(all photos by Stine Baska,
click for more photos)
- Founder of Tai Peng Community Garden (text and all
Tai Peng Community Garden meeting (Sunday Nov.
4th, 10:30 am)
The Tai Peng
Community Garden is finally getting into (instead of 'off' ) the
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 @ gmail.com.
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
The eggplants are doing pretty well!
Some beds I've planted
Garden is in the area to the right of the pathway
steps up into the inner gardening area at the back
The main gardening area is in the
back up the steps
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
Contact me to make YOUR property the Lamma Property of the Week!
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
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.
Lucky eyes the first snow
any drop to drink
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
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.
Click to read
After 20 years of long hair our
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
TO SEE THIS WE NEED TO RAISE HK$15,000!!!
Please send donations
directly to CWS by:
Cheques made payable to 'Child Welfare Scheme' to
suite 503 St. George's Building, 2 Ice House Street, Central, Hong Kong
(Tel: 2526 8810)
Bank transfer - to CWS HSBC account number
Credit Card - log on to
www.childwelfarescheme.org/donate.htm and scroll down to the Paypal
'make a donation' button, a fast, easy and secure online donation
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.
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)
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
For further information
about Lamma Fun Day or Child Welfare Scheme contact please
Zein Williams on +852
2526 8810 or
Sonya Yeung on +852 2981
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
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
Transplanted vegetable seedlings by Dave Sanders
(Lettuce, Bak Choi, Tomato and Gai Lan)
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.
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
"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
What superpowers do Lammaites have or would like to have?
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
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.
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
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.
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
Society. This calendar will be on sale - among other brand-new books
and calendars by Lammaites - at the Lamma.com.hk stall at the
Lamma Fun Day on
minibeast, nondog, shearly divine, toddy.
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…,
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
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
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,
it's not one's balls that make a man
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
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.
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.
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
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!
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.
you prepared for certain amount of wear and tear around your
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.
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.
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
on the prowl
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
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!
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!
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
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.
Ghost Teacher, moderator of Spinoza's Web forum and
featured artist in the Cyan Studio for October 2007.
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
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
spinoza1112 has also written extensively on art
and other topics on Lamma island's placeblog (Lamma.com.hk).
He tends to come up with pure bullshit which upon close
examination is usually pretty cool, but which tries our patience
"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.
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
Which means retiring from this social ramble which,
as the great Negro League baseball pitcher Satchel Paige said, "ain't
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.
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
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 &
Chinese version of the brochure below
available on request:
recreation and therapeutic use
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.
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.)
are available in a variety of shapes and sizes and, with
fitted wheels, are mobile!
Also included in the kit are:
Growing Guide booklet explaining how to get started,
with planting calendar
balanced, organic growing media
certified organic fertilizer
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!
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;
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
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":
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
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.
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
For more details see our long-running
Yung Shue Long drain proposal forum.
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.
parenting forum has taken off within days of its launch, under the expert
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):
Marcus - Intro to the
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
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
Tourist Alert Platform, so we have a better idea where they
Anybody can simply report a tourist accumulation or
pedestrian traffic jam by mailing to
marcus_schuetz.lammatourist@bloggerXXX.com (remove XXX
before emailing) It will automatically be published on my website
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
Level 5: Teenagers
with Barbeque sets
Level 3: Families with
Level 2: Families and
Level 1: Individual Tourists
Lamma-Gung's rooftop - Before
Hey, how about a Gardening Forum
on Lamma.com.hk? 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
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,
P.S. Hey, want to show off your own private garden?
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 lamma.com.hk 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.
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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.
P.S. Later applications will be
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
See photos and read about
last year's No Hillfires! campaign and
their big success. Call Brian at 2272
0369 during office hours!
- 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
year the continuing success of the event relies heavily on the huge
support of all our volunteers - without them it would not be
BIG thank you to all past,
present and future volunteers!
LAMMA FUN DAY
SUNDAY 4th NOVEMBER 2007
Enjoy making a difference to the lives of those in need?
Able to volunteer
to a great cause?
Able to volunteer more time and interested in taking on a more
Involves selling food, second hand goods, kids games...
We need your help to make Lamma Fun Day
sign up today!
For more information
check out our charity website:
Zein - Lamma Fun Day organisation committee:
need your second-hand goodies to sell so we can raise funds
collecting anything and everything!
For Lamma drop-off please contact Pam at
or 6019 3364.
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!
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
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.
Kanes - STBWFLA (text and photos by Jay)
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
"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
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
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
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,
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.
which Asian events since the 1950s had the greatest impact? He
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
"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,"
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."
"only to the canons of good journalism". So Hong Kong's waning media
freedoms can't vanish entirely while he keeps on "reflecting".
On his rooftop
The movie he starred
With Phil Whelan
Phil records on a
Friday for broadcast on Saturday and then on Sunday
In the library
On his rooftop
Kanes - Official Court Pet Correspondent
(all photos by Tossaporn Kurupunya)
FACIAL FUR FASCINATES FELINE
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
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
"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!
Marcus - republished with his friendly permission from
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...