Memorable New Year moments
with Andrew Sun. Additional reporting by Clara Mak and Vivian Chen.
Should old acquaintance be forgot and never brought to mind? Perhaps, but sometimes the strangest and most unusual New Years are also the most memorable. So, for auld lang syne, we took a cup of kindness to some of our favourite local personalities and asked them to share their standout New Year events with us.
I was about 19, living in England, and I organised a New Year's rave party in Leicestershire in a farmer's field in the freezing cold. I basically rented a couple of circus tents and 15,000 people showed up. This was in 1990 or 1991 and it was the most amazing party of my life. I was such an idiot then, so I don't know how I got away with it. I organised the whole damn thing. The thing was, at midnight I was actually DJ'ing. This was the most people I've ever seen in my life. At the countdown, the MC said: 'Ladies and gentlemen, introducing your host tonight, DJ Dynamo' (which was my DJ name), and 15,000 people screamed. That was a pretty good New Year's Eve. I made a load of money that night. I was a kid and never had money before so I blew the whole lot on fast cars, and two years later I was bankrupt. Hence I left England and eventually came to Hong Kong.
Simon Birch, artist
The strangest New Year for me was definitely the year 2000. I was living in Manhattan then and, up until that year, I'd always enjoyed celebrating the New Year in New York City watching the ball drop in Times Square and partying in the city. But that year, there was a lot of hype associated with Y2K [computer bug] and fear of what would happen at the turn of the millennium. I spent Christmas with my family in Los Angeles and was supposed to fly back to New York on December 30. I remember people warning that computers would malfunction, electricity would fail and all kinds of disastrous things would happen in New York City. Even my grandmother told me that if I touched a doorknob or anything metal I would get electrocuted. I was so paranoid I made my poor husband rent a car once we landed at the airport so we could immediately escape the city to the countryside. We ended up in a small hotel in the middle of nowhere. Of course, hiding out in a little room in the country, we watched on TV one of the most spectacular New Year celebrations ever go off without a hitch. But I guess it wasn't so bad: we had a little holiday in the countryside and I didn't get electrocuted.
Michelle Kim, classical pianist (performing on Sunday at the Cultural Centre)
Every year as the holiday season approaches, we flip through travel magazines to get ideas on where to take our team for our annual New Year corporate party. As we have done reasonably well this year, we decided to delight our team by signing everyone up for a lifetime four-seasons experience. We don't mean the hotel, but to experience weather-wise the four seasons in one day. What better place for that than a trip to the Himalayan land of yaks - since that's what our social enterprise specialises in - yak cheese and yak wool called shokay. We figured it was an experience to give our staff. They could understand first-hand the front line of the company, what we do and stand for, and test our super-warm shokay clothing in the bleak cold weather. However, as you might expect, management and staff have different opinions. It seems they were quite yakked out, so at the end of the day everyone unanimously decided to go to Hainan . Who knows what socially innovative ideas we can cook up with coconuts there? But our team is busy with beachwear shopping. Oh well, I am just anticipating another fabulous year, as it's the year of the yak ... I mean ox.
Marie So Tze-kwan, co-director of Ventures in Development
Last year I was partying in Singapore during New Year, which started out amazing but ended on a sour note. Our group started off with a special dinner created just for us. We then progressed as a group to various clubs and partied like rock stars until the countdown. After that, we splintered off to different venues. The smaller group, which I was a part of, bounced around Clarke Quay until the early morning. By the time we were ready to leave, it was impossible to flag down a taxi and we had to wait for a long time, not like Hong Kong. While we were waiting, I noticed a group of locals near us with one of their friends passed out on the street. The good Samaritan in me took over and in a very jovial spirit (since it was New Year) I went to offer my help. But what I got in return was a challenge to a fight. Hmm, not the way I would like to end my New Year's Eve. So I backed off and let them be. Luckily that incident hasn't curtailed my nice-guy nature, so if I see you passed out this year I'll make sure that you get sorted - just don't challenge me to a rumble, OK?
Vince Matthew Chung, Amazing Race Asia Season 3 co-winner (representing Hong Kong)