Hong Kong Women Ready For World Cup Qualifier

Local women’s rugby players prepare for the two most important games in Hong Kong’s rugby history as national coach Jo Hull prepares her Hong Kong squad for the World Rugby Women’s Rugby World Cup qualifier.

The triangular tournament sees Japan and Fiji taking part with the two top-placed finishers advancing to next year’s World Cup in Ireland. Hong Kong will play Fiji on 9 December (7pm) at King’s Park and Japan on 17 December (4:30pm) at Hong Kong Football Club.

With the top two teams advancing, a win over Fiji would be a huge step toward Hong Kong qualifying for its first ever fifteen-a-side rugby World Cup but Hull cautions that Hong Kong will still need to find another gear to achieve what would be a transformative result for the local women’s game.

“It is an amazing opportunity to qualify and have a chance to play in a World Cup. Our job as a national team is to inspire and connect with young girls and women. We want them to aspire to play for Hong Kong and to do that you need to put up some performances,” Hull said.

With those performances in mind, Hong Kong finalised a build-up campaign that was unprecedented in its scale and intensity, with two matches against Kazakhstan last month. Hong Kong won both.

“I was pleased with the Kazakhstan games, but we still need to play 20 percent better against Fiji to get the result we’re after. Kazakhstan are good and playing against them showed us we still have some things to work on to be ready for the coming matches, particularly, our commitment in the tackle area against bigger players and that is something we are focusing on,” Hull noted.

Hull said that while there were significant positives, the challenge is set to intensify: “The Qualifiers represents a level that the girls have never played at before. We need players who will go into battle and I think we have the right combination with some new, young players coming through plus experienced players like the sevens girls and our forwards group.”

“But we’re under no illusion that we’re the finished article. Our job is to keep getting better and that’s what we’re all about; we’re not going to be content with average performances,” Hull said.

Hull is confident she has the players to achieve this singular sporting feat in her 26-woman squad, which is notable for the absence of some longstanding Hong Kong representatives.

“There are some top-class players not selected and I think that is both a credit to the players coming through and also partially because of the style we want to play. We need players who can get in amongst it, play with a lot of tempo and heart, and are skilful and can withstand the pressure ahead.”

Despite the absence of some multi-capped players, Hull has been able to select a highly experienced group with 25 of the 26-person squad capped previously, including 21 players from the Tour of Spain last December and the Asia Rugby Championship earlier this year.

Hull is most pleased with the process that has been put in place to get the team to this point: “I’ve seen a huge turnaround in women’s rugby since I arrived 18 months ago. At a national level, we have grown from a six-week to a 10-month programme, with regular analysis and a big emphasis on strength and conditioning. The players have really bought into that and I think we are starting to see the first glimpses of results now,” Hull noted.

“I’m pleased with the 26 we have got. We started with 40 players and made some tough decisions along the way and we’re really proud of our selection process, which has been very thorough.”

“Accountability is at the forefront of everything we are doing. Every one of those 26 players know that they have to keep performing, otherwise someone else is taking their spot,” Hull said.

Hull has incorporated 12 members of the Hong Kong Sevens team into the squad, injecting their professional-class speed and fitness into the equation, while also bringing a dose of much-needed experience playing against world-class women’s teams; all essentials if Hong Kong hope to step up against the likes of Fiji and Japan.

Inspirational second-rower Chow Mei-nam will again captain the side, leading an experienced group of forwards who will be called upon to do some heavy lifting in what is expected to be a physical contest with Fiji in the opener.

“Mei Nam is now in her second year of captaining the team. She leads by example in everything she does, on and off the pitch,” said Hull.

“Against Kazakhstan she had the highest positive involvement across both games, which is exactly what you want from your captain and really shows how she leads by example. She has only been playing for three years and continues to improve every game, which epitomises our team philosophy,” Hull added.

Jessica Ho Wai-on is the only uncapped player included in the 26-woman squad. The fiery young scrumhalf is likely to earn her first cap against Fiji, either starting or off the bench, as she complements Lindsay Varty, the second scrumhalf in the squad.

Hull, who has coached with Scotland at previous World Cups, believes this group of players has what it takes to get to the next level and will produce a performance that will make Hong Kong proud.

“Going to a World Cup is an experience you will never replicate in any other part of your life. When and if we get there, these girls will give their heart and soul to every minute of that and that is all that you can ask of them,” Hull said.

Hong Kong Squad, Women’s Rugby World Cup Qualifier
Chow Mei-Nam (Captain), Amelie Seure^, Chan Ka-Yan, Chan Leong-Sze^, Chan Tsz-Ching, Cheng Ching-To, Cheng Ka-Chi, Cheung Shuk-Han, Christine Gordon^, Lau Nga-Wun, Lee Ka-Shun, Melody Li Nim-Yan^, Winnie Siu Wing-Ni, Karen So Hoi-Ting, Wong Yuen-Shan, Adrienne Garvey^, Chong Ka-Yan^, Colleen Tjosvold^, Jessica Ho Wai-On*, Rose Hopewell-Fong, Ivy Kwong Sau-Yan^, Lau Sze-Wa, Lee Tsz-Ting^, Lindsay Varty^, Natasha Olson-Thorne^, Yuen Lok-Yee^.

^ HKSI elite Sevens athlete; * potential Hong Kong debut

Additional reporting and image: Takumi PhotographyHKRU

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Vishal Nanda: Writer, Game Designer and Peel Street Poet


Vishal Nanda is a writer and spoken word performer, as well as an indie game designer, teacher, and editor. He spends his time writing poetry, scripts, screen plays, plays, short stories, novels and the like, as he cannot quite help himself.

Recently, he hosted an event with acclaimed novelist Omar Musa during Hong Kong’s Literary Festival and his poetry has been published in the literary journal Asia Cha. He has performed spoken word poetry at a variety of events, including TEDx Wanchai, comedy shows, fundraisers and on RTHK Radio Three. He can usually be found nervously performing In Lan Kwai Fong most Wednesdays at Orange Peel with the other Peel Street Poets.

How long have you been involved in poetry?
I’ve been writing sort of poetry since I was thirteen, if you could call what I used to write ‘poetry’. It would be more accurate to say that I was trying to write poetry. I am hesitant to call what I write poetry, or to call myself a poet.

It’s quite a grandiose declaration because for good or ill ‘poetry’ still has pretentious connotations. If we had another word for it in English, with the sense that you’re part of a rather large group of aspiring writers maybe in training, that could excise the pretence from the term, like writing ‘pooms’, then that would be more accurate.

Writing pooms was a solo thing for a long time, completely devoid of connection to a larger community, till I ‘joined’ Peel Street. Since then I’ve been writing far more than I have in the past, with far more opportunities to get read or listened to, so in terms of dedicating more time to poetry, I would have to say since joining Peel, which was about three years ago. Since then I’ve been lucky to have more opportunities to write and perform, and it all started with Peel.

Where do you get the inspiration for your writing?
This is a crazy question. It would be hard enough to answer if you were referring to one specific piece I’ve written, let alone for writing as a whole. What was I thinking at the time? What series of events throughout my entire life, my childhood, all the media I have ever consumed, led to me producing that piece of work? How did I have the time to do it? What was I feeling back when I wrote it?

There’s a way to bypass the question entirely, and the assumption behind it, of the creator having agency in the cause. People are computers who take input, all the input our gloriously unique minds are capable of taking as the most powerful processing machines in the known universe, and then output something, like dick in the box, or Game of Thrones, or poetry. Although we have agency in the process we are far from objective observers of that process.

That said, if I had to give a tidier answer then I would abide by something Neil Gaiman said, which I paraphrase as ‘You walk by a dozen stories everyday. A writer notices at least five of them.’ In other words, there are stories and ideas everywhere, and it’s a matter of observation both internally and externally to recognise them.

And although I’m saying there is a lack of agency I don’t think there is a lack of craft. I use Evernote for everything, which means I can write on my phone, my Ipad, my desktop, whatever, it all goes to the same place, and if I have an idea I write it down, I file it away, whether I’m walking or sitting at home. I think there are two extremes for me when it comes to how I end up writing something, with a lot in the middle. I want to emphasise that I’m an amateur.

On the grandscale of global writers I’m just another guy on the cliff hoping to make his way up, but I think there’s some value then in telling you my work ethic, of the method in attempting to climb the cliff because it’s probably similar to a lot of other people who are trying but haven’t quite made it. I write all my ideas down. Sometimes I’ll have an abstract idea that I need to craft into a story- I had one about how children and what might be considered ‘the delusional’ have a lot in common, but how do I contain that in an actual narrative?

So I try to build something, which sometimes takes time, it takes outlines and planning and experimentation and editing. Or I had one about a guy who was ‘time displaced’ and could feel the past of any place he was at and I run with the idea, I imagine being that character and I take the story to it’s logical conclusions.

I don’t believe in writer’s block, my rule is that if I can’t figure out a problem, I’m only allowed to quit if I’ve sat in front of a desk and stared at the page for half an hour to an hour and truly come up with nothing, which I honestly think is a rarity. I try to abide by that rule.

On the other hand, especially with poetry, I’ve found that moments where I’m really emotional, often negatively, at those times writing out a poem is therapy, an itch, I have to get it out there because I feel like I’m going crazy, it’s like taking the chaos of an unformed internal monologue and shaping it into something, and times like those are times where it just flows out in one go.

So it’s both extremes, but I believe in the end it’s consistent work and the determination to see an idea to it’s end, no matter how crap the product, with the faith that it’s still practice and it still counts.

How does Hong Kong influence your writing?
It upsets me. It’s not exactly an ideal place, though it is idolised when it comes to safety, or the MTR or cheap, delicious food. I think a lot of writing, especially in English, when it comes to Hong Kong, attempts to focus on defining the place with the awareness that it’s unique. So that enough readers not familiar with it will find it compelling, it’s like travel writing.

I don’t want to write like that. I think there is a lot of isolation, a lot of unhealthy relationships, toxicity and loneliness here and I think that this is far from limited to this city.

I try to find the universal in the specific, rather than denying what is universal by focusing on the specific. Hong Kong, in the context of us as a species, is a remarkable trailer of a future to come. It has one of the largest income gaps in the world, a disgusting amount of people living in poverty juxtaposed with stratospheric decadence, rampant pollution and corporate-timescale-level-thinking (that is, in quarters, which is somewhat problematic when it comes to climate change), the highest average IQ and life expectancy in the world, cutting edge technology harnessed to make you buy shit you do not need, and a disturbingly high suicide rate among children who don’t fit the requisite mould.

I grew up here and frankly it makes me angry. I also love it, it is my home, and I’ve written celebratory pieces about it too. This is too big of a question to answer; how does Hong Kong influence my writing? If I have to sum it up, I’d say as a living computer I am forced to process it in all it’s neon madness, and that I’d hate to write about fields full of sheep instead.

The amount of silence in such a noisy place is mind boggling. So few people have an actual voice, instead we are bombarded with manicured ads and artificial TV shows claiming to define our existence in Hong Kong. Everywhere you look in Hong Kong, on the walls, on buildings, on magazine covers everywhere, there are words telling you how to be or think, via telling you what to buy, or what is considered of value and this gets to people, this affects us.

In Hong Kong, I try to consider what isn’t being said, but from my very, very narrow perspective. There’s a hell of a lot of noise here. I think a lot of writing at the moment is focused on articulating a perspective that can then be cozily placed in a category like ‘culture’ or ‘gender’ or some space from which the consumer and creator can feel comfortable in being associated with.

What is lost in that movement is the attempt to discover the universal, or even admitting that the state of us as a globalised species, like our genes, is 99.5% similar and cultural fetishisation for the sake of it is a form of self-inflicted blindness.

Hong Kong as an influence, is a noisy place, which inspires me by refusing to keep things simple or quiet, even if most people are rendered silent by it. Mental health is a box I’d like to say I try to fit a lot of my writing into- the state of Hong Kong’s popular perception, treatment and education when it comes to mental health is an absolute disgrace.

Google the government website on mental health, there’s a questionnaire for depression and if you succeed, if you have symptoms that fulfil the requirements for a diagnoses, the website effectively tells you to ‘take it easy’. There’s barely any help. It’s an absolute disgrace, and it’s not the rich that are being let down, they can afford private treatment, it’s the larger majority that have to count on a government doctor with ten minutes every two weeks to see you and the popular stigma that you can’t talk about these things.

The social environment is, in many ways, psychologically toxic. That said I have it easy compared to most people, I’m aware of that, I try to stay aware of my privilege. But the BS is dripping from the walls.


Things I wish were or that I could see in the city but don’t because the world is not moulded by the whims of my imagination.

Like when I stop,
Like when I pause, to give a beggar change,
Another hard-eyed walker strides towards us,
He’s from this mangled person’s mysterious past.
He’s got a deformed limb,
He’s engaging in disabled kung fu,
Flipping around on one functional leg,
And beating the shit out of this guy wearing a suit.

Is that as offensive as ignoring him?

At least in my fantasies I pretend to care.

Behind an office lady’s perfume trail,
I surf a happy wake- wish it was colored,
Maybe purple, so I can
Sniff the smell of happy.
It’s not stalking, going in the same direction,
It’s not like there’s any space on the escalator.
See the perfectly looking douchey guy in the suit,
See the way too sultry blouse wearing office girl,
See them engage in Mortal Kombat.

A look passes between them,
Sudden recognition,
Eyes flare
An accusatory YOUUU
One person kicks / the streets clear,
To form an orderly circle.
They pose,
I become one of those dudes in the backdrop,
Moving my hands up and down,
Like in the Super Street fighter backgrounds.

Outside the Landmark,
Fenced-in trees inhale car fumes,
Like hardened smokers talking shit to one another,
About how dumb humans are.
You know the waterfront used to be right by my roots.
Yeah thank the Sun they covered that stuff with concrete. Smelled horrific.

Sometimes on a skyway,
When a double decker passes so close,
I think of jumping, and rolling, then running on the roofs,

But I’d need something to escape from for it to make sense.
Like reality.
Or something to chase.
Like office ladys.

How about the neon signs,
Unravelling to become neon snakes,
They float through the sky like Doctor Who monsters,
Neon eels,
If they touch you, they either electrocute, or seduce,

And next thing you know you’re in a Wanchai strip club being choked to death
By the fairy lights.

I want a class one Tai Tai laden down with shopping bags,
Wearing Armani everything and sunglass occluded eyes,
To walk into HSBC,
Chill as fuck,
And from her shopping bags drop,
Two tommy guns.
With perfect diction, her lines would be:
Everyone be cool this is a robbery.
Any of you pricks move and I’ll execute every last mother fucking one of you.
In my fantasies I don’t bother not to plagiarise,
This is why copyright is unnatural,
Her lipstick is as red as the HSBC logo,
Or the dead kids those terrorists they accidentally funded killed.

Oops, too far, good thing none of this is real.

The Victoria Harbour channel monster would be unfathomable.
Doubly terrifying because of the layers of nasty that film the water,
Would make it invisible till it was a few feet from the surface,
Armoured in plastic bags, translucent scales that warp the image underneath,
Lovecrafted out of Vita Box cartons that inflate and deflate as it breathes,
It’s touch is asthma,
It’s straw appendages piercing skin to suck out all your dreams,
Right through your pupils,
You won’t be able to get a good night’s sleep again,
It will find you in every toilet bowl and stagnant puddle,
The urban mosquitos are it’s eyes.

Skyscrapers are secret spaceships,
Rocket boosters buried in the concrete,
Waiting for the signal,
They lift up all at once,
Hidden steel shutters locking down windows,
For the inevitable space exodus.

Inevitable, in my fantasies at least.

Maybe they are missiles,
Anti-alien weapons,
Filled with angry bankers coked up like Viking berserkers, unable to distinguish friend,
From the ignorant average person investing with them,
They take their ties off, tying to them stationary,
Wielding silken nunchucks against the bugger ships they board,
The antennas and weird spiral shit on roofs were always
Disguised ramming prows.

If all the cars, lorrys and bus’s horned at once,
Would the sound blow out all the buildings glass?
If the PLA in admiralty took on the cops,
Would the triads decide a tie breaker?
I want a crazy brown guy to walk into a crystal shop,
With a tennis racket,
And systematically smash everything at once,
Then maybe buy it all afterwards,

Take that mainland billionaires.

I’m a fucked up patriot in my head.

I want to see ten thousand people take to the streets,
Yelling slogans from the 1970s,
I want to sit cross legged in the middle of the highway
While the Hong Kong police go full police state
And radical students are threatened with pepper spray,
Would be cool to feel a part of history,
Especially to be on the losing side.

I want graffiti on the government buildings,
And street art outside the IFC,
I want a declaration that anyone can be Batman,
Hanging from a skyway.
I want to see it again,
And pretend that a seven million strong city,
Educated and liberal,
Could field one hell of an army
For change.
For a change,
I want my fantasies to be real,

I don’t think theres anything wrong with having an office girl fetish,
I mean I grew up in Hong Kong.
It’s not my fault.
That I want you
to give me
a raise.

Peel Street Poetry is an open mic poetry night at Orange Peel. It runs every Wednesday of the month except the first. The environment is friendly and they love new performers, so come share your poetry or just listen along to some of Hong Kong’s sharpest poetic talents.

Peel Street Poetry Open Mic
Date: 2nd, 3rd, 4th (and 5th) Wednesdays of the month
Venue: Orange Peel
Tickets: Free
More info:

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Kowloon Cricket Club Lift Hancock Shield


On a green surface at Hong Kong Cricket Club, 40 wickets fell in two days and at the end of it all, Kowloon Cricket Club emerged victorious in the Hancock Shield, a traditional Premier League fixture.

Sent in to bat first on day one, KCC recovered from being 68-6 to reach 165 in the first innings thanks to an even half-century from Dan Pascoe. Pascoe also received support from Aizaz Khan (38), but it was HKCC’s opening bowlers Gareth Harte (4-43) and Raag Kapur (3-45) who gave the home side an edge.

But that advantaged quickly evaporated as HKCC collapsed to 62-7 by stumps, still trailing by 105.

On day two, they were able to eek out another 49 runs thanks to an unbeaten 48 from Ryan Buckley. Aizaz Khan backed up his contribution with the bat with 4-43. Ehsan Nawaz took 3-21.

With a lead of 54 runs, KCC merely needed to bat time and see out the game to claim the Shield. Easier said than done.

This time, they found themselves 49-6 and the lower order could not entirely bail them out on this occasion as they were bowled out for 91. Gareth Harte continued his brilliant game with the ball, taking 5-36 to claim match figures of 9-79.

That left HKCC with 146 to win in a maximum of 41 overs and they had the perfect man to do it.

Nizakat Khan, who had a flight to catch to the Centre of Excellence in Australia, opened the batting and dominated the bowling. However, his team mates were not finding it so easy and when Nizakat was dismissed for 61 off 50 balls, HKCC were 74-5.

The lower order fought hard and took the match to the final 15 minutes until Tanveer Ahmed (3-42) took the final wicket with HKCC still 14 runs shy of their victory target.

Aizaz Khan pick up another four wickets in the second innings to finish with match figures of 8-83.


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VIXX – The Underworld
Date: 8pm, 18 February, 2017
Venue: AsiaWorld-Expo, Hall 10
Tickets: $1,780, $1,380, $880, $580 from HKTicketing
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The Patio Grand Opening @ Harbour Plaza Metropolis – 2 December, 2016


The Patio at Harbour Plaza Metropolis celebrated it’s Grand Opening with a party on the 2 December. The large outdoor area has been redesigned and offers a relaxed view across the harbour from the middle of Hung Hom.
Click on any photo to see the full gallery





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Women’s Rugby Results – 3 December, 2016


City Sparkle 5-64 Valley Black
@ Shek Kip Mei, Kick-off: 18:00

HKFC Ice pstp Kowloon
@ King’s Park, Kick-off: 18:00

CWB Phoenix pstp USRC Tigers
@ So Kon Po, Kick-off: 18:00


National League 1

HKCC 15-32 USRC Tigers
@ So Kon Po, Kick-off: 16:30

Revolution SRC v Valley Red
@ Tai Hung Tang, Kick-off: 16:30

Tai Po Dragons pstp HK Scottish
@ KG V, Kick-off: 18:00


National League 2

City v Tai Po Dragons
@ Kowloon Tsai, Kick-off: 15:00

Gai Wu Hawks 5-10 HK Fire
@ King’s Park, Kick-off: 16:30

CWB Lammergeier 93-0 Uni-Pirates
@ Sandy Bay, Kick-off: 16:30

Police Sirens 36-5 Tin Shui Wai
@ Police Boundary Street, Kick-off: 18:00


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Valley Black Beat City Sparkle, 64-5


Valley Black beat City Sparkle, 64-5, in the final Women’s Premiership match of 2016 at Shek Kip Mei. Defending league and Grand Champions Valley made a statement with their numbers – and not just on the scoreboard – as the side pulled out a win despite having eight of its regulars absent on international duty.

Six Valley players are with the national team squad as Hong Kong prepares for next week’s Women’s Rugby World Cup qualifiers, while two were away with the successful Hong Kong U18 Girls Sevens squad that won the Asia Rugby U18s Girls Sevens championship in Dubai.

Despite being light on numbers, Valley was keen to accept the fixture with City, as both sides wanted a run ahead of the winter break. With just 16 regular first team players available, Valley coach James Eliot called upon the club’s National League 1 players and they stepped up in fine fashion.

The team’s established players led the way for the newbies, with winger Laurel Chor and fullback Zoe Smith accounting for three tries each, while captain Olivia Coady collected a brace as the Valley juggernaut rolled on.

“Going in to a game without eight national team players would have probably put a big drain on almost any other club, but we called up the girls from our NL1 side and they really stepped up,” said Elliot.

“I’m so proud of them. We had so many players come into the game today, many of them playing out of position and knowing we needed them to play a huge amount of minutes, and they really came through. Some of the girls played more minutes today than they have all season,” Elliot added.

Today’s influx of players from the lower leagues brings Valley’s total numbers of players appearing in the Premiership to date this season to 34, as Valley adds depth to its growing list of threats.

Elliot credited City for meeting the fixture: “Everyone said we were crazy to want to play with only 16 players, but we didn’t play last week and neither did City and we both wanted to get more games in before the break,” Elliot added.

“And it was a really good game. City put up a great fight. They never let up and played with a lot of heart. The try they scored was a beauty, they ran right through us; there was a lot of good rugby played today by both sides,” Elliot added.

Today’s result returns Valley to the top of the table alongside Gai Wu Falcons, both of whom are on 29 points. Valley, with a game in hand, has the head-to-head advantage after beating Falcons a fortnight ago.

“We do need a break now,” said Elliot, “We’ve been working hard on our aggression around the pitch and in eliminating some communication issues and giving away fewer penalties and will continue to work on those things for when we start again.

“But we can take a lot of confidence from that result. It shows that we are more than just a team, we are a club and that even without our internationals we can still play winning rugby,” Elliot added.


Additional reporting and photo: HKRU

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Women’s Rugby Fixtures – 3 December, 2016


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