Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas!

Photo: jomankwong

Have a great Christmas and see you soon for more bbc blogging! (Click on the photographers' names for some festive HK photo albums.)

Please let me know your thoughts on this blog, any suggestions you may have, topics you would like covered and do please keep the comments coming. It's always nice to know someone out there is reading!

See you in 2008!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Recipes for Dong Zhi ('doong jit', Winter Solstice)

Photo: Su-Yin

One thing about being a bbc is that you get twice the number of festivals and special days to celebrate (which can be a good or bad thing depending on how much you like the various feasts and events).

Just three days before Christmas, on December 22nd is the Winter Solstice ('doong jit'). It's the shortest day of the year and traditionally a time for families to gather and share a special meal which usually includes 'auspicious' dishes such as chicken and rice flour 'tong yuen'.

The date signals the start of longer daylight hours and symbolises the end of the year's 'yin' or dark phase and the transition into the 'yang' or light phase and so is regarded as an optimistic date worthy of celebration.

If you're in need of some inspiration, here's a couple of Dong Zhi recipe pages:

Homemade Tong Yuen by Su-Yin

Chinese 'Drunken Chicken' Recipe

And here's some more info about the significance of Dong Zhi:

China Winter Solstice festival
Dong Zhi (Discover Hong Kong)

Monday, December 17, 2007

HK Wedding Pics... like no others!

We've all seen the typical Hong Kong style wedding studio photos; All soft focus, carefully posed and, well, wedding-like. So it's nice to see a couple throwing convention out the window and doing something unusual (and quite funny) :)

No idea about the background story to these photos but you can see the full set on

Related: Banquets and Bouquets - Weddings Hong Kong style

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Swim Donald Swim!

Whilst most of the city of Hong Kong is impressively clean and well maintained (especially when compared to London), the same cannot be said for its surrounding waters. In recent years there has been growing concern about the levels of pollution in the waters around Hong Kong with salmonella and tuberculosis amongst the bugs thought to be present, not to mention sewage and industrial toxic waste.

Earlier this year the makers of the new Batman film decided not to film a stunt that would have involved stuntmen and actors swimming in Hong Kong harbour. The press claimed that this was due to the filthiness of the water but that idea was later debunked by the film's director. The fact remains, though, that most people see the water around Hong Kong as unclean.

The situation has prompted a campaign in Hong Kong named 'Swim! Donald Swim!' The challenge laid down by the campaign is for Donald Tsang to demonstrate that he has delivered on his promise to clean up Hong Kong by swimming from Central to Tsim Sha Tsui.

Check out the official campaign homepage here: Swim! Donald Swim!

I like the cheekiness and the humour of the campaign - it's very Hong Kong. As to whether we will ever see Tsang put on his swimsuit (perhaps with a specially customized, waterproof bow tie?) and do what the campaign demands, only time will tell.

Related: Batman director says Hong Kong harbor pollution did not force scene cut

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Ma Ling contaminated food scare

You may have already heard about this but there is currently a major food scare concerning Ma Ling (pronounced 'mui lum' in Cantonese) canned meat products.

Ma Ling exports have been suspended by the Chinese authorities and Ma Ling canned meats have been taken off the shelves in Hong Kong.

The action comes after higher than permitted amounts of 'antibiotic nitrofurans' - which are thought to be carcinogenic - were found in some cans of food. It is the latest in a series of safety issues concerning products from mainland China.

The reports say that the levels are still so low that you would have to eat massive amounts of contaminated food to be at risk but if you or your family has a few Ma Ling cans stashed away in a kitchen cupboard, you may still want to dispose of them as a precaution.

Related: AP story.

Related: People's Daily story.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

China's Moon Photo Hoax Allegations

Photo: CNSA

China's space programme has just, well, got off the ground and already it is generating its own conspiracy theories! Knowing the Communist Party's love of 'information management' it's not surprising that people are a bit suspicious.

I have to admit I found it strange how China's first manned mission had very few supporting photographs. All I ever saw were photos of the astronaut, Lt. Col Yang Liwei, clambering out of his spacecraft in a field. So far I haven't been able to track down a single image of him actually in orbit, which is a little odd.

When China recently unveiled the first image taken by its Chang'e lunar probe, there were some who alleged that it was a fake or rather a plagiarized version of a NASA photograph taken many years earlier.

This was, the conspiracy theorists alleged, the ultimate act of piracy. Yes, those pesky Chinese pirates had been at it again!

However, the theory has been more or less killed off by a side-by-side comparison of the two images which show that the lighting is different and an extra crater in the newer, Chinese photo.

Full story: Daily Telegraph.

That should at least keep the conspiracy theorists quiet. Until China's next space mission, anyway.

Related: Wired

Monday, December 03, 2007


'Chinglish' used to be a phrase used (occasionally by bbcs) to describe the haphazard and sometimes clumsy mixing up of Chinese and English in conversation.

Recently the phrase has been used more to refer to funny signs and notices that include comically bad translations of Chinese into English and, just in time for Christmas, it's even become a book title.

I had a flick through the book while I was Christmas shopping and some of the examples are quite funny but they do become tiresome after a while. The whole book would probably only give someone about 20mins of amusement.

Seeing as there is probably an inexhaustible supply of these funny signs, the 'Chinglish' phenomenon looks set to run for a while before everyone gets bored of it. Here's my tip of the day: You can save yourself the cost of the book simply by looking up Chinglish on Google Images. ;)