Just in case you've missed this story in Friday's
the ONLY tender so far for the Central-Sok Kwu Wan and Central-Yung Shue Wan
ferry service from July this year, proposed a 50% fare increase to continue
the Sok Kwu Wan ferry service and about
35% fare increase for the Central-Yung Shue Wan ferry! This was
obviously unacceptable to everybody, so the Transport Dept. is retendering
right now, allowing the tenderers to offer only slow and less frequent
(off-peak hourly service only) Lamma ferries after June this year, PLUS most
likely a smaller fare increase as well, adding insults to injury! PLUS they
also deleted the former new govt. requirement of offering a 2:30am and
5:30am service on weekends (see details of the report
here). So everything Lamma residents wanted and hoped for from the
ferry service is going down the drain!
To counter this gloomy future, Lammaite Oliver came up with a great
suggestion, hoping to avoid this dire and unacceptable massive downgrade of
our ferry services, see below. Open for discussion in our new
Ferry routes retendered forum, voice your opinions loud and clear
and constructive, please!
Oliver Armistead - Dragonboater and long-time Lammaite.
FASTER Ferries May Be the Answer!
I would like your opinion on an idea I've been
The Transport Department has been meeting on Friday,
Feb 22, to discuss the fate of our ferries.
I don't know about you but I personally don't want to
lose the fast ferries - we have a pretty lousy ferry service already
without it going back to the old days of 45-minute ferries and noodles
with fried eggs on top (Actually, I do sort of miss those.) Please
take a look at my solution to our problem, and please feel free to
give me some stick if you think it has serious flaws.
Rising fuel costs are making the Lamma ferry
uneconomical - hence unprofitable.
Our Local District Councilors and other village elders
are apparently in total opposition to any fare increases whatsoever
(the term 'screaming like a stuck pig at the thought' has been used.)
The Government's solution is to reduce the frequency
of the service and eliminate fast ferry services altogether so as to
maintain fares at close to their present levels.
Eliminating fast ferries also allows more
operators to compete for the license.
VIEW: THINKING OUTSIDE THE BOX:
We actually need less ferries not more!
The ferry company uses far more more boats than it
actually needs to maintain the current service. One major reason for
this is they use slow ferries. The current schedule requires that
there is always a ferry parked waiting in Central when one is leaving
Lamma and vice versa, also the government requires additional vessels
to be on standby all day.
I propose that the ferry company should be encouraged
to buy MUCH FASTER FERRIES - not slower ones. Faster ferries mean that
they can make the journey in far less than half an hour - they would
need fewer boats overall and hence fewer crews to maintain our
existing service (or even perhaps a better service).
Perhaps Govt. could even consider subsidising the
initial purchase price of newer more suitable boats on a leaseback
basis to the new operator. (After all didn't they do this to improve
the taxi and minibus fleets.)
From an environmental standpoint the existing ferries are a
floating disaster zone. The engines they use are shockingly
polluting, inefficient and painfully slow. New ferries equipped with
modern hulls and efficient engines are far better.
Extend the period of licensing:
The real problem with the current scheme is that any ferry company
that gets the license is very unlikely to put any serious investment
in new boats if they have only three years to recoup. Buying better
ferries costs serious money. My suggestion is to either increase
fares significantly or more importantly allow the licensing period to
be longer than 3 years.
Alright, we would probably still need to increase
fares - but at least we should start thinking our way out of the
According to the SCMP article yesterday, Sat,
extending the licensing period was clearly already a consideration.
The only problem is that they intend to retender once more on a
three-year basis first. This is probably a mistake as (even with the
hope of significant future improvement) three years of a vastly
diminished service will do significant damage to the island!
I believe it would be far better to reappraise the
whole system now - rather than waste time another three years.
Discuss this topic and my ideas in the
Ferry routes retendered
P.S. The Lamma-zine will go for a break for a few days
from today, till Lamma-Gung will have recovered sufficiently from his
voluntary stomach reduction operation tomorrow to continue this Lamma-zine
from his Wifi laptop in hospital.
Dr John Wedderburn & Elizabeth Huang -
Invitation to LAWC's Photo Exhibition
Lamma Animal Welfare Centre is holding a Photo
Exhibition titled "YOU Are All They Have" at the Fringe Club from
this Wednesday onwards for a period of ten days. The purpose
of this exhibition is to spread the idea of no abandonment. At our
exhibition, there will be a series of photographs and collages to
tell stories of the inseparable bond between owners and their
companion animals. Among the photos, the largest one will be a
mural made up of collages of “family portraits” of owners with their
2-legged and 4-legged family members. These owners will also be
telling you what they wanted to say to their animal companion and
This exhibition means a lot to us at LAWC and we
hope to have your support:
Details of the exhibition:
Date: 20/02/2008 ~ 02/03/2008
Venue: The Economist Gallery, Hong Kong Fringe Club
Time: Mon - Sat, daily from noon till 10pm.
Photos from the exhibition
Elizabeth's LAWC blog (in Chinese, very successful and
widely read, 13 reader comments posted to her exhibition opening
Another first for the Lamma-zine, an original erotic
fiction story posted by the Enfant Terrible, the "Devil's Advocate", the
contrarian of the Lamma forums, tjungarayi. See a few excerpts below,
but for the bits a bit too raunchy for this placeblog for all the family
you'll have to check out our non-commercial forums:
Come Play With Me. We don't want to start an Edison Chen-style
scandal here in the Lamma-zine! Also, discover who's allegedly really behind
the recent playground vandalism!
tjungarayi - Lamma forum senior member:
Come Play With Me
Knees a' tremble with expectation I swished down a
couple of glasses of Grand Marnier that steadied the butterflies for
the 'rendezvous'. 'Taws a cold February so I donned a favorite red
scarf, my sexy grey beret, my trusty long, black, shiny 'fuck me'
boots that covered my skin-tight black nylon stockings which
eventually disappeared up my short green-checked mini. Feeling warm,
aglow, cozy, nose a' twitching, eyebrows plucked and having recently
had a shot of vitamin B, I strutted toward my 'lammerotic' meet with
that loquacious lanky dirty blonde Mandingo, that veritable cyber
tiger of the Lamma forums. Switched on with my MP3, volume set to
crescendo with Nancy's 'These boots are gonna walk all over you….' I
thought, 'Yeah girls – eat your hearts out.'
Oh – I know - he wears khaki socks with sandals – and
that's the killer. This 'studley' does what he wants – aligns the
fashion firmament for others to follow. This hunk is the dreamboat
benchmark that leaves others wallowing in his wake! Men despair
knowing they are not worthy as he cycles past. A svelte and debonair
'gash' status that boys aspire to and old men once yearned for. He
adds lustre to an otherwise glum, badly dressed Lamma-Hong Kong ferry
lemming trail seen every morn and eve.
Bitch! - you say, you are digressing. Anyways, hitting
main drag, those pesky same ole butterflies assailing me, eyes warily
and wanly on the lookout on this cruising vigil, I keep the radar
alert for the fashion guru that I had dared presumed to meet this
muted starry night. The witching hour struck and I questioned my
sanity in risking all, my honor, dignity, integrity, reputation and
body in this risqué raunchy rendezvous. What gossip would ensue if
word were to get out at the use of the 'Lamma zine' for purposes of
clandestine bacchanalian trysts...
...Well take away my squeaky toys! Was that a footfall I
heard. I dared not turn after being distracted by the god squad's soul
canvassing on this remote isle. I needed to regain an aura of
nonchalance as I turned to greet my lover for the night. With face in
fixed poise I turned to meet the virtual tease of Lamma island's
erotically starved women. Ohhh!, and I mean oooohhh! There he stood,
weight upon his right leg and left hand in hip pocket with his
shoulder length dirty blonde hair irreverently combed in that
quintessential 1970 style. A twenty first century David. Immediately
noticeable were his signature khaki socks that reached halfway to his
knees and the tight brown sandals that encased his feet and ankles.
His beard flecked with grey shadowed a lean tanned face with grey blue
eyes. Time stood still as we stared at each other and I could neither
breathe or move...
...As soon as they passed he led me out of the alley
and back into Main street, quickly passed that shop where the funny
man in a white hat sells curry fish balls and all sorts of liver, then
the bar where the big blonde barmaid plays host to innumerable bulbous
nosed English and Canadian barflies, and finally skirting around the
playing field to the shadowed corner below the hill where the kiddies
It was there that he threw me against the slightly
sloped red and green padding that had recently been put up in the
playground. With one hand he gripped his khaki shirt and tore it off,
the buttons making snapping sounds as they flew apart...
(Continued in the
Come Play With Me forum.)
Jay Scott Kanes - Author, Photojournalist, Blogger
(Text and pictures by Jay Scott Kanes)
Real communications problems rarely arise for Lamma's
substantial non-Chinese minority. Most of the credit goes to the
Cantonese folks who routinely demonstrate their English-speaking skills.
But unusual situations, like the recent long stretch of
cold weather, can lead to misunderstandings. A few days ago, an
English-speaking customer entered a store in Yung Shue Wan.
"Do you sell hot-water bottles?" she asked in a shivery
"Yes, over there," the proprietor said, pointing.
The customer looked and shook her head. "No, that's
"Yes." The proprietor pointed again.
"No, I'm asking about hot-water bottles."
"You want just bottles, not the water."
"No, hot-water bottles," the customer specified. "You
fill them with hot water and put them in bed to stay warm at night."
The proprietor looked extra perplexed. No transaction
Hot-water bottles appeal in cold spells, and bottled
water on hot days. Logically, Lamma's shopkeepers stock bottled water,
but rarely hot-water bottles.
Earlier in Lamma's recent Big Chill, cartons with the words
"Electric Heater" towered from many of the rubbish bins. Several chilly
weeks later, some of the worked-to-death heaters poked above the same
Even Lamma's pets coped carefully with the cold. On most
days, the local dogs presented canine fashion shows, wearing
multi-colored jackets or sweaters to strut along Main Street.
Indoors, even the most independent-minded cats curled up
together to share body heat. In many apartments, feline heaps covered
the sofas and beds.
The humans who sleep surrounded by cats enjoyed a
significant advantage. Together with animal partners, they huddled under
blankets and needed no hot-water bottles – yet another benefit of pets.
Clever cat-clusters conserve body heat.
Warmth-givers: a cat considers a
Bottled water's always available.
On Main Street, a mutt dresses for
Better than hot-water bottles, cats share
beds on chilly nights.
I, Lamma-Gung, am currently residing in Queen Mary Hospital -
Lamma's designated public hospital - getting prepped for an operation next
Monday, Feb 25. I've been bringing the Lamma-zine to you from my bed since
last Sunday via a borrowed laptop. Many thanks to the most generous Mr Anonymous!
I can get online only about once or twice a day, as there's no Wifi in the
ward, only outside Starbucks in the lobby.
I'll be here for another two weeks, having a preventative
operation next Monday (Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy, if you'd like to google
it). This operation will cause me to start losing loads of weight to stay
healthy into the future. Due to weight loss (15 kg/34 pounds so far, before
checking into the hospital) and several months of supervised exercise in the hospital gym I
feel better, stronger and fitter than in many years.
I really appreciate this hospital stay as a kind of vacation so far. Sitting in bed
all day, being fed and pampered, no need to cook and wash dishes, just eat,
sleep, take my pills, read a lot, watch DVDs on the laptop, listen to my
iPod Shuffle, and work out in the in-house gym once a day; what's not to
like! So many very nice people are checking my blood pressure and blood
sugar levels, 1,200-calories diet, fluid intake and outtake, my last pooping
time, etc. Doesn't it all sound like a fancy, mega-expensive spa resort? And
it costs only $100/day!
But this Monday, all the fun will end and they'll get serious with me, going
medieval on me, cutting up to 5 holes into my belly, sticking in expensive
instruments (which I have to pay for) and removing most of my stomach.
Well, I volunteered for it, so I have a very positive attitude and great
confidence. Wish me good luck and a speedy recovery. The Lamma-zine's daily
schedule might potentially, maybe, perhaps be interrupted for a number of days while I'll be
in intensive care, drugged up and on a fluids-only diet...
The updated Lamma Island tourist guide has just been released
by the Islands District Council. Some quotes from the guide:
"The island is very peaceful and tranquil, with nice and friendly people
living in 19 villages."
"The beautiful natural scenery and fresh air attracts more and more
western expatriates coming to live on the island."
"...streets are lines with dainty restaurants...a gourmet paradise."
"Hung Shing Ye Beach...with fine and smooth sand, while the sea water is
clean and clear."
Typical touristy fluff, but mostly true. Click on the map above to see one
complete A3-size page of the 2-page foldable tourist guide. To see the
backside, you'll have to pick it up yourself from our City
Hall (Rural Council building opposite HSBC) or from some restaurants. Then
you can learn more about "meeting the Green turtles on Sham Wan beach"
(which haven't been spotted there for the last 4 years and it would be
illegal to approach them.) It's also intensively promoting Lamma Winds as
the main tourist attraction, but no mention of any future regular bus
service up there yet, fortunately.
Anyway, it's a nice, colourful and FREE guide, so pick
up a few for your visiting friends and family!
An amazingly wide array of courses are being offered at the
Lamma Activities Centre, from puppet making to sign language, from Muay Thai
to Baby Ballet. Some of the classes and seminars are even for free! This
quite recent wonderful community initiative is growing by leaps and bounds,
increasing their number of teachers, classes and students.
Click on the
individual posters above to learn more and check out
Yesterday, Yung Shue Wan Village was reverberating and echoing from the
deafening noise of drums and firecrackers, going on for hours. It was a unicorn dance troupe
(Law Shan Pai Martial Arts Association) going from business to business, from restaurant to
restaurant, blessing them for good luck and great business in the Lunar New Year, "eating" the salad and the
Lai See packages (with sizable donations) put out on a small table in front of each establishment.
Swarms of hobby shutterbugs were out and about, even a professional videographer
was present filming the very noisy but very happy festivities. Unusually
uniformed, I wasn't aware of the event in advance and didn't have my *real*
camera (Nikon D80) with me, just returning from town. So all these bad photos below are from my camera phone and
definitely not up to my standard. Sorry.
If some of the many
photographers out there would like to add their much better photos here,
they're most welcome! Click on Email to the Editor in the weekday
header of any Lamma-zine story!
P.S. This is the first Lamma-zine story ever
brought to you directly from Queen Mary Hospital. The Lamma-zine will
be written, photo-processed and formatted in my bed on a borrowed laptop and
published via PCCW Wifi from outside the Starbucks in the lobby.
I'll be here for at least another two weeks, but more about
that later. As long as you see daily Lamma-zine stories appearing no need to
worry about me and my health (yet)! ;-)
- Public Affairs Dept.
As you probably know, one letter
appeared in today's (Saturday, 16 Feb 2008) SCMP. While we will be
writing to SCMP to clarify, I wish to solicit your support in putting
the record straight on your website, maybe in a more prominent
position. Some residents have copied us their objections to the Lands
Department, and after hearing our reply, are satisfied with our
I'm sorry that our application has
created such misunderstanding but please be assured that there is no
question of HK Electric running a "minibus service" to Lamma Winds.
What we are applying to Lands Department now is for a permit that
would allow us vehicular access along the cable route on a need basis.
While all visitors are invited to walk
up to Lamma Winds, we reckon there may be a need to provide
transportation for those physically challenged, or elderly who maynot
be able to cope with the whole trip, both ways. In addition, we need
to cater for local and overseas visitors who have very tight
schedules. A permit will also facilitate contingency arrangements for
special events like our annual Smart Power Campaign open days when an
estimated 1,000 students would walk up to the station in 2 days. With
a van on standby, we could provide speedy assistance for these
students just in case. We don't envisage the need to use this more
than a few times a year.
We're aware of the benefits of electric
vehicle, but I'm afraid it may not have the necessary power to go
uphill knowing how steep certain sections along the cable route are.
While we would continue to explore, I hope you do understand the
all started with a notice posted on the village main noticeboard opposite
HSBC, that HK Electric was planning a bus service from the Power Station to
the Lamma Winds windturbine. I posted the
notice and map in our Environmental forum before Lunar New Year, Feb
6, under the heading of
Light Buses to Windturbine? Click right to enlarge them. I asked HK
Electric right away for an explanation, receiving it the very same day and
also posting it in the forum:
"I wish to clarify that we do not have any plans to run bus services to
and from the wind turbine station. We conduct visits for various
stakeholders to the wind turbine station and all visitors will be invited to
reach the station on foot.
will only be considered if absolutely necessary, for example for visitors
who are physically challenged."
I thought this would settle this issue to the satisfaction of most residents
and the forum discussion died down after the above statement on Feb 6 - but
it didn't remain dead...
This topic revived with a vengeance, causing a little
firestorm of emails going around Lamma, in the two days before the
deadline for objections to the permission, Feb 14. I got almost ten emails
from various people about this topic and many of them were sent and cc-ed to
many others. I even got a concerned phone call (since I've posted my phone
number at the top of the home page now for urgent Lamma-zine news).
All these people hadn't seen the forum and were worried about
the same issues already discussed in the forum before Lunar New Year, not
having seen HK Electric's reply above either which addressed the major fear
of people about a regular or frequent bus service. The objection period
ended on Feb 14 and I assume that quite a number of objections have been
emailed to the Lands Dept. these last two days.
Today, well-known Lammaite and man-about-town Frazer
McGilvray had his detailed objection letter to the SCM Post prominently
published. I'll post it as soon as I can get a hold of it in digital format
(SCMP Website down today from 5-9pm). And then I received the above email
from Hongkong Electric for immediate publication.
And so this little local saga continues... and you can
follow it in our
Light Buses to Windturbine? forum...
Jay Scott Kanes - Author, Photojournalist, Blogger
(Text and pictures by Jay Scott Kanes)
For more details and to discuss this story, see
Playground Vandalism forum.
Low-Crime or Not, Village Has Prowlers
The few thousand people living on Lamma
Island often view themselves as hidden away on a tropical paradise, an
island without crime. Seeing the crowded, polluted and shyster-riddled
big city on nearby Hong Kong Island makes us extra smug. But do we
deceive ourselves and live in a false paradise?
Lately, we've shivered in our unheated,
concrete apartments while enduring the coldest spell in many decades.
Week after week, the temperature seldom rises much over 10 degrees
Celsius. We wear many sweaters, but the chills persist. The Canadian
North, even at -40, feels much better, at least indoors.
So the "tropical island" loses its
lustre, and more Hong Kong Island smog seems to drift this way too. At
least we still have the low crime rate? Or do we?
Often I've looked out my office window in
Yung Shue Wan, Lamma's largest village, and spotted young prowlers,
trespassing teenagers, on the neighboring rooftops. They climb however
possible, even shimmying burglar-like along drainage pipes. Once on the
roofs, they walk, run or jump to adjoining buildings and nearby ones.
Ominously, they peer onto balconies and scrutinize the windows of taller
buildings. Are these youngsters training for lives as hardened
Most buildings in Yung Shue Wan look
structurally sound, but the rooftops involved, over one-storey homes,
appear weak, even flimsy. They're for shelter, not rooftop parades. Even
if the trespassers mean no harm, they may cause damage. It's easy to
imagine them crashing through into someone's house.
Another Lamma Islander has noticed crime
too and wrote about it on
this Website's forums:
"It didn't take long for the newly
renovated playground to be vandalized. A number of padded boards near
the 'bouncy dolphin' have been slashed with a blade of some sort…. I
often go to the playground with my kids. We waited a long time for the
renovation, so I was outraged to see that some infantile idiot had
spoiled it for everyone else. While there on Saturday, I asked a few
older kids if they'd heard who was responsible, and they all gave me the
same name. I knew the lad they'd mentioned and approached him. He denied
responsibility (obviously), but said someone else had already accused
Maybe there's no such thing as a
crime-free village. But mostly, Lamma Island needs for the sunshine to
return. Then its people of all ages should feel better about everything.
Prowler tramps along a 'delicate' roof.
Results of vandalism tower above the 'bouncy dolphin'.
the damaged playground wall.
Valentine's Day Dinner in B&B Restaurant (a Lamma-zine
advertiser), together with Lamma-Por. A few pictures say more than a
thousand words about this absolutely splendid and oh-so-delicious romantic
Queenie - Master Chef Ramond, the best Western-style cook on Lamma - Danny
A little preview of Valentine's Day dinner specials in Yung
These menus have been submitted by the restaurants themselves
(click to enlarge, B&B is a Lamma-zine advertiser).
Any more restaurants with a special menu?
Waterfront Rest. - B&B Restaurant
Sunday, Jan 20, after 5pm, Power Station Beach: Cool dude Makha
and his (almost) weekly drum circle. Everybody's welcome to join
Quoting from my latest Lamma-zine email newsletter (free
"So let's check out what we
Lammaites have been up to recently. There's such an amazingly wide range of
fascinating and talented people living in our little island community.
Fortunately for the Lamma-zine, many of them don't mind a little free
publicity for their pet projects, exciting activities and good causes. A few
- A ferry full of music-loving Lammaites - getting Clockenflapped out
- More music-loving Lammaites - grooving above the Central ferry pier
- Dave the Artistic Genius - dazzling us with his Notable Accomplishments
- Christie the Child Prodigy - presenting his point of view on water
- Nick the Official Court Music Reviewer - reviewing up a cyberdelic storm
- Kelly the Junior Art Jammer - getting a really huge buzz
- Gavin the Jovial Host - blowing our socks off
- NicBud the Photographer of the Month - showing off Quintessential Lamma
- Reverend Stephen Wong Kung Kim - opening the Lamma Mission Center
- Doctor John - enlightening us on Lamma animal issues
- Eric Petanque - inviting all to the HK Int'l Boulodrome in Tai Peng
- Captain Gina Meana - outpinking, outpaddling and outpartying
...and what's Lamma-Gung
been up to recently, besides all his usual hubris, hubbub, hullabaloo and
hoopla? Well, find out, visit the website and our active Chinese and
English forums at
Let's display a few recent photos of Lammaites I took or got emailed! Send me
more photos of Lammaites if you'd like to see them in the Lamma-zine
sometime soon (with their permission, of course)!
Some of my own photos below *might* be "artsy-fied" for my upcoming
LammaCelebrityCam II solo exhibition in a Lan Kwai Fong gallery.
Tavis & family - Anonymous on the Clockenflap
ferry - Gavin caught in the flashlight - Lara clutching her Dragonboating
paddle (photo from Fit!
Vernon, 80+ years old, volunteering to teach
disabled youngsters (photo by anon) -
Guess who? Yes, Nick in an ancient Lamma pantomime (photo by anon) -
Paul Lau the Butterfly Man with his red bike
Jenny of Holiday Mood
Rest. - 4 local youngsters (photo by Steve Cray)-
Mr Jones, the chunky hunk of love! (photo by LAP)
Angela Leary - Media Manager of
Animals Asia Foundation:
(Text and pictures by Angela Leary and Jill Robinson)
Lamma resident Angela
Leary had a tough few days last week as she followed the
surgery, seeming recovery and death of the bear she adopted
Animals Asia's Moon Bear Rescue project.
middle-aged bear had spent 10 years in a coffin-sized cage on a
bile farm before starting his new life at AAF's sanctuary in
Chengdu, Sichuan in February 2004. His death from liver cancer
was almost certainly the result of his brutal treatment on the
AAF Founder and CEO Jill
Robinson was with Willow at the end. From
AAF's website, here is
her blog of those final hours:
gentle Willow - Friday, Feb 1,
I still believe in
miracles, but today the miracle went to someone else. As we held
Willow's paws, while Heather injected the fluid that would end
his life, we wept. It hardly seems a week ago to the day when we
were all so hopeful as this brave bear was into his third day of
recovering from the massive tumour removed from his liver.
But the warning bells
sounded just two days ago as vets Heather and Lara alerted us
all to the bright-yellow bile seeping from his surgical wound.
Knowing how invasive bile is....seeing bears arriving from the
farms suffering from the final impacts of peritonitis, we knew
the situation was grim. For his part, Willow didn't seem to know
anything at all in this last week of his life except that he was
thoroughly enjoying an array of fruity medicated shakes,
ever-changing toys to play with and the endless loving care of
his human friends just willing him to live.
Now seeing Willow on the
surgery table for another exploratory operation, the news was
exactly as we'd feared. Although the surgical site where the
liver tumour was removed had completely healed over, the
tumours' legacy had begun a cycle in his body that was now
impossible to heal. As staff on site sadly trailed over to say
their goodbyes, to hold his soft, warm paws one last time, our
hospital staff prepared for the next few hours of recording his
death. I'll leave it to Heather's own words for summing up:
"On post mortem, it
showed that the bile leakage came from an inflamed area on the
left side of Willow's liver. We suspect that the tumour cells
remaining in his liver had infiltrated his bile duct, blocking
the drainage of bile from the liver into the intestines and
causing a build-up of bile, which resulted in the rupture on the
Ironically, if the bile
hadn't seeped through his surgical wound, it would have
continued evading his body, and would ultimately have led to the
full-blown and very painful peritonitis, which is killing these
bears on the farms.
Last night I fed him two
fruit gums and smiled as he took the first – a green one – and
began investigating something obviously never enjoyed before. A
few cautious, but interested, licks before setting the sweet
down onto the back of his paw – plate-like – as he had a few
sniffs and decided that, yes, it was quite safe to eat. The next
– orange this time – saw exactly the same routine before he
settled down to suck happily with all the quiet relish of a
small and contented child.
This afternoon as we say
goodbye to Willow and send his spirit to the sky, in his grave
among his favourite toys and food will be a single yellow "moon
crescent" fruit gum for him to explore and enjoy as he starts
his new journey and leaves a world where he was loved and
respected. We also sent him off with a CD of his very own song,
which was written and recorded by our wonderful Aussie
supporter, Bernard Curry. You can click to
listen to "Willow's Song".
One person missing at
his funeral was his sponsor – our own Media Manager, Angela in
Hong Kong. Devastated by the death of her beloved bear, Angela
has written some words in memory of her beautiful Willow.
gave you a name that spoke of your beauty, your grace; of China
and the West. I gave you a name that spoke of the unspeakable –
your past, your sorrow, our shame. You gave me so much more – a
lesson, not yet learned.
I think of you and
feel the earnest brush of your tongue, so grateful for the fruit
I fed you, so careful not to hurt my hand. You forgave the
unforgivable and tried to teach me to do the same. So now I'll
wear your fur in a locket, a reminder of all you meant, and
Weep no more gentle
Willow. Take your place next to the rushing stream and let the
good earth warm your soul. And sleep your deep, bear sleep. It's
going to be a long winter this year."
And now, with Willow's
friends lying lazily out in their enclosures on a sunny and
bitterly cold day, where the sky is blue and the clouds
sometimes froth into images of bears tumbling on their backs, we
smile through our sadness as life goes on.
Mrs. Santa Claus, a.k.a. Sharon - Co-owner of The Island Bar:
(Text by Sharon, pictures by Dan Peterson, her hubby)
Creating much jollity at the Holiday Mood on Main
Street, Ricky, the jolly restaurateur hosted a free Children's Party
for the children of Lamma last Friday, 1st Feb. With various mums
and helpers in attendance, the children, aged from quite little to
early teens, enjoyed various creative activities using paper, glue
and such, as well as musical bumps, musical statues and pass the
orange under the chin.
Ricky provided a delightful repast, perfect for
little tummies hungry from school or simply the cold weather!
Chicken wings and chips were greedily chomped along with a good
selection of tasty, healthy snacks, all finished off with a special
Chinese dessert. (The bean curd in particular was absolutely
The party finished on a high note with
pass-the-parcel, which was obviously a new activity for some of the
children in attendance. The entire party passed with much gaiety on
the part of the children and hilarity from the adults. All in all,
we estimate over 40 children popped in either to stay or just to
enjoy the good food on offer.
Ricky, you found a great way to bring together Lamma children of all
nationalities. Thank you very much from the Lamma community!
Simon Li - Lammaite
of the Month:
(Text & pictures by Simon Li, click to enlarge)
I love the life here and have made
many new friends
It all began when Lamma-Gung posted a little comment
on my blog that I had used a historic map from his website, without
any credit or link. I explained that I didn't recall where I had
downloaded the map from as I often download stuff at light speed.
browsed the many photos and galleries in my blog and liked what he
he surprised me by asking by email if I'd be
interested in becoming
Photographer of the Month in the Lamma-zine.
Well, why not?
I moved to Lamma almost four years ago. I love the life here and
have made many new friends. I'm keeping a blog
Lamma and it serves as an outlet for my passion for Lamma.
I use it to show my friends how great it is to live here. You simply
cannot find a cheap and good place in Hong Kong and at the same time
find things worth taking pictures of.
I used to live in town in Shatin, My property management company
recently held a photo competition, collecting photos about the
"estate". Only a few people submitted any photos. I personally think
there is nothing interesting to shoot there. But on Lamma, everyone
can be a great photographer! As the previous "Photographer of the
Month" wrote: "Lamma speaks for itself, no words needed."
There are numerous events and locations on Lamma where you can shoot
great pictures. e.g. kids playing on the beach, Lamma Fun Day every
year, the short and easy hiking road to Lamma Winds, and even from
your own rooftop (if you're as lucky as me.) An occasional visit to
Lamma would never be enough to capture the true spirit of Lamma. You
have to live here yourself and get a real taste of it!
Yung Shue Wan Harbour shortly after midnight this morning,
shot by L-G from a Sha Po Village rooftop. Who needs the *other* little
firework over Victoria Harbour tomorrow night! (Composite of 10
long-exposure photos, click to enlarge.)
above for a musical and Flash-animated version of this e-card for you, plus
a lot more CNY interactive fun!
The e-card is courtesy of the website I launched over 12.5
years ago, the largest and most successful site I've ever webmastered and
and managed. It was the very first Chinese New Year I'd been promoting to HK
tourists via the Internet, the last Year of the Rat, 1996! I'm feeling sooo
old sometimes, definitely like an ancient, grizzled veteran of the Internet
For more CNY-in-HK info and entertainment, click below:
Chinese New Year-related banners (click to enlarge) have been popping up all
over the village, announcing various activities like the Lunar NY Singing
Carnival on Feb 19, noon-3pm, VV Parking Lot, outside Ngau Kee Rest.
vis-a-vis the Deli Lamma. Other banners are wishing us Kung Hei Fat Choy and
other good tidings.
It would be
nice if at least some of them would occasionally be in English or at least
bilingual, as most of us non-Chinese readers also love to celebrate the
Chinese New Year season and even prefer it to Christmas, like myself!
Dr. Andy Cornish - Conservation Director -
WWF Hong Kong:
Wikipedia, added by L-G)
Green Turtle, Horseshoe Crab and
in Deep Trouble
press release: Nov 15, 2007]
...WWF's Species Status Report found the three
species in dire need of attention if they are not to go extinct in
Hong Kong waters: the Green turtle, Chinese Bahaba, and Horseshoe
crab. The Report, which reviewed data across the past three years
since "Ocean's 10" was launched, reveals for instance that Green
turtles have not come back to the only known regularly used nesting
beach at Sham Wan on Lamma Island for four consecutive years.
This indicates that the current generation nesting there are close
to the end. Despite rare nestings that have occurred in the past two
years at other beaches, these last survivors are unlikely to be able
to maintain a stable population in Hong Kong.
"These Ancient Mariners are in desperate straits in
Hong Kong. There's a good chance we're watching them going extinct
right in front of our eyes, which would be such a sad moment for
Hong Kong. It may not be too late but we've got to see urgent and
major conservation efforts in the next few years," noted Dr. Andy
Cornish, Conservation Director, of WWF Hong Kong....
..."The results from our review of the "Ocean's 10"
species" are truly shocking. Major species are disappearing right
here, right now while the government twiddles its thumbs and dabbles
in half-baked conservation measures. It isn't too late for most
species, but without a serious change in attitude from high levels
of government, species like the Green turtle and Chinese Bahaba are
going to become just a footnote in a history book" said Dr. Andy
from the WWF's
"Ocean's 10 Species Status Report":
IUCN Red List Status: Endangered (2004)
Kong Status: The only known regularly used nesting beach has not
visited in the past four years, sightings are increasingly rare and
the species is well on its way to extinction in Hong Kong.
Green turtles exhibit particularly slow growth
rates, and age to maturity for the species appears to be the longest
of any sea turtle (Hirth 1997) meaning they will be very slow to
recover from reductions in population size. Female green turtles
usually nest once every two to five years and only one in 1000
juvenile green turtles survives to adulthood (Chan, 2003). Green
turtles return to their natal beach for nesting.
Sham Wan at southern Lamma Island was the
last regularly used nesting beach for Green turtles in Hong Kong.
Prior to this beach becoming protected and made off-limits to
visitors starting in 1999 during the nesting season (June to
October), nearby villagers used to dig up the eggs to eat, which
probably played a big part in the turtles local demise. The last
nesting at Sham Wan occurred in 2003.
Other local beaches were used in the past by Green
turtles but have become abandoned as housing and particularly bright
lights have spread to most beaches. Odd nestings still occur very
rarely, for instance one female at Tai Long Wan in Sai Kung in 2006,
and another at Big Wave Bay near Shek O in 2005, but these last
survivors will not be able to maintain a Hong Kong population.
Females lay several hundred eggs but as the survival rate is only
around 1 in a thousand, numbers are against the turtles. Even if a
few individuals from the 1990s generation of nestlings or earlier
return to Lamma in the future, it seems unlikely they can produce
enough eggs to perpetuate the Hong Kong population.
Green turtles are highly migratory, and therefore
may require protection throughout their migratory route in order for
conservation to be effective. Green turtles satellite-tagged by AFCD
in Hong Kong have traveled to Hainan Island where an illegal trade
exists in dead turtles as curios. For example, in March 2007 a
Chinese vessel from Hainan was caught in Malaysia with more than 220
Green and Hawksbill turtles illegally on board (WWF HK, 2007).
• Harvesting of eggs from nesting beaches in
Hong Kong in the past
• Disturbance of nesting beaches in the past and now
• Bycatch in trawl nets, and possibly gill nets when young
• Health problems caused by swallowing plastic bags and other
• Boat collisions leading to injury or mortality
• Outside Hong Kong -threats not well known but including
being caught for meat and curio trade, and being caught as bycatch
• AFCD has taken solid conservation actions in restricting
human access to the nesting beach at Sham Wan on Lamma Island during
the nesting season since 1999, and in successfully removing laid
eggs, incubating them (with partner Ocean Park) and releasing the
juveniles in order to increase their early survival rate. However,
all the available information suggests these actions by themselves
have been too late and too limited to ensure the survival of the
Green Turtle in Hong Kong.
• WWF calls on government to recognize the desperate plight of
the Green Turtle in Hong Kong and formulate a Green Turtle
Conservation Action Plan to examine the feasibility of restoring
viable breeding populations of the species in Hong Kong.
I've asked Dr. Andy Cornish (pictured at the
WWF booth @ Clockenflap) a few follow-up questions by email:
1. Is it too late for the
We try to be optimistic and look for solutions but
the Green turtle population that used to nest on Lamma is in a
desperate state. The real damage was probably done decades ago when
villagers used to collect and eat the eggs, but migratory species
like these are often the most difficult to conserve as they face
threats in the waters of all the countries they swim through. So
removing the threats is a massive task.
It might be possible to deliberately release
hatchlings collected from healthy nesting beaches in other countries
at Lamma, but I am not sure they would return or even survive the
experience, as Green turtle nestlings generally return to the beach
on which they were born.
2. Will the beach be opened
all year now?
I doubt it and it would be premature. There are
young turtles hatched on Lamma still out there somewhere, and one
day hopefully some will return to nest when they are old enough.
3. What can Lammaites do
about this problem? Anything?
Reporting any marine turtle sightings to government
(AFCD) or WWF would help us understand the current situation better.
They could also write to AFCD and ask that they devise an action
plan to restore the Lamma population.
Really, it's outrageous that these magnificent and
ancient mariners are going extinct in Hong Kong right before our
eyes, especially when the government is flush with cash.
4. What to do to avoid
other endangered species vanishing in HK waters, land and air? Any
local activities planned or suggested?
I will get back to this with you later ...we are
just starting to plan an event.
5. Any other endangered
species on Lamma? Birds, amphibians?
Not that I am aware of, apart from Romer's Tree
(Photos by Lamma Ladies, photo comic by Captain Gina Meana)
Busy market scenes like these can be experienced again at the yearly Yung
Shue Wan Lunar New Year Flower Market, starting today!
(click photos to enlarge)
Reclamation ferry pier (outside YSW Football Pitch), Feb 1-3, starting at
11am till everything's gone! Get all your Lunar New Year flowers and
plants! Haggle for the best price! No need to drag your flowers all the way
from town! Home delivery by trolley or VV!
For more photos, see my
photo gallery from last Chinese New Year:
Read last month's stories...