Hong Kong Wrong

Mandarin-Peel w/ Snake's Gall Juice - The Best Choice Souvenir

If you’re ever in Hong Kong, be sure to pick up some mandarin-peel w/ snake’s gall juice, an authentic local favorite, and the ‘best choice of hong kong souvenir’. Yep can’t walk ten feet without tripping over someone convulsing on the sidewalk, purplish froth drooling out between clenched teeth. Good for rebalancing the Qi apparently. And just look at that shiny comet underline - Its got to be the best!

uMama Warms a Legendary Diva

The latest in massage/relaxation technology. HK is rife with such gadgets, ranging from full-body massage recliners (which retail for thousands US) to small handheld gizmos, to more midrange contraptions like this. The preposterous name itself warrants inclusion here, but there’s much more here worth commenting on. First off there’s the unique (and luxuriously comfortable) design which allows it to address the ‘neck, shoulder, back, and tummy’ simultaneously. Can’t say I ever needed a tummy massage after a hard day, but it must be just what a ‘legendary diva’ needs to maintain her... legendary diva-ness? I love the small control pad on the front too, discreetly nestled in the brushed faux leather - makes it look like the spacesuits from the more early Star Trek movies. Have to say it reminds me of the shoulder harness for a high end roller coaster more than anything else though.

Still, who cares what it looks like when it got a name like ‘uMama Warm’. It begs for someone to exclaim in a suitable rapper or jersey accent - “Umama? I warmed umama last night!” etc etc...

Bring On the 24-Herbed Clockwork Oranges!

A truly bizarre album cover concept for the local cantopop band ’24 Herbs’. They are purveyors of the usual HK saccharin-sweet boy band crap, with song titles like Turn It Up, Bring It On, Fashionista, and my personal favorite Chillax featuring Taiwanese rapper Soft Lipa(?).

Now it seems someone had the brilliant idea of doing a full-on Clockwork Orange branding campaign for their latest album and concerts, complete with clubs. bowlers, eye makeup and steel-toed boots. Which leaves me to wonder: did they actually watch the movie? Do they have any idea why those guys dressed like that, and what they were up to? Do you really want your boy band linked to costumed fascist sociopaths? Suffice to say I hope they don’t take the marketing too far, and go on a stomping foray into their adoring audience, accompanied by a stirring rendition of Beethoven’s 9th...



The Pig Large Intestines or the Spicy Pork Blood Curd?

Some offerings available at a Happy Valley noodle shop. These are the kind of things that Americans tend to associate with Cantonese food (if they know anything about it all, which is pretty rare).This also conflates with the joke about the Cantonese willing to eat anything with legs - except the table! Yes hilarious I know. This is not true of course, as evidenced by the appalling number of spoiled dogs here...

Regardless, this place has a few of the more ‘unique’ local offerings on tap than the usual hole in the wall noodle shack, what I believe the British refer to as ‘offal’. We have large intestines, blood curd, ox tripe, pig liver, even pigskin (steamed not fried like pork rinds - yes pork rinds are pig skin, but you knew that, right?) to compliment the more mundane beef brisket and chicken wings. I’ve actually tried some of these dishes, like when my oldest brother mistakenly ordered cold oiled tripe in China (then insisted he really meant to get it). I’ve sampled korean blood sausage (which is similar in principle at least to the blood curd) in suburban Maryland of all places. Suffice it to say that I will be sticking with the brisket...

Crazy! X'Mas! Crazymichael!

The holiday installation at Times Square. I’d never heard of ‘crazymichael’ is and don’t much care about it to be honest. A cursory internets search revealed this:

Hong Kong vinyl pioneer Michael Lau returns with... Crazymichael, a character born out of Lau’s collaboration with Nike for the Air Force 1’s 25th anniversary back in 2008... 12” figures are priced at $1,999 HKD, with only 499 units being made available.

Yes that about $260 US for a toy. Nice work if you can get it. By the way the thirty foot tall crazymichael in the lobby has a rotating head, no doubt to further cement his crazy status (that’s supposed to be a straightjacket he’s wearing). There are a number of these figures festooning the lobby around the blue carpet, as well as more human size toys that look like mutant ‘70s NBA players, ’80s break dancers, and various other ‘kindergardners’(?)

Again what is impressive or disconcerting depending on your viewpoint is the absurd scale of all of this. The giant michael is complimented by 20 foot wide floating ‘thought bubbles’ rigged from the ceiling; the exterior installation has seven foot spray cans and two story assemblages of ‘hi my name is’ stickers. I included the one ‘subversive’ addition. Seems Michael Lau (or one of his devoted coterie of proteges’) included bullshit as a name. How naughty! How subversive! How crazy! Personally I like the mysterious ‘german f’ one myself...









Age? So What!

A billboard in Causeway Bay, exhorting older women to defy their fear of aging by preying upon their fear of... aging. Initially I included this for the utterly baffling exclamation point. After all HK is saturated with such ads, invariably displaying a svelte 110 pound starlet who used to weigh a shocking 125. While this kind of marketing is hardly unique to HK, they do seem to take it a bit too far here. Take for example the featured image: what appears to be a defiant shot across the bow of decrepitude–look she's 45 and chewing bubble gum!–its actually a shot at 45 year old women, who will (gasp) look their age unless they utilize the latest miracle slimming and skin-rejuvenation treatments...