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July 31 Rainy Days and Night Walks

There was a Lamma article, "Rainy days and night walks", in the dead-tree version of the JoongAng Daily in Seoul, Korea. It was written by ex-Lammaite Michael Gibb, now their Deputy Editor. It's a really very nice story, written in a humorous tone from the insider angle of a former resident, well befitting our lifestyle and attitudes. Congratulations to Michael, a former Lamma-zine contributor, for a very suitable promotional piece! Here's the full story (jpg format) from July 25, TRIP section, page 7; plus the link to the story on the newspaper website.

All the photos in the article are mine, they picked them from our huge and growing Lamma Photo of the Day archive from many photographers. Send me YOUR photo(s) for some prime exposure on the home page! Click below for the archive:

It's also interesting which of my Lamma pictures they asked for in high-resolution print quality, but then the designers didn't use them in the article. Here they are:

July 30 BOLG BOG Presents L-G

From the web page of the Lamma Business Owners Group (BOG):

Fourth Meeting: Thursday morning, July 31, 8:30 AM!
Lamma Activities Centre
  (behind Ice-Cream Express, opposite Deli Lamma)

"10-minute presentation by Lamma-Gung about his favourite topic and labour of love, He's promised to answer all, even embarrassing questions.
Carole Lewis will lead a discussion on "Networking for business - especially when you live on Lamma."

July 29RIP, Red & Sandy Brown

Parksy - Senior Lammaite & Laudable Lamma Luminary

I write with great sadness after the loss of 2 of our puppies because of Distemper. I wish you to publish our story.

This saga started on 30th May 2008, when one of the puppies (Sandy Brown) had followed my daughter into the playground that is in front of my house. The HK dog catchers from Ag & Fish (Agriculture & Fisheries Dept.) had been hiding nearby and had been bothering other residents with dogs on leads in the playground.

They grabbed our dog and refused my daughter's pleading to release him. She came running home distressed, saying that some men were trying to hurt him. My wife ran after them, but they would not listen to her either.

The puppy spent a few days at their kennels in Sheung Wan, Hong Kong Island. They demanded payment of HK$885 for his release, saying that if we did not submit to their demands they would sell it, a registered dog.

My wife collected the dog from their kennels on 6th June as we were on holiday that weekend. The place I am told smelled disgusting and was very unclean for a government department with no separation between animal pens or different areas for different animals, the floor encrusted with all their feces and urine, a breeding ground for disease.

A few days later, Sandy Brown (see right) started coughing (like a hairball) and looked very sad, tired, sleeping a lot, not eating. He then developed symptoms like a cold or flu.

This got steadily worse until he could hardly stand or walk, his breathing was noisy, lots of green mucus was running from his nose. All our time was taken up trying to feed and care for him.

We woke one morning to yelps Sandy Brown was having a fit. All his muscles were convulsing, the top of his head was pulsing with every breath and his legs were twitching and curled. It was horrific to watch. He died later the same day on the 23rd June. At this point we did not know what was wrong with him.

A few days later, another puppy (Red, see right) started getting the same symptoms. The vet diagnosed it as Distemper and the same heart-rending process started again. She was put down on the 10th of July after many vet visits, jabs and medications, which just prolonged the agony.

My children are devastated with what has been happening to our pets.

Five of our friends' dogs have since developed the same symptoms. Two of them have died this week.

I understand this is the first instance of Distemper in 6 years on this island and I believe it was caused by Ag & Fish! Aren't they responsible for the health and safety of animals in their care?

Other civilised countries I understand give automatic inoculations to admitted animals and charge for the shots. This would be an acceptable demand, considering the price we paid to them and for this whole pitiful affair.

The least they could do is review their practices, cleanliness, standards and employ people who actually care about animals, not dog snatchers and abductors.

Yours sadly, JM Parks, Lamma Island

July 28 High-Definition Heaven

TV broadcasting antennas on top of Ling Kok Shan, the hill behind Sok Kwu Wan, serving Lamma Island and Hong Kong Island South.

Lamma-Por is in digital TV Heaven...

We just got a digital, high-definition TV and she can't stop smiling and marveling at the extremely good picture quality, as compared to the former snowy, blurry, analogue TV signal we've had to put up with for years.

Lamma-Por's Chinese soap operas never looked so good and she's REALLY looking forward to the Olympics, being the REAL sports fan in our family. There's one new Plus TV English channel besides ATV and TVB, plus 7 new Chinese channels (mostly promotional stuff, sports and lifestyle programs showing off the amazing digital picture quality).

There IS NOW TV available on Lamma, but only a few dozen people subscribed a few months ago, despite massive marketing efforts with flocks of salespeople swarming all over Yung Shue Wan. But due to the maximum 3Mb bandwidth on Lamma, only around 30 fixed channels are available at all, mostly sports-related, at high cost and not including the most popular English channels.

There are legal satellite options - Thai satellite, Cable TV, a TVB satellite package - but they're very expensive, offer a very limited number of popular channels and so are not common at all on Lamma.

Illegal satellites are your best option, especially the Philippine Dream satellite very widely used on Lamma. 42 channels, mostly English, but no Chinese. There are loads of other illegal satellite options. One person here has SIX different satellites at home, pointing in different directions, receiving hundreds of channels from all over the world.

Saving money, we got a nice, little Korean LCD screen in Sham Shui Po for an amazingly low special-offer price, "HD Ready" only, not the 50% more expensive "Full HD" version, plus a well-reviewed, low-price digital TV set top box. They delivered, installed and set it all up the next day, Sunday! Two more remote controls to learn, but what a great picture. Anybody wants to buy a second-hand Sony 29-inch TV for $800? [Editor: SOLD within a day!]

The English news and some US series, feature films and documentaries are shown in HD, similar to wide-screen DVD picture quality, so I'm happy, too. But seeing Lamma-Por so very happy and smiling for hours is truly a sight to behold.

See our High-definition TV on Lamma forum and get your questions answered!

July 27Open Day @ Beatles Nite

Local Hong Kong band Open Day (aka The Beatles) –
composed of Teddy (aka John) and his aka pals Paul, George and Ringo –
entertained an appreciative audience Saturday evening at The Island Bar.

Mrs Santa Claus - The Island Bar   (Photos by Lamma-Gung)

The Island Bar Welcomes The Beatles:
'Open Day' Entertains the Masses

Saturday night followed a very hot and humid day on July 26th in Hong Kong. With the doors wide open and the gentle and welcome sea breeze wafting through, The Island Bar was definitely the place to be on Lamma, as copycat Beatles band "Open Day" set up to play some very old favourites. True, the members of the band were probably not even born when The Fab Four originally shook their mops, but nonetheless those in the audience were very familiar with the songs and even had, dare we say it, for the most part, grown up with the tunes of "Love, Love Me Do" and "I Wanna Hold Your Hand!"

Whilst the young musicians did not perhaps engage the audience in the same way that IB veterans such as the Curs and Shep Woolley do, they held their own and produced a healthy mix of old hits as well as presenting a few of The Beatles lesser-known lyrics and melodies. Playing to a smaller than usual crowd (July and August are the months for family holidays and consequently, a number of regular customers were conspicuous by their absence), the young singers held it together and produced some lively music for their audience.

Chris Wong, Business Development Officer of Carlsberg, (who is becoming a familiar face at The Island Bar, supporting events like this one and the Laracy Gall Dragon Boat event in May), had been personally involved in setting up this particular gig by introducing Open Day and producing some of the promotional material. Other Carlsberg folks not directly involved in organising the evening, like PR doyenne Samantha and her husband Mike, himself a respectable musician of another genre, were accompanied by Samantha's mother, came along to enjoy the frivolities and even stayed overnight to continue sampling the delights of Lamma on Sunday as well.

Organised this time by Carlsberg, Open Day (and the Beatles) will certainly be welcome to play again at The Island Bar when no doubt a larger and even more enthusiastic crowd will be on hand to give them a big hand.

Singalong participation from the audience with smiles, nodding of heads and tapping of feet
all around, and applause for
an effort well made.

July 26Family Summer Visit

Like so many Lammaites, I welcomed the family of one of my brothers "back home" visiting HK this summer. Playing the tour guide is a quite fascinating experience, visiting sightseeing spots and aspects of HK I've never or only rarely experienced before, despite living here for 20+ years. When was the last time you've visited the Museum of History in TST, Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum, Cafe Deco on The Peak, the revolving restaurant on 62/F Hopewell Centre in Wanchai at sunset or gazed at the crystal-clear HK Island skyline from the 38/F while sharing a yummy 3-layer teatime set? Well, they were duly impressed by HK's skyline, being so lucky to visit during the clearest weeks of the year, before the perma-smog will blanket most of HK once more...

Also, playing the Lamma tour guide is part of the stressful duty, eh, great fun of showing relatives around in our home and get their fresh, first-time impressions of our home. Well, frankly, after seeing HK Island they weren't too impressed by Lamma, one of them even daring to disrespect my rooftop garden, "You call this a garden?" Well, he's family, so I refrained from throttling him...this time...

Here are a few mostly off-island photographic memories of our touristy exploits and discoveries. I'm totally exhausted now and they didn't even tip me after all my tourguiding!

It's been many years time since I've seen a clear view like this from The Peak
while descending in the Peak Tram

My Mezze Platter in Cafe Deco on The Peak on HK Island.
Way too much food for my tiny stomach, but what a view!

First-time visitors to Yung Shue Wan. While I took this picture, Bob Davis was walking by, exclaiming "It's not nice to shoot tourists!"  ;-)

Museum of History, HK exhibition

R66 Revolving Rest. in Hopewell Centre - Hotel Panorama, TST East

View from Santa Lucia Rest. on 38/F of Hotel Panorama

Inside the MTR underpass from YSW Shopping Mall, eh, IFC to the Central station.

No Hong Kong experience would be complete without the MTR Rush HourTM Ride!

July 25Damn Internet Kids!!

Old Media vs. New Media (like the Lamma-zine), from the excellent
Daryl Cagle's Professional Cartoonists Index.

But as there are no old Old Media at all on Lamma Island, like a local newspaper, this Placeblog is not competing with or damaging any Old Media, I hope.

New Media makes small local news websites like this one possible with their very low production and distribution costs. And they're usually free of charge!

July 24Spiders in the Sky

I've been hiking up to our cute little sightseeing attraction, Lamma Winds, during one of my irregular, early-morning constitutionals. The forest is full of these amazing Woodland Spiders, making beautifully intricate webs of often more than 10 sqft in size. Bright red, yellow and black in colour, these most beautiful of local spiders can reach up to 1.5 inch in body size and more than 5 inches across, including their 8 legs!

But they're non-aggressive to humans, usually completely stationary even when you get very close; slowly, of course. They're patient enough to sit still as photo models, even when flashing them close-up and repeatedly. Some can be as high off the ground as a Village House is tall, spinning their webs between tree branches, even between neighbouring trees. Looking up, you can often see several spiders against the currently clear & cyan skies (click to enlarge):

Territorial fight? - 2 close-ups - The tiny red male spider of the same species

Front - Back - Front

July 23Attack of the Vile Spambots

While our forums may sometimes look quiet and even idle on the surface, with just a few registered users being online at the same time, posting the occasional message, there's so much more going on behind the surface. A Cyberwar is raging and vile spammers are constantly, 24/7 attacking the forums with their vile spambots and trying all kinds of ways to get in and flood the forums with spam messages and link spam. See below for a website-administrator-only snapshot of yesterday's activities in all our forums at 17:46:

All these Guests are unregistered forum visitors, looking at various forums, which is all fine and good. But about half of the Guests are trying to post new messages and view Private Messages, which they're definitely not allowed to do. All are unsuccessful, of course, but they keep on trying, Internet programs attacking any forum they can find on the Internet. I had to secure each of our forums long ago, so only registered members can post messages; this keeps the spam attacks above from doing any harm at all. This particular spam attack above - all originating from IP Address - was traced by Senior Moderator Alan to "IDC, China Telecommunications Corporation", probably in Beijing. The spammers are probably anonymously abusing their servers for these attacks.

Last year, we were flooded with spam member registrations - up to 90% of new registrations - and our moderators were being kept busy by deleting the all-spam messages this fake members posted. To keep almost all spammers out, I've had to do some research and then insert a new question into the member registration, a simple question that automated, non-human spambots cannot answer correctly. It has worked very well so far. So all is at Peace! Love! Lamma! in our spam-free forums for now, till the next successful spam attack or, even worse, another virus, worm or Trojan killing the entire forum, like it happened 2.5 years ago, taking me a week to repair and clean up.

But occasionally, a human spammer will register manually and post messages promoting their goods and services. These will be deleted as soon as a moderator sees them and I'll kill the spammer's registration as well. But messages from Lammaites promoting something useful and specific to our needs, especially local services and leaving/moving sales, are always welcome and can be posted for free in our classifieds.

So please be aware that a constant Cyberwar is raging behind the surface of our peaceful-looking forums. Many thanks and cheers to our great volunteer moderators who are working quietly and patiently behind the surface to keep all our registered forum members safe and comfortable.

July 22So Many Flats For Sale

Looking at the property agents' windows along Main and Back Street, they are advertising so many flats for sale, but very few for rent. What's going on? So many new Village Houses are being built, but they're usually all for sale only. A lot of existing flats are being renovated and then put onto the market at significantly higher prices.

Occasionally, I get hired for a photo shoot by a flat owner or property agent, to create a big advertising poster for a renovated flat. Nice, quick pocket money and I quite enjoy doing it, getting a bit of insight into the current local property market in the process.

Latest case in point:
This just completely renovated, friendly sun-yellow & green 700 sqft G/F flat and patio with swing chair in Yung Shue Long, 5 minutes from the ferry. At HK$1.85 million asking price, this Lamma property is definitely very nice but far far beyond my price range. Look for my poster in a shop window at Nick's Corner to have an inside look at the flat.

In the meantime, our free Rent & Let forum has become a very busy place this summer for people offering and looking for short-term flats, housesitters and moving sales as well. If I'd get any commissions, I'd be well off, but small local classifieds like ours work well only if they're free for sellers & buyers.

July 21Graffitising the Fountain Head (Again)

Dofi - Graffiti Artist   (photo above & Photoshopping by L-G,

other artwork & photos by Pest5, click to enlarge)

Hello Lamma-Gung,

Long time no speak. Yes, the work on Fountainhead was done by me and some good friends, one from New Zealand and one from US.

The NZ guy (Pest5) is on a world tour, so has already left HK for Europe. The US guy (Bose) has also left HK for the summer, going to US and Europe as well. So I can't get any comments from either. But here is the link for the Pest5 site. Scroll down to bottom and see the painting they did on my roof top:

Thanks for reminding me again for the Lamma-zine logo. I will keep it in mind and do some sketches for your roof top as well. I was hoping to come over to Lamma this weekend and maybe paint for you. However, it may be cutting it too short. I'll send you an email ASAP when I have some sketches ready.

Pest5 writes in his own blog about the Fountainhead job:

"Lamma Island: Yesterday, Me, Dofi and local kid Bose went and painted a bar on a lil' island called Lamma. We got well drunk in the process! The ferry ride was intense, lol!"

A few more of Pest5's amazing artworks, from his website:

July 20What's Going on in the Lamma Activities Centre?

These junior Lammaites are amazed about the antics of their frequently upside-down teacher, but show great eagerness of copying at least some of his less fancy Street Dance moves. A really great and cool workout for Lamma's youngsters!

The Lamma Activities Centre welcomed me to take some pictures of a Street Dance demo class by incredibly fit'n'flexible dude Meynard, a founding member of the Streetboys and an international dancer in the "Miss Saigon" & "Peter Pan" musicals.

The classes for 7-11 and 12-19 year-olds start on this Monday, July 21, for five mornings, but there are still a few free slots available. Click on poster for details and hurry up to contact Gary.

Let's have a look at a few more extreme moves, but most of the class are simple active dance moves, seen in many MTV music videos, definitely doable & safe even for moderately fit youngsters.

July 19100 Pounds off!

Finally, a few days ago, I've reached my intermediate weight loss goal:
100 pounds lost since I've joined the new bariatric program of Queen Mary Hospital last Sep as a public healthcare patient. Most of the overweight has been lost since my operation on Feb 25, when they permanently removed 80% of my stomach (vertical gastrectomy only, no gastric bypass.) A still pretty dangerous operation (just below 1% mortality rate) which makes overeating physically impossible for the rest of my life.

According to my Weight Loss Ticker above, I've still got "67 lb to go" till I'll reach a Body Mass Index of just below 30, reducing my medical status from the charmingly named "Super Morbidly Obese" to mere "Overweight", a lofty goal I have reached the last time as a teenager. Check your own status via a BMI Calculator.

It's been a real voyage of self-discovery and a major lifestyle change:

  • learning so much about health, medicine and fitness, studying the latest medical research and reading touchy-feely weight loss forums with personal experiences, before-after pictures, special diet recipes and lots of support;

  • watching and evaluating almost everything I put into my tiny stomach. Is it high-protein, low-fat, low-carb and low-calorie? The operation was only the beginning of the hard work; with a bad diet I could stop or even reverse my weight loss;

  • joining a gym for the very first time in my life, slowly building up my strength, fitness and energy levels with cardio and circuit training;

  • getting on a bike for the first time in 30+ years, endangering myself and my fellow Lammaites, but also exploring new areas of Lamma Island.

  • attending the comprehensive post-operative program of Queen Mary Hospital, meeting regularly and individually with the surgeon, dietitian, clinical psychiatrist and various outpatient specialists.

  • becoming so much healthier and fitter, improving most of my former medical problems almost miraculously, stopping almost all drugs, bringing my diabetes and blood pressure under full control without any medication;

  • changing my former clothes to all-stretchy, sporty outfits now. No point buying any new stuff now as I'm still shrinking constantly. Major personal makeover (hair, teeth, glasses, clothes, etc.) coming up step by step later this year...

Quite a few people have been asking me about the 100-pounds-off party I've been mentioning a while back. Finally, the right time has arrived! Our many forum moderators will be the first batch of invited guests, but there needs to be a second party for sponsors, advertisers and major Lamma-zine contributors, of course. Probably on two Aug weekends in my rooftop garden. But beware, it'll be a HEALTHY party, not the usual orgy of debauchery of a typical Lamma party!  ;-)

Currently still losing 2 pounds every week, it might take almost another year of my strict eat-half diet and frequent exercise to get as close as I possibly can to my target weight and then to maintain it long-term. Wish me luck!

July 18Thanks for the Beach Cleanups!

Click to enlarge the posters above from the GreenLammaGroup.
Fantastic jobs and many thanks to all the great participants!

Sorry, no English translation available this time, but you get the message
by simply looking at the pictures above...

July 17Trapped in Lamma Hippie Commune

Another entry from the long-running Lamma-Slur-of-the-Month campaign in HK Magazine (THE GREAT HONG KONG QUIZ - Section Five: The Tourist Twist):

This is one of the 3 worst things that can happen to tourists stranded in HK after their hotel has foreclosed and they need new accommodation quickly. The other two worst accommodations are: being deported or stuck in Disneyland forever:

One could argue that these tourists would actually be the lucky ones and it could be one of the best things that could happen to them, free accommodation, healthy organic food, quiet, Peace, Love, Lamma! IF there were any hippie communes left on Lamma, having been completely extinct since at least the Handover 11 years ago.

But a few hippies have fortunately remained living happily on Lamma. Most of them congregated at the Sitar & Tabla concert last Saturday, often professionals with stubbly bold heads, running their own highly successful companies by now. Personally, I never evolved past the long-haired "wannabe pseudo hippie" stage in my teenage years, never really turning on, tuning in, dropping out or running a highly successful company...

As I wrote in my CityLife HK magazine interview, the hippie commune cliché is ancient, last-millennium and wholly inappropriate nowadays, perpetuated ad infinitum and ad nauseam by the SCMP, HK Magazine and quite a few Chinese dailies and weeklies, despite the huge number of journalists, editors and photographers living here, or maybe BECAUSE of it.

But writing and publishing daily about the "Lamma Island Community & Its Interesting, Intriguing Inhabitants" (as it says in the subtitle of this page), I might contribute unintentionally to this ancient cliché, despite being irked by it occasionally.

But maybe this cliché might actually be a very good thing for Lammaites, as foreign body writes in our long-running FAQ for Lamma Newbies forum, making some really good and valid points, I think:

"If we want to keep enjoying Lamma as it is, low rents, etc., I think it makes sense to reinforce the stereotype rather than debunk it.

"When people ask me what Lamma is like...I never fail to mention poisonous snakes, mosquitoes, very aggressive stray dogs, no PARKnSHOP, no Wellcome, no prestigious schools, and yes, lots of hippies. This combination is guaranteed to put off the majority of HK people and thus protect our peace and tranquility.

"If you take the hippies out of the equation, some daring HKers might be willing to brave the snakes and the mosquitoes to enjoy lower rents. But just mention long-haired, barefoot, pot-smoking hippies with dogs...they immediately run for cover.

"If hippies were to disappear completely, we would need to invent them...create computer-generated images to feed to the media...a bit like what they did with the Chinese tigers."

July 16Street Dance or Extreme Yoga?

It sure looks like an advanced-class yoga pose, way beyond a mere sun salutation, karmic pretzel or the famous ouch!-just-threw-out-my-back Yoga pose. But it's actually Street Dance, inspired by Break-dance (so named because you'll easily break a bone or two trying to do it yourself).

Soon we might see this ultra-flexible guy doing his thing on Main Street or in the nearby Lamma Activities Centre. He'll be teaching great new skills to 7-19 year old Lammaites to impress their friends and parents. Main Street should become an even more fun and interesting place soon. Gary the Actively Centred writes:

"We have a celebrity dancer coming to Lamma, teaching 1 week of street dance for kids and teens.
Everyone I spoke to has heard of The Street Boys, Asia's top street Hip Hop group who have lots of videos on YouTube."

July 15A True Renaissance Man & Insiration

"Andy is a true renaissance man, talented photographer, fine artist and cutting edge human being.
Always a delight and pleasure to be around. An insiration. Happy to have him as a friend."

- Russ Mooney, Creative Director, Toon City Animation Inc.

A "professional recommendation" on LinkedIn - another huge community website. Doesn't this great photo look so much like Andy Maluche, after a late night in The Island Bar?

I conducted a little email interview with our former Official Court Artist, before he recently returned to a corporate career (Operations Director for Leo Burnett Manila), leaving his five wild, careless, free-wheeling years as a wandering artist well behind him. We'll miss his formerly very frequent Lamma stopovers, his almost inactive Art Blog and his innumerable, creative, usually hilarious Lamma-zine contributions over the years.

Wow, how do you get a LinkedIn recommendation like that? It must have been after many a beer! And what's an "insiration"? Something to do with siring more children? Sounds kind of seedy...

Who wrote that? Couldn't have written it any better.

So you went back to gainful employment in advertising, another fine artist selling out, eh, succumbing to the commercial pressures of survival. What's the art world coming to?

The problem is when you are ready to sell out and nobody wants to buy anything. I have been following your little operation and stuff. Saw you walking the pier from afar and it seems to work. Good luck with that. I looked this morning at your great blog.

Almost got enough material now for another long-overdue story about the Official Court Artist who has been missing in action from the Lamma-zine for far too long!

I wish I could provide more.
But my life has been so boring. Actually, not really. I started cross-stitching and soon I will have a large picture of dogs playing billiard. So cute.

And what are you up to these days, art-wise? Creative pause, artist's block or the pure joy of enjoying so much more dosh than you've been able to spend in quite a few years?

I am still doing art. Actually, since I kinda stopped doing art I have earned most of my money with it. Just another one of those little ironies in life.
I still do art occasionally (a few times in Hong Kong in shopping malls) but the corporate world is quite consuming. Does having an affair with an art student count as art?
I have a a couple of artworks lined up and if my client and I can agree on a price I'll be doing Greek sculptures in HK next months. It has been a lifelong dream of mine to create Greek sculptures in HK.

Attached a latest picture of me (see above), slightly stressed but happy.

P.S. After seeing this story, Andy emailed:

Thanks for the excellent coverage. :-)
[July 22: Featured in Lamma-zine]

I feel honored.
Unfortunately by now the picture is exceedingly inaccurate.
Since I was able to blue myself again.

And, following your lead, I lost already 6 pounds in the last three weeks.

July 14Saheb's MacMix Photo Booth

Facebook is still spreading on Lamma like wildfire, like a highly contagious virus. My own infection rate, eh, number of Friends is increasing alarmingly and is increasingly alarming. There's so much I can spy, eh, learn about my Friends, things they might not tell me F2F (face to face). I can view their personal photos they might usually only show their closest real-life friends, fearing embarrassment.

But it's a great research and communication tool for the Lamma-zine, so I'll be spending more time up there, exploring all things Lammaite-related, trawling and sifting through the avalanche of trivia tidbits flooding Cyberspace, trying to find an occasional little nugget for the Lamma-zine readers:

Did you know that:

Frank "is thinking of lunch. But what?",
Kevin "is enjoying being a father",
Gavin "is taking the kids to Disneyland",
Annie "spoke too soon. It is too hot already!",
Elizabeth "is painting the final stages of HK Island smog, Kowloon neon lights & deep fried street food in Wanchai",
Katie and Scot "are now friends, having found each other through the People You May Know tool" and
Lamma Gung "is just publishing another Facebook-related story on his website at"

Also, Facebook just reminded me that it's Tamara the Artist's birthday today, so I emailed her a Gift picture. Awww, ain't I sweet and oh-so-generous (and Facebook-addicted, maybe?) I didn't know any of these factoids and infolets about my real-life friends = online Friends till Facebook told me so! Who needs to meet people in real life anymore if I can so easily and cheaply socialise on Facebook, sitting on my air-conditioned big ass staring blankly into my irresistible, multi-coloured window into Cyberspace instead of ever going out into this horrible, humid heat!

Hey, want to help me in my almost hopeless quest to catch up with SheiLAP the Many-Friended (1,509 Friends as of today, up 47 since a week ago; the current Lammaite record holder, I believe.) Any Lamma-zine readers could become my Friend, too! Just search for Lamma Gung, but give me a good reason (like knowing me in person or at least by email) to accept your Friend-liness. Let a flood of "X added you as a friend on Facebook" emails fill up my Inbox, making me feel ever-so-popular even though I'm spending all my days sitting on my air-conditioned big ass staring blankly into my irresistible, multi-coloured window into Cyberspace...

Last but not least, here are a few digitally doctored photos I found in Saheb's MacMix Photo Booth photo gallery (created with his Mac, of course!) He's a very popular Lammaite and member of the digital generation, making somebody like me growing up without even a TV feel sooo ancient! These great photos feature himself and some of his school friends (and Facebook Friends.) Of course, I had to ask for his permission before posting them here and he courteously granted it via a typically curt, concise and casual Facebook message: "yeah sure go for it..."

These images remind me so much of how I got into computer graphics myself, 27 years ago, in the dark and distant pre-Mac, even pre-PC age, feeling like the Stone Age from today's youngsters' perspective. I had to use a multi-million-US$ IBM Research Lab mainframe computer to do my first modest little image manipulation programming experiments, nowhere near as fanciful, colourful and cheerful as Saheb's artworks...

Do we have another worthy, budding Lamma Artist of the Month here, an emerging talent soon to make headlines in the HK art scene? YEAAAH! I think so!

SAHEB - Lamma Artist of the Month - July 2008!

Congratulations! In his typically modest fashion, Saheb declined to comment on his art, letting the pictures speak for themselves, in the time-honoured tradition of other more senior Lamma Artists. He's the second-youngest Lamma Artist of the Month ever and wasn't it just yesterday that we celebrated him turning Sweet 16? He's turning 18 next month! It seems more proof that a new generation of artists is growing up happily and healthily on Lamma, using New Media to express their creativity. Let's see more from Lamma's young artists!

By the way, digital artists of all ages are most welcome to be featured prominently and for free in the Lamma-zine, like any other local artist working in any non-digital media! Contact me!

July 13Sweet Smell of Sunset

July 10, 2008: After another rainy-musty day, sunsets smell so fresh'n'sweet...

July 12Saturday Night on Main Street

Peter Lloyd - Holistic Hong Kong (who also re-published this story):

(Peter wrote this feedback just a few hours after the concert, with the impressions still fresh in his mind. The organiser, Narayanmoorthy of Palghat Cousins, wrote: "Wow .. Very quick work, Peter... the speed not compromising for comprehensiveness or for correctness.")

(Pictures & captions by L-G and Elizabeth the Cyanotypist. Click to enlarge.)

Indian Music on Main Street

Saturday night on Main Street, Yung Shue Wan. Behind the chatter of HK Island couples returning home and Lammaites letting their hair down, is the faint sound of Indian classical music drifting past Emily's and the Deli Lamma.

It's a warmish night and mercifully the deluge of the evening (among the worst in 7 years of my stream's high water marks) has abated and one of those beautiful clear and sparkling post-rain South China Sea sun-downs present themselves.

The evening is a classical Indian music evening with sitar by Kengo Saito and tabla by Jorge Ramiro. Its one of those uniquely Lamma evenings which feel like they couldn't happen anywhere else, where Lamma is inimitably Lamma – or as the old t-shirts used to have it 'Planet Lamma'. A Japanese, France based sitar player with a Mexican, New York city trained tabla player together studying in India and living in Hong Kong. Both with impressive classical education and in my limited knowledge sincere students of Indian music.

A multiracial crowd enjoying uninterrupted performance, no mobile calls, no drunken interludes, no crying babies (with a few present), no clumsy entrants, just maybe 40 people savouring an hour and a half of heartfelt music. And to give it a Lamma touch all on donation with envelopes provided, as is the Indian tradition.

Kengo is leaving Lamma so this concert was a good-bye to his island of 5 months. Put together at short notice by Narayanmoorty of Palghat Cousins who had organised a previous concert on HK Island and with the help of Lamma-Gung of the Lamma-zine and Gary of the Lamma Activities Centre.

There is an intoxication to Indian music for me, a transcendent quality that without much effort takes me to a place of spacious pleasure in listening. It can be a very reflective internal space. As with many, I closed my eyes and was transported back to the holy city of Varanasi in India, during another wet monsoon season 21 years ago where the smell of incense, the chant of ghats and meandering cows all added to an atmosphere of sensory joy.

Kengo chose Raag Yaman, a melancholic offering to mark his sadness at leaving Lamma. [Kengo described it as a bright and hopeful mood yet slight melancholic.] They started with a short introduction and then followed up with the Raag, with Kengo playing the sitar and after a while Jorge joining in. It's difficult to describe, especially if like me you don't understand the intricacies of a 16-beat rhythm. But there is a timelessness to the music, befitting Mother India herself. It was easy to let the music play and dance its way through me.

Thank you, Kengo, and bon voyage, and thanks, Jorge, for your tabla playing. Thanks to Lamma-Gung, Gary and Kumi for their part in organising the evening. The first of many I hope.

Pictures by Elizabeth Briel:

Pictures by Lamma-Gung:

Deep in trance...

Current & former Lamma hippies: bald head & stubble are in fashion these days.

Babies congregate outside, fathers inside...

High-tech lighting system

July 11Japanese Sitar & Mexican Tabla Maestros

(Click to see entire poster)

A simple poster announcing a concert, right? But, quite frequently, getting a poster like this into the Lamma-zine can involve, like in this case, a dozen emails with 7 people over more than a week, advising the organiser and musicians on finding a local concert venue, getting the poster, converting the file format, Photoshopping, posting event info and links in our forum and Events Calendar, discussing in person and preparing a concert photo shoot...

End result of all these time-consuming efforts behind the scenes: just another poster in the Lamma-zine. The most simple-looking things often take by far the most effort and time...

See you at the concert, making it all worthwhile, I'm sure!

July 10Doggy & Wee Davy

Accepting another LinkedIn invitation (increasingly popular with Lammaites, in addition to the vastly popular Facebook), I came across a fascinating info nugget in an ex-Lammaite's profile. He won one of the top 5 prizes amongst 2,300 entries in the Novel of a Year competition by the Telegraph newspaper! Do you recognise the guy on the right?

The last time we've heard from this former Lamma-zine regular (click here for a story list) was his Lamma farewell story in Lamma-zine #32 (when it was still just a monthly publication, Sep 2004.) Doggy was one of the very first Laudable Lamma Luminaries, awarded by for his founding and organising the Lamma Fun Day. His legacy on Lamma lives on, thrives and still grows year and after year:

Lamma Fun Day on Sunday, Oct 26 this year and they're looking for Sponsors right now! Here's the Sponsorship Package. If you know any company or individual maybe willing to sponsor this wonderful yearly charity event, either by cash or gifts for auction, contact the Child Welfare Scheme!

After this little digression, back to the main story, Doggy's top-5 prize win with the first 1,000 words of his novel, Wee Davy! One of the judges wrote:

"Andrew Doig's "Wee Davy" has an irresistible opening, as a young Glaswegian, back-packing in Australia, rescues a malevolent, miniature old man from a washing machine on a banana plantation.

"There was some discussion among us about how this magical aspect would work through a whole novel but the writing was so fresh and witty we just couldn't bear to let it go."

I've been emailing Doggy for news on the aftermath of his major win - any accolades, admiration, cash and freebies? - and the progress of his novel and what he's up to these days. Fortunately, he replied right away and none of my usual violent arm twisting, ass kicking and death threats were necessary for this frequent and eager Lamma-zine contributor. Thank you, Doggy!

Doggy - Laudable Lamma Luminary & Lamma Fun Day Founder:

(Cartoon by Emily the Ice-cream Lady, photos by L-G, 2004)

I left HK in 2004 with the family so that I could study my Creative Writing Masters at Glasgow Uni - my novel, Wee Davy, was born out of that. I finished the degree in '05 with about half of the novel written, and finished the first draft of it in about April 2007, then quite surprisingly winning the Daily Telegraph competition in June with just the first 1,000 words of the book. It was quite a surprise because I had been told about the competition, sent in my work by email, then completely forgot about it until I got an email from a literary agent who was one of the judges on the competition saying 'congratulations on winning, and can I see your manuscript?' Yahoo.

Actually, on the back of being a GU graduate - the Mlitt Creative Writing from there is quite well known - and then following the competition win, I've been able to get the manuscript of Wee Davy into the hands of several agents and a couple of publishers, who all rejected it! Not such good news. However, the feedback I received on it, both positive and negative, was consistent enough that I have been able to return to the book and edit it quite heavily, making the most of what has been liked about it (principally the character of Wee Davy, and his general foulness and strangeness), and do away with what has not been liked. In a lot of ways, this process has been an extension of what happened on the Mlitt course - a lot of critiquing and rewriting. I finished that process in May and now again I have two agents reading it at the moment and another I'm waiting to hear back from whether she would like to see the whole novel or not. I feel very upbeat about it now - I've certainly taken Wee Davy as far as I can, and I think it's ready to fly now - off the printing presses and off the shelves.

Please stick the link to the first 1,000 words on the Lamma site, as i would love people there to read it. The book does end up on Lamma, of course, though not for the bulk of it - that's a whole other novel. Debbie, Kaia and I miss Lamma a lot, and very often (especially as the dreadful British summer sets in), much more so than HK itself - Finn was just a bit wee to remember anything much of it, though he's seen the vids, and would love to visit, which I'm sure we all will do in the not too distant future. I would really love to be back on Lamma at the time of the Lamma Fun Day - I've followed it on and it just gets bigger, better, bolder and much better at fundraising... superb.

When Wee Davy gets its publishing deal, I will let you know and will be expecting everyone on the island to be Amazoning it - and then to see multiple copies being sold by Nick the Book, for sure.

Wee Davy  - Chapter 1 -  By Andrew Doig

This is the story of a black-hearted wretch. A nasty, dirty, selfish narcissist. A user. A bastard abuser with a foul mouth and a twisted, lecherous, unquenchable lust. This is the story of the incubus, the night prowler, the leach. This is the story of Davy and it's the story of me. This is a wretched tale that needs to stop. I am the wretch, but I'm not. Davy is the wretch. All I need is to get rid of Davy. The end of Davy; the end of the wretch. The end of that wretched little man...


I've asked Doggy for a recent photo.
Yes, that's Finn today, the baby in the cartoon and photo above, 4 years ago.

July 9Warning!  Distemper Is Spreading!

Click for Chinese translation  (Thanks, Yogesh!)

Click for forum discussion on this topic, incl. a complaint letter to the AFCD.

July 8Sok Kwu Wan Dragonboating

Dragonboat races in Sok Kwu Wan on July 3, 2008:

The website has the photos, click on their banner below. This very quiet website's motto is "Understand Hong Kong, Eye On The World, Preserve The Nature!" and it features extensive photo galleries of most of Lamma's areas and villages. All the fine photos of the very local, virtually Gwailo/Gwaipo-free Sok Kwu Wan Dragonboat festival by Mike3:

July 7A Great Ambassador to Lamma?

CityLife HK Magazine recently did an email interview with me about Lamma. The article should come out Aug 1, together with a few of my photos. Here are their questions; my replies have been copied to our FAQ for Lamma Newbies forum.

Afterwards, the editor wrote, "You are a great ambassador to Lamma Island. I envy the contentment you have found in your living situation."

{*Big Blush!*} No way! But the contentment part is definitely correct...

CityLife Magazine questions:

Where are you from?

What is your profession? Do you work from home?

How did you end up settling on Lamma Island?

How long have you been living on Lamma Island?

What is it like living on Lamma Island? What's great about it? Any downsides?

What are the best places to eat?

Any suggestions for visitors?

Anything else you'd like to add?

How do you feel about the reputation of Lamma Island residents being hippies?

Click here for my replies...

July 6Dinner Ideas in a Hurry

Stine Baska - Children photographer and former Artist of the Month

(text & photo)

Veg & yoghurt/mayo

You can eat so fresh and healthy for next to nothing here on Lamma.

I thought I'd share some easy dinner ideas with your readers. Today, walking through the village, I got a nice bunch of fresh snake beans from the lady selling from her trolley for $5. The lady next to Deli Lamma had broccoli for $5, and $7 for a head of cauliflower.

I steamed them for about 5 min. Meanwhile, I mixed equal amounts of plain yoghurt and mayonnaise. We buy the Japanese Doll mayonnaise available here on Lamma. It's a lot like European mayonnaise. Use your favourite.

This is the dipping sauce that will make even the most resistant into vegetable eaters. I can prove this!

This could well be dinner on a hot night. Try to mix canned tuna into the yoghurt for a bit more protein. Enjoy!

Veg & yoghurt/mayo a la Stine

July 5Surviving 9 Days of Dodging Traffic, a Typhoon, a Record-Breaking Storm, Hunger and Injury

Another heart-warming story about many Lammaites' great love for pets, the story of Eleanor - Lost & Found. It all started with Laudable Lamma Luminary SheiLAP starting a new topic in our forum "Puppy LOST at Ferry pier in CENTRAL" and putting up posters around the village:

"LOST in HK, near Lamma Ferry Pier 4.

"Little Eleanor was lost as she was getting on the Ferry. She is now lost in Central! She was seen around Wing On department store and then this morning she went into Wing Lok bank then headed in the direction of Worldwide house along Connaught Rd.

"She is only 5 months old and had been de-sexed that day. She hasn't had anything to eat for 2 days. We are very worried about her. She is unfamiliar with Central as she lives on Lamma Island. She is a lovely dog. Please keep and eye out for her & if you see her call her, and she will come to you and please call Sheila..."

Then it spread to Sheila's Facebook group, generating more than an incredible 200 messages from well-wishers and people looking for Eleanor. And then came the good news, the happy ending needed for a great doggy story like this one:

Sheila: "Yes, this is where she was found. The photo is taken after Helen and Alice had spotted her and I managed to coax her out from where she was hiding, dehydrated, weak and in pain ... but still happy and beautiful!"

Eleanor was found in HK Park, pretty far away from the Lamma Ferry pier in Central, on June 29, after 9 days! A triumphant photo gallery "Eleanor is back!" went online quickly on Sheila's Facebook pages. You can add on to her currently 1,463 Friends (a record for a Lammaite? Anybody got more?) to view the entire, almost epic Lamma Drama and major doggy saga.

Finally, even the SCMP finally took note and published a small story today, "Runaway dog safely home but without a wag". Sheila: "She was hit by a car, which skinned her tail and broke it. Her tail has been amputated and she is happy now." Congratulations to all the people involved in finding her, the rescuers Helen & Alice and all well-wishers. We love Happy Endings!

To help Sheila, you could either send cheques made out to "Lamma Animal Protection Charity Ltd"
to Room 1101B, 158 - 164 Queens Rd, Central,
or donations can be put into the Lamma Animal Protection Charity account:
HSBC 400-399978-838.
Please let Sheila know the details and she'll send you a tax-deductible receipt.

P.S. Sheila writes:

"Wow, L-G, thank you for the lovely story about Eleanor! She is back on Lamma and bringing a smile to my face every time I see her. Actually, it's hard to believe but the vet costs alone were over $7,000. Thank you so much for including that important point.

"She can still wag, but it is more the tick-tock of a metronome."

July 4Uncover Our Beautiful Lamma, Literally

July 3Politically Correct Absurdists

Nick the Bookman and Official Court Main Street Correspondent
(and expert in moving all your stuff on/off Lamma, click above to email him!)


I don't know about anyone else, but the new ferry schedule is working out fine for my moves. We had a job on 2-7-08, the first day after The Hangover Anniversary. Had to move about 40 bags, boxes and about 8 large pieces of furniture. Bit of a panic when we realised we needed to book 48 hours ahead, i.e. 30-6-08. Told the HKFF staff the problem at 09:30 Wednesday and they had a large freight ferry assigned to us for midday. It arrived at 11:30. Half an hour to load up. No delay in departure. Future jobs we can now stagger between the 11:20, noon (if pre-booked) and 13:00 ferries if necessary and depending on the size of the move. Less stress all around. This is a good thing.

As for the fare hikes: They're now $14.50, up $2.70 from the old slow rate of $11.80. But they're cheaper than the previous fast ferry fare of $16.80. I'd gladly pay the new fare for the privilege of NOT sitting in the plastic seats anymore. Apparently, those old ferries have been "given" to Peng Chau.

Prices may still go up, but not yet. Oliver from Pak Kok told me the tariffs were calculated on the basis of $80 barrels of oil - not $140 and rising. The HKFF is still in deficit... Maybe it's time to consider steroid hamsters inside wheels churning out the power. Or natural gas. No shortage of that in Legco. New (un)Improved Poli-Power!

Guaranteed to run (at the mouth) longer then the Energiser Bunny!

A Handy Tip: When you buy stock from IKEA, ask them to deliver on the earliest date they can GUARANTEE to be at the Central Ferry Pier by 11:00. It's worked for the last 5 deliveries we've picked up. Of course, it still gives IKEA about 50 minutes to screw up, but so far it's been pain-free. Of course, I don't have the pleasure of writing rude notes to the IKEA Board of Directors criticising their lack of piss-up/brewery interface skills. Or asking them to De-Evolve for the Benefit of Mankind, but it's a small loss...

And remember: Don't Drink And Drive! Do Think And Thrive!
Amen (or Apeople for the Politically Correct Absurdists among us).
And if there's "person", why not "perdad/mum/sis/bro, etc"? These little things do keep me awake at night.

July 2Welcome to The Waterfront

View from the publicly accessible rooftop. Great spot for sunset or night shots. See The Waterfront photo gallery.

Inside The Waterfront, a great place to meet up with friends, day or night
(All photos by L-G)

A warm welcome to our new advertiser, The Waterfront Bar & Restaurant, helping to maintain and upkeep this website. I'll always have a soft spot for this place with the unrivalled location and view. I've known one of the owners, Dan Peterson of The Island Bar (same management team), since he moved to HK 20 years ago, when we worked in the same int'l ad agency.

The Waterfront was also the last place I've enjoyed my very last ever regular-size meal before my permanent stomach reduction operation; and what a truly fine dinner it was. And they didn't even let me pay for it, to my great surprise! These days, I share a very affordable single set dinner there with Lamma-Por and usually still have enough leftovers for my lunch at home the next day. 3 meals for the price of one, a great deal.

To find out more check out their new web page (by yours truly) with a menu overview, "Where to Find Us..." and loads of photos:

Welcome to The Waterfront Bar & Restaurant

July 1End of the Bright Green Era

Diesel's Sports Bar has new owners and they're doing away with the historic bright green of the place. Lammaites walking by were amazed about the repainting job in progress, not completed yet (see below, old and new). Diesel's has been bright green since most Lammaites can remember. More about all the other exciting changes soon, including a potential renaming of this favourite sports bar...

Missed a spot! -- Wet paint!

Diesel's BEFORE it turned bright green, over 10 years ago --
The formerly bright green bar. One of their free buffets, those were the days...

Diesel's has been featured many times in the Lamma-zine, especially when it was a happening party place. A few historic photo galleries:

Lucy's 40th Birthday Party - Sexy Pets
Alain's Party @ Diesel's
Sexy Biaatch of Boracay Party

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, photos, videos, etc.

Contact Lamma-Gung with anything relevant to Lamma or Lammaites that you'd like to see published on this home page!


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