ONLY IN HONG KONG: A shop has opened in a gap between two buildings. Workers in Quarry Bay’s Tong Chong Street see nothing particularly odd about a dessert shop in an area packed with restaurants—unless they look up.

The Honey Granny ice cream shop’s takeaway unit doesn’t actually exist: it has materialized in a gap between two structures.

shop in gap

Step back and you see it’s really just a nice bit of store frontage created in an alleyway, and the roof is a fabric awning.

The neighbours aren’t complaining, as there’s just a wall on one side and a staircase and a more traditional shop owned by the same South Korean ice cream company on the other side, I heard from a reader named Hui, who works nearby.

“If I can find a gap between a ParknShop and a Wellcome, I’m going to set up my own shop there, and call it ‘Main Entrance,” he added.

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HONG KONG TEACHER Peter New met a hotel concierge in Shanghai whose name was Rivet Ting. Despite this, “he was a boring conversationalist,” he reports.

Peter, whose surname is pronounced “New”, said that his father was always threatening to have children who he would name Brand, Nuttin and Shiny.

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READER WILLIE LAU received an application from someone who wanted a job teaching phonics, a spelling-based educational system used for English language classes. Children was spelt “childern”, Nursery was spelt “Nursey”, Elementary was “Elmentary” and Phonics was spelt Phoinc. “Is it too much to expect a phonics teacher to actually know how to spell phonics?” he asked.

One day someone in Hong Kong is going to start a school called Kwik-Spel.

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BIZARRE SPELLING IS not just a Hong Kong thing, of course. Writer Jan Gaebler Smith saw a sign in the Goodwood area of Adelaide a few days ago, saying: “What are you greatful [sic] for today?” A graffiti artist had scrawled an answer under the sign: “Spelling”.

It reminds me of a sign that used to be on one of the walkways joining north Wan Chai to the original Wan Chai: “Dogs should not s*** on this walkway.” A graffiti artist eventually added a line: “Sorry, we cannot read. Signed, The Dogs.”

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MY OBSERVANT FRIEND Cecille Son-Nazareno was shocked to find a recruitment poster on a fruit barrow in the Philippines. It says: “Wanted Female mango peeler.”
 The applicant must be sexy, no scratches, flab or warts. Vital statistics must be 36-24-36. Bring your biodata and police clearance. Applicant must be a college graduate.

mango peeler

Either this is a very, very tough job market, or some guy who runs a fruit barrow is seriously trying it on.

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NG YI-SHENG tells me he is in London with his family. Out on the street and feeling hungry, he pointed to Pret-a-Manger, a famous UK chain of sandwich stores, known for its logo of a white star on a dark red background. YI-SHENG: “You see that building? With the star? That’s where we’re getting breakfast.” HIS MUM: “Mao Zedong’s?!”

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HONG KONG-BASED banker-turned-comedian Anthony Solimini was shaking his head at the news reports about the drug lord who tunneled out of jail. “El Chapo escaped from TWO maximum security prisons! Today I got lost coming out of IKEA,” he wrote on Facebook.

In Hollywood movies they used to have exciting car chases where a guy drives in the wrong direction along an expressway. Now I think they could have a shopper trying to go the wrong way through IKEA on a busy Saturday. I would watch that.

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ACTUALLY, I KNOW lots of Hong Kong people who say they go shopping at IKEA “for relaxation”. Madness.

My idea of perfect relaxation is to listen to Taylor Swift in the shower.

But she’s probably got security guards and cameras and stuff.

Nury Vittachi failed to win the Man Booker Prize this year. He also failed to win the Pulitzer Prize. He hopes to make it a clean sweep by failing to win the Nobel Prize for literature. He does not live on The Peak with 20 cats and a parakeet called Trixy. He is not strange.