Hong Kong Before A Storm: Day 2

July 18, 2019

A free morning in Hong Kong was an excellent opportunity to explore. I decided to spend time with the Penn Glee Club Band, who are consistently exploratory and adventurous. They also like brunch. We were therefore up early heading to the center of town for some food and a walk.

One of my favorite elements of this trip were the street markets we visited in each city. In Hong Kong we visited “the Ladies Market” infamous for under-the-counter counterfeit good. One Glee Clubber even bought a replica watch to match an expensive genuine article that had gone missing!

That evening the Penn Glee Club Band performed at a small but swanky bar “Fringe Underground” for a crowd of alums and locals,

Crazy in Love with the PGCB

One of the alums who had come to our concert the day before was incredibly impressed with our two sets. He therefore purchased bottles of Dom Pérignon for a post concert celebration.

Bright and early the next morning I walked through the Tsim Sha Tsui district known for its tailors, picking up made to measure shirts that I had ordered the day before. With 24 hour turnaround this was an impressive feat on the part of the tailors!

Next up: a ferry to Macau.

Hong Kong Before A Storm: Day 1

July 16, 2019

One interesting aspect of the trip was the opportunity to learn about the complex history of the regions we visited.

Visiting Hong Kong at this time was particularly eye-opening given the tension over the extradition bill and subsequent protests. I learned about the complicated Hong Kong identity, imbued with both a history of British colonization and norms of Chinese culture. While not quite a democracy, the people of Hong Kong reverse democratic values. Attempts by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to integrate Hong Kong into the mainland are often met by opposing mass movements.

However, my stay was more than just politics. One particular highlight of this leg was our visit to Diocesan Boy’s School. Their choir is world renowned for it’s superb musicianship. The Penn Pipers (my barbershop group) experienced this first hand. After performing a number for them, a few boys heard us whispering about another song:

“Should we sing Notre Dame?”

“Nah, too long.”

The boys overruled our decision: “We know that song!”

A small group of their singers were so eager that we gathered around for a seven minute medley of songs from Disney’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame. The small group quickly became large. Every boy in their choir opened up their phones and squinting at the tiny print, sightread our most difficult piece!

That evening the Glee Club took to the water to see “A Symphony of Lights”. We watched the waterfront musical production as buildings around the city lit up in time with the music.

Two Glee Clubbers took the romantic scenery very seriously, and were too busy kissing to notice a seasick passenger receiving medical aid right by their side. Enough for my night, I went to sleep soon after.

Sunday – Day 19

August 7, 2012

Today I stayed in to work. Preparing for job interviews, arranging logistics with UPenn (a painful affair) and just sorting my life out.

Leaving my cousins to hang out with more shnatties, I went out with Amy Bortz in central Jerusalem to HaMoshava 54, a new instant coffee place with amazing free samples, and a  GIANT 28 NIS frozen yoghurt. Yum.

Following that, Amy and I began to walk home when, we chanced upon a christian tour group from Hong Kong. Knowing that something interesting was likely to occur soon, I stopped Amy and we continued to eat the frozen yoghurt in place. Sure enough, soon they were singing the Hatikva with hands on their hearts and a real sincerity. Nice to know not everyone hates the Jews :P.

I asked the leader of the group what they were doing in Israel and they told us they had been studying Hebrew, Judaism and Israel for the last two years and this was the culmination of all their hard work. A tour to the bible lands to walk in the footsteps of Jesus.

They then encouraged us to sing with them Heveinu Shalom Aleichem, and we started dancing too!

After that, they took down our names, so that they could pray for us to ‘make aliyah’ (emmigrate to Israel) in hopes of bringing about the third coming of Christ.


© 2012-2024 Shaanan Cohney