Short Reads

The new headquarters of the Standard Chartered Bank in Central opened in May 1990. Photo: SCMP
When Hong Kong’s new Standard Chartered Bank HQ building was built in 1990

The Standard Chartered Bank’s new building was built on the site of its old headquarters, and when it was finished it was taller than Hong Kong Bank’s new headquarters.

15 minutes ago
A statue of Tua Pek Kong, or Great Earth God, a guardian deity popular among the Chinese communities in Singapore and Malaysia.
Reflections | Popular Chinese god in Singapore and Malaysia turns up in surprising place

The island of Gili Tepekong off the coast of Bali was named after the Great Earth God, Tua Pek Kong, a guardian deity among the Chinese communities in Singapore and Malaysia.

23 May 2022 - 12:30PM
Catholic Bishop John Baptist Wu Cheng-chung was elevated to Cardinal in 1988. Photo: SCMP
When Pope John Paul II elevated Hong Kong’s Bishop Wu to Cardinal

In 1988, Pope John Paul II elevated Catholic Bishop John Baptist Wu Cheng-chung to Cardinal. The Hongkonger would ‘play an important role in the initiative to improve Sino-Vatican relations’.

16 May 2022 - 2:23PM
Celine Setiadi with her mural, outside the AIA Vitality Park at Central Pier. Photo: Jonathan Wong
New Instagram-worthy street art in Hong Kong by 5 young artists

A trippy scene straight out of Alice in Wonderland, a commentary on the relationship between humans and nature – young artists are adding colour to Hong Kong when the city needs it the most.

12 May 2022 - 4:45PM
An illustration of an ancient Chinese punishment from the book The Punishments of China (1801). Photo: Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Reflections | Nose cut off, castrated, boiled alive: China’s extreme 5 Punishments of old

Designed to cause the most intense physical pain and psychological anguish, ancient China’s five punishments ranged from amputation and torture to horrific death.

12 May 2022 - 8:45AM
In Hong Kong in 1930, a man murdered five people in their sleep and wounded another then tried to commit suicide, but was overpowered. Photo: Shutterstock
When a madman murdered 5 people in their sleep in Hong Kong

Five people were murdered in their sleep and one wounded when Li Man-pun attacked them with a heavy butcher’s knife in May 1930. He tried to commit suicide, but was overpowered by a cook.

10 May 2022 - 11:15AM
Eppie Yip works at The Kind Kitchen, an initiative by NGO ImpactHK. It serves 2,200 free meals per week, all year round, to needy Hongkongers. Photo: Xiaomei Chen
This Hong Kong kitchen serves 2,200 free meals a week to those who need help

The Kind Kitchen, an initiative by NGO ImpactHK, is open all year round and serves the homeless, street cleaners, the elderly in need of food support, ethnic minorities and refugees.

6 May 2022 - 6:36PM
Britain’s Labour Party deputy leader Angela Rayner speaks during prime minister’s questions in the House of Commons in London on December 15, 2021. Photo: AFP
Reflections | Like Angela Rayner, Chinese women politicians have endured puerile comments

Empress Lü skilfully dealt with letter from a neighbouring ruler whose insolence is comparable with British tabloid The Mail and its recent attack on Rayner of the UK Labour Party.

6 May 2022 - 5:00PM
The Kowloon Tong interchange station opened in 1982, and linked Hong Kong’s internal rail network with its main line to China. Photo: Sam Chan
When Hong Kong’s Kowloon Tong interchange linked two rail systems in 1982

Hong Kong’s internal network, the MTR, was linked with its main line to China, the KCR when the Kowloon Tong interchange station was finished in 1982.

3 May 2022 - 11:15AM
British servicemen in the 1920s and ‘30s often formed relationships with prostitutes. Portrait of Ms Siu Sheung Fei (above) and Ms Fa Yuk Lan (below), of Tsiu Lok brothel, Shek Tong Tsui, 1931.
Then & Now | How Hong Kong’s unattached British servicemen found love between the wars

British servicemen in Hong Kong often started relationships with bar girls or prostitutes, putting them up in subdivided flats in the city. A number of these relationships led to happy marriages.

2 May 2022 - 8:45AM
A woman performs a dance during a demonstration for climate justice in Rome, Italy, on Earth Day 2022. Photo: Cecilia Fabiano/LaPresse via AP
Opinion | ‘We’re cooked’: Earth Day’s over, as politics, industry and apathy continue

Climate change, as always, takes a back seat to politics and industry, with no leaders held accountable, and our own apathy drags us towards the end.

30 Apr 2022 - 9:45AM
People’s Liberation Army soldiers in a truck in Garden Road, Central, Hong Kong, February 20, 2014, photographed by David Clarke for the Hong Kong in Transition archive. Photo: David Clarke
The 5-year project that grew: artist’s 42,000 photos of Hong Kong

A collection of more than 42,000 photographs, taken by artist and academic David Clarke, and covering 25 years, is now available as a free-to-use archive for anyone interested in Hong Kong and its history.

29 Apr 2022 - 11:15AM
A Song dynasty statue of Lao Tzu, the Chinese master philosopher and father of Taoism in Quanzhou, China. There has generally been harmony between the three major Chinese religions. Photo: Getty Images
Reflections | A lesson for Christians, Muslims and Jews from China’s major religions

Followers of the three Abrahamic religions do not get along. Why, then, has there rarely been disharmony in China between followers of Buddhism, Taoism and Confucianism?

29 Apr 2022 - 12:03PM
The Connaught Centre still stood head and shoulders above other towers in Hong Kong in 1979. Photo: SCMP
The tower, since renamed, that was SE Asia’s tallest when it opened in 1973

Connaught Centre, now known as Jardine House, with its distinctive porthole windows, was Hong Kong’s tallest skyscraper for several years.

26 Apr 2022 - 9:45AM
A mosquito feeds on a human host. The insect’s role in spreading the parasite that causes malaria was discovered in the 19th century. The disease had been so named because it was thought to be a miasma. Photo: Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images
Language Matters | How malaria got its name, and why it was a misnomer

Deadly periodic fever had been documented for centuries before an Italian doctor named it malaria based on the theory that breathing vapours from stagnant waters caused it. The mosquito-parasite link came later.

25 Apr 2022 - 1:45PM
Airport workers walk past a giant screen at an almost deserted Hong Kong International Airport on March 24, 2022. Photo: SOPA Images / LightRocket via Getty Images
Then & Now | Hong Kong offers eerie echoes of Calcutta’s retreat from global importance

Once a vibrant, cosmopolitan, world-class city second only to London in commercial importance, Calcutta (now Kolkata) provides a bleak template for the Hong Kong of tomorrow.

22 Apr 2022 - 10:25AM
Hundreds of people queue up at the Woodlands Checkpoint to cross the Singapore-Malaysia border at the stroke of midnight for the first time in two years on March 31, 2022. Photo: Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
Reflections | Squabbling Singapore and Malaysia should look at 2 ancient Chinese states

Spats over behaviour at reopened land borders between the two nations soured the occasion, while history shows what can happen when neighbours forget how close they really are.

21 Apr 2022 - 11:47AM
A black swan in Western Australia. Their discovery by Dutch explorers in the 17th century changed the meaning of a metaphor used by writers since Roman times. Photo: Getty Images
Language Matters | Black swan metaphor had a different meaning until nature intervened

Historically a black swan was a metaphor for something thought not to exist – in Roman times a good wife, later an ‘honest lawyer’. Then explorers discovered black swans were real.

15 Apr 2022 - 6:15AM
Hong Kong Police explosive experts retrieve bomb fragments from the food plaza of the Jusco store in Tuen Mun in 1999. Following the blast, a hoax caller threatened more bombings at its branches. Photo: Oliver Tsang
When a ‘bored’ security guard made hoax bomb threats in Hong Kong

After a bomb exploded in a Hong Kong department store, threats of more bombs, and a ransom demand, were made to police. A hoaxer who admitted making them ‘just for fun’ was arrested and jailed.

14 Apr 2022 - 9:45AM
Former Indonesian President Sukarno, who, in December 1957, suddenly froze bank accounts, sequestered private property and ordered the immediate departure of all Dutch citizens in the country. Photo: Picture Alliance via Getty Images
Then & Now | Why ‘foreigners’ in Hong Kong should heed history’s lessons on deportation

Despite assurances, history shows ‘foreign’ residents are briskly discarded when their presence appears more nuisance than benefit – just look at Indonesia.

11 Apr 2022 - 8:45AM