Big Smog Blog
Skip the tie and give your dad the most valuable gift in the world -- precious memories he’ll treasure forever. Time Out picks the top 5 things to do in Hong Kong with your main man on Father’s Day.
When we say bring your dad to a strip dance, of course we are not talking about something shabby or vulgar. Bisous is one of the few clubs that stage burlesque shows, though not in the most authentic way, the old Hollywood glamour style is still apparent. Treat your dad to a drink and enjoy some not-too-awkward grown-up bonding time.
Bisous, 9/F, LKF Tower, 33 Wyndham St, Central, 2501 0002; www.bisous.com.hk.
For the guys out there, do you remember that moment when your dad smiled proudly at your first catch? Fishing has always been a universal paternal bonding activity whether you live on earth or planet 55 Cancri e. It’s an indisputable fact and since we live in a super busy city, it’s more so the reason to remind your pops the nostalgic memories of the time the two of you spent together when you were still a kid. Although Tai Mei Tuk’s artificial fish pond may not pose as much as a challenge, there isn’t much of an option since the official reservoirs are closed this time of the year. It’s spawning season for them.
Tai Mei Tuk 11A, Tai Po, New Territories, 2662 6351, www.tmtfishfarm.com, $50-$55/hour, equipment included.
Grab some dim sum with your father in the morning or take him out for a fulfilling dinner at Lin Heung Tea House, one of the oldest and traditional Cantonese restaurant in Hong Kong. Enjoy an authentic Cantonese dining experience in the bustling restaurant while pouring your old man tea and letting him know how much you value his company (and love).
Lin Heung Tea House, 160 Wellington Street, Central, 2544 4556
Classified by Times as "The Best Urban Hike In Asia" back in 2004, the Dragon's Back hiking trail stretches across the Shek O Country Park and oversees Big Wave Bay and Tai Tam Reservoir. The not-too-challenging and conveniently located trail promises a spectacular view and the amount of exercise you and your dad have been lacking.
Dragon's Back Hike, Take No.9 Bus at Shau Shek Wan MTR station and get off at To Tei Wan.
Dads work hard to provide us basically everything we have today. Although it's never going to be enough, repay the big guy with the Homme Improvement treatment from W Bliss Spa. Let the incredible massage and the amazing view (from 72/F) take off some of dad's stress from work.
W Bliss Spa, 72/F, Bliss Spa, W Hong Kong, 1 Austin Rd West, West Kowloon, 3717 2222; www.w-hongkong.com.
The testosterone-fuelled, bone-crunching mixed martial arts tournament, Legend 9, returns to the City of Dreams in Macau on Saturday June 16 after a series in its hometown of Hong Kong. The main fights see Japan's Koji Ando challenging Australia's Rob Hill, while China's Li Jingliang will look to come back strongly against debutant Dan Pauling after his defeat in Legend 7.
However, this time around, we look a bit closer to home. Avid Time Out reader Diego Cuenca grew up in Manila before moving to the USA as a teenager, sparking his interest in martial arts. Now he resides in Hong Kong and works full time as an asset manager, while training at Central's mixed martial arts academy JAB-MMA.
You could see Diego Cuenca in action in Saturday. For free! All you have to do is win our competition (details at the bottom of this page). But first, with his debut professional fight looming, we find out how Cuenca juggles two professions at once - and whether the prospect of fighting Muhammad Hanif Bin Zainal this weekend has got him worried…
Hi Diego. It's your first professional fight. Are you nervous, scared or really calm and cool?
Even if it is my first professional fight, I've competed since I was 15, so I don't typically get nervous till a few days before - but that's how it always is. I don't get scared of my opponent but I do get scared of putting on a bad performance.
Your bout is the first fight of the night. Does that add pressure to the situation or do you prefer it that way?
I prefer fighting first. I hate waiting. I hope to set the tone by putting on a great show. I am looking to finish this fight.
Banking hasn't had the greatest reputation recently. As a banker by trade, do your friends tease you about the fact that you may be a 'banker who gets bloodied'?
I am a finance guy so I think that has a certain stigma to it. People who say everyone in finance is evil are clearly misinformed. The truth is, if you do right by your clients and conduct your business ethically, you are adding value to the economy and providing people with peace of mind. My friends think I am slightly crazy which is probably correct! White collar brawlers are more common than you think - look at John Cholish, an energy trader in the UFC or a pre-law Boston College graduate like Kenny Florian. I am not alone. In Hong Kong, most of the best jiu-jitsu guys are finance guys. I train with them every morning before putting my tie on. In this town, a lot of the white collar guys would beat up those street 'tough guys'.
Is it hard keeping up two professions as professional fighter and banker - especially since MMA is so demanding on both the mind and the body?
It is hard. If something isn't earned it is worthless. I learned that long ago when I was wrestling and I still believe that today. Fighting and working really just boils down to scheduling and sacrifice. I am cranky most of the time and I am tired all day. Other than the occasional night out, I mostly stay home, do laundry and rest. If you treat your body well, it will perform at work and on the mat.
Is giving up banking for a professional fighting career something you would consider doing?
No I tried it and it isn't for me. Last year I spent my time in the gym and I taught students the SAT and ACT exams. The uncertainty did not mix well with my nature. I'll fight as long as I want it and physically can - but I don't think I will consider fighting full-time again.
MMA in the Philippines isn't quite as big as boxing, thanks to Manny Pacquaio. Do you see that changing any time soon?
I don't think that statement is entirely true. Have you been to the Pan Asians in Manila? I just competed in it (I won the advanced no-gi division) and it was packed. MMA and grappling is growing in the Philippines. Boxing may be popular because of Manny and that is positive. Boxing is a big part of my game and I think it applies to MMA much more than Muay Thai (even though I've competed in that too). Boxing and MMA can co-exist and I am a boxing fan.
How did you end up going into jiu-jitsu instead of stand-up fighting or even boxing?
I didn't go into combat sports wanting to be an MMA fighter. I picked up wrestling because I was a fat kid who didn't get picked for the basketball team. I was also a knucklehead kid who didn't appreciate structure in life. Wrestling changed all of that for me. I picked up BJJ and Muay Thai after that. To answer your question, I never thought I would be fighting MMA when I first started grappling. Now I am as dangerous standing as I am on the floor.
When and why did you pick up Thai kickboxing?
A few years ago I took an early morning Thai boxing class for fitness. After kicking the bag one morning I asked one of my mentors - former WKA champion, Edge Brown - “So how do you learn how to fight?” He then asked me: “Okay, so when do you want to fight?” In six months I had my first bout and won by decision.
How do you anticipate your fight with Muhammad Hanif Bin Zainal to progress? Do you plan to take it to the floor and avoid stand-up combat as much as possible?
No. I will exchange with him and take it to the ground when the time is right - not necessarily with a takedown. I plan on hitting him a lot and fighting a smart fight. I am in no rush to take it to the floor. I can box and I plan on showing that too in this fight. I don't think there is a place where I won't be a threat. I can pound, fight in the clinch, submit from my back, submission from the top and exchange.
Do you see yourself repeatedly coming back for future Legend series?
I prefer not to think beyond Hanif. But yes - if it's the right fight I would fight for Legend. There is no-one else I would fight for.
Finally, we hear you're a frequent Time Out reader! What's your favourite section in Time Out?
I like your articles in the film section (I watch way too many movies) and the food and drink section (I love eating, which is a challenge when you're making weight). If you guys want to win me over, focus on science fiction and articles on ice-cream (my number one vice). [Ed note - reviews on sci-fi ice-cream movies perhaps, Diego?]
Good luck against Muhammad Hanif Bin Zainal! Can you give Time Out Hong Kong a shout out when you win?
Of course! Thank you for the time.
Catch Diego Cuenca vs Muhammad Hanif Bin Zainal and more fights at Grand Hyatt Macau, City of Dreams, Estrada do Istmo, Macau; www.entertainmentmacau.com. Sat 16 June, 4.30pm; $1,280-$680.
Interview: Chinmoy Lad
Four readers will win 2 tickets each and ferry passes to go see the mixed martial arts stars in action on Saturday, June 16 in Macau. Just email email@example.com answering this question:
Q: Who defeated Li Jingliang in February?
First 4 correct responses will be emailed further instructions on how to pick up the tickets. Competition ends Thursday, June 14 @ 7pm.
Pop open the champers! Time Out Hong Kong has won its first brace of awards for excellence in journalism. And we're all celebrating here in the city after receiving prizes at the Society of Publishers in Asia Awards ceremony on Thursday June 7 at the JW Marriott Hong Kong for excellence in lifestyle coverage and getting great 'scoops'. Not bad for a Hong Kong magazine which was up against the best in the industry from across Asia.
Our first win was in the 'Excellence in Lifestyle Coverage' category, for issue 89 of the magazine - our Ketamine issue. Our in-depth-look at the ever-spiralling problem of K abuse in Hong Kong won plaudits from the expert panel of judges. And our second award was 'The Scoop Award' for issue 75, our stunning one-on-one interview with controversial Chinese artist Ai Weiwei, which was praised by readers across the world last year.
These wins are thanks to an incredible editorial team which has excelled over the past year. We may only be small in number but we're massive when it comes to content, design, enthusiasm and raw talent. So celebrate with us after a truly exceptional year! Who said great reporting in Hong Kong was only about finance?
A record number of people mourned together on Monday night in Victoria Park for those who died in Tiananmen Square on June 4, 1989. Byron Tseng was there to shed a tear…
It’s breathtaking. A sea of candles light up Victoria Park. Slogans and chants like ‘CY Leung is two-faced’, ‘down with the Communist Government’ and ‘democracy in China now’ ring around the venue. This year there’s a record turnout of 180,000 people in the park commemorating those who were killed in Tianenmen Square. It’s an amazing sight. And, with human rights in China and unease about the incoming Hong Kong Chief Executive on many people’s minds, feelings are high.
I don’t know why I haven’t been to this annual event before. I’m of Chinese descent and this event should have a special place in my heart – just like every other person in Hong Kong who was alive as the atrocious events of June 4, 1989, unfolded. We’re the ones who should learn from what happened.
We navigate ourselves through wave after wave of people who don black shirts and hold their candles aloft so we can find a place to sit. We hold up our candles to the patriotic songs and mottos harangued by the Democratic cheerleaders. I hold up my candle, which is resting on top a paper cup and suddenly my arm feels hot. I’ve set the cup on fire, turning my candle into a violent torch spitting embers. It’s fitting, the burning wax reminding me of the sudden chaos which erupted on that fateful day in China’s history. (However, I would recommend future vigil attendees to exercise caution with your candle!) Nevertheless, it was a privilege to engage in an activity our cousins in China would dare not do.Although we’re sure many would want to, if only they had the chance.
In the two-decade long series of vigils since Tianenmen Square, this one is blessed with a special guest star in the form of Fang Zheng. Fang is most notable for being the activist whose legs were run over by a tank during the massacre. It seems somewhat ironic that Fang, a student at the Beijing Institute of Physical Education, would have had an athletic prowess many at Tiananmen would have lacked. His act of saving a fellow protester from a column of tanks, only to be critically wounded himself, never halted his psychological struggle and healthy attitude. Fang informs us that he never truly believed the People’s Liberation Army would attack him and his comrades.
He recounts how, after the incident, he feels that the Communist Government and the ironically named People’s Liberation Army can no longer adequately represent the people. We are blessed with Fang’s appearance and his strong oratory prowess. However, two days later, he flies back to the USA and will probably never return to Hong Kong or China. This year, we hear, Hong Kong immigration overlooked him due to his relatively low profile, so next time the red tape will bound him in exile. Another twist of irony is that while America can provide activists like Fang Zheng and Chen Guangcheng ‘life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness’, the USA also deprives them of the only thing they ever really cared for: ‘the right to protest within China’.
So, it was a remarkable sight and an honour to be part of the vigil. I implore all Hongkongers to attend future vigils or visit the June 4 museum in Sham Shui Po. We don’t know when China will carry out serious reforms. Some make an argument that China was more liberal in the early 1980s with the Democracy Wall in Beijing. In the meantime we should all be thankful for the freedoms we enjoy in Hong Kong. For all we know those freedoms may all expire in 2047…
The Italian Chamber of Commerce has planned a delicious line-up of events this summer for its Italy 2012: Quality & Lifestyle promotion. A particular highlight for foodies is ‘A Tavola!’ (or, for the non-Italian speakers, ‘come to the table!’), which returns by popular demand as the festival’s primary food promo during June. The theme is simple: top-notch chefs from 16 participating restaurants each craft a special, authentic menu with dishes honouring the local flavours of a specific Italian region. Essentially, you’ll get to taste your way around Italy without leaving Hong Kong. Delizioso.
Participating restaurants include Domani (representing Friuli-Venezia Giulia), Gaia (Lazio), Osteria (Sicily), Joia (Emilia-Romagna) and The Mistral (Umbria), among 11 other outlets. To further entice diners, a chance to win an Italian getaway to Verona is also up for grabs. Just spend a minimum of $250 at any participating restaurant and you’ll receive a stamp on one of A Tavola’s promotional postcards (available at the Italian Chamber of Commerce and participating restaurants). Fill in the rest of the postcards and you’ll be eligible to win. Eat to your heart’s content as the more places you try, the more opportunities you’ll have to be Italy-bound.
Promotional materials can be found at select venues throughout Hong Kong. You can also check out the Italian Chamber of Commerce website at www.icc.org.hk for more details. Chow! Um, we mean ciao!
KITEC Sat May 26-Sun May 27
Masters and yogis from around the world ‘bent it like Beckham’ on May 26 and May 27 as they warrior posed for the first-ever Hong Kong International Yoga Gala. With workshops geared towards skill building and competitions – with prizes worth thousands of dollars – it was a jam-packed two days at KITEC. Masters showed off their moves at the opening ceremony, which included some serious pretzel-like action as they twisted their bodies into the shape of the salty snack. Spectators looked on with awe. The competitors also flaunted their yoga skills, chanted and took part in vinyasa contests.
Participants not vying for top honours weren’t left out of the programme either. We were treated to a wide range of classes – from breathing exercises to the power of transformation. There was something on offer for every yoga enthusiast. The programme was organised by the Hong Kong Yoga Association and was conducted in Cantonese and English. Oh, and we signed off with the customary salutation… namaste. Of course.
Bisous Thu May 17
Happy Birthday Baby! Cabaret-inspired nightclub Bisous celebrated its first birthday on Thursday May 17 with a classy bash that drew in loyal regulars and a few celebrity faces. Champagne bottles were being popped by the second and silver platters of 1968 Indonesian-cum-Asian-fusion nibbles were passed around to staunch the alcoholic flow. Former Cookies member Angela Au dropped by as well as singer/actor Terence Yin (who celebrated the launch of his latest album at Bisous), Grace Huang, Carl Ng, Desmond So and model/food blogger Janice Jann. Regular performances from the Bisous Follie Ladies kept crowds entertained with a new Alice in Wonderland-themed dance.
As the very first female-owned club of its kind in Hong Kong, Bisous has had a memorable year, hosting all kinds of events and artists from across the globe. Will.I.Am. Hong Kong Social Media Week. Yuto Miyazawa (if you haven't heard/seen the twelve year old's awe-inspiring rock guitar skills − go to Youtube now). Mr Gay Hong Kong. Les Fleurs Sauvage. And they keep on coming. Up next is the Madonna MDNA Club Tour party on Sat Jun 9 and Web Wednesday’s The Battle of the Apps competition on the Wed May 30. Here's to another year!
Lychee Sung Bale
The first “vertical flow” gallery in Hong Kong, AO Art Vertical’s debut exhibition “Liu Heung Shing’s Portrait of China, as seen by Chinese Photographers” is an impressive collection of images. The exhibition is a series of photographs recording a history of China through the eyes of various photographers, curated by Liu Heung Shing. The space is interesting, perhaps one of the most innovative uses of gallery spaces seen in Hong Kong for a while, redefining the space between the viewer and artwork, whilst giving the series an even more pronounced linear narrative. From the 13/F to the 3/F the walls down a spiraling staircase are lined with images, with the ones at the top floor being the oldest and continuing chronologically down to the 3/F. This gives the move through the exhibition a journey, a travelling through time through images that seem familiar yet unfamiliar. The reasons the photographs seem like something ‘seen before’ is that they include imagery of the Communist Revolution that is almost iconic, the laughing face of Mao, the lines of girls in the Red Army, the children painted for a traditional Opera performance. Yet they are new, and every now and then a photograph catches you by surprise with its sheer historical relevance. Perhaps one of the most eye-catching examples is a photograph of a group of old women, holding portraits of them when they were young and in the Red Army. An interesting take on a quick look at China through time, AO Art Vertical’s exhibition is a little out of the way, but worth the visit.
From 18th May to 29th July
3-13/F, Asia One Tower, 8 Fung Yip St., Chai Wan, Hong Kong
Mon-Sat, 9am-6pm. Closed on Public Holiday
Yes, the Beach Boys long-mooted 50th Anniversary Tour is headed to Hong Kong. For the first time in 20 years, the classic lineup of Brian Wilson, Mike Love, Al Jardine, Bruce Johnston and David Marks are getting together to take the classic tunes on the road. They kicked off the tour in Tucson, Arizona, with a mammoth 42-song gig. The only thing that could possibly better than would be if John Stamos were coming…
The Beach Boys Live in Hong Kong
August 25, HKCEC
Tickets: www.hkticketing.com; 3128 8288.
Play Thursday May 10
Paul Van Dyk brought the party to Play Club. Hard. Playing to a packed house of admirers, his signature electronic beats and unique blends were received to cameras flashing, fists pumping and bodies moving. Fresh off the back of his long-anticipated new album, Evolution, he had a wide range of material both old and new plus a few tricks up his sleeve to keep the crowd grooving until the wee hours of the night, showing everyone why he’s dominated DJ Mag’s Top 100 list year on year (on year).