HK Magazine: The Life List

“If New York is a state of mind, and London a state of grace, then Hong Kong is simply in a state: excited, acute, pushy, ceaselessly on the make. Some regard Hong Kong as unforgiving. Not so. It’s the most forgiving place there is – because it gives you the world.”

For HK Magazine’s 750th issue, they put together a list of 750 things to do in Hong Kong before you die. And you know, snark and cynicism aside, I thought,” I am totally going to do it.”

Yes! I can’t even commit to a layout, but I’m committing to this. I may spend almost 75% of my time in London, but Hong Kong is a city that you can never really leave behind. It may take me years but… well, here goes.

But wait, you say! The list is tongue in cheek! You’re not MEANT to complete it! Why bother? Well. I’m not actually sure. Maybe it’s part of that impulse you get when you’re about to leave Hong Kong and you want to grab as much of it as you can? Maybe it’s just a procrastination tool? Maybe it’ll be fun?

Okay, some things are impossible. I’m not going to start up a second family in Shenzhen, or a third in Dongguan (or will I?). But the stuff that is in the realm of possibility is going to be done. All the attempts to complete this list will be documented here, with photographic evidence where possible. To kick things off, I’m including some things I already have done.

25. Have your photo taken at a party and find it weeks later in a magazine
30. Wash your utensils in hot tea before you eat at a teahouse
38. Walk past the Museum of Art. Never actually go inside.
54. Grudgingly share your table with a stranger in a cha chaan teng.
55. Call your pet, child or boy/girlfriend “BB” loudly in public
68. Teach English as a second language
75. Have a temporary obsession with anything from Japan or Korea
114. Walk through the pre-war buildings and eat in the streets in Kowloon City
141. Sell flags on poppy day
148. Sit on the HSBC lions and admire their gunshot wounds
180. Get lost in the Island Beverly mall
182. Giggle at GOD’s “Delay No More” t-shirts
184. Fill up your aquarium at the goldfish market
195. Run with the punk teens on Granville Road
213. Snigger as you walk past Wanko
215. Realize how much cheaper the wet markets are. Vow to shop there more. Fail to do so.
219. Gawp at the crazy wedding dresses on Kimberly Road
233. Go DIY and spend a weekend button shopping in Sham Shui Po
234. Check out the vintage gadgets on Ap Liu Street
245. Dodge leaflets on Nathan Road
247. Trawl the factory shops in Fa Yuen Street for cut-label designer threads
248. Dress up your dog in a football shirt
250. Take cute photo stickers of yourself
258. Shop for board shorts, cheongsams and plus-sized shoes in Stanley Market
270. Browse arty books and gifts at Kubrick
282. Warm up with a bottle of hot Vitasoy in the winter
285. Enjoy the (semi) healthy mango drink at Hui Lau Shan
287. Pick at the scones and cucumber sandwiches at the Peninsula high tea
288. Make like ex-governor Patten and buy a box of egg tarts from Tai Cheong bakery
291. (Enjoy old school Chinese Western cuisine at Boston)…And then compare it to Queen’s Cafe
302. Eat a whole bag of old-school White Rabbit sweets
305. Fret over whether to have a Hi-C or Vita lemon tea
310. Eat Thai food in Kowloon City
312. Have a birthday party at Dan Ryan’s and order the ribs and Caesar salad
322. Eat watermelon slices with a festively decorated toothpick
340. Enjoy a batch of freshly made egg waffles out of a brown paper bag
341. Ring in winter with a bag of hot chestnuts
352. Huddle under the flyover for typhoon shelter crab from Canal Street in Causeway Bay
353. Drink a bubble tea while wandering around Causeway Bay
363. Eat a whole bag of Super Lemons
378. ( Get smashed in LKF) Do it again two months later on Christmas Eve
379. …And then a week later on New Year’s Eve
381. Drunkenly fall off the bar in Carnegies
392. Mill around outside Stormies and rock out to cheesy 90s tunes
396. …Or if you’re at the Wan Chai branch, stumbling next door to Thai hut is pretty good, too
397. Watch the 8pm light show from Aqua
406. Try not to choke on Al’s Diner’s gargantuan jello shots
407. Stand in the freezer at Balalaika
414. Try out the huge range of tequilas at Agave
417. Watch the sharks swim by at M1NT
424. Watch the sun set on the rooftop of IFC
431. Can’t sleep? Go late night shopping at the APM Mall
453. Get your fortune told on Temple Street
461. Read Johannes Pong’s Nightlife column
463. Watch the markets come to life at dawn
470. Have your eyebrows threaded
482. Buy the divine room scent oil from Shanghai Tang
498. Own a multi-functional mobile phone and never use any of the functions
514. Or save $20 for a Mark Six ticket
518. Participate in a TVB game show
520. Ride the MTR during rush hour
521. For an extra thrill, rush across the Admiralty platform
531. Hail a taxi for a 500 meter ride
557. Take the Star Ferry to cross the harbor
558. …Then walk down Nathan Road
561. Make fun of someone wearing Crocs
563. Teach a foreigner a dirty word in Cantonese
573. Insist on waiting for the green light even though everyone else is jaywalking across a deserted road
662. Sail at Hebe Haven
674. Catch a sea urchin in Sai Kung
701. Visit a rural village
702. Get warded off by the guard dogs at a rural village
708. Survive an Outward Bound survival course
720. Raid the pirate’s cave in Cheung Chau
743. Get sunburned on a six-hour junk trip
750. Visit the Big Buddha

So, er, not that many. I guess I have a lot of work ahead of me…