Jason Wordie

Jason Wordie

Latest from Jason Wordie

Then & Now | Lunar New Year for foreigners in Hong Kong: lai see headaches and gripes about pricey haircuts

Lunar New Year is fast approaching, and little has changed for Hong Kong’s foreigners over the years, with the festival’s inconvenience and expense a source of wry amusement for some, irritation for others.

Lunar New Year is fast approaching, and little has changed for Hong Kong’s foreigners over the years, with the festival’s inconvenience and expense a source of wry amusement for some, irritation for others.

24 Jan 2022 - 4:45AM
Then & Now | How Hong Kong buildings kept cool before air conditioning by copying India – deep verandas, high ceilings, chick blinds and shutters

Lying on almost the same latitude, Calcutta was the inspiration for many building design features in Hong Kong, including deep verandas, high ceilings, chick blinds and shutters.

Lying on almost the same latitude, Calcutta was the inspiration for many building design features in Hong Kong, including deep verandas, high ceilings, chick blinds and shutters.

16 Jan 2022 - 11:15AM
Then & Now | Sick of quarantine? Hotel internment in Hong Kong 80 years ago was a true ordeal, and a prelude to 38 hungry months in a Stanley camp

Being confined in hotel quarantine in Hong Kong is nothing compared to the hotel internment endured under Japanese occupation. And Penny’s Bay is paradise compared to the Stanley camp internees were moved to.

Being confined in hotel quarantine in Hong Kong is nothing compared to the hotel internment endured under Japanese occupation. And Penny’s Bay is paradise compared to the Stanley camp internees were moved to.

8 Jan 2022 - 9:15AM
Then & Now | Who writes Hong Kong memoirs? Examples from World War II survivors to policemen to those who just want to settle scores can reveal history in a new light

World War II-themed memoirs and stories of colonial life have given way to accounts from policemen and those clearly written in response to earlier works to ‘set the record straight’.

World War II-themed memoirs and stories of colonial life have given way to accounts from policemen and those clearly written in response to earlier works to ‘set the record straight’.

30 Dec 2021 - 10:45AM
Then & Now | Why Chinese gardeners prized Canton mud, and farmers too – they literally traded dirt for gold. No wonder counterfeiters had a field day

Soil dug from the bottom of fish ponds, known as Canton mud, was prized by gardeners for its fine grains and good drainage. Plants such as ink orchids, water lilies and lotus thrive in it.

Soil dug from the bottom of fish ponds, known as Canton mud, was prized by gardeners for its fine grains and good drainage. Plants such as ink orchids, water lilies and lotus thrive in it.

23 Dec 2021 - 10:45AM
Then & Now | How Christmas in Hong Kong evolved from a European affair to a Chinese religious festival, until an American Santa Claus swept all before him

Flashy decorations, snow-covered Christmas trees and Santa Claus – they’re part and parcel of the Hong Kong festive season now, but how did the city celebrate the Christian festival in the past?

Flashy decorations, snow-covered Christmas trees and Santa Claus – they’re part and parcel of the Hong Kong festive season now, but how did the city celebrate the Christian festival in the past?

13 Dec 2021 - 8:45AM
Then & Now | How Chinese-American photographer’s evocative Hong Kong images celebrate its past and a portrait by him served as quite the status marker

Chinese-American photographer Francis Wu specialised in black-and-white portraiture, while his evocative images of Hong Kong are a poignant reminder of days gone by.

Chinese-American photographer Francis Wu specialised in black-and-white portraiture, while his evocative images of Hong Kong are a poignant reminder of days gone by.

3 Dec 2021 - 11:45AM
Then & Now | When Chinese didn’t value eggs, a foreigner saw opportunity and launched a roaring trade from Shanghai in tinned eggs to the UK

Chinese eggs collected from countless villages fed a Shanghai factory that exported 4-gallon cans of them to the UK. After 1949, Hong Kong sold preserved eggs to North America – those from Communist China were banned.

Chinese eggs collected from countless villages fed a Shanghai factory that exported 4-gallon cans of them to the UK. After 1949, Hong Kong sold preserved eggs to North America – those from Communist China were banned.

29 Nov 2021 - 8:45AM
Then & Now | 100 years of illegal street racing in Hong Kong and police still can’t stop it – what do soldiers of China’s PLA subject to nightly aural assault think?

Recent deaths in Hong Kong’s road-racing black spots highlight an issue that has been a problem since the 1920s, with feeble attempts to stop it doing little.

Recent deaths in Hong Kong’s road-racing black spots highlight an issue that has been a problem since the 1920s, with feeble attempts to stop it doing little.

19 Nov 2021 - 3:42PM
Then & Now | How museums – at first private, later public – spread in Asia and the man who lent them impetus in Hong Kong

Private museums, their curations reflecting the interests of their patrons, blazed a trail across 19th century Asia for the publicly funded ones that followed – like the one at Hong Kong’s first City Hall, opened in 1869.

Private museums, their curations reflecting the interests of their patrons, blazed a trail across 19th century Asia for the publicly funded ones that followed – like the one at Hong Kong’s first City Hall, opened in 1869.

13 Nov 2021 - 9:45AM
Then & Now | Why Hong Kong’s current leaders are a cartoonist’s nightmare – there’s nothing recognisable about them

Political cartoons once captured the spirit of the times, but in Hong Kong they are a dying art. Is it any wonder when the city’s leaders are so uninspiring?

Political cartoons once captured the spirit of the times, but in Hong Kong they are a dying art. Is it any wonder when the city’s leaders are so uninspiring?

8 Nov 2021 - 8:45AM
Then & Now | What goose-stepping Hong Kong uniformed services says about the city in 2021

Goose-stepping disciplined services in Hong Kong – it couldn’t be true, could it? But it was. To stay sane these days, add the works of George Orwell to your copy of Alice in Wonderland, a wit might say.

Goose-stepping disciplined services in Hong Kong – it couldn’t be true, could it? But it was. To stay sane these days, add the works of George Orwell to your copy of Alice in Wonderland, a wit might say.

1 Nov 2021 - 8:45PM
Then & Now | Hong Kong historical heritage tourism? Sanitised and soulless, the city’s ‘revitalised’ buildings are empty shells and missed opportunities

Hong Kong’s heritage is a victim of the city’s success, killed off by massive urban renewal and soulless revitalisation projects which are hardly tourist magnets.

Hong Kong’s heritage is a victim of the city’s success, killed off by massive urban renewal and soulless revitalisation projects which are hardly tourist magnets.

25 Oct 2021 - 8:45AM
Then & Now | Dussehra, Hindu festival enjoyed by Nepalis in Hong Kong, was the biggest event of the year for their Gurkha soldier forebears in the city

Nepalis in Hong Kong celebrate Dussehra every October – and what a party it was when the Brigade of Gurkhas was in Hong Kong in full force.

Nepalis in Hong Kong celebrate Dussehra every October – and what a party it was when the Brigade of Gurkhas was in Hong Kong in full force.

16 Oct 2021 - 5:43PM
Then & Now | When Nationalist flags bedecked a Hong Kong town for Double Tenth holiday in live-and-let-live era that seems long gone

Anniversary of the Wuchang uprising that led to the Republic of China was always a cause for raucous celebration in Kam Tin in Hong Kong’s New Territories, its roads bedecked with Nationalist flags.

Anniversary of the Wuchang uprising that led to the Republic of China was always a cause for raucous celebration in Kam Tin in Hong Kong’s New Territories, its roads bedecked with Nationalist flags.

8 Oct 2021 - 8:45AM
Then & Now | Hong Kong has made participation in politics pointless, in a new version of the ‘old normal’ under British colonial rule

With political participation becoming pointless in Hong Kong, as it was until the 1950s under colonial rule, it is illustrative to see which sorts of people still hanker after public office.

With political participation becoming pointless in Hong Kong, as it was until the 1950s under colonial rule, it is illustrative to see which sorts of people still hanker after public office.

4 Oct 2021 - 8:45AM
Then & Now | Baseball caps became standard wear in post-war Hong Kong, but it wasn’t the Americans’ doing

Hats were usually chosen for practical reasons in Hong Kong – take the ones sedan chair bearers wore, their pattern indicating the dialect they spoke.

Hats were usually chosen for practical reasons in Hong Kong – take the ones sedan chair bearers wore, their pattern indicating the dialect they spoke.

27 Sep 2021 - 9:15AM
Then & Now | Mooncakes, memories and the Mid-Autumn Festival: when seasonal anticipation added to the excitement and everyone joined in the fun

Mid-Autumn Festival is a reminder of a time when everything was seasonal, and everyone looked forward to celebrating with mooncakes, lanterns and other traditions.

Mid-Autumn Festival is a reminder of a time when everything was seasonal, and everyone looked forward to celebrating with mooncakes, lanterns and other traditions.

20 Sep 2021 - 8:45AM
Then & Now | The children’s books Europeans in Asia grew up reading, from Chinese adventures to fondly remembered Kenyan tales

Beatrix Potter-esque books set in the English countryside were completely meaningless to children born and raised in East Asia – who read books set in more familiar surroundings.

Beatrix Potter-esque books set in the English countryside were completely meaningless to children born and raised in East Asia – who read books set in more familiar surroundings.

13 Sep 2021 - 8:45AM
Then & Now | When belching fell out of favour in Hong Kong: a young man makes a faux pas at the banquet table in the 1960s

A young English stockbroker, new in Hong Kong in the late 1960s, burped loudly after a Chinese banquet, thinking it was good manners. However, times had changed.

A young English stockbroker, new in Hong Kong in the late 1960s, burped loudly after a Chinese banquet, thinking it was good manners. However, times had changed.

6 Sep 2021 - 8:45AM
Then & Now | The go-getters who left Macau for Hong Kong and Shanghai when the Portuguese enclave was a sleepy backwater, and what became of them

Macau had long been a backwater, so when opportunity arose in the 19th century many ‘local Portuguese’ – in fact largely Eurasians – left for Hong Kong and Shanghai.

Macau had long been a backwater, so when opportunity arose in the 19th century many ‘local Portuguese’ – in fact largely Eurasians – left for Hong Kong and Shanghai.

30 Aug 2021 - 8:45AM
Then & Now | Hong Kong civil society is in retreat, from protest organiser to the biggest teachers’ union – does it matter?

From the Professional Teachers’ Union and Civil Human Rights Front to groups pushing niche projects such as conserving former military installations, Hong Kong civil society is in retreat.

From the Professional Teachers’ Union and Civil Human Rights Front to groups pushing niche projects such as conserving former military installations, Hong Kong civil society is in retreat.

23 Aug 2021 - 8:45AM
Then & Now | How to predict the Chinese Communist Party’s actions: 10 tips from one of the world’s shrewdest interpreters of its intentions

One of the world’s shrewdest interpreters of Chinese Communist actions and intentions, Hungarian Jesuit priest Father Laszlo Ladany gave his ‘10 Commandments’ for other analysts in 1982.

One of the world’s shrewdest interpreters of Chinese Communist actions and intentions, Hungarian Jesuit priest Father Laszlo Ladany gave his ‘10 Commandments’ for other analysts in 1982.

16 Aug 2021 - 8:45AM
Then & Now | Street food hawkers in Hong Kong: a tale of corruption, crackdowns and the black comedy of the food truck fiasco

Hong Kong food hawkers are a dying breed, their demise a loss for the city’s culture. The recent shambolic launch of food trucks in their place was doomed to fail, as stifled by red tape as the hawkers are.

Hong Kong food hawkers are a dying breed, their demise a loss for the city’s culture. The recent shambolic launch of food trucks in their place was doomed to fail, as stifled by red tape as the hawkers are.

6 Aug 2021 - 8:48AM
Then & Now | Hong Kong in the 1990s: a new airport, handover fears, Chris Patten, the BN(O) passport, David Tang, and the British recession refugees and chancers

The handover of Hong Kong to China loomed large, as did the last governor, Chris Patten, in the run-up to 1997. A new airport was built, and BN(O) passports arrived.

The handover of Hong Kong to China loomed large, as did the last governor, Chris Patten, in the run-up to 1997. A new airport was built, and BN(O) passports arrived.

1 Aug 2021 - 8:45AM
Then & Now | The current exodus from Hong Kong isn’t like pre-1997 – these people won’t be returning. And that changes the city

Anecdotes are not data, but gather enough of them and they tell a story. Hong Kong is seeing the flower of its youth leave – permanently – and there is no point officials denying it.

Anecdotes are not data, but gather enough of them and they tell a story. Hong Kong is seeing the flower of its youth leave – permanently – and there is no point officials denying it.

14 Aug 2021 - 12:59PM
Then & Now | Gold teeth, Parker pens, a Rolex watch: escape kits for when you have to flee for your life, and the things you’d leave behind

What are the essentials you would take if you had to flee for your life? Probably not the silver hair brush and jade necklace one Hong Kong resident grabbed in December 1941 when the Japanese invaded.

What are the essentials you would take if you had to flee for your life? Probably not the silver hair brush and jade necklace one Hong Kong resident grabbed in December 1941 when the Japanese invaded.

19 Jul 2021 - 8:45AM
Then & Now | Like travel in wartime: coronavirus pandemic has normalised quarantines and tortuous journeys

Quarantines, cancelled flights and complicated routes are the new normal for travellers, echoing some of the difficulties faced during wartime.

Quarantines, cancelled flights and complicated routes are the new normal for travellers, echoing some of the difficulties faced during wartime.

12 Jul 2021 - 2:47PM
Then & Now | A history lesson from World War II hero ‘Mad Mike’ Calvert, who fought in Burma with the Chindits

A decorated officer who fought alongside the Chindit guerillas against Japanese soldiers in Burma during World War II, ‘Mad Mike’ Calvert taught your columnist a lesson on a visit to Hong Kong, where he had also served.

A decorated officer who fought alongside the Chindit guerillas against Japanese soldiers in Burma during World War II, ‘Mad Mike’ Calvert taught your columnist a lesson on a visit to Hong Kong, where he had also served.

5 Jul 2021 - 12:45PM
Then & Now | Why people love private members’ clubs in Asia

Whether offering a ‘home from home’ or facilities unavailable in tiny gardenless flats, private clubs have been popular in Asia since the 19th century.

Whether offering a ‘home from home’ or facilities unavailable in tiny gardenless flats, private clubs have been popular in Asia since the 19th century.

28 Jun 2021 - 5:12PM