Lamma-zine Blog
September 2004

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Thu, Sep 30:
Sheila's Spiders

LAP's Sheila loves taking pictures of creepy crawlies, much smaller and less cute than all the abandoned dogs & cats her charitable organisation is finding homes for ( ).

This beautiful spider on the left is spinning her own home and just caught her own lunch. A little (maybe parasitic?) fly is hitching a free ride on her hindleg. Lamma wildlife!

The spider on the right seems to have eyes on her back. Plus a cute, red-bug-eyed fly.

More buggy pictures in Talkback!

Wed, Sep 29 Mid-Autumn Festival

For a photo gallery of this Chinese festival, as it is celebrated on Lamma, have a good look at: Mid-autumn Festival

My favourite discovery at this year's festival were these mean-looking nuts, sold ONLY around this time of year. They're called Water Caltrops, "Horned Water Chestnuts" or Ling Gok in Cantonese.

Discovering them in a mooncake tin at breakfast, I found some later at $5/catty on Main Street. After cooking them they taste like a nuttier version of water chestnuts. Learn what terrible faith awaits me because I tasted one uncooked!

As a friend pointed out, the initials of Ling Gok and Lamma-Gung are the same, so I adopted this intriguing nut as my new personal icon and Avatar. Learn more about Ling Goks by clicking on Talkback!

Tue, Sep 28 A HK Wedding

My 2nd step-daughter got married today in City Hall! At the joyous occasion of the formal marriage registration, so many of my Chinese relatives were present. Being the only Gwailo, it was an interesting feeling to be ignored but tolerated by most of them...

The photo shows both my step-daughters' families. The two boys are my step-grandsons Man Hin & Tung Lam, the ones calling me their "Gung-Gung" on Lamma, Lamma-Gung...

Mon, Sep 27 Do You Know Susan Sheers, Senior Lammaite?

Addressing mainly current and former Lammaites today who know writer, poet, painter Susan Sheers, who submitted this beautiful poem below: Sep 15: The Banana Tree?

If you do, please give her a call at Queen Mary Hospital right now. Email me for her mobile phone number, if you don't have it already. I've met this great person today for the very first time when visiting her in the Emergency Dept. She was helicoptered from Lamma a few days ago. She's in OK spirits now, but would love very much to hear from people who know her. Do your good deed for today and give her a call!

Thu, Sep 23 About the Lamma-zine

The Lamma-zine is an internet-based local magazine, founded 2 years ago as an offspring of, the online community & discussion forums for Lammaites and people everywhere interested in our fair isle.

32 issues have been published so far and sent out by email to almost 1,500 (free) subscribers monthly. Supported by local sponsors & advertisers (see ratecard), it's being edited & published by Lamma-Gung, with the help of many non-regular, occasional contributors, writers & photographers. Subscribe!

All Lamma-related contributions are most welcome, hopefully shaping the Lamma-zine into a community platform of diverse ideas, views and opinions, showcasing the amazing variety of great local talents. Email me!

Wed, Sep 22'a comment on Lamma'

"Lamma. A softness, a delicate space and place, which I have loved and lived, which has offered me rest and respite, sanity and peace, beauty and hope. I cherish my beautiful circle of friends there, the old beautiful house I made my home (from 1996-2001), the sound of rain on those clay tiles. Bring me back the big, slow ferries, and I just may return...."

by Madeleine Marie Slavick, poet, photographer, editor and publisher living in Hong Kong, whose latest book "delicate access" with 88 poems and photos will be launched on Oct 6 - See Events Calendar.

Wed, Sep 22 One-Upmanship, Lamma-Style

Do you believe Lamma is full of rent refugees, down & outs and other prosperity-challenged individuals? Not at all!

Personally overheard yesterday in a local bar for the well-off, discerning drinker, two people were comparing their domestic rent and utility bills:

"My aircon bill is so high this summer, over $1,800!", complained one guy. Reply: "Hah, MY aircon bill is higher than your rent! Even my gardening bill is higher than your rent!" Stunned silence from the "defeated" party...

Of course, this reply came from somebody living up on "Millionaire's Hill"...

Tue, Sep 21 New Blog Page Header

I've just put up a new page header for this site, designed a while ago, based on the former bluish one, see below. This old one is still online in the forums. Please send honest & constructive comments to me!  Onwards to redesigning the menus on the left side...

Tue, Sep 21 Photo of the Day: Sheila's Butterfly

A pretty amazing & rare butterfly photo has been submitted by Sheila today. Our experts, the Flora & Fauna forum moderator and the Official Court Lepidopterist-in-residence are still stumped to identify it, classify it and stick a needle through it. Fortunately, this one got away and only left us this photo as a memento of this rare close encounter.

Mon, Sep 20 Yung Shue Wan's Harbour Reclamation, 1. Phase

A very rare aerial shot of our harbour, taken during the 1st phase of the harbour reclamation, ca. 1998. The new pier & sewage collection hadn't been constructed yet.

The 2nd phase of the planned reclamation - reclaiming the entire rest of the shoreline - was successfully stopped. New, reduced plans have been drawn up and will have to find a new govt. budget, which will take years!

(Aerial photo from Hellmantle, click to enlarge)

Mon, Sep 20News from Fertility Island

The rumours of Lamma as extremely fertile and a fantastic place to bring up children are all true! Below is the latest picture I received today, showing Aya Walker, 2-week old baby daughter of one of our Laudable Lamma Luminaries:

Kumi the Drum Queen! Email your congratulations!

Having seen Kumi jumping up and down at her numerous Drum Jam events around town, I and all her legions of fans & friends wish her and Aya (2nd generation Drum Queen!), all the very best! Kumi (plus Aya?) will perform at this year's Rockit Festival in Victoria Park again, of course, hopefully together with many other bands from Lamma!  Photo gallery of Rockit 2003.

Sun, Sep 19 Palm Snail

Walking past this young palm every day, it looks fascinatingly different every time. It just makes me stop and observe closer.

It's in the blooming/fruiting cycle right now, the most active period in the life of flowering plants. Having a close-up look, it's also a peaceful haven for all kinds of critters.

Click to enlarge

Sat, Sep 18 "manna in lamma"

Quoting from a great, detailed 3-page Lamma-only travel story in the Financial Times, 5 June 2004:

(click for full story: page 1, 2, 3)

"A ferry ride from high-rise Hong Kong, Jonathan Margolis discovers an offbeat, car-free island with dreamy scenery, sublime walks and secluded beaches.

Welcome to Lamma...

The Lamma power station makes a trip to the island rather like a date with a beautiful woman who has one major flaw, such as calamitous ears or regrettable teeth. One the plus side, the power station isn't dirty, smoky, polluting or noisy, so there's a case for living with it...

To me, though, Lamma is so very wacky, so supremely charming and such a spirit-elevating place that I forgive it this one eyesore."

We Lammaites couldn't agree more with this sentiment!

Fri, Sep 17 Sampan Thoughts - by Andy Maluche

Andy: "I have finally been initialized, 12 years of going back and forth
to Lamma Island, never on a sampan..."

Click to read more

Thu, Sep 16 Original Harry Cartoon Artwork For Auction!

Famous cartoonist Harry (SCMP and many other magazines) has donated the original artwork above for auction to benefit the production/hosting costs of the Lamma-zine and this Blog. It was originally created for the Lamma-zine Sep 2004 issue.

It shows the old cliché of Lamma Island as a Hippy Haven & drug-addled place. The "rival" island of DB (Discovery Bay) might think we'd love to have a drugs supermarket on our fair isle. We've recently been doing a little online survey what kinds of shop local residents would like on Lamma. Nobody but Harry's fertile imagination came up with an idea for a real "drugstore".

To bid for this unique original artwork (A4, art paper, ink & water colour), contact me for enquiries or bid online by clicking on the Talkback! button on the right.

Wed, Sep 15 The Banana Tree:
Poem & Photo by Susan E. Sheers, Lammaite

(Click above to enlarge)

Susan sent me this beautiful, heart-felt poem today, for publication here and in the Lamma-zine, even though she's not on email or internet yet and we've never met before. She had only seen my ad flyer and called me up. Wonderful to gain new contributors like her, hoping for many more!

Let her know what you think of her poem! Click on Talkback and I'll forward your feedback to her!

Tue, Sep 14 Thanks For Your Support

The Legislative Council Elections are over, with a few hiccups like not enough ballot boxes for the record voter turnout. European countries would love to have problems like this, with their voter apathy and voter turnouts of not even half of HK's almost 60%!

To everybody's surprise, especially the concerned parties, the formerly largest party, the Democratic Party, lost votes and seats (9), while the pro-Beijing, "anti-democratic" "Democratic Alliance for the Betterment of HK" party won seats, up to 12 legislators now to become the biggest party in HK's Legislative Council. Their posters all over Lamma have been "adorned" with photocopied stickers to gloat, eh, celebrate their surprise achievement. Well, the voters have spoken...

Mon, Sep 13 Lamma-zine Sep 2004

Contents:  Editorial, Follow-up, Story Poll, Events Calendar, Best of the Month, Media Watch, Emails to the Editor, About Lamma-zine, Next Issue.

1. Leaving Lamma 2. Bishop Zen Visiting Lamma Monastery 3. High Degree of Atrocity 4. Where on Lamma? 5. What Kind of Shop You Like? 6. This "Alternative" Cabaret That Is Lamma 7. Tai Peng Castle For Rent 8. Restaurants & Bars - Aug 2004 9. Alastair - Sculptor Extraordinaire 10. Strictly Fashionable 11. Silly Spins on the Magical Spinney Thing 12. Do Pink Dragonflies Like Drainage Channels?

Sun, Sep 12 I've been blessed!

Today - 9/12 - Election Day for HK's Legislative Council

I shook the hand of a REAL-LIFE LegCo candidate on Aug 22!

A bolt of lightning went through my body when touching the candidate and now I have this irresistible urge to vote for List 7, DAB, the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment of Hong Kong! Go, DAB, go! DAB, DAB, hurray!!!

If I'd only be a registered voter and permitted to vote...

Their posters (right) are all over Yung Shue Wan, sometimes 2-3 on the same building, all numbered by hand. Lammadonna, our District Councillor, Village Representative and DAB member, told me personally that NOBODY has ever been fined for putting up a poster or flyer on Lamma, even though the official fine is $1,500. Lucky for them...

Lammadonna took her party's LegCo candidates and a swarm of volunteers through the village, a sea of gold and red, sashes, flags, banners, flowing through Main and Back Street, greeting almost every shop and restaurant owner, shaking hands, "kissing babies", and smiling, smiling, till their jaws hurt... I was sitting innocently in Tropicana having a late lunch, when the DAB swarm descended upon us, some of them even entering the place.

DAB is by far the dominant party on Lamma Island, but seen as anti-democratic - despite their name - and Beijing-friendly. So they're expected to lose a lot of votes to the democratic camp in this election. They're resisting the tide of public opinion against them by sounding more and more "democratic" themselves.

I even got an English leaflet (very rare in HK politics) from the sashayed candidate who blessed me, Mr Leung (right on the poster above). The DAB caravan made it all the way to Sha Po Village, turned around, rushing to catch the boat out of here (see below) to the next meet-the-voters opportunity...

The leaflet made fascinating reading. It's here: page 1, 2, 3, 4

It sounds so amusing & satirical, but I suspect that they actually tried to be serious:

  • Title: "Stability to Advance Democracy, Harmony to Build Tomorrow"

  • Point 1 of the Election Platform: "Advance Democracy; Listen to the People"

  • "Key Roles of the DAB: ..., Champion of Democracy and Harmony..."

  • Quote: "Fueled by our love for China and the Hong Kong SAR, our quest for democracy, our unified spirit and resolve, and our commitment to build Hong Kong, we will press ahead..."

I couldn't make it up as well myself...

Sat, Sep 11 Lamma band BAHOUKI won
"Best Acoustic Band of Hong Kong"!

Email from "Laudable Lamma Luminary" John Hutton:

Bahouki get gold!!!

"I thought it might be of interest to you that Lamma band, BAHOUKI won the Tom Lee "SoundBase" competition in the Ko Shan theatre last week.  This was a music festival to find Hong Kong's best  acoustic band...and we won!  Bringing it home to Lamma, indeed.  You can get a hold of some photos at the Tom Lee website, though when I tried to find that link today it was gone. I'll send you a photo anyway. (above and right)"

Click here to see the video!

"Also, our instrumentalist, Olie Quinn from Ireland,  joint won best individual all in all a nice night's work. 

We re-arranged an old song called "Istanbul, not Constantinople" dressed up in giant fezes and pretty much brought the house down.  We were also the only non-Chinese finalists out of 77 bands!  The members were:

  1. John Hutton (lead vocals and guitar)

  2. Oliver Quinn (Bazouki, Bodhran, Low Whistle, backing vocals)

  3. Dave Green (Acoustic Bass, backing vocals)"

Fri, Sep 10 Hong Kong's first commercial-scale wind turbine

Received the press release and more pictures from HK Electric by email this morning. Here's a nice artist's impression of how it'll look like from HK-side, from the East Lamma Channel:

The SCMP has also picked up the HK Electric press release today, AFTER it has been published in this Blog already last night (below). Here's a link to the full SCMP story full of interesting facts and opinions:

Turbine as quiet as air conditioner

Artist's impression of the proposed wind turbine viewed from Tai Ling Pavilion, end of 2nd Cable Road, overlooking "Mt. Panorama" and North Lamma

HK Electric (HEC) has issued one of their rare press releases yesterday, announcing the construction of a wind turbine in Tai Ling - above Tai Peng - to start in early 2005, completion by early 2006: "EIA Report on Wind Turbine Submitted to Government". The press release gives a good overview and background of this hot-topic project and claims that "By erecting a wind turbine on an otherwise barren hilltop, the project will boost Lamma as a tourist spot with educational and environmental value."

They promise to "maintain a close dialogue with the local residents." Having established a good working relationship with HEC, this Blog, the discussion forums and the Lamma-zine will publish turbine updates & news as soon as they'll become available!

The executive summary of the EIA report will go online for public inspection early next week for public consultation, comments & feedback for one month.

I've published 2 Lamma-zine stories about the wind turbine project so far:

We're Getting a Wind Turbine

Silly Spins on the Magical Spinney Thing  (online tomorrow Sat, Sep 11)

Discussing this project in some detail with HEC recently, they confirmed to me that this 600kW turbine will be sufficient for 3% of total power consumption of Lamma residents. Unlike the power station's output (which flows to HK Island and back to Lamma Island for technical reasons), it can feed directly into the local power grid. But we'll need about 33 wind turbines, just for Lamma's local needs.

Thu, Sep 9 Where Magic and Romance Remain

Quoting from the only website by a Lamma-based property agent: "With its serenity through havens of nature, Hong Kong's third largest island is attractive in many exciting sort of ways. Only 30 minutes by ferry service either from Central District pier or Aberdeen and you can throwback to a more leisurely pace. Both Yung Shue Wan and Sok Kwu Wan are well known for their sunshine and beaches during the day. Country park trails offers light exercise for hikers and joggers.

As night falls, sounds of jazz, laughter and celebrations created from the many fine dining eateries gathers the people on the Main Street. There is only a fistful of places in Hong Kong where magic and romance remain. Lamma Island is one of them."

The tourism board should reward them for promoting Lamma so creatively & poetically!

But where's this jazz place he mentions?

And, more importantly, where's the "magic and romance" hiding???

One of the members of responded that they must have gotten confused and actually meant "filth and pestilence"! But this was the same Lammaite (Granola Eater, see his avatar below left) who did his own very best to attract more tourists to our fair isle with the following promotional words of wisdom in our discussion forum What we like about living on Lamma:

"Of course there is much more than this on Lamma. You can take a cable car to see the big Buddha. There is a great revolving restaurant at the top of Mt. Stenhouse (3 Michelin stars). The waterslide park at Heung Shing Yeh is a favorite with the kiddies. And of course, in 2005 Disneyland opens where the current football pitch and playground are. Tell your Ma, tell your Pa, Lamma rocks, wah wah."

Wed, Sep 8 "If Hong Kong were the United States,
then Lamma Island would be San Francisco."

"It’s a free place, where you can do what you want, and you know everyone by name or nickname. It’s completely laid-back." — Nick Lovatt Book seller (left, click for his website)

These two great quotes by Laudable Lamma Luminary Nick the Bookman appear in "Arthur Frommer's Budget Travel" magazine this month, inside a story about our three main Outlying Islands: "Hong Kong chills out". It was written by ex-Lammaite Ron Gluckman, who lived on our island from 1991-2000.

He's currently based full-time in China (email, website). This early morning HK time, he did a "Live Talk: China and Hong Kong" on MSNBC. Interesting reading...

The story mentioned a few local restaurants like Sampan, Green Cottage, Bookworm Café and Lamma Hilton in Sok Kwu Wan.

But only a single shop made it: Lamma Celebrity Nadia's D&N Second-Hand shop (right). The editor of this story contacted us here on to get the name and contact details of this nice shop. I helped him and he sent me dead-tree versions of several heavy Budget Travel magazines (by registered mail!). Thanks, J!

(2. & 3. picture by Philip Englehorn, © 2004 MSNBC)

Tue, Sep 7 Contribution of the Day:
Visiting Lamma for the very first time

Email from Gaye in Sydney: "...from someone who is already planning their return...

What a beautiful place! I was there last week, and now look back from the city of Sydney, home again, work again, BUT:

There's something about Lamma Island that stays with you. It's an atmosphere, a feeling, rather than a visual picture in your mind. Hard to get out of you once you are "somewhere else".

I was aware of it when I arrived onto the Island - this time by ferry into Yung Shue Wan. It's like changing worlds, from the bustle of Hong Kong to a ferry pier, a walkway, and that sense of intimacy!

Following the path as it winds around... The various notices for accommodation available, etc., make you aware of the community island feeling. You instantly want to rent something immediately rather than get back on that ferry again. Unfortunately, this time I couldn't but I will next year. I will know where to find the furniture...

The little cafes on the pier are welcoming, and at night the lights provide an atmosphere not unlike a Greek island.

The Island Bar full of locals, with information and gossip, and there is a true sense of belonging... the networking and once again the sense of bonding and being a part of everything.

The commuters return by ferry like anywhere else in the world from "out there", and suits appear and disappear up the walkways.

Further around as you wander through the High Street, you become aware of the village feel. Once you go up the Back Street and meander across to Hung Shing Yeh beach, you feel the tropics.

You really can't ask for a lot more from life in one place, other than time to get to know every inch of this beautiful Island of Lamma. Perhaps not every inch - but, hey, thank goodness it is not PERFECT - or the whole world would invade.

My thanks to Shelley, Carolyn and Marcus, little Miranda, and Mercy for their wonderful company (Shelley's farewell) and a group of the friendliest people I have met for a long time. Says something doesn't it about lifestyle..."

Thank you very much, Gaye! We Lammaites know all too well what you mean.

If YOU have a story to tell why you like Lamma (or not), email me and YOU might be published here!

Mon, Sep 6 Lamma Fun Day:  Looking for sponsors & volunteers!

Child Welfare Scheme LOGOThe Child Welfare Scheme is organising the 5th Lamma Fun Day on Nov 21. I've joined the organising committee recently and we're still looking for more volunteers with various talents. Former main organiser Laudable Lamma Luminary Doggy has handed over all his many former duties to us. This should become the best & most successful Fun Day ever, we hope! Fundraising target: HK$50,000!

We've already found some sponsors, but we're always looking for more, especially cash donors! There are many benefits for donors, depending on their contribution. Contact me!

In the meantime, have a look at the website of the Child Welfare Scheme (right) and the old official Lamma Fun Day website, which I'll soon be updating comprehensively!

Sun, Sep 5 Lamma-zine celebrates 2nd anniversary!

Sunday Chicken Roast at Diesel's - Sep 5, 2004Issue #1 was published on Sep 4, 2002. 31 issues later, the Lamma-zine has grown from a single-page, text-only, weekly newsletter for 56 registered members to a 50+-pages, heavily illustrated, advertising-supported, monthly magazine for almost 1,500 subscribers.

It owes a great debt of gratitude to many supporters & contributors! Click here for a free, spam-less subscription. The very first issue was written by founder webdog and the 3 initial moderators, including myself. Since then it has grown from a little labour of love into almost a full-time, 7-days-a-week home office job for my alter ego: semi-retired Lamma-Gung.

The currently active moderators of the forums - plus their families - got together in Diesel's for drinks and a truly delicious chicken roast dinner - see above right. It was prepared by owner Lucy herself and paid for by the Lamma-zine editor/publisher, myself. Being a moderator on has its privileges... Most moderators are frequent contributors and proofreaders of the Lamma-zine as well, but some of them met F2F for the very first time, hitting it off very well!

Let's hope for many more anniversaries!

Fri, Sep 3 More Lamma-zine previews

Alastair Robins - Sculptor Extraordinaire

Do Pink Dragonflies Like Drainage Channels?

Wed, Sep 1, 2004Lamma-zine previews

Restaurant & Bar News

Where on Lamma! Guessing Game

Bishop Zen visiting Lamma Monastery

Strictly Fashionable - Artsy-Fartsy Exhibition

This Lamma News Blog started on Sep 1, 2004, and will be updated frequently with anything related to Lamma Island or its residents, be it news, events or photos.

Contact Lamma-Gung with anything relevant to Lamma you'd like to see published here!

Posts before Sep 1, 2004 are stored in the Blog Archive.

All photos & graphics by Lamma-Gung, if not otherwise credited.

At the end of each month, the best of this Lamma News Blog will be collected and published in the Lamma-zine, together with many other additional original contributions. Free subscriptions!

All materials and photos © Lamma-Gung 2004. All rights reserved.

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