Sydney Swans Experience Friday Night Football on Rainy Night
Sydney is accustomed to Friday night football but never for Aussie Rules football. And on a very wet Friday night, 29th April, 2011 , the Sydney Swans took on Carlton Blues at the Sydney Cricket Ground. The Blues had not beaten the Swans at the SCG since 1993 and the trend looked set to continue until halfway through the third quarter. The Swans lost by 16 points at the final siren. The match coincided with another very special event – the royal wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton. One of my fellow spectators obviously could not choose between staying home to watch the wedding telecast and being at the SCG to support her team – she solved that problem by bringing with her a portable TV set. I must admit there were certain times, especially in the second half of the match, when I am pretty sure I would have had more fun watching the wedding instead. 🙂
Happy 75th Birthday to Sydney Harbour Bridge (2007)
On March 18th, 2007, the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge, or “the Coat Hanger” as it is more affectionately known, was closed to road traffic to allow Sydneysiders to walk across in celebration of its 75th birthday. I’m looking forward to its big 80th party in 2012!
Japan – Land of the Rising Sun
It was just over six years ago in February that I went to Japan for the first time. As a little girl growing up in Hong Kong it was my dream to go to Japan, for no other reason than because it was the country where Hello Kitty lived. Yes, the Sanrio cartoon cat that every little girl wanted in Asia (and as it turned out, those of us who have grown up with it still want it regardless of age). I’m sure if my parents had consented to take me there when I was just a little girl, that would have been all I cared about and nothing else. As it turned out, it was probably a wise decision to leave me at home (but don’t let my mother know this! :))
With all the technological advances and gadgetry that the country is renowned for, it is sometimes easy to forget that Japan is steeped in tradition and pride. Its culture introduced us to a time when samurais were honoured to be chosen to protect their emperor with their lives; the grounds of the palace littered with pebbles so that any would-be assassins could be heard on approach (unless you were a ninja who could just glide through the air without a sound). The precision involved in a Japanese tea ceremony is one you must experience. Read the rest of this page »
Let’s Start From the Beginning – My Origins: Hong Kong
I thought it appropriate that my first travelogue should be about the country of my birth – Hong Kong. Although a popular tourist destination, Hong Kong has never held the same allure for me as it does many of my friends and the millions of tourists who flock there each year. Some go there for the cultural experience without too much of a culture shock (as English is still one of the languages spoken there, in addition to Chinese Mandarin and Cantonese), whilst others consider it a shoppers’ mecca. Many foreigners still live and work there given its status as a major trading centre for South East Asia. So this particular travelogue will not be so much a guide for tourists looking for travel tips as a walk down memory lane from my perspective.
Since my family emigrated from HK nearly 30 years ago, I have hardly looked back at Hong Kong with much affection, if any. I know it sounds harsh and many people may be offended by this admission, but Australia has been my home for most of my life and I hope will remain so for its remainder. The Hong Kong that I grew up in was polluted, crowded, noisy, dirty, smelly (ironically, the definition of Hong Kong in Chinese is “Fragrant Harbour”), and had signs in public parks that read “KEEP OFF THE GRASS”. So it is little wonder that I fell in love with Australia from the moment I stepped foot on the grassy pavements and the wide-open spaces.
Having said that, a lot has changed for the better in the tiny country, now formally known as Hong Kong SAR (Special Administrative Region). Old buses have been replaced by new gas and electric-powered buses, reducing the pollution levels significantly; smoking indoors is prohibited; and with the outbreak of SARS in 2003 resulting in fatalities, hygiene has become a major focus in public areas. And so, in the last few years, my appreciation for this tiny island, or rather, group of islands, has grown. It is a country that is ever-changing, and I find that the more I travel around the world, the more I appreciate all the things that Hong Kong has to offer.