Monthly Archives: November 2013

Nov 24

The Best of East Asia

By Mitchell Blatt | Travel

Now that I have been to China, Hong Kong, Japan, and South Korea, I will analyze which countries are the best in various self-selected categories. I haven’t been to Taiwan yet, so its not included.

Subway: Hong Kong – The difference between Hong Kong’s and Tokyo’s subway system is a lesson in how to design subway systems. When you transfer lines in Tokyo, you have to walk down long halls. Sometimes you have to walk out of the station and on to the street. Some transfers even require you to buy a new ticket, because the lines are owned by different companies. In Hong Kong, at major transfer stations, the doors of the intersecting lines are lined up across from each other making transfers easy. Buying tickets is easier in Hong Kong, too.

In Tokyo, there is a map above the ticket machines with the price of each station painted on. You are supposed to read the map quickly and see how much you have to pay. Why not digitize that map and build it into the machine software so that people can simply click on the station and buy a ticket like they do in Hong Kong (and elsewhere)? In Beijing, there are many human-staffed ticket booths. Seoul gets points for its comfortable heated seats in winter. Tokyo’s system is the worst.

Beer:Continue reading

Nov 12

Why 80,000 Hong Kongese Took to the Streets to Support a Television Network

By Mitchell Blatt | Article

“Why 80,000 Hong Kongese Took to the Streets to Support a Television Network”, published in Vagabond Journey on November 12, 2013

On its surface the dispute between HKTV and the Hong Kong government over a free-to-broadcast TV license would appear to some to be a simple business dispute. Three companies applied for licenses, two were granted licenses, and now the losing company is mounting a campaign against the decision.

But viewing the controversy as merely a business dispute doesn’t explain why an estimated 80,000 protesters rallied in support of HKTV on October 20 and tens of thousands more stood outside the Legislative Council Complex on November 6 as debate took place on a measure to investigate.

The public sentiment that has emerged in support of HKTV illustrates growing distrust of the Hong Kong government and anxiety over what the future holds. As the Chinese Dream takes hold in the Mainland, many see a Hong Kong Nightmare on the horizon.

At the November 6 gathering, HKTV employees had the 2012 Olympic song, “This is My Dream” by Kashy Keegan, playing on speakers.

“This is my heart, This is my soul, This is the only love I’ve known, This is my dream…”

A protester at the event held a sign that said, “This city is dying you know.” At the June 1 protest march this year, a protester was handing out signs that said, “Where has my dream city gone?”

Read full article: Why 80,000 Hong Kongese Took to the Streets to Support a Television Network

Nov 06

Aggressive Protesters Surround Hong Kong’s Legislative Council As HKTV Vote Is Delayed

By Mitchell Blatt | Uncategorized

“Aggressive Protesters Surround Hong Kong’s Legislative Council As HKTV Vote Is Delayed”, published in Vagabond Journey on November 6, 2013

The vote on a measure to investigate the Hong Kong Television licensing dispute was delayed Wednesday night as tens of thousands of protesters rallied outside the Legislative Council Complex and HKTV supporters clashed with pro-government demonstrators.

Pan-democrat legislator Raymond Wong emerged from the LegCo chamber after 8 pm to applause from his supporters and announced that the vote would be delayed until 11 am Thursday morning. Charles Mok, the sponsor of the measure to investigate why HKTV was denied a broadcasting license, had warned before hand that the pro-establishment legislators might “deliberately delay” the vote with speeches.

It was an anti-climatic ending to what had been a raucous night of speeches, flag waving, and a brief conflict between the overwhelmingly pro- pan-democrat side and a small contingent of pro-establishment protesters.

Read full article: Aggressive Protesters Surround Hong Kong’s Legislative Council As HKTV Vote Is Delayed

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Mitchell Blatt is an intrepid travel writer, and an author of two top China guidebooks, who brings his readers deep into the cultures of the places he explores. Subscribe now to get real stories of real people in real places around the world delivered right to your inbox.