Small Food Shops Shut Down – An Outlook of Property Rental and Price in Hong Kong

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You may have no chance to taste the beef offal from that famous old “13 Zuo Beef Offal” in North Point, Hong Kong, unless you go to Taiwan.

It is not the only one catering outletor food stall closed recently, as the increased rental in North Point, another local well-known Hong Kong traditional dessert house Wong Gei also got shut down. Wong Gei,“13 Zuo Beef Offal” and another food stall selling egg waffle and egg puff were known as North Point’s three dragons, many residents considered them as Hong Kong’s taste.

However, since the owners raised the rental after the Chinese New Year, the Wong Gei could never come back even though they had posted an announcement next to their door, saying they would open on the 11th day of the New Year. Wong Gei has changed their announcement as “contract came due and closed” and Shi Sang Zo Beef Offal chose to move to Taiwan, leaving the egg pull shop struggles for survive after the increase of rent.

On March 28, the last day of “13 Zuo Beef Offal” opened, a long line was outside the shop, the three-day amount prepared by owner was all sold in the morning and the owner had to buy more raw beef offal for the people in the afternoon. When the staff tried to stop people from lining more, being told the beef offal was not enough, the crowds were once chaotic.

Michael Lee, a regular customer who specially came to support the shop, said, “What a pity to see it closed. Every time I came to North Point, I came here no matter how long the line was. It’s just like a symbol of North point.”

Another customer, Lucy Yeung said, “I heard the shop is closing so I hurried here to buy some. Now old food shops in Hong Kong are decreasing and many small restaurants I had gone to when I was young are disappeared now.”

The owner, Tong King-Yip, told the media that the rental would be raised 20 thousand a month, which was unaffordable for them. “In Taiwan, it will be much cheaper, and the labor price there is also cheaper. All profits of the last day would be donated to charity as my return to the society.”

According to the report Q4 2013 Global Retail Rents released by CBRE in late February, Hong Kong was by far the world’s most expensive city for global retailers among 97 prime retail locations/markets, while prime rents in major markets such as New York, Paris and London continue to reach record-breaking levels.

“The limited supply, low vacancy rates, and the rental requirements from mainland customers are making Causeway Bay the most expensive rental location in the world,” said CBRE Asia’s Executive Officer Sebastian Skiff.

As Clemence Poon, an experienced financial analyst as well as investment trader indicated, the Hong Kong Property price kept in a comparative high level for multiple reasons.

“Since Hong Kong opened self-funded travel to mainlanders, it pulled up the rental in areas like Causeway Bay and Mong Kok, many retailers and food stalls had to leave and were replaced by the drugstores and jewelry stores because many of them just come to buy medicine or gold.  

“First, it is because the unbalance between supply and demand. Traced back to the history of Hong Kong real estate, after Hong Kong’s handover, former Chief Executive Tung Chee Hwa tried to control the property price but caused disastrous results. So the small businesses are forced to leave and the property owners only consider the profits they could make.

“Hong Kong real estate price had a huge increase in a few years ago and was pushed down by Chief Executive Leung, but that is not substantially. The increase is so sharp that people’s annual salary could not catch up with the pace. In the past, young people also could not afford buying their own house but they believed they could afford it one day if they work hard enough and reach the upper class. However, since 1980s, people started to feel hopeless and disappointed.

“Then when former Chief Executive Donald Tsang took the place, he changed the policy – let the market adjust the price itself. Since then, some people started to criticize the mainlanders push up Hong Kong’s property price. It could be one reason causing the unbalance between supply and demand,” said Poon.

Nowadays, the property price in Hong Kong is well known as expensive – an average over HK$200000 per square meter. Instead buying a flat, many Hongkongers have to rent a place to live in which makes the property agents industry prosperity in Hong Kong.

According to Hong Kong Rating and Valuation Department, rental price for Private Domestic has increased at least HK$40 per square meter in last two year, now the cheapest average rental price is over HK$200 for one square meter in New Territories and the highest is about HK$350 in Hong Kong Island.

That means the rent for a 40 square meter flat is over 8000 HKD in Sha Tin, but 14000 HKD in Central, each month! However, according to Hong Kong’s latest Quarterly Report of Wage and Payroll Statistics, cleaners are the kind of jobs with lowest average monthly salary – less than HK$8000.

The rental for commercial estate is even a few times higher, depended on where they located.

No wonder that “13 Zuo Beef Offal” chose to move to Taiwan.

Mainland Students of HKBU in cold Hong Kong winter

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February 13, 2014

HONG KONG- Influenced by cold winter monsoon, Hong Kong has recorded the historical lowest February temperature (7 degree) this year for the last 18 years, which strongly affected not only Hong Kong residents but some HKBU (Hong Kong Baptist University) students from mainland.

Being asked how they dealt with the coldness, three of respondents (Ann Lyu, Zhou Hui Xiao Wan and Sun Jia Hui) said they could only stay in bed covered by quilts when they had no class, using rubber heating water bags.

Lily Lee described herself “could not feel warm while sleeping and could not wake up in the morning”, when Sandra Huang Yue said, “I got frozen awake in the morning and cannot sleep enough.”

As most of them came here for study, they needed to reduce baggage and the clothes they brought were not enough. In the meanwhile, some students from northern areas of China mainland have underestimated the coldness in Hong Kong.

Jane Tang Yi said, “some of us feel cold because we only brought our autumn clothes here.”

Sandra, who comes from Jiangsu Province, said that in her hometown, the winter temperature was always below zero, but they have heater indoors, “I still cannot get used to the weather in Hong Kong, its winter is very moist, gloomy and cold. I wish the coldness will end soon”.

The temperature will be continuously low till this weekend, then rise from 10℃ to above 15℃.

“Marriage Isn’t for You” Goes Viral for Straight People but Creates Pain for LGBTs

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ImageThe English language can be a funny thing.  The same words can be used in different contexts and have very different impact.  I remember receiving a letter from a videocassette manufacturer from England when I was a young professional working for a film production company.  It was an introduction letter to our female vice president.  It read, “I would be so pleased if in the next few weeks I would be permitted to come knock Ms. Juden up.”   I showed her the letter.  Her response was, “He had better be giving us one hell of a deal on wholesale videocassettes for THAT!”

Recently, a blog piece by Seth Adam Smith went viral around the turn of the phrase “Marriage isn’t for you.”  The point of his article was from a discussion after his wedding with his dad. “My dad giving his response to my concerns was such a moment for…

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Letters to My Daughters #7: “What It Means to Be a Christian”

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godless in dixie

girl_readingYour world so far has been pretty small. The people you see on a regular basis represent only a tiny sample of the world, but as you get older hopefully you will get to know a much wider range of people. There’s so much to learn from getting to know new people because you grow a little with each new friend you make. New friends add to who you are, so I hope you encounter a wide variety of them as you grow into the women you will become. If you do that you will be challenged to think about familiar things from unfamiliar angles, and you will learn to see old things in a new light. One of those things which will likely be challenged is your definition of what it means to be “Christian.”

At your age, people usually reduce that word to indicate a very narrow, prescribed…

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Adversity Makes a Woman Forward – A profile of my mother

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My mother, Yu Xiaorong is the one on the left. She was 18.
My mother, Yu Xiaorong, the one on the left, was 18 when the photo was taken.

With 30-kilo bags on her shoulders, my mother, Yu Xiaorong, was staggering to a countryside dam. She needed to put the harvested rice to the granary. She was 18 years old then, just graduated from high school at that time.

Why a city girl was doing this? It should be traced back to the old days.

Cultural Revolution

My grandparents were married in 1950, just after the founding of the People’s Republic of China, when President Mao appealed to people to have more children. Born in a cold winter night in 1955, mom has four sisters and a brother.

In the early 1960s, Grandma left her job as response to national calls, because job opportunities were not enough and should be left to the intelligent. Grandpa, worked as the head of local railways bureau, fed his whole family on his own.

However, happy days were flash in the pan: Cultural Revolution struck the family in 1968, started with Grandpa persecuted. The Revolution was launched when President Mao alleged that “revisionists” in Communist party aimed to restore capitalism, and later Red Guard groups were organized by China’s youth adhering to Mao’s appeal.

Grandpa suffered a wide range of abuses from public humiliation, arbitrary imprisonment, torture to sustained harassment. “First he was ‘forced to stand on a stage’ where people exposed his ‘crime’”, mom said. What’s worse, violence was used to fight against the “revisionists” in 1969. Having been suspected to be a”revisionist“, Grandpa was not only locked in a cowshed, but also beaten and humiliated by Red Guards in front of the bureau where he used to work, showing people how bad a “revisionist “was.

Mom said, “We saw him standing there. Red Guards hit him hard, saying he betrayed the party and the country. We could not just stand there and watch. All my family ran to stop them. A Red Guard used iron rod hit my brother’s head. When father saw this, he shouted, ’Go back! Hurry! You kids don’t come here! Go back home and don’t worry about me’.  All this happened under the eyes of his former colleagues.”

Mom learned to cook when she was 11, trying her best to help her family. Grandma had no jobs and job opportunities hardly would be given to one related to a “revisionist”. Finally, she found the job of carrying cement. Every morning she got up before 4 a.m., walked more than three hours to the working place, and carried 25-kilo bags of cement like man. Mom helped her carry the same heavy bags every weekend and holiday.

A guy locked in cowshed next to Grandpa told Red Guard, “Yu is dying, he may die here” soon after he saw Grandpa spat blood. Mom saw her father again but he could not come back home – he was in hospital and doctors said he was severely wounded.

Two months after his return, on Dec. 4, 1969, a date mom never forgets, Grandpa passed away. He was born in 1929 and died when he was only 40 years old, leaving his youngest daughter, five years old, and my mom, 13.

I have never seen my Grandpa, but mom remembers him and the days they had gone through.

Down to the Countryside Movement

President Mao essentially used the “up to the mountains and down to the villages” to quell unrest and remove the embarrassment of the early Cultural Revolution from sight. In the cold winter wind of Dec 10, 1973, mom was sitting in an old trunk with her brother and schoolmates on her way to Shilan Village. Though the farm work made her tired, she liked to stand on the mountain and when looking at the snow-white bloomy camellia with bees flying around, she was still able to feel joy fulfilled her heart.

Mom said, “I learn rice transplanting, using sewing machine and how to grow different vegetables there. I even planted some trees near where I lived and we can use the nuts to produce oil. Two years later, I was recommended to go back to city.” Then she worked in a textile factory and also kept studying by herself.

In 1977, the government finally admitted the mistakes they made during Cultural Revolution, and claimed to clear the reputation of those suffered in the movement. Yu’s family gained its reputation back but Grandpa had gone forever. Since then, mom’s burden had been decreased.

She got married with my father at the age of 24 and my family moved back to my father’s hometown in 1993 . In 2002, she obtained master degree in economics and now she has an apartment, a car, a decent job as an office director, and a happy family.

She proved that adversity could never defeat her and it was only whetstone of success.


Why God Cannot Forsake You

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godless in dixie

cornerWhen I first “came out” to some of my closest friends and told them I no longer believe in supernatural things, they were greatly distressed. A few of them got together and staged a kind of “intervention” which lasted about 10 hours one day. As with any good drama, they did their best to provide occasional comic relief so that it wouldn’t be too overwhelming, but they asked a lot of intrusive and confrontational questions:

“If there’s no God, then where did everything come from?”

“If we came from monkeys, how come there are still monkeys, hmm?”

“If there’s no God, then what’s to stop you from raping and killing and robbing banks?”

“Do you struggle with pornography?”

“How often do you masturbate?”

I kid you not. These were the questions I got. This went on all day long. I was very new at this and I didn’t have the…

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