Monday, June 26, 2006

depleting reserves

We had another organised tour on Saturday, albeit a short one. Fortunately or unfortunately, these tours will be a regular fixture according to the schedule. I can always skip them if I have something else better to do.

We went to some Taoist temple called Fung Ying Seen Koon (very cryptic name if you ask me) in the blistering heat. I have never fully explored a Taoist temple even though my family belongs to the religion. Wonder who does that (except tourists). Usually people just enter, pray a bit, get some fortune read, and then exit. There was someone who would interpret our "qian" for free as well. I refused to get my fortune read. Because if it sucked, I would feel down. If it was a "shang shang qian" or some kind of good fortune, I wouldn't believe it. So far the ones I know who got their fortunes read seem to be in some state of perplexity. "Heaven's secrets cannot be revealed" - ignorance is bliss.


Then we went to the Hong Kong Heritage Museum. My friend describes it as three levels of boredom. Not exactly what I feel. Some of the exhibits were quite interesting because their themes were rather contemporary. There was an entire exhibition with a shopping theme (one exhibit was a shelf of products like those in a mall - liddat oso art meh) - food and beverage, leisure and entertainment, etc. The other exhibitions were mostly Chinese heritage stuff - which was boring.

The coaches then brought us to New Town Plaza at Shatin. That's where we'd been hanging out the past week so we decided to explore Fo Tan for food, which was one station away. Upon exiting the station, almost everyone began to look as gloomy as the locals in Fo Tan. Here the streets were not filled with cars like the popular shopping streets. You had to watch for crazy taxi drivers crossing streets in Tsim Sha Tsui but you can probably lie down on the road for some time in that area of Fo Tan.

I noticed something really hilarious when I was walking behind the group. The girls were literally turning heads. It was damn obvious how all the uncles and young men alike turned to stare at the same time as they walked past us. They didn't even try to be discreet. Wow. Must be tough being eye candy. There certainly is a lack of that around Fo Tan though.

The buildings looked old and the people we saw were mostly middle-aged. What a stark contrast to the busy and crowded shopping districts, the immaculate and air-conditioned shopping malls we've been to so far. To put it simply, the place seems quite dead. But this is probably the "heartlands" of Hong Kong. Like some of the old decrepit HDB estates in Singapore. My grandparents' previous apartment comes to mind but that was a decade ago. Which estate is the oldest now? Potong Pasir? Must be if everyone says they need the upgrading.

We had a not so delicious "zhi cha" meal at some deserted hawker centre like place. Lots of tables and chairs, a few people touting, but hardly anyone there except us. Business only began to pick up as we finished our food.

Sunday's just shopping around at Tsim Sha Tsui. Very very boring. I saw Porsches, a Mini Cooper and a Ferrari on the street though. Knn. Hao lian. Only managed to get a picture of the Ferrari because it was parked.

park there long enough and it will get stolen

Friday, June 23, 2006

bad luck

It's been forever since I last fell sick that I wonder how I suddenly had a fever yesterday. I started feeling cold in the middle of my Chinese Philosophical Thought lesson and soon became totally debilitated - had to stay in bed while everyone went out to Central.

It is such an irony. A couple of my friends just fell sick two days ago and I ruled out the steamboat dinner we shared on Tuesday as the cause. 2 out of the 4 present were fine. Now that I am also sick only 1 is left. I have a feeling it's the oysters we ordered.

I didn't feel well enough to go on the Shenzhen trip this morning either. Sucks being left out. Everyone speaks of Shenzhen like some shopping heaven (for fakes). Apparently that's where a lot of the locals do their shopping too. Never mind, I still have 5 weeks left to get there.

Anyway, I think it won't be too long before I get sian here. Just like the slogans of those HK tourism ads - 买东西,吃东西 (buy stuff, eat stuff), these seem to be the only things one can do here. Lest I get bored, I've started downloading stuff from btchina at incredible speeds. China's population of Bittorrent users are all closer to me now so I can leech at higher speeds. Yay.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

more rants

Lessons have started. I am taking International Finance and Mainstream Chinese Philosophical Thought (what a mouthful). The finance class was held similar to the NTU seminar style. Anyway, I think my finance professor taught in Harvard. And apparently she knows the Dean of SMU's Business School. Cool. Did I mention that there's this cute Canadian Asian with uber huge eyes in the class? Power. She can compete with Hamasaki Ayumi for the biggest eyes relative to face size.

Mainstream Chinese Philosophical Thought was interesting for the first part about the contrast between Western and Chinese philosophy. How Chinese philosophy has no transcendental beings or ideas as compared to Western's Christian God or the Platonic ideals. Then she got to the Chinese history part about Zhou Dynasty and I dozed off.

Anyway, it's a pretty cool mix of people around here. Despite being from the smallest country (in land area), the Singaporean contingent is the largest at 30+ or 40+ people. Must be the tution waiver. There are groups of Americans, Canadians, Chinese, Australians and Taiwanese as well while I've met a Mexican, a Swede and a Korean. I think the TV lounge will get quite interesting if there's a World Cup match between the countries of some people here.

I feel kind of out of place being here. Well, as a product of the Singaporean education system, I am supposed to be bilingual. But if I start sounding too Singaporean the ang-mos would fail to understand what I say. Yah I can try to speak to them with a slang and though it works better it feels so unnatural. As for the Hong Kongers, I don't understand Cantonese so I get totally stunned when the sales people can't speak Mandarin or English.

Really can't help but feel like being I'm neither here nor there. Like a Jack of all trades but a master of none. Never mind, there will come a time when Singlish will conquer the world. Then the world will become a better place.

Monday, June 19, 2006


Have been travelling around the Kowloon area the past 2 days. There was an organised tour to Repulse Bay, Stanley Market and Victoria Peak on Saturday. Repulse Bay seems like a pretty popular destination for tourists and locals alike. Everyone was just suntanning on the beach. Unfortunately, I didn't get to see any beach games being played. We didn't have enough time to do anything useful here anyway.

Stanley Market seems to sell only Chinesey wares that gwai-los or our ang-mos would buy. They would buy anything Oriental looking that we probably would not use in real life. The selection of clothes is rather horrible in my opinion.

The view from the Peak was excellent. Though like my friend said, it would be even better if we went there at night instead. The city lights would make excellent photographs.

We went to some club called Edge in Lan Gwai Fong after the welcoming dinner. Lan Gwai Fong is filled with clubs, pubs and the likes. Just like our Mhd Sultan Road. Only bigger and with inclined streets. So you sweat before you even start dancing. As you walk up the street, the crowd, the incline upwards and the bright neon lights on both sides of the narrow street make the place look really cool. Didn't bring a camera though. Hopefully someone else had gotten a picture.

Mong Kok was our destination for Sunday. It's one huge shopping district. I had no idea where I was at any point in time. Good thing one of us is damn good at topo. I see some of the same shops a couple of times so we must have done a couple of rounds around the area. Lots of shopping though. And it's damn fricking crowded. Not my kind of place. I might be back to buy some stuff but I would definitely do that on a weekday instead.

The lessons are starting but no one seems to give a damn. Well, we really only need a pass anyway. This is summer studies thing is like an incredibly huge excuse to fool around in Hong Kong for 6 weeks. I'd better conserve my money to last till the end.

Friday, June 16, 2006

First day in CUHK

I took the 6.40 am flight to Hong Kong this morning. Since I didn't sleep last night I was practically a zombie throughout the day. The intermittent sleep I got during the 3 hour plus plane right wasn't enough at all. Lesson learnt.

Anyway, it's fugging hot here in Hong Kong. Not sure about the exact temperature but it certainly felt warmer than Singapore. Somehow it feels even hotter than my room, which is pretty much a sauna in its own right.

We toured the campus for a bit with a couple of CUHK female students leading us to the canteens, barber, bank, supermarket, etc. Places essential to our survival. Oh, by the way, for some reason toilet rolls didn't seem provided for in our toilets. The supermarket sells a large pack of 10 toilet rolls at 20 HKD or so (around 4bucks) - which is crazy compared to the bloody few cents kind we can get in our beloved SAF eMart. Now I believe that's how the supermarket intends to stay afloat - sell toilet paper.

view from my hostel window

My hostel room has a wonderful view. Actually, anywhere you look here in this part of HK seems to have a wonderful view. It's all gotta do with the mountainous terrain here. Turn somewhere and you either see a cliff/slope facing you or you are standing on one. If you think NTU or NUS has horrible slopes, come here man. If I stayed here for a semester and just walk to classes I think I can get Gold for IPPT.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Real Tekken!

Click play to watch cool martial arts that you'd never be able to perform!

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

short update

It seems like my updates are getting shorter and more infrequent. Damn I knew this thing won't last.

Anyway, I was away for my very first in camp training last week (which was slack, to say the least) and attended Don's ROM with the entire platoon on Sunday. That was my first time there. And it's just like in the Ch 8 drama serials with everyone packed in the small room while the couple sits in front of the some marriage registrar or something. I wonder who will be next to invite me haha.

By the way, I would be leaving for Hong Kong this Friday morn. And I am still pretty much not packed for the trip yet. With my almost non-existent command of Cantonese I can expect myself to "loogi" when I try to buy anything. At least that is what somone told me. Apparently if you speak anything other than HK's Cantonese you will kena "chopped" by the experienced sellers. Not even Malaysian's Cantonese (like I can tell the difference) will do. I think I'd just say "tai guai la" (too expensive) whenever they quote a price. We'll see.

P.S. if anyone has a video camera can sms me? I'd only need it for Thursday.