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May 31Eco-Routes - Click & Learn

These 3 new eco-routes below were launched last Sunday as part of HK Electric's Green Lamma Green campaign. The routes are being introduced on the new eco-tour map (click to download PDF file), available in schools, public libraries, HK Tourism Board Visitor Centres, ferry piers (to Lamma Island) and from the Conservancy Association.

Walking along the routes, there are 20 large Educational Panels on the side of the road. I found them to be very informative and interesting, but they're not included on the eco-tour map and nowhere on the Internet, as far as I know. So I've made them available here, courtesy of HK Electric's Media Kit CD-ROM. Just click on the titles of the Educational Panels below, but don't let this convenience keep you away from hiking the eco-routes yourself! I recommend the following Panels with some info tidbits that might be new even for long-time Lamma residents:

Regeneration of Forests on Lamma Island
The Importance of Mudflats -- Hillfire and Succession
Looking into Mikania -- Mo Tat School
The Future of Fishing Industry on Lamma Island

May 30Ferry Re-tender Results

A ferry fare increase for the YSW route of 9.2% for the monthly ticket has just been announced, valid from July 1:

22.9% increase for weekday sailings and 28.2% for Sunday/Public Holidays ones, compared to the current slow ferries (no more fast ferries from July 1). Click here for the Govt. press release.

Gisela writes in her Facebook Group 關注南丫島渡輪服務Concern for Lamma Ferry Service: (Discuss in our Ferry Re-tender Update forum)

30 May 2008-5-30 - Breaking News!!!

Ferry Re-tender results out  重新招標結果公佈

Both YSW and SKW routes will be operated by HKKF subsidiaries

YSW route 榕樹灣航線
Operated by single vessel type (faster than slow ferries, slower than fast ferry)
單程single(星期日/假日,Sunday and Public Holiday):$20
月票monthly ticket: $580

SKW route 索罟灣航線
單程single(星期日/賈日,Sunday and PH):$25
月票monthly ticket: $621

Schedule to be confirmed but should be similar to current

There will also be discount of $1.5 with MTR (details to be announced)


Click for English details

May 29Games, Tunes, Hooch & Hoochie Mamas

Gina  Meana - Captain, Lamma Dragons Women's Team - writes:

"I've attached our 80s-inspired poster. Dude, I was in a haze of bad pre-grunge wear, anti-nuke demonstrations and wacky classical music lessons from mad Russian teachers, so I have no real idea what the 80s inspired other than spots from all the bad Cover Girl foundation gals were wearing in my High School...

I know I listened to Kate Bush and the Police... That's about it."

(Animation effects above by L-G)

From the Lamma Dragons website:

Party with the Ladieeez like it's 1988

Got a secret thing for HUGE hair and especially bad cosmetics? Miss acid-wash jeans and Duran Duran? (you sad ass; talk about a view to a kill).

Join the Lamma Dragons (menfolk and wimmin-folk) for their 20th Anniversary Party on May 31st at the Island Bar - 8:00pm onwards.

There will be the usual revelry: including jelly shots, stupid - that is, FUN! - games, tunes and hooch (and hoochie mamas: this is the Lamma Ladies we is talking about).

Better yet, it's Dress like it's 1988 night! Not only did 1988 bring us big hair, sparkly lip gloss (Max Factor, you are guilty of so many things...), pointy shoes and men wearing way too much eye-liner - in addition to so many assaults on our musical senses - it brought us the Lamma Dragon Ladies!

So come on down and celebrate! Lamma Ladies of the past, present and future are all welcome (and the men, too!). We'll have special 20th anniversary shirts on sale, as well as a fab selection of the 80s' finest discs a-spinnin' throughout the evening (not really spinning; it IS the digital age after all).

* Please note: the Lamma Ladies accept no responsibility for any emotional damage 80s flashbacks have on participants. Moonwalk at your own peril (1981-82). Crotch-grabbing - with or without sparkly gloves - is not advised.

May 28Wanna Buy an iPod Sampan?

The wall below the Man Lai Wah Hotel, close to the YSW ferry pier,
called Democracy Wall as everybody is welcome to put up their posters there
(Panorama made by L-G from 3 photos by Simonltk)

This poster can be seen on the Democracy Wall: buy your own Sampan, The Intrepid Gung Ho, moored in YSW harbour! Never worry about catching the last ferry ever again, come home as late as you like. Voyage directly to any other location around Lamma, even the remote ones almost inaccessible by hiking, and travel directly, non-stop to all the other Outlying Islands. Organise lucrative day or evening tours around Lamma to compete with HKKF's evening tours for Mainlanders.

But the most interesting bit is that this sampan has an iPod sound system, your very own iPod Sampan! This is basically any iPod plugged into amplifiers and loudspeakers, so everybody around you can share your atrocious, eh, wonderful musical tastes.

iPods have been must-have items for trendy Lammaites for some years now. On the rush hour ferries you can spot them plugged into many a sleepy head, including my own. And what would my gym workout be without my tiny iPod Shuffle, my Bliss ClipTM? So boring!

But will we see more iPod-enabled transportation, like The Intrepid Gung Ho, soon on Lamma Island?

iPod VVs, making the sometimes reckless drivers even more dangerous, being deaf to the cries and swear words of pedestrians they've almost clipped or run over?

iPod bicycles, the riders using intimidating tunes to shoo pedestrians out of their path, instead of overusing their annoying ding-ding bells?

iPod mini ambulances to soothe the hurting passengers inside being transported to the clinic, helipad or the ferry pier?

iPod skateboards playing the soundtrack to show off your ultracool 'tude surfin' through the Main Street rush hour crowds?

iPod waterskis to shoo all the sharks away with your thumping deep bass tunes?

May 27Lamma Mamas Charity Day

LAWC and Lamma mamas  - Organisers & donors

(Most pictures below by Hilda, a few by L-G)

The 25th May 'Lamma Charity Day' Fund Raising Event (LAWC and Lamma Mamas' Baby and Children Items Charity sales) has collected a total of $56,081.90. We will donate the entire sum to UNICEF for Sichuan Earthquake relief work.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has donated towards this event, especially to Sun Salon, Deli Lamma, Village Bakery, Joanne the Tattooist, Carrie Yu from Healing Island and all volunteers for their endless efforts and support.

e - Chairperson, LAWC

Here's the latest of yesterday's hard work.

The 3 sale-points plus donations (Sun Salon, Deli Lamma & outside the Village Bakery) totaled HK$20,352.30

Special Cash Donation: $28,000.00  (cheque of $48,352.30, see below)

LAWC: $5,529.60

Donation pledged: $2,200.00

Grand total: $56,081.90

Outside the Village Bakery. Have you noticed the new 4th Power Station chimney?

Looking for some coins to donate?

Baby stuff and shoulder/neck massages at the Deli Lamma

Never too young to be a volunteer or to get a temporary tattoo for charity

Today, Human Welfare instead of Animal Welfare

Biggest donation of the day, by the smallest donor??

Wow, so much loot! Counting the takings of the day...

May 26Aberdeen, Across the Lamma Channel

May 25'New Eco-Trails Boast Lamma's Natural Beauty'

A major event has been happening in the YSW Football Pitch today from 2-3pm, covered by TVB and ATV (see right) and a motley horde of invited photographers/photojournalists, including yours truly:

The 3-year Green Lamma Green campaign by HK Electric and the Conservancy Association ended impressively with the launch of 3 new Lamma eco-trails which will "afford hikers the opportunity of espying the Wood Spider, Painted Lady, Little Egret, Fiddler Crab, Mudskipper and other Lamma 'residents'" - according to HEC's press release.

Some of these 'residents' even took to the stage, see above. Aren't they oh-so-cute, their parents were so proud! On this hot and humid day, the children's brave endurance to wear these heavily padded costume should be admired and praised. But it was all for a fine cause, of course.

Then it was speeches by celebrities like the Tourism Commissioner, a LegCo member, the Conservancy Association CO, and even an "Outstanding Eco-Leader and Lamma resident", Ms. Sally Lam. Awards, trophies, prizes and plaques were handed out generously to almost everybody involved, except me (harrumph!) Here's the full press release:

New Eco-trails Boast Lamma's Natural Beauty [25 May 2008]

That cute baby cap is actually the reused bag of a souvenir hand-out!
Great recycling!

All considered, it was a real PR fiesta with very cute and colourful cartoon illustrations, great photos, a hyper-chatty MC and broad smiles all around for the TV and newspaper cameras.

Plus some of the best souvenir hand-outs I've seen in a long time, packed in a Lamma Winds eco- bag, of course. For example a battery-powered hand fan, flashing an animated GREEN LAMMA on its whirling soft blades (see left). It's made from green plastic, but I'm not so sure about its eco-credentials. But it'll be welcome eco-cooling eco- relief during an eco-friendly eco-walk on one of the 3 new eco-trails set up by HECO, eh, HEC.

Several "media handlers" were making sure I got all the infos and contacts I'd ever want, even a comfy T-shirt covered in logos and a real media kit with a photo CD-ROM and colour printouts of all the eco-trail info panels; all very professional, expensive and definitely very rare for a Lamma-based event. But where was the media bar with eco-booze? Anyway, 3 cheers to HECO's, eh, HEC's Public Affairs Dept. for putting on such a fine show and promoting "eco-tourism" on our Green Lamma Green for the last 3 years!

One of 20 bilingual info panels along the 3 eco-routes
(click to enlarge, all 20 panels will be uploaded to this website within days)

Hopefully, we can lure away a few weekend Lamma visitors/eco-warriors away from the Family Trail to the other 2 eco-trails in Pak Kok and South Lamma. Putting the informative, well- designed Lamma Island Eco-Tour Maps (see right) in schools, at the Lamma ferry piers and in HKTB info centres very soon will help. Lamma- zine stories about the Map, the 3 eco-trails and an interview with a Lammaite "Outstanding Eco- leader" (see below) are in progress.

There'll be guided Green Lamma Green Eco-walks (in Chinese) on June 15 & 19, July 13 & 27. $20/person, register at Call 2728 6781 to help persuading them to arrange some English tours as well!

May 24Pristine Mountains of Childhood Playground

Media interest in Lamma Island has been heating up considerably over recent months, several film crews and writers visiting the island, somebody's even writing a book about Lamma.

Julia Steinecke, "Special" to the Toronto Star newspaper (, contacted me a few months ago via this website, having lots of questions about Lamma, well before her actual visit. She was especially looking for interesting people and especially LGBTs (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender/ Transsexual), as she's the author of Pink Planet, a monthly travel column in the Toronto Star. She found and interviewed quite a few, spending several days here in February, but she couldn't locate the "Lesbian Village" she had heard rumours about before her visit.

She actually interviewed me (not being one of the extremely low-key members of the LGBT Lamma community) in hospital, just before my weight loss stomach operation. Finally, her first Lamma story has appeared today in the Toronto Star, tracking down the roots of movie superstar and native Lammaite Chow Yun-fat. It's one of the best researched and most insightful Lamma stories I've ever read. Check it out here, it even has a prominent link to this website ("Information on Lamma Island can be found at Click on "links" for accommodations and restaurants."):

Peaceful origins of actor Chow Yun-Fat  (May 24, 2008, 04:30 AM)
Action movie star still cherishes pristine mountains of childhood playground.

Another HK story by Julia has been published on April 12, 2008:

Still challenges for Hong Kong gays
But Chinese rule has brought progress and night life is evolving.

May 23Tin Hau Festival in Sok Kwu Wan

I've been embarking on one of my rare hikes along the Family Trail from Yung Shue Wan to Sok Kwu Wan yesterday. On a weekend this most popular trail can get crowded, but on weekdays it's a leisure 1-hour stroll, if you survive the initial pretty steep ascent after Hung Shing Yeh beach. A man on a mission, I planned to take photos of the yearly Tin Hau Festival/Dragonboat races/Chinese Opera festivities today.

To summarise, it was quite similar to the larger and more prominent Tin Hau festival in Yung Shue Wan, but in a very different setting and with its own unique charms. And quite a few more lions... and more seafood restaurants...

See you at the Tin Hau Festival/dragonboat races in Luk Chau Village on June 4?

May 22Charity Sales, Raffles & Rides

Fundraiser for Burma @ Deli Lamma

Thursday, May 22 (TODAY!)

(Call Cassie at 9764 2677 for any additional info)

Raffle tickets being sold $100/ticket, $500/6 tickets. Drawings at midnight but don't need to be there to win. 45% of all drink sales will be donated.

Money will be donated directly to those in need through contacts at the British Council.

There are probably more charity drives happening these days by charitable Lammaites, in addition to the Rural Committee/District Council fundraiser in front of the YSW City Hall. Let me know so they can be promoted on this website! Check out the Events Calendar for details.

P.S. Results from the City Hall fundraiser on May 15/16:
An absolutely amazing amount of over HK$89,000!

P.S. II  More fundraisers just in, all happening this Sunday, May 25:

The charity sale of baby items has been extended: Besides Sun Salon on Main Street and LAWC Centre in Sha Po Old Village, it'll include the Deli Lamma and the Village Bakery as sales venues!

Joanne the Tattooist will provide temporary tattoos at the LAWC Centre on Sunday morning and 15-minute head & shoulder massages from 2-5pm! Bakery items and cakes will also be sold there for charity.

Emily the Ice-cream Lady writes: "Please be informed that UNICEF donation boxes are placed in my shops (both parlour & express counter). People can come to make their donations for the Sichuan Earthquake victims."

May 21Greening Your Life?

Ran Elfassy - ex-Lammaite, editor, author, blogger:

"I wanted to let you know about an eBook I just put together, called 'Greening My Life How to Help the Environment and Save Money While Doing It.'

I was thinking that people on Lamma might get a few tips and tricks they might value. You can read about it here:"

Below is some of the promotional hype, eh, text from the website. Ran's not a Lamma-zine advertiser, but his eBook is worthy of a little free publicity. If you have a worthy cause, email me to get it promoted!

Every day, we hear that we have to do something to help the environment. Every day, headlines flag a growing crisis. From the food we eat to how we stay warm, it's clear that we have to do something... We have to start living better.

What if you could do all this, and spend less of your hard-earned cash? What if you could do this so your quality of life didn't go down, but actually went up?

It might sound impossible, but that's exactly what you find in Greening My Life.

Get over 150 tips and tricks on:

  • How to conserve in your house, office and everywhere in between.

  • How to shift your behavior so it makes a difference.

  • How to stay motivated.

  • Where to go for even more information.

Get fantastic deals and promotional items:

  • Cool, durable and trouble-free bamboo clothing.

  • Ethically made, fair-trade fashion.

  • Discounts on hardware for work and play.

  • Links to solar and wind-powered energy solutions.

With this tiny investment (US$6.95), you can get massive savings on your bills!
That's hundreds of more dollars in your pocket to do what you love.

For more info and orders, click here.

May 20Clean Energy Fund Applications

Dr. Tso and two green ambassadors demonstrate how to generate electricity by riding three bicycles fitted with dynamos to supply power to two mini-houses.
(All photos supplied by Hongkong Electric)

Queen's College Old Boys' Association Secondary School was funded to set up Hong Kong's first vertical-axis wind turbine in the school campus.

Hongkong Electric writes: "How can keeping fit generate electricity? How can generating electricity help keeping fit? And how do these contribute to a green cause?

"Students at CCC Kei Wan Primary School (Aldrich Bay) will be able to find the answers through an educational project funded by the HK Electric Clean Energy Fund. Under the project, they will generate electricity by riding 3 bicycles fitted with dynamos to supply power to two mini-houses.

"The HK Electric Clean Energy Fund was established in 2006 to encourage initiatives in promoting better understanding and application of renewable energy in Hong Kong. All locally registered primary and secondary schools, colleges and universities are eligible to apply for the HK$1 million Fund available each year. In 2007-08, the Fund sponsored 12 schools to implement their renewable energy projects, including Kei Wan Primary School."

With bicycling so popular on Lamma, should we take inspiration from this Clean Energy Fund above, retrofitting our bikes for power generation? We could charge batteries fitted to our bikes which we could then use at home to power household appliances, saving some electricity and reducing our often sky-high electricity bills, especially in the coming summer months?

Or could we convert some of the old, unused bikes at the ferry pier - instead of the police confiscating them and carrying them away at yearly intervals - linking them together to generate power for the ferries? People might be encouraged by getting free ferry rides for 30 minutes of pedaling. As the Lamma Gym still hasn't reopened (announced for later this month), this might be a great way of staying fit, doing your bit for the environment, avoiding city gym fees and saving money on ferry rides which might soon increase by up to 30% from July 1.

How about it, Lammaites? Use your leg muscles instead of only your mouth muscles to support clean energy and energy conservation! Should we apply to this great Clean Energy Fund to make some of these ideas happen?

Details and application forms for the Clean Energy Fund are available on Hongkong Electric's website:

May 19When the 6 Lions Met the Lamma Unicorn

Click above for Lamma-Gung's
complete photo gallery.

For more info on this new Kung Fu school on G/F, 25 Ko Long Village, contact Wong Wai at 9805-8691 (Chin.) or Lucy Wong at 9325-3268 (Eng.).

Click on English and Chinese posters on the right for more info on the Grand Opening yesterday.

Click photos below to enlarge.


May 18 Earthquake Search & Rescue Team Leaving Lamma

You might have noticed the UK search and rescue team in Yung Shue Wan's Main Street, bars and restaurants in the last few days? Arriving last Tuesday night, they were awaiting their China visas to rush to the Sichuan Earthquake to save lives. They returned home to the UK last night, unsuccessful in being permitted to enter China, unlike other rescue teams from Japan, Taiwan, South Korea, Singapore and Russia. What a great pity and a waste of effort, time, love and money! This sad news made it into many newspapers around the world:

China Blocks Entry to UK Rescuers  (BBC)

Foreign rescuers at work in China quake area  (AFP)

Rescuers sent back from earthquake  (The Press Association)

Saddened Broch mercy man back from China  (The Press and Journal)

British disaster rescue charity says it was prevented from entering China quake zone  (International Herald Tribune)

Picture below of the International Rescue Corps team and Lammaite supporters, taken by Felix Wong of the SCMP at the beach outside the Bookworm Cafe - our ferry pier in the right background - published in the South China Morning Post on Friday, May 16, as part of another story about the IRC team. Paid registration is required to read this story on the SCMP website, republished here:

Liz Heron - © SCMP 2008, May 18, 2008  (paid registration required)

Foreign rescue teams refused visas in HK

Liz Heron,
© SCMP, May 18, 2008

Two international disaster response teams that flew to Hong Kong and tried to join the Sichuan earthquake rescue effort have been refused permission to enter the mainland.

The Scotland-based International Rescue Corps, which specialises in earthquakes, was set to fly back to the United Kingdom last night. A Canadian rescue team from Red Deer, Alberta, is planning to leave tomorrow after they were told yesterday that they were not required.

The two volunteer teams, run by independent charities, brought state-of-the-art location and rescue equipment, for which Beijing last week issued an international appeal.

The 10-member British team, which arrived on Tuesday, had an ultrasonic location device, a carbon dioxide probe that tracks the living by their breath and two tiny, flexible cameras that can be inserted through holes in rubble. The eight Canadians, who arrived on Thursday, brought a special search camera and an acoustic searching device. Neither team was aware the other was coming.

"We are very frustrated that we have been unable to get to the disaster zone and help those people still trapped," corps team leader Willie McMartin said. "This equipment can make the difference between somebody being located alive or dying. The official reason that we have been given is that the Chinese government cannot co-ordinate the foreign teams on the ground."

Mr McMartin said they had learned from the United Nations website before leaving that no official request had been made by the central government for help from foreign rescue teams, but had been advised by a travel agent in Hong Kong that mainland visas could be obtained in the city.

"We would normally have a verbal indication from the embassy of the affected country that they want us to come before we leave," he said.

"We offered our help to the Chinese embassies in London and Edinburgh and initially received no reply. But the scale of the earthquake appeared to justify a decision to travel.

"We were stalled because of the visa problem. We were asked to provide return tickets and hotel vouchers in advance. But in a disaster, we are in tented accommodation."

He said the group had spent at least 30,000 (HK$456,000) on the trip. Marcel Schur, the leader of the Canadian team, said it had spent US$30,000.

Lu Xinhua , commissioner of the Office of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Hong Kong, said China had adopted an open attitude to overseas assistance for the quake victims.

He said rescue teams from Japan and Taiwan had already been allowed to get to the quake-stricken area.

A range of new restrictions on mainland visas, including a requirement that applicants obtain a return ticket and hotel voucher in advance, were confirmed last month by the ministry.

John W - International Rescue Corps, posting this message in our forum:

A Huge Thank You

Just wanted to give a big thank you to the people of Lamma for assisting the International Rescue Corps during the stay on the island.

Especially to Gavin, Jess and Dan for their hospitality and assistance thru frustrating times.

We will not forget your help!

Thanks, IRC

GlobalSteve - Technical Search Specialist, Canadian Rescue Team:

A Huge Thank You From the CRT

On behalf of my team, I would like to extend a huge thanks to the people of Lamma. We were treated like royalty. There was not a moment we didn't look at each other with the same understanding that we have been incredibly fortunate to have met Gavin and Jess, and been introduced to the beautiful people of Lamma island!

Thanks so much:

Gavin and Jess
Waterfront and Staff
Ricky Choi and Shirley Ko @ New Holiday Mood Grill
Paul and Terry

and so many more.

Our time on your island was one that none of us will ever forget.

May 17 Hamada's Funk Jazz Unit 08

Yep, this mouthful is the official name of a brand-new Lamma Band, performing live in public for the first time on Saturday, May 24, 9pm, in A Mini Store & Gallery, 16-18 Mosque Junction, G/F, Hong Kong (near Mid-levels Escalator, Tel. 2522 9860, mobile 9239 0866, email).  For gig info, email, poster, or call 6901-2916.

This new Lamma Band features local celebrity/ member of numerous Lamma Bands Hamada El Mansour, bass/guitar/vocal;

Rie Wada - flute/vocal;
Matthew Steele - keyboard;
Malte Noack - drums;

Kevin Voigt (of NUDE/ Transnoodle fame) will be a guest player - bass.

They'll play standard funky jazz tunes and Hamada's originals (Moroccan Jazz, similar to his previous band "Over the Dogma"). They'll welcome people with instruments to jam together after the concert.

(Photos from recent rehearsal submitted by Rie Wada)

P.S. Photo by Malte's wife from the actual, very successful concert on May 24:

May 16 Policebox Relocated?

While checking out Google's satellite maps of Yung Shue Wan, I found this intriguing map with the location of our Police Post, nicknamed "Policebox", after the time and space-travelling device in the long-running Dr Who TV series. This official Google map, accessible worldwide, shows the Police Post off the ferry pier in the Yung Shue Wan bay! I've always been in the mistaken belief that it was located opposite HSBC, between B&B Rest. and our City Hall. Has it been secretly relocated? What's really going on here?

But as I always trust Google (They're extremely successful, so they're always right! Right?), this map must be accepted as true fact. Rejoice, another one of our many local mysteries has been revealed by the mighty Google empire! It permits you - via simple searches with the right keywords, like magic keys - to unlock even the deepest, darkest secrets!

What possible explanations could we come up with for this local mystery revealed?

Is our Policebox on Main Street really just an unreal, virtual one, a holographic projection to hide the *REAL POLICEBOX* on the bottom of the bay, just off the ferry pier? The water is murky enough for the Policebox to stay hidden in the shallow waters forever. Who'd be crazy enough to actually go swimming and diving unprotected in those waters!

Thinking about this, have you ever been inside the virtual Policebox on Main Street? Ever? Nobody I remember has been in there! Well, except myself, but who'd believe me, a wannabe journalist, anyway. But our numerous local policemen can be spotted frequently entering the virtual Policebox and they seem to spend long stretches of time in there hiding from us common citizens and potential troublemakers.

To fit so many people into this tiny, virtual Policebox, is it "much bigger on the inside", like Dr. Who's Policebox, the Tardis? Do the policemen use it to travel trough time and space to while away the often long and boring hours of their duty shifts? What's going on in there anyway? Mahjong parties? Wild orgies? They've even blocked the door windows now, to be safe from our prying, curious eyes. Senior Inspector Woo-woo has to tell us the truth and nothing but the truth! After all, he's even been nicknamed after the woo-woo sound of Dr Who's Policebox.

But why is the *REAL POLICEBOX* located off the ferry pier? Are the underwater policemen constantly protecting our bikes parked all along the pier, or, more likely, are they preparing for the next bike raid, eh, clearing operation, emerging from the underwater *REAL POLICEBOX* in the dead of night, sneakily snatching some of the bikes and dragging them to the bottom of the bay, never to be seen again? Has your bike ever gone missing from the ferry pier? It might not have gone far...

As the off-pier location of the *REAL POLICEBOX* has now been revealed to all Lammaites, these questions remain:

  • Is our valiant local police force adept at scuba diving in and out of there?

  • Do they transfer in and out of the police boats - often seen on the same side of the ferry pier as the *REAL POLICEBOX* - through an underwater access hatch in the police boat?

  • When will HK's first underwater hotel open for business? Another major, permanent tourist attraction for Lamma, adding to our cute, little windmill!

We need to know! Could anybody with a boat, maybe even a dragonboat, go exploring the area indicated on the map above, maybe with a long pole? But be careful, don't hurt any scuba-diving policemen down there!

May 15 An Incredible, Awesome, Fantastic Day? Definitely!

Mark C Burns - Director/Organiser of The Lamma 500

(Mark was inspired by Nick's write-up on May 13 and "broke thru the barriers of the typically turgid media guff" with this post event wrap story):

(Photos by Grahame Collins)

'Laracy Gall Lamma 500' Truly Arrives on Dragon Boat Scene

Sunday May 11th 2008 was a day to remember at Tai Wan To beach where the newly christened 'Laracy Gall Lamma 500' Festival truly arrived on the dragon boat scene.

What a difference a year makes. Perfect racing conditions - fast, flat water, light wind, warm and slightly overcast skies - spurred the 33 teams to some fantastic competition over the challenging, international standard 500-metre course.

Over a 1,000 participants and spectators crowded the lush Lamma Island beach creating a constantly changing, living mosaic of colour and energy. To an aural landscape of top retro and new music supplied by and against a physical backdrop of industrial power and natural beauty, the teams constantly prepared, exerted and recovered in the perpetual ebb and flow of competition.

Fuel for the athletes and supporters was never in short supply from the Island Bar and Shamrock catering stalls which were kept busy all day. Race organisers Thirsty Horse, under the leadership of Tournament Director Brad Tarr, prepared showers, changing rooms, St John's first aid, team marquees, free water, even 16 Toi Toi portaloos to provide a paddler and spectator friendly Festival.

The volunteers, most from the HK Sea School, Lamma Dragons and Lamma Fishermen's Association, worked tirelessly all day arranging the boats, keeping score and officiating the races.

By 4.30pm, after 23 races at the Laracy Gall Lamma International Dragon Boat Festival, it was time to dish out the plentiful trophies and medals to the deserving athletes. In his speech Mr Damien Laracy praised the teams for providing a wonderful day of dragon boat racing over the challenging 500-metre distance. As the sun went down after the presentations, the music was cranked up, the paddlers replaced adrenaline with Carlsberg and the beach party continued late into the night.

The best dragon boat race ever? Maybe. An incredible, awesome, fantastic day? Definitely. See you at The Lamma 500 in 2009!

More Lamma 500 photos by Donna Foreman

May 14 Last Lamma Show @ The Cyan Studio

Elizabeth the Cyanotypist - The Cyan Studio:

Elizabeth Briel, Barnaby Bruce,
and Darren Hayward

Featuring: Three Photographers
Sunday, April 27th, 2-6pm 2/F 21C Back Street, Yung Shue Wan, Lamma Island.

Stop by and visit the last show at The Cyan Studio's Lamma location! The exhibition will take place in the studio and on the stairwells and rooftop of a village house near the sea.

We'll feature Hong Kong's urban architecture reflected in diverse ways, through the work of three Lamma Island-based photographers: Elizabeth Briel, Barnaby Bruce, and Darren Hayward.

From slick Central high-rises and the ruins of Kowloon's Wedding Card Street to voyeuristic balcony scenes printed on silk, the show will feature a new take on the "everyday scenes" familiar to many Hong Kong residents. See them before they go the way of Queen's Pier!

The Cyan Studio was a year-long project, run from my artists studio space on Lamma.  Initially I signed the lease because I was unable to make my sun-prints from our flat at the time, and the 1-bedroom flat I discovered one sunny spring afternoon was perfect: an affordable studio with a rooftop for printmaking, in the center of Yung Shue Wan village.  During the first and last of our monthly openings I featured my work, and happily hosted a dozen other Lamma-based artists in between.

The studio was a fantastic spot to focus on my work, and to discover local talent as well.  It looks like the space may continue to be a creative hotspot, as the talented filmmaker Ivy Lam will be renting it for awhile.  She hopes to host occasional arts events, though with less frequency than The Cyan Studio.

After a year and a half in HK, I've become much more familiar with the city's art and social scenes, and am looking forward to whatever comes next!  Currently I'm working on hand-tinted cyanotype illustrations for a kids book on HK with ThingsAsian Press (; teaching lots of art in Aberdeen (; am working as a muralist and promoting the HK Mural Society (, and have just shot hundreds of photos for a series on Macau. This fall, I'm looking forward to a trip to Vietnam to do some arts writing, research, and photography for ThingsAsian as well.

While we love Lamma, my husband and I are both considering employment options abroad - if we are offered the right package, we may have to leave the island for awhile. But if we are lucky enough to stay here, I'll eventually be looking for a studio space to share in HK, ideally in an older building with rooftop access in Sheung Wan. Any highly motivated artists with a professional attitude (i.e., you can pay the rent and sleep at home, not at the studio) are welcome to contact me.

Calendar of Events

March 16, 2008, 2-6PM
Photographs of Butterflies by Paul Lau

February 24, 2008, 2-6PM
Photographs of 70s Hong Kong by Bob Davis

January 13, 2008, 2-6PM
Paintings by Lamma Artists

December 9, 2007, 2-6PM
Photos & Prints by Lamma Artists

November 11, 2007, 2-6PM
Computer Art Photos by Lamma-Gung

October 14th, 2007, 2-6PM
Wild Teenage Beatnik Ghost Dancers by Spinoza

September 9, 2007, 2-6PM
Northern Beauties. Paintings by Marilena

July 8, 2007, 2-6pm
Open studio with featured Sri Lankan political cartoonist, Sara Sene

June 10, 2007, 2-6pm
A New Kind of Blue, Cyanotypes by Elizabeth Briel

Photos by Royal Roy,
more photos, click here,
captions by Elizabeth:

Admiring Barney's photos of Hong Kong

Checking out Barney's work

My Cyan corner

Damon provided fantastic musical accompaniment


Four cyans in the stairwell, clipped onto a laundry line

The kids corner

Youngest signer of the studio's guestbook

May 13 "Blame Lamma-Gung, That's My Motto"

Nick the Bookman - Official Court Music Reviewer:

The Lamma 500

May-11-08. (or Sex, Drugs & Rock n' Roll)

Part 1:  Sex

It's (not) getting near dawn when night closes a tired eye, but it is past twilight and we're into the final hours of 'The Lamma 500' Laracy Gall Lamma International Dragon Boat Festival 2008 on Power Station Beach. I'm sitting with Parksy, Lizzie, and Dave Parker on the corner of the stage watching a rather steamy clinch develop in a tent some 30 feet in front of us. The sight has momentarily stunned us all into silence. The protagonists are "She" and "He". There's some serious groping, gripping and grabbing taking place, which makes me recall a couplet from T.S. Eliot. Something about "...and I will show you fear in a handful of dust". I think Tom boy was referring to The Great Depression and Dust Bowl Okies fleeing their drought-ravaged farms. Grapes of Wrath and all that. What comes to mind is something less cerebral. "...and I will show you lust in a handful of buttock." There's some serious fondling taking place. At one point "She" is in danger of receiving a colon massage, prompting a quick response from Parksy that "I'm not shaking HIS hand". "He" seems strangely immobile. Dave and I think a major woodie has sprouted.

Quite a saucy moment, recalling memories of alleged naughtiness at previous Full Moon Parties. You remember all those witless twitterings in the News of the Screws Chinese tabloids like Next magazine. When they claimed that drink and drug-addled deviants were doing day-glow displays of Dionysian dementia. Rutting like feral hogs and slaking their vile desires on naive young local girls, duped and dosed into narcolepsy. I must have had dental appointments all those nights, because this is the steamiest action I've seen at the Power Station Beach since the topless sunbathing fad late last millennium. How did I end up writing about this?

Part 2:  Drugs

Blame Lamma-Gung, that's my motto. He asked me to expand my boundaries, saying it would be nice to have my twisted slant on the Dragon Boat Festival. Move on from just doing music reviews. Oh, well, we agreed I could discuss the drum techniques of the various Dragon Boat percussionists. It's been about a week since the death of the Father of LSD, Dr. Albert Hofmann. Lived to 102, so you can't say that drugs shortened his life. A tribute is in order. Scrape through the freezer to find anything that might help channel the spirit of Albert's bike ride through Basel, Switzerland, in the early evening of Monday, 19-4-43. Not much success, I'm afraid, but there's a back-up bottle of rum and fruit juices to enhance the mood. 1943. What a year! Two-thirds of the way through World War II. LSD-25 has just been successfully synthesised. In America, the Trinity program/Manhattan Project is well underway. Co-incidence or one of those quantum leaps that mankind makes under pressure?

It's about 1030 and the beach is heaving. About 900 people I guesstimate and over 30 assorted, multi-coloured marquee tents erected along the Power Station end of the beach. There's a big red stage and HKG (dragon logo), an Internet radio station, is providing the music. There's another 4 tents or so on the main road, serving food, drinks (The Island Bar) and a Celebrity Autograph booth.

As I bounce onto the beach, "Cocaine" is playing loudly. (Hmm, wonder if all the paddlers are being drug-tested in advance? Probably not, the teams are quite gung-ho and don't even seem to be drinking!) A ripple-rush goes through me as I hear that the Lamma Ladies have just won their heat and are looking good for the later rounds.

Part 3:  Rock n' roll

Have stashed my bag beside Nick Swanson, the laptop DJ representing HKG Give him my Nixmix CD to enjoy later. He says they're not transmitting live. "Time Of Your Life" by Green Day (with added strings) blends beautifully into "Bittersweet Symphony" by The Verve (although I believe Andrew Loog Oldham now owns the song after a vicious suit over sampling rights). Undine mentions that a cool drum n' bass night is taking place at Twystmind on Saturday, 17th May. Two live bands and about 4 DJ's. 2300-0500 hours. That's the 9/F of The Pemberton, 22 Bonham Strand. Meanwhile, today's music continues, taking in Audioslave, Gwen Stefani, Fergie, Foreigner and The Go-Gos. Nothing too radical to scare the fish.

Mark the announcer, keeps interrupting the music with babbling sound bites about winners, winning times and next races. A tired but happy Brad the Organiser isn't sure how to respond when I ask how many virgins were sacrificed to appease the Rain Gods. Decides not to hear the question. (Just teasing, Brad!) This appears to be the Official Debut of the Lamma 500 Dragon Boat Races. The 2007 event was cancelled midway after violent storms threatened to capsize the dragon boats. How much is Virgin/Rain God insurance anyway?

Part 4:  Odds n' sods

Everything is underway and organised. No room for lysergic fantasies from me. Time to check out the Celebrity Autograph booth. The most expensive item is a Springbok RWC 2007 shirt, signed by all members of the triumphant squad. Starting bid is HK$16,000. I'm surprised the Lamma Bookies aren't here posing for photos with it. The price seems a real bargain, when you consider what the individual signatures on a new contract would cost. Probably over 100 million rand for all 30 members, eh!  A signed Maradona Argentina shirt starts at HK$14,000. A Brazilian shirt, signed by Pele, is just under HK$10,000. (And to think I've got his autograph at home somewhere for free. I've definitely got a photo from the paper of me interviewing him in the mid 70's.)

Other stars include "Goldenballs" Beckham, "Spud" Rooney, Steve Gerrard, Al Pacino as "Scarface", the "Who made who" LP signed by the current line-up of AC/DC, some crap by Sting and a picture of Justin Timberlake. Prices range from HK$4,500 to about HK$9,000. No idea of what sold when, why and for how much. There's also a rumour that there are some "brown bag" items under the counter. Celebrity sex, or Edison's girlfriends perhaps? Leave the booth as "Our Lips Are Sealed" pumps out from The Go-Gos.

Part 5:  Drugs

Lunch time is called. No more racing until 1330. Try to discuss the late Dr. Hofmann with some other Lamma celebrities. Have a splendid discussion with "Anon" about when a hallucination is not a hallucination. I don't think seeing skulls in the clouds is quite there. "Anon" remembers scuba diving under the influence and coming lip to lip with a huge tuna. Eventually decided it was real.

Everywhere I look is advertising and subsidies. I'm feeling that I should be sponsored by Sandoz Labs. The rum cocktails are going down a treat (not all of them by me). The Lamma Ladies have just finished their 2nd(?) race. Ended up chasing the Stormy Dragons into 2nd place. The Dragons are the team to beat today. They defeated the Lamma Ladies last weekend in Boracay. The Dragons almost won that tournament, going down to a diplomatic defeat against the Boracay team. Lost by the length of a Dragon's tooth, apparently.

Part 6:  Rock n' roll

Nick is playing some great shit. "Baby, I Don't Care" by Transvision Vamp bleeds into "7-Man Army" by The White Stripes. Nick shows his Aussie roots by going "Down Under" with Men At Work. Later, he slips in "Solid Rock" by Goanna - a 25 year old tune I used to have. Great grin of recognition from me as the didgeridoo kicks in. Smile from Kelly who sort of sings along at the front of the stage. Mark decides to make another announcement as the song reaches its climax... Big hi to Jill, Kelly, Cath and Daryl, Dan and Sharon, Rachel Hodson, Andy G., Alistair and Ant. Now get out of the way. You're blocking my view!

More fine tunes from Bachman-Turner Overdrive, Avril Lavigne and "In Your Eyes" by Peter Gabriel. Isobel is feeling no pain and dancing with a collection of kids on the stage. Lamma-Gung has finally arrived and joins Grahame in snapping pix of the kids drumming in the dragon boats in the breaks between races. At one point, Kumi hosts a mini drum jam...

Part 7:  Odds n' sods

Race 17 has to be re-run for some reason. Lizzie and Ava are by the stage. They're wet and happy, after accompanying Des in a speedboat. He's taking all the sea-level action photos. And he's sober.

Another old friend has returned to Lamma from several months in Beijing. Describes his time there as a nightmare. Everyone is trying to make money off the Olympics. There's zero tolerance for deviant behaviour. The officials are all unpleasantly squeaky-clean. The price of a visa has gone up to nearly HK$1,000 for a single entry stamp. My friend paid about the same price for a multiple entry stamp in January. Another friend says no one is allowed into Tibet until September. He's a regular visitor, but is happy not to be there now.

The Lamma Dragons Men's team has won the Men's Plate. It's presented by Brad and Mr. Law, the Chairman of the Lamma Fishermen's Association. A rare triumph and much banter with the Ladies about where to stick the trophy in the Island Bar. The men want their own corner. The Ladies say it's just a plate. Slide it in the back, out of the way.

The Ladies have been chasing Dragons all afternoon, but they've managed to finish as runners-up, beating long time rivals, the Island Paddle Club, into 3rd place. Cue much singing of "Hey Baby, I wanna row...." (re-writing the DJ Otzi track which is a perennial favourite at the HK 7's). The Tournament ref, Bill Hutchinson, and Lamma Ladies captain, Gina, present the final awards to all the unsung heroes. The backstage crew, the St. John's Ambulance, the announcers. Quite possibly, the Portaloo attendants and the men who replace the sand on the beach each night...

Part 8:  Rock n' roll

The after party is in full swing. Dave Parker has finally arrived (a mere 8 hours late) and just in time for the last rum cocktail. Some great tunes and the tempo is getting harder. "Echo Beach" by Martha and the Muffins, "Tub-thumping" by Chumbawumba blurs into "Song 2" by, er, Blur (both HK 7's top tunes). There's Depeche Mode, The Clash, AC/DC, even a good remix of a Coldplay number by Cyclone-X . Big hi to Sally J. who's back in Lamma for the first time in 2 years. She gets the last of my Nixmixes. Nick has worked miracles to find "Macarena" on his laptop. There's only about 4,000 tunes on there so it takes a bit of time. It comes on. The more athletic, less-pissed Lamma Ladies and some kids and Andy G. in a stunning pink top go through the motions to howls of delight. Dave asks me how my day's been. I tell him I thought I saw a hallucination, but I could be wrong. Haven't channeled Dr. H. as much as I would like to...

Part 9:  Sex

It's getting late, but I haven't yet realised that my watch is running an hour slow. This is pretty much where I came in with the saucy, steamy samba... Someone suggests throwing a bucket of cold water over "She" and "He" who eventually, reluctantly, stickily separate. It's coming up to 1930. The Lamma Ladies are the last (wo)men standing. Time for dinner at the Lamcombe. The other teams, who seemed content to party on their own, have long since left.

Brad's clean-up teams have struck the tents and are getting ready to remove the stage. He says it cost about HK$200,000 to host this debut bash. Money well spent, I think, as long as you could get a bit more than that in sponsorship and advertising. Big thanks to Damien Laracy and Nick Gall who managed the fiscal side of this gig. Next year should be even more intense, provided there's an ample supply of virgins in stock (just in case, to appease the rain gods).

Oh and Happy Mother's Day everyone...

Photos by Lamma-Gung,
click any photo to enlarge:

Race results & more photos at

May 12 Why We Love 'The Lamma 500'

(all photos by Lamma-Gung, click to enlarge,
click on the photo banner below for the complete photo gallery)

Lamma Dragons - Women's Team.  Click for complete photo gallery!

Lamma Dragons - Men's Team

VIP seating

A real family event

Many thanks to all the $ponsor$ making this festival possible

Racing towards Power Station Beach

Final race

Cheers to all the organisers and officials! Fantastic job, guys!  C U in '09!

May 11 Dancing & Prancing Around the May Pole

Click above to view Katie Flowers' photo gallery  (photo montage by L-G)

May 10 Crazy But Sustainable Adventures

Phil Stride - Secretary, Sustainable Solutions Foundation

I hope that this will be of great use to all teachers, especially those living on Lamma!

Many teachers take a keen interest in environmental and animal welfare issues and are keen to inspire their students to also take an interest. A lot of the educational material that we found on the internet was irrelevant for Hong Kong, so a group of us have produced some teaching material of our own. The project was a collaboration of many Lamma residents. These include the writers, proof readers, translators, a cartoonist, a website designer, printers, the list goes on.

We are pleased to announce that our new website is now up and running and the initial feedback from users has been fantastic. We think it's going to be a hit!

On the website there are 7 PowerPoint presentations that can be downloaded for free and used on an overhead projector or printed as flashcards for use in small groups. Some of the presentations cover animal welfare and others concern environmental issues such as air pollution and recycling. Children love the cartoons and the interactive nature of the presentations.

In order to promote the website, 2,000 books have been printed and sent out to most the primary schools and youth groups in Hong Kong. Nintendo have kindly donated some Nintendo DS computer games which we are using as prizes in a competition to inspire children to learn more about the environment and animal welfare. A printable poster can be downloaded from the website which can be put up in a school youth group, etc.

We hope that you will enjoy using the "Crazy Adventures" website.

May 9 Raising a Funk w/TransNUDE

Events organised by Lammaites, on- or off-Lamma, are frequently major fund raisers for a wide range of charities. THREE of these highly recommended events are coming up this weekend:

Today, the annual Funkraiser, presented by the people behind the Lamma Fun Day, raising even more money for the Child Welfare Scheme.
Also today, Ibiza Night fundraiser for the Lamma Animal Protection charity.
Sunday, the Laracy Gall Lamma International Dragon Boat Festival, Official Charity will be the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

By attending any of these fine happenings, you can have great fun, meet friends and do your bit for charity at the same time! Click on posters below for more info:

May 8 The Tale of Run Run Rat

Jay Scott Kanes - Official Court Pet Correspondent, Writer, Author, Publisher:

Note: A new children's book illustrated by Lamma resident Harry Harrison, one of Asia's leading artists, tells of a rat at the Beijing Olympics. Yet some parts remind our reviewer of Lamma.

No typical Olympic athlete, the rodent hero of the latest children's book by Sarah Brennan, titled The Tale of Run Run Rat (2008, Auspicious Times, Hong Kong, 32 pages), has a stubborn streak. A mighty appetite for Chinese pastry worsens this character flaw.

Cleverly, Brennan times this Olympic Games rat-tale, written in verse, to appear during the Chinese Year of the Rat and prior to the Beijing Games. She even launched it in a Hong Kong bookshop on May 3, a day after the Olympic torch passed through the streets outside. The cover, showing a rat toting the Olympic torch, perfectly depicts the previous day's events.

No doubt, Brennan's best move was to rely on newspaper cartoonist Harry Harrison, from Lamma Island, to illustrate the book. Harry's drawings add vibrancy and keep the story scampering to the end.

A tranquil country lifestyle "beside the Yangtze River", as depicted in the opening pages, may remind some readers of Lamma.

"A quiet life of happy toil
With rustic joys a-plenty

Which would completely satisfy
Nineteen rats out of twenty
And yet for one young village rat
In search of fame and glory
The simple life was not enough....
And so begins my story.

Chasing fame and adventure, Run Run Rat arrives in Beijing before the Olympic marathon.

"Now Beijing is a place
With quite extraordinary features
Like eighteen million humans
(Let alone the other creatures)
And nine gazillion motor cars
And bicycles and scooters
And motorbikes and buses
With extremely noisy hooters
And hammers hammering round the clock
And drillers drilling loudly
And workers working night and day
And buildings rising proudly
And people rushing left and right
And jostling and scurrying
And no one saying 'How do you do?'
And everyone hurrying.

When Run Run wanders into the biggest foot-race of the Games, some serious scurrying ensues.

"He rushed along the city streets
And up and down the byways

He wheeled around the roundabouts
He pelted down the highways
And on and on the runners ran
And on and on he chased them
And faster still they sped away
And faster yet he raced them.

Remarkably, one athlete in the Olympic marathon, a loser, of course, looks like former Chinese president Jiang Zemin. Or does he?

Another illustration, showing Run Run's 47 rat-cousins wrestling, resembles a typical street scene after darkness descends on Lamma's main village, Yung Shue Wan.

Originally from Tasmania, Brennan moved to Hong Kong in 1998. She has two daughters who influence her work.

Brennan wrote four previous books: A Dirty Story; An Even Dirtier Story; and The Tale of Chester Choi (all illustrated by Harry); and a humorous advice book, Dummies For Mummies.

The Tale of Run Run Rat shows how a deft author and a talented artist can collaborate to create something greater than either could achieve alone. Young readers, aged five to 105, should be richly entertained.

Harry's cover art depicts the Olympic torch run.

Routinely, Harry creates outstanding drawings.

Author Sarah Brennan presents a new book.

Young admirers surround Brennan.

How much can a rat achieve at the Beijing Games?

A young audience tunes in as Brennan reads.

May 7 The Lamma 500 on Sunday, May 11

Check out the website of the Laracy Gall Lamma International Dragon Boat Festival 2008 with all the info you'll ever need, like the race schedule and team list, plus photo galleries and videos of last year's festival.

Or just show up at Power Station Beach at 9am this Sunday! They're also inviting local photographers to take pictures which might be featured on their pretty & informative website and on other promotional materials, like the Souvenir Programme or the Official Festival DVD (see above).

See you there, I hope!

Thirsty Horse - Organisers/marketers of the Lamma 500:

Photo by Grahame Collins

We are very grateful and delighted that the leading dispute resolution lawyers Laracy Gall have agreed to title sponsor the Festival this year, and until 2010. With their support, love of dragon boating and the continuing cooperation of so many other friends of the Laracy Gall Lamma International Dragon Boat Festival, we are confident our event will go from strength to strength. It is great to see that the Festival, in only its second year, is now part of the Hong Kong dragon boat racing calendar.

Make-A-Wish Foundation of Hong Kong, which does wonderful work with local children, is the Official Charity for the event and we ask that every participant and spectator give their whole-hearted support to the fundraising efforts of this incredible charity.

Ever since last year's event was cruelly curtailed by the elements, the North Lamma community has been keenly awaiting this year's Festival. We all have our fingers crossed for some good weather - it certainly couldn't be any worse than last year! We hope that everyone has a great day both on and off the water... and don't forget the beach party afterwards!

2 photos by Miranda Legg

2 photos by Desmond Rouse

Photo by Donna Foreman

Photo by Siuyu Yeung

May 6 May Pole Dance Revival

The ancient pagan ritual of the May Pole Dance has been celebrated for many years on Lamma. But it was in grave danger of becoming extinct in recent years, after the main organiser left the island.

Well, she's back now and together with her many old and new friends they're continuing this wonderful Lamma tradition, a joyful celebration for the entire family, just another great reason for a beach party! It happened again on a balmy May 1st on Power Station Beach, where you can get away with almost anything, unlike the extremely over-regulated, public Hung Shing Yeh beach which we usually leave to the visitors from town.

Enjoy this fine video by Roman Baska.

For another story and pictures of the last May Pole Dance in 2006:
'Our Need for Ceremony, Community & Spontaneity'

May 5 Mysterious Black Turds

It's often amazing what gets our forum members' vivid imaginations going and what can become a hot topic of discussion. "Mysterious black turds" on the village paths, for example! Some people even take pictures (see right), trying to find from the many wildlife experts in our forums which animal could have produced these "mysterious black turds": rats, bats, snakes, frogs, toads, shrews or even centipedes?

Sneaky-O wrote: "If you really miss these objects in the closed season, replica toad turds can be ordered here for an affordable US$4.95 plus P&P (yes, really!) Leave them lying in strategic positions at dinner parties and wait for the hilarious reaction from your guests. Ho ho ho, my word, what a chuckle!"

The turd mystery hasn't been solved yet and the anal speculations are continuing.
Yes, we island dwellers have way too much free time on our hands, and we enjoy spending our free time in any which way we damn well please! Join in!  ;-)

Tjungarayi - Devil's Advocate and Contrarian Extraordinaire of the Lamma forums  (Smelly picture above by Marc Antony. Watch out when he gives you any change...)

I am beginning to wonder as to the supposed interest or raison d'etre for certain members interest of the subjects exhibited in this thread.

Lamma-Gung's artistic criticism highlighted the sanguine clarity and focused attention that Marc Anthony brought to these mysterious droppings through his delightfully vivacious Bratwurstian photography.

Others noted the gargantuan efforts required to excrete such phenomena and hotly debated the wherewithal of amphibians, reptiles, birds, motherfucking large centipedes or flying mammals to produce such glistening gems of distinction.

Yours truly, through abject ennui, endeavours to wring the last vestiges from any succulent subject.

There are others, of course, whose interests are best left becalmed beyond the pale. But we all wonder and try to deduce where these turds came from.

Perhaps this desire to discover the origins of the above come from an atavistic hunter-gatherer instinct lying dormant and awakened only by an occasional cognitive dissonance brought about by incomprehension similarly found among those leaning upon religion.

May 4 Hong Kong: The Next Shenzhen?

Suzie Wonton - Junior Lammaite and Roving Reporter

On the day of the Olympic torch relay, after covering Mia Farrow's presentation on Darfur at the FCC, I walked down through Central in search of protesters to interview. Block after block, all I found was a sea of flag-waving red.

Finally I found what I was looking for at the Star Ferry pier, albeit in a minuscule version; one lone protestor had arrived with her homemade pro-Tibet placard. I watched as police circled her, made her relinquish her placard and ushered her down to the end of the pier area, where the crowd was non-existent.

Protester shows up at Star Ferry. Police immediately accost her.

I watched as several pro-China individuals came over and yelled at her angrily. "Go home loser!" and "You are not welcome in Hong Kong! We don't want you here!" The police quickly and sternly directed them away.

I spoke with the protestor, who chose to remain anonymous, from the other side of the ring of police.

"Why did they make you put your sign down?" I asked.

"They said it was dangerous."

"Do you feel your right to freedom of expression has been upheld?"

"Well, it's kind of hard to express yourself when you're being held captive in a circle of police, away from everyone. They won't even let me go home now, until after the torch goes by. I'm not even calling for Tibetan independence, just for open dialogue and meaningful autonomy."

I asked one of the policemen why they were detaining her. He assured me that it was for her own protection -- that the crowd was so fired up, they were worried she might be attacked.

Before long she is surrounded, and ushered down to the very end
of the pier area.

Yesterday the protestor emailed me the following statement:

"How open and free is Hong Kong really?

"Yesterday at Star Ferry I was heavy-handedly stopped from distributing paper with Chinese and English translations of The Dalai Lama's Public Statements to the Chinese People, published on 28th March and 24th April 2008 (

"I was tightly surrounded by an Inspector and more than ten of his officers, some of whom linked arms with one another in a tight circle around me, with others surrounding them, which resulted in preventing the public's view and making it difficult for me to move.

"The police restricted my movement for up to two hours claiming that it was for my own protection. I explained that I was there simply trying to raise awareness of The Dalai Lama's true position of  "The Middle-Way Approach" for genuine autonomy, and not independence, as well as his appeal for meaningful dialogue to take place between the Chinese leadership and people of Tibet.

"I taped the Chinese flag to my red shirt in hope that the officers no longer felt the need to 'protect' me.  I also repeatedly voiced my rights as a Hong Kong citizen.  In addition I repeatedly, and politely, asked the officers to let me go.  The police responded by 'suggesting' I come this way and then attempting to physically usher me to a designated area. I repeatedly pleaded with the police not to touch me and at least give me some space - they apologized but continued in their actions.

"At one point I resorted to crawling on the floor in attempt to get free from the surrounding officers. Helplessly I resigned myself to the fact that they would maintain this at least until the torch passed, so I began lifting my arms in the air, holding up a Chinese flag, attracting curious passers-by and successfully managed to distribute some of the papers by reaching over the police."

The same scene repeated itself in other parts of Hong Kong during the course of the day -- Tsim Sha Tsui, Central and Wanchai. It appears that restive Tibetans aren't the only ones "in need" of cultural education. If Hong Kongers are serious about universal suffrage, they better learn to tolerate dissent.

At least eight people were denied entry into Hong Kong prior to May 2 because they were suspected of planning to protest the torch relay. Darfur activist Mia Farrow was only allowed in on the condition that she agreed not to talk about Tibet. Freedom of expression is supposed to be constitutionally protected in Hong Kong. Whether we agree with what these people have to say or not, we're the ones who lose if their right to express themselves is denied. One country, two systems? Not for long if the silencing of dissent surrounding the torch relay was any indication. Hong Kong's system appears to be on its way out. Without vigilance, we may soon be just another Shenzhen.

May 3 Bastards on the Beach --
Scintillating Solos & Soulful Sonic Scriptures

Nick the Bookman - Official Court Music Reviewer of Lamma-zine:

(pictures by Mr DickStock)

It's about 17:00 hours - Sat, Apr 26, 2008 - and Power Station Beach is throbbing with anticipation as BastardStock prepares to kick out the jams. There seem to be about 200+ people here for the long-awaited Bastards reunion.

The plan is to celebrate Dan's 60th birthday with the release of The Bastards 2nd CD after a mere decade of relentless inactivity. He's rounded up all of the original band and a couple of members of successive incarnations and the offshoot group, The Bangkok Bastards.

They'll be joined in keeping the local vibe alive by Transnoodle and The Curs. Jilted John is handling the DJ links. Rob, the producer/ engineer of both CD's has brought over the drum kit, amps, monitors and the mixing board. The stage was constructed by Sean and his crew. Parksy, as usual, has provided all the gear for the after-party. The audience is spread out in a wide arc about 50 feet from the stage. The usual weekend volleyball tournament is underway by the rocks near the Power Station. Everyone's ready to rock, except Dan is missing...

A fact that becomes apparent as Transnoodle take the stage and begin chanting "Dan the Bastard, where are you?" This segues into "Happy Birthday" with most of the crowd not singing along and mutates into the first song, an anti-war ditty whose title is unknown.

Transnoodle are a quartet today. There's John on guitar/vox. Kevin on bass. Magnus has the drum stool. Sara, who joined the band late last year, is on sax. Josh, the main singer, is absent on other business.

As John says, "Josh is missing. We really need him for the between song patter." I haven't seen them play for about a year and they are really tight. A bit more punk/ska. Not so much of the reggae feeling today. Rob has kept the mixing board more or less in neutral. Just a bit of echo sax and vocals fed back to the on stage monitors. He's resisting the temptation to go all Trevor Horn or Lee Perry on the controls.

The set is varied. Good topics too. Anti-war, Mormonism, a plug for the Chinese Communist Party (?), a concrete harbour, a nudge nudge sly wink to Edison Chan's photography skills and a rewrite of Jacques Brel. John slips a verse of "Help" into the 2nd tune (Mormons, hormones and morons). The next tune is "The Journey". It's about CIA kidnappings and the War on Terror. Life under Bush Reich. Hard-hitting prose and lyrical density worthy of early Tom Waits. Musically its like The Mustaphas Three meet Morphine with some Ruts DC sax on top.

Vocally, John is a bit like Hammell on Trial. The Brel song "Port of Amsterdam" is rewritten as a morality tale set in Coloane, Macao. It's Transnoodle's Meat Loaf moment. "Bury the Harbour" has a lolloping sea-shanty vibe, counter-pointed by sad sax. "Down in the Deli" is the usual punky rendition of a lot of people bellowing in drunken glee late at night in the Deli Lamma. Always a favourite...

Rob has a video camera running front-and-centre of the stage. All part of the upcoming documentary. The band all say hi to Dan and "lalalalalala" through another birthday greeting before departing the stage to warm applause. John's on the decks and kicks off with a cracking electro remix of Tina Turner doing "Whole Lotta Love". Other highlights over the next 40 minutes include Cal Tjader's vibraphone version of "Gimme Shelter" a dubbytronix mix of "Wicked Game" by Chris Isaak and a Pulaski(?) remix of a mad choir of voices doing a loungecore/Weimar Republic cabaret version of "1999" by Prince.

At one point, a couple of Bastards are sound- checking and their music intermeshes and weaves in and out of John's mix. Can't tell which is which. Is it real or is it Memorex? At this point in my notebook, Dave Spicer wants everyone to know he's "back from the dead." Ask him yourself how he did it. He was last seen on the big log in front of the stage with Dick(Stock) Jones and Bob Davis.

It's 19:00 hours and The Bastards (current edition) are on stage, still a bit worse for wear from their Friday night gig at The Wanch.

I'm reliably informed that you couldn't have squeezed any more people into the bar if you sliced and diced them with a chainsaw and pumped them through a high pressure hose. The street outside was packed 8 deep as well. Vince has posted two songs from The Wanch show, including "Life Is A Bitch" on YouTube.

Now cue original drummer and M/C, Nigel Pike: "Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. The Bastards formed 18 years ago in Wanchai. New CD is 'Scheming In The Back Room.' There are Bastards from Australia and Thailand here tonight".

Anyway, a big hand for The Bastards who are Dan on lead vox. Dave on bass. Mark (usually lead guitar, but he can't bend his elbow much so he's) on muted second guitar. Jim on main guitar. Tony on drums. Dan's voice is a little raw, but he leads the band through a crackling version of "Livewire" by AC/DC. The next tune is still a hard rocker, but turned down a notch or two. It's "Soaked" from the new CD, as is the 3rd song "Kublai's Lament". I know I'm having fun as my writing has gone beyond illegible, but I think that's it. If it's on the record, it sort of sounds like the opening to "I Can't Explain" by The Who.

Dave takes over on lead vox for a couple of tunes and his singing draws appreciation from John. Especially the first tune which is almost folk-rock. The big money song comes next. "Here We Go Again" which Dan tells me is the ideal tune to play over the end of a big disaster movie. You know, asteroid impact in the ocean. Huge tidal wave of icebergs overturns the Titanic and the Poseidon and either Godzilla or Jaws eat the survivors who don't make it into a lifeboat.

The boat contains a ticking nuke, Nazi werewolves, the Olympic Torch Relay, a bloodthirsty space carrot, some trans- sexual Transylvanians and a choir of overrated divas, trilling in tuneless terror. Texas Bush soon floats by on a polar bear, saying "Hang On. I've got an idea!"

Cue, swelling chorus of "Here we go again..." and "The Oscar goes to..." Dan didn't actually say that, but I'm sure that's what he really meant. There's a song about a nameless former Lamma resident. Dan will probably say who if you buy him (and the band) a brewery.

Dave is back for another vocal turn. Introduced as "Dr. Green in yellow singing Red, Red, Red". A sort of slow Pretty Things type of tune with heavy drumbeats. A splendid cover of "Hey Joe" (the Jimi version, rather than Tim Rose). Jim uncorks some scintillating solos.

He's done well enough to make you forget that Mark can't contribute as much as he would like to. Final song "Natalie" is on the CD which is on sale through Genghis in The Bastards corporate craic tent. Copies, and multi-coloured t-shirts, are also available at Lamma Gourmet.

John has started his second set. I'm not paying much attention as I'm getting easily distracted, amused and entertained (wow, a wave!).

Swig some more sangria. Groove to more Pulaski and a band called Ting Tings(?). It's suddenly dark and 20:15 as the Curs amble on. There is new boy Tom, making his debut on bottleneck/slide guitar. Tony has had a quick drink and resumed duties as guest drummer. GARETH is on bass.

And of course, you know the others so well I don't need to mention them. Right? Oh, OK then. The co leaders are of course Slinky Joe Hotone on tremulous mouth organ and throbbing guitar. The Good Father Harvey Ballwanger soothing and saving all you Satanists with his soulful sonic scriptures and sophisticated 2nd guitar strummage.

There's Orville The Bald with his haunting accordion melodies.

Unfortunately, other guitarist Frankie McJock and Derek the Fiddler are AWOL indefinitely.

Opening tune is "Hear My Train A' Coming" which grooves into The Curs rendition of The Fish Cheer. "Gimme an ess, gimme an eye, gimme an ex"... tumbles into mumbles, bad spelling etc until the message is deciphered. "Sixty Years Old. Dan you Bastard!" The boys appear to be more musically than alcoholically tight tonight. Fine versions of "Rootie Tootie" by Hank Williams, something about going "Down to the river to watch the fish swim by..." with amusing yodeling by Mr. Hotone. Quick segue into "A Boy Named Sue" by Johnny Cash. I'm about 8 feet away from stage right and I think Tom needs to sound louder.

There are some splendid slide guitar runs, but they're nearly inaudible. GARETH is having fun. Is he used to playing with a real drummer? Is that what prompted an aside from Harvey that "...when we have a drummer, it's useful to follow him"? There are calls for D the B to come on stage. A shout of "has he found what he's looking for?" merges into some soppy U2 song. The next number is by "the fat guy and the skinny guy. Sing along". The song leads into a fairly straightforward cover (by Curs' standards) of "The Trail Of The Lonesome Pine". Always a blast from the past.

Kelly has been bopping about in an attempt to get some mass dancing. Mari has finally arrived and joins her briefly before spotting me, prone before the stage. Most of the crowd are standing just outside the arc of light. Welcome to Night Of The Living Bastardheads! The Good Father is blessed. He's "seen the light" In fact, he's singing about the experience while bathed in a sweaty glow and optional mosquitoes.

Orville is giving it lots of swirl in the background, A tent revival meeting soundtracked by a gypsy wedding as arranged by Astor Piazzolla. Dan has been Saved (from some other excess perhaps) and dragged on stage to sing "The Young Ones". The joy was more in the performance than in the actual singing, but no one seems to be grudgy about Dan's crusty-rough performance.

An earlier evolution of The Bastards is on the stage. Nigel, aka Pikey, is the first drummer. He looks like some Japanese manga cartoon character come to life with his huge fly-eye style circular brownish shades which seem to be spot flesh-welded to his forehead.

Davey of the Orange Hair plays lead guitar. Brendan plays bass at some point before switching to drums. Bangkok Bastard Alf takes a turn on lead guitar duties and occasional vocals. Dan is there for a few more tunes, including "White Riot" by The Clash and a partial stumble through "Babylon's Burning" by The Ruts. There's a rampaging cover of "Rocking In The Free World" by Neil Young. There are also grimy workouts on "Welcome To The Royal", "Pressure In The City" and "Life Is A Bitch" from The Bastards' 1st CD.

Alf chips in with a splenetic version of "American Idiot" while Brendan and Davey take no prisoners on "Enter Sandman" by Metallica.

At least 2 false endings. Good handling of the loud/QUIET/loud dynamics and some heroic rock postures with head down hair shaking boogie abandonment. Dave, the original bassist chips in with "Highway Star" by Deep Purple. There's also a fiery "Foxy Lady" which draws applause.

Quite a few more people are dancing, including the ever-reliable Tamara and her omni-present dreads. Pikey thanks everyone and concludes by singing the final number. It's a brutal, battered heartfelt carousel through "My Way". It makes the Sid Vicious version sound like a bad panto lounge lizard crooning a lullaby. Everyone comes together at the end to sing a rousing "Happy Birthday" to Dan who replies that "I've had a bloody good evening, but IT'S OVER". And it is, as far as the live music goes.

The after-party gets underway as soon as the equipment is moved nearer the volleyball area. Meanwhile, the stage is dissembled and all the equipment packed up ready to return to HK. I managed to get my dogs, Jack and Xena, home. Without walking into any trees this time.

Thanks everyone for a Top Night. And Happy 60th Birthday, Dan. Looking forward to the next CD "sometime in 2020"...

Photos by Bob Davis:

The Curs

The Bastards

Photos by Mr DickStock:

Our reviewer hard at work


May 2 Tin Hau '08 Photo Gallery

Click above for my complete photo gallery (the best of 1,284 shots taken).

My former photo galleries: Tin Hau 2007, 2006, 2004, 2003

May 1 - Labour Day:  Trials & Tribulations of an
"Official Photographer"

I received this invitation card for the Tin Hau Festival from the local District Council office, because I cover this major local event almost every year for the Lamma-zine. For the first time, I was taking pictures from the opposite side of the dragonboat racing venue, an area usually off-limit to spectators. The event's organisers even used the public loudspeakers to ask me (in English) to leave the "forbidden area". Then they sent in the reinforcements...

Over just two hours in the morning, I got about 4 visits from local police constables, all trying to convince me to leave the area, unsuccessfully, of course. I can be stubborn... The view from this area (YSW harbour background) was so much better than the standard view from the new ferry pier (wooded hills/chimneys background).

As a (sometimes) paid freelance photographer I've acquired some practice in fighting off being hassled at events, especially if there are celebrities involved. I showed them my invitation card and they remained friendly, not dragging me off, fortunately! After publishing the Lamma-zine for over 5 years, I've built up some good working relationships with local police, politicians, powers-that-be and business people, hopefully, maybe...

After one hour or so, two police officers brought me the Official Photographer's badge above, permitting me to remain in the area. They even brought a second badge for another photographer who I had just met and who was also ignoring the police's requests to leave. Problem solved, as now we had the right "paperwork" and could stay. But we had to stay clear from the water's edge, worrying the authorities that we might fall in and that their event insurance wouldn't cover us.  ;-)

Other photographers tried to hide behind some bushes (see above right) but were quickly spotted by police and persuaded to leave. As there were off-island "celebrities" coming in for the sampan/ dragonboat race finals in the afternoon, I agreed to save face for the race officials by keeping clear of the "Forbidden Area" in the afternoon.

When I was leaving the area for lunch, the police had set up a barrier and tape to prevent other bothersome people from entering the area.

I hope that the resulting photos were worth this amusing little bit of hassle?


Read last month's stories...


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

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