Behind the Greater Good

Mobile Phone, Photography

Taste it

The Individual Visit Scheme (multiple-entry individual visit scheme) was launched to boost the Hong Kong economy after the devastating SARS. It was a crisis and an aftermath and the scheme was not all that annoying until last few years’ parallel trade activities near our border districts. Lots of shops closed down and replaced by pharmacies that sells daily necessities. Train stations filled with these traders packing and lining up to the platform. Clearly, it’s a supply and demand business equilibrium until it affected the districts’ residents. That had caused our local shortage in baby powder, the government had even placed a restriction to no more than carrying 2 cans out of the border after this incident when critically complained by the public.

The swamp of Mainland tourists on Canton Road (The Fifth Avenue of HK) while it’s not as sickening as it’s away from residential districts. It’s mostly avoidable. Franchises such as the luxury fashion brands, electronic retailers and pharmacies have took over most ground level shops in many hotspots in town. Maybe it’s good for the retail and perhaps the overall economy; but as a general citizen who just wish to wonder in town, it gave up our choices, possibilities and rights.

I agreed for the greater good, some of us may need to sacrifice; only when we all know where to draw that line. Our conscious community have been reacting to it by holding rallies, touring through various districts. It’d gotten worse in 2013-2014. I was at first annoyed by it very much. Until recently I realized all that had to be done by these concern groups and political parties, in order to alarm our slow reacting government or the situation would continue to get worse. You may argue there has to be another way. I believe nobody wanted the ‘angry’ way, it’s clear that it’d brought noise and concern to the authorities a lot quicker. It had then stirred up debate in the city.

Last year the authority had finally revised the scheme to become “single visit per week”. It was to respond the public concern and officials finally recognized it as an issue.

A world we see

The bigger picture we now look at is, for the past 12 years we had no have any new major tourist spots being developed. We had relied so much on the mainland tourists for quick turnovers and ignored the quality world tourists we should also cater. Many mainlanders only visit Hong Kong for consumer goods, there aren’t much for them to see here. “There’s a huge distinction between consumer and tourist.” (Reference: A short documentary in Cantonese)

The city’s development had inevitably wiped out many architectural heritage we once had. It’s important to not only conserve and restore the remains in full scale, we need to embrace it as our history. There’s history in Hong Kong, we cannot put all these behind and shove them in the museums. Not only they can be a visual landmarks, it’s a respect to our land and facilitates our sense of belonging. Unfortunately, the respect to our land is only tied to money – government revenues as land auction to the property developers.

Maybe the still yet-to-be-developed West Kowloon Cultural District is the major (long-term) tourist attraction in the city. I do very much look forward to it after visiting the equivalent project in Taipei, but for now we could just wait and wait some more. We’re at least 10 years behind from the original timeline and the second phase is even pushing longer until 2026-2030. I hate to see it become just another random public parks or shopping malls.

Losing the Grip

Mobile Phone, Photography

The current hot topic is how we should be handling the ever increasing Mainland Chinese tourists. An average local Hong Kongese feels our home is under threat. Threat of occupying our public spaces in a few districts that notorious for shopping necessities and luxury name brands. It’s really not my business until I see how politicians and government officials answered the questions made by the public. Speaking of developing new tourist attractions, all they do is pointing the finger on which way they should go. Who doesn’t know we need new spots for tourists…talk is cheap. I see really see no commitment in them, no foreseeable plans. So there they are, debating.

We are aware of the overcrowded issue on the main tourist attractions. There’re many of us believe we the locals should deserve better. We do not understand why there’s so few tourist attractions. Perhaps developing a new attraction would take forever and it’s really not necessary because all our government could think of is to develop more and more shopping centre? As we see how all our infrastructures are delaying. We do not understand why benches and seats are so hard to find in shopping malls. Yes, perhaps everyone is an iron man won’t get tired. And probably everyone can afford to pay for their seats in a restaurant on a mall instead. Our government should be taking the leading role to think the unthinkable, ‘wow’ everyone for once. I’m for one not too appreciate the public spaces in the city. I would even avoid going to some districts at all cost, knowing it’d be a waste of time waiting for transportations and facilities. Just when our tourism and the retail franchises are becoming the city’s main source of income. Who doesn’t want to make money, only that the money is not really going back to the general public and our living environment is getting more and more crowded. Should we not be saying anything back to those in charge of all that?
Science Explaination
Exclaimation in solitude
Tallest in townPillars
The Lit City

There was not a thing in mind in the past week. There was absolutely nothing I could make myself do. Even if there’s a new camera to play with, I wouldn’t go wild. I stuck with my routine walk after work. I’m not seeing, feeling anything at all. I see desperation. I try to convince myself now and then. I question myself if It’s the perfect time to go on some sort of short hiatus and re-program myself again. I’m no iron man. Not only a sizable break perhaps a new direction.

How about just get lazy and play with my 28mm again? See if I can skip going for a break for more than just a few days.. How does that sound?!

Spring Lantern Carnival (元宵節)@ TST, Hong Kong

Blogroll, Daily Journals, Photography

Today is the Spring Lantern Festival. Traditionally in the old days, Chinese enjoy the day by going out to see different kinds of candle illuminated paper lanterns, answering quizzes hanging on the lanterns, hanging handwritten wishes on trees, etc. Up to this day, not too many are doing so, at least our generation in HK. Now our generation enjoy only parts of it, the stuffed sweet dumpling is a very good example. It’s a dumpling form in ball shape made with ground sticky rice, on the inside it’s usually stuffed with sweet black sesame or peanut filling. They’re good. And i’ve no idea why this year I’d been craving this since January.

I’ve brought my X100 out and wished to capture some moments. And I sure did. Although some shots were still affecting by the parallax…hmm..hate it. I had to crop it in order to hide it..

The Spring Lantern Carnival took place in Tsim Sha Tsui. It was easy for me to get there after work – Star Ferry. Costumed Sailors are my favorite candid portrait target.
Star Ferry Sailor
I have to say I’m more comfortable shooting candid photo then I was two months ago. Part of it because of my Ricoh – my thinking is, if i could do it with my GRD; why not my other cameras. I kept trying and improve the speed when framing. Focusing with X100 is a tad slower, really have to either do a AE lock before hand or framing my shot dead on quick.

Underground construction @ the symphony of star
Across the Victoria Harbor off I go, to TST – Symphony of Star. There’s this huge docked ship doing some kind of construction underwater. I thought I was the only one that’s intrigued.
Tourists enjoyed it very much. The Hong Kong Board of Tourism can somehow think of a construction theme park to attract tourists?!
Tourists enjoyed it too! Are we seeing a potential on huge construction related theme park?? Instead of having Mickeys and Minnies popping out from time to time, how about some yellow Caterpillars banging and swinging!!
eye to the IFC from the Underground construction @ the symphony of star
There were booths showcasing some lost chinese art
handcrafted toy master or artist as it says..
On the center stage, there were performance. The seating area require an early booking so I was enjoying myself from the back instead. Spotted this lady in costume about to take the stage with the others, she seemed nervous.
nervous performer at the backstage
It’s almost a must do in HK. Dragon dance.
Dragon Dance rehearsing in the crowd
On the other stage, there were Chinese Opera performance with live musician. It’s my first time seeing live. I saw Violin and not erhu. Maybe there’s a erhuist somewhere..just difficult to spot it at night.
Chinese Opera musician
This is what Chinese Opera looks like. The performers paint their face to pink and white.
Chinese Opera open air stage
Lay my hand on a bright lit tree
It’s so beautiful and couldn’t help touch it.
Lanterns from above
This concludes this year’s carnival. Not enough booths and activities. And where’s the food at, serve the sweet dumplings at very least…food attracts people = me.
The X100 ISO seemed strange tonight. Some photos really didn’t require ISO 6400 or i should say above 3200 to get the shutter speed i want. I forgot to see the WB to auto-p not sure if it effects anything..i really don’t think so. Experienced a locked up…had to take the battery out to shut it down. Further testing needed.