Thursday, 29 December 2011

Offally good


Snip snip man*, Sai Wan Ho:


Snip snip lady, Wong Tai Sin:


*The Sai Wan Ho snip snip man (legendary scissor-wielding streetside offal vendor) was in the local tabloids earlier this year when it was discovered that he kept his ingredients in a public toilet store cupboard! He has apparently repented and found a new location for his stuff, and as far as I can tell has not suffered a drop in custom (he's still there!). My question is, is the new storage solution refrigerated?

All content © Emilie Pavey

Monday, 26 December 2011

Going to the chapel

Sai Kung district boasts two tiny Catholic chapels with stories to tell.



 St Joseph's Chapel, Yim Tin Tsai


A chapel was set up in this small community off the coast of Sai Kung by a Catholic missionary in 1879, the recently canonised Joseph Freinademetz. The good father proceeded to baptise all the Hakka inhabitants of the village. The current building was built in 1890. To visit the church now and see the simple red and white decor inside, you need to keep your ferry ticket.

(Do not confuse Yim Tin Tsai Island in Sai Kung with the other island near Tai Po of the same name! Both are worth a visit though.)


Rosary Chapel, Wong Mo Ying


This tiny church in the heart of Sai Kung country park is of more recent historical significance. It is the place where an anti-Japanese resistance force formed in 1942 to resist the occupation of Hong Kong. The daughter of a former village resident tells me her father remembers pissing on Japanese soldiers from one of the chapel's upper windows! It is now apparently a Catholic Scout centre. I couldn't go inside as the door was locked. 

If you know of any other quirky churches tucked away in the New Territories, please tell me!

All content © Emilie Pavey

Sunday, 18 December 2011

The Hong Kong twelve days of Christmas... again!

= sòh jyū: term of endearment, e.g. sweetie, darling (literally, silly pig)

On the first day of Christmas, my sòh jyū gave to me:


A spoonful of sugar in my tea.


On the second day of Christmas, my sòh jyū gave to me:


Two little dogs
And a spoonful of sugar in my tea.


On the third day of Christmas, my sòh jyū gave to me:


Three fat crabs
Two little dogs
And a spoonful of sugar in my tea.


On the fourth day of Christmas, my sòh jyū gave to me:

Four skimpy shorts
Three fat crabs
Two little dogs
And a spoonful of sugar in my tea.


On the fifth day of Christmas, my sòh jyū gave to me:

Five chicken wings!
Four skimpy shorts
Three fat crabs
Two little dogs
And a spoonful of sugar in my tea.


On the sixth day of Christmas, my sòh jyū gave to me:

Six teens a-posing
Five chicken wings!
Four skimpy shorts
Three fat crabs
Two little dogs
And a spoonful of sugar in my tea.


On the seventh day of Christmas, my sòh jyū gave to me:

Seven monks exhorting
Six teens a-posing
Five chicken wings!
Four skimpy shorts
Three fat crabs
Two little dogs
And a spoonful of sugar in my tea.


On the eighth day of Christmas, my sòh jyū gave to me:

Eight dragons floating
Seven monks exhorting
Six teens a-posing
Five chicken wings!
Four skimpy shorts
Three fat crabs
Two little dogs
And a spoonful of sugar in my tea.


On the ninth day of Christmas, my sòh jyū gave to me:

Nine lamps a-glowing
Eight dragons floating
Seven monks exhorting
Six teens a-posing
Five chicken wings!
Four skimpy shorts
Three fat crabs
Two little dogs
And a spoonful of sugar in my tea.


On the tenth day of Christmas, my sòh jyū gave to me:

Ten cans a-stacking
Nine lamps a-glowing
Eight dragons floating
Seven monks exhorting
Six teens a-posing
Five chicken wings!
Four skimpy shorts
Three fat crabs
Two little dogs
And a spoonful of sugar in my tea.


On the eleventh day of Christmas, my sòh jyū gave to me:
Eleven kids a-playing
Ten cans a-stacking
Nine lamps a-glowing
Eight dragons floating
Seven monks exhorting
Six teens a-posing
Five chicken wings!
Four skimpy shorts
Three fat crabs
Two little dogs
And a spoonful of sugar in my tea.


On the twelth day of Christmas, my sòh jyū gave to me:

Twelve bottles waiting
Eleven kids a-playing
Ten cans a-stacking
Nine lamps a-glowing
Eight dragons floating
Seven monks exhorting
Six teens a-posing
Five chicken wings!
Four skimpy shorts
Three fat crabs
Two little dogs...
And a spoonful of sugar in my tea.


EXTRA, EXTRA:
The Hong Kong Twelve Days of Christmas (2011) appears in this month's special Christmas issue of Time Out Hong Kong, and it looks like this:


Some readers of this blog may remember this from last Christmas - one of the gifts remains the same (soh jyu clearly lacks imagination). Click here to see the 2010 version!


Finally, I would like to wish all my readers a very merry Christmas and a happy New Year! Thank you very much for following Land of no Cheese and for your comments and feedback. I'll be back soon for more cheeselessness!





All content © Emilie Pavey

Saturday, 17 December 2011

The new plastic idea


Mondrian and the Neoplasticists sought to achieve ultimate abstraction in art, and Mondrian described this art movement as 'a pure representation of the human mind'. The human mind has, however, found a variety of ways to corrupt this cerebral artistic concept and has put Mondrian's unmistakable geometrical patterns to a variety of ignoble decorative and commercial uses. 

 The most artistic of government waste-collection facilities in HK:

'New Plastic Art' taken a little bit too literally in this Barbie-themed Christmas installation at Times Square:


Meanwhile, the good Piet turns in his black, white and red striped coffin.


Last year's shopping mall Christmas decoration atrocities.

All content © Emilie Pavey

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

夕陽無限好 ...


夕陽無限好,
只是近黃昏

Zik yeung mo hahn hou,
zi si gan wong fan.

(The setting sunlight is sublime,
Yet all too soon it turns to dusk.)

- Li Shangyin, Tang Dynasty poet

 Lamma

Sai Kung Country Park

This is just a well-known fragment of a four-line poem. Read the full poem with an English translation here.

Photographs © Emilie Pavey

Saturday, 10 December 2011

Sundogs and moon rabbits

The sky is full of wonderful phenomena.

An end-of-summer parhelion, or sundog, spotted from Cheung Chau:



... and the Chinese 'rabbit in the moon', which can be glimpsed in tonight's lunar eclipse (if you are in HK and quick to read this post, you might still catch a bit of it - look outside!)





Or is it just some very ripe double gloucester...? 

More moons.

All content © Emilie Pavey

Friday, 9 December 2011

Island in the sun

As the thermometer nosedives once again, why not pack your bags and clear out of Hong Kong?




And go somewhere with white sands, turquoise waters and palm trees?





All content © Emilie Pavey

Monday, 5 December 2011

Sunday, 4 December 2011

High and low

High Tea - Cafe Causette, Mandarin Oriental.
Approx. 250HKD per person.



Low Tea - 華富冰室 (Wah Fu tea shop), Wah Fu
Approx. 15HKD per person.



See more of my photo contrasts in Time Out Hong Kong on the 'Hidden Hong Kong' page every fortnight.

More 冰室 here.

All content © Emilie Pavey

Saturday, 3 December 2011

蔗汁: a love story



蔗汁= je jap: sugar cane juice

In a city where chemically sweetened, artificial-tasting, additive-stuffed beverages are overabundant, freshly pressed green sugar cane juice bought from a streetside stall never tasted better. Down with 7-Eleven!








Another delicious, natural drink ...

All content © Emilie Pavey

Friday, 2 December 2011

Stairway to Heaven?

This one is a little bizarre and requires an explanation. During a recent trip to an ancient site in Turkmenistan, we passed several graves with ladders propped up against them. Our guide explained that the ladders were a superstition, supposedly to help the souls climb to Heaven. Bear with me, there is a Hong Kong connection - keep reading.



Last weekend, while walking at Devil's Peak near Lei Yue Mun I came across a small garden near the one of the disused defence installations there. In it was what looked a lot like a makeshift grave ... with a ladder.




The question is, who is Thomas?

All content © Emilie Pavey

Sunday, 27 November 2011

龍友 Lung Yau

龍友= lung yau: (literally) dragon friend



The term lung yau is often used to refer to very specific type of HK photographer. He (invariably) is the kind of guy who likes to take pictures of girls. You sometimes see them at beaches and other scenic spots, but not necessarily.

Before you say, hey, these are just guys getting a bit shutter-happy with their girlfriends, read the Four Commandments of the lung yaus, and look again. 

1. Thou shalt have a big camera, a huge flash (optional) and a whopping lens. Size does matter.
2. Thou shalt only photograph models that are younger than thee. By a (considerable) number of years.
3. Thou shalt only photograph models that are more attractive than than thee. By several degrees.
4. Thou shalt not hesitate to get up close and personal with thy models. Go forth now and capture.

Lung yaus take the commandments very seriously indeed, especially no.4, as you can see here:

Close:



Very close:


Focusing-distance-defyingly close:


Click here to see another category of camera-toting HK person.

All content © Emilie Pavey

Make a Detour

Detour 2011 opened this weekend. This HK art and design festival is interesting not only for its art installations and local designers' fair, but for the fact that it is held in an iconic building which you wouldn't normally get to visit. Last year, it was held in the central police station compound and Victoria prison on Hollywood Road, Central. This year, it's a few minutes walk from there in the direction of Sheung Wan, in the former police married quarters.


In terms of both art and heritage, the show is photo-opp galore, so predictably, full of people with cameras. Readers of this blog will know that umbrellas are a favourite theme of mine, so here are two umbrella-related offerings from this and last year's Detour events.

2010:


2011:


This year, it runs until 11 Dec. I recommend you make a detour and visit!

All content © Emilie Pavey

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

比藍更藍

比藍更藍 = bei lam gang lam: bluer than blue





Thanks be to Hoya - not photoshop!
How about a bit of bright red? Or some faded greens?

EXTRA, EXTRA:
Time Out Hong Kong is out today, with a set of glitteringly abstract neon pictures from me on the 'Hidden Hong Kong' page, as well as some other bits and pieces:




All content © Emilie Pavey

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Gentlemen's games

Chinese chess (象棋, jeung kei) is ubiquitous in most parks and sitting-out areas. It looks like draughts because it is played with flat, round counters, but it's chess all right, if not more: it has knights, rooks and pawns, but also cannons, elephants and a river. 



Less common, but also played outdoors, are card games. These gents are playing the card version of Chinese dominoes (牌九, pai gau) I think. There are also other games, such as four-colour-cards (四色牌, sei sik pai), which is a bit like rummy in that you have to collect sets. I suspect that, where Chinese chess is universally popular, playing cards is more of a working man's pastime. That's because I have only ever spotted it being played in public housing estates (and in one instance, under a bridge!)



And what are the ladies doing, while the men are out preserving brain cells but losing money? Why, indoors, playing mah jong, of course!


All content © Emilie Pavey

Saturday, 19 November 2011

Seen a sign?


I have unscientifically categorised Hong Kong's street name signs into three types in my head: the modern type (white arrow shape on black rectangle with functional, helvetica-ish font), the older type (similar, but without the arrow) and the oldest type, with more old-fashioned lettering and characters, as pictured here:


I have been looking out for these to take photos of them but they are really very few and far between.


The two above signs are in wealthy old Central which has a lot of vocal advocates for heritage preservation, which might partly explain why these signs are still there. They add to that charm and nostalgia that is so good for business and tourism in the district. However the sign below is not in such a privileged district, so get an eyeful before the bulldozers arrive.


I'd really like to know of any other places where one of these old signs is still clinging on, especially if it's in an area where it hasn't been left there for decorative purposes! Thanks!

All content © Emilie Pavey

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Sticking out like a...


Stick insects outside of their natural environment, well, stick out a bit. Especially if you are bright yellow, on a manhole cover...

or bright green, on a 'clean up after your dog' poster.

Probably better to 'stick' to twigs and leaves...

By the way, they can fly. Yes. We gently nudged the yellow one out of pure concern for its safety (it was in the middle of the road) and its wings popped out. I wasn't hugely enthusiastic about this. It was a bit like cockroaches when you think they won't fly... and then they do.

I got the idea for this post from a blog I like called Oriental Sweetlips, specifically, this post.Thanks, Phil!

Some more beautiful bugs.


All content © Emilie Pavey