Saturday, 28 January 2012

Little emperors

The Chinese New Year holidays are nearly over. Time to put away the party clothes ... until next year!

More fancy dress.

All content © Emilie Pavey

Thursday, 26 January 2012


通渠佬: tong keui lou = plumber (specifically, the bloke who comes to unblock your drains)

In the autumn, prior to the onslaught of Christmas and Chinese New Year music in the supermarket, Wellcome was regularly running one particular ad over its sound system. The product in question is a liquid drain-unblocker, and the brand name is 'tong keui lou' (i.e. same idea as the name 'Mr Muscle' for cleaning products). It went  like this:

A woman, finding her drain blocked, calls a plumber (tong keui lou). When said tong keui lou rings the doorbell and gets out his bag o' tools, the woman exclaims, 'tong keui lou dou yung tong keui lou!' (= the plumber also uses 'tong keui lou!'). 

My Cantonese still leaves much to be desired, so the fact that I came to understand what this ad was about says something about how often it was played! It seems that at least one real tong keui lou is using an equally aggressive marketing strategy. He calls himself  渠王 (keui wong; plumber king) and his characteristic lettering can be seen in back alleys across HK.

So, if you want to find out whether tong keui lou really uses tong keui lou... you know who to call!

Or, you could just read about the man himself in this article by Christopher DeWolf.

All content © Emilie Pavey

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Off my food

Much as I enjoy Chinese cuisine, I sometimes crave European food (especially cheese!). Whenever a full-on craving sets in, most Chinese restaurants fail to look appetizing to me:

Don't ask me why; I can't help it!

All content © Emilie Pavey

Sunday, 22 January 2012

Cardboard city

Chinese New Year is the only time in the whole year that some shops in Hong Kong close. It's strange to see the back streets so quiet. In this Mong Kok street, traders have put up make-shift cardboard letterboxes. The rest of the year, they don't need one!

More shut-up shops.

If you read this blog, you'll know I am fond of Hong Kong's letterboxes.

All content © Emilie Pavey

Friday, 20 January 2012

Holy smoke

'Tis the season to make wishes. Temples are getting crowded! To make it through the incense-brandishing throng, two strategies can be used:

一. Hold your breath:

二. Wear a facemask:

Gung Hei Fat Choi! May the year of the dragon waft fragrantly in!

More Chinese-New-Yearyness.

Another festival for pyromaniacs.

All content © Emilie Pavey

Thursday, 19 January 2012


休憩處 = yau hei tsu: sitting out area (literally, resting place)

Hong Kong is not short of public resting spots. They come in two varieties: large, municipal parks, with sports facilities, public toilets etc, and small 'sitting out areas', which tend to occur in spaces which are too small or inconvenient to profit from in any other way. As a result, some urban sitting-out areas are entirely devoid of charm. Here are the winners and runners up in my most-depressing-park-facilities-contest.

Honorable mention (due to miniature size): No-name sitting-out area, Sands Street, Kennedy Town

While this one is not technically an LCSD-designated 'sitting out area', it has all the hallmarks. More than just a bench, less than a park, fills a space that's otherwise useless, without really adding much. Features include: three seats.

Third place: Lok Sin Road / Choi Hung Road sitting-out area, San Po Kong

Features include: ornamental shrubs, mahogany-painted bench-cum-pagoda, sewage pumping station.

Second place: Finnie Street sitting-out area, Quarry Bay

Features include: moulded plastic pebble path, some mother-in-law's tongues, MTR bridge, busy road, ventilation outlets of nearby restaurants.

Winner: Yan Oi Court 'Garden', Kwun Tong

Features include: some benches, two shrubs, green mesh cage, and full sunlight.
Three cheers for Kwun Tong!

Hidden Hong Kong in Time Out HK this fortnight: wartime ruins, Jesus, Buddha, and a fortune-teller (Click to enlarge).

All content © Emilie Pavey

Monday, 16 January 2012

Saturday, 14 January 2012


Or how to deploy your students.

The line (ready to march):

The circle (unbreakable ring):

The wedge (impenetrable block):

More overhead candids here.

My photos on the current issue of Time Out Hong Kong's Hidden Hong Kong page. Walk-ups, snakes and ladders, and a waterfall (click to enlarge):

All content © Emilie Pavey

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Alternative perforations

The classic Chinese letterbox design is decorated with a perforated coin pattern, as you can see here.

However, hippies and Wiccans do it differently.

Flower power in Macau:

A fiery pamphlet from the Horned God (possibly) in Pok Fu Lam:

Another letterbox with a difference.

All content © Emilie Pavey

Friday, 6 January 2012

Tuesday, 3 January 2012


梳化 = so faa: sofa

All by myself...

Don't wanna be...

All by myself...


Let's hope people and sofas alike make new friends this year. Happy 2012!

More abandoned things here, here and here.

Photographs © Emilie Pavey