Welcome to Batgung

Our articles about Hong Kong are grouped as follows – just click on the section that interests you, or scroll down to see the most recent articles. If you can't find what you're looking for, please leave a question in the discussion forum.

Visit Hong Kong
Move to Hong Kong
Hong Kong daily life
Old Hong Kong

Fragrant Harbour

Title: Fragrant Harbour

Author: John Lanchester

Published: 2002

Period: The action here spans the bulk of the 20th century, but the book’s most important sections focus on the WWII years and the decade in the run-up to the 1997 handover. Read more »


Is it on the list of things you look for in a primary school? And how will you know if it's really there, when every school brochure lists 'nurturing your child's creativity' as one of their selling points?

But we're ahead of ourselves - what do we mean by 'creativity'? Read more »

The Painted Veil

Title: The Painted Veil

Author: M Somerset Maugham

Published: 1925

Period: Around 1920 or so; the book's action takes place in a single summer. Read more »

Gwulo / Batgung : Past / Present

Back in March, gweipo gave us a good observation:

To be honest i think that your site has become 2 things, one is the present HK with tips for newcomers and oldies on living here, surviving and thriving here.  And then delving into the past.

We've decided to split these '2 things' apart, and give each one its own website. Read more »

The Ecofriendliest Place on Earth?

Allow me to offer up a hot proposition to anyone who may be thinking about coming to live in Hong Kong.

(No, no, Mrs Tall – I assure you – not that kind of proposition!)

Ahem. Yes, times here are bad economically, and life in Hong Kong has its challenges. Yes, Hong Kong is a crowded and sometimes-crazy city. But here’s my offer: moving to Hong Kong gives you the chance to live what is likely the most ecologically-correct lifestyle you will find anywhere in the industrialized world. Read more »

Bay windows: Begone!

A couple of things have come to bug me about Hong Kong apartments. First, they're built to catch as many rays of sunshine as possible. Second, the quoted floor-areas bear little relation to how much usable space you'll actually get.

Ten bonus points if you can guess the common cause of both bugs. Read more »


The Talls have recently returned from a highly satisfactory trip to New Zealand. I won’t bore you with the tedious details, but I will expand upon one cultural comparison that came to mind as we enjoyed our visit.

I can sum up the constrast in one word: paceRead more »

Palate drift

I’m always on the search for new restaurants with good food. That’s why it was with a minor infusion of joy that I noticed a new restaurant opening just down the road from my church. Look, a new lunch place – and it had the air of a place that might be kind of bistro-like, yet cheap! Perfect.

But then I had a closer look. It was not a bistro. It was not a coffee shop, or a fast-food joint, at least not quite. It was a salad place. Read more »

How to: add video

It's not difficult to include a video along with your text. I've listed the full five steps below, but many times the last step is all you need: Read more »

Expat tribes

Regular readers know that if there’s one thing Mr Tall likes, it’s a little seat-of-the-pants amateur sociology. And recently I’ve come across an online writer whose very title glows with the kind of qualifications and expertise I’m looking for in my speculations on culture and society: Assistant Village Idiot.  Read more »

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