hong kong

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I’ve contributed many of my photos to the Wikimedia Commons, and I’m pleased to see that some of them have spread beyond the Wikimedia world.

But the fact that someone turned something mundane like this:

into something like this:

blows me away. It reminds me why I contribute: to add to the global commons, the global cultural melting pot where others can express themselves, by using and re-using, free from concerns about intellectual property rights.

Original work | Derivative work (search for Enoch Lau about halfway down)

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The Hong Kong Law Fair will be coming to the University of Sydney this year, and it’s being coordinated by the Chinese Law Students Society. Register now to attend, and spread the word!

04 Mar 2009 | No comments

Weekly train tickets to go the way of the Tcard: here we go again.

I think running the new and old systems side by side would ensure a smooth transition, but I don’t think sliding discounts should be implemented. There’s no good reason why less frequent travellers should subsidise more frequent travellers. Part of the reason why TravelTens and friends are sold at a discount to the standard fare is, I would presume, to encourage efficiency, by amortising the cost of transactions over a number of trips. (Suppose buying a $2 ticket takes 30 seconds, and we hire someone to sit there at $30/hr. You can do the maths.) With a top-up smartcard, this rationale no longer exists. In Hong Kong and Singapore, for example, individual trips are substantially cheaper than an equivalent trip in Sydney – so much cheaper that there’s no need for sliding discounts for regular users. The other problem with sliding discounts is that it reflects a narrow mentality that people should use public transport for getting from home to work and back again (thereby taking a regular route and attracting a discount), whereas public transport should be far more pervasive than that.

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It looks like Citygate Outlets is must-see destination.

Citygate Outlets is a shopping centre at Tung Chung, on Hong Kong’s Lantau Island. Tung Chung is, in a relative sense, far flung from the heart of Hong Kong, right next to the airport, but as a “new town”, it has all the attractions of Hong Kong (food, shopping, what else?) while being really clean and neatly designed. I remember it fondly as the place where I was first acquainted with the diabetes-inducing phenomenon known as Aji Ichiban (although of course, there are other stores).

We went to the shopping centre in question last year, but quite a bit of it was still under construction, and although I recall seeing designer fashion there, the prices then didn’t quite appeal to me. But maybe it’s due to the subconscious impact of seeing markedly large Hong Kong dollar amounts (1 AUD is roughly 7 HKD); somehow, I convince myself a nice t-shirt is not worth HKD$100, but when I get home, I realise I can’t get anything nice for less than $20. Anyway, if the article is right, it’s definitely worth another visit – if only to get out of the hustle and bustle of the CBD and Kowloon.

And if the thought of going to an “outlet mall” brings up images of DFO in Homebush, then you’re mistaken – it’s as much a proper shopping centre as any other.

How to get there: Exit C from Tung Chung MTR Station

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It would be amiss of me not to post at least once during the month of December, but posting on the last day of 2007, that’s what I’ve almost done.

It’s reticent of me not to have posted regularly recently, as I promised to do earlier on. However, blogging is something that requires momentum – for me at least, once I start writing, I can’t stop, but it’s getting started that’s the problem. Maybe that’s why my law assignments always get written so late. I lost momentum in the lead-up to honours thesis submission and then the inability of the older version of Opera to cooperate with WordPress while I was in Hong Kong was a bit of a showstopper. But maybe I’m just making up excuses.

Writing regularly is a good thing to do: I think, like muscles, writing ability gets lost if you don’t use it. Joel Spolsky, a prominent software developer and writer who anyone interested in the business of software should read, mentioned in his blog that one of the best courses he ever took at university was one that involved copious amounts of writing: “Being able to write clearly on technical topics is the difference between being a grunt individual contributor programmer and being a leader”.

I’ll try and regain some momentum in the immediate future, and I hope that I’ll regain your trust as readers.*

* The less I write, the less people read my blog (as measured by the statistics I get). Makes sense doesn’t it?

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Testing one two three

Somehow this failed to work in Opera Mini on my mobile…

ok will blog about hong kong now…

i don’t know whether to blame Opera or WordPress – because it used to work!

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The SMH carried an interesting opinion piece today about the changes happening to Sydney Uni under the campus 2010 project — I honestly didn’t expect to see anything like that in the Herald because this is more the purview of a communist campus newspaper with nothing better to talk about. That aside, I don’t quite agree with the author’s viewpoint. The main point of contention is that Sydney Uni lost something valuable in its recent construction frenzy. Let’s examine that a little closer. To build the School of Information Technologies building (which I’m very happy to use), we lost a small lawn. Stephen Roberts lecture theatre, which was razed to give way to the Great Law Faculty Ditch, was hardly a work of art. And I’m sure no one will miss the tin sheds that once stood where the USyd Central building is now being erected. I suppose we might miss the trees on Eastern Avenue, but I sure won’t miss the cars — the pedestrianisation of that part of campus could only encourage a larger number of activities on the shiny new pavement. If anything, the modernisation of main campus adds value instead of taking it away, because you can have first class facilities and sip your latte in the shadows of a sandstone archway. Although it could be seen as copying other universities, the truth of the matter is that each major period of development has left its own particular style on the campus, and this major revamp is no different.

In other news, it has been 10 years since Hong Kong reverted to Chinese sovereignty. It’s a bit of a pet subject for me, and the Economist ran a special report on the past, the present and the future. Basically, it argued that Hong Kong deserves democracy along with its other freedoms, partly to stop its freedoms from getting whittled away, and that China lost a potential experiment in democracy. That’s all nice and good, but it’s wishful thinking and commentary on how to make the best of the situation would’ve been more productive.

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