Rooftop Parties, Orientations and Temples

As prophesied in my previous post, a week or so of orientation, exploration and a large night out or two has occurred. Although, this being Hong Kong, not a second was dull and everything is noteworthy. Fortunately for the reader, I am not nearly organised, dedicated or sober enough to weigh this down with too much detail.

If you are new to Hong Kong, drinking, and desperate to show the combination off to friends and family back home via social media, you are on a rooftop. The roof terrace of the central IFC mall and the open-air top floor of a 5-star hotel being the elevated watering holes that I found myself in. The former, an ideal pre-drink location. Grab a few mates, hit up a 7/11, grab an assortment of Tsing Tao, Blue Girl and Skol and watch the Sun go down and the lights come on across Hong Kong Island and over the harbour to Kowloon. The latter, a more luxurious location with some stunning panoramic views and even more stunning drinks prices. Alas, if you can’t splash out and enjoy a boogie on the 50th floor of a premium hotel, you’re in the wrong Special Administrative Region. When not at altitude, the famous strips of Lan Kwai Fong and the hedonistic Wan Chai have been the main places of business for myself and the thousands of other boozy exchange students, ex-pats and locals looking for a good time.

My international posse of fellow freshmen and I have eaten out pretty much every day/night since getting here, and the food is so consistently impressive and I have become so desensitised to it that it all blends into one continuous, never-ending path of deliciousness. That being said, one dining institution will stick in my head until the day I die. That is the snappily named Foosung Street Temporary Cooked Food Hawker Bazaar. A sort of tent that we invaded one night, filled with mismatched table and chairs flung together to form some cohesive structure, menus printed on the tarpaulin-like material that formed the walls and nothing but a transparent plastic sheet separating us from the hectic, smokey kitchen filled with sweaty men, guts on show, fags on the go, frantically whipping up some of the tastiest food I have ever eaten in my life. We ordered everything: goose, shrimp, beer, noodles, fish, beer, rice, beef, beer. It was flawless and came to around the same price per head as a British McDonalds meal. The presence of drunk groups of locals taking shots, shouting and swearing only added to the ambiance and made me feel substantially less like a loutish British tourist.
10/10: Will go again, must go again.

I just typed a lengthy description of the HKU campus before realising I’d written an almost identical description in my last post. Evidently, I am still impressed. I have been back and forth in the last week for orientations. It’s great to meet fellow exchange students from all over the world, studying inside and outside my faculty, as well as some of the lecturers I may encounter. I am pleased with the classes I was able to choose and am eager to get going with some history, art history, Cantonese, philosophy, politics and journalism. Studying can seem like a chore when I’m in the thick of it, but it really doesn’t take long before I start missing it. The contact and workload is looking a lot higher here than at Southampton, but the fact that I only need to pass should take the pressure off and allow me to focus as much on enjoying Asia, as work. It was reassuring to hear from my faculty dean that he believes grades and attendance are only a small part of studying abroad – especially in Hong Kong. That line may come back to haunt him when he tries to call me out on my absenteeism and poor grades. I enjoyed an introductory talk from the British Consulate which boiled down to ‘don’t lose your travel documents’ and ‘don’t get arrested’. I’ll remember this the next time I use my passport as currency to buy heroin.

Exploration has been a key theme since I landed and I have spent a lot of time walking, training, busing and tramming from place to place, wandering aimlessly, taking in the sights, sounds, tastes and smells of Hong Kong. Today’s excursion to Chi Lin Nunnery and Sik Sik Yuen Wong Tai Sin Temple was one of the best yet and Chi Lin is certainly one of the most beautiful places I have ever traveled to. The tranquil Nan Lian gardens surrounding the main temple is a Classical Chinese garden consisting of plants, trees, ponds and water features, rocks, and pavilions. One pavilion was dedicated to Chinese architecture and I was blown away to see intricate scaled-down replicas of famous Chinese buildings and to learn how their ingenious methods of engineering, design and carpentry allowed them to built huge palaces, that could weather earthquakes, storms and survive for thousands of years, completely out of timber. The Chi Lin temple itself was just as moving. The stunning architecture of the buildings, the grandeur of the huge golden Buddha statues, the natural beauty of the lily ponds and flora, the smell of incense and the comforting sounds of Buddhist chanting is enough to make even a hard-headed skeptic feel spiritual. The juxtaposition between this and the surrounding skyscrapers of banks, insurance companies and luxury apartments made it even more unique and incredible. You will not find a Chi Lin anywhere else in the world. Ironically, in this pocket of tranquility I lost all sense of time and location, and could have been anywhere in the world. I couldn’t help but feel slightly deflated when I returned back to the world of trains, cars and Starbucks.

All in all, a fantastic time courting Hong Kong. Now onto second-base for some school and rugby.

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72 thoughts on “Rooftop Parties, Orientations and Temples

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    I want to pass along some very important news that everyone needs to hear!

    In December of 2017, Donald Trump made history by recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Why is this big news? Because by this the Jewish people of Israel are now able to press forward in bringing about the Third Temple prophesied in the Bible.

    Jewish Rabbis have publicly announced that their Messiah will be revealed in the coming years who will be a leader and spiritual guide to all nations, gathering all religions under the worship of one God.

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    “He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads, and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.

    Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man: His number is 666.”

    Referring to the last days, this could only be speaking of a cashless society, which we have yet to see, but are heading towards. Otherwise, we could still buy or sell without the mark amongst others if physical money was still currency. This Mark couldn’t be spiritual because the word references two different physical locations. If it was spiritual it would just say in the forehead. RFID microchip implant technology will be the future of a one world cashless society containing digital currency. It will be implanted in the right-hand or the forehead, and we cannot buy or sell without it. Revelation 13:11-18 tells us that a false prophet will arise on the world scene doing miracles before men, deceiving them to receive this Mark. Do not be deceived! We must grow strong in Jesus. AT ALL COSTS, DO NOT TAKE IT!

    “Then a third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, “If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives his mark on his forehead or on his hand, he himself shall also drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out full strength into the cup of His indignation. He shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment ascends forever and ever; and they have no rest day or night, who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name” (Revelation 14:9-11).

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    We all know God exists. Why? Because without Him, we couldn’t prove anything at all. Do we live our lives as if we cannot know anything? No. So why is God necessary? In order to know anything for certain, you would have to know everything, or have revelation from somebody who does. Who is capable of knowing everything? God. So to know anything, you would have to be God, or know God.

    A worldview without God cannot account for the uniformity and intelligibility of nature. And why is it that we can even reason that God is the best explanation for this if there is no God? We are given reason to know or reject God, but never to know that He does not exist.

    It has been calculated by Roger Penrose that the odds of the initial conditions for the big bang to produce the universe that we see to be a number so big, that we could put a zero on every particle in the universe, and even that would not be enough to use every zero. What are the odds that God created the universe? Odds are no such thing. Who of you would gamble your life on one coin flip?

    Is there evidence that the Bible is the truth? Yes. Did you know that the creation accounts listed in the book of Genesis are not only all correct, but are also in the correct chronological order? That the Bible doesn’t say the Earth was formed in six 24-hour days but rather six long but finite periods of time? That the Bible makes 10 times more creation claims than all major “holy” books combined with no contradictions, while these other books have errors in them? The Bible stood alone by concurring with the big bang saying, “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth” (Genesis 1:1); and says our universe is expanding, thousands of years before scientists discovered these things. Watch a potential life-changing video on the website listed below with Astronomer(PhD) Hugh Ross explaining all these facts based on published scientific data. He has authored many books, backed even by atheist scientists.

    Jesus came to pay a debt that we could not; to be our legal justifier to reconcile us back to a Holy God; only if we are willing to receive Him: “For the wages of sin is death…” (Romans 6:23).

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    Jesus came to free us from the bondage of sin. The everlasting fire was prepared for the devil and his angels due to disobedience to God’s law. If we do the same, what makes us any different than the devil? Jesus says unless we repent, we shall perish. For sin is the transgression of the law. We must walk in the Spirit so we may not fulfill the lusts of the flesh, being hatred, fornication, drunkenness and the like. Whoever practices such things will not inherit the kingdom (Galatians 5:16-26). If we sin, we may come before Jesus to ask for forgiveness (1 John 2:1-2). Evil thoughts are not sins, but rather temptations. It is not until these thoughts conceive and give birth by our own desires that they become sin (James 1:12-15). When we sin, we become in the likeness of the devil’s image, for he who sins is of the devil (1 John 3:8); but if we obey Jesus, in the image of God. For without holiness, we shall not see the Lord (Hebrews 12:14).

    The oldest religion in the world is holiness through faith (James 1:27). What religion did Adam and Eve follow before the fall? Jesus, Who became the last Adam, what religion does He follow? Is He not holy? He never told us to follow the rituals and traditions of man but to take up our cross and follow Him (Luke 9:23). There are many false doctrines being taught leading people astray. This is why we need the Holy Spirit for discernment. Unlike religion, holiness cannot be created. It is given to us from above by the baptism of the Spirit. Jesus is more than a religion; He is about having a personal relationship with the Father. Start by reading the Gospel of Matthew, to hear the words of God, to know His character and commandments. Follow and obey Jesus, for He is the way, the truth, and the life!

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  14. Hi Harry

    Yet again, a brilliant post! It sounds as if you have really been experiencing everything, from the dizzy heights to the VERY local! It seems as if you felt that your Magaluf styling fitted in more appropriately with locals downing shots than with the elderly ladies with fans in the park. I have to say that you have sold the local restaurant with a sheet of plastic for a divide to me! how have you found the food? is it very different from what you had expected before you left? Have you been laughed at for mixing food groups that would normally not be mixed? I have had students from Hong Kong in Southampton tell me that they find how we mix their food very funny, at the same time as they take a croissant and ask to have a fried egg placed on top. The rules and etiquette of food are so nuanced that this would be really interesting to know, once you have sobered up a bit from the orientation week!
    I am also not sure if I am supposed to, but, wow you made me laugh with the comment about the British Consulate and remembering their advise the next time you use your passport as currency to buy heroin. (!!!) How are those in Hong Kong getting on with your sense of humour? Do they understand your dry jokes or have you toned it down for communication purposes?!
    Good to see that you are also exploring the traditional side of Hong Kong alongside the exchange student bars.
    As before, i am thoroughly enjoying you blog and look forward to learning more about your experience. I may also ask you if i can quote you on the consult experience in the future!
    Keep in touch
    Best wishes

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