1 Year of Fun, Laughter and Turmoil!
Lamma.com.hk is one full year old
now, would you believe it? It was started on Jul 23, a Tue, at
10:07am, by our founder webdog as just a little hobby. Here are a
few quotes collected from some of our moderators and active members:
All I can
say is you have my best wishes to your e-zine success.
mr 3 + e
(moderator of Pets forum):
3 sends his congratulations for the 1st Anniversary of
have to mention that throughout the past year, Lamma-dot-com
has given LAP a great deal of support, announcing and reporting
our work and activities. Mr 3 says thank you to the kind souls.
past year, Mr 3 and I have tried many things new at
Lamma-dot-com. we have written a chapter of the wandering
kittens and introduced our Taro-san. we have befriended a dog
called webdog and a real gentle "ah-gung".
throughout the period of SARS, with the kind assistance of our
gentle-gung, given a mask to Mr 3. we have, spay-buses and meet
LAP days to tell you about. we have a "name this utensil"
meeeeeeooooowwwww! its been so nice to have Lamma-dot-com with
Alan (moderator of
joined the site in expectation that it would be an extension of
the real community, which I've been out of here since I don't
habituate bars. But soon found that others considered they were
in a fantasy land where they could let their Mr Hyde loose.
Unfortunately, these world views soon collided and left the
site a no man's land for several months. The creation of the
Fight Club allowed both to exist without destroying each other,
so now real issues can be discussed without interludes of
drunken obscenities; meanwhile there's a flowering of role
playing in the FC, like the back room in a gay bar. There are
probably no more than 20 regulars on the site, so it has a long
way to go.
Divine Ms D
(she requested a special blonde wig (Agnetha Faltskög) for
the following ABBA song. I happily obliged, making a special
special version of Abba's Mamma Mia for your 1st anniversary.
If you can mix my avatar with the picture below so it looks
like I have an Abba wig on, that would be even better. Enjoy!
I first logged-in to you for a
bit of a joke
I guess now everyone knows, I'm
not like other folk
Look at me now, in my Abba wig
I don't know how but this site
really feels like home
I'm a freak - but I'm not alone
Just one look, I want to join in
One more look, I start a-tappin'
Lamma mia, here I go again
My my, writing in the Fight Club
Lamma mia, missed my show again
My my, I got fired from the nite
Oh, through the tears of
leave me with smudged mascara
Why? Why? Would I ever let you
Now I really know
My my, you're better than a drag
(Lamma's Furry Poetess):
most honourable occasion of one year of lamma.com.hk, unworthy
and humble bowing Haiku Kitty offers traditional nagauta
waka in 5-7-5-7-5 pattern.
than young bamboo.
bbchris (moderator of
year? Is it really that long? I remember joining up and
telling webdog - this can become a lot of work, you have to
question what you want out of it - who knew Lamma-Gung would
join and create those fabulous ezines!! The board has been a
great place to meet up with friends old and new. There was so
much excitement initially and it was the talk of Lamma Island.
Unfortunately, there are always people who hate seeing others
have fun. These few anons (assholes) have been relegated to
Fight Club (which is cool) however I don't think lamma.com.hk
will ever regain its free spirit of posting as it did
initially because of the anons. Trashing Neil's daughter was
extremely below the belt. Still, we all have a great life
offline too so no huge worries.
Congratulations to webdog for starting My Lamma. Thank you for
allowing me the opportunity to moderate the Music Forum - come
on Lamma Musicians - post away! wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee
big congratulations to lamma gung for surviving one year as a
selfless community servant and for doing such an excellent and
well done to lamma.com.hk for becoming such an informative and
colourful first class web site.
would like to express my deep appreciation to lamma gung, for providing such a service that enriches our little
community here on lamma island...
not least i urge everyone to try to help the web site survive
its current financial crisis in whatever way they can as it
would be a big loss to our community if it were to close down.
(by phone from
the pool-side in Venezuela):
was first called to the Lamma community website to investigate
the postings of an unusual number of extreme faecal
easily identified as a 'flange' of nappy fetishists attempting
to recruit new members and I am glad to say that many of the
aforementioned scatophiles are now leading almost normal
Lamma.com.hk offers a psychoanalyst the unique opportunity to
observe the intrapsychodynamics of a wide range of untethered
personality disorders. In the past 3 months alone we have
bed-wetting, sexual anxiety induced insomnia, birth trauma,
homophobia, the desire to have traditional English food shoved
up one's bottom, onanism, misanthropy, castration fear,
exhibitionism, neuroticism based on anal retention, oedipal
conflict and horse cock fantasies.
like to thank the web site contributors for making an old
psychotherapist very happy.
Dan Peterson (Island
Congratulations on successfully reaching a Year One milestone
- from Dan, Sharon, Andrew & Sascha (Spot's family). And on
behalf of the Island Bar, keep up the good work for the Lamma
(moderator of Oldsters forum):
Lammaites will know that I used to help Derek Blair publish
the Lamma Gazette newspaper way back in in 1988. After his
death, I and others, tried to keep it going but his shoes were
far too big to fill. Several formats were attempted including
the infamous FAX OFF which was very popular mostly due to
Frank Paul's extremely amusing contributions.
with financial help from Hongkong Electric, some friends and I
managed to put a version of the Gazette on-line and by 1997
had included clunky Perl driven messageboards, classified ads
and all the usual interactive stuff.
were many people who helped out in those early days, providing
news articles and stories free of charge, donating sponsorship
money altruistically, and generally trying to give Lamma a
head start on the (so called at that time) Information Super
I am not
sure whether it was because I spent my final 5 years on Lamma
drunk and smelling of cheese, or because I was a tall and
unpleasant git with a quasi mullet haircut, or because nobody
could actually run the thing, but whatever the reason, I was
unable to find anyone willing to take over the Lamma website
when I left, despite the $2,000 in beer money it generated
every month.. Duh!
my joy then, when Chris Bowers told me to check out the NEW
site created by webdog and Lamma-Gung. I did. It was great! It
was being used. It was uncensored, It was a breath of fresh
air, and at last Lammaites were using it on a daily basis to
swap news, exchange views, and vent their spleen.
in right column)
immediately sent congratulations to the administrators for
achieving that which I had been unable to achieve and started
posting inane messages straight away to annoy them as much as
possible. Lol. I think I first logged in within the first few
weeks of launch and since then I pop in to see what's going on
twice a week at least.
thank Gung and Webdog enough for the time and effort they put
in to running this excellent site, I know it takes far more
commitment than you might think. It has helped me contact many
old friends that I had lost contact with. Not just Lamma
residents but people I have not seen for 25 years. Old school
friends all grown up and with kids, buddies that left HK for
pastures new, all of whom I can now chat to or visit.
drop in during the day time, keep up with news and expect a
reasonable exchange of views, or you can stumble home at 4am
drunk as a Lord and slag off some loony in the Fight Club
without fear of offending anyone.
that, but over the past 12 months, Lamma Gung has managed to
create a top class Lamma-zine containing pointers to the most
interesting threads just in case you missed them, and plenty
of interesting and fun stuff on the island in general.
who has seen the last few issues will know what I mean. Anyone
who hasn't seen them should go take a look and maybe even send
in an article or two themselves.
it! What more do you want from a community web site?
website seems to have something for everyone, support it,
continue to use it! Freedom of speech is rare in the world and
Lamma.com.hk has it in abundance.
anniversary, many many thanks, and keep up the good work.
I was an
active poster on the "will bike riders please slow down!"
topic that ran for pages and pages - but then I got fed up
with saying the same things over and over, and with the trolls
picking fights, so I lapsed. Now I'm a lurker. There I've said
it. I hang around and read the some of posts, and I happily
absorb the monthly e-zine but rarely take the time to add to
it on TV! Its turned me into a mc-voyeur! I demand my
entertainment spoonfed to me in predigested bitesized chunks,
preferably with a canned laughter sound track, so I dont have
to make even that effort!
part of the problem is that I only have dialup at home and
downloading a 2MB page just takes too long. so I skim it at
work, but I dont have the time to reply there, and by the time
I've got home there are other things on my mind...
should say congratulations too. I have seen various Lamma
forums and magazines etc over the past decade and none of them
that I remember have been active this long.
"you've been on Lamma too long" list: I was told this when I
arrived. When you've been on Lamma for a year make a copy of
your list of Lamma friends and phone numbers. Each time
someone leaves cross them off the list. when half the people
on the list have left - it's time for you to go. By that
reckoning I should have left in about '97...
neither an Internet nor a computer nor a telecom guru. But he
had the idea that it might be good fun to have a message board
for Lamma Island, a place he loves and just moved to back
then. He had the vision, but he also took action! Setup was
quick & easy and the site's been running pretty reliable ever
A few days
after startup, he placed little stickers on walls and
telephone poles, simply saying: "Lamma.com.hk - the
community goes online". That's where I saw this domain
name first, during one of my photo safaris to Tai Peng and
beyond. I joined as member #13, my lucky number, becoming an
active message poster right away.
few days later, webdog
left for one of his long business trips, right when
Lamma.com.hk was taking off and requiring daily site
administration & moderation. After exchanging a few emails,
but never meeting face-to-face, webdog made me the only other
site admin. He's left me in charge whenever he's away or busy
(most of the time) and I hope to have justified this amazing
trust so far. We usually agree on the direction & policies for
the site, and if not, we always reach a compromise.
over 20 years of full-time IT, Telecom & Internet experience I
had never administrated a message board before. This first
year has been a real roller-coaster ride, some great fun, new
friends, but also some naughty personal attacks &
disappointments. But it's been a great & fun ride overall, a
fantastic learning experience!
Next big anniversary: 1 year of Lamma-zine: Sep 4, 2003
Harry Harrison's Poster Gallery
This month's Artist of the Month doesn't
need any introduction!
Just have a look at the SCM Post several
days per week for his poignant, satirical look at current events!
He's also a Yung Shue Wanker and the Lamma Illustrator
Extraordinaire, promoting dragonboating, concerts, Island Bar,
DickStock 2002, etc. Concentrating only on his Lamma posters, I've
put together an extensive Art Gallery: Harry
Harrison, like a little illustrated history of the last decade
of our island.
also commissioned a special caricature of the caricaturist
and The Stick Insect Hunter took up the fun challenge (above
left, click to enlarge). The artfully shadowy & mysterious photo of
the artist in pensive mood (above right) comes from a recent
full-page SCMP house ad. It carried a "clever" caption of:
"My job as a cartoonist is not to tell
people what to think - it is to provoke people to think, so that
they can mindfully reconstruct the news, not after my own view, but
from a view they can call their own."
For more artwork, have a close look at his new, very impressive
Furry Poetess: Hello Haiku Kitty
Haiku fever has recently swept over
many forums on Lamma.com.hk. Who started it all? It was our new
Haiku Kitty, posting the first poem in
For the few of you who might dare to
A new local grand-masterette
of poetry emerges...
Her localised haikus are really top-notch and capture this Japanese
art form amazingly well, but they also integrate the local
natural beauty and the irreverent, laid-back Lamma spirit.
Here's a small selection of her best work so far, plus the Best of
the Rest, a few poems by The Divine Ms D.
By the way, can
you guess the meaning of the different smileys in Haiku Kitty's
in the ginger orchid grove
near the bean curd stand.
the pier sign illuminates
a succulent shrimp.
I have Hong
Blisters on my sole weep pus
like hibiscus dew.
taste sea air with their feelers
and dream of freedom.
In the old cement mixer
The rash on
as red as yoke-wood blossom.
Damn cheap nylon pants.
to vent anonymously
stuff they should repress
unconstrained by shame
some slander the same people
they'd greet on the street
foibles laid bare
their banter makes for good sport
passing time idly
from the sea bed
the typhoon tossed mine sways, dead
on a couch of spume
Kev smiles and scratches his balls.
hides scared behind new boyfriend.
Why? Small dog on path.
the breeze caresses Tai Ping
and perfumes the night.
the fleas on the blind dog sing.
They know all the words.
the beach plants watch the party
and hum mystically.
Impatience rises in me,
"Fai di! Fai di, la!"
gracefully stretches her roots
beneath passing feet.
Seats of Shame
a lonely drinker ponders
the nature of life.
leaves, bitten stems
decimated flower beds
mosquito reduced to mush
sweet revenge is mine.
the weary dragon-boaters
yearn for cold lager
pitch flood lights
reflect on the fat cockroach,
that falls in my drink
an ambitious mosquito
waits in the bathroom
for the pizza crust
covers the paper scrap ghosts
of bargains and gigs
an insect flies in my mouth.
Ack! Spit or swallow?
Yung Shue Long,
three kites ride on the thermals
with nonchalant ease
in a discarded rucksack-
rat snake sheds his skin
after a Spay Bus visit;
Patch rethinks his goals
at his territory's border:
the gekko cackles
the kitten presents us with
a flailing cockroach
and then pop of mosquito
on electric bat
Door so small, fits only one
Doesn’t even close
Beware the piss on the floor
Remember your shoes
Man peeing, door wide open
Happens every time
The Divine Ms D:
Chinese silk dress
adheres to my skin with sweat.
I should shave my back.
what Lamma-Gung would look like
in twin set and pearls.
As I sip
a rivulet of warm sweat
trickles down my thigh
A hot date
Oh - which wig? Cher boho chic?
Or Grace Kelly cool?
Real Fight Club: Beast, Panther & Angela!
to join a real-life "Fight Club"? Lessons are being offered now in
the new Island Gym on Main Street, just opposite the Deli Lamma,
behind the future fish 'n' chips shop "The Full Monty" (also owned
by the "Beast", left). A most impressive name card, but there's room
for a few more titles to be added...
This great picture of "Panther" and 2 students below comes from a
recent SCM Post story, written & photographed by Steve Cray:
Lessons in life pack a hefty punch
away from the screen
GETTING TO GRIPS: Alain N'Galani, 28, with pupils Christopher
Foreman, 10, (left) and Saheeb Ambekar, 13, at Island Gym.
Photo: Steve Cray © 2003 SCM Post
The gym opening party was a few weeks ago and I've shot a
few photos (see below). The Island Gym is accepting people
interested in martial arts fitness from the age of 2. The Beast has
been heavily promoting his Island Gym and his other gym in Central,
Fightin' Fit, via interviews in newspapers and on the radio
(RTHK Radio 3, Sun, Aug 17).
described himself as having a "German
passport, French-Italian name, Nepali-British wife (Angela, see
left, a Karate world champion, like the Beast), Japanese heart &
Thai legs...", "Multi-cultural is what I'm all about!". When
I met him for the first time with his baby daughter Montana, I dared
to tease him as a "house-husband"...and survived to tell the
He has a most fascinating, international life story and a
fun-loving, extremely outgoing personality with an unashamedly big
ego, overwhelming self-confidence and a passion for self-promotion,
besides all his medals & trophies. It's all most useful for starting
and promoting his international businesses. He might make a most
colourful interview subject for a future Lamma-zine feature, I
Check out the Island Gym's
poster, name cards,
time table of classes,
and their latest
Newsletter Aug/Sep '03, including details of their gold &
silver medal wins at the recent Japan Cup.
Opening & Japan Cup '03
Opening Party poster
Free drinks draw a crowd!
Students & parents & onlookers
Angela, the fighter and...lawyer!
The Beast being shut up by Angela
Two future students ready to sign up
Flower bouquets & sponsored buffet
Shrine for the teachers' teachers
Press clippings & protective gear
HK tournament, Panther in action!
Japan cup, Aug '03
So many blackbelts...
Struggle for Democracy
renovated and repainted the Democracy Wall, the poster wall at the
ferry pier! Do I need to change the wallpaper behind this Lamma-zine
now, as it's based on the Democracy Wall, a kind of online version?
This large job occupied at least six workers of
the Urban-Council subcontractor for more than a week! Afterwards,
they watched the
white painted poster wall vigilantly, ripping down every new
poster within hours, trying to keep the wall clean & empty!
Pioneers like LAP papered the wall with up to 13 posters overnight,
trying to wear the anti-democracy forces out, but to no avail! The
Struggle for the Democracy Wall is still ongoing, the Wall
hasn't been restored yet, as a public, free-for-all, non-digital
message board! Watch this space!
The ABLE painting remains untouched.
Six guys working for more than a week.
New and old. I kind of liked the old texture & colours.
The deed is done, (almost) smooth and boringly white.
LAP's trying to restore the wall to its community messageboard function.
The shotcreted slope close to the Democracy Wall is getting crowded.
Inkjet-printed posters in a typhoon: exhibit #1
Inkjet-printed posters in a typhoon: exhibit #2
Hungry Ghosts at the Public Ferry Pier
Click for cover photo story:
Yu Lan Festival Photo Gallery
Fire Dancers, Beach Parties, T8 & "da Bomb"
So many things happening on Power
Station Beach these days & weeks. Recent T8 typhoon Imbudo washed up
an old mine and medical waste...again! Also, emotions over the beach
parties there are gusting to typhoon level again... plus power
blackouts... plus fire dancing...
The long-running discussion topic
When is the next beach parties? has been heating up
dramatically recently, between party-goers and the ones who despise
the parties continuing on during the day on weekends and holidays.
See the following two aggressive quotes:
(post subject: Too bloody noisy):
family and the vast majority of normal non drug taking members
of the community do not want to spend our lazy Sunday afternoons
listening to the dull bass thud of music played at ridiculous
levels for the entertainment of a few idiots who are too selfish
to know when to call it a day.
Sure have a
beach party, sure enjoy the music, sure put whatever
recreational drugs of choice you need to get you off into your
head, but for FUCKS SAKE leave the beach free for other people
on Sundays and go home to bed.
have received many complaints about the beach parties and to the
best of my knowledge will be taking action in the near future.
been given many opportunities to cut back the noise levels and
show some consideration for other people so you only have
yourselves to blame for what happens next.
Maybe u should chill!):
no point to explain to you cus you think everyone taking drug at
the party, u think you the only one know how to enjoy the beach?
I can see
that you're not a happy person
your words) cus it's so mean! Party over or not is not up to u ,
and they never worry about the police cus they just having fun
on the beach which is I doubt you to know what is (fun ) mean!
you just seat back and relax cus I worry you will have a heart
worry cus I don't wanna know u either cus I don't think you're
the person I want to know, and I believe this is the last post I
reply to you ! peace out!!!
On-going commentary about typhoon Imbudo and
its aftermath on Lamma:
Wartime bomb found on Lamma
(SCMP Jul 25, by Tommy Lewis):
of a second world war bomb washed upon Power Station Beach on
Lamma Island early yesterday.
Elliott, one of a group of island residents who had gone down
to the beach to watch the pounding waves, said the shell
appeared to have been on the seabed before being dislodged. An
officer from the Explosive Ordinance Disposal Bureau later
examined the shell before taking it away for further analysis.
called to the scene by one of the residents, said that the
shell belonged to a second world war bomb, adding it was
1.2 metres in length and 1 metre in diameter.
the bomb would have weighed more than 545kg, officers said.
I contacted some reliable sources and
managed to get a hold of several more pictures, including the one
used by the SCMP above. All photos by Paul from
Fatdezign, Tel 2982 2607. Click to enlarge.
Is it a bomb?
Is it Sputnik?
Is it the missing nose cone?
The Lamma Bomb disposal squad in action.
Go away, bad bomb! ("This picture is staged for a laugh, so don't use it out of context!")
How about a good caption for a future photo contest?
Electric (Aug 15,
Electric (HEC) is very concerned about the massive power
outage in the east coast of the United States and Canada.
We will follow up the incident.
strives to provide adequate and reliable electricity supply to
our customers. As a responsible electricity company, HEC
recognises the vital role reliable power supply plays in
supporting the daily lives of our citizens, business activities
as well as society as a whole. The Company has worked hard to
ensure that the power supply is safe, sufficient and
reliable. In fact, the Company has achieved a supply
reliability level of 99.999% for seven consecutive years.
network operates independently and so will not be affected by
incidents occurring in nearby networks. Customers can rest
assured that massive power outage similar to that in the United
States will not happen here.
sufficient reserve capacity, we will be able to provide
sufficient and reliable power supply in any circumstances.
Company has a comprehensive contingency plan. An
emergency centre will be operated in case of major incidents.
The recent Blackout 2003, the biggest
power outage in USA/Canadian history made me think:
Could it happen on Lamma?
"No way, we're so close to the Power Station!" Really? Lamma
Oldsters and long-time residents might remember the overnight
power outage affecting parts of Yung Shue Wan, in the middle of
a long & hot weekend in June 1999.
It wasn't a Lamma Power Station problem at all, but a fault in
the old electrical cable still bringing power from HK Island to
parts of YSW back then. Everybody affected got half a month off
I've asked the very helpful Public Affairs Dept. of HK
Electric for a statement about the reliability of Lamma Island's
power supply nowadays. See right:
very reassuring and 99.999% reliability is definitely good
enough, even for a cybergeek like me, who could never survive on
Lamma without PC & reliable air-conditioning. But I wouldn't mind
trading in half of my current HUGE, HUMUNGOUS electricity bill for a
single night without power...
Let's end this multi-topic feature on
a positive and upbeat note:
beautiful shots of Fire
Dancing on PSB Beach, submitted by Gary Hill! Click to enlarge.
"I am forced to write this"
his recent visit to Lamma, his former home, I've "forced" The Stick
Insect Hunter to write a little account of how Lamma had changed
since his last visit, seeing it with the eyes of an ex-Lammaite &
has its obligations, so all his protests fell on deaf ears. In the
end he capitulated - meaning he agreed to co-operate willingly -
especially after I reminded him that he's the one who DEMANDS a
certain minimum coverage per issue for himself, Mr "I'm
naturally shy!" See his most
indignant complaint email in the last issue about being
"under-represented". Hah! Let me OVER-REPRESENT him in this
issue! I'll also continue to publish his recent exploits, even when
he's making a complete ass of himself (literally):
come on, let me have it.
I know I am such a whore. I went back to
What can I do, the temptation was simply
A friend of mine who runs a bar asked me if
I could do something to promote the availability of advertising
poster space in his toilets.
Click on the picture to see with what I
came up with.
I did it for free that's why I pimp my
website on them as well."
To see his five other, much more
embarrassing, shocking & blush-inducing advertising posters -
definitely not suitable for this Lamma-families-oriented magazine -
click on the poster above left.
(Disclaimer: This publication
refuses any responsibility for the content of web pages it links to.
Click at your own discretion, if you are, or pretend to be, over 18
years old. TSIH's top search engine keywords of why people find
masterbation, kacke, cut penis, stick insect, maturbation, scary
Back to his recent Lamma visit, see TSIH's
Jones Diary, plus some more
Hong Kong photos in his zany & inimitable style.
The Stick Insect Hunter
(Official Court Artist):
I am forced to
that somebody stands with a gun behind me but I agreed to do it
and I have to keep my promise.
I see it
as some kind of experiment if I ever have to join the real
world again and I would have to deal with deadlines and
all that crap.
could be an exercise of travel journalism.
should have done it when I was on Lamma Island. But I had
some serious partying to do and during the day it was sooo
frigg'n hot that I was afraid my computer would melt if I only
tried to use it.
Dickstock, with whom I am staying whenever I visit Lamma
Island, has this obsession of not turning on the aircon even
when the windows are about to melt. He lives almost isolated in
a small bay which is usually cool an breezy, except a few days
in a year when it is decidedly not. He lives at the beach
and therefore in his apartment you don't need aircon, end
of discussion. (just kidd'n, Dick)
these are all excuses why I didn't write this any earlier and I
This supposed to be a story
about Lamma. A story from the point of view of someone who has
lived there before but hasn't been back for a long time.
I guess stories
like that primarily focus on the things that have changed.
Things don't change rapidly on Lamma Island.
I've been coming
to Lamma since the late 1980s and nothing much has changed
in right column)
exception of "Dickstock" it has been now a year since I visited
my second home.
So what has
actually changed in a year?
Dan Kwai Fong
is getting more and more sophisticated (selling cocktails),
Kumar sold "Island Spice", Rob and Alex have a kid and
everybody got a good bit older.
still the same people in the Island bar, sitting or
standing at exactly the same spots they occupy since many
There are still
exactly the same greetings whenever I enter: "Hey, how have
you been? How long will you be here for?"
Ever since I come
here, there are at least 5 guys with whom I have never had much
more of a conversation except of those two sentences above.
This is Lamma. It
will always stay the same until the Chinese bureaucrats
destroy it with their stupid ideas of beautification and
Some people come,
some go. Apparently a number of old timers have left recently.
As long as I can
still get my dim sum in the morning,
have a great
Indian lunch with Dick at Island Spice,
there is enough
forest to go stick insect hunting,
sells pizza and there are still the same people in the Island
Bar I am happy.
And I will be back.
Oh yeah, I nearly
forgot. I can't remember when it was the last time I've got a
beer for less than 20 bucks in the Island Bar. Now there is a
beer for 18 bucks. Not all changes are bad.
Garoupa with a Bookworm
is a new Lamma-based band that have been together a few months. They
play a mixture of original bluesy/rock/funk and Moroccan songs.
The international line-up includes Alex (England, see left)
on guitar & vocals, Hamada (Morocco, 4 caps, 2 goals) on lead
guitar, Gary (New Zealand, U21 Inter-national) on bass &
Magnus (Sweden, no caps, no hats, no clothes) on percussion.
They followed up a successful first gig at Pizza Milano with
a stormin' debut at Wanchai Live. They performed at the
Bookworm on July 19. I did an extensive photo shoot on their
request on July 15, while they were practicing for their gig. I
couldn't resist playing with a few of the photos, so they might have
already regretted having invited me:
Photo Gallery: Garoupa@Bookworm
Remembering "The Fisherman's Friend"
now, almost all of you must have heard about the recent death of the
very first Gwailo who ever lived on Lamma, the "Unofficial Mayor"
nicknamed "The Fisherman's Friend".
I didn't know this legend personally, unfortunately, but I've been
soliciting memories from some people who knew him. A big part of
Frank Murdoch's memories, written for this Lamma-zine feature
originally, even made it into a full-page article in the SCM Post.
You can still read this informative & entertaining article by Steve
"The Fisherman's Friend".
The historic photo on the left was borrowed from above the Spicy
Island bar, shot by Steve Cray, like the right one. For more
memories of Jonathan by "Toad in the Hole", GM, V J and
longest serving foreigner on Lamma
of the following memories of Jonathan might seem contradictory -
even the spelling of his name varies - but I left them the way they
were written. "Don't sweat the small stuff!" The historical details
are much less important than the warm feelings that show up in most
of these accounts, plus all the funny small anecdotes, of course!
Please refer to the SCMP article
for the biographical facts.
grey the man with the iron handshake. every time we shook hands
i had to brace myself for a painful squeeze.
grey the man with the loud voice and big heart, the 'gweilo'
that was more chinese than the locals.
introduced to Jonathan not long after arriving on lamma about
ten years ago. he was sitting in his usual spot outside 'ah
hai's' having his afternoon cold beers along with a handful of
locals both chinese and western. i was told he is the man to
help you out should you need any help with the locals or
government and so on. "he is very well connected both to the
chinese community and the (back then) colonial government". yes,
he was the first non-chinese to live on lamma and he spoke
Cantonese and mandarin fluently. he was married to a local
woman. he was also the head of the local fisherman's association
for many many years and was a defender of the indigenous
people's rights. he was well respected locally and used to
command a lot of power.
belonged to another generation. he was born and raised in
shanghai and went to school with some of today's prominent
politicians. in the last three or four years he kept a much
lower profile, mainly due to his illness, but would never fail
to shout out his hellos and give me his trademark handshake
whenever he saw me on the main street.
i last saw
Jonathan about six weeks ago sitting outside the Carlsberg shop
having a laugh and drinking a few beers with the locals. he
looked and seemed the same as he always had, strong, confident
and full of honour.
he told me
once "bobsy, you know i have lived a good life and i am very
proud of all the people i have helped over the years...and i
have always strived to do what is right and for that i feel at
lost quite a character and he will be missed by many, especially
the locals to whom he had given so much.
may he rest
Steve Cray (outtakes from
the SCMP story, Aug 14):
league of his own
really was in a league of his own . . . the League of China
Patriots. He wrote hundreds of letters to the South China
Morning Post defending the mainland - particularly against what
he considered to be a shortsighted US policy - signing them as
representing “the league”.
out that he was probably the only member of the league,
certainly the only member anyone ever knew about. Lamma resident
Ian Watson described it as a “commonly known secret”: “Let’s put
it like this,” he said, “We never saw anyone marching down from
the ferry pier waving flags behind him.”
said: “Charlie (Thirwell) and I fought for them (the fishermen).
They were begging on the streets, treated like scum. It’s much
better now. Most of their kids have got jobs. But when I go to
Stanley, I’m treated like the second coming of Christ. It’s
embarrassing. Still, I always appreciate the beer.”
“Tung is a
man with a great heart but surrounded by somnambulant sycophants
on huge salaries. What the hell are they doing for the people of
Hong Kong? Everyone says there is ‘no hope’- nine out of 10
people will tell you that. All this free trade bullshit - what
is that going to do for Hong Kong? Everything is being
manufactured in the Delta. Hong Kong’s manufacturers employ over
11 million people - I’m told - in the Pearl River. Well, trading
with Hong Kong? Free trade? Some of them are paid more than
George W. Bush. It’s obscene,” Jonathan said.
Jonathan, tell me more about Shanghai. “Hang on, you see that
woman over there? She fancies me. Well, she used to. I think she
still does. Sorry, what did you say?”
I've only known Jonathan casually, and only since 1988, when I
moved to Lamma.
For some reason, Jonathan Grey (Gray?) has always called me
"Michael". For years it was "Michael", "Hello Michael", etc etc.
Once a year or so I'd gently remind him it was "Richard" and
he'd correct himself. Next time I encountered him, it'd always
be "Mike" or "Michael" again.
Then a couple of years ago, he suddenly started calling me
Richard. And he kept it up to the very end. Strange fellow. A
real original. A wonderful man.
Jonathan grew up as a boy in Shanghai w/my dad - something he'd
tell me almost every time we met. The tale would always be
different in some small detail that I'd only realise later
("Wait a minute...").
There was the hearty handshake and the boomvox propositioning
all the ladies who passed by! His requests for warm beer. His
genial declarations of protection. "Anyone gives you trouble,
you come and tell me, (squeeze, squeeze of the knuckles) you
hear?" "Yes Sir!" (Take the thought for the deed).
was a good man, did some good things. I miss him.
didn't know Jonathan very well, however, occasionally he and I
would find ourselves in the same bar. He was always charming and
outrageously complimentary. What I will particularly remember
about Jonathan was his extremely mellifluous voice.
(moderator of Lamma Oldsters forum):
Sorry to hear about John, he was
a friend of mine. No pictures though. Sorry. He was on Lamma for
at least 30 years and was probably the first Gwailo resident.
He was born in Beijing (then
Peking) and went to school with Nick Lovatt's dad there I
I think he was a card carrying
communist party member and knew Lu Peng, though I am not 100%
sure about that. His Chinese wife Gloria??? died around 1996 I
think. I think it was cancer, again not sure. John developed a
brain tumour shortly afterwards.
His best Gwailo friend on Lamma
was Frank Murdoch. He may have a picture of him if he is still
around. If not try the district board archives as he was
District Board member for Lamma for many years. Try also the
fisherman's association. I believe he was chairman of that too.
The First and
Only Time I Met Jonathan Gray
as I emerge from the 11.30 p.m. ferry from Central. I and
Jonathan are the last two off and all is quiet and still in Yung
Shue Wan. I notice idly that Jonathan is reading a magazine as
look up just as Jonathon takes a stride into the bay off the
pier - magazine still in hand at eye level!! [the offending open
pier edge having had a railing constructed since].
panic - only person around - run to edge of pier - scan the area
- call out - nothing - flap arms wildly at HKKF ticket office
say that it took 3 minutes or more to explain to them that I was
not a drunk, drug crazed Gweilo attempting to rob them - not
this particular night anyway! Eventually, they agreed to come
and help me look for him, without much enthusiasm or belief that
they were not still dealing with an idiot. Not surprisingly,
someone called the police at this point.
By the time
we got back to the edge we heard a moan and found Jonathon under
the pier hanging onto one of the pier pilings - on the other
side! The ferry guy called down with some Cantonese, from which
point on Jonathon spoke completely in fluent Cantonese,
resulting in much good natured joviality and acceptance that all
was well and there was no reason to panic.
had been for the few minutes in the meantime will always be a
mystery. My guess is that he was knocked out briefly, but not
long enough to go under, or maybe he landed on part of the pier
- who knows!?
wet, but obviously unfazed Jonathan emerges from the water,
seeming a little unsure as to what had actually happened a few
minutes before. Jolly old bill turns up at this point and sees
that it's all sorted, followed more jovial Cantonese exchanges.
There's no doubt that everyone knows him and I thought that they
all treated him with much respect and patience.
bill had already trotted off and I escorted Jonathan into the
village, checking that he was actually OK and not in shock of
some sort. We had a pleasant chat and he disappeared off into
the police box and more jovial exchanges.
but interesting encounter and if he had not given me his
business card I would not have known who I had helped, when
asking around the next day. I went to the police box the next
morning to see that he was OK and got another "drunk, drug
crazed Gweilo" response from the now different, not so jolly old
bill team that was on duty.
spoke to him again and I doubt he would have remembered the
incident. Nonetheless, I was glad to have known him, if only for
this short time.
(his friend for over 20 years):
Farewell to Jonathan Gray
Hong Kong mourns the passing of Jonathan Gray, a memorable
figure who will be sadly missed by his many friends of all
man of his time. Brought up as the heir to his father’s business
empire in Shanghai, in 1950 the penniless, orphaned teenager was
shunted to Hong Kong, along with the masses fleeing the purges
then taking place within the country.
time the Hong Kong was still recovering from World War II. It
was in turmoil and John found himself alone except for the
Jesuits, who educated him, and the local fishing community that
In the late
1950s, he met and married Gloria Castro, and she became his
stalwart companion until her untimely death in 1993.
To earn his
living John became a building contractor, often acting as the
spokesmen for Chinese companies who employed no English speaking
staff. Although at times successful, riches eluded him. It was
not his destiny to recoup the Gray Empire of his youth.
lay in another direction. Always vocal about social injustices,
during the 1960s John became an advocate for fisherman’s rights.
Although he still remembered the Shanghai dialect of his youth,
Cantonese became his second tongue, often spoken in the patois
of the Tanka fisherman.
He was the
first European to live on Lamma Island where he became the
Chairman of the Lamma Island Fisherman’s Recreation and Sports
Association. During much of the 1980s he served as a District
Board member. He also served on various Government committees
for the betterment of the territory, and became a well-read
contributor to the pages of local newspapers. However, 1997 was
the harbinger of change and for the first time in his life
Jonathan Gray took a back seat.
morning of Monday, 4 Aug 2003, he had a seizure at his Lamma
home and died on the way to hospital.
was John’s upbringing that made him stand out from the crowd.
With a rich baritone voice, a manly handshake, and the gift of
the Blarney inherited from his father, he was larger than life
and an impressive character until the end. Everyone might not
have agreed with his rosy view of the world as it should be, but
no one could deny that his involvement made the world a better
place, even if only for his charismatic presence.
many in his special way – Jonathan Gray, we’ll miss you.
in the Hole (ex-Lammaite, having the last word in this
Lamma-zine, with his very worthy idea):
the death and funeral of Jonathan 'The Fisherman's Friend' Gray,
I wonder if anybody would consider a modest campaign to erect
a plaque or memorial to Jonathan near the pier or Main Street in
YSW. He was unique in that he was the first Gweilo on Lamma.
probably the only person capable of coordinating a campaign to
better the lives of the destitute fishermen in Lamma and beyond
and for bringing harmony and understanding to both local and
foreign communities. And, also by dying on Lamma as a foreigner
he made a powerful statement in itself.
it, the local Chinese have made plenty of dollars from the
thousand of foreigners who followed Jonathan's mould-breaking
trail in the seventies. They would probably support a
campaign to remember Jonathan and it would add a lasting
reminder of life on Lamma for many who only pass briefly through
this remarkable island.