HK Time Out Magazine – Column #30

I’m currently contributing a short, light-hearted political column to Hong Kong Time Out Magazine. Below is the uncut, original version of my latest piece…

Pedal Power

In my wide-eyed naivety, I thought it’d be a splendid idea to cycle to work when I first moved to Kowloon and so set about buying a second hand fold-up bike. I immediately regretted venturing out onto Waterloo Road. The comical spectacle of a lanky Westerner astride a tiny contraption with wheels the size of dinner plates provoked so much staring, I might as well have been straddling a hippo. But aside from the instant face loss and unbearable pollution, it soon became clear why the only folks who risk cycling are those with a death wish and elderly gas canister delivery blokes. So hazardous were the roads that after 3 close shaves in as many minutes, my poor bike found itself straight back on AsiaExpat.

Blog – Shing Mun Redoubt, HK’s Secret WWII Tunnels

The remains of an extensive British military defensive line used against the Japanese stretch for several miles loosely tracing the border between Kowloon and the New Territories. Unfortunately, the line fell almost instantly upon the invasion of Hong Kong in December 1941. The deep defensive tunnels with ventilation shafts and observation points were named after London streets to make life easier – and more familiar – for the British soldiers based there.

If you’re happy to ignore the very real risk of a rogue rhesus macaque ripping one’s face off, many are still intact and can be walked through…

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HK Time Out Magazine – Column #29

I’m currently contributing a short, light-hearted political column to Hong Kong Time Out Magazine. Below is the uncut, original version of my latest piece…

Republic of HK?

Last week was the 13th July 1st democracy rally and it tends to attract all kinds of causes – from domestic maid unions and a group demanding full British nationality for Hong Kongers, to individuals with personal gripes against the health system. But one eccentric faction unlikely to be showing themselves in public is the HK independence movement. They exist solely in cyberspace, mostly because some legislators have suggested their campaigns are in defiance of archaic treason laws.

The Hong Konger Front is an alliance of websites proposing that the city finally declares itself a republic. Hkfront.org includes mock-ups of what the flag would look like along with a potential national anthem, complete with a catchy chorus – “Is it a great country? Yes, it is. Hong Kong is really great.” It alludes to the fact that we may have somewhat of a war with China on our hands (perhaps lasting ‘20 years’) but fails to discuss how totally reliant we are on the mainland for much of our food and all of our water.