Here we are, less than two days from the start of October and still no Hong Kong Fatburger. Good thing Omega didn’t put together a Fatburger Countdown Clock à la the Olympic Clock in Tiananmen Square. As previously reported, the sign still says “opening in this summer” but summer is officially over and still no Fatburger. Can we continue to wait patiently for America’s Best Burger (according to the trusted readers of the Aurora Sentinel and Highlands Ranch Herald)?
Yes, we can. At least a little while longer. Especially with a slightly-more-than-spitting-distance Fatburger located in Macau able to tide us over for a few more months.
I visited said Macau Fatburger slightly more than a month ago and, let me tell you something: it delivered. And how. The burgers (pictured below) were terrific. A delicate balance of meat, bun, lettuce, tomato and grease. Nothing lost in translation here. The fries were another story. Give the fat fries a miss. The skinny fries are a solid B, but not worth a special trip. The atmosphere? C, C+ at best. The shop is neither free-standing or self-enclosed. It’s part of a large food court in The Venetian Casino and easy to miss. Most of the staff were unable to provide directions and had never heard of the Fatburger. I know – completely F’d up.
As for an update on the Hong Kong Fatburger progress? Here’s a small one. Despite the prevalent view that nothing is happening behind the construction facade, I can personally confirm that progress is being made. Slow progress. Last weekend I ventured over to the site on Queen’s Road East and peeked behind the facade and saw about ten construction workers busy inside. It was hard to tell exactly how far from finished they are, but they have a long way to go. The inside is completely unfinished with nothing resembling a kitchen, grill, counter or seats. Still, a sign outside indicates they are hiring, which can only be positive.
ODB recently asked why the Chinese spacewalk was getting so much coverage. As usual, a quick look at the China Daily homepage provides the answer:
Aside from the Miss Switzerland pageant, it was clearly the top story of the weekend!
I was curious about the ”763 batches of Chinese milk found chemical free” link, however, so I searched the site for the keyword “milk”. Turns out there has been a lot of news about milk in the past couple of weeks. It’s all terribly complicated, and I’m still sorting out the facts. But these articles, all taken from China Daily and Xinhua, have been particularly helpful:
The story of Chinese astronauts conducting their first ever space walk has been all over the news today.
China catapulted itself into the upper reaches of space science yesterday, becoming only the third nation after the former Soviet Union and the United States to successfully conduct a spacewalk.
Sorry but I fail to see all the excitement, what exactly is the big deal?
It appears that astronaut Zhai is only the 298th person in the world to have conducted a space walk. There were no scientific or technological breakthroughs being made.
Seems to fall a little short of those black holes being made in Switzerland.
chinaSMACK is one of my favorite new China blogs. It translates some of the hot topics in China’s online forums and bulletin boards, complete with pictures, video, and numerous reader comments translated from the original Chinese posts. The author seems to favor the more lurid stories, such as a confrontation in Wuhan between a Wuhan bus driver and several passengers. Check out the video (the attack begins at about 1m25s):
There is a follow-up post which examines the possibility that the bus driver insulted the girls in the video:
Last week, video footage from Wuhan bus line 519 showed two Northeastern men from Heilongjiang Province ruthlessly beating and kicking the female bus driver. Chinese across the country were outraged, many calling Northeastern Chinese violent animals. But, some Chinese wondered if the video showed the whole truth, noticing that parts of the video recording was cut out.
Soon, other posters claiming to have been on the bus when the beating happened told a different story about what really happened that day between the Wuhan bus driver, the two Northeastern girls, and the two Northeastern young men who eventually beat her.
A couple things from the translated user comments struck me. First, they reveal the strong regional attitudes and stereotypes (Wuhanese as rude; Northeastern girls in other cities as prostitutes) that rarely are reported in English language news about China. Second, many of the users quoted seem to think that, if the bus driver did insult the girls, then it was either acceptable or at least understandable that she was repeatedly and viciously kicked in the head.
Finally, some commenters argued that the attacked must have been justified because no one else stepped in to stop it:
If it was really like how it was reported, that the female bus driver was completely justified and in the weaker position, that the young men attacked her, why did none of the many people on the bus come out and prevent/stop it? Not even anyone to say a word? The answer is obvious, that although the driver was weaker, she was unreasonable, and even her words and performance made the other passengers on the bus feel dissatisfied, such as being tough or viciously cursing people. Of course, it also possible the other passengers were just different and wanted to avoid causing trouble for themselves.
Personally, I think the final sentence is closer to the truth. In eight years of observing fights in China, I have seen crowds gather to watch even the hint of a fight, but I have never seen anyone step in and try to break up a seriously violent fight.
A new Wuhan blog entitled wo zai wuchang has appeared recently. It’s written by an American teaching English at Huazhong Normal University. Aside from a few minor details, the author’s comments and observations are remarkably similar to my own when I first arrived back in 1997. This passage from the September 2 post captures the first-week-in-Wuhan experience perfectly:
The ride from the airport to the university completely blew my mind. I guess I was expecting Wuhan to be similar to Beijing or Xi’an but it isn’t at all. I can’t say I’ve ever been to a more third world city before – everything looks like it’s falling apart. Even entering campus was a shock. I was feeling completely out of place and slightly regretful; however, life can change after a good night’s sleep and a shower. Wuhan seemed better but still not what I was expecting. The girl who picked me up from the airport came by my room to show me around campus and by accident we found out I had to go get an medical examination done with the rest of the new international kids. For everyone’s information, NO ONE wants to get a medical examination in China EVER. It was probably one of the most frustrating events in my life. Total I had to get a chest x-ray, eye test, ECG exam, sonogram, blood drawn, vaccination, and some sort of test to see if you’ve ever had surgery before. There were probably 200 people there for the same things and about 9 doctors total. This entire process took 7 hours. As you may know, there are no such things as lines in China. Things got dramatic every once in a while. While waiting in the epic ECG line about 10 Chinese men cut this Chinese woman and I. She yelled and yelled at them in Chinese and it got pretty out of hand. They ended up shoving her and her daughter around and pushed passed her. I was shocked. To make the hospital experience even more frustrating is the fact that no one in Wuhan except for a small population knows English. Doctors were yelling orders to me all day and I couldn’t understand a single one. I feel lucky that my exam even got finished. I know my parents probably don’t want to hear this but I wonder if any of that equipment was even sterile (save the needles). The hospital was pretty gross. There were cigarettes all over the floor.
Everything at this university is completely unorganized and frustrating. I feel that no one knows what’s going on and if they do they don’t know when and if they have an idea of when it’s only a rumor. I’m sure once classes start everything will fall into place.
Be sure to check out the pictures as well.
According to initial reports by the Hong Kong Apple Daily and the Telegraph, a gang of murderers were arrested in Guangdong recently.
Police in South China have reportedly arrested nine suspects for murdering elderly or infirm villagers and selling their bodies.
The corpse-selling operation was designed to help wealthy families to avoid having to cremate their relatives.
Cremation is mandatory in most areas of Guangdong. Proper burials, traditionally an important sign of Confucian filial piety, were outlawed by the Communist Party in many areas in order to conserve farmland and avoid superstition.
Families who bought corpses from the group swapped them with their own relatives and sent them off for cremation. They could then bury their loved ones in secret.
As many as 400 people may have been killed, according to Apple Daily, a Hong Kong newspaper which conducted an investigation into the practice.