Nanfang TV: Forget the Singapore baby-making video, it’s all about Guangzhou Fire

Posted: 08/14/2012 2:14 pm

Singapore has been in the news over the last few days over a video that encourages Singaporeans to get a bit naughty.  The island nation is facing a declining birthrate and thinks it has found a novel way to tackle the problem: by producing a video that encourages Singaporeans to celebrate National Day by “making a baby, baby.”  (You can watch it here, if you have a VPN.)

The video is noteworthy for its uniqueness (read: hilarity), but also because the sultry male voice in the video is none other than Roshan Gidwani.  Gidwani’s family lived for several years in Guangzhou prior to his move to Singapore, and this is where his rap career initially got off the ground.

The Singapore baby-making video reminded us of one particular rap Rosh did years ago, so we dug deep into The Nanfang archives and uncovered this gem: the Guangzhou Fire video.  The video, we think, was shot in 2007, and Rosh looks much younger back in those days.  It was done with the full support of the then-Guangzhou English Channel.

Guangzhou Fire is the latest installment of Nanfang TV.  You can watch the video below, on Youtube, or Youku.


Storm of the decade: Vicente worst storm to hit the PRD in 13 years

Posted: 07/24/2012 11:07 am

Shenzhen was hit hard by Typhoon Vicente

The worst storm to hit the Delta, classified as a Hurricane No. 10 by the Hong Kong Observatory, made its way through the western fringes of Guangdong Province after making landfall in Taishan early on Tuesday morning.

Just before 1am the Hong Kong Observatory hoisted its highest warning, a No. 10 Hurricane signal, something not seen since 1999, making it one of the most powerful typhoons to slam into the region in over a decade.

Throughout the night and into the early hours of Tuesday, storm signals were increased as the threat of flooding and landslides threatened neigbourhoods and highways.

By 2:15am the Observatory recorded wind speeds of 180 kilometres per hour (112mph) at Ngong Ping on Lantau Island, equivalent to a Category 3 hurricane in the United States. However, wind speeds at the core of Vicente reached 225 kilometres per hour (140mph), a Category 4 hurricane storm.  (Hurricane Katrina, which resulted in hundreds of deaths in New Orleans in 2005, was a Category 5 hurricane).

By 7am, storm signals for Hong Kong and Macau were issued at No. 8 while red, orange and yellow warnings were in place on the Mainland.

Since 1946, only 13 typhoons have reached a No. 10 signal, making Vicente, the third tropical cyclone of the 2012 season, the 14th.

Check out the latest Nanfang Studio album with photos of Vicente hitting Shenzhen.


Need a late night eat? Looks like Denny’s is coming to the PRD

Posted: 07/10/2012 3:14 pm

Renowed across North America as a late-night drunken pit stop or a brunch spot with grandma, US greasy spoon Denny’s is heading our way.

Denny’s has signed an agreement with Great China International Group (CGIC) to open 50 Denny’s restaurants across South China in the next 15 years, including here in Guangdong. It plans to open the first one as early as next year.

The Wall Street Journal‘s MarketWatch has a few comments on the development:

Sharon Huang, Business Director for GCIG, commented, “As the brand’s first franchise partner in China, we are honored to have the opportunity to introduce local residents to Denny’s everyday value and craveable menu items served in an inviting, comfortable atmosphere. Today’s Chinese consumers are hungry for the variety, quality and value a brand like Denny’s represents around the world. Denny’s history of success internationally gives us confidence that this partnership will provide both GCIG and Denny’s a significant growth opportunity.”

Denny’s Senior Vice President of Global Development Steve Dunn added, “Denny’s will be the most recognized American family dining brand to enter China. Denny’s has very high standards when it comes to selecting the right franchisee and is excited to be partnering with GCIG, an experienced, dedicated and talented organization uniquely qualified to expand the Denny’s brand in China. We will work closely with GCIG to ensure Denny’s becomes the family dining brand of choice in southern China.”

For those that have never been to Denny’s, picture an American version of famous Hong Kong cha chaan teng Tsui Wah: it’s fast, greasy, has a large menu, big portions, and is a popular stop on the way home for those that had a few too many.

Breakfast at Denny's

The question is, is there a market for Denny’s in the PRD?  Perhaps, considering other American chains, like Papa John’s, have made a go of it.  The presence of Denny’s will probably have a bigger impact on local establishments which serve up similar fare, like Gail’s Place in Guangzhou.  While Denny’s plans to open its first location next year, it’s still not clear where in South China it will be.  Guangdong is on the list though, and Shenzhen or Guangzhou definitely make the most sense considering their large populations of laowai.

It will be interesting to see if Denny’s localizes some of its dishes or introduces some Chinese options, considering much of its menu isn’t exactly geared for Chinese culinary tastes.  For the rest of us, we’ll finally be able to order Moons Over My Hammy right here in the PRD.



Population of the Pearl River Delta declines for first time in 30 years

Posted: 04/23/2012 12:00 pm

It could be blamed on the rising cost of living, pollution, or growing affluence in the Chinese interior, but the Pearl River Delta – long known as one of China’s richest regions – has seen its first population decline in 30 years.

The People’s Daily says the statistics show a changing population structure in the country:

As Shenzhen Statistics Bureau data indicates, the city’s floating population dropped by 0.93 percent, or 73,200 people, last year. The number of residents in Guangzhou and Dongguan, also decreased, according to government figures.

The relocation of labor-intensive enterprises and the high living costs in China’s coastal centers were cited by experts as major causes of the demographic shift.

The PRD is currently in a seismic shift away from low-wage manufacturing to higher-end service industry jobs, which will no doubt have an impact on the legions of migrant workers who have been flooding the region since the early 1980s.



After much dithering, construction on the HK-Macau bridge is about to start

Posted: 11/29/2011 10:27 pm

It’s one of the key differences between life on this side of the line, and in one of the SARs: stuff just gets done faster here. Sure, sometimes bulldozers have to move in before people have had a chance to leave their homes, but that’s the price one has to pay for progress, right? Or China would like us to think.

Anyway, life is much different in Hong Kong where environmental impact studies and feasibility studies need to be completed before any major infrastructure project gets off the ground. Even then, it’s subject to lawsuits if people feel they weren’t properly consulted. That’s what has happened to the HK-Macau-Zhuhai bridge over the past few years, as one women in Tung Chung, a suburb of Hong Kong, complained that the bridge would have a negative environmental impact on her community.

That’s all been put to bed though, and after humming and hawing over the start date, it’s been announced the land reclamation will start before the end of this year. This, after the Hong Kong government had to pony up an additional HK$48 million for the project:

“This reflects the people’s wishes that such large-scale infrastructure projects should begin and not be repeatedly delayed,” said Eva Cheng, Hong Kong’s secretary for transport and housing, after the decision. “It will enhance Hong Kong’s competitiveness and create employment.”

“We will start work before the end of this year. And then we will try our best to compress the programme. The target right now is to complete these facilities in line with the Main Bridge completion date of 2016,” Cheng said.

So what does this mean? Well, in 2016 you could theoretically live in Zhuhai and commute to work in Hong Kong by car, or vice versa. It’s another key part of joining the various cities of the Pearl River Delta.

One wonders just how much that toll will be, though.