I have gotten over most of the difficulties living in Hong Kong: I no longer complain about the humid weather; I can stand people speaking loudly on the phone in public with their annoying ring-tones; I am even able to eat at highly low hygiene places. What I still can not tolerate is people's lack of awareness of piracy issue.
I am not rich, (in fact, right now my bank account has just a little over CAD$400 and after my regular deductions in the beginning of the month, I will have even less than that amount) but I do get musics off iTune and I buy video games in a store. Most people in Hong Kong get their music, software or game through downloading or buying pirated versions.
When I ask people why they get pirated stuff, they usually reply saying it's easier to download, or that software/games are too expensive. I find that's bullshit hard to accept. First off, I find downloading music or movies more complicating than anything now adays. You first have to sneak through hundreds of pop-up banners just so you are allowed to download a few dozen files which then you need to combine them with a software. How was that easy? Wouldn't pick, walk to cash register, take money out and flirt with the cute cashier boy be easier (and potentially can get you a good date)?
Moreover, the people who said games are expensive are usually those who can spend thousands of dollars on Gucci handbags or Nike sneakers. It costs roughly HK$200 to go out with friends for dinner and more, which last around what, 4 hours? Whereas one video game allows you to have at least 30 hours of entertainment and an anti-virus program can avoid you heaps of headaches.
So what is the real problem here? I think the issue is all about human values. Most people here don't value entertainment much, and that is how this society works. Right when they were wee small, oriental people are told by their parents that "playing is bad; studying is good". This concept creates a subconscious level that anything to do with "not work" has low or no value: you should not give up anything in return for entertainments.
This concept has got to change.
Looking at this issue in an economic point of view, the people who get illegal copies are just as bad as people who supply them. If there are no demand for such thing, there won't be any supply. As much as I hate people who sells them, I blame the problem on the buyers.
Piracy hurts the economy and people who ended up losing jobs are those who couldn't afford to, and really, when you pay for something, it is ultimately a respect to the people who contributed in the making of that thing. Just like when you get that pay cheque every month, it is a way of your boss acknowledging for your hard work.
Stop being a free-rider and pay the respect of those who contributed or I'll have to electrocute you with my Pachirisu!
When little Chris was young, I bought him a pokemon game for Christmas (I think it was Pokemon Red Fire). I got one for myself at the same time so he could trade pokemons with someone. It turned out to be a pretty bad idea as I got addicted to the game and spent countless hours collecting those little beasts and telling people why Mew is better than Mew Two (btw, I'm one of the only few people who actually downloaded Mew officially, it paid off to work at Toys R Us during Christmas.) I decided to pick the new version last week, makes great game to play on the train and I thought it's very zen-like to tell little kids their pokemon sucks.
I'm surprised that you can now trade pokemons using Wi-Fi (I later found out you can do that since 2003... stupid technology) I logged on last night hoping to trade, since my version of the game do not have a Cascoon and I have an extra Pachirisu to offer. After setting up the trade, I thought I'll hang around in the trading room and see what other people are offering. Most people are offering their lame pokemons trying to get these extremely rare ones. Example: someone is offering a level 1 Magikarp (the official description of that pokemon in the game was: known as the weakest pokemon in the world) to get a level 99 Dialga, the unique pokemon which you can only find in the Diamond version of the game. It's like offering Lindsey Lohan concert tickets trying to get U2 or Elton John (I wanted to say Hillary Duff, but she've gotten better)! Someone has to teach these little kids how to trade properly. Nevertheless, I got a good chuckle over it.
When I woke up this morning, my new Casscoon arrived! HORRAAY! Now, just another 489 to go! The funny thing is... the name of the person who ended up trading with me was Chris? What are the odds!
On a side note. When I went to get the game, Ray saw this DS limited edition selling for over HK$3,000 (CAD$400)! For those who know me well, I will have to raise my suckie suckie price from now on to 15 DALA! (And potentially have to shorten the time to compliment a busier schedule.) Anyone wants to rent me out?
So, I only have 4 days worth of practices for Taizokai, you think I'll have a more peaceful mind, right? NO! Today's morning practice was all about my guilt for not doing enough for work. My gosh... I literally had to speed up my chanting so I can come to the computer and type a few emails.
I think I feel better now, finally... after working for a few minutes. I honestly think this is a genetic thing passed on from mom.
I went to Guang Zhou with my parents for two days. It was a very relaxful trip compare to our usual buddhist trip where we have to catch the bus and go to like 15 temples per day. Instead, we have plenty of time to go visit where ever we were dropped off (none of us really know where we are going either, Mom forgot to print out the itinerary...)
You thought they'll give me a break on the day I don't have to do buddhist practices and let me sleep-in, right? Think again. We left home at 5:30am and catch a 2-hour boat ride to Panyu. We first visited the Golden Sea Watching Guan Yin (望海觀音), at Lotus Mountain (蓮花山). Guan Yin or Avalokiteśvara, in Sanskrit, represents compassion and kindness. Some harbour cities in China, including Hong Kong, has a Guan Yin statue watching over the sea as a good fortune for sailors to come home safely from their journey. This particular one is made of gold and is over 40 meters high. I never have very strong feelings toward Guan Yin, nevertheless, it was quite fascinating to see.
Next we went to the very famous Xiangjiang Safari Park. Why is it so famous? Because the park gave birth to the world's only existing koala twins in a local wildlife park!
The park brought animals from all over the world: African wildlife, Swam creatures, Australia natives and, of course, Chinese animals. We started off taking the mini-train ride where the animals are literally walking next to us. One of the elephants were peeing while we drove passed it. It was like watching someone turned on the tap, HILARIOUS!
Then we walked around the park and visited all the caged animals. They have four very cute brown bear cubs. One of them kept on standing up and let me take photos of him. This has been the closest I've been with a bear for 5 months! I can't believe so many people thought they were pandas, though! They don't even have the same colours. People should really watch more Discovery Animal Channel.
The pandas are very cute. I think this is the first time I see them in real life (I saw them so many times on TV here that I honestly can't remember). There were only two of them showing and both of them were eating bamboos the entire time we were there, such stereotype. I didn't like the way they were kept though, the place was dirty and the habitat really didn't resemble where they would've lived in nature.
We went to the Australian zone at the end. I went to Melbourne, Australia seven years ago and I visited a pretty amazing zoo there, so I wasn't expecting much. To my surprised, they do have quite a few types of animals: kangaroos, emus and even white kangaroos (yep, white ones, not albinos), though no platypus, wallabies or dingos. The kangaroos looked exactly how I remembered them... ugly and stinky as hell! I was very disappointed that the koalas were kept in these giant glass habitat with a few dead branches. It was definitely not pretty nor I think the koalas enjoyed it very much. Though watching the koala mother carrying the twins were very entertaining. They didn't move much, as expected, but whey she jumped from one branch from the other, people were screaming like they saw Michael Jackson's nose fell off.
The last stop of the day were to see the Chime-Long International Circus. I have to say, it was like watching Cirque Du Soliel. Though there were not much storyline to the show, it was very entertaining and, in lots of ways, very unique. One particular part where four men performing stunts on this giant rotating Ferris Wheel was amazing! The show only cost RMB $128 dollars to watch, compare to CDN $108 for watching Cirque Du Soliel. It sure provides a great alternative for people who don't get to leave the country to watch a good circus show.
It was all in all a very nice trip. Nice and relaxing but never a dull moment.
See more photos from my trip here (or what Ray called it, the hundred beasts gallery)
I don't watch sports. Well, not quite true, let me rephrase that: I don't watch sports like other people watch sports. I generally just like to check out the guys when Scotty watches the games (I sometimes think he watches it for the boys as well, but he will never admit it.) So, naturally, I know nothing about football but I do know a few cute men and *copy and paste* Bill Cowher is one of them.
I saw him on one of the PS2 game covers, I believe his team won the *copy and paste* Superbowl last year so he was named the best coach or something? I would've picked him for the best looking coach or something, but I guess they don't award people by the looks in sports.
Anyway, Sport Illustrated just ranked their "Best Body Parts in Sports" and guess what Bill (yes, I like to call my crush by their first names) won for? Best chin! I would've picked him having the best lips or goatee but I guess I'll settle for his chin.
I went out with little Quinton today to pickup the Transformer Bumblebee figure that was onhold for him. According to him, it is a hard-to-find item and is being sold at a premium price right now. Toys R Us Hong Kong has an exclusive on the item so I asked mom to hold one for little Quintion. We literally had to hide it so other people won't see us picking it up, I was worried that people might steal it from us and then rape us. Well... maybe not the raping part, but we were two cute boys holding a huge freakin Toys R Us shopping bag, so who would'nt want to look at us. He posted a few photos of the toy at his blog: Ultimate Bumblebee in box, Bumblebee in action.
Since Quinton is the food-guru of Hong Kong, I asked him to recommend a place for dinner, he suggested Akamaru Noodle Factory at APM, Kung Tong.
There was a huge lineup when we got there. Quinton said it usually not as busy around 6pm, but I guess it's the second last weekend before school starts, lots of "kids" are out to do their last bit of shopping before their new torturesemester starts. We got a seat after 15-20 minutes, which was not that bad.
So the idea is simple, you choose the type of noodle you want (udon noodle in soup, cold udon, etc) and there's a huge variety of side-dishes to choose from. We chose fried chicken wings, sweet Japanese-style scramble eggs, seeweed and deep fried pork. Since I haven't had cold soba for a long time (I believe the last time I had it was on a JAL plane about 5 years ago) I gave it a try.
The food delivered very fast, which was great because I was hungry. I was surprised at how large the portions are given the price was very reasonable. Everything tasted great and I have to give them kudos for the udon. If you know me well enough, I am very particular about my noodles. Whether it is Chinese style or Japanese style, I need them to be fresh, chewy and dense; the udon here sure didn't disappoint me, my stomache couldn't be any bigger when I finished dinner. Quinton was worried that I might fall asleep during my lecture since I was so full!
Everything was only HK$79 (which is around CDN $11), very inexpensive!
The only weird thing is that the restaurant space is being shared by the sushi restaurant next door (they even use the same cashier counter), however, you can not order from the sushi menu. The couples waiting in line infront of us thought that they can order from both menus and were rather disappointed when they find out (well, especially after waiting in line for 15 minutes).
Other than that, another great recommendation by little Quinton. 5-stars!
After doing a little research with Vivian, we're thinking of starting up a Vancouver food blog. I'm very surprised that there hasn't been more useful blogs regarding on the subject. I'm thinking of doing it as an add-on to All About You Productions. We'll get a few our our friends who like to eat, give them a login and password, and off they go and snap photos and give comments about the food they taste. The benefit of doing it as a blog is that it doesn't have to be totally professional; afterall, it is a private blog. But I think it can potential grow into something big.
Anyone who wants to sign up as our food writer, leave a comment!
Life has been rather boring here in my little world. Just trying to finish everything before the end of the month so I can start my third stage of practice. I've got two gifts this week though.
Ray and Tommy sneaked off to Japan last week, they've been to Osaka, Nara, Koyasan and many other places. They also managed to visit the universal studio there. Guess what? They have a Snoopy studio there! WOOHOO! Me, being Snoopy's biggest fan, have only been to Camp Snoopy at Mall of America, Minnesota. (Other than the mall and Judy Garland's museum, there really isn't much there at Minneapolis, far as I remember. I did see a football game there though.) Ray got me a little Snoopy stuffed toy for souvenir. There's a tag that said "3 years and up" attached to it, I guess that's how he determined it's an appropriate gift for me. I'll have something to cuddle with till I'm home next year.
Then, last night, mom came home with this PlayStation headrest. It's supposed to be a give-away item for the PS3, but they have a few extras on-hand, so being her favourite son, I got another freebie. The coolest part of the thing is that it has two speakers that can be attached to any music player. I tried it on with my Nintendo DS and sure enough I've got wicked Final Fantasy music beeping into my ears. The music didn't sound that great on it, but at least my head won't fall out while I'm wearing it. Out of all the free stuff I got from her store over the years, this has got to be one of the most useful ones.
The family dinner thing turned out to be even more boring than I expected. Almost nobody I knew (or liked) were there. The good thing is because of that, I was only asked once when I'll get married. I just smiled and said it's too early to think about that topic for me.
I did find out one of my cousin is gay though.
He didn't tell me exactly, but gosh if he's not gay I don't know who is! Right from the first word he said my gaydar rang like crazy. We were playing with our youngest cousin (the one from my uncle's affair), and he kept on asking the little one whether he'll join the Miss Hong Kong Pageant. I just can't imagine any straight guy will ask that question. Beside, the way he talked and his gestures was a dead give away. He seems to be a very caring person though, I'm sure any guy will be lucky to have him. :D
In some way, it was a relief that I know someone else is gay in the family. I don't know why... maybe I can finally tell people it's in the gene.