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Our Town Now

An occasional column by Mo Wong Goon, not to be taken too seriously



Bloke named after bank rate

Into Kidnapped book store and up the stairs we encounter a bloke who says his name is Hibor. Naturally we want to know whether he is named after the Hong Kong Interbank Offered Rate or his parents have a wicked sense of humour. Hibor is quick to show he likes a bit of banter. Banksters will have nothing to do with him, he says, and yes, blame his parents. His full name is Hibor Huber.

We are in the shop looking for presents for a four-month-old girl and a four-year-old boy. Hibor gets it right immediately. A dad, he knows what kids like.

We offer to pay. Hibor says, “Sorry, they won’t let me anywhere near the till.”

We do a double take. “They don’t let you out very often, do they?”

It is just as well Hibor likes a joke. He’s big.

Predictions by OUR TOWN NOW for 2018:


George Ng, District Council Chairman since last century (left) with Chief Executive Carrie Lam and a Sai Kung elder. George proudly says he is Hong Kong’s longest serving District Council Chairman.

— George Ng Sze-fuk announces he is stepping down as District Council Chairman after 24 years, relinquishing his $98,000 a month in salary and perks and control over a $10 million budget. George says, “It is time for new blood and fresh ideas”*

— That rare creature, a Baguio recyclables collection truck, is spotted in Sai Kung, photographed and the species identified*

— The new District Officer David Chiu finally comes out of hiding and agrees to a press interview*

— Beijing announces Hong Kong can have full autonomy, excepting foreign affairs and defence, along with Xinjiang and Tibet under the sovereignty of China*

— The burons and politicos who stuffed up the Hiram’s Highway expansion so mind-bogglingly stupidly hold a press conference to apologise to the Sai Kung community*

— The Police and departments of Transport and Highways announce they have agreed jointly to install speed cameras on all main Sai Kung highways to slow traffic and reduce the human and cattle road toll*

* Ed: You must be joking

Stand-offish Sai Kung people

It is a sadness that Sai Kung people can be stand-offish with new businesses that presume to enter their territory. They take a wait and see attitude. Time will tell, as it always does.

The deceased Diner is a case in point. A young couple invested millions creating an attractive venue and threw open the doors. Then they waited for the customers to come. And on week-days, mostly, they didn’t.

Our tribal reluctance to accept new businesses until they proven themselves worthy of our custom was partially to blame for The Diner’s demise. Admittedly the Thompsons made some serious misjudgments.

To be a retailer in Sai Kung is to live a life of quiet desperation.

The best bar in Sai Kung?



Why does the best bar in Sai Kung have the shabbiest exterior? Poets can claim to be the most sociable bar in town because it is the best designed.

The peninsular bar encourages patrons to chat, when you can get their attention away from the mobile or i-pad.

Then there are the attractive staff, Rose the licensee, Maricell and Marie.

The bar was opened around the turn of the millennium by a beer-bellied Austrian. At one point this infamous character had three retail joints on the go at the same time. Asked why he was expanding so fast, he said, “This is little Austria and I’m Hitler.” The Sai Kung reign of “Hitler” was brief. One day he vanished. Unable, or unwilling, to pay his bills he had done a runner.

We don’t know who the current owners of Poets are, but say to them: when you’ve got the best bar in town be proud of it. The ubiquitous sign painter, Bowie, could make the Poets exterior worthy of the place quickly.

Internet kills friends’ businesses

Mark Pagel writes the internet enables infinite stupidity. We google and copy, google and copy. Hardly anyone innovates any more.

Then there is the way social media wraps us in a bubble. The algorithms of Facebook track what we like and keep feeding it back to us.

Most people, if you believe the Financial Times, no longer get their news from traditional media. They get it from Facebook.

What is this doing to our town’s newspaper sellers? Is it our imagination or are they looking increasingly desperate?

If you are among the few who still buy newspapers and magazines, don’t buy from 7-11 or Circle K, buy from our neighbours with the little businesses.

What price the Pier Hotel?


The Pier Hotel

The 40-room Pier Hotel at Pak Sha Wan failed to open on January 1. Perhaps we were mis-informed (management of the WA Theater restaurant in the same building).

It does appear to be largely complete, carpeted and curtained. A vertical garden on an exterior wall. There are no workers, not even a security guard. The place is deserted and locked up.

Does the owner (reported by WA to be the daughter of the “King of Toys” who lives in Sai Kung) plan to flip it?

Biggest little retailer gets it right

Sai Kung’s “biggest little retailer” Doug Marshall may be getting it right with his reported plans to turn Cava into a Chinese restaurant. Vila Villa, run by Doug and his family, is doing very well indeed.

The Ladies Who Lunch say it has some of the best food in town at good prices. And possibly the best priced beer in Sai Kung at a restaurant: $32 for a big bottle of frosted Tsingtao.

Sit outside watching the passing parade and enjoy your beer. New Year resolution.


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