Hallstatt, Guangdong, PR China

When developers in the People’s Republic of China revealed their replica of the Austrian town of Hallstatt [Wikipedia] they got a lot of attention [Spiegel International] [Reuters] [China Daily], from abroad at least. The act reaffirmed common stereotypes, ranging from Chinese being notorious copycats, their love for kitsch and gigantomania. What made it worse is that Europeans generally have an inexplicable pride for their national treasures, while at the same time being a little bit insecure about whether they should be. After all, many of these places have been created hundreds of years ago.

Continue reading

Wholesale Food Markets

The two largest wholesale food markets are in 長沙灣 Cheung Sha Wan in Kowloon and 西環 Sai Wan on Hong Kong Island. The one in Cheung Sha Wan opens everyday around midnight and closes around dawn, while most of the business is conducted between 2 and 4 am. It has a section for frozen fish, live fish and vegetables, though on the day I visited the entire story above the vegetable market was occupied with boxes of salted duck eggs and preserved eggs.
The frozen-fish mongers are not too friendly, they will not understand why you find dead fish so exciting and probably perceive you mainly as an obstacle in their busy nightly routine, though who knows what other goods are routed through this market that you are not supposed to see.
When you go, make sure to go to the car park on top of the market, as from there you’ll have a great overview over the busy markets and the cargo pier.

Continue reading

Building New Apartments

The growth in apartments in Hong Kong is very slow, much slower than the growth of the overall population, which grows by about 0.4% per year. Between April 2012 and March 2013, the government sold land worth 50 bio HK$ with a size of 256,167.5 m², an area of about 500 by 500 meters, which is about 1.3 times the size of Victoria Park. Given the size of Hong Kong’s developed area, that estimates to a growth of 0.1%. A city where the population grows four times as fast as the inhabited area is bound to have a serious issue about the affordability of apartments.

Looking south-west from Shek Kip Mei over newly developed West Kowloon.

Looking south-west from Shek Kip Mei over newly developed West Kowloon.

Continue reading

On Population Density

天水圍 Tin Shui Wai, the City of Sorrow. This government housing estate, developed in 1987 is home to over 270,000 low-income individuals. It lies exactly opposite of 深圳 Shenzhen in Mainland China and about 1 hour bus ride away from Central.

天水圍 Tin Shui Wai, the City of Sorrow. This government housing estate, developed in 1987 is home to over 270,000 low-income individuals. It lies exactly opposite of 深圳 Shenzhen in Mainland China and about 1 hour bus ride away from Central.

Visitors to the Fragrant Harbor are not unusually stunned by the large skyscrapers jostling along a tiny strip of land north of a massive rock covered in thick forests. What people usually see of Kowloon is the tiny and busy streets of 油尖旺 Tsim Yau Mong, the area compromising everything between TST and Prince Edward. It seems that Hong Kong must be the most crowded place on earth, and collapse bound to happen. This impression, however is wrong,

Continue reading