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Speaker: Hong Kong and The Matrix

8 Responses

  • Lucy Telfar Barnard,

    I’ve been to Hong Kong a couple of times. I had thought the visibility was mostly a consequence of the weather rather than pollution, though this piece prompted a quick google search and I stand corrected.

    Wikipedia says “The pollution comes largely from coal-fired power stations and traffic, although a significant contribution comes from the tens of thousands of factories in China’s neighbouring manufacturing heartland in the Pearl River Delta”.

    Pollution from traffic and burning coal could both be fixed by cleaner technologies/energy sources, so these are problems money could fix, given time; but I don’t know anything about the types of pollution coming from the Pearl River Delta manufacturing so wouldn’t hazard a guess on whether or not money could fix them.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 580 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz, in reply to Lucy Telfar Barnard,

    Suspect it's a bit of both. If we had massive coal fired industry in Wellington, it'd all blow elsewhere. Maybe I shouldn't say this, it'll give Brownlee ideas.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • Chris Waugh,

    I was in Hong Kong for a few days at the tail end of CNY, i.e. the last few days of February this year. The Bank of China building, I'm pretty sure, was in Central and not Kowloon, where it always has been.... But I put the poor visibility down to the damp, overcast weather. It cleared up by lunchtime on the day we spent at Disney, and I wound up having to buy a hat to cope with the sun, but otherwise it was just overcast and damp. I'm sure air pollution did contribute to the poor visibility, and I'm even more sure that my perspective is a little skewed by all those years in Beijing, but the air was actually pretty clear and those clouds really were mostly just clouds.

    Cleaner fuels for transport and electricity generation would certainly help, as would limiting density so that wind can swirl around buildings and ventilate the streets, but all those ships and aircraft need pretty heavy fuels and simply packing people in so tightly is going to make for a dirty public space - air, water and ground - no matter what you do, I think. But I do love how Hong Kong has used its space so well so that it has a super-dense city but with plenty of small pockets of open space for sports, leisure, recreation - Kowloon Park is awesome, but there are many other, smaller spaces, too - and the city is surrounded by vast tracts of rural land and bush - Lantau Island! I love that island!

    But Hong Kong as some kind of Matrix-like post-apocalyptic wasteland? No, sorry. I think somebody needs to calm down and take a deep breath - relax, it's Hong Kong, not Beijing.

    Multicultural Hong Kong? I dunno. I like Hong Kong a lot, but I do find it to be a very highly stratified society, with the strata based as much on skin colour lines as class lines. Then again, there's Karen Mok and Bruce Lee and plenty more ordinary day-to-day mixing and matching.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 2401 posts Report Reply

  • Lucy Telfar Barnard, in reply to Chris Waugh,

    Cleaner fuels for transport and electricity generation would certainly help, as would limiting density so that wind can swirl around buildings and ventilate the streets

    Not just wind - at one housing conference I attended I happened upon a presentation on how to arrange and design tower blocks to improve sunlight access. It included wonderful diagrams showing sun angles at different times of year, and different shapes of buildings. As far as I recall (it was a while ago...) the ideal ended up looking a bit like a forest of half trees.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 580 posts Report Reply

  • suziedawson,

    Correction: the building to which I referred in the article is in fact the International Commerce Centre (the tallest building in Hong Kong), not the Bank of China Tower. Misreading my Lonely Planet guidebook and being a first-time visitor is responsible for the error, my sincere apologies.

    Earth • Since Apr 2015 • 1 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell,

    I visit a few times a year at the moment, usually to/from Shenzhen - I like to stay in Kowloon - specifically the Jordan area, not so touristy, great street food, (relatively) cheap tiny hotels.

    The subways are great, safe, cheap - to save money only take the airport train to it's first stop (Tsing Yi) and change to the subway

    I don't do much touristy stuff but if you want to - visit the Kowloon Walled City Park, take the ferry across to downtown, ride the escalators to the top (in the afternoon when they go up) and walk down

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2600 posts Report Reply

  • Chris Waugh, in reply to Paul Campbell,

    I took the train from the airport once, my first time, all the way into Central. Now I just take the bus from the airport. The train is cool, but the bus is way cheaper.

    Yes to the ferries. They are much cheaper and much more pleasant transport between Tsimshatsui and Central or Wan Chai. But all the other ferries, too, from Central out to the outer islands, including Lantau. The older ferries with open decks are just much nicer ways to get around.

    Also, the trams along Hong Kong Island. Rode them for the first time in February, and we had the good fortune to bump into an old guy who showed us how the system works - jump on the back door, get off at the front and drop your fare in the box as you go, simple flat fare, just make sure you have the right change. Again, a very pleasant way to travel around.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 2401 posts Report Reply

  • Tony Siu,

    I would like to ask which part of Hk have you been to come up with sentences like 'cars associated with the rich' and' Chinese tortured their own'

    Auckland • Since Mar 2008 • 82 posts Report Reply

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