Hong Kong holiday

April 8th, 2011

Haven’t been blogging (and probably won’t for the next few days unless Internet is free at the hotel) because I’ve been busy getting some work done before heading to Hong Kong and Macau for a short—but much-needed—break. I’ll be back with stories and photos middle of next week!


August 30th, 2010

First, there were headlines about hackers breaking into Philippine government websites. Then came the news about millions of pesos in lost tourism revenue for the Philippines. It’s been a week since the horrifying Quirino hostage took place, and the Chinese have definitely been showing their anger in more ways than we deserve. I have to admit I admire Hong Kong citizens for being united enough to gather 80,000 people for a rally, considering they’re a small population. But I don’t admire the many ways that some private citizens have been retaliating against Filipinos.

An article in the Philippine Daily Inquirer reported that “a series of unconfirmed reports of Hong Kong employers trying to vent their anger by sacking or attacking their helpers has been widely circulating among Filipinos.” Domestic helper Joy Fajardo told the newspaper that more than 30 Filipino maids were sacked after the tragedy, and that she heard rumors that three maids were killed (acid was allegedly splashed on one of them). “We don’t know if these cases are true. But we are very scared,” she said.

The paper went on to say that another Filipino worker, Julie, said her 60-year-old employer, for whom she has worked for 14 years, did not speak to her after the hostage crisis. “She watched news on TV about the hijacking. She did not talk to me and did not give me dinner on Wednesday,” she said.

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Flush in the pan

June 27th, 2010

During an impromptu trip to Hong Kong last year, I told my cousin Rupert that I wanted to eat at Modern Toilet. The restaurant, a trippy franchise mostly appreciated by the good citizens of Japan and Taiwan (where it originated), had been getting a lot of press from blogs for its unusual presentation more than its cuisine.

Curry and rice served in a toilet

Modern Toilet serves mostly curry rice and noodle-based dishes in little bathroom-inspired ceramic containers. Honestly, I don’t understand why people are so squeamish about eating from dishes shaped like toilets, sinks and bathtubs—they’re replica serving dishes, not real bathroom fixtures.

Lights shaped like plumbing materials

Urinals mounted on the wall

Don't worry, they're not connected to a water source

The food’s okay; don’t expect Michelin star-worthy cooking. After all, people go to Modern Toilet for the novelty of eating there. (Check out the toilet covers designed with flags of different countries; I wonder if the National Historical Institute will have any of that). There’s an almost audacious feeling, dining off bathroom fixtures while sitting on real toilet bowls, that you get from being in the restaurant. Sort of like, “Look ma, I’m eating while seated on the toilet! This is wrong but I’m doing it!”

Do you really want to eat this?

Customers are required to spend a minimum of HK$20, so you can’t just split an ice cream sundae that looks like a pile of turd and leave it at that. Nonetheless, just to be able to say that you ate at “that weird toilet restaurant,” it’s worth a visit. I’m not sure how long it’ll last, but I suppose there are enough novelty-seeking visitors to keep it alive.

I actually ate here twice, both in 2009. That's one time too many.

The irony of it all is that there are no functional toilets in Modern Toilet. To use the WC, you have to head out of the restaurant to the building’s public restroom.