Hong Kong is a fascinating place to visit and for street photography if you look further than its shopping centres and its good food.
Up to Nov 2012, Hong Kong has 44 million visitors, up 16% from the same period last year, according to the Hong Kong Tourism Board. That means more revenue to Hong Kong's retailers, government and people.
Here are my observations on how Hong Kong has become more progressive:
1. Excellent communications with passengers.
Cathay Pacific Airlines staff would communicate their feedback to the passenger before the passenger leaves the plane. For some reason, I was given a feedback form and so I said that the "bacon and eggs" were of poor quality in that the bacon was not "real" bacon. It looked like ground meat with an even layer of fat in between. This roll would then be sliced to give the appearance of bacon. The English bacon and eggs will be the standard if the traveller knows it and so it was a poor quality breakfast. The manager told me she would speak to the food side. So this was immediate feedback on complaints. The overhead light was not working. One crew said I should have told her so that I could change seats or she could "reset" the light. Why not check before flying? This flight was an old Airbus (brushes like thick eyebrows seen at the emergency exit door for disarming or arming the door). The inflight stereo phone set had one plug instead of the usual two and so the adaptor for the head phone could not be used. Regional flights' passengers get poorer facilities.
2. Survey on efficiency
Wait times at the Immigration. There was a person who gave me an electronic counter at the start of the queue and at the end of the queue, I was to return the counter. There was a message saying that the waiting times are being surveyed. This would be good for feedback on management and be useful for any organisation interested in cutting down the waiting times.
3. Interest of the organisation in service staff
On Dec 25, I went to Peking Garden Restaurant for dinner. No prior booking. I was about to leave but the gentleman in charge said that I could eat if I could leave by 7 pm. It was 5.45 pm then. So, he was a flexible manager able to add revenue to his employer. I did not order the famous Peking duck as it was too big for me. The fish was great.
On Dec 27, I wanted to eat at Din Dang Fong near Regal Hotel Hong Kong. It was jammed packed with lunch people. "It will only take a few minutes," the waitress said as I handed back the queue number. She had the interest of the organisation at heart as she could have not bothered. It seemed that F&B staff is highly motivated to increase the revenue for the company.
3. High rentals keep increasing.
Dec 24, 2012. I had dinner at the Sweet Dynasty Restaurant in Canton Street. The last day for the operator as the rentals were too high and the famous restaurant had relocated to Causeway Bay. "An Apple store" will be opening, according to one Langham Hotel staff.
Canton Street looks much like Orchard Road, only busier. It was closed to traffic on Christmas eve and there was a band playing. Crowds of few thousands stream from the subway and there was crowd control. Nothing like this in Singapore's Orchard Road on Christmas eve.
I saw some policemen towing away a scooter parked outside the shops on Haiphong Road near Canton Road at 5 pm. Serious business in crowd control. A few hundred thousands I would estimate for that Christmas Eve night.
4. Use of IT.
Hong Kong Tourism Board equips its staff with iPad at the branch outlets. More efficient as no staff can remember all info. The lady checked out opening times of Peking Garden Restaurant and location using her iPad. This was efficient and fast.