FAMILY | EDUCATION | SPORT | BUNNIES
Easter camps around Sai Kung
This is Sparta! Top tips from Spartan Kids Race winners
Places to dive for Asia’s best underwater vacations
189 things to do
The really useful magazine March 2018
BIG DAY OUT
4 Snapped! Sai Kung’s social life
18 Trees under siege Are our incense trees under attack again?
32 Cycling to Plover Cove Tara Smyth heads out on a pedal adventure
44 Ask Dr. Pauline Pet eccentricities and abnormalities explained. Plus Walkies
VINES IN SAI KUNG
20 Emma Pike Founder of Farmer’s Market
36 Diving around Asia Top destinations for an underwater adventure
48 It’s time to vote Stephen Vines takes a local look
THE PLANNER 6 Happening in March What’s on this month NEWS 10 What’s going on? In your backyard ON PATROL 12 Police blotter Sai Kung Police updates GIVEAWAYS
DINING 21 Online groceries Click through your grocery list COVER STORY 22 Easter camps Best camps for kids and teens this spring break
VILLAGE FOCUS 40 Pak Kong One of Sai Kung’s oldest villages BOOK CLUB
14 Free stuff Fab things to win
MUST HAVE THIS MONTH
FIVE MINUTES WITH...
28 This is Sparta(n racing) Special interview with last year’s Spartan Kids Race winners
42 Beautiful bedrooms Give your bedroom a spring makeover
16 Nick Cotton Executive Director of Outward Bound Hong Kong
41 Out this month Books to read in March
Find us on Facebook Sai Kung Magazine
“DON’T CRY BECAUSE IT’S OVER, SMILE BECAUSE IT HAPPENED.” - DR. SEUSS
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...is originally from the Philippines, she moved to Hong Kong to finish her studies in Media a nd Commu nication. Outside writing a nd photography, Julia nne loves exploring Hong Kong. On the weekends, you might spot her racing down Kowloon streets on her white bicycle.
...started hiking in 2011 when she, a nd three friends, signed up for Oxfa m Trailwalker. Not even owning a pair of trainers at that time, she hit the hiking shops, got kitted out a nd hit the trails. Since then, Tara has covered hu ndreds a nd hu ndreds of kilometres on the trails in Hong Kong, UK, Italy a nd Nepal.
... moved to Sai K u ng with his wife 11 months ago. After 6 years photographing dive destinations throughout Asia, he is now enjoying life in Hong Kong. When not ru nning his dive travel platform, Z uBlu, he explores the ma ny ru nning trails a nd craft beer bars with equal exu bera nce.
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Above Hebe Haven
Sailors Awards Night 2018
Hebe Haven Yacht Club will hold their inaugural Sailors Awards Night to celebrate and honour the achievements of sailors. Expect welcome drinks and canapes with an international buffet served from 6:30-9:30pm. $238 for adults, $138 for kids. Free entry after 7pm. Hebe Haven Yacht Club. For more information visit hhyc.org.hk or email firstname.lastname@example.org
UNTIL MAR 24
Tap your inner creative and join for 30 days of dance, music, drama across the city. Visit hk.artsfestival.org for more information.
Ever thought of giving paddling a try? Blue Sky Dragon’s instructors and members are holding an open day for everyone to try. Free session. 9am-11am. Sha Ha Beach, Sai Kung. Visit facebook.com/BlueSkySportsClub for more information.
Hong Kong Arts Festival
Sai Kung Chinese Valentine’s Day Celebration The Sai Kung Kai Fong committee will hold three nights of Cantonese Opera performances to celebrate Chinese Valentine’s Day. Free to watch. Sai Kung Jockey Club Town Hall. Visit districtcouncils.gov.hk for more information.
MAR 3-23 Urban Tails
Find artistic inspiration at HK ILLO’s very first illustration event, showcasing of art from six Hong Kong-based illustrators. Wednesday to Friday 3-8pm, Saturday and Sunday 2-8pm. Swing A Cat, G/F, 241 To Kwa Wan Road, Kowloon, 9378 8614. Visit facebook.com/hkillo
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Blue Sky Dragon Boat Open Day
New Choral Works A cappella chamber choir, New Choral Works, will be performing eight new pieces on the night. Tickets are $100 per person. 8-9:30pm. Sheung Wan Civic Centre Lecture Hall. Tickets available at urbtix.hk
Dimension Duplicity Works of local artists, Amy Ng and Emily Law, will be on display at H studio gallery. Closed on Wednesday. H Studio Gallery 1/1 Wanking Path, Sai Kung. Visit helenbronteboyd.com
Shinrin Yoku Forest Therapy Walk
Relieve your physical and emotional stress with forest therapy. Spending time in nature has proven to help lower one’s blood pressure, stress hormone, enhance emotional clarity and more. 8am-noon, $360 per person. Transportation from Sai Kung will be covered. Tickets available at eventbrite.hk
happening in March Aerial yoga on the beach (experienced)
Tired of indoor yoga? Hike to Tai Long Wan for a session of aerial yoga on the beach. For experienced arial yogis who are tired of being indoors. Tickets are at $560. 12:30-4:30pm. Sai Wan Beach, New Territories. Visit bamboo-yoga.com.
Pump it up at Iris
Sai Kung 10km New Year race
Hong Kong’s largest Health & Wellness Festival returns for its sixth instalment. Nourish yourself with two days of yoga, meditation, food and live performances. $250 per person. Nursery Park West Kowloon. Get your tickets at irishkg.com
A 10 kilometre race organised by the Sai Kung District Sports Association. A family two kilometre race will also take place on the day. Tseung Kwan O Sports Ground, sksa.com.hk
Sai Kung Islands Cruise
Spend your day touring Jin Island, Kiu Tsui Chau and Yim Tin Tsai island. $250 per person. Sai Kung New Public Pier. Visit adventuretours.hk for more information.
Sai Kung Sunday Market
HK International Young Readers Festival
Browse through over 60 stalls of food vendors and artisans at this well-established indoor market. Children can enjoy face painting and cuddles with adorable puppies, while you eat, browse and shop. 11am-5pm, Hong Kong Academy, 33 Wai Man Road, Sai Kung
The Hong Kong International Young Readers Festival returns for its sixth year. This year’s event will host an awesome roster of established and emerging authors such as Sarah Brennan, Gus Gordon, Ritu Hemnani, Howard Wong and more. For a full list of events, visit youngreadersfestival.org.hk
Malvern College Creative Arts Workshop Stir up your child’s creativity at Malvern College’s workshop. The sessions will last 75 minutes and will accommodate children aged 4-7 or 8-11. Admission is free but first-come first-serve. Core Building 1E, Science Park, Sha Tin. Visit malverncollege.org.hk to RSVP.
Mother’s Day (UK) Yim Tin Tsai
Don’t forget to send some flowers.
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planner MAR 10 & 17
Taste of Hong Kong
Garage Sale at HKUST Over 200 vendors will be selling new and second hand goods. Admission for buyers is free. 9am2:30pm. LG3 Car park, HKUST, Clearwater Bay. facebook.com/Garage-Sale-at-HKUST
This year’s festival features 20 local and international restaurants. Sample over 60 signature and Taste-exclusive dishes starting from just $50. Central Harbourfront, Lung Wo Road. Advanced tickets starting from $120 are available at hongkong.tastefestivals.com
Stamford American School Tour Discover more about Stamford American School’s combination of a standards-based curriculum and individualized learning plans from age 5. The tour will be followed by a Q&A session. 1-2pm. Visit sais.edu.hk
Towards The East River: Sai Kung and its Hinterland Local historian and writer Jason Wordie gives an illustrated talk on Sai Kung’s historical background and development. 7pm. $250 for existing members of Friends of Sai Kung. The Hive, 5 Tai Mong Tsai Road. For tickets email email@example.com
Hong Kong Flower Show 2018 Hong Kong Flower show exhibits thousands of flowers and pots of snapdragons. Admission costs $14 and concessionary $7. 9am-9pm. Victoria Park. Visit for more lcsd.gov.hk
Christian Action’s 6th 3-Legged Charity Walk The 3-legged charity walk is back and bigger than ever with more activities for families to enjoy. Registration deadline for the race is March 2. Minimum of $400 donation. 9am-2pm. Clearwater Bay Golf and Country Club. Visit christian-action.org.hk for more information.
Ghost villages of the New Territories Visit the ghost villages of the New Territories. $270 per person, $230 for children aged 3 to 12. Price includes transport from Fanling MTR. To enjoy a pun choi feast, add $140. 9am. adventuretours.hk
MAR 23-26 Sónar Sónar Hong Kong returns for the second edition of the festival. Tickets at $880. 11am-3am. Hong Kong Science Park. Get your tickets at ticketflap.com/sonarhk2018
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Asia Contemporary Art Show This year’s show opens with thousands of artworks from some of the world’s most
interesting and promising artists. Special two-forone advance-purchase tickets are on sale now for $250. Tickets at the door $250 per person. Conrad Hong Kong. asiacontemporaryart.com
Bolly Woof Sai Kung Stray Friends are holding a charity Indian buffet lunch to raise money for their shelter. Expect henna stalls, indian dancers and a raffle. 12:30-3:30pm, $300 per person before March 15, $350 there after. 2/F Eastern Flower Center, Tsim Sha Tsui. Call 9199 2340 for information or visit saikungstrayfriends.org
MAR 29-31 Art Basel
Featuring 248 premier galleries from 32 countries and territories. The showcases the region’s diversity through historical material and cuttingedge works by established and emerging artists. artbasel.com
Christian Action’s 6th 3-Legged Charity Walk
happening in March
BOOK NOW APR 24
The Script Live Soft rock trio The Script will be returning to Hong Kong for the first time since 2011 with the release of their album Freedom Child. Known for hits such as Hall of Fame, Breakeven and The Man Who Can’t Be Moved, the Irish band
reached the top of the UK charts with three of multi-platinum albums. The first single from Freedom Child, Rain has nearly 30 million views, suggesting that The Script has lots of new material for fans to enjoy this year. Catch them in KITEC Star Hall at 8pm. Tickets range from $580-$1,280 on hkticketing.com.hk
The St Petersburg Ballet Theatre: Swan Lake The world-class ballet company finally make its debut in Hong Kong this spring. The 60 member company comprises of dancers trained under the Vaganova method, a particularly rigorous Russian ballet training system. From $445, Lyric Theatre, Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts, 1 Gloucester Road, Wan Chai. hkticketing.com.hk.
MAY 11-JUN 3 Evita
Evita tells the tale of Argentina’s iconic first lady, Eva Perón, starting from her roots as the child of an impoverished family, to her rise to power as Argentina’s nationally adored first lady. The show includes all-time favourite Don’t Cry For Me Argentina and is performed by a talented touring cast. From $445, Lyric Theatre, Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts, 1 Gloucester Road, Wan Chai. hkticketing.com.hk.
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Make Sai Kung plastic free • Lisa Odell attempts to make Sai Kung the first plastic straw-free town in Hong Kong • 5,000 signature needed Plastic Free HK have started a petition to make Sai Kung, Hong Kong’s first plastic straw-free town. They aim to collect 5,000 signatures by May 31 and call on all restaurant owners in Sai Kung to stop providing plastic straw to their customers. At the time of writing, they require an additional 4,385 signatures to meet their goal. “There are a handful of restaurants who have already decided independently to make this change. Some of these are Casa, Little Cove, The Conservatory and Momentai”, said Lindsey Odell founder of Plastic-Free HK. Students and staff at Clearwater Bay School have also joined the movement with
their week-long focus on environmental activities. Their Eco-Warriors club created six large straws from recycled materials which were decorated with more than 700 signatures. The club hopes that families will request ‘no straws’ when they dine out. Odell says that their dream is to see Sai Kung become a leader in sustainable living and be an example for other areas to follow. “But in order to accomplish this, we have to take that first step forwards and thought focusing on plastic straw usage around town would be the perfect starting point.” Sai Kung residents can sign the “SAI KUNG RESTAURANTS: Stop the use of disposable plastic straw” petition at supporthk.org/en/node/4548 or visit facebook.com/plasticfreehk for more information.
New Sake shop opens
Lisa Odell fights to make Sai Kung plastic free
New history podcast by Sai Kung father and son duo
The Wonderful Shop
• Located in Tai Lung Back Street, Old Town • Offers sake, soju, Japanese spirits and Chinese tea On February 9, Sai Kung old town welcomed the new sake store, The Wonderful Shop. The store imports sake and soju from all over Japan, with their number one sake coming from Mie Prefecture. Other offerings include imported
Chinese tea and Japanese spirits. The owners have been running their business for two years in Kwun Tong prior to the relocation, citing a desire to live a more relaxed life in Sai Kung as the reason for the move. The Wonderful Shop is located at Tai Lung Back Street, Old Town. Call 95496168 or visit facebook.com/curry8700
Dead finless porpoises found in Sai Kung • 3 carcasess recovered from Sai Kung over Chinese New Year • Numbers of carcases recovered have more than doubled from previous years Three dead finless porpoises were found in Sai Kung over the Chinese New Year weekend. Two were found along the beach of Ham Tin Wan, one with visible wounds possibly from the propeller of a boat while the other, a juvenile, was only 0.97-metre-long. The third porpoise was found
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washed up on Tai Long Wan. Bodies of one other finless porpoise and a Chinese White Dolphin were also found stranded over the same weekend. The bodies were all sent to the Ocean Park Conservation Foundation for further investigation. In a Facebook post, Cetacean Virtopsy Lab highlighted the increase in the number of carcasess recovered in January and February, from three to four over the last few years to 10 in 2018. To report stranded cetaceans sighted, call at 1823.
Paul (left) and James (right)
• Sai kung residents starts a weekly podcast on history Sai Kung father and son, Paul and 8-year-old James Letters, have started a new weekly history podcast, Dad and ME Love History. The podcast will cover a range of history topics “in a fun style, a bit like Horrible Histories”, said Paul. When asked why they started the podcast, James replied, “Because we love history!” and that “it would be fun to make a history podcast series together”. The first broadcast went live on RTHK Radio 3 and is now available as a podcast series. “We hope lots of kids and parents will enjoy it. If you know someone who might, please tell them about it. Don’t forget it’s free”, said Paul. Listen to their podcasts on iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIn or visit dadandmelovehistory.com
in your backyard
Bye bye Wellcome
Carnivorous fish in Hong Kong waters Photo by KlnBay2014M1117 via wikicommons
• Biggest supermarket in Sai Kung closes after 23 years of operation Wellcome Supermarket along Chan Man Street (next to McDonald’s) closed on February 25 after 23 years of operation. The supermarket was known to be the biggest and cheapest supermarket in the area, with many local residents relying on this branch for their groceries. Wellcome have yet to mention any plans of relocation; instead, they have issued a statement saying they have been “happy to serve the Sai Kung community and look forward to doing so for many years to come”. The Wellcome store at Chui Tong will remain open.
• Hybrid fish could be breeding in Hong Kong’s open water There had been reports of fishermen catching a hybrid breed of an adult grouper, known as Sabah grouper, around open waters in Sai Kung. Live Sabah grouper should only be found in wet markets, restaurant aquariums and bred in offshore sea pens in Hong Kong. Now it is feared to be invading Hong Kong waters. If the specimen was allowed to grow in numbers,
it could interbreed with a native grouper and throw the ecosystem off balance. Initially lab-bred at Universiti Malaysia Sabah in Kota Kinabalu, it now accounts for about 40 to 50 per cent of farmed fishes sold in Hong Kong markets. Local farmers of groupers in Sai Kung have been quoted to have said “it wouldn’t be a surprise if it is spawning”. Local environmental groups have expressed their concern while government department have formed a team to take handle this matter.
Chan Man Street Wellcome
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Chief Inspector Daniel Tsang reports on the recent cases in Sai Kung
- A crane truck lost its wheel while driving
up Hiram’s Highway on February 2. The detached wheel hit the car that was driving in the opposite lane. The driver, aged 53, of the damaged car felt pain on his neck and was sent to Tsueng Kwan O Hospital in a conscious state. The case is now being handled by the Accident Investigation Team.
- On February 13, a hiker sprained his ankle
and was rescued from Ham Tin Wan by the government flying service. He was brought to a Wan Chai helipad but refused to be treated at a hospital. A second rescue was launched on the same day when a group of four lost their way after starting a hike from East Dam to Pak Lap.
- A case of animal cruelty was reported at Ho
Cheung Village after neighbours smelt faeces coming from the property. The dog owner, aged 55, was given a similar warning last year in August for not cleaning the faeces of his golden retriever. The owner was arrested and the case is currently investigated in partnership with Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
- In February, 12 fishermen were caught
illegally entering Hong Kong waters. Their
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East Dam of High Island Reservoir
boat accidentally crossed over international borders while they were chasing fish. The men were coming from Nan’ao Island in Shantou.
- A girl, aged 15, was reported missing by her
father on February 7 and has yet to be found. The same girl had two missing reports in 2017, she was previously located in Tseung Kwan O and Mong Kok a few days later after claiming she went missing on purpose for fun.
- In February, a Sai Kung resident lost $2,000
from a case of deception. The victim saw an air conditioner advertised for sale on Facebook and contacted the seller over the phone. However, the seller went missing after the transfer of money to the designated bank was made. The culprit has yet to be caught.
- A burglary took place in a remote flat in Tan
Ka Wan village. $200 worth of petty cash and a $2,000 diving watch was stolen. A group of friends were renting this flat to store their diving gear but it also served as a stopover for passer-bys with a self-serve convenient store. The flats leasing contract will end soon and the renters are not looking to renew.
- Police are aware of reports of burglars
using net and bamboo scaffolding to stealthily climb their way up homes. Police departments are warning residents to lock possible entry points and to keep an eye on their house when scaffoldings are installed on the buildings.
- 2 males in their 20s tried to steal the CCTV camera of Lee Siu Yam primary school at 8pm but only managed to break it - the culprits faces were caught on camera. An ambush operation was mounted by police but failed in catching the culprits.
- In 2017, there were 44 burglary cases, a
25 percent decrease when compared to 2016. With the launch of Sai Kung Division’s WhatsApp campaign last December, there has been an increasing safety awareness of the residents. Learn more about the Weekly Crime Alerts and more information on safety and security by emailing the officers at skdiv-ops-room@ police.gov.hk or calling 6148 0685.
For more information, contact Sai Kung Police Station, 1 Po Tung Road, Sai Kung, 3661 1630
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win at hongkongliving.com
Hong Kong Rugby Union Rugby fans rejoice! The Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens is returning, April 6-8. What better way to show your support for our Hong Kong 7s team than donning the team jersey. We’re giving away one home and one away exclusive jerseys, signed by the Hong Kong team, valued at $1,100 in total.
Younibody Younibody is a one-stop holistic health lab that provides Bioresonance health assessment and therapy that regulate and detox your body. Bioresonance therapy is recommended in particular for children and people suffering from allergies, eczema and attention deficit disorders (ADD). We are giving away a free kids’ allergy assessment program which includes one assessment plus two therapy sessions, valued at $3,280.
Taste of Hong Kong
Spa treatment from MindBeauty
Attention foodies - Taste of Hong Kong is back from March 22-25. Featuring 20 local and international restaurants, participants can sample over 60 signature and Taste-exclusive dishes from the city’s hottest new restaurants and long time favourites. Find out more at hongkong. tastefestivals.com. We have five pairs of passes, valued at $1,500 in total, to give away. Entry deadline: March 16
Did somebody say spa day? With the MindBeauty app, you can book services at a range of quality beauty, fitness and wellness outlets with a click of a button. It’s all about keeping your booking process flexible, hassle-free and simple. Visit mindbeautyhk.com for more. MindBeauty has teamed up with Doctor Li Beauty Lounge to give away two luxurious Rock Spa, Rose Facial and massage treatments, valued at $2,500 each.
Subscribe to our e-newsletter to get all our giveaways delivered straight to your inbox: saikung.com/subscribe
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five minutes with
Nick Cotton Editorial
Managing Editor Eric Ho email@example.com Contributing Editor Carolynne Dear firstname.lastname@example.org Rebecca Simpson email@example.com Vasavi Seethepalli firstname.lastname@example.org Media Trainee Gemma Shaw email@example.com
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Eric Ho speaks to the Executive Director of Outward Bound Hong Kong about pushing the boundaries of education I’ve been in Sai Kung for 13 years, it’s the only place I’ve lived since coming to Hong Kong. I originally lived out in the Country Park which was a great place to be bringing up three small kids. I love the outdoors. Singapore, where I was living before for seven years, was great for rock climbing and mountain biking but was too small of a place. I love that I now have many mountains and beaches nearby. My real passion is in experiential and outdoor education. I’ve been in international education for 20 years, working in Hong Kong secondary schools and international schools. But when the job at Outward Bound came up it was a opportunity to get back to something I really believe in. I’ve worked in classrooms, as pastoral leader, curriculum leader as well as a number of roles in schools. Throughout my entire career, I’ve seen that the real power for change in students comes from their time in the outdoors. I’ve been with Outward Bound for over two years. Our non-profit making organisation has a fantastic blend of history, tradition and development. Everybody I speak to in Hong Kong knows about Outward Bound because we’ve been here for nearly 50 years - it’s our 50th anniversary in 2020. Sai Kung was very different back when Outward Bound Hong Kong was first established. Our location was chosen because it was rather secluded. There were no road access to our site and the only way to get here was by boat.
HONG KONG hongkongliving.com
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Many people have got great stories to tell about Outward Bound. One experience which sticks in people’s memory is jumping off the jetty. We do this at the end of
a course to signify overcoming your fears and a challenge. Something so simple can make individual students realise their potential and become a metaphor for life.
The real power for change in students comes from their time in the outdoors
I think there is a problem which exists in both local and international schools. There are some great things done in Hong Kong education but there is a huge amount of pressure on students to focus on the grade not on the learning. Outward Bound students get to reflect upon what they can achieve, as well as their personal attributes, personal characteristics,
how they work in a team. These are things that are getting lost in education in Hong Kong at the moment. We can never and will never replace school, what we should do is compliment it. When an Outward Bound student next faces a hard exam or stressful period of their life, they’ll have the skills and experiences to overcome it. I’ve stayed in Sai Kung because of the community. I’ve got friends in Sai Kung I’ve known for 13 years who are very much part of a community. But in Singapore and perhaps other parts of Hong Kong, it’s more transient - people come and go. Whereas in Sai Kung, people stay, they care about the community, and they help each other out.
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Sales & Marketing Executive Isamonia Chui email@example.com Corrie Tang firstname.lastname@example.org Johnny Wong email@example.com
Black tar painted over tree wound
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Apex Print Limited 11-13 Dai Kwai Street, Tai Po Industrial Estate, Tai Po, Hong Kong
Wounded tree along Man Kung Wo Road (left). Station Sergeant with a confiscated piece of incense tree (right)
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Trees under siege
Reports of incense trees marked in Sai Kung surface once again. Eric Ho finds out more
ince the turn-of-the-year, there have been reported sightings of suspicious marks left on incense trees, a likely indication that incense tree poachers have visited and may return. “On my walk one morning, I found some new damaged and cut trees”, said Pak Wai resident Bill Marr. “The trees are located along Man Kung Wo Road near where it connects to the MacLehose Trail. It must have happened sometime between January 3 to 23.” Incense trees around Sai Kung and other parts of Hong Kong have been the target for thieves looking to cash in on the rare and valuable plant. “The tree produces a dark aromatic resin at wounds as a reaction against fungal infection. Sections
I wouldn’t want my wife and kids to run into them
of tree trunks or branches that contain patches of such fragrant resinous wood are known as ‘agarwood’, which can be used to produce premium-priced items such as sculptures, perfumes and essential oils. The resin is also used as a valuable Chinese medicine called ‘Chen Xiang’”, explained an Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) spokesperson.
Daniel Tsang, Sai Kung Police Divisional Commander, identifies the problem as originating from China, “The area around the Dianbai District in Guangdong Province has historically relied heavily on the incense tree trade where it was legally logged. But due to demand far exceeding what could be legally harvested, poachers started coming down to Hong Kong.” This isn’t the first time damaged incense trees have been spotted in the area, “I first started noticing the problem back in late 2015. At the time, I reported the incident to AFCD who sent professionals down to make sure the trees weren’t a safety hazard”, said Marr. “I’ve also caught people in the act of cutting too. I have no interest in confronting
stumpy situation them but I think it’s tragic to cut down the trees. I’m not too worried about my own safety but I wouldn’t want my wife and kids to run into them.” Regarding safety, Tsang advises civilians not to confront poachers as they are typically carrying sharp and potentially dangerous tools. “We had one case in Pak Tam Chung where we stopped some suspicious people and found an axe, scissors and a crowbar in their rucksack. It was later discovered that they were looking to poach incense trees and were sentenced to two to three years in jail.” Historically, poachers entered the hillsides and would spend a few days camping, hunting and cutting trees before leaving again, but Tsang believes the methods being used are starting to change, “They’ve starting coming to Hong Kong on a daily basis. They now rent guest houses in Kowloon and take the bus into Sai Kung.” Changes in trends has meant changes in police tactics, “Before, we would go into the hillsides searching for illegal immigrants. Now we focus on stop and searches on buses and taxis. The thieves are attempting to transport trees out by buses”. AFCD have also stepped up patrol at locations within country parks and special areas to monitor the situation, “When suspicious marks or tags are spotted, we would remove
Tsang showing a growing incense tree
The thieves are attempting to transport trees out by buses
them and inform the police to carry out further enforcement actions”, said the AFCD spokesperson. Marr adds that AFCD note the GPS points into their database, do regular survey and checkups as well as apply a black tar or resin paint over the wounded areas, “I
was informed that this makes the tree lose all value to the poachers.” Despite the recent warning signs, Tsang reports that there were only nine cases relating to incense trees in 2016, a large drop from the 38 cases reported in 2015. “What has worked is that the community is much more aware about incense trees in their villages and residents are guarding them themselves. They treasure it because they were planted by their families from older generation decades ago”. Having said this, Tsang admits that the drop in reports could be because “we, AFCD and the community are doing a really good job or most of the decent trees have already been cut.” The AFCD spokesperson believed the situation for incense trees is much less bleak, “Despite illegal exploitation, smaller trees and seedlings are still commonly found in the countryside of Hong Kong. The AFCD has also been planting seedlings of incense trees in the countryside to ensure long-term viability and sustainability of the local populations”.
Who to call? When illegal tree felling is found, call 999 for emergent cases or 1823 to report illegal tree felling activities.
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interview Who inspires you? I was a bit of a ratbag in school and didn’t really like going. I had a teacher in Year 9 called Ms Robinson. One day, she sat me down and told me about her hard times. I will always remember how this conversation set me on the right track. She taught me that if I want something, I need to go work at it, get it and don’t let people put you down.
What is the best piece of advice you have for aspiring entrepreneurs? Meet as many people as you can and be an expert when it comes to your field.
Young Emma going to an interview
Emma’s timeline Farner’s Market delivers fresh produce straight from the farms
Delivering success Julianne Dionisio chats with Emma Pike of Farmer’s Market about becoming a succesful entrepreneur Tell me about yourself. I am a mother of two and have been living in Hong Kong for 12 years. I also own Farmer’s Market and we import meat from Australia and deliver farm fresh products straight to homes.
What gave you the idea to start an online butcher? I saw a need in the market, like I did for my other business’ and just went with it.
What were the ups and lows of starting Farmer’s Market? The worst times were probably when I would look at the bank account after continually putting money into the business. However, that is slowly changing.
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The best times have come from the events we do and meeting people. I love putting events on for others, helping charities, talking at events and helping other small business’ get well connected to the right individuals.
How do you find Hong Kong as a a female entrepreneur? I think for some it can be challenging but I love it. It can be a bit male dominated country but if you go in with confidence and a strong mind you can achieve anything.
Is being an entrepreneur innate for you? Yes, for sure! I remember when I was around 9 years old growing up at Bondi Beach trying to sell sand to tourists...until my parents found out and put it to an end. Emma Pike
- Emma is born
- First business selling sand to tourists on Bondi Beach
- Emma eats her first steak
- Emma drops out of school after Year 10
- Opens her first official business “Emma’s Typing Services”
- Emma joins the army reserve and is awarded “Best Shooter”
- Ranked 96 in the world for squash
- Marries Steven Pike
- Moved to Hong Kong
- Emma’s son, Charlie, is born
- Emma works as the squash coach for HK Football Club
- Emma’s daughter, Molly, is born
- Opens Up N Go Design, a website development company
- Opens High Tide, swimwear company
- High Tide closes six months after opening
- Opens Farmer’s Market
- Farmer’s Market launches in Singapore
Click through your grocery list. By Julianne Dionisio Honest Bee Honest Bee is a delivery and concierge service specific for groceries. Customers can choose from up to 50,000 online products available across multiple supermarkets. honestbee.hk
Farmer’s Market Haggling in a wet market isn’t for everyone, so Farmer’s Market has taken out the hassle in buying meat from traceable and sustainable sources. They guarantee 100 per cent plantbased beef free of antibiotics and hormones, rich in omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin B6 and with less calories. Ordering from their website is easy as pie, with next day delivery for weekday orders placed before noon. 9556 0070, farmersmarket.com.hk
Market Place by Jason’s This popular lifestyle supermarket surely needs no introduction. They have a large range of organic products, including rice and grainsbased foods, dairy, drinks, fresh produce, meats, condiments, and baby food. Market Place also stock a range of Sainsbury’s products, including their organic range – comforting if you’re missing a taste of home.
Jou Sun Jou Sun, online farmer’s market, champions local food producers who practice organic and responsible farming, helping them sell directly to end-customers. Jou Sun works with 40 vendors, offering more than 1,000 products, using chilled boxes to keep your groceries at safe temperatures during transport. And if you’re not home, select their ‘doorstop’ delivery
and vendors will make sure your products are packed with ice-packs.
Green Concept A wide variety of health and green products to champion a healthy lifestyle. Offerings include foodstuff, organic sprouting seeds, green drinks, organic coffee and substitutes, and healthy snacks. Aside from stuff for your weekly shop, they’ve also got gluten free options,
supplements, natural body care products, and homeopathic medicinal remedies. 2/F Prosperous Commercial Building, 54-58 Jardine’s Bazaar, Causeway Bay. 2882 4848, online.healthshop.com.hk
South Stream Seafoods Despite its name, South Stream doesn’t just deal in seafood. They’ve got pretty much everything you need to whip up a healthy home-cooked meal, products like gluten-free spaghetti, organic ribeye steaks to organic mushroom broth. South Stream sources their meat from Australia and New Zealand, and you can get it cut to your liking. 2555 6200, south-stream-seafoods.com
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Eric Ho rounds up the best camps for kids and teens this spring break
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Photo by Hunt Smith, Treasure Island Surf Camp
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ACADEMIC Mulberry House
ESF Language & Learning
Hong Kong’s first Reggio Emilia inspired Mandarin immersion school will wisk children on a fun filled Easter learning experience. Open to ages 2 to 7 years old, children can enjoy storytelling, music and dance, Easter themed arts and crafts, magical science and an Easter egg hunt. Priced $600 for 2 to 3 years and $1,066 for 3 to 7. Camp dates: April 3-6, April 9-13 and April 16-20. Register before March 16 to enjoy a 20 per cent discount. Easter camps will be held at both their Central and One Island South campus. 5598 0509, firstname.lastname@example.org, mulberryhouseasia.com
Join ESF for an exciting week of fun and adventure as they explore a variety of super stories. Also back by popular demand, Upper Primary Author Writing Workshop - taught by award-winning author K. T. Durham - will be returning for one class only during Spring Camp, 9-13 April. Spring camps available at ESF Language & Learning Centre, Kowloon Junior School, Renaissance College, and their Tsing Yi and Wu Kai Sha Kindergartens. esf.org.hk/camps
Challenge the mind, brain and body in one of YWCA’s camps for little ones. Opportunities range from tennis to playing junior scientist. With hundreds of options to choose from YWCA has one of the most comprehensive lists around. Camps include the Helen O’Grady Drama Academy Easter Camp for 4 to 7 year olds ($2,080 for five sessions), Robotic Workshops for 4.5 to 6 year olds ($1,570 for two sessions), Gymnatics & Trampoline Day Camp for 4.5 to 6 year olds ($460 per session), Kids Can Cook for 3-10 year olds ($400 per session), and the ever popular Little Scientists for 3 to 11 year olds ($640 per session). Dates vary according to camps. clle.ywca.org.hk
Baumhaus An indoor, age-specific Easter camp designed to encourage a productive and enjoyable learning experience for kids, from newborns to 6-year-olds. It’s a flexible programme, starting at $300 for one day playroom access plus one class. Priced $570 for unlimited playroom access plus two classes and $840 for those who want three classes. The camps will run April 3-6. Available at both Wan Chai and Harbour City locations. Baumhaus.com.hk
HK Kidz HK Kidz is running a selection of fun and activity-packed camps in English, French, German, Spanish and Mandarin. If you’re looking to spark your child’s creativity and imagination, don’t miss their culture and enrichment
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programmes: Language & Art, Drama & Music, Science & Discovery, Language and Cooking, Lego and Robotics and more. Running April 3-21. Easter camps will be available at both Central and Wong Chuk Hang locations. 2877 6160, email@example.com, hkkidz.com
egg-cellent camps First Code Academy Get your geek on and find your inner computer whiz with one of First Code Academy’s Easter camps. The camps offer kids aged 4-18 years old the opportunity to turn their computer ideas into reality; from building apps, website, games and hardware projects. Camps are suitable for both beginner and intermediate leveled coders. Running from April 4-13. Easter camps will be available across their Sheung Wan, Kowloon and new Causeway Bay location. Starts at $2,250. Special bundle offers available when you sign up to more than one camp at a time. Those who enroll before March 13 will also receive up to $280 off. 2772 2108, firstname.lastname@example.org, hk.firstcodeacademy.com
CREATIVE ARTS Faust International Be inspired by the wonderful world of theatre and performing arts with Faust International’s Holiday programs. This year, Faust will offer a Holiday Theatre (open to ages 4 to 12), and Creative Writing (open to ages 6 to 13) programmes. The former invites budding actors to explore a selection of stories inspired by the wonders of nature and about protecting the environment. All Easter programmes will be held at their Sheung Wan studio this year. Both programmes run for four days and is $2,370 per person. March 26-29, April 3-6 and April 10-13. A further one day workshop ($890) which includes a final performance will be held April 9, participants can invite two guests to watch the show at the end of the day. 2547 9114, email@example.com, faustworld.com
Anastassia’s Art House
Anastassia’s Art House Learn to draw, paint and sculpt from the créme de la créme at Anastassia’s Art House, an awardwinning Russian art academy with locations in Sai Kung, Repulse Bay and Happy Valley. Qualified specialists are flown in from around the world promoting globalised, multicultural, artistic training. Starting at $280 for a one-hour session. Runs from April 3-15, closed April 5. arthouse-hk.com
Expect nature exploration, problem solving, bush crafts, imaginative games, overnight camping and more. Running from April 2-6 and April 9-13, starting at $670 (multi-day package discount available). Children aged 5 to 11 are welcome to join the adventure. 2988 5355, firstname.lastname@example.org, arkedenonlantau.org
Elephant Community Press
Hong Kong Ballet Put on your dancing shoes and leap down the rabbit hole with Alice (in wonderland). Hong Kong Ballet are holding a three day theatre camp which will take children aged 4 to 10 on a magical journey of theatrical ballet. March 30 to April 1. Prices start at $1,300. 2105 9743, email@example.com, hkballet.com/easter_camp
Shaping budding authors and avid young readers, these Easter workshops aim to instil the foundations of good storytelling and creative writing. Running from March 26-29 and April 3, 4 and 6. Camps on offer include the Eggstraordinary Hunt for ages 6 to 8; Eggstein’s Eggcellent Inventors workshop is for ages 10-12 and many more. Early bird discount (10 per cent off) is available for enrollments received on or before Feb 23. Prices start from $960. 3487 3153, info@elephantcommunitypress. com, elephantcommunitypress.com
OUTDOORS Ark Eden Awaken the adventurous and curious side of your child with Ark Eden’s Easter camp. This camp is set in the beautiful Mui Wo valley of Lantau Island where children get to learn in the natural playground and outdoor classroom.
Outward Bound Hong Kong Outward Bound Hong Kong has been providing personal development programmes for nearly 50 years. The non-profit experiential education organisation helps individuals develop their confidence, responsibility, leadership, teamwork, creative thinking, problem-solving skills and social responsibility. Children aged 9 to 10 can join 4 Kidz ($4,740),
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Hebe Haven Yacht Club
a specific programme designed for those who are almost reaching the age of adolescence. Older kids, aged 11 to 13, can join their Teen Explorers ($4,780). Both programs are unning April 3-7. 2792 4333, firstname.lastname@example.org, outwardbound.org.hk
HK Forest Adventures The Ma On Shan based forest school will reconnect Hong Kong kids with the great outdoors. HK Forest Adventures runs multiple easter themed programmes, all play-based, to spark the children’s imagination and creativity. Open to children aged 1.5 to 11 years old. April 2-7. Prices range from $1,450 to $2,250. 5238 2377, email@example.com, hongkongforestadventures.com
Treasure Island Treasure Island will have children embark on an epic adventure around Pui O Beach this Easter. Kayaking, gorging, raft building and hiking are just some of the exciting activities on offer. Running April 2-6 and April 9-13. This year, their annual treasure hunt will be held on April 2, 3-5pm, giving kids the chance to find chocolate plus the awesome prices from Mavericks, Vans, 852Shop, Colcom, Float Captain and more. 2546 3543, firstname.lastname@example.org, treasureislandhk.com
SPORTS Hebe Haven Yacht Club Set sail this Easter break with Hebe Haven’s popular Adventure Watersports Week. Kids can enjoy outdoor activities such as sailing, day trips to outer Sai Kung islands, beach games kayaking and more. Open to children aged 6 to 14 years old. Priced at $2,900 for members and $3,800 for non members. 10am-5pm, April 2-13. Information on their other sailing courses can be found online. hhyc.org.hk
ESF Sports Blue Sky Sports Club
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ESF Sports Spring Camps are offering a stimulating power packed programme filled with active games and engaging activities for children aged 2 to 7. Children will be grouped by age in
developing their skills whilst playing and making new friends in an inclusive and nurturing environment. Spring Camps will be running at Kowloon Junior School, Renaissance College and West Island School. esf.org.hk/camps
Sports4Kids Hong Kong Academy (HKA) and Sports4Kids team up this Easter holiday to offer an action packed multi-sport camp. Kids aged 4 to 12 will have the opportunity to play a range of sports such as football, rugby, gymnastics and swimming. The Easter camp will also involve arts and craft activities. Priced at $3,200, HKA will also run free pick up and drop off bus services to Admiralty Kowloon Tong and Tai Wai MTR stations for those who enroll. April 2-7, 9am-2pm. 2773 1650, email@example.com, sport4kids.hk
Blue Sky Sports Club Get ready for five days jammed pack with mixed water sports including Stand-Up Paddleboarding, kayaking, surfing, wakeboarding, dragon boating and snorkeling. Camps are open to ages 8 to 18 and must be able to swim 25 metres without any assistant. April 2-5, 9:30am-3:30pm. 2791 0806, firstname.lastname@example.org, bluesky-sc.com
A Team Edventures Unleash your wild side with A Team Edventure’s action-packed Easter camp.
egg-cellent camps The outdoor education organisation teaches children sports and leadership skills, both crucial later on life. Camps last three days and two nights out at Tai Long Sai Wan and sees adventurers take on Stand-Up Paddleboarding, kayaking, surfing, canyoning, stream trekking, slacklining plus many other team games. Priced at $3,250. April 2-4, April 4-6, April 6-8 and April 9-11. 2560 8838 , info@ateamedventures. com,ateamedventures.com
Hong Kong Basketball Academy Get your head in the game with Hong Kong Basketball Academy’s (HKBA) Easter camps for boys and girls. HKBA’s camps are renowned for their high intensity, fun-filled learning environment, with campers developing fundamentals and basketball IQ, improving strength and conditioning, and being more successful on the court. 10am-noon, running April 3-4 and 6-7. Priced at $500 per day. hkbaallday.com
Minisport A great way to get the children active this spring break. Minisports coaching style at camps ensures that children are engaged in dynamic activities that develop skills and build confidence across basketball, football, tennis and athletics. Camps held at Victoria Park and West Island School. Open to ages 1.5 to 7 years old. April 3-12. Price starting at $600. Early bird discounts available for bookings made before March 19. sportsclassesforkidshk.com
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THIS IS SPARTA(N RACE)
Yasmin Hingun gets the low down from last year’s Spartan Kids Race winners on how to conquer this famed obstacle race.
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sport What the parents say Justin’s dad and Charlie’s mum chip in on the Spartan Kids’ Race
What’s in it for kids? Michael Eden: “When [Justin] saw the course, his first reaction was ‘oh, this isn’t so difficult’. But when he finished it he was like ‘oh that was quite a lot of work!’ So the race was a good challenge for him.”
Is the Spartan Race dangerous for kids?
he legendary Spartans began their military training from childhood, so it makes sense that Hong Kong’s biannual Spartan Race, referred to as the “world’s best obstacle race”, is open for children as young as 4. Despite taking its name from ancient Greek warriors, Spartan Racing has little to do with military training. On the contrary, the organisers emphasise the importance of having fun and accommodating athletes of all ages. Throughout the day on April 14, over a dozen age-specific race heats will be held for children ranging from 4 to 13 years old, with only one competitive heat. The rest of the children’s heats are non-competitive, with the objective being to provide racers an active learning experience. We spoke to two winners of last year’s competitive kids’ heat, who shared their tips on how to get the most out of Spartan racing.
Foster a Spartan spirit Justin Eden, the male winner of last November’s competitive heat, is an avid rugby player and motocross biker. However, Eden stresses that impeccable athletic prowess is far from a requirement. “You don’t have to be there to win, nor do you need a really high fitness level to finish jog it if you have to!” says the Year 9 Sha Tin College student. “Spartan racing is all about having fun and doing it however you want.” Last year’s female winner, Charlie Peters, has a similar take to Eden’s on the spirit of Spartan Racing. “It’s tough, but it’s fun,” states Peters, a Year 8 student at French International School. “The main thing is just trying your best.”
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Boys are raring to go
Pick up new skills If your child is worried about coming across a seemingly impossible task mid-race, don’t worry - the course is open from 7-9.30am for the day’s racers to scout around and try out the obstacles. For Eden, the pre-race period was a blessing, since he tried out and picked up a new skill before his heat began. “My friend and I scouted the track to see how we could complete it faster. During that time I learned how to climb a rope - I had no idea before that.” This pre-race practice enabled Eden to successfully overcome the Rope Climb obstacle, giving him a good lead. More importantly, Eden is happy with his new ability, “Learning to climb the rope was my favourite part of the race. I loved how that was new and I learned something I’d never done before.” For the two teens, Spartan racing is indeed about embracing new experiences, “The race widens up what you can do because there are lots of different activities within the course,” says Peters. “Other races I’ve done in Hong Kong don’t really have obstacles,” adds Eden.
Janey Peters: “Not at all. It’s also more of a sprint than an arduous long distance race. I think it’s very doable for most. The main thing is that it’s great fun.” The kids’ edition is indeed designed to comfortably match the abilities of children. It is shorter, lasting anywhere from half to two kilometres (depending on the heat’s age range) and involves fewer obstacles than its adult counterpart. Some of the obstacles are also altered for safety; for example the kids’ “barbed wire” obstacle uses ropes.
What’s in it for parents? Janey Peters: “Charlie had a lot of friends join in as well - it’s surprising how many people we saw there whom we know. Which means it’s actually very nice to attend as a parent too.”
Rope c li obstaclemb Justin Eden on the right
Refueling after the race
Prepare well For Peters, the perfect pre-race day formula is simple. “Have a good dinner and go to bed early,” she recommends - straightforward, but crucial for having enough energy for the action-packed event. In line with the mindset of a competitive racer, Eden takes his preparations a step further by getting himself “in the zone” for a great race day. “I always spend some time to think about what I want from the next day, to say, ‘Okay, tomorrow you’re gonna run, you’re gonna be ready, and you’re gonna have fun.’” Making sure your children are physically and mentally prepared the day before the race is a great way to ensure they have lots of energy and excitement to complete the course.
Don’t fear Racing against older children may be daunting for your child, especially if he or she is on the younger end of the heat’s age range. The trick, according to Peters and Eden, is to just focus on what you’re doing, instead of worrying about other racers. “I was probably intimidated by some other racers since I’m not such a long distance runner -
Spartan Kids Race is open for to kids as young as 4
Leaping to glory
I thought my friend would win,” admits Eden. “But I didn’t focus on other racers, I was thinking more about myself and my run.” “Some of the boys and girls were really tall when I did my first Spartan race,” remembers Peters. “But during the actual race you won’t think about how old they are or how tall they are. You just think about your race.” When asked what she would tell any peers hesitant on joining the race, Peters says, “If you don’t win you’ll lose nothing - the only thing that can happen is you gain something from doing the race.” “There’s nothing to be nervous about,” assures Eden. “Just have fun when you’re
running, pace yourself if you don’t want to tire out, and go out there and enjoy the experience.” The first Spartan Kids Race of 2018 will take place on Saturday April 14, with over a dozen heats for children aged 4 to 13. Registering for any non-competitive heat costs $380 per child; partaking in the competitive heat, where winners will receive a prize basket including book vouchers, sports apparel and more, costs $480. Note that only 11 to 13 year olds can register for the competitive heat. To sign your child up or learn more about Spartan Racing, visit spartanrace.hk
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big day out
Cycling to Plover Cove
Tara and friends are ready to roll
Tara Smyth and friends head out on a pedal adventure around the New Territories man’ who was very accommodating of our early start. On arrival he helped us adjust the bikes to suit our various heights and fitted us all with safety helmets. Once we’d had a few laps around the car park and time to familiarise ourselves with our two-wheeled friends, we were all set to go.
or this month’s Big Day Out, we swap the hiking trails for the cycle tracks. The idea is to cycle all the way to Tai Mei Tuk, some 25 kilometre away, from our starting point on Sai Sha Road, near Ma On Shan. Those who don’t own a mountain bike, racer, tandem or trike need not worry. With some straightforward planning, we managed to hire nearly-new mountain bikes from Lung Kee Cycle shop - the bikes and gear were all delivered straight to our starting point. We convened at Sai O Car Park, opposite the Thai restaurant, Country Inn. Bus 86P, 87E, 99, 99R and 299X all stop here while the closest MTR station is Wu Kai Sha. I arranged for the bikes to be delivered at 8am. This wasn’t a problem for the lovely ‘bike
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Enjoy remarkable views of the New Territories’ mountain ranges
The route follows well-marked, highly maintained cycle tracks and finishes at the same bike shop we rented our gear from. To begin, head behind the toilets at the far western end of the car park to locate the cycle track. The route is mostly simple to follow, with the sea on your right the entire time. However, there is one section, before you get to Ma On Shan Park, that requires some attention. Cycling with Sai Sha Road on your left, you
On the way to Plover Cove
How to rent a bike We used Lung Kee Cycle shop and arranged the bike delivery on Sai Sha Road, by emailing email@example.com or call 2662 5266
wheelie good time
Boats docked near the waterfront
will need to take the underpass to ‘cross’ this road - this means you’ll be cycling with Sai Sha Road on your right for a short while. At first this will seem counterintuitive as you cycle away from the waterfront. But bear with it, as you will go under a second underpass, taking you back towards the seafront and Ma On Shan Park. If you are unsure or get a little lost,
do ask fellow cyclists or pedestrians walking alongside the cycle track for help. We found the cycling community to be extremely friendly and helpful overall, one even stopping to help us with an errant chain. Once past Ma On Shan Park, you will need to cross over the river – there are no special instructions or negotiations required – just
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big day out
Stunning views of New Territories’ mountain ranges
follow the track the entire time and it will take you safely across the pedestrian/cycle bridge, away from any traffic. You can now stay on the same track, with the sea on your right, all the way to Tai Po Waterfront Park. There are many places to stop along the way for snacks and refreshments, all of which enjoy remarkable views of the New Territories’
There are many places to stop along the way for snacks and refreshments
mountain ranges all around you. There are also public conveniences dotted along the way, you should have no reason to get caught short. Once you reach Tai Wong Yeh Temple (15 kilometres in), you will see signposts for Tai Po Waterfront Park as well as Tai Mei Tuk.
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Reaching the finish line
The latter will be your finish point, however, it is well worth detouring to Tai Po Waterfront Park and having some snacks and a toilet break. There is much to do and see in Tai Po Waterfront Park, it could almost lend itself to a Big Day Out in its own right. Please note, once off the tracks and in the park itself, you will need to dismount from your bikes. Signs will tell you where you can and cannot cycle. Tai Po Waterfront Park explored, head back to the Temple and continue along the original cycle track, sign posted to Tai Mei Tuk. You will now find yourself skirting Ting Kok Road all the way to Plover Cove Reservoir at the end. Before giving your bikes back to the bike shop, take yourselves over the reservoir,
as the views are spectacular. Cycle all the way to the end and look back across toward Pat Sin Leng. You can also see Ma On Shan in the distance, where your journey first began. Once back in Tai Mei Tuk, return the bikes and head to one of the many Thai restaurants for some spring rolls and a Tsing Tao beer! How to get home from here? We just called an Uber.
Tara Smyth runs photography company Nitty Gritty Image. For details, visit facebook.com/NittyGrittyImages
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Diving around Asia
Diving expert and Sai Kung resident Adam Broadbent gives his top Asia destinations for an underwater adventure
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under the sea
Sabah, Malaysia Great for: • South East Asia’s largest populations of green and hawksbill turtles • Encounter schools of barracuda and jackfish • Stay on a converted accommodation platform with 360 degree sunset view Sabah’s Sipadan Island is considered by many to be one of the best places in the world to dive with turtles. The resident green and hawksbill turtles can be seen anywhere on the island, but a dive around Barracuda
Point reveals just how special Sipadan really is. Green turtles can be found lazing on the corals surrounded by schools of colourful reef fish. On a good day, divers may encounter 20-30 turtles on a single dive, particularly at low tide when they leave the shallow reef flats and move into deeper water. Divers are no longer allowed to stay on Sipadan but the nearby Seaventures Dive Rig - a converted accommodation platform with incredible sunset views over the surrounding sea - makes for a unique holiday experience.
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Hai Tide Beach Resort in Nusa Lembongan
Nusa Lembongan, Bali, Indonesia Great for: • Diving with Mola mola during the summer months • Diving with manta rays • High energy drift dives amongst schools of fish, reef sharks and turtles The turbulent seas around the islands of Lembongan, Cenida and Nusa Penida, just off Bali’s southeastern coast are home to one of the world’s most unusual fish - the extraordinary Mola mola, also knowns as the ocean sunfish. These giant pelagic animals gather in the cold
water upwellings that surround the islands in the summer months from June to September, feeding on jellyfish and visiting the reefs. These strong currents also mean some dramatic, swirling drift dives with sharks and schooling fish, and also bring in plenty of plankton for reef manta rays that feed around the islands year round. Hai Tide Beach Resort built right on the beach on Lembongan Island is the perfect base for divers in search of Mola mola, manta rays and much more.
Baa Atoll, Maldives Great for: • Snorkelling with one of the world’s most incredible underwater phenomenon • Learn about conservation science, as well as contribute to important research on manta ray populations • Cruise through the stunning tropical atolls of the Maldives
Manta rays in the Maldives
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An encounter with the majestic manta ray is top on the bucket list for most divers and snorkelers. The Maldives - epitomised by idyllic islands, crystal-clear lagoons and underwater treasures - is arguably one of the best destinations for such encounters. However,
Broadbent’s tips for new divers Hong Kong is an ideal learning ground for divers, with more than 80 types of coral and almost 6,000 recorded species. Where to dive? Bluff Island - great swim throughs to explore Nine Pins - anemones and morays Hoi Ha - shipwrecks Ping Chau - beautiful corals When to dive? Although diving is possible year-round, the season generally runs from March to June and September to October. Water temperatures reach highs of 32°C in the summer and lows of 17°C in the winter. Who to dive with? Your starting point is generally a PADI Open Water course consisting of five confined water lessons in a pool, four open water dives in or around Sai Kung, along with theory in the classroom. Splash -based in Sai Kung - is another great place to start your training, with their lovely wooden dive boat, wonderful team and award-winning instructors. By completing your training in Hong Kong, you can maximise your time spent underwater when you eventually head off on a dive holiday.
under the sea one spot - Hanifaru Bay - is particularly special. This small keyhole-shaped section of reef in Baa atoll attracts swirling schools of manta rays along with a few whale sharks. Conditions and currents have to be just right for feeding aggregations to occur, it is not a daily event, but the best season to witness this extraordinary natural phenomenon is from late July to early October, although it can occur as early as March and as late as December. There are plenty of luxury resorts and affordable guest houses, but who better to see manta rays with than marine biologists from the Manta Trust, one of the world’s leading manta ray conservation organisations. Join one of their ‘citizen-science’ expeditions to learn about manta ray conservation and assist with vital research.
Maratua, Indonesia Great for: • Drift over rich and pristine reefs • Encountering sharks, rays and turtles • Snorkel the unique jellyfish lake Off Borneo’s east coast lie a group of islands collectively known as the Derawan Archipelago - home to some of Asia’s best diving spots. The area has been explored for many years and islands such as Sangalaki, Maratua and Kakaban have become well known in diving circles, but the long travel times required to get to the islands has kept the vast majority of visitors away; as a result the entire archipelago remains peaceful and close to pristine. Perched on the edge of the continental shelf is the atoll of Maratua, home to Virgin Cocoa Resort and the location of some of Borneo’s most exciting diving. The aptly named ‘Big Fish Country’ has sharks, schooling barracuda, lots of pelagic and powerful currents - perfect for thrillseeking divers.
Well preserved reefs in Maratua
Malapascua, Philippines Great for: • Diving with Thresher sharks, one of the world’s only locations easily accessible to recreational divers • All-round diving experience with wrecks, macro critters and nearby Gato Island • Ideal as a location to learn to dive as well as improve your diving skills Off the tip of Cebu, a sunken island rises out of the depths of the Visayan Sea. Known as the Monad Shoal, this unique location provides recreational divers year-round opportunities to see the elusive thresher shark. These extraordinary animals - with their bullet-shaped heads, metallic-sheen bodies and long scythe like tails - congregating here to take advantage of a series of cleaning stations makes Monad Shoal arguably the world’s best destination to
Shark cave in Malapascua
encounter these remarkable animals. Divers stay at the nearby island of Malapascua and the eco-friendly Evolution Dive Resort is the ideal base for those looking to explore the exceptional diving in the region. Amazing macro diving can be found all the way around Malapascua but a day-trip to Gato Island, with its interesting reef structures and an underwater tunnel filled with whitetip sharks makes for a great alternative. And when the diving is done, there are white sandy beaches to relax on and a range of bars and restaurants to enjoy your evenings.
About ZuBlu Adam Broadbent co-founded ZuBlu, a sustainable dive travel platform providing divers with a simple yet intuitive way to discover exciting dive experiences across Asia. The website marries a powerful search tool with an exciting range of dive destinations and eco-friendly resorts. With in-depth knowledge and first-hand experience, the team at ZuBlu can assist with creating tailored scuba diving and snorkeling trips ideally suited to your wishes. zubludiving.com
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Yasmin Hingun explores one of Sai Kung’s oldest villages
undreds of years ago, during the days of emperors and warlords, the settlements of Sai Kung first formed - among the earliest of these was Pak Kong. Pak Kong, meaning ‘Northern Harbour’, is estimated to trace back to the 1570’s. The village was once accessible by a footpath which stretched from Kowloon City to Sai Kung, but a visitor of today would probably arrive via Hiram’s Highway. If you walked 30 minutes down the highway from Sai Kung Town, you’d reach Pak Kong Road - alternatively you can get off at the Pak Kong bus stop which serves buses 92 and 792M and minibuses 101M and 1A. As you continue walking down Pak Kong Road, you’ll find that the area is home to a few nurseries. Koon Lam Garden is around 500 metres in, where I saw scores of their tangerine trees grown just in time to sell for Chinese New Year. Behind the village, where Pak Kong Road begins to climb up the hillside, is Yue Sun Garden, which grows and sells Christmas trees every year - indeed, a neatly hand drawn sign proclaiming the provision of “X-Mas Trees” was still hanging on a railing when I walked by. Continue trudging past Yue Sun Garden, where the road begins to incline steeply uphill, and you’ll reach the Mau Ping ancient trail. Take note if you’re planning on a hike: Pak Kong Road lacks a pavement and curves a lot, making it hard to look out for approaching vehicles. Oddly, the trail’s start is marked with the Water Supplies Department’s stern metal “danger - no entry” signs. Nevertheless, hikers and dog walkers seem to disregard these
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without much worry. Coming back down from the trail, I noticed that the hillside rises behind the seaward facing village houses, a mark of Pak Kong’s good Feng Shui. Pak Kong’s early establishment meant that very little barred the settlers from building Feng Shui-optimal homes. Other signs of Taoist culture prevail. A small but brightly tiled Tin Hau temple, lit with bulbous paper lanterns, sits in the village’s older, north-eastern section. Among the tightly packed cluster of homes in this eastern half of Pak Kong is the Lok family temple. The red iron doors were wide open when I passed, revealing a room bearing two delicate shrines surrounded by fruit and incense. Today, the Lok clan claims to be the longest settled clan currently remaining in Pak Kong, although the Chen, Lei, Lai and Leung families are included among the indigenous population. In stark contrast to Pak Kong’s age, the walls of the recently built Hong Kong Golf and Tennis Academy tower beyond the village’s western edge. Another modern encroachment is that of the enormous water treatment plant to the south of the village. The Pak Kong Water Treatment Works was built in 1989,
which provides clean water to Sai Kung, East Kowloon and the north of the Island. Although a potential eyesore, the plant is well concealed with greenery, at least as far as I could tell on my visit. Pak Kong itself is expanding on its western side - named Pak Kong New Village where a recent wave of houses have sprung up, with more in construction. Like the juxtaposition of its newer western phase and its centuries-old eastern half, Pak Kong harbours both modern fixtures as well as vestiges of bygone eras. But unless you keep an eye out for the hints, you could easily forget that Pak Kong is a 500 year old settlement with hidden hiking paths and pockets of Taoist tradition. Want to be village correspondent? Email firstname.lastname@example.org
Tangerine trees ready for CNY
Tin Hau temple
Out this month
How Hard Can It Be
Another light-hearted read, Surprise Me follows Sylvie and Dan, a couple who are ticking all of life’s boxes - comfortable home, fulfilling jobs, beautiful twin girls, happy marriage. But when it’s casually suggested that after ten years together they could be looking at another 68, panic sets in. The pair decide to surprise each other to keep the relationship fresh and fun. But a past scandal in unexpectedly uncovered and suddenly their oncesolid future starts to look shaky.
The original struggling mummy, Kate Reddy, is back. But she and her children are older now and this time she’s faced with teens, ageing parents and the menopause. The follow-up to the international bestseller I Don’t Know How She Does It, this time Pearson gives a much welcome voice to the 50+ woman. And quite frankly, the more airtime that can be given to this tricky time of life, the better. A light-hearted novel that hits the nail on the head for middle-aged mums everywhere.
Perhaps stretching the Louisa Clark story a step too far, Still Me is nevertheless an enjoyable sun lounger/ longhaul flight novel that doesn’t require too much depth of thought. Following on from Me Before You and After You, Still Me finds Clark in New York with her boyfriend, Ambulance Sam, back in London. And then she meets a someone who will turn her life upside down. An easy read, although the bumble bee tights are starting to grate slightly - will this woman ever grow up?!
The Woman In The Window AJ Finn It’s been ten long months since Anna Fox last left her home and, engulfed by memories, she’s too terrified to step outside. Anna’s lifeline to the real world is her window, where she sits day after day, watching her neighbours. When the Russells move in, Anna is instantly drawn to them. A picture-perfect family of three, they are an echo of the life that was once hers. But one evening, a frenzied scream rips across the silence and Anna witnesses something no one was supposed to see.
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must have this month Spiral pendant $9,699 from BoConcept Shop 118, Lvl 1, HomeSquare, 138 Shatin Rural Committee Road, Sha Tin boconcept.com
LANA chest $3800 from Francfranc Shop 110-112, Level 1, HomeSquare, 138 Shatin Rural Committee Road, Sha Tin francfranc.com.hk
Matan side table $780 from Francfranc Shop 110-112, Level 1, HomeSquare, 138 Shatin Rural Committee Road, Sha Tin francfranc.com.hk
Beautiful bedroom Give your bedroom a spring makeover
Beautyrest® Blissful Relax Pillow $950 from Simmons Shop 109, 1/F, PopWalk 2, 3620 3043 simmons.com.hk
Wingback chair & ottoman $43,500 & $11,300 from Tom Dixon 52 Hollywood Road, Central tomdixon.net
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Strand 4-poster bed in French oak From $27,365 Queen & King from Atelier Lane 20/F, Central Tower, 28 Queen's Road Central, Central atelierlane.com
make your bed(room) Burger bedside table $5,950 from Tree 116 Man Nin Street, Sai Kung tree.com.hk
Beautyrest Black® Radiance Mattress (Super King) $143,000 from Simmons Shop 109, 1/F, PopWalk 2, 3620 3043 simmons.com.hk
Chunky knit throw $6,610 from Atelier Lane 20/F, Central Tower, 28 Queen's Road Central, Central atelierlane.com
Eclectic royalty diffuser (500 ml) $850 from Tom Dixon 52 Hollywood Road, Central tomdixon.net
Suede cushion $879 from BoConcept Shop 118, Lvl 1, HomeSquare, 138 Shatin Rural Committee Road, Sha Tin boconcept.com
Oxidized vase $1,169 from BoConcept Shop 118, Lvl 1, HomeSquare, 138 Shatin Rural Committee Road, Sha Tin boconcept.com
Natural lighting wood and stone table lamp $1,750 from Tree 116 Man Nin Street, Sai Kung tree.com.hk
Sakka rug $15,590 from BoConcept Shop 118, Lvl 1, HomeSquare, 138 Shatin Rural Committee Road, Sha Tin boconcept.com
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Ask a vet...
Pet eccentricities and abnormalities. Dr Pauline answers your questions
Walkies with Clearwater bay resident Rowan Varty
“Treats: how much is too much for my dog?” You don’t state what you mean by a treat but I assume you mean food. Food treats are excellent rewards when used correctly in training, to reward good and appropriate behaviour and to let your dog know you are pleased with him. “Too much” is when you give food every time your dog looks at you, barks or whines. Too many treats can cause upset tummies, lead to obesity and cause friction and fighting in multi-animal households. My advice is to use treats wisely and your dog will appreciate them, and you, even more. Don’t forget non-food treats like toys, play, walks and cuddles. It’s not only food your dog needs. “My dog’s breath stinks but I can’t brush his teeth as he will bite, what can I do?” It sounds like brushing your dog’s teeth isn’t likely to make a difference at this time, so I wouldn’t recommend you dodge a bite to try. It is best to arrange a dental check up with your vet. I suggest you let the vet know in advance what the problems are so that they can get prepared as it is unlikely that your vet will be able to get a good safe look in your dog’s mouth without sedation or even anaesthetic. Smelly breath can arise from the teeth but it can also come from any part of the mouth or upper gastrointestinal tract. If the teeth are the problem, dental X-rays and perhaps extractions and a clean-up will be required. As far as the toothbrush goes, introducing one to a pup at a young age and linking it to some positive reinforcers like treats is the way to start. Special dental toys and foods are available to assist and are often your only choice in a mouth shy adult dog. “Is it ok for my rabbit to eat it’s own poo?” In one word yes! This is called caecotrophy or coprophagy. In fact if they do not they can be subject to life threatening problems involving the working of their digestive system (DS). Rabbits have a very interesting, highly complex DS that processes and digests food largely with the help of a huge population of bacteria. If it isn’t functioning as normal it can affect your rabbit’s health. Rabbits have adapted to digesting a high fibre diet consisting mainly of grass. Three to eight hours after eating (usually at night), soft, mucus-covered caecal pellets are expelled and eaten directly from the anus, swallowed whole and not chewed. These caecal pellets remain in the stomach for up to six hours and this process of caecotrophy allows absorption of nutrients and bacterial fermentation products (amino acids, volatile fatty acids and vitamins B and K), and the digestion of previously undigested food. A food item can thus pass twice through a rabbit’s DS.
Dr. Pauline Pets Central veterinarian Dr. Pauline Taylor answers your questions.
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have a five-month-old German Shepard named Otto. We live in Clearwater bay so I usually take him around our area. The first walk I’ve done with him is at High Jump Peak Country Trail. The very dense forest has a scenery that overlooks Hong Kong’s eastern waters. Also, there are few stairs which can be very good for Otto’s hips. This trail is never busy but there are a couple of points where the mountain bike trail meets the walking path so be aware. To get there, I usually take a bus opposite the Hang Hau Wing Lung road and get down where the trail starts along the hills of Tai O Mun road. Depending on your dog’s fitness, you can go to the peak of the hill, or go around the hill. Since Otto is still young and playful, the walk usually takes an hour but for a full-grown active dog they said it can take around half an hour. Here, dogs can be off the lead since the trail is not that busy, although you’ll probably see signs to keep them on a leash all the time. Another walk that we love is the park at the end of Clearwater Bay Road. Tai Au Mun has plenty of space where families usually fly their kites. As for Otto, these grass grounds are perfect for fetching a tennis ball.
High Junk Peak CountryTrail
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in the garden
What to plant in March
y fellow Hong Kong gardeners, now is the time to prove your worth - put in the extra effort and reap the rewards later this year. The month of March sees average low and high temperatures of 11 °C (52 °F) and 27 °C (81 °F). Most days will be misty and drizzly so make sure your rain bib is nearby. Now that we’re all dressed, it’s time for us to work! Pot off Chrysanthemums from cutting pots, prune Poinsettias and give shrubberies a dressing of manure. Also, don’t forget to procure manure now so that it may be in good condition for winter crops. Seeds of the following may be sown: Sunflowers, Clitora Ternateo, Zinnias, Torenia, Fournieri, Ipomoea Quamoclit, Cockscombs. Caladiums will now be starting into growth and should be potted. Put in cuttings of Begonias, Fittonias, Acalyphas, Cissus argentea, Cissus discolor, Dieffenbachias, Dracaenas, Hoffmannius. And finally, seeds of the following vegetables may be sown: Mustard and Cress, Radish, Turnip, Chinese Spinach, French Beans. Wipe that sweat off your brow and marvel at the work you’ve just accomplished. Well done my fellow Hong Kong gardeners. By William James Tutcher F.L.S (1867-1920) Superintendent of Hong Kong Botanical Gardens. Paraphrased from his seminal 1906 work Gardening for Hong Kong.
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It’s time to vote Stephen Vines takes a local look into Sai Kung
What’s all this about a Sai Kung carnival? By the time you have read this it will probably have happened but I have a funny feeling in my bones about this strangely named Sai Kung Carnival 3.3, scheduled to take place, as the name suggests, on March 3. It has attracted $300,000 in public funding via the Sai Kung District Office and claims to be promoting smaller restaurants in the district. Apparently, although it is far from apparent, promotion for this event has been running since December 2017. If that is so, this is a promotion campaign that has - at the time of writing - been entirely invisible. Then there’s the matter of what exactly is being promoted here. Has some genius come up with the idea that people need to be alerted to the extremely well known fact that Sai Kung is home to a large number of different restaurants? Using the same logic we’ll soon be told that Tsim Sha Tsui is a shopping area. Frankly, this is plain stupid. So who is actually involved in this scheme aside from its promoter Yau Shek-ki, owner of the Fat Duck on Man Nin Street? Many local restaurateurs are completely unaware of this so called carnival and it’s a fair bet that they will be getting zero benefit from this event. Let’s see what happens but something ain’t right here. By the way, a reliable rule of thumb is that any event with numbers in its title is almost certain to be logic-challenged.
Hard data on the scam How big is the scam of illegally transferring land rights of indigenous villagers in the New Territories? It’s a fair question and one that
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has been substantially answered by the Liber Research Community, which combed through the records and came up with a total of at least 9,878 village houses in the New Territories built after a suspected illegal transfer of land rights. There are almost certainly more and the scam involves well known developers who, says Liber, are responsible for four of the five largest “small house estates” that were built after illegal land transfers. It is likely that Liber’s research represents no more than the tip of the iceberg but it provides a starting point for exposing the extent of the scam which rejoices in the name of the Small House Policy, a colonial relic that was designed to placate the veracious Heung Yee Kuk by giving the sons (just the sons) of so called indigenous people compensation for, well it was never clear what exactly it was in compensation for. Anyone with half a brain living in Sai Kung or elsewhere in the NT, will be aware of land handed over to people living overseas, transferred by the back door to property developers or simply used to build homes for rent. All of this is supposed to be unlawful yet it is commonplace and timid government officials only rarely dare do anything about it. Wider political considerations are at play here because the government increasingly uses the Kuk and its allies as frontline troops for mobilizing mobs to attack anti-government protests and in general relies on rural representatives to provide a bulwark of support. And, of course the Kuk is well connected in Beijing, which offers another level of immunity.
Time to vote – yes, that means you too All of the above provides a good opportunity to
remind Sai Kung people of the need to go out and vote in the March 11 by-elections, one of which is to be held in the New Territories East constituency, covering this area. The Returning Officer, Amy Chan, has already screened out Ventus Lau and James Chan, potential candidates for this seat. They both intended to run as independents but were banned on grounds that they had not sincerely expressed their views on Hong Kong independence. Ms Chan clearly has quite extraordinary powers of clairvoyance because unlike mere mortals she can see right into the mind of people she has not even met. Also running in this election is Paul Zimmerman (Tong Tse is also in the running for this seat), a Sai Kung resident and columnist for this magazine. He is contesting the functional constituency for architects etc., running on a pro-democracy ticket. It’s a fair bet that, if elected, he will also be maintaining his interest in Sai Kung affairs. These by-elections result from the expulsion of previously elected legislators and so voters need to weigh whether those responsible for this action should be rewarded or punished. I can’t say I have any difficulty in opting for punishing the enemies of democracy but, as ever, it’s up to the voters who need to make the minimal effort of turning up to cast their ballot.
Stephen Vines is a journalist, broadcaster and entrepreneur. He is the former editor of the Eastern Express and Southeast Asia correspondent for The Observer.
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