Perception

I was just looking back at my last entry, and thinking about all the small things that I could have written about. There are tons of observations that have been on my mind, despite me saying that ‘nothing much has happened’. It’s just that these observations take a bit more time to express nicely in the form of writing. So here’s a confession to make: when I say I have nothing to write about, I’m usually lying. It’s just a matter of whether I’m feeling diligent or lazy at that moment. Anyway, here’s a post to make up for everything I’ve wanted to write about over the past week.

The other day when I was walking through Hysan, I almost accidentally walked onto the wrong escalator. The crazy thing is, the elevator actually beeped to tell me I was walking the wrong way! After building attempting a robot in AER201, I now appreciate the difficulty of a system like that. We’re not talking about just a break-beam sensor (which simply detects if something is ‘there’ between the beam emitter and detector). It’s a motion sensor, which must has some sort of image capturing device to compare one image to the previous image and figure out the direction of movement. There’s the engineering in me coming out again, but I thought it was pretty cool.

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While I’m still at Hysan Place, I was actually looking for a bridal shower card at Hallmark there the other day. I never found one – there were tons of wedding cards, but none for bridal showers – and that’s observation number one. I guess bridal showers really aren’t part of the culture here. We just held one because a lot of these people have lived in a Western society at some point in their lives. It’s interesting that simply by examining how globalization causes the same brands to differ in various parts of the world, you can learn a lot about these cities. The other observation though, is that in the midst of the dozen or so wedding cards that were there, there was this one card that said ‘Commitment Ceremony’. Yes, for common-law partners. I’d imagine there should be the same thing in Canada, just that I never noticed it before (because I haven’t had a lot of friends get married so far in my life!). See how the direction of society is reflected through these small details in life?

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One of my friends recently received a care package from New York, and one of the things inside was a bar of Reese’s peanut butter cups. That’s when I realized – I have never seen one of those things in Hong Kong! They definitely cannot be found at your local supermarket or convenience store, and I’m not even sure if you can find them at specialized candy stores (although usually you can, because if they’re overpriced, they make sure they have everything). So yeah, that observation just sparked up a new craving for peanut butter.

Apparently Hong Kong is one of the only places in the world you can find live chickens in a public market. I have no idea if this is true, but I can tell you that there really are live chickens around. Every morning when I go to the bakery to buy breakfast, all the stores in the Wan Chai market (along Wan Chai Road, not the market building) are already open and preparing for business. People at the fish stalls would be pouring and shaving ice; butchers would already be busy chopping away at their meat; and these live chicken storeowners, they would be cleaning cages. It’s so hard to imagine that these chickens get killed on the spot. I’ve never seen it happen, nor do I want to. I know it doesn’t really make a difference, since I’m not a vegetarian and so either way the chicken still dies, but I’ve never been good with blood. It’s even worse to think about these lively chickens still moving around in the morning, and then have them lay lifeless afterwards! So anyway, the point of this is that the news was reporting about these storeowners no longer stocking more chickens, because the cost of these chickens is getting too expensive. Once they’re done selling, there will be no more. I haven’t seen empty cages yet, but I’ll let you know if it happens.

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What else? Well, somebody just told me that the MTR stopped their 10% discount on your second trip of the day. I knew that it existed, but I didn’t notice that it was gone when I came back from Vancouver. That’s a $0.3 difference for my daily work commute, so it doesn’t feel like much, but the more important fact is that the MTR is definitely getting more and more expensive. What’s more, they never have to worry about people boycotting it because it’s such a major mode of transportation within this jam-packed city. I always think about how in a city like Hong Kong, the infrastructure completely encourages private investment in transportation companies. On the other hand, try finding a private investor to support Translink BC – you must be crazy to do so.

Let’s end off with an observation that made me happy. This.

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