March 19, 2016

Earth Hour 2016: three dog night

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Earth Hour was celebrated for the 10th year tonight, and I participated for the eighth year.  As we did last year, Hello Kitty and I went out to the Kowloon Public Pier next to the Hong Kong Cultural Centre.  However, this year we also took Kuma out with us, and arrived just before 8:30 p.m.  Some of the buildings on the Hong Kong side across Victoria Harbour had already gone dark.

One by one, most of the major buildings visible on the waterfront turned off their exterior lighting, and the stretch from Sheung Wan to Fortress Hill was uncharacteristically dark.

Last year's offender HSBC got the message this year, and turned off all their lights - including that huge LED panel - at their HSBC Main Building early this year.  The China Resources Building also turned off the lights at the top of their building.  Most people went along with the effort, and even slow pokes like Kweichow Moutai (贵州茅台) managed to turn off their neon sigh by 8:40 p.m.

There were a few offenders who didn't get the memo this year.  DBS's bright neon sign didn't get turned off until about 9:05 - a whole 30 mins into Earth Hour - and kept trying to tell us about some free Tesla promotion.  The neon sign next to it, which promotes the Qianhai New District (前海新区) across the border in Shenzhen, stayed on the whole time.  And some new building next to the World Trade Centre in Causeway Bay also kept their running LEDs on.

But by far the most glaring (pun intended) offender was the PLA.  The People's Liberation Army Hong Kong Building (中國人民解放軍駐香港部隊大廈) - with its lone red star at the top - decided to leave all of their external lights on the whole time.  It was so bad that I jokingly called it the lone beacon of light in Victoria Harbour...  Maybe they had no idea about Earth Hour.  Or maybe they know but just don't give a rat's ass.  Given that they did turn the lights off last year, I'm leaning towards the latter explanation...

A couple of other guys seem to be on a different clock than the rest of us.  Last year Sogo turned their neon sign back on about 15 minutes early, and this year the light came back on at 9:10 p.m.  The COFCO (中粮集团) neon sign lit up a couple of minutes later.

Just after 9:30 p.m. we started to see the lights come back on one by one, and soon the central harbor front on the Hong Kong side returned to its normal, lively state.

Hello Kitty and I were happy to have participated in Earth Hour again this year.  But the happiest of us all has got to be Kuma.  He turned out to be real popular with the ladies, as one after another came over to say hello and pet him.  We even ran into a newlywed couple (or maybe they were about to be married) taking wedding photos, and the bride came up to Kuma to pet him in her wedding dress... and there was a perfect shot of white-on-white for a minute.  Too bad I didn't snap a picture of my own, but the couple's photographer sure did!

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