and also ask what makes a good digital relationship? It’s a practical communication piece for parents too, with the school providing

suggestions for parental software and inviting parents to coffee mornings to discuss approaches to technology. Fusion of Chinese heritage and student-centric thinking Celebrating Chinese culture is also central to the experience on offer for VSA students. Students and their families can participate in travel experiences to Mainland China, and even exchange student programmes. The school has a strong Arts program with some exceptional Chinese artists within the student body, this year VSA’s Deputy Head Girl is performing in the Hong Kong Chinese Orchestra. For students interested in exploring Chinese cultural activities, VSA offers a Chinese cultural subsidy programme where students can choose to explore a traditional art such as a Chinese instrument, calligraphy and other cultural endeavours. Principal Dawson believes it’s this combination of encouragement for students to learn about themselves, Chinese culture and the world; all in a bilingual environment that values academic achievement that VSA parents love. “That’s why parents send their children here, our great bilingual programme and that we value holistic excellence”.

School Report

Established: 2004 Number of students: 1,800 Class size: 28 Curriculum: IB PYP, IB MYP and IB DP Fees 2016/2017: (PYP) $118,700; (MYP & DP) $135,300 - $171,450 Non-refundable capital levy: N/A Teaching staff: 176 Address: 19 Shum Wan Road, Aberdeen, Hong Kong Tel: 3402 1000


arts & culture


Photos by Matjaž Tančič, courtesy of Pékin Fine Arts

Amanda Sheppard speaks to Slovenian photographer Matjaž Tančič about the 3D images taking the world by storm.


orth Korea is a place that to many, is left entirely to the imagination – isolated, and relatively unknown to most. Now, Slovenian photographer Matjaž Tančič offers a rare glimpse into the territory, deconstructing stereotypes and preconceived notions. The series, entitled 3DPRK, comprises over 100 3D images and was shot in North Korea in 2014 in a collaborative project with Koryo Studio. A graduate of the London College of Fashion and finalist for the Google Photography Prize in 2009,Tančič now resides between Beijing and Ljubljana. He shares his inspiration, technique, and more with Southside Magazine… Hi, Matjaž. When you left for North Korea, did you have a set of expectations in mind? I just wanted to be surprised and see what could happen. I was ready for all the stereotypes and then, of course, I saw many of


them - or at least I saw how people could buy into them. I guess I saw a country caught in time. Life goes on in North Korea on a normal daily basis: people go to work, children go to school and everything continues, it’s just 50 years back in time - like a time capsule. What led to your interest in documentarystyle photography? I studied fashion photography but for the last couple of years I’ve been more into documentary photography, portraiture and art photography. I’m most inspired by the old portrait masters like Richard Avedon, and the American West series. This series is always a person in front of a white background, showing what they do and what they look like, a very direct representation. In my series I didn’t mute the background because I wanted to shoot people in their environment, with their work. I wanted to give more information to the viewer.

How did you come to discover 3D photography as a medium? That was quite coincidental. I once saw my friend doing it - he shoots caves and nature, but I wanted to use it in a way that I like: on people. I don’t want people to know me only as a 3D photographer, but it’s definitely a niche area of knowledge and I like using it if there is a proper way or sense to it. So when does it work best? When it’s a part of the concept. North Korea, for example – it’s all about the groups there, nobody is meant to stand out. It’s not an individualistic culture; instead, everybody is blended as the building blocks of society. With 3D we managed for the first time to present these people one by one, which made everything more personal.


arts & culture

M at ja ž T an

Can you walk us through the shooting process? In theory, it’s pretty simple. You need two images - one for the left eye and one for the right eye. It’s best to use two cameras side by side, shooting at the same time. The distance between the two cameras should be 6.5cm, because that’s the average distance between the human eyes. It’s a straightforward technique and it’s nothing new - in fact, it was invented in the 1860s. But it gets really complicated if you want to do it well: lots of calculations, lots of preparation and understanding. The series is currently displayed in Hong Kong, China and the US. What feedback are you getting from the different audiences? I always get good feedback – people are interested in 3D, it’s a nice effect and they enjoy watching it, but sometimes they don’t even know what they’re watching. When I tell them it’s North Korea, they step back and they start to watch more carefully and try to understand it. 3PDRK remains on display at Pekin Fine Arts until January 27. 16/F, Union Industrial Building, 48 Wong Chuk Hang Road, Aberdeen.


č ič



BRUNCH DATE Clear out your weekend for these sumptuous spreads. By Kate Springer and Shreena Patel.

La Paloma


If you’re craving a saucy Sunday brunch, then head straight to La Paloma. Located right by the Sai Ying Pun MTR, this vibrant Spanish restaurant brings its creative flair to the table with high-energy brunches from 12-4pm every weekend. It starts with a semi-buffet and a mix of cold and hot tapas. Then comes the all-you-can-eat meat-andseafood paella and suckling pig, followed by a sweet finale of Spanish churros with vanilla ice cream and chocolate sauce. $250 per person, add free-flow Spanish Cava for an extra $160 per person. Finally, we’ve heard a rumour that La Paloma’s “Salsa Sundays” will be making a return early this year so watch this space. 1/F, SoHo 189, 189 Queen’s Road West (entrance on Wilmer Street), Sai Ying Pun, 2291 6161,


CIRQLE Enjoy a family brunch at CIRQLE on the restaurant’s spacious outdoor terrace. The brunch features a salad bar, BBQ station, seafood station as well as a dessert corner. The chocolate fondue is bound to be a big hit with the kids. Adult $298, children $168. Available Sundays from 12-2pm and 3-5pm. 4/F, Ovolo Southside, Wong Chuk Hang Road, 3460 8157,

afternoon delights Porterhouse by Laris Looking for an upscale brunch that’s perfect for a celebratory occasion? Give Porterhouse by Laris a try. You might want to leave the kids at home for this one: the sophisticated steakhouse has a glamorous feel, featuring marble floors, and an impressive wine list. Award-winning Chef David Laris has hand-picked every steak on the menu, choosing cuts straight from farmers in the U.S., Tasmania and Japan. The gourmet brunch menu includes a semi-buffet, a choice of main, and dessert. For mains, choose from a striploin, ribeye, signature burger, several

egg dishes or one of the vegetarian options. And don’t forget to dress up the experience with free-flow house wine, select cocktails and Veuve Clicquot. From $388 per person. Available Saturday and Sunday. No set time, but advanced booking is recommended.

ial specsion a occ

7/F, California Tower, 30-36 D’Aguilar Street, Lan Kwai Fong, 2522 6366,

ocean views

CRFT-PIT Smoked meat specialist CRFT-PIT sets out to supply Hong Kong’s top restaurants with traditional Southern-style barbecue, hickorysmoked pulled pork, rotisserie and seafood. While day to day the kitchen focuses on its industry initiatives, the weekends are all about brunch. From 1-4pm every Saturday, diners are invited to check out CRFT-PIT’s Tasting Room, which features a 30-seat dining room plus a spacious ocean-view terrace. Get excited for

a Southern-style feast - think Montreal-style smoked pastrami, St. Louis-style spare ribs, spring chicken, lamb ribs, Texas brisket and pulled pork sliders. And for dessert? Pecan pie or a traditional apple crumble pie. Unit 2, 3/F, Harbour Industrial Center, 10 Lee Hing Street, Ap Lei Chau, 2476 2800,



zuma In partnership with family-owned Champagne house Louis Roederer, zuma’s recently launched Cristal Brunch ($1,888) includes free-flow Louis Roederer Cristal 2009 and a specially designed menu featuring high-grade Beluga caviar, A5 grade Wagyu beef, Roasted Lobster with Shiso butter and Ponzu, and a white chocolate fondant with certified Alba white truffle. For something a bit kinder to the bank balance, try the Brut Champagne package ($650), with free-flow Louis Roederer Brut Premier Champagne and cocktails. The regular Brunch package prices are also available

($490; $590 with free-flow beer, wine, sake and ice teas). Enjoy zuma’s signature dishes, including spicy beef tenderloin marinated in sesame, red chili and sweet soy, miso marinated black cod wrapped in hoba leaf and Hokkaido scallops served in umeboshi butter and mentaiko.

kids corner’

Available weekends. Book a two-hour table sitting anytime between 11am and 3pm. Dress code: smart casual. zuma, Level 5 & 6, 15 Queen’s Road, Central, 3657 6388,

Prompt at Le Meridien Cyberport Children and adults will love the Sunday Brunch at Prompt Le Meridien, which features a kids buffet corner (complete with freshly made popcorn, candy floss, mini-burgers and more), magic shows and to top it off, panoramic views of the ocean. Feast on barbecue oysters, prawns and sausages poolside and don’t miss the chocolate fountain. $598 for adults (an extra $198 for free flow Moet et Chandon champagne), $299 for children (aged 3-12). Available Sundays from 11.30am-3pm. (Balloon twisting and magic show runs from 1-2pm) Le Meridien Cyberport, 4/F, 100 Cyberport Road, 2980 7417,


afternoon delights


b al

inese Balinese bites à la carte, overlooking the gorgeous Repulse Bay beach. There’s no getting up and down to visit the buffet here - instead, diners are served an array of starters, with the option to choose their main course and dessert. Favourite dish? Martabak (pan-fried flatbread stuffed with chicken curry and sweet potato with acar pickles and sambal balado). Seating-wise, pairs of diners can opt for a cocoon - an interesting experience although people with longer legs may find it a little uncomfortable to get in and out of. Available Saturday, Sunday and public holidays, 11.30am to 4pm at $680 per person with free flow G.H. Mumm Cordon Rouge; $480 for children under 12 years old. 3/F, Lobby C, The Pulse, 28 Beach Road, Repulse Bay, 2515 0577,

The Verandah


Dine in colonial splendour at The Verandah. Sunday brunch is priced at $658 per adult and $329 per child. Enjoy a selection of appetisers from the buffet, followed by a main course of your choice. Options like carving of the day and roasted pork chop with glazed french bean, truffle dauphine potato and port wine jus have us drooling already. Round things off with something sweet from the dessert buffet, followed by coffee or tea. Available from 11am to 2:30pm with a live band performance.

Kennedy Town’s favourite brunch spot has a refreshing al fresco feel and an enticing menu, with an emphasis on seafood. The decor invites you to stay all day, and you just might with this brunch menu. There’s everything from smashed avocado with feta to scrambled eggs, a Brekki bap, smoked ham, granola and French toast as well as Roasters Alchemy coffee and a lengthy wine list. Our favourite is Big Bad Ben (poached eggs, bacon, avocado, chorizo, hashbrowns, hollandaise and chilli oil). Available weekends and public holidays, until 3:45pm.

The Verandah, The Repulse Bay, 109 Repulse Bay Road, 2922 2822,

93 Catchick St, Sai Wan, 2855 1289,

ha s browhns



NIBBLES News from the dining scene.

Workshops at The Butchers Club Learn how to debone the meat, grind, and stuffing it into the sausage skins at The Butchers Club’s Sausage-Making Class on Jan 18. The class costs $1,300 per person and will include a dinner, complimentary beer and wine and one kilogram of sausage to take home. For more information or to book, email Alternatively learn how to bake chocolate cream pie and bumbleberry pie with head baker, Nick Ratzlaff, at their series of all-day Saturday baking classes. January’s class is on January 22. 13C Sun Ying Industrial Centre, 9 Tin Wan Close, Aberdeen,

Festive drinks at Amalfitana

Ham it up

Amalfitana is keeping up the festive spirit with two special beverage offers during January and February. Try Amalfitana’s version of mulled wine, Vin Brulle ($110), which pairs well with main dishes or as a post-dinner drink. It uses aged rum, cinnamon, cloves, star anise, fresh oranges, lemon and grapefruit, honey and Primitivo wine. Alternatively, their Calde Spezie ($150 for two, served in a teapot) is made of rye whiskey, cinnamon, cardamom, vanilla liquor, camomile tea and fresh lemon. the pulse, G/F, Shop 105, 28 Beach Road, Repulse Bay, 2388 7787,

Struggling to find good quality jamón in Hong Kong? Reserva Ibérica HK in Sheung Wan holds regular ham workshops (twice a month), where resident ham expert Albert Vall-llosada Gasa tells you everything you need to know to identify a good ham, from the origins of the product to the art of carving and - most importantly - tasting. Vall-llosada has been in the ham trade for years (his mother runs her own ham shop in Spain) and his love and knowledge of ham shines through. Spanish Cava is served throughout the class and you go home with a little souvenir. $480 per person. Shop C, G/F, 15 Upper Station Street, Sheung Wan. To register, call 2110 9282,

All that and dim sum

New coffee shop Jervisbay Barbecues is opening a commercial kitchen and coffee shop this month in Wong Chuk Hang. Inspired by the laid back Australian lifestyle, the kitchen will offer sandwiches, pies, and vegemite toasts for breakfast and lunch throughout the week. Jervisbay Barbecues will also be serving roasts made on the BBQ for lunch, as well as other meats over the weekend. There will also be several “how to” demonstrations and courses throughout the year. Flat B, 9/F, Tin Fung Industrial Mansion, 63 Wong Chuk Hang Road, Wong Chuk Hang.


Looking for a light yet luxurious snack? China Tang’s new weekend dim sum happy hour might be just the ticket. Available Saturday, Sunday and public holidays from 2-4:30pm, enjoy a glass of Ruinart Blanc de Blanc Champagne paired with six premium dim sum dishes. $288 per person (served for two or more). Favourites include the deep fried pork dumpling with black mushroom and the baked puffed pastry filled with yunnan ham and scallion. 4/F Landmark Atrium, 2522 2148.

HK$6.98 million

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



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


the camp fire Warming up at

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

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

The un forgett able No rthern Lights

getting the perfect photo. 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

The sauna

Sleigh r through ide the sno w

lucky to have been treated to such a long display of the notoriously unpredictable aurora. 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. 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.


Feeding the reindeer

Fancy a dip? 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 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 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 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. 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. 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.

Plan your trip 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:



ROOSTER TALES 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 age where technology is fast overtaking the written word, something of which Brennan is very aware. 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 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,


health & beauty

ABS-OLUTELY FABULOUS Our favourite fitness options in Southside. By Shreena Patel. Flex Studio Offers a range of classes and workshops for children and adults, from Pilates and yoga to cardio, barre and Xtend Barre(™). Pre- and post-natal conditioning is also available. The studio’s signature Allegro pilates classes are precisely choreographed and unique to Flex, with small class sizes to ensure personal attention from the instructor. $255 per session for drop in yoga, barre, mat pilates, TRX and HIIT; $270 for Pilates Allegro classes. Those purchasing or renewing their platinum pass (10 Allegro & Group classes for $2,090) will receive a complimentary private pilates class. Locations in Central and Southside (Shops 308-310, One Island South, 2 Heung Yip Road, Wong Chuk Hang, Aberdeen, 2813 2212),

Pure South Pure’s unique hybrid yoga and fitness location is right next to the beach and houses a trendy apparel store and a cafe selling cold-pressed juices, superfood smoothies, juice cleanses and raw food. Offerings include personal training, boxing and private yoga sessions as well as group fitness classes such as Aerial Yoga, Hot


Yoga, Wall Rope Yoga, Handstands, Spartan Training, Mobility, Tabata and Movement SHM (Strength, Handstands and Mobility). Shortterm and monthly contracts available. The daily visit rate is $350 for full access to all available yoga and fitness classes and fitness facilities. The Pure Group POWER PACK ($1,288, available for purchase online on or before January 31) can be used until February 28 and includes a one-month pass for all Pure Fitness

ide b eachsout work

and Pure Yoga locations, plus a $200 voucher for nood food, a 10-percent-off voucher on Pure Apparel and two guest passes for friends. 1/F, the pulse, 28 Beach Road, Repulse Bay, 8200 0908,,

EPT Specializes in corrective exercise and body transformation for adults aged 35-55 and children aged seven to 16. Personal, semiprivate and group training is available. Try EPT’s 21-day challenge from January 5-26, available as either 1:1 personal training or in small groups. The challenge includes 6, 9, or 12 FIRE (Focused Intensive Resistance Exercise) sessions, a personal trainer, tailored training programme, nutrition and lifestyle coaching session, daily nutrition and fitness videos and more. 20/F, Regency Centre Phase 2, 43 Wong Chuk Hang Rd, 2552 9925,

Strive Fitness Offers group classes, personal training, corporate training and youth athletics. New

watch your tone members can try the eight-week New Year Transformation Challenge ($2,000) which runs from January 2 to February 24. 415, The Arcade, Cyberport, Pok Fu Lam, call 2338 9622 or whatsapp 6935 3842,

EPIC MMA & Fitness Stanley Programmes include Yoga, AntiGravity Fitness, BARRE+, Pilates, TRX, Strength & Conditioning and Little Ninjas (for kids). One-, three-, sixand 12-month memberships are available. A one-month membership to Epic Stanley or Epic Yoga costs $2,000 (ates go down with length of membership term). Check out the schedule and pricing online. Shop B, No. 80 Stanley Main Street, Stanley, 2785 9266,

Primal Strength Offers youth and adult fitness programmes which combine strength movements with an effective nutrition plan to help improve strength, body composition, mobility, confidence and energy. Training takes place in its 4,000 square foot state-of-the-art facility. Choose from Primal Academy semi-private group training (14-18 year olds, from $225 per hour on weekday afternoons) and Primal Adults semi-private group training (from $225 per hour on weekdays at 4:30pm, 5:30pm and 6:30pm). Personal training is also available on weekdays (5:30am, 6:30am or 7:30pm). Prices start at $1,000 per session. New members can get four sessions of the semi-private group training for $500 (either Academy or Adults). Primal Strength is closed over New Year and reopens on January 9. HKIS, 1 Redhill Road, Tai Tam, 5305 6323,, email

Hatha Yoga with Charlotte Douglas Douglas teaches hatha yoga classes at West Island School in Pok Fu Lam every Tuesday evening at 7:30pm ($200 drop in; discounts for block bookings). The 60-minute class is designed for all levels of ability and experience and focuses on moving, twisting, stretching and breathing. Newcomers in January can enjoy a free trial class. Bring your own mat. Private home instruction is also available. Check the website for weekend yoga retreats., email or call 6680 0340.

Circuit 25 Group outdoor boot camp with individual attention. Every session includes 25 minutes of HIIT (high intensity interval training) and resistance, plus 25 minutes of cardio, core and cool down. Designed for all fitness levels. Group programs run almost everyday at 6:30am

and 7:30pm at various locations in and around Hong Kong. Weekend hours differ. $150 per class for a pack of four sessions (packs of 10 and 25 also available at lower rates). All packages are valid for 12 months. Private personal training are sessions also available. Sessions are held at Aberdeen Sports Ground, 108 Wong Chuk Hang Road, Aberdeen, 6734 6662 or 6345 5486. Check out the schedule at

SUP Yoga HK Offers SUP Yoga, SUP Fitness and SUP Meditation and Yin from March to November at Stanley Main Beach. Prices start at $500 per person for a 90-minute class and $450 per person for a private group session (minimum of five people). Prices include board rental. Gift vouchers are available to buy for the 2017 season.

on the water


health & beauty Ultimate Performance Join the likes of Peter Andre, Game of Thrones actress Gwendoline Christie and English Rugby Union player James Haskell and train with Ultimate Performance. There are a number of New Year offers available, for example: 10 personal training sessions for $8,888, to be completed within 14 days (includes body fat measurement, nutritional guidance and feedback); or 16 sessions for $14,888 to be completed in 28 days. Both offers run until January 31. Finally, the Group Class training package includes 20 sessions of group classes for $5,000 (flexible start date). The class size is capped at eight participants and the ratio of clients to trainers is typically 4:1. The package runs for six weeks and includes nutritional support, bodyfat measurement, email support

and access to the online group forum. Locations in Central (3/F, Unicorn Trade Centre, 127-131 Des Voeux Road Central) and Causeway Bay, 2798 9000,

Red Doors Studio

gong meditatio n

Conveniently located close to the newly opened MTR station in Wong Chuk Hang, Red Doors Studio offers a tranquil space and practices to help clients of all ages relax, renew and recharge. Enjoy deep relaxation to the sound of the largest meditation gong collection in Asia. Lie down, close your eyes and allow the sound to melt tension from your body. Walking meditation, yoga and other practices are also available. Gong meditation sessions are priced at $300 per person, inclusive of homemade yogi tea and chocolate brownies. If you go before Chinese New Year and mention this article at the time of booking, you can take a friend for free. 21/F Lee Fund Centre, 31 Wong Chuk Hang Road, Aberdeen, 2110 0152,

Twinkle Dance Studio Twinkle Dance’s Adult Ballet Level 1 (one to two years experience) and Adult Contemporary Dance classes are available on Tuesday and

Friday afternoons, respectively. Classes take place throughout January from 12.15-1:15pm at the Southside studio. The Central branch offers a greater variety of levels of Adult Ballet, plus Barre & Stretch and Introduction to Pointe. $230 per class (drop in), or book a pack of 10 (valid for three months) for $1,800. Southside studio: Shop 311, One Island South, 2 Heung Yip Road, 6608 1928,

Eat healthy Pinnacle eAt


NOSH by Secret Ingredient

What: Macro- and calorie-precise meals, delivered to your door (weekdays only). You can choose to receive one or two meals per day. The trial plan is 10 meals over the course of one week. Alternatively, choose a 20-, 60- or 100-meal program. The menu changes weekly and meals are made in the kitchen in Wong Chuk Hang. Each meal for women contains 600 calories; 730-760 calories per meal for men. All meals range between 40:40:20 to 30:40:30 in terms of protein, carbohydrates, with the aim of promoting healthy fat loss and muscle gain. There are no artificial additives or preservatives. You can also ‘bank’ meals by freezing delivery and rolling meals over to another day. How much: Prices start at $2,695 for 20 meals for men ($2,495 for women). Rates drop with the number of meals and members get a 10 percent discount. 10 percent off regular prices throughout January. Where: Delivers to Hong Kong Island and Kowloon between 8am and noon, depending on your location. Register online at

What: a six-day detox program, from January 16-21, led by homeopath doctor and EYRT-500 hour Yoga Alliance Instructor Michelle Ricaille. The aim of the detox is to cleanse the body’s most important detoxification organs, the digestive system and liver. It includes a series of special herbs, probiotics and specially formulated tonics, along with meditation to control cravings and weaknesses, a daily yoga class and lecture. Participants also receive a 30-minute homeopathic consultation with Michelle and the option to add-on a comprehensive Food Sensitivities Test to understand individual dietary toxins. On the final day of Detox, participants head to all-organic food shop Food For Life (across Wong Chuk Hang Road) for a complimentary cooking class by Denise Tam, nutritionist and owner. How much: $3,300. Flex has also partnered with HK Bio Tek® lab to offer an optional food intolerance test for an additional $2,800. Where: Flex Studio - Island South, Shops 308-310, One Island South 2 Heung Yip Road, Wong Chuk Hang, 2813 2212, email,

What: healthy meal plan options for two to five days covering breakfast, lunch and dinner, as well as a daily snack. The chefdesigned menus change weekly and meals are delivered fresh each morning before 9am. All meal plans start on a Monday. No weekend deliveries. How much: the two-day meal plan starts at $600 (total). The five-day option costs $1,500 for the Signature plan (breakfast, lunch and dinner plus a snack). Southside Magazine readers can get 10 percent off with the code “SOUTHSIDE” at Where: Secret Ingredient’s central kitchen is located in Chai Wan and it can deliver to the Southside. Contact or visit or



DESEXING DEMYSTIFIED Why should you have your pet desexed? The SPCA’s Hayden Kwok explains.



Pets Central veterinarian Dr. Pauline Taylor answers your questions.

By preventing unwanted litters, a smaller, healthier population under human care becomes more achievable.


esexing aims to prevent unwanted litters, thereby helping to achieve a smaller, healthier population under human care. Other advantages of desexing your pet include: • The removal of sexual instincts: this allows an animal to relax into a household without the urge to find a mate. Mate-seeking behavior often gets animals into trouble - from traffic accidents to fights with rivals. In addition, an unmet sexual need is often detrimental to an animal’s quality of life. • Desexed pets are often easier to handle in a home environment: certain unwanted behaviours are reduced or absent, such as aggression in dogs or urine spraying by cats. • The prevention of phantom pregnancies: sometimes, female dogs who have not been desexed can have false pregnancies when their body “thinks” they are pregnant – this can result in odd behaviour and can be stressful for the dog. • Health benefits: neutering can reduce the risk of prostate, testicular, uterine and mammary gland diseases and cancers in cats and dogs.

FAQs How much will neutering cost? The cost varies on the type of animal, the size and the gender. Compared with the cost of caring for numerous offspring or treating possible diseases, the cost of desexing is minimal!

When is it a good to neuter my pet? Regardless of gender, a cat or a dog can reproduce from 5 to 6 months old, so the sooner the better.

Mythbusting common misconceptions Myth: the surgery is risky and painful Bust! The procedure is routine and very familiar to veterinary surgeons. Complications are very uncommon and rarely lifethreatening. Some discomfort is naturally felt during the first few days after the surgery but can be controlled with prescribed painkillers. Myth: my pet will become overweight Bust! The removal of sex hormones does lower the metabolic rate and increase the risk of weight gain, but careful regulation of diet and exercise can help to avoid this. Myth: my pet will be boring to me Bust! Desexed pets can be just as much fun! An added bonus is the removal of undesirable behaviours such as attempting to mate with legs, arms or inanimate objects, aggression and inappropriate urination.

Call 2802 0501 and make an appointment today to desex your furry friend at one of the SPCA’s veterinary clinics.

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



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southside secrets

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Mu r ray ne x t to r fo und ie P e k f rom its Bla lo c ate d as a ls o re t un li k e B H o use w l. t ra u l t in C e n o sp l a a p a rt ia or igin was o n ly is o use , it y H p o y n ra a r c Mu th e top n as o n ly re lo c at io or igin a l.

MURRAY HOUSE Eric Ho visits one of the oldest surviving public buildings in Hong Kong.


t’s hard to imagine Stanley’s picturesque waterfront without the historic Murray House nestled by the pier. But did you know that the building originally stood in Central? Built in 1844, Murray House served as the officers’ mess to the Murray Barracks. It was named after Sir George Murray, a British Master-General of the Ordnance during the time of construction. During the Japanese occupation of World War II, the building was used as the headquarters for the Japanese military police. It was here that the Japanese imprisoned, tortured and executed over 4,000 Hong Kong citizens. It resumed as the officers’ mess after the war until it was handed back to the Hong Kong government in 1960. It wasn’t long before the building started to show its age, with the roof partially collapsing due to heavy rainfall. The deteriorating structure, coupled with Murray House’s bloody history, gave rise to countless


ghost stories - headless ghosts haunting the bathrooms, the sound of typing in the middle of the fact, sightings of ghosts became so frequent that the government had the building exorcised twice to release the trapped souls of those who had been executed there. The second exorcism was even broadcasted on television. However, the sightings continued. Eventually, Murray House became another casualty of Hong Kong’s rapid development into the metropolis it is today. In 1982, it was decided that the building would be taken down to make way for the new Bank of China Tower, whose iconic triangular design and large crosses - according to some Feng shui experts - are designed to offset the site’s negative energy. Murray House was painstakingly dismantled into over 3,000 building blocks, each carefully numbered, in the hope that it would one day be reassembled. The bricks were stored away into boxes and placed in a brick shed near Tai Tam reservoir.

Locations in Central and Sai Kung were suggested as potential new homes for Murray House, but the Housing Authority finally settled on Stanley, which at the time was undergoing redevelopment into the tourist destination it is today. In 2001, nearly two decades after it was taken apart, the resurrection was complete. The relocation project was an impressive feat, although deconstructing and reconstructing Murray House resulted in the loss of its Grade I building class. One of Hong Kong’s oldest surviving public buildings, Murray House has kept much of its charm from the colonial days and is a popular spot for wedding and graduation photography. Go inside and you will find a selection of shops and restaurants as well as beautiful views out onto Stanley bay from the first floor up.

The Peninsula Properties Tel : 2292 2878

Southside Jan 2017  
Southside Jan 2017