Enjoying a great rooftop BBQ with a couple of good friends
today (many thanks, John & Eva!), we met a Junior Lammaite couple for the
first time who regaled us with their entertaining stories. My favourite one
was the one when they were trying to find out who the mysterious, anonymous
"Lamma-Gung" behind this website actually is. Not being eager to become a
local celebrity I'm fortunately still not widely known in person in Yung
Shue Wan (I think, but I might be completely mistaken?)
Our gracious host, John, said: "In the typical Lamma way, the guest list
for the BBQ included not only people, but also two dogs. The visiting male
dog brought an edible gift (a specially processed pig's ear imported from
Europe) for the dining pleasure of his female-canine host."
This German pair of Lamma newbies used this website
extensively to prepare and get settled in on Lamma. They were curious about
my identity and somebody described me as a "big guy". So they approached a
"big guy" in the grocery shop beside Spicy Island, asking him if he's
Lamma-Gung. He replied with an ironic and wonderfully self-deprecating
"No! That's the other fat bastard!".
Good one! I'll have to have a little talk with this friend of mine... But
him being British, "bastard" is a common greeting for a good friend in a
pub: "How do you do, you old bastard?" As he said "the OTHER
bastard", including himself, he'll get away with his remark this time. I'll
even buy the fat bastard a pint next time I'll meet him in any place that
offers pints at Happy Hour prices...
The German couple at our rooftop BBQ seemed quite happy of finally meeting
The Other Fat Bastard in person. TOFB continued to tell them more about
Lamma Island than they ever dared to ask about and more than they ever
wanted to know; especially the Dark Side and the Gossip/Rumour/Hearsay Side
I avoid writing about, living here and valuing my health and life far too
Please don't approach me in the village with the blunt question: "Are you
the other fat bastard?" when I'm in a bad mood (which is extremely rare,
admittedly). I might kick your ass...
Also, please don't approach me in the village in an overly friendly and
courteous way: "Are you the famous Lamma-Gung? I'm sooo very pleased to
finally meet you, as a long-time admirer of all your fantastic work!"
Then, after my initial shock and surprise of receiving compliments, and some
stunned silence, TOFB might kick your ass for being such a sycophant...
I've been looking for years for a moderator for a Lamma parenting forum, but
new parents just seem too busy 24-hours-a-day or simply too overwhelmed to
worry about much else than their baby. Only once did I succeed to have a new
father tell his side of the amazing experience of becoming a parent, but
never a new mother, despite trying quite a few friends with babies. Finally,
a volunteer has taken up the challenge and will be moderating the brand-new
Parenting on Lamma forum! This will be the only forum where your
baby pictures will be most welcome and even ooh-ed and aah-ed over!
Welcome, Superblue, to our great group of moderators. In her public
profile, she lists her occupation as "Supermodel and best selling
novelist" and her interests as "Living the dream, learning to live
with disappointment." Yes, she might fit in very well with our motley
moderator mob of myopic miserable misfits and maladjusted malodorous
If you'd like to become one of us as well, setting up your own forum, take
over a dormant one or co-moderate a well-running one,
Superblue - Brand-new moderator of
Parenting on Lamma forum.
kindly supplied two recent photos of her main qualification as a
moderator of this special forum:
Parenting on Lamma…
Hopefully this forum will act as a source of information for the
many questions new and experienced parents have on Lamma, ranging
from practical advice to sharing ideas about anything remotely to do
There are a number of parenting forums in HK, but none of them
cater for Lamma, and since Lamma has an ever growing population of
kids and parents then its about time we had our own parenting forum.
Do you think Lamma is a good place to bring up children? What are
the advantages of raising a family here? What are the options for
schooling your brood on Lamma? What is the healthcare like here?
Where can you find a good baby sitter? To have a helper or not?
Feel free to post anything from tips on how to get your teething
6 month old to sleep at 3 in the morning to discussions about
educating your kids in Hong Kong, from best doctors to use when LO
is ill to tips on homeopathy for babes. Share your pregnancy
questions, birth experiences, the shock of having a new baby, and
all the other joys and perils of parenthood!
Our new Music forum co-moderator
Yogesh alerted us to a firework tonight at the Cyberport, just
across the East Lamma Channel in the South of HK Island. It was organised to
celebrate the 10th anniversary of the HK SAR and rich people at Residence
Bel-air besides Cyberport paid for it. I took the ferry over to the Pak Kok
Village ferry pier and shot a few pictures across the East Lamma Channel
(maximum zoom, 1-3 seconds exposure, continuous shooting):
Scott Kanes - STBWFLA (Soon To Become World-Famous Lamma Author
and occasional Lamma book reviewer.
(L-G attended the book launch below and collected autographs from
as many people
mentioned in the book
as possible. Then, being too lazy to
write it myself, he asked Jay for a review of this new book by
(All photos by L-G: Sorry for the horrible picture quality. My
own camera was out for repair, so I borrowed a 5-old camera which
seemed to have a burnt-out photo sensor as I found out too late.)
The latest novel inspired by Hong
Kong's change of sovereignty, Hong Kong on Air by Muhammad Cohen
(2007, Blacksmith Books, 454 pages, HK$95), fails to mention Lamma
Island much. Yet it relies heavily on Lamma talent.
Cartoonist Harry Harrison, from
Lamma, created the cover art. With images of Prince Charles, Jiang
Zemin, Tung Chee-hwa, Chris Patten and others watched by shadowy
figures in a TV studio, Harry's cover may be the book's best
feature. And Pete Spurrier, formerly of Lamma, leads Blacksmith
Books, the publisher. Alan, senior moderator of our forums, edited
the book and another Lammaite is writing this book review, myself.
Cohen, a New Yorker, moved to Hong
Kong in 1995 to work on the startup of CNBC Asia. He stayed and
became a permanent resident. He also toiled at The Standard
newspaper and at Bloomberg News. Previously, he produced news at CNN
The author's TV background dominates
this first novel. He aspires to capture the mood as Hong Kong falls
under the Chinese mainland's sovereignty.
"I don't think scared is the correct
word, Mike," May says. "Somewhat apprehensive, perhaps. But mostly
just uncertain. For example, no one expects Hong Kong to adopt the
one-child policy, but many of my friends are pregnant now, just in
Above all, Cohen gives media watchers
an inside view of the antics behind TV newscasts. "Like everything
in television, or at least at FGN Asia, the control room is
backwards, overly complicated, too heavy on technology and light on
A flimsy plot surrounds two
Americans, Laura Wellesley, a Franklin Global Networks (FGN) Asia TV
producer, and her husband, Jeff Golden, an adulterous lingerie
Millions of Hong Kong people should
recognize the workaholism that engulfs Laura, allowing FGN Asia to
dominate her life and endanger her marriage. Equal numbers will spot
a familiar pattern in Jeff's nefarious activities on business trips
to Guangdong Province.
On every page, much rings true:
"Before we were never clear about what was expected, so people were
unsure about what to do. Edie says that's a very Chinese thing: give
vague instructions so you can criticize whatever goes wrong and
blame someone else."
Considering the realities of
post-1997 Hong Kong, the book's most tragic character may be Deng
Jiang Mao, an egotistical Chinese-American news-anchor who
frustrates Laura at work. On-air, he insists on kowtowing to the new
colonial masters in Beijing.
"Laura, I was looking through the
scripts and on B-4 we've got 'Tiananmen Square massacre'. Let's just
say sanctions were imposed in 1989…."
"Oh, come on…."
"Sometimes you just don't understand…. And 'massacre' is overkill."
The author tries hard, but Hong Kong
on Air isn't a humorous book. At best, it has amusing moments. For
an example of attempted humour gone wrong, consider Jeff's first
visit to a mainland massage parlour when he notices one of the
masseuse's "small, pointy breasts peeking – or maybe it's Beijing,
Jeff thinks – out of the robe".
Despite Hong Kong's fast pace, the
novel unfolds lethargically, its dialogue and descriptions bogged
down in tedious details. Hong Kong on Air might have been twice as
good at half the length. It earns a passing grade, just barely.
Approval rating: 51 per cent.
For more information:
Book cover by Harry
The author, Muhammad Cohen and Bernard Lo, presenter from Bloomberg
Live interview between two old friends in the local TV business
A Lammaite and an ex-Lammaite
Very tasty French snacks and great wine, all sponsored by
The book was
launched in Bookazine, Prince's Bldg. Amazing how close their logo
is to the Lamma-zine logo, isn't it?
replied the Bookazine PR
Dept. when L-G sent them this Lamma-zine logo
just for fun.
It's what the HK Govt. officially calls "The day following
Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival", a day for family visits. We managed to lure
ALL our closest relatives to come out to Lamma and enjoy an afternoon and
dinner in our humble abode. 3 stepchildren with 3 grandsons and 2
sons-in-law certainly filled our home with unusual noises and lots of
activity for a few hours. Being a Lamma-Gung (literally Lamma Ah-Gung,
meaning Lamma granddad) has its simple pleasures on these days of
traditional Chinese family gatherings. Lamma-Por (Lamma grandma), as the
beloved matriarch of the clan, is insisting on these gatherings and runs a
tight ship, being so happy and overjoyed seeing them all united, the first
time ever on Lamma.
Going to Lamma seems an awfully big and arduous adventure
for most HK Island residents, almost more distant than places like Thailand
which they visit more often than Lamma. One computer gamer in the family
only came along with a laptop PC, not to miss any opportunity to feed his
online gaming addiction. But then he fell asleep as he had played most of
the previous night already.
It's especially great fun seeing the grandsons growing up so
quickly. I remember my stepson at the same age as my oldest grandson is now,
2nd primary, riding on my shoulders in Ocean Park, 20 years ago. I've been
in HK for an entire generation already, omigosh! The best part of the visit
was a water hose spray vs. soap bubbles fight with my two grandsons. I can
still see their oh-so-surprised faces when their weird old grandpa chased
them around the rooftop with the water hose... The neighbours must have been
wondering about all the soap bubbles descending from our rooftop, some of
them blown by me so clumsily with a whistle-bubble blower. I haven't done
In revenge for my water hose, they opened most of the
drawers in my office and I spinned the naughtiest one around on my office
chair. Then we made up, got Thai Thai satays and Best Kebab garlic bread for
everybody and later enjoyed a great $1,000+ dinner at Lamcombe.
Here's a picture of the family gathering. Following the
anonymity rules of this site (you're getting full anonymity for all your
contributions if you request it), my face is under a black hood, like in
police arrests shown on TV: "Lamma-Gung arrested for disturbing the
public peace by using a noisy whistling soap bubble blower on his rooftop on a
By the way, that's the camera remote I'm holding up. I don't
ever aspire to be a Lamma Celebrity, appreciating my quiet, private life as
not many people recognise me on the ferry or in the village. Those who do
know me personally often don't know or care that I run this website. Rarely
ever do I get tomatoes and other rotten produce thrown at me on High Street.
But sometimes, rarely, people I don't know yet walk up to me and say
"Are you Lamma-Gung? Great website!" That's the way I like it, having
a tiny little celebrity status, but not too much...
Officiating guests and HK Electric volunteers
pictured after the clean up action, which collected a total of 35.6 kg of
"Results of a survey conducted by environmental group
Green Power on Mid-Autumn Festival celebrations revealed that people are
showing more concern for the environment. Fewer families discard empty moon
cake boxes and more prefer simpler packaging for moon cakes. The habits of
disposing moon cakes and plastic lanterns, however, still need to be
"The results were announced this morning at "The 15th Clean Up the World
in Hong Kong" held at Aberdeen Country Park. About 100 HK Electric
volunteers took part in cleaning up the barbecue site where people
celebrated Mid-Autumn Festival last night..."
Click here for the full story...
Dusky Shrike by HarryLi - Black Drongo by
Immature Plaintive Cuckoo by Anonymous_Guy
Black-capped Night Heron by HarryLi - Masked
Laughing Thrush by Anonymous_Guy - Lesser Coucal by Cokes
White-breasted Waterhen by HarryLi - Tailor Bird by Zep - Arctic Warbler by
Lamma's top 10 birds forum has been our No. 1 forum for quite some
time now, in terms of number of posts and number of views. They're closing
25,000 views and 1,000 posts, an almost unbeatable record on our
forum, I think! It's about time for another little promotion of this topic
on this home page, to get them to the 25,000 views mark as quickly as
Click here and you could be the 25,000th viewer!
The photos in there are looking so fantastic and many of them
have reached a professional level by now. They're the pride and joy of
Lamma.com.hk, probably its best success story and a main attraction to so
many people! Congratulations to Anonymous_Guy, HarryLi, Zep, Yi Gou,
Cokes and all the other great bird photographers, please continue for a
long time! New talent is most welcome!
Stop by the Yung Shue Wan Football Pitch tonight after 7pm,
if you can. One of the biggest local community events of the Chinese
calendar is taking place. Much of the village, especially the Chinese
community and their families, are joining in this Carnival, conveniently
held a few days before the official Mid-Autumn Festival coming Tuesday
night, Sep 25, all over HK.
To get an idea of what it'll all be about tonight, check out
If you see Lamma-Gung there taking photos - for example
shooting the Kung Fu demonstrations at three frames per second - say hello
and let me know what you love and hate about this website!
Musical tastes of Lammaites vary very widely, from
Yat Kha, a
Siberian punk band in Tuva that mixes traditional throat singing with punk
rock, to traditional Western classical music like the St Matthew Passion by
Johann Sebastian Bach, conducted by Wolfgang Gonnenwein. What's playing on
YOUR iPod on the ferry ride to/from town? Foreign body recommends:
"Melt-Banana, an insane Japanese avant-punk band I met in a squat
many years ago. Extremely hyper and noisy, their tracks last a few seconds
and then end abruptly. It's music for the ADHD generation.
Melt-Banana have even managed to marry some poetical lyrics to their spastic
madness, but nobody understands them. I can't even figure out if they sing
in English or Japanese!"
Classical music lovers might find the
Classical Music discussion in the brand-new
Spinoza's Web to their liking. This new forum has definitely the
most eclectic, sophisticated and hopefully thought- and discussion-provoking
topic titles of any forum on Lamma.com.hk. Check these out and don't
be shy posting in there:
My axiom needs changing,
where you can "trade one paradigm shift for three axiom changes"
or borrow "an axiomatic washing machine if any
one wants to use it. You can also add opinion softener to the rinse."
Verbosity, where you can
discuss the "differences between dead silence and sweet silence"
and where I found out that I am "committed to tolerance and fairness,
genuinely, you refuse to consider things at a level of meaning, wrongly
assuming that if you stay at external measures, you won't error in
looking at meanings with bias. Laudable, but then you miss things. "
Fragment of a screenplay for a film in verse
A "flame"...from 17th century Amsterdam,
where you can learn from Spinoza the Ghost Teacher that
"it is of course picturesque, and quite in the Romantic,
Byronic, tradition to be hanged for a sheep as for a lamb, and to take
the Devil's part. Nice work if you can get it, total Negation including
self-abnegation, but hard on the liver in my experience."
bullying, trolling or personal attacks in Spinoza's Web, where
Granola Eater, Casanova and I tried to test Spinoza's tolerance of being
teased in his own forum and evicting us. No luck so far! Spinoza came up
with this eternal line: "The Thane from Spain farts manly in the
Train"; Granola Eater came up with the new Lamma catch phrase,
"Don't be a Spinoza!". Use it
widely but not wisely!
Many of you might know that Parksy got busted and fined for
the above offence recently, stemming from an all-night party in the (in)famous
"Haunted House" between Tai Peng and Pak Kok on March 17/18.
He's in good company as Mr DickStock has been fined for "noise annoyance" at
several of the yearly DickStock concerts. Parksy pleaded not guilty and felt
treated very unfairly by the local police and the judicial system,
considering a judicial review or appeal against the fine. He invited his
many friends by email to support him and show up at his Review Hearing
yesterday at a Kwun Tong Magistracy court. Besides his lovely wife Tiffany,
I was the only one showing up.
The complex legal issues of this case are beyond the scope of
the Lamma-zine and I don't want to bore anybody with the legalese and
confusing details of the court case. I can't judge the (un)fairness of the
fine and why he was the only one fined, not being the party organiser. He
looks like being made the only scapegoat because he loaned the "sound
magnifier" for free to the party, like he does for the Lamma Fun Day every
year and other private parties of his friends. But using the abandoned but
privately owned Haunted House will have to stop from now on and better,
legal venues have to be found for future parties, if any. So let's have a
last look at this beautiful (but illegal) graffiti inside the Haunted House:
Not a single friend showing up at his Review Hearing to give
him any kind of moral support is what struck and disappointed Parksy,
Tiffany and me most, despite his sending out all the details to so many
"friends" and inviting them to come. He stuck his neck out borrowing his own
personal, expensive, professional light and sound equipment for the party. I
wonder if there'll be any more parties using Parksy's equipment in the near
or distant future as he seems very disillusioned and frustrated now about
the whole matter.
The Lamma community has changed, becoming more fragmented,
with less solidarity and less gratitude than Parksy & Tiffany experienced
even just a few years ago. Party-goers like to consume the entertainment and
have fun, but don't like to help organising or even supporting the people
providing the setup work and the equipment for free to the parties. When
somebody's being fined they're left taking all the blame and the punishment
themselves. Old-fashioned gratitude, support and a simple thank-you seem to
have become an increasingly rare, endangered but precious commodity on Lamma.
Frankly, Parksy's story struck a deep chord with me and I also
feel the same quite often about the Lamma-zine and the often sorely missing
feedback (good or bad) and the just minimal support of any kind I receive.
It's just enough to survive (barely), but not enough to really prosper and
grow the website. But fortunately I'm self-motivated and soldier on, for now
at least. But an occasional click on "Email to the Editor" at the top
of every single Lamma-zine story would go a long way to motivate me... and
so would an occasional kind word to Parksy...
I think that the least the actual party-goers of that Haunted
House party could do is help Parksy pay that $1,200
fine, showing their solidarity and gratitude for all the work
he's put in to make these parties happen. Make a significant donation to him
personally to pay the significant fine, make him smile again and hope that
he'll continue to provide the equipment for future parties in legal venues
far away from private houses so that noise and other complaints can be
avoided in the future!
One of the many pleasures of living on Lamma are the close
encounters with the local wildlife, butterflies, birds, dogs. You know,
living on the countryside, close to nature and all that. But there are also
other members of the animal kingdom to be encountered, sometimes inside our
flats. The reactions of Lammaites meeting these uninvited guests
unexpectedly vary from "Oh, so cute!" to
"Urgent!! Help! Big Gecko in the kitchen!".
(Photo by Don Ellis on
Kleptography.com, who also found this big smiling gecko in his HK
kitchen at night, but grabbed his camera instead of panicking.)
This kitchen counter encounter happened to our
forum member schnuck just today. She totally freaked out, afraid of
entering her own kitchen now, and she might be starving soon! Other forum members calmed her down and gave advice of
varying usefulness, from "Leave it alone and it will go away" to
"Pack your bags, hand the keys back, and head for the the nearest sterile
zone, pick up a can of bug spray on the way".
The reactions from Lammaites to the basically harmless geckos
vary from "cute face" to "I loathe geckos!", one even
"found the geckos on the walls one of the pleasures of living
here as they scurry around eating stray insects and clucking as they chased
one another round the ceilings."
Slezza, who also loathes geckos,
defended her phobia in a beautifully poetic way:
"Allow me my innocent, spontaneous, irrational phobias. I
love nature and can sit for hours looking at a bug on a leaf and the shape
of clouds etc ad nausea, dreamily meditating on the cosmic awesomeness of it
all, watching aeons of time rise and fall before my mind's eyes as the great
remorseless miracle of evolution plays out against the speeding sweep of
glaciers and the rise and fall of mountain ranges.
"But geckos are still revolting. No doubt there's an
evolutionary reason for such phobias too. Not that I'm deterministic about
the relationship between evolution and psychology.
"And yes, I know they are harmless, but that is NOT THE
Check the forum out by yourself and weigh in with your own
P.S. A 1.5-metre long Monitor Lizard has just been found
on the way to Pak Kok and is currently fostered by Chicken House,
who's looking for the owner. Have you lost one recently? ;-)
Monitor Lizard in the Garden:
"I have a lovely guy in my garden, very friendly, gets
onto my lap, likes the dogs (and eats their food).
He is living in my garden and under my bed. I don't have a problem with
this, but if he belongs to anyone I would love to know. I called Him or Her
Zep commented that
"Maybe Eddie would like to form a playgroup with Schnuck's
giant gecko? Any other owners of large reptiles care to join?"
It's been a while since we've added a brand-new forum to our
line-up. Our controversial "Ghost Teacher", Spinoza1112, has been so
active and talkative recently that I decided to give him his own forum and
he eagerly accepted. Here's his description of
Spinoza's Web, the latest Special Interest forum on our still
growing Lamma.com.hk forum.
This is forum #50 we've set up in the last 5 years, some have
failed, some have been renamed, regrouped or consolidated, but most are
still doing pretty well, spanning an amazingly wide range from the low-brow
Fight Club to the high-brow Spinoza's Web.
Multi-talented Renaissance man Spinoza1112 will also show an
exhibition in Lamma's only art gallery, The Cyan Studio, on Oct 14, titled
"Wild Teenage Beatnik Ghost Dancers of Lamma Island." More about
If you'd like to start a new Special Interest forum or a
forum in another language, just
If you'd like to become a co-moderator of an active forum, just
If you'd like to take over an existing dormant forum to reawaken and
rejuvenate it (for example: Music, Bars & Restaurants, Hang-ups & Hangovers,
Ferries, "Buy & Sell, Rent & Let", "Services, Work, Personals", "Travelling
Spinoza1112 - describing the new
Spinoza's Web forum:
forum for safe discussion of art, music, philosophy,
and what's for dinner, moderated by spinoza1112.
No bullying: no global assertions of the form "you
are a butthead", for these are flames of level 1.
Level 2 and level 3 flaming welcome, where level 2
is "what you do sucks" and level 3 is "what you like
Verbosity considered as a small
ratio x/y of ideas x to words y will be tolerated
but, strangely in view of a view of the originator,
Nature having been conquered at
least until recently we are hard wired for struggle
therefore we Fight one another and must study to
overcome, not Nature, but Man. We are hand to hand.
Curiosity disappears, all problems thought to be
solved. That "end of history" view, which produces
necessarily the nihilism we see, is dying as Nature
takes her revenge. Absolute curiosity returns as in
what the FUCK was that.
There are two types of trolls. The
older type posts ironically, without meaning what he
says, in order to get a response. The newer usage is
xenophobic and nasty because it refers to someone
being honest as he can, but whose concerns or style
differ from the majority. Trolling in the old sense
will be moderated. Trolling in the new sense is
This month's artist is Chris Hall, a digital
artist living on Lamma, who works on the PC, often using digital photos as a
starting point. Chris's computer-generated art had a showing at Hong Kong's
Culture Club Gallery back in August.
Like many Lammaites, Chris has lived and
worked in a number of countries, and although born a Brit completed graduate
work in Canada and the US, completing a PhD in English at Binghamton
University, New York, where he specialized in postmodernism. (Whatever that
may be, Chris says he doesn't know.) He now works as a technology
Below is a composite of recent work by Chris
Hall, taken from his website,
where you can take a detailed look at his output.
the composite is image LL0014, from the Leave & Leaf series.
improvisatory works are available as A4 or A3 prints, either singly or in
sets and series, including limited editions. Anyone in the Hong Kong area,
including Shenzhen and Shekou, would be able to see samples in person before
making a purchase.
Contact Chris by
Usually, I start out with a
digital photo or two and then morph things in
software in a jazzy, improvisatory way, sometimes
mimicking traditional darkroom techniques, such as
the sandwiching of negatives.
I'm only concerned with the
play of color (or absence of color), form and
painterliness (even though the work is digital in
origin). There is no literary content in the work,
no symbolism, nothing philosophical, nothing that
could be expressed as or reduced to a text. Anyone
familiar with developments in contemporary art will
know where I'm coming from.
I think digital art is of huge
importance because it is democratic and liberating.
Most of the stuff I do is done in software
is free. There's almost no investment in expensive
materials and a studio or darkroom, unless you
include the PC and a printer. Anybody could do it,
if they have a PC and maybe a simple point-and-shoot
digital camera. Educationists, take note! It's more
or less free; it's playful; it's without limits;
it's non-elitist. Whatever it taxes, it's not the
Children in national costumes presenting the
five most popular international dishes for the cooking competition
(all photos & captions by HK Electric)
Do you use enough electricity? Our friendly-neighbourhood
Lamma Power Station has been lamenting in a recent press release that HK
Island and Lamma Island's power consumption has only increased by 1.5% in
the first six months of this year, not quite keeping up with their hopes and
expectations of rising profits.
Should we all switch from using LPG gas for cooking our daily
meals to using electricity instead! The latest press release from HK
Electric is promoting electric cooking in their fancy new Home Cooking
A Bazaar of International Cuisines [11 September 2007]
So if we use no more gas, HK Electric can use this spare gas
for their new gas turbines to generate more electricity from gas, much
cleaner than the mountains of coal burnt every year. Then we can use this
electricity to cook and gain strength to earn money to pay for all this
expensive additional electricity we'll need for cooking! The cycle of life
and commerce goes on forever and ever...
But, on the other hand, HK Electric is promoting
"Energy Saving" and
Energy Efficiency and Conservation. I have to admit to being a
little bit perplexed about this seeming contradiction.
"He is perplexed", wrote a
QMH chief doctor into my official medical
file recently (referring to me not being happy about
being volleyed back and forth between different departments for the same case.)
Yes, I am perplexed and all these energy issues are just sooooo complicated,
aren't they? Let's just sit down and enjoy some uncomplicated great food,
cooked with electricity, of course!
Hall - This is the first chapter of what will hopefully grow
into a collaborative novel, titled Battle for Lamma. As the
definitive Lamma novel, it should be continued by different
Lammaites, a chapter at the time, preferably below 1,000 words but
not exceeding 1,500 words per chapter,
please. Full creative freedom, of course!
YOU like to continue this story started by Chris?
Chapter 1: The revenge of the dog turd
Raptor, real-estate entrepreneur and consultant to
the US property agency of Mogul, Mogul and Mogul,
looked in disgust at the sole of his left loafer. He
had just disembarked from Sea Spray, the Central to
Lamma Island ferry, venturing for the first time
into what he had been told was the world's last
bastion of hippydom, only to discover that dog turds
had to be negotiated every 10 meters or so.
wasn't clear to Raptor how he was going to clean his
shoe, but in the meantime, there were a few details
to take in. Hippies, as such, didn't seem to be in
evidence, but a twilight world of rickety boats,
narrow paths, restaurants called Sampan and ladies
in men's shirts, clearly awaited him. Basically, the
place looked like an Asian version of a derelict
English seaside town, falling into genteel poverty.
"What a crumb-bum place this is," thought Raptor, as
at last appeared an aging hippy, as prophesied,
with flowing silvery locks, helping to carry
furniture off the ferry while simultaneously reading
a book. "The island that time forgot," Raptor
finally verbalized, to no one in particular.
Raptor's eyes bulged in loathing as he took in the
waste of resources at every turn. Land ripe for
development was simply left covered in greenery.
Residential areas needed to be bulldozed of their
faded shacks and leased lodging houses. Lamma needed
re-development. For Percy Raptor, re-development was
a word close to sex. It turned him on. He needed a
drink as his throat dried in anticipation of
approaching pleasure. Yes, Lamma needed to be
bulldozed. Besides, there were oil reserves in the
Taiwan Strait and Raptor's friends in the CIA had
hinted right from the get-go that the US needed a
new base in Southeast Asia. They needed somewhere
unobtrusive, where agencies and facade businesses
could be set up. Spas, resorts, luxury apartments,
some local enforcers thrown in for good measure,
some back-handers left in a few Beijing bank
accounts, communications centers a go-go, a casino
or two, a new golf course, were already aching with
lust for untold billions in potential profit
felt an erection rising in his pants as he foresaw
the new tomorrow for Lamma and realized that for no
good reason, he was now outside a cutesy little
cafe-restaurant called the Lamma Love-in. "An
historic reference indeed," noted Raptor. "That's
about as cute as these kids get I would guess."
Anyway, anything for a beer, he thought, now that
the day's humidity was finally taking a toll on his
bulging boxer briefs and swollen member. But there
were revelations still awaiting him. As he bent his
quarter-back frame through the twee glass-paneled
entrance to the Love-in, he was surprised by the
sight of an odd box-like glass sign that dedicated
the Love-in to the owner's long-lost Filipina
girlfriend, Rosario dela Contemplacion dela Visayas.
"Christ," thought Raptor, "what kind of loony erects
a sign like that? This is an island of fruitcakes,
that's for sure."
seated in an ancient church pew close to the
waterfront, Raptor finally relaxed, despite the
smell of dog excrement that arose from his loafer
and a whiff of sewage blown in from the water.
Another ferry had arrived at the pier, and he
watched with some curiosity the motley crowd that
now flowed in like a tide of the down-at-heel. After
exactly 32 minutes, a waitress with a hauntingly
large bosom finally appeared. "Your good sir," she
declared, "we are honored to be of service. Do you
want anything to eat or drink." "I do; indeed I do,"
said Raptor, trying not to add expletives to his
sense of bemused astonishment. "Why do you think I'm
here, to admire the period architecture of the ferry
pier?" "Yes sir," she replied. Raptor, close to
snapping, finally grunted, "Haven't got all day,
like you folks. How about a menu?" "Yes, sir." "And
a beer. You have Carlsberg?" "Yes sir." "Don't call
me sir; call me Percy," he said, trying to smile.
"Where are you from honey?" "Manila, sir." "Don't
call me sir." "Yes sir. I mean, no sir."
this an island of the sane or an island mental
institution," wondered Raptor, "abandoned by the
British when they left?" Finally, a Carlsberg in
hand, he became magnanimous. These people were in
need of help. He would provide help, he and his
magnanimity was short-lived. He soon realized that
one of the island's mongrel canines, one of a group
of three now at his table, was inspecting his
shit-glazed shoe with interest. Raptor leapt from
the table, spilling the Carlsberg onto the shirt of
the Filipina waitress, further emphasizing her
generous natural assets. "Sir, let me help." She sat
him down, took the shoe, pulled a toilet brush as if
from nowhere and cleaned the loafer under a running
water faucet on the waterfront wall. In seconds his
shoe was clean. "I'm very grateful," murmured
Raptor, as a new Carlsberg was set down. "Let me
give you a tip." "Oh no sir, I cannot." "Why not?"
menu, sir. What would you like to eat?" Disregarding
seven varieties of vegetarian food, Raptor finally
settled for three fried eggs, a steak and French
fries in garlic butter. He awoke from a semi doze
when some 50 minutes later, the food finally
arrived. "Well," thought Raptor, "the place is
certainly a foodie's delight. You could spend your
whole day here simply eating, everything moves so
slowly." Still, after having his ego massaged by so
many obsequious "sirs," and after having managed to
get a good gander at the waitress's bra, he felt
hungry and ready for a steady demolition job on the
meal now at hand.
afraid of a heart attack, old bean?" inquired a
newcomer. "Doctor ordered you a cholesterol-rich
diet?" Raptor, hardly believing the effrontery that
had blown in with the sewage air, looked up to see a
grinning westerner, totally bald and heavily
tattooed, a cigarette dangling from one hand, the
other fondling yet another dog, one that looked like
it had skin disease. A gold ring adorned the left
earlobe of the grinning face. "I'm a Texan," said
Raptor. "Where I'm from, real men don't eat quiche
or vegetable curries." "If you don't get into an
organic meal or two, pretty soon you won't be eating
at all," countered the grinning monkey-face. "You'll
be six feet under. Here, let me be of help." Raptor
was handed a flyer for an organic food store that
also sold batik T-shirts and dresses, and
no," thought Raptor, "it's the sales pitch." He felt
like he was back in the US, confronting smiley
bike-riding Mormons. "My name is Van," grinned
monkey-face. "When my mum gave birth to me, she
listened to Astral Weeks all the time. So she named
me Van." Raptor failed to make the logical
connection, but he quickly realized that this would
have been a trendy early 1970s birthing technique.
The result was now standing before him. "I still cry
when I hear that album, Astral Weeks. Not that I'm
sad. I'm kind of happy and sad all at the same time.
You know what I mean? I think Van Morrison was a
genius. But he kind of self-destructed, know what I
mean? Poor old Janet Planet, she just couldn't take
it any more, know what I mean?"
winced, but he remembered his corporate training
classes. Culture was a relative thing. Go with the
client; go with the flow. Raptor tried it. He nodded
nonchalantly, "I know what you mean." Van lit up;
they had bonded. Raptor was suddenly afraid Van
would try to hug him. "My friend and I run the
store. It's on Main Street. If you spend more than
500 dollars in one day, we also throw in a free
Tarot reading, plus your computer-generated star
chart." "The 500 bucks, US or Hong Kong?" "US."
Raptor for one second wondered under what
circumstances he would be buying US$500 worth of
batik T-shirts. Still, times had moved on from the
60s. These kids were different. These kids were now
trying their hand at entrepreneurship and a
primitive form of commodity trading, even though it
could hardly be called capitalism as such.
Street?" countered Raptor, "I didn't notice a
street." "This IS Main Street," said monkey-face,
could have fooled me," grunted Raptor as he finally
staggered to his feet, stared in disbelief at the
bill, which alleged he had consumed 498 Hong Kong
dollars worth of food and drink, and finally
reasoned that it was worth it just to get out of the
place. The waitress took the money demurely, staring
at her shoes, as Raptor stole one final glance down
Flowers family (Katie, Eric, Christie & Billy):
The angels came
for our SkiffyDog last night, she's now in a
much more comfortable place. In case you didn't
know she was diagnosed with cancer of the spleen
amongst other organ troubles just 2 weeks ago.
She breathed her last at 11.45pm with Eric
beside her. She had been on Lamma for 10 years.
She now lies
within the hills over looking Gaia Valley and
the sea, very good Feng Shui for her.
She will be very
sadly missed by all of us in our family,
especially Billy who spent each day with her.
Christie was the same age and had known her all
of his life. I know many people on Lamma know
Skiffy and will wonder where she is, she had so
many special friends in the dog and human
Thanks to Hans,
Tiger, Kylie, Carey, Annie, Wardy and Carol for
extra loving and such care in her last days.
May she rest
in the peace of the hills
If you read this Placeblog or our forums occasionally and
you're not already living here, have you ever considered of joining our
little island community?
No way? Then you can simply skip this advice column
and skip to the next story!
Maybe? Read on, gentle reader, and get some advice straight from the
horse's mouth, so to speak, not implying that my mouth smells like a
horse's. But if you don't like our advice, don't look a gift horse in the
mouth even if it's a bit long in the tooth...
Should I Move to Lamma? forum topic, an American is considering a
job-related move to HK, checking out Lamma for his young family, asking many
general questions after browsing this website which should have many answers
already, from the
FAQuestions From Lamma Newbies. Senior Moderator Alan, tjungarayi
and I posted our straight and serious (for once!) personal replies and they
might be quite interesting and helpful for you if you're also considering a
move, showing the honest pros and cons of life on Lamma. If you do, a warm
"Welcome to our community!" from all of us at this website!
Check out replies to
Should I Move to Lamma? in our forum and add your very own
BEFORE: The over 2-metre high hedge on
the seawall outside the Temporary Helipad area, reserved for the future
Sewage Treatment Works...
AFTER: Photo taken today, from the ferry
pier, the hedge mostly destroyed.
The construction of the long overdue Permanent Helipad platform has
The "Crops Clearance" of the entire area, including a big portion of the
forested hillside, will follow soon...
Maureen Frank has been visiting Lamma recently for
Tanya's wedding. This bubbly and vivacious lady got herself pictured in this
Lamma-zine more than once. Now she's done it again, not just on Lamma but
also in a Canadian printed newspaper, the Kootenay Advertiser in her
Canadian home town of Cranbrook. She entered a photo showing Lamma's Peter
Ip and herself in front of the YSW Ferry Pier in the newspaper's "Goes
Everywhere Contest". It shows their readers all around the world in unusual
and exotic places, for example Lamma Island!
OK, that's a pretty bad-quality B/W photo. Let me see if I have a better
version in my extensive Lamma photo database. Ah, yes, here it is. Yep,
that's Peter's grin!
This "Goes Everywhere Contest" sounds like a fun idea and Lammaites are a
widely travelled lot. Should we have a similar contest in the Lamma-zine?
The monthly art exhibition in The Cyan Studio today went
great and quite a number of people from on and off Lamma stopped by for a
drink and chat and gave usually reclusive artist Marilena their very
constructive complimentary comments. Roy, the exhibition's organiser and husband
of The Cyan Studio's resident artist, Elizabeth Briel, took a few
Prof Red Star (left) flirting with three Lovely Lamma Ladies
(Elizabeth, Marilena and Jill) simultaneously. He's a real-time
Trinh & Italians - Jo & Co. - Lisa: I want
Husband & wife - Erik having a close look -
Steve's kiss - Bob's Bob
Click above for another superfluous, insignificant little art
gallery by Lamma-Gung.
Or, on second thought, save your precious time and don't click!
Elizabeth Briel - Lamma Cyanotype Artist, from her monthly email
Dear Artist / Art Aficionado,
Can it already be September? Summer's
long languorous days are over - for this year at least. It's back to
school for many, back to work for a few, and galleries & cultural
organizations are gearing up for a busy season ahead. On our little
Lamma Island, many teachers and parents are back, just in time for
cooler weather and longer nights.
Featured Artist at September's Open Studio: MARILENA
Sunday September 9th, from 2-6pm, The Cyan Studio is
pleased to exhibit the striking paintings of the beautiful artist
Marilena. Originally from Finland, she has called Hong Kong home for
many years now. You can view a selection of her paintings here:
Lamma-zine #20: Marilena!
They're nudes, so "Not Work-Safe". Just scroll down and you'll see
them. Thanks to Lamma-Gung for letting me use his photos, as my
computer's still in pieces after a recent move. Studio map
Daylight has already begun to change
to gentler autumn light. For photographers, this often means a
warmer tint to their images, especially during the morning/late
afternoon. If you've the luck to live in a region where trees turn
into riotous reds and oranges, send me some photos!
artists, it's a wonderful time of year to do "plein air" painting:
cooler weather and breezes mean a better time for you and your art
outside. While watercolors can have a luminous look, their
transparency and water content can be difficult to manage. Acrylic
paints are the easiest to use both inside and out of your home, and
if you apply them in thin layers, should be dry within minutes of
Recent works I've posted online have
been preparatory drawing for cyanotypes; the final image will look
quite different. Currently I'm calling it the "Chinoiserie" series.
You can see some of them on Flickr:
After a recent stint painting faux
marble at the Macau Venetian hotel, I've since taken on more
"English through Art / Art in English" students, and currently have
some room in my schedule. Feel free to pass on this email or contact
me if you know a child or adult who might be interested in art or
The Hong Kong Mural Society is
currently seeking sites and proposals for murals during the
coming school year. Past murals have been painted in 100 locations
around Hong Kong, including schools, parks, and housing projects.
It's a unique educational and community program. You can read more
about us here:
http://www.hkmuralsociety.com, and see photos of the most recent
Wishing you warm autumn walks with
your camera or paintbrush - or just some good company,
The Cyan Studio, Tel.
2/F, 21C Back Street, Yung Shue Wan, Lamma Island
Marilena and Elizabeth relax on the rooftop of The Cyan
Studio (photo by L-G)
was the last time you received a hand-written letter in this age of
overflowing emailboxes? I was so surprised and happy to receive this note
from The Panther and his wife Joey this morning, together with two custom-made
T-shirts with the design above left on the back and
"Viva Lamma" on the front!
It was a great thank-you for the photo story I did about Joey's great birthday
party in the
Deli Lamma Lan Kwai Fong on Nov 17, where Alain was wearing a "Viva
Lamma" T-shirt himself (see below). Thank you so much,
Joey & Alan Ngalani! Better late than never. I'll proudly wear this
T-shirt on High Street, attracting comments from all the many friends you've
still got here as ex-Lammaites. It's great to hear that you "both always think
of Lamma fondly & still miss living there. And please give Lamma our warmest
wishes + best regards."
All the best to you and baby Joshua, almost exactly one year old now, I
Happy birthday to the offspring of two real champions!
Prafull, Alain the Panther/world champ, his
eager & talented student Saheb (Prafull's son) and former manager Aslam, in
the Deli Lamma Lan
on Nov 17, 2006. Note Alain's T-shirt, same slogan on the front!
P.S. Follow-up Email to the Editor from Joey (after
seeing the story above):
We are so glad to hear that you like the t-shirts. Glad to
hear that we still have so many friends on Lamma and that your t-shirt has
received so much positive attention.
We would also like to thank you for doing a story about this
as well. We are glad that you passed on the message to all Lamma to let them
know just how much we miss the Island and all the lovely people.
Yes, Joshua was one year old on the 15th of August.
Wow! You really have a good memory. I cant believe you remember that. We
just celebrated at home with a family dinner and of course a big cake for
Joshua. He is really keeping us totally busy, just like the son of two World
Champions should do!!! Very busy climbing all over place, bumping his head
on everything. We had to baby-proof everything! He is already 13kg and very
strong. Not surprising knowing who his Daddy is. But he is a total pleasure
and is so totally friendly and always smiling and in a good mood just like
Upcoming fights for Alain is in November in Tokyo, Japan
at the World Kyokushin Karate Championship. This is a very prestigious
and by invitation only competition. You have to be a seasoned and very
experienced fighter and qualified in Kyokushin (Full Contact Karate with no
protection whatsoever) to be allowed to compete.
Upcoming competition for me is in December in Cape Town,
South Africa and it is a fitness competition.
That's all the news that we have. Hope you are well. Stay
well and we're always looking forward to reading the new Lamma-zine news.
All the best, Joey, Joshua and Alain Ngalani
Why are there so few Lamma-specific T-shirt designs out there? Besides the
great DickStock T-shirts and the small-edition "FREE the lamma 3" T-shirts
(see below), there are only occasional one-offs like Dan the Bastard's
favourite "Lamma Island Becomes Crezy" (Central ferry pier graffiti) T-shirt or the single-issue
Lamma-zine T-shirt below I ordered at the Cyberport Open Air Market.
Should we run a little T-shirt design contest?
I'm going to get a few Lamma.com.hk T-shirts printed pretty soon, but
I'm still looking for a good slogan to add to our logo.
me slogans, the sillier and crazier the better!
Free T-shirts for the winners!
There's a notice up right now on the notice board outside
City Hall (opposite HSBC), announcing the preparation work for the sewage
treatment plant for Yung Shue Wan. It'll be replacing the current temporary
helipad, at the end of the first phase of the harbour reclamation (see map
above). Click above to read the entire notice.
The "Crops Clearance" seems to include a big junk of densely forested
hillside and go all the way up to some of the abandoned houses just before
Hunter's former workshop/party area in Kam Lo Hom. This area has changed so
much in the last ten years, from a sandy beach to an unused reclamation, to
a temporary helipad nowadays. See my
"From Hunter's Beach to Helipad" historical photo gallery, if you're
interested. It'll all turn into a large
sewage treatment plant soon for all of Yung Shue Wan, which will
collect the sewage from most houses through many kilometres of newly-laid
pipes, a $200+ million govt. project.
This entire area has been virtually untouched for several years behind
locked gates, besides the 1-2 helicopter emergency medical evacuations per
week. It has grown into a pristine little nature reserve, a real
where nature could develop freely without any human intervention. Bushes and
plants taller than a person, exotic plants rarely seen elsewhere on Lamma, a
wealth of butterflies and other insects, the most impressive, dense hedge on
Lamma along the seawall and a really wild forest covering the entire hill,
full of fascinating trees, bushes and creepy crawlies...
I couldn't resist to have another look (see
Taking Sole Responsibility for My Safety) a few days ago and shot
many photos for my Lamma archive before it'll all be totally cleared and
turned into more concrete and steel soon:
Sheers - Sister of the late long-time Lammaite
Susan E Sheers. She recently visited Lamma together with her
sister Gill, meeting many friends of her estranged sister Susan. I
asked her for a few impressions of her visit.
(all photos by Gill Sheers)
me that I still have not written about our "long stay" on Lamma
Island. Was it a long stay? It was a scant week - a week that flew
past - a week that was not long enough - a week neither Gill nor I
will ever forget.
from left to
right: Maria, Hilary, Tanya,
Daisy (in front), Linda and Gill.
Hanging from our
living room ceiling is a red satin tasselled pig I bought in the
gift shop just along the street from the Bookworm Café; from the
kitchen noticeboard dangles a string of pearly fabric flowers that
Maria gave us, pinned beside a photograph taken in a booth at the
station on our way to the airport for the flight home, of Linda,
Daisy, Gill, me and Milo squeezed into the booth – Linda's idea.
I drink green tea
several times a day from an ingenious lidded cup with a strainer
that Daisy gave me for my birthday. My earrings now live in the
little satin purses that Annie sent me. My favourites came from
Maria's shop. I often wear a bracelet that Tanya gave me. Whenever
we have curry I remember the kindness of Amar Singh and his gentle
When we eat
Chinese food I use chopsticks that Linda gave me. I remember Tamara
and I on our shared birthday, born in the same Chinese year two
cycles apart, idling away the entire day at the Deli Lamma, in such
wonderful company that it was truly one of the most memorable
birthdays of my life (and I have had too many of them) for all the
right reasons. Not least of which was Tamara's and my birthday cake
of the yummiest chocolate (a gift from Tanya), the impromptu song
with ukulele accompaniment late in the evening and the people, Susi,
Alan, Jim, Clive, other names escape me (life is increasingly a
succession of senior moments these days – at least Sue has escaped
Gill's birthday –
3 days before mine – was memorable for all the wrong reasons. It was
the day we collected Sue's death certificate and because my handbag
was too small, Gill carried it for the rest of the day, unable to
put the fact out of her mind, even as we explored the night market
I live in an
English village near the windswept East coast and the confluence of
two rivers that run slowly through wooded countryside, so the noise,
the bustle, the heavy, hazy city air was a shock. We had come to a
city, like any other, yet a city in a different world, more
colourful, noisier, faster. The ferry ride was comfortingly
familiar, though the boat was more luxurious and bigger by far than
the overgrown open dinghy that runs between Harwich and Felixstowe.
When I think of
Lamma I picture the tiled buildings, the hazy light, the dragon
boats on trestles by shacks on the beach, I remember the shrines and
the big temple, the climb up never-ending steps past Tanya's house
to the farm where Maria lives and Sue once did. I remember the
graves we passed along the footpath, the white suburban houses with
their almost European gardens, the small beach that Sue had loved.
The narrow street
seemed long and impossibly crowded that first day, then quite short
and very, very familiar on the last. The tanks of live fish
fascinated me as did the stream of people coming off the ferry. I
loved the absurdity of towering stacks of furniture or crates of
beer balanced precariously on tiny trailers pulled by something
little bigger than a lawn mower. I loved the line of toilet seats at
the main junction and the confusion of shops from pound shop to
boutique. I loved the night when, almost sober, I lay stretched out
on the street almost touching the walls on either side for Gill to
take a photograph.
following Daisy late one night along dark footpaths winding in and
out between small blocks of flats – and losing her suddenly, then
managing to find our way home through the blackness with astonishing
I loved the taste
of mangosteens, the Chinese meal we ate looking out across the bay,
that I could have my usual coffee with soya milk in the mornings at
the Bookworm Café, and lunch at Daisy's house – genuine Chinese food
– and Daisy insisting on massaging my swollen feet.
I loved Lamma.
It was not a trip
for tourism, so there are many parts of the island we did not
visit. But I will be back with my husband as soon as funds permit.
Gill and I came to
Lamma for the saddest of reasons yet, as Linda so beautifully put
it, although Sue in her lifetime was not a giver, in leaving us she
gave us the most wonderful gift of all, friendship.
What she gave us
too was the opportunity to meet the most amazingly tolerant,
forgiving, supportive community of people who knew our sister as she
was and were true friends to her. We believe she found perhaps the
only place in the world where she could be as happy as she was
capable of being.
Thank you all.
Hilary @ Bookworm Café
"Amar Singh and his
Amar "Calvin" Singh &
Hilary & Gill relaxing
At the Deli Lamma
Jenks the Gentleman
Less than two hours ago, after 8am, a "Superjumbo" Airbus
two promotional fly-bys through Victoria Harbour, circling Hong Kong
Island and passing north of Lamma Island twice. It was flying at the
incredibly low altitude of around 300m, lower than the 420-metre-tall Two
ifc, Hong Kong's tallest building, close to the Lamma ferry pier in Central
where big crowds gathered along the harbourside. It reminded many of the
former Kai Tak airport in the middle of the cities, but for others it was a
sad reminder of 9-11, a low-flying plane so close to skyscrapers. Airbus has
been pulling off the same promotional stunt already in many cities around
the world, eager to improve poor sales so far for the A380.
The first photos came in within minutes of the fly-by and were posted in our
Airbus A380 Fly-by, also many thoughtful comments. Some of Lamma's famous bird-watchers got out
their BIG ultra-zoom lenses. Two photos by zep:
Passing a Lamma Power Station chimney (215
Passing Hong Kong Island's South side and Mt.
as seen from Lamma's "Mt. Panorama"
Two more photos by Donna: (click below for
her photo gallery)
This most alarming map appeared on the SCM Post cover page on
Thu, Aug 30. Lamma COMPLETELY submerged by 2030 because of Global Warming,
together with our sister island Po Toi and quite a few other coastal areas
in Southern China!
Should we all head for Mt. Stenhouse, man the lifeboats, eh,
sampans, or start building an ark, just in case? Will the current generation
of Lammaites be the last one to live here, before Lamma will vanish
underwater like another fabled isle, Atlantis, so long ago? Far into the
future, this website might survive as one of the few remaining relics,
rediscovered by cyber-archaeologists who will be searching for clues if
Lamma ever truly existed or if it was just another ancient, beautiful myth
of a subtropical island full of peaceful "hippies", flowers and colourful
birds, before it was submerged forever...
Atlantis - by Christoph Gerber, from
Internet Ray Tracing Competition
Reading the SCMP's short story, it mentioned a maximum rise
in seawater levels of 30cm by 2030. The story actually talked
mainly about the Pearl River Delta and only mentioned that some parts of
Lamma might get submerged, but who reads these stories in their entirety
instead of just looking at the map and checking if their home will remain
safe? All of Lamma's "submerged" on the map!
More realistically, it would be more like just a small part of a few sandy
Lamma beaches would be flooded occasionally at maximum tide at full moon for
1-2 hours a few times/year by 2030. But nobody living here would be
inconvenienced in any significant way, I think.
Notwithstanding this, Global Warming is becoming a huge problem and will
impact coastal regions worldwide pretty seriously soon. But the actual,
occasional, rare flooding of Yung Shue Wan Main Street probably won't happen
this century, if ever.
Is this just another case of shoddy reporting, incorrect infographics and
fear-mongering from the SCMP? Or is it an evil conspiracy to discredit Lamma
and make people afraid of moving here? "Move to Lamma and you'll drown in a
Ed Banger opined that "It's a pity that there isn't a little brown dot on
Quarry Bay where the SCMP offices have dropped into the sea."
This fear-mongering map caused quite a few comments in our
Lamma Underwater forum...
Andy Gemmell & Johnny English (his real
name!) at the Lamma
pier in Central,
the day after
the concert, just slightly hung-over, headed for
Wonton - Lamma Newbie and Lamma-zine "Staph Reporter"
(all photos by L-G, including Suzie's 4am notes)
FEE FI FO FUM, THESE BOYS SURE
KNOW HOW TO STRUM
LAST SHOW, ONE NIGHT ONLY,
MONDAY, SEPT. 3, THE WATERFRONT
In the past few weeks, the lives
of random Lammatopians have been culturally enriched, no, not by
the literati of the Lamma.com.hk forums, but by the musical
talents of two British Council Britons. If you happened to walk
by the Banyan Bay Café while they were playing, you would have
been lured in by the sheer delight of stumbling across the
talented pair giving an impromptu concert in the cozy club.
As a newly appointed Lamma-zine
staph reporter, covering all the socio-cultural bacteria that
are fit to print, I decided this was newsworthy. Living life at
the speed of Lamma though, it took me two weeks and a kick in
the pants to get to it.
4am, some nights ago, the
A Johnny & Andy fan handed me a
few sheets of paper and a pen, and maneuvered me into position
at the bar beside Andy. "You've got to do the interview now.
They're leaving tomorrow... I mean today, it already is
Johnny's not even here. Can't we …"
"Tough, Tatonka. You gotta do it
Major inward groan. Everybody in
the bar was cross-eyed by that point. I couldn't find it in me
to protest, but neither could I think of any intelligent
questions. We'd all had a few too many for that. But Andy was a
good sport. He broke the ice by explaining that as a matter of
national pride, he puts an "e" on the end of the word shit, to
make it "shite". I replied that it sounded to me more like he
was saying "shoite". He thought "shoite" was more Irish-sounding
than "shite", which is an important distinction if you're a
hard-headed Scot, like Andy. I'm not sure how, but we eventually
did get around to talking about music.
Turns out Andy Gemmell and Johnny
English have been making annual summer treks to Lamma for a few
years now, always with guitars in tow and, for Johnny,
harmonicas in hand. The two live in Barcelona and come to Hong
Kong each year to teach summer school. Lucky for us, they keep
coming back to Lamma.
It's a real thrill to watch these
guys play. When I first saw Johnny & Andy at the Banyan, and
heard they were here with the British Council, I thought the BC
had brought them to Hong Kong as performing musicians. No; they
teach English in Spain, and come here to do the same every
August. It's an easy mistake to make. Johnny & Andy come across
as a seasoned, polished duo, which is all the more amazing when
you learn that they only play together casually, once a week on
the beach in Barcelona, just for fun, their audience whatever
drunken beach-dwelling rubby-dubs happen to be within earshot.
pair's acoustic guitar repertoire is hefty, from classical,
blues and jazz to, yes, disco ("I Will Survive"), from "Dueling
Banjos" to the Doors. Occasionally, Johnny will reach into his
bag of a million harmonicas, pull one out, and let ‘er rip.
(Turns out B flat minor is not a Chinese bra size.)
comes across is how in-sync Johnny and Andy are while playing.
Andy explained to me that music is a conversation, a give and
take. That becomes apparent when these two play together. More
than just a conversation, it becomes a full language. Andy &
Johnny will play for hours without taking a break, communicating
uniquely by means of rhythms, melodies, a glance and a nod. And ya, there are lots of those really beautiful, complicated songs
where they both end miraculously at the same time and you can't
for the life of you figure out how they knew to take that last
strum in perfect unison. No cheap 20-minute sets here.
guys love making music, and that makes their music invigorating
to listen to. "People connect when you play with conviction,"
Andy tells me. Their conviction is particularly evident when
they finally take a break to have a beer -- they look like
they've been lactating when they put down their guitars. Those
boys work up a sweat.
I couldn't ask Johnny what he
makes of Andy, because he was sleeping at 4am like a normal
human. But for his part, Andy holds the musical abilities of his
partner in high esteem: "Johnny's one of the most meticulous
finger pickers I know. He has a degree of attention to detail
that I lack. I'm a rough strummer, more of an impulsive player.
Plus, Johnny's an absolutely fantastic harmonica player."
Lamma is, in fact, the only place
where Johnny & Andy play together in public. The duo appears and
plays spontaneously at various local venues including the
Banyan, Diesel's and the Waterfront. In past years they've
played with Garoupa at the Island Bar. Andy's a big fan of Alex
Sommerville and his band: "Their music is like honey music dew
drops, the way they shift so easily between songs … and then
like kickin' donkey hooves … they really kick up the drop." At
least that's what I think he said. My notes are a little blurry.
Johnny & Andy have taken off to
Thailand for a little R&R. However, word on the street is
they'll be back and playing for one night only, Monday,
September 3 -- ya, the day after tomorrow. The Banyan's closed
on Mondays, so those in the know say they'll be at the
Waterfront. I can't say exactly when -- you know how these artsy
boys are. They'll start a'strummin' when the spirit moves ‘em,
sometime in the evening. But they're well worth the wait. Hope
to see y'all there.
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