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Fah Thai Magazine July/August 2017

HAPPENINGS HONG KONG

HAPPENINGS HONG KONG ROMANCE ROCKS Hong Kong gears up for Valentine’s Day, formally known as the Seven Sisters Festival. It is a familiar tale of star-crossed lovers, and we all have heard various versions of the doomed couple and this is the time of year their story is celebrated. The origins of the holiday involves two lovers Altair and Vega. According to Chinese legend, the lovers – a mortal cowherd and a goddess weaver – get wrenched from each other’s arms. In a variation on the story, this festival marks their reunion. Magpie birds take pity on the pair and create a temporary bridge for them to be reunited. Among young romantics, the festival in Hong Kong means additional offerings at Lover’s Rock on Bowen Road in Wanchai. The area which the massive stone sits on also offers breath-taking views of Victoria Harbour. Considered miraculous, the Lover’s Rock is believed to be the home of the God of Love. Pilgrims, mostly women, troop to the prominent monolith to make offerings of roast chicken, suckling pig and oranges. They also hang prayer-papers, burn joss sticks and offer spiritual money to ask for eligible husbands for the single ladies and faithful partners or fertility for the married ones. Old ladies also come to the rock to ask for prosperous married life for their children. August 2, Lover’s Rock, Bowen Road, Wanchai FLORENTINE STYLE If your idea of a steak is a thick cut like the ones favoured by the folks in Florence, Italy – then you’ll appreciate the specialty of Bistecca. Patterned after the rustic butcher shop in the traditions of Northern Italy, the establishment now has a new head chef, Marc Benkoe, who expands on the menu with his expert preparations. He’ll ensure the enjoyment of a dry aged Porterhouse steak that’s featured in many of the world’s best steakhouses. It’s prominently displayed in the open kitchen, then authentically char-grilled over a wood fire. Chef Benkoe introduces other dishes like Burrata with heirloom tomatoes, oregano and basil pesto, Pan-seared Foie Gras with figs, aged balsamic, port wine and brioche, among many. He also makes sure that the selection of unique wines accompanies these dishes. Grand Progress Building, 15-16 Lan Kwai Fong HONOUR AND GLORY If you’re ever around Man Mo temple, along Hollywood road – check out the celebration for Kwan Tai’s birthday, a general of the Han dynasty (second century AD), who became the god of war. Hong Kong holds many celebrations on this festive occasion, in particular at the temple. Elaborate ceremonies mark his birthday across town, including those at the Man Mo Temple on Hong Kong Island, where an ever-burning lamp flickers before Kwan Tai’s statue. Shrines to the god are also found in everyday people’s homes, restaurants and businesses. Many believe Kwan Tai to be a wealth god who protects honourable businessmen and who give a longer life to those who need his help. In Hong Kong, an altar dedicated to Kwan Tai can be found in almost every temple, alongside the main deity. You can visit the Man Mo temple on Hollywood road to see a statue of him from the 19th Century. Unlike most temple statues, it is a colourful one, red-faced and with a gold crown. The “God of War” carries a sword and is the patron of the police and also the triads. Kwan Tai was a real person like most Taoist “gods”; from the Three Kingdoms period and a symbol of integrity and loyalty. The Han dynasty general then became immortalised as the God of War is widely regarded as a symbol of loyalty and integrity. 17 July, Man Mo Temple, 126 Hollywood Road, Sheung Wan, Sham Shui Po Kwan Tai Temple, 158 Hai Tan Street, Sham Shui Po SPOTLIGHT The Sound of Nostalgia The “Sound of Silence” by Paul Simon & Art Garfunkel blew away radio listeners when it debuted in the mid- 1960s. Over the next decades, the sound of Simon & Garfunkel touched listeners around the world. A production that captures the nostalgia and history of the famed duo, The Simon & Garfunkel Story, makes its way to Hong Kong in August after selling out in Europe. The show tells how two young guys from Queens in New York became the world’s most successful music duo. It begins with their humble beginnings as 1950s rock n roll duo Tom & Jerry, their breakup and a move on to solo careers. A live band will perform all their hits, including “Mrs Robinson”, “Bridge Over Troubled Water”, “The Sound Of Silence” and more. Photographs from the 1960s plus film footage will be accompanied by a full band. July 29-1 August, Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts 104