Monday, November 05, 2012

PlayCantonese - a Cantonese playgroup for little ones

Just passing on link to what sounds like a useful playgroup for b.b.c. parents with little ones who are learning Cantonese.

PlayCantonese holds a series of events in London introducing babies and toddlers to Cantonese language through songs, rhymes and playing. It sounds like a much needed service! Drop them a line at if you're interested.

Website: PlayCantonese

Saturday, October 06, 2012

"Mourn with deep grief. Rest in peace..."

As The Standard Hong Kong reports, thousands gathered in Hong Kong last Friday to mourn the 38 people who died in the Lamma ferry sinking - Hong Kong's worst maritime accident in 40 years.

STORY: The Standard

Friday, September 14, 2012

A ridiculous 'Chinese-y' video from Coldplay

If you haven't seen it already, here's the so-clich├ęd-it's-funny video for 'Princess of China', the new single from Coldplay recently performed at the London Paralympics.

It's not like they went with the obvious or anything...

Oh dear!

Thursday, September 06, 2012

Side-by-Side: Geography Special!

This is a slightly different and more complicated Side-by-Side and has taken quite a bit longer to put together.

As a bbc who has lived most of his life in London and spent some time in HK, I am fairly familiar with the geography of both places (more so with London than with HK). What I didn't have was any sense of how one place related to the other in terms of scale and distance.

For example, that train ride from Kowloon to the New Territories seems like a long journey but is it? What would be the equivalent journey in London? How big an area is Central, when compared to London? People often think of Hong Kong as a small place, yet it never feels small when you are there. So how big or small is it, really?

I thought it would be interesting to use Google Maps to shed some light on this. The key was getting the maps of both Hong Kong and London at the same scale. Differences in global maps mean that Google does not display all locations at precisely the same scale on the same screen (there may be some trick to doing this but I don't know what it is). What I had to do was view both maps separately at roughly the same scale, screengrab these views and then in Photoshop resize the images more accurately using the on-screen scale key to ensure that 1km on the Hong Kong map was the same (as near as possible with the naked eye) as 1km on the London map. Once I'd done that, it meant I could compare them visually:

 No doubt an expert would have been able to do this more accurately but I got some interesting observations from this crude experiment.

For example, the whole of Hong Kong, including the massive Lantau Island, just about fits within the M25.

If you line up the southern tip of Kowloon to London's Embankment, Mong Kok and Prince Edward are roughly where Kings Cross is. I never realised that distance was so great. It's just a couple of MTR stops, right?

If you place Sheung Wan MTR station (over in west HK island) on top of Marble Arch, you can see that the distance to Heng Fa Chuen in the east is roughly the same as Marble Arch to Poplar, way out in the East End. An epic journey by London standards.

If you line up Hong Kong's Central with Oxford Circus in London, Admiralty is roughly in the middle of Shaftesbury Avenue.

The TST area up to Jordan is very approximately the same size as the Mayfair area in London, from Bond Street down to Piccadilly

And to answer the question I initially asked: A journey from Hung Hom interchange to Tai Po Market in the New Territories is very roughly the same as the journey from Paddington to Uxbridge, give or take a few metres.

Hope that's been of interest, and do drop me a line with any other geographical Hong Kong and UK comparisons!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

'Low Budget Lead' - a bbc short film!

Hi all. First of all apologies for the lack of recent posts. I have been incredibly busy but rest assured the blog is not forgotten and I hope to have some more interesting posts to come very soon (including another side-by-side).

What prompted this sudden return to the blog? A short film, that's what! Made by Jason Francis Lau during his final year at Brunel University, the film is described as a POV documentary and is an interesting look at life as a young British-born Chinese and indeed as a student in general. You can see a short trailer (which includes a link to the full film) here:

These days, most people's idea of a POV video would be a Youtube comment. This is actually a lot more creative and a lot more personal. The films starts off with a general look at life at uni and gradually (from about 9 mins) starts to focus more on the British-born Chinese aspect before then switching between the two.

Considering it was made without any budget, by Jason on his own, it's an impressive achievement. It blends multiple aspects of Jason's life and ends up as a pretty rare portrait of 'normal' uni life and a even rarer depiction of a young bbc's life.

Check out the film. Whilst British-born Chinese have made some media inroads in terms of appearances as actors and presenters, isn't it time we started seeing some bbc documentary and filmmakers too?

Monday, March 19, 2012

Hong Kong's 'Rotten' Voting System

TIME Magazine discusses the upcoming Hong Kong Chief Executive election.

Whilst Hong Kong society is generally far more liberal than China, there is still along way to go before we have democracy in any meaningful sense of the word.

Hong Kong's people are not allowed to directly elect their own chief executive (CE), the title given to the de facto mayor. Instead, voting is by a 1,200-member Election Committee composed largely of business elites who take their cue from Beijing. The selection of the winner, already vetted by Beijing, is practically preordained; the system effectively prevents a pro-democracy candidate from taking office.

Source: TIME

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Our very own meme

You've all seen them; those silly, attention-grabbing images with captions that get spread around via email and social networks.

Users add their own captions but the image always stays the same. If the image becomes popular and is repeated enough times it becomes a meme.

You may not have seen this one - 'High Expectations Asian Father' but I think some of them are pretty hilarious.

There isn't really a dedicated website I can link to since the nature of memes is that they are spread virally, but you can find lots on this tumblr and there are others on this website where you can also make your very own HEAF meme. Enjoy - and relate :)

Link: Tumblr

Link: QuickMeme

Monday, January 23, 2012

Gung Hei Fat Choi!

Happy New Year to all b.b.c. blog readers! Best wishes for the coming Year of the Dragon!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Tempers flare are Mainland Chinese antagonism grows

This is reportedly a viral video from Hong Kong that shows an argument on an MTR train between local Hong Kongers and a Mainland Chinese woman who's daughter was allegedly eating soup noodles in her seat and causing a mess.

The argument and the responses to the video illustrate the sentiment felt by local Hong Kong that their infrastructure - and indeed their culture - is being placed under strain by the influx of Mainlanders. A trend that many would like the Hong Kong government to tackle more firmly.

Shockingly, the video has prompted some quite despicable comments from the mainland with regards to Hong Kongers. In a televised interview Peking University professor Kong Qing-Dong likened Hong Kongers to dogs and thieves.

Raised voices between members of the public is one thing. But for a supposed professor to make statements like these on national television?

This is clearly an issue that is not going to go away.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Jeremy Clarkson apparently on a mission to get fired

Not likely to endear him to Top Gear's many Chinese viewers but Mr. Jeremy Clarkson's latest bon mot is to compare synchronised swimmers to the Chinese cocklepickers who died on Morcambe Bay in 2004. As reported by the Telegraph:

Clarkson mocked the sport of synchronised swimming as "Chinese women in hats, upside down, in a bit of water", adding: "You can see that sort of thing on Morecambe Beach. For free."

Is it even worth being offended? Clarkson is so valuable to the BBC and is generally liked by so many viewers that even these disgusting comments - that would have anyone else fearing for their job - are unlikely to jeopardize his lucrative position (now worth over £2 million a year).

News International should have asked him to hack Milly Dowler's phone because if he had, the British public would have brushed it off as someone 'having a bit of a laugh'.

One thing that strikes me as an occasional watcher of Top Gear is that for someone who insists that all his offensive comments are 'just a joke', Clarkson is seems totally incapable of taking a joke himself.

All the banter on Top Gear is at the expense of others and any time another presenter attempts to make a derogatory remark about Clarkson it is done with the timidity of a scared mouse and quickly countered with a scripted put-down. Anyone would think he was too vain to take a joke at his own expense.

A classic case of one who can dish it out but cannot take it?

Source: Telegraph

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Happy 2012!

Apologies for the lack of posts recently. Hope to resume normal service now the festive period has passed :)

Happy New Year to all b.b.c. blog readers, and see you soon for more topical posting this new year. Now... bring on Chinese New Year!