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Elmer W. Cagape

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Elmer W. Cagape is a search engine marketing specialist based in Hong Kong since 2001. He has been writing about his life in Hong Kong through his Living in Hong Kong blog since 2005. What he likes to write are topics that revolve around humorous and interesting angles of what living in Hong Kong is all about. He loves to travel. As of last tally he has been to 51 cities in 20 countries, and records fond memories of each destination. He also likes to spend time playing squash, watching reruns of Seinfeld and taking a walk in the park with his wife.

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Hong Kong International bids to become world’s greenest airport

May 17, 2012 - 0 Comments - Elmer W. Cagape

FOR a city notoriously known for its poor air quality, it’s quite a contrast for its airport managers to make a promise that its award-winning airport will become the greenest in the world. The bold pledge was made by the Airport Authority, the government’s statutory body tasked to oversee the operation of Hong Kong International…>

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Hong Kong introduces emergency text service for lost hikers

February 12, 2012 - 0 Comments - Elmer W. Cagape

HONG KONG is a great place not just for shopping but also for hiking. For that reason, tourists miss another side of the city if they limit themselves to riding roller coasters or exploring hawker shops and night markets. But for those who venture into the countryside for scenic views and fresher air, there’s another…>

An expensive Hong Kong Christmas

January 19, 2012 - 1 Comments - Elmer W. Cagape

Spending Christmas in Hong Kong is an expensive option, if the Christmas just past is used as an indicator. Not only did room rates have soar to more than HK$16,000 a night (US$2,060), high occupancy rates meant even the wealthy couldn’t find Christmas accommodation. The law of supply and demand clearly was in play as…>

HK electricity rate hike favors business over households

January 19, 2012 - 0 Comments - Elmer W. Cagape

CLP Power, one of Hong Kong’s major energy providers, has made an adjustment where households in Kowloon, New Territories and Lantau island will pay up to 20 percent for electricity. But this appears to be biased towards businesses, who face a tariff increase of less than half of that. The new fee structure is scheduled…>

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4 things Hong Kong can learn from Taipei

January 11, 2012 - 1 Comments - Elmer W. Cagape

Every time I visit a city, I happen to find a distinction between it and Hong Kong. So when me and my wife paid a visit to Taipei recently, I made a personal vow to follow what I did with my observations in Seoul and Tokyo. Recycling practice Pretty much like Japan and Korea, Taipei’s…>

New Year’s resolutions? Duh

January 1, 2012 - 0 Comments - Elmer W. Cagape

Happy New Year everyone! As we welcome 2012 with hopes and wishes, most of us are also bound to create a rather perfunctory list of things we call New Year’s Resolutions. Maybe students are required to write an essay or it is customary for family members to share things someone needs to change for the…>

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Call for more CCTV cameras on MTR premises

December 27, 2011 - 0 Comments - Elmer W. Cagape

As one of the Hong Kong’s most efficient means of transportation, the MTR subway system continues to attract more passengers. Rush hour traffic seems to be getting worse, as trains get crowded at longer periods of time. This means the likelihood of more groping cases on carriages given the fact that not all of them…>

Tsui Wah restaurant’s food waste crusade

December 22, 2011 - 0 Comments - Elmer W. Cagape

To many restaurants, an extravagant patron means good news for the cash registers. But with food waste more likely to happen on excessive orders, one can only sigh on leftovers heading to rubbish bins while everyone complains about rising food costs and many others have barely any food to put on the table. Tsui Wah,…>

Hong Kong paternity leave unfair to some fathers

December 15, 2011 - 0 Comments - Elmer W. Cagape

In the name of equal opportunity, legal experts in Hong Kong are calling for fairness when it comes to paternity leave. The city’s Civil Service Bureau proposed granting three to five days of paid paternity leave to promote its family-friendly initiatives. Yet, the provision is only applicable to married male employees. Human Rights Monitor director…>

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HK: A midday dip at Central Market pool remains wishful thinking

December 7, 2011 - 0 Comments - Elmer W. Cagape

When the historic Central Market, sitting at one of the most enviable spots in Hong Kong’s Central business district, was occupied by traditional shops such as art galleries, shoe repair shops and photo retouching studios, many could be wondering how could such a prime location be “underserved”. In Hong Kong, such a venue would fetch…>

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Hong Kong’s complicated plastic bag levy

December 6, 2011 - 0 Comments - Elmer W. Cagape

It’s been a while since the plastic bag levy – the 50 cent (US$0.06) charge for every plastic bag used at grocery counters – has been in place. Somehow it has changed the way people navigate their way through cash registers, often bringing with them reusable bags to avoid paying the tax. The move was…>

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HK: Riding high at Ngong Ping 360 costs more

December 3, 2011 - 0 Comments - Elmer W. Cagape

Just like any other commodity, entertainment is also getting more expensive these days. From December 1, it is now more expensive to ride Ngong Ping 360, the city’s attraction that features 25-minute cable car journey across Lantau island. From HK$115 (US$14.8), a ride on standard cabins — cable cars with covered floors — will now…>

Renaming Hong Kong airport: Sun Yat-sen better than Chek Lap Kok?

November 30, 2011 - 0 Comments - Elmer W. Cagape

Leonardo da Vinci, Benito Juárez, John F Kennedy and Abraham Lincoln: some of the personalities immortalized, among other things, by airports named after them. In the case of Hong Kong, a group of aviation enthusiasts are proposing that “Sun Yat-sen International Airport” be the new name of Hong Kong International Airport. This is in line…>

HK: Men spend more time at work than women

November 24, 2011 - 0 Comments - Elmer W. Cagape

In Hong Kong, it is well known that work-life balance can be tough. But when comparing men and women, it wasn’t very clear which one had the edge until a survey by Regus confirmed that it’s the men who tend to spend more hours at work and more likely to bring tasks home than women.…>

HK: Snow and ice in Tsim Sha Tsui this Christmas

November 23, 2011 - 0 Comments - Elmer W. Cagape

For a city that almost doesn’t experience snow (yes it does), fake snow is often a popular attraction in Hong Kong. I remember a few years ago I experienced a bit of Harbin and its intricately crafted ice carvings without leaving Hong Kong. This year, it will be at East Tsim Sha Tsui’s Centenary Garden…>

Are prenups the answer to HK’s growing divorce rate?

November 17, 2011 - 0 Comments - Elmer W. Cagape

One of the talks I listened to was about the escalating number of divorce cases in the United States. The speaker highlighted that the number of divorce cases spiked in the ’70s and ’80s. But for some reason the figure dropped in subsequent decades. The reason was that fewer couples have opted to marry and…>

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HK MTR a safer place for heart patients

November 8, 2011 - 0 Comments - Elmer W. Cagape

If you imagine going inside Hong Kong’s deeply buried MTR stations, say Quarry Bay’s Tseung Kwan O Line junction, it’s actually a deep chasm reachable only after taking at least three sets of escalators. So if a passenger has a sudden urge to use the toilet, it’s going to spell big trouble. How much more…>

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Hong Kong: Island East’s music to our ears

October 31, 2011 - 0 Comments - Elmer W. Cagape

Hydraulic drills, fire alarm tests, police sirens, loud phone conversations, the list of unwanted noise in Hong Kong seems endless. Yet, the government’s tolerance on live music performance isn’t that high. Just ask local musicians and they’ll lament they’ve been met with an acceptable noise level of just 70 decibels; for reference, it is just…>

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Discount coupons and Hong Kong shoppers

October 28, 2011 - 1 Comments - Elmer W. Cagape

Long before Groupon phenomena spread like wildfire, Hong Kong people were known to take advantage of coupons offered by different shops. Morning papers are occasionally littered with tiny coupons that, when presented at fastfood chains, offer heavy breakfast discounts. Maybe it’s in the culture in this city where residents are lured into buying products and…>

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Cockpit photos tarnish Cathay Pacific’s reputation

October 27, 2011 - 0 Comments - Elmer W. Cagape

While Australian flag carrier Qantas has hit the headlines for all the wrong reasons recently, Hong Kong’s Cathay Pacific isn’t doing much better. After the scandal involving a crew member and flight attendant performing sexual acts in the cockpit, another mishap took place where a pilot was photographed while sleeping during a flight from Dubai…>

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Dealing with junk calls in Hong Kong

October 25, 2011 - 0 Comments - Elmer W. Cagape

Imagine yourself in the middle of a conversation with a friend at a coffee shop, with a client in a quiet room or maybe sleeping at home. You hear the phone vibrating, indicating someone’s looking for you. You screen the call and it’s not that anonymous call – in Hong Kong, you can hide your…>

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Hong Kong’s anti-smoking drive begins to pay off

October 24, 2011 - 0 Comments - Elmer W. Cagape

I used to complain a lot about smokers on the streets, those unmindful of the potential health hazards they’ve become, but not that much these days. Not only because I seldom hit the streets lately, but statistically there are fewer people lighting up outdoors. With 11.1 per cent of people aged 15 or above smoking,…>

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Rainy day activities in Hong Kong

October 12, 2011 - 0 Comments - Elmer W. Cagape

It’s a rainy day Hong Kong today. As office workers, students and tourists hit the road armed with umbrellas, the probability of getting pierced in the eye (or mouth or nose) gets higher. It seems proper umbrella etiquette needs to be taught for every purchase of this foul-weather companion, as some people “accidentally” wet others…>

Sleepless in Hong Kong

September 29, 2011 - 0 Comments - Elmer W. Cagape

In Hong Kong, you may notice it is considerably quieter inside buses or trains in the morning rush hour than in the evening. That’s probably because a large number of passengers would like to take the opportunity to grab a few more minutes of sleep. A recent survey commissioned by American International Assurance and conducted…>

Bike accidents show HK not ideal for cyclists

September 23, 2011 - 1 Comments - Elmer W. Cagape

South China Morning Post reports that Hong Kong police recorded 1,447 bicycle accidents in the first eight months of this year. This figure represents 13.5 per cent increase over the same period last year. With the surge in bike-related incidents, the police has stepped up its enforcement of existing road regulations to curb the problem…>

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Hong Kong taxis ranked among world’s best

September 19, 2011 - 0 Comments - Elmer W. Cagape

Although I have mixed feelings about Hong Kong taxis, tourists seem impressed, a survey by hotels.com involving 5,000 passengers from 23 countries found out. Hong Kong taxis joined the top 10 ranking among world’s best taxis; London and New York cabs were top-rated globally for the past four years. While I have boarded cabs that…>

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HK smoking rates lower than ever

September 16, 2011 - 0 Comments - Elmer W. Cagape

It seems that Hong Kong’s efforts against smoking is making some headway. That’s because the city’s Tobacco Control Office (TCO) recorded the lowest smoking rate since the statistic was first recorded 30 years ago. According to Dr Raymond Ho, head of TCO, only 11.1 per cent of people aged 15 or older were daily smokers…>

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Phones, wigs, opera costumes: Lost and found on Hong Kong buses

September 14, 2011 - 0 Comments - Elmer W. Cagape

The number of lost items on Hong Kong buses is on the up. From July 2010 to June 2011, 70,000 items were recovered inside coaches of Kowloon Motor Bus, a major bus line in Hong Kong that operates 4,000 buses plying on 399 routes in the city. Smartphones, cash and many other odd items like…>

HK: Respect for colleagues key to happiness at work

September 10, 2011 - 0 Comments - Elmer W. Cagape

Albert Einstein once said “I speak to everyone in the same way, whether he is the garbage man or the president of the university.” Three out of four workers in Hong Kong interviewed recently tend to agree with Mr Einstein’s statement. The same treatment should also apply at work where respect towards colleagues, whether top…>

Mong Kok, Wan Chai worst areas for rats in HK

September 9, 2011 - 1 Comments - Elmer W. Cagape

If you are moving to Hong Kong and a self-confessed musophobe, or have a fear of rats, this nugget of information may guide you where to live: rat infestation is worst in Mong Kok, Wan Chai and Kwai Tsing in the first six months of the year, figures released by Food and Environmental Hygiene Department…>

iPhone app helps put HK visitors on the map

September 7, 2011 - 0 Comments - Elmer W. Cagape

Hong Kong may not be as big as New York or London, but despite its well-documented streets and occasional maps found in subway stations, it is easy for a first-timer to get lost in maze of human traffic and criss-crossing roads. But even if locals either pay no attention or don’t understand our pleas for…>

Skyrocketing rents force HK restaurants to move upstairs

August 16, 2011 - 0 Comments - Elmer W. Cagape

Just like other retailers giving up prime customer access at ground floors in favor of cheaper spaces upstairs, restaurants are now moving to higher floors. The main, if not the only, culprit is the soaring commercial rental rates imposed by property owners. While residential flats attract buyers for their sweeping panoramic views, restaurants a few…>

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More than just happy hour in Wan Chai

August 11, 2011 - 0 Comments - Elmer W. Cagape

Amidst the noise, crowd and bright lights, it appears that the Wan Chai district is home to the happiest people in Hong Kong. At least, that’s how a survey compiled by Lingnan University reveals. Using a scale of zero to 10 (with 10 being the happiest), Wan Chai’s 8.55 average rating is way ahead of…>

Hong Kong railway unfair to residents of remote districts?

August 9, 2011 - 0 Comments - Elmer W. Cagape

One of the factors that impact the cost of residential property is its close proximity to public transportation, notably any MTR station which provides fast and convenient travel option for residents. That is why residents looking for cheaper dwellings tend to move further away from these transport nodes. Some of them drift further away from…>

Unfair practice by Hong Kong pay-TV services

July 31, 2011 - 1 Comments - Elmer W. Cagape

Every time I get a discount offer to connect to a few favorite cable channels on TV, I always think that apart from enjoying the shows, everything else is a one-sided affair. Excessive termination penalties and program changes without prior notice are just among what consumers might be frustrated about with major pay-TV services in…>

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One in five Hongkongers obese

July 29, 2011 - 0 Comments - Elmer W. Cagape

A study by Hong Kong Baptist University indicates that almost one in every five Hong Kong residents is obese. Although personally I find this a little surprising amid the mostly skinny/slim people around the rise in obesity cases could easily be blamed at the changing lifestyle of locals, notably the young ones. If you wake…>

Hong Kong: Complaints rise from mainland tourists

July 25, 2011 - 0 Comments - Elmer W. Cagape

The Hong Kong Consumer Council reports that although the total number of complaints from inbound tourists within the first six months of 2011 was fewer than the figure recorded in the same period of the previous year, there has been a surge in number of grievances put forward by visitors from the mainland China. In…>

Hong Kong Disneyland to hike entry fees

July 20, 2011 - 0 Comments - Elmer W. Cagape

Are you a tourist planning on visiting Hong Kong Disneyland soon? It helps to visit the theme park before end of July as rates will rise by up to 14 per cent starting August. For locals, entrance fees will be kept at current rates until December. The new pricing will see adult tickets cost HK$399…>

Mainland wives get ward spaces, but no financial help from HK

July 18, 2011 - 0 Comments - Elmer W. Cagape

Mainland wives of local Hong Kong men who wish to deliver babies in the city are assured of hospital places reserved for them in the quota system in place for next year. Private hospitals in Hong Kong will allocate 31,000 for mainland women and 7,000 will be reserved for those married to Hong Kong men.…>

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Tony Chan: Here’s HK$10 million, help me find the truth

July 11, 2011 - 0 Comments - Elmer W. Cagape

Embattled fung shui master Tony Chan, whose multibillion estate claim has hugged local headlines for weeks, has again grabbed the spotlight with a recent offer of HK$10 million (US$1.3 million) to anyone who can offer him information to “uncover the truth” about the late Nina Wang’s estate. To formalize his offer, he advertised his appeal…>

Hong Kong ATMs remain safe.. to careful people

July 8, 2011 - 0 Comments - Elmer W. Cagape

Worried about news that identity theft is on the prowl using stolen data to siphon money from ATMs? Hold that thought for a moment: Visa believes that Hong Kong is still one of the safest places to withdraw cash at an ATM booth or shop online using your credit card. The statement was made in…>

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Bulky luggage, busy stations likely MTR accident culprits

July 7, 2011 - 0 Comments - Elmer W. Cagape

MTR is one of the safest ways to travel within Hong Kong. Yet, as it accommodates hundreds of thousands of passengers daily, and rush hour surge of workers and students, a wrong step in the escalator or a failed attempt to squeeze into a train full of passengers could cost a limb and a dose…>

Starting early in hunt for perfect partner

July 6, 2011 - 0 Comments - Elmer W. Cagape

In a fast-moving perpetually busy Hong Kong lifestyle, dating agencies thrive to help career-driven professionals find love. Or at least new people to meet and interact with. Such practice may be widespread in the West and Hong Kong is just playing catch up – but it’s catching up quite quickly. In fact, many of these…>

High hopes for Hong Kong viewing deck

July 4, 2011 - 0 Comments - Elmer W. Cagape

Would you pay HK$125 (US$16) to get the widest view of panoramic Hong Kong? sky100, perched at the 100th floor of the International Commerce Centre thinks you should. Not only because it lets you see the thrilling bird’s eye view of one of the world’s most picturesque skylines, it is also not as costly compared…>

HK: The attack of the addicted smokers

June 26, 2011 - 0 Comments - Elmer W. Cagape

Imagine yourself as a tobacco control inspector, a role whose task is to reprimand or issue fines to smokers caught lighting up cigarettes in banned areas. Would you consider looking for a job elsewhere? Maybe actual inspectors have thought about this career move after it has been reported that an increasing number of “no smoking”…>

HK$200 bonus to delay receipt of HK govt handouts

June 24, 2011 - 0 Comments - Elmer W. Cagape

As reported earlier this year, every Hong Kong permanent resident aged 18 and above will receive a HK$6,000 (US$770) handout from the government which generated a lot of buzz. And as it seems everyone wants to get hold of the money as soon as possible, it took more than three months to disclose plans on…>

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Possible hazards of tableware misuse

June 21, 2011 - 0 Comments - Elmer W. Cagape

Food poisoning and other related ailments are often unfairly blamed on food most of the time. But we seldom see them attributed to the plates and utensils we use on the table. Not until the Consumer Council became proactive enough to look elsewhere for the culprit and promptly issue a warning to both restaurant patrons…>

Some Hong Kong hospitals to ban mainland mothers

June 19, 2011 - 0 Comments - Elmer W. Cagape

Restricted by recent changes on hospital arrangements, mainland mothers-to-be are compelled to make advanced bookings amidst cutthroat competition for maternity beds in Hong Kong. The government’s hard cap on thenumber of mainland women giving birth in Hong Kong has taken a tough toll. Desperate to deliver in Hong Kong – a move that enables children…>

Hong Kong passes controversial tobacco tax

June 17, 2011 - 0 Comments - Elmer W. Cagape

While smoking is prohibited in Hong Kong’s public parks, bus terminals and most government facilities, it is still possible to light a cigarette in some places (read: streets). But with the successful endorsement of a tobacco tax hike by the city’s legislators, one has to think of financial implications before buying a pack at a…>

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Traffic congestion headache extends beyond motorists

June 6, 2011 - 0 Comments - Elmer W. Cagape

With an excellent transport system I guess most Hong Kong people are more likely to defer from buying cars and instead take the subway that, despite the crowding, still operates efficiently and sends them to destinations on time. Even when the MTR raises its fares on June 19, it will still be affordable to many…>

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Redefining the word ‘homeless’ in Hong Kong

June 4, 2011 - 0 Comments - Elmer W. Cagape

If you thought the meaning of homeless was as simple as not owning a house and living in the streets you may need to think again. To an academic who spent a significant amount of time looking at different forms of homelessness across a few Asian countries this idea simply is not accurate. To many…>

Charity turns HK food waste into huge opportunity to help

June 2, 2011 - 0 Comments - Elmer W. Cagape

Amidst all the talk about Hong Kong’s excessively wasteful lifestyle when it comes to handling food, it is nice to know a group of people are doing something apart from just harping about it. Foodlink is a small charity founded in 2001 and whose goal is to fight hunger and poverty by minimizing food wastage.…>

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If I win the HK$100,000,000 lottery…

May 20, 2011 - 0 Comments - Elmer W. Cagape

Amidst the one hundred million dollar (US$12.9m) bonanza sweeping Hong Kong before the fateful draw tonight, one hopeful punter can dwell in a world of imagination as to how a winning number combination can become a life-changing moment. The moment one joins the queue — long lines of betters converge at every betting booth in…>

The dangers of group buying

May 19, 2011 - 0 Comments - Elmer W. Cagape

I haven’t tried group buying, the latest marketing success story where consumers can get great deals when buying as a group. In simple terms, it’s similar to buying a shirt for 50 dollars but geting three for only 100 dollars. To a solo buyer, the offer looks juicy but then he asks himself “why should…>

The shady dealings of HK property companies

May 12, 2011 - 0 Comments - Elmer W. Cagape

In your next visit to your property agent office, it would be a good idea to verify if the square footage numbers of properties displayed on their walls really reflect the actual measurements inside flats. That’s because one of the largest property developers in Hong Kong recently issued an apology for misleading buyers about floor…>

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9 more signs that prove you are in Hong Kong

May 9, 2011 - 0 Comments - Elmer W. Cagape

Last February marked the first decade of my stay in Hong Kong. While it’s a shame not to learn Cantonese all those years, I am still glad to learn more about this city’s aspects. With that brief intro, I bring to you things you should have experienced while living in or visiting Hong Kong. 1.…>

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The art of giving up seats on a train carriage

May 5, 2011 - 0 Comments - Elmer W. Cagape

I have observed how signs at MTR’s courtesy seats for the elderly and pregnant passengers have evolved from small subtle stickers to a more bold and prominent ‘gentle reminders’. In its bid to send a message to passengers who either ignore these gentle reminders or were not taught proper manners at home, MTR and its…>

No more mainland moms-to-be at public HK hospitals for rest of 2011

April 30, 2011 - 0 Comments - Elmer W. Cagape

As Hong Kong’s public hospital staff suffer from overwhelming demand amid the influx of pregnant mainland women, the Hospital Authority recently announced that no more mainland mothers-to-be will be allowed to arrange maternity services for the rest of the year. That means parents across the border will have to find a suitable hospital in their…>

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HK parents: Academic performance more important than health

April 20, 2011 - 0 Comments - Elmer W. Cagape

In a surprising revelation from a survey commissioned by a local shopping mall, over 85 percent of parents put academic, sports and music performance much higher in importance than health when it comes to their child’s development. That could mean local parents would rather choose to have a child that’s frail but genius than a…>

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Transport black eye in Hong Kong

April 18, 2011 - 0 Comments - Elmer W. Cagape

At almost the same time we learned about the end of the line for half of the routes of our beloved Star Ferry, the MTR announced a fare increase of 2.3 percent or a rise of between 10 and 20 Hong Kong cents per ride. Not only that, seven ferry routes plying the outlying islands…>

Latest demographics show HK women still outnumber men

April 16, 2011 - 0 Comments - Elmer W. Cagape

Data culled from the Statistics Department population and household survey reveals some interesting findings. Yet, some trends remain; females continue to outnumber the opposite sex. Even if you discount the foreign domestic helpers — their predominantly female population skews the ratio big time — there are still more women in Hong Kong than there are…>

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Clearing Hong Kong streets from sales people

April 8, 2011 - 0 Comments - Elmer W. Cagape

One unmistakable sight in a typical crowded Hong Kong street are salesmen or women promoting cable TV, Internet or mobile phone subscriptions or credit card offers. They are commonly found outside large computer malls or in streets where people frequently pass by. Some people — especially those looking for their services — find the presence…>

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5 things Hong Kong can learn from Korea

March 31, 2011 - 0 Comments - Elmer W. Cagape

My wife and I have been to Korea in the past week. Apart from the unusually wintry conditions in early spring, the tours we had in Busan and Seoul were pleasant ones. Accommodation in both cities was relatively affordable for the facilities they offer — large flat screen television and free Internet use in each…>

HK: Fake baby food with genuine packaging

March 27, 2011 - 0 Comments - Elmer W. Cagape

I previously mentioned a story about empty bottles of genuine wine bought at extraordinarily high prices and used to resell them with substandard content. Now, it seems the trick has moved towards baby milk formulas. Police are now investigating reports that syndicates are buying empty tin cans of Japanese milk powder brand, filling them with…>

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Famously infamous Hong Kong piracy spots

March 6, 2011 - 0 Comments - Elmer W. Cagape

Ladies Market, the open-air shopping arcade in Mong Kok openly promoted by no less than the government’s official tourism website, is, at the same time, cited by United States authorities as one of the world’s most notorious markets for pirated goods. Tourists and locals pay a visit out of curiosity or avail of near-genuine quality…>

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Advantages and disadvantages of the HK$6,000 bonanza

March 4, 2011 - 0 Comments - Elmer W. Cagape

The moment the Hong Kong government announced it will hand over HK$6,000 (US$770) and further tax reductions to every permanent resident aged 18 or above, Hongkongers have been waiting with bated breath. Although very few know when the cheque will reach mailboxes, buying ideas seem endless ahead of this bounty: phone upgrade, short vacation, a…>

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Hong Kong’s not-so-fantastic lightshow

March 3, 2011 - 0 Comments - Elmer W. Cagape

Many of us enjoy the spectacle of lights, and it shows. Hong Kong Tourism Board made the nightly Symphony of Lights a regular attraction for visitors. Hong Kong Disneyland ends its business day by showcasing a fireworks display to entertain patrons. And fireworks one of the centerpiece event of the city’s Chinese New Year holiday…>

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HK phone booths withstand test of time

February 20, 2011 - 0 Comments - Elmer W. Cagape

Despite advances in communication systems, Hong Kong streets don’t seem complete without the sight of public phone booths. Whether lumped together inside busier MTR stations or standalone units scattered across major thoroughfares, these boxes offer easy access to communication. Hong Kong may have high mobile phone penetration rate, but it doesn’t mean everyone in the…>

Hong Kong airport still world’s best after five years

February 18, 2011 - 0 Comments - Elmer W. Cagape

For the fifth consecutive year, Hong Kong’s Chek Lap Kok Airport has just been awarded the world’s best among airports that handle more than 40 million passengers per year. Passengers from 140 airports made their judgment based on a series of parameters which included general ambiance, cleanliness, operating efficiency, staff courtesy, comfort, and others. Survey…>

HK: Shame campaign for overcharging doctors?

February 15, 2011 - 0 Comments - Elmer W. Cagape

With the popularity of review websites that help consumers identify the good, the bad and the ugly side of businesses, I believe it’s about time to expand this concept to professional services. If hotels have TripAdvisor and restaurants have Openrice or Michelin ratings , I think rating professional services is also a good idea that…>

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HK: Proposal for women-only carriages at MTR

February 5, 2011 - 0 Comments - Elmer W. Cagape

As the number of groping incidents against women continues to rise, Hong Kong’s MTR Corporation is looking at the possibility of providing carriages exclusive to female passengers. In terms of percentage, incidents of sexual harrassment may be a bit low to create panic among passengers in general, but the fact that they exist means there…>

HK: No bidders spells end for Hung Hom ferry rides

January 31, 2011 - 0 Comments - Elmer W. Cagape

Threatened by operating losses and no new interest in the business, two more ferry routes between Hong Kong island and Kowloon will cease to exist by April. This is after the government decided to close a second offer to invite bidders to take over the operation of services between Hung Hom and Central, and Hung…>

Hong Kong: Laguna Music Club’s final curtain drops

January 27, 2011 - 0 Comments - Elmer W. Cagape

One of Wan Chai’s most popular hang outs finally closing its doors. Laguna Music Club and Bar on Fenwick Street, a popular refuge for locals and visitors, operated in the city for almost 10 years. The business was sold to a group that owns clubs that operate nearby. Its premises was sold by its owner to…>

Yoga and Hong Kong: Now that’s stretching it

January 25, 2011 - 0 Comments - Elmer W. Cagape

Amidst closure of more popular yoga shops in the city the ones remaining don’t seem able to take advantage of the so-called opportunities left behind by competitors forced to shut down. Just recently, another yoga chain closed its doors for the last time due to financial problems. Living Yoga which operated fitness centers in Kowloon…>

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6 disadvantages of growing tourist numbers

January 23, 2011 - 1 Comments - Elmer W. Cagape

Year after year it seems that the number of visitors coming to Hong Kong is setting new records. The 30 million annual visitors the city recorded a few years ago (over 23 million in 2005, over 28 million in 2007) was easily eclipsed by the 36 million tourists who arrived last year. The 21.8 per…>

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7 reasons to hate winter in Hong Kong

January 15, 2011 - 3 Comments - Elmer W. Cagape

We experience Hong Kong’s coldest weather at this time of the year, even if the city has mild winters. A few days ago, most of the city endured temperatures well below 10 degree Celsius, a chilly threshold where most locals start to feel discomfort. While we look forward to this period in the middle of…>

Wage hikes barely cover rising cost of HK living

January 7, 2011 - 0 Comments - Elmer W. Cagape

Good news, companies offer pay rise. Bad news, it barely covers Hong Kong inflation rates. This is the situation workers face lately as the rising cost of living in Hong Kong is hardly covered by wage hikes. And the Census and Statistics Department has the numbers to prove it. Average wages in September of last…>

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6 observations on a typical day on HK’s MTR

January 3, 2011 - 0 Comments - Elmer W. Cagape

When riding the Mass Transit Railway, Hong Kong’s efficient subway system, I can’t help but share some observations which you, as a fellow Hong Kong resident or a frequent visitor, may also notice. Helpless yellow “ambassadors” I don’t know their proper title, but these supposed MTR guides are easy to distinguish from the crowd: they…>

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Snow or frost in Hong Kong

January 1, 2011 - 0 Comments - Elmer W. Cagape

Happy New Year! For the information of those interested on whether it snows in Hong Kong, lately the closest Hong Kong can get is frost, which occurs less than five days a year and on a limited area in the territory. But in the past, snow has been recorded in Hong Kong: 02 Feb 1967…>

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Food nutrition during the holiday season

December 29, 2010 - 0 Comments - Elmer W. Cagape

Sometimes we wonder what makes potato chips an indispensable part of our daily lifestyle. We are probably aware from the moment we grab a pack or two from the supermarket shelf that we draw closer to becoming fat and unhealthy. So is it the packaging color or the allure of the endorsers that encourages us…>

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Hong Kong’s tallest building offers spectacular views

December 26, 2010 - 0 Comments - Elmer W. Cagape

In case you are not yet aware, the tallest building in Hong Kong, the International Commerce Centre, is also the fourth tallest in the world. And if that lofty reputation is not enough, the building holds the distinction as the location of the world’s tallest hotel, The Ritz Carlton. For a sneak preview of the…>

Hong Kong’s deadly “moderate” winter

December 18, 2010 - 0 Comments - Elmer W. Cagape

Just when you think Hong Kong’s cold season is mild enough compared to frigid zones like Canada and Russia, it can also kill. Two street sleepers were found dead in the city yesterday, the coldest December day since 1999. And three elderly people suffering from various illnesses died in the hospital after being found unconscious…>

Same survey, same results: Hongkongers want to leave polluted city

December 17, 2010 - 0 Comments - Elmer W. Cagape

If another survey was needed to validate the sentiment of people who earlier signified intention to leave Hong Kong, latest results should be convincing enough. I previously wrote about locals wishing to leave the city mainly because it can’t get rid of the bad reputation when it comes to air quality. When Baptist University’s Hong…>

Holiday safety tips for locals and visitors

December 15, 2010 - 0 Comments - Elmer W. Cagape

When you’re in Hong Kong’s crowded streets you may want to keep an occasional look at your valuable items especially during this busy holiday season. That’s because more people have been reporting that their pockets picked. And the culprit is not some random street walker who notice how carelessly we look after our bags, pockets…>

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Trade events and spam opportunities

December 11, 2010 - 0 Comments - Elmer W. Cagape

Hong Kong is host to hundreds of events every year. Trade shows, food expos, product launches, you name it, Hong Kong’s part of the itinerary. This is a boon to many groups, who can take advantage of the opportunities these events present. For example, a book show provides locals with a chance to meet authors,…>

‘Made in China’ cheaper in Hong Kong than China

December 7, 2010 - 0 Comments - Elmer W. Cagape

  When I think of products made in China, one of the first things that come to mind are cheaper goods. Of course this is because we have named the country as the de facto factory of the world. We become attracted to shops that put up “Factory Outlet” because we believe its products are…>

Extended “no smoking” bus terminals still haven for tobacco users

December 5, 2010 - 0 Comments - Elmer W. Cagape

Since December 1, smokers can no longer light up at any of the 131 outdoor bus terminals in the city as extended “no smoking” policy was added on top of previously no-go zones like public parks, restaurants and covered public transport terminals. Buses have ads promoting the new rule and within the first two weeks…>

Futuristic Christmas

December 3, 2010 - 0 Comments - Elmer W. Cagape

Going away from traditional Christmas tree decorations installed outdoors in the past, Hong Kong will greet the holidays with giant Christmas trees made up of crystal blocks at two of th busiest sections of the business district. In Central’s Statue Square, traditionally where Christmas trees are installed in time with the city’s Winterfest tourism campaign,…>

Good and bad news for Chinese moms giving birth in HK

November 30, 2010 - 0 Comments - Elmer W. Cagape

  Many mainland women come to Hong Kong to give birth and escape China’s one child policy. But more importantly, they cross the border in the hope of providing a better life for children born in the city. Children born in Hong Kong to mainland moms are automatically granted a Hong Kong passport which gives…>

HK photo booth helps singles feel loved

November 22, 2010 - 0 Comments - Elmer W. Cagape

Just like Valentine’s Day, Christmas season is best celebrated with loved ones. For lonely single people who confess they are nursing broken hearts or unable to find a partner to celebrate with in the upcoming holidays, listen up. A mall in Shatin has a photo booth that lets singles pose for a photo with a…>

KFC’s Hong Kong ‘labor camps’

November 19, 2010 - 0 Comments - Elmer W. Cagape

Following Cafe de Coral’s recent decision to give wage hikes if workers surrender their lunch breaks, the ubiquitous KFC fastfood chain is making a similar move. KFC staff have been complaining since the company made the decision in March to scrap paid lunch breaks. It was reported that requests for meetings between staff and management to…>

Heart-saving effort by MTR

November 13, 2010 - 0 Comments - Elmer W. Cagape

Hong Kong’s railway system has 84 stations spanning 170 kilometers and serves 3.7 million passengers on a weekday basis. No wonder a significant percentage of the population spend some time inside trains or train stations during the day. And it can be challenging there during peak hours when over crowding and the race to carriages…>

Mainland man disguised as elderly Caucasian flies HK to Vancouver

November 7, 2010 - 0 Comments - Elmer W. Cagape

Amid fresh terror warnings that put Manila on high alert, an apparent security breach involved a man from mainland China disguised as an elderly Caucasian passenger successfully passed through Hong Kong security and made his way to a flight bound for Vancouver, Canada. Initially, I poked fun at it, thinking it was an extended run…>

SMS alerts for potential travel hotspots

November 7, 2010 - 0 Comments - Elmer W. Cagape

The government is taking a proactive role in notifying Hong Kong people who are heading to potential trouble spots overseas. By the end of the year, it is possible for residents to receive notice through phone SMS or email on the latest travel alerts. At the moment, everyone in Hong Kong can check the outbound…>

Hong Kong’s unwanted coins

November 2, 2010 - 0 Comments - Elmer W. Cagape

When we were kids, saving up in our piggy banks was one of the early signs of being thrifty growing up. But as years pass by, things change. So does the way we need to save for the future. That’s because in some cases, the moment we finally hammer our beloved piggy bank, we find…>

As women lose weight, more men and kids become obese

November 1, 2010 - 0 Comments - Elmer W. Cagape

  In 2009, 3.5 percent of Hong Kong’s population was classified as obese, down from 3.8 per cent in 2004. That’s good news, but closer examination of the figures reveals that it is mostly women who have lost weight, possibly influenced by the city’s adoration for slim women and the presence of weight loss clinics.…>

More Hong Kong people complain of poor work-life balance

October 29, 2010 - 0 Comments - Elmer W. Cagape

  If you’re a worker in Hong Kong and your working hours are the main reason you don’t enjoy living in Hong Kong, you’re not alone. In fact you are in the company of a growing group of disgruntled workers, stressed out due to extended work hours that don’t leave enough time for rest and…>

I’m Loving You: McWeddings in Hong Kong

October 25, 2010 - 0 Comments - Elmer W. Cagape

McDonald’s wants its comfy seats and no-frills quick eats not only to be a part of the dating process but also play a part at the even more auspicious wedding event. McDonald’s thinks that weddings in one of its branches is a good — if not unique — idea.  With McWeddings, the popular American fastfood…>

6 reasons why frequent flyer schemes are not rewarding

October 19, 2010 - 0 Comments - Elmer W. Cagape

Unlike supermarket reward schemes or the buy-10-get-one-free offers in your neighborhood burger joint, airline mile rewards schemes are not something we should be too excited about, unless we are jet-setting executives flying business class piling personal mile rewards at company expense. The effort of trying to accumulate points — or more specifically “miles” — is…>

Smart HK property buyers snub overpriced flats

October 16, 2010 - 0 Comments - Elmer W. Cagape

  Hong Kong may be in the middle of a property bubble but the marketing efforts of two venture partners appears fruitless as a fancy residential block in the crowded Wan Chai district attracted a lacklustre response from the public. Home buyers unanimously thwarted offers of Queen’s Cube residential properties. Pegged at 401 square feet…>

Hong Kong counts the cost of US navy no-show

October 8, 2010 - 0 Comments - Elmer W. Cagape

  At certain times of the year, aircraft carriers or battleships from the United States dock in Hong Kong for a well-deserved rest for staff members. This ushers in a brief period of peak season for various businesses ranging from Wan Chai pubs to music stores. But if a planned visit is cancelled, business owners…>

Hong Kong: New-look trams ready to roll

October 7, 2010 - 0 Comments - Elmer W. Cagape

Hong Kong’s iconic tram looks to adapt to the times in a redesign that will address lingering issues and make for a more efficient service. Although it maintains the same speed, trams of Hongkong Tramways will soon be featuring notable changes as part of its new owner’s investment plan. Soon, we’ll say goodbye to the…>

Shopping in Hong Kong outweighs ‘bus auntie’ scandal

October 6, 2010 - 0 Comments - Elmer W. Cagape

  Mainland tourists flocked to Hong Kong in even greater numbers despite widely publicized scandals that have hit the tourism industry in recent months. The first two days of the National Day holidays saw 230,000 mainlanders enter the city, representing a 37 percent increase over the same period last year. Did I hear someone just…>

Should Hong Kong host the Asian Games?

October 4, 2010 - 0 Comments - Elmer W. Cagape

  After losing out to Doha in a bid to host the 2006 Asian Games, Hong Kong once again prepares its bid to host the Games in 2023. Coming off of a morale-boosting performance as hosts of the East Asian Games late last year, highlighted by a gold-medal encounter with Asian soccer powerhouse Japan, the…>

Conversion to Roman Catholic literally comes at a cost

October 1, 2010 - 0 Comments - Elmer W. Cagape

  One of the things Hong Kong people enjoy is the freedom of religion. Although there are isolated reports of government harrassment, members of the public are free to practice their chosen faith. But since some schools provide preferential treatment to Roman Catholic or other Christian denominations when admitting students, some locals and their children…>

Hong Kong Mark Six lottery ticket set for 100pc hike

September 29, 2010 - 0 Comments - Elmer W. Cagape

  The price of everything in Hong Kong seems to be heading upwards these days. Flat rental, ferry fares and wet market vegetables. Oh, and Mark Six too! The price for a lottery ticket will increase from HK$5 to HK$10. Mark Six, operated by Hong Kong Jockey Club, is one of the most accessible means…>

Is Hong Kong a land of arrogant people?

September 28, 2010 - 1 Comments - Elmer W. Cagape

  Ramon Tulfo must have had a nightmare experience when he was in Hong Kong. Even before reading his column at the Philippine Daily Inquirer entitled “HK people most arrogant in the world“, one could probably guess that all he saw in the city were unfriendly, disrespectful locals – whether a restaurant waiter, immigration official…>

Behind Cebu Pacific’s cheap fares to Hong Kong

September 26, 2010 - 0 Comments - Elmer W. Cagape

I am a fan of Cebu Pacific. Not content on playing second fiddle to national carrier Philippine Airlines a decade ago, it has extended its wings on areas in the Philippines not covered by Asia’s first airline. As a result of these endeavors (and probably problems that beset Philippine Airlines through the years), Cebu Pacific…>

Mooncakes: Local culture vs. health conscience

September 23, 2010 - 0 Comments - Elmer W. Cagape

  Ever wanted to take a quick shot of your daily sugar requirement in a bite or two? Look no further than a small piece of the popular mooncake. By simply indulging in an unsuspecting bite of the delicacy Hong Kong has been famous for during Mid-Autumn festival, one is inviting some sort of bodily…>

Why Hong Kong’s Star Ferry is losing its allure

September 20, 2010 - 0 Comments - Elmer W. Cagape

  As the shift of foot traffic constantly alters the business landscape of Hong Kong’s busiest areas. It’s not only mall tenants or sidewalk vendors who have to ponder on what business strategy works most efficiently. Ferry operators are also feeling the impact of this change. I just learned that those who wish to go…>

Bye pirates, hello Northeast Passage

September 3, 2010 - 0 Comments - Elmer W. Cagape

Climate change may have delivered a solution to the risk faced by ships and crew passing through the waters of Gulf of Aden. A cargo ship bearing Hong Kong flag carrying 41,000 tons of iron ore will become part of maritime history as it sails from Norway to China through Russia’s arctic passage instead of…>

Obstacle course at Wan Chai pedestrian overpass

September 2, 2010 - 0 Comments - Elmer W. Cagape

Hong Kong is a crowded place. And within its habitable confines, people make the most out of any space available. Pedestrian walkways, for example, fit well for folks who distribute promotional materials: a steady stream of people, all-weather facilities and, most importantly, it’s free. Businesses need only pay for the printed material and employ a…>

Twitter’s 140 character limit to blame for Jackie Chan gaffe?

August 31, 2010 - 0 Comments - Elmer W. Cagape

While the Filipino people got a morale booster when action star Jackie Chan posted a message on his social media account condoling the nation, locals from his native Hong Kong were quick to accuse him of disrespect to victims of the hostage tragedy on August 23 that claimed eight lives.  Somehow it’s a case of…>

Red alert: MTR becoming pickpockets haven

August 28, 2010 - 0 Comments - Elmer W. Cagape

There is one more risk passengers have to deal with when they are within the premises of Hong Kong’s subway system: pickpockets. While there is no area that’s absolutely free from these culprits, the cases taking place in the MTR has been growing almost 60 percent in the first half of 2010, compared with the…>

Tourism nightmare for Hong Kong and the Philippines

August 23, 2010 - 0 Comments - Elmer W. Cagape

This time of the year, Hong Kong locals wrap up their summer holidays as families with school children prepare for the coming school year. A popular summer pastime is to travel overseas to take a dip at the beach, have an educational trip or simply to escape the city’s concrete jungle. Knowing that the coming…>

MTR still offers fast, but not the most relaxing, trip

August 19, 2010 - 0 Comments - Elmer W. Cagape

  If you’re looking for a comfortable ride after a long day on the road, taking the MTR may not be the best solution for you. That’s because it may be harder to find a seat, let alone a vacant one. The rail company is starting to make way for more standing room and more…>

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It pays more to ride a comfortable tram

August 14, 2010 - 0 Comments - Elmer W. Cagape

One of Hong Kong’s oldest means of transportation is currently the cheapest. Plying the Hong Kong island route from Kennedy Town in the west to Shaukeiwan in the east, the Hongkong Tramways is cheaper than Star Ferry, its fellow pioneer and witness to the city’s transformation over several decades. Now, its relatively new owner, Veolia…>

Dragonair and Philippine Airlines: labor woes

August 9, 2010 - 0 Comments - Elmer W. Cagape

Early last week, my wife and I returned to Hong Kong from a 10-day visit to the Philippines. We narrowly escaped inconveniences natural and man-made; cancelled flights due to typhoon and labor dispute almost cost our short vacation. Just after arriving in Davao, we learned that the next flight was diverted to another airport due…>

Reversing trend for cross-border weddings

August 6, 2010 - 0 Comments - Elmer W. Cagape

In the not so distant past, the growing trend of Hong Kong men coming to the mainland China to find their brides or Hong Kong women going to the mainland to marry was relatively unheard of. Recently, that trend was reversed as more local women marry mainland men and fewer Hong Kong men marry mainland…>

Why some Hong Kong residents lack manners: Reason #23

July 28, 2010 - 0 Comments - Elmer W. Cagape

“Like mother like daughter, like father like son.” This is a quote I heard while growing up. Not necessarily refering to a genetic link, children adopt traits from parents because they look up to them as role models. And whatever parents tell or allow them to do, children think it’s correct. Wrong. Just look at…>

HK: Politically sensitive car plate gets no auction bids

July 27, 2010 - 0 Comments - Elmer W. Cagape

The superstitious nature of Hong Kong can be translated in different ways, such as buildings devoid of 4th or 14th floor labels or the serving of noodles during New Year’s Day. But some of these beliefs are blended with commercialism, such as the belief that house on Number 8 street will fetch much greater yield…>

Welcome to HK… Now open your pockets and buy!

July 18, 2010 - 0 Comments - Elmer W. Cagape

After that customary welcome messages in different language and seemingly genuine smiles from some tourist guides as they introduce themselves to unsuspecting visitors, the reality sets in for tourists on what the city could be all about. Hong Kong has been visited by 29.5 million visitors in 2009, more than four times its population. While…>

One year on: Hong Kong fails to enforce smoking ban

July 15, 2010 - 0 Comments - Elmer W. Cagape

Hong Kong just marked a one-year milestone in its implementation of the expanded smoking ban. This expansion outlawed smoking in enclosed public venues such as bars. While it provided brief relief to non-smokers who frequent these watering holes, the old habit of smoking indoors made a strong resurgence, thanks to the relatively loose guidelines on…>

MTR fare dodgers get lessons at the turnstiles

July 8, 2010 - 0 Comments - Elmer W. Cagape

  The MTR is probably the most efficient and among the cheapest ways of traveling in Hong Kong. But those impressive descriptions are not enough to make all passengers pay for the wonderful service. This is especially true in Lo Wu station, where some passengers fit enough for high jump competitions leap above station turnstiles…>

Changing addresses of Hong Kong shops and businesses

July 6, 2010 - 0 Comments - Elmer W. Cagape

  The revolving door of Hong Kong’s business locations can be confusing to the public. When it was advertised that Esprit outlet was at the basement of Sheraton hotel as indicated in a brochure, a friend and I took time looking for the hotel address. When we finally found it, we were promptly told that…>

Will Hong Kong’s food labeling law be effective?

July 2, 2010 - 0 Comments - Elmer W. Cagape

  Yesterday marked the first day of implementation of the new food nutrition law in Hong Kong. The law stipulates that retailers will be responsible in providing nutrition labels on food products to regulate misleading or deceptive product labels, help consumers make healthy food choices and encourage manufacturers to consider healthier options in developing products.…>

HK workers prefer colleagues who lack skills than colleagues with attitude problems

June 28, 2010 - 0 Comments - Elmer W. Cagape

Many people wish to work in Hong Kong for different reasons. If that’s so probably they think more about the wages and perks and not much about colleagues. As it turns out, the top concern of local workers are colleagues who have a variety of characteristics that affect productivity and relationships with bosses and fellow…>

18 reasons why Hong Kong can be a stressful city for tourists

June 25, 2010 - 0 Comments - Elmer W. Cagape

At the airport 1. Long queues at immigration counters for tourists. It’s because some tourists arrive late at night when several immigration counters are done for the day. 2. Long wait for luggage to appear at conveyor. It’s because some conveyors handle baggage of passengers from several flights. 3. Difficulty in getting out of the…>

Wellcome: One Dollar Does Matter or so we thought

June 21, 2010 - 0 Comments - Elmer W. Cagape

Wellcome is one of Hong Kong’s largest chains of supermarkets where a familiar store in red motif is accessible in most neighborhoods. “One Dollar Does Matter” is a marketing battle cry Wellcome has employed as a way to sympathize with consumers who value every single dollar off the price list.  On its interiors, a dozen…>

The Hong Kong government cares: Health tips for World Cup fans

June 16, 2010 - 0 Comments - Elmer W. Cagape

Despite receiving criticisms for lack of effort regarding air pollution and support for a higher minimum wage, the Hong Kong government is a caring one. I am talking about the World Cup in South Africa, where most games are played during bedtime. The Department of Health reminds soccer fans to be more health-conscious while enjoying…>

Hong Kong government opens virtual graveyard

June 11, 2010 - 0 Comments - Elmer W. Cagape

With the opening of Hong Kong’s official virtual cemetery – www.memorial.gov.hk — deceased locals can now expect more chances of getting visits. The city continues to adhere religiously to Chinese culture – dead relatives must be visited at least once a year to pay respects – but Hong Kong’s fame as a highly wired city…>

HK: Real-time weather forecast photos now available

June 10, 2010 - 0 Comments - Elmer W. Cagape

Hong Kong Observatory (HKO) may have sophisticated observation and tracking devices, but that does not guarantee its weather forecast posted on its website is accurate. As a result, people excited to hit the beach vent their anger and frustration over the incorrect forecasting through social media tools. Perhaps staff at the Observatory don’t need to…>

Cathay Pacific’s power of employee advertising

June 7, 2010 - 0 Comments - Elmer W. Cagape

Every time I pass by Jardine House and wait for my bus going home, the unmistakable promotion by Cathay Pacific attracts my attention. Neatly bound by glossy glass by outdoor advertising giant JCDecaux, the advertising campaign highlights Cathay Pacific’s cockpit and cabin crew, revealing their names and even allowing us to know nuggets of information…>

Crackdown on online hate messages against minorities

June 4, 2010 - 0 Comments - Elmer W. Cagape

Just after I wrote about a young Pakistani who tried in vain to land a job in the police force it seems evident that hatred towards racial minorities is prevalent in Hong Kong’s cyberspace. But the city’s Equal Opportunities Commission has warned of punishments meant not only to those initiating hate messages online but also those…>

Lenient punishments for offending nurses, doctors

June 1, 2010 - 0 Comments - Elmer W. Cagape

Adding insult to injury, every time inexperienced or incompetent medical staff makes a mistake – occasionally fatal, Hong Kong’s Hospital Authority metes out different forms of lenient punishments. From warning letters to pay freezes, such disciplinary actions are met with criticism by the public. Consider one nurse who scalded an infant while bathing him at…>

Over 10m bottles of wine sold in HK in 2009

May 28, 2010 - 0 Comments - Elmer W. Cagape

  Hong Kong’s love affair with wine reached new heights in 2009 thanks to access to more affordable fine wine, and the government’s removal of wine duty.  More than 10 million bottles were sold last year, 1.4 million bottles more than in 2008. According to a Nielsen survey the increase represented 16 percent by volume…>

Minimum wage in Hong Kong? What about maximum working hours?

May 24, 2010 - 0 Comments - Elmer W. Cagape

In another sign that we are living in an unfair world, Hong Kong’s lowest paid workers end up spending the longest hours on the job. Obviously, it doesn’t sound fair.  One can bring up tales from the Bible about a parable Jesus Christ told about a farm owner looking for workers. Some joined in mid-morning,…>

6 things Hong Kong taxi drivers can learn from their Singapore counterparts

May 21, 2010 - 1 Comments - Elmer W. Cagape

  Having tried taxicabs from different cities, I think my experience with Hong Kong taxis isn’t among the best. While Discover Hong Kong and other tourism propagandas include taxi drivers who sport a genuine smile and who are ready to extend help to all passengers, I don’t see this characteristic among most of the taxi…>

MTR fare increase: Octopus cards may be the more expensive option

May 20, 2010 - 0 Comments - Elmer W. Cagape

On June 13, MTR fares will increase by an average of 2.05 percent. Obviously, that means paying more every time we take the subway. But this development prompts passengers to ask themselves whether the convenience of Octopus card proves more costly than using single journey tickets. Octopus cards define convenience in Hong Kong’s way of…>

More proof constant MTR announcements don’t work in Hong Kong

May 18, 2010 - 0 Comments - Elmer W. Cagape

Even in a spanking clean mass transit railway (MTR) station, there are still things being implemented that annoy me. I guess I have mentioned this before, but it’s worth repeating especially if little has been done despite signs they don’t work. If you’re a frequent rider of the Hong Kong subway, you must be familiar…>

Hong Kong to test self-charging electric buses

May 14, 2010 - 0 Comments - Elmer W. Cagape

Imagine yourself boarding a double decker electric bus that recharges itself at bus stops. That imagination could soon be a reality once Kowloon Motor Bus is happy with its performance once it hits the road in two months. Buses and other vehicles on Hong Kong’s roads are tagged as culprits that contribute to the city’s…>

Hiring nurses from the Philippines

April 26, 2010 - 1 Comments - Elmer W. Cagape

Hong Kong’s streak of embarrassing medical blunders needs to end soon. But as the city faces an acute need of nurses to reinforce its undermanned hospitals, there seems to be a bit of a quandary as to the qualification of nurses needed to fill the gap. There are 20,000 local nurses working in the public…>

4 wishes for Hong Kong taxi drivers

April 22, 2010 - 0 Comments - Elmer W. Cagape

They are sought after during rainy days and on times we are running late for an engagement. At the same time, we think they’re clogging the street on ordinary days and ask how can there be so many of them on the road. Love them or hate them they’re part of Hong Kong’s efficient transport…>

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5 things Hong Kong can learn from Tokyo

April 19, 2010 - 0 Comments - Elmer W. Cagape

My wife and I have just arrived home from a short vacation in Tokyo. But it was more than just a leisure/honeymoon trip, it was also a learning experience as we both can’t help but make various comparisons between Japan’s capital city and ‘the fragrant harbour’.  After just a few days touring the city and…>

Hong Kong asks locals: can I have your photo?

April 14, 2010 - 0 Comments - Elmer W. Cagape

Alongside the launch of the revitalized Brand Hong Kong (BrandHK), last March 27 marked the kickoff of the Faces of Hong Kong marketing campaign, aimed to complement the rebranding exercise and further extend its reach globally. A logo represents an image of a brand, but to many people photos tell stories and with BrandHK using…>

HK Football Association looking for coach or translator?

April 12, 2010 - 0 Comments - Elmer W. Cagape

Looking for a job in Hong Kong for non-Chinese speakers can be a challenge. Most job placements require local language skills and for a non-Chinese speaker like me, career prospects are narrow. But of course there are jobs that don’t require language proficiency to achieve great results. Take for example football coaches. Popular teams don’t…>

Behind “Meet the Team” Cathay Pacific Campaign

April 7, 2010 - 0 Comments - Elmer W. Cagape

I noticed that big companies have been “empowering” their staff as de facto brand spokespersons as they appear on large outdoor advertisements. There’s HSBC displaying profiles of hard working employees and Citibank uses somewhat the same big photo billboard approach. But Cathay Pacific seems to be the most glamorous of them all, as it provides…>

The other Twin’s secret: I was married

April 1, 2010 - 0 Comments - Elmer W. Cagape

It seems that we’re all up for a surprise, not from one but two members of the popular teeny-bopper group Twins. I am not an avid follower of the local celebrity scene but this one’s a topic hard to avoid, relating from the 2008 scandal that proved to be the newsmaker of the year. Yes,…>

Mainland migrants realize HK is not the green pasture they earlier thought

March 29, 2010 - 0 Comments - Elmer W. Cagape

Some locals may feel there are more immigrants from mainland China coming to Hong Kong for a better life. They may be students enrolled in universities or shoppers patrolling the luxury shops in Central or Tsim Sha Tsui. With the quality migrant admission scheme introduced in 2006, the wealthy, the talented or the intelligent are…>

Hard selling on Tsim Sha Tsui Streets

March 26, 2010 - 0 Comments - Elmer W. Cagape

One noticeable sight in Tsim Sha Tsui apart from the art and science museums and the avenue of the stars is the presence of South Asian men outside the Star Ferry and the outskirts of Nathan Road. They are the ones who offer tourists and newcomers “special offers” and “cheap deals” or to bring visitors…>

World Cup mascot maker suspended over poor working conditions

March 16, 2010 - 0 Comments - Elmer W. Cagape

The FIFA World Cup is just around the corner and everything seems to be ready for this quadrennial event to be held in South Africa. But it’s possible that souvenir items featuring Cup mascot Zakumi may arrive at shop shelves later than expected. That’s because its maker in China has been asked to suspend its…>

Careless renovations costing Hong Kong its fragile heritage

March 15, 2010 - 0 Comments - Elmer W. Cagape

For several years I’ve seen the Central Market, a historic building in Central, decay by the day. While it’s been populated by small shops and served as a bridge to locals and visitors crisscrossing the urban jungle especially during rainy days, its role was diminished. But make no mistake, with its position at the heart…>

Beware of scam tour operators

March 11, 2010 - 0 Comments - Elmer W. Cagape

Hong Kong is an attractive holiday destination to many Filipinos. But a sad tale of a group of first time visitors coming from the country’s Surigao province may put a damper on others trying to get their glimpse of this so-called Asia’s World City. First things first. A group of 24 tourists composed of government…>

Tourists to Hong Kong expected to exceed 31m in 2010

March 2, 2010 - 0 Comments - Elmer W. Cagape

If the first few weeks of the year are an indicator of what’s to come, the number of visitors to Hong Kong will exceed 31 million. This is according to Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB) through its chairman James Tien. The first eight weeks saw a record close to 5.5 million people visiting Hong Kong,…>

Jackie Chan among Hong Kong’s ‘least trustworthy’

March 1, 2010 - 0 Comments - Elmer W. Cagape

Movie star Jackie Chan, idolized by millions elsewhere for his on-screen success was voted among the least trustworthy personalities Hong Kong. This was the result of a Reader’s Digest survey of 760 people in the city. Chan, 56, who began his acting career as Bruce Lee’s stuntman in Fist of Fury and Enter the Dragon,…>

Retail therapy for boring in-flight experience

February 27, 2010 - 0 Comments - Elmer W. Cagape

Imagine yourself in a seat sandwiched between two snoring passengers in the middle of a long-haul flight. You want to watch movies on the in-flight entertainment system only to find out that you have seen them all through your last trip to a video rental shop in your neighborhood. The in-flight musical lineup that features…>

Cathay Pacific allows drink-driving pilot to fly

February 24, 2010 - 0 Comments - Elmer W. Cagape

An unidentified Cathay Pacific pilot who has been banned from driving on the road for drink-driving has been allowed to fly a commercial aircraft, according to a report by South China Morning Post.  Information was disclosed recently by Britain’s Civil Aviation Authority after requests were made through the country’s Freedom of Information Act. The officer…>

After building rooftops, elevators and parking lots, CCTV cameras for taxis?

February 18, 2010 - 0 Comments - Elmer W. Cagape

Almost 70 years after it was invented, the closed circuit television camera (CCTV) is both a boon and bane to society. First and foremost it helped provide security to homes, offices and many other places. It helped detect culprits, resolved disputes or at least it deterred bad elements from performing their nefarious activities. But in…>

The grim reality of aging Hong Kong buildings

February 17, 2010 - 0 Comments - Elmer W. Cagape

As a newcomer to Hong Kong nine years ago, it was hard to imagine to be living more than a dozen floors above the street. It was really different from the single-unit dwellings I was used to. In Hong Kong you got neighbors next door, and like in the office everyone had to queue for…>

Understanding the “Sale” labels in Hong Kong shops

February 1, 2010 - 0 Comments - Elmer W. Cagape

Hong Kong is a shopper’s paradise. There are plenty of products to choose from at prices lower than in many cities. Such fame also means there are plenty of shops competing for customers – 7 million locals and thousands of daily visitors – for attention. That spawned the idea of different forms of “Sale” promotions.…>

Planting today – for a green tomorrow

January 27, 2010 - 0 Comments - Elmer W. Cagape

If you happen to pass by the construction area in the Causeway Bay junction of the Hennessy Road, there is that torn down Mitsukoshi building now being transformed into a new high-rise building under the name of Hennessy Centre. The working structure is covered by a long white fence featuring the often used (and abused)…>

HK Disneyland expects break even a decade after launch

January 25, 2010 - 0 Comments - Elmer W. Cagape

It was not surprising that Hong Kong Disneyland hasn’t been very willing to share its financial performance in the past few years. That’s because the numbers were not flattering to the eyes of the Hong Kong government and tax payers in any way. With a loss of HK$4.4 billion in the past three years up…>

New attraction allows better panoramic views of Hong Kong

January 22, 2010 - 0 Comments - Elmer W. Cagape

How would you like to watch Hong Kong buzz with activity from the 100th floor, exactly 383 meters above sea level? Soon, this high-altitude viewing experience becomes a reality after the International Commerce Centre in Kowloon becomes the city’s tallest building. The observation deck will be open to the public by the fourth quarter of…>

The more the merrier: Free-to-air draws more players

January 19, 2010 - 0 Comments - Elmer W. Cagape

If you’re a foreigner visiting Hong Kong and spend a day at home without cable TV, you might want to check out the local channels. In most cases you’ll end up turning it off. First, you may have watched at the wrong times of the day when shows are only meant for kids, businessmen or…>

Hong Kong’s ‘Avatar’ show lacks English subtitles

January 12, 2010 - 0 Comments - Elmer W. Cagape

Avatar is a movie that revolutionized the way we are entertained before the silver screen. It has fascinating 3-D animation effects that led to stratospheric popularity. But just like everything else, it’s not perfect. Well, at least not in Hong Kong, where movie goers who can’t read Chinese characters are left to guess what conversations…>

Chrissie Chau almost made it as HK’s woman of the year

January 5, 2010 - 0 Comments - Elmer W. Cagape

For Hong Kong people, woman of the year belongs to someone who made the headlines, whose name lingered within the feature pages, and whose face graced TV and print ads. Chrissie Chau sau-na fits that requirement. For those who are not familiar with the name Chrissie Chau, she is one of the popular local pseudo-models…>

Hong Kong International bids to become world’s greenest airport

Hong Kong International bids to become world’s greenest airport

May 17, 2012 - 0 Comments - Elmer W. Cagape

FOR a city notoriously known for its poor air quality, it’s quite a contrast for its airport managers to make a promise that its award-winning airport will become the greenest in the world. The bold pledge was made by the Airport Authority, the government’s statutory body tasked to oversee the operation of Hong Kong International…>

Hong Kong introduces emergency text service for lost hikers

Hong Kong introduces emergency text service for lost hikers

February 12, 2012 - 0 Comments - Elmer W. Cagape

HONG KONG is a great place not just for shopping but also for hiking. For that reason, tourists miss another side of the city if they limit themselves to riding roller coasters or exploring hawker shops and night markets. But for those who venture into the countryside for scenic views and fresher air, there’s another…>

An expensive Hong Kong Christmas

January 19, 2012 - 1 Comments - Elmer W. Cagape

Spending Christmas in Hong Kong is an expensive option, if the Christmas just past is used as an indicator. Not only did room rates have soar to more than HK$16,000 a night (US$2,060), high occupancy rates meant even the wealthy couldn’t find Christmas accommodation. The law of supply and demand clearly was in play as…>

4 things Hong Kong can learn from Taipei

4 things Hong Kong can learn from Taipei

January 11, 2012 - 1 Comments - Elmer W. Cagape

Every time I visit a city, I happen to find a distinction between it and Hong Kong. So when me and my wife paid a visit to Taipei recently, I made a personal vow to follow what I did with my observations in Seoul and Tokyo. Recycling practice Pretty much like Japan and Korea, Taipei’s…>

New Year’s resolutions? Duh

January 1, 2012 - 0 Comments - Elmer W. Cagape

Happy New Year everyone! As we welcome 2012 with hopes and wishes, most of us are also bound to create a rather perfunctory list of things we call New Year’s Resolutions. Maybe students are required to write an essay or it is customary for family members to share things someone needs to change for the…>

Call for more CCTV cameras on MTR premises

Call for more CCTV cameras on MTR premises

December 27, 2011 - 0 Comments - Elmer W. Cagape

As one of the Hong Kong’s most efficient means of transportation, the MTR subway system continues to attract more passengers. Rush hour traffic seems to be getting worse, as trains get crowded at longer periods of time. This means the likelihood of more groping cases on carriages given the fact that not all of them…>

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