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April 2012 Pak Sha O threat How to hire a junk How to buy a ‘masterpiece’

Renovation directory

Let there be light

Everything you need to brighten your home

APRIL 2012

the planner


4 Happening in April Easter bunnies and other treats. Letters 8 Have your say Annoyed by barking dogs, saving Wu Kai Sha beach and more. News 10 Tackling stray dogs Plus the latest on the Beach Resort Hotel and a Russian Ballet School for Sai Kung. Vines in Sai Kung

16 Home makeovers Expert tips on renovating your village house. ART VILLAGE 22 Unlimited editions A champagne trip to buy copy masterpieces in Dafen. EATING 24 Egg hunt Where to buy Easter chocolates. Plus Hong Kong’s first Beertopia festival. Hikes

12 The hills are alight Stephen Vines on festivals and villagers’ rights.

26 Peak performance Jackie Peers offers a variation on a classic walk. Interiors

INTERVIEW 13 Fishing son of Sai Kung Blue Sky’s marine boy, Bryan Ng. Local

28 Easy breezy Bright accessories for spring days. Education

14 Hakka heritage threat Will two planned houses destroy unspoiled Pak Sha O?

30 Smart apps Teacher-approved iPad apps.

FAMILY 32 Rainy days & Mondays Old Hong Kong at Ocean Park, sailing camps, pottery classes and free deliveries of baby essentials. HEALTH & BEAUTY 34 Prom-arama Teens get ready for their big night. Plus Sense of Touch Sai Kung’s first birthday. OUTDOORS 38 How to hire a junk All you need to know about making the most of the South China morning coast. Travel 42 Action stations Taller, bigger, deeper, tougher: Asia’s extreme adventures Pets 44 What’s your poison? Why the Easter Bunny shouldn’t visit Rover.

GARDENING 45 Blown away by bromeliads Jane Ram visits a Thai flower show. Marketplace 46 Your guide to shops and services Cool stuff to buy and do. BIRD AT MY WINDOW 49 Barn swallow David Diskin looks for signs of summer. ON PATROL 53 A stronger Neighbourhood Watch In her final column Senior Inspector Grace Mak recruits some elderly Neighbourhood Watchers. Classifieds 52 Local property, holiday lets And other random stuff. LAST ORDERS 54 New adventures in hi-fi Iain Lafferty on the joys of the mix tape.




happening in april

Apr 1

Public pools open

Get back in the swim at Sai Kung public pool. Lap pools, diving boards, shallow pools, kids fun pool - a bargain for a few dollars and a swipe of your Octopus card. See for more info.

Apr 2-4 Sotheby’s Spring Auctions

Wine, contemporary and classic Asian art, ceramics, watches and jewellery go under the hammer (not literally) at the Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Centre, Wan Chai. For details, visit

Apr 2-14 Easter Craft Workshops

Apr 4, 18 Hebe One O One Quiz Nights Check out the new quiz masters. 8.30pm, 112 Pak Sha Wan, 2335 5155.

Apr 4 Ching Ming Festival Public holiday.

Join Anastasia’s Art House for fun Easter activities, from painting on canvas to paper craft and clay modelling. 9 Hoi Pong Street, Sai Kung, 2719 5533,

Apr 2 Olivia Newton-John Live in Hong Kong

I got chills... the Neutron Bomb is coming. Grand Hall, Convention Centre, Wan Chai. Tickets $488-$1,288 from, 3128 8288.


Apr 3 Friends of Sai Kung Annual General Meeting

Find out what’s really happening in Sai Kung – and how you can make a difference. All welcome (lifetime membership is $100 from 8pm, Italiano’s, 20 Yi Chun Street, Sai Kung.

Ends Apr 5 Hong Kong International Film Festival Great movies from around the world. For programme details and tickets visit

april Apr 6-9 Little Big Club Live In Concert

Apr 8 Funny Bunny Magic Show

A pre-schooler’s dream come true, with Bob the Builder, Pingu, Barney, Fireman Sam, Angelina Ballerina and more appearing together live on stage. Extra show on Easter Monday. Star Hall, KITEC, Kowloon Bay. Tickets $100-$500 from, 3128 8288.

A restaurant named after chips is bound to get a thumbs up from kids – especially when it has a play area, magic show, Easter egg hunt and Belgian beer on tap for parents. 2pm, Quarry Bay Frites, G/F Oxford House, Tai Koo Place, Quarry Bay,

Apr 8 Easter Sunday

Apr 25-29 Cheung Chau Bun Festival

Christianity’s original holy day – plus bunnies, eggs and hotcross buns.

Apr 6 Good Friday Public holiday.

Apr 6-7 HHYC Easter Bazaar

Fun and games and lots of shopping at Hebe Haven Yacht Club. All welcome. Pak Sha Wan,

Apr 9 Easter Monday Public holiday :-)

Apr 20-21 Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus Award-winning director Tang Shu-wing reworks his 2008 Arts Festival smash into an even more powerful production. HKAPA, Wan Chai. Tickets $60-$250 from www., 3128 8288.

Apr 8 The Cranberries

The “Zombie” band is back with a new album and a tour to prove it. Convention Centre, Wan Chai. Tickets $580-$980 from, 3128 8288.

Apr 24 Sai Kung Sampler

A pop-up shopping event with stalls selling all sorts of goodies from cheese to kids’ clothing. Vendors vary from last month. Steamers, 66 Yi Chun Street, Sai Kung, 2792 6991.

Iconic festival that involves Cheung Chau islanders climbing towers (now safely harnessed to ropes) to grab lucky buns, and the incredible Piu Sik (floating colours) parade. Don’t forget your camera.

Apr 25-28 Yellow Face

American-Chinese playwright David Henry Hwang’s “unreliable memoir” about racial identity. Performed by the Hong Kong Players and HKRep. Black Box, 8/F Sheung Wan Civic Centre, 345 Queen’s Road Central. Tickets $180 from Urbtix, 2111 5999,

Apr 28 Buddha’s Birthday

Public holiday. Get in the spirit at the Bathing Buddha ceremony at the Temple of 10,000 Buddhas, Sha Tin.

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

Book now

May 31-Jun 10 Annie

The red-headed orphan and her hardknock life hit the stage in this West End production starring Su Pollard and David McAlister. Lyric Theatre, HKAPA, Wan Chai. Tickets $330-$950 from, 3128 8288.

May 2, 3, 5, 7 Lady Gaga – Born This Way Ball

Lady Gaga live, horns and all. AsiaWorld-Arena, Lantau. Tickets $480-$1,580 from www., 3128 8288.


Jun 2 Summer Garage Sale

Get ready to rummage for pre-loved goodies in the best garage sale in Sai Kung. Book a table through Jean Hudson on 9045 5942, gujean@ust. hk. 9.30am-1pm, Car Park, Hong Kong University of Science & Technology, Clearwater Bay Road.

May 15-20 Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo

Technically brilliant comedy ballet as The Trocks all-male troupe perform the classics. Lyric Theatre, HKAPA, Wan Chai. Tickets $350-$950 from, 3128 8288.

Jun 3 Diamond Jubilee Party

From the people behind last year’s fabulous Royal Wedding Party comes another right royal knees up to celebrate 60 years of QEII. Garden Bar, Hebe Haven Yacht Club, Pak Sha Wan, 2719 9682. Non-members will need to schmooze for an invitation.


have your say

Save our beach

An alert to Sai Kung & Clearwater Bay residents: The Government plans to reclaim Wu Kai Sha beach. It is time to raise your voices in protest. Wu Kai Sha beach is the only natural beach in the Sha Tin district. Numerous people visit the beach all year round particularly on holidays and at weekends. Reclamation will rob not only Sha Tin but the whole of Hong Kong of this rare and precious natural coastal area. Reclamation works and subsequent building projects will seriously affect the quality of life for Ma On Shan’s 200,000 residents. Adverse impacts include environmental degradation, traffic jams, air pollution, noise pollution and much more. The beach was rated by the global news channel CNN as Hong Kong’s “best beach for romantic sunsets”. Nearby are mangrove forests, interesting geological formations, sea life such as the sea star and sea horse, as well as heritage attractions Du Tou Fishing Village and Wu Kai Sha Village. Should reclamation proceed, the area’s unique charm will be irrevocably lost. Ma On Shan Park, the waterfront promenade, the pier and various recreational facilities together with the natural beach enhance the pleasure of living in the area. Please visit and help by signing the petition to stop this reclamation. And voice your objections by email to Mr C.K. Hon, director of the CEDD, at F. Stander

Two sides to every story

We received several letters regarding our story “Barking Mad” (Sai Kung, April 2012), almost all of them critical of our coverage. So we would like to explain our editorial position. The story was primarily a “how to” story, detailing the legal steps that can be taken if a neighbour's dog is barking incessantly. It was based on the experience of a local resident who took his neighbours to court over the issue of their barking dog and won the case. Since barking dogs are a relatively common problem, we felt writing about this was in the public interest. It was not our intention to add to any discord between the parties involved. For this reason we did not name the defendants and – contrary to several of the letters we received – did not “print local gossip”. We included quotes from the complainant about why he went to court and the impact the barking had on his life and his family. The factual details we printed were those that appear in the court papers and are covered by legal privilege. These details were accepted by the court, who found in favour of the complainant. The publisher

Please email your letters to We may edit for length.

Spring Summer Collection out, the latest styles in Silk/Cashmere



in the know

Paws for thought

The secret’s out

Response to a public consultation exercise to gather views on a pilot “trap, neuter, return” (TNR) scheme to control the stray dog population in Sai Kung has not been as positive as officials had hoped. A government spokeswoman said residents who attended two meetings recently had not been as supportive as those living in proposed sites on Lamma and in Yuen Long. The TNR scheme would run initially for three years and involve capturing stray dogs, neutering them and then returning them to the villages where they would be fed by volunteers. If approved, it could be rolled out in Ho Chung as early as summer. It is being backed by the Hong Kong Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) and animal-welfare groups, who believe it would be a more humane, effective and proactive way of controlling stray dogs. However, sources who attended two public meetings in February said emotions flared as animal lovers clashed with people who did not want strays in their villages. An Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) spokeswoman said, “From the consultation we learned some residents are not fully supportive. Some of them are afraid of the stray dogs and worried about the dogs being returned after being neutered, where they can cause a nuisance by barking or even biting.” She said the AFCD supported the pilot and would continue working with animal welfare groups to increase public understanding of the scheme. Currently, the AFCD is responsible for dealing with stray dogs. Those reported as nuisances are captured and owners contacted. If they are strays, a decision is made on whether the animal is suitable for rehoming. Fiona Woodhouse, SPCA deputy director of welfare, says only 10 to 12 per cent are rehomed – the rest are killed. “Current government policy is reactive and the AFCD only does something if someone complains. The dogs are suffering from poor welfare and are breeding,” she said. “What we want to do is reduce the population of the strays and make the dogs healthier by giving basic preventative medicine such as rabies vaccinations.” The AFCD and SPCA meet Sai Kung District Councillors again in May.

There is a plan. Following our cover story last month on the new hotel planned for the seafront, plans to redevelop the Beach Resort Hotel have left the drawing board. A Lands Department official confirmed a plan has been submitted by its current owners to renovate the old hotel and was being circulated to various departments for evaluation. The hotel, which checked out its last guest more than a decade ago, was sold in 2006 for a rumoured $72 million to New World Development. Details of the plan have not been revealed but if its gets the go-ahead, Sai Kung could go from no hotel to two hotels in the next three years. But with a distinct feeling of déjà vu, we would advise against holding your breath.


Grapevine A Russian Ballet School looks set to open in Sai Kung in the summer. It will be run by former principal dancer Leila Alpiyeva (right), a Kazakhstan native who has danced with the Slovak National Theatre and later taught at the Italia Conti ballet school in London. The school will run classes for children in four age groups from eight to 16, as well as adults (aged from 17). Premises have been secured three minutes’ walk from Sai Kung town, with a “soft” opening planned for June and a formal opening in July. Watch this space for more details. The swimming season is here, but before you lay your towel down on the sand, do the right thing and help Friends of Sai Kung clean up the beaches. Volunteers can join the trash pickers by contacting Carol Biddell at or 6531 8215. The Sai Kung Stingrays Under-16s girls’ rugby team is celebrating an amazing season, continuing their unbeaten run with 549 points scored and not a single point conceded. Proud coach Ritchard Hood told the players: “I don't believe any other team will ever achieve this.”

vines in sai kung

stephen says

Burning issues

Stephen Vines on why the hills are alight, paying off the villagers and a lost historic monument. ‘Tis the season to go burning There’s something for (almost) everyone in April. There are two important Chinese festivals – Ching Ming and Buddha’s Birthday – plus the major Christian festival of Easter, the Jewish festival of Passover and no less than six Hindu festivals. Only Muslims miss out in April. I should, no doubt, draw some profound conclusion from this coincidence but, as ever, I am quite unable to do so apart from parochially observing that Ching Ming is one of the festivals I fear most. And not because it is a time to remember the deceased but because it is almost inevitably a time for setting fire to the wide open spaces near graves. Why are people quite so careless when engaged in the perfectly respectable business of honouring the dead with burning incense and candles? It seems kind of simple – extinguish all flames or smouldering remnants before leaving the grave. What’s difficult about that? Or could it be that some people simply don’t give a damn? It pains me to say so, but give them the money Talking of which – not giving a damn, that is – brings me to what I used to think was a pretty straightforward matter; namely the argument that when it comes to preservation of Hong Kong’s countryside, the concept of public good should override the interests of property owners. As matters stand, the government has declared its intention to go ahead with a plan to incorporate the village of Tai Long Sai Wan into Sai Kung East Country Park. Unsurprisingly the plan is being fiercely resisted by indigenous villagers who own property in the area. Equally


predictably, much of this dispute centres around the issue of money. In Hong Kong the authorities are not empowered to seize land without offering compensation, and the history of government compensation in the New Territories is one of rather generous payments to villagers. Although I am perfectly aware that many of those who shout loudest about government repossession of land for country parks are people who have long ceased to live in the area, or even in Hong Kong, they retain ancestral rights. In some ways I am pleased to be living in the only part of China where arbitrary seizure of land and property by the state is mitigated by the rule of law. Although I am less pleased to note that the law does not appear to be enforced with equal vigour for all the people. Indigenous villagers and their mighty protectors in the Heung Yee Kuk have hotlines to the administration that the rest of us only dream of using. Yet the automatic knee-jerk objection to the special privileges of indigenous villagers should be reconsidered. Yes, there is scope for abuse. And, yes, there is a long history of very unreasonable behaviour in these circumstances. However, once property rights are undermined by an all-powerful state, it is the thin end of the wedge for all sorts of other abuses. On the other hand, preserving and enhancing the natural resources of Hong Kong, which includes Sai Kung’s magnificent country park, is at the very least of equal importance. If the rapacious, concrete-obsessed Heung Yee Kuk and its best friends the property developers had their way, this priceless resource would have been destroyed long ago.

So, it ain’t easy. My simple-minded take on all this is that it’s probably better to pay the money to the villagers, even when the cash involved may appear to be excessive. There is a price for everything – well, almost. A grave matter Meanwhile, and still in the country park, I was walking with friends and dogs in the direction of Fei Ngo Shan, high above Ho Chung village, when I came across the incredibly badly signposted grave of Sun Yat-sen’s mother, whose family name was Yang. She died in 1911 at the age of 83. It is unclear why the mother of China’s first president was buried in Sai Kung as the family appears to have no connection with the area, although Sun himself was educated in Hong Kong and spent his formative years here. His father died when he was eight so it can only be assumed that his mother loomed large in his life. Apparently the grave fell into serious disrepair and was renovated by the government in October 2000 but as this administration, like its predecessors, is seriously history-challenged, little or no attempts have been made to highlight the existence of this rather important monument. History, apparently, is that odd stuff that happened a long time ago. Stephen Vines is a journalist, broadcaster and entrepreneur. He is the former editor of the Eastern Express and Southeast Asia correspondent for The Observer.


marine boy

Bryan Ng

Born into a Sai Kung fishing family and raised on a boat, the 29-year-old founder of Blue Sky tells Robby Nimmo why the sea in his blood. I have a Sai Kung fisherman’s grandson’s dialect. My city friends sometimes can’t understand me. Quite a few of us in Sai Kung have this accent. We are all the grandchildren of Sai Kung fisherman. I grew up on a fishing boat in Tui Min Hoi, near the fire station. My grandfather remembers when the waterfront was further back than the swimming pool. I think it’s okay they reclaimed the land as Sai Kung needed the space to keep it low rise. There are still plenty of waterways left. Things have changed. A lot of fishermen are old and retired and it is not expected that we will be fishermen. There are not many fish left, and the Hong Kong Government has banned trawling and purchased many fishing boats. Many of the fishermen have found jobs as captains of junks or large pleasure craft and their sons often drive wakeboarding boats. Some are in Hainan on luxury boats. Sai Kung has its own identity, and to a large degree that comes from its history as a fishing village.

City people notice how relaxed it is. They have started to take up my lifestyle, spending their spare time barbecuing, camping, boating and surfing. It is an easy life to slip into. My favourite place to get out on the water is around Hap Mun island where my father used to work in lifeguard management. When I was a boy, I used to canoe over with him. He was an Olympian canoeist and went to the Montreal Olympics in 1976 and also to LA in 1984. I once saw a shark caught off a fishing boat when I was small, but I haven’t seen any sharks in the water. Old fishermen say sharks like the area around the university and some have seen sharks near Clearwater Bay Golf Club. I don’t believe sharks pose a hazard. Hong Kong people are changing their views on shark’s fin. I went to seven weddings last year, and twothirds of them didn’t serve shark’s fin. Even the older people are starting to be educated that it is no longer considered impolite not to serve it. There are many ways to enjoy the water here – swimming off a junk, kayaking, wakeboarding, sailing,

diving, or stand-up paddle boarding. I am chairman of the Hong Kong Paddle Board Association. This sport is huge in the US and Australia and I think it will become an Olympic sport. It’s easy to learn. There is a race in May in Sai Kung.

Bryan Ng, Sai Kung's dragon boat hero. I am very involved in I missed my family in Sai Kung, dragon boating. The and the water sports. When I was festival is a big part of life in Sai 18, I started Blue Sky, which does Kung with our fishing past. Hong everything to do with the water, Kong has 18 districts and Sai Kung including dragon boats, wakeboard teams have come first and third in boats, stand-up paddle boarding, the past two years. The winning swimming training and events. teams were both Blue Sky, I was the captain and trainer (we are I would not change anything always looking for paddlers). The about Sai Kung except the Blue Sky women's team has been pollution, especially in the water. I champions three years in a row at am amazed at how many people the Sai Kung races. still think it’s acceptable to throw   rubbish overboard. Also, I’d love to I went to Sung Tsun Primary see a UV-proof sun shade over the School near Pepperoni’s, then swimming pool and playgrounds at 12 I was privileged to go to – they get too hot in summer. And boarding school in the UK at it would be great if Sai Kung pool Chichester College and Littlemead could be heated so we could swim Grammar School. Back then, year round. Chinese civil servants were given an 80 per cent subsidy on Contact Ng at boarding schools in the UK.


local Publisher & Executive Editor Tom Hilditch Editorial Jane Steer Adele Rosi Art Direction Sammy Ko Accounts Clara Chan Advertising Heung Sai Distribution Sebastian Leitner Contributors Carolynne Dear Graham Uden Stephen Vines Hazel Knowles Martine Beale Dr Carmel Taylor MVB Jackie Peers Jane Ram Iain Lafferty Robby Nimmo David Diskin Grace Mak with Eric Luk Printer Gear Printing 1/F, Express Industrial Bldg 43 Heung Yip Road Wong Chuk Hang, Hong Kong Published by Fast Media PO Box 33093 Sheung Wan Post Office, Hong Kong.

Sai Kung 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. Sai Kung 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 pubishers. No part of this magazine may be reproduced without written permission from the publisher.


Heritage under threat

Opposition is mounting to a plan to build two modern houses in one of Sai Kung’s best preserved Hakka villages, writes Hazel Knowles.

Pak Sha O in Sai Kung Country Park is arguably one of Hong Kong’s best preserved and most beautiful living Hakka villages. It boasts several listed buildings, a remote scenic location inaccessible by car, and not a single modern building in sight. But now its unique character is being threatened, claim residents, by a plan to build two modern Spanish villa-type houses in the heart of the 150-year-old village. A Tai Po company has submitted applications to the Lands Department to build two threestorey houses in the village, which nestles amid hills and paddy fields, a 10-minute walk from the road to Hoi Ha. If it gets the go-ahead, the plan will see the first houses built in Pak Sha O in almost 50 years and what are likely to be the first examples of modern architecture in the village. Residents fear the new houses will mark the beginning of the end for the village and that they could mar one of the best examples of an unspoiled lived-in Hakka village in Hong Kong. “It really would be tragic,” resident Tim Kay said. “As far as I know this is a unique village. It’s a living Hakka village. It must be one of the best examples of a Hakka village that’s not surrounded by modern development. “Most other Hakka villages around Hong Kong are either so remote they have been left to fall down or the ones with roads to them have been developed.” About 14 families live in the old houses of Pak Sha O, which they rent mostly from descendants of the Ho family who founded the village after moving from Yantian, Shenzhen, before 1860. Of these, about seven families live there fulltime, while the rest use the village

as a weekend retreat from their homes on Hong Kong island. Kay, a semi-retired banker, and his wife, Gail, have lived in the village for 14 years and spend three nights a week there. They occupy the old watchtower, which was built about 100 years ago. According to Kay, all the residents, both full and part-time, are opposed to the plan and submitted objections to the Lands Department before the deadline passed late last month. The village is built in the unique Hakka style with a watchtower, an

ancestral hall, and terraced rows of white plastered houses with pitched tiled roofs. Some feature elaborate decorative wall paintings, coloured stucco decorations and plaster mouldings. Many of the buildings date back to the early 20th century and the watchtower and ancestral hall as well as adjoining buildings have been awarded grade one listing by the government’s Antiquities and Monuments Office. It classifies them as buildings of “outstanding merit” and that “every effort should made to preserve” them.

Picture: Red Door News

in our backyard

Historic Pak Sha O has been lovingly restored, but residents worry the development of modern houses will threaten the village's character. Village head Danny Ho, 53, one of the third-generation Ho family, said the plots earmarked for the two-house development were among several bought from villagers by developers several years ago. Ho, who moved out of the village when he was 17 and now lives in Tai Po, told Sai Kung Magazine he fully supported the reconstruction of the village but hoped any new structures would be in harmony with the old buildings. The planning application comes from a company called Xinhua Bookstore Xiang Jiang Group Ltd of Tai Po and involves the redevelopment of two derelict buildings in the village. Each will be three-storeys and 8.23 metres high, with one having a roofed-over area of 55.4 square metres and the other 24.6 square metres. The director of the Xinhua Bookstore Xiang Jiang Group is Lau Ming-shum. According to the government’s companies registry, Lau is also director of the Treasure

Group, which shares the same Tai Po address. According to the company website, the Treasure Group is a licensed money-lender, specializing in financing, mortgages, the sale and purchase of land and the construction of village houses. Its website says it has built more than 1,000 village houses in Sha Tin, Tai Po and Sai Kung and features a gallery of photographs of modern village houses. Sai Kung Magazine tried to contact Lau about the proposed building development in Pak Sha O. In an emailed response, Lau declined to answer any questions about the proposed houses and how they would affect the village and said: “This is not the right time to give any comments.” Vilma Pegg has lived in the village for 14 years, with her husband, Rob, and their three children aged seven to 13. She has been a driving force behind revitalising Pak Sha O and has renovated 12 of the old

buildings into liveable homes. “I have poured my heart into this village. My neighbours and I have worked very hard to maintain the village and its character. It is a very beautiful village. It has a lot of history and the special thing about it, is that it is being lived in,” she said. “Personally, I feel that if these people have a right and they want to build a house to live on their land, it's wrong for me to object. “But I wonder why the government’s Antiquities and Monuments Office doesn't put some sort of preservation order on the village that will prevent people changing the outside of the houses and ensure any new buildings are in keeping with the character. “We really love his place. My view is if it has to be done, then at least let it be in keeping with the village. “I know from the views of walkers who pass through the village and students who come to study the architecture, a lot of

Hong Kong people appreciate seeing such a historical village and it fascinates them that it is being lived in. Often they congratulate us for being in such a lovely place and express their appreciation of the work the residents have put into maintaining it.” Kay added that the villagers were now awaiting outcome of the objections to the Lands Department. One of their biggest worries, he said, is that the two houses are the first of many to come on plots of land that have been bought up by another Tai Po company. “It doesn’t really matter to us if those two houses go up or not, it will not affect our life,” he said. “We are objecting because we want to preserve the village for the Hong Kong people. These two applications could be one of the developers testing the water. If they get approval there will be more applications and before we know it they will be asking for a road to the village.”


Home Martine Beale asks the experts for tips on renovating village houses.

How do I decide if I need an interior designer or contractor? CB: If you have your own ideas on design, then a contractor will do. If you have too many ideas or no set plan then an interior designer will help you focus and design a place that suits you. RR: Usually interior designers work alongside contractors they trust, so if you're concerned about your home's appearance it would be best to go to an interior designer. JY: For a designer, look at their


website and if you like the work, meet them face to face. If you feel comfortable and can imagine talking to them every day, then they’re the one. For a contractor, the lowest tender may not be the best choice; they might be slow with poor workmanship. The middle range might be slow with good workmanship and the highest tender may be the same – but have more concise administration services. It’s best to get advice from your designer.

How do they work together? RR: Usually interior designers redesign a space and explain to the contractor what they want done. The contractor then carries out the installation, often with the interior designer overlooking the entire process. PH: They should be independent of each other. Avoid "design and build" agreements. These are usually not in the client’s or the project’s best interests. CB: Most interior designers have a

supply of contractors with varying skills they trust and have worked with before. Designers often use several contractors. JY: The designer coordinates and supervises all the contractors, craftsmen and consultants etc. They inspect the site and ensure work is being performed and installed according to the drawings, specifications and approved design concept. They also certify payment and check the standard of work on completion of the job.

CC: Also check a designer’s credentials with professional organizations such as the Hong Kong Interior Design Association and Hong Kong Designers’ Association – you can search their websites. And use only licensed contractors. What key information do I need to supply the designer or contractor? CB: Let them know your tastes in music, art, movies – anything that will help them design a place for YOU. RR: It is always helpful to bring a couple of images from magazines or photos that you like. If you know the atmosphere you want to create or your general style, this is useful. Many clients aren't entirely sure what they want, so the designer can also help you realise your interior design direction. PH: Scale of project. Whether it’s a rental or you own the unit. Time scale for works. Discuss outline ballpark costs before signing up. JN: Be as specific as you can about the overall feel and style, as well as how you practically intend to use the space.

Table for 10 in an open-plan design by The XSS.

What’s the best way to shop for an interior designer or contractor? CB: Ask friends and family. Once you’ve found someone, make sure you get references – talking to a past client is a must. See if you can visit one of their renovations to see exactly what the designer and contractor’s work is like. GH: Word of mouth. There are also a lot of good interior design magazines here that often list designers.

Should I factor-in that schedules and deadlines will run over, and by how much? PH: If working on adapting an existing property, schedules and costs will run over, guaranteed. Allow 10 per cent to 15 per cent on costs. Time overrun is always an unknown. RR: People in Hong Kong are generally good at sticking close to deadlines. The time when large delays can happen is around holidays such as Lunar New Year. It’s always good to have a buffer period of a couple of weeks. CB: Deadlines should not run over by more than a week unless there are major design changes. JY: There are many issues that can delay a project, but a good contractor should be able to minimise them if they have good management skills and inform you in time to plan ahead. CC: If the client and designer connect properly in the preliminary design discussion, the schedule should run smoothly. For security, any penalties should be marked on the signed contract.

Meet the panel Jenny Newton is based in Hong Kong, Sydney and London. She is a pioneer of eco-building materials and has been developing a range of cellulose, 100 per cent organic furniture. Her style is neo-rustic, with classical and industrial undertones. Rm 303, East Ocean Centre, 98 Granville Rd, Tsim Sha Tsui East, 8199 0260,, Chunny Bhamra is a time-served tradesman with more than 20 years experience. A registered electrician, his company The Gryphon Workshop covers all aspects of renovation work. Tel: 9079 9475,

Jason Yung and Caroline Ma formed Jason Caroline Design in 2001 focusing on residential and hospitality interiors. Their projects have been published worldwide and won numerous awards, including being named as one of Ten Outstanding Designers in Greater China 2010. 14/F, 39 Wellington Street, Central, 2517 7510, Peter Hunter has three decades of experience on luxury houses, apartments and yachts. With studios in Hong Kong and Paris, he brings an eclectic European vision to residential interiors and has an extensive portfolio of fine furnishings. Room 4A, 22-24 Wing Lok Street, Sheung Wan, 2850 5580, Ruth Rebuck and Greer Howland of Rebuck Howland Interiors specialise in interiors, landscape design and art consultancy, mixing their Western roots with local flavours. They offer a full range of interior design services. Ruth Rebuck: 6355 3868. Greer Howland: 6461 4565. Rugayah Dilworth, known as Rugy, founded Kaleidoscope Fabrics in 1984. She stocks a huge range of furnishing fabrics and passementerie. She can be consulted for furnishing a whole home. Suite D22, Fu Lam Hing, 8 Wah Fu Road, Pok Fu Lam, 2851 0808, Catherine Cheung is the design director of The XSS. She studied architecture in New York, returning to Hong Kong in 2000. She prefers a more minimalist approach and won two awards in the Asia Pacific Property Awards 2011. 5/F Delta House, 3 On Yiu Street, Siu Lek Yuen, Sha Tin, 2739 8893,


What are the advantages of an open-plan design? GH: Open-plan is always great for entertaining; it keeps the room light and the flow of traffic easy. If knocking down any walls ensure a professional engineer checks that it is safe to do so. If you have the space for a full width bi-fold door then this will add light and space. JN: The advantages are a sense of space and openness. I would always take this approach. Screens and other creative methods can also be used in order to define or break up the space. CB: You will need a structural engineer to inspect the site and recommend which walls can be removed and if you need any extra structural supports. Generally only brick walls can be safely removed. What practical needs should I consider when having my kitchen custom made? PH: Is it a "show kitchen" or a "working kitchen"? The former can be fancier and more expensive. But always buy the very best equipment you can afford. JY: Is it open, semi-open or enclosed? Chinese cooking, Western cooking or both? With or without an island? What brands and accessories do you prefer? These determine the type of doors and the height of exhaust fans etc. RR: List all the appliances you would like and make sure you have enough counter space, space to


A dramatic staircase swoops around a statement piece of art in this home by Jason Caroline Design. Top left: The XSS plays with texture. Left: natural finishes and an open-weave jute curtain combine in a rustic design by Jenny Newton. What types of flooring materials are best suited to Hong Kong’s humid climate? CB: Stone or ceramic tiles are best for Hong Kong floors; definitely for the ground floor. Upper floors can be solid hardwood laid on a treated plywood base. Avoid laminates and composite woods. Wood floors will need a regular check-up by a pest control company. Never use wood on a bathroom floor. Wood effect tiles are suitable for an indooroutdoor look. Dark textured tile floors are difficult to keep clean. PH: Stone or tile if you open your windows a lot. Timber if you leave the AC and dehumidifiers running.

move and ventilation. CC: Avoid long, narrow spaces and plan around a triangle of movement between sink, fridge and stove to make it user-friendly. If I need all my electrics and plumbing redone, am I better advised to call in a specialist rather than rely on the contractor? CB: Let your contractor employ

his own registered electricians and plumbers. Then there is only one person responsible for the whole job. Ask the contractor to supply you with copies of the workmen's registration certificates. JY: No. There’s a lot of painting and re-plastering that needs to be done afterwards, so this isn’t just a job for a plumber or electrician.

What’s the best way to select a colour scheme you can live with for some time? PH: Try not to cover large items with bold colours or patterns; be bold with artwork and accessories. RR: Pick colours you like being surrounded by. We usually recommend going a shade or two lighter – dark colours may look good in a few rooms, but mostly they make rooms look smaller.

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JY: Colours and textures create moods and feelings. Use natural, neutral colours as a backdrop, and your favourite colours on furniture, bedding, curtains or paintings. This way, if you get fed up with the colour you can change it. Regular wall paint tends to get mouldy, is there an alternative? CB: Paint does not go mouldy; the plaster does. The only treatment is to strip the wall to the concrete or render and then prime, seal and prepare it with fresh plaster. Avoid fungicide paints in children’s bedrooms and play areas. PH: Mould is caused by lack of ventilation not by the type of paint. Add fans and dehumidifiers. JN: Clay paints or milk paints are natural alternatives. Alternatively, invest in a natural plaster such as Tadelakt or Perfectino. What type of windows cut direct sunlight, UV and noise, but also keep in heat during winter? CB: Double glazed, tinted windows. RD: Curtains that have a lining

will keep in warmth during colder months, better still if they have interlining. A heavier fabric, which is more suitable for temperature control, needs only lining. Strange as it may sound, a fabric with some wool in the composition helps – wool is cool in summer and warm in winter. What are the best surface materials for the bathroom? CB: Tiles throughout. Easy-toclean false aluminium ceilings are great if you have the height. PH: Stable materials that don’t change in composition with temperature or moisture, such as stone, tile, Corian or glass. Wood is not good with humidity as it expands and contracts. JN: I have recently discovered a beautiful natural plaster called Tadelakt. It’s 100 per cent organic and consists of minerals from the earth, looks like limestone on walls and is completely waterproof. It has been used to build Moroccan baths for centuries. It’s seamless, so there’s no grouting to harbour dirt.



248-9 Prince’s Building, Central, Hong Kong Tel: 2537-6370 Fax: 2537-6433 Open: MON–SAT 10–7 SUN 11–5

9th Floor, Gee Chang Hong Centre 65 Wong Chuk Hang Road, Aberdeen, Hong Kong Tel: 2552 1968 Fax: 2518 3038 by appointment

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cover story Do you recommend lawns? RR: If you have room, a lawn is a lovely – and great for entertaining. However, grasses are hard to maintain in Hong Kong, especially during typhoon season, so make sure the grass you choose is compatible with the climate. CB: Make sure you have a sloping site with good drainage. Use a reputable garden centre. CC: Lawns make the space look

more natural, but if the garden is surrounded by greenery, consider a hard landscape to emphasise the foliage beyond. What would you include in an outdoor kitchen? CB: A gas barbecue unit with an extra ring, a sink and a worktop. JN: I’d recommend having a space where everything can be stored away safely from insects. You can incorporate the garden into the kitchen with a herb garden or large foliage set into the island or dining table – or even have a glass table under which water flows into a pool to create a waterfall effect. Bliss. What materials are best for outdoor furniture? CB: UV-protected hardwoods, which need annual maintenance, or UV-treated plastic rattan. RD: There are several fabrics such as Arbatax and Audora. We have a comprehensive range – even including outdoor curtains, which are stunning and in vibrant colours. PH: Hularo, a synthetic rattan that


Jenny Newton uses eco-friendly products in this modern bathroom. Left: a sweeping staircase by Jason Caroline Design. is woven over chair or table frames made of aluminium. Outdoor furniture manufacturer Dedon uses this product. Teak needs regular care to stay looking good. JN: The cellulose material I have been developing. But since it is not yet available, I would use Ubiq board, a new eco-friendly building board new on the market. It’s revolutionary – it consists of recycled materials and is almost carbon zero. It looks like concrete

or stone and can also be used as paving tiles. Alternatively, natural rattan or recycled wood. Tips for exterior finishes? CB: Make sure the existing exterior walls are properly repaired and prepared with primers and sealers. Sandtex exterior paints are excellent. Any light reflective colours are suitable. JN: Ubiq board. If you use this, there’s no need for paint.

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Buyers’ guide Air conditioning, fans and air purifiers Life’s A Breeze Fans in all shapes and sizes, for indoors and out, ceiling, wall-hung and standing. 16/F Horizon Plaza, 2 Lee Wing Street, Ap Lei Chau, 2572 4000

Electrician Marco Yeung Electrical and plumbing specialist, and general handyman. Good with airconditioning systems. 6190 8051

OK Electrician Sai Kung-based air conditioning repair and maintenance. 2791 2507

Fabrics Altfield Interiors Fine fabrics and trimmings and other goodies. 2525 2738,

Oxyvital Air purifying units for homes and commercial spaces – try it for yourself at Seasons Fitness in Kowloon Bay. 2893 5928, Sing Fai Hong Air Conditioning Sai Kung-based air conditioning repair and maintenance. Mr Fung, 6072 1878. Architects Original Vision Renowned for remarkable home renovations in Sai Kung and Clearwater Bay. 22/F, 88 Gloucester Road, Wan Chai, 2810 9797, Map Architecture & Planning Well-known around the area for beautiful houses. 2101 Asian House, 1 Hennessy Road, Wan Chai, 2877 9282, Carpets Brooks Thompson 2851 3665, Contractors Asian Slate Organises contractors and subcontractors to renovate homes, with an emphasis on eco-friendly materials. Experts at waterproofing. 6075 6694,, Mike Turner Reputable Sai Kung contractor for fullhome renovations. 9677 9754 Yuki International Contractors Tel: 9884 5824 Curtains Ka Ying Curtain Craft Blinds, curtains and fabrics, plus installation. 28 Man Nin Street, Sai Kung, 2791 4796. Canaan This well-stocked curtain and fabric specialist will measure and install. Opposite the Sai Kung Government Offices, 2792 3678. Ka Hin Curtain Co 147-149 Queens Road East, Wan Chai, 2804 1999.

Nuan Cashmere Luxurious, snuggly, super-soft cashmere for interiors. 9096 1645,, www. Furnishings and accessories Faux Limited-edition ceramics, one-off rugs and lovely carpets. 3/F Harbour Industrial Centre, 10 Lee Hing Street, Ap Lei Chau, 2851 4040, www.faux-home. com.

Palm Tree Home Garden furniture displayed in a 5,000 sqft garden by appointment only. 2264 0416, Tai Po Home Centre Jacuzzis, above-ground pools, garden furniture, decking and other outdoor stuff. Sha Shan Village, Lam Tsuen, Tai Po, 2653 8108,, Home monitoring Easy Monitoring 3590 2820,, Interior design Box Design 2573 3323,, Enoch Deco 2503 2626,,

My Woodz Cabinets, drawers and kids furniture in solid wood painted in beautifully subtle shades. 9522 6384,,

JCAW Consultants 2524 9988,

Tickitey Boo Online store with a range of funky children’s decor, wall art, bedding and more,

The XSS 2739-8893,,

TREE Beautiful reclaimed teak furniture. 116 Man Nin Street, Sai Kung, 2791 2802, Furniture, antiques Altfield Gallery One of the territory’s most respected names in antiques. 2537 6370, gallery@, Chez Uno Restored antiques, repro wooden furniture and interior design. 1 Tai Mong Tsai Road, Sai Kung, 2791 9662, 2723 8990, Furniture, outdoor Wicka Designs Fashionable garden furniture at reasonable prices. 1/F BT Centre, 23 Wong Chuk Hang Road, Aberdeen, 2422 0855, Everything Under the Sun Gorgeous outdoor furniture in a range of sizes, colours and materials. 9/F Horizon Plaza, Ap Lei Chau, 2554 9088,

Studio Annetta 9849 1216,,

Landscaping Kalok Horticulture Offers landscape gardening and maintenance. 1-K Mang Kung Wo Road, Sai Kung, 2719 3039, KK Horticultural The knowledgeable Pedro has a whole bunch of great ideas for beautiful gardens, large or small. Lot 907, DD217, Tai Chung Hau Road, Sai Kung, 2792 7440. Leisure Turf and Landscape Top-quality lawn turf for residential gardens, plus cricket wickets, sports fields and more. 2579 0323, 9487 4710,, Lights & lamps Soong Arts Lampshades Offers a lampshade recovering service. 6 Square Street, Sheung Wan, 2549 0615 Pest control Biocycle 3575 2575,,

Christian Environmental Health 2370-9236,, Hong Kong Ships' Fumigation 2891-2730 / 2891-9907, Painting and decorating, specialized J&M Specialised Paint Finishes Paint finishing, gilding, Venetian stucco and more. 9802 9557, 6270 6376 Hong Kong Murals Fine art murals for walls or special moveable canvases. Gail Deayton, 9722 8353, info@hongkongmurals. com, National Harbour Renovations & Removals The self-styled “painting gurus” and handymen. Charles, 9085 1886, Plumber Oriental Plumbing and Electrical Works G/F (A), Front Block, 20 Tai Street, Sai Kung, 9435 5751. Relocation services AGS Four Winds Hong Kong For local or international removals. Tel: 2885 9666,, Santa Fe Full-service relocation company. Tel: 2574 6204, Moving House Hong Kong White-glove unpacking and settingup removals service. 2398 7818,, Solar power Evergreen Power Supplies solar power and lighting systems for green energy. 2311 2488, Waterproofing Astel HK A comprehensive waterproofing company that can also insulate your roof. Mr Suen,, Top Waterproof Engineering Sorts out leaking roofs, soggy showers and dripping walls. Wilson Lau, 2897 5682,


art village

Unlimited editions

In need of paintings to fill her walls, Carolynne Dear takes a champagne trip over the border to Dafen's copycat artists.

I know I should have more soul when it comes to art. The trouble is I have a lot of wall space that seems to swallow up pictures but no time to schlep around galleries looking at overpriced canvases by artists I’ve never heard of. Besides, they might not match my cushions. I needed art and I’d been told Dafen “art village” was the place to go. Just a few convenient kilometres across the border, Dafen is stuffed with art. A small Hermes purse full of Hong Kong dollars buys whatever you want: a large “original” canvas, a blatant copy of an Old Master, a photograph painted on canvas, or some expert framing. So I gathered a few friends facing the same tiresome problem and we hired a


car with Chinese plates and headed north. A tip: get your paperwork sorted before you go. If you don’t have to organise a visa at the border, the crossing is a doddle. You don’t even have to get out of the car. With your passport, visa and Hong Kong ID card ready in advance, your driver simply hands everything to the immigration chap and all you need do is remove your Gucci sunnies at the appropriate moment. But don’t forget your RMB. There is no ATM in Dafen and the artists don’t take credit. Ask your driver to cross the border at Lowu and start the day at the Shenzhen Shangri-la, where you can withdraw cash, order a coffee or a glass of bubbly and use a decent bathroom.

(Dafen lavatories leave a lot to be desired.) Unfortunately, no one had passed on this tip to us and we ended up having to drive practically to Guangzhou and back trying to find an HSBC. Annabelle got her heels stuck in a grate trying to breach the security barrier at one. Thank goodness she was only wearing Zara Basics that she was happy to leave behind when the security bells starting clanging – Louboutins might have caused an international incident. Thankfully, she had stuffed a spare pair of ballet flats into her shopping bag. God bless the Celine tote. Dafen itself is sweet in a rustic, rough-andready sort of way. Amid all the art there is a good coffee shop that doubles as a bar. It didn’t serve

faking it

Masterpieces R Us If you don't have the time, or the visa, to visit Dafen, click onto Select an artist – Van Gogh, Picasso, Renoir, Warhol – and have a freshly painted “masterpiece” delivered to your door. We're loving that you can pick the size (some of those Impressionist works can be a bit large, after all), and there’s even a 30-day money-back guarantee “no questions asked”. Don't miss the special offers page with world-famous works at rock-bottom prices. Monet’s “Garden Path at Giverny” is US$100, Picasso’s “Marie Therese” is on offer at US$35 and Van Gogh’s “Irises” is US$40 – a snip, considering the original is valued at US$105.4 million.

food, but the gin fizzes were good. And by that time it was a relief to sit down. Julia and Suz had had some pictures framed, Tamsin had bought a canvas, and we had all ordered portraits to be painted from adorable photos of the kids. Talking of whom, here’s another tip: make sure your helper knows which children to pick up while you are away. Julia received a rather tiresome call from the bus mum and had to spend an exhausting 10 minutes explaining that Toby was fine to go up to the apartment on his own and that, anyway, his friend and her helper would be there in 10 minutes to take him to a music lesson. Unfortunately she couldn’t get good reception in the bar so she had to stand in

the street shouting into her iPhone while passing delivery trucks hooted at her. She was frazzled after that and grateful for another gin fizz. It’s a good job us mothers are such experienced multi-taskers. Another tip: do not buy a canvas bigger than the car you have hired. We all tried to be helpful but I could sense our driver getting a tad impatient as we attempted to manoeuvre

Tamsin’s giant painting into the boot. But she insisted on taking it (“Darling, it’s going to look fabulous in that spot by the pool room”), so we ended up driving home with the picture roped to the back of the car. I have to admit, she was absolutely right. Dafen is exhausting, so I would suggest rounding the trip off with a final visit to the Shenzhen Shangri-la. The Veuve is nicely chilled.

To book a driver to Shenzhen, call Franki on 9036 2128 or email Alternatively, try Tommy on 6333 1101.


eating Easter egg hunt

We bunny hop around Hong Kong in search of the best chocolate eggs.

If there is one thing you should know about hunting for Easter chocolate in Hong Kong, it’s that it is the early bird who gets the eggs. If it’s the gesture rather than the love of chocolate inspiring your hunt, then look no further than Chan Fuk Wing Bakery in Man Nin Street for Easter surprises ranging from fluffy chick decorations for $5 – great for making your own Easter goody bags – to bags of mini-chocolate eggs at $30 and larger chocolate eggs in a basket at $60. However, these cheap and cheerful eggs have the taste and texture of cooking chocolate. Safer bets are tried-and-trusted brands such as Cadbury, Nestlé and Lindt.


Fusion in Clearwater Bay has one of the largest – although still limited – collections of Easter novelties locally with prices ranging from $6.90 for a mini Maltesers egg to $97.90 for a Quality Street egg (277g) with chocolates. Best buys include the Nestlé Milky Bar white chocolate egg at $24.90, a Smarties egg (138g) with a tube of sweets at $37.90, and bags of Cadbury mini-eggs with various yummy centres at $29.90 for a pack of 10. Wellcome’s Easter collection focuses on Lindt novelties ranging from $58 to $129, including the cute and reasonably priced gold Lindt bunny (100g) at $39. There is also a Happy Easter five-piece pack from Kinder for the kids at a bargain $27.8. If you’re a chocolate connoisseur and price is no object, Sai Kung’s new kid on the block, Valentino (near Mannings), is the place to go. The chocolatier has a selection of bunnies and chicks all bearing real Belgium chocolates with prices from $199 to $280. Marks and Spencer in Hang Hau gets our vote for the most imaginative collection, including packs of eight “hide and seek” hollow eggs (135g) at $48, chocolate lollipops at $20, packs of five chocolate bunnies (75g) at $38, and, our favourite this year, a series of wacky character ceramic egg cups filled with a hollow egg (17g) at $88. Further afield, pick up chocolate owls and other top-quality Easter creations for $168 to $680 at French chocolatier Jean-Paul Hévin’s Parisian-style chocolate bar in Lyndhurst Terrace, Central, and chocolate boutiques in IFC Mall and Harbour City, Tsim Sha Tsui.

Jean-Paul Hevin's upscale chocolate creations.

One final word of advice: if you do find yourself on Good Friday staring at near-empty shelves with nothing but a sad-looking Lindt bunny with broken ears staring back, you can always do the traditional thing and paint a real hard-boiled egg. Use white eggs and soak them in a diluted mixture of food colouring and water for 20-45 minutes, depending on the depth of colour required. Experiment by first applying stickers (dots and stars work well) then peeling them off after dyeing to reveal funky patterns. Our big disappointment this year was that our hunt failed to turn up even one of the 500 million Cadbury Creme Eggs produced each year... maybe we were just not early enough.

spring fare

Here for the beer


Beer lovers unite at the Beertopia festival at Western Market, Sheung Wan, on April 18. It will feature more than 90 craft beers from around the world and is the first of its kind in Hong Kong, according to organiser Jonathan So, who is hoping to make it an annual event. “In the three years I've been in Hong Kong, I haven't seen any events similar to the traditional beer festivals you find in North America,” he says. “That is what this festival aims to change.” Tickets are $250-$300 and include a chance to learn about and sample many fine brews, some subtle, some brash, others flavoured with chocolate, fruit or wheat. There will be food, live music, presentations by local beer experts and a chance to play bar games such as beer pong and flip cup. For details and tickets, visit www.beertopiahk. com or call 6906 1069.

Classified is luring diners over the Easter period with two special offers. Until June 30, it is offering a dinner for two deal with your choice of freshly baked pizza and two glasses of house wine for $190. And until April 12, children eat for free with every paying adult. Both offers are available from Monday to Thursday, 6pm-10.30pm. 5 Sha Tsui Path, Sai Kung, 2529 3454. How sweet are these? Patisserie at the Hyatt Regency Sha Tin has a selection of adorable cupcakes for Easter. As well as the candy carrots, it has bunny cakes and freshas-a-daisy spring flowers. 18 Chak Cheung Street, Sha Tin, 3723 7331.

Steamers’ renaissance continues with a monthly live music night. It’s not an open-mic night, we’re assured, but a chance for people with talent to perform. So if you think you’ve got the chops and the tunes, Steamers wants to hear from you. The next music night is Wednesday, April 18. The bar is also now stocking connoisseurs’ favourite Grey Goose vodka and offering special rates on Novas organic Sauvignon Blanc and organic red at $55 a glass or $220 a bottle in April. Feedback has been good so far, with customers reporting no hangovers. 66 Yi Chun Street, Sai Kung, 2792 6991.



Island high

Jackie Peers loops the loop at The Peak – and suggests a diversion. Someone in Sai Kung stopped me the other day to ask about walks on The Peak. It’s the first stop on the visitor’s list, with its justly famous view by night or day, and for city-dwellers it also a place of after-hours refuge; a restorer of sanity, high above the bustle and cares of the streets below. It fully earns its poetic name of Tai Ping Shan – Mountain of Great Peace. Your visitors will want to take the tram. Have your Octopus card ready to sneak past the queue, take a seat and marvel at this wonderful relic of 19th-century engineering and the sweeping views as you ascend. It might be of some comfort in the steepest parts (only 27 degrees? Feels like 60...) that there have been no accidents in its 120-year history. Escape the shopping arcades, and outside the Peak Café you’re faced with a choice of three roads close together. Take the one to the right, Lugard Road, and follow it around the mountain, admiring Victoria Harbour below. You can almost see history unfolding in your mind’s eye, with the natural harbour so appealing to the seafaring British traders evolving into the huge commercial and banking spires of today, delivering 33 per cent of foreign capital inflow into China. With a bit of luck, a


southerly air stream might deliver a beautiful clear day and you might be able to see pleasure yachts dodging liners and dredgers in the harbour, while a granny in a conical hat single oars her way across, seemingly oblivious to all. No other place like this! Keep walking to the wilder, quieter side of the Island, admiring the aerial prop roots of the banyan trees and views of Kowloon peninsula, distant Lantau and the New Territories. On reaching Harlech Road, you have a choice: keep on the road and return directly to the Peak or diverge to the Lung Fu Shan Country Park and take a rest at the picnic tables, while you watch shipping negotiate the Lamma channel with Lantau and Cheung Chau beyond, and kites circling overhead. This may seem to be the end of the trail, but there’s a track by the pagoda. Descend the steps and keep to the left of the trail, and you’ll find yourself on a shaded walk, with lush emerald foliage and exuberant climbers, which is part of the Pok Fu Lam Country Park. Carry on down this trail until you meet the Pok Fu Lam Family Walk. Depending on temperature, mood and circumstances, you can go left and climb back

views from the top

up to the Peak Terminus, or you can keep descending to the reservoir – dating from 1863 and the first of the major engineering feats to address Hong Kong’s water issue. Once you reach the road you can catch some transport back to Central, or head down to Aberdeen for lunch. The side trip through the Lung Fu Shan Country Park is an attractive option. The usual thing to do, though, is just to continue the circuit around the Peak and return to your starting point. This is the route beloved of dog owners, joggers, lovers, family groups and tourists-in-the-know. Do it regularly, and experience great peace. (Don’t forget your water bottle.)

Jackie Peers is a director of Walk Hong Kong, a unique company offering guided hikes to areas such as Tai Po Kau. She also runs photography courses in the Sai Kung area. Details at


interiors Zing for spring

Here comes the sun. Celebrate with cheery accessories.

Handblown glass lamps from New York designers Niche Modern come in 14 shapes, six finishes and nine colours (including Sapphire, pictured). Cluster for dramatic effect or hang individually. Kitchens+Interiors, 1/F Ruttonjee Centre, 11 Duddell Street, Central, 2810 0979,

Banish the beige with a burst of fresh spring colour from the new range of fabrics at Altfield Interiors. Pictured: Solange drapes in Framboise. 1102, Nine Queen’s Road Central,

Dimity Kidston from Sydney produces the gorgeously textured Dimity ceramics using a “sgraffito” technique, etching a pattern into colourful glaze beneath. TREE, 116 Man Nin Street, Sai Kung, 2791.2802, www.

Go retro with a repro 1950s Featherston armchair. Indigo Living, Level 1, Home Square, 138 Sha Tin Rural Committee Road, Sha Tin, 2634 1618, www.


lighten up

Luxury bedding brand Sleep Naked has launched a tailor-made bed linen service. Order online at and receive personalised sheets in 100 per cent crisp cotton cut to fit even the oddest-sized bed within 10 days.

Cheerful outdoor rugs woven from recycled plastic bags come in a variety of colours and sizes. Wicka Designs, 1/F, BT Centre, Wong Chuk Hang,

“Did we miss anything?” The most important thing to me? Is to have a smooth and worry-free relocation “The friendliness of the Crown staff was terrific! I was treated as a person and not a job number. The Crown’s kid’s program was able to help my child quickly acclimate to the new environment. Thank you for making what could have been a very stressful situation completely a pleasure.” ~Australia to Japan

Crown service offerings include: • International & Domestic Shipment • Storage, Airfreight • Transit Insurance • Pet & Car Transfers • Immigration & Legalization • Settling-In

Tel: (852) 2636 8388

Well Connected. Worldwide.TM

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education Smart apps for clever kids

Turn the family iPad into a force for good with educational apps picked by teachers, writes Carolynne Dear

The iPad has been revolutionary for our family. It has become the entertainment unit du jour for my children and it’s so robust and simple to use even my three-year-old has managed to teach himself the alphabet watching Sesame Street downloads. However, not all apps are as wholesome. So in a quest to turn our iPad into an educational tool rather than an games console, we canvased local teachers for their recommendations then asked Scarlet, 5, and India, 7, to put them to the test. Pre-schoolers and early primary Kid Genius ($0.99) An easy-to-navigate app featuring sight words, the alphabet and numbers with a characterand number-tracing facility. We enjoyed this app, Scarlet called it “fun” and enjoyed the number tracing, particularly as she is having difficulty with some of her numbers at school. The vocals are American and there was some confusion over words, such as “Scotch tape” rather than the British “sellotape”.


Word Magic ($0.99) Great for spelling and sounding out simple words. We looked at three-letter word formations. The audio repeats the word and the child has to find the correct letters to make up the gaps in the written version. So for “b _ x”, Scarlet dragged in an “o” to make “box”. She picked it up quickly and was proud of her successes. There is lots of vocal encouragement and she was particularly pleased to be described as “awesome”.

ABC Magic Reading (free) This app helps with letter blending and segmenting. Tap the letters individually to listen to the sound, then make up the word – once you’ve completed a word correctly, a picture of the word appears. Scarlet enjoyed it but there was not much verbal encouragement and she was confused by the American accent; for “ram” she heard “whale”.

for smalls

Bob Books Reading Magic ($3.99) The most expensive app we tested in this age range, but Scarlet’s favourite with more appealing graphics and audio. The child clicks on an element of the picture, such as the cat or the girl, then drags the letters supplied to spell the word. Once you have clicked and spelled all the elements in the picture, the apps puts them together to make up a sentence. For example, “Sam has a cat”. Scarlet was chuffed to have spelled an entire sentence.

ABC Magic 3 Line Match (free) A simple but enjoyable game matching words that start with the same letter. 123 Number Magic (free) is similar but doesn’t work so well – Scarlet found it easier to “cheat” by clicking on the domino or the string of beads and being told how many dots or beads there were rather than working it out for herself. The word game was a lot more challenging.

Primary schoolers Arithmetic ($1.99) Great for a quick brain-stretch – simple addition, subtraction, multiplication and division sums. We loved the realistic (but oldfashioned) chalkboard sound effects. This is a straight-forward, no-frills arithmetic test. If your child is not yet studying multiplication or division, you can choose addition and subtraction. Good for a quick blast each evening.

There’s even a pinboard for each child’s word lists. I use this for five or 10 minutes at night with both my seven- and nine-year-old.

Spellboard ($4.99) Brilliant for students at all spelling levels. Load the week’s spelling words orally, then the children can test themselves either by unscrambling the letters or listening to the word and typing it back.

BrainPOP (free) A fun memory test – you watch a short movie and are then tested on it. India enjoyed this one, and it’s great for improving memory and recall. (free) Sometimes the oldies are still the best. This free app is a very useful dictionary, with a “hot word of the day” and rapid access to more than a million words and 90,000 thesaurus entries.

Mandarin apps Kids Mandarin Great for basic Mandarin words with a button you can press to repeat the word as many times as you like. It covers subjects such as colours, body parts, weather and food. Easy Chinese Writing A useful app that teaches kids to trace Chinese characters in traditional or simplified characters. Teachers from Woodland Pre-schools also recommended the following for Chinese practice: Mindsnacks Mandarin, Eson Puthonghua, eBay Mandarin flashcards and Love Chinese. Tap Times Tables ($2.99) The Bunny Shooter of times tables, with fantastic graphics and sound. Snow flakes containing numbers float around the snowy screen scene and every time you “pop” the correct number bubble, a squirrel either throws an acorn to burst it or screams its approval: “Yay! You got another one!” Tables run from ones through to fives. To go through to 12s, you need to purchase the extended app. India found this fun – and anything that can make times tables enjoyable has got to be good news.



Rainy days & Mondays Things to do, places to go, people to meet...

and Swimming Camp is for younger children aged five-and-a-half to 10. It takes place off Trio Beach, with trained instructors giving swimming lessons for water confidence and showing the kids the ropes on the club’s new bug boats. Best of all, the little darlings come home happy, rosycheeked, tired out and ready for bed. For details, visit, email or call 2719 0926.

Blast from the past Ocean Park’s latest attraction, Old Hong Kong, is a theme-park version of the city as it was from the 1950s to the 70s, complete with retro trams, a replica Star Ferry clock tower (made by the original manufacturer), and rows of “tong lau” tenements. There are old-school street snacks and drinks to try, pinball machines and other games to play, rickshaw rides, dai pai dongs, and a “poor man’s nightclub” – a market, complete with Cantonese opera. On public holidays, there will be storytelling under a banyan tree. The new attraction is on a 40,000 sqm site at the Waterfront. For details, visit

Sailing camps If you’re in Hong Kong for Easter, consider sending your children to sea. With Hebe Haven Yacht Club’s sailing camps, that is. For primary schoolchildren, there are two types of day camps available over Easter (April 2-13). The Adventure Watersports Week is a fun combination of activities such as sailing, hiking, beach barbecues, mini Olympics, banana boat rides, junk trips and raft building, for children aged six to 12. The new Wet Feet Sailing

Wanted – little orphans for Annie The smash-hit musical Annie is coming to the Lyric Theatre on May 31 and producers are looking for 18 girls to join the cast as orphans. Hong Kong’s budding actresses will join British stars Su Pollard and David McAlister. Apparently Catherine Zeta-Jones once appeared as an orphan in the London production of Annie, so who knows where this could lead. Interested girls aged six to 14, who are less than 1.57 metres (5’ 2”) tall and who can sing, dance and act should register by emailing lunchbox. com or by visiting the Facebook group Annie the Musical – Hong Kong 2012. Auditions will be held on April 13 and 14. Tickets are $350-$950 from www.hkticketing. com, 3128 8288. For more information, see

902 Horizon Plaza, Ap Lei Chau, Hong Kong phone: +852 2554 9088

living outdoors



out and about

Baby Central We’re loving new mother-and-baby store Baby Central in Wong Chuk Hang, Aberdeen. Yes, we know it’s a hike but founders Katherine Regan and Clarissa Becker (right), both mothers of small children, have made this place worth the journey. Not only is it stocked with all the essentials – pregnancy bibles, medicines, toys, organic baby food, strollers and nursery furniture – but it offers free same-day delivery anywhere in Hong Kong on orders of more than $200 made before midday. In-store, it has a cafe with free wi-fi and a roomy play area, a free-for-all bouncy castle on Tuesday afternoons and “movie and manicure” sessions on Friday afternoons with free popcorn for kids. Open Monday-Saturday, 10am-6pm. 7/F, BT Centre, 23 Wong Chuk Hang Road, Aberdeen, 2553 8000, www.

Bugaboo Bee+

Park life A new contemporary Chinese Garden in Tseung Kwan O makes a fun place for a game of hide and seek, a run around or just a walk in the park while your minis are at rugby practice nearby. Hang Hau Man Kuk Lane Park is a 1.9-hectare site with contemporary versions of Chinese-style waterfalls, a bamboo pavilion, Zen garden and zigzag bridge across a lake. There’s also a six-lane public bowling green – the only one in Sai Kung. The park is at 6 Man Kuk Lane, between Hang Hau MTR

Sand & Water Playtable with Lid

$6,399 Playtent

station at East Point City and Tseung Kwan O Sports Ground. Paint your own pottery Let your kids get their hands dirty at pottery painting classes in Sai Keng. Run by Easy English for Kids, the sessions include a bowl, mug, small and large plates before children to paint themselves for firing in a furnace. Held on Thursdays from 4pm to 5.30pm and on Fridays from 1.30pm to 3pm, the classes are available as packages of four sessions for $700 and start on April 19. Details from 3487 3053,, www.eek.

Mustela Sun Cream Range



Mini Micro Scooter

Bouncy Castle

Summer catalogue now in store


Everything you need at...

$720 $450 Waterpillar

$675 Raleigh Mx 12” or Molly 12”

$180 $1,399 each

red, blue, pink, green, yellow or orange

Mamas and Papas Rialto Cot Bed


excluding mattress

Pedder Building Store 5/F Pedder Building,12 Pedder Street, Central T: 2522 7112 Horizon Plaza Store 21/F Horizon Plaza, 2 Lee Wing Street, Ap Lei Chau T: 2552 5000 B2B 12_4 APR SK.indd 1

16/3/12 2:45 PM WWW.SAIKUNG.COM | 33

health & beauty Prom-arama

Prom season is starting early this year. Adele Rosi finds tips for teens.

Makeup: $700, Tala’s. “Makeup has gone from the hard eyeliner look to a softer, more feminine face,” says Eve Roth Lindsay of Savvy Style.

As the Oscars are to showbiz, so prom night is to teenagers. The most hotly anticipated evenings on the teen calendar, prom season is starting early this year with the King George V School Year 11 party on April 27 and other international schools following in May and June. Teenagers across Hong Kong are in frenzy of dress-selecting, tuxedo-buying, eyebrowshaping and corsage-choosing. Like any big event, there are trends, grand designs and great expectations. With girls trading in their jeans for the night, the dress is all-important. “The biggest trends are white, red, gold and colour, colour, colour. Black is not what’s happening at all,” says Clearwater Bay resident Eve Roth Lindsay of Savvy Style, which specialises in colour analysis and style consultations. “It’s all about movie-star glamour, very elegant, feminine and pretty – not sexytrashy – and also retro. Styles range from very streamlined to flapper to full ball gown. Glitter and sequins are also in but done in a new and tasteful way. Taylor Swift is a great example for girls – she does the red carpet so well.” Hairstyles are equally crucial, says Mojdeh Kazemi, owner of Tala’s Hair & Beauty Salon, which offers complimentary hair consultations ahead of the appointment on the big day. “Girls usually put their hair up but the trend is for it to be sophisticated, not messy,” she says. “Girls with long hair tend to want a lot of curls and many girls have their own hairpieces. I always recommend they bring in a picture of what they have in mind as sometimes an idea may get lost in translation.” She also advises bringing in a picture of the dress as its neckline may determine the hairstyle. “For example, a dress with a high neck always looks better if long hair is put up,” she says. While makeup can hide unwanted pimples, Linda Chuen of Sabai Day Spa recommends girls start early to make sure their complexion is perfect for the big night. And consider a deepcleansing facial treatment after the event to avoid post-party pimples.


Eyebrow shaping: $100, Sabai Day Spa, 2/F, 10D Po Tung Road, Sai Kung, 2791 2259

Teen facial: $400, Sabai Day Spa.

Corsage: Cindy’s, 3 Tak Lung Front Street, Sai Kung, 9365 0624

Manicure: $170, Sense of Touch

“It depends on your skin but try to have a facial every fortnight if you are prone to breakouts and every three weeks if you have regular skin,” she says. “Don’t come just before the prom as spots may emerge several days after a facial. Try not to eat fried foods in the run-up to the prom as this can cause pimples but remember to drink lots of water.” Male preparations are always more last minute. Tuxedos, suits and even kilts all make the cut; some boys like to experiment but think white DJ jacket with black trousers or a colourful waistcoat rather than anything weird and wonderful. Mothers of growing teen boys recommend having an evening suit made in Shenzhen to keep costs down.

Fake tan: $480 full body (with scrub), Sense of Touch, 77 Man Nin Street, Sai Kung, 2791 2278

teen dream

Hair: Tala’s, 56 Po Tung Road, Sai Kung, 2335 1694

Dress alterations: Ka Ying Curtains, 28 Man Nin Street, Sai Kung, 2791 4796

Style consultation: Savvy Style, 402A Baskerville House, 13 Duddell Street, Central, 2522 2592


health & beauty

A year on...

Spa-lover Angela McGlynn reflects on Sense of Touch Sai Kung's first year. I moved to Clearwater Bay from Mid-Levels five years ago – we needed more space, cleaner air and a better environment for our children. I love spas. We have lived in Hong Kong for almost 10 years and I think I've tried every spa. When I heard Sense of Touch might be franchising, I knew it was a great opportunity and would work well in Sai Kung – so many of my friends complained about having to go “all the way to Central” for beauty treatments. We opened on April 22, 2011.

AGS FW HongKong_kanganews_93x120_1601_ctp.pdf 1 1/16/2012 11:03:30 AM

Sai Kung is the first Sense of Touch franchise. The original opened on Hollywood Road in 2002. Since then, six more branches have opened, including a branch in Shanghai. Sense of Touch Repulse




Bay won the AsiaSpa Day Spa of the Year 2011, which is like winning Best Film at the Oscars. I wanted to create a little oasis of calm, where people can escape the pressures of everyday life. We love it when people fall asleep during treatments – usually during facials and massages, but sometimes even nail treatments. We aim to provide tailor-made, high-quality treatments, coupled with warm and friendly customer service. Almost all of our clients live locally, so it’s very much about building long-term relationships. It’s great to feel part of the community. Eat well, sleep well, drink plenty of water, get regular exercise and regular facials – and always remove your makeup at night.


Brazilian Blowout Organic Color & Highlights Silk Morocco Oil Treatment Waxing Manicure and Pedicure Massages, Facials Ear Piercing








● ● ●


Refer a new client & receive 50% off your next haircut New clients receive 10% discount 10 days guarantee on all services Free Consultation

April Special:

Sundays & Mondays only. 10% discount on all beauty treatments Free Kerastase treatment with highlights or colours 56 Po Tung Road, Sai Kung, NT, Hong Kong

Tel: 2335 1694


health & beauty

Beauty spot Tala's Hair and Beauty has a bunch of special offers on Sundays and Mondays, including a 10 per cent discount on manicures, pedicures, waxing and facials, with a complimentary Kerastase moisturising treatment worth $450 for anyone booking a colour treatment or highlights. 56 Po Tung Road, Sai Kung, 2335 1694. Sai Kung Orthopaedic Physiotherapy and Pain Centre is holding hatha and yin yoga classes run by June of the Yoga Alliance. The hour-long sessions are available on Mondays at 10am and 12.30pm, and on Wednesdays at 5.30pm and 7pm. First sessions are free and subsequent classes cost from $160, depending on the package selected. While you’re there, ask about the new Mediflow waterbase pillow ($850), clinically show to provide a great night’s sleep to those with sore necks – and just about everyone else – by providing proper support while you snooze. Simply fill up the water reservoir to the desired level, depending on whether you prefer a higher or lower pillow, squeeze out the air to prevent sloshing noises, and lay down your head. Shop 70, Sai Kung Town Centre, 22-40 Fuk Man Road, Sai Kung, 2792 9366.

Grab a friend and book a massage at Melo Spa before June 30 and receive a free afternoon tea set for two at Cafe at the Hyatt Regency Sha Tin. It’s a deal worth an afternoon of anyone’s time, with your choice of massage – we hear good things about the hot stone massage – from a menu of seven choices costing $850-$930. Relaxed and glowing, pull up a chair and tuck into the three-tiered tea set (valued at $268), which includes scones with clotted cream and jam, mini apple pie and quiche Lorraine, finger sandwiches, mango pudding and more. The offer is available Monday-Friday, 2.30pm-5.30pm. Hyatt Regency Sha Tin, 18 Chak Cheung Street, Sha Tin, 3723 1234.


outdoors Junk tripping

Sai Kung Magazine peruses the South China morning coast.

Clockwise from above: chilling on the top deck; lunch aboard; sunset over Ma On Shan; a calm anchorage. On a beautifully clear morning, the top deck of a junk cruising out of Sai Kung harbour is a setting that brings clarity of thought and purpose. With a beer in hand and the weekend spreadeagled before you, the existence of Monday can be denied against the backdrop of spectacular geological formations, warbling jet skis and


the odd solar-powered ferry. In the grip of such seafaring spirituality you may find yourself able to wrestle with a mid-life crisis or come to terms, intellectually, with the banging pantomime that is Chinese opera. If you are at the crossroads of a moral dilemma it may be worth organising a junk trip if only to secure some quality couch time with the South China morning coast. There are three basic junk packages on offer, depending on your need, greed and budget. The most economical is a standard sampan hired on the day from waterfront touts and used as a taxi. Theoretically, this gives you freedom and spontaneity, but you must organise all the provisions yourself and that can spiral out of control. Unless you’re planning to charter HMS

Pinafore, you can forget the champagne flutes and fondue set. Reliable and unambiguous arrangements for a safe journey home also need to be confirmed as any cock-ups in this department may involve an expensive and embarrassing helicopter ride. For those who prefer not to assemble their own IKEA furniture, there is the fully catered, all-inclusive junk. This represents the Club 18-30 end of the market and involves organising nothing more than a trip to the ATM prior to boarding. Everything is taken care of from secluded beach destinations to the main course, but bring your own mp3 player or you may find yourself listening to the 16-year-old dishwasher’s “Glee” compilation all day. Going against the old adage of never mixing food, alcohol and swimming I always have a great time on these trips. The compromise boat trip, and my preference, is to book a slightly more stylish cruiser and sail to a seafood restaurant conveniently positioned near a beach. Nibbles

ahoy sailors

Where to hire a junk

Island Junks,, 2877 5222 Jaspas Party Junks,, 2792 6001 Hong Kong Yachting,, 2526 0151 Jubilee,, 3555 5666 The Huan,, 2861 2921 Standard Boats,, 2570 1792 Vikings Charter,, 2576 8992

and aperitifs need to be acquired for the short outward leg, but using the boat’s fridge facilities and leaving everything onboard means logistics can be kept to a minimum. Lunch is consumed in a civilised manner and at a leisurely pace on terra firma, allowing plenty of time for swimming, a siesta and any amount of overly indulgent recreational quaffing. There is, of course, another way to gain free unlimited access to the Sai Kung archipelago and that is to cultivate a friendship with someone who owns a boat. Once this would have involved soliciting outside Hebe Haven Yacht Club, looking for lonely gweilo skippers to entrap. But Hong Kong boat owners are no longer all expat blokes with public-school accents and a kilogram of Swiss bling strapped to their wrists. Simply ask around any Sai Kung pub and you’ll be surprised who has access to seaworthy craft. I have a mate with a quarter share in a 35-foot catamaran, and he’s never out of a pair of Dunlop Green Flash and wears a fake “Timex” from the Ladies Market.



Lunch ashore Yau Ley Sha Kiu Tsuen, High Island, 2791 1822, Sunny weekends see this Cantonese seafood restaurant thronged with people chowing down on black-pepper squid, curry crab and steamed garoupa. The adults table-hop while the kids play on the white sand beach, and the occasional millionaire drops by in his chopper. Jaspas Beach Club Pak A Village, Sai Kung Country Park, 2792 4733, Jaspas’ isolated outpost is a charming, whitewashed restaurant with a laidback vibe in a deserted village. Chill on the daybeds while deciding between Cantonese seafood dishes or pizzas, ribs and salads.

Yau Ley Seafood Restaurant at Sha Kiu Tsuen.


Seafood Island Seafood Restaurant 7 Po Toi O, Clearwater Bay, 2719 5730

After a day at one of the Clearwater Bay beaches, pull up a chair at Seafood Island for steamed mantis shrimp and razor clams with black bean. With luck, you might nab a table on the breezy pier. Hoi Fung Store Ham Tin Bay, 2328 2315 This is barefoot chic, Hong Kong style, on one of our most stunning beaches. The food is simple – noodles, fried rice, ice-cold beer – but who cares when the setting is so idyllic? It also has surfboards for hire. Oriental Restaurant 7 Tai Long Sai Wan, 2328 2619 With another gorgeous beachfront location, this alfresco restaurant offers good simple dishes – we recommend the Singapore noodles. Ask your captain to stay after dark when phosphorescence makes for a magical evening swim.


Sai Kung



Bluff Island has coral reefs, hiking and soft sand.

Hap Mun Bay (top) has LCSD lifeguards in season.

B A Pak A and Sha Kiu Tsuen B Bluff Island C Hap Mun Bay D Snake Bay

The calm waters of Snake Bay are perfect for banana boats and toys.



Action stations

Test your mettle against some of Asia’s toughest challenges. Conquer Everest (Base Camp) Climbing the world’s highest mountain is a dream shared by millions, but few have the chutzpah, cash, skills and lungs to reach the summit of Mount Everest. Visiting Everest Base Camp as the climbers and their guides prepare for summit bids during the best weather window in May is as close as most of us are likely to get. The camp is a 14-day hike up the stunning Kosi valley from Lukla airstrip, through rhododendron forests, past prayer flag-bedecked monasteries and picturesque Sherpa villages, with a night or two acclimatising in the bustling town of Namche Bazaar. It’s a popular route, with many lodges and teahouses providing food and accommodation along the way, but it’s easy to get off the beaten track. Travel independently, hiring a guide on arrival or join a tour and let someone else work out the details. Where to stay: Nepal Uncovered (


takes small groups on an 18day trip to base camp and back. Experienced climbers can have a crack at climbing Everest with International Mountain Guides (, which also organises trips to Everest Base Camp, the Khumbu Ice Falls or Lobuche Peak. Hike Tiger Leaping Gorge Take the high road through the 16km Tiger Leaping Gorge in Yunnan Province. One of the deepest in the world, with mountains rising a dizzying 3,900m above the surging Jingsha River, a

tributary of the Yangtze, this two- or three-day hike offers some of the most spectacular scenery in China. In spring, flowers paint the slopes in glorious technicolour as the path winds around 24 bends between Qiaotao and Walnut Grove. High up on the northern bank, it’s a fairly strenuous walk through villages, bamboo groves, farmland and forest, past often vertiginous drops. The old lower path has now been turned into a vehicular road popular with tourist buses, with a new (flat) pedestrian trail close to river level to a viewing point above the rock where a tiger is said to have jumped 25 metres across the waters to escape a hunter. There’s even a statue of a tiger on the opposite bank. Where to stay: The gorge is a two-hour bus ride from Lijiang. The Halfway Guesthouse (tel: +86 8888880200) is one of several places offering hot meals and beds with views. Tina’s Youth Hostel is close to the rapids of the middle gorge,

with a car-rental service (tel: +86 887-8806638, 8806079). Run the Borneo Death March This "ultramarathon" is a five-day event from April 28-May 2. For experienced adventure racers only, it follows the 200km “death march” across Borneo undertaken by Australian and British prisoners of war in 1945. The route follows that taken by 2,345 POWs and Malaysians from Sandakan to Ranau, through swamp, jungle, and the highlands and lowlands of Mount Kinabalu. Only six survived. The tragedy is little known outside Malaysia, and the ultramarathon is being run in remembrance of the men who died, many of whom were never found. It traces the route in reverse, from Ranau to the Kinabatangan River near Sandakan.

bigger, taller, deeper

Clockwise: the way to Mount Everest; Chimelong Water Park; Borneo rainforest; the low road through Tiger Leaping Gorge.

How to enter: Visit the website www.sabahadventurechallenge. com for full details and registration forms. Entry is US$1,500, including race, accommodation and food. Splash down at Chimelong Here’s a fun challenge for the whole family. Sprawling across more than 400,000 square metres, this Guangzhou water park is the world’s largest. The records continue with the world’s longest Lazy River, now faster than ever

and with an Ice Age tunnel, the Behemoth Bowl that flushes groups of four riders down an 80m drop and around a 21m-wide centrifugal bowl, and a 10,000 sqm wave pool. There are jet slides, racer slides and a Super Tornado, plus a new kids’ town area, and child-sized slides and rides. It opens for the 2012 season on April 1. It’s one of five attractions at the Chimelong Resort, which also features a safari park, (dry land) theme park, circus and a golf course. Where to stay: The five-star Chimelong Hotel targets the domestic market. Hotel guests also get fast passes to rides, prime seating at shows and other privileges. For details, visit www.



easter feaster

Snack attack

Sneaky treats are bad for your waistline, but worse for your pets, writes Dr Carmel Taylor.

For many of us, holidays such as Easter are the perfect excuse to gorge on exotic confectionaries. For staff at vet clinics, it usually means the phone is ringing off the hook with panicked owners screaming, “My dog’s been poisoned!” Contrary to popular belief, few animals are maliciously poisoned. Most toxic dramas involve serial offenders in the “dietary indiscretion” category. But at holiday times instead of having to ransack the cupboards for a tasty Brillo pad, or prise open schoolbags to scoff school projects, we make it easy for them. Let’s face it, dogs are substantially more successful than overexcited toddlers at finding the strategically hidden cornucopia that the Easter Bunny brings. Attempted “death by chocolate” is a common reason for hospitalisation this season and, bizarrely, many of these dogs are chocolate labs with apt names like Cadbury or Rolo… Chocolate contains theobromine, a stimulant that can cause cardiac arrythmia, seizure and sometimes death in pets, who are more sensitive to it than humans. Often the first sign is vomit – a brown, chocolate-smelling goo laced with sparkly foil wrappers. If the Easter feaster is caught in the act, then a trip to the vet to induce vomiting will prevent more toxins being absorbed… while making the vet clinic smell like Willy Wonka’s factory. As most bon vivants will testify, not all chocolate is created equal, and dark chocolate contains significantly more theobromine. If your mastiff downs the dregs of your mocha frappuccino, there’s probably no cause for panic. But if your chihuahua chomps


through your stash of gourmet 70 per cent cacao Valrhona, I see vomit in your future… So what about healthy fruity snacks? Some seemingly harmless human foods can also have disastrous consequences. Grapes and their dried varieties, such as raisins and sultanas, contain an unknown toxin that can cause kidney failure in dogs – even a toddlersized box of raisins can be fatal. Nuts are not an ideal snack either, with almonds and macadamias causing severe gastric upsets. Still more bad news for health-food enthusiasts – not only is garlic totally useless at repelling fleas and insects, it contains thiosulphate, which destroys canine red blood cells and leads to anaemia. Onions contain even more of this toxin (pizza lovers beware). As for cats, one of life’s sweet mysteries has been recently solved. Felines are not able to taste sweet things, which explains their preference for an Atkins-like diet. But fastidious though they are, there is one toxin which deserves special mention: lilies. These flowers that often feature in Easter bouquets cause fatal kidney damage if any part of the plant, including the pollen, is consumed by a cat. So if the Easter Bunny is reading this, please hide the chocolate goodies out of reach of drooling dogs. As for the rest of you chocoholics, please keep your gourmet dark chocolate next to your wine collection in that large underground storage area the missus organised a couple of years ago… Dr Carmel Taylor MVB MRCVS DipAiCVD is a veterinary dermatologist and consults at many different clinics around the territory. For appointments please call 9251 9588 or visit


blooming Feeling marvellous fruity

Shades of Thailand

Jane Ram visits a Thai flower show and is blown away by bromeliads.

Last month I visited the Royal Flora International Horticultural Exposition in Chiang Mai. With only a week to go before closing, most of the exhibits were still looking good, thanks to intensive manicuring and re-planting that must have continued throughout the three-month long event. The 40-metre Ferris wheel was drawing a great deal of attention from local visitors, but I was more interested in the spectacular orchid display and the “Shaded Paradise”. While I could never aspire to growing anything remotely approaching the all-star orchid display, I was happy to recognise a few familiar faces amid the wealth of colour and form. How do the prize-winning orchids remain looking perfect over such a long time-span, I wondered. Thai gardeners are truly talented in plant display as well as cultivation. The shade section contained many thousands of bromeliads, the largest of which were rightly treated as showy specimen plants while the smaller types were massed together to provide striking patches of colour and interesting texture alongside members of the maranta family and other gorgeous foliage plants. Such combinations of plants would work well in Hong Kong, where landscapers are generally not inclined to be innovative. Please contact janetaipeng@gmail. com with comments, queries or to join monthly gardening workshops in Fanling. On April 14, an expert explains how to grow flowering gingers. On April 18, there will be a coach excursion to Shenzhen’s huge wholesale plant market, stocked with plants of all types, plus pots and gardening accessories.

April garden tasks 1. Spring signals the start of a race between weeds and pests to overwhelm hands-on gardeners. Stock up on neem oil to dilute and spray at the first sign of pest invasion. 2. Cuttings of shrubby plants and creepers should succeed at this time. Try planting hibiscus and lantana if you come across unusual colours. Pyrostegia igneus (firecracker vine) and honeysuckle should take readily now. 3. Start thinking about summer annuals. Beans, peas, chillies and peppers, okra and beans should all do well if you sow them in April. Nurseries should be well-stocked with bedding plants for an instant summer garden. But it’s more satisfying to raise some plants from seed. Look online for special varieties or colours of familiar standbys such as the Morning Glory (Ipomea) family. These will give a good show all summer if you can provide full sun and a small trellis or canes. Soak the seeds overnight and rub with a nail file or sandpaper to speed up germination. 4. While stock is fresh and plentiful, order British or North American seeds for our major herb and salad vegetable sowing season in the autumn. Unless you have lots of space, look for varieties intended for container growing, often described as “patio” or “urban” seeds. US and European paper seed packets are not designed for a Hong Kong summer and even the best packaging will not resist our humidity levels. Seal your seed packets in plastic bags and stow them in the refrigerator for use in autumn. Jane Ram is a professional writer with a passion for plants. She has been gardening in Hong Kong for over 30 years and is still learning. Send your gardening queries to:


marketplace To advertise, email:


Your guide to shops and services BOOKS

The Reading Room (Sai Kung) 2719-5036


Yuki International Contractors 9884 5824


Little Hands Workshop 5431-3122


Brooks Thompson ltd 2851-3665 Sai Kung Buffalo Watch 9781-4703



Sai Kung Magazine, magazines and brochures 9811-9526


Hebe One O One 2335-5515 Ambulance Centre 2735-3355


Marine Rescue 2803-6267

ESTATE AGENTS The Property Shop 2719-3977


Wine Store


Leisure Turf and Landscape Limited 2579-0323 / 9487-4710


Marco Electrician & Plumber 6190-8051

National Harbour Renovations & Removals 9085-1886


Batik Jewels 6474 2551 Cambridge Weight Plan Hong Kong 9618-1777 / 9045-5942 Curves   2234-9800

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

Not all behavioural problems are simply training issues.

Dr. Cynthia Smillie BVM&S PG Dip CABC MRCVS

Tel: 9618 2475 WWW.SAIKUNG.COM | 47

Lai Hing Lok Foot Massage 6690-3658 Professional Acupressure & Foot Reflexology 9725-3628 Sabai Day Spa   2791-2259 Sai Kung Therapy Centre 8230-2733 Sense of Touch   2791-2278 Somatic Pilates with Mira 9102 4975 Super Natural, nutritional advice 6039 2505 Tala’s Health and Beauty Centre 2335-1694 Weight Watchers 2813-0814


Walk Hong Kong 9187-8641


Altfield Gallery 2537-6370

Altfield Interiors 2525-2738 Canaan Property Agency Ltd. 2792-3678 Everything Under The Sun 2554-9088 Life's A Breeze   2572-4000

Photography Courses

My Woodz 9522-6384 Taipo Home Centre


Easy Monitoring +852 3590 2820


Kwiksure Insurance 3113-1331


Box Design 2573-3323

Enoch Deco +852 2503 2626 JCAW Consultants 2524-9988 Studio Annetta +852 9849 1216 THE XSS Limited 2739-8893


AGS Four Winds International Movers 2885-9666 Elite Movers & Decoration   8209-1793


Spend a day on location with Jackie Peers & your camera from bustling market place to the tranquillity of an abandoned village. Groups are small, and customised to meet each person’s needs. You can join a group, arrange your own small group or choose a private tour for one. Prices are available for each. Contact mobile 9121 1470

bird at my window

Barn swallow aka Hirundo rustica

“They came like swallows and like swallows went.” – W.B. Yeats. In this beautifully balanced line, Yeats implies a sense of transience and mystery in his friends’ lives, similar to the sudden appearance of swallows in spring and their disappearance in autumn. Yeats was from Ireland, but his swallows are of the same species that occurs in Hong Kong. Here, too, swallows arrive in spring and depart in autumn. Until the 18th century there was a widespread belief that swallows spent the winter hibernating in mud at the bottom of ponds. Of course, we now know that European swallows migrate to Africa for the winter. In eastern Asia, swallows breed as far north as the Arctic Circle and winter as far south as Australia. The birds that breed in Hong Kong arrive in February and begin nesting before other swallows, sometimes in flocks of hundreds, head north through the territory later in spring. Several thousand pairs breed in Hong Kong. They build cup-shaped nests from mud and fibres such as dried grass on ledges or vertical walls where there is an overhang. The nests, which can often be seen in villages and older urban areas, are often repaired and reused for several years. On average, swallows lay three to six eggs, raising two to three broods of fledglings from March to July. The birds make a fair amount of mess during their summer sojourn. Local villagers put up with the nuisance as in Chinese culture the swallow is a harbinger of good luck. David Diskin is the author of Hong Kong Nature Walks: The New Territories. Visit www. or www.accipiterpress. com for more information.


Crown Worldwide (HK) Limited 2636-8388 Expert-Transport & Relocations Warehouse 2566-4799 Warehouse Removals-Local & International Moving service   9125-2611


Biocycle 3575 2575

Christian Environmental Health 2370-9236 Hong Kong Ships' Fumigation Co., Ltd. 2891-2730 / 2891-9907 Truly Care 2458-8378 www.trulycare.


Animal Behaviour Vet Practice   9618-2475 Best Friends Veterinary Hospital   2792-8555   Dr Carmel Taylor MVB MRCVS DipAiCVD 2549-2330 Faith International Enterprise Limited Ferndale Kennel   2792-4642 Pets Central Sai Kung Hospital   2792-0833 Vet2Pet   6999-1003


Graham Uden Photography 9195-7732

Jackie Peers 9121-1470


Hong Lok Yuen International School 2658-6935 New Song Christian Kindergarten (Sai Kung) 2791-2472 Sunshine House International Pre-schools (Clearwater Bay) 2358 3803 Woodland Group   2813-0290


Hong Kong International Tennis Academy 9048-2810


Tickitey Boo / Online store Hong Kong Toy Club 8216-3870


Beach Villa Rental in Cebu 9162-5321 Concorde Travel   2526-3391  


Ace Ltd. 9306-3967 Antsmart Learning Centre / Playgroup, Math 2335-1261


Craft Box 9014 3262 Jumpstart Mandarin Learning Centre 2791-4838 La Petite France 3403-9887 Private Guitar Tuition 9158-7274 Sai Kung English   6907-2514   Sai Kung Tutors   6907-2514 Spanish Teacher-Ilsabeth Hidalgo 9043 5105 Vianne's Music Wonderland Private Piano Course 6014-9389


Asian Slate 6075-6694


Resurrection Church 2358-3232

To list your business in our new directory, or to guarantee a listing every month, please email

Mandarin for Kids in Sai Kung Town 2012 Summer Program July 9 - August 17 2012 Fall Term: Sept. 3

*Preschool Mandarin Workshop Mon ~ Fri: 9:00-11:30 a.m. Tue / Thu 2:00-4:30 p.m. *Parent-child Mandarin 18 mon+ Mon ~ Fri: 9:15-10:15 a.m. / 10:30-11:30 a.m. / 3:30-4:30 p.m.

Open for enrollment now! TEL: 2791 4838 Email:

SKE-Ad-April.indd 1

19/03/2012 7:22 PM


A new level of security and control with easy monitoring See the status of your home on the go and receive sms/email alerts for any alarm.

209‐211 Wai Yip Street, Kwun Tong, Kowloon T: 3590 2820


LOCAL Property

Overseas Property

Pik Uk Home Available July 2100sqf 4-5 bedroom spacious older style village home in excellent condition. Excellent space and layout inside with wonderful outdoor space and sea views. Prime location to Kowloon, CWB, Sai Kung and MTRs. Don’t miss out, view today. Call Heather 92716099

SEA VIEW GARDEN HOUSE SOLE AGENT  $48K / 18.8M   3 Bedroom Family Home with Gorgeous Sea Views, Lawn Garden & Shared Pool. New Décor, Fully Equipped Kitchen & Great Bathrooms. High Ceilings. 2 c/p. Convenient Location close to Sai Kung Town. 27193977                   C-027656

WATERFRONT VILLA SOLE AGENT                  $75 K Beautifully renovated with Modern Style Décor. High Ceilings. Three Double Bedrooms with En-suites. Study/Playroom, semi open-plan fully fitted & equipped  Kitchen, Private Boat Pontoon. Club House. 2 Covered C/P. Convenient for Public Transport and Shops. 27193977                   C-027656

Whale watching on Sydney's northern beaches Great opportunity to buy the ultimate city beach retreat. 180 degree direct ocean views never to be built out. 3 bedrooms; 3 bathrooms. wine cellar, gym room and large bar area. 2.2m AUD. Email HKG home- 2194 4184 HKG cell- 903 706 12 Seoul cell- 8210- 4735 0363

NEED A HOLIDAY?PHUKET VILLA FOR RENT! Luxury 5 beds villa with swimming pool located in Surin area. Walking distance to beaches. Reasonable rates! Website: Email the owner:

Luxury Beach Villa in Cebu Island Philippines for rent.(Fully Staffed) 4 double rooms all with bath. 3 direct flights per day from HK. We have a Private chef, New 50ft sailing yacht, 2speedboats, Hobie Cat and more... or contact owner +852 91625321

PHUKET LUXURY FAMILY APARTMENT. Club Lersuang apartment. Sleeps 5. Great value. Master bedroom, 2nd bedroom (3 single beds), self-contained, fully fitted kitchen, pool, gym, restaurant. Visit and search “Club Lersuang” to see amazing reviews. E-mail:

on patrol... A step forward for Neighbourhood Watch In March, the Divisional Commander and I visited the Caritas Sai Kung Elderly Centre at Man Nin Street and were delighted to see the high level of passion and commitment these senior citizen volunteers displayed for their neighbourhood. We introduced our Neighbourhood Watch Scheme to them with a view to generating their support and participation. As we chatted casually about their views on the scheme, I realized they were already doing a lot to help their neighbours. They were all smart and kind-hearted, with some people telling us how they politely drew attention to strangers entering their villages. They also talked about a swindler who had tried to con money out of them over the phone by alleging a close relative needed the cash. Recalling a similar story they had watched on the TV news, the seniors explained that they stayed calm and avoided becoming the victim of the


deception. Others proudly told us how they helped their neighbours using the Personal Emergency Link Service. Their expressions were of benevolence, caring and concern while we talked. These are good people with intimate knowledge of where they live. And just the sort of people we need for successful Neighbourhood Watch Schemes – they pledged to be our eyes and ears.

Even more encouragingly, the centre’s social worker Ms Poon – who kindly arranged the meeting – explained it has nearly 800 members. Ms Poon and her staff are also now participants of the scheme. I feel great appreciation for their efforts and believe Sai Kung is a safer place because of it. Finally, after writing On Patrol for more than a year, I would also like to thank Sai Kung Magazine’s publisher, Tom Hilditch and his staff, for allowing me to get our message across to the community. I hope some of you benefit from it. I am about to move to Wong Tai Sin Police Station and my successor, Mr Tim Sharpe, take over this column from the May issue. I have enjoyed good colleagues, good friends and beautiful scenery in Sai Kung and they would embed in my memory. Senior Inspector Grace Mak Assistant Divisional Commander (Operations) Sai Kung Police Division        

Tuition & Courses Qualified primary school teacher (PGCE), experienced tutor and native English speaker. Fun and engaging private lessons in Maths and English for children aged 4-11. Email VIANNE'S MUSIC WONDERLAND PRIVATE PIANO COURSE @ YOUR HOME ﹣ ﹣ Experienced tutor accept students aged 3 and over. Student Annual Recital/ Practical Examination/ Competition/ Theory/ Accompaniment/ T: 6014 - 9389 for Trial lesson/ Individual GUITAR INSTRUCTION for students of all ages and levels. An experienced jazz guitarist and tutor enables you to master the guitar with a brand NEW LEARNING METHOD. Please call 915 87274/Samuli for private tuition in Sai Kung area. ART Classes for all ages above 6. Small groups of less than 6. Classes of 90 minutes each. Whether you are a beginner or looking for something different. All in a nice homely surrounding in Clearwaterbay with parking and access to public transport. Please call Vandana at 93063967 or for more details.

Health & Well Being Massage @ Home, Hotel Body massage, Chinese Tui Na, Swedish Massage, lymphatic drainage & aromatherapy massage. Our therapists offers mobile (outcall, housecall) service $700/2hrs  (text in Chinese Address & speak in Chinese 66903658

Aussie/US educated Personal Trainer with private studio. Specializing in injury recovery/prevention and improving athletic performance. REAL Experience REAL qualifications, REAL results. or call Nick 9446 9056 No need to go to Central..... Cambridge Weight Plan is in Sai Kung and CWB. We help you create an easyto-manage daily diet plan and provide motivation and support every step of the way.  Call our friendly local consultants today!  Alison Barnes 9618 1777    Jean Hudson 9045 5942 PROFESSIONAL ACUPRESSURE & FOOT REFLEXOLOGY: established in 2000, professional training staff. We do provide Door-to-Door service in a very reasonable price. G/F., 7 Main Street, Sai Kung. Reservation: 97253628. http://

Home Deliveries Award winning wines from Australia and New Zealand, highest quality, lowest prices directly from the winery to your door! Visit us at or email

Travels Need a car in Europe? Peugeot Open Europe offers the best package: -brand new cars -unlimited mileage -full cover insurance -roadside assistance service contact : Yangtze Gorges with Jason Wordie "Vinegar Joe" and the "Flying Tigers". 6 Days. Departs 17 June, 2012. Concorde Travel 2526 3391 www.concorde-travel. com Licence 350343

Domestic Help

Nutritional questions? Ask a professional for sensible advice based on daily-life nutrition. Contact Christine ( or 60392505) at Super Natural for honest advice or visit

Seek fulltime job,with the experience in western and chinese family withe 7 yrs in hongkong my former employer is living hongkong if you are interested you can call me in my no#94406877, thanks.

Energize your body and calm your mind with SOMATIC PILATES. Please call 910 24 975/Mira to book a private or group session in Sai Kung area. Please see for details.

NEW SONG CHRISTIAN KINDERGARTEN Sai Kung T: 2791 2472  F: 2791 2477 Email: Website:

Services Would you like your cherished family pet captured forever in watercolor? Please visit to arrange your own personal piece of pet art! Prices start from 650HKD for an 8x8 inch graphite study Asian Slate Specialising in roofing/ waterproofing, residential home renovations and landscaping. Chimney cleaning service available. Call Geoff 6075 6694 email: Need Storage? From a box to whole House Low Cost Storage Humid Control Start from as low as HK$500per month Collect & Delivery Call Today : 2578 1865 Expert-Transport & Relocations MOVER* HANDYMAN*STORAGE Local & International Relocation, Packing, Materials Supply Cargo Collection, Custom Clearance, Disposal Storage (Short or Long Term), Professional House Painting All sort of Handyman Works All-in one Professional Service at Lowest Rates Call 25664799, NEED TO MOVE? Call Warehouse Removals for a free quotation. We have over 15 years of moving experience with English-speaking staff. No job too small. Local / International / Office / Disposal. Call 2789 2205 / 91252611 or email" FOR FULL HOME RENOVATIONS Painting, Plumbing, Carpentry, Floor tiling, Electrical work, Ceiling repair; call Yuki International Contractors & Engineers for free quotation. Our staff are fluent English, Cantonese & Japanese. Tel: 9884 5824

Charities / Community People Bereaved by Suicide (PBS) An English-speaking support group meets first Wednesday each month, 8pm, at the Mariners’ Club, TST.  Free, confidential.   Further information, tel  28960000 or  check  http://www.

2896 0000 The Samaritans 24 hour Multilingual Suicide Prevention Hotline. Problems? Depressed? Lonely? Desperate? Need an empathic, nonjudgemental listening ear in complete confidence?  Bereaved by Suicide?  We facilitate an English speaking monthly support group.  Please call 2896 0000 or email: German Kids in Sai Kung Provide your children and toddlers with German language activities for their age, contact our Sai Kung German parents community for playgroups, lessons, and more. Contact: Uli, Enthusiastic tennis players of all abilities sort! Mondays and Wednesdays 9-10 at Sai Kung courts-near the swimming pool. Keep fit and meet new people at the same time.  Just turn up and have fun! URGENT! DOG FOOD SPONSORS Sai Kung Stray Friends We have approximately 35 dogs are on our daily "meal supply". The cost $2,222 every 8 days. If you would like to donate to help please deposit directly into our a/c: HSBC 004640085486001 Receipts can be issued. Much appreciated! VOLUNTARY POSITIONS NEEDED Sai Kung Stray Friends *Kennel Carer - 1 or 2 days per week *Weekend Sai Kung Homing Team *Fundraising Director *Website director *Daily Meals on Wheels delivery roster *Rescue & Desexing Join us in our local community initiative to help our beautiful animals. Email: Call Narelle: 9199.2340  (English)      Jessie:  9097.4591  (Chinese)

Employment Australian family moving to Saikung in March 2012 seeks live in domestic helper to care for a 20 month boy and perform household duties. Looking for a caring, responsible, energetic person with self initiative. Must have experience with children/expat families and references. Contact Monika on +65 9781 3725 or A busy ENGLISH CENTRE located in Ma On Shan (near Sai Kung) is looking for PART-TIME WEEKEND NET. Interested parties, please email resume to


back page

Last Orders New adventures in hi-fi

It was during the final chaotic decade of the 20th century that I made my last memorable mix tape. Preparing to backpack through Southeast Asia, I deliberated over the choice of songs that would accompany my descent into the heart of darkness. My sources were records, pre-recorded cassettes and the relatively new compact discs, a format praised at the time by a plethora of popular TV scientists – the same people who had previously declared the future would be forever documented on half-inch Betamax videotape. Performed in real time, the poetic art of mix tape compilation is a vanishing aesthetic skill, like glass blowing or tapestry. Back then I chose, perhaps controversially, for the opening track the original album version of “Move on up” by Curtis Mayfield. This was predominantly for complex musical and sentimental reasons, but at eight minutes 54 seconds it also gave me the opportunity to have a quick shower

prior to my rather convoluted Aeroflot flight to Bangkok. Through countless plays the songs burned themselves into my subconscious. Although the actual tape is long gone, the narrative arc of the play list still lives on in my head. I’ve often thought of recreating the mix through iTunes but it seems wrong somehow, like phoning up an ex-girlfriend for a chat about your new one. The digitization of music is a force largely for the better but it has taken a lot of the soul out of the librarial process of collecting and appreciating music. With everything instantly available release dates become meaningless, purchases no longer need to be courted and gone is the enhanced pleasure of delayed gratification. Cassette players lacked an effective mechanism to skip songs and so locked you into the experience of listening to music from start to finish and the track list of any good mix tape had to reflect this. The backpack may have been my ticket to ride but it was a state-

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 the best ones. 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: Lynne Poelmann took this shot of Clearwater Bay and the Nine Pins early one March morning.


of-the-art Sony Walkman that delivered the soundtrack. The mechanical forerunner of the iPod, it was this device and a box of 12 tapes that kept me mobile and tuned in. I lost some cassettes on the way and picked up others from the hawkers on Khao San Road, Bangkok, who sold bootleg tapes for 35 Baht a go. That my inventory was so limited focused the mind and deepened my appreciation. One technological innovation of the iPod revolution I enthusiastically embrace is random shuffle, which is an excellent tool for any serious music curator. Like database dental floss it seeks out the lonely corners and dark cracks of your MP3 player, rediscovering long forgotten artists and those who have fallen from grace. Pit your wits against the machine as it randomly selects tracks and try to

guess artist and song title. You score one point for every correct answer and the iPod scores every time you get it wrong. It’s harder than you think, especially if you own several obscure folk music compilations, but if you regularly lose at this game you need to think seriously about weeding or extra study. Much has been made recently of the Tiger Mother method of parenting. Among its eccentricities, it advocates compulsory violin and piano lessons for the very young. Amy Chua may consider it better for children to robotically learn to play Chopin than to appreciate the subtle nuances of The Clash, but when was the last time you heard him on a mix tape? Iain Lafferty

shoot for it

Sai Kung Magazine April 2012  
Sai Kung Magazine April 2012  

Sai Kung Magazine April 2012, we talk about how the expert tips to renovate your house.