Hong Kong

Hong Kong Transport

We’ve got three lovely photos today! Our contributor, Ski, has sent in these snaps of some of the variety of transport options there are in Hong Kong. She’s also given us some great commentary!

Tram: These historical trams (since year 1904) certainly deserve a ride (or even more)! To get the best view, head directly to the upper deck and grab a seat/standing space near the windows. Be careful not to stick your head or arms out of the window. Watch out for incoming trams!This is one of the most affordable forms of transport in Hong Kong. Tip: Enter the tram from the back. You only need to pay when you alight.

Private Minibus: You see them in Hong Kong movies. I termed them as the F1 racers of Hong Kong. If you find yourself in one, please sit tight and buckle your seat belt (if any). They drive fast! Tip: If you realise the minibus you are in is not stopping, that is because they won’t, until someone requests to alight or to board. So you’ll need to be familiar with Hong Kong in order to inform the driver when it is time to get off the bus.

Taxi: Not many people in Hong Kong own a car. Most of us rely on public transport or the taxi. So the streets on Hong Kong are usually filled with these red cars! All taxis in Hong Kong go by the meter, so you don’t have to worry about exorbitant charges.

 

Read more:
Ski: The Pursuit of Greater Passion in Life in Hong Kong
Living in Hong Kong
How Difficult is Chinese?

January 29, 2012 2 comments

PocketCultures world tour: best of 2011

Happy New Year! Our roundup of 2011 begins with a reminder that 1st January is not the beginning of a new year throughout the world. Carla wrote that Brazilians consider the year to start after February’s carnival, and Anu wrote about new year celebrations which take place at different times in different parts of India. Of course many parts of the world do celebrate the start of the New Year on January 1st, and Sandra’s post explained all about new year celebrations in Portugal.

Bolo Rei
Bolo Rei – part of the New Year celebrations in Portugal. Credit.

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December 31, 2011 1 comment

Ski: The Pursuit of Greater Passion in Life in Hong Kong

Ski Yeo, our regional contributor from Hong Kong is a Singaporean who currently runs a Hong Kong walking tour business, where she shows her guests the local sights and scenes of Hong Kong. In today’s post, Ski talks openly about a situation that many people who live abroad (and don’t too!) can relate to: the pursuit of greater passion in our lives, which often can be found by gaining the perspective that stepping outside your home culture can bring.

Where do you live? Where are you from? If those are different, can you tell us a little about what inspired your move?

I live in Hong Kong. I am from Singapore.
Life in Singapore was so good that I’ve felt that I’ve gotten way too comfortable. Everything was very well-planned by the government and the societal norms: get a good education and secure a good job. Probably a few years later on, it would be time to get married and have kids. Then you spend the rest of your life getting busy with your children and then looking forward to that occasional travel period.
I guess as time passes, I realize I didn’t really want to be part of this cycle. I woke up dragging my feet to work. Weekends didn’t seem particularly exciting except for the fact that I could sleep in late. Changing of jobs didn’t help (as it all boils down to what makes you happy). I wondered, do I really want to be doing this for the rest of my life?
Coincidentally, during that period, I spoke to people who have great passion in their lives. You could see their eyes sparkle whenever they talk about something that they love to do! I wonder why I wasn’t feeling that way and hence decided that it was time to change something.
To know myself better and what I really want to pursue in my life, I took my bags and went off to Hong Kong. I had a one-year break, where I did a lot of self-reflection, read a lot of books, met people from all walks of life, appreciated the small things in life and then figured out my plans, i.e., the things that I really want to do and will make me happy in life.

If you would describe yourself as multi-cultural, tell us a bit about what culture you most identify with and why.

 It would be the Chinese culture. It’s difficult to change - from the food that I eat, to the values I have, the superstitions that we believe in, etc. It would be clear that I’m still inherently very Chinese. Respect and harmony is important, and so is the importance of family.
If I have kids, they will be associated with the Chinese culture as well. That being said, I hope to bring them a more global perspective, recognizing that the world is definitely beyond them.

Why did you decide to become a Pocket Cultures contributor?

To share what I know about the cultures in Hong Kong. As a pleasant surprise, living away from home has allowed me to appreciate the small little details that people tend to miss out when they travel.
In my opinion, travelling is not merely about taking photos with the most popular tourist destination or heading to the shopping malls to get the best deals. That’s just a part of it. For me, what matters more is the understanding of a country for what it really is and the bulk of it lies in the culture that the citizens have created. What are their lifestyles like? What do they do on a daily basis? That’s real travelling for me, and that’s what I wish to share through Pocket Cultures.

Can you describe a typical day for you?

Everyday, I wake up to make friends with my guests from all over the world. I go on tours. Sometimes we hang out for 4-hours a day. Sometimes 8. Sometimes for a full 12-hours. By the time I get home, I reply to emails, read some news, and then get to sleep.

 What is the best part of living in your country? The worst?

 For Hong Kong, it has to be the great accessibility. It is so easy to get around to anywhere, and there is a good balance of city life and nature parks. The worst part of living in Hong Kong would be to have to deal with the bad air pollution.

What books or films would you recommend someone who’d like to know more about your country?

Jason Y. Ng – As I see it. It’s a rare find. Most books on Hong Kong are directory listing for malls, restaurants and tourist attractions.

What’s something that visitors are often surprised by when getting to know your country/culture?

It is a country of strong contrast – old versus new, east versus west, etc.
December 8, 2011 Comments disabled

High Turnover in Hong Kong

It has been a terrible week of awareness. When people say that change is the only constant, they probably do not have Hong Kong in mind. In Hong Kong, change isn’t merely a constant. It also represents a steep gradient.

There are two units currently undergoing renovation in my building and the drilling noise irritates me to the core. Everyday, without fail, the drilling starts at 9.30am and does not seem to stop until the sun sets. I frown and wonder what on earth requires so much drilling. How many walls does an apartment have? I lament over my poor musical talent, of which otherwise, I may have easily convert these noise pollution to music pleasant to my ears. (more…)

September 21, 2011 3 comments

From our contributors: September 13th

Here’s our bi-weekly roundup of articles written by members of out team on their personal blogs. This week we take a virtual tour of the art in some Paris churches, take part in the Moon Festival in Japan, get pushed in Hong Kong and celebrate Ganesh Chaturthi in Mumbai. Happy reading!

Anu, our contributor from India, writes about the last day of Ganesh Chartuthi, a festival devoted to the Hindu god Ganesha. Although it was raining, devotees came out ion full force to celebrate their god.

“This year, the Lord arrived amidst pouring rains, and he decided to leave amidst pouring rains too! After a couple of dry days, the heavens seem to have opened up just for Him to leave! However, the enthusiasm has not abated…” (more…)

September 13, 2011 4 comments

Living in Hong Kong

I live in a small Hong Kong apartment – 450 square feet, barely enough for me to walk around once I set up a big clothing rack to dry my laundry. I have shifted my bed to the living room ever since I spot molds in the bedroom walls. Humidity is a big issue in Hong Kong, especially during winter. My landlord clearly loves IKEA and adores white coats of paint.

The building has two security guards rotating on a 12-hour shift. They smile at me whenever I get home and, sometimes, we engage in small talks. Let’s see, by now I know that they earn around HKD8,000 every month and have an off-day every week. It is not a lot of money, considering that the amount is less than my rent in Hong Kong. Some people say that it is not difficult to make money in Hong Kong. I guess it depends on the group of people that you are looking at. Most locals do not seem to have it that easy. I laugh to myself whenever I come home late at night, noticing how they manage to make themselves comfortable enough to fall asleep in that small space. On days when I feel wicked, I let go of the heavy metal gate fast just to jolt them up from their sleep with a loud bang. I justify by thinking that, “hey isn’t it their job to stay awake?” Clearly, a long day out in Hong Kong does great damage to my sanity.

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September 2, 2011 1 comment