Popface – China Revisited

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Embracing beautifully executed atmospheric art-pop Popface is a postrock/shoegaze band from in Stavanger, Norway. For 20 years, the band has perfected the balance between loud and quiet, cascading between walls of electric guitars and the gentle whisper of the acoustic. The band has for many years been looked upon as being one of Norway’s finest live acts and is well known for delivering great live shows.

Popface are Frode Johannessen (vocals), Michael Vince (bass) and Gaute Johannesen (drums), the band have released five albums: Buck (1995), Almost Endless (1998), Michele, I Love You (2002), Eleven Pieces Of A Broken Heart (2006) and most recently Little Dreamer earlier this year.

In August 2015, the band made their debut tour of China that featured 11 gigs, now they return starting in Hong Kong at MOM Livehouse on the 17 November, 2016

Popface – China Revisited
Date: 8pm, 17 November, 2016
Venue: MOM Livehouse
Tickets: $150, $100

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Christmas with Chiu Yin Mei @ Food Allee – 23 December, 2015

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Chiu Yin Mei owner of Food Allee celebrated Christmas with friends over mulled wine and food prepared by Yin on her wood fired stove. Good food. Good conversation. Happy Christmas.
Food Allee 22-28 Kennedy Street, Wanchai
Click on any photo for the full gallery of images

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Last Minute Christmas

traditional-roast-turkey-dinner

It’s late December, where has the year gone? The seasonal music and decorations that have been up for months have inured you to Christmas, yet suddenly it’s here and you’ve got nothing prepared… bc’s here to help with it’s ‘instant’ traditional Roast Turkey Christmas meal – no cooking involved, although you will need to warm some dishes up to fully enjoy them.

Starter
Smoked salmon + Rainbow Salad
Smoked salmon: IKEA offers packs of frozen smoked salmon (Lax Kallrökt) $66 for 200g.
Rainbow Salad: black chickpeas, carrots, peas, corn, potatoes, red bell pepper, green bell pepper, cherry tomatoes, parsley from Maya Takeaway, $88.

Main
Roast Turkey, roast potatoes, parsnips, red cabbage, Brussels sprouts, stuffing, gravy, cranberry sauce.
Roast Turkey: Great Food Hall in Pacifc Place have around 12 cooked US Roast Turkey per day $120/kg (4-6kg). Buy at the cooked food counter including Christmas Day. They also offer cooked roast beef, lamb and gammon if you prefer something other than turkey.
Roast potatoes: Great – $18/100g (cooked); M&S – $45/300g (need cooking)
Parsnips: M&S – $50/300g (need cooking)
Brussels sprouts: Great – $18/100g
Red cabbage braised with Bramley apples: $45/300g Marks & Spencer
Turkey gravy: $69/540g Marks & Spencer
Cranberry sauce: $59/300g Marks & Spencer
Stuffing: sage and onion/ cranberry & orange stuffing from M&S
Bacon wrapped sausages: sadly we couldn’t find this staple side dish in a cooked version.

For vegetarians: mediterranean vegetable stew / chickpea patty simmered in tomato sauce both $88 from Maya.

Gold_Melt_in_the_Middle_Chocoalte_PuddingDessert
Christmas Pudding with Brandy Butter
Christmas pudding: Great: several choices, M&S: $379/907g
Brandy Butter: $59/195g M&S or you can make it yourself it’s just butter beaten with sugar and brandy, or pick up a can of classic Bird’s custard and add a dash of brandy/ rum for a good alternative.

Cheese
Great’s cheese room is one of the unsung wonders of Hong Kong, the choice is varied, delicious and if you’re used to US and European cheese prices, expensive – but it’s Christmas so indulge.
A cheaper alternative is www.cheesebytom.com: cheddar 250g/$35, Brie 250g/$50 and other cheeses. Deliveries to Central and Lantau.

Christmas Cake + Mince Pies
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Finding a good tasty Christmas cake is hard, especially one with marzipan and Royal icing
Christmas Cake: Great and M&S have several choices at different prices from $89 up – including the Hand Decorated Bauble Bar Cake (left) with marzipan and royal icing at $379. Most are more like fruit cakes than Christmas cake which is a shame as the two are subtly different in taste.
Mince Pies: Again Great and M&S have several choices, but none have a taste that leap out and say buy me!

Store Details + Contacts:
Great Basement Pacific Place, Admiralty Tel: 2918 9986 www.greatfoodhall.com
IKEA Causeway Bay, Shatin, Kowloon Bay www.ikea.com.hk
Marks & Spencer various stores www.marksandspencer.com
Maya Takeaway 173 Des Voeux Road, Central. Tel: 2111 4553 www.mayacafehk.com

Edit: 24 Dec – Added Christmas cake photo and updated text

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Spain 57-0 Hong Kong @ Madrid – 19 December, 2015

Hong Kong Women's Xv in Spain

The Spanish national women’s rugby team beat Hong Kong 57-0 yesterday in Madrid to sweep the first ever series between the two teams. Spain beat Hong Kong 59-12 in the opening match on 15 December.

Despite a score line that was less flattering than the opening encounter, Hong Kong’s performance was much improved in yesterday’s official test match. Unfortunately for the visitors, the Spanish XV also clearly understood the importance of the tie, and upped their intensity to a level unseen in the opening encounter – blitzing Hong Kong with nine unanswered tries on the day.

Spain entertained their home support with an impressive 80 minutes of frenzied physicality in a game that was played at admirable pace by both sides. While Hong Kong’s offense was effectively stymied, defensively it was a much-improved result with all of the team committed to the effort.

In the end, Spain simply proved too big, too fast and too skillful – underscoring the experience gap between the two sides with Spain having played in multiple Women’s Rugby World Cups and over 120 test matches.

Spain brought all of their size, physicality and speed across the line into play on a surprisingly sunny and firm ground for Madrid in December.

The unrelenting onslaught made Hong Kong’s determined defensive display that much more impressive on the day, as did the fact that prime offensive threat Aggie Poon Pak Yan was out due to injury. Poon’s replacement at fullback, Adrienne Garvey, had a solid outing, putting in some memorable tackles to halt the frequent Spanish attacks.

Captain Chow Mei Nam once again led from the front in a superb effort that was cut short in the first half due to injury but it was simply next woman up for Hong Kong throughout the encounter. The team effort was encouraging with some of the team’s most recognisable stars having quiet afternoons.

Spain demonstrated their intent to put Hong Kong to the sword from the opening kick-off when they opted for a scrum on Hong Kong’s 22-metre line despite having a perfectly kickable penalty opportunity. Hong Kong’s scrum and defence held on that occasion – as it did throughout much of the first half – but it was the first of what would ultimately be too many attacking forays for the hosts on the afternoon. Somehow Hong Kong withstood Spain’s frenzied attack for the first 30 minutes, allowing only 12 points to the visitors in an excellent defensive performance.

Despite not having the chance to show much offensively, Hong Kong had sustained periods of possession – demonstrating a vastly improved structure from day one. Most impressive was the fact that these patches of possession invariably came as Hong Kong tried to work the ball from deep in its own half, showing excellent composure while doing so.

Ultimately the size and physical intensity of the Spanish defence proved too strong and the constant pressure lead to some loose passing on occasion that turned over Hong Kong’s possession. With the pace and frequency of Spain’s attack it was always a question of how long Hong Kong could hold and ultimately the levee broke, as Spain crossed over for two more tries in quick succession shortly before halftime, giving the hosts a 24-0 lead at the break.

Spain crossed over for five tries in the second half with flanker Paula Medin collecting a brace and scrumhalf Patricia Garcia adding six conversions and a fine solo try to help Spain reach its total of 57-0.

Considering Spain’s pedigree the team’s improvement was more obvious than the score line indicated. “We improved both individually and collectively from the first game to yesterday, in particular our defence in the tighter channels as well as our overall game structure,” said Hull.

The original idea behind the test series was to gauge Hong Kong’s strength outside of the region and that objective was achieved. While there still remains much to improve on that front, Hong Kong’s performance yesterday bodes well for next season’s Asia Rugby Championship matches against Kazakhstan and Japan.

In fact, Spain were an ideal opponent for Hong Kong, matching the solid tactical skills, pace and ball handling of Japan with the direct physical engagement of Kazakhstan. One senses that the true results of the Spain series are likely only to be seen in next season’s Asia Rugby Women’s Championship in April.

Coach Hull agrees: “Spain has been a huge learning and development opportunity for the team and we will use this as a starting point for the 2016 Asian championships and build from there.

“I’m proud of the players. They showed great character and a real understanding of what is required to play at this level. Whilst we did show some improvement match to match, this week has been useful to highlight what is needed in the longer-term for us to play at this level,” added Hull.

With Hong Kong having marked its first ever test against non-Asian opposition, the squad will no doubt be hungry for the chance to put the lessons learned from Madrid into action in Asia and once again on the world stage.

Hong Kong v Spain
1. Lau Nga Wun, 2. Royce Chan Leong Sze 3. Lee Ka Shun, 4. Cheung Shun Han, 5. Chow Mei Nam (Captain), 6. Melody Li, 7. Christy Cheng Ka Chi, 8. Amelie Seure, 9. Sham Wai Sum, 10. Rebecca Thompson, 11. Cheng Tsz Ting, 12. Colleen Tjosvold, 13. Natasha Olson-Thorne, 14. Lau Sze Wa, 15. Adrienne Garvey,
Substitutes: 16. Winnie Siu, 17. Karen So, 18. Ku Hoi Ying, 19. Claire Forster, 20. Cheng Ching To, 21. Lo Wai Yan, 22. Stephanie Cuvelier, 23. Mak Ho Yee.

Raul Garcia’s photos from the second test match
https://picasaweb.google.com/107614371220763372643/EspanaVsHongKongTestMatch02

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The St. Regis Macao Opens Today – 18 December, 2015

The-Great-Hall-at-The-St.-Regis-Macao-Hotel,-Cotai-Central

The newest hotel in Macau is the 400 room St Regis Macao which opened today. The hotel, part of the Starwood Hotels & Resorts group, is operated by Sands China Ltd and sits next to the Sheraton Hotel and across the road from the Venetian casino. The St. Regis Macao is the brand’s seventh hotel in China and offers something a little different at the luxury end of the Macau hotel market with suites ranging in size from 53 to 477 square meters (570 to 5,135 sq feet).

As well as spa on the 38/F the hotel has five dining outlets including the St Regis Bar which serves the hotel’s signature Bloody Mary, the Maria do Leste, created in New York in the 1900’s  – which features spices that Portuguese sailors also brought to Macau, such as pink peppercorns, piri-piri and cinnamon.

The St. Regis Macao
Estrada Do Istmo. S/N Cotai, Macau
Tel: 2882 8898
www.stregis.com/macao

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McLaren Sports Series Launch @ Shaw Studios – 17 December, 2015

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McLaren launched their new Sports Series at Shaw Studios to an excited group of existing and aspiring owners on the 17 December, 2015. The 570S is McLaren’s version of a town car – it even includes such niceties as door pockets, glove box and a vanity mirror. The newest kid on the block, the 570S, features a twin-turbo 3.8-liter V-8 (562hp), sequential seven-speed gearbox, ceramic brakes and an adaptive suspension – all for a base price under US$200,000. McLaren says the 570S can hit 60 mph in 3.2 seconds.
Click on any photo for the full gallery

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The Great European Carnival @ Central Harbourfront

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The Great European Carnival returns to the Central Harbourfront today for a three month residency. Unlike last year’s inaugural event which took several weeks for all the rides to open, this year’s carnival is almost fully formed – courtesy of seven months of liaison with the relevant departments to get safety and fire certificates etc approved.
The midway is far more engaging this year, there’s more energy, rides and games are closer together and better distributed through the fairground. Compared to last year there are several more rides and a better mix. A couple of new rides are the log flume and the rollercoaster. For those who love to scream, last year’s favourites remain so bring something for those vocal chords! There’s a considerably smaller ice-rink, while the dodgems are still the most legal fun you can have impersonating a HK taxi/minibus driver.

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This year’s food court is more compact and right next to the stage area (in the centre of the carnival) so you can sit and eat while enjoying whatever’s on the stage. Castelo Catering, the sole food concessionaire, is again offering big pans of paella ($40) curry and rice ($60), pizza ($60) kebabs ($60/$70) burgers and noodles. Portions sizes are good and while it could never be called gourmet it’s certainly edible and negates any need to bring your own food. Look out to for the English fudge shop, 3 chunks for $30. There’s a distinct lack of places to buy drinks, so on a sunny day bring some water.

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Rides and games are paid for in tokens, and as last year a token costs $10. Food, drinks etc are cash only.

This year’s GEC is a noticeable improvement on last year, even the ‘grass’ is better… But a few unsolvable kinks remain. It’s gonna be busy, so enjoy the queues! The games staff are salaried so there’s no ‘barking’ and hustle as they tout for your business. It would undoubtably be complicated to institute an individual commission system but it would incentivise away the apathy and maybe energise the game staff.

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Great European Carnival
Date: 11am-11pm, 17 December 2015 – 21 February 2016
Venue: Central Harbourfront
Tickets: $125
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HK Cricket Match Reports: Saturday 12 December, 2015

Saturday Championship

Saturday Championship Division 1

HKCC Gap Ramblers v KCC Saracens
At Hong Kong Cricket Club, HKCC Gap Ramblers left it late to beat KCC Saracens.

Saracens won the toss and elected to bat first and had Saumil Shah (49) and Simondeep Singh (68) to thank for them reaching their total of 7/182 from 35 overs. In reply, Gap Ramblers lost both openers with only 23 runs on the board but a third wicket partnership of 135 runs between David Varley (59) and George Clarke (73) got them close and they eventually achieved their victory with four balls and six wickets to spare.
At HKCC: KCC Saracens 7/182 from 35 overs lost to HKCC Gap Ramblers 4/184 from 34.2 overs by six wickets.

KCC Tartars v KCC Crusaders
In the last derby match of the season at Kowloon Cricket Club, KCC Tartars beat KCC Crusaders by 55 runs.

Saeed Farooq was the only batsman to master the green tinged wicket and his innings of 53 was the stand out batting performance from either side as Tartars reached 8/155 from their 35 overs. Tartars’ bowlers then bossed the second innings with Afzaal Haider claiming 4/30 from 5.2 overs while Ateeq Ul-Rehman (3/26) and Waqar Dawood (3/20) also got into the wickets.
At KCC: KCC Tartars 8/155 from 35 overs beat KCC Crusaders 100 from 29.2 overs by 55 runs.

Saturday Championship Division 2

Lamma v USRC/MCC
At PKVR Park, Lamma scored a bonus point victory over USRC/MCC.

Lamma elected to bowl first after winning the toss and they reduced USRC/MCC to 3/34 after opener Syed Ibraz hit 31 of those runs. Sikandar Zafar (40) then dominated a 61-run fourth wicket partnership that got the score to 4/95 before another flurry of wickets saw them slump to 6/97. USRC/MCC, still going at a rate of knots, were eventually dismissed for 123 in just 18.3 overs. Brenton McDonald was Lamma’s chief destroyer, claiming 6/20 from 4.3 overs.

Lamma got off to a solid start in the second innings with the openers putting on 58. Haider Bukhari was first wicket to fall, having scored 30. Ian Beck followed with a fine 50 as Lamma reached 5/108. It was a proud day for the McDonald clan as the father and son combination of Royce and Brenton saw Lamma home in the 24th over for their fourth win of the season. Usman Mohammad was the best of the USRC/MCC bowlers, claiming 3/16 in five overs.
At PKVR Park: USRC/MCC 123 from 18.3 overs lost to Lamma CC 6/124 from 24 overs by four wickets.

DLSW Spartans v CCC Hung See
There was another bonus point victory at the Police Training College in Aberdeen where DLSW Spartans defeated CCC Hung See 88 runs. Spartans’ opener Haseeb Muhammad dominated proceedings with a fine 115 as they posted a score of 204 all out in 35 overs. Twelve-year-old Dhruv Sodhi claimed the bowling honours for Hung See with 5/40 from seven overs.

Hung See got away to a slow but steady start and they looked well placed to push on after reaching 1/46. However, a mini-collapse saw them slip to 4/51 and from there they never recovered. Hung See’s middle and lower order batsmen managed to see out the 35 overs as they totaled 6/116. Hari Virani (3/21) was the best of the bowlers for Spartans.
At PTC: DLSW Spartans 204 from 35 overs beat CCC Hung See 7/116 from 35 overs by 88 runs.

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