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22 June 2005

Summer Storms In Hong Kong

Just my luck to be going down to Hong Kong yesterday, only to walk right into Amber Rainstorm and Thunderstorm warning alerts. NB.....

Had it been a trip of leisure, I wouldn't have bitched as much. But I was in Hong Kong for business. NB... I have 3 bank meetings lined up back-to-back. I swear I will scream if I see so much as a glimpse of another banker this week.

As I don't have a car that allowed to drive into Hong Kong, I always travel south on foot i.e. buses, trains, subways. For some strange reasons, I don't like to take cabs in Hong Kong. Always prefer to walk and to take in the sights at the same time.

Walking in the storm reminds me of the time where I braved the GaleForce 8 and Black Storm alerts just so that I can buy a Hard Rock Cafe T-shirt for a friend as I was scheduled to fly home the day after.



It was 22nd August 1999. I was in Kowloon walking in the direction of Marco Polo Hotel where HRC was on its right-hand-side about 100m away. The TV was flashing the Black Rainstorm and GaleForce 8 alerts as Typhoon Sam was approaching. Stupid me, being not exactly very familiar with all these alerts then, decided to brave the rain to go fulfill my promise to a friend.

The rain was pretty heavy and the umbrella that I bought from a nearby 7-11 store proved to be pretty useless. Here's the kick-in-the-nuts news. HRC was closed due to the weather alerts. NAH BEH!!!!! So I trodded back to my hotel, all drenched and empty handed sans 01 x 7-11 umbrella. Si beh doo lan.....

It wasn't until I watched the news on the telly that I realised how bad the weather was. A China Airlines MD-11 Flight 642 went belly-up as it tried to land in the gusty conditions. If I recalled correctly from the computer animated re-enactment of the plane's attempt to land, it went like this:

1) Plane descends as it approaches the runway.
2) Cross-wind blow from the side causing the plane to tilt.
3) Right wing of the plane caught the tarmac of the runway and broke off.
4) Plane flipped over as a result.
5) Plane lands on its belly with the topside of the plane screeching along the lenght of the runway and eventually veering off to the grass patch to a halt.
6) Plane finally stops with wheels sticking in the air.

I went to the airport to catch my flight home the next morning and there was a big commotion going on there. Long lines of people were forming at the China Airlines counters trying to cancel their flights and making arrangements to fly via another. Luckily, my check-in was smooth as I was flying Cathay Pacific that day. As my plane was taxiing out towards the runway, I could see the belly-up plane up close as our plane passed it by. It was quite a sight and we silently prayed for a safe trip on our own flight.

As I had heard, because of the fact that the plane was in one piece (body-wise) there was no way of moving the wreckage. It took quite a few weeks for the recovery teams to hack up the plane into 3 portions before being able to remove the plane, one piece at a time.

In case anyone is interested to know, I gave HRC t-shirt friend the 7-11 umbrella instead.



Coming back to the present day, MeePok just SMSed me today saying that he was in Hong Kong and was asking if can meet up for lunch. Alamak early don't say! I would have come down a day later to meet you. Bladdy tah pai kar lim peh ump kong... si nong kia...

Anyway Meepok should be considered lucky for missing the storm yesterday. While amber rainstorm is regarded as mild in my books, I can't say it would be the same for him. After all, he flew in from sunny Singapore.

Have a safe trip back, bro. Hope it is not China Airlines you're taking.

Image Credit: http://www.hko.gov.hk; http://www.airdisaster.com
- Voxeros

1. Meepok left...
Wednesday, 22 June 2005 10:15 pm
Bro Jay, this posting provides me a lot of comfort. I'm heading to HK this Friday. Thanks a lot man.

Hey, don't shy lah ... come to HK on Fri night. We'll go party, party.
2. JayWalk left...
Wednesday, 22 June 2005 10:19 pm ::
Buay sai leh. I got tournament in HuiZhou on Sat/Sunday.
3. anna left...
Thursday, 23 June 2005 3:09 am
What's amber rainstorm? Never heard of it. The rain is yellow in color? Or it comes in a flash, just like the amber light.
4. Meepok left...
Thursday, 23 June 2005 8:26 am
Nin a hia ..... I could be booked on China Airlines. Let me check with my sec .... wah... heng ah .... it's Coffee, Tea or me (SQ). Good luck for your tournament on Sat. I'll assume it's golf (no further explanation from you needed).
5. JayWalk left...
Thursday, 23 June 2005 9:01 am :: 
anna: It's a warning system machiam like traffic lights i.e. green, amber, red, black (fuse blown).
Click on the links provided at the "amber alert" to get a more detail description. 

MeePok: Check this out -->Ch1na Airlines Crash Record
 
Of course golf lah... what else can it be that is in the form of a tournament?

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