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Jan 25:  Planetary Anthems & Wedding Dances

Click above for the photo gallery of the Voigtians' live performance!

Nick - Voigtian Music Reviewer (a.k.a. Nick the Bookman on Planet Earth).

(All photos by Lamma-Gung, trying his best to make the Voigtians look alien!)

It's a cool night outside the Island Bar as tribal representatives of Planet Lamma gather for the debut gig by space-funksters Matt Steele and the Voigtians. They're touching down in this tiny corner of the cosmos to treat us to a bubbling stew of synth squeals, galactic guitars, bubbling base, holistic horns and deep space drums. Well, at least that's what I'm hoping for, but I usually set my expectations low, so I'm not disappointed...

The Voigtians are Nude minus Donna and Paul on vocals. They're augmented by John Transnoodle on guitar, The (formerly) Mysterious Mr. B. on sax and Hamada on world beat rhythm guitar. Matt is back left on stage on keyboards, while Barnaby Bruce (BB) is to the right, holding down the drum stool. In front are Kevin on bass, Sam Bruce (SB) on trumpet, Tony on sax and Hamada and John on guitars.

The first two tunes are are an easy paced shuffle funk blues, helping the band to gel and jam. The drums and bass are meshing, with the keys. It's more like Galliano or Stereo MC's in tempo than say, Jamiroquai, and the horn section blends in well. The third tune is a sort of Thelonius Monk tribute, according to SB. The cooler hues hint at silent swathes of space, star-flecked and dusted with cosmic debris. (I said I keep my expectations low)

The bar's getting crowded. Kelly is dancing with Peter Berry. She mentions in passing that she "loves a good horn" and the boys don't disappoint her. Kumi's arrived (without her drum). Hugh, stickman with Red Star Rising, is settling in up front and grooving along. Hamada is a little lost in the mix, - a liquid ripple of notes emerging now and then at an ambient level - more felt than heard. John adds a touch of punk bravado, his guitar slung slow like Paul Simenon (Clash) while running through the Gang Of Four book of guitar licks and plucks.

Things get speedier and more unhinged when Matt swaps his Hammond organ sounds for a Moog. SB replaces Kevin on bass and plays a spartan, repetitive line. Barnaby locks into the groove and Matt layers squollops and squirtles of prime Sixties Synth throughout the mix. Think Don Preston on mini-Moog with The Mothers of Invention. Or Sun Ra's Arkestra freakouts, but on a smaller scale.

Time for a break and the crowd doesn't get any smaller. Andrew Transnoodle has arrived to replace Hamada. Josh (the Transnoodle voxman) is here with wife Colette. Steve Cray has popped in along with Squinty John the YSWanker. Lamma-Gung seems to have dosed his camera with liquid LSD, judging from the Hubble-inspired photos he's producing (see here). Tamara and Rana are bopping about up front, but it's too crowded to dance for long.

The second set is an alternative take of the preceding one. Among the highlights (ahem) is Kevin playing trumpet while Sam doodles on his bass. Later Sam goes all Nigel Tuffnell and strums the bass one-handed while holding his trumpet as it feeds back from the microphone. BB has done the hard yards around his drumkit. The guitars have swung throughout and the horns have ranged from Herb Alpert to Wynton Marsalis (like I said...) Overall a great night. The cosmic collision has become collaboration and a few new proto-star bands could coalesce. Keep Searching The Skies.

Barney Bruce - Voigtian Public Relations Guru and Master of Interplanetary Communications, following up on our story from Jan 18:

Hello there - hear you wanted to know the setlist from last night:

1. Set: Traditional Voigtian dance tune; 681; Blue Monk; Descarga Extraterrestre; Blue Bossa; Activate the D-Beam.

2. Set: Song For My Father; Lost in the Pampas; Theme to "Matt Steele"; Samba de Tonterias; Voigtian Wedding Dance; Funk de Comparsa.

Encore: Voigtian Planetary Anthem (Club Version)

Also, a bit more info on the band:

Matt Steele is a freelance traveler in outer space. On his most recent trip, he overheard some traditional Voigtian music emanating from a nearby star-cluster. He tracked down the beings responsible and invited them back to Earth for an indefinite period.

More to follow...

A few days after the gig:

I'd like to provide more information about the Voigtians, but they seem to have left the planet, as mysteriously as they arrived. I've checked with Matt Steele, but he knows nothing either. However, he promises to pass on our regards next time he's in that region of the Universe.

P.S. The photo gallery by Amanda Levin -Artist of the Month, currently exhibiting in BBC (Banyan Bay Café), is also online now! Check it out!

Jan 24:  Your Ad on This Page for $333/Month!

Chinese New Year Special Offer:

Click here for English Ratecard - Chinese Ratecard

Lamma-zine is a daily online newspaper for and about the Lamma Island community.

Your ad will reach tens of thousands of people in HK and on Lamma, residents and tourists. For more details, click here.

Full service, all included: We'll photograph, produce and insert the ad for you.

Readers: Over 2,500 subscribers and 3.8 million hits/month (Dec 2006). #1 Lamma website, 4.5 years old.

#1 in Google: is the top search result on Google for "Lamma Island". Your ad will be seen first at top, one click from the top search result.

Free web pages:  Like a mini website, linked from your ad, plus free advertorial stories about your business.

Payment: Quarterly. All forms of payment OK, even barter of up to 25%.

Special Offer valid till Chin. New Year, Feb 17, 2007, ONLY!

333/month for an ad on lower left side of this home page (see Island Bar ad), plus all other top level pages (1 year commitment, quarterly payment).

$800/month for your ad on the top of the pages, high or wide format. (1 year commitment, quarterly payment).

For 4-month trial period: $900 for top and $375 for lower left of home page (no free web pages and advertorials).

Jan 23:  Protest Against ESF School Rezoning

(Click above for large-size photos. For larger, 10 MPixel files for printing, contact me)

Monday, Jan 22, 2007, 3:45pm, Yung Shue Wan ferry pier:

Lamma children coming off the 3:15pm ferry from Central, returning from the ESF Kennedy School (plus a few friends), posing for a group photo in protest of the ESF rezoning Lamma Island from Kennedy School to Bradbury School.

The parents are very upset about this and are taking various actions like letter writing and getting their objections publicised in the SCMP and other media, inviting me to take pictures for the Lamma-zine. It wasn't easy to get this unruly flock of children to remain still for more than a few nanoseconds!

These village kids are truly a special breed - happy, vivacious, communicative, outgoing, fun-loving, but well-adjusted and often quite brilliant in school as well. They're growing up in Lamma's green, car-free village community, many of them attending one of the best schools on HK Island: Kennedy School - feeding into the world-famous West Island School. The best of both worlds at home and in school!

Here's a summary of reasons for the objections of the parents to the rezoning plans of the ESF (English Schools Foundation, a govt.-sponsored group of private English-language schools):

Everytimeagoodtime - one of the concerned parents of the 11 children of the August 2007 ESF Primary School intake from Lamma:

You may or may not know that the ESF (English Schools Foundation) has changed the catchment zones for Kennedy School. Now children from Lamma Island who want to go the ESF Kennedy School are unable to go and will have to go the Bradbury School which is located on Stubbs Rd.

This causes many problems. But the main concern is that children who apply this year will not go to the same school that the rest of the children they have grown up with go to. As Lamma is a unique community it would seem a shame.

There are also logistical issues. The children going to Bradbury will have to be on the seven o’clock ferry and will have to catch the 3:50 ferry home. That’s too long for these young kids (4-5 year olds) to be out.

Also, the Bradbury School is located on a busy main road and the playground is right next to it. Bradbury also has fewer facilities with only one gym for the kids to use, where as the Kennedy school has an ICT suite, a music studio, a large library and a specialist room for Mandarin teaching. It is also located opposite the Stanley Ho Sports Ground which is regularly used for swimming lessons for all children in years 2-6, and their playing field for games sessions.

The change in catchment zones will also affect children who already have brothers/sisters at Kennedy School. Parents will have to decide if they want their children to go to school at Kennedy with their brothers/sisters or go to the Bradbury with their friends that they went to Kindergarten with.

A group of concerned parents has got together to see if they can change the new zoning policy and we are looking for support. In the next few days there will be a petition that you can sign in support. It will be located at the Green Cottage restaurant.

The kids of Lamma have been going to Kennedy for the past 15 years and we want them to keep going. Please sign the petition and show your support.

The parents' objection letter - sent to the English Schools Foundation - mentions additional problems, like more expensive traveling costs, stormy weather, socialising outside of school and less school facilities.

I really loved this wonderful introduction passage about Lamma children:

Community Life Style

Lamma Island offers a fully integrated village life style, where people look out for one another and genuinely value the support network which comes of our close knit community.  A large percentage of the inhabitants of Lamma Island have been residents for many years, particularly those with children attending Kennedy School already or those whose children are/were to attend Kennedy School in the future.

Although families do need to move on, Lamma is not as transient as other areas of Hong Kong and the majority of the children affected this year have known and played with each other since birth.  They also have many close contacts and relations with the children that are already attending Kennedy School, ties which have been formed not only through informal play dates organised by the parents, but more organised pre-school activities such as Suncastle and the Hang Out which cater for children up to primary school age.  There are also various other “clubs” such as Fit Kids and Football School, where our children have practised exercise and sports together with other children on Lamma between the ages of 2 to 9 years of age.

There are also many festival celebrations organised for our children throughout the year. “Trick or treating” involves children from across age groups at Halloween, waiting for Santa to arrive in his Sedan Chair for Operation Santa Claus, Santa on the Beach at Christmas time involving a bonfire at sunset and the passing of presents by a Lamma father playing Santa, playing on the beach together at sunset to celebrate the Lantern Festival, the Lamma Fun Day to name but a few.  All of these activities regularly bring our families together and it is through this type of contact and shared experiences that the bond is formed and strengthened.

We warmly invite you to visit the playground in the afternoon or at the weekend to see the friendships and bonds that have developed between our children to understand the spirit that is unique to our community and we feel that the proposed change in the catchment areas for Lamma Island will have a negative and detrimental effect on this unity.

There's an active forum about this topic: Changes at ESF that will affect all…

Please sign the anti-rezoning petition at the Green Cottage restaurant!

Jan 22:  'Thanks for Buying Me Books!'

Daniel MomentEye - Moment Productions, ph: 9122 2849:

(animated banner below by L-G)

Hey, thanks everyone: You bought me books!

This is what I bought with all the advertising money I've received from Revver so far. In return here is another episode of the show.

Thanks for your attention.

Jan 21:  A Celebration of Masculine Carnal Desires?

From the Dec 2006 issue of JUICE magazine, a newly launched, free, monthly print magazine about music.

Pictures by Yours Truly. See more pictures by clicking below:

Jan 20:  Mooching Lamma Mates?

This is this week's cover of the English weekly print magazine "HK Magazine", an illustration for their cover story about "Rich Friend, Poor Friend".

Quite a number of proud Lammaites took offense at this cheap shot, which is continuing a long tradition of cheap shots at Lamma's expense in HK Magazine. Actually, Lammaites are quite used to this and we usually take it in our stride. I used to make cheap shots myself when I was living smugly on HK Island. "The very center of HK and why would you ever leave the island anyway!", I used to say. A Lamma Dragonboat lady was working for me back then and she took my silly remarks in her stride with the typical great sense of humour of a true Lammaite. Now the shoe's on the other foot...

This cover incited numerous messages in our forum in a single day and expanded into personal experiences of non-Lammaites finding out where we live. The old clichés like "Hippy Island" don't fit Lamma at all anymore, but we don't really mind them (too much) as Tavis pointed out: "Well, if it keeps the rents down and helps to prevent the overcrowding of paradise by uptight metrosexual riff raff, then I guess I can learn to put up with a little abuse Smile."

Insomniac's favorite Lamma quote was Michael Shakespeare for BC magazine:
"When I mentioned to people that I used to live on Lamma they said, oh, I didn't know you smoke pot".

Birdface writes: "I went to a Persian carpet store looking around and was shown some very nice Nain and Qum rugs. The merchant asked me where I lived. When I said Lamma, he immediately ushered me to another part of the showroom and said 'We have some very nice cheap ones too!'"

When looking at the Lamma-zine stories of just the last few days, I'm probably doing my very own part of keeping Lamma's reputation as a weird'n'wacky place alive with stories and pictures about hairy scrambles, alien cults, our cute windmill, pinko dragonboaters, shameless photographers, dog eggs, pink oboes and other dubious Lamma achievements... I'm guilty as charged and proud of it, too!

Join in with your own Lamma cliché experiences: Lamma Moochers?

P.S. Why, oh why is HK Magazine not available ANYWHERE on Lamma? Many of us love reading it, myself included, and have to leave our island reluctantly to get it every week. It's a free magazine after all and we Lammaites just love anything free, for example mooching a free lunch! Oops, sorry!

Jan 19:  'A Good Vehicle for Nonprofit Organisations'

It's always nice for the Lamma-zine to be featured on other websites, especially when it's a friendly, positive story like this one I found by searching the web:

Hong Kong Nonprofit Journal:

The Lamma-zine Blog is a good vehicle for nonprofit organisations working in Lamma Island to keep in touch with not only the Lamma community but other Hongkongers and tourists interested to learn more about Lamma and their activities. For example, I found the hyperlink to Lamma Animal Welfare Centre which is a nonprofit I'm not aware of previously...

This 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, 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.

All photos, text & graphics by Lamma-Gung, if not otherwise credited. Free subscriptions!

We always say development begins at home. However here in Hong Kong we don't have a lot of communities like Lamma that have a rich community life...

Jan 18:  The Voigtians New Cult or Alien Race?

(Click above for details)

According to the all-mighty, divine oracle Google, a Voigtian is a "Gaussian convolution of Lorentzians". Sounds like something mathemagical, I think...

But in this case it refers to disciples of Lamma Celebrity Kevin Voigt, nudist, Transnoodler, man-about-the-village and Mr. "Doesn't he look like Jesus?" (see right). He seems to be using his well-deserved local fame to found a new cult, oh-so-modestly naming it after himself:
the Voigtians!

I contacted him by v-mail (Voigtian mail, a telepathic, reliable version of our old-fashioned email, not prone to undersea cable breaks):

"Dear Honourable Leader of the Voigtians,

"Please tell me more about your new personal fan club which will make its premier on Saturday, probably in some kind of public worshipping of your enlightened person? My wife is in the Jacky Cheung fan club, but I’m sure your fan club will soon grow much bigger and more famous, probably reaching True Cult Status very soon!"

The Cult's Leader, the Voigtian-in-Chief, replied within a few nanoseconds:

"Really the driving force behind the band is Barney Bruce, the conga-playing member of Nude (despite the name -- both Matt and I learned what we are calling ourselves when we saw the signs hanging up; got a good chuckle over it)."

Hah! A very likely story! Who'd believe it! False modesty is so unbecoming in a Cult Leader! Be proud, be brash, be arrogant!

Anyway, meet the Voigtians in person on Saturday night at The Island Bar. They'll have a recruitment party and might perform some of their otherworldly tunes live to attract new disciples into their cult. I've animated their formerly static banner above, trying to make it a bit more "spacey".

Barney, High Priest of the Voigtians, v-mails:

"I've put the thing together, and will be playing drums/percussion.

"A couple of weeks ago, Matt Steele returned from outer space, accompanied by the Voigtians, who are some aliens he met. This Saturday (20th January) they will be performing together at the Island Bar on Lamma Island, after 9pm.

The music will consist of versions of tunes commonly known on Earth as 'Jazz', and performances of traditional Voigtian music transferred to Earth-based instruments. Listeners' brains will be absorbed." 

It sounds like their "Sci-fi Latin Mutant Disco Mashup" will enrapture the audience, enlightening them to enter into joygasmic-ecstatic "Gaussian convolutions of Lorentzians"... Should be great fun!

P.S. After seeing the story above, the High Priest of the Voigtians v-mailed me again:

"Thanks for the front-page splash!

"But I just want to correct some misconceptions:

The Voigtians aren't a cult, but an alien race. The resemblance to Kevin's name is purely coincidental. Here is a picture of a Voigtian:"

Well, do YOU believe him? Sounds like another Alien Conspiracy to me! Bah, humbug!

Jan 17:  Who's the Hairiest?

Jan 16:  Powerful, Passionate and oh so Pretty!

"The girliest-looking, toughest talking, meanest paddling crew of Ladies will hit the water on January 26-27 for introductory sessions for the new season. Join us on January 21 - Sunday - at 3pm in the Island Bar to learn more and sign up for a season of tough training and brilliant fun.

Lamma Ladies Dragon Boating: less fattening than chocolate, tan lines to die for, and all the pink you could ever imagine."

Click for email, poster and website or call Captain Gina at 9121 3648.

...and not to be out-done or out-paddled, the men's team is also becoming hyper-active these days: their recruitment poster (Feb 3), website and Blog:

...and the Lamma Outrigger Canoes are also back in action; for all Lammaites for whom Dragonboating is not enough yet, who yearn for even more action:

...and what do we hear about a planned Lamma International Dragon Boat Festival on Power Station Beach on June 10th! Woah! It looks like a fantastic, major event; check out the brand-new website:

Jan 15:  Scaly Breasted Munias!  Run for Your Lives!

Daniel MomentEye is back in action, after his hibernation since Dec 22. Such a lucky bear, no, a "guy looking like a bear"! In the meantime, this Lamma-zine has been publishing 22 stories on a daily basis, without a single day off! Welcome back, Daniel, we're looking forward to many more HK Copy News animations:

"We've got some big plans for the show so keep watching and keep spreading the word. Thanks!

"Daniel Clarke, Moment Productions, mobile: 9122 2849

Jan 14: The Semi-Shameless-Self-Promoting Local Photographer

Our Lamma Artist of the Month of January 2007 is Amanda Levin. With her great sense of humour she describes herself as a semi-shameless-self-promoting local photographer, eager for some publicity for her exhibition. Her photos are hanging on the walls of artist-friendly Banyan Bay Cafe right now and are for sale for the very modest cost of $500-700.

Click on the photo banner above to view her entire photo gallery.

Amanda Levin - Photographer:

I am a photographer only in as much as anyone with a camera can call themselves a photographer I have a camera and I take pictures But I like it a lot if that counts for anything. I have a great appreciation for photography and I have always loved to experiment with photos and cameras and in the end that is just what it is: a constant experiment. Sometimes I get the composition just right, some-times it is the light or the subject, other times it is the color. Once in a while, it all comes together.

I am from Northern California I usually say San Francisco because it is easier, but in truth I come from a funky little place called Petaluma. I have been teaching predominantly reluctant teenagers the joys of the Social Sciences since 1994. I love my work and it has been the primary motivation behind my photos. For as long as I can remember I have shared the photos from my travels with my students. My appreciation of landscape photography greatly increased about five years ago while I was working on my graduate thesis with a renowned photographer, Peter Goin, who helped me truly understand the potential of this genre of his art.

In 2005 I ventured to Asia for the first time. I have been in Hong Kong for only about a year, and these photos have been taken over the past sixteen months between Hong Kong, Lamma, Thailand, Lao and the US. These days I am living in Pak Kok with two four-legged friends and another who is mostly on two feet. I have been having a great time here, working, gardening, playing, and occasionally taking some pictures.

Jan 13:  Pink Stickers, Orange Jackets, and a Red Carpet

Why do all these friendly, smiling Lammaites above have pink stickers on their chests? Some of them even know about this website and the Lamma-zine! Quite a few are wearing bright orange jackets, possibly to attract voters' attentions?

Yes, they're all candidates in the Village Representative elections held this afternoon in Yung Shue Wan's "City Hall", meeting and greeting the voters who are trickling in to cast their precious and highly sought-after votes. They've even rolled out the red carpet!

Orderliness and corruption-free-ness of the elections were ensured by the neighbouring, tiny PoliceboxTM , holding a sizable, standing-room-only contingent of our valiant local police force, including Senior Inspector Woooo-Woooo! Breaking news of a (later cancelled) tsunami alarm by the HK Observatory - triggered by a massive earthquake north of Japan - could not dampen their usual, professional enthusiasm and steely determination to provide a safe and secure environment at the Polling Station, which is so close to Yung Shue Wan beach...

Having a closer look at some of the Election Platforms and ages of the candidates posted outside the Polling Station is pretty fascinating and informative (as long as you can read Chinese). Some are very detailed, formatted computer printouts and some are just a few hand-written characters. Here are the 6 candidates for Yung Shue Wan: 3 for Indigenous Rep and 3 for Resident Rep (click to enlarge):

Let's see in a few days who won and publish all their pictures here! So they can be approached by people in their villages to push them to work on realising some of their many election promises and be held accountable!

Pink, orange and red: Doesn't it almost look a bit like still tiny but sprouting seedlings of democracy at work at grassroots level? Are still weak but warming sun rays of hope for the distant-future democratic development of Hong Kong shining on these little seedlings, making them grow into colourful flowers someday?

Let's hope so...

P.S. Election results:

The guy who did the most advertising, Fong Man Sang, got the LEAST votes, only 26. To nobody's surprise, Ms. Yu Lai Fan - Lammadonna - won by a huge margin with 153 votes, renewing her mandate as Resident Village Representative. Congratulations! Ng Tam Hing managed a respectable 82 votes.

Jan 12:  'Serving the Villagers Wholeheartedly'

It's elections time again. The resident and indigenous village representatives will be elected for each village on Lamma Island tomorrow, Sat, Jan 13, noon - 7pm. Some of the villages are so small that nobody is actually standing for election; or only have one candidate who'll be winning by default. Here's a list of all villages and candidates (Word .DOC format) and some really great, extremely detailed maps of all the villages.

The only current non-Chinese village rep on all of Lamma is Baron Van Voorst Tot, the resident village rep for Lo Tik Wan, but he won't stand for this election anymore. There's a baron living on Lamma? He might make an interesting interview subject, about his ending term as a village rep. Does anybody knows how to get in touch with him?

The only hotly contested village seems to be Yung Shue Wan, by far the biggest and most populous village. Lammadonna (Ms. Yu Lai Fan, District Council Member, the only female candidate on all of Lamma) is defending her resident rep title against Fong Man Sang, a retired ship's captain, and Ng Tam Hing, another retiree. No info is available from or about Mr. Ng.

Fong Man Sang, the current indigenous village rep for Yung Shue Wan, is standing for resident rep this time. He's been advertising extensively on posters in the village and on leaflets sent to each household. Almost unheard of in local elections, there's even an English leaflet!

The election for indigenous village rep for Yung Shue Wan is a local, Chinese-only affair between a chef, a securities dealer and a surveyor.

Lammadonna has personally declined to provide any written info in Chinese or English about her election platform to the Lamma-zine, for reasons that were "lost in translation". There seem to be electoral and ICAC guidelines in place that prohibit all candidates strictly from promoting and advertising themselves in any media available outside their villages, which includes this placeblog and website.

But it's OK to publish my own photos of all the available posters (1), flyers (1) and banners (1). There are several big banners (see below) up and lots of posters (see above right). Check out our election forum for more info! The results will be announced in a few days here.

Jan 11:  Featured Placeblogger!

This Lamma-zine has just been honoured as the "Featured Placeblog" on the website! This is quite an honour as this major feature on their home page is selected from all known placeblog worldwide. Here's the full story, reproduced here for long-time posterity, before I'll be replaced by the next "Featured Placeblogger". In case, you wonder what a Placeblog is, check out our story on Jan 4, one week ago. - Introduction and "Seven Questions for A Placeblogger" by webmistress Lisa; replies by L-G: is a thriving blog and community forum for Lamma Island, the third largest of Hong Kong's outlying islands. Lamma Island has a population of 7,000 on its twelve square kilometers -- which are entirely car free! Here's site host Lamma-Gung on his site:

Your name (or nom de plume)? Lamma-Gung

Where do you live? Lamma Island, Hong Kong, China

When did you start your placeblog?

Aug 2002 as a weekly email newsletter. In its current strictly daily format: since Aug 1, 2004. Over 1,000 stories published so far, 2,500+ subscribers, up to 3 million hits/month (plus 1 million hits in the English and Chinese forums.)

What software do you use to run your placeblog?

Initially Blogger. Nowadays it’s all hand-made html for maximum flexibility and the heavy formatting, all done via straight-forward FrontPage-generated web pages, with JavaScript, CSS and PHP enhancements.

What inspired you to start your placeblog, and what are your future plans for it?

Writing about the rural village I just had moved to from the big city (Hong Kong Island) and had fallen in love with, promoting it to visitors and also promoting the local forum we had just started. As a former webmaster of huge websites and dotcom drop-out I was looking for another challenge, a hobby, ideally something I could do at home, without leaving the island. Initially, it was just a little non-profit labour of love, just a hobby that grew into an income-generating placeblog 1.5 years later.

Plans: More contributors of all types, especially regular columnists; more advertisers to support and grow it;
seeding other placeblogs in Hong Kong as the Lamma-zine seems to be the only one so far, as far as I know (not counting blogs that write about all of Hong Kong which is a pretty big and very diverse place, similar to a small country).

Best moments as a placeblogger?

Various interviews and mentions on radio, in newspapers and other websites.
Being voted online as the "Best Blog in Hong Kong".
Connecting people via the website, finding old friends and relatives.
Supporting the various local charities with intense promotions and seeing the results and donations.

Being taken seriously by more and more local people, getting unsolicited info sent to me from charities, bands, local businesses, politicians, police and other authorities, anybody who wants to publicise something for free. ;-)

Being named as the "Worst Blog Ever" in a local hate blog, absolutely hilarious! Just a few months later, in an Asia-wide Internet poll the Lamma-zine was voted as the Best Blog in Hong Kong.

Writing ironical stories about local events and "Lamma Celebrities", stories that made me laugh out loud while writing them. Most people here have a great sense of humour and don’t mind if I make gentle fun of them in a friendly way.
Becoming the only daily media of any kind about our island with less than 7,000 inhabitants, which is rarely ever covered by traditional media. Publishing a rare major Breaking News story before anybody else.

Many more happy moments when people come up to me on the street quite frequently, praising the website and offering new stories, tips and ideas on how to enhance and grow it. Getting feedback, good or bad.

Worst moment as a placeblogger?

Trolls swamping our forums 2 years ago, driving many members away. Trying to moderate them resulting in online attacks on myself, even verbal attacks and a physically threatening voice mail.

Lamma-Gung says about the illustration accompanying this post:

"It's a caricature of me by a famous local cartoonist who does almost daily political cartoons for Hong Kong’s largest English daily newspaper. It was part of a larger illustration introducing interviews with 6 'Lamma legends' who have done a lot of charity work.
The three Chinese characters are my Chinese nom de plume: 'Lamma-Gung', meaning 'Grandfather on Lamma' in Cantonese."

Jan 10:  Lamma Winds Q & A

Q & A - Insomniac and HK Electric: Senior forum member Insomniac posted these questions in our forum and I got HK Electric to answer them.
Thank you, Electric Girl!

(Photos by nohanjes, Insomniac, SiuYu, Anonymous_Guy, Vicky Baker and bobby chiu. Click to enlarge.

All photos have been featured and honoured before as Photos of the Day)

  1. Q: How do they get the wind turbine started, apart from just pointing it in the right direction of the wind?

    A: The wind turbine at Tai Ling works when wind blows over the angled blades, creating pressure differences across the blade sections and resulting in a turning force.  The turning force on the rotor will turn the shaft, gearbox and generator, which are all connected.  The rotor, gearbox and generator are housed inside the nacelle.  The gearbox increases the rotational speed, enabling the generator to produce electricity.  The yaw control enables the wind turbine to capture the maximum wind energy by turning the rotor and nacelle to face the wind. 

  2. Q: Why are there no litter bin (regular and recyclable) in or around Lamma Winds, and no site for a dog turd disposal unit?

    A: The Food and Environmental Hygiene Department are currently providing regular road sweeping service to the main public access road leading to Lamma Winds.  Two litter bins and one set of recycle bins have already been placed near the entrance.

  3. Q: Is the site available for rental, for example charity events, concerts and parties?

    A: Lamma Winds is a site for power generation and will not normally be available for event rentals not related to its operation. From time to time, our operation and maintenance staff may need to access the site for inspection and monitoring purposes.

  4. Q: Are you allowed to smoke there? Is it government land? Do the new anti-smoking laws apply which are in effect from Jan 1st?

    A: The station is not covered by the list of designated no smoking areas under the Smoking (Public Health) (Amendment) Ordinance. We however do not encourage visitors to smoke inside our station area.

  5. Q: When I am trying to fly a kite on a hill on a dead calm day with zero success, how come Lamma Winds is going at full speed at the same altitude?

    A: The wind turbine has an automatic start-up feature and can generate electricity when wind speed reaches 3 metres per second. The turbine can also orient itself in the direction of the wind.  

  6. Q: What is the reason for not now mounting a wind turbine on top of the three existing chimneys with a sort of revolving-restaurant apparatus? - just gently rotate it into the right wind direction?

    A: We do not consider it appropriate to attach objects like wind turbines to power plant chimneys for safety reason.

Jan 9:  The Bliss Clip

Yes, I've finally given in and joined the gazillions of iPod users. A belated birthday present from Lamma-Por, you can spot me now on Main Street or on the ferry listening to my "Bliss Clip" - an iPod shuffle - tapping my feet. The stamp size, low cost and ease of use have finally won me over, after years of mocking the standard iPods as way overpriced, oversized and underpowered, with many better, prettier and cheaper competitors on the market.

I think that with the new iPod shuffle a new level of "making gadgets as small as possible" has been reached, without giving up anything essential. Only 5 buttons and no screen, I was very skeptical. But it's got all you need for listening to music on the go. Who's going to watch photos, TV series or even movies on a tiny regular iPod screen? Tiny, 1GB of memory, enough for 240 songs or 15 complete CDs, auto-filled from your PC or Mac and only HK$650. Wow!

I better stop now before I sound like a commercial, oops, way too late! I might've gone over to the Dark Side of the Cult of Apple, Gates help me!

See you on the ferry while I'm in a state of musical bliss, with my mundane life and everyday reality filtered and greatly enhanced with the randomly shuffling soundtrack of my favourite music, fed by a stamp-size clip on my chest. No, I won't tell you what music, but it's an eclectic mix.

But I'm back to being iPod-less today, as Lamma-Por has just grabbed it back - "borrowing only", she called it - and taken it with her to the office...

P.S. Photos from the Apple website.

Jan 8:  What Would You Do With HK$1 Billion?

It's been revealed in Apple Daily that Lamma's most famous and richest son - international movie star Chow Yun-Fat - has accumulated a fortune of over HK$1 billion (US$130 million). Not bad for a farmer's son having grown up in sheer poverty in Tung O village on our little island. Quoting Wikipedia:

"Born on the tiny offshore Lamma Island of Hakka origins, Chow grew up in a farming community in a house with no electricity. He woke up at dawn each morning to help his mother sell dimsum and then he went to work in the fields. Chow's family moved to Hong Kong when he was ten. At seventeen, he quit school to help support the family by doing odd jobs - bellboy, postman, camera salesman, taxi driver.

His life started to change when he responded to a newspaper ad and his actor-trainee application was accepted by TVB, the local television station. He signed a three-year contract with the studio and made his acting debut. With his striking good looks and easy-going style, Chow became a heartthrob and a familiar face in soap operas that were exported internationally."

With his vast fortune, worthy of an emperor, it's most fitting that he's actually portraying a Tang dynasty emperor of China in his new movie playing in theatres worldwide right now.

And what is he planning to do with his vast fortune? He's happily married but childless and all his close relatives have been well taken care of - his mother, brother and other relatives are still living on Lamma. Giving it all away to charity, that's what he's planning to do with his HK$1 billion! Following in the footsteps of Bill Gates, Warren Buffet and a few other philanthropic billionaires, he's pledging almost all of it to charity in his will, while already donating huge sums to charity while he's still alive. Lamma's proud of you, Fat-Gor!

What would YOU do with HK$1 billion?

Photos above from the official movie website, slideshow by L-G.

Jan 7:  Dog Eggs

The Lamma-zine gets a lot of material submitted on an almost daily basis, photos, events, ideas, even stories, videos and animations. Most of it will end up somewhere on this website, here, in the Events Calendar, the photo galleries, the links list, the forums. But not everything is "suitable" and as the editor and publisher I have to make tough decisions sometimes. The 3 pictures below almost didn't make it as quite a lot of readers will consider them in bad taste.

But they make very valid and important problems about a main problem of living on Lamma: dog poo on the streets. Many irresponsible owners don't clean up after their dogs or let them run free much of the day. Many of us have stepped into those "dog eggs" and they pose a serious hygiene and disease threat to toddlers playing and adults alike. Dog eggs have always been a major topic in our forums and many solutions to the problem have been suggested, for example in the aptly named and very informative topic Is anyone sick of all the dog shit around?

The photos and captions below have been submitted by Insomniac. Click to enlarge them if you dare! Insomniac writes:

"The children just happened to have these toys with them (the dinosaurs) and ok, I did take the farm worker and dog... I had seen something similar on and thought it a good way to highlight the problem, without just having a photo of a pile of ****. No, we did not place the poos, just the toys."

1. Who the hell left these here? (Pak Kok)

2. Lammadog, we have a problem. My bucket o'shite overruneth...
    (Power Station Beach)

3. Call the cops... (Tai Peng)

Jan 6:  Players of the Lammaesque "Pink Oboe"

The kind of strange and unusual discoveries you can make in the most unexpected places! Prof Red Star submitted this find he came across during his academic online research. As a world-famous "Photojournalist, Rock Idol & Biblical Scholar" he was probably preparing another book about his scientific discoveries, when he checked out the entry for "Lamma Island" on Wikipedia. Wikipedia is the almost-official, global encyclopedia about Life, the Universe and Everything else, used daily by millions of people worldwide. This is what it says about "Lamma Island", besides the usual facts and touristy stuff:

"Lamma provides an alternative to the hectic life in the city. Property values and rental costs are also very cheap compared with those of central Hong Kong. Partly in consequence, there is a significant expatriate community on Lamma Island. The seclusion offered by the limited ferry schedule sees regular expatriate beach parties at night. (Photo from Wikipedia)

"It is also popular with younger people and a haven for artists, cartoonists and musicians, including some very skilled players of the Lammaesque "pink oboe". The different communities live together quite peacefully and successfully."

Pink oboes? On Lamma? Having written over 1,000 stories about Lamma Island for the last 4.5 years, I've never come across any pink oboe players! Till Prof Red Star, a native English speaker, unlike myself, pointed out the true meaning:

"During my extensive research I have found there to be a joker at large on planet Wikipedia where Lamma is concerned:

There are no prizes for guessing what the "pink oboe" is. Google it or see the Urban Dictionary."

(*BIG BLUSH!*} All the text on Wikipedia is written and edited by the readers themselves, so who's the joker who put this text in there???

Of course, there are really numerous "very skilled players of the 'pink oboe'" living on Lamma and they're most welcome here. But what's the difference between a regular "pink oboe" and a Lammaesque one? Does any reader know?

Jan 5:  BuffBellied Flowerpecker, Tai Peng

Is it an insult if we call a resident of Tai Peng Village a Buff-Bellied Flowerpecker? It's a cute term and they need a good sense of humour anyway, having to make that arduous trek into the mountainous and remote regions of Lamma every day. Rat snakes, cobras, centipedes and Giant Woodland spiders thrive and propagate happily up there, only occasionally disturbed by some buff-bellied human. These will get their proper rewards immediately for disturbing the true masters and rulers of Tai Peng, a little sting, a quick bite...

But the hardy "Buff-Bellied Flowerpeckers" venture on, managing to survive in the foreboding wilderness of Tai Peng... and we've got the photos to prove it!

Click here for our photo forum of Rarely seen birds of Lamma.

from left to right: Black-Naped Monarch Flycatcher (female) - by Yi Gou

Collared Scops Owl - by lyc

Japanese Paradise Flycatcher - by zep

Eyebrowed Thrush, Pak Kok - by zep

Buff-Bellied Flowerpecker, Tai Peng - by zep, Tai Peng

P.S. The Lamma Wildlife 2007 desktop calendars are now available from these two Main Street shops: Wonderful World and Consignment.

Free calendars for any former Lamma-zine contributor are also still available from me directly. Email me!

Jan 4:  I'm a Placeblogger

Do you know the feeling of labouring in near-anonymity and -obscurity on your own little labour of love for years and you don't know anybody else doing the same thing or even what to call what you're doing, making you feel a bit like a little weirdo and outcast? That's how I felt sometimes about this blog and website, not that it ever stopped me from continuing it with dogged determination.

There seemed to be nothing else quite like the Lamma-zine in HK, no community websites and blogs about our own little corner of the world, focusing exclusively on what's going on in one single location. I didn't even know what to call it: was it a personal blog, a group blog, a magazine, an online newspaper, or what?

Finally, it's been named officially and the media is jumping all over the new term already, so you might soon hear it from other sources as well. Thank you, Everton, for bringing this to my attention! So, without further ado, the Internet Word of the Day:


Everton - Forum member:

I frequently visit online communities, (eg friendster, myspace, facebook, ryze, zoominfo, ziggs, tribe, etc). As a headhunter I find them very useful. This morning I ran across this article below. I added the Lamma-zine presence as the very first Placeblog in Hong Kong!

Local news blog directory launches

By Frank Barnako
Last Update: 4:33 PM ET Jan 2, 2007 launched early this morning with listings for some 700 "hyper local" U.S. and international news blogs and Web sites. By early afternoon, it had almost 1,000. Clearly there's some interest and energy in the space.

Lisa Williams' directory of local blogs has had the backing of Dan Gillmor's Center for Citizen Media and the advice and encouragement of NYU Journalism associate professor Jay Rosen. They are a trio of evangelizers for local journalism on the Internet...

...She hopes a community of local bloggers will form, to share tips and tricks on how to cover news of their neighborhoods and also, perhaps, how to make some money through advertising.

In a comment about's launch, Jay Rosen said, "Looked at individually, the sites are interesting. Together, they could be a force."

The Lamma-zine is a Placeblog in the original definition of the word and Lamma-Gung is a Placeblogger! There are more like me out there and I'm part of a worldwide community of like-minded people! The definition of a placeblog reads almost like a manifesto for the Lamma-zine, a spot-on mission statement, our raison d'être. Let me quote the definition: - What is a Placeblog?

A placeblog is an act of sustained attention to a particular place over time.

It can be done by one person, a defined group of people, or in a way that’s open to community contribution.

It’s not a newspaper, though it may contain random acts of journalism.

It’s about the lived experience of a place.

Placeblogs are sometimes called "hyperlocal sites" because some of them focus on news events and items that cover a particular neighborhood in great detail - and in particular, places that might be too physically small or sparsely populated to attract much traditional media coverage. Because of this, many people have associated them with the term "citizen journalism," or journalism done by non-journalists.

Placeblogs, however, are about something broader than news alone. They're about the lived experience of a place. That experience may be news, or it may simply be about that part of our lives that isn't news but creates the texture of our daily lives: our commute, where we eat, conversations with our neighbors, the irritations and delights of living in a particular place among particular people. However, when news happens in a community, placeblogs often cover those events in unique and nontraditional ways, and provide a community watercooler to discuss those events.

  • "sustained attention to a particular place":
    Check! 4.5 years now and still standing...

  • "open to community contribution":
    Anytime, anybody, any contribution,...

  • "may contain random acts of journalism":
    I love that phrase, certainly being guilty myself of these random acts sometimes, together with several more experienced contributors and collaborators...

  • "places that might be too physically small or sparsely populated to attract much traditional media coverage":
    Yes, the Lamma-zine being the only media on our small island which is rarely mentioned in the traditional electronic and dead-tree media.

  • "about that part of our lives that isn't news but creates the texture of our daily lives: our commute, where we eat, conversations...":
    Why we love living here...

  • "a community watercooler to discuss local events":
    See forums for discussions in English and Chinese.

  • "the lived experience of a place":
    Yes! That's exactly what's it's all about!

Jan 3:  First Chinese Forum Update of 2007

Samson - Official Court Moderator of All Chinese Forums

(Photos by Lamma-Gung, )

  1. Goodbye 2006!

    Members of the Chinese forum bid 2006 a fond farewell by reviewing their ups and downs of the past 12 months.  Read more...

  2. Life Without Internet!

    The Boxing Day earthquake was felt by a few Lammaites, but its aftermath cut everyone off from our most valuable online community too…  Read more about:

    Earthquake and Internet Black-out

  3. Thank You, Ferry Workers!

    The sometimes absent-minded Samson sends his gratitude to the HKKF (ferry company) staff for finding his wallet…  Read more...

  4. Locked Out?

    It happens to the best of us – leaving the house keys inside. Newbie Cloudyblue asked what she could do to avoid the long wait for her spare key to arrive from town!  Read more...

  5. Mobile Reception

    As Wingman’s mobile phone service contract is up for renewal, he asks which telco offers the best reception on Lamma!  Read more...

  6. Crazy Bird… The Sequel!

    Since the crazy bird continued to cause much annoyance to Samson’s household by flying into the windows, nicole_kam and gisela offered some creative advise!  Read more...

  7. Wait a Minute, Mr. Postman, Hey-ey-ey-ey!

    The 600th topic in the Chinese forum introduced a somewhat familiar face, particularly for the Sha-Ponians – one of the hard-working postmen!  Read more...

  8. Where’s the Main Street Busker?

    This legendary Lamma character has been missing for quite some time. It has been revealed that he’s been sent to a nursing home!  Read more...

  9. House Cats vs Geckos

    Following the reported accidental gruesome murder of a gecko in November, it would appear that the geckos face a much more lively enemy across Lamma – house cats!  Read more...

  10. Feline Photos

    The enthusiastic cat keepers have again posted some new pictures of their much beloved pets on the Chinese forum!  Read more...

Jan 2:  Chinatown Pick the Party Pics

It was another one of those famous New Year's parties in The Island Bar. Going on till 5:30am. It was themed "Chinatown" with a red, golden and black dress code, which was totally ignored, of course, as the Lamma fashion code stipulates clearly, "Wear whatever you like, wherever and whenever you feel like it, and nobody will care!" Actually, I just made it up, but it captures the spirit and the everyday reality of Lamma's fashion, I think.

The "Chinatown" theme - potentially very un-Politically-Correct! - was avoided by also being ignored, except by a few ladies in amazing cheongsams. But nothing got in the way of simply having a great time ending the old year and starting the new one in the company of good friends and good booze. I'm still quite partial to their wonderful mulled wine! They've managed to go through several tubfuls since Christmas, I'd reckon...

Without further ado - who cares about these words anyway - let's pick the party pics to spot which of your friends where at the party and did they misbehave? All photos and captions submitted by Peter Berry. Click to enlarge:

Dragon boat ladies Dawn, Sharon and Katie - Alistair’s long-time best friend Indie - Dr. Frank and family

Louise Kirkman - Maria, Laura, David and Liz (the only non-resident of Lamma) - Harry and Dan

Jan 1:  Dubious Achievement Award

HK Magazine, Fri, Dec 22, 2006, cover story:

Congratulations to Alastair and his valiant, fearless troops for winning this highest honour that HK Magazine bestows upon HK people. Not quite the government's Golden Bauhinia award, but an award that many Lammaites would be proud to call their own! This was a "Dubious Achievement" in the true, glorious Lamma spirit of having an idea, convincing your mates of its greatness, all working together pretty hard on realising it, trying your very best, generating loads of publicity and making big, impressive noises about it.

If sometimes the results might not measure up to some arbitrary high standards, what the heck! Fun was had by all involved and at least they tried their very best, becoming ACTIVE about something like air pollution that bugs everybody! Much better than doing NOTHING about it like the rest of us! The massive publicity generated worldwide about the Lights Out HK campaign was the true success, setting some of the necessary changes in motion already, I think.

Lamma is proud of the Lights Out! guys 'n' gals!
And the SCMP has already declared Alastair a "Living Lamma Legend" a few weeks ago, drawn by Harry!

Read last month's stories...


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

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

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