Chinese Meritocracy Vs Western Democracy

Paul Chong/1 November 2014

Hong Kong, China

Hong Kong Chinese Singing & Dancing With Motherland China

All That Glitters Is Not Gold” is a poem written by J. R. R. Tolkien for his fantasy novel The Lord of the Rings. It is a verified truism meaning that not everything that looks precious or true turns out to be so. The phrase is appicable to people, places, or things & political systems that promise to be more than they really are. The expression, in various forms, originated in or before the 12th century and may date back to Aesop. In William Shakespeare‘s play “The Merchant of Venice, a line therein employs the word “glisters,” a 17th-century synonym for “glitters” which renders this saying its popularity.

Gold in its raw form appears dull and does not glitter. Panning for gold often results in finding pyrite, aka fool’s gold, which reflects substantially more light than does authentic gold.

Western democracy is not the be-all & end-all of the government system. For all its faults & follies, US – self-acclaimed as the champion of democracy – is intimidating others to follow suit.

Western Democracy, as practised in the West particularly in the US, isn’t as precious as deemed to be. It is shattering, chaotic, unequally representative, manipulated by the rich & powerful, controlled by big corporations and manned by diplomats & politicians with fork tongues. Lies & hidden agenda are evident everywhere. Instead of spreading peace & goodwill, western democracy is spreading war & destruction. Compare what the Chinese government is planning & doing in building, developing & sharing globally as against the intimidation & forces of destruction unleashed by the US.

Western democracy does not guarantee fairness & justice irrespective of colour, class or creed. US is probably the most corrupt nation in the world and in more & bigger ways than any others. Relatively, US has more poor & impoverished people than China. Read “How China lifted 500 million people out of extreme poverty” at http://skollworldforum.org/2014/03/13/china-lifted-500-million-people-extreme-poverty/.

This number of 500 million lifted out of poverty is greater than the total population of US! This speaks volume for the Chinese Communist government . . . an incredible performance with none to compare. This is but only one aspect of China’s achievements.

If the protesting Chinese students in Hong Kong (Occupy Central or Umbrella Movement) are seeking to find gold at the end of the end of the western rainbow, they will be much disillusioned. Right now Hong Kong Chinese may be craving for democracy without realising the pros & cons of the system. They may not even catch sight of the rainbow, let alone seeking for it.

Internationally, there has been a growing understanding that the Chinese government has never been a monolith, but since Deng Xiaoping’s era Chinese government officials are receptive & open to outside ideas that are well tested & proven relevant to China’s specific circumstances & needs. It’s logical to adapt, adjust & adopt in accordance to your own circumstances & requirements.

China is practising a unique brand of democracy, born out of needs & historical circumstances. The Mainland Chinese are no “monkies/monkeys” simply aping the West. They have the benefits of hindsight and the wisdom of some 5,000 years of civilisation. In fact, no visitor to China can today find any sign of communism.

China is blooming, growing & prospering. It does so all within only one whole generation – a feat unsurpassed by any other country, not UK nor US. With prevailing peace, stability & harmony, further growth & progress can be achieved.

China has come a long way. This is just the beginning. The best is yet to come. More than 100 million people still remain in dire poverty in rural areas. China is rendering its vast resources to change the face of China & the world and no doubt Hong Kong is not forgotten.

Hong Kong Chinese would be wise to close all its umbrellas, pack up & go back to their books & class/lecture rooms and be prepared to stand proud as Chinese. China has a more secured & protective umbrella for the Hong Kong Chinese. Ultimately, “ask not what China can do for you, but what you do for China.” In so doing, you’d be carving your name in China’s history.

Democracy” should be rightly spelt as “Demo-crazy”.

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UPDATE

as on  4 November 2014

Hong Kong residents collected 

1, 835, 793 signatures

AGAINST THE PROTESTORS

Source: CCTV

China Is Hong Kong’s Future

Paul Chong/24 October 2014

hong-kong-protestHong Kong – Occupy Central

Don’t be British stooges nor be the “running dogs” of US

Hong Kongers, Hong Kongese or Hongkees, whatever name the people in Hong Kong like to be known as, are like “frogs in the well” . . . so confined & restricted in their outlook that they don’t know the realities of life in the outside world. For far too long (156 stolen years) they have been “kidnapped, forcibly occupied, indoctrinated & influenced by an evil imperial regime whose domination is no less evil in India, Malaysia & other colonies.

You know the world would have been a better place now if Adam & Eve hadn’t failed to disobey God about eating the forbidden fruit. Western media are more cunning & devious than the Devil in controlling the hearts & minds of people. It is not the object of this writing to detail their acts, but the diagram below demonstrates clearly the whole propaganda machine at the disposal of US & its puppets:

The Propaganda Macine

For example, Hana Alberts, an editor & writer for Forbes & alternatively for the weekly HK Magazine, must have got rocks in his head when he wrote in his article “We Are All Hongkongers” of a “borrowed place living on borrowed time”. This is clearly a journalistic lie & propaganda of western media to create instability & further insinuating with the question of constantly ”struggling with identity issues”.

If the people in Hong Kong know their root & genealogy, they will understand that they are Chinese . . . yes, nothing but Chinese with ancestral ties in Mainland China. A large part of them are Cantonese, having come from the province of Guangdong. The national language medium of Mandarin is understood by most in Hong Kong. There’s no question of “identity issues.” Before taking flight, you must fundamentally know your root.

From the Bible, Jeremiah 13:23 (King James Version):

“Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? then may ye also do good, that are accustomed to do evil.” This clearly illustrates the notion that things cannot change their innate nature.

Hong Kong was & is part of China. It was the British who usurped Hong Kong through an unfair treaty. Britain was evil & avaricious to gain a foothold onto China and for 156 years ruled Hong Kong without democracy or free speech. In fact, the Chinese were treated as “dogs”. There were privileged clubs & designated areas where “Chinese & Dogs Are Prohibited”. Humiliation suffered by the people then may not be known by the present generation of Hong Kong. Many would not have known of the humiliation of opium addiction because of the evil trading of the British East India Company. Hopefully, the Chinese in Hong Kong are no longer “sick” oblivious & still craving for opium deviously introduced by the British.

There is no question of “borrowed time”. Hong Kong is China’s. Its sovereignty lies with China. With due respect & honour, peace & goodwill, no other western power should intervene or interfere with China’s internal affairs. Of course, outside forces are just waiting for things to go wrong, but China is no longer the “sick man” of Asia (all because of opium).

China is changing. It is not perfect, but will get better & better with the passage of time. No Utopia or Shangrila exists in this world. In fact, no visitor to Hong Kong or China can visibly fathom or see any evidence of “communistic characteristics”. Under the “one country two systems”, the Rule of Law, free speech & the right to protest are protected . . . something which the Hong Kong people never had under the British. The idea of any kind of democracy was first introduced by the Chinese government with adopting the Basic Law in 1990 including the commitment that in 2017 the territory’s chief executive would be elected by universal suffrage. It also spelt out the nomination of candidates would be a matter for a nominating committee. Democracy activists claim that China’s plans will allow it to screen out the candidates it doesn’t want.

Hong Kong people are forgetting that all its past 28 governors were appointed by the British government & was ruled from 6,000 miles away in London. All colonies failed to realise the suffering of classical exploitation with “drainage” trade benefiting the colonial masters. 

There are complicated problems that require great long term insight & administrative skills, so decisions cannot be hastily made nor can it be trusted to the average Chinese citizens. The Chinese system of governance/democracy has won favour with lots of global academicians. Need I say more . . . results of economic growth & development in the last thirty years speak louder than words. Hong Kong no doubt has had its fair share.

I fail to understand the Hong Kong people’s resentment at mainlander’s success & the extent of looking down on the mainlanders – their own kind. This is really deplorable.

It’s a civil disobedience movement which began in Hong Kong on September 28, 2014. It calls for thousands of protestors to block roads & paralyse Hong Kong’s financial district if the Beijing & Hong Kong governments do not agree to implement universal suffrage for the chief executive election 2017 & the Legislative Council elections in 2020 according to “international standards.” The movement was initiated by Benny Tai Yiu-ting, an associate professor of law at the University of Hong Kong, in January 2013.

Millions have been lost since this Occupy Central started. Occupy Central was to be carried out with Love & Peace. But in exercising their rights to assemble, they are encroaching upon the rights of others. It’s unlawful when you deprive others of their livelihood such as the taxi drivers, bus drivers, business operators & others. This upheaval is causing Hong Kong to lose its role as the gateway to China

The Law has been more than patient. In the 17 years since the return, China has, whatever the gainsayers might suggest, overwhelmingly honoured its commitment to the principle of “one country, two systems”. The same mus understandably be shown by these young protestors. The golden era enjoyed by the Hong Kong people is not result of the British but of the Chinese.

Hong Kong got rich because of China. It fed an ego & an arrogant attitude when the Hong Kong Chinese came to enjoy a much higher standard of living than the mainlanders. This resulted in their arrogance of looking down on the mainlanders as being inferior peasants, poor, ignorant & uncouth. To look down on your own kind is unforgivable and they want to be associated with the westerners because of material wealth or status.

Shanghai, Shenzhen & Guangzhou would soon surpass Hong Kong. Initially, China might have needed Hong Kong but it is not really as true now. Hong Kong now would be in trouble without China. Since the return of Hong Kong China has given more & more without taking even the taxes. Hong Kong Chinese are enjoying a life style all mainlanders would be envy of.

You are urged to stop monkeying around. All things considered, stop being idealistic but be pragmatic. Hong Kong is the “Pearl of the Orient”. Don’t spoil it. China is proud of it & would do no harm to it. China is Hong Kong’s future.

UPDATE

AS ON 4  NOVEMBER 2014

HK RESIDENTS COLLECTED

1,835,793 SIGNATURES

AGAINST THE PROTESTORS

SOURCE: CCTV

oKong governments do not agre

US Now Admits it is Funding “Occupy Central” in Hong Kong (The Washington Post 1/10/2014)

http://www.globalresearch.ca/us-now-admits-it-is-funding-occupy-central-in

U P D A T E  –  AS ON 2 DECEMBER 2014

WireAP_52dbf924d78c448ab494013c9b00e2f4_16x9_992Three protest leaders, from left, Chan Kin-man, Benny Tai Yiu-ting and Chu Yiu-ming, attend a news conference in Hong Kong Tuesday, Dec. 2, 2014 as they announce that they will surrender to police. Three protest leaders in Hong Kong – two professors and a pastor – are calling for an end to street demonstrations to prevent violence and take the campaign for democratic reforms to a new stage. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung) Close The Associated Press

Three student leaders had been arrested prior to this. 

“Devoted To Thee” -Tribute to Marie Dickinson

M Dickinson

People speak of Mother Teresa with awe & admiration, the same will equally apply in no lesser degree to Marie Dickinson – a virtual unknown set in the backdrop of human endeavour. There is no pomp or publicity to attract media attention. But do we need to be in the forefront before greatness is conferred upon the real good-doers.

Goodness of the heart is what God seeks, and true goodness is seldom exposed or sensationalised for which the media strike the commercial tune!

Marie Dickinson is a woman of substance, faithful & loyal to the core. She stirs with the break of dawn and hums her ways right through the fall of darkness. She handles both domestic & commercial affairs (of her late husband Stuart) with dexterity & speed of efficiency as with magic.She’s been her husband’s secretary, business partner, account/book keeper, life partner & mother of two beautiful daughters Seanne & Heidi.

IMG_9565

Knowing her for all these years since 1981 when I first visited Perth, I still feel totally inadequate to present her true image. She & her late husband had been host parents to a good number of foreign students – from top of the Himalayan countries to the rice plains of Vietnam, Hong Kong & Malaysia, not forgetting my own youngest brother, Mike and his brother-in-law Daniel.

Seanne & Heidi posing beneath a huge portraiture of themselves.

Mike (Standing Left) & his wife Doreen in blue (Standing third from left)
Mike (Standing Left) & his wife Doreen in blue (Standing third from left)Two nights ago, Lilian & I together with two other young couples gathered at China Court Restaurant to celebrate 225 years of good living (the years of the two young couples not included) – an intimate & cosy affair blessed by the absence of other diners that auspicious night. God must have seen to that. There was a touch of showers but otherwise warm & quiet within therein for our purpose. We three “musketeers” have an age difference of only three months between each of us. Born in the Tiger year she’s anything but that ferocious creature we find in the wild but a subdued gentle white breed rarely found in the world…….

Richard & Theresa Lwin Carl & Joansy PergrumHelping to celebrate: Carl & Joasnsy Pergrum

White Tiger

Paul & Lilian Chong
Paul & Lilian Chong   Looking radiant with a good top of hair, untainted by the advancement of time, she still attends the same old Riverton Baptist Church sine the 70s without clamouring for honoured position or deaconship. Marie is just one member of the congregation dutifully & faithfully carrying out her fair share of responsibilities of church building. 

She took on the task of looking after Peggy Walters, a retiree in the Sherwin Lodge, Rossmoyne, like more than a daughter unto her. Each week Marie would fetch her for shopping, stand by on call in case of emergency, helping her with chores which became too much to bear for an eighty-year-old with a weak heart & unreliable gait. Marie guiding her on with every due care & attentio

Her heart is good & strong & may have only be broken but once when her dear husband Stuart who operated their home-based Interior Décor business died of that dreadful motor neuron disease in his fifties.

Let’s hear what my brother Mike, now manager for an international corporation in the Pacific Rim, has to say:

Marie and Stuart played host parents to many foreign students. I do not know how many but during my time at Leederville Technical College and WAIT ( now Curtin University) I recalled clearly there were two other Malaysian Malay students and another from Hong Kong. Marie and Stuart were actually Doreen’s brother, Daniel’s host parents but somehow we ended being adopted as well.”

Mike continues: “Marie and Stuart love having friends over for meals and we were invited over many occasions. As most meals were western/Aussie meals we were of little help but Marie would be busy single handed lay churning to 3 course meals . . . entree, main course and of course her lovely and delicious desserts. It was a first for me to taste pavlova and hers was simply irresistible! 

When not entertaining at home,” Mike says “Stuart and Marie would invite their close friends to dinner at a restaurant and at least once we joined them in the up market Oyster Bar which we would not think of dining there as students.”

Marie and Stuart are very generous and caring people; the generation of Australians who felt very blessed and wanted to share what they have. On one occasion they invited us to join them to a beach holiday stay near Yanchep; something again as students we would not such expense. However it turned out to be an embarrassing experience cos my $500 Madza could not start and Stuart had to disrupt his holidays to tow my car with his to a mechanic at Osbourne Park!!, I felt so bad and it was my fault for not servicing the car regularly. But here again is the kindness and generosity of the Dickinsons. And never for once did Stuart or Marie brought this up in subsequent meetings.”

Marie was born in the year of the Tiger, but far from being the ferocious animal as in the wild, she’s an exceptional white tiger so rarely seen in the world at large . . . most docile & tame & mysteriously welcoming in sight.

Marie has dedicated her life that so others may live better!

Devoted To Thee”

So amazingly transparent & free.

Durian: “King of Fruits” Becoming “King of Wine”?

Source: University of Singapore & Google

 Durian pulp

Christine & Fransisca

Scientists in Singapore are experimenting with wine-making, using the pungent-smelling durians instead of grapes. They’re still a long way from commercialising durian wine, but researchers are confident that the so-called “Kong of Fruits” has the potential to be “King of Wine”.

The “King of Fruits”, as commonly renowned in Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand & other southeast countries is not for everyone especially westerners.

Smell like hell

Taste like heaven!

Scientists smell success with durian wine-making.

Screen shot 2013-07-22 at 3.59.42 AM

Christine & Fransisca

Durian has an extremely pungent smell – some say downright foul. It’s even been banned in public buses, trains & certainly planes. But that hasn’t deterred Christine Lee and Fransisca Taniasuri, researchers at the University of Singapore. They’re turning durian into wine.

Prof.

According to Assistant Professor Liu Shao Quan, the fruit’s firm pulp must first be modified before fermentation can begin.The end result is a clear liquid with 6 per cent alcohol content, with its pungent smell reduced.

Screen shot 2013-07-22 at 4.04.00 AM

Whether this will translate into commercial success or not remains to be seen. But for the great durian lovers & wine drinkers & the growing market demand in China & Hong Kong where durian import has been on the increase, the potential & possibility look good. 

Romantic Link:

A woman like good wine mellows with the years . . . and the man always as young as he feels would endear her to himself with tears.

Vagrancy Problems in Cities

 

 

 

When visiting the Independence National Historical Park, a United States National Historical Park in Philadelphia that preserves several sites associated with the American Revolution and the nation’s founding history in the summer of 2012, we saw this couple sleeping on the public bench. Here’s the picture:

 

This was early in the morning & the Park daily activities were beginning to stir and they were totally oblivious to the awakening environment.

 

Homelessness is severe and growing in cities the world over and certainly not the kind of image any city would want to project. Except for Singapore, that “spit & span” city of the world, most other cities have a fair share of such problems.

 

In Taipei, I have seen people sleeping in shopping centre car parks. In Hong Kong, under the bridges & just about any sheltered areas are targeted. In Perth, a generally clean city where I live, parks & public places are not spared. You would expect that cities in developed countries would be spared when compared to the squalid slums of the third world countries.

 

From East to West

 

Vagrants have found their niche to rest.

 

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Especially in downtown areas, one category of homelessness is especially problematic: Vagrants sleeping on benches, panhandling, relieving themselves in public, bathing in library restrooms – and costing taxpayers a lot of money.

 

Non-profits and volunteers are working diligently to address the problem, providing food, beds, rehabilitation programs and jobs counseling. But shouldn’t the government be burdening with such responsibilities?

 

In Guangzhou, China, the city authorities have taken the negative approach of constructing concrete spikes under the spaces of bridges to prevent homeless people from sleeping there, much to the annoyance of the city’s citizens.

 

Arrest & jailing the offenders is no deterrent for the hard core. They call it “three hots and a cot.” This is an expensive approach but to no avail. Some spent one or two nights, some spent weeks or months there, all at $60 per night. Most were back on the streets in a day or two.

 

With more homeless people flocking to big cities, the government should take a more humane approach to provide adequate care for those who live at the bottom rung of society, instead of leaving them alone or even expelling them numerically without any sense of human compassion.

 

Vagrancy problems are being perpetuated needlessly without any well planned strategy. In all cases, city authorities have learned that charitable organisations with their well intended “enabling” programs do not address the homeless’ plight. Enablingcomes in the form of hot meals in several locations, official tolerance of sleeping in public places, short jail stints, a shortage of rehabilitation programs and well-intended but gullible people who respond to panhandlers.

 

Robert Marbut, a top US consultant who has studied homelessness, has this to say: “We don’t help the homeless by enabling them.” Marbut’s approach is simple: Stop making it so easy to be a vagrant; make it more desirable for vagrants to seek help; and then redirect resources to assist them in a better calculated effort.

 

A transformation program will be to include education, rehab or training program to become more productive, shelter buildings & rigorous law enforcement.

 

Despite existing good programs, in the wake of economic misfortune many more are being left homeless – jobless men and women, often along with children – and in genuine need of help.

 

Achieving a humane, open and inclusive society where the vagrants are treated as equals still remains a challenge that requires the wisdom of the government.

 

When targeting to prevent homeless people from sleeping in public places, government can sometimes take the extreme step. For instance, in Guangzhou sharp concrete spikes were built under the city bridges. Too many homeless people used to congregate there under the bridges and some even cooked there posing danger.

 

Concrete spikes under under bridges or flyovers are a waste of land. Hong Kong sets a good example in making use of these lands to build main bus stations for passengers to easily recognize or garbage sorting stations.

 

In living day to day, under today’s living conditions with growing economic & social problems, unemployment & home foreclosures, life is difficult enough as it is. Why make it so hard for them to survive or force them into a life of crime?

 

In the final analysis, which is more important, people’s lives or the city’s image or appearance?

English: Homeless man sleeping at the bus stop...
English: Homeless man sleeping at the bus stop in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: Homeless man, Tokyo. Français : Un sa...
English: Homeless man, Tokyo. Français : Un sans abri à Tokyo. Español: Persona sin hogar, en las calles de Tokio. Türkçe: Evsiz adam, Tokyo. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

 

 

World’s Tallest Hotel – The Ritz Carlton Hong Kong

 

Situated on top of the International Commerce Centre, Ritz Carlton Hotel offers spectacular views across the waters to the skyline of Hong Kong Island.It perches on floors 102 to 118 and has 312 rooms all with city and harbour views.

International Commerce Centre
International Commerce Centre (Photo credit: jimbowen0306)

The hotel offers six restaurants, a sky-high spa with floor-to-ceiling windows and an indoor infinity pool overlooking the iconic harbour.

 Spectacular: The Ritz Carlton Hong Kong (centre) became the tallest hotel in the world

The Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong officially became the world’s tallest hotel – and the fourth highest building in the world – when it opened its doors to the public in 2011.

Herve Humler, president of luxury hotel chain said the building was a landmark hotel which was the culmination of many years of hard work ‘We have been able to create truly spectacular so we can welcome our guests not just to the tallest hotel in the world, but also to one of the very best hotels in the world,’ he said. ‘We are taking luxury to new heights in every sense.’

Special Features:

It has taken years to build the hotel which also has a shopping mall. Other hotel’s facilities include state-of-the-art technology including WiFi, iPod docking stations, Blu-ray DVD players and flat screen TVs. There are three restaurants on the 102nd floor, including Tin Lung Heen, which is a Chinese restaurant serving refined Cantonese cuisine; Tosca, an Italian restaurant which offers Southern Italian cuisine and the very stylish The Lounge & Bar with fire pits and open kitchens.

In addition, there is a chocolate-themed lounge named The Chocolate Library on 103rd floor and a stylish patisserie located on 9th floor. Managers say the jewel in the crown is Ozone, located on the hotel’s 118th floor.

It offers contemporary Asian tapas and signature cocktails to a backdrop of incredible views as well as the chance to drink on the world’s highest al fresco terrace.

The hotel has an ESPA on site which is located on the 116th floor.

 

 

 

It’s clearly seen from the vicinity of West Kowloon Cultural Centre.

Iconic: The building towers over other skyscrapers nearby.

The Peninsula Hong Kong

The Peninsula with its fleet of Rolls Royces

You might have been to the Ritz in London or

the Waldorf -Astoria in New York where the rich & famous haunt, The

Peninsula is a truly special hotel, dating back to the days

when few of us were born.

It’s opulent & has a class of its own unmatched by any comparison.

It’s legendary & the talk of the town.

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This stately Peninsula, erected in 1928, the heyday of colonialism, has a charm and charisma to it that most other hotels would like to bottle and buy. The building itself is recognized as one of the best in Hong Kong and has found its way onto many tourist itineraries. The Peninsula is arguably the height of hotel luxury in the city. Spacious and tasteful suites are designed with Victorian granduer in mind and  have lost little of their stately appeal. Be sure to ask for a room in the original building, otherwise you may be stored in the somewhat lackluster new towers.

It has been the playground of governors and mandarins, diplomats and powerbrokers for over a century. The place to stay and been seen to stay for anyone eager to impress. For many people it’s still the only address in town worth talking about.

As a five star lap of luxury property the Peninsula still lives up to its legend – this is after all the home to more the world’s largest fleet of Rolls Royces – yet it’s fair to say that the Peninsula Hong Kong has been edged out as the most luxurious stay in town by competitors – the Four Seasons is a particular stand out. If you’re looking for titanic-sized hot tub bathtubs and the most TV channels as well as all the other bells and whistles attached to luxury hotels – you can arguably find it done with a little more finesse for a little bit less money elsewhere in Hong Kong. But that shouldn’t stop you booking in.

This is more than a hotel stay. The Peninsula Hong Kong has what’s often lacking at a five star – character – and bags of it; the history and stately surroundings make for a truly special stay. In a city that often ignores – or bulldozes its history – this is a step back into a city and a style long lost. It’s a true experience.

This is a truly special hotel. Like the Ritz in London and the Waldorf Astoria in New York, the Peninsula is synonymous with Hong Kong – a landmark that has stood for much of the city’s short history. It was here that British governors held their opulent balls and where the British would surrender to the Japanese in World War Two. In recent years the hotel has not only featured between the pages of Conde Naste and National Geographic but as a city icon in Bond and Batman films.

It’s fair to say that other Hong Kong hotels have edged the Peninsula for luxury – particularly with modern touches such as iPod docks and even telescopes – but for pure class – the Peninsula Hong Kong remains in a league of its own. From the marble gilded lobby and string quartet that accompanies high tea to the fleet of Rolls Royces that can be used for airport transfers there is a turn of the century charm that makes you want to don top coat and tails.

The hotels’ façade is still the 1920s’ original – new 30 storey tower addition aside – and the interiors still strive to tell the tale of the roaring twenties. Stylish rooms retain their classical elegance with high ceilings, marble bathrooms and polished wood furnishings, with modern fixtures, such as 42 inch flatscreen TVs and in room safes – sympathetically included into the decor. The inclusion of a sofa or armchair in each room adds an extra bit of home comfort to any stay.

While the rooms are universally impressive, there are a lot of different grades of room on offer and what you get for your money does vary. This is not only your basic difference between your standard rooms and swankier suites but there is the Hong Kong difference between harbour views, street views and…at the Pen, courtyard views. More importantly is the difference between stays in the original hotel and the new 30 storey tower now bolted on top. Built in 1994, every effort has been made to build the tower true to the original design– and the rooms are almost carbon copies – but it’s just not the same.

The Peninsula can boast an ESPA spa, a rooftop fitness centre fitted out with state of the art equipment and personal trainers and a Roman inspired pool. There are even helipad and Rolls Royce transfers on offer – all for an extra wad of cash. Many want to know if the Peninsula Hong Kong has the best facilities in town. In a city flush with five stars constantly striving to out do each other it’s hard to say. Are there better facilities on offer at other Hong Kong hotels?

The Peninsula is home to some of the best restaurants in the city. These include the starched white table clothes of Gaddi’s, a neo classical dining room that has been considered the city’s best spot for French haute-cuisine since opening in 1953 – a lifetime in Hong Kong restaurant terms.It’s also an entrant into the Hong Kong Michelin Guide and perhaps the last restaurant in Hong Kong to require a jacket for dinner.

The Peninsula’s other award winning restaurant is Felix – a complete departure in both style and atmosphere.

The highlight of any stay is – in the lobby. Set amongst the gilded columns and marble floors, drinking earl grey tea and eating finger sandwiches and cream cakes while being serenaded by a string quartet is a must try experience.

Just try it even if you could not afford the luxury of staying at the Peninsula!

World’s Largest Underground Express Rail Station

West Kowloon Sky

Image

ImageWest Kowloon Cultural Centre Promenade

The Express Rail Link West Kowloon Terminus, built to connect Hong Kong to Beijing, is said to become the world’s largest underground high-speed rail station.

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This stunning modern concept was designed by Andrew Bromberg of international architecture studio Aedas and its completion is programmed for 2015. In three years time, the huge 4,628,481 square feet (430,000 square meters) contemporary terminal in central Hong Kong will be prepared with 15 tracks for high-speed trains reaching maximum speeds of 124 mph.

This dazzling terminal is an example of how far technology and architecture have come together, forming part of the greater Pearl River Delta greater development of super infrastructure of high-speed trains, super highways & freeways, one megametropolis of nine major regional cities with ease & speed of communting – a feat that none the world will ever see.

 ImageImageImageImageImageImage

Starting with the first impression, this undulating building will change the city’s face promising to proudly display Hong Kong’s bold and vanguard character. Rising 148 feet high above the surroundings, the structure’s roof line acts as dynamic-shaped pedestrian trails alongside green spaces. This park/terminal hybrid fabricates a promised view of the future we can’t wait to see it finished and on-line.

Above ground, the terminal’s exterior architecture is quite exquisite. The outside ground plane bends down to the hall and the roof structure above gestures toward the harbour. The result is a 148 ft high volume which focuses all attention to the south façade with views of the Hong Kong Central skyline, Victoria Peak and beyond. Much of the station’s roof is actually green so pedestrian can cross over the top, making it seem more like a park than a train station.

When the West Kowloon Cultural precinct was reclaimed & development, there was much speculation. Now pieces of puzzle are in place & this is truly going to be something spectacular.

West Kowloon Express Rail Terminus:

Cage Hongkees in Affluent Hong Kong

The tragedy of tens of thousands living in 6ft by 2ft rabbit hutches – in a city withmore Louis Vuitton shops than Paris

Hong Kong, one of the world’s richest cities, is abuzz with a luxury property boom that has seen homes exchanged for record sums. 

But the wealth of the city has a darker side, with tens of thousands priced out of housing altogether and forced to live in the most degrading conditions.

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These pictures by British photographer Brian Cassey capture the misery of people – some estimates put the figure as high as 100,000 – who are forced to live in cages measuring just 6ft by 2 1/2ft.

The city is one of the planet’s most densely packed metropolitan areas, with nearly 16,500 people living in every square mile of the territory. 

Unscrupulous landlords are charging around US$200 a month for each cage, which are packed 20 to a room, and up to three levels high. 

The lower cages are more expensive because you can almost stand inside them, but the conditions are no less squalid. 

All this in a city with more Louis Vuitton shops than Paris.

Tai Lun Po, 79, has lived in the cage he is sitting in for an extraordinary 30 years

Eight-year-old Lee Ka Ying lives in a 6ft square ‘cubicle cage home’ with her mother

Yan Chi Keung eats takeaway outside his wire cage home – there are no cooking facilities

Tai Lun Po walks to the bathroom which he shares with the other residents

Occupants must share toilets and washing facilities, which are rudimentary. Many of the apartments have no kitchens, forcing their impoverished residents to spend there meagre incomes on takeaway food

The cage homes have been a running scandal in Hong Kong’s housing market for decades, yet rather than disappear, they are on the rise.

As the world economic crisis has lashed the city a former British territory whose economy is focused on financial services, more have been forced to turn to them for a place to stay.

The alternative is life on the streets 

A building in Mongkok that houses cage people, sometimes squeezed twenty to a room

One cage dweller, Cheung, who lives in Sham Shui Po, told the Asia Times Online he endures appallingly cramped and fetid conditions.

‘The temperature inside the cages can be two to three degrees higher than what they are outside,’ he said.

‘It’s really uncomfortable, and sometimes I cannot sleep until after 5 in the morning.’

Cockroaches, wall lizards, lice and rats are common. ‘Sometimes I am worried if lizards or cockroaches will crawl into my ears at night,’ said Cheung.

Cage Occupants must share toilets and washing facilities, which are rudimentary. Many of the apartments have no kitchens, forcing their impoverished residents to spend there meagre incomes on takeaway food.  The cage homes have been a running scandal in Hong Kong’s housing market for decades, yet rather than disappear, they are on the rise. As the world economic crisis has lashed the city a former British territory whose economy is focused on financial services, more have been forced to turn to them for a place to stay. The alternative is life on the streets.
 

Dafen Oil Painting Paradise to the World

Dafen Oil Painting Village

If you are not too serious an art collector, but would

like to pride yourself for having some “recognizable” oil paintings

by renown artists of an era gone by such as Leonardo di Vinci,

Vincent Van Gogh, Pablo Picasso or Gu Kaizhi (344 – 406 AD), one of the most famous artists of Chinese history, you have come upon the right place in China or perhaps the world.

The place is Dafen, a modern suburb of Shenzhen in southern China, with 10 million inhabitants northeast of Hong Kong, where you can enjoy affordably world classed hand-painted oil paintings of famous art & masterpieces. It has approximately 620 galleries and over 5,000 artists doing the creation, imitation, collection and export of oil paintings.

Southern China is the world’s leading center for mass-produced works of art. One village of artists exports about five million paintings every year — most of them copies of famous masterpieces. The fastest workers can paint up to 30 paintings a day.

A giant hand raises an impressive paintbrush into the sky at the entrance to the art village. The bronze sculpture of Gu Kaizhi outside the gates of Dafen in southern China leaves no visitor in doubt as to what the people do here and it has achieved unexpected fame and relative prosperity as “The McDonalds of the Art World”.

Dafen, with its artsy economic miracle, is running out of space. It’s a replica of Michelangelo’s David, flanked by flowerpots in front of the new “Dafen Louvre” where entrepreneurship is debated against bad taste. With creative skill & imagination Dafen can produce to your satisfaction any art masterpieces at a price you can afford.

Slide show below – Auto Advance

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