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Hong Kong Sevens In The Press

 

CNN reveals tales from the South Stand

March 21th 2013: Prepare for the worst at Hong Kong’s 72-hour rugby Mardi Gras. Because as these fans know, the worst will happen

South Stand revelers that wants to remain anonymous

Ahead of the Hong Kong Sevens on March 25-27, three hardcore fans confess their misdeeds committed over years of attending Asia’s most social sporting event, and explain just why they remain so dedicated. No prizes for guessing why they all insisted on remaining anonymous.

K.B.

K.B and his crew have hit newspaper front pages with their amazing costumes.

CNNGo: How much time do you spend preparing for the Sevens?

In truth, this process can last all year or even longer. No Sevens is ever the same, simply because of the extraordinary levels of creativity of the fans. It’s a unique event in that it allows you to express not just your love for the sport, but also patriotism, arts and poetry, in one no-holds-barred weekend per year. Accordingly, you can shamelessly prepare as much time in advance as you’d like. Current pop culture is always going to be a hit. The idea for our costume this year came last summer, though in the past we have abandoned good ideas the day before the event for a better one. Once we spent nearly 18 months conceptualizing and constructing a costume.

 

CNNGo: What is the craziest thing you have ever done at the Sevens?

My personal favourite was a few years ago. Some punter fell asleep smack bang in the center of the South Stand, during one of the finals on Sunday. The few around him that noticed started hushing the crowd, and moved away from him to create space. Eventually, there were 5,000 people in the South Stand saying nothing, but making shushing noises, with a 10-seat wide bank of empty seats down the entire stand, with just this one poor punter asleep in the center. Thousands of people, during a final — poetry, man.

Eventually he awoke to a very loud cheer from the stand. He stood, bowed, and downed a pint.Another story: a few hours after a day’s play, we ended up at the bars in Wanchai. For whatever reason, two of us decided to race down Lockhart Road in a bet for the next round and return across the walkover to Immigration Tower — completely naked. We stripped down without a second thought and were off.

Three-quarters of the way we could see the finish and noticed nobody was there. We returned to find that all of our clothes and belongings had been stolen. Spirits however were intact, so we sheepishly hobbled to 7-Eleven and stole newspapers which we used to fashion a skirt. You would be surprised how many strangers will buy you a beer in a bar wearing a newspaper skirt without explanation.

CNNGo: What is the rundown for the three-day event?

Saturday, anything goes. Pack spare undies and carry nothing you’ll miss. Arrive early, start hard, drink plenty of water, and remember to take a dump before you get to the South Stand. Plan for nothing because I guarantee a better option will arise. If you intend to wear nothing but body paint and nipple tassels, this is the day to do it. Don’t plan on meeting anybody that you know in a professional capacity on Sunday.

CNNGo: Who do you cheer for?

Hong Kong is my first and purest love. Passionately and aggressively. I wear Hong Kong colours and even elaborate costumes include elements of patriotism. We know the guys from the rugby scene, play against their clubs, and chase the same women in the bars. We’re blood. Beyond that, due to an absence of any other allegiances I find myself leaning towards the Fijians, mainly because of how passionately their fans support them, and because they play an open, aggressive, and creative brand of Sevens rugby.

The Fijians live not for rugby, but for Sevens rugby specifically, and they will stop dead to watch their team perform. The Fijian players aren’t trying to showcase themselves for Tri- or Six- nations 15s sides or using the Sevens as a platform to springboard to Super rugby, they aspire to play Sevens, they want to be here and now.

CNNGo: Who do you boo?

You needn’t travel far to find anti-French sentiment.

CNNGo: Advice for first-time South Standers?

It can get very hot so think carefully before putting on a chicken suit, dressing as Willy Wonka, or other costumes that require layers and fabrics. As little clothing as possible is always best. Carry nothing valuable. If you have an expensive mobile phone, leave it at home and pop by Wanchai to buy a cheap Nokia. Bring a responsible friend (females in relationships or new fathers are good options) who will act not as a designated driver, but can carry stuff you will need but are likely to lose, like sunblock.

Do not carry your passport because if you plant those seeds, you could wake up anywhere.Please, for the love of all things holy, leave any judgment at home. As for costumes, nothing is too risqué and anything creative will win plaudits. Last year there was a bloke dressed as Michael Phelps in swimwear with 11 medals and a bong. I laughed every time he entered my eyeline and I don’t reckon the bloke needed to pay for a beer all day.

 

Willy Wonka 7

This is the seventh year in a row that Sevens fan “Willy Wonka 7” has attended the Hong Kong Sevens.

CNNGo: How much time do you spend preparing for the Sevens?

There are two ways to do this. Go to great expense and time and effort and get every tiny detail correct. This will garner attention from friends, countrymen, the media and the opposite sex. This does require time and planning, which most in Hong Kong seem incapable of doing.

Or just absolutely wing it on the cheap from Pottinger Street and the lanes in Central and come up with a one-piece, loose-fitting, flesh-exposing outfit which can easily be destroyed during the day and thrown in the bin that night. Do not wear anything too hot, which restricts access for those all-important toilet breaks, or which restricts access to your wallet for those all-important visits to the bar. Inspiration can come from anywhere, but inside jokes do not get as much attention as movie characters. I forecast a few Charlie Sheens this year.

CNNGo: What is the craziest thing you have ever done at the Sevens?

I once co-created a rap-duet band called Rennie, after the indigestion tablet, whose repetitive lyrics live on today, if you can believe it. Sadly we have yet to release our debut album.

CNNGo: What is rundown for the three-day event?

Friday and Saturday you will not watch much rugby. Costumes are absolutely encouraged every day, but you must wear one on Saturday which is definitely the craziest day, and you want to be in by 9.30 a.m. All other behaviour is entirely voluntary and highly encouraged.

CNNGo: Who do you cheer for?

England, Hong Kong, underdogs.

CNNGo: Who do you boo?

French (while standing up of course), Australians, Kiwis.

CNNGo: Any wardrobe malfunctions?

Not yet, but I guess I am due one this year. However, my friend who went as a pirate forgot his suncream and ended up with a sunburnt semi-circle on his head for the next week.

French (while standing up of course), Australians, Kiwis.

CNNGo: Any disaster stories?

I have slept in — and on — many a hedge or traffic island on the way home. But so far, I have escaped largely unscathed.

CNNGo: Advice for first-time South Standers?, Kiwis.

CNNGo: Any disaster stories?

Get a KFC bucket on your way in for breakfast as you will not be leaving again, and the pies and hot dogs can get pretty boring. On Saturday and Sunday, face the scoreboard at all times, but especially at the end of the day, so you can keep your eyes peeled for flying pints of booze and body fluids from above.

Do not fall asleep in the stands, or you will be at the mercy of your “friends.” If you are getting too drunk, have some Pimm’s, it’s easier than the beer. Basically speaking, this is one of the biggest parties in the world. And the price of the ticket for 60 hours entertainment is phenominally cheap when compared to 90 minutes of watching Fulham and Stoke kicking lumps out of each other in the Premiership. You will meet people of all ages, from all walks of life and all corners of the globe all weekend. And are guaranteed to have a good time doing so.

 

Johnny Extreme

Extreme has attended two Hong Kong Sevens and three similar events elsewhere. This year, he and his boys have handsewn their own Qaddafi costumes.

CNNGo: How much time do you spend preparing for the sevens?

Usually start to brainstorm with our group a couple of months out, putting the costume together usually takes a couple of days.

CNNGo: What is the craziest thing you have ever done at the Sevens?

-Got out of a cab, naked

-My friend got kicked out because he stole a horsewhip from someone else and started whipping people

-Got in a street brawl wearing nothing but a fairy costume

-The “upper-downer day.” Me and my friend were doing shouts at the bar. I like whiskey and he likes gin, which is known as “emo juice” because gin is for sorrows. So when he shouted everyone gin, we all got depressed and mood died down. I ordered whiskey (which is an upper) and everyone’s mood lifted. It was really strange.

-Every time we start drinking in the morning of the first day and stop at the end of the second day. Completely missing the last day by partying too hard and passing out.

CNNGo: What is rundown for the three-day event?

Friday, pretty relaxed, the most rugby gets watched. We prepare for Saturday, the big day. Sunday is a bit more low-key because everyone is hungover. Only tourists go nuts on Friday, locals go crazy on Saturday.

CNNGo: Who do you cheer for?

New Zealand, I only watch their games.

CNNGo: Who do you boo?

England.

CNNGo: Any wardrobe malfunctions?

Black body paint in every imaginable and unimaginable place of people’s houses.

CNNGo: Any disaster stories?

Had a drunken fall once and was at work on Monday at a new law firm with scratched and grazed face. Can’t remember how it happened. Someone told me I’d been in a fight but then my friend set the story straight. It was simply a drunken fall.

CNNGo: Advice for first-time South Standers?

Get there early or it’s a four-hour queue. Get your snacks and beer early. Tape booze bottles to your legs under your costume Remember: Grudges are always Kiwi vs. Aussie. Plus: nobody likes the French.

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