Lamma-zine Blog

November 2005

News, photos & stories from the Lamma Island community and its fascinating inhabitants. Edited by Lamma-Gung.

Send me stuff on Lamma/Lammaites!

Archives: Stories Sorted by  Date

     2004: 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

     2005: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

     2006: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, Sep, Oct, Nov, Dec

Nov 30:  New Navigation Menu

The left-side navigation of this website was a bit confusing to some people and there was some redundancy with the links in the top navigation. This site has grown organically over 3 years, combining and merging parts of at least 3 different websites, so it's about time to clean up & consolidate the look and navigation!

This is just the first step, you'll see more design in the near future. The new left-side links are shown below. Please comment and tell me what other important quick links you'd like to see on the home page that are not covered yet by the existing main sections at the top of this page. Click the new links below:

This new, much shorter & cleaner side navigation has also freed up a lot of vertical space, so I've added a new low-cost advertising section. It's still on the home page, but on the lower left side, just below the new navigation, so it'll be much more affordable than the prime position, the top of the page. Contact me, if you're interested.

Welcome to our first new advertiser in this new section: Concorde Travel!

On another little housekeeping, err, sitekeeping note: This site has just surpassed, for the very first time, 2 million hits in November! Almost a reason to celebrate and the very best birthday present I could have ever wished for this week!

Nov 29:  'Happy, Relaxed and Laid Back About Everything'

Gavin's Dad - Visiting Lamma, a parents perspective:

First of all let me apologise for taking so long to get round to doing this. I managed to fall over and break my ankle just one hour after arriving home from a fantastic holiday on your side of the world.

We both found Lamma Island to be a quite and relaxing place to be after the hustle and bustle of Hong Kong and Kowloon.

It would have been even better if Gavin and Karensas house had been at the bottom of the hill and not at the top.

We were surprised to find so many Europeans on the island. You all appeared to be so happy, relaxed and pretty well laid back about everything.

It was very nice not to see a car anywhere (especially as I am a driving instructor here in the U.K.) We did find the fire engine a bit of a laugh.

We did take a couple of walks and it was not long before we could find our own way to Power Station Beach. We felt as if it was ours as it was almost always deserted when we were there and of course the view was great as long as you only looked one way.

The weather was very good during our stay, just one rain shower over the whole two weeks. I was not too surprised to see that the "Deli" was used as a very comfortable and accommodating office. Especially as the food, drink and service was great in there.

We would like to say a huge thank-you to you all for being so friendly and hospitable. If we ever get to your part of the world again we would certainly look you all up. The chopper flight over the island was the icing on the cake for me. If you get the chance to do it, do not miss it.

Fondest Regards, Pete and Jen Neale

Nov 28:  Signature Campaign for 2:30am Ferry

ferry-trial-cancellation.gif

The 2-month night sailing trial period has ended last Saturday, Nov 26, see above.

As expected, the ferry co. HKKF used the overall low average patronage - especially on the 0:30am and 5am sailings from YSW to Central - as justification to discontinue all 3 routes, including the popular 2:30am sailing on Friday and Saturday nights, which had a lot more passengers than the all-week average of 30 persons mentioned above, occasionally even surpassing 100.

Some local businesses got together and have started a signature campaign TODAY to keep the 2:30am ferry. The Chinese-only campaign cover letter (see right, click to enlarge) refers to the 10% overall fare increase granted to HKKF earlier this year and their promise of improved passenger services. It also discredits HKKF's profitability reason to discontinue all the 3 night sailings. If every single sailing has to be profitable, are they going to try to cancel most day sailings as well, except rush hours? The 10% fare increase can definitely cover ONE additional sailing per day, especially the one with the highest number of passengers during the 2-month trial run, 2:30am!

Lamma-Por and I have just signed the petition. Here's the English translation of the entire letter. Go to the places below to sign it yourself, if you want to keep the new night sailings!

Water Front bar, Shell Gas (Nick's corner, opposite Rick's Bar) and Nam Wah Yuen Restaurant (opposite Diesel's). Hurry up, the signature collecting will only go on for 2-3 days! This might be our last chance for a long time.

Discuss this hot topic in our forums.

Nov 27:  News from the Confluence King of China

Some Lammaites have extremely exotic & unusual, but most fascinating hobbies, sometimes taking over their lives and making them amazingly good at it. Not counting my own little hobby, this blog at all, there's for example Guy, our junior master bird-o-grapher and quite a number of local hobby photographers & artists.

Somebody still little-known is Targ, the "undisputed confluence king of China" as the SCM Post called him in a big story. CNN featured him (left) & his sidekick, Junior Confluence Princeling, Mr DickStock (2nd from left), in an edutainment news segment of them setting out from our YSW ferry pier to conquer yet another confluence point 2 years ago (view video).

So what the heck is confluencing anyhow? Let me quote an ancient Lamma-zine story about Targ: Lamma-zine #27, Dec 2003:

"Well, basically it's a new adventure sport, all about visiting places anywhere in the world where major lines of latitude and longitude intersect as whole numbers - known as confluences. Once arrived, take pictures, including your Global Positioning System's display, and post details & photos on a special website (Degree Confluence Project) as proof. Then feel proud of your achievement. That's it! No financial reward, no benefits, just your 15 minutes of fame on a website. Sounds like a sport worthy of a true Lammaite, or does it?"

He managed recently to be featured on the home page of this fast-growing website, because he had achieved an amazing, unheard-of 24 confluences in a single month, traveling to China's most remote rural provinces - as far away from any tourist trek you can possibly get - under his own steam and at his own expense. He's racked up 143 successful visits to confluence points (only failing 6 times) in 4 countries now. 138 visits were UNIQUE, all within less than 4 years!

Many congratulations, Targ! That is truly an amazing & outstanding achievement; you're making Lamma proud! Doing all of this without any financial reward makes it even more special and deserves you being nominated by Lamma.com.hk as a "Laudable Lamma Luminary", possessing the true Lamma spirit and never-tiring, never-ending, total dedication to your personal cause & epic quest to increase & improve the sum total of human knowledge about our planet...

Rise, gallant LLL Targ, go forth and valiantly conquer many more confluences, bringing fame & glory to your island home! You've really come a long way since you were known, a really long time ago, locally only as the "long-haired former boyfriend of the ice-cream lady" and nobody even knew your first name!  ;-)

Here's the full home page story and photos of LLL Targ's recent glorious & gallant adventures:  "One month, 24 confluences". It starts out with:-

"Fri 29 Jul 2005 (Day 1), 10:15 a.m. -
"I set off from home on the short walk down to the Yung Shue Wan ferry pier on Lamma Island to catch the 10:30 a.m. ferry to Central. It rained heavily earlier in the morning, but now the sun is shining, and Hong Kong is in for another humid summer day in the low 30s C.

"And so begins another epic confluence hunt, scheduled to last 30 days--the maximum length of stay permitted by my mainland Chinese visa--and to take in up to 27 carefully planned confluences in Anhui and Hubei provinces..."  Read more...

P.S. All photos above by Targ, except first one by anon)

Nov 26:  Lamma Fun Night Photos

Zoe writes: "Here are a few photos from the day and from the impromptu Lamma Fun Night in the Deli Lamma!"  (Click to enlarge):

Plus a few more of my own photos below, from the first draft of the Lamma Fun Day 2005 photo gallery. Deadline is tomorrow night to submit your own photos for inclusion in the official Fun Day photo gallery on this site and also on www.LammaFunDay.com.  (Click on photo below to view the gallery):

Nov 25:  Lammarina - Development #1 of 7

If you've ever taken the ferry to/from Yung Shue Wan recently, you've passed the "Lammarina" (Lamma nickname). It's a future luxury residential development - with swimming pool, clubhouse, gym and security - on the beach just below the "DickStock Residence", behind Po Wah Yuen, en route to Pak Kok, with the tall tower crane (see current view & Artist's Impression above).

Did you realise that this is just the first of seven similar developments planned all over Lamma Island? According to a detailed interview with the property tycoon in a Chinese magazine, there are six more planned and the land purchased already, including two 6-star (?) hotels (see table below).

Here's the full, recent 7-page story from a Chinese magazine, scanned & submitted by Lamman:

Page 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6.

Construction completion date of Lammarina #1: next Spring; move-in date end of 2006. For my recent photo gallery of Lammarina-in-progress, click here. Forum discussion, click here.

Chinese story about Bobby Li & his projects -

Summarised & translated by Samson, Chinese forum moderator.

(The unofficial term "Lammarina" is only used for convenience in the translation but does not appear in the article. Text highlights by Editor):

Bobby Li bought the land at Nga Kau Wan for HK$ 64 million at a Government auction in August 1997. The Lammarina development will have 12 seaside houses 6 of which are houses of 2,600 sqft, 4 houses at 3,200 sqft, and 2 houses at 4,200 sqft.

The asking price for Lammarina could be as high as HK$7,000 per sqft, as the development has the "Disneyland and Bel Air on-the-Peak" advantage. Bobby Li believes that as Lammarina is located in North Lamma and faces Pennys Bay on Lantau Island, residents in the development will be able to see the fireworks in Disneyland. Furthermore, King Wong, his development company, has planned to purchase two high-speed shuttle ferries to transport Lammarina residents to and from the development and the public pier near Bel Air on-the-Peak (at Cyberport).

Other than Lammarina, King Wong has also bought land at six other sites for further real estate development projects:

Location

Land Purchased

Land to be Bought

Type of Development

(1) Nga Kau Wan

42,196 ft2

 

Luxurious, low-density development

(2) Sok Kwu Wan

71,873 ft2

 

Low-density, 2 to 3-Star holiday houses

(3) Lo So Shing

300,624 ft2

238,213 ft2

 

(4) Mo Tat Wan and Yung Shue Ha

794,970 ft2

 

6-Star Hotel, and luxurious, low-density development

(5) Tung O

453, 928 ft2

 

6-Star Hotel, and luxurious, low-density development

(6) Lo Tik Wan

111, 078 ft2

 

Low-density, 2 to 3-Star holiday houses

(7) Old Shipyard

174,000 ft2

 

 

The blueprints of all Lamma developments by King Wong, will be submitted for Government approval by fall 2005. As soon as the blueprints are given the green light, construction work will begin.

There are three main reasons for Bobby Li to choose Lamma Island for his real estate projects. Firstly, as a former sailor, he is quite fond of the sea and the islands. Moreover, Lamma is one of the largest outlying islands that is close to HK Island. Finally, Bobby Li said that since there was no major landowner, it was easy for King Wong to purchase land at "strategic locations" and prevent future competition from other developers.

For Bobby Li, the sense of accomplishment from successfully developing Lamma Island is most important.

Nov 24:  Cristobal de Lamma Gives Thanks...

It's Thanksgiving Day in the US today and quite a few people in HK and on Lamma celebrate this day as well, not just the handful of Americans living here.

I've cajoled Cristobal de Lamma into listing some of the things he personally gives thanks for. At first, I tried to write the list myself, but it turned out too sentimental, quite blissful & new-agey, so I canned it as unworthy for publication.

Cristobal's list below is really very telling and gives many of the good reasons of why he loves to live in HK and especially on Lamma! Most of us Lammaites would agree with most of his points, I think.

Add your own points in our Thanksgiving forum!

Cristobal de Lamma - Thankful Lammaite:

We have a lot to be thankful for and most of the time we simply forget or ignore it.

Why not make a list of things?

E.g.: Reasons to give thanks...some can be funny, some can be sentimental and some a bit silly. Let's start:

  1. Decent health to enjoy what you have

  2. No damn regressive Value-Added Tax

  3. A pint is HK$ 25

  4. Cheapest place to live in HK with decent air

  5. Medical clinic is competent, friendly and low-cost

  6. Good broadband service

  7. Beijing has left HK alone

  8. A wind turbine that makes me smile and want more

  9. I don't need to carry a gun

  10. Nice sunsets

  11. I have a roof with an ocean view

  12. Great Dim Sum every day except Chinese New Year

  13. I can ride a bicycle without looking out for cars

  14. No snow (unlike back home)!

  15. Beaches, even more than one...

  16. There actually are nice people on Lamma

  17. Salary tax that does not make me cry (unlike back home)

  18. Almost annual DickStock parties...uniquely Lamma

  19. Trees instead of concrete

  20. Birds wake me up instead of traffic

  21. No traffic jams

  22. No censor on Internet (Lamma-zine Blog not usually available in PRC)

  23. Fresh and affordable food

  24. Central is only 20 minutes away on fast ferry

  25. Police are courteous and good (unlike places in Africa I have been to)

  26. NO McDonalds

  27. Cheap telephone service so I can keep contact with family and friends

  28. Lamma Post Office is effective. (EMS to Germany in 2 days)

  29. Flooding? No worries

  30. Probably the best HSBC branch in all of HK

The list can go on and on... But really, we live on a resort island, most of us being healthy enough to enjoy all that we have. Living in HK, we have a chance to improve , to get a new opportunity, as many places are economically stagnant!

I never had to go to war because of a European politician/monarch who wanted to change the map (unlike multiple generations of my own family).

It is easy to forget the freedoms and luxuries we do have in our everyday scramble. But in the worldwide list of places, HK is near the top and lots of places I have been to would be at the bottom. Living on Lamma, we have much to be thankful for...

Nov 23:  Mason from Sydney Says 'Thank You, Lamma!'

Ex-Lammaite Frazer's (the self-proclaimed "Prince of Lamma') new band Mason came all the way from Sydney to open DickStock 2005 on Nov 5. Not yet satisfied, they brought down the Island Bar a week later, Nov 12, and all their Tsing Tao reserves were almost depleted.

Exhausted and happy, they've returned from their mini Asia tour (Lamma only) to their home turf down under now, fortunately! For the full text of Mason's thank-you note and loads of embarrassing photos from their outrageous gig in the Island Bar, click on my photo montage above. (Photos by Streetman)

Nov 22:  Lamma Oldsters Meeting in the Air

(from left to right: Rachel, David & Angie Flint; Keith Flint; Roz Keep & Angie Flint)

Roz Keep - Ex-Lammaite now living in Chiang Mai:

Last week, while traveling back to UK on Emirates from Bangkok, I bumped into a Lamma Oldster on the plane.

Angie Flint, formerly of Tai Wan To, who set up Busy Bees Kindergarten, and whose husband Keith started and ran the Island Bar for many years. Some of you may remember them and their two children Rachel and Daniel. They left Lamma 8 years ago! Angie was on holiday in Thailand visiting another Lamma Oldster, Liz Dobson, who now lives in Bangkok.

When we got to Dubai we both had to change flights, she to Birmingham, myself to Gatwick so we had a drink in the bar there before going on.

See photo above, bottom right.

This message from Roz reminds me of the Flint family's visit to Lamma last year. I was trying hard to get an interview with the patriarch about old Lamma and the wild old times of the Island Bar. He never got around to it, unfortunately, maybe next time. Photos above left and top from Mr DickStock, taken during their Lamma visit last year.

Any other ex-Lammaites around the world meeting in unexpected ways and unexpected places? Yes, LOVE (Lamma Overseas Visitors Empire, basically ex-Lammaites, also called Lamma Oldsters) really spans the globe! They're from many countries, races, religions, but they all seem to share one common trait:
They feel nostalgic and homesick about Lamma. Many of them have been secretly plotting their return to their former home. Some lucky ones have succeeded...

Nov 21:  Got Good Fun Day Photos?

Did you attend the Fun Day yesterday? It seemed that most Lammaites were mingling and the incoming ferries were jam-packed till mid-afternoon. Here's a first feedback from Sonya, head of the Fun Day organisation committee, addressed to all volunteers and all the many people working hard to make the Fun Day such a big success:

"TO ALL OF YOU!!

"A big whopping THANK YOU! For all your efforts on probably one of the best Lamma Fun Days EVER! "Without your help and the help of over 70 volunteers that were recruited for the day, we would not have been able to pull off the event we saw yesterday! "I hope you got some time to relax and enjoy the day and then had a good night's sleep!

"The money is being counted as you read, and I will keep you updated as to the money coming in. Fingers crossed that we hit our $100,000 target. "In the meantime, enjoy the rest of the week and again, well done on a FANTASTIC job by all of you!"


The Lamma Fun Day even made the cover page of the SYP section of the Sunday Post today, probably attracting quite a number of additional off-islanders. It also featured quotes from several volunteers. Click on the right to read the article.

All the photos in that full-page story were my own from my past Fun Days photo galleries (2002, 2003, 2004). They even gave me full credit this time, incl. mentioning this website! Yippee!

This year I'd like to showcase YOUR Fun Day photos in the Fun Day '05 photo gallery, besides just a small selection of my own (see above). Send your best photos (any number and file size, no need to scale down) to LammaGung at gmail.com, deadline next Sunday, Nov 27. Include the credit line in your email, including email & website links, if you like. Maybe the SCMP might pick YOUR photos next time...

Nov 20:  Funday Sunday!

Plus live music on the beach:

1 pm

Jovelyn

An extraordinary Hong Kong singer-songwriter.

1:30 pm

Harry Llufrio

Lamma acoustic player and favorite from past Lamma Fun Days returns to the stage

2 pm

YSWankers

The name says it all. An all-time Lamma favourite.

3 pm

Air Tub

One of Hong Kong's best bands, blending European and American rock with a dash of Asian flavor.

3:45 pm

Auction

 

4:15 pm

HK Electric Band

Local "Boy Band" consisting of talented employees of the main sponsor of the Fun Day.

5 pm

Garoupa

This seminal Lamma band performs some of the finest original music in the SAR.

6 pm

Red Star Rising

The latest band to come out of Lamma, getting it done with their own concoction of blues and rock originals.

7pm

NUDE

They said their gig last week on the main stage at Rockit! would be their last of the year. They lied.

(Schedule & description provided by the Fun Day music co-ordinator, Kevin. Thanks!)

Nov 19:  More DickStock photos...

...from ex-Lamma Girl Haz:

...from Marie Margault:

...from Andy Maluche:

Nov 18:  Have You Seen This Man?

Lamma Police asked me to publish this poster above. Mr Yeung has been missing for two days already - his relatives are very worried.

This is a community blog, aspiring to become a kind of daily online "newspaper" for Lamma Island. So any announcements of public interest are most welcome to be published here and/or in our forums. Send them to me anytime!

Nov 17:  Loy Kra Tong - Thai Lantern Festival

from left:  Srisuda, Pui San, Man Yee, Porntip and the anonymous MC

from left:  Mother Jantana, Pui San, Man Yee and Srisuda

Would you believe that most of these stunningly beautiful Thai ladies above, decked out in their traditional festival costumes & jewelry, are long-time Lammaites? Yesterday, Nov 16, they've been celebrating their yearly Loy Kra Tong Festival with a Thai/Chinese 12-course dinner (Thai dishes prepared by Thai Thai Rest.) in Man Fung Seafood Rest., Lucky Draws and the traditional candle float release at the ferry pier.

Everybody was invited ($200 per head, all incl., see poster on right) and the 15 big tables sold out one month before the event! There were even 2 tables of Gwailos, plus Lamma-Por and Samson, our hard-working Chin. forum moderator, invited as a birthday treat. After desserts, everybody got a pretty candle float, to be released from the ferry pier into the full-moon night.

Click for English poster, Chin poster, photo gallery 2003, 2004, and this year's captioned photo gallery 2005!

Nov 16:  Return of the Lanternbugs

Finally, the long-anticipated definitive website for Lamma's Flora & Fauna is taking shape, showcasing the fantastic pictures taken by Lamma's master wildlife photographer Guy Miller. Click on my little photo montage above to take a peek at the progress of the website www.Lamma.hk (no .com) he's building nowadays. It'll house his fast-growing collection of great nature photos, trying to make it into a comprehensive resource covering all of Lamma Island. Great going so far!

Guy writes: "The website is just in its fledgling state - or is that juvenile or immature - have got a load more to put in there along with some sort of narration. But it'll take time & a lot of hard work."

More and more fine, local, nature-loving photographers are joining our Flora & Fauna forum, drawn in by Guy and moderator Zep: Welcome to HarryLi, lyc and Neil! We hope to see a lot more of your photos soon and this blog would be honoured to showcase some of them in the near future.

Nov 15:  A Story of a Valiant & Hilarious But Ultimately Quixotic & Doomed Quest

My old work colleague from my publishing days, Steve, has been returning to HK recently to catch up with old friends like myself. Instead of making an appointment, he just showed up in Yung Shue Wan recently - out of the blue - hoping to just run into me by coincidence on Main Street!

Of course, he couldn't find me, especially as he hadn't bothered to get my new mobile number or my address before getting on the ferry to pay me a "surprise visit". So Steve spent a few hours "roaming around the island looking to catch up with the editor of Lamma-zine" - in vain. A few hours later, when I finally strolled down Main Street, two people stopped me to tell me that he had been looking for me, but left already!

This is such a typical story of misconceptions about Lamma Island common to even long-time Hong Kong residents like Steve. Here are a few photos of his younger days - with my captions.

Blonde-Brit Lamma dragonboat lady Lennie was working for me back then, helping with the major HK website we were running almost single-handedly. Steve also wrote the SCMP Valentine story of how I met Lamma-Por 20 years ago on the Internet: "Real Romance in a Virtual World".

When Steve left our company & HK just after the Handover, Lennie & I did a farewell web page, spoofing his life & times in our company in a poem and many captioned photos. Lennie wrote:

"But our loss is his gain as he steals back his life
from the clutches of the office & the struggle & the strife.
And as he walks out the door - with a smile as he leaves -
We'll miss him a lot - our in-house clown Steve!"

I titled our mock tribute "A story of a valiant & hilarious but ultimately Quixotic fight against corporate windmills and bureaucracy".

Eight year's later, Steve has returned to "Windmill Island" trying to locate me in an another valiant & hilarious but ultimately Quixotic & doomed quest. Some things - and some people - never change...

I asked my friend to write up the story for this blog - finally a professional writing for this blog instead of the silly ramblings of this wannabe amateur journalist, me! He admits that his story below serves "as a lesson to off-islanders that islanders - contrary to their imagination perhaps - do not, as you say, hang around Main Street all day to make life easier for visitors!"

Steve - Journalist living in the US, ex-HK, former work colleague of L-G:

So sorry that we were not able to meet up during this trip!  How is it that on such a small island, two expats who are both looking for each other at the same time, could not locate one another!  I wish I could have seen this situation from the air, from perhaps a low flying helicopter -- it would probably have been quite funny, as I was walking down one street, you were probably walking down the other lane, just across the way!

I only had the number which was on your old business card -- and which by the way, is also on your poster at the Lamma Island where I finally stopped for lunch, but when I called it seemed to be out of order as a Cantonese recording came on. I went briefly to see Jane Ram -- do you know her? A freelance writer who has lived in Lamma for donkey's years. She tried to locate your new number but was not able to.

So I walked around the village several times, starting from the pier and walking straight through till the village ran out of village, and I also angled off near the Spicy Indian restaurant, and walked up the hill until it got to be a squatter type neighbourhood and I know you would not be there -- so I crisscrossed the part which set back from the main road, even going to the point of looking at people's laundry lines -- looking for Lederhosen! At one G/F apartment there seemed to be European kind of decorations but a Filipina came out of that place.

After a while it was getting hot and probably local people were getting suspicious of me and were going to call the police, so I had to leave -- I missed the fast ferry and so had to take the slow one, which left at about 2.30pm, I think.

Nov 14:  Chris Patten Reads Jay Scott Kanes

Taking advantage of former HK Governor Lord Chris Patten's visit to Hong Kong to promote his new book Not Quite the Diplomat, Lamma's "former journalist and quasi-civil servant" Jay Scott Kanes pulled a clever publicity stunt to get a photo of Lord Patten actually reading Jay's book A High Degree of Atrocity.

Well done, Jay! As Lord Patten was hawking his own new book, it's just fair that you took the fine opportunity to hawk yours! Jay even sent me an exclusive press release - something Lord Patten neglected to do - so I'm publishing only Jay's version of the celebrities encounter here:

Jay Scott Kanes - Lamma author of High Degree of Atrocity and Dog-Gone Cat Case - currently working on his next book (photos submitted by Jay):

VISITING PATTEN CAUGHT IN EXCHANGE OF WORDS

As former governor Chris Patten visited Hong Kong in recent days, he successfully promoted his new book, Not Quite the Diplomat, among hundreds of readers clamoring for admission to each of his book-signing sessions.

In contrast, Lamma Island-based author Jay Scott Kanes took aim at delivering copies of his recent novels, High Degree of Atrocity and Dog-Gone Cat Case, to just one reader - Mr Patten.

The resulting exchange of words took place on Saturday, 12 November, at the DYMOCKS book store in the Prince's Building, Central. The words exchanged were primarily the "printed-on-pages" variety.

After a few pleasantries of the "hello, how are you" sort, our ex-governor looked at the two Hong Kong books placed on the table in front of him, said "thank you very much", reached for them and started flipping pages.

"Kanes reads Patten", as opposed to "Patten reads Kanes" above right...

Experience tells Mr Kanes that most readers would grasp first at the Lamma Island story, Dog-Gone Cat Case, because of an appealing cover design by a talented Lamma Islander named Alex Ng. However, Mr Patten went straight for the pro-democracy novel, High Degree of Atrocity.

"Some people in this part of the world might consider that a tango-dancing book," Kanes told him. He laughed. (In reality, the words "tango dance" don't appear anywhere in the book.) Every reader is important, and I'm pleased at the prospect of having Mr Patten among them.

"Watching Mr Patten's promotional activities proved very instructive," said Kanes. "He demonstrated a level of skill and sophistication seldom seen in Hong Kong since mid 1997.

"I'll read Mr Patten's book from start to finish in the hope he may do the same with mine. Based on the early pages, I must say that High Degree of Atrocity, although fiction, is equally realistic and even more stridently pro-democracy."

Kanes at his own DYMOCKS ifc mall
book signing on Aug 27 this year.

With High Degree of Atrocity, Kanes, a former journalist and quasi-civil servant, became the first English-language author to deal candidly through fiction with Hong Kong's divisive political future. The book, published in 2004, carries a poignant dedication to hundreds of millions of Asians too long denied the basic freedom of meaningful democracy.

In a new novel, Dog-Gone Cat Case, Kanes provides a special treat to pet-owners and animal lovers. Based on high jinks in and near Yung Shue Wan village on Lamma Island, the book offers a sometimes tender, sometimes comedic adventure and who-done-it mystery. Cats, dogs, humans and snakes play lead roles.

Jay's books are available in many Lamma shops - unlike Chris Patten's - and in many Hong Kong bookshops and from his publisher's website.

Nov 13:  Lamma's Good Old Times, 27 Years Ago?

Ex-Lammaite Yves - whom I've met for the first time at DickStock this year - agreed to write a little story reminiscing about "the good old times" of Lamma. I was asking him for his thoughts on how DickStock has changed over the past 11 years. Is it a reflection of how Lamma has changed in general?

Read Yves' honest, uncensored opinions about the ancient days when there were "less than 10 foreigners" on the island & why "Lamma is much better off now":

Yves - ex-Lammaite who left Lamma - but not HK - 27 years ago:

I never heard of DickStock when I left my house in Yung Shue Wan in November 1978. That just gives me an additional 27 years, and sure I was better looking at that time. So was Lamma, without those ugly three chimneys of the power plant. I remember I wrote some articles against this frightening project that year. Without any success, as you may see...

When I told my Chinese friends in Hong Kong that I was living on Lamma they were all shouting at me, "How can you stay in a place where there is no electricity nor water?" Well, they actually did not know anything about the place. Of course, we had the basic utilities back then, even a school and a dispensary! But it is this kind of prejudice that Hong Kong people always have when you talk of anything out of reach by MTR. I even saw HSBC establishing a branch near Lung Wah Seafood Restaurant.

What has changed since?

The harbour was full of small sampans with fishermen families living on them. I remember those old ladies, dressed in black trousers, while the sea was becoming rough, standing at the back of their sampan and moving in the most skillful way in-between all the high waves. The harbour looks empty nowadays.

In the middle of the village, there was this company exposing drying shrimps to the sun on wooden racks, with that particular "delicate" smell filling both sides of Main Street. You could not escape it. Now you have a Gwailo bar showing soccer matches on TV at the same place. And it doesn't smell of anything.

Every evening, you heard the bullfrogs singing like crazy near the houses, the barking of sick and dirty dogs, and the nightly noises of the Mahjong players, covering up the sounds of the ocean waves. It seems even the waves are more civilized today, trying not to cover the sounds of the TV sets and air conditioning units.

At the very place of the power plant, there was the wildest and most impressive diving place: I found a place where oysters were so good and gave me four tiny pearls. I almost even touched a small shark.

Lamma's inhabitants were specialised in growing green vegetables they sold at Kennedy Town. Now it seems they make their money elsewhere: they have been able to buy air conditioning units and closed their restaurants on the street.

So Lamma is much better off now: Sharks must be frightened by the noise of the power plant, air conditioning everywhere, Gwailo or exotic food at many places (our population of less than 10 foreigners did not justify it), no animal noises and almost no rats anymore, no smell of rotten fish on the beach nor of drying shrimps, many more ferries, even late at night (I was stuck after 9:30 PM back then).

But my favourite restaurant (Lung Wah Seafood Restaurant) is still there. The son, who refused a beautiful career as a kung fu film star to remain on Lamma, has now taken over from his father. Ah-Hay, as he's locally known, played in a few kung fu movies in the 70s, but preferred to return to his vegetable fields on Lamma forever.

The village still looks the same, with not so many houses built in the meantime, and Bob Davis is still there, as happy and smiling as before. Life is good on Lamma Island. And my son, whose mother I met on that wonderful island, is now learning kung fu every Friday night near the harbour. And you have Mr DickStock and his beautiful parties. Lucky you!

Long long life to Lamma Island!

Nov 12:  Play Hard - with Our Events Calendar

Working hard all week? Want to play even harder on your weekend? How about TODAY? For a REALLY busy, hard-playing Saturday,

you could go the International Cricket Festival at 9am in Po Kong Village Cricket Ground in Diamond Hill, Kowloon, organised by the Lamma Cricket Club...

and then go to see Lamma's very own NUDE opening Rockit! in Victoria Park at 3:30pm...

and then come back to the Island Bar to enjoy Mason from Sydney after 8:30pm...

and then take the ferry out to town for the weekly Chill-Out Lounge in Life Cafe...

and then stay on in the SOHO area to party through the night, returning to Lamma by the 5am ferry...and collapsing at home for all of Sunday!

Just a few of the events listed in my daily updated Events Calendar on this website (Click on Events at the top of every page on this site!)

{end of self-promotional house ad}

Nov 11:  Just a Normal Friday Afternoon in YSW

Strolling through Yung Shue Wan, from the ferry pier back to Main Street in the middle of a normal Friday afternoon, Nov 4 - taking the time to watch, wait & wonder - photographically recording my observations of what I encountered along the way. The sheer diversity and small surprises of everyday village life never cease to amaze me!

Click on the annotated photos below for to learn what I mean by surprising diversity: from "Intergraft your different culture" banner to school outings; from a photo shoot for a major newspaper to Halloween leftovers; from nature observations to children playing on top of gravel piles (see left). Nothing really spectacular or "newsworthy", just village life. I love it!

Click on the banner below for the complete photo gallery with detailed comments.

Nov 10:  International Cricket Festival

Great poster above by Lamma's own Harry Harrison!

Kevin from Lamma Cricket Club writes:

"This will be the biggest club cricket sixes tournament in the world! And it's being organised by Lamma Cricket Club! A total of 34 teams are taking part - including 13 overseas from as far away as Australia and the UK. This year the accent is on family and friends - there'll be a "Cricket Village" with bouncy castles and plenty of stalls and games organised by the Make-A-Wish Foundation to raise money for their charity in HK. All are welcome - admission free!

"We also have the official tournament dinner on Friday evening at the Eaton Hotel for well-over 300 people - the largest cricket dinner ever in HK - with guest speakers: Australian batting legend Dougie Walters and ex-Zimbabwean skipper Heath Streak.

"We've even commissioned a special song for the Festival. Appropriately entitled "Cricket", it's been written by Australian singer/songwriter Terry Ward, who'll be in HK for the Festival and hopefully will be performing the song live on the Sunday night after the awards presentations. Terry will also be performing in HK the following week - one night in the Island Bar on Sat, Nov 19!"

Loads of links: HKICF website, Lamma CC website, event details, map, plan,
video of 2004 event, "Cricket" song
!

Nov 9:  Peace, Love, Lamma - Still Going Strong!

Click on the animation above for my own photo gallery of DickStock XI, 2005. It's been running yearly, with a few interruptions, since 1994 with the same motto!

DickStock regular Jay Scott Kanes - famous-all-over-Lamma author of "Dog-Gone Cat Case" and "High Degree of Atrocity", currently hard at work creating his next masterpiece - writes:

"Dickstock, an enjoyable event for sure. Inspiring, even! Alas, I couldn't concentrate much on the music. Instead, I kept wondering what would happen if Dick emerged at noon the next day to clean up mountains of discarded beer cans, then kicked at a particularly high mound of empties which rolled aside and collapsed, revealing a dead body...

"An aspiring musician, suddenly retired, suffocated by guitar picks jammed deep into his breathing passages... Another Lamma novel in the early stages???? Sometimes imagination carries us to nasty places.

"Needless to say, I hope no such thing really happened...

"(In fact, the music sounded quite good.)"

Nov 8:  Stamp Collectors Queuing For First-Day Covers

Why did I have to set our alarm clock for 7am this morning, getting up at such an insanely early hour? Lamma-Por wanted to be early for today's release of the "Hong Kong Pop Singers - Official First Day Cover" and other souvenir items of these new special stamps of dead pop singers issued today. She saw somebody settling down to sleep at the door of the General Post Office in Central last night, to be in front of the queue for these eagerly anticipated stamps. Lamma-Por expected queues at the Lamma Post Office as well, so she went there one hour before they usually open. I joined her at the 8:30am opening hour, out of sheer curiosity. There was no queue at all, of course, just two more lonely stamp collectors arriving only at opening time. Hey, this is Lamma, we don't queue here, neither in restaurants nor anywhere else; except inside or outside the bank to get cash from our only two ATMs!

Not really being a stamp collector, but a huge fan of several of these dead pop singers, Lamma-Por remained cheerful all day about her freshly chopped First Day Cover and the other two stamp souvenir items: a golden record and a souvenir book.

I've seen two of these singers in the HK Coliseum myself (Anita Mui & Leslie Cheung) in their really impressive mega shows. The devotion of their legions of fans is legendary. These stars are so deeply beloved, admired and worshipped to an absolutely amazing degree by their huge crowds of local fans of all ages, almost unheard of with any Western pop singer.

Nov 7:  Thanks to All Our Great Contributors!

Contributors' Honours List - Oct 2005

Contributor

Story title

Date

Anonymous_Guy

First Prize for Anonymous_Guy!

Oct 2

Samson

Chinese Forum Breaks the 3,000 Mark

Oct 3

Joe WU On-yin, SI Lamma Police

Lamma Police Maps

Oct 5

Li, Pam, Sher

Lamma Fun Day - Stalls & Bric-a-Brac

Oct 6

Zep

Grazier Union? On Lamma?

Oct 7

Official Court Glutton

Veggie Pizza, Anyone?

Oct 8

various

Official UFO Landing Site?

Oct 10

various

Lamma Bands Update

Oct 12

Joe WU On-yin, SI Lamma Police

Corruption Rots - Report It Now

Oct 13

LAP

Mr Jones, the Chunky Hunk of Love

Oct 14

Barbara

Man Plans, God Laughs!

Oct 15

Katherine, Steve Cray

The Red Star Keeps Rising...

Oct 16

Sarah & Skippy

Lamma Off-Road Biking

Oct 17

Jimmi James

'Itchy Eyes...Itchy Nose...Hoarse Throat...'

Oct 18

Fortune Chan, Beanburglar, Soulkitchen, Roz Keep

Xmas Panto 2005?

Oct 19

ChuckM

Lamma - As Seen From Afar

Oct 20

Andy Maluche

Painterly Cancer Survivor

Oct 21

Mr DickStock

Earthquake Relief Charity Event

Oct 24

Gavin Coates, Mr DickStock

'Show Us Yer Turbines, Baby!'

Oct 25

Donna, Christopher, Lamma-Por

High-Flying Heli-Hippies?

Oct 26

Down the Deli

Half-Time of Late Ferries Trial

Oct 27

Froggy

Ever Been Photographed From a Helicopter?

Oct 28

Sneaky-O, Fortune Chan

Fanny (Heli)Pad

Oct 31

Nov 6:  Party This Way...

Another fantastic DickStock concert/party, the major musical event of the Lamma year, the most humongous ever with SIX bands playing, the 11th year of Dick's birthday parties! May he live a long & happy life, so we all can enjoy many many more DickStocks! Click on my photo montage above to see all of MikeG's great DickStock photos. More photo galleries in progress!
Send me YOUR photos and "reviews"!

Nov 5:  Lamma Fun Day Countdown

Just 15 days to go! Reserve Sunday Nov 20! Click below for the complete bilingual poster with all the info & details! Check out the website!

Nov 4:  Chinese Forum: What's Cooking?

Samson - "Official Court Moderator of All Chinese Forums":

The multiculturalism on Lamma has really taken off in the forums lately with the new German discussions but us Chinese cant lose face!  So, heres the monthly wrap-up of the hot topics!

  1. THE AWARDS GO TO  The Rainbow Seafood Restaurant in Sok Kwu Wan! Congratulations for winning two awards at the Best of the Best Culinary Awards, organised by the Hong Kong Tourism Board. Winning dishes:

    Spicy Fried Prawn

    Spicy Fried Prawn
    (Gold with Distinction Award - Spicy Dish, see left) and A Symphony of Vegetables (Gold with Distinction Award - Vegetarian Dish, see right).  Read more...

  2. TICK, AWAY Are those nasty ticks causing troubles with your beloved pets? Our pet-keeping members discuss how they deal with them blood-sucking little ticks!  Read more...

  3. MORE CLAW-SSIFIEDS!  Following the topic of the special deals at the LAWC Thrift Shop in September, our very own cat-woman, e, has started a new topic on animals up for adoption!  Read more...

  4. SPOOKY ISLAND The Chinese forum talks about the Lamma ghost stories, especially at Millionaires Hill, aka Po Wah Yuen, which used to be a cemetery
    Read more...

  5. CHINESE HOROSCOPE FOR THE NEW YEAR!  Although CNY is still over two months away, we couldnt help but share the horoscope for the new year already An opportunity to plan ahead, I guess?  Read more...

  6. THERES A RED HOUSE OVER YONDER: THE SEQUEL Dedicated Blog-readers may remember the mysteries surrounding two new red houses in Sha Po Village reported last month. Thanks to Lamma-Gung (and local property mogul, Jackson), we now know that the red house with black tile roof is just another residential property, no private library, nothing special at all (which was darn disappointing!)  Read more...

  7. BELATED HAPPY MID-AUTUMN FESTIVAL!  Due to repeated bad weather, the Mid-Autumn Carnival at the Football Pitch was delayed until 8 October, almost a month after the actual festival date. But that didnt deter the locals to turn out in style! Our members, nicole_kam and bunnyrabbit also shared their experiences at the carnival  Read more...

  8. LAMMA OFF-ROAD The fun-lovin' & out-goin' Sarah & Skippy shared with us their (already-blogged) big day out, biking around our fair isle in the sun!  Read more...

Thats the hottest news from the Chinese forum for another month! Until next time

Nov 3:  DickStock 2005: 6 Live Bands!

Finally, we've got all the important details of DickStock XI to announce (see left)!

Here's a bit more recent info & pictures - all published in this blog before - of all the bands featured this year. 5 of them are Lamma bands. Click below:

NUDE

Garoupa

Red Star Rising

Yung Shue Wankers

The Shockin'Rockin'Donkeys

Mason will be coming all the way from Sydney, having recently been joined by ex-Lammaite Frazer! On their website, he's described - with his famous, typical modesty:

"Frazer, the most experienced member of Mason is a virtual professional musician. Playing with numerous bands and at venues all over the world, Frazer's ability is solid as well as blindingly creative. Frazer brings a depth of experience and a load of character to the Mason sound."

Yes, the master of BS is back!
Didn't we give him enough of a send-off and a good roasting when he emigrated to Sydney?

See ya'all on Sat, 6pm! Everybody! Here's a route map for Lamma newbies!

If Dick's garden will be too small for the expected several thousand party-goers, eh, concert connoisseurs, we'll consider a hostile, eh, friendly takeover of the Lammarina, opposite the DickStock house!

Last but best, let's hear from THE MAN himself, the founder, organiser, host, MC, namesake, cheerleader & mascot of all DickStocks so far! He'll surely be walking around with a really big, swollen head for weeks after the concerts, as everybody will be congratulating him for another fantastic, wonderful event (see below, photo by Andy Maluche). Mr DickStock writes:

"For the FIRST TIME ever, DickStock begins at 6PM this year.

Bring the kids, they LUV this live music shit. There's space for them to run around and DANCE. Later it'll get packed.

As it says below, we've got food & beer & wine.

Come Early, Stay Late {-ish}."

Nov 3: Lammaites Anonymous, Mischievously Misbehaving Abroad

From left to right: Andy "Official Court Artist" Maluche, Peter "Island Bar" Berry, Mr DickStock and "Big Dave" Spicer in Puerto Galera in The Philippines, having too much fun at the Jazz Festival recently. These photos are a HK-exclusive provided by Andy, as a "surprise".

Andy Maluche sent me his Flickr photo gallery link for the recent Puerto Galera Jazz Festival, attended & organised by several current & former Lammaites, all charter members of the infamous LAMMA club (Lammaites Anonymous, Mischievously Misbehaving Abroad). But no text was explaining the tell-tale pictures, so I asked Andy for some background info. He replied:

"That is such an obvious and badly disguised plot from you to get me to write this whole thing for you :-)". Yeah! Duh!  But it worked! Here's his report:

Andy Maluche - Official Court Artist & Official DickStock Photographer:

One Jazzed Up Regatta

My buddy DickStock and a bunch of guys from the Hong Kong FCC invited me to the 2nd Puerto Galera Jazz Festival. The event coincided with the All Saints Day Regatta at the same location. Of course, both events are just excuses to drink enormous amounts of alcohol while getting a sun tan and I certainly worked on my tan. True Lammaites never miss an opportunity like this one. If you count me as one there were 4 of us.

DickStock, Peter Berry, (I forgot the name of the big guy, please fill in. Dick knows him. [Editor: "Big Dave"]) and I. The Jazz event was organized by honourary Lammaite Terry Duckham and there was also Phil Whelan who is an ex-Lammaite. Although we accounted for only about 2% of the whole bunch, we got the most sun tan and consumed about one third of all the beer - DickStock being the overall undisputed champion.

I can't tell you much about the regatta. My friends with whom I supposed to go on the VIP chaser boat to cover the event, ran away while I was in the bathroom. The organizer then got me my own banka which dropped me on a deserted island and left me there. I had no chance to show off my sailing skills as a certified bilge boy third class.

As soon as the regatta was over they picked me up again and I was allowed to listen to some Jazz. To those of you who are not familiar with it, Jazz is when one musician after another plays a lot of notes for about ten minutes each. Everybody then claps like crazy and the next musician does his thing. This time around we listened to the guys from Bert's Jazz bar at the FCC: Alan Youngblood on piano, Larry Hammond on drums, Blair Whittaker on Sax, Guy Le Claire on guitar and Paul Candelaria on bass. They were supported by some of the Filipino jazz masters: Tots Tolentino on sax, Shanice Michaels on vocals and Ria Osorio on piano and vocals.

There is nothing like listening to some great jazz while you recover from your sun burn. The good news that we have a week to recover in time for DickStock 2005.

(All photos by Andy Maluche. For more photos of the Jazz Festival: click here.)

Nov 2:  Hallo, Sprechen Sie Deutsch?

We've started a German-language discussion topic. Even though I'm not German myself, I'll be moderating the forum till we find a native speaker to take over. Funnily enough, all the people participating in the discussion so far, are not Germans either, but like to practice the language they've learnt long ago.

As it's a really complex and complicated language - a world language of science, poetry and literature not so long ago - we German speakers like to exercise our skills. It's too easy to lose our fluency & verbal/written skills while living in Hong Kong.

Discussion topics so far range from wearing short "Lederhosen im Schnee" in wintertime to the "Armee der verlorenen Dichter" and how to type German umlauts; the usual severe (but fun) topic shift of discussions in our forums...

We'd love to hear from more German speakers; especially from native Germans who could teach us a thing or two and would like to discuss Lamma matters in their native tongue! Click on TALKBACK! or "Comments" above to join in the fun discussion!


Other language forums would be very welcome! Tagalog, anyone? French? Italian?

Parles-tu franais, copain? Veux-tu practis ton franais dans Lamma.com.hk maintenant?

Parlato italiano, ragazzi e ragazze? Una forum per voi amici a Lamma.com.hk?

Yoruba, anyone (the language of the Nigerian spam scamsters):

Il-i afm-tuntun-kde y w fn
pologo ti dgbsk d ti
bl Yorb kkiri gby

We've even got a fluent Tok Pisin (Papua New Guinea Pidgin) speaker/writer on the island, Humphrey. He just joined our forums and is posting messages only in his own language. Unfortunately he seems to be the only one on Lamma, so he's got nobody to talk to... Anybody else from Papua New Guinea out there?

Yes, Lamma Island is a truly multi-national, multi-racial, multi-cultural community. Happy Diwali! (Festival of Lights, starting yesterday, Nov 1) to all of our local Indian friends! Thai Lantern Festival (Loy Kra Tong) coming up on Nov 16.

Nov 1:  All-Time Record Website Traffic!

Sorry for blowing my own horn again, but the traffic to this website just keeps growing and growing! This makes me very happy, way too happy NOT to tell you all about it! Every single traffic figure of the blog and the forums last month has been at an all-time record: hits, pages, files, visitors, sites, kbytes.

1.76 million total hits in October 2005; over 1.14 million hits to this blog alone (for details see above).

Many thanks to you, dear readers! Your loyalty and feedback (positive and occasionally negative) keeps this community blog alive and growing! Tell your friends, so we can make this blog even more successful and improve it further! Tell me how to improve it! What would you like to see and read more about in this blog? Or, even better, write it up yourself - or get somebody to do it for you - then email it to me for publication! Everybody's contribution is most welcome!

As the traffic has more than doubled since beginning of this year, I might have to slightly increase the advertising rates on this site by Jan 1 of next year. Get your banner ads at the old price till end of the year!

 

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

Contact Lamma-Gung with anything relevant to Lamma that you'd like to see published on this home page!

Posts from all former months are stored in the Blog Archives, see below.

All text, photos & graphics by Lamma-Gung, if not otherwise credited. Click on button on left for Creative Commons license.

At the end of each month, the best of this Lamma-zine 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 2005. All rights reserved.


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