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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