Posted by: Sam Olsen | August 24, 2011

In search of the Golden (be)Hind

Asia, it is fair to say, has far more of its fair share of the wacky and down right outlandish. I know it’s a big continent, but Japan isn’t that far away, and that produced Za Gaman, or as the Guinness Book of Records calls it, “the most extreme game show on earth”. It made I’m a Celebrity… look like kids daring each other to down a sherbert dip, and is only out-weirded by the Hello Kitty S&M suite at the Hotel Adonis in Osaka. (Yes, this really does exist. Never watch Nickelodeon the same way again.)

Hong Kong, naturally, has an array of the ‘alternative’. We shall be seeking this out for you over the coming months and years. But how about we start with this.

“When we are victorious on a world-wide scale,” bragged Lenin in 1921, “we will make public toilets out of gold on the streets of the world’s largest cities.” Sadly for fans of rather expensive council facilities, Lenin was a complete and utter evil nutcake so never got to put his plan into action. This has not though stopped others from trying. Lam Sai-Wing grew up in China but moved to HK at 22 to seek his

The horse is probably gold too

fortune. He founded a jewelry company, Hang Fung, then, as every jeweller does, created a hotel mainly out of gold. I assume they didn’t do a Goldfinger on the staff, but I hear that the interior was literally carved from the stuff. It certainly looks bling enough for Ali G.

However, the number two (ahem) centrepiece was the solid-gold lavatory, seen here. I’m pretty sure this wasn’t the only loo in the place – rather just the only golden one – but if so then doing one’s business in the full glare of a thousand Chinese tourists could have been slightly off putting.

Glad they got the "No Photos" sign in the picture

Sadly it appears that everything has now gone. The hotel was somehow forced to sell off its golden accoutrements, leaving just the gilded bowl behind. I was told that even this had now disappeared, so in a state of auric (?) panic I decided to enquire. The receptionist at the Hang Fung jewellery store was quite perturbed by my questioning on the toilet’s whereabouts; she acknowledged that there had been a toilet there once, and yes it was made out of gold, didn’t actually seem to know much more. This I found rather odd because if I had a solid gold toilet in my building I’d probably want to know where it had gone. Finally she passed me on to someone who revealed that it had been “liquidated” but knew nothing more than that. It’s the sign of an interesting town that items such as this can disappear so utterly.


  1. Mega impressed that the Mandarin has progressed so far as to enable the seeking out of golden karsys….btw, is that a ‘no smoking’ sign on the lid?

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