Saturday, 6 October 2007

Sporty and Relaxing Saturday

Tody we decided to do a run from North Point to Big Wave bay.

We started around 09:30 at North Point MTR, hiked up to Po Luen Path. This is a steep hill, and since the sun was blasting... we decided to hike it instead of running it. Once up the hill, it was time to get the legs moving. We ran a far bit to get up to the saddle between Mt Parker and Mt Butler.

From there we followed onto a nice offroad track called Boa Vista. Running down to Shek O road, before continuing to Dragons Back.... actually, not we took a left turn that leads to Tai Long Wan, deep water bay. The whole thing took us just under 2 hours... not to bad I would say.

A litle impression

new tourist markets

We are at the end of the so called Golden Week of Mainland China. This week is normally around the 1st of October, and results in pretty much the whole of China being off work.

There are more and more people in China that have a free spendable income and since the recreation industry is not developed that well, people spend it on trips (see my previous posting). Hence the big influx of mainland tourist during all holiday periods. They come here for shopping and sightseeing.

On the other side they have learned from countries around them that stockmarkets can give you a good income as well.

So some smart ones decided to combine both interestests. In the last week a number of "theme" trips have been organized. The theme was investment, so basically a master class on investing. THere was a 20 year old busconductor that wants to change her job to become full time investor now....

Many people still seem to have the idea that everyone get rich by investing, and they forget you can loose money as well. Another one was that if friend A invested in company X before and made money, that if I invest now....i will make money as well.

Ah well...interesting to see new business opportunities develop!

Friday, 28 September 2007

china conquers the world

Yesterday I was on a flight from Hong Kong to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia again.

As China is developing more and more, its citizens start traveling around as well. I remember reading that a good number of tourguides at the Eifeltower have to learn Mandarin to service this new market for them.

More and more I find those travelers take part in interesting activities when traveling. For many of them its their first trip abroad and they are not always used to the "safety" rules and regulations on board.

On this flight there was an other group on board. We left the gate without any troubles, taxied on the run way. Suddenly I hear a loudspeaker conversation beside me. When looking left I see 3 elderly mainland ladies having a good laugh via a speaker mobile phone with one of their friends. When more people are staring at them, they realize hmmm maybe not the best thing to do. So the lady ends the conversation, unlocks her seatbelt, stands up and puts her phone away into the overhead lockers, roams through her luggage to find some things...... This is all seconds before the plane takes off :)

Recently I had a similar situation, when landing though..... always interesting :). In the newspapers was an article where a gentleman occupied the toilet for a long time. When the flight attendant checkec up.....he said he was having a bath in the little toilet room........

More to come

Thursday, 20 September 2007

HK Blogging community event

Tuesday evening 18 September an event was organized for bloggers, internetpreneurs, people working and having an interest in the internet industry.

The trigger of the event was the visit of Jeremiah Owyang. Napoleon Biggs, from PALAVA Digital and organizer of the new phenomena WEB WEDNESDAY had an interview with the guest of honor. THe interview can be found here

I had a quick chat with Jeremiah, who will be entering an interesting position soon with Forrester research. My impression was that (many) people in "The Valley" dont have a good understanding on what is happening in Asia and countries like India, China and for example Malaysia and Thailand. THose are developing rapidly in many areas.

THere was a good mixture of people, from advertising, technology providers, entrepreneurs etc. Excellent vibe, and yes I had some good conversations and met some interesting people where contacts will be re-established.

Thursday, 9 August 2007

proud and happy

I dont blog a lot about my work activities, but this one i would like to share.

At the moment I am in negotations with a MNC for a practical project management training session, in combination with coaching and mentoring 15 of their staff.

Understandably the potential client asks for references.....

The feedback provided by a previous student was the next:

I took a project management class that Mr Ekkel taught and I was enormously impressed with him as a teacher and a professional. He was interesting, engaging, and remarkably flexible and adaptable. The students were from at least four different countries, with background ranging from medical research to IT to marketing, and he was able to draw us all in and use examples and situations that seemed to apply across the disciplines. Best of all, he managed to keep us well-engaged through several days of hard work.

I highly recommend him and would certainly use him without hesitation should the opportunity arise.

Please do not hestitate to contact me again.


Its always nice to see hard work appreciated.....

Thanks Patricia....who attended one of my Project Management Professional (PMP) classes in Bangkok, organized by the NetworkTrainingCenter.

Tuesday, 7 August 2007

We Are Ready!

is the title of the song released by 130 Artists from the Mainland, Hong Kong and even Taiwan.

The Song, titled "We Are Ready" was released on August 1 to commemorate the 1 year countdown moment for the Beijing 2008 Olympics. The artists will perform the song on Wednesday 8 August LIVE at Tiananmen Square in Beijing.

Kan Ke, Deputy Director of the Culture and Ceremonies Department with the Beijing Olympic Organizing Committee (BOCOG) hoped that the song will accompany Chinese to finish the last step of the preparation work and will accompany the dazzling fireworks in 2008.

source: CriEnglish

Hmm that would give some good media attention I would say.

Interestingly the song was composed by two Hong Kong musicians, Peter Kam and Keith Chan. From composin to producing took apparantly a few days only with the help and hard work of more than 200 people. Hmm is that to symbolize and reflect on the efforts the people put in to get the Olympics ready?

Official copies of the song can be downloaded from the official website of the Beijing 2008 Summer Games or from China Mobile’s Wireless Music Chart. The “We Are Ready” music videos have begun airing across China.

The song is in Mandarin though, which leads me to think whether it will be a big hit outside China.

Monday, 6 August 2007

Al Gore will be speaking in Hong Kong

3) Ethics and Sustainability
Date Thu, Aug 9, 2007, 18:00 - 22:30
Venue Conrad Hong Kong, Pacific Place, Hong Kong
Speaker US Former Vice President Al Gore
Cost HKD1600.
Inquiries The British Chamber, 852.2824.2211

source: Sweet 'n Sour daily newsletter

Sunday, 5 August 2007

Hong Kong beach fun..

Today Sunday, I decided to take it a little easy for a part of the day.

So decided to go to the beach together with SiuShan.

There are lots of beaches in Hong KOng, but todays choice was the one in Repulse Bay. As it is easy to get to and easy to go to Central where we had to be in the afternoon.

The majority of beaches are well maintained and are managed by the Hong Kong Leisure and Cultural Services Department. In reality it means they provide lifeguards, make sure facilities are well maintained and operated, keep the beach clean etc. This also covers putting in shark nets, buoys and other markings.

Now since they are concerned with the well being of visitors (why else would they put many many many many signs up with info) they put lifeguards there.

This morning was particularly nice, not toooo hot, a little breeze, not to many people on the beach. Whilst enjoying a relaxing morning, suddenly I got scared by....a major announcement.

Oops forgot about that.. since the department is concerned about out well being, there are regular really loud announcements over the tannoy. Reminders to do warm up excercise before going in the water, not to swim when we are tired, hungry or full.

We are also reminded to take care of our belongings and ask the staff for assistence if and when required.

Of course we are asked to keep the beach clean by not littering nor spitting...with risking a fine of HKD1500!

Now all this is well appreciated.....but why so loud :) There is no concern about my personal enjoyment at the beach....the main reason i came there in the first place.

Anyway, it was an enjoyable stay

Saturday, 4 August 2007

cool california fitness in Hong Kong

I regularly do my workouts at different branches of California Fitness here in Hong Kong.

Witht the outside temperature bein high (+30C) it is nice to do your workout in a little chillier environment. As someone who is concerned about the environment, the thing that put me off is the aircons blasting, lights are on etc. Even when no people are working out in a particular section.

On the other side, my preferred work out is cardio stuff, like cross trainers, spinning classes and indoor rowers every now and then. Not a big fan of indoorrunning though. Anyway, the trick is that when you do those things you are using, actually wasting energy. As you don't do anything with it. And as others includigding Engadget, I had the thought...why not use it.

Now in the last weeks there was some maintenance going on in the central branch of California. After they were done signs were hang up with the text "powered by you", I didnt really think anything about it as it is of coz powered by me! THATS THE PURPOSE OF A WORKOUT! DUH!

Now today I decided to take a look at the big yellow box. Now to my surpise that "powered by you" had a complete different meaning.

The guys at California did some really cool stuff, by linking up a number of machines to generators! WOW Isn't that a cool things. So by working out you actually contribute electricity to the aircon and lights. With the lights they had done had done something else as well, by only switching on the majority of lights when people are working out.

Now the only are for improvement is the information provided is not really standard. Information related to CO2 savings and power contribution. As the CO2 normally is expressed in Kilograms or Tonns...they do it in liters....

Anyway, they did their homework and the conclusion is that within 2 years the savings will offset the extra energy used to manufacture the equipment.

Take a look at the next video as well:

cool california fitness in Hong Kong

I regularly do my workouts at different branches of California Fitness here in Hong Kong.

Witht the outside temperature bein high (+30C) it is nice to do your workout in a little chillier environment. As someone who is concerned about the environment, the thing that put me off is the aircons blasting, lights are on etc. Even when no people are working out in a particular section.

On the other side, my preferred work out is cardio stuff, like cross trainers, spinning classes and indoor rowers every now and then. Not a big fan of indoorrunning though. Anyway, the trick is that when you do those things you are using, actually wasting energy. As you don't do anything with it. And as others includigding Engadget, I had the thought...why not use it.

Now in the last weeks there was some maintenance going on in the central branch of California. After they were done signs were hang up with the text "powered by you", I didnt really think anything about it as it is of coz powered by me! THATS THE PURPOSE OF A WORKOUT! DUH!

Now today I decided to take a look at the big yellow box. Now to my surpise that "powered by you" had a complete different meaning.

The guys at California did some really cool stuff, by linking up a number of machines to generators! WOW Isn't that a cool things. So by working out you actually contribute electricity to the aircon and lights. With the lights they had done had done something else as well, by only switching on the majority of lights when people are working out.

Now the only are for improvement is the information provided is not really standard. Information related to CO2 savings and power contribution. As the CO2 normally is expressed in Kilograms or Tonns...they do it in liters....

Anyway, they did their homework and the conclusion is that within 2 years the savings will offset the extra energy used to manufacture the equipment.

Take a look at the next video as well:

Wednesday, 1 August 2007

HK History, bye bye Queens pier

In recent months there was a lot of media attention in Hong Kong in relation to the "removal" of old, characteristic and often historic landmarks. Whether this were landmarks, buildings or neighbourdhoods.

The latest is the (planned?) removal of protesters of Queens Pier in Central, despite the fact that a courhearing might change things. Although I am not sure about that, since many plans are inprogress and contractors are reade to take down the structure. This would give way to start a reclamation project which will facilitate building mall or so. (Click on Queens Pier to read the wiki article, which contains interesting info).

The Standard in Hong Kong has an interesting article about the pier, where it describes that originally it was a heritage and suddenly things changed. The question there is...what happened.

A personal brain spin from me is that there might have been suggestion within the government to change the status. Reason is that the HK Government gets most of its money from landsales. Not being able to sell the (reclaimed) land, means lack of income for the government.

Another area that has been threatened are the old style street markets as can be found in Wanchai, Causeway Bay and the oldest in Central. There are plans to remove many of those streetmarkets, tear down buildings and rebuild the areas.....often with high rise (c0ncrete) buildings that take off light, wind and thus fresh air.

In the plan publications to remove the at Graham and Peel, artist impressions are given. However, they only seem to paint half the picture and forget the high rise part. Interesting info can be found in Hong Kong magazine no 688, Friday 20 July.

To get an impression on atmoshperes in markets and Hong Kong.... look here --->

Wednesday, 25 July 2007

nr of Blue Skies hit the sky

The discussion about airpollution has dominated the media for the last months.

It was then even more surprising that when I picked up a newspaper last Saturday, the headline read:
Hong Kong would not be Hong Kong if this was opposed immediately.

The article stated that in a 10 week period from May to July, HKG has seen the lowest number of days with HIGH airpollution in the last 9 years. This means a limited period of time, rather then saying the airquality was such and so in the first half of the year.

It was used by the government to claim that improvement measures taken have the desired effect. Altough opposers didn't rule out the fact that there might be an improvement, their counter arguments were that its a short period of time, the winds have been favourable and.... altough there has been an increase in clear day numbers...the pollution levels are still not up to internernational standards.

The government used data gathered from roadstations that measure a number of factors like windspeed, temperaturre, humidity, and a the presence of a number of pollutants. The api (pollution index) can be found HERE

Anyway, I believe that improvement measures should be taken by all parties involved. Including business people operating cross border with China, locals in Hong Kong, governments etc.

Improving the environment is not that difficult. As long as I see people waiting in cars for a long time with the engine running so the aircon can be switched on, aircons in restaurants and shopping malls are on crazy cold then I am not sure whether people are really willing to improve.....

Saturday, 21 July 2007

what happened to THREE's strategy?

Hong Kong is and has been on the forefront of telecommunication, not only in Asia but definitely worldwide.

The mobile market is one of the most competive markets in the world, and with a penetration of over 130% (yes, that means people have more than 1 phone) competition is full on.

The market is customer driven, which results in competitive prices, good packages and a constant flow of new innovative services.

I have been using THREE for around 3 years now and am considered one of their "SUPREME" customers, not sure what it means. Regularly they send me an sms to call them about a special offer, when I call them it is pretty much impossible to speak to someone that has a decent command of the english language. I get the promiss to call them back, which happened only once so far... but after 3 days. Interesting event, as I had the money in my hand to buy a new handset but they didn't want to take it.

So, I went to visit a THREE shop....hmm under construction. As was another one close to where I live. Also under construction.

It worked out to be a bit of a rebranding combined with the launch of..... I-MODE services. WHAT????? I-Mode, which is originally Japanese (NTT-Docomo), was launched in Holland by KPN years ago as well as a number of other countries Australia and UK. It never really took off but had its own niche market.

Basically it is like a private internet network. It is an environment with a limited set of services offered. In Japan this has been a serious hit, as there were many service providers on board. In Holland, there were some, but it was better accesible and usefull compared to regular internet access.

Now this is were the trick comes in. Mobile internet access has developed over the years. The connection speed is now getting up to levels that it is workable, providers have developed mobile sites, handsets and other tools are ready to go mobile.

The decision by THREE to start offering I-Mode is even more interesting now not only KPN has decided to "phase out" the service, but also big guys like an O2 and Telstra.

Is there still a need to use a "cordonned" off environment where as you are able to access the whole internet? I am not sure, but time will learn. Especially now other providers are offering mobile broadband......

Wednesday, 18 July 2007

Beijing Mobilized?

The olympics in Beijing in 2008 drive many new initiatives in and around the city.

Activities like cleaning up and restoring major tourist areas as the forbidden city, the summer palace, numerous temples and of course increasing security measures around tianmen square to protect the visitors.

A very interesting initiative is a WAN deployment in the Chongwen district in Beijing.

On top of that a city information portal will be deployed. The portal will be providing information like maps, events, travel information etc. The cool bit is that this will be accesible online with PDA's, mobile phone, basically any device with WIFI.

I would be curious to see if only the portal can be accessed or the generic internet as well. THat would be a good challenge for blogging regulations etc I would say.

Cooperation takes place with a number of companies that build up experience with a similar excercise in Heidelberg Germany. The network there is called Heidelberg Mobil

Other companies involved are,, and

Now other then being absolutely cool for users I do see some ideas on linking virtual and the real world. How about the forbidden city in a 2nd life kind of environment?

Location based marketing and advertising for Mr Ho his noodlejoint.....a yellow pages site that in combination with google earth tells you where your company is and how to get there.

In short a very interesting development!

Posting inspired by an article in De Ingenieur, 25 May 2007.

Tuesday, 17 July 2007

Beijing 2008: IP protection

That China is developing fast is no news, that Beijing is focusing on the 2008 Olympics is no secret either. They even start realizing the value of IP and are in touch with Hong Kong customs officers to train up their own staff on how to recognize fake products.

So the customs officers receive training on how to recognize the so called FUWA mascottes. There are basically 5 characters. a fish, a panda, a Tibetan antelope a swallow and the Olympic flame. They are symbols representing the so called five elements of sea, forest, fire, earth and sky.

The naming of the Olympics Mascots is actually quite interesting, as they are called BeiBei, JingJing, HuanHuan, YingYing and NiNi. When taking the first part of every name it leads to BeiJing HuanYing Ni! or in English, Beijing welcomes you!

Anyway, especially the Guangdong customs team, united with Hong Kong via the Guangdong/Hong Kong expert group on the protection of Intellectual Property are stepping up the efforts in clamping down on illegal copies of the FUWA materials sold. Results so far cover.....key hangers and a number of moulds to produce goods.

The main motivation behind it is obviously that all those articles bring in BIG CASH for the olympics organization...and who wants to loose out on that.

Monday, 16 July 2007

WIFI on the mtr in Hong Kong

Hong Kong has been in the frontline on communications development, not only in Asia but definitely globally.

It has one of the most competitive mobile phone markets, both in handset as well as on the delivery/service provider side. This is definitely a good thing for consumers as we get treated with lots of good offers.

On the internet area, 3-4 years ago I already had a 6mb connection, shortly going up to 8 whereas many of my European friends didn't even cross the 1mb line.... and they paid more then I did :)

Where many countries are still working on 2G, 2.5G, EDGE some even on 3G has Hong Kong already deployed "mobile internet", a 3.5G connection giving you workable internet speeds.

Mobile phone reception is good in the city, much of the country parks, and even in tunnels and the MTR (underground trains). What was missing for me is the availability of WIFI in many area's

Now when boarding the plane in Bangkok last weekend my eye was attracted to an article in the South China Morning post making a reference to WIFI becoming available in the trains. More postings on this has been done, for example by ZDNET

More then 2.5 million passengers use the MTR here, so this will give an opportunity to read emails, answer etc before getting into the office.

I am curious to see if this will have an effect on the sales of WIFI ready handsets...As in rush hour it will be way toooooo busy to sit down with your notebook on your knees.

An initial drawback could be the usage price of 20HKD/day, would love to see a good package for the other services provided (wifi in the city, internet connection at home etc). PCCW seems to be the provider, and they are on the right track with free wifi at HK airport....

Friday, 6 July 2007

wanna c hk panda's?

It has been 10 years ago since Hong Kong returned to China after British rule.....

This has been extensively covered by CCTV channel 9 with some interesting views.....

A gift from "the motherland" to Hong Kong were 2 Panda's from the Wolong Panda center close to Chengdu. The panda's are called LeLe and YingYing

You can watch the Panda's here

Happy watching!

Tuesday, 3 July 2007

back to the world....

my has been some time since the last posting.

DId a few trainingcourses in KL and Bangkok but more importantly went to Tibet for a short trip.

Our goal was to visit mt Kailash......

More to come soon!


Friday, 25 May 2007

China drops real-name blogger plan

In the recent months there has been some talks in China where webloggers were required to start using their own names.

This would of course allow a stricter control on (critical) postings...The plan has been scrapped. One of the reasons is that it would be nearly impossible to administer it properly.

On the other side, the community has take its own responsibility now.
The Internet Society of China (ISC) said on its Web site that it would seek public comment for one week on the "Blog Service Governance Communique." It encouraged "self-discipline" among bloggers and called upon the blogger community to "consciously enhance their sense of responsibility and social awareness of public morality."


Tuesday, 22 May 2007

Nourriture et humeur - une célébration sensuelle

Recently a friend of mine organised a party to celebrate her 21st b'day (yeah, maybe at the end of the evening people believed you...certainly not at the start!)

She had some help in organizing the event but it was definitely interesting. There was a good mix of people varying from law firm partners to make up artists, from international traders to illustrators.

The venue was quite..interesting I would say, since it wasn't a regular restaurant, bar nor lounge area. After being there for a little while we noticed price tags on many of the things present in the room. The location happens to be the "showcase" of Hong Kong’s First Lifestyle Concept Boutique called Kou run by ms Louise Kou.

More information can be found here , although the site looks in progress at the moment so an alternative article here.

Hong Kong wouldn't be Hong Kong if there was great attention for food. The team engaged the culinairy skills of Lakshmi Harilela, who runs Love True Food. A hollistic approach to living where food has a good place and can help you achieve a healthy lifestyle.

The different dishes she came up with where interesting and refreshing. Like a small oyster in chili sauce as a shot. Fresh asparagus interesting refreshing sauce over it.

The whole food and being experience was backed by the tunes of mr Cove Overley who was spinning the wheels of steel at the party. He is resident DJ at Kee Club

Monday, 7 May 2007

just got a call from mt everest

where my friend Marc van der Chijs with some people are biking from Lhasa to Kathmandu.

I was supposed to be there...however a number of reasons stopped me to participate.

The story can be read at Marc his BLOG. So far so good, working out at that height is a tough cookie to deal with. The roads are seriously far him and his dad have not opted to ride with the support cars.

He described the views and experiences as absolutely stunning and amazing.

Good luck guys and keep up the work in good health and lots of fun!

Thursday, 12 April 2007

Language Clean up in Beijing

Many blogs have posted pictures or references to interesting translations from Chinese to English that people come across. Interesting examples can be seen here, and I had some as well that unfortunately got lost in the transition to the new blogger version.

Since the Olympics in Beijing 2008 bring in a lot of work, the Beijing government decided to to improve this as well and started up a special program. THis is called the "Use Accurate English to Welcome the Olympics Public Bilingual Sign Standardization Drive."

As part of this program people can send in their observations which then will be taken care off. A few quotes from the website:

"Residents sent in a wide range of complaints," said Zhou Chen, an official at the programme's office.

For example, the "Racist Park" sign was spotted and posted online by a Canadian student named Eric.

"It suggests China hates other nationalities; and foreigners coming to China would feel uncomfortable," he said, adding: "I love China, please change it."

Jay Shen, from the United States, pointed out that the introduction to the Summer Palace says "three quarters are under water" instead of "three-quarters of the park is a water surface."

The website where people can report their findings is:

Interestingly enough....there is no English version of it........

Wednesday, 4 April 2007

mainland tourist shopping tour scams

In the last months regularly messages popped up that mainland China tourists visiting Hong Kong were lead into shopping scams. They pay a low fare to visit Hong Kong by guided tour. Once here they are here, they get dragged along all sorts of shops to purchase goods.

Of course the tourguide will gets his\her commision from this.

In this article action and prompt follow up is demanded by the Shenzen tourist authority.

Interestingly enough, during the weekend 2 cases were high lighted on TV.
One could be a little dodgy, where the product either didn't meet clients expectations or indeed was sold something else then that was on the invoice.

Case 2 was more interesting. A person mentioned he was being ripped off by a jeweler, he bought a watch thinking it had diamonds on it. He showed a receipt and everything. So when the reporters went to contact the shop.... they said they have not had and dont have a watch that looks like that in their collection.
Now... this sounds dodgy, either the jeweler is putting up a story...or there is a new series of copycat events coming up. A new way of getting money, by pretending you have been sold fake goods and then get them exchanged for either real, or get your money back.

THat they are good in copying and coming up with creative business ideas can be read at Marc van der Chijs his blog about a joke with fake melrose pizza

UPDATE 08April07:

There have been some major activities to cut down on illegal practices. One jeweller has been raided by customs and excise officers and goods have been taken away for investigation.

People found guilty can expect up to 5 years in jail and 500K HKD fines according to a government website

No Spillage


Earlier this month I was in Macau with my family, and when visiting the mens room I noticed this picture above the urinoirs.

At first I though, hmm interesting hopefully it would be a bit more hygienic. However, the picture was supposed to be above the tap where you wash your hands afterwards to remind people to be more conservative.
Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, 3 April 2007

The Great China Firewal

A lot of discussion was and is going around the great China firewall.
The wall that filters and blocks information of internet going into china.

A few people started up an initiative to allow others checking whether their site is accesible in China.

Concept is easy, you type in a URL, they route it to China where they let it access the net via a local server, then feedback the result.

Sunday, 1 April 2007

Wong Kam Po wins Gold!

In the past I have helped out friends from the Netherlands who started and run the Marco Polo Cycling team. The team is the first China registered commercial team in their classification (they use all kinds of names for this).

Their goal is to bring European riders to Asia and other non cycling countries\regions. However, even more important is to bring riders from those areas to Europe. In the past they had a few guys over from Eritrea. In the last year they had many top chinese riders under their wings. Including Asian Champions.

Their approach on grooming new riders seems to be working as they are a cradle team for the Discovery team, which is famous for having Lance Armstrong as their main man in the past.

In the asian region they have been doing quite well, given their budget.

A strong rider that used to ride for the team is Wong Kam Po. Who has won pretty much everything once in the Asian region. And good for him, he has expanded his winning territory to Europe as well.

March 31, 2007
Patrick Ho congratulates cyclist Wong Kam-po

Secretary for Home Affairs Dr Patrick Ho has congratulated Wong Kam-po for winning the Union Cycliste Internationale Track Cycling World Championship's 15-kilometer scratch race at the Palma Arena on the Spanish island of Majorca.

"I am thrilled by Mr Wong continuously winning awards in major world events and would like to extend my heartfelt congratulations to him. Everyone one of us is proud of his outstanding performance," said Dr Ho.

For details of the event, click here.


Earlier this week i received an email from Oxfam that we raised enough money last year and will be awarded with another team entry for this years edition of TRAILWALKER.

I will sign up, altough not 100% convinced I will be doing the actual event. It is for a good cause, the event is good but takes a lot of preparation to get there. On the other side, I know I can do sub20hr over this 100KM cruel that little voice keeps on nagging me as well.

Oh well, lets see in the next weeks....

28 March 2007

Dear Team Leader

Oxfam Trailwalker 2007 - Special Team Category

Oxfam Trailwalker 2006 raised over HK$21 million! We are most grateful to you and your sponsors for supporting Oxfam Hong Kong!

As administration costs were covered by Principal Sponsor State Street Corporation and other contributing companies, the funds you raised will all go directly to support Oxfam’s various poverty alleviation and emergency relief projects in Africa and Asia, including Hong Kong and mainland China. You are most welcome to visit to know more about our work and how funds are used and monitored.

Are you ready for Oxfam Trailwalker 2007? Scheduled for 9-11 November, the arrangements are as follows:

Super Trailwalker Special Team Category Pledge Team Category Open Team Category
Team Number S01 - S50 0001 - 0300 0301 - 0470 0471-0520 0521 - 0740 0741 - 0990
Start Time 9 am 9 am 11 am 11 am 12:30 pm 2 pm

Team numbers 0001 - 0470 are allocated to the Special Team Category, comprising teams which raised HK$28,000 or above for Oxfam Trailwalker 2006 and teams from sponsoring and supporting companies. Team numbers 0521 - 0990 will be allocated to the Open Team Category by lottery, applications for which will be received from 16 May to 7 June. Teams which would commit to raise a minimum of HK$60,000 for Oxfam Trailwalker 2007, please contact Oxfam at or call 2520 2525.

We are pleased to welcome your team as a Special Team for Oxfam Trailwalker 2007 and have reserved you a team place. Please fill out the Response Form and send it back to us by 27 April to confirm your acceptance. We will have to open the place to other teams if we have not received your Response Form by then. As start times are allocated on a first-come first-served basis, please send in your completed form as soon as you can. Thank you for your cooperation and support with this.

Teams which raised over HK$50,000 will have the privilege to choose their lucky team number in 2007. If two or more teams choose the same number, the number will go to the team which raised the most donations.

To enhance efficiency and to save cost, we will inform the team leader by email to register online from
28 June to 12 July. If you prefer to use a Registration Form, please indicate this on the Response Form. We will send you a hard copy by post instead.

For any queries, please contact my colleague Cecilia Chow at twinfo at or call her at 3120 5210.

All the best and see you at Oxfam Trailwalker 2007!

Yours sincerely,

John Sayer
Director General
Oxfam Hong Kong

Safe Cycling Campaing in Hong Kong


Road safety
Safe cycling campaign launches
Hong Kong Police

Police figures show that there were 210 traffic accidents involving bicycles during the first two months of 2007, a decrease of 10% compared with the 220 casualties in the same period in 2006. Among these casualties, 193 cyclists were injured and one died.

The Police will organise a two-week campaign to promote safe cycling from April 1.

During the first week, Police officers will distribute publicity leaflets in areas frequented by cyclists, including railway stations, shops that use bicycles to deliver goods, cycling tracks and cycling black spots.

They will educate cyclists on their responsibilities on the road and the importance of complying with traffic regulations. Offenders will be given verbal warnings and motorists will also be reminded to pay attention to cyclists on the road.

Stringent enforcement action will be taken during the second week, from April 8 to 14.

Police said, once on the road, cyclists are obliged to obey all traffic laws which apply to drivers and are subject to the Road Traffic Ordinance. They should also watch out for other road users.

Quite an interesting campaign this is. I used to cycle regular on Hong Kong Island, Lantau as well as every now and then in New Territories. The article above assumes that the in the majority of cases the cyclists are the cause of accidents.

I don't have the actual statistics, but speaking from experience it would be more usefull to educate drivers of cars, buses, trucks etc. on how to deal with cyclists on the road. I can't count the number of times I had physical contact with cars on the road when they were taking over. (yes, the road was wide enough to fit both of us). An example I have had happening quite a few times is that cars stay behind you on a straight road... and take over at corners or other points with low visibility. Cutting you off, or taking over way to close are normal practices here...

A side note, in the article is mentioned they will be looking at the professional cyclists as well. It is quite normal to have cyclists as couriers, transporting goods like froozen meat, gas cylinders etc. Quite a number of those guys create their own little world whilst on the bike. Crossing over where it suits them, crossing red lights when it suits them, using tram lanes and the like. So, yes there it might be usefull to do a bit of a mind refresher.

Wednesday, 14 March 2007

congratulations HK AIrport

Hong Kong International Airport has been named best airport for airports serving over 40 Million passengers a year.

I travel regular via this airport and it is high on my list of favorite airports to travel from. Check in facilities are fast good. You can also use the check in facilities in the city, making things much easier.

There is a good number of shops on the airport, and a good variation of restaurants if you need to refuel. It got even better with free wifi covering the whole airport.

Walking around is easy, navigation is good, and the airport is clean. Since I can use my electronic HKIDCARD, immigration is a matter of seconds. Both when leaving and returning to the territory.

Anyway, will be interesting to see how Bangkok airport will do in the rankings next year......

Tuesday, 23 January 2007

chinese econvincing a thief that he was wrong

JINAN, Jan. 22 (Xinhua) -- A thief has returned a mobile phone and thousands of yuan he stole from a woman after receiving 21 touching text messages from her, a local newspaper reported.

Quite an amazing story printed at Xinhua website, where a teachers bag got stolen. In the bag some serious amount of money (nearly 5000 yuan!!!), papers, bankcards, mobile etc.

The teacher kept on sending sms to the thief, and finally convinced the thief that he was wrong. THe thief returned all the belongings with a promiss to better his life....


environmental awareness in Hong Kong

It looks like Hong Kong starts realizing that the waste problem should not be solved by looking for more landfills, or waste burning opportunities.......but its time to start looking at the core of the issue.

Lat year in April a number of big chains held a NO PLASTIC BAG DAY. Quite a good initiative that hopefully creates general awareness to look into packaging.

When buying groceries in a supermarket here, it never stops amazing me to see how few people carry their own bag to transport the groceries. The occasional maid\domestic helper does, however the majority of people don't.

Interesting is that every time I say that I don't want a bag, the staff at the check out says thank you! and a few cents are deducted from my bill. Even though its a few cents, its something.

Sometimes, I do take the bags as we use them as binliners at home, or to pack sweaty clothes after a yoga or gym session.

As a result of last years campagne a 2007 edition will follow according to the government.
It is becoming more of a habit, and many companies adapt it by declaring the first tuesday of the month as NO PLASTIC BAG DAY, according to another government article..

It looks like the coin is dropping for people, according to Standard:
Statistics gathered by the Green Student Council showed that on "No Plastic Bag Days" retailers saw a 40 percent reduction in the number of bags used.

The Environmental Protection Department said last November the three major supermarket chains had reported 24 to 29 percent reductions in plastic- bag usage since the program's inception. This was well above the target of 15 percent reduction over a one-year period.

In addition, the number of retailers participating has increased from the initial six to 39, according to the Green Student Council.

Which are definitely promissing results!

ANother (recycling) initiative is gaining momentum, where people can dispose all their electronic equipment waste in a good way. Information about this initiative can be found at the website of the Environmental Protection Department

Tuesday, 9 January 2007

Smiles, sincerity instantly impress tourists

Senior Immigration Assistant Lau Chun-hung has been named the most courteous immigration officer. As the first civil servant tourists encounter on their arrival in Hong Kong, he tells how to offer tourists a good impression instantly.


Actually now I come to think of it, my experience with HK border control has been quite good so far. Unlike many other countries where immigration staff looks uninterested, or is more engaged in talking to colleagues rather then assisting tourists.... HK staff seems quite friendly.

They look at the bigger picture as well. As HK resident I can now use the e-channels. My HK IDCARD has identity information, the way to identify yourself is by reading my thumbprint. The system checks it with the computer systems of the immigration department and either allows or denies you to go through the channel.

It is a very fast and convenient system and saves me valuable time when travelling\crossing the border.

THey even have won the 2006 ICT Awards.

Personally I am a big fan of systems like this. When still working and travelling in Europe, I used the PRIVIUM system, this system uses iris recognition.

Especially in summertime this could save me up to 30minutes easily.

Happy travelling!

Monday, 8 January 2007


First of all..... A Happy New Year... that 2007 will bring you all you expect it to bring!

On this side there are some interesting developments on the boiler plate.... more to come shortly :)

In the last week of the New Year I had a really interesting business meeting (funnily enough with an internet company!!). Before I left the house I read the last details, checked the news and read about the earth quake in Taiwan. In the evening before I saw a good friend online, kind of assumed he was ok there.

Upon my return home I noticed that I lost all internet connection. Going through the whole sequence of checking everything....I found out that it still didn't work :). Calling my ISP ( didn't really help either as the lines were jammed. When speaking to my girlfriend, I found out that they were without connection as well. And since I couldn't check a website... it was time to switch on the TV. We happen to use NOW BROADBAND, which is IP TV based....even this was slightly effected by the mainly internal internet traffic.

About the next day I found out that it was indeed another earthquake. Information on earthquakes in Hong Kong is distributed by the Hong Kong observatory.

A few samples:
Press Releases on Earthquakes

Bulletin issued at 20:53 HKT 26/Dec/2006

A severe earthquake was recorded by the Hong Kong Observatory
at 8:28 p.m. today (Tuesday, 26 December 2006).

The epicentre was initially determined to be over Luzon Strait (21.8N,
120.6E), about 97 kilometres south-southeast of GaoXiong.

The magnitude was estimated to be 7.2 on the Richter Scale.


Bulletin issued at 22:05 HKT 26/Dec/2006




As well as the main damaging one:

Bulletin issued at 11:30 HKT 27/Dec/2006





One of the international reports of course came from the BBC, where the focus (obviouslY) was on the people. The second report was made 2 days later describing that some connections were getting back to normal.

This was correct in my experience. The first days, i could not get any connection. Even accessing Hong Kong sites was difficult. My gmail, yahoo mail, yahoo messenger, msn etc did not function. The only communication that seems to come through was skype.

It was not only the internet that was effected. Mainly all electronic international communication was effected, including long distance phone calls. This was caused by the fact that 6 out of 7 submarine cables were damaged, and the 7th one had minor damage. The question I have in this case is why is such important communication only lead over 1 location. The OFTA in Hong Kong has raised some concerns as well to see how we can prevent situations like that.

A major space for improvement is on the communication of the disruptions. It took most ISP's more then a few days to report to the public about what happened and when improvement was expected.
Speaking on a talk show, Director-General of Telecommunications Au Man-ho said there is room for improving the notification mechanism. Internet service providers may be asked to report service disruptions as soon as possible, he added.

As I mentioned before, the HK Stock exchange didn't have any obvious sufferings. This doesn't count for the traders working at it. Many businesses were affected due to delays in communication or even the absence of communication. Again, not only internet but also international phonelines were affected. A number of banks were affected as their clients could not acces online banking sites.

More details at an article of the HK STandard

My internet connection is doing not bad. After being completely out of email for 3 days, it started coming back slowly. Now i can access most foreign websites again and even do some bigger downloads. This merely due to rerouting of datatraffic.

The cables are still damaged and they have some setbacks. One of the repair ships had to return to harbour due to problems with the stabilizing thrusthers.

"Repairs on a single spot will take up to two to three weeks, but the bad weather and enwound cables add further complication to the repair work," said an official of China Telecom, China's largest telecom operator.

according to

Anyway, it would be interesting to see the response of different parties and see what lessons are learned from it.