FAMILY | FOOD | TRAVEL | ARTS & CULTURE
Readersâ€™ Choice Awards
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The really useful magazine April 2017
FIVE MINUTES WITH...
4 Snapped! Southside’s social life.
22 Wong Kwong Cheung A resident of historic Pok Fu Lam village.
6 Happening in April What’s on.
24 Enter the Dragon Could a new bridge be the answer to Tai Tam’s traffic woes?
SPORT 10 Hong Kong Rugby Sevens Your guide to rugby season.
30 Readers’ Choice Awards The winners, as voted by you.
FAMILY 12 Easter camps Egg-cellent activities for little ones. NEWS 18 What’s going on? In your backyard. GIVEAWAYS 20 Free stuff Fab things to win.
EDUCATION 46 Behind the scenes at... Discovery College. TRAVEL
PETS 62 Ask Dr. Pauline “Can my dog eat ice cream?” HOROSCOPE 66 You will meet a tall, dark stranger... Adam White predicts your future. ZIM CITY 66 Paul Zimmerman on... Cuts to the tax waiver for electric vehicles. SOUTHSIDE SECRETS 72 Hong Kong Journeys The second in a series on the Southern District Literary Trail.
52 India Two weeks in the Golden Triangle.
Find us on Facebook Southside Magazine
“WE SHALL NEVER KNOW ALL THE GOOD THAT A SIMPLE SMILE CAN DO.” - MOTHER TERESA
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Want to write for Southside Magazine? Contact firstname.lastname@example.org
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people Snaps from Southside
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have your say “How has the South Island line affected your life since it was finished?” It’s very convenient for getting to work and with my 6-month-old, it makes it much nicer to go to other parts of the city with him, which is more fun.
- Alex Deroche
I don’t live on this side, so I’m much more inclined to come here for leisure now. The whole line makes it so much easier to get to work in Central, but I love that I can just hop on to come all the way out here to the beach on weekends.
- Christine Lee The line is great for us. We live in Ap Lei Chau with our two young girls, and the line makes it much easier to get around from our home.
- Diego Garcia
It’s much better for getting to work in Wong Chuk Hang from Ap Lei Chau and now if we want to go into town at night it’s so much easier, it felt difficult before and now we just hop on the train.
- Anonymous The South Island line is much nicer and less crowded than the buses, it’s great. I hope it doesn’t lead to housing being more expensive out here, but I think that would take a while if it did.
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Borrelli Walsh Beach 5s
After taking a break from the sand in 2016, The Beach 5s is back for two days of fun and games at Repulse Bay beach. Making its debut this year - and joining the staple line up of men’s and women’s rugby, netball and dodgeball - is the Neymar Jr’s Five. This five-a-side tournament is inspired by street football and features one special rule: each time you score, the opposition loses a player. Aside from the sporting action, enjoy free family entertainment, a live DJ, food, drink and shopping from an array of lifestyle brands. Free admission. Matches take place from 9am-6pm on both days. www.beach5shk.com. For tickets to the official after-party at the pulse Sunset Beach Club, visit beach5safterparty.pelago.events
APR 1 April Fool’s Day Be prepared for practical jokes and mischievous pranks!
not available but a complimentary bus runs to and from the event. 11am-3pm, HKIS High School, 1 Red Hill Road, Tai Tam, www.hkis.edu.hk
APR 1 Public pools open It’s warming up, so dig out your swimming stuff and head out to one of Hong Kong’s many public pools.
APR 4 Ching Ming Festival
APR 1 HKIS World’s Fair The annual HKIS World’s Fair is back, celebrating cultural diversity in Hong Kong with international food, shopping and entertainment. This year, to mark the school’s 50th anniversary, the fair will have a “vintage HKIS” theme, transporting visitors to the Hong Kong of yesteryear. Families welcome and admission is free. On-site parking is
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and member of the East India Comedy group (allegedly India’s busiest comedy company) comes to Hong Kong for the first time. Pant’s comedy covers, amongst other things, the sad tale behind the Taj Mahal, Indian men and his great, grand love for chai. 7pm, Ovolo Southside ($350 per person which includes two standard drinks). Book your tickets at www.ticketflap.com/sorabhpantliveinhk
Public holiday for the tomb-sweeping festival.
APR 5, 12, 19, 26 BOGA FITMAT APR 1 Sorabh Pant Live in Hong Kong One of India’s most successful comedians
A total body workout with a twist: all the exercises take place on a floating fitness mat in a swimming pool. Perfect if you don’t like the open water but still want to connect to the water
Flex Teen Open House
happening in April generously donating their Mira Beau tops to the Empowerment Hike participants. Register now while stocks last at www.enrichhk.org
A talk by Gwen Kao, Chairman of the Charles K. Kao Foundation for Alzheimer’s Disease. Kao’s husband, Nobel Prize winning physicist Dr. Charles Kao, has suffered from Alzheimer’s for years. The talk will be held in English and Cantonese and is geared towards family, friends and caregivers of the elderly. Free admission. 7-8pm, Stanley Community Hall, LG/F Stanley Municipal Services Building, 6 Stanley Market Road. To register, call Maxine Yao on 9868 8325 or Mr. Tsoi on 2813 0648.
Calling all teens. Enjoy free classes, gift bags and postural screenings with Dr Gillian Tsang at Flex Studio for one day only. Try yoga, aerial fitness, aerial yoga, aerial arts or pilates. Suitable for ages 6 and up (depending on the activity). Spaces are limited, RSVP to info@flexhk. com, Shops 308- 310, One Island South, 2 Heung Yip Road, Wong Chuk Hang, Aberdeen, 2813 2212, www.flexhk.com
APR 12-16 2017 UCI Track Cycling World Championships
APR 26 Conscious Couture – AWA Charity Fashion Show
Don’t miss the top riders from around the world battle it out in the velodrome for Olympic qualification points. Hong Kong Velodrome, 105-107 Ho Pong Road, Tseung Kwan O, www.trackworldcup.hk
The American Women’s Association presents a fashion show focused on sustainable couture. The fashion show is the culmination of a fundraising season which is expected to raise $1,000,000 to help local charities that benefit at risk women and children, the elderly, and the disabled. Each designer has selected one look to donate for the fundraising auction. Ready to wear items will be available for purchase after the show. 6:30-10pm, American Club Tai Tam. Tickets are $1,000 each from www.awa.org.hk or call 2527 2961.
APR 14 Good Friday Public holiday (and the start of a four-day weekend!) in your practice. 10:30-11:30am, The American Club Tai Tam (swimming pool). BOGA FITMAT Classes continue in small groups at The American Club. $585 per person (maximum of four people per class). To register, email email@example.com (preferably with your or a friend’s Club Membership number) or email SUPYogahongkong@gmail.com
APR 7-9 Hong Kong Rugby Sevens
APR 14 2017 Bonaqua LIFEPROOF Action Sprint RUN The Sprints are back although still with no river gullies due to the AFCD restrictions across Hong Kong. First in the series is the Repulse Bay run (two distances:14 km and 9 km), followed by runs at Discovery Bay (April 23) and Sai Kung (May 6). Register online at www.actionasiaevents.com. 8am, Repulse Bay.
Rugby madness descends on Hong Kong for three days of tries, tackles and copious amounts of beer. If you’re heading to the South Stand, don’t forget your fancy dress costume. Hong Kong Stadium, 55 Eastern Hospital Road, So Kon Po, www.hksevens.com
APR 9 Empowerment hike Join mountaineer and domestic worker Liza Avelino for a hike in Lantau, followed by a stretching and cool down session led by yoga wear brand A Day with Fé on Mui Wo’s Silvermine Bay beach. Avelino is a graduate of Enrich, a charity that promotes the economic empowerment of migrant domestic workers by giving them the tools to save, budget and plan. She has completed two Trailblazers, trekked to the highest elevations in the world and now organises hikes with Clean Up Hong Kong Trails. Tickets are $200 each and all proceeds go to Enrich. A Day with Fé is also
APR 19 Know more about Alzheimer’s Disease
Butchers Club Easter Southside Long Lunch
The Southside Long Lunch is back - this time with an Easter twist. Head to the rooftop of The Butchers Club in Wong Chuk Hang for an Easter lunch menu - plus live music, stalls, competitions and games. Little patrons can enjoy an Easter egg hunt, face painting, an Easter egg painting booth, egg-and-spoon races and a mini cinema. Book your tickets now at store.thebutchers.club ($250 for adults and children over 4 years old. Free-flow alcohol package available for an extra $200). 16/F, Shui Ki Industrial Building, 18 Wong Chuk Hang Road, Aberdeen
APR 17 Easter Monday Another public holiday.
APR 19 Tin Hau Festival One of the most colourful celebrations taking place in Tin Hau temples around Hong Kong, celebrating the birthday of the goddess of the Sea with paper floral towers kung fu troupes and marching bands.
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BOOK NOW Mouse adventurer Geronimo Stilton embarks on his biggest adventure yet as he attempts to rescue the Queen of the Fairies. To succeed, he must walk through seven doors that transport
him from kingdom to kingdom, bringing him face to face with witches, mermaids, dragons, pixies, gnomes, fairies and a giant. Tickets start from $295 from www.hkticketing.com or call 3128 8288. School bookings are available on May 4 and 5. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 3929 9453. Lyric Theatre, Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts, 1 Gloucester Road, Wan Chai
MAY 4-9 Flex Yoga + Pilates Retreat Join Flexâ€™s co-director Heather Thomas Shalabi and Michelle Ricaille, homeopath and yoga instructor, on an intimate five-night getaway to Kamalaya Koh Samui. Deepen your Pilates and yoga practice with daily classes - including mini workshop sessions - and indulge in hand-picked spa treatments. And of course, donâ€™t forget to spend some time at the beach. Retreat packages start from $29,000 and up (all-inclusive except airfares). Email email@example.com
MAY 6 Malvern Meet & Pre-school Meet Malvern College Hong Kong regularly holds small group sessions for prospective parents to learn more about the school, expected to open in September, 2018. Teachers and senior management will be there to answer any questions you may have. The next one is from 9:30-11am (pre-school) 11:30am-1pm (primary and secondary), Marco Polo Hong Kong Hotel, Bauhinia Room, 4/F, 3 Canton Road, Harbour City, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon. Sign up at www.malverncollege.org.hk/infosession
Got an event? We can publish the details for free. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Photo by Kamalaya
MAY 4-7 Geronimo Stilton, Live in the Kingdom of Fantasy
happening in April
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Photo by Jesús Gorriti via Wikimedia Commons
RUGBY ROARS INTO TOWN Hong Kong Rugby Sevens is one of the biggest events on the sporting and social calendar. Here’s our guide to all the action.
ow in its 41st year, the Cathay Pacific/ HSBC Hong Kong Sevens sporting spectacular will be running from April 7-9 at good old Hong Kong Stadium in Causeway Bay. A total of 16 teams will be battling it out for the top spot, not to mention the women’s action on April 6-7, numerous youth teams joining in the fun on Friday and Saturday morning, and the Sevens Series Qualifier Tournament which runs concurrently at the stadium. Read on for the best of the action…
In the stadium Short and sweet, all matches last seven minutes each way, with a two-minute interval. Doors open 10am-9.15pm (Friday); 7am8pm (Saturday); and 7am-7.30pm (Sunday). The World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series Qualifier will be held April 6-7 at So Kon Po, with the semis and final played at Hong Kong Stadium as part of the Hong Kong Sevens. Arrive early to bag a seat, especially if you’re hitting the infamous South Stand for the day.
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Who’s taking part? In the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series 2016/17: Argentina Australia Canada England Fiji France Japan Kenya New Zealand
Russia Samoa Scotland South Africa United States Wales (with a special invitation by World Rugby to South Korea to fill the 16th spot.
In the World Rugby Sevens Series Qualifier Tournament 2017 (plays concurrently with the Sevens competition): Uganda Namibia (Africa) Guyana Jamaica (Americas North) Hong Kong Sri Lanka (Asia)
Spain Germany (Europe) Papua New Guinea Tonga (Oceania) Chile Uruguay (Americas South)
Uganda is making its debut appearance in Hong Kong and will become the 60th international union to participate in the Hong Kong Sevens.
magnificent sevens Kick-off concert The boot is firmly on the foot of British pop band Madness to get the Sevens party started, as they swing into town to headline the HKSSEVENS Kick-off Concert. Supported by bassist Bruce Foxton and guitarist/vocalist Russell Hastings of mod gods The Jam, Madness will get the party moving with a string of 80s hits. We’re certainly looking forward to a house of fun (gedit?!). April 6, HSBC Sevens Village, Indian Recreation Club, 63 Caroline Hill Road, So Kon Po, Causeway Bay. Tickets from www.ticketflap.com/hksevenskickoff2017 from $388.
Garden party Bringing Sevens to the city is HKSEVENS Central Party. Following a hugely successful launch last year, the event is back in Chater Garden, this time with a full week’s worth of activities. Bring the family as Chater Garden is transformed into a mini Hong Kong Stadium with a purpose-built rugby pitch, where youngsters will be able to enjoy rugby clinics, games, competitions and merchandise booths. There will be autograph sessions with participating teams ahead of kick-off and rugby stars from past and present. Keep on top of events in the stadium via giant screens broadcasting live match action. There’ll be plenty of food and drinks courtesy of pop-up restaurants from Marriott International Hotels, Mercato, Chino and Good Barbecue. Not only that, there will also be celebrity chef pop-ups and private dining opportunities. From 6pm the party kicks on with live music performances and Q&A sessions with rugby professionals. Stay on top of the action by visiting www.hksevens.com as more info is released. HKSEVENS Central Party, April 4-9, 10am-4pm & 6-9.30pm, Chater Garden, Central, entrance is free.
Walk of fans Lee Gardens shopping centre will be hosting a Hong Kong Sevens FanWalk, transforming the space into a “rugby-themed party wonderland”. The event will include non-stop entertainment, live performances including can can dancers, breakdancers, Samoan dancers, music from African drums, juggling, unicycling, stilt-walking and balloon twisting. There will also be food and drink stalls highlighting the culture and heritage of various nation teams. Surrounding streets will also be decorated and there will be live rugby action direct from the stadium on the big screen. Kids will also have a chance to meet with rugby greats such as David Campese, Ben Gollings and Gareth Thomas. FanWalk, April 7-9, Lee Garden One, 33 Hysan Avenue, East Point, Causeway Bay, entrance is free, www.hksevens.com
Village affair Couldn’t get tickets? The HSBC Sevens Village opposite the stadium will be streaming matches live onto giant screens, plus there will be heaps of activities for kids, including rugby, golf and tennis zones, arts workshops and face painting. HSBC Sevens Village, Indian Recreation Centre, 63 Caroline Hill Road, Causeway Bay, entrance is free.
Long lunch Calling all the lovely ladies in the territory Christina Noble Children’s Foundation will be hosting its annual Sevens long lunch. Put on your glad rags and enjoy great food, company and champagne - not to mention a few “performances” from the rugby players themselves. Expect an afternoon of hilarity, fun and frolics, plus the opportunity to support
this great charity. The auction is stacked full of glittering prizes and there will be a live pledge to support a water tank project in Vietnam. And let’s not forget the “official eye candy” on hand as your very own butlers… this is a long lunch to remember! CNCF Ladies’ Long Lunch, April 7, 12.30-3.30pm, The Hong Kong Jockey Club, Member Stand I, 3/F, Happy Valley Racecourse, tickets $1,800, www.cncf.org.hk
Party on a bit more Get into the swing of the Sevens with the official Hong Kong Sevens Rugby After Party. Organised by the Hong Kong Rugby Union and the Lan Kwai Fong Association, it’s been extended this year to run a full seven days. Enjoy booth games, official photo opportunities, beer and street food. The whole of LKF will be dressed up with artificial grass and a marching band. Hong Kong Sevens Official Rugby After Party, 9.30pm-late, April 3-9, Lan Kwai Fong, Central, entrance is free.
Hong Kong 10s and after party Hosted by Hong Kong Football Club, this 16team tournament including former internationals and other top pro players runs in the lead up to the Sevens, whetting your appetite for the weekend ahead. The teams compete for the Bill Burgess Cup and the event includes an after party with live music and free-flow wine and beer on April 6 for teams, club members, spectators and the general public. GFI HKFC 10s, April 5-6, Hong Kong Football Club, 3 Sports Road, Happy Valley, tickets $100/day from www.ticketflap.com.
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EASTER CAMPS Fun-filled workshops for your little ones. By Carolynne Dear.
Rumple & Friends
Fun and frolics with Rumple & Friends - there’s a signature Circus & Magic course in week one, after which kids get to take home their own magic kit. And in week two there’s a “play in a week” camp - a brand new course to encourage budding actors, puppeteers and adventurers to produce an awesome play in a week. Dates: April 3-6 & 10-13; T: 9830 8287; E: email@example.com; W: www.rumpleandfriends.com
Lots of workshops to keep those pesky Danish bricks firmly out of your shagpile. Drop them off for a “playful” learning experience aimed at nurturing creativity. The workshops are packed with fun challenges and are sensibly divided by age group into 3 & 4s; 5 6s, 7-8s and 9-10s and if you enroll via Cityline you can enjoy a $100 discount. Dates: April 11-22; T: 2804 6883; W: www.leas.com.hk
Join ESF for its Sports Spring Camp over one or two weeks of multi-sports camp or a specialist sports clinic. The multi-sports camp enables children to enjoy a range of sporting activities while the specialist clinics are a great way for kids to develop their swimming, football, tennis or gymnastic skills. Dates: April 3-13; T: 2711 1280; E: firstname.lastname@example.org; W: www.esf.org.hk/camps
Maggie & Rose Oodles of Easter fun for littlies down at Repulse Bay, these camps run for three hours each day and includes lunch or tea, snacks and drinks. They can try their hand at art, music, baking - think yummy hot cross buns, rice krispy egg nests and carrot bread - plus Easter crafts like bunny sock puppets and Faberge style eggs. It sounds almost too good for just the kids! Dates: 10am-1pm & 2-5pm, April 3-7 & 10-14; T: 2638 7191; E: email@example.com; W: www.hk.maggieandrose.com
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Elephant Community Press Creative workshops for kids aged 4 to 14 that will spark imaginations and guide students through the entire writing process, from brainstorming and drafting, to revising, editing and publishing their stories. All the action takes place on Pottinger Street in Central. And just for Easter, Elephant Press has launched King of Hong Kong, a fun workshop for kids aged 9-12 that combines board games and writing, in collaboration with Press Start Hong Kong. Dates: April 5-8, 10-13 & 18-21; T: 3487 3153; E: firstname.lastname@example.org; W: www.elephantcommunitypress.com
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family ESF Language & Learning A chance for kindergarten and upper primary students to build confidence in speaking and writing English. Children will engage in role play and drama to unleash their creativity and imagination at a variety of locations across Hong Kong. A great opportunity to polish up their language skills. Dates: April 10-13; T:2711 1280 ; E: email@example.com; W: www.esf.org.hk/camps
Colour My World A “wild arrangement” of Easter art and drama workshops for 4 to 14 year olds. The arts are inspired by the Art Nouveau movement, with surreal sprouting gardens of imaginary plants, delicate floral canvases with surprise effects and crops of complementary collages. Drama classes include tribal-inspired song, dance and movement. Dates: 10am-12.45pm daily, April 11-13 & 18-20; T: 2580 5028; E: firstname.lastname@example.org; W: www.colour-my-world.com
Anglo Academy Camp Riding on the success of last summer, Harrow International School will again be hosting this residential camp. Suitable for kids aged seven to 13, the Monday to Friday camp offers an insight into a British boarding experience in Asia. A dynamic programme that covers areas such as business and innovation, sports and arts. Dates: April 10-14; T: 6549 5071; E: email@example.com, W: www.anglo-academy.com
Mindful Wing Chun
Ark Eden runs forest play and hands-on environmental outdoor camps over the holidays. The camp is located in a secluded valley in Mui Wo, South Lantau, and offers single-day and overnight camps. The camps are suitable for children aged 5 to 11 years with the aim of reconnecting to nature. Dates: T: 9277 4025; E: firstname.lastname@example.org; W: www.arkedenonlantau.com.
Mindful Wing Chun is a martial arts practice which maximises the body’s power through relaxation and promotes self awareness. These one-and-a-half hour classes at the Centralbased studio pass on Wing Chun principles through game-based activities, with partner pad work, relays and meditation for older age groups. Dates: 10-11.30am (3-5 yrs), 12-1.30pm (6-9 yrs); April 14, 15 & 17; T: 6620 7050; E: email@example.com; W: www.mindfulwingchun.com.hk
Treasure Island Kayaking, biking, hiking and gorging are the exciting activities on offer on South Lantau this Easter. Suitable for children aged 8-15, the Spring Adventure Camp is based on Pui O beach with supervised drop off and pick up at Central Ferry Pier. Included is one night overnight stay, a healthy lunch each day plus snacks. Dates: 8.30am-4.30pm, April 3-7, 10-14; T: 2546 3543; E: firstname.lastname@example.org; W: www.treasureislandhk.com/
Anastassia’s Art House An exciting offering of festive spring workshops for children aged from 3 to 5 years and from 6 years plus. Students will get stuck into painting, drawing, collage, craft making and work in mixed-media. Studios are located throughout Hong Kong including Happy Valley, Repulse Bay and Sai Kung. Dates: April 3-13; E: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com; W: www.arthouse-hk.com
HK Art Tutoring It’s great to create these holidays, with challenging art workshops looking at the natural artistic design cycle using a variety of techniques including drawing, painting, sculpture, printmaking and mixed-media in two and threedimensional forms. Suitable for crafty kids aged 9 and up and hosted in the HK Art Tutoring studios in North Point. Dates: 9.30-11am & 11.15am-12.45pm, April 3-7 & 10-13; T: 9722 8353; E: firstname.lastname@example.org; W: www.hkarttutoring.com
Art Loop Pop art workshops are sure to hit the spot at this One Island South-based studio, including art history lessons, story time and creative skills development. The two workshops are Eggcellent Pastels, and with Andy Warhol as your inspiration, you’ll learn acrylic pattern-making to
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family create gorgeous eggs, or Pop! Bounce Bunny teaches the art of acrylic print-making. There is also a two-day family ceramic art workshop (one adult, one child). Suitable for children aged 3 and up, dependent on workshop. Dates: 10.30am-12pm & 2-3.30pm, April 5-21; T: 5238 8186; W: www.artloop.hk
Faust For 18 years Faust International has brought the wonderful world of theatre and performing arts to Hong Kong’s young people. This Easter the theme is woodland adventures, exploring children’s classics such as The Gruffalo, Robin Hook and more. There will be fun holiday classes in both theatre and creative writing. They run morning and afternoon and are suitable for ages 4 to 12 and take place at the Faust studio in Sheung Wan. Dates: 10.30am-12.30pm & 2-4.30pm T: 2547 9114; E: email@example.com; W: www.faustworld.com
aspiring cake decorators. Two hours of fun will all supplies provided for class use. Students also get to bring home their edible treats (packaging for transporting the masterpieces included). Suitable for children aged 8 years and up. Dates: April 5-12; T: 3167 7022; E: firstname.lastname@example.org; W: www.completedeelite.com
Mini-sport Get them up and running with a mini-sport camp. West Island School is laying on football, basketball, athletics, team building games and more at its Pok Fu Lam campus these holidays. Age groups include 3 to 4 years, 5 to 6 and 7 to 10. Dates: 9.30am-12.30pm, April 3-7 & 10-13; T: 6183 7084; W: www.sportsclassesforkidshk.com
HK Kidz Banana Art Club The Easter camps are being run in Causeway Bay, Discovery College and Kennedy School and offer children aged 3 to 15 the chance to explore drawing, canvas painting, cartoons, manga, mixed media, crafts and clay making. This is a one-stop art school that leaves all the clearing up for someone else to do. Dates: 9.30am-12.30pm, April 5-8; T: 6020 5476; E: email@example.com; W: www.banaaartclub.com
Southside Mandarin Come and find out all about Easter in Putonghua through games, art, Chinese music, Wushu and Chinese dance. Non-stop action and fun-filled activities for children aged 3 to 10 years at the camp’s One Island South venue in Wong Chuk Hang. Dates: 9.15-11.45am & 2.30-5pm, Apr 10-21; T: 3427 9619; E: firstname.lastname@example.org; W: www.southsidemandarin.com
Complete Deelite “Egg-citing” classes for budding bakers and
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HK Kidz is running a selection of fun and activitypacked camps in English, French, German, Spanish and Mandarin. Each workshop is jampacked with songs, drama, storytelling, role play and games. Programmes include language and arts, drama and music, science and discovery and language and cooking. Pick one, or mix and match. Available in Central, Wong Chuk Hang and Sai Kung. Dates: 1.5 hour, half-day or full-day, April 3-21; T: 2877 6160; E: email@example.com; W: www.hkkidz.com
Canadian International School The Aberdeen-based school will be opening its doors to all with over 21 different camps running over the spring break. Classes include gymnastics, swimming, netball and football. All activities cater for multiple age groups and skill tiers. Dates: April 10-13; E: firstname.lastname@example.org; W: www.cdnis.edu.hk
Hong Kong Ballet Hong Kong Ballet’s Easter Theatre Camp will be taking Fairy Fantasy as its theme (we can just imagine all those sparkly tutus) and is a fun three-day event whereby young balletomanes can learn all about theatrical ballet production. There’ll be hands-on workshops and the chance to act and dance the roles of enchanted characters. Dates: April 14-16; T: 2573 7398 E: email@example.com; W: www.hkballet.com/ballet_camp
Brainchild Explore robotics, 3D printing, beginning programming and science in a fun and creative way. Camps include DIY Bluetooth Speaker, DIY Solar Night Light, Star Wars Make-a-thon, 3D Printing, Coding for Kids and Techie Junior. Perfect for inquisitive kids aged from 5 and up (age dependent on specific camp). Dates: April 3-21; T: 2528 6862; W: brainchildltd.com
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BRAINCHILD DIY WORKSHOP OPENS IN ONE ISLAND SOUTH Brainchild, a provider of DIY robotics and technology workshops for kids, is launching its second space at One Island South on April 22. It hopes to reach more children by taking advantage of the space’s close proximity to the new Wong Chuk Hang MTR station. The company started in 2004, as a hobby of founder Jimmy Choy. It has since expanded to offer a range of workshops and creative birthday parties. “Our classes give confidence to those who benefit through accomplishment, especially those who aspire to become scientists, robotic
engineers and entrepreneurs,” says Choy. “Our hands-on activities allow them to make their dream robots, Star Wars Hacks or code a game that will change the future of humanity.” Brainchild regularly partners with schools and enters competitions. Future plans may include expanding into Kowloon. For more information on classes and birthday parties, visit www.brainchildltd.com. Room 1010, 10/F, One Island South, 2 Heung Yip Road, Wong Chuk Hang, 2528 6862.
AP LEI CHAU KINDERGARTEN SET TO CLOSE DUE TO RISING RENTS
SOUTHSIDE BUS ROUTES TO CHANGE
Good Health Anglo-Chinese Kindergarten and Good Health International Pre-school in Ap Lei Chau have announced they will close in July next year. In a recent letter sent out to parents, Good Health said it will remain open until July 2018, but only for nursery and K3. Those currently in K1 (going on to K2) or nursery (going on to K1) will not be able to continue. The same letter also mentions an 25 to 35 per cent increase in school fees for next year. Parents were alerted to the potential closure in February, after rental negotiations with Hutchison Estate Agents (herein Hutchison) to extend the current contract, which ends on July 31, reached a stalemate. Ted Hui Chi-fung, Democratic Party legislator, accused Hutchison of disregarding its social responsibility towards the community. “There is no one else to blame. It is a privately owned property and doesn’t involve the government or other third parties,” he said. “They are forcing the school out for their own profit and haven’t stopped to think about the effect it has on the community. It has a big impact on the children as they are still in early childhood education where it is important to have stability. Many of the parents I have spoken to have now found new kindergartens but will need to travel further. Some have decided to not take their children to nursery at all as it is not compulsory.” Neither Good Health nor Hutchison responded to requests for comment.
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Changes to bus routes in the Southside are due to take effect this month. The changes, proposed by the Transport Department (TD) as part of a public transport reorganisation plan (the PT Plan), are being made in light of the MTR South Island Line (East), which began operation last December. Some passengers who previously used franchised buses, green minibuses or other roadbased public transport have switched to the MTR - either walking or using one of the eight new rail feeder services to get to the station. According to information provided by the MTR, 110,000 passengers now use the line daily. The TD presented its proposals to the Southern District Council’s Traffic and Transport
Committee (TTC) last month and is currently looking into comments expressed by council members. While an exact schedule is not yet confirmed, the TD proposed that the changes - which involve the reduction in frequency, shortening, amalgamation and cancellation of certain bus routes - take place in phases, starting this month. Prior to the implementation, the franchised bus companies will put up notices at termini and en-route stops informing affected passengers of the details of the new services. For more details, visit www.districtcouncils.gov.hk/south
STANLEY DOG FESTIVAL SETS SIXTH GUINNESS WORLD RECORD Last month, in true Hong Kong style, over 600 dogs and their owners successfully attempted to achieve the Guinness World Record for the longest line of photo cut-out boards. The attempt took place at Stanley Plaza as part of its annual “Paws by the Sea” festival for dogs and their owners. It is the sixth world record set at Stanley Plaza.
Other events during the festival included an exhibition by local artists in blue and yellow (the only colours that dogs can distinguish), Architecture for Dogs - an exhibition curated by Kenya Hara, Art Director of MUJI, plus seminars on training and nutrition, talent shows, games and workshops. We can’t wait to see what record they’ll be attempting to set next year!
in your backyard
DROP IN THE OCEAN
Photos by Sammio Chiang
TWO-METRE PYTHON LEFT ON BUS IN AP LEI CHAU
Last month, a cleaner got a surprise when he discovered a two-metre python in a plastic bag left in the South Horizons bus terminal. Police were called and a snake expert was brought in to handle the matter. According to Anthony Yeung, chairperson of the Hong Kong Society of Herpetology Foundation, the snake was a Blood Python or python curtus species - not endemic to Hong Kong but commonly seen in countries such as Thailand and Malaysia.
Last month, a man’s drunken antics in Ap Lei Chau resulted in an hours-long search over land, sea, and air. According to the SCMP, the 23-year-old, surnamed Ngai, was pulled out of the water in the early hours of the morning near Jumbo Floating Restaurant in Aberdeen. He told police that he and three friends had jumped into the water after getting drunk on Ap Lei Chau Bridge. Divers and a helicopter searched the area until 7am for the three missing people, without luck. Apple Daily reported that Ngai was taken to hospital where he later admitted to police that no one else had jumped in with him.
The Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department has banned the import of this species. At 1.5 to 1.8 metres long, the Blood Python is relatively shorter than other snakes but has a strong and thick body and preys largely on rats, scorpions and birds. “The snake was most likely a pet before it was abandoned and may be put up for adoption if the Kadoorie Farm and Botanic Garden cannot release it into the wild”, said Yeung.
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win at www.southside.hk
GIVEAWAYS Geronimo Stilton Live in the Kingdom of Fantasy Best-selling Italian children’s book series Geronimo Stilton comes to life next month (May 4-7), as the talking mouse from Mouse Island sets off on an adventure to save the Queen of the fairies. To succeed, he must walk through seven doors that transport him from kingdom to kingdom, bringing him face to face with witches, mermaids, dragons, pixies, gnomes, fairies and a giant! What an adventure. We have a family set of four tickets to give away.
enter to win! The Butchers Club It’s time for another edition of The Butchers Club’s Southside Market Long Lunch on April 16 - an unforgettable day out for friends and families, this time with an Easter twist! Expect a lavish buffet, an Easter egg hunt, face painters, a kids’ cinema,
and more. Tickets are $550 per adult and $250 per child over 4, but we have two pairs of adult tickets to give away (including the free-flow add on, worth an extra $250!) Deadline: April 14
Deadline: April 28
Hong Kong Rugby Union See the fast and furious rugby action up close in one of Asia’s most popular sporting events: the Hong Kong Rugby Sevens! The tournament’s Hong Kong leg (April 7-9) is known for the excellent sporting talent it attracts (as well as the after-parties), and it’s a fantastic experience for both rugby novices and experts. We’ve got a pair of three-day tickets for one lucky winner. Deadline: April 5
Kowloon Vet Hospital
Kowloon Vet Hospital is giving away the ultimate ‘Pamper Your Pet’ prize: you have the chance to win a $1,000 grooming gift voucher for your dog, cat or rabbit — lovingly performed by a registered Vet Nurse with international grooming qualifications. To keep your pet looking gorgeous you will also receive a $1,000 gift voucher for KVH’s online shop. kowloon-vet-hospital.com/shop/
Following Pinocchio in February and The Jungle Book last year, Faust International Youth Theatre brings us another wonderful stage production this April: King Lear. A tale about a king that becomes drunk with power, William Shakespeare’s play is especially poignant today. We have a family set of tickets (two adults and two children) to give away to their premiere on April 21. Deadline: April 14
Deadline: April 28
Subscribe to our e-newsletter to get all our giveaways delivered straight to your inbox: www.southside.hk/subscribe 20 | WWW.SOUTHSIDE.HK
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five minutes with
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The core member of Pok Fu Lam Village Cultural Landscape Conservation Group talks to Robyn Or about preserving the oldest village on Hong Kong island.
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I have lived in Pok Fu Lam Village since I was 6. My grandfather and father were Chinese medicine practitioners and they ran a clinic here. We lived on the floor above. It was a close neighbourhood. We children all knew each other and played in the village and mountains nearby. We used to chase cats and pick fruit at the reservoir.
Illustration by Ignatius Agwunobi
At 12, I was sent to boarding school. 100 students shared one big bedroom, each of us equipped with one locker in which to store all our belongings. I love chemistry and I got a scholarship to study Pharmaceutics at Taiwan University. It was the best time of my life: being independent and meeting people with similar values. My classmates and I had big dreams, like winning the Nobel Prize and running our own pharmacy store together. Many young people in Pok Fu Lam Village want to move out when they grow up. I remember
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feeling the same when I was younger, as most of my classmates were living in concrete buildings. But after living in Chi Fu Fa Yuen and Pokfulam Garden, I realised it is the connection with people that I treasure most, so I moved back.
It’s wonderful that a traditional village still exists at the city’s edge.
Over 200 years of history is preserved in Pok Fu Lam Village. It’s wonderful that a traditional village still exists at the city’s edge. When the Dairy Farm Group set up its office and farm here in 1886, it provided many jobs for the villagers. It also changed the scenery, as farm lands were transformed for private housing.
Squatter huts were built by lower income families around the main area of the village. The proportion of squatters is decreasing now due to the expansion of Pok Fu Lam Road and public housing settlements. In the ‘90s, a developer intended to acquire part of the land, which affected over 40 households. Our villagers were frustrated and confused about how to deal with the developer as they didn’t want to lose their homeland. I helped to represent them in negotiations with district councillors and lawyers. We even went to court - it took eight years to resolve. The developer intended to acquire the title deeds from a villager who claimed that he was the land owner of that particular area, but there wasn’t any clear proof about the original ownership due to a lack of documentation in the past - much of the trading of properties was conducted privately without proper legal procedures.
Pok Fu Lam Village Cultural Landscape Conservation Group was formed after the outbreak of SARS in 2003. At that time, the most urgent issue in the village was hygiene. The sewage system wasn’t comprehensive so we grouped together to improve it. The mission of our group now is to preserve this village and educate the public through events and heritage tours. Our members are all villagers and everyone shares responsibility. We don’t rely on any political parties for funding. In 2013, Pok Fu Lam Village was named on the World Monuments Watch List which seeks to preserve threatened monuments. However the government and developers are always staring at our homeland. The villagers’ support is not enough, we need help from conservation groups and professionals to speak on our behalf.
Photos by Pok Fu Lam Village Cultural Landscape Conservation Group
The key to winning the case was adverse possession. According to the law, under certain conditions, if someone other than the true owner keeps possession of a piece of land for long enough, they can defeat the rights of the person whose name is on the title deeds. The adverse possessor then becomes the new owner of the land. Now, 80 per cent of land here is privately owned and the rest is government land.
We love the village and we want people to like it too. Throughout the year, there are over 10 activities for uniting villagers and outsiders, held in the public square. We will use the traditional cooking pits there to make rice dumplings before dragon boat festival in May. Last year we teamed up with a Taiwanese Social Enterprise (love2fruit) which promotes agricultural value to the public by organising outdoor dinners near farms. We set up long tables in the public square. Meals were cooked by hotel chefs from Taiwan and our villagers.
Fire Dragon Dance.
With Caritas Hong Kong, we have succeeded in our application for the revitalisation of the Old Dairy Farm Senior Staff Quarters on Pok Fu Lam Road. In 2019, there will be exhibition of the history of Dairy Farm and also a cheese making workshop for the public. After learning the history of the area, people will be able to visit University Hall, Béthanie (built as a sanatorium by the Paris Foreign Missions Society in 1875) and take a tour of Pok Fu Lam Village.
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A daytime aerial rendering of the proposed Dragon’s Link.
TAI TAM DRAGON’S LINK
Could a proposal for a new bridge be the answer to Tai Tam’s traffic woes? Shreena Patel reports.
esigns have been released which aim to ease congestion along the narrow section of road that crosses Tai Tam reservoir. The designs, codenamed “Dragon’s Link”, take the form of a new bridge - sounds simple enough, but things get more interesting when you look at the renderings. The proposed Dragon’s Link is designed to be used by pedestrians, cyclists and vehicles at the same time, safely. With wider lanes to better accommodate oversized buses and trucks, the new bridge would carry oneway northbound traffic while the existing dam would become a oneway road for southbound vehicles. Along the new bridge, vehicles and cyclists would get their own lanes, while a pedestrian path running along the outer western edge of the bridge - with three scenic lookout points - would provide those on foot with the best views out onto the water. The plans were created by international architectural practice M CO Design. Founding
Principal and Design Director Scott Myklebust has lived in Hong Kong for seven years and often cycles through Tai Tam Country Park. “I’ve thought a lot about how to ease congestion in this area of the park,” he says. “When I found out that the existing dam - a feat of early 20th century engineering - would be 100 years old next February, I thought a new bridge would solve the problem and be a fitting tribute. It’s intended to complement the old dam as a modern answer to the challenges and demands of today that didn’t exist in 1918: road congestion, population growth, over-sized vehicles, hikers and cyclists.”
It’s a lottery everytime I turn right out of Redhill Peninsula!
Since the early part of the last century, Hong Kong has expanded from a population of 500,000 to over 7 million. “This growth has required significant investment in infrastructure and land reclamation,” says Myklebust. “On the south side of the island, the dam represents a major bottleneck in the existing road network leading to frequent traffic jams and delays during peak commuting times and on weekends. Outdated and inadequate drainage can also lead to flooding along the roadway and complete closure during periods of large rainfall.” Incidents of congestion at the dam are indeed frequent. “It’s a lottery every time I turn right out of Redhill Peninsula!” says Tai Tam resident, Francoise de Saint Germain. Aside from improving traffic conditions, the new bridge is also designed to increase connectivity of the reservoir for hikers and support facilities to make Tai Tam a better tourist attraction. Currently, hikers wishing to follow the Heritage Trail must walk across the narrow dam - sometimes amongst
enter the dragon
Before and after: (Left): the current taxi drop-off point; (Right): a rendering of the Hikers’ Plaza.
the traffic - to get back to the starting point. The new bridge would turn the Heritage Trail into a complete and safe loop. Furthermore, bridge lighting would illuminate the Heritage Trail loop for night time hikes. Under the plans, the existing bathrooms and taxi drop-off area at the southern end of the dam would be replaced by an outdoor plaza and new taxi/bus drop-off zone for people to
meet friends, embark on a hike or wait for a ride. A new pavilion and outdoor terrace would provide a community space for events with views to the surrounding hills, as well as a cafe and visitor centre dedicated to the history of Tai Tam and local events. The proposal has received mixed feedback. On the whole, people seem to be supportive of doing something about the congestion at the
dam. A survey taken from December to January found that 85% of respondents think there is a problem at the Tai Tam Tuk Reservoir Dam where oncoming drivers are regularly unable to pass each other. Just over 70% of respondents were in support of a bridge and just over 55% were in favour of the Dragon’s Link. “I believe the Dragon’s Link would protect the dam from heavy usage and provide a good
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One of three scenic lookout points on the proposed bridge.
solution to both the traffic and the large sightseeing crowds,” says Stanley resident, Maxine Yao. According to District Councillor for Pok Fu Lam, Paul Zimmerman, “There are three possibilities: one, the government stops allowing more developments on the Southside; two, it manages the traffic the same way contractors manage roadworks; or three, we get an infrastructure solution such as the Dragon’s Link. Building on top of the historic dam is not feasible – not just for heritage reasons – but because nobody can determine the load bearing capacity of it.” However, not everyone thinks a new bridge is the answer. “Crossing Tai Tam Tuk at night is like stepping back 100 years when horses were still used to patrol the waterworks. The answer to the congestion is smart traffic lights and a switch to lighter and smaller vehicles, not more and bigger vehicles. Southside is the greenest district in Hong Kong - let’s find a smart, tech savvy, light footprint, cost effective way to celebrate our unique natural and cultural assets,” said a representative from the Tai Tam Tuk Eco Education Centre. The main opposition to the proposal has been in three areas: one, the threat to water quality during construction - the reservoir is still used as a drinking source; two, the matter of building a new structure in a country park; and three, concern that the amount of the money involved is disproportionate to the scale of the problem. In response to these concerns, Myklebust and his team have created two alternative proposals. The first would reduce the length of the proposed bridge from 900m to 500m and involve fewer support points in the water
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(reducing the cost and reducing the impact on the reservoir). The second would reduce the length of the bridge to 300m and take it completely off the water - traffic would flow both ways on the new bridge while the dam would be solely for pedestrians. As to which proposal Myklebust prefers, he says, “I’m not tied to any proposal - I’d like the final plan to be selected based on a survey of the local community.” Saint Germain prefers the 300m proposal. “It is about time something was done to improve the fluidity of traffic over the ageing Tai Tam Reservoir Bridge so I’m pleased there is a plan,” she says. “The full 900m bridge seems convoluted and I’m not sure how well it would melt into the surrounding hills; the alternative 300m proposal seems much better - cheaper and simpler. I’d also like to see a proper parking lot at the entrance to the country park.” The project is still a concept at this stage. It was presented to the government at a meeting of the Southern District Council in January. Parties at the meeting included the Transport Department (TD), the Department for Slope Protection, city engineers, the Police Department, the Antiquities Advisory Board (AAB) and the Agriculture, Fisheries & Conservation Department (AFCD). Most were in favour except for the AAB, which had concerns about compromising the historical value of the site, and the AFCD, which vetoed the proposal on the grounds that no new structures should be built in country parks. The TD said it was assessing traffic conditions in local area and considering a new link as a potential solution. For more information on the project, visit www.facebook.com/dragonslinktaitam or www.m-codesign.com/dragons-link
Flooding on the dam.
When two large vehicles meet on the dam traffic can come to a standstill.
Did you know...? The Tai Tam Tuk Reservoir was part of an ambitious water control project that ran from 1883 to 1936, comprising 21 different waterworks structures around Tai Tam. Proposed in 1873 by Surveyor-General for the public works, J.M. Price, the Tai Tam waterworks was the grandest water scheme of the day. The Tai Tam Heritage Trail, established in September, 2009 and around five kilometres in length, provides hikers with access to these 21 structures. The Tai Tam Tuk reservoir approaches the 100th anniversary of its completion in February, 2018. It continues to provide water to Hong Kong and stands as a monument to the engineering accomplishments of the early 20th century.
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The 2017 Readers’ Choice Awards WWW.SOUTHSIDE.HK | 31
cover story Which cuisine would you like to see more of in Southside?
Japanese Readers' Choice Awards 2017
Limewood For the third year in a row, Limewood has won Best Restaurant - can anyone knock it off the top spot? The Maximal Concepts hit offers barbecue, seafood and margaritas, inspired by SouthEast Asian, Hawaiian, South American and Caribbean recipes. The 48-hour charred beef ribs with a mango-infused barbecue sauce remains a favourite.
Relax with a pitcher of ice-cold margarita and enjoy the gorgeous views over Repulse Bay beach or grab some fish tacos to go and ask to borrow some of the beach games. The restaurant has just introduced a monthly quiz night), so gather your most knowledgeable friends (maximum of four people per team) and email your team name to
email@example.com to book your spot. Quiz starts at 8pm, arrive earlier to bag your table, grab a drink and get comfortable. Shop 103 & 104, G/F, the pulse, 28 Beach Road, Repulse Bay, www.limewood.hk, 2866 8668.
Readers' Choice Awards 2017
Best new restaurant
Amalfitana Pizza bar Amalfitana opened in the pulse last year, brought to us by the Roopchand and Chellaram brothers – the same four behind popular Caribbean bar/restaurant Rummin’ Tings. Headed by Chef Michel Degli Agosti, Amalfitana serves up classics inspired by the colourful Amalfi coast. “On behalf of our entire crew, we are deeply touched and honoured to receive the award for Best New Restaurant,” says Harsh Roopchand. “We have lots to look forward to in the coming months: an Easter Egg Hunt for the kids, our anniversary round the corner - we’re also soon to be open seven days a week. We thank each of you for your love and loyal support!” The menu offers a selection of starters, including the eye-catching ‘Tricolore’ (tomato bruschetta, avocado and Bufala Mozzarella), but the focus is definitely on the pizza. Chef Michel uses a long rising dough to make the pizzas lighter and easier to digest. Kids are kept entertained with games and colouring sets while the Bambino menu features fun fish-shaped pizzas with a number of kidfriendly toppings. G/F, Shop 105, the pulse, 28 Beach Road, Repulse Bay, www.amalfitana.hk, 2388 7787.
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cover story Readers' Choice Awards 2017
Best fine dining
The Verandah It’s no wonder southsiders have voted The Verandah the best place for fine dining. A reconstruction of the grand terraced dining room of one of Hong Kong’s most elegant establishments, The Repulse Bay Hotel, the restaurant oozes old school charm and offers glorious views of Repulse Bay Beach. From the lofty ceilings and gently whirling fans, to the grand piano at the entrance - the atmosphere at The Verandah is relaxed and refined, providing diners with a glimpse of the colonial splendour once enjoyed by Hong Kong’s high society. The food is classic European and the wine list is comprehensive, with French and Italian vintages, as well as new world options. “Thank you to everyone who voted for us,” says Franck Studeny, Executive Chef and Operations Manager for The Repulse Bay Company, Limited. “It is an honour for us to have served both southsiders and people in Hong Kong for over 30 years. We will continue to enhance the fine dining experience for our guests with a brand new menu, to be launched this month.” 109 Repulse Bay Road, 2292 2822, www.therepulsebay.com
Best place for a first kiss?
“ Stanley Pier “
“ At the peak of th Dragon’s Back ” e “ Longevity Bridge “ ng Hom u h C “ r a h” ble c Kok beac “ On a caan Park” at Oce “ The number 6 bus “ Readers' Choice Awards 2017
Best cup of coffee
The Coffee Academics The Coffee Academics has once again been voted southsiders go-to choice for a quality cup of coffee. And why not when you can enjoy views of the beach with a prime spot by the entrance? Shop 108, Level 1, the pulse, 28 Beach Road, Repulse Bay.
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Readers' Choice Awards 2017
Best place to grab a drink
Smugglers Inn Located on Stanley Promenade with picturesque views onto the water, The Smugglers Inn is named after the smugglers who used to reside in Stanley (the seaside town is known as Chek Chue in Cantonese , which literally translates as “Bandit’s post”). There’s definitely an ambience, with banknotes covering the ceiling and walls, wooden beams and tables and stools made from old barrels. The Smuggler’s Inn a popular expat haunt, especially for post-dragonboat training drinks, thanks to its casual atmosphere and wide range of beers and pub food (think sandwiches and pies). “Thank you to all our valued customers for voting The Smugglers Inn as the best place to grab a drink in the Southside,” said Manager, Bryan. G/F, 90A Stanley Main Street Stanley, 2813 8852
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Readers' Choice Awards 2017
Best residential complex
Readers' Choice Awards 2017
Best lifestyle and interiors store
The Repulse Bay Complex
Located along Hong Kong’s sunny riviera, The Repulse Bay continues to be the epitome of sophisticated living. And with newly renovated club facilities - including upgraded tennis courts, a circuit-training outdoor gym and personal training - plus store openings, there’s plenty to keep residents and visitors entertained. The club alone spans 60,000 square feet: work out in the gym, go for a swim indoors or outdoors, catch up with neighbours at the cafe or unwind on the sunbathing deck. There’s also a range of workshops and classes for adults and kids. Meanwhile, in the rest of the arcade, you’ll find supermarkets, fashion boutiques, dentists, doctors, spas and salons, restaurants and more - all with the backdrop of Repulse Bay beach. “We are very pleased to win this annual award again,” says Tina Wong, General Manager, The Repulse Bay Company, Limited. “It is wonderful to be recognised as Hong Kong’s ultimate oceanfront residential complex, offering quality service and professional management. We really appreciate it!” 109 Repulse Bay Road, 2292 2878 (apartment leasing), 2292 2900 (club enquiries), 2292 2829 (wedding and event hire), www.therepulsebay.com
Winning the award for a fifth year in a row, Indigo Living remains a firm favourite with Southside residents thanks to its fresh and inspiring collections each season. 6/F, Horizon Plaza, 2 Lee Wing Street, Ap Lei Chau, 2555 0540 (flagship); G111-112, The Repulse Bay, 109 Repulse Bay Road, 2592 8721; Shop 316-317, Level 3, The Arcade, 100 Cyberport Road, 2989 6557; Unit 1004 - 1005, 10/F Horizon Plaza, 2 Lee Wing Street, Ap Lei Chau, 2580 6003 (discount outlet). www.indigo-living.com
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What would make life in the Southside better?
“ Cleaner beach
“ An HSBC branch in S retail tanley ” ” More bike trails
“ A better playground and a Starbucks” “ A ferry from TST or Central ”
“ More live band
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cover story Readers' Choice Awards 2017
Best workout or gym
Pure South It looks like Pure South - The Pulse is still giving southsiders the best workouts around. Part of the Pure Group, this hybrid yoga and fitness centre offers a huge range of classes including Spartan Training, Wall Rope and Hot Yoga. The beachside location is also home to a Pure Apparel and a nood food juice bar. “Thanks so much to the Southside community for this fantastic recognition,” says Gary Wise, Regional Marketing Director of the group. “Pure South at The Pulse is a great representation of the Pure Group brand and our mission to support people to lead happier and healthier lives. We’re looking forward to many more years of total well-being with you down at the beachfront!” Pure South - The Pulse, Level 1, the pulse, 28 Beach Road, Repulse Bay, 8200 0908, www.pure-fitness.com, www.pure-yoga.com
Readers' Choice Awards 2017
Best hair salon
Capelli Capelli Hair Salon offers a full range of hair spa and salon services from professional stylists. Kids are also welcome at the salon where they can play with games consoles while mum is having her hair done. “Thank you for your continuous recognition of Capelli Salon as Southside Magazine’s Readers Choice awards for Best Hair Salon,” says Co-founder and Managing Director Anna Treier. “Together with our creative director Robin Lomas and our salon team, we are delighted and grateful to receive this meaningful award and we shall continue to create beautiful hair and treatments.” Services include hair cut, wash and blowdry, keratin smoothing treatment, perming, highlighting, Balayage, colouring and up-dos. G115-116, The Repulse Bay Arcade Repulse Bay, Hong Kong T.2592 9559, www.capelli.hk
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Best Southside rumour heard this year?
“ There’s a ghost in the water at Repulse Bay” “ Marks and is coming tSopencer Southside “the “ Traffic and parking laws are “ Rental prices” actually being are going down enforced ” e will be “ Murray Housin soon” exorcised aga “ Wild boar er v have taken oKok “ Chung Hom “ Pres Donald Truident be marchinmp will Southside’s g in Ir Parade ” ish
Readers' Choice Awards 2017
Best spa experience
Sense of Touch Multi-award winning spa group Sense of Touch continues to keep us feeling pampered. “We sincerely appreciate this wonderful accolade from our loyal clients,” says Cofounder and Managing Director Anna Treier. “We’re launching a new innovative treatment at Sense of Touch Repulse Bay this May, the HYDRAFACIAL, and something else exciting will also be coming to our spa soon, so stay tuned. Thank you for this heartfelt award.” 3/F, Le Meridien Cyberport, 100 Cyberport Road, Pok Fu Lam, 2980 7698; 1/F, The Repulse Bay Arcade, 109 Repulse Bay Road, 2592 9668, www.senseoftouch.com.hk
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cover story Readers' Choice Awards 2017
Best art gallery
Best extracurricular activity Readers' Choice Awards 2017
Stanley Veterinary Centre
Faust International Youth Theatre Life in southside is never short of drama, especially for the kids at Faust. The youth group was formed in 1999 by Matthew Gregory and has since grown into one of the city’s most successful performing arts schools for kids. “This vote is the cherry on top of our 18th anniversary year!” says General Manager Keon Lee. “Thank you to all who have been with us and voted for our fourth consecutive win as best extracurricular activity. We look forward to bringing more fun and exciting opportunities in our upcoming production of King Lear, The Faust Festival, Summer Programmes and more.” 5/F, Nan Dao Commercial Building, 359-361 Queen’s Road Central, Sheung Wan, 2547 9114, www.faustworld.com.hk
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Readers have again voted Stanley Veterinary Centre as their most trusted place to take beloved pets. The fully-equipped practice has seen thousands of pets and their owners walk through the doors of the years and the clinic has continued to expand and purchase the latest equipment to take care of Southside’s furry friends. Retail shop and grooming centre, Pacific Pets, is conveniently located next door and offers a wide range of quality products and supplies from food to toys to accessories for dogs, cats, rabbits, hamsters, birds, fish, reptiles and more. LG/F 10-12 Wong Ma Kok Road, Stanley, 2813 2030, www.stanleyvetcentre.com
What would you like to see come to the pulse?
ildren’s h c t a e r g “A ” playground
“ A cinema
“ Cheaper restauran Readers' Choice Awards 2017
Photo by Dennis Wong via flickr
Readers' Choice Awards 2017
Image courtesy of Blindspot Gallery
For the second time, Blindspot Gallery has been voted as readers’ favourite art gallery. The Wong Chuk Hang gallery opened in 2010 to bring contemporary photography and image based works into the mainstream within the Hong Kong arts scene. “Being one of the first galleries to open in the south side of Hong Kong, it is an honour to be voted as Best Art Gallery,” said Mimi Chun, Founder and Director. “Our current show, which runs throughout April, features the photographic work of mainland Chinese artist Jiang Pengyi, made with cameraless technique.” 28 Wong Chuk Hang Road, Wong Chuk Hang, 2517 6238, www.blindspotgallery.com
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cover story Readers' Choice Awards 2017
Best private members club
The American Club Founded in 1925, this member-owned club offers a small taste of home to Americans (apparently the burgers are particularly good), though there are membership options for non-US citizens as well. Its two clubhouses in Central and Tai Tam provide contrasting views of Hong Kong and the club has reciprocal agreements with over 80 others across the globe. The Country Club is set on 3.5 acres in Tai Tam and has four restaurants, six tennis courts, three squash courts, indoor and outdoor multi-purpose courts, rock-climbing wall, swimming pool and baby pool, three-storey play zone and teen hangout, clifftop spa and a ballroom. No wonder so many of you love to spend your leisure time relaxing at the club. American Individual membership ($438,000 joining fee plus $2,570 per month) is available to US citizens only, but the one-year temporary membership ($45,600 annual fee, plus $1,950 per month) is open to all nationalities. 28 Tai Tam Rd, Stanley, 2842 7400, www.americanclubhk.com Readers' Choice Awards 2017
Best kindergarten / preschool
With 10 centres across Hong Kong, Woodland has become a trusted and well-regarded preschool for parents in the territory for 39 years. ‘We are delighted to win this award as we are committed to serving out community with high quality education,” says Curriculum Coordinator Carrie Johnson. “A readers’ choice award comes directly from the people we are working with and so it really does make it extra special. This truly validates all the hard work that the teachers put in with the children - we have some amazing staff who deserve to be recognised. This year we’re focusing on making our Summer Fun program extra special with new activities that will take the children on some truly magical adventures.’’ The Summer Fun Programme runs from July 3 to August 11 and is open to all children aged 6 months to 7 years. In addition, children between 2.5-6 years old can get a week’s free trial of Woodlands Pokfulam Preschool until May 31, before committing to join. To enquire, call 2551 7177 or email firstname.lastname@example.org Preschools throughout Hong Kong, including Repulse Bay, Pokfulam and Aberdeen. www.woodlandschools.com
Founded in 2000, Southside Kindergarten is an independent, co-educational kindergarten, located in the beautiful The Repulse Bay. “It’s wonderful to hear that we have been recognised,” says founder, Cheryl Raper. “Everyone from the teachers to the parents, and especially our students, works so hard to make Southside Kindergarten the school it is - a warm, welcoming environment where children thrive. In the lead up to the end of the school year our children are excited to progress along their individual learning journeys. Whether this learning takes places in the classroom, on the playground, or in our Extended Day programme, the confidence and skills developed will ensure a smooth transition to their next phase of learning. Thanks again to everyone who took the time to participate in the Readers’ Choice Awards.” G203 The Repulse Bay, 109 Repulse Bay Road, 2592 7527, www.southside.edu.hk
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Southside’s best kept secret?
“ Lucy’s “
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Photo by tsechanwah via Wikimedia Commons
Stanley Beach and Market Once again Stanley Market is your favourite place to take visitors. The popular tourist destination can get crammed at the weekends but savvy southsiders know that a trip during the week can be much more laid-back afternoon out. Spend some time making your way through the shops and shady alleyways to find a few unexpected items and a bargain or two. Many of the shops are run by families who have lived in Stanley for generations. Paintings, trinkets, sportswear and print t-shirts are some of the best finds.
It wouldn’t be Southside without...
“ the ” beaches
“ the people
“ Photo by Graham Uden
Best destination for guests
Readers' Choice Awards 2017
“ Southside Mag Readers' Choice Awards 2017
Favourite annual event
Dragon boat race in Stanley Every summer thousands of Hongkongers descend on Stanley and Aberdeen for the Tuen Ng or Dragonboat festival to watch the teams of suits, mums, fishermen and athletes battling it out for glory, a trophy and a roast pig. Over 200 teams take part in the Stanley International
Dragonboat Championships featuring men’s, women’s and mixed races while up to 30,000 spectators enjoy the party atmosphere. Don’t miss this year’s event to be held on May 30 at Stanley Main Beach (warm up races on May 6). Yat, yee!
Photo by Jayne Russell photography
Readers' Choice Awards 2017
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The winners TRi, Hotshot and The Ocean
$4,000 worth of dining vouchers tri.hk, hotshot.hk, theocean.hk
Winners: TRi - Keon Lee Hotshot - Zhaolong Li The Ocean - Darrell Smith
The Repulse Bay
$10,000 worth of dining vouchers therepulsebay.com Winner: Leslie Webb
Escapade Sports Benefit Cosmetics
3 x $1,000 goodie bags
Deluxe Pilates Package worth $5,775
Paris Spivey Ellen Chan Haley Appleford
Winner: Renae Rufus
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5 x $1,000 cash vouchers escapade.com.hk
Winners: Nicole Schlaikier Jen Burman Christian Ross Esther Chin Jay Pindea
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ESF Discovery College is going from strength to strength. Rebecca Simpson finds out how.
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iscovery College (DC) is a relatively new school. It was opened in 2008 and offers a through-school experience and IB curriculum in both primary and secondary sections. DC is part of the Private Independent Schools (PIS) network, and is managed by ESF, under the same conditions as Renaissance College. This is an important differentiator for parents because DC acts almost as a private school within the ESF network - the school does not receive government funding, nor does it have a defined catchment area. This means fees are more expensive than ESF and students come from the length and breadth of Hong Kong - from Repulse Bay and the Peak, to Sai Kung, Yeun Long and even Cheung Chau Island. But while a few students are catching planes (almost), trains and automobiles to get here, the majority live locally. Discovery Bay’s car-free community means students walk, cycle or skateboard to and from school each day. “It’s a very physical community,” says principal Mark Beach. “I stand at the front gate every morning and see it. DC kids are mad on sports, we have a close connection with organisations like the DB Pirates (local weekend sports club) which is very special.” A close sense of community has been fostered since day one at the school, with cross-pollination of the senior and junior school - through the physical structure of the building to inclusions in the school curriculum such as a buddy programme - senior students come to visit their “buddies” in junior school to read, share knowledge and create art. These experiences provide a link between primary and secondary and foster a big brother/sister relationship within the school community. DC follows a philosophy of “positive education”, which is an approach that stems from the movement of positive psychology - the study of the strengths that enable individuals and communities to thrive, founded on the belief that people want to lead meaningful and fulfilling lives and to cultivate what is best within themselves.
The students are keen sports players.
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education Beach says the school works hard to ensure students feel valued and communication channels remain open even when students are struggling. “It’s important to give kids an understanding that they are valued and give them the tools to cope with stress and change,” he says. In recent years the school has driven a focus on “wellness”, with particular attention to kindness and gratitude, also resilience and grit. “We’ve been focused on building on these, asking students “What do you do when the going gets tough?”,” says Beach. The school is working towards a growth mindset with students and families, “an understanding that we learn through failure and changing childrens’ mindsets from “I can’t do it” to “I can’t do it yet”. Once they grasp this, when things don’t work out, they merely become another learning experience.” In terms of core subjects, DC claims to provide a rigorous academic curriculum, strongly supported by the arts. In a city that is famously academically-driven, DC’s focus on the arts as an area intrinsic to learning in all subjects is arguably a risky business. But the proof is in the pudding and in 2016 it claimed two of the city’s perfect 45 IB scores, and this was only the school’s third graduating class. DC alumni have graduated to some of the world’s top universities, including Oxford, Cambridge and UC Berkeley.
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Real strength is in the students’ ability to collaborate, says school pricnipal Mark Beach.
“We’re a school that promotes rigorous academic achievement but we also value the arts as an area of focus that contributes to learning in all other subjects,” says Beach. “There’s such strong research and connection between, for example, music and maths. A focus on arts has huge benefits for skills like articulation, it’s a powerful part of our school but no more important than other subjects. It’s just that we get started at an early age and we maintain a focus for our students. We
are one of the few ESF schools that provide specialised teachers for drama, music and art right from year one. Our primary students get all the advantages of a high school.” Chinese learning starts in year one with multiple lessons a week and from year two students are experiencing daily lessons. For PIS schools Mandarin in compulsory. Most students take Chinese all the way through to Diploma level. To cater for students with varying levels of the language, DC’s Chinese
programme is “pathwayed” from year one, which means students are learning at a pace that suits them personally. As far as technology goes, Beach says the approach is that it should only be used if it enhances learning. “For us, the real strength is the ability for students to access information and manipulate it to further their understanding and knowledge. It’s also about being able to share their learnings - presenting and collaborating with others. If technology is being used properly,
The school promotes rigorous academic achievement.
you shouldn’t even notice it, it shouldn’t be the focus of what you’re doing. It’s just there to support learning.” The school works hard to support students with their post-school choices. A higher education office kicks in during year 10 and onwards, more so as they reach final years.
Established: 2008 Class size: Teacher/Student ratio: Varies between 1:10 to 1:30 Curriculum: IB Primary Years Programme, IB Middle Years Programme and IB Diploma Programme Fees 2016/2017: $108,400-$146,600 per annum Non refundable capital levy: $6,290 Address: 38 Siena Avenue, Discovery Bay, Lantau Island Tel: 3969 1000
“We’ve developed some very close connections with universities,” explains Beach. “We actually host a University Fair that over 130 universities attend from around the world and student from across Hong Kong are invited to attend.”
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India’s Golden Triangle
Shreena Patel heads to northwestern India with her family for a two-week adventure.
n a world of increasingly homogenous travel, India is unique. From the snowy mountain tops of Kashmir to the lush rainforests of the South Western Ghats, the silence of the great Thar Desert to the chaos and crowds of Old
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Delhi, its landscape is vast and varied, bound by a deep history, a rich culture and a shared soul. With our two weeks, we choose to visit the Golden Triangle, a popular route which connects Delhi, the national capital territory, with Agra and
Jaipur. This is definitely not an “off-the-beatenpath” experience, but some things are popular for good reason. The Golden Triangle is a classic introduction to India and a great wealth of culture and history awaits those who choose to see it. Amer Fort is reflected in Maota Lake below.
the pink city
Jaipur Our first stop is Jaipur, the capital of Rajasthan. India’s largest state is littered with palaces and forts: reminders of the many kingdoms that once vied for the region. It is the chief constituent of what was once known as Rajputana (literally, “land of the sons of kings”), a collection of kingdoms, each ruled by different Rajput clans. Jaipur was founded in 1727 by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II, a member of the Kachhwaha clan of Rajputs and ruler of the kingdom of Amer (whose capital, Amer, was located about 11km north of modern Jaipur). Jai Singh II became ruler of Amer kingdom in 1699, at the age of 11, following the death of his father.
India’s largest state is littered with palaces and forts.
For some years leading up to his ascension, relations between the Mughals and the Rajputs (who had, since 1562, been in alliance) had been deteriorating. They reached their lowest point upon the death of Emperor Aurangzeb, when Jai Singh II found himself deposed of his kingdom by Aurangzeb’s successor and son Bahadur Shah. Ever the diplomat, Jai Singh II formed an alliance with other Rajput states of Mewar (Udaipur) and Marwar (Jodhpur) and regained the kingdom. In 1727, he founded a new capital and named it Jaipur, after himself. The city was planned and designed by architect Vidhyadhar Bhattacharya, based on the ancient architectural manual Shilpa Shastra. Later in 1876, Maharaja Ram Singh II, adorned the city in a pinkish colour (associated with hospitality) to welcome the then Prince of Wales - hence why people refer to Jaipur as “the pink city”. After India became independent from British rule, Jaipur merged with Jodhpur, Jaisalmer and Bikaner to form Rajasthan. Today, Jaipur is a centre of commerce and administration, full of life - and traffic. The streets of the old city are filled with camels, people, cars, motorbikes and rickshaws - even elephants. In the midst of it all are legacies of the area’s majestic past: City Palace, which continues to house the royal family, Jantar Mantar - the royal observatory, the pink honeycombed facade of Hawa Mahal - a former cloister for royal women, and further out in the hills, Amer Fort.
Eat Tapri - The Tea House has an outdoor rooftop seating area with a wide selection of teas and snacks, including samosas and chilli cheese toast. B4-E, Prithviraj Road, Opposite Central Park Gate No. 4, C-Scheme. For something special, try the Fairmont Jaipur’s unique dining experience: a traditional Rajasthani thali (a dish of smaller dishes), served outside on the terrace next to an open fire and surrounded by freshly picked, fragrant flowers. Look out for local speciality, laal maas (mutton cooked with fiery red chillies and other spices not for the faint-hearted!) Another option for Indian fine dining is Cinnamon at Jai Mahal Palace (Jacob Road, Civil Lines). If you need a break from Indian food, try Steam at Rambagh Palace, which serves up Italian and Lebanese fare (Bhawani Singh Road, Rambagh) or Mughal-inspired restaurant and lounge, Bar Palladio, for Italian food (Kanota Bagh, Bhag Singh Road, Adarsh Nagar).
(Top): Hawa Mahal; (Middle): drinking masala chai and eating chilli cheese toast at Tapri; (Bottom): a sculpture at Jantar Mantar.
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(Left): Anokhi; (Middle): stone lattice work at Amer Fort; (Right): Rambagh Palace.
Shop Jaipur is a shopper’s paradise and famous for three things in particular: block printing, blue pottery and gemstones. For good-quality, cotton block printed clothes and soft furnishings in a range of colours and patterns, head to Anokhi. There’s a nice cafe next door if you’re feeling peckish - try the fresh pomegranate juice. 2nd Floor KK Square, C-11 Prithviraj Road, C-Scheme. Visit Kilol for a range of traditional and western clothes and home furnishings. E-141, Sardar Patel Marg, C Scheme. Head to Hot Pink for clothes, bags and scarves by local designers; IDLI for contemporary Jaipur-inspired home furnishings and apparel in a range of fun fabrics (printed, tie-dye and woven); and Aashka for handcrafted clothes, jewellery, furniture and home accessories (all at Hotel Narain Niwas Palace, Kanota Bagh, Narayan Singh Road, Rambagh). For jewellery, Gem Palace is listed on most tourist websites - good designs and quality, but prices are very high (Shop No.348, M.I. Road). Amrapali has a great range of costume and fine jewellery (Panch Batti, M.I.Road). For more chaos and the chance to haggle, head to the bazaars. There are at least seven but the most popular are Johari bazaar (jewellery) and Bapu bazaar (mojari and leather goods).
Do Visit Amer Fort, built in 1592 by Raja Man Singh. The best time to visit is in the early morning. You can ride elephants to the top, but if you'd rather not, there is a path for walking. Once at the top, you can buy a ticket to enter the grounds and hire a guide (a composite ticket costs INR 1,000 per person for foreigners, lasts two days and includes entry into a number of sights, including Amer Fort, Jaigarh Fort and Jantar Mantar). Don't miss the Sheesh Mahal (Mirror Palace) - which supposedly can be fully lit by a single candle, making the ceiling appear as if it were a canopy of stars. Overlooking the valley and connected to Amer Fort via a series of underground tunnels is Jaigarh Fort, the main cannon foundry of the Mughal empire and still home to the world’s largest cannon on wheels. Head to Jaipur city and visit the City Palace,
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The Fairmont Jaipur.
a complex of courtyards, gardens and buildings. There are two parts of the palace: one which is open to the public and the other which is still a royal residence. Entry to the palace is expensive (around INR 2,500 for foreigners) and is not included in the Amer Fort composite ticket. Cross the road for a lesson in astronomy at Jantar Mantar, constructed on the orders of Jai Singh II, who had a great interest in the subject. This collection of 19 architectural instruments includes the world’s largest sundial, but laymen may struggle to see anything but odd sculptures and stairs that lead nowhere. It’s worth hiring a guide at the entrance to explain how it all works. Hawa Mahal’s pink honeycomb facade has become an icon of Rajasthani architecture. Rising five stories, it was built in 1799 by Maharaja Sawai Pratap Singh to enable ladies of the royal household - who were not allowed in public - to watch proceedings in the streets below in anonymity. For a chilled out afternoon, have tea in the gardens of Rambagh Palace (the former residence of the Maharaja of Jaipur) and play croquet on the lawn - look out for the peacocks! Bhawani Singh Road, Rambagh. If you’re not tired of forts yet, head to Nahargarh Fort at sunset. Perched on the edge of the Aravalli Hills, overlooking Jaipur it has spectacular views. Entry is included in the Amer Fort composite ticket.
Stay Located a 20-minute drive from Jaipur city - The Fairmont Jaipur is a reimagined 16th century Mughal palace, combining old-world beauty with modern-day comforts. On arrival, we get
a fantastic Rajasthani welcome with drums (nagada) and traditional music. The rooms are gorgeous (ask for one with a view to the hills) and guests will notice a recurring parrot motif, a nod to the Mughals’ fondness for the creatures. Foodwise, highlights include the unique dining experience, Zoya for an international menu and Zarin for Indo-Persian (the pomegranate molasses chicken is a must-try). After dinner, head to the bar or catch a glimpse of local culture in the tea lounge, where the hotel invites local dancers, puppeteers and singers to perform. There’s also a pool, gym, spa, shops, and childrens’ area. Gold Club guests have access to a luxurious lounge that serves afternoon tea, drinks and nibbles throughout the day. Head there for cocktails and canapes before dinner. Butler service is available for suites and speciality rooms. Nightly rates start at INR 11,000 plus taxes for a Fairmont Room (based on double occupancy), which includes breakfast. Book online at www.fairmont.com/jaipur or email email@example.com
Rural Rajasthan Amanbagh A two-hour drive east of Jaipur along a mostly unfinished road lies luxury oasis, Amanbagh (“peaceful garden”). Hidden away at the foothills of the Aravalli mountain range, the site was once the hunting lodge of the Maharajah of Alwar who would come here in search of tigers - and it’s still fit for a king. Built from palest pink local sandstone, featuring domed cupolas, manicured lawns, two outdoor swimming pools (the smaller is heated), all in the quiet serenity of the lush countryside, Amanbagh is breathtakingly beautiful. Upon arrival, we are greeted with an unexpected but wonderfully sung prayer to Lord Vishnu and taken to our rooms. There are 24 haveli suites and 16 pool pavilions to choose from - all the rooms are decked out in local pink sandstone and red marble, with large bathtubs carved from Udaipur green marble. Some feature private terraces and each of the the pool pavilions has its own private pool. Rooms are all equipped with a monkey stick to ward off (but not hit) unwanted visitors we are in the forest after all. You shouldn’t need the stick unless you’ve left food lying around. The area is very quiet so I advise bringing a book or two with you. The hotel also provides a suggested itinerary for your stay. Early morning (7:30am) guided walks to nearby villages are complimentary, as is morning yoga (10:30am), and you can use the hotel bikes free of charge. There’s also a state-of-the-art gym, spa, boutique, library and croquet lawn (challenge the staff to a game or two if you’re feeling brave).
If you want to explore further afield, try one of the chargeable excursions: an open-top Jeep safari to nearby Sariska national park (home to tigers and other wildlife), a cow-dust tour, camel ride and picnic, or a trip to Bhangarh Fort - supposedly the most haunted place in India, this 16th century city was completed deserted in just one night and has now been taken over by monkeys and the odd cow. Visitors, who according to a sign installed by the Archeological Survey of India are forbidden to remain in the the fort between sunset and sunrise, include tourists, young couples lounging on the grass and groups of teenagers looking to be spooked. Back at the hotel, live music starts outside the restaurant from around 6pm and continues until late - dine outside for the full ambience. The food is delicious and ordered a la carte prices are high for the area but not outrageous,
Residents of the nearby village.
especially given the service, quality and surroundings. We go head back to the room each night satisfied and relaxed. Nightly rates during the low season start at USD 600 (plus 32.5% tax) per room, which includes breakfast. The hotel is closed from June 1 to July 31. For reservations, email firstname.lastname@example.org, www.aman.com/resorts/amanbagh
(Left): at Bhangarh Fort; (Right): the main hotel building and pool.
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travel Aman-i-khas This is, without doubt, the most memorable “hotel” I have ever stayed in. Aman-i-khas is, in fact, a collection of 10 tents - although “tent” is a gross understatement. Each tent is is more like a full suite, with a soaring six-metre canopy and separate living, sleeping and bathing quarters - there’s even a full stone bathtub. Fill it up, light a few candles and soak up the magic. Every tent is assigned a batman, available 24/7. Outside in the evenings, guests can gather round a huge fire pit and relax or swap stories about the day’s adventures. There’s also a restaurant, library, spa and vegetable garden. On arrival we are greeted by one of the two general managers, Anand Shekhawat, who we discover is a historian, naturalist and anthropologist rolled into one. He always finds the right moment to appear with helpful advice, interesting stories and to find out about our day. One of the best things about Aman-i-khas is the wildlife. Peacocks wander the grounds (although the gardener tries to keep them away from his vegetables) - even, on one occasion, a mother and baby deer. A prime spot during the day is on the hammock by the lake, where Anand informs us a crocodile has recently taken up residence. It’s a beautiful place to read - but I make sure to glance at the crocodile occasionally to check its whereabouts. Another day, we ride camels to a nearby hilltop to watch the sunset. It’s a great spot and we are surprised by our hosts with a small picnic at the top. We even spot a hyena - an incredibly rare sight. Of course, the main attraction of this part of the world is the tiger safari in nearby Ranthambore National Park. We book through an external company, opting for a morning safari in a private open-top Jeep. Still, the hotel kindly delivers a hot pot of masala chai and cake to our tent at 5:30am and gives us blankets and hot water bottles for the ride. Our Jeep driver and guide inform us we’ve been allocated zone
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7 - the entrance is about a 20-minute, bonechilling drive away and we are the first to arrive. Once inside, we drive around for hours as the sun rises, our guide looking for paw prints and listening for warning calls. It’s beautiful and we see other wildlife, but no tigers. We can’t help feeling disappointed.
A prime spot during the day is on the hammock by the lake, where Anand informs us a crocodile has recently taken up residence.
We decide to do one more safari, this time booking via the hotel - despite its much higher rates - in the hope that it will improve our chances of seeing the elusive tiger (on the face
of it, the booking system for the park appears to be fully automated, but as our second guide, Bobby, later remarks, “anything is possible in India”). By the early evening it’s all arranged and we’re told that this time we’ll be going to zone 5. The next morning we set off with our driver and Bobby and begin our search. We see some tantalising paw prints but still no tiger. Just as we are about to give up, we come across Akaash, a 5-year-old male tiger in his prime. Everyone watches him in silence as he approaches the back of the Jeep, where I’m sitting. He can’t be more than five feet away. My heart is pounding and though I’ve been clutching my iPhone for hours waiting for this shot, now that the moment is finally here thoughts of snapping a photo couldn’t be further from my mind. My mother whispers reassuringly, “he’s licking his lips.” Thanks, mum. I hold my breath as Akaash passes round the other side of the jeep and nonchalantly wanders off into the bushes. After 10 or 15 feet, he has totally disappeared and we are left speechless. We arrive back at the hotel joyous and two months later, I still can’t shut up about it.
rural Rajasthan Booking your safari Peak season at Ranthambore National Park is Autumn to Spring, though the best time to go for tiger sightings is during the hotter months, from April to June. The park is closed from July to September during the monsoon.
Nightly rates during May (low season) start at USD 1,000 (plus 23.5% tax) per tent, which includes full board. For the rest of the seasons, taxes are higher (33.12%). The hotel is closed from June to September. For entry passes to Ranthambhore National Park, the hotel charges USD 100 (plus 17.5% tax) per person per excursion on a sharing basis. This covers entrance fee, appointed guide, safari vehicle and driver and refreshments. An exclusive jeep/drive costs USD 600 (plus 17.5% tax) per excursion. Both options are non-refundable. For reservations, email email@example.com, www.aman.com/resorts/aman-i-khas
The park is divided into 10 zones and there is a quota of vehicles are allowed in each zone at any time. Zones 1-5 used to be known as the core zones and zones 6-10 as the buffer zones, but now there is officially no distinction. However, entry to zones 1-5 is definitely more sought after. Safaris run twice a day (morning and afternoon) and there are two types of vehicle available: a six-seater open-top gypsy (Jeep) and a 20-seater canter. The Gypsy is a better option – fewer people, more comfortable, can navigate better and faster. Each vehicle comes with a driver and a guide. Booking opens 90 days before the date of the safari. You can book online
(rajasthanwildlife.in), via your hotel, or through a separate company. You can also head down to the booking office an hour or two before a safari starts and see what seats are available. If you book online, you are assured of a seat, but your zone and guide are allocated to you by a computer. If you book on the day, take your passport and prepare for long queues. If you want a Gypsy, you must be able to fill the Jeep or be willing to pay for the vacant seats. You have limited control over the zone: you can ask what is available and if it’s not the one you want, step back, let someone else make a booking, then try again - but this isn’t feasible during peak season. If you book through your hotel or another company, they will arrange everything for you. The park is 392 km² and has about 60 tigers so sightings are very rare and never guaranteed, but if you’ve come all this way, I would highly recommend booking with the team at Aman-i-khas for your best chance. In any case, the park is beautiful and you won't regret going.
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Agra Once the heart of the Mughal empire, Agra boasts one of the seven (man made) wonders of the world: the mesmerising Taj Mahal. It’s located in India’s most populous state, Uttar Pradesh (UP), and as we arrive in the car from Ranthambore, the difference in our surroundings is stark. The streets are packed and full of noise. By the roadside, crowds gather to hear politicians campaigning in the state elections (as a side note, UP has in fact produced eight of the country’s 14 Prime Ministers). I see two or three cyclists hauling literally hundreds of shoeboxes pass by - the town is famous for its leatherwork and footwear. Of all our stops, we’re spending the shortest amount of time here: just one night.
Agra is famous for leather, inlay work (marble inlaid with precious and semi-precious stones) and rugs. For inlay work, the Taj Gateway has shops in its lobby. Otherwise, ask the staff at reception to suggest a place (and a price you should pay). For rugs, try Java Handicraft Export, where you’ll find a selection of beautiful handwoven rugs in all manner of sizes and colours. You can see them being made outside - it’s painstaking work. (1813/1K, 100 Feet Road, Taj Nagari, Phase II Opposite Hotel Trident. Hilton, Fatehabad Road, Agra-1)
Do Located on the bank of the Yamuna River and constructed from white marble, the Taj Mahal is ethereal in the early morning mist. This mausoleum was built by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan to house the remains of his wife, Mumtaz Mahal. From afar, it looks like its been painted with flowers and writing, but up close you can see it’s actually all stone work. The tomb sits at the centre of the complex, which also comprises a mosque and a guest house. Some areas that were once open to the public are now
closed off in an effort to better preserve the monument and stop people from chipping away at the precious stones. Closed on Fridays. Nearby, the red-brick walls of Agra Fort (in fact a walled city) date back to the 16th century. This was the main residence of the emperors of the Mughal Dynasty until 1638, when the Mughal capital was shifted from Agra to the Red Fort in Delhi.
Stay Located close to both the major sights, the Taj Gateway Hotel Fatehabad Road isn’t the most luxurious hotel but it’s clean and convenient and the service is good - just what we need for a single night’s stay. Head to the rooftop restaurant during the day for view over Agra and a glimpse of the Taj Mahal. Breakfast is served downstairs in the lobby, with hot parathas made to order. As we get up to leave, the staff very kindly offer to pack us a few for our trip. Nightly rates start at INR 8,500 (plus 14% tax) per room, not including breakfast. For reservations, visit gateway. tajhotels.com/en-in or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Photo by Vishalsh521 at English Wikipedia
In Agra, it's a little harder to find good options outside the big hotels. The Taj Gateway has two restaurants in its lobby - GAD offers buffet style dining with a mix of indian and international cuisine while Jhankar serves up a la carte indian cuisine. We choose to dine at the latter with no regrets. The food is really delicious and great value (the only thing that’s slightly expensive is the beer).
(Left): the Taj Mahal; (Inset): inside Agra Fort; (Above): The Gateway Hotel, Fatehabad Road; (Below): a cyclist ferrying shoeboxes.
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An ancient Persian prophecy proclaimed, “whoever builds a new Delhi will lose it”. The prediction was apt. Delhi has served as the centre of a succession of empires and powerful kingdoms. The Indian capital has been built, destroyed and rebuilt no fewer than eight times, with each incoming power making the city its own - some even believe it to be the site of the legendary Indraprastha, the capital of the Pandava kingdom referenced in the Hindu epic Mahabharata. The eighth city was Lutyen’s Delhi (or New Delhi), built by the British and declared as the new capital in 1911. Each of Delhi’s cities has left its mark in form of monuments, forts and tombs scattered throughout the region. Ancient culture sits alongside rapid modernisation, from the immense Jama Masjid and narrow spice-filled streets of Chandni Chowk, to the colonial-era parliament buildings and expansive boulevards of Lutyen’s Delhi, to the shiny high rise buildings of Gurgaon. In the last few years, the city has also seen a new metro, new hospitals, malls and residential complexes, a revamped sports stadium and a new terminal (3) at Indira Gandhi International Airport.
to stick to recommended restaurants. Khan Chacha sells delicious and great value kebab rolls (think paneer, chicken, veg, lamb…) - perfect for a quick lunch or dinner. 50, Khan Market. For a break from Indian food, try these New Delhi haunts: Ping’s Cafe Orient (SE Asian, 13 Lodhi Colony Market), Guppy by Ai (Japanese, 28 Main Market, Lodhi Colony) or Lodi - The Garden Restaurant (casual alfresco dining, Lodhi Road, Opp. Mausam Bhavan). Town Hall is a popular lunch and dinner spot, with a varied menu and lots of seating, including a rooftop terrace and bar. It’s packed on Friday and Saturday nights so book in advance (60-61, Middle Lane, Khan Market). For great chaat (indian savoury snacks, typically served at roadside stalls), head to Bengali market - though for cleaner, safer chaat find a Haldiram’s. Lastly, as recommended by a friend of mine (and Delhite), “If you’re stomach is feeling brave, eat at Karim’s - it’s an institution,” (serves a range of traditional Mughlai dishes, Jama Masjid, Gali Kababian, Old Delhi).
Khan Market is a popular expat haunt, great for an easy afternoon of shopping with lots of little restaurants and cafes. For homeware and fashion, try Good Earth (beautiful designs but
No visit to Delhi is complete without a good meal. The tastiest food is to be found streetside, but if you’re worried about “Delhi belly” it’s best
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The spice-filled streets of the Old City.
high prices) and Fab India (a great range of cheaper Indian-style cotton casual wear and home furnishings); designers Anita Dongre and Ritu Kumar also have stores here; for jewellery try Amrapali. The market is closed on Sunday. Elsewhere, Ahujasons in Karol Market is great for shawls. The urban villages of Hauz Khas and Shahpur Jat are packed full of emerging local designers and hip boutiques. Preeti Mohan in Shahpur Jat is particularly good for fashion and costume jewellery.
Do To the north of the territory lies Old Delhi. Founded by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in 1639, this walled city served as the capital of the Mughal Empire until 1857, when the rule of the East India Company was transferred to the Crown in the person of Queen Victoria. Old Delhi is a must-see but be prepared - it is chaotic. A good way to explore is to do a heritage walk (look online for options) or a HOHO (hop on, hop off) bus tour, introduced by Delhi Tourism for visitors who wish to tour the city in a single day. Sights include the imposing Red Fort - the main residence of the emperors of the Mughal dynasty for nearly 200 years; the Jama Masjid - one of India’s largest mosques, whose courtyard accommodates 25,000 people; and Chandni Chowk, a vibrant crowded bazaar filled with food carts, sweets shops and spice stalls. Hire a rickshaw wala to take you around the streets of Chandni Chowk, which are too narrow for cars. Prices are around INR 200 per hour (the rickshaw takes two people), plus tip. Then head south, via Connaught Place and India Gate for a walk around the famed Lodi Gardens and down towards Qtub Minar and Humayun’s Tomb (if you feel peckish, try nearby Lavaash by Saby or Olive Bar & Kitchen).
Stay Centrally located in the edge of Lutyen’s Delhi, The Lodhi is a seven-acre urban oasis. It’s close to Khan market, the Lodi Gardens and within easy driving distance of other major sights. The facilities here are fantastic and unique for a hotel in central Delhi: there’s a 24-hour gym, 50-metre swimming pool, yoga and pilates studio, allweather tennis courts, squash courts, hammam rooms and spa, a boutique, a great value salon and two restaurants: On The Waterfront (Pan Asia, Middle Eastern and European) and Elan (international). The bar downstairs has live music
in the evenings. Aside from the main pool, most rooms (at 1,350 square feet they are more like suites) have their own private heated plunge pools. Enjoy panoramic views of the city skyline, Delhi Golf Course and Humayun's Tomb from the higher floors. Rates start at INR 24,000 (plus 25.25% tax) per night for a Lodhi Room, including breakfast. For reservations, email email@example.com, www.thelodhi.com
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Ask a vet... Dr. Pauline Pets Central veterinarian Dr. Pauline Taylor answers your questions.
Q: ” Can I feed my dog ice cream?”
A: To be safe don’t allow your dogs to eat ice cream. My dogs love licking ice cream cartons but it is not good for them. Ice cream is usually made from cow’s milk which has a high fat and sugar (lactose) content. Many animals have lactose intolerance so eating ice cream can lead to issues with their digestive system. This can result in abdominal pain, vomiting and diarrhoea and, in some dogs, pancreatitis (a more serious metabolic condition). The flavour of ice cream is also critical. Dogs have a very low threshold for chocolate which contains “theobromine” - a direct toxin for dogs that is similar in action to caffeine and can be fatal. So chocolate ice cream is a never! The same advice applies for cats though as cats cannot taste “sweet” they may be less likely to love your ice cream. Other foods dogs shouldn’t eat include xylitol (found in candy, gum, toothpaste, baked goods, and some diet foods), avocado, alcohol, onions and garlic, raw eggs and bones, grapes, raisins, dairy products and marijuana. It often also depends on the amount of a food eaten and chocolate is a very good example. There is a Chocolate Calculator available that vets can reference to check if a toxic dose of chocolate has been eaten. Q: “My dog keeps jumping/humping on visitors who come to our house. What should I do?” A: This is a common problem in male, female and neutered dogs. Jumping/humping is a normal behaviour and usually happens when dogs are happy and want people to interact with them. However, you may need to differentiate it from a sexual desire; sometimes it can even be a “possessive” act. Train your dog not to jump/ hump by using treats or praise as a reward for stopping the action. If they restart, ask your visitors to ignore the dog and even leave temporarily. They should not encourage your dog by laughing or thinking it’s alright and the dog is “so friendly and cute”. If they do you will have a very difficult time getting your dog to stop.
Got a question for Dr. Pauline? Email firstname.lastname@example.org
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hong kong horoscopes
AQUARIUS Jan 21 – Feb 19
PISCES Feb 20 – Mar 20
ARIES Mar 21 – Apr 20
TAURUS Apr 21 – May 21
Aquarius, you’re the water bearer. So let me tell you about one of the first times I hiked the Wilson Trail with a single small bottle of water… in skinny jeans. It wasn’t my smartest moment, and I soon regretted the choices I’d made. Don’t be as unprepared as I was, Aquarius. A little planning will get you much further down the trail.
What’s your favourite street food, Pisces? Personally, I’m partial to the egg puff. This delicacy is flipped halfway through cooking, so the batter coats the mould to become crisp on the outside, but with a soft hollow on the inside. Be like an egg puff, Pisces: If you give yourself space to grow, the results will be so much more impressive.
Some fortune tellers like to read tea leaves. Me, I just like a cup of tea. My favourite is Longjing “dragon well” tea, which hails from the West Lake area of Hangzhou, China. The most valuable Longjing tea consists of the very youngest shoots, hand-picked over just 10 days before the Qingming festival – round about now. This tea is prized for its delicate aroma. What timesensitive aspect of your life is worth the effort, Aries?
Hong Kong’s tram network is more than just a cheap way to get around town. These trundling, stately beasts also offer a time for introspection and reflection in an otherwise churning world. Board your next tram with no agenda and no destination, Taurus. Hop on and let the tracks lead you through gentle streets to quiet endings. You’ll be glad you did.
LEO Jul 23 – Aug 22
VIRGO Aug 23 – Sep 23
LIBRA Sep 24 – Oct 23
SCORPIO Oct 24 – Nov 22
For many Hong Kong youth, love hotels are the price of doing business, as it were. With no space at home, they have to take their pleasures where they can find them. Leo, what joys are you delaying because you don’t have room for them? What do you want to do that demands a love hotel of one’s own?
Consider, if you will, the humble Lantau water buffalo. This gentle giant makes its way from village to village, sprawling across the roads and blocking traffic. So what a row of cars and buses are honking at it? This is where it’s decided to lay its stately bulk. You could learn from the buffalo, Virgo: sometimes, being a little obstructive and sedentary is the right call.
There’s no two ways about it: Mong Kok is an exhausting place. It’s full of jostling crowds and screeching noise. But that’s the glory of it, too. Ten minutes in Mong Kok is two hours anywhere else. Take it in, revel in it… then go get a quiet foot massage to recover. To have just one would be too much. To have both is what it’s all about.
Scorpio, it’s time to exercise those latent creative powers. When’s the last time you told a really good story? Here’s something to start you off: “Once upon a time, a beautiful Hong Kong princess lived in a big house on The Peak. She had fine food, an army of helpers and two Toyota Alphards. She had everything her heart could desire… except for love.” Can you get to the happily ever after?
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GEMINI May 22 – Jun 21
CANCER Jun 22 – Jul 22
Smog, smog and more smog. It’s the Hong Kong way. But now and then, the rain arrives and washes away all the particulates and we’re left with stunning views of our city. Be the rain in your life, Gemini – wash away the dirt and grime and you’ll be left with something far more beautiful than you remember.
For some, Cantopop all sounds the same: they dismiss it as ballad-heavy schmaltz. But did you know that writing Cantopop lyrics is one of the hardest jobs there is? See, the truly skilled Cantopop lyricist is able to arrange it so that the word tones match the tune, rising and falling alongside the notes. I’m not saying you have to love Cantopop, Cancer – but remember that even schmaltz takes mastery.
SAGITTARIUS Nov 23 – Dec 21
CAPRICORN Dec 22 – Jan 20
Ideally, you want your life to mirror a ferry ride to an outlying island: choppy at first, turning into smooth sailing with a wonderful, peaceful destination. In truth, the choppiness is never quite that short-lived and we spend plenty of time bobbing in the harbour, buffeted by waves. But take heart by looking around you: everyone else is on the same ferry too, and we’re all just trying to get to Lamma.
Capricorn, were you meaning to write that email response for the last two months, but never got around to it? Do you think you’ve left it so long, you can’t possibly write back now? It’s OK. I give you permission to write back, with the following excuse: “Sorry I didn’t write back sooner. My Chinese New Year break went on for several months longer than expected.”
tupid. I have tried to think of another term for the decision to end the first registration tax waiver for electric private cars (EVs), but I can’t. The waiver - now capped at $97,500 - was introduced in 1994 to promote the switch to clean engines, but few were built or bought. In 2009, the Financial Secretary announced that he would get serious about the use of EVs by setting up a steering committee to work on new measures, extending the tax waiver and promoting battery charging facilities. It took five years for this to make an impact. Between 1999 and 2014, fewer than 100 EVs were registered each year. Then in 2014/15, 1,000 new EVs were registered, and some 5,000 more have been registered since. These are mostly luxury cars. On the lower end there has been little growth, as a fully taxed regular or hybrid car like the Compact Prius is half the cost of a similarly sized tax-free electric vehicle. Not so at the top end, where a tax-free Tesla is about half the cost of a similar style and size limo. Benz, BMW and Audi were hardest hit. At the same time, the overall car market appeared to hit the skids. Whereas over 50,000 private cars were newly registered in 2015 – the highest growth in private vehicles ever recorded in Hong Kong – private car sales slowed dramatically to some 40,000 cars in 2016. As a result, the share of sales for EVs rose to 10 per cent. Panic erupted and lobbying by the traditional brands went into overdrive. Questions like, “Why is the public sponsoring toys for rich people?”, were raised in LegCo. The spin masters blamed congestion and the increase in our vehicle fleet on EVs, ignoring the fact that just 1.2 per cent of our car fleet is electric. Instead of telling the three losers to speed up development of their own EVs, the government gave in. Instead of raising taxes on all cars, the government took away the incentive for people to watch their battery status and mess around with cables.
Photo by Tksteven via Wikimedia Commons
As a district councilor I have witnessed heated debates over how electricity in car parks will be improved and who pays. Now the financial incentive to negotiate with owner committees and suppliers over the installation of chargers has been killed. Two factors cause roadside air pollution: congestion and engine technology. To reduce congestion we need to motivate people by improving public transport and by making car ownership and use more expensive. To motivate people to change the fuel or power they use, we need to subsidise new technology with tax waivers until the installed base has reached its tipping point – or at least 30 per cent of the total vehicle fleet. With electrics now more expensive than regular vehicles, the government made it much more difficult to get there. Stupid.
Paul Zimmerman is the CEO of Designing Hong Kong, a Southern District Councillor and the co-convenor of Save Our Country Parks alliance.
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Hong Kong Journeys
The Southern District Literary Trail Shreena Patel goes in search of five monuments that pay homage to the Southside’s literary heritage.
he second installment of this series takes us to The Repulse Bay Gardens. Here, a sculpture comprising two green benches, a suitcase, and a pile of books commemorates the life of novelist and 1940s Shanghai cultural icon, Eileen Chang (1920-1995). Chang is best known for her fictional writings chronicling the everyday lives (and loves) of women, all too often beset by meddling, betrayal and bittersweet reunions. Now considered one of the most perceptive authors of Chinese contemporary literature, she was at one time dismissed by critics for neglecting the politics of 20th-century China in favour of more “mundane” matters. Chang’s novella Love in a Fallen City is set in Repulse Bay and features the old Repulse Bay Hotel, where her mother lived for a short time. The story, inspired by two of her mother’s friends, follows star-crossed lovers Bai Liusu and Fan Liuyan in the war era. The original hotel - a 1920s art-deco building - was demolished in 1982, but within the complex that replaced it lies a terraced restaurant, The Verandah, a replica of the old hotel restaurant where the two lovers meet. As authors often do, Chang drew inspiration from the characters in her own life, many of whom were troubled. Born into a prominent family in Shanghai, she was only a few years old when her mother fled to Europe after her father became addicted to opium and took in a concubine Chang’s parents reconciled in 1927 but ultimately divorced in 1930. This time, her mother went to France. Chang and her younger brother lived with their father, but relations reached breaking point when Chang contracted dysentery. She was confined to her bedroom for six months until she ran away shortly after her 18th birthday. Chang studied at the University of Hong Kong.
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She majored in English literature and was one semester short of graduating with a formal degree when Hong Kong fell to Japan. Chang returned to China where she published a collection of essays which catapulted her to literary fame in Shanghai. At 24, she married controversial Chinese writer Hu Lancheng (who was, briefly, an official in the collaborationist regime installed by the Japanese in Nanjing), although the marriage only lasted three years. In 1952, Chang moved to Hong Kong, where she worked as a translator for the United States Information Service. Her novel Naked Earth (1954) was commissioned as anti-Communist propaganda. Chang finally settled in the United States where she met and was married to American screenwriter, Ferdinand Reyher, until his death in 1967. She published her most famous book, Lust, Caution, in 1979 – a story that reportedly took her over two decades to complete. Like many of her female protagonists, Chang spent her later years alone. Despite her growing fame in Taiwan, Hong Kong and mainland China throughout the 1970s, she became more reclusive. She was found dead in her Los Angeles apartment by her landlord in September, 1995. Her neighbours had no idea that she was a celebrated author. Her ashes were scattered in the Pacific Ocean. Chang’s sculpture, Hong Kong Journeys, takes the form of three benches, each of which represents a different phase in her life: the first bench is surrounded by bullets on the ground, representing wartime; the second by piles of books; and the third by a suitcase and jacket, portraying her flight from Hong Kong. How to get there The Repulse Bay Gardens (in front of 109 Repulse Bay Road, along the walkway connecting Repulse Bay Road and Beach Road)
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