Hawker markets & things this week

3 minutes estimated reading time

Hawker markets

Eating out is an important part of life in many Asian countries. Cheap eats in Singapore are provided by hawker markets. Imagine Asian street food, if it was run by Germans. They had a similar tradition to hawkers called da pai dang (大牌檔). But the Hong Kong government has slowly squeezed them out and there are now less than 25 left. Instead I used to usually go to small hole in the wall restaurants. Da pai dang are treasured by Hong Kong citizens; hawker markets are treasured by the Singaporean people and their government. Singaporean channel Our Grandfather Story put together a video on how to support offline hawker markets. Its also a great critique of online food services.


Sony’s MiniDisc format was a fascinating format. Friends of mine used it to record DJ mixes as it gave better quality than cassette taps. But it never beat out the humble compact cassette as a universal media. I went from cassette tapes to recordable CDs. MiniDisc operated in an interesting technological and temporal space.

It is a very cyberpunk retro-futuristic looking media. The optical disc in the protected diskette case. If you wanted data safe, secure and offline, then this form factor looks sensible. And Sony’s Blu-Ray in a diskette is used for archiving purposes today by Sony and Panasonic under the format name Archival Disc.

When I look at the MiniDisc, I think of dinky portable player / recorders that were almost like the watch-makers art. If it hadn’t existed, anime and manga artists would have created it as a fictional device.

It had a second life as a pre-iPod format that offered the shareability of cassette mixtapes.

The secret life of MiniDisc in Japan is fascinating. All of the above factors and more are featured in this documentary.

Apple Daily

Hong Kong’s national security police arrested senior journalists at the Apple Daily.

Hong Kong police arrest editor-in-chief of Apple Daily newspaper in morning raids | Hong Kong | The GuardianSteve Li Kwai-wah, head of the police’s national security division, said there was “very strong evidence that the questionable articles played a very crucial part in the conspiracy, which provided ammunition for foreign countries, institutions and organisations to impose sanctions,” adding that those arrested played “a very important role” in their publication. The articles reportedly date back to 2019. Authorities have made repeated assurances since the implementation of the controversial and wide-ranging national security law in June 2020 that it was not retroactive.

They seized journalist computer hard drives, money and materials. The Apple Daily team didn’t let that hold them back and live-streamed the publication of their early edition of Friday’s paper.

Hong Kongers came out to support the newspaper, queuing and buying multiple copies of the Apple Daily paper at news stand as soon as the early edition was published.

They have an English language version of the Apple Daily paper here and I urge you to consider subscribing via the Apple app store or the Google Play store.

You don’t have to subscribe because the Apple Daily is the lone free voice in Hong Kong media; universally disliked by those in charge (and many who wish they were in charge). You can subscribe for Chinese and Hong Kong coverage that you wouldn’t otherwise see in English language media. Such as Alibaba’s Taobao e-commerce platform having over a billion data records taken. A huge hack not mentioned elsewhere yesterday in the media.