Thursday, 16 October 2008

Main Squeeze

(Near Ladies' Market, Mongkok, Hong Kong)
Passing the narrow space between the sardined crowds and the itinerant showroom (inside a truck), this guy with a gangster kingpin face was squeezing himself through and rushed on in a zigzag way. Welcome to Mongkok (literally, Busy Corner)! Either for a shopping spree in the really cramed flea market, an eating binge at the local roadside Zha-Yu-Dan Dong (deep-fried fishball kiosk), snapping motions in the street like crazy, admiring trendy people or simply loitering without intent, this is the place to be! Feel the heat, the humid and the sweat of someone passing by you.
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(Other passers-by passing through and wondering what had interested the phohographer so much for so long)
Wonder around the streets: literally, Soy Street, Watercress Street, Washing Clothes Street or, well, Getting Rich Quick Street. It is the most mixed, strange and thronged place in Hong Kong that is filled with fun and activities.

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

Coming Out Of

People are coming out of Hong Kong's underground railway, known as the M(ass)T(ransit)R(ailway), and going back home. It has stations named after the stopover districts. Coming out of the specific distircts'history, some names are amusing if you read it literally. Take for example, Tsim Sha Tsui (Pointed Sandy Mouth), Yaumatei (Oily Sesame Place), Mongkok (Busy Corner), Shek Kip Mei (Stony Gorge End), Kowloon Tong (Nine Dragons Pool) and Tsing Yi (Green Clothing). The most successful experience the MTR keeps touting to the neighbouring countries, and rightly so, is the electronic instant payment method implemented jointly with all the major public transport. The payment is facilitated by the Octopus Card, which has extended its use to almost every aspect of life from buying newspapers on the street to paying fines in the public libraries. The Octupus Card has morphed into different forms from wrist watches to cellphone lanyard pendants. This may ring a bell to its counterpart in Britain, the Oyster Card. I am interested to know whether the idea of the Oyster actually came out of its Octupus cousin's.