Monday, May 31, 2010

Hongkie Panky

Before I came here, I wasn't so receptive of the idea of spending 3 weeks in crowded Hong Kong. I was kind of hoping that I can even sit it out altogether. The night before I flew here I even sprained my ankle stepping accidentally into a hole, which dampened the mood further. But soon enough I found myself in Chek Lap Kok airport, without the usual excitement and anticipation that usually followed me whenever I went travelling.

Checked into the hotel, and found that I got a nice cosy room which brightened me up a bit. However the busted ankle just saw me sleeping the first Sunday off while some of the guys went out and about, taking in the new city experience.After we're done with business on Monday, I forced myself to walk around the surrounding area for a bit just to see what's Kowloon all about. I've heard many things about it. Noisy, dirty, crowded, polluted, the works. Guess what, I was pleasantly surprised that it's not as bad as some people made it sound like. Sure it's noisy and crowded and polluted (as you would expect from a city like this) but it's not dirty at all. A trivia point, I've not seen a single fly yet - which is a miracle by my standards since I've since walked practically everywhere between Mongkok to Tsim Sha Tsui to Causeway Bay to Central. Even the most dodgy looking eateries (a la Jalan Alor) is clean.

The toilets in the malls and stores are spick and span, people don't spit everywhere and they actually do use the trashcans, they use the pedestrian crossing diligently 95% of the time, cars actually stop to let people cross at said crossings, public transportation is wonderful with it's frequency, punctuality and sheer network (you can walk from one station to the other, something like the Tube) of it. The pavements are wide enough, and there's even underground network of tunnels connecting many malls, MTR stations and various locations that you can still walk around even if there's a typhoon blowing hard outside.
The local folks seemed pretty assured of their police force, one guy Vincent assured me that in HK the cops usually arrive very quickly whenever there's a crime that sometimes it seemed impossible. I even saw a demonstration of that when a number of guys (immigrants I guess, Indians I suspect from the language) were about to get into a brawl. In no time at all 5 (FIVE!) police vans arrive to defuse the situation. No wonder the Hongkies are so confident.

The food is expensive and halal eateries are scattered around the area, though you must really look for it. Shopping for electronic gadgets and clothings are amazingly cheap (usually 30-50% cheaper than prices back home for the same item), and this is in proper stores and not the dodgier neon-lighted shops which are usually cheaper but can also scam you out of your cash if you are not careful. I guess I'm even luckier than I don't get harassed by salesmen looking for tourist money since I look pretty much like a local, thank God for the chinese genes!

I've seen the much talked about light show at the Harbour, took the famous Star Ferry over to Central, did my shopping in Mongkok and Causeway Bay, rode the tram up to the Peak for the amazing night view of the city. All the must do stuff, done. Come Saturday I'll be hopping on a ferry to get me to Macau for the sights (and a flutter or two, perhaps?) and sounds and tastes (Portuguese egg tarts y'all!), Sunday is yet to be decided.

Hong Kong has so far been a city of wonders for me, and I'm loving every second that I've been treading the pavements walking in and out of small alleys onto busy high streets and ducking into the odd MTR or two. If you've not been here, I suggest you make plans to do so. Come with an open mind, and you might just fall in love too ;)

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Peakture Of The Day

Night view from The Peak.


8pm, down by the Harbour.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Hello From Hong Kong!

Yeap, been here for two days now. The weather's fine, though they're anticipating the typhoon season to start pretty soon. I'm bunked in a nice hotel in Nathan Road, which is like in the middle of a triangle between Mongkok, Kowloon and Tsim Sha Tsui. Not a bad location at all.

The room's pretty nice, no complaints so far.
The best thing about the room is gotta be this:

I can watch the telly while taking a shower!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Rakyat Harus Faham

I'm not a political blogger, nor do I yearn to be one. But I am an interested observer, a backbencher to the backbencher of sorts.

It annoys me to no end when the government does not seem to understand their raison d'ĂȘtre. Firstly, whenever the general public raised a big hoo haa over something (toll rate to be raised, new taxes etc) the Minister in question would tend to answer with a Rakyat Harus Faham talk.

"Toll rates to be raised by 30%, we want an explanation!"
"Rakyat harus faham, the government is currently bearing the RM300mil cost of bla bla bla"

"Fuel prices to go up again, why?"
"Rakyat harus faham, currently billions of Ringgits are spent bla bla bla"

Well, if the government is not going to bear those costs, why are we paying taxes then? If they can't manage the budget prudently, should they still be in power? In banking, we provide mainly a service to our customers. The customers does nto want to understand what goes on behind the scenes, they only want the expected results. There's no point explaining to them we are facing this and that difficulty because to them, it does not matter. Telling the customer that they have to understand that we're bearing this cost and doing this and that just to do this for them is not going to get you more leeway. You might lose the customer even. In the broader aspect, why should we bother with the nitty gritty details of governing the nation? It's your task to govern, and govern it well. Give a better explanation, not the Rakyat Harus Faham talk please.

Also why is it that only when there's a by-election that everyone flocks to that constituency promising this and that and start building clinics and schools and bridges? If that's the practice then you'll do well to vote the most likely to die early in the next election. It should be on-going, and it needn't be tagged as Satu Lagi Projek Kerajaan Barisan Nasional. The money does not come from your coffers, Mister BN sir. Satu Lagi Projek Kerajaan is more apt.

I might sound pretty pro-opposition here, but I am not. I feel the current opposition offers nothing new or different to the current government in power. I am pro-people, pro-development, pro-rights. I am idealistic, but it doesn't hurt to dream of a better world ;)

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Thought Of The Day

Kalau Shabery berbahas dengan Shaziman, adakah akan berlaku parti buih (mulut)? Bincangkan.