Category Archives: Functional Maps

Watch repair and battery replacement part 2: (the real Si Fu)

My brother-in-law arrived from London for a visit two weeks ago. “Jie“, he said stepping off the airport express, “do you know a place I can get my watch battery changed?

Oh have I been waiting for that question. Almost jumping out and down, I exclaimed “yes, there’s a Sifu right outside the MTR station who does that sort of thing.” 

A Sifu is a term meaning “master” usually used to address a professional tradesman who has a particular skill set or expertise.

We marched up the stairs out of the Wan Chai A3 exit, crossed the road and stood in the queue behind two others at the little repair shop I blogged about previously. Our turn came up pretty quickly. “Din chi yao man tai“(it’s a battery problem). The Sifu took his watch and turned it upside down, this way and that. He took out a little black magnifying glass which he stuck in his eye socket and peered at it again. Hmm.  This wasn’t going as smoothly as I’d hoped. 

After two to three minutes of him inspecting the watch and peering at it from every angle, he pronounced “mm tak, dui erm qi” (Cantonese for can’t do it, sorry). I persisted. “Dim gai mm tak?” (Why can’t it be done?) he replied “hoi mm dou, hoi mm dou” (can’t open it, x2 for emphasis).

Well that was a disappointment. But I was undeterred. “I know another place” I said, “Let’s go try there instead“. 

We walked over to Tai Yuen Street and headed into the crowded corridor of shoppers. 

All the way at the top of the street at the intersection of Cross Street, a watch seller Sifu plies his selection of watches and clocks along with the watch battery and watch strap replacement service. His stall is lit by a few energy saving bare fluorescent bulbs and fronts a corner cha chaan teng that does brisk business during breakfast and lunch.

Watch stall on Tai Yuen Street, Wanchai market

Repeat drill. 

This Sifu took the watch and immediately popped his eyeglass in his eye socket. He examined the watch very carefully and showed us how the back of the watch was sealed shut and there was no obvious way to open it. Then he looked closely at the bezel and crown. 

The Sifu changing the watch battery

Ok“, he said. “Ngor sek jor ge la” (I know how to do it). He took out his tool box and rummaged for a tool. Then he took the watch to his velvet work top behind the stall and proceeded to pop the watch open via the crown, lifting it almost bizarrely from its front. The whole procedure took less than five minutes and he handed the watch back. HKD 40. Great stuff.

Find the watch Sifu who is friendly and up for a challenge here.

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Wan Chai Indoor Market

A friend who just moved into our neighborhood asked me whether I bought my fresh supplies from Wan Chai market.  Yes, I told her, I buy fruits, vegetables, fish and tofu from the market.

Official map of Wan Chai Indoor Market

Where? Well that was a bit complicated to explain. So I thought I’d put it all down on a functional map. KL, I hope this map serves you well.

  
Here’s my map of Wan Chai Indoor Market. Please feel free to ask if anything is unclear or you would like any extra details. 

Guide to Wan Chai Indoor Market

If you go with a pram / stroller, avoid going at 10am-12.30pm as those are peak times. It’s full hustle bustle at the market and people will grumble if you get in their way.

  

Functional Map of Swatow Street, Wan Chai

I’ve finally gotten around to drawing my functional map of Swatow street, Wan Chai.

Access from Johnston Road for pram/ strollers/ wheelchairs. Everyone else take the stairs from Queen’s Road East.

Lots of cool cafes and trendy takeaway stalls are populating the street, you now see only a few electrical stores and sand/ cement shops left. There’s a friendly stationery shop that is very comprehensive.

It’s loaded up in full resolution and I’ve tried to make the text bigger this time round.

Street map of Swatow Street, Wan Chai

Functional Map of Tai Wong Street East 

There are all sorts of maps out there, (Google maps being the best hands down for directions) but what I love the most are functional maps. 

 

Google maps, great directions
 
Functional maps tell you not only where a particular shop is relative to everything else, but what they sell or their specialty. The best maps of this kind were produced by the late Nancy Chandler, whose maps I greatly admire for its detail, imaginative illustration and clarity. It gave me a feel of whether I wanted to visit a particular section of a wet market and a way to plan my route and purchases in advance. 

Nancy must have spent hours painstakingly documenting, sizing, drawing. A single mistake puts you back on the drawing board, literally. 

I am no illustrator and my scientific drawing days are well over but I’ve decided to draw a few of these maps for fun, as a guide for friends new to Hong Kong.

And a tribute to Nancy Chandler, for the inspiration.

Here’s my very first functional map of Tai Wong Street East in Old Wan Chai. 

  

Map of Tai Wong East Street, Wan Chai
 
I realise the font is quite small. The map is high-ish resolution so you can expand it or print it out. 

The thing about these types of maps is that there’s always more to say, so check back for updates.