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planner the best of November

Nov 1 Sai Kung Pool closes It’s officially too cold to swim. Reopens April 1.

Nov 2-7 Grease Last chance to see the West End hit musical. Lyric Theatre, HKAPA, Wan Chai. Tickets $350$895 from, 3128 8288.

Nov 23-28

Insane in the Brain

High-energy version of “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” by Bounce Street Dance Company. Lyric Theatre, HKAPA, Wan Chai. Tickets $195-$695 from www.hkticketing. com, 3128 8288.

Nov 3 Quiz night

Nov 6-7 Hong Kong Cricket Sixes

Hebe One O One’s popular quiz night is slightly out-of-synch owing to renovations. 112 Pak Sha Wan, 2335 5515.

Ah, the thwack of leather on willow – in quick-fire, six-overs bursts for the attention-challenged. This year’s teams are Hong Kong, South Africa, England, India, Pakistan, Australia, NZ and Sri Lanka. Kowloon Cricket Club, 10 Cox’s Road, Jordan. Tickets $180-$730 (two-day adult pass) from www.hkticketing. com, 3128 8288.

Nov 5-7 The Sleeping Beauty Evergreen children’s favourite, performed by the Hong Kong Ballet. Grand Theatre, Cultural Centre, Tsim Sha Tsui. Tickets $70$1,000 from www., 2734 9009.

Nov 6 HHYC gala dinner A gala dinner and cheque presentation from the 24-hour dinghy race at HHYC, Pak Sha Wan. Tickets $350 or corporate table for 10 for $5,000, 2719 9682,

Nov 5-28 Repertory Cinema: Alfred Hitchcock A chance to see Hitch’s classics on the big screen: “Vertigo”, “North by Northwest”, “Marnie”, “Psycho” and more. Hong Kong Film Archive, 6 Lei King Street, Shau Kei Wan. Tickets $50 from www., 2734 9009. Schedules from the Film Programmes Office (


Nov 6-7 International Le Mans Cup The Le Mans racing cars take to the Zhuhai circuit in Guangdong for a 1,000-mile race. Tickets $60-$170 from, 3128 8288.

Nov 9-13 Ordained by Heaven English-language version of a 300-year-old Chinese comedy classic by Qing dynasty playwright Li Yu. Performed by the Not So Loud Theatre Company. Fringe Theatre, 2 Lower Albert Road, Central. Tickets $150-$190 from, 3128 8288.

Nov 11-12 Lan Kwai Fong carnival Two days of partying in the Fong.

Nov 13 Hong Lok Yuen school fair Celebrating a “Fiesta of Cultures”, Hong Lok Yuen School’s annual fair will have games, stalls, food and drink from around the world. 11am4pm, Hong Lok Yuen,

Nov 19-21 Oxfam Trailwalker The annual 100km yomp across Hong Kong: look for the lights in them thar hills (see p.10).

Nov 27 Abacus BBQ Fun Day All the fun of the pre-school fair: BBQ, games, art and craft activities, go-karting, fancy-dress parade, face painting, show and more. 11am-3pm, ESF Abacus Kindergarten, 1A Mang Kung Uk Road, Clearwater Bay, 2719 5712,

Nov 26-27 Convergence Part of the Hong Kong Dance Festival: six choreographers from six cultures pool their talents. Drama Theatre, HKAPA, Wan Chai. Tickets $72-$180 from, 3128 8288.

Nov 20 Clearwater Bay School fair Get ready for Christmas at the “Tis the Season” fair – expect fun and games and plenty of Santaesque entertainment. 11am-3pm, Clearwater Bay School, Clearwater Bay Road, 2358 3221.

Book Now! Dec 3 Gorillaz — Escape to Plastic Beach Tour

Nov 20 Winter Garage Sale

They’ve got sunshine in a bag. AsiaWorld-Arena, Lantau. Tickets $400-$980 from www., 3128 8288.

Rummage through the pre-loved goodies at this twice-yearly garage sale and fair – it’s ecofriendly! 9.30am-1.30pm, LG3 Car Park, HKUST, Clearwater Bay Road. Details from Jean at 9045 5942,

Dec 4 Christmas Charity Quiz

Nov 20 saturday hash Pull on your trackie pants and running shoes for the month Sai Kung hash. Details at com/site/saikungsaturdayh3.

Nov 24 Quiz night Hebe One O One, 112 Pak Sha Wan, 2335 5515.

Nov 26 Hong Kong Arts Festival 2011 Advance bookings start today for the 2011 festival, Feb 17-Mar 27. For tickets and full programme, visit

Nov 29 Jazz Up: David Sanborn Smooth blues from the alto saxophonist. Concert Hall, Cultural Centre, Tsim Sha Tsui. Tickets $75$420 from, 2734 9009.


Pit your wits against the rest of Sai Kung in the popular annual Christmas quiz in aid of Operation Santa Claus. Tickets, including dinner, are $350. Hebe Haven Yacht Club, Pak Sha Wan. Book a table (get in early!) at, or call Kay on 9497 8206.

Dec 22-Jan 2 Walking With Dinosaurs Twenty animatronic dinosaurs from the landmark BBC series walk the earth at the AsiaWorld-Arena, Lantau. Season extended. Tickets $195-$995 from, 3128 8288.

Feb 18 Eric Clapton Guitar hero, live. AsiaWorld-Arena, Lantau. Tickets $488-$1,488 from, 3128 8288.


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Discover the magical mineral rituals of our exclusive facial and body treatments using renowned skincare line Payot from France, along with the famous 42-step massage technique to lift, repair and enhance.



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FEEL THE HYATT TOUCH© Hyatt Regency Hong Kong, Sha Tin 18 Chak Cheung Street, Sha Tin, New Territories, Hong Kong TELEPHONE 3723 1234 FACSIMILE 3723 1235 The trademark HYATT and related marks are trademarks of Hyatt International Corporation. ©2010 Hyatt International Corporation. All rights reserved.


local hero

walk the talk

Publisher & Executive Editor Tom Hilditch Editorial Jane Steer Adele Rosi Art Direction Eric Luk Accounts May Oul Yong Advertising Heung Sai Alfonso Lee Distribution Polly Lee Contributors Graham Uden Liz Remington Dr Carmel Taylor MVB Jackie Peers Iain Lafferty Oliver Pfeiffer Denise Li Leo Chu Vincent G. Christian Printer Gear Printing 1/f, Express Industrial Bldg 43 Heung Yip Road Wong Chuk Hang 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.


Raymond Lo, far left, and The Flying Geezers finish in 2009.

Raymond Lo

At 63 years old, Raymond Lo is about to hike the 100km Trailwalker for the 10th consecutive time with his trusty teammates, The Flying Geezers.

I’m a 30-something (years to go!) geezer that does not want ageing to stop him from going allout in running, hiking, sailing, yacht-racing, cycling, swimming, tai chi... My team was not keenly competitive until we decided to crack 18 hours for super Oxfam Trailwalker certificates. It’s a chance to challenge myself, benchmark my performance and help Oxfam. As a team co-ordinator and facilitator for HK Meetup Hiking Group (www., I can help others enjoy the event. I like the hour or so before the start: the clean, fresh, chilly air, enthusiastic crowd and electrically charged atmosphere. Rolling down the 4.5-km paved road from Tai Mo Shan to Checkpoint 8 in 22 minutes or less is my alltime favourite stage. In 2008, the hottest Trailwalker ever, I suffered heat exhaustion at Cheung Sheung, Stage 3, and slowed down the team by 30 minutes. A cold can of Coke revived me – but now I’m addicted to it whenever it gets too hot. My secret is regular training, a healthy lifestyle and diet, positive mental outlook and perhaps the Chinese herbal pills that have been maintaining, if not improving, my body at peak performance for the past six years.

Tip for new Trailwalkers: training, training, training. Avoid too much too soon and listen to your body. Rest for complete recovery when injured. Know the route and look ahead to the next landmark or checkpoint, rather than counting how many kilometres are still to go before the finish. I should be thankful my parents gave me blisterproof feet – I’ve only had one blister in nine years. I wear two layers of socks: 100 per cent cotton inner and cotton-synthetic outer. Proper-fitting shoes that prevent feet from slipping are important. Replace sweaty socks with dry ones as often as possible. I avoid sports drinks because the flavouring triggers MSG syndrome in me: parched, thirsty throat and inability to exert. Eat and drink moderately but often. The standards are getting higher, and support services better organized. Teamwork and sportsmanship are the most important elements of the event. Best advice I ever received: stay cool, take it easy. Raymond is in team S20 – give him a shout out on the trail. Oxfam Trailwalker 2010 takes place on November 19-21, starting at 9am, Pak Tam Chung, Sai Kung. To make a donation to the trek against poverty, visit



Welcome Brigitte!

Sai Kung just got ritzier. Screen icon Brigitte Lin Ching-hsia and her billionaire husband are moving into a $260 million home on Fei Ngo Shan.

A warm Sai Kung welcome to screen legend Brigitte Lin Ching-hsia. The star and her tycoon husband, Michael Ying Lee-yuen, chairman of fashion group Espirit, have bought a $260 million home in the area. Their new home is a bungalow known as “The Fei Ngo Shan residence”, formerly owned by the family of lawmaker Regina Ip Lau Sukyee. The sprawling, colonial-style mansion was built in 1965 and has an area of 10,000 square feet in about 50,000 square feet of land. Brigitte Lin is one of Hong Kong’s greatest screen stars. She has appeared in more than 100 movies, including “The Bride with the White Hair”, “Chungking Express” and “Police Story”, picking up plenty of acting awards along the way. Her handprints are in Hong Kong’s walk of fame. Taiwan-born Lin retired from acting in the mid-1990s to raise her two children, aged 10 and 13, and rarely makes public appearances. Her husband, 56-year-old Michael Ying, is a self-made billionaire. According to Forbes magazine, he is the 258th richest man on the planet, with a estimated net worth of HK$20 billion. He began working as a sourcing agent for Esprit in 1971 and later bought rights to the clothing brand in Europe and Asia, taking Esprit Far East public in 1993. Ying stepped down as chief executive in 2003 but remains chairman. The tycoon has been steadily selling off stake over the past few years, pocketing almost $1 billion along the way but – at last count – still holds 16 per cent of Esprit. According to our real-estate expert, the couple paid more than double the usual price per square foot in the area. But then, luxury on this scale is in short supply. The property is one of a cluster of residences on the lower slopes of Kowloon Peak, with stunning views over the country park and Victoria Harbour. Could the area become the Beverly Hills of Hong Kong?

Brigitte Lin Ching-hsia in “Ashes of Time”.


Old town, new attitude The old town is becoming Sai Kung’s answer to SoHo. We go shopping. Illustrations by Leonardo Chu Wing-hong, HKDI.


t’s all happening in the old town. The District Council’s plan to revitalise the area was Sai Kung’s “if you build it, they will come” moment. Leading the way were the Housing Society’s scheme to gussy up the street-scape by retiling the alleyways with brickwork, and the sensitive renovation of the temple and its forecourt, officially completed in April. North-south-east-west tiles set into the roads and pagoda-topped noticeboards with “you are here” maps for lost tourists added to the vernacular. And, sure enough, businesses have been moving in ever since. As the rents shoot skywards and chain stores set their sights on Sai Kung town, upscale independent shops and restaurants have been shifting south, mingling with the tradesmen, salons and traditional businesses that have been in the old town for decades. The result is Sai Kung’s answer to SoHo.

Picture: Leonardo Chu wing-hong


Appetito Anyone with a passion for Italian gastronomy should visit Appetito. The Italian deli is packed with delicious Parma hams, yummy cheeses such as taleggio, pecorino and mozzarella di bufala, and all sorts of mouthwatering antipasti accompaniments, including sundried tomatoes and up to eight different types of olive. Typical Italian biscuits such as grissini flavoured with rosemary and the hard almond biscotti, high-end Barolo wine and some of the best olive oil around also feature in the deli’s selection of goodies. Appetito can also fly in fresh Italian vegetables to order and cater a sumptuous feast for two to 200 people. “We were the first non-local shop to open in the old town,” says owner Thelma Pesci. “It is such a nice neighbourhood and we love being a part of it. Everyone is so friendly and there are some fantastic hidden treasures such as the Chinese restaurant up the street, which is always packed, a shop selling cheap but delicious fruit – and Appetito, of course! People who come to find me always discover something new.” Appetito, 9 Wang Street, 2791 5666. Open daily, 9am-6pm.

cover feature The Reading Room and Seaside Study This bookshop and learning centre may be a newcomer to the old town, but its co-owner, Rita McClellan, has been living in the area for 25 years. “We chose Sai Kung old town so we could keep the traditional approach to customers and provide a quality service where everyone is comfortable with being part of the community,” she says. “Sai Kung is getting very busy and losing the old fishing village appeal it once had. The old town, so far, has kept this image. It is much more interesting to work in, almost like being on holiday in Devon or Cornwall.” She thinks its “old-world” atmosphere is a major part of the old town’s appeal, particularly for young people. And she likes the “SoHo” comparison. “It has lots of character: upmarket but Bohemian, free not restrained – a blend of modern and old-world ideals. It is a place where families and young people can grow in a lesspressured environment.” The Reading Room sells new and “preloved” books for children and adults, and offers a buy-back service for books in good condition. The Seaside Study centre offers English classes for second-language and native speakers at all levels, including IGCSE, GCSE, and ILATS. 21 Sai Kung Hoi Pong Street, 2719 5036, 9021 2397, seasidereadingroom@gmail. com.

Babushka What child doesn’t love a toyshop? But one that can equally charm adults is a rare find in Hong Kong. Independent toyshop Babushka ticks both boxes with everything from gorgeous wooden and hand-knitted toys and collections of the prettiest children’s clothes to party favours, wall stickers and cool science kits. Everything in the airy, whitewashed shop is beautifully displayed, transforming the usual chore of buying children’s gifts at commercial toy stores into a wonderful experience. “I think the old town has a great vibe. I love that you can have a shop selling incense and traditional paper products next to a butcher, next to a funky nail salon,” says Babushka’s creator, Elizabeth Jeffrey. “My husband grew up here and remembers when most of the old town was a wet market. He says some parts haven’t changed and I like that you can lose yourself in the ‘old world’. There are some challenges integrating into a very local environment but, on the whole, it is great being a part of a strong community. Out of all the spaces I looked at when searching for premises [Babushka is behind Pets Central], this had the best feel and location, and everyone who comes into the shop has been very positive about it.” Babushka, Shop 12, 66 Yi Chun Street, 2791 9070. Open Tue-Sun 11am-6pm, closed Monday.

Picture: Leonardo Chu wing-hong



Green Earth Society Once blessed with one of Sai Kung’s prime locations on Sha Tsui Path, rising rents forced the Green Earth Society to up sticks. Musician-turnedentrepreneur Lowell Lo’s eco-friendly business is putting down new roots on See Cheung Street, at the epicentre of the revitalised old town. “There’s less walk-in trade than we used to get,” admits one staff member, “but we still get plenty of mail-order and online business. And people are starting to find us again.” The new location is bigger and more charming, set over three floors of a village house. “It gave us the opportunity to create different zones,” staff explain. The ground floor stocks personal care and food items. The first floor “Rainbow Sanctuary” takes care of customers’ spiritual needs with crystals and meditation bowls, plus jewellery and decorative pieces. “Green Home”, on the top floor, is stacked with organic-cotton bedlinen and clothing in old-school wooden shelving, plus books, solar power systems, environmentally friendly paint, plants and more. “In one or two months, we plan to open the roof as a self-service cafe,” staff say. “It will be a chlll-out spot, with views of the Yi Chun Street Playground and the old town. It’s very peaceful up there.” 37 See Cheung Street, Sai Kung, 2792 0106,, www. Yellow House Despite somewhat erratic opening hours – it is supposedly open 11am-6pm every day – Yellow House is a great find for anyone looking for gifts, homeware or the odd piece of furniture (indoors or out). The two floors of this quirky little shop are crammed with the kitsch and the cool, and it is worth taking time to search for potential objects of desire in every nook and cranny. Many items are one-offs but new stock comes in on a regular basis. Past finds have included retro-style vases, a glazed pottery jug from now-defunct British homeware shop The Pier and wooden Christmas ornaments. Yellow House, 12 See Cheung Street, 2791 5599. Posilia Spa Another rent-hike refugee, Posilia Spa moved from large premises on Chan Man Street to a smaller space in the old town. It’s winning fans for its mani-pedis, massage and treatments in a nicely designed space that features elements of its other businesses: Chinese antiques, interior design and furniture repair. It’s open daily from 11am-8pm, and by appointment from 8pm-11pm – handy for an after-work massage on those toostressed-to-sleep days. 20 Tak Lung Front Street, 2791 9923.


Picture: Leonardo Chu wing-hong

Old-town confidential Random, but useful...

Apple Owner Expert computer help for Apple Mac and PC owners. 13 Sai Kung Tai Street, 6300 9688. Shek Kee Frozen Meat Co Frozen-meat wholesaler, selling imported meat at rockbottom prices. Don’t be put off by the industrial look; the proof is in the eating. 15 Tak Lung Back Street, 2792 0503. Grace Salon Chic little hairdressers offering a cut and blow-dry for just $115. 21 Tak Lung Front Street, 2792 0855. The Courtyard Sweet boutique selling one-off clothing, handbags and jewellery. 66 Yi Chun Street, 9035 6646. Euro Casa Quirky combo of Spanish wines, Chinese furniture and collectible doll’s-house furniture. 14 Tak Lung Front Street, 9870 3818.


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boots Memories and monkeys In honour of Remembrance Day, Jackie Peers visits the Shing Mun Redoubt, a key part of Hong Kong’s wartime defences. “Are you being cheeky?”

My First Shop

Remembrance Day used to be a big event in the Hong Kong calendar, but has languished post handover. It would be a pity not to mark the brave but doomed efforts of the defenders, and the suffering of Hong Kong citizens during the four-year Japanese occupation. So a ceremony has been scheduled for Thursday, November 12 (the day after Remembrance Day), at the City Hall Memorial Garden in Central – not the former venue of the Cenotaph – where wreaths will be laid. A couple of books have brought the horrors of that time more clearly to my mind: Hiroshima Joe by Martin Booth

and Fragrant Harbour by John Lanchester. Both vividly evoke the war years, and convey the sense of chaos and confusion as the defenders faced the Japanese. No wonder the most detailed history of the defence of Hong Kong is called Not the Slightest Chance (by Tony Banham), which echoes a quote from Sir Winston Churchill. But the best way to bring history to life is to pull on your boots and visit the places where it occurred. The Gin Drinkers Line (named for Gin Drinkers Bay, now part of Kwai Fong) was a 13-mile “Oriental Maginot Line” of pillboxes, lookout positions and artillery observation posts that

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snaked through difficult terrain north of Kowloon. The lynch pin was the Shing Mun Redoubt, which is the focus of this month’s walk. It comprised an intricate tunnel network linking pillboxes, bunkers, a Command Post and artillery. The tunnels are named after famous London streets, such as Shaftesbury Avenue, Piccadilly and Charing Cross. The bullet-scarred remnants of these fortifications being reclaimed by the forest are all that remain of a battle that was over almost before it started. It’s worth stopping a while, reading the information, and soaking up the rather melancholy atmosphere.

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made for walking

To get there, take a taxi (there are car parks if you plan a round trip) to the start of Stage 6 of the MacLehose Trail on Tai Po Road, and stroll alongside the Kowloon Reservoirs. You’ll soon become aware of a modern invader – hordes of rhesus macaques. Although there were monkeys

indigenous to Hong Kong, it is thought this population originated from animals released during the construction of the reservoirs, supposedly to consume the fruit of the strychnos plants. These days, however, they seem to rely on food from visitors or left in the rubbish bins, and they are growing rather large and aggressive in consequence. Please heed the warning signs and don’t consume any foodstuffs in front of them. The walk to the Shing Mun Redoubt is an easy 4.6 km (90 minutes). Follow the

signs for the MacLehose Trail (not the Wilson Trail). If you’re doing a return trip, follow the “M” signs one way, and “W” the other. This stage finishes at Shing Mun Reservoir, where you can picnic. To leave, head to the west of the reservoir and connect with Shing Mun Road to catch a cab. Finally, best wishes to the Trailwalkers – you have more stamina than me!

Jackie Peers is a director of Walk Hong Kong, a unique company that reveals Hong Kong to visitors. She also runs photography courses at Tap Mun Chau. Find out more at


eating The full English Top spots for a breakfast fry-up. Classified The new kid on the block is offering a reasonably priced breakfast menu. We’re talking scrambled eggs on sourdough ($35), eggs benedict ($39), bacon or sausage sarnie ($42) and healthy options such as bircher muesli ($38). Portions aren’t enormous, which means you have space for a side of Loch Fyne smoked salmon ($28) or almond croissant ($20). Coffee and juice extra. Available 8am-11am, 5 Sha Tsui Path, 2529 3454, Jaspas A Jaspas breakfast defines the term “slap-up meal”. It starts with a large freshly squeezed orange juice and a couple of rounds of toast, butter and jam. Then moves on to the main event: the B.E.S.T – bacon, eggs, sausage, tomato, hash brown – and lashings of coffee ($99). Other popular options include the Trim

& Tasty (grilled Turkish bread, avocado, two eggs, tomato and asparagus, coffee, juice and toast; $99) and the kid-friendly US-style pancake stack, with banana, maple syrup and ice cream ($85). Available all day from 8am, 13 Sha Tsui Path, 2792 6388. Cru Jaspas’ posh sister serves the Grand Cru full English breakfast daily from 8am ($70). We also like the fresh fruit crepes: French-style pancakes with banana, mango, strawberries, blueberries, mango or more ($65). Add juice and coffee or tea for $30. Available daily from 8am, 18 Wan King Path, 2791 1792. Steamers A fine hangover cure, the Steamers’ breakfast comes in two sizes: full and light. The full breakfast ($80) has two eggs, two sausages,

Busy Bees Kindergarten Is now accepting non HKUST staff and resident‛s children • Situated in the scenic grounds of the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Clearwater Bay • Bilingual (English/Mandarin) Kindergarten • Native English/Putonghua Speaking, Qualified Kindergarten Teachers • Child centered approach to learning Busy Bees is a small, bilingual (English/Mandarin) Kindergarten, set in the scenic grounds of The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Clearwater Bay, which implements a child centered approach to learning through play. We are now accepting applications from non-HKUST staff/residents. Please visit for detailed information of classes or contact Helen Brighton at for details on admissions.


bacon, tomatoes, baked beans, mushrooms and hash brown or chips. The light version ($70) is similar but with one egg and one sausage. Also on the menu is a continental breakfast ($55) and omelette ($70). All breakfasts include juice, tea or coffee, and you can upgrade to a latte or a cappuccino for an extra $5. Available all day from 9am, 66 Yi Chun Street, 2792 6991. Hebe One O One The only breakfast in the area that includes black pudding – a northern English blood sausage that tastes damn fine with a fried egg or baked beans. Part of the “Hearty All Day Breakfast” ($128), it shares a plate with bacon, two sausages, two eggs, beans, tomato, mushroom, sauteed potatoes and toast. Other options include eggs benedict ($78), and even a bowl of Coco Pops ($48). Weekends from 10am, 112 Pak Sha Wan, 2335 5515.


Nibbles Curry king Madan has a new gig. He is moving from Steamers to Aguaplus. So it’s bye-bye tapas – and hello biryani! 72-74 Po Tung Road, Sai Kung, 2791 2030. The waterfront seafood restaurants will be bringing out the specials for the Sai Kung Seafood Festival, part of the Hong Kong Tourism Board’s Wine and Dine month. Officially, the festival runs November 6-30. Other events include the Lan Kwai Fong Carnival on November 12-14 and the SoHo Street Fair and Wine Walk on November 19-21. Details at Hebe One O One is closing for renovations for a couple of weeks from November 8. It will be back with a bang on November 21, with a golf day scheduled for the 29th. The quiz nights also move, to November 3 and 24. 112 Pak Sha Wan, 2335 5515. Want to eat out without piling on the pounds? Head along to Weight Watchers for tips from the lovely June, who keeps things interesting by discussing a new topic each week. Wednesdays, 6pm-7pm, upstairs at Cru, 18 Wan King Path, Sai Kung, www.

Hip new cafe Classified seems to be getting the thumbs up in Sai Kung. With its solid-wood and marble-topped tables, chalkboard specials and mismatched chairs, it’s a change of pace for the main square. Its artisan cheeses are to die for: the nutty, full-flavoured Stilton and ready-to-run brie are early favourites at Sai Kung magazine, along with the authentically crusty baguettes. Judging by the lunchtime crowds, we’re not alone. 5 Sha Tsui Path, 2529 3454, Cammi and Carl at CC Cafe are inviting customers to create their own drink: coffee, tea, shakes or hot chocolate just the way you like it. Soya milk available. Try yours with the all-day breakfast: eggs, bacon, Cumberland sausage and buttered toast for just $38. 33 See Cheung Street, Sai Kung, 9810 4261, Apple pie is so patriotically American there’s a saying about it. No wonder it’s a Thanksgiving favourite. Ahead of the November 25 feast, the Patisserie at Hyatt Regency Sha Tin has been cooking up pies with a local flavour, using red and green apples and organic honey from an apiary near the 10,000 Buddhas Monastery. Order yours at 18 Chak Cheung Street, Sha Tin, 3723 7331.

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outdoors The birdman of Ma On Shan Ever wondered how it feels to launch into the blue with only a piece of cloth between you and your maker? Paraglider Vincent G. Christian goes free flying over Sai Kung. Pictures by Shirley Chan.

What is free flight? Here’s an explanation from the World Directory of Free Flight: “At its heart is the idea of flying purely for fun, usually locally, rather than with the object of going from A to B. True, some free-flight pilots have achieved astonishingly long record flights, but these are exceptional individuals: most free-flyers just want to turn up, take-off, play at being a bird, land, pack up and go home, feeling a warm glow of satisfaction at having seen our wonderful world from a position previously reserved for a privileged few.” And that’s the appeal of paragliding in a nutshell. We do it for the freedom of the skies. A paraglider is an aircraft in a backpack. The flexible, multi-cell fabric wing is a controlled ascent device – as opposed to a parachute, which is a controlled descent device. It can be inflated while the pilot is standing still and then slope-launched (or rather, foot launched) and


landed at walking pace, rather than at a trot. Paragliding is the closest thing to idiot-proof flying that has ever been invented. No wonder it’s become the most popular flying machine on the planet. First, of course, it must be carried to the launch site – which, in Hong Kong, usually involves hiking 18kg-20kg of kit up a mountain. Once at the site, the glider is “pre-flighted” – unpacked, unrolled and spread out to be checked – then raised with the pilot attached via a harness system. And it’s ready to fly. In Sai Kung, Ma On Shan is the prime area for paragliding, with the take-off site south of Pyramid Peak. For me, a full flying day begins with a 30- to 40-minute trek up the MacLehose Trail from the Wong Chuk Shan starting point in Po Lo Che. On my back is everything I need: the wing, reserve parachute, flight suit, instruments (flight


recorder, GPS, variometer and compass), water bottles, and a reversible harness/rucksack system rolled into one. It’s a fabulous way to exercise, knowing I won’t have to walk the knee-punishing downhill leg. But the flight down to Sai Kung town is the last order of the day: before that comes hours of ridge soaring and thermal flights, riding upwards on the hot air currents that rise from valleys and flat land. When we want a break, we land at the take-off site, then re-launch and soar again for a few more hours. Each time, we take everything with us, just in case we aren’t able to top-land again. Our last trip is the glide down to designated landing areas in Sai Kung, where we pack up and head to the nearest bar: beer tastes better with an adrenaline after-glow. That warm feeling of satisfaction is... indescribable. If you’d like to experience it for yourself, you’ll need sturdy legs, a bit of

courage and self-confidence (paragliding is not for the faint-hearted). But most of all, you need that vital, life-sustaining dose of adventurism, an explorer attitude, and it helps to be a wee bit of a romantic. Vincent G. Christian is a chemical industry businessman and extreme sports enthusiast specializing in skydiving, paragliding, scuba-diving, yacht racing and beer drinking. Anyone who paraglides in Hong Kong must join the Hong Kong Paragliding Association. Its website,, has details of how to get started, Hong Kong’s eight paragliding sites (other local sites include Sai Wan, Long Ke Wan, Pak Tam Au and Pat Sin Leng), rules of the air, second-hand gear and more.



Green living This large garden house in Clearwater Bay is loaded with Hong Kong’s strangely prosaic status symbols: a lawn, a basement, and covered parking. Jealous yet? Ask anyone to list their reasons for living in Clearwater Bay, and chances are the words “garden”, “outdoors living” and “space” will be somewhere near the top. In a town where a lawnmower is a status symbol, a house with a large, mature garden, grass and room to entertain outdoors is highly prized. This 2,500-square-foot house on a corner plot in popular Hang Hau Wing Lung Road makes the most of its indoors-outdoors potential. With sliding doors from both living room and dining area opening onto their own terraces, it’s a house that begs to party. Long, lazy lunches in the private, leafy garden – wine glasses sparkling in the sunshine; cooling off in the shared pool – drift into balmy nights alive with cicadas and giggling children. THIS is what Clearwater Bay living is all about. From the moment you step into the large hallway, it’s apparent this


is a much-loved family home. It oozes warmth, with its east-meets-west furniture and art and antiques picked up on trips around the world. The super-high ceilings add to the sense of spaciousness. Neatly avoiding what are rapidly turning into cookie-cutter open-plan renovations, the kitchen remains a separate room with plenty of work space and masses of storage. And it features another of Hong Kong’s strange status symbols: a basement workshop and storage area. Heading upstairs, there are three larger-than-average bedrooms, including a master suite with a walk-in wardrobe and en-suite bathroom, plus a further family bathroom. But it’s the outside areas that really draw the eye. Nestled behind high walls, the 2,500 sqft in-deed garden envelops the house. It’s a secret world dappled with shape-shifting patches of sunlight and shade that

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move around the house with the time of day and the season. No minimal modern planting here. Instead, there’s a riot of native and exotic plants that give the impression they would storm the walls if given half a chance: the owners keep the mower and secateurs handy. More practically, the covered parking – no more too-hot-to-touch steering wheels or soggy groceries – has space for three cars. Viewing by appointment with sole agent The Property Shop, Dairy Farm Shopping Centre, 8, Razor Hill Rd, Clearwater Bay, 2719 3977,


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guilty bunny

The Gate A ticking off As my daughter casually flicked through last month’s edition of Sai Kung magazine I was overcome by a sudden sense of foreboding. While I had had a cathartic experience writing about her impending plunge into adolescence, I had not given much thought to the fact that she was going to become a shared experience with anyone who happened to read the column. She refused to read my words but all the same demanded an apology for being used as fodder for my ramblings without being asked. Then Current Husband piped up. He also felt he was owed an apology – for Hot Dad. I’m not sure whether he was more piqued at not being named as an HD or that us women at the Gate have the audacity to eye up the talent. Either way an apology had to be thrown his way, too. All this put me in a sorrowful frame of mind. So I might as well continue with my guilt list.


I am sorry to Child Number Three for eating his chocolate Easter Bunny two years ago. I fear I have scarred him for life as “Bunnygate” is brought up whenever chocolate appears in the fridge. Which is frequently. I am sorry to the class parent I accused of whispering about me in the school costume cupboard. Yes, parents often revert to playground behaviour. I am sorry to the dog for shouting at her when she peed on the floor after I shouted at her. For peeing on the floor. I am sorry if you own a chihuahua. I am sorry if it was you I flicked a V-sign at when you didn’t use your indicator at the Silverstrand roundabout. Those little flashing lights are really quite useful. I am sorry to my daughter for having put her brother’s iPod Nano in the wash and

replacing it with an updated and newer version than hers. I am sorry to the children I bounced out of the back of the car at the School Gate in a fit of one-upmanship having won an F1 race to school. I promise to always check the rear-view mirror before I pull away. I am sorry to anyone who runs along Clearwater Bay Road in rush-hour traffic. But you are fair game. I am sorry for dissing Jet Set Mum. We are skiing next year and I could do with some classy gear. I am sorry for losing my cool at Sports Day. But run faster, for goodness sake. It is the winning – not the taking part – that counts. Finally, I’m sorry, but mother is always right Mother-in-the-Middle

family Rainy days & Mondays Three new places to go and things to do... food and party accessories. Prices will be $100 a day from Monday-Thursday, $120 FridaySunday and public holidays, reduced to $80 and $100 respectively during the promotional opening period. 1/F, The Waterside Mall, 15 On Chun Street, Ma On Shan, 2631 4001, www. Bumble Tots Opening this month, Bumble Tots is a 5,000-square-foot bug-themed indoor playground in Ma On Shan for the under-10s. The Bumble Jungle features fun challenges and obstacles such as tube crawls, web deck climbs, a trampoline, zip liner, ball pools, air cannons, a 2.5-metre floor piano, Catch the Firefly reflex game and more. There’s a 6m-long climbing wall, a Bumble Babies soft-play area for the under-twos and a cafe with freshly ground coffee and snacks for parents. It also has a private party room, with an option to order

The Reading Room Sign up your young readers for the children’s book club run by The Reading Room. Opened in September on the Sai Kung waterfront (at the end of the row of fish restaurants in the old town), this sweet little bookshop has a handpicked selection of books for children and adults. What’s more, once you’ve read them it will buy them back – as long








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as they’re in good condition – for re-sale in its pre-loved section. Open daily 10am-7pm, 21 Hoi Pong Road, 9021 2397 / 9199 5900. Swiss Art Studio New in town, Swiss Art Studio has a choice of classes for young artists. Hourlong sessions for the undersixes cover basic techniques in a fun environment. Older children can sign up for the 90-minute classes as part of the Royal Talens Certificate. There are also Family Fun Classes where mum and dad can join in. Classes daily. 14 Po Tung Road, Sai Kung, 3188 4127,


Sai Kung daughter Dealing with curves – 28 weeks’ pregnant People say pregnant women look fabulous. Thank you very much, but we know it’s a white lie. Perhaps you admire our courage as we deal with all the difficult changes to our bodies. Between 24 and 28 weeks, my body changed from curvy to way-too-curvy. It’s been frustrating and uncomfortable. Time to get wise to the products and services that can help. Like most people, I was crazy about big boobs – until I got them. Now I find them too big and heavy. To prevent stretch marks and shoulder pain, say the experts, you must wear a well-supported bra, which means wide shoulder and back straps. They’re harder to find than you’d think. I ran around loads of maternity shops in Hong Kong Island and Kowloon before I finally found what I was looking for in Gennie’s Maternity. It has several styles in sizes up to a G-cup, and some even larger. I went to the Tsim Sha Tsui branch (119A, Chatham Road South), which offers great service.

The most obvious new curve during pregnancy is, of course, the baby bump. In the past four weeks, my belly has swelled tremendously. While I’m happy my baby is growing healthily, I’m finding it so heavy that it’s hard to walk. And after a meal, I have to lie down for a while to ease the weight. A maternity support belt, or belly belt, really helps. It lifts your baby bump and reduces the strain on your lower back. It’s a great relief, especially if you need to be out and about for a few hours. Given the heat in Hong Kong, go for one in a breathable material – Gennie’s is a good source. I’ve been eating more than usual since I fell pregnant. But lately, my stomach seems to have become bottomless. I’m controlling the snacking and trying not to over-eat, but my entire body is broader and wider. I don’t feel very sexy any more. Any woman concerned about her looks will

understand this change can be very frustrating. To shake off those negative feelings, a good maternity photographer can help. GeoBaby. com lists Hong Kong maternity and family photographers, including a few in Sai Kung, although most photographers will travel to you. Through their magic lenses, I have discovered the beauty of being pregnant. For the very first time, I think that, just maybe, those compliments weren’t white lies after all. Heung Sai was born into a big Sai Kung family with 100 relatives. Now she is about to bring the 101st member to the world. She believes Sai Kung is most beautiful place to live in Hong Kong. Heung.Sai@

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schools First look at Kellett Kowloon Plans unveiled for the new primary and secondary campus. Kellett School has released detailed plans for its new Kowloon Bay campus. Designed by Joel Chan of P&T Architects and Engineers, it houses separate primary and secondary sections and an abundance of facilities for sport, art and recreation.


Large, indoor multi-functional sky-lit atrium spaces and outdoor gardens, including a science area and an adventure playground, give the building a sense of space and a variety of environments for learning and play. Sports facilities include a

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large artificial-turf multi-sport area and running track Sky Pitch, and a six-lane indoor swimming pool. Arts provision includes art and drama studios, music rooms, a large auditorium, and performance spaces. There are also modern science labs, design and technology workshops and extensive libraries. The secondary section will have four “houses” and student “hubs” allocated to each year group for a strong sense of

progression through the school. Years 12 and 13 will have facilities in the “Sky Block”. It is due to open in 201213 with 600 secondary and 300 primary places. The Kowloon campus will operate in conjunction with the existing Pok Fu Lam primary school. For details, visit www. or call 2551 8234.


health & beauty The prima treatment Inspired by ballerina Anna Pavlova, the 42-step Payot facial debuts in Hong Kong. Adele Rosi gives it a whirl at the Melo Spa in Sha Tin.

In our time-strapped society, convenience and proximity are all important. But if you’re up for a real treat, the Hyatt Regency Sha Tin is worth going that extra kilometre. Located on the fifth floor of the hotel, the Melo Spa (named after the pomelo, which means “Sha Tin grapefruit” in Cantonese) is the first five-star spa in the New Territories and as top notch as any of its city counterparts. It is surprisingly peaceful and luxurious, without being intimidating. A large, airy lounge housing 12 super-comfy chairs with built-in foot basins is perfect for a group mani-pedi, while each of the nine spa suites comes with a large whirlpool bath, rain shower cubicle, and separate changing and grooming areas alongside the spacious main treatment space. Four of the suites have private outdoor terraces, the two double suites have their own steam rooms, and the VIP suite also features a 42-inch TV. The Melo Spa is the first in Hong Kong to introduce treatments using the Payot range of products as well as the beauty brand’s signature 42step facial. The company’s Russian founder, Nadia Payot, was one of the first women to graduate as a doctor. Meeting the ballerina Anna Pavlova in New York in 1917, Dr Payot was struck by the contrast between the dancer’s youthful body and her ageing face. She made it her mission to remedy this by developing a beauty philosophy based on movement, facial exercise and essential skincare products. Dr Payot pioneered the use of aromatherapy oils and herbal ingredients in the lotions and potions she concocted in her kitchen initially, and set the trend for different products for different skin types and conditions. Today, Payot’s various lines offer everything from restoring radiance (Les Revitalisantes) to anti-ageing (Les Design Lift) – all cleverly colour coded so that even if you don’t remember the name of the line you use, chances are you’ll remember the colour of its packaging.


At Melo Spa, there are six Payot facials to choose from, according to your skin’s needs. Each uses the Payot 42-step facial massage, inspired by dance moves, and is so relaxing as to be almost hypnotic. Trying desperately to keep track of each step, I lost count after the fourth and eventually fell asleep. The massage movements work every muscle in the face and are designed to remove toxins as well as improve the quality and elasticity of the skin. The products, which in my case came from the Les Hydro-Nutritives collection, smelled heavenly. Their texture was light and not greasy, and my skin looked more even-toned and, dare I say, youthful after the facial. I left feeling refreshed on the outside and rested on the inside. Dr Payot, who believed in balancing body and mind, would be proud.

Melo Spa, 5/F, Hyatt Regency Hong Kong, Sha Tin, 18 Chak Cheung Street, Sha Tin, 3723 7684. The Payot facial treatments cost from $800-$1,500 and take 60-90 minutes.


Beauty spot Things that make you go om

Some new yoga classes: Utpala, a Hatha expert and newcomer to the area, is offering lunchtime and evening classes at Tina’s Dance Studio starting this month. For more details call or text 9740 4516. Meanwhile, popular yoga teacher, Julie Dixon, is now running three classes every Tuesday at the Adventist College on Pak To Avenue (the Portofino turning on Clearwater Bay Road). Dixon also teaches at the Clearwater Bay Golf & Country Club on Thursdays, 12.30pm-1.45pm, and Saturdays, 10am-11.15am. For details and bookings, call or text 9285 9199. Even yoga mats come with a designer label these days. But if you’re more into Namaste than names, head down to Harrods (Shun Kee City Houseware, 6 Yi Chun Street, Sai Kung) and pick up a perfectly functional one for $88.

Sai Kung naturopath and pharmacist Dr Sabine Schellerer is now online. Visit www. for a range of teas and homeopathic remedies. With the flu season looming, the cold-busting Metavirulent ($199) is a must-have. Ingested hourly as soon as symptoms strike, it’s claimed to alleviate the duration and intensity of a cold or even dodge it altogether. Schellerer runs a clinic by appointment on Tuesdays and Thursdays, 8am to noon, and Saturdays, 9am-11am, and offers advice by phone (weekdays 1pm-3pm) and email. For details, call 9484 5257, or email info@ The Sai Kung District Community Centre on Mei Yuen Street,

the part-time pedestrian road between the football pitch and the stadium, is a goldmine of low-cost exercise classes. Its kickboxing sessions (Monday and Wednesday, 2pm-3pm; Thursday, 10am-11am) cost just $300 for six classes for members and $345 for non-members. Classes are in Cantonese, although one participant said non-Cantonese speakers would easily be able to understand and copy the movements. Other classes include Hatha yoga, family roller-skating, children’s dance, mathematics and drawing. Membership is optional, but if you do decide to join it costs only $20 for eight years. Call 2792 1762 for details or drop in for a chat.

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pets Auf wiedersehen, pet Even with nine lives, pets don’t live forever. Dr Carmel Taylor looks at stylish send-offs. “Sorry, my crystal ball is not working today.” “Well, can’t you just give her some medicine to make her better?” Pumpkin, an emaciated ball of ginger fluff, lay on the table, the last of her nine lives ebbing slowly away. But her owner, Mrs Wong, was unable to afford a diagnostic workup as she had just splashed out on a plasma TV. She had waited two days to see if the seven-yearold moggy would miraculously sit up and start eating and drinking again. “Alas, I have let the service contract lapse on the magic wand,” I replied wearily. “So, as we discussed, I believe Pumpkin may have an infected uterus, but will need bloodwork and diagnostic imaging to confirm the diagnosis before subjecting her to surgery, and several days of intensive care.” Mrs Wong glared at me, then growled, “I cannot believe you are so heartless – do

you not love animals?’ She swivelled on her Manolos, and stormed into the waiting room. After several calls on her iPhone to various relatives to bemoan the cost of veterinary care, and then a few to nearby clinics to ascertain that they were not magical seers who could conjure up a remedy for an ailing cat for the price of a Happy Meal, she stomped back to the consultation room. “You leave me no choice,” she snarled. “I want her put to sleep.” I turned away as a tear trickled down my face. Pumpkin had been one of my favourite patients, and deserved better. But Mrs Wong was not going to be swayed. “And I want her to have a private cremation. Only the best for my poor baby,” she wailed tearfully. With the recent scramble to secure niches for human souls at the territory’s limited

columbaria, it is comforting to know that when your pets shuffle off this mortal coil they can be cared for by sombre men with white gloves, who operate a 24-hour service to collect and cremate your pet. The alternative is to allow LCSD (Leisure and Cultural Services Department) to dispose of the body in a landfill – Tseung Kwan O residents with sensitive noses, take note. In the United States, pet cremations and burials are a US$3 billion industry. And in Hong Kong, where backyards for pet mausoleums are in short supply, at least six different companies offer private cremations, with special rooms for owners to pay their final respects. “Cremains” can be stored at memorial walls, but most people opt to take them home in an urn. Other funky things can be done with cremains (depending on how many plasma TVs you’ve had to fork out for), including blasting

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them into space on a rocket, incorporating them into fireworks for a fiery send-off, packing them into a stuffed toy in the likeness of your departed pet, or making them into a gemstone. Mrs Wong went for the full funeral service – chanting monks with billowing incense smoke, flowers and eulogies – and had the ashes made into a special crystal pendant, which she proudly displayed when she brought in her new pedigree kitten for vaccination the following week. The rest of Pumpkin is living out “peternity” in an urn beside the plasma TV. Meanwhile, I need to spend this week trying to dust those pesky cremains out of the crystal ball…

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News from the animal kingdom Although its main focus is on canine culinary creations, Three Dog Bakery on Yi Chun Street also stocks “We Pity the Kitties” feline treats in chicken and salmon. And check out its online “Dogalog” at www.threedog. 66 Yi Chun Street, Sai Kung, 2792 6778. Chief Executive Donald Tsang must be reading Sai Kung magazine! In his recent policy address, he vowed to tackle the problem of stray dogs and cats at source. Good job, Donald! He also said LCSD will help identify new sites for dog parks for the “dog lovers among us”. Let’s hope the government speaks to actual dog owners before annihilating great natural exercise areas and planning sterile dog parks along the lines of “Pet Oasis” on the Sai Kung waterfront, which currently consists of a concrete space and a load of chairs. Does your dog wreck your home after you leave? Does your cat pee on your bed? Do your bunnies fight? Help is at hand. Dr Cynthia Smillie, a long-time Sai Kung resident, and one of the first vets to practice in the territory, has completed a three-year course in animal behaviour at Southampton University and has returned to Sai Kung to open the territory’s first veterinary behaviour practice. For details, visit www. or call 9618 2475. Mark your diary! November 28 is the date for Hong Kong Dog Rescue’s seventh annual Peak to Fong fundraising walk. Active pooches can help raise money for rescuing, rehabilitating and rehoming less-fortunate dogs; download the sponsorship application form at www. Street party in Lan Kwai Fong afterwards for thirsty walkers.


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Sai Kung Magazine November 2010  
Sai Kung Magazine November 2010  

Sai Kung Magazine, November 2010. Shopping, paragliding, spa.