Location apps know just where you sat

Central Station | Nury Vittachi 23 Dec 2020

Smartphone apps that tell you if you've been near a Covid-carrier can be surprisingly precise, I heard from reader Teresa Lee. She showed me a message that a friend of hers in the UK received from such an app this month.

You were detected to have been "within two meters" of someone who tested positive for coronavirus when you visited Starbucks, it said.

The latest GPS chips, reader Tony Sze tells me, can work with an accuracy of 30 centimeters and in real time.

Maybe app warning messages could blast out the sort of phrases that audiences shout during Christmas pantomimes when the bad guy sneaks up on the hero: "BEHIND YOU!"

* * *

The Food Loft, which opened this week in Tin Hau, is featuring the horrible-sounding "Saliva Chicken" in English and Chinese. Don't worry, it's not poultry cooked in spit - it's a Sichuan dish which should be translated "mouthwatering chicken."

* * *

Secret millions from the US will again be used to interfere with Hong Kong politics, America's government revealed yesterday. A bill was passed to send "at least US$3 million" (about HK$23 million) to anti-government activists in Hong Kong.

Last year, the US admitted sending US$642,000 to protesters, but leaks later revealed that they secretly sent millions more.

"Now we know what to do if we want some of the money," commented Marie Soares on Twitter.

In the US, foreign interventions are strictly illegal and punishable by 20 years in jail.

* * *

Interesting to note that Hong Kong police and protesters agree on one thing: illegal bail-jumping is bad. While Nathan Law and Ted Hui strut around in front of cameras as heroes, their actions mean that judges in Hong Kong are forced to do what Western judges do in the same situation: decline further bail requests. Lawyers are sharing the likely bad news with protesters waiting to be charged.

* * *

This week's new temporary pandemic rule says that Hong Kong people in the UK are banned from coming back here. When that rule is withdrawn, let's not tell Nathan Law and Ted Hui.

* * *

Fancy popping over to Macau for lunch? Hongkongers now MUST stay for 21 days at a designated quarantine center on the way in - so a two-hour lunch will take three weeks and two hours. The good news: the quarantine centers include the very comfortable Sheraton hotel. The bad news: visitors have to pay the full cost (HK$700 to HK$2,000 per night) themselves. "You're basically putting yourself in the world's most luxurious jail cell," said a Hongkonger missing his Macau visits.

* * *

This columnist was deeply skeptical about the glossy new recycling centers popping up all over Hong Kong. I didn't think people would carry big bags of garbage to the "Green Community" shops just because they are clean and bright.

I was wrong. People are queuing to use them, including my kids.

Users get a thing that looks like a credit card. Staff weigh your garbage and put points on your card with which you can buy small items. You are literally being paid for your garbage.

"Must be a bit like being a columnist," one reader commented.

* * *

Whenever my red-top minibus goes so fast it actually leaves the ground, a little bell goes ding. Why do they reward him for driving like a maniac?

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