Monthly Archives: June 2012

BLOG – Full Lowdown of Handover Weekend: Protest Minimised, Reporter Removed 15

With discontent at a 15-year high, up to 400,000 people hit the streets for the annual pro-democracy rally. Jacky Lim, 37, was amongst many protesters carrying the old British colonial flag, “There is nothing worth celebrating today. Hong Kong is being gradually destroyed by the Communist Party”, he said.

> For my own snapshot of HK politics today, click here & here’s a quick appearance on TVB.

via AP

via AP

The International Herald Tribune observed that millionaire property consultant CY Leung’s inauguration was conducted without a word of Cantonese being spoken. This is a departure from the 2007 ceremony when Donald Tsang gave his inaugural speech in the local dialect as opposed to Putongua.

Without a hint of irony, Hu spoke of the importance of “opposing interference by external forces in Hong Kong affairs”.

POLITICS – Full Lowdown of HK Political Shit-storm Ahead of July 1st 4

Below is a piece adapted from an article I wrote for foreign audiences. There is a deeper analysis of HK after Handover over at National Geographic. 

Two defining features of present-day Hong Kong are destined to dampen this Sunday’s celebrations as the city marks 15 years since its handover to China. Despite coming tops as the world’s freest economy with the rule of law and civil liberties relatively preserved under the ‘One Country, Two Systems’ agreement, the ex-British colony is plagued with political turmoil and is now home to one of the widest poverty gaps in the developed world.

Preparations for the weekend's "celebrations".

Preparations for the weekend’s “celebrations”.

BLOG – Mirror of Paul Mooney’s SCMP Whistle-blower Article 8

As the original article seems to be down, or removed, below is a temporary mirror of Paul Mooney’s important whistle-blower piece about censorship at the South China Morning Post…

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On April 22, Wang Xiangwei, the new editor-in-chief of the South China Morning Post,informed me that my contract with the newspaper would not be renewed when it expired on May 21. I can’t say I was surprised.

Sitting in a hotel restaurant in Hong Kong on a hot April day, Wang stared down at the table as the conversation began, seemingly unwilling to make eye contact. After a few minutes of chit chat, I asked him directly about my contract. He fidgeted and said he would not be able to renew it due to budget problems.

To me it was clear that this was a political decision. For seven months, he had basically blocked me from writing any China stories for the newspaper. During that period, I only had two stories in the China pages of the newspaper–one on panda bears and one on compensation for AIDS victims. Some two dozen other story suggestions went unanswered by the China Desk–in one case a story was approved, but the editor told me Wang had overruled him. A half-dozen emails to Wang pleading to write more for the newspaper went unanswered.

It certainly was not about money. Following my departure, Wang hired a spate of new young reporters, many apparently from the mainland. And if there were budget problems, why was I chosen to be let go? Obviously, there were newer people at the newspaper than myself. I had been on contract for two years, and wrote my first article for the newspaper in 1990, some 22 years ago. And I’d won 10 awards for my reporting for the newspaper, more than any other staff reporter.

PHOTOGRAPHY – Michael Wolf’s Hong Kong Cornerhouses 13

Michael Wolf is best known for his ‘Architecture of Density’ work in Hong Kong, but another collection from HK University Press showcases some of the city’s more classic heritage…

See also: Wolf’s ‘Architecture of Density’

…’Progress is often equated with destroying the old and bringing in the new,’ says the German-born photographer…

…They were mostly constructed in the 1950/60s…

HISTORY – The Luxury British Liner at the Bottom of Victoria Harbour 10

Buried at the bottom of Victoria Harbour remains the keel, hull and boilers from the QEII predecessor, RMS Queen Elizabeth. It was purchased at auction in 1970 by local tycoon C.Y. Tung and sank two years later following a fire. The burnt wreck capsized and was declared a shipping hazard. 45,000 tons were thus retrieved by Korean divers for scrap leaving around 40-50% of the wreckage on the sea bed. In the late 90s, a quarter of the remaining ship was buried during land reclamation for Container Terminal 9 with some being used for landfill in preparation for the new airport on Lantau.

The disaster held the dubious title of the largest passenger shipwreck until the Costa Concordia disaster this year. 5,000 highly collectable Parker pens were produced with material recovered from the wreck whilst the flag pole and remnants of her last ensign adorn the wall of the marine police HQ.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

The arsonists responsible for the fire were never identified…

PHOTOGRAPHY – A Peek Inside the New LEGCO Building 2

Central Government Complex, Tamar is the new location for the offices of GovHK. The design is said to be based on a mix of Chinese and Western architectural principles and a ‘low-frills’ international design.

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…The Star Trek-esque main chamber features a natural light funnel which directs daylight into the room, minimising the use of artificial light. The room is also lined with HD camera lighting…

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…Construction began in 2009 and many parts of the complex are already functioning. There are three large sites – the LEGCO Block, Office Block  (mostly for government departments) and Low Block (office tower containing committee rooms, press room, offices of members of the LEGCO, as well as the office of the LEGCO President).

ART – HK Inspired Art Projects 4

Two interactive art installations featuring more than a whiff of the Fragrant Harbour are currently on display outside of the city’s borders…

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…The first, in Germany, is ‘The Global Pursuit of Happiness‘, or: ‘The Army of Luck‘ by Nina Martens…

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… The golden army of lucky money cats is linked up to a computer which allows them to perform North Korea-esque unified waving and feline mexican waves….

ACTIVISM – Why I Attempted to Arrest Tony Blair 3

This entry below is a piece for New Internationalist Magazine and is a cross-post from my personal site

Click here for news on the HK$30,000 Arrest Blair ‘bounty’ award.

Mr Blair last month

Last Thursday, I attempted a citizen’s arrest of Tony Blair for crimes against peace as he was about to present a speech at Hong Kong University about faith. It seems particularly dubious for the ex-British Prime Minister to address the subject of religion, as he has done so much to enrage the Muslim world and thus set back religious tolerance by decades.

EVENT – 5th Annual UNHCR Film Festival in HK

The 5th annual UN Refugee Agency film festival kicks off on June 20th at Yau Ma Tei Broadway Cinematheque. All tickets are $65 – each film is shown twice.

The UNHCR do a lot here in Hong Kong to care for displaced peoples who are sidelined by the local government as they await rehabilitation in more welcoming nations. Trailers and synopsis for all the films being shown are below.

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Children of War: