An exotic new destination

One of many thrilling things to happen over the long weekend was a trip to Cyberport. We have all heard of Cyberport the flawed luxury-apartments-as-tech-hub real-estate scandal. We have listened to poor wretches whose companies are located in the project’s Siberia-like office blocks, with its poor transport links and horrible selection of places to eat. And we have all seen the architecture on the distant coastline from ferries – the huge curved slabs that are Residence Bel Air. But few of us, who are in our right minds, have ever actually been to the place. So I decided to check it out.

The bus station has a bustling Fusion supermarket and McDonalds. After that, however, you enter a sort of twilight zone. This is what those colonies on Mars will be like when only a few zombie-like settlers have survived, but the systems keep running…


Where in Hong Kong do you have a holiday weekend and the mall is largely deserted…


And it is true that there is a dearth of interesting dining spots, even by mall standards – plasticky Japanese, Thai-Viet, Mexican, etc, plus an Irish pub. There’s a cinema, which together with unoccupied units in the upper floors confirms that the retail complex has more space than tenants. A bunch of property agents (which you don’t often see plying their tawdry trade inside pristine malls), one of which offers a Residence Bel Air unit for HK$190 million. And quite a few pet/kid-related outlets, reminding us that this whole place is primarily an up-market residential area.

A stroll around for some eavesdropping and mild snooping suggests that the inhabitants are well-remunerated Western expats and Mainlanders, plus some South Asians and locals – plus of course their Filipino maids. The huge residential blocks wrap themselves like a wall protecting the enclave from whatever is out there. It’s home for people who find Discovery Bay too exciting, earthy, edgy, or unbearably soulful.

The waterfront park offers a slight relief from the antiseptic built-up surroundings. It has a kids’ playground, the inevitable doggy zone, and some quite extensive, well-manicured lawn. It is acceptable to erect little tents for picnics. One slightly weird, freaky and disturbing sight was a group of kids playing at being maids, ‘sweeping’ the ground with fallen palm-tree fronds…


Apart from that, social deviance is not tolerated, and the professional and efficient local authorities guide and rule with firm Singaporean-style benevolence…


Almost. A few riffraff barbarian anarchists from Planet Hong Kong – specifically the nearby public-housing estate – sneak into the millionaires’ ghetto to spread disorder and chaos by climbing over railings and fishing…


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15 Responses to An exotic new destination

  1. Joe Blow says:

    Even Vagina Ip Lau suk-yee paid a recent visit, I see.

  2. Yau Wai Ching says:

    DB? Unbearably soulful.? How about simply unbearable.

    But hey, how about that Yau Wai Ching? I think I’m love. Not just a pretty face, but gutsy, smart, and understands how to get the local media riled up. I do fear for her future, because we are talking about kicking China in the balls, and we all know how that generally ends up.

  3. Did you memtion the 100 yards of cycle track, occupied incessantly by maids with dogs and feral expat ankle biters? It’s the only 100 yards of cycle track on Hong Kong island, Hong Kong useless tokenism at its most absurd.

    Otherwise it is a deathly dull place, apart from the dogs in the park. Supremely ugly of course too. But who notices how truly ugly Hong Kong is, was and shall be?

    It is also the only place Domald Tsang learned something from. He was determined not to make the West Kowloon Cultural District into another Cyberport. This dropped friend Rafael Hui and the Kwoks in the soup. They thought they had it made.

  4. Walter De Havilland says:

    Thankfully you ignored the silly stunts in LegCo yesterday. Although, I do think we ought to investigate the origins of the Ap Lei Chau accent claimed by one of our juvenile legislators.

  5. Chinese Netizen says:

    Hate to use this phrase but…”to be fair”…the “do not lean on fence” sign may have actually been useful for once…

  6. Yau Wai Ching says:

    @Walter de Havilland

    Silly? Silly?????? Nothing is sillier than the pretense that Legco is some sort of representative body of the people by the people for the people. Legco is a goddamned democratic mausoleum, it’s where democracy goes to die, but the second you see something that doesn’t quite conform to your understanding of “parliamentary standards” you deign it fair to simply rubbish it and dismiss it offhand. You see silliness, I see young people with some serious fucking balls showing China a big middle finger.

    Effing Legco hasn’t experienced this much real democracy in its short tragic little history, but the second it does you dismiss it because it’s not quite Margaret Thatcher enough to your delicate taste. It still amazes me really that ostensibly Western-educated Westerners…. don’t even fucking get it. No wonder ushering in millions of third-worldlings to prop-up the failing welfare states across Europe seems like a good idea to you lot. You don’t understand your own cultural heritage.


  7. PCC says:

    Yes, Cyberport definitely lacks all the usual Hong Kong charm of working in a cramped office in a smelly old building in a noisy, filthy, crowded street. On the plus side, however, it’s a pleasant place to work.

  8. Des Espoir says:

    Ah yes, Telegraph Bay as it used to be… then our Government started to reclaim it in 1982… ‘No, no’ they protested, ‘we are NOT reclaiming it… we are merely using it to store underwater some spoil from digging the MTR, until we find another use for it… The spoil will remain at least 1 metre below the surface, so the pristine quality of Telegraph Bay will remain..’ So, Government duplicity is nothing new….

  9. Joe Blow says:

    Yep. He did it. One day after calling him out, La TooToo is quoting Mao and screaming for a revolution.

  10. LRE says:

    Somewhat surprised you steered clear of the fun and frolics of the first day of The Communist Fun Party’s Cool Cool Circus. Perhaps, unlike Steve Martin’s vainglorious attempt at being Inspector Clouseau, you feel that some things are funny enough to not try to improve on it.

    A glorious first day for the CPC — losing friends and alienating people straight off the bat, although voting in a UK national as president was a bit off-message (smacks of the colonial days, what? The old colonial days that is, not the current colonial days…).

  11. Joe Blow says:

    Talking about Inspector Clouseau and the old colonial days, I once watched a Pink Panther movie in the late seventies, right here in Hong Kong, that was partly shot in the Excelsior Hotel. Any of you dinosaurs remember that ? Name of the moving picture ?

  12. Sojourner says:

    “No wonder ushering in millions of third-worldlings to prop-up the failing welfare states across Europe seems like a good idea to you lot. You don’t understand your own cultural heritage.”

    Did you miss your daily medication, dearie?

  13. Knownot says:

    ‘Revenge of the Pink Panther’
    The film, which was a dud, was set in HK, so I suppose a lot of it was shot here. There was a laborious scene in which Clouseau disguised himself by dressing as up as a Chinaman, with a mandarin gown and so on, and his Chinese assistant disguised himself as an Englishman with a bowler hat and so on.

    I got a bit of a thrill seeing two of my colleagues in it. They were extras, walking across the screen, playing passers-by. But they weren’t actresses, and their walk was self-conscious and stiff.

  14. Should have gone next door to Wah Fu – much more fun.

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