Monthly Archives: April 2012

HK LIFE – Accessing BBC iPlayer from Abroad 9

Since last year, I’ve been testing a free VPN called ‘Expat Shield’ with some scepticism. It has, however, worked perfectly from the outset for unlimited iPlayer viewing, though occasionally it is necessary to pause the video for buffering (just for a minute or two). Otherwise the speed is superb, it’s free, legal and easy to use.

  1. Download the Expat Shield software. It may insist you run a ‘download manager’ beforehand.
  2. Run the installer, select ‘English’ and click through the next pages until you are offered some additional, bundled software. Untick and reject the ‘community toolbar’, and click next to install.
  3. When installed and running, you will see a shield in the bottom-right hand corner of the screen. When the UK connection is live, it will be green – when it’s red, you just have your regular, direct connection. Right-click on the shield and ensure ‘show on restart’ is unticked – we needn’t have the programme permanently running and slowing down your computer.

BLOG – Hong Kong Makes Tacocopter Internet Meme a Reality 14

Last night, somewhere in an old factory in Kwun Tong, the Tacocopter dream became a reality. The Stephen Colbert-approved  internet meme imagines a robotic unmanned drone which can be called upon via a smartphone app to deliver Mexican food on demand…

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Invented by Scott Torborg, Dustin Boyer & Star Simpson, the Night of the Tacocopter was full of promise
“Fuelled by guacamole dispensed with 1-microlitre accuracy on a converted and mostly-solder-paste-free SolarPocketFactory and lubricated with tequila ejected with a 60 psi blast cannon. Flanked by a flotilla of tortilla hovercraft. Under the watchful gaze of taco suns hanging from the ceiling. We will make history. Or, at the very least, a mess of historic proportions.”

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EVENT – Theatre: ‘Yellow Face’ 1

At the Sheung Wan Civic Centre this weekend, an ‘intellectual comedy’ by the Hong Kong Players. ‘Yellow Face’ is the story of a Caucasian actor who is cast in a mixed-race Broadway role with hilarious consequences.

HK$180, free seating. HK Magazine review and interview with the director.

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POLITICS – The HK Standard: Ignorant at Best, Racist at Worst 13

Mary Ma, of local free rag The (sub)Standard, is possibly Hong Kong’s most dreadful troll. When she isn’t lamenting HK’s freedom of speech or claiming the Tiananmen massacre is ‘bygones‘, she’s manufacturing outrage over the city’s most vulnerable residents.

In yesterday’s facepalm-inducing column, she compared asylum seekers to criminals (via “a quick internet search“) and then speculated that “probably only a handful” of asylum cases are genuine. Can this still even be called journalism? The newspaper claims to have won 11 awards in today’s edition – what was the competition like?

VIDEO – Artist’s Virtual Pop-Up Tour of HK 8

Artist Tereza Hradilkova makes pop-up Hong Kong themed cards. She says… “I started to play with paper when I lived in Tokyo fours years ago. Often I’d borrow books from the local libraries on paper crafts, Chinese stamps and Japanese fabric patterns. I just devoured them and I fell in love with paper crafts. When I came to Hong Kong, I wasn’t able to find any nice cards to send back home, so I decided to design my own.”

Prices range from HK$50 to HK$400 (for a box of nine).

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BLOG – A Brief History of HK’s Racist Toothpaste 4

A once local Chinese brand, the character on the boxes of Hong Kong’s favourite toothpaste is apparently based on Al Jolson. Back in the 1920’s it was thought that  “Jolson’s wide smile and bright teeth would make an excellent toothpaste logo.”

Darkie toothpaste’s parent company, Hawley & Hazel Group, was bought by Colgate-Palmolive in 1985. After three years of dismissing criticism as ‘irrelevant’ to Asia, they finally changed the name to ‘Darlie’ though the Chinese name remains “Black Person Toothpaste”. In fact, although the company issued a worldwide apology, their promotional materials in Chinese stated that “Only the English name is being changed. Black Man Toothpaste is still Black Man Toothpaste.”

EVENTS – 10,000+ ‘attending’ KONY 2012 HK ‘Night Sweep’ 5

Late tomorrow night, young people – mostly from international schools in Hong Kong – will hit the streets for a KONY 2012 ‘Night Sweep’. The Facebook event is remarkable in itself in that over 43,000 people have been invited and over 10,000 have clicked ‘attending’.

Schools across the city have nominated ‘leaders’ – if it works, it’ll be a master-stroke of coordination and a rare instance of Hong Kongers engaging in an international issue which bears little bearing on local lives. Whether or not we will actually awake to a city indiscriminately plastered with a (surely now redundant)  ‘awareness campaign’ is another matter…

(**Update** The Facebook event was deleted hours after the event start-time passed)

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