Hong Kong’s first Hooters is already causing controversy

HK-Hooters-Cover

FoodBeast/Next Shark (by Ryan General):

American restaurant chain Hooters, known for its skimpily dressed female servers is about to open its first restaurant in Hong Kong. A month before its launch, however, the sports bar that bills itself as “delightfully tacky yet unrefined” is already attracting controversy.

Set to occupy a prime location in Hong Kong’s Central district along Wyndham Street, Hooters Hong Kong will be just one of the 30 branches that Bangkok-based Destinations Resorts will be bringing to Asia on behalf of Hooters Asia.

While preparations are all well under way for the Hong Kong opening, Hooters Asia general manager Mike Warde is also fending off criticisms about the company’s image and hiring processes.

We’re a sports bar, a family-oriented, fun-loving, entertainment outlet. We have standards for our service and food,” Warde told South China Morning Post in an interview.

For Warde, the Hooters girls who he calls the chain’s “brand ambassadors” are not dressed provocatively but are simply wearing sportswear. He also denied that breast size is a factor in the company’s recruitment.

That’s a myth. That was 30 years ago,” he said while showing a photograph of Thai Hooters girls with small breasts. “The reason they don’t look flat chested is because they are wearing Wonderbras.”

HK-Hooters-02

A friend of one Hong Kong applicant, however is refuting his claim. Scarlet (not her real name), an applicant herself, said her friend who applied didn’t pass because of her breast size.

Her boobs are smaller, so of course they won’t hire her,” she said.

The recruitment process has been going on for months and so far 12 Hong Kong women, one Japanese woman and two European women are being considered for the job.

Aside from normal food-serving tasks, Hooter girls are also expected to perform two-minute dance numbers at certain intervals.

They stop whatever they are doing, wherever they are, and dance every 45 minutes,” says Warde. “In Thailand guests pay them to do hula hoop and the money goes to charity. We have pom-poms and we take them to the rugby pitch to support teams.

To stay in shape, they are also required to attend three kickboxing classes per week.

We teach the girls to be a lot more respectful of themselves, have more confidence in themselves. They have a fit body and fit mind and we bring out their characters because we put them all over social media,” he added.

HK-Hooters-03

They said, ‘This is the largest size’ – I think that was true. But it’s crazy that the largest size is extra small. My boobs were exploding and my ass was half showing out,” the 24-year-old said.

When I went for the uniform fitting they said I’m the only girl with boobs. They want to hire locals, but most local girls are really skinny.”

Scarlet also found the salary disappointing and realized she could earn more as a beauty therapist. The HK$15,000 ($1,932) per month offered for a five-and-a-half-day week is barely above standard.

They said I would get good tips, but in Hong Kong I don’t think the guys would pay a lot. There isn’t the tipping culture here,” Scarlet said.

Back in the U.S., the company has closed about a dozen stores in recent years, with observers saying the concept of “breastaurants” is outdated.

Warde believes that it will be a different story in Asia. “In Asia we are a new brand. And in America they’ve been closing the ones that haven’t been performing and reopening others. Over the last four years it’s growing, they are on the up again,”he said.

HK-Hooters-04

In the next five years, the aggressive expansion plan of Hooters Asia will also see restaurants opening in Indonesia, Thailand, Macau, the Philippines, Cambodia, Laos, Singapore, Myanmar, Vietnam and Malaysia.

Comme des Garçons’ Rei Kawakubo high fashion concept store Dover Street Market to open on Singapore’s Dempsey Road

Screen Shot 2015-12-23 at 2.44.23 PM

Dover Street Market, an edgy fashion retail and concept store conceived by Comme des GarçonsRei Kawakubo, will be opening its first Singapore outlet in Dempsey.

Kawakubo’s conceptual multi-brand retail outlet will be setting up shop in the near future as COMO Lifestyle recently purchased two blocks from the Singapore Land Authority and Singapore Tourism Board. Based on the plan laid out in COMO’s bid for the location, the DSM outpost will be incorporated alongside a bevy of food and beverage establishments as a Jean-Georges Vongerichten restaurant and bar, local Peranakan restaurant Candlenut and new COMO Cuisine concept will all be located on the site.

A timetable for an opening is currently unknown so stay tuned for further details as they become available.

Singapore Airlines to resume world’s longest flights, 9500-miles nonstop from Singapore to New York

Singapore A350 Featured

The Points Guy:

This morning, Singapore Airlines announced plans to re-launch the world’s longest flight, traveling nonstop from New York to Singapore. The airline will operate its flagship route with the Airbus A350-900ULR, which will have a range of just over 10,000 miles — more than enough to handle the 9,500-mile flight from New York and 8,700-mile flight from LA.

The NYC flight is nearly 1,000 miles longer than Emirates’ nonstop from Dubai to Panama, and used to be operated by the now-retired Airbus A340-500. Now, at just shy of 10,000 miles from New York to Sydney, an airline like Qantas could theoretically one-up Singapore with its own 20-hour nonstop, though that isn’t terribly likely.

Singapore has 63 A350-900s on order, including seven of this new ULR (ultra-long-range) variant, which will be used for the NY and Los Angeles nonstops. The airline has confirmed that the A350 will offer its upgraded seats, though we still don’t know what those will look like. It’s also unclear whether the plane will be operated in an all-business configuration, or with multiple classes of service.

The A350-900ULR is expected to be delivered in 2018.

Beijing Universal Studios set to open in 2019

Universal-studios-Beijing.jpg

Shanghaiist (by Daniel Cunningham):

The completion date for the Universal Studios theme park being built in Beijing‘s Tongzhou district has been set for 2019. Beijing Universal Studios will be the Hollywood corporation’s biggest theme park yet at 2.02 million square meters, or 11 times bigger than the theme park in Singapore.

In total, since Beijing’s approval this time last year, the multi-billion dollar project will take around five years to complete. Stephen Spielberg is involved with the design process, which will incorporate some “Chinese elements” to appeal to both foreign and local punters.

Meanwhile, Disney is still set on opening its new resort and theme park in Shanghai during the “first half of 2016”, with a Six Flags amusement park due to be complete in Tianjin by 2018.

Bon Jovi concerts in China cancelled due to support for Tibet and Dalai Lama

A string of Bon Jovi’s first-ever concerts in China have been cancelled, presumable after the Culture Ministry discovered a photo of Bon Jovi with the Dalai Lama

World Religion News:

It looks like Jon Bon Jovi won’t be singing “Livin’ on a Prayer” in Mandarin any time soon. The long-standing rock front man of the self-named band Bon Jovi would have been performing for the very first time in China at major concerts in Beijing and Shanghai if the Chinese government hadn’t forced those shows to be canceled, TIME reported. Currently on a major world tour with concert dates scheduled across Asia in Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, and others, the dates scheduled in Bangkok and Shanghai were canceled by Chinese authorities, who have not given any explicit reasons to the band or to the organizers of the tour, AEG Live Asia.

The most prevalent theory about why the sudden cancellations occurred that has been circulating the Internet is relatively obvious considering, if it turns out to be true, Bon Jovi would just be part of a string of bands to be banned from performing shows in China because of their support for Tibet and the Dalai Lama. As was reported in the Financial Times, apparently the very powerful and influential Culture Ministry for China’s ruling Communist Party found an image of Bon Jovi performing in front of a giant video screen with His Holiness the Dalai Lama featured on it at a concert in 2010.

“The issue of Tibet is especially sensitive right now as the Communist Party marks the 50th anniversary of the founding of what it calls the Tibet Autonomous Region”, said TIME.

Approaching the ever controversial 50th anniversary of what many in the Western world view as a continuing travesty in which China began governing Tibet after the Battle of Chamdo in 1950, the same time when the current Dalai Lama was enthroned. After being forced into exile in India with the remnants of the Tibetan government, where they established the Central Tibetan Administration in exile.

Pro-Tibet stances are not new or unusual, and many of the world’s most famous stars and celebrities have made public their support for Tibet and the Dalai Lama. There have been several other bands and musicians who have found themselves banned from China for support of Tibet, like Bjork in 2008, to Maroon 5, who were supposed to play a concert in China this month, but were forced to cancel after one member of the band tweeted a “Happy Birthday” message to the Dalai Lama’s active Twitter account of nearly 12 million followers.

TIME reports that Bon Jovi’s Chinese concerts’ organizers were attempting to convince the Culture Ministry of the People’s Republic of China to reconsider the move to cancel the concerts, but it does not appear at this time that Bon Jovi’s status in China is likely to change.

Splashed watercolor paintings by Singaporean artist Tilen Ti

colorful-animal-watercolor-paintings-tilen-ti-15

Rabbit

Bored Panda:

Watercolor paints have a fantastic way of capturing vital energy and ghostly shades of color that no other medium can, and Tilen Ti, an artist in Singapore, has become an expert at using watercolor paints to their fullest potential. The animals in his vibrantly colorful works seem to come to life on the page.

Ti focuses primarily on various tropical birds though he’s also painted more mundane creatures like cats and snails as well. He sells his paintings on Etsy, so be sure to check him out!

More info: Etsy | Instagram | Tumblr | Deviantart

‘The Daily Show’ adds Ronny Chieng as a correspondent


Australian comedian Ronny Chieng has joined on as a correspondent for The Daily Show with Trevor Noah.

Chieng, a standup comedian, joins new host Trevor Noah, who was named to the desk after Jon Stewart announced he was stepping down from Comedy Central‘s long-running late night satire news show.

Born in Malaysia and raised in Singapore and New Hampshire, Chieng embarked on a standup career after graduating with degrees in commerce and law from the University of Melbourne. He was recognized as one of the “Top 10 Rising Comedians in Australia” by several publications in 2012, and has opened for the likes of Dave Chappelle and Bill Burr. He made his U.S. television debut this year on The Late Late Show.

Comedy Central announcement:

RONNY CHIENG: Born in Johor Bahru, Malaysia, and raised in Manchester, NH and Singapore, stand-up comedian and actor Ronny Chieng has been a rising star on the comedy scene in Australia where he moved to attend the University of Melbourne. Embarking on a stand-up comedy career after graduating with a degree in commerce and a degree in law, Chieng’s career began to take off in 2012 when he was named one of the “Top 10 Rising Comedians in Australia” by The Age, the Herald Sun and The Sydney Morning Herald and received the “Best Newcomer” award at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival for his debut stand-up special, “The Ron Way.”

Since then, Chieng has continued his meteoric rise, performing sold-out tours in Australia and appearing at numerous international comedy festivals, including the Montreal Just for Laughs Festival, the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and the New Zealand International Comedy Festival. Last year, Chieng won the “Directors’ Choice” award at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival and “Best Show” at the Sydney Comedy Festival. He has appeared in and performed on numerous TV shows in his adopted home of Australia and has opened for both Dave Chappelle (2014) and Bill Burr (2015) during their nationwide stand-up tours in Australia. Earlier this year Chieng made his US television debut on “The Late Late Show.” Chieng is repped by Century Entertainment Australia and APA.

I’m so excited to welcome these new members of The Daily Show team,” Trevor Noah said in a statement. “Now I get to share my stress with other new people.”

The new season of The Daily Show with Trevor Noah premieres Monday, September 28 on Comedy Central.