Friday, 13 November 2015

Auto & Environment: Meeting Tesla Top Two Asia Pacific Referrers in Hong Kong

Meet up with top two Tesla referrers of Asia Pacific, Raymond Wu (right) and Frank Lee (left)
Image from Locky's English Playground

Charged Hong Kong Tesla Motors Group Representative Locky Law enjoyed a special meetup with the top two Asia Pacific referrers of the first round of Tesla Model S Referral Program (ended on October 31st) today at Tesla Motors' Service Centre at TML Tower, Tsuen Wan. Raymond Wu (right) and Frank Lee (left) contributed a total of 164 referrals in Hong Kong alone. Given that the average CO2 saved per Model S is 6 tonnes per year, 164 new Model S can be translated to 984 (=164 x 6) tonnes CO2 saved / year, a remarkable achievement and a big helping hand for the government in cutting emission from vehicles and economic loss.

Lambswool Blanket
Image from Tesla Motors

In addition to their achievement, the two young Model S owners have also agreed to donate part of their referral credits for a good cause. Initiated and organised by Locky Law and supported by Tesla Motors Hong Kong, referrers can donate their extra referral credits in exchange for lambswool blankets for the needy.

Details of the donation plan will be announced in the near future, follow Locky's English Playground blog, Facebook, TwitterGoogle+ and YouTube for more updates.


Tesla Top Referrer In Asia Adds 86 New EVs On The Road @InsideEVs

Air @ Environmental Protection Department

Hedley Environmental Index

Tesla Motors Hong Kong

Thursday, 29 October 2015

Auto & Technology: Tesla Model S Firmware v7.0 in Hong Kong X SCMP X Charged Hong Kong

My hands made the front page on SCMP
Image from Locky's English Playground
Thanks to Charged Hong Kong chairman Mark Webb-Johnson's referral, I was invited for a video interview and demonstration of the latest autopilot capability in the firmware v7.0 on my Tesla Model S. Never knew this article would make the front page on South China Morning Post (SCMP) the next morning, so it is really a great honour for me.

Autopark on release note
Image from Locky's English Playground
Operating Autopark
Image from Locky's English Playground

It was a fine Monday morning on 26th October, great day for test drives. SCMP journalist Naomi and videographer Vicky arrived at 10am for the setup, then off we went from Kornhill to Lei King Wan where there were ample parked cars and a few available parking meters for the Autoparking demo. It was not easy because I did not want to block the traffic behind me and get honked in the video, so I had to park on the sides in order to autopark on the sides. Funny huh? It was my first time to use Autopark and that was completed in one go! Looking at the steering wheel and the car performing parallel parking at speed, it was just pure awesomeness!

Image from Locky's English Playground
The latest v7.0 Autopilot comes with the original Traffic-Aware Cruise Control (TACC) and two new features called Autosteer and Auto Lane Change. For TACC, I can basically use it almost everywhere in Hong Kong and it has already been perfected again and again.

Autosteer (Beta)
Image from Locky's English Playground
It was the latest Autosteer (Beta) that I have to pay more attention to. Although this feature will improve in accuracy with time and usage as the car 'learns' from each other, it was only day 2 since its arrival in Hong Kong and there was limited data for the learning. Therefore, I must not do anything more than the release note has mentioned.

"Autosteer is designed for use on highways that have a center divider and clear lane markings.  It is also appropriate on other kinds of roads while in slow-moving traffic. It should not be used on highways that have very sharp turns or lane markings that are absent, faded, or ambiguous."

On the Island East Corridor (IEC) towards Causeway Bay, lanes were hardly clearly marked, so I had to be selective in order to follow the instructions in the driver's manual well.

Image from Locky's English Playground
In this trip, I wasn't able to perform Auto Lane Change because for one thing, IEC was having road construction that morning and closed the far left lane and I did not expect the queue to be that long on the immediate second lane until I have missed the end of the queue, for another, when I applied the turn signal, other drivers quickly accelerate to fill up the gap. Typical Hong Kong drivers, afraid to lose out even a few seconds. Unlike in Okinawa Japan, they slow down the car to welcome you into the lane!!!

Side Collison Warning
Image from Locky's English Playground
On the way back from SCMP head office in Causeway Bay to Kornhill, the traffic was way better! Performed Auto Lane Changing at my fingertips left to right, right to left several times. The product is beautiful! Vicky did an excellent job!

I must say Naomi's reports are fair too, also a great piece of work! Would be better had the webmasters not forgotten to put it up on the SCMP website. Luckily, I got hold of a PDF version so I can share here:

Charged Hong Kong made the front page on SCMP today. Have you got a copy? #ChargedHongKong #Tesla #EV #HongKong #Autopilot
Posted by Charged Hong Kong on Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Food, Travelling & Living: Food And Fun Of Okinawa -- Day 4 @ Locky's English Playground

'Hands-free' driving in Hong Kong: Tesla begins road-testing 'autopilot' mode, government yet to approve, SCMP takes it for a spin @SCMP

Way lit for hands-free driving but Hong Kong roads prove barriers abound

Tesla ‘hands free’ update gets rap on the knuckles from Hong Kong government as drivers warned not to use Autopilot update

Can Tesla's new 'autopilot' system work in crowded Hong Kong? The South China Morning Post takes it for a test drive @SCMP

Insurance a legal grey area in Hong Kong for all-electric Tesla car's new Autopilot system @SCMP

Can Tesla's new 'autopilot' system work in crowded Hong Kong? We take it for a test drive +YouTube

Charged Hong Kong made the front page on SCMP today. Have you got a copy? ‪#‎ChargedHongKong‬ ‪#‎Tesla‬ ‪#‎EV‬ ‪#‎HongKong‬ ‪#‎Autopilot‬ @Facebook

Saturday, 17 October 2015

Traveling & Living: Hong Kong Disneyland Resort 10th Anniversary Review (2D1N Frozen Package)

The lobby of Hong Kong Disneyland Resort
Image from Locky's English Playground

It is Hong Kong Disneyland and its resort's 10th anniversary, yet it is only my very first time to ever set foot on the ground of the resort. Million thanks to my lovely sister who has prepared this very special birthday present. Not that I like Disneyland or the cartoon characters, but when you have a little one who loves them, whatever makes her happy makes me happy.

After 10 years of frequent visits by mostly mainland Chinese tourists, one would expect the resort to be pretty seriously dated, to my surprise, that is not true. Conversely, the resort has been kept in great condition. Everyone has a standard of measuring quality, and a pleasant first sight of the hotel is arguably the most crucial criteria in setting that maximum score of that standard, everything after that tends to only deduce points from this maximum. For Hong Kong Disneyland Resort, I will say they have done well to set a very high maximum in this scale of mine.

The Lobby
Image from Locky's English Playground
It is not easy to maintain furniture and carpets even at home, let alone those of a hotel. Definitely they suffer from wear and tear, mud and dirt at a much greater extent than that at home, so daily cleaning and polishing is a must. Have the resort replaced them in preparation for the 10th anniversary is beyond my knowledge, but spaciousness and cleanliness did earn my appreciation. That said, I was expecting many more statues of Disney characters in the first two photos, so yes, it is a nice hotel, but had I not mentioned its name few could have possibly realised that this was in fact taken in Hong Kong Disneyland Resort.

The Car Park

I began this review from my entrance to the lobby for the purpose of setting the maximum score for this blog post, but in actual fact, the first stop for me was the car park and its charging spot, and that is where I start deducting points.

The one and only charging spot at Hong Kong Disneyland Resort
Image from Locky's English Playground
The charging pole has two sockets on it but is located between the disabled and the charging spot, which means that it will not be convenient for the second EV's cable to reach that socket.

Charging spot next to disabled parking spot at the far end of the car park
Image from Locky's English Playground
I think the location of the charging spot, being furthest away from the hotel entrance, is fine for me and fine for most EV owners, but the fact that the 3 disabled parking spaces are also at the far side does lack consideration.

Sign on the charging pole
1Image from Locky's English Playground
The sign on the charging pole has clear instructions for the EV owner, but if the EV owner is one of those with walking difficulty, the lack of phone number to call for assistance means he will have to walk all the way to the entrance to get help, and then walk all the way back to his car to connect the charging cable.

Chinese and English instructions in chunks
Image from Locky's English Playground
I had to read the whole sign board just to discover the absence of a telephone number I could call for assistance when in fact a few cartoon strips to tell the key points are enough. The maximum charging current is stated as 13A, but my car only registered 6A (I suspect 13A is shared by 2 sockets), so charging from 50% to 100% took 20 hours. Good enough for hotel guests, next to nothing for restaurant diners.

Socket upside down
Image from Locky's English Playground
I was half done cleaning my car when the staff arrived to unlock the socket for me.

The sockets on the charging pole were placed in the most unfriendly way I have ever seen! I almost had to curse the designer and the company for approving this design. How on earth is it possible for a cable connected to an upside-down socket still come out from the bottom? Bend the cable you will say, but there is the metal "handle" in its way. The cable itself is heavy as the controller weighs quite a bit, then how did I manage to get it sorted?

Image from Locky's English Playground
I had to bend my cable such that it squeezed inside that handle before it could find space to bend down again. The weight was shared by the top of the pole or else, the plug would have easily unplugged itself because of the weight and bending of the cable. The socket cover had to be closed and locked before electricity begins to flow, and so my cable had to share that handle with the keylock lever, which means getting scratched was unavoidable and a second cable from another EV was out of the question.

I am happy with the complimentary parking at hotels and park during our stay.

The Package

I now talk about the package because the room is to follow.

Arrival Date: Sunday, October 11, 2015
Departure Date: Monday, October 12, 2015
Adults/Children: 2/0
Number of Rooms: 1
Room Type: Standard Room
Sunday, October 11, 2015 HKD 3,245.00

Package Name: “Frozen” Room Decoration
Package Description: Special in-room decoration: Frozen themed Door Frame Sticker, Window Stickers and Bed Runner
Package Price: HKD 600.00 Per Stay

Grand Total: HKD 3,845.00
(Note: Inclusive of government tax (if applicable) and 10% service charge.)

This is a special package that includes dinner buffet for 2. Assuming HK$500 per head, that is HK$1000 for two, then the room rate is HK$2845, with HK$600 added to a package called "Frozen" Room Decoration, which includes 3 things:

  1. Frozen themed door frame sticker, 
  2. Window stickers
  3. Bed runner

An additional HK$600 is not a small amount considering it is two days one night, equivalent to 15.6% of the total cost. At this price, one will expect some quality decorations.

But we were rather disappointed.

The Room --  Frozen theme

Frozen themed door frame sticker
Image from Locky's English Playground
On the door that looks as normal as any others, there was a Frozen door sticker the size of an A4.

There were two bed runners
Image from Locky's English Playground
There were two large bed runners, two very poorly handmade Olafs on the bed,

Anna wall stickers
Image from Locky's English Playground
and poorly stuck, bubble filled Anna window stickers on one side of the windows (next to an empty window with patches of glue residues on it).

The bottom line is, Disney resort has not cheated us, but they did trick us.

  1. Those so-called decorations are something I can put up within 2 mins. Taking away all these "decorations" and it becomes a standard room once again. Takes no effort, thus no thoughts, no love. 
  2. Little kids want to have something they can touch and feel, they can't feel the texture on the window stickers, on the door stickers, on the bed runners. The best of Frozen are Elsa and Anna, not two very ugly handmade Olaf.
  3. Even with the 3, 4 Frozen "things", there was still nothing Frozen about the room. Nothing else has changed. Absolutely nothing.

Baby Muse is very happy with her new toys, which costs us a bit more than $100, did not even notice the bed runners after awhile
Image from Locky's English Playground

With a little more than HK$600, we could have got our baby girl a set of rubber dolls as seen in the photo above, 2 decent breakfasts with Disney characters to take photos with her the next morning. But there was none. Most people would at most be interested in keeping those bed runners, which costs at most $100 each. Disney could have spent more time on designing an Elsa's room that resembles the one from the movie, could have put a box of these rubber toys with all the characters on the bed, could have played Frozen on TV, could have printed Frozen characters on the boxes of toothbrushes, could have stuck various Frozen stickers inside the wardrobe, beside the bed, on the headboard, on the ceiling, etc., could have used Frozen pillow cases, could have, so many could have...... Disney was just too stingy and too greedy for this kind of thoughts. Huge disappointment, they should not promote something if they have not tested.

The Room --  the Standard Room

The good:

  1. Viewing it from a normal room's perspective, the hotel room had been maintained well. Visually, furniture such as drawers, cupboards, wardrobe, bed frame have suffered very little scratches. 
  2. There were ample storage for any 4 to 5 person family during their stay. 
  3. Pillow cases, bed liners, bedsheets, quilt covers are pleasantly white. 
  4. Sun blinds, curtains, valance are all in mint condition. 
  5. The shower/bath was mold free even at tight wall corners. Shower curtains with double layer (one for inside the bathtub and one for outside) shows careful consideration from the user's perspective.

Image from Locky's English Playground
The bad:
  1. It took only one quick glance to see remains of prawn crackers, water bottle caps and leaflets hiding in the gap between the bed frame and the headboard. Though not everyone would notice, it was rather revolting for careful ones like me. I had not brought along a blacklight but I suppose I could have found something very interesting.
  2. TV is not the most important part of the hotel room for adults but it is for the kids. The lack of free Disney cartoon programs on it together with the same few cartoons repeating continually was very annoying. Disney channel at least?
  3. The selection of coffee and tea was very limited. Nescafe powder coffee -- the usual mediocrity. Liquid creamer was a plus though.
  4. Sockets were limited and were placed at inconvenient and impractical positions (see photos below). It was good that one adaptor for China plug was provided, though not useful to me.
  5. Child toilet seat did not fit the toilet seat. Bummer.

Socket near end of the bed
Image from Locky's English Playground
Zero socket between the beds unless you move the drawer away
Image from Locky's English Playground
Socket near the windows
Image from Locky's English Playground
So really, as a standard room, I can only say that it has barely lived up to the name of its room type.

The Service

The good:
My wife told check-in that we have 3 adults and 1 child, they provided 3 pairs of large slippers and 1 kid size when we entered the room at 3pm.

The bad:
Consulted staff at check-in counter about the complimentarity of the Frozen bed runners before I went for a morning swim, (he frowned a bit, I looked at his name tag and he was "Hans") and the reply was negative. Returned to the same staff and consulted about the inclusion of breakfast and he "updated" me that the bed runners are complimentary.

The Pool

Indoor pool
Image from Locky's English Playground
I enjoyed looking at the paintings on the walls of the pool. The suction pumps are placed on the sides of the pool with grill protectors so kids will not lose any limps if they are naughty. I was only not happy with the fact that it only opened at 9am, which means early swimmers can only wait. The lack of drinking water or juice means that I had to stay thirsty until I returned to my room. I did not use the outdoor pool because my baby was still in bed and there was no fun on the waterslide by myself.

The Playroom

Baby Muse enjoying herself in the castle
Image from Locky's English Playground
The playroom was one of the best part because my baby had had a marvelous time on the castle slides and making her own badges.

Baby Muse makes her own badges
Image from Locky's English Playground
The female staff there are very friendly and they loved to play with kids.

Soft playground
Image from Locky's English Playground
There are several themes for kids to roleplay in, such as Alice in Wonderland above,

Castle with slide
Image from Locky's English Playground
Castle and forest (could be from any Disney stories),

Pirate ship and shop
Image from Locky's English Playground
Pirate boats and piers,

There she crawls
Image from Locky's English Playground
and the toys are safe and friendly, so parents can just let go of their kids and allow them to have fun,

There they sail
Image from Locky's English Playground
or be a part of their imagination.

The Restaurant & Food

Enchanted Garden
Image from Locky's English Playground
The Enchanted Garden was very nicely designed at the entrance, it felt like a garden when we entered, but not so much when we are seated. The chairs look fine, but the tables simply do not match the theme.

The restaurant looking towards the food bar
Image from Locky's English Playground

The restaurant looking towards the windows
Image from Locky's English Playground

Baby Muse teaching Shellie May how to do "pointy pointy"
Image from Locky's English Playground
We love that the cartoon characters are eager to take photos and play with the children. Despite the weight and heat of that suit, they gave all they could and we really appreciate it. We even got free printed photos with every one of the cartoon characters we took photos with! These printed photos do not cost much, but give tonnes of good memories for the entire family to bring home!

Dessert bar
Image from Locky's English Playground
Food-wise, it is an unusually good experience for us in this restaurant as the food in the theme park are barely fast food quality. We love the splitted Alaskan king crabs, love the lamb racks. Can't name anything else that is spectacular but overall they are good. Dessert-wise, they are good enough to satisfy children but far from the kind of quality expected of a hotel. Cakes and jelly and chocolate cookies, not much skill is involved. Maybe kids do know about quality of the desserts, because my little girl were not tempted by the Winnie the Pooh mango mousse or the Mickey Mouse chocolate cake at all.

Overall, if the buffet is included in the package, then I do not see why not, but I will not consider coming to the restaurant solely for the buffet myself.

The Mickey Mouse Maze
Image from Locky's English Playground
My little girl's reactions and emotion spoke the truth that adults cannot. At the end of the day, for parents like me and my wife, everything is all meant to be for our children. Hong Kong Disneyland Resort apparently has done better in the exterior than in the interior. The resort still looks amazing from outside, with beautiful floral, gardens, pavilion and maze. There the non-guests can go, the hotel has presented that image well. If I am taking a hotel tour, I think everyone will appreciate the magic of it.

Baby Muse enjoying her time inside the maze
Image from Locky's English Playground
However, once you have become a patron, it is not hard to see the missing link between grown-up interior designers and what the kids really hope to see. Had this not been a magical world offering magical experience as their selling point, I would have considered the resort as a "good" resort for vacation. Now, I only feel the urge to squeeze every single penny out of that famous dream of Walt Disney,

Just before departure
Image from Locky's English Playground

"You can design and create, and build the most wonderful place in the world. 
But it takes people to make the dream a reality." -- Walt Disney

It is not difficult to make that dream come true. The solution has been emphasized in bold in my very first paragraph.

Hong Kong Disneyland Resort

Saturday, 10 October 2015

Auto & Events: FIA Formula E Hong Kong Press Conference feat. Charged Hong Kong

Hong Kong ePrix circuit
Image from Locky's English Playground
Charged Hong Kong was invited to attend the FIA Formula E Hong Kong press conference held at the Central Harbourfront Event Space yesterday.

Seats for Mark and I
Image from Locky's English Playground

Mark Webb-Johnson, chairman of Charged Hong Kong, and myself, Tesla group representative of Charged Hong Kong, were offered the second front row VIP seats with Lawrence Yu Kam-kee, President of Hong Kong Automobile Association (HKAA), right behind the Chief Executive of Hong Kong CY Leung and the Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development of Hong Kong Gregory So. What an honour!

Chief Executive of Hong Kong CY Leung (left) and the Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development of Hong Kong Gregory So (right)
Image from Locky's English Playground
Because of that, Mark and I were also captured in many of the photos, all of which I firmly believed will be discarded eventually.

CY and Gregory photographed by a group of reporters
Image from Locky's English Playground
Still, it was the first time I have never been photographed so many times in my life.

Mark broadcasting the event with Periscope app on his always reliable iPhone 6
Image from Locky's English Playground
Because the event only accepted invited guests, Mark diligently live broadcast the event with Periscope app on his always reliable iPhone 6 while I took photos and videos on my crappy camera Samsung Note 3, hence the following photos:

The moment that Gregory was introduced
Image from Locky's English Playground
Taking photos are often easy for me but it was a tricky yesterday as I had to juggle between photographing, uploading photos and videos to chat groups and Facebook, and waiting for calls from Tesla's driver as he was delivering my car to IFC after the completion of door replacement.

Formula E car waiting to be unveiled
Image from Locky's English Playground
And just as the Formula E car was about to be unveiled, counting down from 3 and I was videoing, the Tesla driver called and cut off the video recording, as you shall see later in the video below.

Lawrence Yu making his speech
Image from Locky's English Playground
The Lawrence Yu speech was quite moving as he himself almost teared out when he said that he has been striving to get Formula E to Hong Kong for years and to be able to do so on the 9th October (2016) next year is his best 70th birthday present. Great guy! Through Mark's introduction, I got to shake hands with him after the conference and thank him for all his contributions to EV development in Hong Kong.

My little selfie with Mark who barely noticed that I took it
Image from Locky's English Playground

First ever Formula E world champion Nelson Piquet Jr.
Image from Locky's English Playground
The charming Formula E world champion Nelson Piquet Jr. was of course the centre of attention for the entire event as he talked about his racing experience, techniques and feelings about Hong Kong as the venue for Formula E next year.

Future racers meet today's champion
Image from Locky's English Playground
Our future racers of Hong Kong were the luckiest as they got to meet the champion and received autographed Formula E caps as gift.

Right after the press conference, I had to run all the way back to IFC to collect my beautifully fixed Tesla Model S, drive it to the IFC car park, then run all the way back to the venue. Quite a bit of exercise.

OUTATIME, yeah! Back to the future are we?
Image from Locky's English Playground
Because the press conference was in fact part of the Hong Kong Classic car show, we got to see so many classic automobiles, like this DMC De Lorean from back to the future.

Image from Locky's English Playground
As well as the original AE 86 Trueno from Initial D as shown below.

AE 86 Treuno without Tofu logo.
Image from Locky's English Playground
There are of course, so many I do not recognise, but they are 99% kept in terrific shape!

Image from Locky's English Playground
Image from Locky's English Playground
There are no modern EVs around except the Formula e one and the Solar Powered Electric Vehicle by IVE Sophie Team in the photo below.

Solar Powered Electric Vehicle by IVE Sophie Team in the photo below.
Image from Locky's English Playground
At the extra time, we witnessed a TVB newsanchor doing her report while sitting on the Formula EV, 

TVB newsanchor adds weight on her report
Image from Locky's English Playground
I took photo of Mark with his long-time friend Lawrence Yu and had a quick chat (followup chat later)

Lawrence Yu (left), President of Hong Kong Automobile Association, in photo with Mark Webb-Johnson (right), chairman of Charged Hong Kong
Image from Locky's English Playground
and Mark took a great photo of me.

Charged Hong Kong Tesla Group Representative Locky Law with Formula E electric car
Photo by Mark Webb-Johnson

Many thanks to Mark for his miraculous strength and perseverance in Periscoping the event:


Charged Hong Kong @ FIA Formula E Hong Kong Press Conference +YouTube

Formula E 明年中環海濱決鬥 睇電驅方程式必須知道的 13 件事 @e-Zone

Formula E 2016 年殺到香港 睇電驅方程式必須知道的 13 件事(續)@e-Zone

Charged Hong Kong @ FIA Formula E Hong Kong Press Conference (Periscope App Part 1)

Charged Hong Kong @ FIA Formula E Hong Kong Press Conference (Periscope App Part 2)