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Oct 31:



(all photos by Stine Baska, click for more photos)

Oct 30 Want to Join a Community Garden?

Tavis - Founder of Tai Peng Community Garden  (text and all photos):

Tai Peng Community Garden meeting (Sunday Nov. 4th, 10:30 am)

The Tai Peng Community Garden is finally getting into (instead of 'off' ) the ground! Smile

I've been working my tush off every weekend to clear the area and finally have gotten things to the point where beds can be prepared and planted. (And I've planted a couple of beds already) So, if you're interested in taking part in one way or another (or at one level or another) then why not come round to take a look.

There will be a bed planning and layout meeting on Sunday morning at 10:30 (Nov. 4). Please don't hesitate to come even if you are just curious. If you are sure you will come it would be helpful to me for planning if you sent me a message through the forum or via email at tavisdupreez @


As you arrive in Tai Peng continue past the benches and turn right towards the Regent Store. Continue walking past the store and keep walking for 2 minutes - you will pass some public toilets, which will be on your right hand side. At the branch in the path, stay to the right and the garden area will be just ahead of you on your right hand side before you reach Cable Road. There is a narrow cement path just past a small bush which will lead you up a set of steps into the inner gardening area. If you get lost you can try my mobile: 9192 7067.

I will attach some photos that will help you see exactly where to go.

I hope to see you there Smile

The eggplants are doing pretty well!
Some beds I've planted

Garden is in the area to the right of the pathway

The steps up into the inner gardening area at the back

The main gardening area is in the back up the steps

Oct 29 Lamma Property of the Week

Let's try a much needed new source of revenue to cover the maintenance of this pretty large and growing site:
Ads for properties for sale or rent!

The just beautifully renovated and fully furnished property above is for sale at Fok Ming estate agency (at Nick's Corner, talk to David). I only got paid for the photo shoot and shop window poster of this 500 sqft G/F flat in Sha Po Old Village, so I don't know all the details and the asking price.

This exposure on the home page is kind of a freebie for Fok Ming. They're a repeat-business photo shoot client of mine and definitely one of the very best estate agents in Yung Shue Wan, even finding me a rare, sought-after but affordable rooftop flat.

If you've got a flat for sale or rent and need a photo shoot to make it look really nice, contact me! If you'd like an advertorial on this home page to advertise your flat to a wide audience of Lammaites and people planning to move here, contact me! Agents are welcome to advertise as well, of course. If you've got a $1,400 sqft house in Tai Peng and want $27,000 in monthly rent (actual, recent figure), you might need all the help you can to find a tenant...

Contact me to make YOUR property the Lamma Property of the Week!

Oct 28 Slovenian Mountain Village Morning

John Newson - ex-Lammaite (text and pictures):

Mph! It's another Slovenian mountain village morning, which as usual begins when our two white bitches - former Lamma Island residents like us - decide it's time to get up, and demonstrate this fact with wet tongues and stomach-crushing feet.

It's black as sin outside, but as breakfast (village fruit: our own apples and raspberries and plums - and a couple of slices of home-made bread) slips down our gullets, the first rosy fingers of dawn comb clichés out of the mountain-tops all around us. The brook, which has been shouting loudly all night long as it drops over the dam and goes underground (where it then turns into the village sewer) babbles frantically; and the old stone horse-trough outside dribbles on, keeping itself fully-charged with limpid crystal dynamite for the first watering-cans of the day, and then readies itself to succour the parched throats of the desperate bands of travel-worn and thirsty hardies who come either stumbling or striding down the mountain track outside our old, old house.

There's a "Clunk! Clunk! Clunk!" of bells, as the sheep work away on the slope across from us, and a higher thrilling tingling noise coming from someone else's flock further up the mountain. The few cars that go off to work have been rumbling away from the village below since about 04:30; the school bus has gone as well by now, and the village has become the domain of the farmers and housewives, the little ones…and us. It's logging time, so old Janez creaks along the track up the hill towards his 'parcella' with his donkey and cart. "Dober iutro!" "Zivijo!" I think he's a bit of a traditionalistic poseur - well of course he is…who uses a donkey these days? Anyway, he's got broadband at home. You've got to love his style.

He comes back in the late afternoon with a cargo of smallish timber, but he has spent the day trimming and tending his 'parcella', as generations of his ancestors have done before him. It now resembles a wonderful park, like much of the surrounding countryside, as the firewood trees such as beech and silver birch are steadily culled and re-born, the dross is removed, and the unwanted trees - like the large pines - are left to grow in lordly splendour. Here and there the stars of the forest such as the walnuts and wild cherries raise their heads; inviolate, untouchable by custom.

However, now is the time of the tractor. Dragan, with his clean green machine, Milan's red combo and a whole load of Mlekuz and Kravanja brothers and dogs on their idiosyncratically enhanced machines and trailers bounce up into the logging valley. Soon the song of the chainsaw begins to ring robustly out in the fairy landscape. Across the meadows the last of the grass is being turned again, in hopes of a bit of sun to finally dry it into hay, so as to avoid having to use the blow-dryers in the roof hay-stores, and the final potatoes ('Chompeir' around here- not 'crompeir' as in the rest of the country) are being riddled out of the ground by a coterie of village ladies.

The apples and pears and plums are all in and everywhere schnapps is a-cooking, and piles of apple-dross are melting back into the soil in all sorts of odd corners, behind bushes and down in ditches, deposited there in pails by relays of five-year-olds. Soon, in December and January, the village still with both chimneys mounted again and copper tubes a-gleaming, will be belting out the local firewater by the hundreds of litres. Is it a blessing or a curse? Certainly it's real class liquor, disappearing down the throat without a trace, leaving no hint of the shudder you get from whisky and brandy. On the other hand how many lives has it taken over the generations? Winters are dark and long and the bottles are always in the cellar. Our neighbour Boris down the road, for example, is just back from the hospital, weary and resting quietly on his porch. He's younger than me, and in his youth he conquered our three-and-a-half hour mountain in an eye-popping 55 minutes, but the long dark winters, the gloomy streak that sits in the middle of every Slavic soul - and the schnapps - have done him in at last. He's not the only one.

Rain coming...

Life's pleasures

Lucky eyes the first snow

Nor any drop to drink

Not rubbish

Super neighbours

The dreaded Schnapps

It's time for a walk now, so we harness the dogs and cruise our own parcella, if that's what you want to call negotiating 60-degree slopes with a pair of ravening dogs on leads who have obviously scented a particularly zesty deer somewhere above us in the forest. I look forward to seeing how they will react when they scent a bear or a lynx. Pragmatic cowards these dogs are, but it must happen; tomorrow, next week, or next year perhaps. Him next-door (he who runs the local forestry operation, and captains a mountain rescue team) tells me there are usually bears in a neighbouring valley, and they travel widely do bears, ambling around for many kilometres at night, before moving on again for pastures new. Only this week, a sheep was killed and a number of trees next to one of our own parcella were clawed frenziedly by an apparently rampaging bear, as a breathless and trembling Robbie and Boris told us on the way back down the mountain from a rapidly truncated mushrooming expedition. Still, the 400-kilo monsters should be snoozing soon, if there's enough snow this year.

Down by the river, the boiling blue river, the jays shriek as we invade their territory and the daily ravens give us a glum "Kronk! Kronk!" as we walk under their tree. A woodpecker goes "BRRRR!" somewhere beneath us, as we swing back into the village. Then it's - 'Dober dan! Dober dan! Zivijo!' - as we pass the building site that is our future holiday flats in the making, and where we cast a sharp eye over yesterday's progress. Aha! The ceiling concrete is being cast over the steel mesh now, all tied into the monocoque roof in the required earthquake-resistant style. Good! Dobro! My word, did you ever see people building with such big timbers? Those roof beams must be 40 centimetres on a side.

Now, it's into the battered Berlingo and off to town - well; we call it town, many wouldn't. Still, there's a large smart new supermarket that went up in about six months, after the previous one was condemned in the last earthquake. How come a shop can stock 100 different brands of pâté, each with no discernible difference from the next one? It took me a year to realize that this was true, and pâté came in many boxes but only one flavour. Nevertheless, Mercator's finest is on display, and it's no mean spread, although no-one could accuse the Slovene diet of being full of flavour. However, you might have to travel with the Flying Dutchman, whose voyage will last forever, until you find a cool green square of tree-lined grass outside a supermarket in countries such as the UK or the other teeming ant-heaps and rookeries of north-western Europe.

A coffee; of course! 'Kava z'mlekum, prossim' and a chance to watch the action in the street, amid a background of waves of greeting, hoots from passing cars, and people stopping for a chat. They make real coffee here you know, not that Starbucks nonsense, and look…we're all outside and most people are wearing shorts and t-shirts! Are they human? There's snow on them there peaks.

Back home again; 'her upstairs' is cooking, using our own vegetables, which are still coming in from our garden plot, even if it is 'Golden Oktober'. Downstairs, in the workshop with its new reinforced concrete bench I'm building a book-case. My old dad used a plane just like this: the exact same tool. I remember the smell, and the wood-shavings curling out of the top just so. The dogs loll in the sunshine, every so often disappearing in a rush of clicking claws and gasping breath as a member of 'the enemy' picks its way disdainfully past, hardly bothering to glance over their shoulders as the dogs run out of steam, nonplussed by the apparent insouciance with which the arrogant felines behave. Later on, my neighbour opposite - the exuberant superman Sammo - will be showing me how to replace the ancient two-core wiring in our home with a proper system, complete with earth and ring-main and all. Sammo can do anything. Later I've got to fire up the weed-whacker and kill me some grass. It's a big machine…and it's new. None of my Hong Kong machinery was man enough for the Alps.

Dinner: evening: sleep. This isn't the UK, where we both came from in the distant past. This isn't Hong Kong and China where we spent so many years, and where we met. This is Slovenia; land of dreams. I've never yet seen anyone lock a house or car, even when they go on holiday.

Good night and sleep well.

We will.

Oct 27 R&R & Yummy Veggie Menu

Click to read

Oct 26 Bobsy's Head - Shaved for Charity!

After 20 years of long hair our
social eco-entrepreneur Bobsy has decided to
shave his head for charity!

To celebrate his 15 years in Hong Kong, Life Café co-owner and Lamma resident Bobsy has decided to mark this occasion by taking shears to those blond locks and shaving it all off, all in the name of charity!



 at the 8th Annual Lamma Fun Day, November 4th, 2007


Please send donations directly to CWS by:

  1. Cheques made payable to 'Child Welfare Scheme' to suite 503 St. George's Building, 2 Ice House Street, Central, Hong Kong (Tel: 2526 8810)

  2. Bank transfer - to CWS HSBC account number 083-465724-001

  3. Credit Card - log on to and scroll down to the Paypal 'make a donation' button, a fast, easy and secure online donation method.

For more information please contact  

Lamma Fun Day supports Child Welfare Scheme, a charity committed to working in partnership with organisations supporting frontline work with disadvantaged and vulnerable children, young people and their communities, thereby transforming their lives and providing them with a productive future.

Oct 25 Evening Rush Hour in Yung Shue Wan

Old jetty in Yung Shue Wan Harbour, people returning home from the sea

(Almost all uncredited photos in the Lamma-zine are by Lamma-Gung)

Oct 24 Take a Break & Make a Difference

Blossom Tong - Lamma Fun Day organisation committee:  (All photos are courtesy of Lamma Fun Day, made available to the press in print resolution.)

Click here for discussion topic with latest announcements.

Take a break from exhausting life, spend a great day with family, enjoy a memorable day on an outlying island and help children in need. You can do all this at one of Hong Kong's most popular family annual events - Lamma Fun Day.  From 10am til late on Sunday November 4th, the 8th annual Lamma Fun Day will take place on Lamma Island's Tai Wan To Beach.

With the vision that no child is forced to live and work on the streets, this annual all-day event raises funds for the Child Welfare Scheme (CWS) so as to re-integrate street children into society and give them hope for the future.

Ranging from great live music, a beach volleyball tournaments, stalls selling arts and crafts, freshly prepared food from some of the island's most popular restaurants to children's games and a charity auction and much much more, Lamma Fun Day will certainly offer something for everyone. This year there is also a surprise element so stay tuned!

Headlining Lamma Fun Day 2007 is one of Hong Kong's well known DJs, Sam Bruce, who will be hitting the decks throughout the day to provide the crowd with his own inimitable mix of uplifting tunes, blending funk, nu jazz, broken beats and old-skool hip-hop. Meanwhile, included in the band line up are locals Red Star Rising, Transnoodle and the Yung Shue Wankers along with many others who will be serving up an eclectic mix of rock, reggae, ska, 'noodle Latin' and country music.

This year's charity auction also promises some great items such as a 2 portable BBQs donated by Everything Under the Sun by Resource Asia, beauty treatments by Hipp Fish, Sunday brunch for four at Aqua, plus a flight for two + accommodation to Koh Samui donated by Concorde Travel, Bangkok Airways, Chaba Samui Resort + Ritzy & Associates Ltd.

Lamma Fun Day 2007 is sponsored by Hong Kong Electric co. Ltd, Societe Generale, ASAP Creative & Communication Ltd, Publissity Pr & Events, Pavilions Resorts, Disneyland & Oldham, Lie and Nie Lawyers.

Lamma Fun Day is the brainchild of ex-Lamma resident Andrew Doig, who visited Nepal and CWS and who was inspired to help out. His idea was simple - to raise funds through a fun day out for the whole family.

For further information about Lamma Fun Day or Child Welfare Scheme contact please visit or

Or contact:

Zein Williams on +852 2526 8810 or

Sonya Yeung on +852 2981 0192 or

Oct 23 Seedy Activities

Perfect weather to start your own seedy activities...

by seeding your garden and making your seedlings grow and grow, a delicate job taking tender and careful planting, watering and patience...

Here are a few examples I sneaked for free from some expert Lamma gardeners in our new Gardening forum. As I've got no experience at all in these seedy activities, it was easier for me to start with seedlings and transplants, trying hard to keep them alive and grow. Wish me luck!

But I'm still confused about how to take and root cuttings. The explanations on gardening sites talk about a dozen different tools, rooting hormones and all kind of steps involved, each different for different types of plants and stages of plant growth??? No luck so far with my cuttings, except in water where a few plants are growing nice roots and will hopefully be ready to transplant into soil soon.

Where to get cuttings anyway? Just sneak into some G/F gardens at night, hoping I won't wake their dog(s)? "Hey, I'm not a wicked burglar, it's just Lamma-Gung, a novice gardener looking for some cuttings for my rooftop garden! Please tell your dog to stop biting my leg, ouch!" 

I've also just started to seed my new mini MicroGarden with vegetable seeds, my first time ever. Let's see how the lettuce, bak choi, choi sum and gai lan will be doing. Not bad for a guy who didn't even know what a sécateur and a trowel was a few weeks ago...

Seedlings by Jane Ram  (Salvia Blue, Sweet Basil, etc.)

Seedlings by Zep  (red Frangipani and various pretty red and yellow flowers, etc.)

Transplanted vegetable seedlings by Dave Sanders
(Lettuce, Bak Choi, Tomato and Gai Lan)

Oct 22 Katie Flowers - Wild at (He)art

Click to read this clipping from Positive News HK,

about former Lamma Artist of the Month Katie Flowers,
written by Lammaite Catherine Macer and
published by Senior Lammaite Peter Lloyd's company.

Pick up a the latest quarterly issue at Green Cottage or Bookworm Café.

Oct 21 Expats With Telekinetic & Clairvoyant Abilities?

Andrew Sun writes in his Hollywood East column yesterday in the SCM Post - about new movies being filmed in HK - for example the sci-fi thriller Push:

"They play "expats" with telekinetic and clairvoyant abilities, hiding from a clandestine US government agency - sounds like everyone I know on Lamma Island."

Just another one of the Post's frequent cheap shots at Lammaites, dissing us because it's so easy to dig up ancient clichés, or could we actually look at this in a positive and creative way?

Special abilities and superpowers on Lamma? Smash hit TV Series Heroes set on Lamma? I've just enthusiastically devoured the entire first season of Heroes on rented DVD and I'm hooked now.

I wouldn't mind some "telekinetic and clairvoyant abilities" myself, but I'll be content for now with my current awesome "superpower" of being able to smythe and zap any member of our forum into smithereens! But as a benevolent super-hero, eh, site administrator, I use my power only very rarely and only against evil supervillains - which are pretty rare on Lamma, admittedly.

I've just started a new discussion topic in our forum. Let us know:

What superpowers do Lammaites have or would like to have?

Oct 20 Seeding the Gardening Forum

Most Lammaites have either a G/F garden or patio, a balcony or a rooftop, so they all have the opportunity and space to garden. The just opened Gardening forum is for anybody interested in starting this healthy, fascinating and relaxing hobby or to improve their knowledge, skills and success ratio as a gardener.

Let's start a little online community of current and wannabe "green thumbs", ask any garden-related question and get advice from our local, resident experts:

Jane Ram from the HK Gardening Society, living in a formidable jungle lair up in Tai Peng (see above), has agreed to moderate this forum. You can hear her gardening advice every few weeks on RTHK's Radio 3. Many thanks for taking on this little moderating challenge, Jane!

Dave Sanders from The Green Patch will answer your questions about growing edible plants like vegis and fruits.

Tavis from the Tai Peng Community Garden project will answer questions about shared gardens.

I'll be trying to help out with questions about purely decorative rooftop gardens like my own, especially the special challenges of intense heat and wind these very exposed gardens face.

The Gardening forum will also showcase YOUR gardens, send in photos and they might end up on the home page of this website; or even in the printed wall calendar of the HK Gardening Society - like the three Lamma gardens that made it into the 2008 edition. They were all photographed by Jane, our moderator (see other topic in the forum). Anthony has sent in photos already and his is the first Lamma garden to be featured in the forum and in the Lamma-zine.

This is your forum, post your tips and photos, let's discuss topics like organic growing, seasonal planting, best places to get plants, exchange seeds, seedlings and cuttings, composting, etc.

All the photos in this article are courtesy of Jane who took them in her own Tai Peng garden. I think you'll agree with me that she is superbly qualified to moderate this new forum!

Jane Ram - Gardening Forum Moderator:

(All photos by Jane Ram, showing her private garden)

Introduction to Gardening Forum

I've been gardening on Lamma for almost 30 years. It continues to provide a steep learning curve, but it also continues to be enjoyable and absorbing. One side of my garden is very shady and I'm still experiment-ing with decorative foliage plants. I've never tried to develop a true roof garden: it's more of a holding space for plants that enjoy full sun throughout the day. Herbs flourish up there as do Bougainvillea and many different types of lilies.

After more than a few false starts, it seems that autumn 2007 has truly arrived. This is perfect weather for sowing seeds that gardeners in temperate climates would start in the spring. Think herbs, tender leafy vegetables, even carrots and new potatoes. And of course flowers and more flowers. Seed shops in Connaught Road West are well stocked at the moment, although they seem to have run out of Rocket (Arugula). Chan Man Hop at Number 8 specialises in herb seeds, mainly from Belgium. The gardener's equivalent of Aladdin's Cave is Number 11, Wong Yuen Shing. Last week his shelves were well filled with a wide assortment of seeds. This shop has some seeds from Taiwan and Malaysia, plus some European imports.

But the most reliable are the Yates seeds from Australia, which are ideally packed for tropical conditions; their germination rate is almost embarrassingly good - but that means plenty of surplus seedlings to give away or trade with other gardeners. Wong Yuen Shing also sells wholesale quantities of Chinese vegetable seeds, so if you want a field full of Choi Sum, this is your starting point.

In the absence of Rocket (and I'm reluctant to order from the UK at current exchange rates) I bought Mesclun seeds. According to the label, the packet includes Rocket along with other fashionable salad leaves. The birds and the caterpillars of cabbage white butterflies eat most of my rocket anyway: maybe we can come to an agreement that they concentrate on the other vegetables. Mesclun seeds were already sprouting yesterday - less than 48 hours after I sowed them! How's that for gardening gratification? Flower seeds are proving slower, although I am confident that Nasturtium and Linaria will soon be stirring.

Oct 19 - Chung Yeung Festival:  Lamma Gardens

A while ago, after introducing my own rooftop garden (Gardeners of Lamma, Unite!), I've asked readers to show off their own Lamma gardens and submit photos. Anthony responded and emailed these fine shots of his G/F garden (click to enlarge photos):

Do YOU have a garden that's your pride and joy? Email me some photos by clicking on Email to the Editor in the day-of-the-week title of this article!

Want to see some more Lamma gardens right now? Here are three more, showcased in the Gardens of HK 2008 calendar, photographed by our Gardening forum moderator Jane Ram for the HK Gardening Society. This calendar will be on sale - among other brand-new books and calendars by Lammaites - at the stall at the Lamma Fun Day on Nov 4.

Oct 18 High-Tech Pet Poetry

Contributors: minibeast, nondog, shearly divine, toddy.

Last week, Bug, a.k.a. Bear, nondog's dog (pictured in disguise to protect his identity), was neutered after a long run as an "intact" boy dog. In memory of his man-hood, four of us began texting each other in verse. These are the text messages we sent each other after Bug's operation. (Asterisks mark each subsequent SMS)

Note: last verse edited after the fact for reasons of, umm…, decorum.):

Polyphonic Ode to Ye Olde Doggie Scrote Sac

Associated Dogpress - Yung Shue Wan

*Lament for my severed testicles, a 2-part dirge,
by Bug Nonmandog

I have much cause to pout
me scrote's been emptied out  :(
*betwixt me legs
there were my eggs
now nothing but a useless spout

in time I'll be aware
that to be a bear
means having nothing to be bothered about
*xcept how 2 feed my snout

*Will I have the same panache,
with the ladies
cut a dash?
when I have no balls to dangle,
still handsome from every angle?

*n'er a shag shall I wrangle
from the bitch with all the bangles

*no more sex
shall I get
since my trip to the vet

that man name of Hans
left me nothing in my pants

*what will I lick
when evening falls
now that I have no balls?

*here I'll sit
and sing a dirge
for the emasculating purge

but it's alright,
I understand
it's not one's balls that make a man

Oct 17 Thinking About Adopting a Cat/Kitten?

Leggova - New Pets forum co-moderator:

(All pictures by Leggova, showing her adopted kitties)

Adopting a Kitten or Cat

I have adopted 3 kittens from the Lamma Animal Welfare Centre; Tommy, Mini and Max. Although a cat brings so much love into your life, it is not a decision that should be taken lightly.

Here is some advice for how to make sure you are making the right decision.

Do all your family members also want a cat?

It is important that all members of your family have the same desire to adopt a cat and around not being pressured into it.

Can you afford it?

Although cats don't cost a lot of feed, they do need to be desexed and also have regular injections. On Lamma this amounts to around $600 in the first year. You should also be willing to pay for other unexpected vet bills that can be quite expensive in the later years of a cat's life.

Do you have the time to give them love and mental stimulation?

Cats don't need as much time as dogs who need walking. However, it is important that they get physical and mental stimulation. My cats love to chase around a piece of rolled up paper on a piece of string. This is cheap and can keep them amused for a good 10 minutes. After that they are ready for a nap!

Do you have someone to take care of the cat when you go away?

It is important that you have a plan for who will look after the cat when you go on holiday. A friend, a helper, a neighbour can all help, but it is vitally important that you know there will be someone responsible to look after it.

Are you prepared for certain amount of wear and tear around your flat?

Cats can be trained to claw a scratching post, but it is natural that they will want to claw furniture, that they will jump and knock things off tables etc.

If you answer yes to the above, then I would encourage you to adopt. Cats will become a member of your family. They give you unconditional love.

Some final advice:

Two is better than one

I believe that it is best to adopt two kittens/ cats at the same time. Two cats aren't much more trouble than one and they keep each other company while you are at work and also exercise each other.

Keep your cats indoors

There is much debate over indoor or outdoor cats. I believe it really is best to keep your cat indoors, mostly for the cat's safety. The first cat, Tommy, that I adopted disappeared and to this day I don't know what happened to him. I assume that he was bitten by a snake and died. There are often signs up around Lamma with pleading messages from people whose cats have disappeared. Please keep your cats inside.


Max on the prowl

So tired



Oct 16 District Councillor Lammadonna Uncontested

It's just been announced that Lamma North's District Councillor Ms. Yu Lai Fan does not have to contest the District Council Elections 2007 next month, as she's the only candidate. Lamma is the only area in the Islands District where this has happened. Last time, an off-island candidate from the Citizens Party, Alex Chan, won around a third of the votes, to everyone's surprise. He didn't return and stand for election again this time, even though he promised to return.

Congratulations to your "re-election", Fun-Tse! When's the victory party?

This is Lammadonna's bilingual campaign flyer she mailed to all Lamma North households a few weeks ago. It makes for interesting reading and tells a great deal about her "achievements and successes", but also about here goals and priorities in the past and future.

I even made it into one of the pictures because I was reporting on one of the govt. meetings they arranged locally last year. Can you spot me in the flyer (if you know what I look like).

Use the form at the end to submit your complaints and suggestions!

Oct 15 Keren & Her Pigs - TVB Pearl Report

Last night, there was a long and very sympathetic report about Keren and her two pet pigs, Sumo & Peggy, in the TVB Pearl Report at 6:55pm. See my poor-quality pictures above, shot directly from the TV screen. It included some old footage from another Pearl Report several years ago. It explained Keren's situation and the fight against the government's Environmental Protection Dept. who insists on taking away the pigs and get them slaughtered, considering them as "illegal live stock" instead of the beloved pets of a vegetarian.

This story has been featured on TV and in several newspapers already this year, including several stories in this Lamma-zine (search for "Sumo" in the Search box at the top of this page.)

Last news from Keren: Sumo is sick with a skin infection. Keren will have to return to the EPD next week to make her case again, trying to convince them again not to prosecute and punish her. Give her some moral support when you see her on the street or on the ferry. You're welcome to visit the pigs on weekends!

Oct 14 Wild Teenage Beatnik Ghost Dancers

Roy & Elizabeth of The Cyan Studio, the Artiste, Marjaleena and Noah

"Wild Teenage Beatnik Ghost Dancers of Lamma Island"

Original figurative drawings, paintings and prints by spinoza1112.

To view the art and meet the artist, come to Cyan Studio, 2-6pm, Sun, Oct 14.

Directions: from the ferry, walk down Main Street until you get to Back Street (at the Shell petrol sign). Turn left. The Cyan Studios is next to and just before Dollarful Realty, opposite from the Best Kebab Turkish restaurant, top floor. Map.

Spinoza1112 - Ghost Teacher, moderator of Spinoza's Web forum and featured artist in the Cyan Studio for October 2007.

He's just issued this press release about the exhibition and himself:

(Photos by L-G)

spinoza1112, Lamma artist, is currently exhibiting his works at Cyan Studio, on Back street next to Dollarfull Realty. The show opened on October 13 with a public reception and now can be viewed by appointment.

spinoza1112 studied at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago and has shown in Chicago. Currently he works in a variety of drawing media including pencil and paper, ink, and commercially available tools such as marker. He uses the computer, but always with a drawn basis. Original works and limited edition prints will be available at his first show on Lamma Island, "Wild Teenage Beatnik Ghost Dancers of Lamma Island!".

spinoza1112's current work uses elegant line and academic-kitsch chiaruscuro but fortunately, he has not the commercial skill to make "true" kitsch as he reappropriates the body's image from advertising. Instead, the content rejoins an artistic tradition as an individual meditation on gender and the liberation, perhaps resurrection, of the body.


Inspired by the vistas and the rave-ups of Lamma Island, spinoza1112 dances for survival, having studied classical ballet. He also uses aerobic sports, again as a survival praxis. This enables him, so he claims, to feel as well as visualize anatomy in motion in a space critical of gender norms.

spinoza1112 has also written extensively on art and other topics on Lamma island's placeblog ( He tends to come up with pure bullshit which upon close examination is usually pretty cool, but which tries our patience at times.

"Kitsch", he says, "isn't Kitsch after all, in a Negative Dialectic, because I took one course in actual commercial, as opposed to fine, art, and failed miserably at zip a tone, cookies, and milk".

"Kitsch", he continues, "can be estranged with distance. I ask myself, what were the Real Man's Magazines doing to my subconscious? Can it be colonized by Wild Jungle Women? If so, how soon?"

He goes on in this vein: "in fact, my art is about healing from a seismic event in my life that happened in 1981, with several aftershocks based on gender identity in an America to which I became increasingly orthogonal, an America ever more conservative, and terrified, in James Baldwin's prescient words of 1962, of 'night, death, and the devil' (Nacht, Tod und Teufel)".

Fortunately for us all, he usually doesn't talk like this, preferring to write such apparent nonsense. Meet the artist and see his work at Elizabeth Briel's Cyan Studio on appointment.

Spinoza1112 - in the Spinoza's Web forum he moderates, reflecting on the audience at the exhibition opening:

The artist at his one-man show

The artist at his first one man show: wants people to stand in awe and in silence in front of his work and announce in hushed tones why this man is a Genius and I want to pay one million dollars for his work and support him for the rest of his life.

What really happens: every bunny stands around schmoozing and partly ignores the art. The artist gets smashed in consequence, and has to be carried home by his friends in a barrow, baying at the Moon about the insensitivity of the petit-bourgeoisie and the unfairness of it all.

Except for the drunk bit, that is what happened!

However, the show at Elizabeth's gallery (thanks Elizabeth!) went well. It featured Lamma Luminaries including Nick, Marjaleena, and Lamma-Gung.

You can still see the work at Cyan Studios this week in case you missed it.

Lamma Gung liked the subtlety of shading and of tone. I'd reconstructed a sort of Old Master technique by learning "indirect" techniques of grisaille and Titian's "svelatura, trente o quarante" (glazes, thirty or forty) from Dover books.

Lamma Gung's comments happened to be my new direction, towards a series of paintings based on the released drawings.

Which means retiring from this social ramble which, as the great Negro League baseball pitcher Satchel Paige said, "ain't restful"...

Despite all its sturm, drang, schadenfreude, and schlamperei, Lamma Island is a pretty good not bad place to create art. But its social ramble ain't restful.

Oct 13 Green Patches & MicroGardens

David, Sadie & Bing on their Tai Yuen rooftop, Oct 9, 2007

Searching for a Gardening forum moderator, I got referred to David & Bing by Tavis (Community Garden project in Tai Peng). I interviewed them in their rooftop garden on Oct 9, taking a few pictures as well. Rugged outdoorsman David Sanders and local lady Bing Law specialise in edible plants, collecting over 40 years of horticulture experience in several countries.

I didn't find a Gardening forum moderator (David & Bing claim to lack the expertise in ornamental flowering plants that most Lamma gardeners prefer), but I learnt a lot about gardening, quite a treat for an apprentice "green thumb" like myself.

Seedlings in sliced-open fruit juice cartons - Plants inside their pretty designer flat

Here's a little free promotion for their new, affordable MicroGardens which they design and build themselves, selling them to ESF schools and private gardens all over HK, also giving educational talks about organic food and farming. I've ordered my own little, fully customised MicroGarden already for my rooftop, awaiting David's home delivery:

David Sanders and Bing Law -

MicroGarden Kits, Organic Food, Horticulture Education & Therapy Services.

Chinese version of the brochure below available on request:


for home, educational,
recreation and therapeutic use

The MicroGarden is essentially an organic food production system and has been specially designed for residents of Hong Kong where opportunities to engage in gardening and growing your own food are strictly limited.

The garden kits are easily assembled and may be set up either as terraces or mini-gardens. The twin-walled material, made from recycled uPVC, helps maintain stable growing temperatures, allowing intensive production of Hong Kong seasonal organic vegetables and herbs (or flowers.)

Raised beds are available in a variety of shapes and sizes and, with fitted wheels, are mobile!

Also included in the kit are:

  • a Growing Guide booklet explaining how to get started, with planting calendar

  • packs of balanced, organic growing media

  • mini tools

  • pack of certified organic fertilizer

  • pack of starter seeds and mini watering can.

Cultivating our own food is a very fulfilling experience for the whole family. It relates to many important healthy living issues and everyone's concern for improved home and greater living environments.

Ideal for school and community projects

The easy-to-understand techniques used in organic micro gardening help us reconnect to the important functions of growing, under-standing and valuing the precious food we eat.

Learning courses, workshops and gardening club activities, supervised by qualified and experienced organic gardening instructors, are available upon request.

Micro gardening is a fun and fascinating way to grow fresh, seasonal organic food in the comfort of home, school or community environment. Out of the garden and into the pot. Food could not be any fresher and healthier!

Grow healthily,
eat well.

MicroGardens kit prices start from HK$650 for single tier, $850 for double tier; $1,050 for triple or $1,250 for the wide version (see right photo). For further details of prices, kit sizes, colours and availability contact:

Bing Law & David Sanders:
Telephone: 2136 1076; Mobile: 9881 1842;

Oct 12 Lamma Activities Centre

Gary Dyer - Organiser of Lamma Activities Centre:

The Lamma Activities Centre (L.A.C.) has come together with the help of many Lamma Teachers/Instructors who have a passion to promote & teach the community and provide affordable lessons and an alternative to travelling to the city.

Apart from kids and adults fitness classes the L.A.C. will be giving promotional talks in many subjects, such as: Hong Kong history, Feng Shui, temple visits with fortune telling, etc.

So this is a centre for the people, run by the people!

Giving people the chance to teach their talents and skills and teachers are welcome to contact me at the centre regarding future courses.

To provide more space there is an additional L.A.C. lecture/ classroom in Sha Po New Village, to provide Language tuition such as English, Mandarin, etc.

Welcome and have a good time!

Gary and the A Team

"Feng Shui for health, home and business": an introductory talk by Master Jimmy Lau in the L.A.C. on Sun afternoon, Oct 7; photos courtesy of Roy McClean & Elizabeth Briel (click to enlarge):

Master and Student - Luopan (Feng Shui compasses) -
Interested parties with Master Lau

Feng Shui Master Jimmy Lau:

The history of Feng Shui covers at least 3,500 years. It is the classical Chinese system for seeking harmony. Feng Shui seeks to promote prosperity, good health, and general well-being by using a special Chinese compass called a Luopan to examine how energy, chi, flows through a particular room, house, building, or garden.

Chi is organized into 5 elements, each of these physical elements are energies that have frequencies with a unique wavelength. These different frequencies react with each other in different ways, some positive and some negative. Feng Shui helps us determine which frequencies work positively with our own personal energy and the energies of our family members and co-workers. With this knowledge, we can arrange our environment accordingly.

Oct 11 Who's Digging up the Beach?

The scene outside The Green Cottage, digging out the old small channel -
Taking a well-deserved break from all the digging

Accidental abstract beach sculpture: rebar from the old drainage channel

The new drainage channel from the Tai Peng footpath to the harbour is finally coming to an end, with the outflow being built right now outside the Green Cottage. The channel is a veritable celebration of concrete-pouring, a 2 metre by 2 metre channel for the usual tiny trickle of water flowing down from Tai Peng, a canal generously proportioned even for a once-in-a-millennium rainstorm.

For more details see our long-running Yung Shue Long drain proposal forum.

Oct 10

Oct 9 No Pampers on Lamma?

The title above is the actual title of a brand-new discussion topic in our new Parenting forum. This is discussion topic #4,583 in the 5-year history of this website, with 39,193 messages posted so far.

The parenting forum has taken off within days of its launch, under the expert moderation of Superblue. It already has generated several very interesting discussions. If you're a new & exhausted, or experienced & battle-hardened parent, join in, share your tips and experiences! Click on any of the discussion topics so far, or add your own any time (click on new topic inside the forum):

Oct 8 Lamma Tourist Alert

Dr. Marcus - Intro to the Lamma Tourist Alert blog:

One sees them as customers for the island's little shops and restaurants, others see them as a nuisance. No matter, how you see tourism on Lamma Island, please help by making it visible where the crowds move.

To report tourists on Lamma Island, simply email to the address quoted on the right hand of the Lamma Tourist Alert blog. Your email will be posted straight on the blog website. Thank you for your help.

Sun, Oct 7 - Today, the Tourist Density was actually very moderate and I enjoyed the lovely day and weather very much. I had some feedback on my posting and just quickly set up a blog as Lamma Tourist Alert Platform, so we have a better idea where they move:

Anybody can simply report a tourist accumulation or pedestrian traffic jam by mailing to (remove XXX before emailing) It will automatically be published on my website above.

I expect also to get a lot of spam in over time. But let's try it as a "pilot" project... Have a nice Sunday,

Tourist Threat Levels:

Level 8: Organized travel group with megaphones
Level 7: Organized travel group (no megaphones)
Level 6: Drunk Americans
Level 5: Teenagers with Barbeque sets
Level 4: Teenagers
Level 3: Families with children
Level 2: Families and small groups
Level 1: Individual Tourists

Oct 7 Gardeners of Lamma, Unite!

Lamma-Gung's rooftop - Before


Hey, how about a Gardening Forum on There are so many of us hobby gardeners out there and many of us, like myself, know very little and would love to learn more! Almost all Lammaites have either a G/F patio/garden area, a balcony or a rooftop fit for plants, so this could be a highly popular topic. I've been searching for a gardening moderator for a while now and might have finally gotten lucky, hopefully. While we're waiting for somebody to confirm this great honour, here are a few photos from my own rooftop garden with fountain.

My rooftop garden has been started from scratch just a few months ago, by hiring landscaping artist Keren who did all the tough and time-consuming initial design, construction and planting. Many thanks for your great expert setup, Keren! She's also the owner of Sumo & Peggy (still alive and happy, but still seriously endanger-ed by the govt., thanks for asking.)

On the rooftop is where you can find me every single day after breakfast, watering and taking care of my prospering plants. My previous gardening experience has been limited to a few plant pots on our balcony which often didn't do too well. I don't seem to be blessed with a "green thumb", but eager to learn.

This is a new and fascinating experience for me and I seem to develop a real liking for it, kind of a green fascination of checking the progress of some fast-growing plants on a daily basis, trying to root cuttings (almost 100% failure rate so far), cleaning out the dead leaves and adding some new plants bought from some local shops and semi-professional local private gardens.

After this pleasant but sweaty work, I sit back in my rocking chair - remember that I'm a step-granddad and entitled to a rocking chair - thinking about some ways of making it all look more beautiful, adding bits and pieces here and there. Maybe a few more climbing and creeping plants, hanging pots, more furniture, a kiddie pool, maybe even a graffiti painting in-between the planter islands? Yes, I seem to have been infected by the gardening bug, badly...

P.S. Hey, want to show off your own private garden? Email me!

Oct 6 Emails to the Editor

All these emails below were feedback to my story on Sep 20: Noise Annoyance From Sound Magnifier about Parksy's noise fine for a party. I encouraged readers to help him pay the fine. But then somebody started a new forum discussion (Parksy's Fine) to reprimand me for doing so which I found rather amusing. But several Lammaites actually did step up and contributed a large portion of the fine. A fine success and many thanks to the wonderful contributors!

I also encouraged feedback to my story, mentioning shortly that I also feel a bit under-appreciated due to a major lack of feedback to Lamma-zine stories. I asked people to click on the Email to the Editor button at the top of every Lamma-zine story and these readers below actually did! Many thanks to all of them for their encouraging words for Parksy and me, the most feedback I've received for any Lamma-zine story so far this year!

Lesley Sutherland:  "Thanks for a great site"

Thanks to your wonderful website, I not only easily found the right community for me to live in (as I've no doubt that Lamma is the right place for me), but a month in advance of my leaving Australia, my housing challenge was solved when myself and another Lamma newbie were able to decide that a house share was right for us and we are now happily sharing a beautiful flat in peaceful Mo Tat Wan.

I can't adequately explain what a benefit and a help this has been to me. The difference it's made to my welfare during this stressful period of relocation is very great. It was only possible because of your vibrant, well-run, well-moderated Lamma forum. Thank you.

I look around the web a lot and truly, yours is one of the best sites of its type that I've found. The presentation, the writing, the useful/needed information, the photography and the conversations hosted are fantastic. I've been wanting to write to thank you for awhile but thought I would wait until I was actually here to do so! Now that I'm living here, more than ever is an indispensable read.

I have actually started my own tiny little weblog this week - just for the purpose of keeping family and friends at home informed of what I'm doing and how I'm finding it here in HK. So now your frequently updated site is a good example to me as well as a good read.

Mr DickStock:

I read about Parksy, and how he and you never get enough support.

So sorry, and you're RIGHT. What you do is golden. I try to support you and him in small ways all the time. But you definitely deserve more support.

Thanks again for all your great work, dude.

Skid Funk:  Lamma-zine Feedback

Thanks for being. Lamma was a huge part of my life and in many ways still is. Your magazine keeps me in contact with Lamma so much so that sometimes I feel that I am there with you all.

Parksy has my understanding as I was in his position many times, but when you're addicted to keeping the party of life going music being the god of everything ...............

I have tried to imagine how much time you must spend on this mag and I am so impressed.

So thanks again and "Viva Lamma."

Justin and Shook - Ex-Lammaites

just read your article and I would just like to say that Parksy has been doing and supporting these gigs for years and usually without any payment, having left Hong Kong and Lamma for a few years now,  I miss all the parties and gigs that used to go on and Parksy was usually at the centre! it would be a great shame if the Island lost Parksy's support.and people would soon complain how dull its become.............So pass on my best wishes, support and regards to Parksy and tiff, dont let them get you down

Wonderer:  Lamma-zine Feedback

I completely agree with what you wrote in your Sept 20 article. I've been living here on Lamma for 6 weeks now and I've been out and about talking with people whenever possible. I don't detect a whole lot of community spirit and solidarity among Lamma residents, disappointingly much less than I'd been expecting in a place like this. It's a great place to live, and I intend to stay here quite a long time, but it could be so much better if people would pull together more and stop living inside their own little bubbles. Then again, this is symptomatic of what's happening in our "modern" society, not something peculiar to Lamma per se.

However, you're doing a great job in trying to counter that attitude and cultivate right thinking with your site, which does "create" a sense of a community even if the reality on the ground is that not much of a tight-knit community exists. It was your site in fact that persuaded me to come and live on Lamma when I got posted to Hong Kong. I don't regret that decision, but I do think people should do more to integrate with their fellow citizens and not be so self-absorbed and self-isolating.

I've been out as often as possible trying to mix with other Lamma residents and it's true that there are some very interesting people here from all walks of life. I don't believe I saw you yet, or perhaps I did, but you don't seem to want to put your picture anywhere on the site. I'd like to thank you personally for the great effort you put into the site on a daily basis. The HK government should pay you, because I'm sure that, thanks to your site, Lamma receives many more visitors than it otherwise would, and all the businesses here benefit as a result of that.

If I see a guy wandering around with a camera and I think it's you, I'll say hi and thanks. I just want you to know that your noble efforts, your great photography and entertaining writing style don't go unappreciated. There are no doubt thousands of people who value what you do, but in today's world we tend to be passive consumers of fragmented entertainments rather than active participants. Blame it on the ills of society, not on any shortcomings in your online presentation, because really it couldn't be better. Keep it up! And I hope to soon be able to thank you in person for your dedicated reportage.

It's a pity that to get positive feedback about your site, you have to complain first. However, that complaining did pay off. I know many people admire your work, but they're just lazy ingrates when it comes to dispensing praise.

In our 21st century, spoiled, lotus-eating lives, we blindly accept all the good things as our natural entitlement and are only aroused to comment when things go wrong.

An 'attitude of gratitude' seems to be sadly lacking these days.

Gregg:  Lamma-zine Feedback

I believe you have a lot of support, it's just not materialized into words.

I am a recently arrived resident (April this year) and spend only about a week of a month at Lamma when in Hong Kong. I can see what you speak of - the community atmosphere, and it is friendly, that's why I chose Lamma. I read your web site from afar when not there, currently I am in New York - a not so friendly place. I don't know Parksy but I feel his friends will or should support him, at least in paying the fine. It's confronting for some to go to a court of law; only been there twice in my life and neither was a pleasant experience.

Please continue the site I appreciate it and must do as this is the first email of this type I've ever written.

Chuck & Tina Smith - Medford Or. USA:

You're doing great work, just to let you know it's appreciated. My wife was born in HK and we intend to retire there around the end of next year. We will most probably settle on one of the islands: Lamma, Cheung Chau or Peng Chau all have our interest, but Lamma is where we'll look first.

We check your website every day and enjoy it a great deal.

Fiona Pearson - Vietnam

Better late than never on the You & Parksy Support Front: only just read about it all. I'm ex-Lamma, now in Vietnam, & the beach parties staged by Parksy & the LLF gave me a whole new musical & social experience when I first got to Lamma: Quality enjoyment in beautiful surroundings.

AS far as I'm concerned, you, Parksy & the LLF have places reserved in the Heaven of your choice. Rock on. Thanks!

Oct 5 Join the Hillfire Prevention!

P.S. Later applications will be happily accepted. These are the people who managed a HILLFIRE-FREE Chung Yeung festival on Lamma last year! Repeat their big success this year (Oct 19) and help out the really great Conservancy Association and HK Electric volunteers this year!

See photos and read about last year's No Hillfires! campaign and their big successCall Brian at 2272 0369 during office hours!

Oct 4 Lamma Fun Day on Nov 4th

Hazel - Lamma Fun Day organisation committee:

Lamma Fun Day is an annual charity event held in conjunction with the Child Welfare Scheme to raise funds for the children of Nepal

Each year the continuing success of the event relies heavily on the huge support of all our volunteers - without them it would not be possible!!

A BIG thank you to all past, present and future volunteers!










  • Enjoy making a difference to the lives of those in need?

  • Able to volunteer 2 hours to a great cause?

  • Able to volunteer more time and interested in taking on a more involved role?

  • Involves selling food, second hand goods, kids games...

We need your help to make Lamma Fun Day a success! 

Please sign up today!

Contact: Hazel 2982 2152

For more information check out our charity website:

Zein - Lamma Fun Day organisation committee:



We need your second-hand goodies to sell so we can raise funds for children!


Please start collecting anything and everything!

  • Clothes (only clean clothes please!)

  • Books

  • CD's, VCD's, DVD's

  • Electronics

  • Toys

  • Household goods

  • Etc. Etc.

For Lamma drop-off please contact Pam at or 6019 3364.


For Central drop-off please contact Zein at or 2526 8810.  Central drop-off is from 3rd October until 26th October and drop off point is Room 303, St. George's Building, 2 Ice House Street, Central.  Please call first to arrange a time.


The Bric-A-Brac stall will be at Lamma Fun Day so come and shop!

Sunday 4th November, 2007
Tai Wan To,
Power Station Beach, Lamma Island


Lamma Fun Day is a fun filled day that caters to both adults and children with an abundance of games, activities, stalls, plenty of food & drink and great bands from all over!  Come and enjoy the fun and sunshine while benefiting disadvantaged children in Nepal.  For more information about Lamma Fun Day please log on to

Julia - Lamma Fun Day organisation committee:

This year's Lamma Fun Day will be held on Sunday 4th November and is shaping up to the biggest event yet!

The fee for a stall is $300 and for an additional $100 we'll provide a wooden stall with umbrella.

Once again, applications for food or beverage stalls will not be accepted.

Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions.

Click here for the stalls application and the plot map.

Oct 3'Reflections From Asia' #500

Many Lammaites like to listen to RTHK's Radio 3 at home. For example, this Lamma-zine is written, edited and formatted while Radio 3 is playing in the background for much of the day. I had the honour of meeting Harvey Stockwin of "Reflections From Asia" and his long-time partner, Isabel, at Jay's rooftop BBQ some months ago. It was a very pleasant encounter where he regaled us with so many stories and opinions, our minds were fed well not just our bodies.

Jay Scott Kanes - STBWFLA  (text and photos by Jay)

In-Depth-News Man
Marks Milestone

HONG KONG - After more than a half-century in Asia, print and broadcast journalist Harvey Stockwin has earned a reputation for being forthright and comprehensive.

Now the 74-year-old newsman is poised to achieve a significant milestone. On October 6, listeners to RTHK (Radio Television Hong Kong) Radio 3 will hear the 500th edition of Harvey's weekly commentary, Reflections From Asia.

"The theme of my life is journalism in depth," Harvey said. Since the first of his 15-minute shows on January 3, 1998, he has focused on important events, adding analysis, interpretation and predictions, always carefully reasoned and laced with history.

"This defies an industry trend," he said. "Most broadcasters reject the notion of one person talking for so long. Usually, analysis involves asking two questions, getting one-sentence replies, and then saying 'thanks'. It's appalling and simplistic. So I'm glad to do Reflections From Asia, which isn't simplistic and deals with the world as it is - in depth."

Phil Whelan, RTHK's producer for Reflections, said: "No other show goes into such depth or has such a grasp of Asian events and history."

Reflections From Asia airs at 7:30 a.m. on Saturdays with an encore broadcast at 6:30 p.m. on Sundays. Internet listeners tune in anytime via the archives at:

"Harvey should be very famous because what he does is so valuable," Phil said. "He could never be accused of self-censorship, and I like that. In Hong Kong, everyone else pulls their punches, but Harvey carries on telling it like it really is... If anyone tried to pressure him, it'd feature in his next broadcast. He's a pillar of free speech."

Recent commentaries included: Change in Burma; Kimjongilias Still Bloom; Vietnam, the US and Iraq; Thai People Power Required; and Breaking a Basic Law Promise.

"Harvey makes issues understandable, but without dumbing them down," Phil said. "He can start off talking about the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco and end up on Aung San Suu Kyi's husband, yet somehow there's a link. That's talent and a big part of his magic."

One favourite topic, starting with the first broadcast nearly 10 years ago, is GNP. But to Harvey, GNP means Growth in National Politics, not Gross National Product. "Without growth in real GNP, the statistics of growth in the economic GNP may be fraudulent at worst, misleading at best," he said.

"The best illustration of real Growth in National Politics came from Indonesia in 2004, as it strengthened its democracy with three nationwide elections in succession, ending with the first-ever direct election for president and vice-president."

Relying on his experiences and a piled-to-the-ceiling book collection, Harvey writes at home on Lantau Island. "I may not decide on the topic until Wednesday or Thursday of the week," he said.

Sometimes he tests ideas on his long-time partner, fellow journalist Isabel Escoda. "My better half puts up with my tensions, traumas and tantrums as I research and write," Harvey said.

On Friday afternoons, he breezes into an RTHK studio, sits at a microphone and reviews his 2,000-word text. Then it's time to record, which he does complete with hand motions and tapping feet, stopping and starting as needed to insert the proper inflections.

Along the way, Phil advises: "Relax. Take a breath," "Start that last section again", "Push the microphone away a little" or "You're belting a bit much. Go down half a gear."

In a 1997 phone call, RTHK's Phil Gordon asked Harvey to do four shows. Once started, he didn't stop.

"We began with the title Wandering and Wondering," Harvey said. "Then Martin Clarke of RTHK helped me to dream up a better one, Reflections From Asia."

The response from listeners is "all good", Phil said. "Everyone who listens appreciates that it's no-nonsense stuff."

After 500 shows, does Harvey have a favourite one? "From the point of view that my ideas came together well, and that by the end I had to fight back tears, then No. 66 (Since Ancient Times How Few Lovers, April 3, 1999) about the death of Michael Aris, Aung San Suu Kyi's husband, is my favorite," he said.

Raised in London, Harvey entered journalism in Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) in 1955. "I earned the fare to Ceylon by working as a London bus conductor," he said.

Although based in Hong Kong since 1977, Harvey has traveled and worked across Asia with lengthy stays in India, Malaysia, Australia, the Philippines and elsewhere. He wrote for the South China Morning Post, The Times of India, The Jakarta Post, The Japan Times and the Far Eastern Economic Review, among others.

In 1998, Harvey even appeared in Chinese Box, a Hollywood movie starring Jeremy Irons and Gong Li. Wayne Wang, the director, cast him as an opinionated journalist discussing Hong Kong's return to Chinese sovereignty.

To Harvey, which Asian events since the 1950s had the greatest impact? He mentions several:

  • Singapore and Malaysia's unity in 1963, followed by separation in 1965. ("That was traumatic, a great attempt to form a multi-racial Malaysian state, but it failed.")

  • Momentous events as a new Indonesian president, Suharto, replaced his predecessor, Sukarno, in 1967. ("At the time, Suharto was regarded as saving the country. That he stayed on too long reflects how things often work in Asia. In China, Chairman Mao did the same.")

  • Assassination of Ninoy Acquino, followed by a "people power" uprising that toppled president Ferdinand Marcos of the Philippines in 1986; and

  • The 1989 Beijing massacre, followed by China's nation-wide crackdown on dissent. ("Political progress in China came to a screeching halt.")

Harvey tends to discount China's economic clout: "To some extent, China's a mirage. There's been very little Growth in National Politics. In the long run, economic growth can't be sustained by one man, one group or one party - or by a people afraid to think for themselves and to express their opinions.

"China may fall into a trap it's carefully setting for itself. Information is controlled. So is the media. All the necessary data may not be available to confront the crises sure to arise.

"All manner of dissent is forbidden and suppressed. This discourages the majority from departing from the restrictive party line. Without debate and disagreement, the thrust towards more corruption is enhanced. Nepotism becomes even more of an economy-sapping habit."

These shortcomings weaken Hong Kong too. "It's clearer and clearer that China has decided there won't be democracy in China, and so there won't be democracy in Hong Kong," Harvey said.

Hong Kong's press freedoms dwindle too. "People may say there's no self-censorship, but that's nonsense," Harvey said. "You need only pick up a newspaper to see events falsely analysed to justify China. Taiwan's always in the wrong, China's always in the right. In my view, it'd be the other way around because China continually alienates Taiwan, making it take the positions it does."

Harvey bows "only to the canons of good journalism". So Hong Kong's waning media freedoms can't vanish entirely while he keeps on "reflecting".

Harvey delivers

In profile

On his rooftop

The movie he starred in

With Phil Whelan

Phil records on a Friday for broadcast on Saturday and then on Sunday

In the library

Getting ready

His bookshelf

His tapes

On Lantau

On his rooftop

Oct 2 Facial Fur Fascinates Feline

Jay Scott Kanes - Official Court Pet Correspondent

(all photos by Tossaporn Kurupunya)


Leave it to an animal to debunk Lamma Island's undeserved reputation as a haven for aging hippies.

In fact, hippies are in such short supply that Flip, a cat who lives in a house on Yung Shue Wan's Back Street, had never seen a bearded man.

Then, on September 26th, a tourist from Thailand came to visit Flip's human guardians. Driven by catty curiosity, Flip spent a long time staring at the visitor. Much of the man's face stayed hidden behind facial hair vastly thicker than a cat's fur. What could cause such a deformity?

Motivated by an enquiring mind, Flip moved nearer. He took an extra-close look and sniffed repeatedly. Several times, he reached out to touch "the human fur", using one paw, then the other. How bristly! If he patted one part, would a mouse run out another?

As Flip investigated, several humans in the room snickered, amused by his behavior. Being so busy, Flip didn't care.

As a final experiment, Flip reached under the visitor's shirt and lifted the cloth. Wow! A similar pattern covered the man's chest.

"Your cat's making me self-conscious," the visitor said.

"Sorry," said one of Flip's humans. "I dread to think what'd happen if Nick the Bookman came to visit."

What went awry on the human's chin?

Flip takes a closer look.

Unable to resist, Flip touches the hairy monstrosity. It's like nothing he's seen before!

Oct 1 - National Day:  'The Highest Peaks of Urban Discharge'

Dr. Marcus - republished with his friendly permission from his personal blog:

The natural environment of the Hong Kong citizen is the shopping mall. It stands in the centre of a complex ecosystem of cubicles, high piles of shoe box flats, Mass Transport Railway (MTR) and 7/11 convenience stores. The high refinement and efficiency of this system allows to pack 7.2 Million inhabitants into a density of over 6,000/sq kilometre. All in all, Hong Kong is the world's most efficient storage system for live human bodies.

And like in any well-managed warehouse, the logistics runs smoothly within the exchange between money generation in the cubicles and the purchase of consumer crap in the malls which is then carried via MTR into the shoe boxes.

Outside all of this, there remain a few beautiful places which mostly stay untouched by the rest of Hong Kong: Outer Islands, hiking trails and some bays and beaches for example. Under ordinary conditions they have no role to the city, except that with huge funding they are "improved" by filling them up with concrete to make them look more "clean".

But the increasing trend of selling outdoor clothes encourages the population to run all over them in iPod-cabled crowds, mostly chatting on the mobile phone or playing with the PSP (PlayStation Portable). The highest peaks of this urban discharge can be recorded on "Public Holidays", on places like Lamma Island.

For anybody living here - who is not an anthropologist - there are only two ways to react:

1) stay at home,
2) fly out of Hong Kong.

For better planning, the list of 2008 public holidays can be found here:

P.S. There's a third way to react, I think:

3) Become one of THEM, join the maddening crowd, submerge in the raging river of tourists on High Street, become one with the noisy herd, plug in your own iPod and go with the flow... and leave the island for the holiday! We crawled through choked-up Main Street today, following the migration of the "urban discharge" towards the very noisy, full-to-the-brim ferry to town. After some gourmet-quality Dim Sum, TV-series DVD rentals and supermarket shopping (all not available on Lamma) we returned; satiated, happy and with fully loaded cloth bags at night when most of the tourists and touroids (tour group androids: See! Shop! Shoot picture!) had left and Lamma returned to its usually peaceful and relaxing state...

Maybe we'll spend the next holiday as anthropologists, watching the crowds, taking notes about their often odd behaviours, shooting some candid pictures and maybe even publish a scholarly article about our anthropological research findings in a learned scientific magazine... like the Lamma-zine!

Read last month's stories...


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

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