Saturday, September 15, 2007

Plastic (This week's Photo Hunt theme)

Plastic, as shown in this on-line dictionary definition (one of two -- one for an adjective, another for a noun -- that it has, actually), has many meanings. However, living in Hong Kong as I do, one specific type of plastic item immediately leapt to mind when I read what this week's Photo Hunt theme was: that is, bags made out of this malleable human-made material whose use is so widespread that it can feel that it's everywhere we look (and photograph)!

For a time, I toyed with the idea of taking a photo of some of the plastic bags that are so freely given out by Hong Kong shops and stores; and so much so that even I have accumulated far too many of. (And this despite my having taken to carrying spare bags around in order to help stem this flow of plastic bags into my hands; only, often times, I find that I'm not as fast at getting my own bag out of my backpack or trouser pocket as the person behind the counter is at putting bought items into a new one!) After thinking some more though, I've gone for something more culturally, if not visually, interesting...

For those of you who don't recognize it: the durable red white and blue plaid material shown covering a Macau building -- and thereby protecting it from the elements -- is more often seen on bags which originated in the Chinese-speaking world (some say Taiwan; others say Hong Kong; but, in any case, they now also are made -- and used a lot -- in
Mainland China) but now can be found elsewhere, including African countries like Ghana. Known as the amah bag, its design has even been coopted by at least one famous Western fashion designer! And, unlike with the flimsier plastic bags that tend to be freely handed out, they tend to get used over and over, for a long period of time, and thus could be said to be more eco-friendly... :)


Dottie said...

That is so interesting. Great photo!

Corey~living and loving said...

Very interesting. :)

Anonymous said...

Now that was an interesting tidbit of information. Thank you. Great photo of the building covering. Have a good weekend.

pelfy said...

I've seen this!! In Malaysia, they cover certain renovating areas with plastics too, but most of the time, they use the net. Thanks for sharing. Have fun!!

YTSL said...

Hi Dottie, Corey~living and loving, and kissedalotatoads --

Am glad you all found my post interesting! :)

Hi pelfy --

For some reason, I've noticed the covering less in Malaysia. As for nets: They use the net thingy a lot in Hong Kong too. :)

Liz said...

Nice photo and interesting words. It would take a lot of plastic bags to cover that building!

Sabine said...

An interesting post & photo! Yes, plastic has taken over the world... Here shops had started charging for plastic bags a couple of years ago, and a big drive was made for the use of cotton bags. Now that has all been forgotten, it seems, though a few people (even I!) still use fabric ones. But as you said, in shops they are sometimes awfully quick in forcing a new plastic bag on you!!

Wish you a happy weekend!

Dragonheart said...

Cool photo! Thanks for the explanation. Here in Munich, most people bring their own bags with them when they shop. If you forget, you usually have to BUY a bag in the store (plastic or cloth). The price of the plastic bag helps to offset the cost of recycling or disposing of it!

AniqueAnik said...

very informative..thanks for sharing and for stopping by to my sites..


A. said...

Aha, great minds thinking (almost) alike! I find that quite incredible that Louis Vuitton is trying to sell plastic bags for ridiculous amounts of money :)

Hootin'Anni said...

I love what you wrote...great stuff. AND your photo is super for the week's theme.

Whirlwind said...

Very interesting. Thanks for sharing!

Katya said...

That is certainly a LOT of plastic! That is a great photo for the theme!

Carver said...

Great shot for plastic and a very interesting post.

lissa said...

Aren't those cashier speedy when they load your stuff into those plastic bag? I heard plastic bags might be replace soon but there doesn't seem to be any progress.

Once again I learn something new here - the ‘amah’ bag - I have seen them around New York especially in Chinatown but I never knew what they were called. And the 50 things about Hong Kong is an interesting read. So thanks YTSL. Another wonderful choice to photohunt.

YTSL said...

Hi Liz --

Sure enough re it taking a lot of plastic bags -- or just plastic material, plain and simple -- to cover that building! ;b

Hi Sabine --

Some people here have suggested that consumers be charged for plastic bags too. Seems like currently, the big debate is to how much people should be charged...with 50 cents being mooted and sounding like too much. OTOH, some stores (e.g., Wellcome -- a grocery store chain) actually reimburse you 20 cents if you bring and use your own plastic bag...

Hi Dragonheart --

"Here in Munich, most people bring their own bags with them when they shop."

The people in Munich are after my own heart in that regard then! :)

Hi AniqueAnik, Whirlwind, Katya and Carver --

You're welcome! :)

Hi A. --

Indeed re great minds thinking alike! ;b

Hi Hooting'Anni --

*Blush* and thanks for the kudos! :)

Hi Lissa --

Am glad that you're appreciating and enjoying your visits to this blog. Do keep on visiting -- and hope you'll find a way to link my blog to your new one sometime soon! ;b

jams o donnell said...

Great shot and a very interesting post. Have a great weekend

Nita said...

Good choice of photo! Mine is up too. Hope you can visit me :) Have a great week!

jmb said...

Great post as always. Always learn something here.
Thanks for the visit

sbk said...


Yeah my favorite woven fabric!! I love these bags and have about 7 of them including the Tartan Tote (Can$ 1.25 in Montreal's Chinatown) which stands out as it's black & red not red, blue & white. I'm even considering taking a large size one to check in on my next airline flight.

SabineM said...

Very interesting. They almost look like curtains! I guess they are in some sense!
Nice post and nice photo!

gwapasila said...

this is a great and cool one, nevet thought of that...very cool shot indeed...visit mine if u have time. TC

lissa said...


I do have another blog (mostly fiction writing) and I have put you on my blogroll #2 - which I list for photoblogs, illustration blogs, and various blogs.

It's at:

Hope you're enjoying your weekend.

Chen said...

Most of the time i will keep and reuse those plastic bags (from shopping mall) to handle and keep rubbish :)

YTSL said...

Hi jams o'donnell --

Thanks and so far so good with regards to the weekend! :b

Hi Nita --

Thanks and hope so with the week (ahead)! :)

Hi jmb --

Another Photo Hunter who looks to be a regular plus appreciative visitor here. Coolness! :)

Hi sbk --

Figured you'd like this particular post! ;b

Hi SabineM --

Hmmm, hadn't thought of them as curtains but...maybe! :D

Hi gwasipala --

In case anyone wondered: Yeah, I do make a point to visit the blog of every Photo Hunt visitor to this blog! :)

Hi again Lissa --

Oooo, thanks! :)

Hi Chen --

I do that too! But I've got so many plastic bags that I can do (much) more than that with them! ;b

Willow said...

I noticed the red, white and blue bags on my first trip to HK many years ago and have associated that material and color/pattern with China/HK since. I recently saw a pic of a man's suit (created by some big designer?) made with that material. Aiya, where did I see it?? I wish I could share....

YTSL said...

Hi Willow --

A baseball cap (check out one of the links I put in) is funny enough. A whole suit would be hysterical! ;D