Source: geocities.com/uthk97

1997 UT @ HKU "Did you know.." List

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edwu@writeme.com

Sources So Far: Time (Asia) Magazine, Hong Kong 1997 Special Edition

Updated on October 5th, 1997  23:30

REASONS TO LOVE HONG KONG:

Coolest Bridge:  The 2.2km Tsing Ma Bridge links Hong Kong to the new airport 
Chek Lap Kok.  With appropriate qualifiers, it becomes yet another Hong Kong 
landmark: the heaviest and longest road and rail suspension bridge in the world.

Most Endangered Species:  Chek Lap Kok is also the home of Sousa chinensis, 
the rare and endangered Chinese White Dolphins (which actually range in color 
from dark grey to pink).  The good news for the 80-odd remaining mammals: the 
government has designated the area a dolphin sanctuary.  The bad news: as many 
as 38 planes an hour will be roaring overhead.

Most Thrilling Bus Ride:  For an afternoon's fund you can ride the Dragon 
roller-coaster at Ocean park, or, alternatively, hop on the upper deck of the 
No.6 bus heading from Central to Stanley Village.  Lurching up the twists and 
turns of Stubbs Road, over Wong Nai Chung Gap, and then careening back down 
the south side of Hong Kong Island, the white-knuckled ride offers great 
views, plus a few chills and some literal spills if you don't hold on.

Longest Elevator:  Snaking through some of the world's most expensive real 
estate, the Mid-Levels Escalator can move as many as 200,000 young 
professionals to and from work each day.  Starting at Connaught Road near the 
harbourfront, the escalator stretches 800m to Conduit Road, about halfway up 
Victoria Peak.  Completed in 1993, at a cost of US$32 million, it has spawned 
its own "escalator culture": a row of trendy restaurants and bars, a featured 
role in director Wong Kar Wei's Chungking Express and, reportedly, a healthy 
pick-up scene for the city's very upwardly mobile.

Busiest Mcdonalds:  About 25 of the 50 busiest McDonald's restaurants in the 
world are located in Hong Kong, but is it McLuck or McThrift that keeps us 
heading back for more?  Local geomancers give the chain high marks for feng 
shui, saying its golden arches and red colors are pleasing to the spirits 
that determine fortunes.  Others attribute the chain's amazing success to 
its prices, which are among the lowest in the world for the chain.  Whatever 
the reason, the Star House location in Tsimshatsui is designated the second-
busiest McDonald's on the planet (trailing Moscow's Pushkin Square outlet).
It goes through 2.5 million packs of ketchup a year.

Most Durable Politician:  A longtime champion of the "grassroots" element of 
society, politician Elsie Tu lost her legislative seat in the 1995 election.
But she found a new home in the China-appointed Provisional Legislature.
Now, at 84, Elsie's back in the thick of it.

Biggest Buddha:  There are beaucoup Buddhas in Asia vying for recognition: 
the biggest stone Buddha, the biggest indoor Buddha, the biggest reclining 
Buddha.  Hong Kong's contribution to the Buddha sweepstakes is the world's 
tallest, outdoor, seated bronze Buddha - a 250-ton statue that stands 24m 
high at the Po Lin Monastery on Lantau Island.

Funkiest Hairdo:  The chief executive's Crew-Cut haircut is much like the 
man himself: practical, pointed, and proudly reminiscent of an earlier era. 
WHere Tung Chee-hwa gets it done, nobody's letting on, but his brother was 
recently seen at the Mandarin barber.

Fullest Stomachs:  Night and day, Hong Kongers greet one another with the 
words "Sek Joh Fan, Meaiya?" (Have you eaten yet?)  Odds are they have.. 
even if it's 4am.  With one eating place for every 650 people, Hong Kong 
surely boasts one of the highest per-capita concentrations of cafes and 
restaurants in the world.

Most Durable Singer:  Cantopop singer Sam Hui holds the record for the 
longest stretch of conerts at the Hong Kong Coliseum - 41 performances 
given during a 37-day period in 1992.  Total attendance was 462,481, about 
8% of the city's population.

Most Impressive Athlete:  Lee Lai-san brought home Hong Kong's first-ever 
gold-medal at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta.  "San San", as she's 
known locally, is all the more remarkable when you consider that she 
actually had to put her body into Hong Kong's toxic waters to practice her 
sport of boardsailing.  For that she deserves another medal - for bravery.

Most Touristy Market:  You can find just about anything at Stanley Market, 
in Stanley Village on Hong Kong island's south side.  A great all-in-one 
place to buy gifts for friends and family, there's a wide range of 
T-shirts, porcelain, silk, leather goods and souvenirs.  Stanley was one 
of the largest fishing villages and home to 2,000 people when the British 
first acquired Hong Kong, but now the biggest catch are the schools of 
bargain-hunters that keep biting.

Most Famous Dogs:  When Chris and Lavender Patten came to town in 1992, 
their bookend Norfolk terriers "Whisky" and "Soda" - named after 
components of the Governor's favourite cocktail - served as endearing 
accessories.  Then they reportedly started biting the hired help, sending 
their popularity plunging.  Whisky, however, won the sympathy vote after 
he ate a poisoned chicken wing on a recent morning walk and nearly died. 
Under Britain's stiff quarantine laws, the poor pups face six months' 
incarceration when they accompany their master home.  Plenty of time to 
write their memoirs.

Most Romantic Spot:  With 6.4 million people living on the head of a pin, 
Hong Kong is short on good places to make out.  Try the Cultural Center 
Promenade, which has a magnificent view of the Hong Kong harbourside. 
When the sun goes down and the tourists go away, it becomes a nightly 
backdrop to enthusiastic, befuddled and occasionally illegal romantic
carryings-on.


WHO TO INVITE TO YOUR PARTY:  

Stanley Ho:  Hong Kong's most interesting billionare and the godfather of 
Macau.  Ho has interests in shipping, property, casinos, hotels, airlines 
and restaurants.  He's also one heck of a ballroom dancer.

John Woo:  Film director whose celebrated (and violent) buddy films include 
"The Killer" and "A Better Tomorrow".  Woo's work is an inspiration to many, 
including American director Quentin Tarrantino.

Anson Chan:  Head of Hong Kong's civil service, the first woman and the 
first Chinese person ever to hold the town's No.2 post.  Long touted as a 
possible post-handover chief executive, she'll have to settle - for now - 
with remaining in her current job.


POP CULTURE MECCAS

In a recent episode of "The Simpsons", Bart's assignment as a courier - 
hauling a cooler loaded with human organs - lands him at Kai Tak Airport.
Bart: "Lei Dic Ahn" (Your Eyes).

"Lights, Action!"
One scene in Wayne Wang's coming handover movie, "Chinese Box", starring 
Jeremy Irons and Gong Li, was filmed at Asiaweek's office in Causeway Bay.

"Novels and Navels"
Actors Vivian Wu and Ewan McGregor steam things up at the Swindon bookstore 
in Tsimshatsui, in Peter Greenaway's 1996 movie "The Pillow Book".

"The Taipan is In"
Jardine House in Central is the real-life model for the Struan family's base 
in James Clavell's 1981 Noble House.

"Fire"
"In Hong Kong they strike a gong and fire off a noon day gun to reprimend 
each inmate who's in late," went a passage from Noel Coward's classic song 
"Mad Dogs and Englishmen".

"Cato? .. Cato?"
The revolving door at the Excelsior Hotel was installed for Blake Edwards' 
1978 "Revenge of the Pink Panther" starring Peter Sellars as Inspector 
Clouseau.

"He's on the Island"
Now know primarily for a seafood restaurant that caters mainly to foreigners, 
Po Toi Island was the site of a climatic encounter in John LeCarre's 
acclaimed 1977 novel of espionage, "The Honourable Schoolboy".

"Bond.. James Bond"
The secret service uses the "Queen Elizabeth", which sank in Hong Kong in 
1971, as a stakeout in the 007 flick "The Man with the Golden Gun (1974). 
Bottoms Up bar on Hankow Road also features in several scenes.

"Are You Sailor"  (and it's not Sailor Moon either!)
The Nam Kok Hotel in Richard Mason's steam 1957 novel "The World of Suzie 
Wong" was based on the pre-refurbished Luk Kwok in Wanchai.

"I am a Eurasian"
The Matilda Hospital on the Peak forms the backdrop for romance between 
William Holdren and Eurasian doctor Jennifer Jones in the 1955 film "Love Is 
A Many Splendoured Thing".  (eh, Karen: thing.)  The swim scene is in Repulse 
Bay. (see our Photo Album!)