Whenever Hong Kong's spirit appears to be dipping, somebody comes up with an idea for a festival. We had HarbourFest in 2003. Now we hear of plans to stage a rather different festival in Hong Kong in early December. The festival is born out of a sense that Hong Kong has been rather negative and downbeat over the past year. The idea, says organiser Margaret Brooke, is "to try and generate some positive energy in Hong Kong … and to encourage people to work together on a range of events which can entertain both residents and visitors."
The event is being organised by the Very Hong Kong Festival Foundation Association, a group of individuals with experience in promoting the arts, culture, heritage, design and architecture. The leading figures include Chris Law, chief curator of Oval Partnership, Margaret Brooke, corporate director of the Harbour Business Forum, and Cassius Taylor-Smith, director, Giant Communications.
The festival will be a nine-day programme of events between December 7-15, 2013, and "will celebrate the unique culture and urban environment of our city and aims to support and publicise the best of Hong Kong as well as international culture, across diverse arts, sporting, community and cultural sectors," the organisers say.
The three main locations for events will Kowloon East, Island East, Central/Admiralty, and the island harbourfront. There will be a number of headline events organised by the VeryHK Foundation. These include a music festival in Kowloon East, Antony Gormley public sculpture installations in Central, a street equestrian event along Hoi Bun Road, local and international cinema on the Island East waterfront, and a water sports regatta in Kwun Tong typhoon shelter.
The organisers are asking the public, NGOs, community groups and businesses to submit ideas for a series of self-generated, not-for-profit collaborative events. While they have applied to the Hong Kong Jockey Club for funding, the organisers are also looking for sponsors. Those seeking further information should e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Every dollar counts
The full weight of the Inland Revenue has been brought to bear on one of our readers. "If you do not fully pay the tax by the date shown, an initial surcharge of up to 5% of the amount in default will be imposed," the tax demand note thunders.
Since we have been sent a copy, we can see that amount in question is the princely sum of HK$1.00, possibly worth more than the paper it is printed on but less than the cost of the postage that carried it. That said, it is probably more than many of our tycoons pay in tax.
Inquiring why the Inland Revenue bothered collecting such small sums, we received this humourless reply: "The Inland Revenue Department has the responsibility of informing tax payers their latest position of tax liabilities by providing updated tax assessments. Section 71(1) of the Inland Revenue Ordinance (Cap. 112) provides that tax charged under the provisions of this Ordinance shall be paid in the manner directed in the notice of assessment on or before a date specified in such notice."
Reinventing the noodle
Those who are looking for a change from the usual HK$20-30 bowl of noodles might be interested in what's on offer at the Japanese restaurant Hide-Chan Ramen in Wellington Street. The founder of the restaurant, Hideo Kawahara, has, we are told, come up with a new summer tsukemen (ramen served with dipping sauce). Not content with that, the Japanese fashion brand Mastermind Japan is getting in on the act, so once you've finished eating the noodles you get to take the Master Noodle Bowl set home. All this for a mere HK$680 while, as they say, stocks last.
The Snowden case
We see that whistle-blower Edward Snowden is now being exploited for commercial purposes. Wineshopasia.com has incorporated him into its marketing with a story saying he only came to Hong Kong because of the wine. "I was a wine buff long before I became a whistle-blower," says its promo material. "Wine Shop Asia's NSA 6 Bottle Mixed White Case is worth exposing to the public. It consists of a mix of very special white wines." Then there's the "Snowden Case" - 12 bottles of wine. Expect more in this vein.