Sunday, September 28, 2008

Emblem of Hong Kong

The Emblem of Hong Kong, or the Regional Emblem of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China, is the emblem which represents Hong Kong. It came into use on 1 July 1997, after from the United Kingdom to the People's Republic of China.

The emblem features the same design elements as the regional Flag of Hong Kong in a circular setting. The outer white ring is shown with the caption of the official name of the territory in Traditional Chinese and the English short form, "Hong Kong".

Colonial Coat of Arms

The arms had been in use in colonial Hong Kong since it was granted on 21 January, 1959 and later adopted on the in July of that year. The use of the arms ended in 1997 where it was replaced by the regional emblem. The Coat of Arms feature a shield with two sections: the bears two traditional Chinese junks facing each other. Inside the or is a gold-coloured naval crown. The 'embattled' design separates the chief from the rest of the shield. The features a lion holding a pearl. The shield is held up by two supporters, a lion and a Chinese dragon. The shield and supporters stand on the compartment, which consists of a heraldic island bearing the motto "HONG KONG".

The two junks symbolise the importance of trade within the colony. The naval crown symbolises Hong Kong's links with the and the Merchant Navy, and the battlements commemorate the Battle of Hong Kong during World War II. The pearl held by the lion wearing the imperial crown in the crest personifies the romanticised phrase "Pearl of the Orient" referring to Hong Kong. The lion and dragon supporters show the British and Chinese aspects of Hong Kong. The island symbolises the beginning of the colony as an island and represents the maritime and hilly geography of Hong Kong. Some Hong Kong nationalists consider the design as an insult: the pearl originally in the left forelimb of the dragon is now given to the lion .

The crest alone had featured on the of Hong Kong coinage before the introduction of the Bauhinia design in preparation for the in 1997.

Colonial Badge

The colonial seal badge was in use since 1843 in one version or another until it was replaced by the coat of arms granted in 1959. Throughout several revisions, the idea of the remained. It depicted three Chinese merchants and a pile of cargo on a wharf on the left in the foreground. In the background there was a square-rigged ship and a Chinese junk in the harbour backed by conical hills.

External references


Diu (Cantonese)

Diu is a common profanity in Cantonese. It can be regarded as the Cantonese equivalent of the English fuck. In , it is equivalent to the English "dick". The character, in , is also used by young people in Taiwan to mean "cool" .

In classic Chinese

''Diu'' is a word in the Chinese language. It appears frequently in the text of the classic novel ''Water Margin'', and is written as . It is used as an emphatic adjective with a function similar to the English "fucking", "bloody" or "god damned". For example,

''Water Margin'', Chp. 29

''Diu'' means primarily the penis. It is written as 屌 when used in this sense, but usually as 鳥 when used as an emphatic adjective. For example,

''Romance of the West Chamber'' , Act 5, Scene 3

has its female equivalent in the traditional Chinese written language. In the , the word, meaning penis, is sometimes written as . For example,

''Jiu Fengchen'' , Act 1

In Hong Kong and Macau

The written form is mainly seen in Hong Kong, for example, on graffiti. In Cantonese, it is used as a transitive verb meaning to copulate. In a manner similar to the word fuck, it is also used to express dismay, disgrace, disapproval and so on. For example, someone may shout "diu nei!" at somebody when he or she finds that other person annoying.

"Diu nei loe moe!" or "Diu nei loe mei" , a euphemism, is a highly offensive profanity in Cantonese when directed against a specific person instead of used as a general exclamation. In Cantonese, the meaning "''I'' fuck your mother" is implied, as opposed to English, in which the phrase "motherfucker" is an imperative.

The form is absent in the Big-5 character set on computers. The Government of Hong Kong has extended Unicode and the Big-5 character set with the Hong Kong Supplementary Character Set , which includes Chinese characters only used in Cantonese, including the Five Great Profanities. The government explained that the reason for these characters being included is to allow for the Hong Kong Police to record criminal suspects' statements. Consequently, these characters are now also in Unicode.

In English, "damn" gives birth to its euphemism "darn"; similarly in Cantonese, especially Hong Kong Cantonese, ''diu'' has ''yiu'' and ''Tiu'' "siu" as its euphemisms.

Ding Hai Effect

The Ding Hai Effect , Adam Cheng Effect, Chiu Koon Effect , or Qiuguan Effect is a peculiar stock phenomenon that affects Hong Kong stock markets.


It is observed that whenever the Hong Kong actor Adam Cheng stars in a new television show, there is a sudden and unexplained drop in the market. This is still a popular topic amongst stock brokers, years after the drama series ''Greed of Man'' was broadcasted in Hong Kong in October 1992. The effect is named after Ding Hai, the main character of the show, played by Adam Cheng.


In the 1990s, TVB aired the classic drama ''The Greed of Man'', which featured some of the most popular actors and actresses of the time. The drama centred heavily around the stock market, and the schemes and plots of those who struck it rich in the market.

Cheng, who played Ding Hai in the drama, made an immense fortune with his four sons by selling short derivatives and stocks during a bear market. Many people went broke, but the Ding family became richer and richer until an eventual defeat by the family's nemesis.


Initially, the Ding Hai Effect occurred whenever the TVB drama series ''Greed of Man'' or its remake, ''Divine Retribution'' , made by Asia Television Ltd was broadcast. Later, it was also observed that the effect occurs whenever a new drama show that Cheng stars in was aired.


* October 1992: The drama series ''Greed of Man'' made its debut on TVB. During the time it was broadcast, Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index dropped 598 points in 4 days, causing billions in stock losses.

* November 1994: ''Instinct'' made its debut on TVB. The Heng Sang Index fell more than 2,000 points.

* September 1996: ''Once Upon a Time in Shanghai'' premiered on TVB. The Hang Seng Index fell 300 points.

* June 1997: ''Cold Blood Warm Heart'' made its debut on TVB. The Hang Seng Index accumulated 735 points in losses.

* December 1997: ''Legend of Yung Ching'' premiered. At this time, the Asian Financial Crisis began, and the Heng Seng Index fell 5,324 points, ending below the 10,000 mark.

* June 1999, ''Lord of Imprisonment'' premiered, causing the Heng Seng Index to decline 1,176 points


* September 2000: A loose re-make of ''The Greed of Man'', ''Divine Retribution'' , aired on . Due to the Tech stock bubble at the time, the Hang Seng Index fell an accumulated 1,715 points, with other stock markets around the world falling as a result also.

*Summer 2003: ''Greed of Man'' re-aired on TVB's US satellite channel, TVB-USA. Corporate Corruption scandals stemming from financial troubles at Enron caused much stock market instability in the US and other global markets.

*October 2003: ''The Driving Power'' made its debut. At first, it appeared the spell was broken, with the Heng Seng Index rising more than 100 points on the day of the premiere. However, the market soon fell, eventually falling 51 points.

* March 2004: ''Blade Heart'' premiered in Hong Kong, causing the Hang Seng Index to fall 550 points over 3 days due to high oil prices and instabilities in the Middle East.

* October 2004: ''The Conqueror's Story'' premiered in Hong Kong, causing a 198-point drop in the Heng Seng Index on the day of the premiere

* March 2005: ''The Prince's Shadow'' premiered, and local uncertainties surrounding the resignation of Chief Executive Tung Chee Hwa caused wild fluctuations in the market.

* April 2006: ''Bar Bender'' premiered in Hong Kong, causing wild drops in US and Hong Kong stock markets. {[fact

* July 2006: ''The Prince's Shadow'' aired on TVB-USA, and markets fell dramatically due to the .

* February-March 2007: ''The Prince's Shadow'' was rebroadcast in Hong Kong, and a Chinese stock market crisis caused Hong Kong and global markets to drop significantly.

* May 2007: Investigative programme ''Mystery'' premiered, with Cheng as the host. The Heng Seng Index fell 700 points.

* July 2007: ''Return Home'' premiered in Hong Kong, and the caused the market to fall 1,165 points in Hong Kong; US and Canadian stock markets also dropped significantly in July and August.

* August 2007: ''Bar Benders'' premiered on TVB-USA, and the caused extreme drops in global markets. The market is still in a volatile state when the series finale aired on 10 September 2007. It is interesting to note that ''The Greed of Man'' was rerun at roughly the same time on TVB-USA.

* October-November 2007: ''The Conqueror's Story'' premiered in Singapore, global markets dropped significantly for weeks.


The only time that the Ding Hai Effect did not occur was in late 2006, when a cultural and educational programme about the Forbidden City hosted by Cheng was aired in the US and did not cause a stock market crisis.


The Ding Hai Effect has led to Adam Cheng attracting much press attention. Now, whenever a new show starring Adam Cheng is about to be broadcast, some stockbrokers and investors in Hong Kong become wary, even anticipating a drop in the market.

While some investors have argued that the effect is no more than a series of coincidences and amounts to nothing more than a self-fulfilling prophecy, the show's peculiar effect on the stock market is regarded by some as more than coincidence. It was also confirmed that Crédit Lyonnais wrote a report on this matter.

This strange phenomenon also created a career trough for Adam Cheng in Hong Kong during the 1990s, for the two over-the-air television stations in Hong Kong avoided using Cheng for its dramas, partly because they did not want to bear responsibility for a stock market crash.

Culture of Hong Kong

The culture of Hong Kong can best be described as a foundation that began with China, and then leaned West for much of the 20th century under constructive . Despite the 1997 with the , Hong Kong continues to hold an identity of its own.

People in the culture

Most Hong Kong ethnic Chinese people naturally lean toward eastern culture, because demographically they are the majority. Many, though, have adopted western ways with substantial numbers still adhering to Chinese traditions. On various social aspects, the bottom-line Chinese values of ''"family solidarity"'', ''"courtesy"'' and ''""'' carry significant weight in the culture. Heavy influence is derived from culture from the neighbouring province of Guangdong. There are also substantial communities of Hakka, , and Shanghainese people. On the contrary, people have long been referred to by their origin in China.. Overall the background of Hong Kong Chinese born after 1965 can be classified as westernized, since they have been influenced by western cultural symbols


With limited land resource available, Hong Kong continues to offer recreational and competitive sports. Locally sports in Hong Kong is described as "Club Life". Internationally, Hong Kong have participated in Olympic Games, and numerous other Asian Games events. Major multipurpose venues like Hong Kong Coliseum are found. Others include regular citizen facilities like .

Martial Art

Martial arts in Hong Kong is accepted as a form of entertainment or exercise. is one of the most popular, especially among the elderly. There are groups of people practicing the motion in every park at dawn. Many forms of martial arts were also passed down from different generations of Chinese ancestry. Styles like , and are some of the more recognized. The atmosphere is also distinct as people practice outdoor in next to ultra modern .


When not at work, Hongkongers devote much time to leisure. Mahjong is a popular social activity, and family and friends may play for hours at festivals and on public holidays in homes and mahjong parlours. The image of elderly men playing Chinese chess in public parks, surrounded by watching crowds, is common. Other board games such as Chinese checkers are also enjoyed by people of all ages. Among teenagers, shopping, eating out, karaoke and video games are common, with Japan being a major source of digital entertainmment for cultural and proximity reasons; there are also popular local inventions such as Little Fighter Online.

In the past, Hong Kong had some of the most up-to-date games available outside of Japan. Negative associations were drawn between and . Nowadays, soaring popularity of home video game consoles have somewhat diminished arcade culture.

Outdoor activities such as hiking, barbecues and watersports are also popular due to the local geography.


Gambling is popular in Chinese culture and Hong Kong is no different. Gambling is legal only at three established and licensed institutions approved and supervised by the government of Hong Kong: horse racing , the Mark Six lottery, and recently, football .

Games like mahjong and many types of card games can be played for fun or with money at stake, with many mahjong parlours available. Movies such as the 1980s God of Gamblers have given a rather glamorous image to gambling in Hong Kong.

Hong Kong Jockey Club

The Hong Kong Jockey Club provides a major avenue for horse racing and gambling to locals, mostly the middle-aged. The club was established in 1844 by the , with the first racecourse being built in Happy Valley. The club closed for a few years during World War II due to the Japanese occupation of Hong Kong. In 1975, lottery Mark Six was introduced. And in 2002, the club offered wagerings for soccer world championship games including the and the .

Cultural Gallery

Coffin home

Coffin home is a temporary coffin depository. Part of the coffins are of overseas Chinese who wanted to be buried in their home villages in China. The other are of those unaffordable for funeral or unable to find relatives. The coffins are later transferred to their destinations or buried locally.

Cantonese profanity

The five most common vulgar words in Cantonese profanity are '''' , ''gau'' , ''lan'' , ''tsat'' and ''hai'' , where the first literally means ''fuck'', while the rest are sexual organs of either gender. They are sometimes collectively known as the "outstanding five in Cantonese" . These five words are generally offensive and they give rise to a variety of euphemisms. Other curse phrases, such as ''puk gai'' and ''ham gaa caan'' , are also common.

Vulgar words


''Diu'' , literally means ''fuck'', is a common profanity in Cantonese. The word ''diu'' was originally a noun meaning the penis, but it was later used as a verb. Although it is considered to be a vulgar word in Cantonese, it is used by young people in Taiwan to mean "cool" and in this context it is not censored on TV broadcasts and still generally used today.

In a manner similar to the English word ''fuck'', ''diu'' is also used to express dismay, disgrace, and disapproval in Cantonese. For example, someone may shout "''diu nei''!" at somebody when she finds the other person annoying. A common usage is the highly offensive phrase "''Diu lei loh moh''!" that literally means "fuck your mother."

The word ''diu'' is generally considered to be offensive and in its place a variety of euphemisms exist, including ''tsiu'' , ''yiu'' and ''tiu'' .


''Gau'' is a common vulgar word in Cantonese that literally means penis. For instance, the Cantonese phrase '''' that means "makes no sense" was cut to ''mo lei tau'' to avoid the sound ''gau''.


In Cantonese ''lan'' is another vulgar word that means penis. But in recent decades the character is generally considered to be equivalent to the vulgar word . A common usage is the phrase ''lan yeung'' which maybe translated into English as "Dickface".

The word ''hai'' can also mean total failure as in the phrase ''hai saai'' . The Chinese character means "to expose to the sun", but in Cantonese it is also used as a verbal particle to stress the action. To further stress the failure, sometimes the phrase ''hai gau saai'' is used . Since this phrase is highly offensive , a euphemism or ''xiehouyu'', a kind of Chinese "proverb", is sometimes used. As in a normal ''xiehouyu'', it consists of two elements: the former segment presents a scenario while the latter provides the rationale thereof. One would often only state the first part, expecting the listener to know the second. The first part is "a man and a woman having a sunbath " . Since the penis and vagina are both exposed to the sun, the second part is ''hai gau saai'' ── a pun for total failure. Since the phrase does not involve any sexual organs or reference to sex, some argue that it should not be considered as profanity. Nevertheless, "PK" is often used as an euphemism for the phrase. The written form can be seen on graffiti in Hong Kong and other places in Guangdong, China.

''Ham gaa caan''

''Ham gaa caan'' is another common curse phrase in Cantonese that literally means "may your whole family be dead". In the , it is prohibited to "use any threatening, abusive, obscene or offensive language...." However, despite the explicit prohibition of various laws, the exact definition of "obscene language" is not given in the ordinance.

Bauhinia blakeana

Bauhinia blakeana is an evergreen tree, in the genus ''Bauhinia'', with large thick leaves and striking purplish red flowers. The fragrant, orchid-like flowers are usually 10-15 cm across, and bloom from early November to the end of March. This unique flower is special of Hong Kong's ecosystem. It is referred to as bauhinia in non-scientific literature though this is the name of the genus. It is sometimes called Hong Kong orchid tree .

The ''Bauhinia'' double-lobed leaf is similar in shape to a heart, or a butterfly. A typical leaf is 7-10 cm long and 10-13 cm broad, with a deep cleft dividing the apex. Local people call the leaf ''chungmingyip'' , and regard it as a symbol of cleverness. Some people use the leaves to make bookmarks in the hope that it will assist them to study well.

It is usually sterile , suggesting a origin, probably between ''Bauhinia variegata'' and ''Bauhinia purpurea'', though this is still a matter of debate. Propagation is by cuttings and air-layering, and the tree prefers a sheltered sunny position with good soil.


It is named after Sir Henry Blake who was the from 1898 to 1903. An enthusiastic botanist, he discovered it in 1880 near the ruins of a house on the shore of Hong Kong Island near Pok Fu Lam. The first scientific description of the Hong Kong orchid tree was published in 1908 by S. T. Dunn, superintendent of the Botanical and Forestry Department, who assigned it to the genus ''Bauhinia'' and named it after Sir Henry Blake.

Usage as an emblem

''Bauhinia blakeana'' was adopted as the of Hong Kong by the Urban Council in 1965. Since 1997 it has become the floral emblem for the City of Hong Kong and appears on and ; its Chinese name has also been frequently shortened as 紫荊 , although 紫荊 refers to another genus called Cercis. A statue of the plant has been erected in Golden Bauhinia Square in Hong Kong.

Although the flowers are bright pinkish purple in colour, they are depicted in white on the Flag of Hong Kong.

The plant of Hong Kong was introduced to Taiwan in 1967. In 1984 it was chosen to be the city flower of , in southwestern Taiwan.