Shopping in Hong Kong

If there’s any truth to the words “shopping haven”, Hong Kong would be the proof.

Coming from the humble city of Kuching, a place where there’s at best 3 shopping centres of reasonable standards, I was absolutely blown away by the sheer size and magnitude of the shopping districts in Hong Kong.
They’ve got shops in every nook and corner possible. And I do mean every nook and corner possible.

For God’s sakes, they’ve got Giordano in MTR train stations. So technically speaking, you could take the train naked and buy the whole set of t-shirt, pants and underwear before you even step out of the station.
Food and drinks at a train station, I can understand. But who the heck goes shopping for clothes in MTR stations? I have no idea, but apparently Hong Kong people does that.

I must’ve picked the right time to visit because the Hong Kong Shopping Festival is going on in full swing, and everywhere I go I see that dreaded four-letter word.
It’s like 99.9% of all clothing stores here are screaming “Final Reductions” and “XX% off”. Stores in Causeway Bay like G2000 open till past midnight.

Some even got their poor staff members to stand outside the doorway, clapping their hands loudly to draw attention to their store.
And this is shops like Bossini we’re talking about here, not some ciplak pasar malam streetside stall.

In Kowloon alone, the street markets and shoplots stretch some 5km all the way from Sham Sui Po in the north to Tsim Tsa Tsui in the south.
There’s virtually everything and anything imaginable for sale here.

Sham Sui Po is home to two large shopping complexes selling nothing but computer products. This place is a geek heaven and I swear to you, Golden Computer Centre can kick both Sim Lim and Low Yat’s collective asses blindfolded, with one hand tied behind his back.
Sure, it’s not as big nor as glam as their counterparts back home.

It’s small and crampy. When I bought a laptop backpack, the poor lady had to climb a ladder up into this hole in the ceiling to get a new one for me.
However I do find their prices much much lower than back home.

I got this light and foldable tripod for a bargain HK48/RM23.
A full-length tripod a good thing to bring around especially when I’m travelling alone. It’s brandless, but for the same amount of money I could only get a suckass table tripod in KL or Singapore.
Just to give you a better idea of the prices here.

4GB Apple iPod nano
Malaysian price: RM 1099
Hong Kong price: HKD 1780 = RM 855

2GB SanDisk Memory Stick Pro Duo
Malaysian price: RM 370
Hong Kong price: HKD 600 = RM 288

O2 Atom Exec
Malaysian price: RM 2988
Hong Kong price: HKD 5980 = RM 2870
The range here is simply astounding.

This pair of high-end Shure E2c earphones sets me back HK635/RM305. Can’t find something like that in Kuching that’s for sure.
My only regret is that I have most of the gadgets I needed already, so there really isn’t a much I could buy over there.

Best. Mousepad. Ever.

Still, it’s fun to come here and listen to the shopkeepers blah-ing out English terms in their Hongkie accent.
Instead of “computer”, they say compu-TAH. Instead of “mouse”, they say MOU-SY.
So cute! “Mousy”!

Designer toy figurines.

The street markets of Kowloon are a completely different kind of creature on its own.
This is no Petaling Street. For one, the street vendors are the most polite I’ve seen anywhere in the world. When I approach their stall they’d say sui bin tai (browse all you want). Even if I leave without buying anything, they’d still thank me.
Who said in Hong Kong “you got pressure, I got pressure, everyone got pressure”?

In amongst the pasar malam regulars like fake LV handbags and so on, are treasure throves of bizzare little things for sale.
Such as colourful fish in plastic bags.

And butt ugly superhero costumes.

And… what is this.

Breast massagers?
Wtf. Breasts also need massages one meh. Blood circulation not good enough is it. Go jump up and down lah, why buy breast massager? Can just ask any guy to massage for you, free of charge some more.
Let’s all hope Osim doesn’t release those as Osim iBoob. But after watching them release those god-awful mechanical horse-riding machine I’m willing to believe anything.
My gawd, can you imagine what the ad for Osim iBoobis gonna be like?

I dropped by to visit Ladies Market after recommendation by several people.
If one could buy fish at the fish market, what could I get at a “Ladies Market”. 😉

There really wasn’t anything suitable for me here, but I bet girls would love this place.
There’s at least one sexified version of every single occupational uniform available in here. I’m sure somewhere in there you could find a leather-tight version of McDonald’s uniform.
Anyway, I noticed somewhat strangely that they’re selling puppets alongside sexy lingerie.

What kinda connection does puppets have with intimate underwears?

And then it hit me. Boy, did it hit me hard.
Those weren’t puppets at all.

This, my friend, is a pair of men’s underwear.
Wait, do you even call it a pair of underwear? There’s no pair in this underwear ‘cos there’s no holes to put your two legs through. That’s because you supposed wear it over your dick.

So what do you call this thing?
A penis sock?
Why would anyone buy this thing?
I don’t know about you but I reckon whoever designed this thing needs to go on holiday and rediscover the meaning of life.

Speaking of the meaning of life, I paid a visit to this fortune teller at the Temple Street markets and I am FURIOUS!
On the outset, this Stephen Shum guy seems pretty professional. His stall is small but filled with photographs of him with famous people. So I guess he must be good. He even got his own website at
Nowadays, fortune teller also go high tech.

At first, everything seems fine. Stephen Shum checked my birthdate, checked my ears, checked my palms. Then halfway through reading my palm, the fella told me that I’M FAT!
Maiguliu Stephen Shum! I pay you HK70 to tell me about my future, not to say how you think I look ok!
Somemore why you care if I’m fat or thin. I’m your wife ah?
Bus turd.

Click to watch a fortune teller calling me an overweight bitch.
Regardless of that “interesting” incident, I bought plenty of stuff. Not only did I fill up my luggage bag, I had to buy a NEW bag to put all my other stuff.
Here’s my loot from the trip.

I know, I shall eat grass for lunch and dinner from now on.
By the way, the Watson’s here is worth a look. In Hong Kong, Your Personal Store™ is more like a department store. Four floors selling everything from perfumes to electric toothbrush.

Anyway, for some inexplicable reason, I find myself walking towards the uhh… family planning section of the store. (I like how Watson’s and Guardian use politically-correct labels like “family planning” instead of more appropriate names like “sex toys”)
Apart from the usual condoms and pregnancy strips and stuff, something else there caught my attention.

This is definitely not something I’ve seen before, and I was curious.
Colourful oval-shaped boxes in the family planning section of Watson’s. What could it possibly mean?

I was shocked. It could only mean one thing.
Watson’s in Hong Kong sells vibrators.

And they even had on display demo units to encourage everyone to try.

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Rachael’s 17th Birthday

Taking a break from my Hong Kong adventures to quickly update on my weekend.

So last evening I was invited to Rachael’s 17th birthday party.
Yes, that’s right. A 17th birthday party.

How am I supposed to interact with a bunch of kids 7 years younger than me. When you got a 24-year-old doing attending a birthday party of a 17-year-old anime character lookalike, lots of things can go wrong.
Like how no alcohol is at the party. Like how out-of-place you feel in front of all the other Form 5 kids. Like how well-behaved you have to be in front of her parents.

Rachael’s party had a very old-school feel to it.

For a start, I didn’t even know where her place is.
The only clue she gave me was this.

Lousy! No road names, no postal address, how to find liddat?
Lucky I’m smart. And smart people figure stuff out easily. 😉
Despite the 7 year age gap, I actually had fun.

I’ve known Rachael for a while now but only through the internet, so I didn’t quite know what to expect at her party.
I most certainly didn’t expect to meet Sharon, who’s one of the finalists at the recent Miss Sarawak World “Pigeon”.

Damn. I feel like a dwarf standing next to Snow White.

This is wrong. I’m surrounded by a bunch of gorgeous girls taller than me and I’ve never felt sadder.

This is Rachael holding onto the birthday present I gave her.
In Malaysia, just because you’re the fairer sex doesn’t mean you’re exempted from National Service. Rachael is one of the lucky ones being drafted to the army camp to serve Mother Malaysia, so I thought what better present to give her than…

… a high quality plastic M16 submachine gun made from China. Hehe.
Must give them young ones a head start, ya know?
Of course, no birthday parties are complete without a playing prank on the birthday girl. Here she thought I was taking her photo when in fact I was shooting her a video.

Click to watch video of Rachael being fooled into believing she’s posing for FHM. And me singing a half-arsed version of the song “Happy Birthday”
Happy 17th Rachael!

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Hong Kong’s Touch N Go

Getting around in Hong Kong couldn’t be any easier.

Their underground rail system is damn efficient, possibly among the best in Asia.
It is the quickest and cheapest way to get around the peninsular and two main islands in Hong Kong. Trains arrive fast and carriages are never too crowded, even during peak hours. Pretty much all their tourist destinations are accessible by rail.
You don’t appreciate how good their MTR is until you compare them side-by-side with KL’s train network.

Hong Kong’s MTR must have picked the same designer as Singapore’s MRT. The two share a lot of similarities, from their alphabetically-ordered exits right down to the text font on the signboards.
In fact, if it weren’t for the voice overs blaring cautionary messages continuously in Cantonese, I’d have thought I was in Singapore instead.

There’s a lot of amusing posters in their train stations. This one says “When taking the escalators, hold on to the handrails, don’t walk away.”
How stupid. Who the heck holds on to BOTH handrails on the escalators like that.
If you do that you’re gonna block people’s way and get your nuts kick.

The only difference between Singapore and Hong Kong, rubbish bins are easily available in the train stations here.
You can’t find rubbish bins anywhere inside Singapore’s MRT stations because evil terrorists might plant bombs in them.

Har! Want to use octopus also have conditions one.

In Hong Kong, their version of the Touch n Go or EZ-Link card is called Octopus.
These RFID cards have a lot more uses apart from just paying for the use of public transport. Many shop and food outlets are accepting octopus as tender.
The card lah, not the animal. You think what. Barter system ah.

It’s very high tech. And it brings a lot of convenience to the Hongkies because they don’t need to carry spare coins on them when they’re out and about.
You can shop at 7-11, do your groceries at the supermarket or have even yummy mango puddings at XuLiuShan with your octopus… pus… pussies?

This is how I pay for my drinks.

Sometimes I find myself shunning shops that don’t accept octopussies and go for shops that do because I’m too lazy to dig coins out from my wallet.
Even the vending machines that accept octopus. No more trying to find the right change when you’re thirsty.

I reckon the buskers and homeless people should also have octopus card readers installed. Maybe then people won’t give excuses like “sorry, no change” as a reason not to give money.

I wonder when our Touch n Go cards here can be as useful as that. And please, they gotta stop using that horrible name “Touch n Go”.
Touch n Go is when you molest someone’s butt then quickly go. That’s Touch n Go.

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More Touristy Things To Do In Hong Kong

After much time doing it rough in middle-class Kowloon, Day Two was spent in Hong Kong Island exploring how the upper echelon lives.

Taking the Star Ferry from Kowloon to Hong Kong Island is like going down the causeway from Johor to Singapore.
If Kowloon is Petaling Street, the Island south of it must be the Orchard Rd and Bukit Bintang of Hong Kong. Life here is too fast too furious. Everyday tens and thousands of Hongkies commute from their suburban homes to this skyscraper jungle in central Hong Kong – the heartbeat of the SAR and home to towers after towers of multinational companies.

My first order of business was of course, FOOD.
According to the many magazines and tour guides that I read, City Hall Maxim’s Palace is supposedly the most popular dim sum restaurant in Hong Kong. Sure enough, when I arrived there on a Sunday morning, there were lines spilling out from the front. I had to take a number and come back again 30 minutes later.

By all means was this a typical dim sum fare held in a giant banquet hall with some aunties pushing their trollies round and round. Most of their dishes were nothing to shout about, but their har gao (prawn dumplings) was superb and the siu mai (pork rolls?) was similarly mouth-watering.

What sucks is that travelling alone means I can’t share my food with someone else like what a proper dim sum breakfast should be.
The bill was frightening when it arrived. HK$173/RM84 just for myself alone. That’s equivalent of 178 sio bee’s at the Kuching open air market.

In Hong Kong, every Sunday is the Filipino maids’ rest day. And every Sunday, these maids come out in full force.
I was quite taken aback to see so many of them picnicking in the CBD. Their picnic area literally stretch from the pier right down the underpass all the way up to the luxury shopping centres in central Hong Kong. It’s like a friggin’ Filipino Maid Convention over here. Seriously, I thought I’d accidentally taken the ferry to Manila instead.

They even set up a stage in the middle of the square. I don’t speak Tagalog so can’t make out what they’re saying exactly, but I’m pretty sure it’s got something to do with Filipino President Gloria Aroyo.
Alas, I doubt the mightly lady could hear them in Manila. So Gloria, if you’re reading this, Filipino maids in Hong Kong wanna tell you that YOU SUCK!
*cough* Just doing my part for the maids. 😛

A trip to Hong Kong isn’t complete without at least a tokenistic visit to The World’s Local Bank™.
Every HSBC Headquarters in the world has a pair of bronze lions guarding the front entrance. At their Hong Kong headquarters, these iconic pair were particularly legendary. When the Japanese occupied Hong Kong, the soldiers used these two poor lion statues as target practices.

Bullet holes inflicted more than 60 years ago are still visible on one of the lions.
Lunch was a lot better at this famous restaurant called Yung Kee on Wellington Street.

A reader of mine recommended them for their century eggs and roasted geese. I have no regrets following his advice.

Yung Kee’s expensive roasted geese (HK$100/RM50) are overrated, but their century eggs are the bomb. They cost HK$6.40/RM3 each, and are served together with sweet preserved ginger.
I ordered their super-delicious century-egg porridge and it sent me straight to heaven.
Then the bill came at HK$160/RM77 and it sent me straight to hell. 🙁

It was nearing sunset and I decided took the Peak Tram and rode up to the top of Victoria Peak.
The Peak Tram is this century old carriage that goes some 800m up the hill. The Madame Tussauds Wax Museum was there.

It is here that I had a bird’s eye-view of Hong Kong’s impressive city scape. I love how the vertical towers on the Island foreground contrast with shabby Kowloon in the smoggy background.
Speaking of which, there’s this myth going around on how Kowloon got it’s name.

Kowloon literally means “Nine Dragons”. Apparently some Chinese emperor travelled to the area centuries ago, counted eight mountains and concluded that there must be eight dragons living there. His servant, obviously trying to lick some royal ass, quickly retorted “but Your Highness, you are a dragon as well so this place must have nine dragons!”
Hence, the name Kowloon is born.

When I first heard that I story, I was like “Har? Liddat also can.”
If that’s the case, I can just anyhow go to Kuching, see no birds and say “There are no birds butI have one Big Bird. So I shall name this place 1Bird!”

Anyway, I made the foolish decision to walk down from the Peak after I spent enough time up there. It took me almost one whole hour to reach to the foot of the mountain. I ended up a sweaty mess.

Tell you don’t feed bird liaw you still feed bird!

Even more amazing was that there’s a couple of mainland Chinese guys following me, thinking that I’m a local and that I know the easiest way to get to the bottom. Halfway down the mountain, sensing something amiss, one of them innocently struck a conversation with me.
“Har! You mean you don’t know the way at all!?”
Oops. Shit hit the fan.

Before I call it a night, I made my way down to Lan Kwai Fong, the city’s party district popular with expats and SPGs.
For a city as big as Hong Kong, their nightspots were disappointingly small. It’s not even half the size of Shanghai’s XinTianDi. Maybe it’s a Sunday, and the crowd wasn’t too happening. I didn’t have the mood to drink that night.

Brides with tatts.

Around the corner, I spotted two young models in wedding gowns doing a photoshoot on the streets of Lan Kwai Fong.
I asked them for permission to pose for my camera and they were all too happy to comply.

I also spotted Frank Lampard (aka England’s Most Inaccurate Striker) in the background wearing his football jersey and carrying a woman’s handbag. The guy should quit football after missing so many goals at the World Cup lah.
Somewhere in the smaller streets, a commotion was erupting.

Looks like they were shooting a HK drama. A small crowd was gathering around the actors taking photos. The film crew had a hard time controlling the bystanders because some of them were using flash photography and ruined the picture on screen.
I managed to catch a glimpse of the actress. Couldn’t identify who she was though.

Any idea?
[Next Entry: Shopping in Hong Kong]

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