You are on page 1of 2

local

Sales & Marketing


Head of Sales & Marketing
Karman So
karman@fastmedia.com.hk

easy access

Wheely friendly
For pushchairs and wheelchairs, Sai Kung is accessible
but it could be better. Paul Letters sees a slope of hope.

Sales Manager
Oliver Simons
oliver@fastmedia.com.hk
Sales & Marketing Executive
John Lee
john@fastmedia.com.hk
Sales & Marketing Assistant
Maria Jones
maria@fastmedia.com.hk
Office security
Cat the dog

Accounting

Accounting Manager
Connie Lam
connie@fastmedia.com.hk
Accounting Assistant
Jason To
jason@fastmedia.com.hk

Printer

Apex Print
11-13 Dai Kwai Street, Tai Po Industrial
Estate, Tai Po, Hong Kong

www.saikung.com
ads@fastmedia.com.hk

Paul Letters tries the newly installed ramp at Le Magasin.

@saikungmag
facebook.com/SaiKungMagazine

GIVE US A CALL!
Admin: 3568 3722
Editorial: 2776 2773
Advertising: 2776 2772, 3563 9755
Sai Kung Magazine is published by
Fast Media Ltd. This magazine is
published on the understanding that
the publishers, advertisers, contributors
and their employees are not responsible
for the results of any actions, errors
and omissions taken on the basis of
information contained in this publication.
The publisher, advertisers, contributors
and their employees expressly disclaim
all and any liability to any person, whether
a reader of this publication or not, in
respect of any action or omission by
this publication. Fast Media Ltd cannot
be held responsible for any errors or
inaccuracies provided by advertisers
or contributors. The views herein are
not necessarily shared by the staff or
publishers. No part of this magazine
may be reproduced in any way, part or
format without written permission from
the publisher.

18 | WWW.SAIKUNG.COM

Our home town is flat, with many


pedestrianised streets, alleyways
and squares: in Hong Kong terms,
Sai Kung is relatively wheelfriendly. But is that enough?
I guess Ive got more
experience than most when
it comes to wheels on the
pavements of Sai Kung.
Nowadays, youll see me driving
my mobility scooter around town,
following years doing likewise in a
mechanical wheelchair. Plus, there
was the period when my son was
in wheels: a few years ago you
may have seen the curious sight
of my wife shoving me along in
a mechanical wheelchair while I
gripped the pushchair ahead of me
in double-articulated lorry fashion.
I am lucky that I can step out
of my wheelchair and mount the
thick step at the entrance of most
Sai Kung shops and restaurants.

From the verandah of a caf in


the old town, I once watched a
tour group of wheelchair-bound
adults and children go down the
street; they were unable to enter
the caf or most other premises
around. For the wheelchair-bound,
a stepped entrance with no ramp
reads as a sign that states, No
Disabled People.
Should local businesses do
more to make their premises
wheelchair friendly? In Hong Kong,
there are currently no stringent
legal requirements except for new
buildings.
Many of Sai Kungs bars and
restaurants are inaccessible for
wheelchair users and the same
prohibitive steps are found at
many other businesses around
town. The multinational companies
are not necessarily further
ahead in the game either. While

McDonalds gets a gold star for its


ramped entrance, the absence of
wheelchair access at Starbucks
would be illegal in the US where
the chain was established.
Shops commonly have narrow
aisles, showing a lack of thought
in planning for wheelchair and
pushchair users.
Signs of hope, however, are
beginning to appear. Fusion and
Wellcome thats two out of our
three supermarkets do have easy
access for wheelchair users and
Sai Kungs seafront restaurants
generally pose few problems. S2
allows customers to wheel in with
barely a bump and Fiesta Fiesta in
the old town has a well-fashioned
ramp entrance.
Most recently, French deli
Le Magasin has taken a simple
but meaningful step to welcome
wheelchair users to their shop.
Owner Jean-Charles, having
served me his wonderful selection
of Tomme de Savoie cheese many
times through the doorway, has
installed a fold-up metal ramp
over the double-step entrance. I
am now able to fully access the
shop in the same way as any other
customer. An additional expense
for small businesses with high
rents, but a priceless gesture for
wheelchair users denied access to
many shops on a daily basis.
If more businesses start to
install disabled access then hopefully
it will encourage other business to
follow suit, says Jean-Charles.
And hes right. The jolly folks
at Casa gave Jean-Charles a call
soon after the new ramp was
installed and have purchased
their own, ensuring they too are
accessible to wheels of all kinds.
Lets hope that other
businesses will take note and Sai
Kung can set a shining example to
the rest of Hong Kong.

WWW.SAIKUNG.COM | 19