Russian ship impresses Chinese journalists and Disneyland profit impresses all

Also, photo series of cramped living spaces shocks the web

PUBLISHED : Monday, 25 February, 2013, 6:57pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 29 August, 2013, 4:13am

Week of February 18

Hong Kong hit international headlines last week thanks to happy news from the “happiest place on earth”: Hong Kong Disneyland posted it first annual profit since opening eight years ago.

But first, a message from The Voice of Russia. The government-funded media outlet reported on Chinese journalists fawning over the world's oldest ship still in operation, the 91-year-old Sedov, which paid a visit to Hong Kong. The captain said:

“The journalists were interested in every detail – not only in the ship (which is quite understandable, because in our time, a sailing vessel is not a common sight), but also in things like what we eat and other details of our daily routine. In Russia, people don’t usually ask about such details. We answered all the questions and showed all of the ship – from the ceremony hall to the kitchen – to our guests.”

A crew members said:

“By all appearances, the Chinese were very impressed with this show. The crick-crack of cameras accompanied us all the way. I believe, very soon, reportages about this will appear in nearly all Chinese newspapers.”

For comparison, here is South China Morning Post’s story and one from The Standard about the ship’s visit (Sadly not a word about what the Sedov crew eats).

Disney dreams come true

Bernie Lo, of CNBC and based in Hong Kong, notes that the new Toy Story and Grizzly Gulch attractions helped Hong Kong Disneyland turn a profit. He also points out that taxpayers footed most of the cost of the project - to disappointing results. After the first year of operation in 2005, attendance has dropped drastically.

Mainland visitors, the biggest group of theme park enthusiasts, has been key to Disneyland’s growth. But last year visits by Hong Kong residents grew 21 per cent, while mainland visits expanded only 13 per cent.

Bloomberg’s Businessweek says China is seeing its own theme park boom. More than 100 new parks opened in 2012, it reported, citing Communist Party paper The People’s Daily.

More competition is also expected from Shanghai Disneyland in 2015, The Los Angeles Times notes.

Animal charity in middle of 'row'

In a local story from Worchester, in western England, a city council was split over allowing a Hong Kong-based charity to solicit donations on the street.

Animals Asia Foundation, which is based in Sheung Wan but also has offices in Britain, the US, Germany, Australia, Italy, New Zealand and Vietnam, works on several animal welfare programmes. One campaign focuses on ending bear farming and bile trade in China and Vietnam.

The organisation was one of 10 seeking permission to place staff or volunteers on Worcester’s streets to ask for public donations. Only 10 charities were chosen, and several city councillors were opposed to allowing a non-local group to be granted permission.

The Worcester News called the city council debate a “row”. One councillor opposed to the idea said:

“This charity is not based in Worcester, it’s not based in this country or even in this continent, it’s based in Hong Kong. Do we really want to be allowing any charity from anywhere in the world permission to come here? I know nothing about this charity and see no reason why we should accept it.”

But another councillor countered:

“It’s not up to us to draw a moral line over this – I also think some people may want to give money to animals in Asia.”

In the end, the city council voted to include Animals Asia Foundation in its list of charities permitted to collect donations.

Horsemeat scare

How many people in Hong Kong would agree with the first line of this video by Al Jazeera? Or is food safety and our perception of it all relative?  

In pictures

Several media outlets - including The Guardian, Daily Mail, Telegraph, Fast Company, Italy's La Repubblica and Huffington Post - and blogs, such as Design Taxi, Neatorama, PetaPixel and My Modern Metropolis, have published photos by Hong Kong's Society of Community Organisation.

The series of overhead shots of cramped flats has gone viral, accompanying such words as "shocking", "human battery hens" and "slums". The campaign by the nonprofit group was launched to raise awareness about poverty in Hong Kong. Beyond haunting photos, let's hope their message spreads far too. 


  • A restaurant in Tseung Kwan O was inspired by Malaysia's night markets and traditional coffee shops in these photos.


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