Robot cars reach Hong Kong's borders

Central Station | Nury Vittachi 18 Nov 2020

The robots are getting closer! Brewer Daniel Dumbrill spotted a driverless car motoring along by itself on the streets of Shenzhen on Monday. And Hong Kong techies revealed that they have permission to let robot cars loose on our city streets next year.

Hong Kong's robo-car, built by scientists from the Hong Kong Applied Science and Technology Research Institute working with Huawei, drove itself around the mainland city of Wuxi without a problem, and so has been given permission to drive a 14-kilometer route around Sha Tin.

I used to be keen on self-driving cars until I watched the Transformers movies. Seriously, you have to keep an eye on these things. Turn your back and they start walking around and getting into fights.

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Hong Kong customs officers said yesterday they busted a major smuggling operation and found a batch of 150 vials of blood. Whose blood was it? And who in Hong Kong ordered it? A local vampire?

The government yesterday issued a statement reminding citizens that anyone who wants to import secretions, including human blood and "excreta" [also known as poop] has to get written permission. Vampires, do the paperwork.

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Reader Don Knowles yesterday added to our series of signs with different meanings in Chinese and English. This escalator sign says "Don't throw objects" in Chinese, but the English version has a much more dramatic "No Killer Littering."

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Residents of Macau rejoiced yesterday when their government said they would give each citizen, however rich or poor, the sum of 10,000 patacas (HK$9,738).

This is nothing to do with Covid. The government has been doing this for 14 years. It thrills residents - except, presumably, the taxpaying middle class, some of whom must realize that this is simply a redistribution of their money to everyone else.

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Hongkongers were horrified when British MP Diane Abbot used Twitter to tell the world about "massacres of Muslims in Uyghur."

What massacres? Even the most hostile claims about Xinjiang don't mention killings. Also, there's no such place as "Uyghur."

Hong Kong people who tried to correct her errors found that she had set her account to disallow replies. Now tell me again about how Hong Kong has no free speech but the West does?

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In related news, a Canadian reporter brought up the topic of "genocide" in Xinjiang at a government press conference in Beijing on Monday.

Official spokesmen are usually painfully dull, but Zhao Lijian surprised everyone. "Do you know what the population growth of Canada is?" he asked.

The reporter did not. Zhao reeled off a list of figures which showed that the Uyghur population was growing steadily, while population growth in Canada had slowed dramatically. "Which best fits the definition of genocide?" Zhao asked.

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Readers in Bangkok tell us that the Thai protest group's adherence to the script used in Hong Kong last year is astonishingly faithful, right down to the words used. "They shout 'Fight for freedom', make a hand gesture, shout about their list of demands and sing the same song, Do You Hear the People Sing? said our source. "It's about as authentic as Donald Trump's orange tan."

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Scientists are trying to work out how to keep Covid vaccines at the extremely icy temperature of below minus 70 Celsius. Simple: just store it in the average Hong Kong office.

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