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Friday, April 3, 2020

Masked Up at a Busy Crossing in Hong Kong

In many areas of Hong Kong at times it is difficult to find social distancing.

people wearing face masks crossing a road
Crowded crosswalk at the junction of Hennessy Road and Yee Wo Street in Causeway Bay


But it is not at all difficult to find people wearing face masks. Since COVID-19 has spread much more slowly here in comparison to some other cities around the globe, it is becoming increasingly easy to believe they have helped to prevent a worse situation.

Sunday, March 29, 2020

An Anti-Epidemic Sale in Hong Kong

Atelier de Courcelles shop at Harbour City in Hong Kong


Atelier de Courcelles, a multi-brand store for children's fashion, has a shop in Hong Kong's Harbour City shopping mall. Like a number of other shops in the mall, it has been having a sale.

Unlike a number of other stores in the mall, though, their sale directly mentions the reason the mall has seen far fewer customers than usual during the past couple of months — the COVID-19 outbreak.

"Anti-Epidemic Sale" sign


The Anti-Epidemic Sale has been ongoing for at least several weeks. One can only hope there will soon be good reason for it to end.

Friday, March 20, 2020

Spotted THIS in Hong Kong

I've seen a number of cars with personalized license plates in Hong Kong. This is the latest:

Hong Kong care with a "THIS" license plate
A Mercedes-AMG CLA 45 4MATIC

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

A Blue Man Playing It Safe in Hong Kong

Tonight I asked a Hongkonger friend "What sort of pic of Hong Kong would you like people to see?"

She quickly replied "Face mask".

man wearing face mask while using his mobile phone


The above photo was taken Saturday night at Knutsford Terrace, a popular pedestrian bar street in Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong.

Friday, March 6, 2020

Some Men Playing It Safe in Hong Kong

Like bike rides, outdoor games of xiangqi now occur in Hong Kong with the common addition of masks.

Men playing and watching xiangqi while wearing surgical masks
At the Sitting-out Area under Flyover in Hill Road in Shek Tong Tsui, Hong Kong


No bike helmets needed.

Thursday, March 5, 2020

King County and Hong Kong Now Have a Roughly Equal Percentage of COVID-19 Cases

a view looking up at some trees
Looking up at trees in Hong Kong today


For some perspective, I thought it would be interesting to compare COVID-19 numbers in King County, Washington, U.S., where there has been an outbreak, with Hong Kong. I suspected they wouldn't be extremely different in one particular aspect. Yet admittedly, I was surprised to find that the percentage of the population who've been diagnosed with COVID-19 in the two places would be so similar right now. In fact, they are practically the same.

King County: 32 confirmed cases / 2,233,163 people (2018 census estimate) = 0.00143%*

Hong Kong: 105 confirmed cases / 7,482,500 people (2019 census estimate) = 0.00140%

These numbers will likely soon change, and there are other factors to consider. Just something to ponder . . .




*Note: Both percentages were rounded at the point where they began to differ.

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

A Girl Playing It Safe in Hong Kong

Bike helmet? Check.

Face mask? Check.

girl riding a bicycle while wearing a surgical mask and bike helmet
Saturday at the Western District Public Cargo Working Area ("Instagram Pier") in Shek Tong Tsui, Hong Kong


People in Hong Kong remain concerned about the new coronavirus that originated in China and now spreading elsewhere in the world. But during the past few weeks there are signs of a growing number of people trying to go about their lives a bit more normally and enjoying a sunny day when they can.

More on this topic later . . .

Thursday, February 20, 2020

Monday, February 17, 2020

Protests, Coronavirus Fears, and Valentine's Day Converge at a Hong Kong Prison

On Friday in front of the Lai Chi Kok Reception Centre - a maximum security institution — hundreds of people gathered to show solidarity with detained protestors. What one of the participants held and wore particularly captured the unique convergence of events in Hong Kong that night: a face covering used by some anti-government protestors to hide their identity, 3M safety goggles to protect against the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, and a rose fitting the theme of the rally: "Valentine's Day With You".

person holding a rose and wearing a face mask and goggles


The gathering differed from several other rallies held at the same location during recent months in that the organizers did not apply for a letter of no objection from the police. Although the police were clearly keeping an eye on things, they didn't interfere with the rally until it had nearly reached the two hour mark, which is about how long some of the previous rallies lasted. At that that time, police came into the protest area while holding up blue warning flags with the text: "This meeting or procession is in breach of the law. Disperse or we may use force."

Disperse they did. And Valentine's Day came to an end at the Lai Chi Kok Reception Centre.

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

From Protests to a Virus: Signs of the Times at a Hong Kong MTR Station

Until recently, protests were the focus of much attention in Hong Kong. Now, attention is more focused on the new coronavirus spreading which has rapidly spread throughout China. Two signs at Kwai Fong Station capture some of the impact of the protests and the virus:

pump bottle of hand sanitizer and signs about vandalism and hand washing


One sign promotes frequent hand washing to help prevent further spreading of the virus. Below the sign is hand sanitizer — now very hard to find in Hong Kong. Notably, the sign was placed on a device which, as another sign indicates, was previously vandalized. Most likely, the destruction is related to protests in Hong Kong last year.

Only time can tell whether both signs will be removed anytime soon.

Thursday, February 6, 2020

Nearly Empty and Policed: Last Night at Hong Kong Port and the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge

Hong Kong Port, the border checkpoint for people using the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge (HZMB), is one of the few remaining checkpoints open in Hong Kong for direct travel to or from mainland China — a response to the still-spreading Wuhan coronavirus and its effects. With the closing of all cross-borer ferry and helicopter services, the bridge is also the only way to travel directly between Hong Kong and Macau. Despite the dwindling options for reaching Macau or mainland China, when I arrived there last night at around 7 p.m. the Departure Hall was nearly empty.

Hong Kong Port departure hall with hardly any travelers


On the plus side, passing through immigration was a breeze as there were no line for the single immigration officer handling visitors.

The bridge showed few signs of travelers as well.

no other vehicles in sight on the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge


At times no other vehicles were in sight. Quite regularly, more than a minute would pass between any vehicles headed in the opposite direction passing us. Although I have found traffic on the bridge to be rather light in the past, even before Hong Kong was dealing with a virus outbreak or protests, last night was more extreme.

When I returned to Hong Kong Port shortly before 2 a.m. after an evening in Macau, I wasn't surprised to find it similarly quiet at first. However, after clearing customs the Arrival Hall provided a surprise: approximately 20 police in riot gear who were on their way out of the building.

numerous police in riot gear walking through the Hong Kong Port Arrival Hall
Definitely back in Hong Kong


I don't know if the police were responding to a specific threat, but Hong Kong Port might be a prime target for protestors who seek a more complete closure of the border between Hong Kong and mainland China.

Perhaps they don't need to bother.

Sunday, February 2, 2020

A View of Argyle from Above in Mong Kok, Hong Kong

 Looking westward down Argyle Street this afternoon from a pedestrian bridge next to Sai Yee Street in Mong Kok

Monday, January 27, 2020

Receiving News of Kobe Bryant's Death in the Midst of Hong Kong Protests, a Spreading Virus, and a Lunar New Year

police blocking Portland Street in Mong Kok, Hong Kong
A blocked section of Portland Street next to Langham Place


While police nearby guarded a street blocked due to a long night of protests in Mong Kok, Hong Kong, a young man next to me exclaimed, "Whoah!"

When I looked at him he said, seemingly stunned, "Did you know Kobe Bryant died?"

"No. Wait, what?"

He showed me his phone.

mobile phone displaying New York Post article on Kobe Bryant's death


He then expressed his shock over the news and shared how he had been a fan of Bryant since being a child.

Kobe Bryant has a large number of fans in mainland China as well. Patrick Brzeski reported on how people there were saddened by the news:
By mid-afternoon, local time, the hashtag devoted to Bryant's death on Weibo had attracted an astounding 2.4 billion views and tens of millions of engagements, making it by far the most widely read and discussed topic of the day.

The reports of Bryant's death seemed only to compound the dismay many millions in China have been feeling over the deadly coronavirus that has plunged the country into crisis during the family holiday season of Lunar New Year. A common refrain on social media was a plea wishing that 2020 could simply be started over. . . .

Just three days ago, Bryant posted a happy Chinese New Year message to his own Weibo profile, where he has 9.2 million followers. "Xin Chun Kuai Le to my dear friends in China!" he wrote.

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Momentarily Raising the Pepper Spray Canisters in Yuen Long, Hong Kong

Tuesday evening I was so occupied in Yuen Long, Hong Kong, that I didn't eat dinner. Also that evening, some police officers on Castle Peak Road suddenly started shaking their pepper spray canisters and made it clear they were ready to use them. We were rather close to a local district councillor who was... pepper sprayed by police.

four Hong Kong police officers wearing riot gear — three holding pepper spray canisters


After midnight I found a good meal of dumplings & noodles elsewhere in Hong Kong. I expected that wouldn't be a problem. I did not expect the pepper spray threat at a location close to the Hong Lok Road light rail stop and down the road from where a recent protest rally was held.

Yet again, I want to spend more time composing my thoughts and photos regarding the rally and related events. For now I will just add that shortly after the police stopped blocking the area, the district councillor was cleaned up and seemingly in good spirits as he gave interviews. I believe he was later arrested. Still sorting out what happened that chaotic night.

Monday, January 20, 2020

Momentarily Raising a Gun in Tin Shui Wai, Hong Kong

Tonight I had dinner at a cheap Italian-style place in Tin Shui Wai, Hong Kong. Also tonight, at a nearby rally a police officer suddenly appeared in front of me and then raised his gun.

policeman holding a gun


The food I ordered wasn't especially Italian. But I expected that, and for the price I was happy with it. I wasn't expecting the gun though.

I need more time to compose my thoughts and photos regarding the rally and related events. For now I will just add that the police officer soon lowered his gun without aiming it at anything. I don't know what concerned him. At the time I was more focused on him than whatever he was looking at behind me.

Friday, January 17, 2020

Graffiti and More Xiangqi at Soy Street

Although tear gas hasn't lately poured out of a pedestrian underpass on Soy Street in Mong Kok, Hong Kong, signs of the protests can still be found there.

"People Should Not Be Afraid Of Their Goverment [sic]" graffiti
Photo taken evening of January 16, 2020


And the xiangqi games go on as well . . .

Crowd surrounding two people playing xiangqi
Photo taken the same evening

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

From Tear Gas to Xiangqii on Soy Street in Hong Kong

Around 1 a.m. on the 9th of last November, police fired tear gas into a pedestrian underpass on Soy Street in Mong Kok, Hong Kong. The people on the other side likely weren't the intended target, but they still had to flee.



Such sights were common in Mong Kok during those days.

Where an older man had been sitting while wearing a gas mask, yesterday near midnight a crowd watched two men play a variation of xiangqi in which most of the pieces are initially flipped over to hide their identity and mixed up before setting them on the board.

men playing a xiangqi variant in Mong Kok, Hong Kong


That no gas masks were in sight or at all expected to be needed is one of the many signs of how much has changed in Mong Kong between two months ago and now.

Thursday, January 9, 2020

Cats, Fashion, and Orwell All Bestselling Books in Hong Kong

At the Eslite Spectrum bookstore in Hong Kong, "1984" tops 5th place "If Cats Disappeared From The World" in the store's Top 10 Bestselling Fiction Books.

"1984" and "If Cats Disappeared From The World" on a Top 10 Bestsellers shelf


In the store's Top 10 Bestselling Illustrated Books another cat book, "Hong Kong Shop Cats", holds 5th place. It's topped by "Lives of 50 Fashion Legends".

"The Lives of 50 Fashion Legends" and "Hong Kong Shop Cats" on a Top 10 Bestsellers shelf


Just some books selling well in Hong Kong to ponder . . .

Monday, January 6, 2020

A Face Mask Left Behind on New Year's Day in Hong Kong

I never intended to not post here for such an extended period of time. I certainly am not lacking in material or thoughts. I could post about fresh blood on a wall bordering a garden in Sheung Shui, a young woman stomping on a man's head in Mong Kok, or notes of hope in Central — all in Hong Kong.

For now, here is photo of a face mask, bricks, and a wheelbarrow in the middle of a street in Causeway Bay after a very large New Year's Day protest march and . . . more.

face mask, bricks, and wheelbarrow on a street


While the intended purposes of the items seem clear to me, I don't what exact event led to this state. I don't expect to ever know, but a chaotic scene seems likely. Plenty of such scenes played out on New Year's Day in Hong Kong. And more have since.

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Before and After the New Year on a Street in Hong Kong

Just before 11 p.m in Hong Kong New Year's Eve at Sai Yeung Choi Street South seemed moderately usual:

Sai Yeung Choi Street South just before New Year's


Around 3 a.m. New Year's at Sai Yeung Choi Street South had a different feeling though:

Police at Sai Yeung Choi Street South


Happy New Year.