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April 2013

Junk trips

And other ways to get wet

Trio Beach

Far away in time

Meet the neighbours The bugs in your backyard


The really useful magazine

Cover image by Daniel Groshong/ Hummingfish Foundation

APRIL 2013



4 Oh Snap! The social side of Sai Kung.

THE PLANNER 6 Happening in April It’s all go. LETTERS

17 Looking for networks Stephen Vines holds for PCCW, unties some yellow ribbons and blames the system. OUTDOORS 18 Ugly Bug Ball If you go down to the weeds today, you’re in for a big surprise. FEATURE

9 Have your say The issues that matter this month. NEWS 10 What’s going on? Local news you can use. LOCAL

20 Junk trippin’ Whatcha gonna do with all that junk? All that junk inside your trunk. 22 Crime wave Hannah Grogan meets the buoys in blue. EATING

16 Down to earth Nature’s Harvest, Sai Kung’s newest farm.

24 Cupcakes Little fluffy clouds. 26 Cooking with South Stream Seafoods It’ll pan out.

EDUCATION 28 The song is over Lights out for New Song Christian Kindergarten. HIKES 30 Trio Beach Walking on the beaches, doggies on their leashes. PETS 32 Well groomed Places to primp your pooch and how to speak dog. HEALTH & BEAUTY 34 Body of work Get primed for the beach. FAMILY 36 Rainy days and Mondays Our handy guide to indoor activities for children.

MARKETPLACE 45 Your guide to shops and services Cool stuff to buy and do. BIRD AT MY WINDOW 45 Blue whistling thrush David Diskin on Hong Kong birds. CLASSIFIEDS 46 Random local stuff

ULTIMATE GUIDE 48 All you need to know Numbers that make life easier. ON PATROL 50 Snake eyes Tim Sharpe gets the wiggles.

“We may have come on different ships, but we are in the same boat now” – martin luther king


people Snapped in Sai Kung.



Photos: Hannah Grogan.

Taking the high road on the MSIG adventure race through Sai Kung.

Shopping at the Sai Kung Sampler, our very own night market held at Steamers on the first Thursday of the month.

Share your event photos with us at Get snapping! WWW.SAIKUNG.COM | 5

planner Apr 13

Christian Action Three-legged Charity Walk Cheer on the charity three-legged race, raising funds for orphans in Qinghai. 9am-1pm, Clearwater Bay Golf & Country Club. Details at 2716 8861, mandy.leung@

Apr 11 Agua Plus Quiz Night Teams of six test the grey matter. 8pm, Agua Plus, 72 Po Tung Road, Sai Kung, 2791 2030.

Apr 11-14 Dr Bunhead’s Blast Off Explosive live science show for kids, with pyrotechnics and other fun scary stuff. Drama Theatre, HKAPA, Wan Chai. Tickets $195-$395 from, 3128 8288.

Apr 1 Easter Monday

Apr 6 Hong Kong Pillow Fight Day

Public holiday.

Dress up (pyjamas at least) and take your own pillow to Chater Garden, Central, for a cushiony battle. The whistle blows at 4pm. Details at

Apr 1 Public pools open First swim: 6.30am.

Apr 3 Friends of Sai Kung AGM Get involved with Sai Kung’s very own lobby group. 8pm, Italiano’s, 20 Yi Chun Street, Sai Kung, (New members welcome; sign up by emailing

Apr 3, 17 Quiz Nights Testing times at Hebe One O One. 8.30pm. 112 Pak Sha Wan, 2332 5515.

Apr 13 Beertopia! Hong Kong’s largest craft beer festival returns with lectures, food, music, games and lots of beer. West Kowloon Waterfront. Tickets $250-$500 from

Apr 18 ArtWalk Hong Kong’s biggest arty party. Tickets and details at

Apr 8 EEK Toy Shop Open Day Shop for toys and games for small children. Free tea and coffee. 10am-4pm, 28F Sai Keng Village, Sai Kung, 3487 3053.

Apr 4 Ching Ming Festival Public holiday for the annual hill-burning – sorry, grave-sweeping festival.

Apr 4 Sai Kung Sampler

Apr 20 Sai Kung Saturday Hash

The monthly pop-up market at Steamers. Top up on deli goodies, gifts and more. 6pm-10pm, 66 Yi Chun Street, Sai Kung, 2792 6991.

Join the local hash on its monthly hare around Sai Kung. Details at saikungsaturdayh3/calendar.


happening in april Apr 19-28 Dirty Dancing

Apr 22 Earth Day

Baby and Johnny burn up the stage in a live production of the 80s movie classic. Hong Kong Cultural Centre, Tsim Sha Tsui. Tickets $395-$995 from

One day to save the planet. Details at

Apr 20 Homegrown Foods Harvest Feast Eleven of the city’s most talented chefs cook up an organic feast right on the New Territories’ farm where the produce is grown. Tickets $1,488 ($888 for children under 12) including food, drinks and bus transfer from Central. Available from, 2671 2771, and participating restaurants (see website for details).

Apr 25 ANZAC Day

Apr 20 Boogie by the Bay Dad dancing alert! Live music, barbecue and games at a family party in aid of youth sailing. Garden Bar, Hebe Haven Yacht Club, Pak Sha Wan,

Apr 21 Action Spring Sai Kung Adventure race through Sai Kung Country Park from Pak Tam Chung. 9am start. For details, visit actionasiaevents. com.

National day of remembrance in Australia and New Zealand. Wreath-laying ceremony at 6.15am, the Cenotaph, Statue Square, Central.

Apr 25 Sai Kung Stray Friends Fundraiser Party at Steamers in aid of our local dog-rescue centre. 66 Yi Chun Street, Sai Kung, 2792 6991.

Apr 27-Jun 2 The Fourth Hong Kong Games Hong Kong’s districts compete in eight sports, including athletics, badminton, basketball, 5-a-side football, swimming, ping pong, tennis and volleyball. Details at www.hongkonggames. hk, 2601 7671.


planner Asia Contemporary Art Show Exhibition showcasing Asia’s young, emerging and recognised artists. JW Marriott Hotel, Hong Kong, Pacific Place, Central, www.asiacontemporaryart. com Want tickets? We’re giving away VIP tickets to the Asia Contemporary Art Show to the first people to sign up to our mailing list. To enter, email your full name and mailing address to with the subject ASIA CONTEMPORARY ART SHOW.

Book now May 1 Barclays MoonTrekker Registration opens for the overnight endurance hike on Lantau Peak on October 18 in aid of Room to Read. Details at

May 6 Blur Live Britpop’s finest bash out stonkers for girls who like boys like their girls, etc. AsiaWorldArena, Lantau. Tickets $480$880 from, 3128 8288.

May 21 Sigur Ros Ethereal ambient soundscapes from the Icelandic band. AsiaWorldExpo, Lantau. Tickets $750 from www., 3128 8288.

Jun 1 HKUST Garage Sale Book a table for the twice-yearly sale of secondhand treasures at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. Contact Jean at 9045 5942 or

Jun 1 British & Irish Lions vs Barbarians World-class rugby at Hong Kong Stadium. Tickets $750-$1,290 from, 3128 8288.

Jun 28-Jul 1 Sesame Street Live Elmo’s Super Heroes take the stage. Star Hall, KITEC, Kowloon Bay. Tickets $150$550 from www.hkticketing. com, 3128 8288.

If you have an event in Sai Kung, please email the details to



have your say

Thomas Hawk

Dirty tactics It is time for organizations that set up races in Hong Kong's country parks to clean up their act. While they may have little control over the litter thrown around by participants, the least they could do is to remove the signage they use to guide their races. While hiking on Stage 3 of the MacLehose in Sai Kung Country Park on March 10, we noticed scores of signs and pink ribbons for a race on March 3. My suggestion is the AFCD demands a deposit of, say, $10,000 from race organizers that would only be refundable if the organizers remove all signage immediately at the end of the race. Kristiaan Helsen

On yer bike It would seem that the Lands Department assumed responsibility for the removal of pavement obstructions caused by illegally parked bicycles from the police many years ago. The law now being used does not permit owners to reclaim their bicycles on payment of a fee. This seems to the Friends of Sai Kung (FSK) to be a misuse of the law. Bright lights, small town I would like to complain about the bright LED signage for “Oriental Carpets” (also known as Accents Carpets) when driving through Sai Kung town. The sign is too bright. It is a distraction when driving but, more importantly, when walking along the street from Sai Kung to Kap Bin Long or Sha Kok Mei, it’s too bright to be so close to eye level and it’s painful on the eyes. Matthew Murdoch

FSK has been at pains for many months to persuade the Transport Department to provide bicycle parking spaces all over Sai Kung town as there were originally no spaces. They have now provided only 12 poorly located spaces. This is hopelessly inadequate and is the primary cause of the problem. If cyclists could park legally at all the public car parks and amenities in Sai Kung then no seizures would be necessary. Guy Shirra Friends of Sai Kung

School concerns Regarding your recent article for the Hong Kong Academy, I find it rather surprising the four-page article does not contain a single dollar sign. Its “Small School, Big Ideas” tag should read Big Fees, what with a family debenture of $450,000, tuition costs of $100,800 and $164,800, not to mention a host of other add-ons – including a mere application setting you back $2,800. It remains to be seen at what point housing costs near the school peak and whether its “transportation plan” avoids traffic chaos. Neil Owens

Please email your letters to We may edit for length.



Senior Consultant Editor Jane Steer Deputy Editor Hannah Grogan Art Director Sammy Ko Graphic Designer Carly Tonna Sales Manager Nobel Cho Sales Executive Jackie Wilson Digital Media Editor Karishma Sujan

What’s up, duck?

Classifieds Prudence Chik

Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman’s 16.5m rubber duck paddles into Victoria Harbour on May 2. The six-storey bath toy floated for the first time in 2007 and has since toured Amsterdam, Osaka, San Paulo and Sydney. The giant rubber duck will be at Ocean Terminal, Tsim Sha Tsui, from May 2 to June 9.

Accounts Manager Clara Chan Publisher Tom Hilditch This month’s contributors Kawai Wong Carolynne Dear Pete Spurrier Stephen Vines Tim Sharpe David Diskin Sally Andersen Laura Ma Shadow Ng Printer Gear Printing Room 3B, 49 Wong Chuk Hang Road, (Derrick Industrial Building), Wong Chuk Hang Published by Fast Media Limited LG1, 222 Queens Road Central Hong Kong Give us a call!

Editorial: 2776 2773 Advertising: 2776 2772

Sai Kung Magazine is published by Fast Media Ltd. This magazine is published on the understanding that the publishers, advertisers, contributors and their employees are not responsible for the results of any actions, errors and omissions taken on the basis of information contained in this publication. The publisher, advertisers, contributors and their employees expressly disclaim all and any liability to any person, whether a reader of this publication or not, in respect of any action or omission by this publication. Fast Media Ltd cannot be held responsible for any errors or inaccuracies provided by advertisers or contributors. The views herein are not necessarily shared by the staff or publishers. No part of this magazine may be reproduced in any way, part or format without written permission from the publisher.


Curves to close Women-only fitness centre Curves Sai Kung is closing on April 5, after three years in the area, following a rent hike. The gym was so popular with locals that Sai Kung Magazine readers voted it “Best Workout” in 2012. It had reportedly been looking for larger premises for some time, with no luck. Members have had their fees reimbursed. “I’m really going to miss it,” said Curves’ member, Sonja Welker. “I used to go two or three times a week – it was fun and a great place to meet people. I liked the convenience of being able to go when it suited me, instead of having to stick to a timetable. Sai Kung really needs somewhere like this.” The closure may not be permanent, however. Owner Jessica Berman said: “We’d like to reopen in the future, but have no set date or location.”

German Swiss kindie for Sai Kung The German Swiss International School is opening a German-language kindergarten in Sai Kung. The pre-school is to open for the 2013-14 school year. In an announcement, GSIS said: “For a long time we have been looking to offer German kindergarten classes for German-speaking children who live in the New Territories. Now we have been able to find a suitable location in Sai Kung where it will be possible for us to open a kindergarten that meets the high standards of our school.” For details, please contact Eva Ubowski on 2961 4008, or visit

Nanny agency opens Baby bouquet Naturally Nanny is a new nanny agency offering one-off, short- and long-term professional babysitters, nannies and governesses. It has been set up to plug a gap in the market for parents looking for native speakers of Cantonese, Mandarin, English or European languages to care for their children. All nannies will have a minimum of two years’ childcare experience and hold valid Hong Kong working visas; the agency will also thoroughly check all qualifications and references. The agency requires a minimum of 24 hours notice to find a suitable carer and personnel are only hired for child-related duties, not domestic help. For details, visit

Cuter than your average baby gift, this bouquet from Sai Kung-based children’s wear company Dotty Bee has “flowers” of baby clothes in pink, blue and off white. It contains four pairs of socks, a hat, bib, cloth and two bodysuits made in 100 per cent cotton. The bouquets are available at Babushka in Sai Kung and online at at a special introductory price of $600.


Dogs welcome at beach resort It’s been a long time coming, but the renovation of the former Beach Resort Hotel on Sha Ha Beach, Sai Kung, is nearing completion. And when it finally reopens, according to the Sai Kung District Council, the new hotel is likely to welcome both human and canine guests. Given the number of dog-owners travelling to Sai Kung every weekend, it seems a canny move. At press time, there was no confirmed date for the reopening.

Rezoning brings 380 flats to Sai Kung Two sites near Sai Kung town have been rezoned from community use to provide 380 new apartments. This is despite objections from the Resurrection Church and 42 members of its congregation. The church has applied unsuccessfully for space to build a permanent facility nine times since 2003. The site on Hong Kin Road site, near Tui Min Hoi, which is currently home to a plant nursery, will house 61 flats. The vacant site on Hong


Tsuen Road – behind Sai Kung Fire Station – will generate 318. Existing plans to build a community farm on one site will be relocated, according to reports, and the Education Bureau says a proposed primary school to be built on the other site is no longer needed. The Sai Kung District Council did not object to the rezoning, but suggested the land be used for subsidised flats under the Home Ownership Scheme instead of private housing, according to the South China Morning Post.

New hotel for Sha Tin A new 539-room hotel, Courtyard by Marriott, opened last month on the banks of the Shing Mun River in Sha Tin. It has already picked up a design award, winning “Best New Hotel Construction & Design Hong Kong” for its sleek, modern design and bold lobby sculptures. It has a ballroom for 450 people, international restaurants and wi-fi throughout. The perfect place to stash relatives visiting Sai Kung.

five minutes with...

Set them free The Buddhists who release Sai Kung’s seafood.

Among the thousands of visitors who come to Sai Kung for the seafood, one group stands apart. Every Tuesday for the past 10 years, Ms Tam and her friends have bought fish and crustacea from the waterfront restaurants not to eat, but to set them free. Why do you free the fish? Ms T: “Life release” is a Buddhist tradition to save animals that are destined to be killed. It’s the gift of

life. Many people believe it provides health benefits; releasing a fish into the sea provides the liberator with a sense of peace and joy because they can sense the creature’s happiness. How do you practice this in Sai Kung? Ms T: We have a regular boatman who gets sea creatures from a wholesalers and places them in tanks on board his boat. We

then go out to sea to find suitable areas where the creatures can be released. This is important because different fish and crustaceans require different habitats. There is no point giving a creature its freedom if it is going to die because it has been released into a hostile environment. Until last year we worried commercial fishing trawlers would catch the creatures we released but now there is a ban on trawling in Hong Kong waters.

What kind of creatures do you release? Ms T: It depends on the season and what creatures are available, but we release many kinds of fish, crabs, squid, starfish and sea cucumber. How much does it cost? Ms T: As a group we pool our resources – we practice life release often and seafood is expensive – we spend about $2,000 on each occasion.




Down to earth Carolynne Dear visits Nature’s Harvest, Sai Kung’s newest farm.

I am having a Leonardo DiCaprio moment (think The Beach rather than Titanic). I’m not slouched on the couch watching HBO, but trekking through towering woods, past cascading waterfalls and flitting giant butterflies. Below, a cerulean bay stretches as far as the horizon and mountains rise up in the distance. Yet I’m just minutes from home, behind the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology’s Hall of Residence Block 1. If you slip through a gateway to the left of the minibus stop by the university’s North Entrance, turn right and walk down several hundred steps, just like the young Leo you will come across a hidden beach and fields full of lush green crops. Except these plants are of the organic vegetable (rather than the narcotic) variety, and belong to Sai Kung’s newest leisure farm, Nature’s Harvest. As I arrive, the crops are being watered by field staff. Assistant field supervisor Jacob Li (known as “Celery” if you’re emailing) offers to show me round. The farm is a private venture and grows a wide range of organic produce. There is a huge herb garden with many rows of basil and mint, and a few of fennel, which Li is trialling this year. “I’m not sure what it’s used for,” he admits, “but it’s been really popular with restaurants.” The potato season has just come to an end, but there is lots of broccoli as well as tomatoes, aubergines, capsicums, passion fruit and beetroot, all of which is for sale to the public. “We sell over the internet or by email,


or people can wander down here to fill their grocery bags for themselves,” Li says. “We love people coming to have a look.” The farm is also planning to take on extra staff for a regular market stall at Island East markets later this year. Just a couple of years ago this was derelict land that had to be cleared and prepared before crops could be sown. Crops are farmed on a rotation basis so as not to strip the soil of precious nutrients. “The earth was really bad quality,” Li says. “We had to bring in tons of compost by boat and hoe out all the stones and rubble before we could begin.” Popular with families at weekends, there’s a pretty beach, spectacular views and even plans to introduce pony rides for children. Currently there are no food and beverage facilities so take a picnic or at least a bottle of water, especially

if you’re planning on walking back up all those steps. Alternatively, the farm can arrange sampan pickups from Pak Sha Wan Pier. “Just give us a call before you want to come,” Li says.







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vines in sai kung

stephen says...

Looking for networks Stephen Vines holds for PCCW, unties some yellow ribbons and blames the system. Higher prices for poor internet service in Sai Kung Anyone who doubts the value of competitive markets should come to Sai Kung to experience the below-par internet connection service offered by PCCW, the sole operator in these parts. When the government finally got around to ending the idiotic Hong Kong Telecom monopoly a while back, the telephone service, particularly in the mobile sector, got instantly better and cheaper. Well, that monopoly is still broken but lamentably not in Sai Kung where other telecoms companies have declined to offer a service. This leaves us to be forgotten by PCCW, which knows a captive audience when it sees it. There is increasing dissatisfaction with this state of affairs but I had previously taken the view that the service was not that bad and not that expensive. So I am “grateful” to whoever it is at PCCW HQ who thinks up new ways of alienating customers. First I was sent details of a new phone package, costing about 20 per cent more than the modest package I was using. I called the hotline (a name devised by PCCW’s Satirical Services Department) and was eventually told this was a special offer and I could, er, take it or leave it. Why the price rise? I asked. The hapless hotliner said this was because prices were going

up. Yes, and it’s cold in winter, but I have heard telecoms prices were coming down. The hotliner had nothing in his notes to provide an answer and so off I went on a long trail of being referred to his supervisor or whoever it was. Like everyone else in Hong Kong my time has no value whatsoever, so sitting around waiting for the hotline to respond is my special pleasure. I won’t bore you with how long it took or the price dispute that spanned three days. What fellow Sai Kung people need to know is that if you are persistent you can get PCCW to charge you what it charges everyone else in Hong Kong. However, you may consider your time is too valuable for this excruciating process.

If you are persistent, you can get PCCW to charge you what it charges everyone else in Hong Kong.

Time to tie up trail litterers Can we talk dirty for a bit? No, not that sort of dirty for this is a family magazine. I’m talking about old-fashioned mess and make no apologies for going back to the subject of shameless littering of the country parks. Some of the worst offenders are organisers of rambles who tie ribbons around tree branches and leave directional signs on paths. There is no excuse for not coming back and clearing up the debris. On a walk from Pak Tam Chung to High Island, one public-spirited friend decided to remove as many of these ribbons as possible. One of them had become infested with ants, which was unpleasant; others were merely mucky and smelly. But the lesson is simple and

This is our priority...

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a ve ati


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




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Don’t blame the people – blame the system Finally, I have a beef with the people who run this magazine. They asked me to a convivial lunch with Sai Kung District Officer Maureen Siu and her colleagues. The problem is this column regularly criticizes the bureaucrats who run Sai Kung but it is one thing to castigate an organization and the faceless people who run it, and quite another to be rude about the individuals involved. I was chastened to discover Ms Siu and her colleagues are quite charming and apparently on top of their jobs. No doubt there are some officious bureaucrats in this organization but Sai Kung would not be alone in this respect. The thing is that you can have perfectly good people running a system with built-in disfunctionality that severely curtails their ability to get things done. A good example is the endless hassle over outdoor seating in Sai Kung restaurants. Three government departments (possibly more) are involved in this matter and the system is designed to ensure they simply cannot work together with any kind of speed. So delays and frustration invariably arise. It’s the system what’s broke not the people.




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Sai Kung Campus opens August 2013. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis for PK1 – Grade 12. For more details or to book into one of our upcoming Information Sessions, please call 2655-1112.



Ugly bug ball Photographer Daniel Groshong gets up close to Sai Kung’s curious creepy-crawlies.

Pictures: Daniel Groshong, Hummingfish Foundation

Sai Kung-based photographer Daniel Groshong is bonkers about bugs. Moonlit nights find him creeping about in the undergrowth near his home with a torch looking for weird and wonderful critters to photograph. “The bug thing started with my children,” he says. “I wanted to get them out into nature as much as possible, so at least once a week, we would walk the Wilson Trail near my house in Tseng Lan Shue. I created games about who could find the most bugs to keep the kids engaged in what was around them and started to realize there were some very interesting bugs out there. We started taking a camera to photograph what we had seen and it became an amazing journey of discovery.” During the “bug season” – early spring to late summer – Groshong goes out two or three times a week. Finding insects, he says, is a matter of keeping your eyes open: “Every time you walk out the door you will see amazing bugs, if you pay attention.” With a growing picture library of Sai Kung’s


creepy-crawlies, Groshong says his next mission is to learn more about the species he has photographed, so he has recently made contact with insect experts. He has also published the shots on the website for the Hummingfish Foundation (, a charity he founded in 2010 to develop sustainable eco-tourism and work with green entrepreneurs in places such as East Timor. It seems a fitting project for a photographer whose first job was working for Greenpeace. Groshong also has an impressive resume as a press photographer, covering everything from the O.J. Simpson trial to the war in Afghanistan. But for the boy from Oregon, his passion for photography started with a trip to the zoo. “My first memory of being excited about taking pictures came at six years old, when my family went to the San Diego Zoo for a holiday,” he says. “That day, my parents gave me my first camera – a plastic Kodak with six film cartridges. I shot all six films of the flamingos at the entrance.”

a bug’s life

How to shoot insects • “Take your time – don't race up a mountain, missing all the small natural wonders in your path.” • “Walking at night with a torch is the best way to see bugs as they are well camouflaged and can be very hard to see during the day.” • “I use a Canon 5D Mk II with a 100mm macro lens and at least two hand-held Canon strobes to light the subject.”

“I often go out at night, which is (a) when bugs are most active and (b) it’s easier to find them.”



Junk trippin’ And other ways to get out on the water this summer. By Hannah Grogan. Who doesn’t love a junk trip? The best way to beat the heat, the junk is a much-loved Hong Kong institution. Leaping from the top deck is a rite of passage – you probably have your own signature style. Plus, the finest boating waters in the territory are right on our doorstep, with clean waters, white beaches and (if you’re lucky and can go mid-week – or wait till winter) a desertisland ambience. Take a junk from Sai Kung or Pak Sha Wan piers out to the beaches around Rocky Harbour and you’ll find space to lay your towel on even on the busiest Sunday afternoon. Book a catered package, take

your own food, or drop anchor at one of several restaurants that can be reached from the water. At High Island, order a slap-up seafood feast at yachties’ favourite Yau Ley (Sha Kiu Tsuen, 2791 1822), or pull up at the fish farm complex at Waterfall Bay, near the Unesco World Heritage Temple on Kau Sai Chau, which serves excellent Cantonese seafood with the bonus of catching your own fish. Junks heading to Clearwater Bay first and second beaches can call in to Po Toi O’s famous seafood restaurants, Seafood Island (2719 5730) and Fai Kee (2719 9129), for a slap-up meal.

Where to hire a junk Hong Kong Yachting Charters 30- and 40-person junks equipped with iPod systems, a brand new sailing catamaran and two racing yachts, the 40ft Circus (for 10 people, plus crew) and 60ft V1 (for 18 people, plus crew). And, yes, you will be expected to haul on a few ropes. 2526 0151, Island Junks A fleet of teak junks can accommodate up to 50 guests with a range of add-on services, including Thai massage. 2877 5222, www.islandjunks. Jaspas Party Junks These junks are a blast, with great barbecued food, bottomless Sea Breeze cocktails (plus beer, wine, soft drinks), pre-loaded iPods and that famous laid-back hospitality. 2792 6001, Pana Oceans Junks and cruisers for 33-58 people, with catering options available. 2815 8235,


Jubilee Jubilee rents junks and Western-style cruisers for day trips, fishing and squid trips. There’s a wide range of toys for hire, including banana boats and wakeboarding. 3555 5666, Mes Amis A fully catered 44ft party junk for up to 32 guests, with bottomless cocktails, beers, wine and soft drinks and a western menu served by onboard staff. Pickup locations on Hong Kong Island and Tsim Sha Tsui. Speedboat available. 3170 7063, Standard Boat This long-established company has a fleet of wooden junks, luxury motorboats, yachts and even ferries for hire. 2570 1792, Vikings Charter A fleet of catered or non-catered junks, plus speedboats for banana boating, water-skiing and wakeboarding. 2576 8992,

boating feature

Graham Uden/

Where to drop anchor Bluff Island At the far end of Rocky Harbour, Bluff Island (Ung Kong Wan) can only be reached by private boats. Moor near the powdery beach – sticking to the right hand side of the bay as there’s a coral conservation area to the left. It’s a great area for snorkelling: look for the jeep submerged just offshore. Or hike up to the summit of the island. What’s not to love? Wakeboarding is available through Blue Sky and most junk companies.

Blow your hair back Next time you have visitors who want to do a harbour tour, crank it up a gear by hiring a 28ft Mustang motor cruiser for up to seven people from Intimate Charters. You can customise your own tour, or choose from existing itineraries, including trips around the harbour and Hong Kong Island, a ships and bridges tour, and, naturally, the Geopark. Prices start at $2,300 for a one-hour cruise. For details, call 9211 0929 or visit

Learn to sail With a huge range of courses for adults and children, Hebe Haven Yacht Club has an active sail-training centre open to non-members. Learn to sail on the large fleet of dinghies, practice race training or take a keelboat course (adults only) to learn to handle larger sailing boats. For details, call 2719 0926 or email sailtraining@

Seafari so goody Designed to put the wind in your hair and a grin on your face, Seafari is a nine-metre RIB available for high-speed tours of Sai Kung, Hong Kong harbour or pretty much anywhere else you fancy. Perfect for parties or for entertaining out-of-towners. For details, call Jonathan on 6687 0311 or visit www.seafari.

A Scorpion RIB

Water sports r us Geopark boat tours, wakeboarding, windsurfing, kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, surfing and dragon boating are all available through Blue Sky’s Sai Kung Watersports Centre (SWC), a 6,000-square-foot premises on the waterfront near Sha Ha Beach. Courses available for newbies. For details, call 2791 0806 or visit

Buy a boat Owning a boat means you can get out on Sai Kung’s waters every weekend. There are a host of new and secondhand options, but consider a RIB – an inflatable boat with a rigid hull – which are fast, comfortable and safe; perfect for local waters. British-made Scorpion RIBs offer custommade boats built to last. For details, call 2511 8337 or email

Millionaires Beaches Big and Little Millionaires are two of the most popular junk beaches in summer, thanks to white sand, sheltered water, and the pretty lagoon on Big Millionaires. The water is clean, shallow and warm, making it a firm favourite for families. Snake Bay Moor up at the pretty little beach, which has a path leading up into Sai Kung Country Park, or nip around the corner into a sheltered cove that is ripple-free even on windy days. Explore the former Club Captain Bear resort and look for the odd fibreglass animals, including a giraffe and orangutan. Spooky! Long Ke Beautiful Long Ke Wan has two beaches, a 1km swathe of white sand that attracts luxury cruisers and larger junks, and a small pebbly beach that makes a peaceful retreat on really busy days. There’s no lifeguard service but there bins and portaloos at the back of the beach. Tai Long Sai Wan If you’re coming here by junk, pick a calm day and expect to pay a premium. It’s worth it for the expanse of flat sand – perfect for an impromptu ball game – sheltered water and good snorkelling. There are a couple of simple restaurants (try the Oriental, 2328 2619), but the real draw on land is Sheung Luk stream, with its waterfalls, cliff jumping and deep swimming holes. Jump in. Bluff Island

Intimate Charters' Mustang can be hired for tours of Sai Kung or the harbour.


boating MARINE CRIME Illegal Immigrants Number of arrests: 2012: 260 2013: 43 Smuggling 2012: $27 million worth of goods seized in 14 cases 2013: $2.29 million worth of goods seized in one case

WHO TO CALL In emergencies call: 999 For non-immediate marine concerns call: 3661 1718

The Marine Police East Division base at Tui Min Hoi, Sai Kung.

Crime wave? Hannah Grogan visits the Sai Kung Marine Police. Few things are as carefree as zipping across the waves, with the sun on your back and the spray in your face. But the secret’s out. On hot weekends literally thousands of pleasure craft – junks, speedboats, sailing boats, jetskis, superyachts, cruisers, you name it – crisscross local waterways. And as Sai Kung’s beautiful boating waters get increasingly busy, safety is becoming more of an issue. Enter the Marine Police East Division, based in Tui Min Hoi, whose officers are responsible for patrolling local waters as part of its 350 sq km district. They respond to all marine-related incidents, occasionally in collaboration with their landlubbing counterparts, combating smuggling – mainly of fuel and other high-value contraband


– conveyance of illegal immigrants, illegal fishing and other nefarious seafaring activities. But their number one priority is safety. In 2012, two people died while swimming in local waters, making taking a dip the most dangerous activity at sea (other fatalities occurred during diving and snorkelling). To maximise safety at sea there are a number of simple things you can do, including undertaking all the necessary checks on your vessel before casting off, says the division’s Chief Inspector Tim Worrall. “There is a big reliance on phones, but you should make sure you have alternative roaming,” Worrall says. “And it’s always helpful to know where you are, so if you get into trouble we have an idea of where to find you.”

From left: Chief Inspector Tim Worrall and Senior Inspector Tim Sharpe.

Hong Kong has no drink-driving limit for boats, however, that doesn’t mean it is not a problem. The division is also working to control the use of drugs at sea with a “no tolerance anti-drugs charter”. Almost all the junk-hire companies have signed up. “We want everyone to have a great time, but exercise care,” Worrall says. “The water is for everyone to enjoy, so be safe and considerate. And if you see anything suspicious, get in contact with us.”


eating The cupcake queens Carolynne Dear indulges in small but perfectly formed homemade cupcakes.

The Cake Lady, Louisa Barton, whips up a fresh batch. Right: cakes by Elize Devonport's The Cake Affair.

I have just bitten into the lightest, fluffiest cupcake. It’s like munching on a sugary cloud. The Cake Lady, aka Louisa Barton, has made a batch of delicious carrot cupcakes just for me, each topped with a silky swirl of butter icing and a sparkly icing-sugar carrot. As we sit in her sunlit Sai Kung kitchen, I reach for another one – I just can’t help myself. Barton, a one-time professional cook with a passion for baking, recently launched a business as a bespoke cake maker and is enjoying every minute. “It grew out of friends asking me to bake them a cake for a special occasion, and then friends of friends, and suddenly I was in business,” she says. “I love seeing the smiles on people’s faces when they see their cake for the first time. It’s like giving a piece of joy.” Barton can bake any flavour you fancy, from rainbow layer cakes to red velvet or good old chocolate, in shapes from dragon boats to ski slopes. “My favourite is probably a racing-car cake; the hardest was a basketball I created for my daughter. It had to be exactly round, which turned out to be quite tricky,” she says.


The cakes are baked fresh on the morning of the event using best-quality ingredients. But Barton is happiest working her magic with icing – royal, fondant or buttercream – sourcing cupcake cases on holidays around the world. “Dymocks sells gorgeous cupcake cases with pretty flags to decorate the cakes. It’s not

What’s IN IN a name? The first cupcake recipe is thought to have appeared in an American cookery book in the 1790s. Before the era of the muffin tray, the cakes were baked in small pottery cups and served plain with tea. The sprinkles came later.

hard to make cupcakes look lovely,” she says. Also in Sai Kung, enthusiastic baker Elize Devonport of The Cake Affair specializes in bespoke homemade occasion cakes and cupcakes that taste as good as they look. “The cake has got to be delicious, as well as fabulous to look at,” she insists, which is why she refuses to make pound cake, even though the heavier, drier cake is easier to ice. The sky’s the limit in terms of themes. Unusual orders have included a cake based on a Mexican TV show, and cupcakes for a Fifty Shades of Grey-themed 50th birthday. “My favourite is a Thomas the Tank Engine cake – it was huge and served around 50 people. My husband likes a James Bond cake I made for an adult birthday last year,” she says. The cakes take up to 10 hours to create and the devil really is in the detail. “My husband is my biggest critic. I had to re-do all the advertisements on a Formula One car once because he said they were a couple of years out of date,” Devonport says, laughing. She prefers to hand deliver the cakes: “Transportation is probably the most stressful part of the cake-making process; I don’t want my clients to bear that stress.”

crumbs! More cake companies Williams & Brown creates delicious elegant cakes for all occasions. Email or visit The Sugar Factory is a Sai Kung-based home-baking business that delivers imaginative cookies and cakes. Email or call 9729 4777.

Baking shops Complete Deelite sells special occasion cakes and cupcakes, decorations, baking products and novelty tins, and runs Wiltonaccredited classes. 2/F On Lan Centre, 1115 On Lan Street, Central (3167 7022)

Cakes cost from $500 and cupcakes from $20 each (minimum order of 20). All orders need to be placed at least 10 days in advance. For smaller or more time-sensitive orders, Ali Oli offers a range of speciality cakes in flavours such as vanilla, carrot, banana, chocolate, Victoria sponge and even glutenfree alternatives. They are available in a range of designs including planes, cars, Barbie and cartoon characters. Both large and small cupcakes are available, and the shop takes orders for as few as six cakes. You will need to order at least three days in advance. Where to find them The Cake Lady The Cake Affair, 9752 2535. Ali Oli 11 Sha Tsui Path, Sai Kung,

I Love Cake offers cookies, cakes and speciality baking products. 338 Shanghai Street, Yau Ma Tei, 2671 2671; and 188 Wan Chai Road, Wan Chai, 2671 2644. Shanghai Street is filled with shops selling inexpensive baking gadgets from cookie cutters to mooncake moulds. Yau Ma Tei MTR, Exit B2. Pantry Magic stocks baking products by world-renowned brands, including silicone moulds of all shapes and sizes. 25 Lok Ku Road, Central, 2504 0688. Twins Company has baking goods, cookie cutters and cake pans, plus festive moulds and cutters. 1/F 137 Johnston Road, Wan Chai; and 8/F 395 Shanghai Street, Yau Ma Tei, 3188 1887.

Nibbles Anthony’s BBQs Next time you fire up the barbecue, make life simpler with a preprepared barbecue party pack from Anthony’s Ranch. Priced from $175, packs include smoked ribs, burgers, a wide variety of meats as well as barbecue sauce, breads, salads, coleslaw and more. There’s even an option to include cups, plates and charcoal. 28 Yi Chun Street, Sai Kung, 2791 6113, French private kitchen opens French cultural centre La Petite France – next door to the former Curves premises – is opening as a private kitchen on Saturday nights, serving French cuisine for parties of four to 15. Also available are private parties (raclette, paella, crepes, oysters or beaujolais nouveau), a monthly cinema club and cooking classes for you, your kids or your helper. Bon appetit! 787 Po Tung Road, Sai Kung, 2791 0082. Bistro Bistro Sai Kung Magazine columnist and entrepreneur Stephen Vines has opened a new rooftop restaurant in Yau Tong. Bistro Bistro is a casual spot serving classic bistro dishes at reasonable prices, with a great view over the Lei Yue Mun channel. Rooftop Garden, Domain Shopping Centre, 38 Ko Chiu Road, Yau Tong, 2796 1898.


sponsored recipe

Chicken and avocado wraps A light and healthy lunch option from South Stream Seafoods. After the over-indulgence on pies, chips and beer at the Hong Kong Rugby Sevens and the chocolate frenzy of Easter, give your arteries a break with this healthy dish – perfect for a weekend lunch. South Stream Seafoods can help with most of the ingredients – check out the online store at Method WRAP Ingredients 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar 1/4 cup olive oil 1/2 tablespoon sugar 1/2 clove garlic, pressed 1/4 teaspoon salt 1/8 teaspoon pepper 3 boneless skinless chicken breasts 1/2 large green bell pepper, quartered 1/2 large red bell pepper, quartered 1/2 large purple onion, cut into 3/4 inch thick slices 1 large avocado, peeled and sliced 8 (five-inch) flour tortillas


Make the avocado mayonnaise: peel the avocado and mash in a small bowl. Stir in mayonnaise and remaining ingredients.


Cover and chill.


Make a marinade by whisking together the vinegar, olive oil, sugar, garlic, salt and pepper.


Avocado Mayonnaise 1 small avocado (or one pack of frozen Fressure Avocado Spread from South Stream) 1/4 cup mayonnaise 1/2 clove garlic, pressed 1/2 tablespoon lemon juice 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil


Place the chicken breasts in a heavyduty zip-lock plastic bag and pour half the marinade mixture over the meat.


In another zip-lock bag, place the bell peppers, onion and avocado and cover with the remaining marinade.


Seal bags and chill for at least an hour, tossing occasionally.


Remove the chicken and vegetables from the bags and discard the marinades.


On a covered barbecue or grill over medium-high heat (350-400 deg F; 175-205 deg C), grill the chicken and vegetables for 20 minutes or until cooked, turning once.


Once cool, cut the chicken and vegetables into strips.


Spread the tortillas with the avocado mayonnaise.


Place chicken and vegetables on tortillas and roll up.


Cut in half diagonally.

Call South Stream Seafoods: 2555 6200

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Preparing for exams With examinations looming, older students need to begin revising. If your child hasn’t started yet, then it’s time to get the gears in motion. Here are some tips on how you can support them. Draw up a realistic revision timeline with goals and deadlines, and stick to it. Children should manage their time effectively and prioritise their revision on subjects examined first or those they find most difficult. Find out if your child is a visual or auditory learner, or both. Visual learners perform better when they copy notes, use flash cards or highlight notes in various colours. Auditory learners remember details better when they discuss topics with study mates or read their notes out loud. Introduce mnemonic devices. Use acronyms and phrases to help remember facts in the same category. Images and diagrams help with remembering stages and processes. Reorganize revision notes. No one wants to study from a pile of messy pages. Restructure notes in bullet points and key phrases instead of blocks of texts. It’s much easier to read and remember, especially when

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gadgets, and may prefer studying at school, in the library or even at a coffee shop. Support a healthy learning environment at home. Don’t allow younger siblings to become a nuisance. Even the most focused students can be easily derailed by displays of their siblings’ freedom. Get extra help early. If your child is struggling to make sense of certain subjects, seek expert help. Book a tutorial schedule with experienced and professional tutors at registered tutorial schools. ITS Tutorial School offers support on academic subjects as well as exam tips all-year round. Find us at www. Make sure your child gets started before it’s too late.

children scan through the notes before exams. Filter the materials and ignore unnecessary points. A useful tip is to set your child a timed practice paper but let them bring one A4 page of notes into the open book “test”. Children will condense their notes onto their “cheat sheet”, including difficult and vital topics, without realising they’ve filtered their revision topics. Encourage children to find a place where they can study effectively. Some children can’t focus in a bedroom filled with distracting

ITS School Placements provides an education consulting service that works with families and employers to find the right schools for individual children in Hong Kong, from nursery to secondary schools. ITS also offers research, policy and advisory services for corporations. For more details, contact or 3188 3940.

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Miracle required Parental fundraising is helping New Song Christian Kindergarten stay afloat, but without a substantial financial injection – an economic miracle to fund its resurrection – it will close in July. “We have found it harder and harder to compete with pre-schools with links to primary schools and, despite recent ESF changes, it’s too late for us,” says acting principal Karina Slattery, who has worked at New Song for 12 years. “There are parents still hoping to keep it open, and the school may open again in the future in a different way or site – but not unless there is a large financial donation from outside the New Song community. We have helped so many families over the years and really seen differences in children who were not able to adjust to local schools. It is very sad.” Meanwhile, parents are planning a fundraiser in May to keep the kindergarten going until the end of the term – details were yet to be confirmed at press time. For more information, or to make a donation, please email newsong@


Swansong for New Song? After 22 years in Sai Kung, New Song Christian Kindergarten is to close. Parent Paul Letters shows and tells.

A phenomenon is spreading from Japan. It’s called PechaKucha and it involves adults gathering to talk through a presentation of images – no words allowed – on any topic of their choosing. PechaKucha nights are now held in more than 500 cities worldwide, including Hong Kong. However, the three-year-olds at New Song Christian Kindergarten (which my son attends) are way ahead. As parental drop-ins are encouraged, I recently went along for an hour to watch my son take his turn at “show and tell”.

After breakfast at Steamers below New Song (surveys indicate more dads pick up their children from kindergarten since it moved here from Floral Villas in 2011), I head upstairs to be greeted by sparkling faces scattered around like toys in a living room. There’s James lining up cars with OCD precision while Sophie arranges magnetic numbers in old-fashioned numerical order. Soon, the Tidy-up Song has all 16 K1 and K2 children playing the Great Tidy-up Game – if only it happened this happily at home. Several wonderfully silly songs later and it’s mat time – when, James will tell you, it’s important to secure a blue circle to sit on. The year groups split into separate partitioned rooms. In the younger group, a book is selected by a small person with big horizons: Oxfam’s W is for World should be compulsory reading for every world leader. Time for a weather bulletin. Up on their feet, the children check the HD view of saddleshaped Ma On Shan and chorus, “Sunny!” But there’s a storm threatening this sunny scene. Without a cash injection the school will close at the end of June. A registered charity, New Song Christian Kindergarten opened in

a unique hymn 1991 to provide a caring Christian environment in which children could develop. A ridiculous rent increase – a proposed doubling from 2009 to 2011 – forced New Song out of its previous premises in Floral Villas (which remain vacant, of course). Enrolment is falling in the face of growing competition, particularly from the more corporate kindergartens with their ability to assure a place in the increasingly elusive Holy Grail that is an international primary school. Sallying ahead with a unique identity but without the protection of a big brother international primary school is a risky business. Some people may find New Song’s ideas radical: children are not labelled “bad” or “good”, although at times individuals make “bad decisions” (it’s almost as though they’re real people); three- to five-year-olds can begin to develop a worldly social conscience; oh, and Christmas has something to do Christ. In keeping with New Song’s letter of the week, James’ “show and tell” is an “L”-based delight of lizards, leopards and Lightning McQueen. He uses only pictures, objects and verbal interaction, PechaKucha style, and attracts lots of questions from the floor. (Does

A productive day in the life of New Song Christian Kindergarten.

that describe presentations at your place of work? No, I thought not.) Next, one group has Mandarin time while the others play in Sai Kung’s hidden gem of a park, nestled around the corner in the old town. Later, the two groups will swap. It’s time for me to leave, so I miss maths and phonics, the ABC song, Bible stories, fish feeding and playing musical instruments.

I compare an hour in New Song with any hour in my working day and it’s clear who is the more productive of me and my three-year-old. I arrive at work and read an email from a colleague promoting staff training. The “learning technologies” session (IT is so 1990s) would, she wrote, take the format of a – you guessed it – “show and tell”. Like I said, toddlers are way ahead of us.



Three’s company Pete Spurrier hikes to Trio Beach. Trio Beach is one of Sai Kung’s favourite strands; clean, beautiful and just far enough away to keep the crowds at bay (most of the year), but close enough to visit for a couple of hours on a sunny afternoon. Plus it has the added advantage of being easily accessible by foot or by sampan. Make the most of both worlds by taking the boat to the beach and walking back. From Sai Kung, take the 101 minibus to Pak Sha Wan and catch a sampan to Trio from the end of the public pier. There is little English signage, but look for wooden boats flying coloured flags – they will often sound a horn when they are about to depart; shout to ask the captain if he is going to Sam Sing Wan, your destination’s name in Chinese. If no boats are around, try calling 9620 6603. The fare for the 10-minute crossing is $10 a head. Soon after the boat leaves sheltered Hebe Haven, the beach appears on the left, with the waterside settlement of Ma Lam Wat across the bay and the towers of the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology beyond the hills to the south. Split in two by a rocky outcrop, Trio Beach is relatively small with soft white sand, some of the cleanest water in the territory (according to the Environmental Protection Department) and lifeguards on duty from April to October. It’s popular at weekends, with several barbecue pits behind the beach and a refreshment kiosk on the roof of the LCSD beach building serving food and drinks. When you’ve had enough sand, follow the steps up behind the beach building to a yellow-fenced playground, and take two right turns. This sets you on an earth path leading up to the ridge, offering open views back across Hebe Haven. This area is part of Kiu Tsui Country Park. Breaks in the foliage give occasional views east to the islands of Port Shelter. When the path joins the paved track to Ma Lam Wat, turn left. This level forested section finishes at quiet Che Keng Tuk Road – Sai Kung’s “Millionaires’ Row” – which is lined by swanky villas. After a brief


life’s a beach

Lions Nature Education Centre

way H ira m ’s High

Hebe Haven pier

H ir a

m’s Hig hway

Trio Beach

Suitable for hikers of all ages. Walking time: 1 hour-1.5 hours uphill section, take a path to the right just past an open field to the Lions Nature Education Centre – a lovely place to spend a couple of hours, particularly for children. Opened in 1991 on the site of a former government farm, the centre aims to teach city children about the nature and agricultural heritage of Hong Kong. Traditional crops and herbs are grown, and ponds planted with lilies attract indigenous species of dragonflies and frogs. There is an orchard of tropical fruit trees, an insect house, café, playground and plenty of grass for running around and, at weekends, an organic vegetable market. The indoor facilities close at 4.30pm (closed Tuesdays). A road leads out of the park onto Hiram’s Highway, and a minibus back to town.

Pete Spurrier is the author of The Leisurely Hiker's Guide to Hong Kong and The Serious Hiker's Guide to Hong Kong (FormAsia).


pets Doggy dos Where to get your pooch pampered, by Laura Ma.

B-Dog Tokyo Grooming Salon Located in Sai Kung old town, this Japanese-style grooming service is a local favourite, with the reservations to prove it, so book ahead. Become a “Wan & One” member ($460 a year for each dog) for benefits such as a pickup service, VIP prices for grooming and spa service and discounts of five to 30 per cent on products. Open Wed-Sun, 10am-8pm. 9A Tak Lung Back Street, Sai Kung, 2791 6555. Baby Cat Dog Shop Located opposite Sai Kung Fire Station, Baby Cat Dog Shop offers professional certified pet grooming service for dogs and cats at reasonable prices. It offers a pick-up service in Sai Kung, Clearwater Bay, Ma On Shan and Tseung Kwan O. Spend more than $300 to receive a membership and discounts on future bookings. Open Wed-Mon 10am-9pm; closed Tuesdays. 68 San On Tsuen, Sai Kung, 2352 2223, MegaPET With branches across Hong Kong, MegaPET offers a full menu of grooming services – bath, trim, ear and eye wash, nail clipping.


Its Ho Man Tin branch also has a DIY pet grooming area for owners to pamper their own pets. Book a 30-minute session and MegaPET will supply all the necessary grooming gear in an hygienic and friendly environment. Metro City Phase 3, Tseung Kwan O, 2626 0818; G/F-1/F, 2 Peace Avenue, Ho Man Tin, Cyber Appliances of Pets Shop (CAPS) CAPS carers will come to your home to bathe, trim and groom your dog where it feels most comfortable. Make a reservation three or four days in advance. Open daily from 11am-6pm, including public holidays. For details call 6874 9097 or visit pets.

woof means hello

How to speak dog Sally Andersen talks to the animals.


One of the most important things you can do for your newly adopted dog is to learn to speak and understand dog language. Just because an animal doesn't talk, doesn't mean their own language isn’t as complicated and efficient as ours. Watch two dogs meeting for the first time and you'll see how they send clear signals to each other using facial expressions and body language, even if they aren't using their voices.

Eye contact is as important to a dog as it is to people, and a look can convey a strong message. Every bark has a different meaning too, and you can learn how to distinguish an excited and happy bark from a warning. Many dogs are abandoned for “bad” behaviour when it's really just a case of the owners not understanding what their dogs are telling them, or misinterpreting their signals. Taking the time to learn to interpret “dog” can mean the difference between a happy and stress-free pet and a frustrated and angry one. Living with a large number of dogs over the years has given me the opportunity to learn by watching and listening, and I now count “dog” as my second language. Sally Andersen is the founder of Hong Kong Dog Rescue, a charity that rescues, rehabilitates and re-homes unwanted or abandoned dogs.

Give a dog a home:


health & beauty Bikini ready Prepare to bare. By Hannah Grogan.

Bikini buys Hair Get the sun-kissed look with highlights at Tala’s (from $960 with an executive stylist). 56 Po Tung Road, Sai Kung 2335 1694.

Take it off Bikinis require silky-smooth, hair-free limbs. Rid yourself of strays with professional waxing: bikini waxes from $100; half-leg wax from $240 at Sabai Day Spa, 2/F, 10D Po Tung Road, Sai Kung, 2791 2259.


Time for a new two-piece? You can’t go wrong at H&M for bargain buys or Ozzie Cozzie for upscale international labels (look for Ozzie Cozzie kids’ costumes at the Sai Kung Sampler, Steamers, May 2). H&M, Metro City Plaza, Tseung Kwan O, 3427 9470. Ozzie Cozzie, 503 Tak Woo House, 1-3 Wo On Lane, 17-19 D’Aguilar Street, Central, 2810 1356,

itsy-bitsy teenie-weenie

Get your tan on

Cellulite treatment Eeuw, orange-peel thighs! We hear the Cellu M6 massage treatment works wonders to firm and tone ($800, 60 minutes). Sense of Touch, 77 Man Nin Street, Sai Kung, 2791 2278.

If you’re looking scarily white (rather than pale and interesting), get some colour with a spray tan or tanningbed session. California Beach Club 3/F Jade Centre, 98 Wellington Street, Central, 2851 3357.

Slip, slop, slap Sun damage is no joke. Don’t forget to slip on a shirt, slop on some sunblock and slap on a hat.

Nailing it It’s peep-toe season, and that means it’s time for a pedicure. Go for a long-lasting shellac pedi ($450) at A-Nails, 9B Wang Street, Sai Kung old town, 2792 1099.

Accessories Too hot to trot? Slide on a pair of Havaianas flip-flops. G.O.D, 2 Yi Chun Street, Sai Kung, 2791 7001. Or go for Cap East’s ethical flip-flops in funky shapes (fish, gecko, shark) from Sai Kung Sampler, Steamers, May 2;


family Rainy days & Mondays Fun things to do on dull days, by Carolynne Dear. Science Museum The Hong Kong Science Museum not only gets the little grey cells whirring, but it actively encourages kids to play with the exhibits, 70 per cent of which are interactive. Its permanent exhibitions include light, sound, motion, electricity, life science and transportation, with a children’s area on the third floor. Until April 10, it’s hosting a special exhibition, “Julius Caesar – Military Genius and Mighty Machines”, featuring interactive models of canny Roman war machines. Open 10am-7pm, Mon-Wed and Fri; 10am-9pm on weekends and holidays. Closed Tuesdays. Tickets are $25; free on Wednesdays. 2 Science Museum Road, Tsim Sha Tsui (Exit B2 from TST MTR). Bowling Bowling is a perennial rainy-day favourite, with several alleys within cooee of Sai Kung and Clearwater Bay. Hong Kong Bowling City has 48 international competition standard lanes with special children’s ramps and lighter (6lb) bowling balls available. Weekday games start from 10am and cost $32/adult, $21/child (shoe hire, $10). A VIP suite (from $1,088) gives kids and their friends an hour’s worth of bowling with free shoe hire. Hong Kong Bowling City, EMax, KITEC, Kowloon Bay, 2620 3010, www. In Hung Hom, Thunder Bowl has 22 lanes plus a VIP room with two lanes for private parties and bumpers for kids. A weekday game is $26/ adult, $18/child (shoe hire, $9 for adults and $5 for children). Site 8, Whampoa Garden, Hung Hom, 2122 9822,

Ice-skating Rug up and head to your nearest ice rink to burn off some energy. The Rink at Elements in Tsim Sha Tsui and Glacier at Festival Walk are sizeable with plastic penguins for small children to hold onto for support and plenty of post-ice fodder at the various restaurants inside each mall. The Rink is sometimes reserved for ice hockey matches, so check the website. It charges $50 a day during the week and 60 cents a minute at weekends (don’t forget your Octopus cards). Open 10am-10pm. Elements, 1 Austin Road West, 2196 8016, The Glacier charges $50 a session, including skate hire, and is open 10.30am-9.30pm. Festival Walk, Kowloon Tong, 2844 3588,


Climbing wall When the kids are bouncing off the walls at home, take the hint and head to the YMCA in Tsim Sha Tsui, which boasts a seven-metre climbing wall with a surface area of more than 266 sqm. It’s one of the largest indoor climbing walls in Hong Kong, with plenty of experienced climbing staff to show you the ropes. On weekdays, it’s open from midday to 10pm and costs $30 an hour for children under 13 years and $42 for adults, plus $10/person for equipment hire. For parties, Climbing Fun Day packages are $1,560 for 16 people (over the age of six years), including the exclusive use of one wall for two hours, equipment hire and a couple of professional instructors. 41 Salisbury Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, 2268 7099,

what shall we do today? Animal Month Get up close and personal with the Ocean Park babies – newborn pups, calves and chicks – on new behind-the-scenes tours of its animal houses. Running until May 5 as part of the park’s Animal Month in High Definition, it’s a chance for children to explore the back-of-house facilities at the Marine Mammal Breeding and Research Centre as well as Animal Nursery Tours of the Rainforest, Grand Aquarium, Polar Adventure and Amazing Asian Animals attractions. All proceeds from the tours go to the Ocean Park Conservation Foundation. Tours are booked on the day on a first-come, first-served basis and cost $30 each, with proceeds to the Ocean Park Conservation Fund. For details, visit


family Bling Bling Easter Eggs One for budding artists, running in conjunction with the “Fabergé: Legacy of Imperial Russia” exhibition at the Hong Kong Heritage Museum is this interactive art project. Run by arts educator Edith Law, “Bling Bling Easter Eggs” teaches children aged six to 10 about the techniques used by goldsmith Peter Carl Fabergé then lets them loose with bright, shiny materials to create their own eggs. Up to 15 children can attend each session on a first-come, first-served basis. Apply for a place online at hk. Daily until April 28, 3pm-5pm, $38/child, Education Studio, Heritage Museum, 1 Man Lam Road, Sha Tin. Maritime Museum The Hong Kong Maritime Museum has moved from Stanley to new premises at Pier 8, Central. Once the terminal for the Central-Hung Hom line, the new museum is five times larger, with 15 galleries and a host of new exhibits detailing Hong Kong’s fascinating seafaring history through model boats, tales of bandits, paintings, friezes and interactive displays. There are real cannons, navigation equipment and ships’ bells – children will love the noisy Sounds of the Sea exhibition – and even a replica ship’s bridge to play on. A digitally animated scroll from the late Qing Dynasty tells the story of piracy and emperors in a 360-degree cinema. Open weekdays 9.30am-5.30pm, $30/adult $15/child. Central Ferry Pier 8 (next to the Star Ferry),



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To advertise, email: or call 2776 2772.


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bird at my window

Blue whistling thrush Myophonus caeruleus

Seen fleetingly in shaded forest, the blue whistling thrush can appear uniformly dark. But a more prolonged view in sunlight reveals beautiful rich blue plumage and silver spangling on the back, head and underparts. Close up, the thrush’s large size, stout bill and red eye gives it a rather aggressive appearance, substantiated by the fact that it has been known to take small birds, especially nestlings. The blue whistling thrush’s range extends from Central and Southeast Asia, across China to the Pacific coast. It is usually associated with rocky streams and is often shy and elusive but on Hong Kong Island it is regularly seen feeding on insects and worms on the lawns of parks and gardens, especially at dawn. Hong Kong Park and the Peak are good places to look for this species. The female lays two to five greyish eggs with red or brown freckles in a mossy, cupshaped nest on the ledges of overhanging banks or cliffs, or under bridges, usually close to rushing water. In Hong Kong, it also makes use of buildings during the breeding season. In the 1990s, a pair of blue whistling thrushes built a nest for three successive years on a ground-floor air-conditioner of my home next to a stream in Fo Tan, raising two broods of three to four young in April and June.

David Diskin is a writer and photographer based in the New Territories. His latest book is Hong Kong Nature Walks: Kowloon, Hong Kong & Outlying Islands. Details at

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on patrol...

’ello ’ello ’ello

Hissing Sid Spotted a snake? Tim Sharpe explains the drill. With the weather warming up, Hong Kong’s snakes are slithering out of hibernation. I am horrified by the number of venomous reptiles out there: cobras, keelbacks, kraits, coral snakes, bamboo pit vipers, to name a few. The Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department website lists 43 species of snakes in Hong Kong but points out that only eight are lethal. Only eight! What is amazing to me is how blasé the average Sai Kunger can be about snakes. One expat housewife calmly told me how she found a king cobra in her kitchen recently; she hit it with a broom and shooed it outside. With the relentless development of Sai Kung, snakes are finding their natural territory under threat and are increasingly coming into villages and urban areas. This increases the police workload as we attend all scenes of snake reports. Personally, I loathe snakes; always have, always will. I spent part of my childhood in Papua New Guinea where there were some seriously venomous snakes. As a 10-year-old, I remember jumping over a small storm drain and seeing two deadly Papuan black snakes rearing their heads at me. I screamed for mummy and did a four-minute-mile home. So when a call comes in about a snake, my heart skips a beat. At the scene, you will find me, the fearless commanding officer, directing operations from the back of a locked police vehicle parked 100 metres away while my braver subordinates deal with the situation.

Police officers do not handle the snakes – we call in a snake catcher for that. However, we are required to confirm the validity of the report, which means we need to sight it. If the snake is considered a threat – if it’s inside a home, for example – we call in a catcher. But if it’s just sunning itself outside, it should be kept under observation. If it moves out of harm’s way, we leave it be. After all, snakes form an important part of the ecosystem. We have a number of snake catchers on our books, including Dave Willott who lives in Sai Kung and is a familiar figure at Sai Kung Police Station. On moving to the division, I had heard lots of stories about him and expected him to be a complete loon, given that he handles dangerous snakes for a living. But he is one of the most level-headed guys around. After he catches a snake for us, Willott brings it back to the station in a bag and places it in a special storage box in the report room. Later, the snakes are taken to Kadoorie Farm and Botanic Garden in Tai Po, where they’re well cared for until they can be released back into the wild, safely away from the heaving masses. An exception is Burmese pythons, Hong Kong’s only endangered snakes. Instead of Kadoorie Farm, these are taken to an AFCD facility for rehabilitation. About six months ago, Willott caught a 16-foot-long python that required four men to lift and needed a special cage as our boxes were too small. I swear its head was bigger than mine. I still wake up sweating about that one.

photo competition Submit your shots Here at the Sai Kung Magazine office, we love receiving beautiful pictures of Sai Kung and Clearwater Bay from our readers. Each month we publish our favourite. To enter, simply email your best shots of Sai Kung and Clearwater Bay, along with a brief description, to Happy snapping! This month’s winner: Jennifer Chan This is a photo of my relatives’ backyard in Clearwater Bay, overlooking the beautiful waters.


If you find a snake in your home, please keep an eye on it and try to trap it in a room or cupboard. Call the police and officers (not me!) will come round to ensure it’s still there and, if necessary, request a snake catcher. (We will not automatically call one out as we need to pay the catchers with taxpayers’ money whether they find a snake or not.) If the snake is outside and not endangering anybody, keep an eye on it – if it refuses to budge or has a nest nearby, give us a call. On another subject, a couple of months ago I asked for volunteers for our Neighbourhood Watch Scheme. Unfortunately the response has not been overwhelming, so I am appealing again. Under the scheme, we email volunteers with Crime Alerts and requests for information, and they spread the word among their friends and neighbours, and perhaps post copies on local noticeboards. If you have an interest in keeping your community safe by preventing and deterring crime, please sign up by dropping me an email with your name and location at Stay safe.

Tim Sharpe is the Police DVC for Sai Kung.

shoot for it

Sai Kung Magazine April 2013  

Sai Kung Magazine's April issue looks at the bugs in your backyard and how to get on the water.

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