Sunday, December 10

The Land Of the Rising High Rises Part Two


They also have this service thing down to a ‘T’.
They fuss all over you and you can tell that that they really enjoy it. This is in stark contrast to the Philapinos, who will serve you and call you, “M’am’ with unconcealed hatred. They will also spit in your coffee at every available opportunity.

Not so in HK. There they stand over you and wait with baited breath for your approval. I imagine that this is the subject of many a dinner table conversation in Chinese homes:
“So Ling Ling, how was work today?”
“Very good, honoured Father, western lady praise me for coffee well made.”
“Well done Ling Ling! Now go get your Mother in from rice patty!”
Just joking, in Hong Kong there are no rice patties, there’s just no room for any.

And that’s another thing.
In HK you have six million people living on an island roughly the size of a postage stamp. Since they couldn’t build out, they had to build up and build up they did. I think they must have been high on Slivovitz when they stuck huge skyscrapers on every available inch of land. The buildings are so close to each other that when the sun shines, barely any of it filters down to the streets below. Plus, because this island is full of hills you can be on the ground floor of one building and look straight into the living room of someone on the fourteenth floor of another building. You really can look into people’s living rooms because no one there closes their curtains. I figure that it’s because they are either exhibitionists or narcissists; they either want people to watch them or they are just not interested in anyone’s lives but their own.
Either way, it makes for interesting viewing.

The markets though, are the most fun.
I have never seen so much junk in one place.
That I feel compelled to own.

The people in the market stalls scream, “Missy, prease, Missy! Copy handbag, copy watch!” Which I buy even though it says ‘Mio Mio’ instead of ‘Miu Miu’ and the watch is 1/3 smaller than the original. On the flight back all these metziahs start to disintegrate, so that by the time I unpack, all I’m left with are bits of metal and leather. Which is not really suprising.

What is surprising is the large Jewish contingent there.
On the Central side of Hong Kong there are three shuls and there are two on the Kowloon side. All visiting Jews ask the same question, “Are you on this side or the other side?” They make it sound like they are challenging you to tap into your psychic powers.

There are quite a few kosher restaurants as well; actually there are more kosher restaurants in Hong Kong than there are in Vienna. Chabad have a large presence there and their Hachnasas Orchim is second to none. Rabbi Avtzon and his posse (on the Central side) are incredible. Mr Kasamba feels that many people take what they do for granted and he feels that people should leave donations when they leave. Personally, I am very grateful for the good care they take of Mr Kasamba every time he goes there.

Shabbos in Hong Kong affords you the opportunity of meeting the most fascinating Jews from all over the world. It is a melting pot of Jews who all come together to daven and eat. We met a fabulous couple with three adorable kids from Melbourne Australia. They run a Pesach program there in an Australian resort. If you are interested you can go to

Sunday is a holiday of sorts in that it is the Phillapinos day off. It is a plethora of Phillapinos. Thousands of them drape the streets sitting on blankets and newspapers to meet their friends to compare copy handbags and compete for the title of who has ‘the most evil employer’.

My favourite pastime is watching two Chinese people yell at each other.
The name of the game is to try to figure out what they are saying.
A sample translated conversation might be:
“I tell you Szechuan, you are wrong! You must always iron overcoat on bias!”
“What??? Are you Dim Sum? Did your father feed you too much eel? You know nothing! I say, nothing!”
(Arm gestures and lots of spit)

All in all, I love Hong Kong and I always feel a bit sad to leave.
I have a genuine affection for the happy miniature people there and I would have stuffed as many of them as possible into my new Mio Mio handbag, but not one wanted go.
Go figure.


At 8:42 PM, Blogger kishmech said...

"either way it makes for interesting viewing!" haha.....and lets stop right there!

At 8:48 PM, Blogger Limey2001 said...


At 9:49 PM, Blogger BagelUndertheCouch said...

yes...that is called human trafficking, you know...

At 2:28 AM, Blogger BarbaraFromCalifornia said...


What are a few lice, flees and other creatures in a country of 6 million!

You are such a rounded traveler.

Thank you for all your kind comments on my blog.

Chag Semeach.

At 11:11 AM, Blogger Jameel @ The Muqata said...

Rav Avtzon is a wonderful host - Ive spent shabbat there a bunch of times.

I bought a rip-off rolex there, and needed the band made smaller when I got home. I gave it to my son in first grade to give to his friend in school, to give to his father...who's a jewler.

My friend called me up that night in a panic, wondering why I would trust a first grader with a Rolex :)

I actually had one of the better quality ripoffs, and it still works today...7 years later.

At 12:32 PM, Blogger socialworker/frustrated mom said...

You are really making me want to fly there but I bet I will never get to see it, hope you are ok parting.

At 4:51 PM, Blogger yingerman said...

one day i'll be rich and famous...nah skip famous just rich, and i'll go traveling just to see the"interesting viewing"


At 9:26 PM, Blogger David_on_the_Lake said...

vely cute

my wandelust is acting up now...hmmm

At 9:26 PM, Blogger David_on_the_Lake said...

or wandelrust

At 9:41 PM, Blogger Amishav said...

Wow, I had no idea that Hong Kong had such a vibrant Jewish presence! Sounds like it is absolutely worth a visit!

At 12:17 AM, Blogger Nemo said...

Hello.... PICTURES?????

At 1:38 AM, Blogger ~ Sarah ~ said...

sounds like a great holiday! a little crazy but that would be all part of the fun!
on my list of places to go.
(and nice to know the avzton's are still there. i remember them from when they were in melbourne way back when. chabad of the far east does wonderful things.)

At 11:27 AM, Blogger Bonnie B said...

Well you can stuff me into your handbag next time you visit-- Hong Kong sounds like loads of fun!

As for being able to peer into other people's livingrooms-- at least you'd never need TV. You've got so many "shows" to choose from.

At 4:29 PM, Blogger Jack's Shack said...


Uh oh, Bar Mitzvah memories coming back in full force.

At 9:43 PM, Blogger Hila said...

Kasamba Bamba,

Remind me not to eat, drink, chew gum, or BREATHE while I am reading your posts, as I will most assuredly choke due to uncontrollable laughter!

I don't know how you do it, but you are one funny lady! I haven't been to Hong Kong but I hear it's great. Glad to hear you had fun!


At 8:52 AM, Blogger kasamba said...

I know, too much information!

So light!

Um, yeah!

I was so glad to see your comment because I wanted to wish your daughter only good health and happy times!

LOL! Do you remember those old Timex commercials???

You never know!

Of course you will!

Nu, book a ticket!

It is!

Uh (gulp) none taken...

It's such a small world!

Next time, you come as my stowaway!

I know!!!!

Hila Vanilla:
Now THAT's what I like to hear!!!!

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