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Macau Fight Nights

Let’s go to Macau to watch the fights.  I love being able to hear this sentence.  To finally be able to watch some good professional boxing so close to home is a good feeling.

I grew up a boxing fan and even did some amateur boxing at Finley’s Gym in N.E. Washington D.C..  So to be able to go to a good fight night in Macau brings a special nostalgic feeling to me and is starting to find its place in Hong Kong sporting culture.

The Venetian Macau

This is where the stage has been set and has already brought five fight nights to the city.  One of them being a major……let me say that again.  A MAJOR fight card with Manny Pacquiao and Brandon Rios as the headlining fighters.  I was even fortunate to have ran into Manny the day before the fight and got a pic with him. Not a selfie!  But the Venetian has a wonderful venue.  Pretty much anywhere you sit in the arena, you can see the ring.  If you want a more zoomed in view, you can look at the multiple massive sized screens for a detailed look or at times when they are fighting against the ropes or in corners.  Also, there is a way to get free food and drinks all night long while sitting in your seat, but I’m not going to tell you how.   Unless maybe if you leave a comment.

Bob Arum’s Top Rank Boxing

Bob Arum has promoted all of these fights and who else would be a better man for the job than him?  Michael Buffer was even the announcer for the Pacman fight.  Leeeeeett’s get ready to ruuuuuuummmmmbbbbllllle.  You know who I’m talking about.  Bob Arum is really trying to break into the China market with some Chinese boxers starting to lace up the gloves and get their careers going in the art of the sweet science, such as Zou Shiming.  Arum says that he plans to put on a fight in Macau four times a year, according to an interview he did with ESPN.  Hong Kong has a fighter Rex Tso Sing Yu, who is possibly going to be a world champion in his respective weight class.  Macau has a fighter as well that is coming through the ranks named Ng Kuok Kun.

 

Fists of Gold I
Fists of Gold I
Fists of Gold II
Fists of Gold II
Clash in Cotai
Clash in Cotai
Ring of Gold
Ring of Gold
Featherweight Fury
Featherweight Fury

China in the house.

With all of the Chinese gamblers in the largest casino in the world, if there is a Chinese national fighter fighting in the arena, they will watch and support.  As many of the punters on the gaming floor are so heavily cashed up, many will buy floor tickets and just stay to watch the Chinese fighters and then the casino floor starts beckoning them to return.  Leaving large portions of the floor seating area bare.  Although this seems to be their M.O., you can see a steady increase in supporters in the crowd for Rex ‘The Wonder Kid’ Tso and Ng Kuok Kun ‘The Macau Kid’ and that is impressive and fun to be apart of.

What is the future of boxing in Macau?

With Bob Arum saying that he will have a fight per quarter, I think that Macau has a real chance to build on the early success in the fight promoting business.  I think that a big determining factor would be the crop of Chinese fighters from China, Macau and Hong Kong.  If some good fighters can be trained to a level that is expected on the international stage, then Macau has a bright future.  Also, I feel that some of those fighters will need to be in some of the heavier weight classes.  Lighter weight classes don’t have a large appeal with all markets.  These fighters will have to be able to compete against good fighters from around the world and not just fighters from around Asia as well.  Let’s see if Macau can build a bit of a local fighting culture similar to Vegas where fighters come there to be trained and fight against other fighters regularly.  It has a long way to go but all is possible when you’re playing with casino money.

In conclusion, there is much to do in terms of creating a real boxing culture in Macau/Hong Kong/China but Bob Arum and the Venetian are really doing their part and getting the ball moving in the right direction. Champions of Gold will be going down on July 19th and if you haven’t bought your tickets and booked flights or ferry tickets, do so quickly as I’m sure there aren’t very many seats available by now.  If you are a Sands and Cotai Ring Club member you can get 50% discount.  Don’t forget that I know of a way to get free drinks and food all night long but it’s a secret.  I can’t tell everyone.

Champions of Gold July 19th, 2014
Champions of Gold
July 19th, 2014

Last but not least.  Keeps your hands up at all times and break when I say break.  Touch gloves and let’s have a good clean fight.  Let’s get it on!

KOMK

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Champagne

I went to the Jacquinot & Fils Champagne dinner that was held by the Wine High Club at the W Hotel in Jordan.
It was great — for the most part — because of the feeling of the event more so than the champagne, which was good as well.

The champagne:
Now, I’m not much for champagne as my palate just isn’t there yet to judge a good champagne from a great champagne. But I can say that the bubbly provided by Jacquinot & Fils Champagne was presented well.  Also, Jean-Manuel Jacquinot the winemaker was also in attendance to introduce not only his family’s vineyard but also to give some background to each of the 5 different types of champagne that was on offer.  Out of the 5 presented, the first, Private Cuvee, was my favourite.
The food:
I’m not really one for photographing food that much so the photos provided here are from Fu Man Chu, ‘The Man of Leisure’. The presentation was great, except for the last dish before the dessert. I don’t eat red meat or pork and requested something else to replace the beef dish and was just given 2 pieces of fried chicken on top of some celery. I’m from DC so I can always get down with some fried yard bird, but I was hoping for something that was at least similar in presentation as the other 4 dishes. But not a big deal as I was satisfied with the event for other reasons. The food was just a bonus.

South African Abalone Photo by: Fu Man Chu, The Man of Leisure
South African Abalone
Photo by: Fu Man Chu, The Man of Leisure
If only I could have eaten 12 of these. Photo by:  Fu Man Chu, The Man of Leisure
If only I could have eaten 12 of these.
Photo by: Fu Man Chu, The Man of Leisure
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Champagne tasting dinner, 23 June 2014

The people from Wine High Club were very nice and very knowledgeable as to their products  and the business of wine.  Thank you Kay and Red.  The other guests at the event were also very kool in the fact that they were all there to get some good food, good champagne and share in some good conversation.

I can’t wait for the next event from Wine High Club.

Another event that is on the calendar is the Malbec Challenge organised by the Hong Kong Wine Judges Association.  This will surely be a great event to be at and I hope that everyone can come.  The Argentine Consulate General to Hong Kong will be in attendance at this event and there will be more Malbec wine to judge and taste than the palate will be able to handle.  Malbec is my 2nd or 3rd favourite red anyway, so this will be especially great for me.

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End of the Road!

Sai Yeung Choi Street South:

This was a great street if not the greatest street in all of Mongkok/Hong Kong.  This street would be closed to cars from 4pm and stay that way until 12 o’clock at night every day.  Saturday and Sunday it would seem like it never opened to cars at all.  It was great because Hong Kong and Mongkok more importantly needed/needs streets like this that people can just walk down slowly and enjoy being out in the world.  Now sadly to say, it is open to cars full time and only closes to cars on Sundays.

Image
Sai Yeung Choi Street, South

It sucks in my humble opinion.

This is the way it is supposed to look and had looked every day of the week AND like everywhere in Hong Kong, it was completely safe.

The problem as the local district council saw it was that there had been a large numbers of buskers taking to the streets on Sai Yeung Choi Street and it was keeping people from going into the stores that line the sidewalks.  Business’ were complaining that it was too loud and crowded more than usual by people standing and watching performances rather than going in stores to shop.

Hong-Kong-2013-25-of-28
Street performers (good and bad) were starting to really do their thing. Sai Yeung Choi Street, South

This is where I get a bit of the ‘well in western countries….’ because street culture and performing arts in Hong Kong is a bit unseen for the most part.  While it has increased quite a bit over the past few years, there really isn’t  too much in terms of people going out and expressing themselves artistically in Hong Kong.  It’s just the culture of being a bit passive for some things.  Also, with the heavy culture of earning money here, you can see how many would look at street performing as a waste of time because of a low earning potential.

Sai Yeung Choi Street was beginning to unleash the hidden desire in so many people to just get on the street and perform and just as it started to get good——-BAAAAM!   The government slammed the door on it.  Some people have started to move north a bit though.

Shhhhh!  Don’t let ‘the man’ know that more performers are starting to do there thang’ on the footbridge that runs above Mongkok Road to the KCR station.  More on that later.

What do you think?  Tell us about your love or disdain of Mongkok.

 

KOMK

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Are You Becoming a Wino?

As I have started to enter into the world of wine, I wonder if this means that I am becoming a wino.

nw3
I grew up in Washington DC and the word wino has a very distinct sound and meaning to me (the picture is Ned the Wino from ‘Good Times’, btw). I think that others from certain cities would also translate the word in their mind in a similar fashion.  It was more of a popular term before crackheads hit the scene from the 80’s and 90’s crack epidemic.
A wino was the affectionate term given to those that were always hanging out on the corner by the liquor store and well…..they were drinking. Mostly, I don’t remember them exclusively drinking wine per se but always had a bottle in their hands (in a brown paper bag of course).  Even long before the liquor store opened at noon, these cats would just be sitting around waiting to get a bottle or still getting into a bottle that maybe they procured later in the night before.

Well, now that you have that image in your mind. Am I becoming a wino in that sense of the word?  I don’t think so.  In Hong Kong , you can buy alcohol 24/7 so I don’t need to hang out and wait.  But honestly, I really don’t like to drink but at certain times and now that I’m getting into wine……..well, I feel a bit more high class in my drinking.

The study of wine though is a very deep and complex subject.  I’m not just looking to sit around and drink and talk about sports at the local pub.  I want to be able to dissect a wine and discuss the various elements and complexities of the wine.  Where was it grown?  When was it bottled?  Who made it? How does it taste?  On and on with what could be talked about from just one taste of a wine.  A taste!  I don’t even need to swallow the wine to ascertain all of the information about the wine.  This is what I’m going after in my quest to truly learn about wine and all that goes into the wine world.

Wish me luck and I will post what I learn along the way.  I will also post things about wine and in particular wine going ons here in Hong Kong.  There is a lot going on with wine in Hong Kong as the Hong Kong government dropped the wine tax in 2008 making Hong Kong the wine hub of Asia.

Tell me what wines you like to drink and why in the comment section.  We can learn from each other.

wine-5_2375456b       RedWineBottlePour

KOMK

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How to learn Cantonese in Hong Kong: Part 1

learn-cantonese

How to learn Cantonese in Hong Kong?

Where to learn Cantonese in Hong Kong?

How long does it take to learn Cantonese as a second language?

 

My Cantonese journey started over 14 years ago and it is by far even close to being finished.  While at times I haven’t been very diligent in my studies, I have devoted countless hours of time to learning this crazy ass language.  I say ‘crazy ass’ as I have become an even crazier ass person from learning Cantonese.  I truly love this language and I am still so excited to learn more and I’m constantly pushing myself to learn even more as well.

Although I have spent so much time learning Cantonese, I do know now that I should have made some adjustments in my learning at the earlier stages of going after this language.  I wish that I had someone like myself to talk to when it came to learning as it would have given me a better perspective going in.

First let me start by saying that if you have no tonal language learning knowledge at all then it will be something to focus on in the earlier part of your journey.  Most people that go after Cantonese are those of English speaking countries and fail to try to get the truest of sound production as possible. Copy what you hear and do various tone drills.  I will talk more about tones in Part 2.

Figure_2_ASEAN_Cantonese_Hexatave

How to learn Cantonese?

What a big question.  I think that you should start with having proper lessons from a proper language teacher.  Someone that is trained or who has experience in teaching.  Being as that you can’t read 中文字 you will need to learn a system of romanisation in order to learn it and put a mental aspect to learning individual words and with appropriate tone stress into your daily life.  When I say daily, I mean daily.  You need to start labelling things around your house and office with the names of everything.  You will quickly learn some beginning sentence structures and you can place post-its on everything around you.  This is really important as you will soon feel yourself learning the language passively while you are just drinking a cup of tea in your flat.

The next and most vital thing that you MUST do is………..use the language.  Make yourself use the language all the time.  You cannot get upset if people laugh at you, because they will.  You cannot get frustrated when people don’t understand what you’re saying, because they won’t.  You can’t give up because you think that it’s just too damn difficult to learn, because you will want to.  I choose my words carefully most of the time and vital means vital.  You have to use the language always.  Unless you find yourself in a life threatening situation and you feel that you can’t convey your message in Cantonese then you deviate and use English.  Otherwise, on the street you stay in character.  Emulate every sound you hear.  Order that number 3 combo meal in Cantonese and when people start speaking to you so fast that you don’t know what the hell is going on…….just smile and nod your head in agreeance.  You’ll be okay in the long run.

So, Hong Kong.  What a great place to learn Cantonese and if done properly and most importantly, CONSISTENTLY, then you will be able to get around and do things in the city that few other foreigners are able to do. Consistency is the key.  That old adage that the slow and steady turtle wins the race, well it’s true.  I’ve met countless people who have said that they tried to learn Canto but quit because it was……blah, blah blah.  I feel that if you really want to learn something as difficult as a language that you need to at least spend about 7-10 years of solid study before you can stop learning it.  I say this because it is very difficult.  Even those that have a very good mind for learning languages can’t learn Cantonese at a proficient level in only a few years.  Time and energy and embarrassment (if you believe in it) is what is needed in order to succeed.

Where to learn Cantonese in Hong Kong?

Okay, Okay — Where — That’s what so many people want to know.  Where is the best place to go to learn Cantonese?  Okay.  In my opinion the best place is Chinese University’s Yale in China Language Centre.  The language centre has been teaching Cantonese and Mandarin for a long long time.  They are very passionate about teaching Chinese language and have a lot to offer.  There are a few different classes to choose from and you can get accreditation from your learning if that is what you’re after.  Another place that I have taken lessons at is the Hong Kong Language Learning Centre.  They were good for the time that I had spent with them in the summer of 2001 and have been open for quite awhile.  Although, after having been to Chinese University to take lessons there, I realised that the textbooks used at the HKLLC are almost identical in nature to the ones used at CU.  One good point for the HKLLC is that you could arrange for private lessons and that may be helpful.  There are many other places around Hong Kong.  Your budget and schedule will help you decide which place may be best for learning.  As you get really into the language you will soon realise where to go.  But do get some lessons.

One point to mention when getting into Cantonese learning is that a lot of the vocabulary that you learn from most of the textbooks and dictionaries is a bit outdated.  One set of books to get would be books that are written by Stephen Matthews and Virginia Yip.  They are a husband and wife tandem of professors of linguistics at Hong Kong University and Chinese University, respectively.  They have done tons of research in the field of Cantonese learning and language acquisition.  They have written several really good textbooks that you should pick up. 41YgRWzJE2L._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA300_SH20_OU01_ 41HD89wUQnL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA300_SH20_OU01_ 41Bj-+ZLb9L._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA300_SH20_OU01_

How long does it take to learn Cantonese?

This is entirely up to you and how diligent you are to study.  How you are able to let things roll off your back as people may laugh a bit or you find yourself in a situation where no-one knows what you’re trying to say.  The beauty of those situations is that you learn very quickly as to what to say and what not to say.

You can not be shy in any kind of a way in order to learn Cantonese.  It is a language that you really have to get out on the streets and use at all times.  Sit at the back of the minibus and yell at the driver as to where to drop you off.  When people speak to you in English, STAY IN CHARACTER!

If you are always trying to use the language and spending time with the books to get more sentence structures down and taking some lessons, you will be surprised as to how quickly you can get the language into your daily life.  It will help you tremendously in Hong Kong.

Lastly, Hong Kong people are EXTREMELY nice people.  They are very willing to help you learn and are very respectful.  They may snicker a bit at your pronunciation only because as a tonal language, if you say something with the wrong tone, it is a completely different word that has no reference to the dim sum that you’re trying to order.  Some of those mispronunciations can be quite funny to a native speaker and they can’t help but to laugh a bit.  Don’t let it discourage you.  Laugh with them and learn from your mistake.

Well, that covers the gist of Part 1.  Part 2 will be for those that are already learning some Cantonese and need some advice for areas as to tones, reading and writing and other fun things that you can do with your new found language skills.

I hope this is helpful and your comments are also helpful to me, so don’t be shy.

 

KOMK

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Back in the saddle!

Well here I am back at writing a blog. I thought that I told myself to not write something like this again as I don’t really have the time, but here I am typing away as the if there is a direct drip of dopamine tapping on my spinal cord.

Writing is really just my therapy and if I don’t write here, I’m putting my fingers at risk of becoming permanently crippled by holding a pen to paper. I still will fill my journals with endless lines of my mind dribble but that is not for the world to read — this endless mind dribble is.

The King of Mongkok.. Yep, that’s me. I love some Mongkok. If you haven’t been to ‘MK’ (as it’s known locally), then you need to get on the next sampan over here as soon as possible.

Most people don’t like MK as it’s too crowded, noisy, polluted and on and on with negative adjectives that seem to make people want to come and experience it rather than stay away. There is by the way everything that you would possibly want in and around Mongkok. Movies, food, drink, Karaoke, shopping (anything you can think of to buy), transportation, cafes and on and on with things to find and do in Mongkok.

I don’t intend to just fill my writing with things going on in Mongkok as people will not read my words often. I will however write a bunch of crap about all things that cross my mind and that I feel like blessing you with. That’s right, you will be blessed to have read my words. Well….Okay, blessed is a bit much. But hopefully you will have learned something, cracked a smile, busted out laughing or found out that you just can’t live without having my writings on your screen every day. No stalkers please.

Enough of this for now— I feel my boss coming around the corner and I am ridding the clock at work a bit. I just wanted to get word out that I’m doing this and watch out.

Peace for now and know that I’m coming with the boom in the form of words bestowed down upon thee.

KOMK