Wednesday, 13 December 2017

Picture of the Day: Nanjing Massacre at 80

People gathered at the Cenotaph in Central... are they allowed there?
This morning I took our company shuttle bus to work and on the way we passed by the Cenotaph in Central.

I was shocked to see a bunch of people standing there and holding large Chinese flags.

Then I remembered it was the 80th anniversary of the Nanjing Massacre, but why were these people standing there?

The Cenotaph is a war memorial that commemorates the dead in the two world wars who served in Hong Kong in the Royal Navy, British Army and the Royal Air Force.

What does it have to do with Nanjing?

If they want to commemorate the Nanjing Massacre they need to find their own cenotaph!

Nano Flat Prices Keep Rising

The nano flats are being built in Yuen Long at HK$15,000 per square foot
The prices of flats in Hong Kong keep going higher.

Now nano flats that are 192 square feet are being sold for HK$2.99 million -- in Yuen Long.

Yes Yuen Long, along the West Rail line in the New Territories.

It's part of a development called Park Reach that has 63 units and the average price of a flat there is more than HK$15,000 per square foot. After a maximum discount of 5 percent, the average selling price is HK$14,975. Whoohoo -- a HK$25 savings per square foot. You can get a McDonald's set lunch for that.

The HK$14,975 per square foot price is 10.5 percent higher than the average price of a flat at 50 major housing estates in the city tracked by Ricacorp Properties.

Despite the tiny size, property agents believe buyers will be keen for the units because they can get a loan of up to 85 percent of the flat's value from the developers.

So now developers are also the bankers. Guess the government doesn't think that's a conflict of interest...

By the way the smallest flat is 192 square feet. The largest? 310 square feet.

Talk about real minimalist living...

Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Taxi Association's U-Turn on Uber

Will taxis finally stop protesting and finally cooperate with Uber?
Just the other day two Hong Kong taxi groups were threatening to sue the government if it followed recommendations by the Consumer Council to relax regulations to allow Uber to operate in the city.

But now there seems to be a complete 180-degree turn, as Uber is interested in working with taxis to share the market.

"... the taxi industry may not have the technology platform like ours to provide tailor-made services," explained Kenneth She Chun-chi, Uber Hong Kong's general manager. "If we cooperate together, they can also make use of our backup customer service and even capitalize on our good image to regain consumer confidence as they are now having an image problem."

Uber's Kenneth She says taxis can benefit from its technology
Wow dragging the Hong Kong taxi industry into the 21st century. How novel!

And the vice-chairman of the Association of Taxi Industry Development Ng Kam-wah is open to the idea of working with the ride-hailing company.

"We think that there is room for the taxi trade to cooperate with Uber as this will be a win-win situation for us," he said. "The taxi industry could benefit form the ride-hailing platform, effective marketing and good customer image of Uber, while Uber can operate legally with the taxi vehicles," he added.

They sound like they are practically singing the same tune.

However, Ng points out that Uber charges a certain percentage of the drivers' income, but he would prefer the charge goes to the customer to pay rather than the driver. He doesn't want drivers' incomes to be affected.

Why is Ng Kam-wah suddenly keen on working with Uber?
But that's the whole point -- Uber helps drivers get customers through its technology so it is only fair that drivers get charged for that. It's just like taxi drivers having to pay for their licenses. Something's gotta give.

And are those crusty taxi drivers in their 60s really going to know how to use the app and deal with these new ways of charging customers and collecting money online?

We find this sudden about face very interesting and wonder what made the taxi association change its mind about Uber.

However here at The Fragrant Harbour we're all about action, not words. If Ng really does get his association moving in adopting Uber's technology and the culture of ride-hailing apps, then transportation in Hong Kong is going to get significantly better.

The ball's in your court, Ng.

Monday, 11 December 2017

Getting Crafty

My completed floral creation all lit up!
Periodically my company arranges activities for us to do and with Christmas coming up, there was a class on how to make flower arrangements in a bottle.

I enjoy crafty things -- it's a nice way to not think about work for a period of time and focus on doing something fun and creative.

We invited a small company in Tsim Sha Tsui to show us how to make flower arrangements in a light bulb-shaped container.

Four of us lined up our arrangements together
First we had to pick from a series of small boxes which colour scheme we'd like that consisted of dried flowers. Some were pink, purple, turquoise and white.

From there we were each given this light bulb-shaped glass that was flat on the bottom. Water isn't used to make the flowers float in the container, but an oily, colourless liquid. We were instructed to squirt some in before taking a bit of moss and after making sure it was clean, we put it in the container.

Bit by bit we added dried flowers, small leaves, petals and so on, also adding more of the liquid in there. The instructor said some people may like to have fewer items in there, others more, but he warned too much wasn't a good idea, making it too busy.

Mine was purple, with some pink in it. I added some white flowers and some pink moss to make it more interesting. When the instructor came by, he suggested that I add a few more flowers at the top, otherwise there was nothing to see except the clear liquid.

Here are all 30 of them! Mine is the purple one on the far left
After we were all done, we filled more liquid almost to the top and added a plastic kind of cork before the instructor came by to clean the outside of each light bulb before we added a foil topping over the cork to seal it and then screw a light bulb screw at the top.

All 30 of us were done in an hour, even though an hour and a half was budgeted for the class. The best part was being given a small wooden platform with a small light emanating from the middle. We placed our creations on top and the turned off the lights so that our light bulbs glowed with the floral presentation inside.

Everyone's light bulb arrangement was different and when we put them together for a group photo, he joked that we should be able to recognize our "baby".

Before we left, we were warned not to place the arrangement near the window because it would make the flowers fade easily and that it would last for about a year. Nevertheless we all enjoyed making something beautiful for everyone to admire.