Departing comments

Evil bunny This is my last day in Hong Kong for a long while. I and Shirley will leave early tomorrow morning for a 10 hour flight to London. In London, we found a free place to stay thanks to And then onto Sweden, then Denmark, Holland and more of Sweden.

So people ask me “How do you feel?”. About leaving Hong Kong that is. And I don’t feel anything special. The future is still very unknown for me – I have arranged to write my thesis in the fall here at HKUST but that’s about it. So, after cleaning and packing my room here (I will be renting it to some friends) there is not much to say about it all. I can’t say it feels like returning home, and I can’t say it’s like leaving home. Basically, I’m homeless. When I get to Sweden I will surely let you know if things change – there is a major chance I will think differently after getting accustomed to a Swedish, dreary life again.

That’s not all I’m going to post about though. After spending some 9 and a half months in Hong Kong and China I have come up with the following short guide to find out if you really are in Hong Kong or not (inspired by You know you are in Hong Kong when:

  • People wash the porcelain at chinese restaurants with the tea that is provided by the staff. Never trust restaurants to dish your porcelain!
  • A big number, like “9”, outside a shop actually means 10% sale. And “1” means 90%…
  • If it’s hot outside, workers prefer to roll up their t-shirts to present their pretty bellies to innocent bystanders. Or just work in shorts.
  • Supermarkets smell really strange, either due to durian fruit or due to lots of strange, dried parts of animals you didn’t know existed.
  • People treat dried small fish and shrimps as snacks, and actually snag a few pieces for the big piles of these snacks seen in many supermarkets.
  • Old women try to sell one piece of fish to you in the middle of parks. Gotta make a living!
  • Apartments, no matter how small, often contain buddistic shrines with incense and lots of, if you excuse me, cheap porcelain and souvernirs. They are not allowed to be taken down or moved, so if you are unlucky, you might have to live with someones elses forefathers and shrine…
  • Old people gather in flocks and roam around public avenues, every single day. Or rather, sit in flocks talkong or gambling. If they are not in the parks, they will be hauling goods with small carts through buzy streets… who ever said retired people only sit in their apartments?
  • When you get on an almost full buss, no one will move one step in – instead you have to climb past them to reach the hidden seats. This is considered perfectly reasonable behaviour.
  • It is perfectly reasonable that shops are open any day until midnight. Maximize the shopping!

You think this is strange? Let me add some observations of China, which is vastly different from Hong Kong in many aspects:
You know you are in China when:

  • If you are westerner, people sell something to you. If not, they look at you for a looong time.
  • People fill up bikes and carts with more stuff that you would ever put on/in a car. Especially, really old people do this. And then they manage to steer these bulk carriers safely through horrible traffic, without ever looking the least bit tired.
  • People spit. And makes some extra noise to make it all the more clear who did it.
  • People squat rather than sit. People even squat in groups.
  • Roads can be crossed everywhere, according to the pedestrians, but nowhere, according to cars. And still, in spite of this chaos, the authorities still bother painting zebra crossings everywhere, which no one really bothers using.
  • When you enter a supermarket, there is a special attendant to mark your belongings with a pen, to make sure it’s distinguishable from the goods of the store… having a problem with stealing, have we?
  • People enters trains before letting existing passengers off. The reason to this is because the doors close very fast and violently – this in turn to deal with people crowding the entrances. Do we have a catch 22 problem? (While in Hong Kong, entering and exiting trains is almost always done in an orderly fashion).
  • To buy any piece of already cheap goods at the market, you are expected to reject it, walk away so the shop owner has to follow you, shouting lower and lower prices until finally, you can agree.
  • People just throw any trash they have right on the street…
  • … and there is probably someone there to clean it up within minutes. In spite of this, most things are dirty anyway…

But don’t worry, I still like chinese people and Hong Kong. It’s all very charming. But I can’t say I like China, it hasn’t really made any impression on me :)

There was a thunder…

A powerful thunderstorm and rainstorm struck Hong Kong yesterday. It rained so much that schools closed for a while during the day. In the evening, the thunder came over our university, and it was very powerful. Crazy about thunderstorms as I am, I went out hunting with my camera and an umbrella. The results:

Aslo, some frames from the video as photos:
KAZAPP Before and During Frames of Lightning II Frames of Lightning I

As a bonus, I also took the time to compile some clips of chinese TV I recorded when I was in Beijing last year. Enjoy. even though the quality is horrible.


Yes, now I am officially a tourist. My student visa expired and I made a trip to Shenzhen (in China, just across the border) to get this tourist visa to Hong Kong. Not much of a trip, me and Shirley didn’t do much more than walk around and watch a movie – just killing some time and taking it easy.

And a week ago, there was the Tuen Ng Festival, also called The Dragon Boat Festival. We went to Stanley to see the races in all their glory. It was moderately interesting and very humid. But a nice thing to visit in any case! Instead of elaborating further, I’ll just give you a few picks from the photos I took. See the rest at my gallery.

Dragon Boat
In distance The Crowd Female lure for rowing men Dragon boat panorama

Shenzhen and HK
Ticketing frenzy Macro chop Evil bunny Twins

Fighting Firefox

UPDATE: After making a clean install the problems with logins are solved, so far. But I had to scrap most of my profile. I don’t particularily like to do clean installs so I’m not happy, but at least I don’t have to use IE. Now, let’s just see what can be done about the memory requirements.

Okey, now I’m starting to get irritated. Firefox has done all in it’s power to make me switch back the latest months…

First it ate all my memory and processor power. I installed and uninstalled extensions and managed to get rid of the high CPU use, but not the memory troubles. Lately, I’ve been runing Firefox in safe mode most of the time, which “only” uses 100 MB. But ’tis not all…

Suddenly, a few weeks ago, I couldn’t log into my Mambo CMS installation. I was just thrown out for some reason (something with sessions, I presume). A few times I could get in, but mostly not. However, in Internet Explorer, no trouble at all!

It got worse, however. Recently, Firefox updated itself to I think that this is when I suddenly couldn’t get into WordPress anymore! I had to blog from Internet Explorer, oh the horror… the symptoms were the same – when logging in I get thrown back to the login form without further notice. Clearing the cookies did not help… And still, it eats all my memory, even when using a few of those hacks that have been thrown around the net. So I’m writing this in IE.

IE is not a good browser, it’s really bad. But it doesn’t crash, it handles Active X, and it has a small system footprint (or it’s hiding it well). I have successfully managed to use a portable version of FF a few days, so my last resort now is to just make a very clean install of Firefox, including removing my profile. It’s the last chance. I was of the opinion that open source is good at solving bugs. Am I just the unlucky one, or do people keep quiet about FF errors because of the widespread fanboyism?

(By the way… for a moment I thought Internet Explorer 7 would be the solution to all my problems, but installing the beta made me disappointed to say the least – all Mambo sites got badly disfigured by IE7, I sure hope this is because of the “beta”, not because of yet more Microsoft stupidity.)