Posts tagged: Aussie Pete

Gimme that Bling Thing!

By , August 24, 2010 11:30 am

One of the delightful things about Hong Kong is that there are many surprises that await as one wanders through the maze of streets and back alleys. There is much to savour, from the sights and sounds presented by the colourful streets, to the sumptous smells wafting out of the many eating places, and also to the many tempting objects on offer at the glittering retail outlets all around. There is quite an interesting mix of just about anything one may desire in the many shops, from items of luxury to items that would appeal to the young and trendy. It is in the latter that Hong Kong does offer a host of surprises. Chic is not just everywhere and anywhere. It is in many ways a way of life in some of the more interesting streets of Hong Kong.

Shops that surprise are very much in evidence on the streets of Hong Kong.

A fashion outlet with a South Asian theme in Central being one.

One such area where there is a concentration of hip, is in Tsim Sha Tsui. Nestled in what appears to be a back lane off an area which had once been associated with the affordable fashion of the many factory outlets that once dominated the area, Granville Road, Granville Circuit offers just about anything the young and trendy could desire … and at prices are not far off from what one might have expected at the factory outlets that had once dominated the area.

A large concentration of trendy outlets and lots of Bling Bling ones can be found around Granville Road and Granville Circuit.


Scenes along Granville Road. The shops offer a little more than the lingerie shops that seem to dominate the road.

Walking along Granville Road, the countless lingerie shops as well as what is apparently one of Hong Kong’s most haunted buildings, may serve as a distraction, and one could be forgiven for thinking that by turning off the main street to Granville Circuit, one would be led to a seedy back alley. At first glance, it did resemble one of the back streets of London’s Soho. Walking down the street, the illuminations provided by the bright neon signs of an entertainment outlet that one might associate with London’s Soho, casts a glow on a row of shops to be discovered – there are many little boutiques and outlets for the young: clothes, shoes, accessories, and lots of bling things that have hip written all over them. That apparently I was to find, was only the tip of the iceberg. Much more of these were to be discovered in a nondescript and somewhat tired looking shopping arcade off Granville Circuit, the Rise Shopping Arcade. Walking through the somewhat run down entrance, one is seemingly transported into a time warp. The shopping arcade looking as if it would have been more at home in the 1960s and 1970s, than something that exists in the 21st Century. But the archaic looking entrance and stairwell had masked what had awaited … taking the escalator up to the three floors of small outlets, I was pleasantly surprised by the sheer quantity of small but very hip outlets, each independently run by the many young and aspiring designers that have populated the shopping arcade.



Set amongst the back lanes off Granville Road, Granville Circuit is a mecca of street fashion waiting to be discovered.

Granville Circuit offers a glimpse into the hip in fashion on the streets of Hong Kong ...

The lights of an entertainment outlet being reflected off a windscreen on Granville Circuit. Set amongst some rather dark alleyways that perhaps resemble the back streets of London

Shop fronts on Granville Circuit ...


More shops on Granville Circuit.

Geck Geck spent hours browsing through the shops along Granville Circuit and in the Rise Shopping Arcade.

The glitter on Granville Circuit is in a rather old shopping arcade named Rise.

Stepping into the Rise Shopping Arcade transports one back in time ...

For some of the younger and more trendy, Geck Geck being one, wandering around Granville Circuit and Rise, offered hours of wonderment (those who accompanied her would testify to that). Rise had also offered some of the more mature something as well – very bling bling silver pieces that caught the eye of not just Catherine, but also Pete, who wanted to get his wife a pair of earings (how sweet!). For me, not be terribly into bling, wandering around offered me an opportunity to satisfy my curiosity, and perhaps to discover what Hong Kong has in store for the young, chic and bling.

Even Pete was taken by some of the bling things on offer.

Another view inside Rise Shopping Arcade.


On the Rise, inside the Rise ...

The lights in the shops in the Rise and along Granville Circuit, I was told, remain on well into the wee hours of the morning ...

Dragonboat Carnival 2010 – The Capsize!

By , August 17, 2010 7:25 pm

Dragonboats heading back to the startline
After fueling up on breakfasts, we headed to the Dragonboat Carnival at the Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade. The three-day event was culminating that Sunday. The carnival saw 12 countries and 191 teams participating this year.

Dragonboats crossing Victoria Harbour
It was a beautiful day, despite weather forecast for rain and Typhoon Chanthu’s visit which flooded the Northern Territories.

Lots of fans waiting for their celebrities to show up
Lining the promenade were scores of people as far as the eye could see – athletes, spectators and supporters, with everyone feeling the buzz. Lots of screaming fans too, awaiting some celebrity participants. Korean boyband U-KISS would be rowing for the KBS Dream Team. I don’t really know any of the celebrities, so pardon me if I get any of them wrong.

Dragonboat supporters
Some dragonboat supporters went all out in wigs, colourful costumes and tattoos.

Our gallant brood of bathtub racers
We were participating too! Well, four of us (from left to right: Violet, Peter, Darren and Geck Geck) were in the “Bathtub Race” – a 100m race just for fun.

Aussie Pete and Darren cheered on by fans...right!
It was hard not to believe the rabid cheering was not for us.

"You mean the strategy is to capsize so we get on TV?"
Miss Ang Geck Geck, whom we affectionately call AGG for short. I mean, not because she’s short, although…well, umm. OK, just the name. She would be rowing with Pete, who is more than twice her size, weight and age rowing power. Here she is, and you can almost picture her saying, “You mean the strategy is to capsize so we get on TV?”

Getting ready for the bathtub race
Our four bloggers all geared up! They did some warm-up rowing exercises.

Some celebrities I don't know
I am guessing these are more celebrity paddlers. My apologies, I’m awful at recognising celebrities.

All set and ready!
This is the bathtub that paddlers will race in! When I first saw it from afar, I was going, “Oh no, surely not these wobbly plastic sinks!”

Well, that’s Pete and AGG waving their last goodbyes. What happened next…I will have to show via Jerome’s most excellent photos. Halfway into the race…


It looks like balance is more difficult to achieve than speed. Darren and Violet were streaking ahead though…and got second place, just like their boat number.


Poor Pete and AGG got a marine bath instead. Honestly, this was not planned, even though we joked about it. Fortunately rescue came quick. The saltwater taste remained a souvenir throughout the rest of the day, but the capsize memories will remain with us for a lot longer!

Check out Jerome’s post with all the close-up photos of the capsize!

The Pink Spartans won! They are a team for cancer survivors and supporters
Part of the special highlights is the Pink Dragonboat Race, which aims to raise awareness of breast cancer and to encourage survivors to lead active lives. We were there to support the Singapore team, Pink Spartans, made up of cancer survivors and supporters. They won first prize!

Korean boyband members waving
This must be the Korean boyband members. Looks like they won something? I had been a little skeptical if boybands knew anything about rowing dragonboats…

Korean boyband members
OK, I take it back. The guy on the right sure looks like he’s well-equipped for rowing!

The trophies featured ornate dragons
This is what all the paddling is for. The shiny trophies featuring ornate dragons along with some heavy-looking medals, plus the honour that comes with them. Congratulations to the teams who won, and kudos to everyone who participated!

The ‘Big Splash’ Conspiracy – Truths Unveiled

By , August 9, 2010 3:51 am

* Secret Cache of ‘undoctored photographs’ discovered
* Conspiracy goes ‘All The Way to the Top’

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BREAKING NEWS: On 8th August, 2010, a secret cache of previously unpublished photographs were found at Singapore’s Changi Airport in an unmarked briefcase. To date, no person or persons have come forward to claim ownership of what appears to be damning evidence of a conspiracy that goes all ‘the way to the top’.

For the first time, I am making these images available to the public.

Secret cache of previously unpublished photographs found

Secret cache of previously unpublished photographs found

When ten bloggers travelled to Hong Kong and had the absolute ‘time of their lives’ (all thanks to OMY and the Hong Kong Tourism Board), four of the team were offered the chance of a lifetime when we were asked to pariticipate in the International Media Bathtub Race as a part of the fun-filled and action-packed Dragon Boat Carnival.

As has been reported by more than one blogger on this very website, it is no secret that around the halfway mark of this now world-famous event, one of the OMY teams (featuring myself, 2010 Singapore WTH Blog Award Winner, Aussie Pete and 2010 Singapore Modelling Blog Award Winner, Ang Geck Geck) completely stole the limelight by capsizing their bathtub in Hong Kong’s Victoria Harbour (the ‘Fragrant Harbour’).

What has not yet been brought to light are the actual circumstances surrounding this capsize. Many accusations have been made along with certain assertions of this event perhaps being staged, or that we tipped the tub over intentionally -let me state for the record that not only are these accusations untrue and completely unfounded, it is now my belief that such commentary has been published with the complete intention of diverting the truth and covering-up the real story behind the event – for the first time, the ‘Big Splash’ conspiracy is about to be uncovered… let me say, friends, that this goes all the way to the top, and for fear of repurcussions, I will not be mentioning any co-conspirators by name while further investigations continue – JFK’s ‘magic bullet’ has nothing on this!!

CONSPIRACY – EVIDENCE EXHIBIT 1.01 – THE DIVERSION
As has previously been published, accusations of ‘delusions of grandeur’ from myself, Aussie Pete. As thousands of fans lined the riverfront to cheer on our bathtub team, I could not help but be taken aback by the number of youngsters screaming my name and holding signs with my picture. This was a clear attempt (which worked) to divert my attention away from other now quite obvious techniques employed to ensure that Geck Geck and I could not only win the race, but would most likely fall out of our bathtub and into the harbour. Accompanied by enhanced and even doctored images, statements have been made that the screaming fans were actually there for U-KISS and the ‘Dream team’.

I hereby submit into evidence, Exhibit 1.01 – the original photograph of the diversion.

The following image shows one of the fans on the day and was previously published on this website and Facebook. Let me just call the ‘suspect’ in this part of the cover-up, “MR J”.

The 'published' and well-edited photo of one of Aussie Pete's fans

The 'published' and well-edited photo of one of Aussie Pete's fans

Here is the almost same image as discovered in the secret cache – before alteration… notice the difference?

The newly discovered 'real' picture showing the well-planned diversion

The newly discovered 'real' picture showing the well-planned diversion

CONPIRACY – EVIDENCE EXHIBITS 1.02 and 1.03 – THE FAULTY EQUIPMENT
Due to the diversion, the clear sabotage that is evident in the following photographs went unnoticed by both myself and my fellow bathub blogger… a clear hole in my oar, thereby rendering it useless in the efforts to disperse water and move our bathtub forward.

I hereby submit into evidence, Exhibits 1.02 and 1.03 – photographs of the faulty equipment.

The sabotaged oar is clearly visible in this newly discovered picture

The sabotaged oar is clearly visible in this newly discovered picture

The hole in the oar went unnoticed due to the very clever diversion tactics

The hole in the oar went unnoticed due to the very clever diversion tactics

CONPIRACY – EVIDENCE EXHIBITS 1.04 and 1.05 – CO-CONSPIRATORS
Let’s just call the (previously unpublished) following people in these photographs, “THE D TEAM” and “MR A”. Upon the capsizing of the bathtub, photographers all along the waterfront were ‘picture happy’ as they took part in the humour associated with the moment. How the high level people involved in the cover up managed to ‘photoshop’ absolutely everybody’s images, I will never know, but the following images show the real story…

The photographs as published online:

The moment it happened - as previously published

The moment it happened - as previously published

The rescue boats arrive - as previously published

The rescue boats arrive - as previously published

The photographs found in the secret cache – notice the ‘extra bodies’ in the water? In one, two people clearly assisting the tub on it’s lateral movement into an overturned position… in the second, one unidentified man in the water clearly revelling in the fun of it all:

Discovered Photo - The "D Team" clearly pushing the bathtub

Discovered Photo - The 'D Team' clearly pushing the bathtub

Discovered Photo - "Mr A" seems very happy indeed about the "Big Splash"

Discovered Photo - 'Mr A' seems very happy indeed about the 'Big Splash'

CONPIRACY – EVIDENCE EXHIBIT 1.06 – MORE SABOTAGED EQUIPMENT?
I hereby resubmit Exhibit 1.05 as Exhibit 1.06 – notice also, the extra weights attached to the underbelly of one side of the bathtub? These items seem to resemble the 2010 blog award trophies. It is important to note at this juncture, that only a handful of people are in possession of these items – ten to be exact… if I take myself and Geck Geck out of the equation, that leaves just eight people having access to these ‘weights’ – this means that (at least) three of our fellow bloggers were in on this overall conspiracy (3/8):

Only ten of these 'weights' are in existence - eight are unaccounted for

Only ten of these 'weights' are in existence - eight are unaccounted for

FURTHER HINTS:

Absence of the 'missing footage' only further supports the Conspiracy Theory

Absence of the 'missing footage' only further supports the Conspiracy Theory

Another blogger, let’s call her “Ms E” filmed what was depicted as ‘clear footage’ of the actual capsize as it happend in real-time. “Ms E” briefly showed us this footage on her video camera shortly after the race. The comment she made at the time, was that she ‘knew’ we were going to flip over, so she zoomed into our ‘Big Splash’. Suspecting at the time, that something was awry, I requested a copy of this video on a number of occassions. At first, “Ms E” used the excuse that she needed to ‘edit’ it – what for, I still do not know. Then the following day, she suggested that her computer or the video or something ‘crashed’ so she still could not provide a copy. On the airflight home, I provided “Ms E” with a memory card to download the raw footage to share with me – this time I was told that it was too inconvenient to perform this task on the plane. I have on numerous occassions asked “Ms E” for a copy, but to date it has not been forthcoming – I suspect that the original footage is now long gone 🙁

The night before the ‘big race’, one very senior member of the touring party invited me out with two other people in his gang. They suggested that we should go and savour some of the local HK food as a ‘light supper’. Let me state clearly here, that this was actually wonderful – the local roadside food was sensational – crab roe balls, prawn balls and fish balls on a stick… very nice, but very filling and more than just a ‘light’ snack. The gang (let’s call them “MR A”, “MRS R” and “THE CAMERAMAN”) then took me into one of the many late-night restaurants for dessert!! I was actually dubious at the time as to why they were trying to fill me up with so much wonderful food after an already enormous dinner – in hindsight and after suggestion of the same, I now understand that it was a clear ploy to increase my weight to further destabilise the bathtub on the following day.

I should have realized this the next morning, when the same gang (including one more member, otherwise known as “MS SK”) invited me for a 9:00am ‘heavy’ breakfast… no sooner had my stomach been once again filled to capacity, I returned to the hotel to change for the race and was then accompanied by the entire remainder of the touring party for a ‘late breakfast’ at 11:00am… wait a minute – I usually eat three meals a day… in the hours leading up to the bathtub race, I was pretty much tricked into eating two dinners with dessert and two full breakfasts. I must’ve weighed at least 5kg heavier than my normal (already overweight) body mass. Clear intention by the conspirators to ensure that it would be difficult to keep the bathtub upright – further evidenced by the aforementioned “MR J” who practically forced an extra fried egg and sandwich down my throat at the 11:00am (second) breakfast.

CONPIRACY – EVIDENCE EXHIBIT 1.07 – SOME CO-CONSPIRATORS SPYING ON THE AMOUNT OF FOOD CONSUMED

Previously published as 'papparazzi' - now identified as potential 'Spies'

Previously published as 'papparazzi' - now identified as potential 'Spies'

SUMMARY
Further evidence is still being collected, but the above ‘truths unveiled’ are already enough to warrant a full and detailed investigation into the ‘BIG SPLASH‘ Conspiracy!!

And before we knew it, it was time to reluctantly say good-bye …

By , August 6, 2010 6:30 pm

Having had a great time in Hong Kong, courtesy of the Hong Kong Tourism Board, and omy.sg, and having made some wonderful friends over the previous three days, the final day came all too quickly, and it was time to bid the Fragrant Harbour goodbye. All I guess were busy in the morning trying to stuff whatever shopping they had done into their bags, and when the time came to say a sad goodbye to the fabulous hotel room at 9.30 am, most of us had made it down to the glorious lobby of the hotel with bulging bags, which we soon loaded into the bus that was to ferry us around that day. Once on the bus, the ever amusing Aussie Pete, gave us an account of his shopping exploits at Harbour City Shopping Mall, and how he had managed to fill his very large and what had been an almost empty suitcase, even getting a toy dog that his son had wanted (isn’t that sweet?). That I can tell you is no mean feat, having not had much time to do any form of serious shopping, with the activity packed programme that the HKTB had lined up for us over the previous three days!

Pete started our morning with the story of how he managed to fulfill the big shopping task his wife had set him.

Evidence of Pete's shopping exploits.

The day’s programme started with breakfast at a congee restaurant that is apparently on list of recommended local restaurants in Michelin Guide, Law Fu Kee on Des Voeux Road. The word is that the chef has been dutifully gotten up at 3 am everyday for the last 50 years to prepare his highly rated concoction of Thai rice, crushed preserved eggs and fish bones that many crave. I myself, not being fond of congee, opted for a plate of beef brisket noodles, after which I was ready for what was to prove a very interesting walk around SoHo and Sheung Wan with Mr Leon Suen, which I have mentioned in two previous posts.

The day's programme started with breakfast at Law Fu Kee on Des Voeux Road in Central.

Law Fu Kee is highly rated for its congee which has been prepared in the same way for 50 years.

After the walk which ended at the Man Mo Temple on Hollywood Road, it was time for lunch at the Yin Yang, a private kitchen with three tables housed in a historic building of 1930s vintage in the Wan Chai area, run by celebrity chef Margaret Xu. Xu had given up a job at an advertising firm to run the kitchen and an organic farm on which most of the fresh produce used in the kitchen comes from. The exclusive kitchen, known for its signature dish of “Yellow Earth” chicken which is roasted in an earthern oven designed by Xu herself, hosts up to 30 people and each sitting features a menu that is hand picked by Xu herself, which can cost around HKD 700 per person. I guess this and the sauce making session conducted by Xu herself that followed deserves another post and that I guess is what I would just do.

Yin Yang is a private kitchen housed in a historic building on Ship Street.

The historic building dates back to the 1930s.

Yin Yang's signature dish: "Yellow Earth" Chicken

The specially designed oven that the "Yellow Earth" chicken is roasted in.

We had a Blue Girl at the table.

Celebrity chef Margaret Xu later conducted a sauce making session for some of the bloggers.

Margaret's sauce making demonstration was very intently followed by the bloggers who attended the session.

Margaret Xu demonstrated how to turn this mixture of green chillies, spring onions, ginger and oil from this ....

... to this tangy tasting pesto like paste ...

... which Pete seemed to like ...

We each had a bottle to take home with us.

When the session came to an end, we had a chance to taste the tangy green chilli sauce that Margaret had shown us how to make, which had perhaps the consistency of pesto, of which Pete seemed to enjoy the most. We were each given a bottle of the green sauce which Catherine Ling of Camemberu fame mentioned goes well with Chicken Rice. With that, it was almost time for a sad goodbye to what had been a really enjoyable trip, made better by the company of the friends we had all made on the trip, including the members of the HKTB team, the omy team, and my fellow bloggers, as well as that of the excellent hospitality we all had been shown by the HKTB. After a quick look around the area, during which I had a quick glance at the Hung Shing temple on Queen’s Road East, which was constructed in 1847 and at the time of its construction was by the sea, it was time to board the bus for the airport and say goodbye to some of those who had opted to stay behind. With that, what certainly had been one of the most enjoyable trips I have made, came to an end.

A last look around: Hung Shing Temple (1847) on Queen's Road East.

An annex to the Hung Shing temple, a Kwan Yum temple was added in 1867.

Queen's Road East in Wan Chai.

Darren completing formalities, before we said goodbye ...

A lasting last impression of Hong Kong ... a city that reaches out for the skies in many ways.

Time to say goodbye.

All settled for the final journey to the airport.

Hong Kong Paaartaaay – A Video Pictorial

By , August 4, 2010 3:23 am

I was feeling a little ‘creative’ tonight (it’s a shame that my talents do not match my desires), so decided to savour the memories of our fabulous Hong Kong trip with some of my favourite moments in a short flash video pictorial – thanks and also apologies to all my fellow bloggers from whom I’ve ‘borrowed’ many of the pictures… :p

Sit back, turn up the volume and PAAARTAAAY along with me – Enjoy!!

[youtube 6FX8_GejWa8]

Day 3 in Hong Kong and finally able to get a feel of the gorgeous hotel room

By , July 28, 2010 6:37 pm

Having had two fully packed days of excitement that the Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB) had planned, the ten bloggers were provided with an opportunity to sleep in on Day 3. We were all grateful for it, having caught very little sleep amidst the excitement the night prior to the trip. And I suppose for the members of the two teams preparing for the much anticipated bath tub race the next day, it was a time to get some needed rest. With my body clock waking me up at a time when I would usually wake putting paid to an hope I had to sleep in, what was left for me to do was to savour the gorgeous room that the HKTB had arranged in one of the 66 “Coolest New Hotels in the World” as the Condé Nast Traveller Hot List for 2010 would have it. Indeed, The Mira does qualify as super cool, a feeling you get just stepping into the lobby. Based on the information kit provided by the hotel, the Mira has a total of 492 guest rooms and 56 suites and specialty suites, the rooms are decorated in one of three vibrant themes: Red, Green and Silver, furnished with handpicked fabrics and materials and feature the Egg Chair by Arne Jacobsen, a 40-inch LCD TV, 500GB Sony Personal Computer / Entertainment Centre, Bose in-room soundscapes, a “My Mobile” Nokia phone service (which assists guests to connect anywhere, anytime, inside or outside of the hotel) and complimentary high-speed WiFi and wired Internet.

The Mira is a stylish boutique hotel at the corner of Nathan Road and Kimberly Road in Tsim Sha Tsui which opened in 2009.

The Mira is a stylish boutique hotel at the corner of Nathan Road and Kimberly Road in Tsim Sha Tsui which opened in 2009 (all images of the Mira are courtesy of the hotel).

The three coloured themes that the rooms are designed in: Red, Green and Silver.

The three coloured themes that the rooms are designed in: Red, Green and Silver.

Indeed, the room was really cool, and having already used the Bose sound dock the previous two nights, I set out to discover what else was cool about the LCD TV and the Sony Personal Computer. What was a really nice touch was just this, combined with the wireless keyboard, one could do just about anything on the internet from the comfort of the luxurious bed, or from the red Jacobsen Egg Chair in the red themed room that I was in. Super cool!

The PC and Wireless Keyboard.

The PC and Wireless Keyboard.

Room One, a lounge which is seamlessly woven into the hotel's lobby.

Room One, a lounge which is seamlessly woven into the hotel's lobby.

Yamm: an international buffet restaurant.

Yamm: an international buffet restaurant.

The day’s activities started at 11 with brunch, and I guess I was so engrossed with what I had at my disposal in the room, that I had almost forgotten about the time. Brunch was at a café prior to making our way to the promenade where the much anticipated bath tub race was to be held. If there was tension between members of the two rival teams at brunch, it was not really evident. Darren seemed intent on fuelling up with food, while Pete was all cool and smiling. Violet was her usual talkative self and Geck Geck was a picture of cool composure. There was some evidence of paparazzi gathered outside the café, but that did not seem to affect our stars.

Darren was intent on fuelling up before the race.

Darren was intent on fuelling up before the race.

Geck Geck was cool and composed, as was Aussie Pete.

Geck Geck was cool and composed, as was Aussie Pete.

Were these paparazzi gathered outside the cafe?

Were these paparazzi gathered outside the cafe?

Pre-race tension ... Darren giving Pete the cold hard stare!

Pre-race tension ... Darren giving Pete the cold hard stare!

By the time we got down to the promenade, a large crowd had already gathered and although Pete imagined (or hoped) that the screams of excitement were directed at him (see my previous post on the bath tub race), the largely teenage crowd had in fact come to see the stars from the Korean entertainment network KBS. We were to discover that the four had almost missed the boat or rather, bath tub … as we were a little late for registration. Well, register they did, and it was fortunate that they were able to, as we would have certainly missed out on the excitement of Pete’s and Geck Geck’s big splash into the harbour.

Were those Pete's fans?

Were those Pete's fans?

Pete's turn now!

Pete's turn now!

We're gonna win it says Pete!

We're gonna win it says Pete!

Go Singapore!

Go Singapore!

The reporter was on hand to interview Pete for what was to be his famous victory which somehow became a dip in the harbour.

The reporter was on hand to interview Pete for what was to be his famous victory which somehow became a dip in the harbour.

The crowd excitedly rose to catch a glimpse of Pete's famous dip.

The crowd excitedly rose to catch a glimpse of Pete's famous dip.

Darren and Violet came in second.

Darren and Violet came in second.

We had to leave behind the excitement and electric atmosphere of the Dragon Boat races that were going on, but not before catching a glimpse of the KBS Dream Team receiving an award, and the presentation ceremony for the Pink Spartans a team of breast cancer survivors and supporters from Singapore who won the Pink Dragon Boat Racing Breast Cancer Survivor Invitation Race.

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The crowd had gathered to catch a glimpse of the KBS Dream Team which included members of U-KISS.

The crowd had gathered to catch a glimpse of the KBS Dream Team which included members of U-KISS.

The Pink Spartans.

The Pink Spartans.

Saying goodbye to the races.

Saying goodbye to the races.

It was time for some rest and relaxation at the hotel, and then for me, a walk around town. I somehow found myself taking the Star Ferry to Central and back just for the fun of it, I guess something I would devote another post to. I made it just in time to catch a quick shower and dress up for dinner, which was at the Hong Kong Old Restaurant on the fourth level of the Miramar Shopping Centre, just across Kimberly Road from the hotel. The popular restaurant which serves Shanghainese cuisine and also features dishes from Yang Zhou and Szechuan we were told was named in a way to discretely draw reference to the “old money” in Hong Kong, a reference to the wealthy Shanghainese that had settled in the territory.

The Hong Kong Old Restaurant in the Miramar Shopping Centre.

The Hong Kong Old Restaurant in the Miramar Shopping Centre.

Entering the restaurant.

Entering the restaurant.

The menu.

The menu.

Dinner was an interesting affair, perhaps with the mood lightened by a loosening of tongues brought about by the familiarity of having been together for three days, some Tsingtao and perhaps due to the face that it was our last evening as a group, most choosing to return as scheduled the following day. The food wasn’t quite the usual Shanghainese fare that I had previously been used to, with a variety of very interesting concoctions which included pig trotters that had been soaked in vinegar prior to cooking, in typical Shanghainese fashion we were told. The highlight I guess most would say was dessert, ice cream that had been fried – simply delicious! After dinner, there was still time to walk through the emptying streets, which some of us did, ending up around the Granville Road area – which I would again attempt to cover in another post. After that, it was our last night to savour the interestingly cool hotel room, before we say goodbye to what had up to that point been an exhilarating three days in the Fragrant Harbour.

The Tsingtao may have helped with the loosening of tongues ...

The Tsingtao may have helped with the loosening of tongues ...

Umm ... a few of us couldn't resist more of the beer ...

Umm ... a few of us couldn't resist more of the beer ...

The excellent food was the highlight.

The excellent food was the highlight.

An egg dish...

An egg dish...

I even tried the pigs trotters ... something which I usually wouldn't even look at.

I even tried the pigs trotters ... something which I usually wouldn't even look at.

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Point, point, shoot, shoot ...

Point, point, shoot, shoot ...

mmm!

mmm!

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More point, point, shoot, shoot

More point, point, shoot, shoot

Fish!

Fish!

Objects of desire!

Objects of desire!

Someone had seconds ...

Someone had seconds ...

The super model had fun as well!

The super model had fun as well!

It’s hard to remain dry with a model in the tub!

By , July 27, 2010 8:25 am

I guess that was what Pete found out, much to the dismay of his cheering fans ashore in Sunday’s Media Bath Tub Race that was held at Victoria Harbour, Hong Kong, part of the weekend’s highlight, the Hong Kong Dragon Boat Carnival. The exciting race, which saw the team from the Philippines winning, also featured two teams representing omy.sg, one with Pete and model Ang Geck Geck, and the other with Darren and Violet, who eventually came in a close second to the team from the Philippines.

Screaming girls cheering for Aussie Pete?

Not cheering for Pete as Pete might have imagined. A face amongst the thousands of fans who had gathered to scream at the sight of the KBS dream team.

There were literally thousands of screaming fans gathered for the race, and as Pete would have it, they would have been rooting for him in the race. Having made all the necessary preparations in the run up to the race, the two teams from omy.sg were expected to do fairly well, and based on the strategies that were discussed by the repective teams, it seemed like the teams had everything worked out.

The race started with the blast of a horn, and from the vantage point of the media cordon amongst the very large numbers that had turned out, as it turned out, to greet the Korean Dream team from the KBS network which included U-KISS with the popular Alexander, who were taking part in an international media networks race (and not disappointingly for Pete, Pete and Geck Geck – although I must say that both have got star qualities). As the race progressed, the clumsily fashioned “bathtubs” laboured their way forward to the almighty efforts of the teams of two that seemed to want to have their bathtubs capsize with every stroke of the paddle, and midway through the race, spectators got more than what they had bargained for as with a big stroke of the paddle, Pete had put his weight to the starboard side and while not as graceful as the dolphins in Ocean Park, the sight of Pete and Geck Geck falling into the depths of the Fragrant Harbour appeared to be graceful and choreographed (hmm, maybe it was staged). The incident was greeted not in stunned silence, but with a big roar from the crowd … and any fears for the safety of the two was quickly proved to be unfounded by the quick appearance of the rescue parties (maybe it was the pretty damsel in distress that they were all concerned with).

The moment it happened, it did appear to have been a carefully choreographed move.

Into the depths of the Fragrant Harbour went Pete and the model.

The rescue.

I guess it was certainly a blast for the participants in the race, as it was for the fans who caught a glimpse of their KBS heroes, and for us bloggers to have had a chance to soak in the atmosphere of a dragon boating event in the very home of Dragon Boat racing as we know it today. The race also featured teams made up of breast cancer survivors and their supporters in which a team from Singapore, the Pink Spartans won.

Darren and Violet paddled their way to second place.

The soaking wet pair after being rescued from their bathtub adventures.

Even the buoys seemed to give Pete and Geck Geck a perfect 10!

豪华早餐 072410

By , July 25, 2010 11:31 pm

7 月 24 日 – 豪华早餐

近四点半才睡,八点半便起身,准备下楼吃一吃这梦幻酒店的早餐。

早餐会否…… 金玉其外?

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显然,我是多虑的。The Mira,金玉内外!感谢香港旅游局!

美食一道又一道,真想和 Peter 借个 BellyCan I borrow your belly, Peter?

不说还好,一说,Peter 便脚底抹油,吃饱便离开,就剩我和两位眼镜先生 – Lawrence 和 思斌。

少了 Peter 的 Belly,只能少吃些……只吃了这么:

哦,还有两杯新鲜榨的苹果汁和芒果汁……

之后,便和 Lawrence 上街逛逛,好好消化消化,等待午餐!

From Singapore to Hong Kong – A VIPs Perspective

By , July 24, 2010 11:39 am
Thousands of screaming fans at the opening ceremony of the Dragon Boat Carnival

Thousands of screaming fans at the opening ceremony of the Dragon Boat Carnival

Press at the Opening CeremonyOK, OK… I know I’m not a VIP!! However, I don’t think that our friends at the HKTB see it that way. We have been pampered, escorted, wined and dined and generally been made to feel quite important indeed! – and this was just the first day! Who would’ve thought that I’d be sitting in a fenced off media area, stage-front for the opening of the Dragon Boat Carnival watching superstars from Korea strut their stuff, while literally thousands of screaming fans and groupies lined the fences with their banners and signs?

So here’s how it happened… the team of bloggers arrived at Changi airport at 6:30am yesterday (Monday, 23rd July) – or at least most of us were punctual 🙂 Very few of is had any sleep to speak of on Thursday night, as we were busy preparing and social networking until almost 4am (poor Alvin was stuck in the office until after 3am, I think – how’s that for diligent and dedicated… maybe he could come and work with me!!).

After a quite enjoyable flight with Cathay Pacific, we landed in Hong Kong around 15 minutes before schedule. Not one for sleeping much on a plane, I watched a movie before catching some shut-eye for around 30-minutes before we touched down.

As with any major international airport, the immigration queue was pretty substantial, and being one who doesn’t like lining up for too long, I leveraged my APEC priveleges and breezed through the diplomat lane (in hindsight, I feel bad that I didn’t wait with the rest of the team – but it did give me some time to ‘partake in my vice’ and also gave me the opportunity to watch everyone arrive through the arrival gate on the wide screen TVs they have set up at the airport).

We then travelled by charter bus to the hotel – many other bloggers have (and will) write more about the hotel, but as a regular business traveller across all of Asia Pacific and across the globe, I can tell you with certainty that for the price you would be hard-put to find anything better.

Upon arrival at the hotel, we were ushered into a private section (lounge bar) of the lobby where the pampering began (even got served what were like cream puffs of waffles, while the friendly staff looked after all the administration and checking in for us).

Next, we had around 40 minutes in our rooms to ‘freshen up’, familiarize ourselves with the amenities (and ensure that the wireless internet was all working well), a group of us reconvened downstairs for afternoon tea at the Hotel restaurant. By this time our stomachs were roaring in protest – so the afternoon tea was more of a ‘late lunch’ – and very well received.

The reconnaissance tour - scoping out our best route for the Bathtub Race!

The reconnaissance tour - scoping out our best route for the Bathtub Race!

The same group then travelled a short distance to the waterfront, where we took a stroll along the ‘avenue of stars’ (and I had a brief encounter with Jackie Chan), until we arrived at the location where the Dragon Boat races (and our now infamous bathtub event) will be held… let’s call this a ‘reconnaissance tour’. Any advantage we can attain is one worth achieving 🙂

On the red carpet again - Opening of the Dragon Boat Carnival

On the red carpet again - Opening of the Dragon Boat Carnival

We then received special ‘press’ passes and entered into the fenced off area for the opening ceremony of the Dragon Boat Carnival – the major atttraction were the group of Korean super stars, and I won’t even pretend to know who they all are (not sure if that’s a cultural thing – I suspect it’s more of an ‘age’ thing), but I’ve uploaded a couple of ‘crude’ iPhone videos and will embed them later below – if you recognize the artists, please comment and let everybody else know who they are.

Then came dinner!! Oh MY!!! How to describe this experience? Let me say to all of my male readers – if you want to impress your wife or girlfriend, this is the place to do it – Busy Suzie!! The name is a play on the well-known Chinese dining table, ‘Lazy Susan’. This is because the Japanese chef cooks in front of you and then serves the food on an ‘oar’ – after feeling the weight of this thing, it’s amazing that the chefs don’t look like Popeye with extra large forearms. The food was absolutely exquisite and the atmosphere completely unique. My fellow blogger and now good friend, Jerome has provided some wonderful images in his article here.

I really would love to write more – and will – but for now, I need to get ready to head off for another day of awe-inspiring adventures in this amazing place, Hong Kong!! Watch this space…

Official Opening of the Dragon Boat Carnival:  

 

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My screaming fans?? Wow, they really love the Aussie Pete blog!!:

 

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The drummers at the opening ceremony – so very passionate and dynamic:

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Day 1 in Hong Kong and it looks like Pete and Geck Geck got a head start on Darren and Violet!

By , July 24, 2010 7:31 am

Arriving in Hong Kong after what was for me an eventful preparation for the much anticipated trip to Hong Kong, which included having the drama of not being able to find my passport and warnings on the weather in the wake of Typhoon Chanthu which made landfall in Guangdong on the previous day, it was nice to first be greeted with sunny skies instead of the wet and windy weather I had anticipated, and then by the gorgeous hotel room in the Mira Hotel where we are being put up in.

The gorgeous room in the Mira Hotel that I am staying in.

The gorgeous room in the Mira Hotel that I am staying in.

For the few of us who had decided to follow on the optional programme put up for us by the Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB), the first day started with afternoon tea at the hotel, followed by a visit to the opening ceremony of the Hong Kong Dragon Boat Carnival and the accompanying Cross-over concert, and culminated in the highlight of the day – a sumptous feast at the charming busy suzie Japanese restuarant.

The day culminated in dinner at busy suzie, a Robatayaki restaurant in Tsim Sha Tsui.

The day culminated in dinner at busy suzie, a Robatayaki restaurant in Tsim Sha Tsui.

In getting to the opening ceremony, we took a detour to the Avenue of the Stars, where the very amusing Aussie Pete, the author of the best “What the Hell” blog category at the 2010 Singapore Blog Awards, managed to not only survey the route for Sunday’s bathtub race in which he is partnering the petite Geck Geck, the author of the best Modelling blog who was also with us, but also get his picture taken with Jackie Chan! Peter even got his hands on the paddle during the day’s events – Geck Geck too, which will become apparent further on in this post. I guess that you can say now that Pete and Geck Geck hold an unfair advantage over the other competitors – and besides, with their relative sizes, the bathtub would be loaded in a way it might actually plane (as in a planing boat)!

Aussie Pete got his picture with Jackie along the Avenue of the Stars.

Aussie Pete got his picture with Jackie along the Avenue of the Stars.

The opening ceremony and concert was graced by the appearance of Sherman Chung, a popular cantopop artiste and U-Kiss – a Korean boyband which, one the evidence of the many screaming fans who had come, popular with teenage girls in Hong Kong – not surprising I suppose, as amongst the members of U-Kiss, is the (I guess some would consider) cute Alexander who apparently has a Hong Kong father and a Korean mother and also speaks Cantonese.

The Hong King Dragon Boat carnival is officially opened.

The Hong Kong Dragon Boat carnival is officially opened.

Drum display at the official opening of the Hong Kong Dragon Boat carnival.

Drum display at the official opening of the Hong Kong Dragon Boat carnival.

Sherman Chung made an apperance.

Sherman Chung made an apperance.

But the highlight for the many gathered seemed to be the appearance of Alexander of Korean boyband U-KISS.

But the highlight for the many gathered seemed to be the appearance of Alexander of Korean boyband U-KISS.

which was greeted by the screams of the adoring teenage crowd that had gathered.

which was greeted by the screams of the adoring teenage crowd that had gathered.

and more screams!

and more screams!

Sherman was not without her fans though!

Sherman was not without her fans though!

Alexander charmed the crowd with his fluent Cantonese.

Alexander charmed the crowd with his fluent Cantonese.

Members of U-KISS on stage.

Members of U-KISS on stage.

U-KISS on stage.

U-KISS on stage.

Fans of U-KISS were out in full force.

Fans of U-KISS were out in full force.

Leaving the concert and with it the blast of great music and screaming girls which had my ears ringing for a while, we then made our way on foot through the busy streets of Tsim Sha Tsui towards busy suzie’s – but not before Pete was grateful to be finally able to find what he had been looking for several hours earlier.

Aussie Pete's saviour!

Aussie Pete's saviour!

The restaurant is located at former lighthouse building which is now part of the very charming 1881 Heritage complex, a mix of Victorian styled buildings which once were used as the Marine Police headquarters, a lighhouse and a fire-station. The complex was opened last year and also features a very exclusive boutique hotel, housed in Hulett House, which we were informed, had only six lavish suites and is booked up to as far ahead as November.

Hulett House in the 1881 Heritage complex is now an exclusive boutique hotel.

Hulett House in the 1881 Heritage complex is now an exclusive boutique hotel.

The former Kowloon Fire Station.

The former Kowloon Fire Station.

The time ball of the former lighthouse.

The time ball of the former lighthouse.

busy suzie, a robatayaki restaurant named after an intended play on the word “Lazy Susan” to reflect the unique style of serving food robata style in which wooden paddles are used by the chefs seated in front of diners to pass the dishes which are prepared on the spot to them. This practice is said to have originated in the simple beach resturants of Sendai in northern Japan where Robatayaki traces its origins to, where fishermen cooked their catch over an open fire with only a boat oar to use. The layout of the restaurant is unique in itself, being arranged in a circular fashion and features a curved lounge bar and seating arrangements which is set in a modern contemporary fashion that is in keeping with the restaurant’s intended theme of old cusine served fusion style.

busy suzie features a unique circular layout.

busy suzie features a unique circular layout.

and wonderful decor!

and wonderful decor!

Pete got to practice with the paddle.

Pete got to practice with the paddle.

I must say the overall dining experience was really something to remember. We were provided with a superb selection of food exquisitely prepared by chef Iwagami Yoshiaki, which certainly went down very smoothly in the company of the HKTB’s representatives, the omy representatives and my fellow bloggers. With this it was back to the very nice hotel room, a soak in the bath and some long awaited rest to recharge for a second day packed with some more exciting events lined up for us by the HKTB.

A Robata chef at work.

A Robata chef at work.

Food is flown in fresh everyday ...

Food is flown in fresh everyday ...

Chef Iwagami San at work.

Chef Iwagami San at work.

Iwagami San preparing a Kinky Fish.

Iwagami San preparing a Kinky Fish.

Iwagami San.

Iwagami San.

Hands on the paddle.

Hands on the paddle.

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And finally, if you are ever at busy suzie's, don't forget a visit to this important place ...

And finally, if you are ever at busy suzie's, don't forget a visit to this important place ...

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