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Posts Tagged ‘Hong Kong

“I installed a skylight in my apartment… the people who live above me are furious”*…

 

Monster-Building_6_Heritage_zolima-citymag

 

It’s easy to see how the Monster Building got its nickname. Located where King’s Road curves around the base of Mount Parker [in Hong Kong], this 19-storey goliath dominates an entire city block. Its façade is pockmarked by air conditioners, drying laundry and corrugated metal awnings, but when the evening sun hits it from the west, casting it in a soft umber glow, it looks beautiful in its own monstrous way.

There’s nothing official about the moniker, although it is common enough that when local coffee chain % Arabica opened a new shop in one of the building’s two courtyards, it referred to it as its “Monster Mansion location.” The name seems to have emerged after the building was featured in two Hollywood blockbusters, Transformers: Age of Extinction and Ghost in the Shell, which turned it into a social media destination…

Together, the five blocks that make up the building contain 2,443 flats, and illegal huts soon filled up the rooftop space. [Lee Ho-yin, head of the University of Hong Kong’s architectural conservation program] estimates the building is home to roughly 6,840 people – a conservative estimate based on Hong Kong’s average household size of 2.8 people. Considering it occupies just 11,000 square metres of space, he says, “the Monster Building is surely the densest spot on earth.”…

So what is it like to live inside a monster? Eva Ho, who works as an administrator at an educational centre, has spent her entire life in the building. “It’s just a normal living place for me,” she says. At its best, the building offers unparalleled convenience, with grocery stores and a wet market on the ground floor, and two courtyards ringed by restaurants. At its worst, Ho says the building can feel “moody,” with a half-century’s worth of grime, poor ventilation and no views to speak of. “What I can see from the windows are the other buildings,” she says…

The remarkable tale in toto at “Hong Kong’s Modern Heritage, Part VII: The Monster Building.”

* Steven Wright

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As we love our neighbors, we might recall that it was on this date in 1903 that Cuba granted the United States a perpetual lease on Guantánamo Bay.  The U.S. had established a presence there during the Spanish-American War; when that conflict ended with the Treaty of Paris of 1898 and Spain ceded Cuba its freedom, the U.S. stayed– first informally, then with the backing of Congress…

In 1901 the United States government passed the Platt Amendment as part of an Army Appropriations Bill. Section VII of this amendment read:

That to enable the United States to maintain the independence of Cuba, and to protect the people thereof, as well as for its own defense, the government of Cuba will sell or lease to the United States lands necessary for coaling or naval stations at certain specified points to be agreed upon with the President of the United States..

After initial resistance by the Cuban Constitutional Convention, the Platt Amendment was incorporated into the Constitution of the Republic of Cuba in 1901. The Constitution took effect in 1902, and land for a naval base at Guantánamo Bay was granted to the United States the following year.  [source]

Gitmo_Aerial source

 

 

Written by LW

February 23, 2020 at 1:01 am

Last-minute gift ideas for the genuinely desperate…

 

From Drew, the evil genius behind the wonderful Married to the Sea and Toothpaste for Dinner (among other web gems), yet another nifty service: “The Worst Things for Sale.”

Do horses use different drugs than humans? Do they have to smoke enormous joints of drugs to get doped out like a junkie? Find out in “Latawnya, the Naughty Horse”it costs $250.34 used, but this is the internet. Here’s the whole book if you want to read it, and if that doesn’t satisfy your horse-drug cravings, the author has since published Latawnya The Naughty Horse 2.

Why was the Oreo Barbie removed from toy stores almost as soon as it was released? Could it have been the fact that they labeled a black woman as an “Oreo”, and that’s offensive and demeaning?  Yes, that’s exactly why, as a matter of fact.

Readers can find something for even the most difficult-to-please folks on their lists at “The Worst Things for Sale.”

[TotH to Laughing Squid]

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As we make a list and check it twice, we might recall that it was on this date in 1984 that Britain re-gifted Hong Kong to China:  British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and her Chinese counterpart Zhao Ziyang signed a Joint Sino-British Declaration, transferring rule of the Crown Colony to China in 1997.

 source

 

 

Written by LW

December 19, 2012 at 1:01 am

Apologies…

David Fullarton‘s ArtSlant profile suggest that he’s…

…a Scottish born, San Francisco based artist. He keeps notebooks filled with scraps of paper, scribbled phrases, and other ephemera that he incorporates into his artwork. These elements represent the often overlooked stuff of daily life, which is the root of Fullarton’s inspiration. He sees beauty in the ways people manage to find joy and meaning in the minutiae. The artist paints vibrantly complex canvases whose elements jumble and mix together in a facsimile of modern life. Fullarton compliments these with smaller mixed media drawings on paper. These paper works are sometimes the genesis of the finished paintings, but are more often stand-alone vignettes featuring forlorn characters who find themselves in compromising situations.

Indeed.  Consider his most recent Behance portfolio, “I Can’t Apologize Enough“– a calculated violation of Ben Franklin’s injunction, “Never ruin an apology with an excuse”– from which the image above and the one immediately below are drawn.

See more of Fullarton’s “Apologies” at Behance; see more of his other, equally-affecting work there, on his site, or on Flickr.

[TotH to Laughing Squid]

***

As we concentrate on contrition, we might recall that it was on this date in 1997 that the United Kingdom surrendered sovereignty over Hong Kong to the People’s Republic of China, and the island enclave became the first PRC’s first “Special Administrative Region.” (The second, Macau, was created two years later.)

View from Victoria Peak

source

Written by LW

July 1, 2012 at 1:01 am

The Groves of Academe…

It’s that time of year- graduation season.  So, from our friends at Good, a look back at what college graduates will remember, and a peek forward to what those escaping high school can expect:  “The Top 10 Oddest College Courses that $50,000 Can Buy.”

Beyond Narnia: The Political Theory and Writings of C.S. Lewis
Offered by Brown University (Providence, Rhode Island)
Annual cost of tuition and fees: $52,030
Photo (cc) by Flickr user menj

More provocative pedagogy at “The Top 10 Oddest College Courses that $50,000 Can Buy.”

As we sharpen our pencils, we might recall that it was on this date in 1839 that Chinese authorities led by Lin Zexu destroyed 1.2 million kg of opium confiscated from British merchants in Canton.  Sino-British trade had been brisk since 1756.  Initially the trade was an exchange of British silver for Chinese luxury goods; but this generated a trade imbalance that the British addressed by beginning, in the 1780’s to substitute opium (harvested in India) for silver.  While opium had some documented medical uses, the primarily application was “recreational”– and it proved very popular indeed.  Imports of the narcotic exploded.  In the 1830’s the British East India Company’s monopoly on Chinese trade was ended, and Americans began to import cheaper Turkish opium to compete with the British.  Use in China grew even more widespread… and the problem that it created became undeniable.  In 1839, the Daoguang Emperor appointed Lin Zexu governor of Canton, charging him with ending the opium trade… and so it was that the First Opium War was begun.

The Chinese underestimated Britain’s commitment to its merchants– and its newly-strengthened military and naval power.  The War ended In 1842 with the Treaty of Nanking, the first of what the Chinese called “the unequal treaties,” which granted an indemnity to Britain, opened five “treaty [free, for the British] ports,” and the ceded of Hong Kong Island to the Crown.  But even these concessions failed to satisfy the British appetite for trade; the Second Opium War began in 1856.

HMS Nemesis destroying Chinese junks during the First Opium War (source)

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