Om the Amazing Shrinking Tai Penguin - Lamma Newbie and
Lamma Outrigger Canoe Club member
pictures & graphic novel by Gina Meana)
day, just a few weeks ago, I was sitting on the the ferry back
from Aberdeen. I saw people paddling in canoes.
I could not avert my eyes from them as we went
past them in the ferry. I was intrigued at why this looks so
hard, but they all seem to be so happy.
Soon afterwards, when I was looking for a sport
to get my butt off the couch, I contacted them
and asked if I could join. As a new
resident of Lamma, I really did not know what to
expect from this Lamma club. Well... I had my
first-ever paddling session at... 5:20 am in the
arrived and got to know the other team members.
Everybody was so friendly, asking for my name,
where I came from and always had a nice word to
say. What makes them special is that we're all
from different parts of the world (Canadian,
South African, British, French like me, etc.. )
and naturally friendly. We also have a great
sense of humour, making it so much fun. This is
what makes it special: a fantastic team
A ritual before going to the
boat is the "sexy time" (this is how I
call it, anyway) when everybody puts on sun
lotion. This is a collective ritual.
During my very first session, 3
people offered me their own drinks as I didn't
bring anything. I felt very shy and declined at
but they insisted and I took a sip, overwhelmed
by their kindness. At the end, I thought people
there are just so cool and friendly. I really
want to do my best to reach their level and not
be the one that will slow down the rhythm of
day, one of the team members forgot to bring his
water but remembered to bring coffee. Of course,
I offered him my drink, too. After 10 minutes of paddling, getting away
from the shore, it's time for stretching and
drinking a bit before the following real
workout. We were in the middle of the sea, the
beach was quite far away and we had a fantastic view
of the Island. I was enjoying the scenery and
suddenly I heard a very courteous voice, like a
waiter: "Anybody would like a cup of
coffee?" That was so funny!
When you arrive in the motor
boat to get a rest (before the sea change), this
is a very good time to refuel your body. I got
my orange juice and my horrible brown banana
which tasted better than ever before! But I
realized that everybody got sport drinks or gels
(see Laura on the photos above.) Are these the
secrets of their paddling super powers? I have
to investigate this further.
Karen super-excitedly shouted into the water -
in the middle of the sea - "I am no longer
a sea change virgin, yay!" Hahahaha! Sea
changes are quite technical and stressful. It
describes when one paddler jumps out of the boat
while another fresh one climbs in to replace
him/her. The boat has to maintain its speed
throughout this change. There's a picture on the
right explaining it. My virginity lasted only
A very special moment was when I
climbed back into the boat after my sea change.
I had paddled quite a bit and felt like I was on
my very last reserve of energy. At that point,
Mel the boat cheerleader, asked everybody to
give 5 strong strokes at the beginning of each
15 strokes set. And she counted... in French,
just for me! That was so nice
and gave me extra energy coming from I don't know
where. I would have kissed her if I wouldn't
have forgotten everything when we finally
arrived! After that they counted in several
languages: Mandarin, Cantonese, and others. For
me, I was just joyful breezing my lungs out...
The best was when I gave it my
last shot as soon as I saw the beach. I think I
got "high" (Endorphins, probably?) I was crying
while paddling, I didn't even know why, but I
was so happy when we finally arrived at the
beach. This is such a super-satisfactory
feeling. I gave it all I got and everybody
tapped me on the shoulder telling me that it was
very good. I felt super-overwhelmed! But I know
that I still have to improve a lot and build up
the end of each session I am just dead. I
remember getting off the boat and telling the
boat leader: "I am dead!" He just
replied, "That's the point!" and we all
laughed. Today, we've been training for the next
race, the Round Lamma Race. As we went past the Pak Kok pier, I saw a
ferry going to Aberdeen. I was thinking of where
I stood, just a few weeks ago, seeing the
outrigger gliding past. Now I got the answer to
my question back then:
Yes, this is hard. Yes, I still have to get that
stroke right. Yes, this is damned hard work. But
despite the bruises I got from the sea changes,
despite breezing my lungs out, I am doing it,
our team is doing it, we are all in the same
boat, and we're going forward, closer and closer
back to our beach. After 3 hours of intense
paddling we succeeded and that is what makes me
feel so happy!
below the Man Lai Wah Hotel, close to the YSW ferry pier,
Democracy Wall because everybody is welcome to put up their
(Panorama made by L-G from 3 photos by
I admit that I just love the Democracy Wall. It's always the right place to
learn about upcoming local events & happenings, view the latest moving sales
and even have a good laugh occasionally. It might look a bit untidy,
especially after a big rainstorm, but it's a real celebration of the
diversity and liveliness of our home, I think. Thanks to our hard-working &
cheerful Lap Sap Ladies, old posters get removed at least weekly, keeping
the Wall current and up-to-date.
For example, did you know that there's a new preschool's Open Day tomorrow,
that there's a new village pet psychic, that Jocelyn is looking for a new
employer, that Sil-Mei, Sil-Yi and Sil-Fa need homes and, last but not
least, that you can make your teenagers urgently famous? Me neither. Check
it out below.
Let's see a few Democracy Wall posters I shot just today (click to enlarge):
I hope that quite a few more people will see these posters now and maybe
even respond to some of them. Let's see what additional feedback these
posters above will attract by being plastered onto the virtual Democracy
Wall of this home page! No need to rip off, keep and remember those tiny
little tabs at the bottom of the posters. I still keep finding these pesky
tabs at the bottom of my shoulder bag weeks later when they've all become
If any of the people behind these or any other posters are looking for some
more free publicity,
our bilingual forums
are always open, welcoming you to post your own events, classifieds,
services, moving sales, almost anything. It's free and you can do it
For some real premium, prime-time exposure, this home page is also available
for your low-cost but effective advertising. It will support the daily
upkeep and secure the survival of this entire website. Click to learn more
about advertising options in
The professional photographer at work. View his beautiful shots below...
Yogesh - Co-moderator of
Chinese forum (text &
you live not too far from the Lamma ferry piers
on HK side - Central and Aberdeen - love
cycling, love to explore Lamma Island and have
some free time in the morning on a weekday, then
why not spend it on Lamma with your bike. This
is exactly what I did this Tuesday morning.
Lamma Family Trail between Yung Shue Wan and Sok
Kwu Wan is famous, or notorious, for the amount
of day-trippers it attracts. Therefore, the only
time when it's convenient for cyclists to use
the Trail is on a weekday, preferably morning
time, when pedestrian traffic is very low and
it's not as hot as in the afternoon.
(Map courtesy of
DiscoverHongKong.com, click to enlarge)
took the 08:00 ferry from Aberdeen to Sok Kwu
Wan. Chuen Kee Ferry (also the new operator of
the Aberdeen-YSW route) charges $10 for your
bicycle. The Aberdeen - Mo Tat Wan - SKW is
probably to cheapest way to get to Lamma with
your bike. Once I arrived SKW, I set off right
way. I decided to take a look at the Lo So Shing
Beach, which was rather well-hidden and pretty
Sections of the Family Trail were newly-paved
with rocks and it makes it rather bumpy for
bikes. Luckily my bike is a mountain bike, great
for gathering some speed before a steep climb.
After arriving at YSW, I decided to go to Tai
Peng and to experience what most Tai Ping
residents have to endure everyday - the uphill
path. Sometimes I had to get off and go up the
hill pushing the bike.
went past Tai Peng and ended up in Pak Kok
Village. Explored the village for a bit until
realising that the SKW ferry is going to leave
in less than an hour.
had to get back quickly, so I took the Northern
Cable Road. That was not the best choice since
there are X-shaped grassy holes in the road.
They slow you down and it goes up and down a
lot. At least I can get back to Hung Shing Yeh
return journey on the Family Trail was pretty
steep and it is very exposed to the burning sun.
I didn't rest after my struggle with the
Northern Cable Road, so I was almost exhausted.
The rest of it is downhill, though, pretty easy.
took me about 35 minutes to reach SKW from Pak
Kok. Lamma-Gung thought it could be a new
Items to bring for a Lamma concrete path cycling
lots of water,
but you can get it free from the Lo So Shing
and Hung Shing Yeh beaches.
food. I like bananas.
wear specs and
a helmet . It's a must. Your head could
catch lots of cobwebs and tree branches.
P.S. Within an hour of posting the story above, I've received an
email pointing out a fantastic web page giving a lot of Lamma biking tips
and maps to biking trails on Lamma. Find out more about these trails:
Project X - Snake Trail - Snakes Tail - The Hump -
The Back Passage - The Sok Ku Wan Quarry.
Fat-Gor (Brother Fat, as
Hollywood star Chow Yun-fat
is known to his local fans and the people he grew up with on Lamma Island)
is opening the gate to the new permanent emergency helipad in Yung Shue Wan
on Aug 26, 2008.
Click on picture above for a full photo gallery!
Cutting the ribbon is easier for our action movie star than actually opening the locked gate...
Lammaites streaming onto the helipad to have a closer look
Enjoying a sunny day out on the Helipad with their umbrellas, like on a
Most of the real Lamma power elite - plus the helipad builders - enjoying
their spot in the limelight on the new helipad.
Free BBQ and drinks, attracting an almost all-local-Chinese crowd.
He never took off his Manchester United baseball cap and designer shades --
The only Lammaite superstar & billionaire (as far as we know) giving a
Who's got the biggest smile? Handing out diplomas to Senior Inspector
Woo-Woo, Lammadonna, a local politician and Rural Committee
Chairman/District Councilor/ Village Rep, Chan Lin Wai
Probably the only celebrity photo opportunity ever on our new Helipad
Village boys -- Almost completed...
View from the ferry pier --
After the Opening Day, the helipad will remain locked up --
The old helipad nearby, temporary for several years till now,
to be converted into a massive $200+ million Sewerage Works soon...
Jay Scott Kanes - Official Court Pet
Correspondent. Amongst his published books is one
about Lamma pets (Dog-Gone
Cat Case). He also runs the
Cairns Media Magazine website - News,
Views, People, Places.
(story, pictures (click to enlarge) & captions by
Jay Scott Kanes)
Sporty Lamma Pets Love the Olympics too
Residents of Lamma,
like those elsewhere, spent much of
August watching the Beijing Olympic
Games. But no wonder the TV ratings
soared. Even many pets became sports
When human athletes play with
ribbons and hoops, as in rhythmic gymnastics,
fun-loving cats will notice. A feline named Coy, who
lives in Yung Shue Wan, became extra fascinated,
watching long and hard, often reaching to the TV
screen. Sometimes her brother Batman joined,
presumably to discuss sporting techniques. There's
no doubt which Olympic event they like best.
But Lamma's dogs prefer volleyball,
having witnessed hundreds of games on the sand at
Power Station Beach or from a hillside overlooking
the fire station. The canines may wonder why Hong
Kong neglected to recruit the best of Lamma's
beach-volleyball players for the Games.
When watching on TV, the pets may
have pondered why animals other than horses don't
compete in the Olympics. A few Lamma critters
qualify as leading athletes. Some of the dogs leap
high for remarkable Frisbee catches. Isn't that
ideal for track and field? Fleet-footed canines
reckon they'd outrun Usain Bolt, the "world’s
fastest human". The cats might work wonders on the
With the Games finished, one problem
lingers. As a housemate to Coy, how can I explain to
her that the next Olympics event in rhythmic
gymnastics isn't until 2012?
Batman (right) and Coy follow rhythmic gymnastics.
Fascinated, Coy hangs on every word.
A dedicated watcher follows the angles.
High five, little lady!
- Photographer and digital artist (former
Lamma-zine Artist of the Month) living on Lamma. He has
a website at
(pictures by L-G)
Show review by
L-G's show at the Sarasen Gallery
to many of us simply as L-G, turns out a neat line in what I
would call high-end digital doodling, and note that I qualify
the slightly deprecatory term doodling with "high-end." I was
curious to see L-G's work up close, after seeing it in the
Lamma-zine on the
First I had to find
Gallery, on the 5th floor of the Winner Building, Lan
Kwai Fong. So far so good, quickly found it next to Al's Diner.
Then a choice of two lifts, where I carefully did NOT choose the
button for the "odd" floors, ending up on an even floor, not the
Let's get this out
of the way as soon as possible: L-G makes no pretensions to Art
with a capital A. In fact, he protests that such a project
doesn't really interest him. Personally, I'm a bit unconvinced
by this insistence of being low-brow and unpretentious, but
working digitally, on the computer, L-G certainly serves up a
vibrant line in caricatures and colorful sketches, with a wry
sense of humor.
These are skills
that L-G uses to good effect in the Lamma-zine, but what is the
effect, finally, in an art gallery? It's mixed. Some of the
caricatures are very effective, and here I particularly liked
The Gentleman Eco-Warrior, where a pair of dark brooding
eyes look out, almost accusatory, from beneath a hat brim.
There's empathy here, a bit of mystery. This is much more
powerful close up, color laser toner on paper, than on a web
page. And that's a great title.
On the other hand,
Prof Red Star the Electrifying Performer doesn't really
hit it. Steve looks more like a youthful member of a beefy
soccer team who's had a close encounter with an electric eel.
OK, that one won't be on my wall any time soon. Steve, don't
take it personally. I too am electrified by Escalator Girls, by
the way, the song certainly.
One of the
caricatures is titled Senior Inspector Woo-Woo. This
again is intriguing because any officialdom here seems to be
wearing a grin. If there's a story behind this one, I don't know
what it is. There's a question here, not an answer.
At the other
extreme, L-G has some abstract designs with circular, dish-like
formations. At their best these suggest iconic power, rather
like Tibetan mandalas, but I see L-G has titled the most
interesting one Double Egg Yolk. Instead, I'm seeing
hints of Yin and Yang symbols, possibly carved antiques, nothing
quite as literal as an egg yolk. The unfortunate line in titling
comes up elsewhere. One interesting abstract design is titled
Wallpaper. Myself, I'd rather L-G let us, the viewers, make
our own associations, rather than make these literal gestures.
between these extremes are some semi-abstract treatments,
notably of the Peninsula Hotel, which throws out a blare of city
lights and chiaroscuro'd color.
Another of these
has a swirl of color in what I guess might be a logarithmic
spiral or perhaps even the Fibonacci series, Victoria Harbour.
Forgive me, L-G, I know the last thing you want to be is an
intellectual, but this spiral is very reminiscent of Hokusai's
interesting works, but I'd like to see L-G pushing his very
obvious figurative talents a bit closer to the edge, really
losing it in some incredible abstract monster of a work.
Come on, be a mad
artist, L-G, we know you've got it in you.
Overall, this is a
vibrant set of high-end digital doodlings, skillfully produced
on many different computers, some of them from the pre-PC era,
as L-G has worked away at his various websites over the years.
The vibe that comes off these unique items is a positive one. We
can sense that this has all been made by someone having great
fun. That's L-G's project, and that's what he intends to
communicate, I'm sure.
it a visit. It's on
until the 30th of August, but best to
phone ahead to confirm opening times, at
Click here to find the gallery.
If all fails, there's no shortage of places in
which to recover over a beverage, downstairs in
The Gentleman Eco-Warrior
Prof Red Star
the Electrifying Performer
Senior Inspector Woo-Woo
Double Egg Yolk
Brosta 2 - SOLD!
Three really great Lamma after Nuri videos
have just been submitted to the Lamma-zine, with absolutely hilarious
filming her own "reporting live from decimated Hong Kong".
IMHO, they are competing for Best Lamma Video Ever on YouTube with
"Monk in a Hole on the Beach" video, a parody of BBC World live
Have a look at ropiedote's videos below. I've added some of the most
memorable quotes from her voice-overs to my YouTube screen shots below:
"A first look at the devastation caused by the furious winds and rain of
typhoon Nuri... aloe, fig trees, refrigerator plants.
The devastation is enormous. We appeal to the international community and
worldwide aid organisations to send help immediately. In particular demand
are brooms such as these and people to actually USE them, so I won't have
"It is nothing more than the rubbish tip of Mainland China.
Medicine vials, used syringes, flip flops and occasionally a human body part
line the beaches of this area of this lovely island off the shores of HK.
This has been beach rendered a biohazard zone in the wake of typhoon Nuri.
Unhappy Gwailos continue to beg for aid from international organisations to
help clean up their favourite playground."
"Scenes of hopelessness and despair continue to unfold in the wake of
typhoon Nuri. Children left to fend for themselves at water's edge...
scrounge for anything they find useful in their survival.
The stone sculpture by the sea, once Malcolm's victorious picasso-esque piece of
art, has been rendered into a ridiculous stump by the powerful force of
The once pristine land of Power Station Beach has been rendered a scrap
yard. Flotsam, jetsam and general codswallop litter the area,
rendering it unusable for the humans who so often love to rest here.
A small dog wonders what, if anything, shall become of us."
First photos from Lamma Island, while all of HK got hit directly and went
through the eye of typhoon Nuri yesterday. Typhoon signal #9 was raised, the
first time in 5 years. Click photos to enlarge.
Yung Shue Wan Harbour and Old Jetty - by NicBud:
"A few photos attached, taken yesterday, with great
difficulty I might add."
Yung Shue Wan ferry pier - by NicBud
Canopies open on most rooftops - by Birdface, Sep 12, 2006
Almost all rooftop canopies rolled up, Yung Shue Wan this
morning - by L-G
Pak Kok Village in the eye of the typhoon - by Marcus
Right photo: "This is a shot taken just as the wave above
me came down. Luckily, I managed to get the camera in my
pocket just as it did. I can still taste the salt!"
"Taken at 11:30pm at the height of the storm" -
"Where our cat (Tom) hid from the storm all night" -
"Today: a carpet of leaves and a broken street light,
Heart Attack Hill." - by Marcus
What are we Lammaites up to when we're stuck
on our island for the day?
This happens ONLY about 2-3 times per year -
usually for not more than 12 hours - when a Typhoon Signal
#8 or higher is raised. Besides watching the Olympics on
typhoon-proof digital high-def TVs and our famous Typhoon
Parties, we love to post messages in the
Lamma forums, of course. Follow Typhoon Nuri's
progress and the impact on Lamma in our
Typhoon info forum, the most active topic today, of
Good links from Senior Moderator
Alan the Body Surfer (during typhoons only):
ferries always run, unless there is #8. There is always
plenty of warning.
Listen to radio news, see
changes in ferry schedule. See
Tropical Cyclone Warning info.
typhoon signal warning definitions are here. See the
Track and Positions of Tropical Cyclones which shows
its predicted path."
If you dare to go out today, maybe even
taking a waterproof camera along,
email the photos to me. Let us share in your
admirably adventurous and daring spirit!
Here's a pre-typhoon image from renowned
Baska, taken on the ferry yesterday at sunset,
showing the peace before the storm...
P.S. Did you know?
Which Lammaite did "almost live" outdoors reporting of
typhoon updates for local TV in the last millennium?
Nick the Bookman. Ask him about it one day (not
today) and you'll get to enjoy one of his usually very vivid
Occasionally, I get asked if I know of any
other local community websites (placeblogs) in HK. There's a
very active, helpful and comprehensive
forum for Discovery Bay, but no placeblog, events
calendar or photo
galleries like on this site. Several communities have tried to
start forums but most died quickly due to lack of promotion
and enough active members to achieve the critical mass to
keep them going. The only really good local community
website I've found so far in HK is
CheungChauHK.com which has just been revamped by
site admin/ webmaster/ writer/ photographer/ birding guide/
conservationist Dr Martin Williams.
It's full of professionally written and
photographed information for tourists and locals alike,
great photo galleries by several residents, a residents'
forum, and sections like "Exploring Cheung Chau; Nature on
Cheung Chau; History and culture; Eat, drink, sleep; Book
tour; Content creation; Book hotel."
He writes that he's just put in a real
Content Management System (Drupal, improving the site
navigation and integrating the forums with the rest of the
site.) This is something that Lamma.com.hk still lacks,
being mostly hand-made HTML, besides our mostly automated
forums. Martin welcomes comments on the revamp; plus, of
course, comments for the forums, new photos, etc.
it out, there might be some really good ideas in his
revamp that Lamma.com.hk could learn a lot from, hopefully.
While you're at it, also have a look at his
amazing and most impressive personal website:
www.DrMartinWilliams.com - Welcome to DocMartin -
"Hong Kong's one-man answer to National Geographic. -
Wildlife, Conservation & Environment; Travel Tales;
Inspirational People; Forums; Photo Gallery."
Lorena Severi - Lammaite from Italy
(story & pictures by Lorena)
name is Lorena & I've lived in Lamma since
January 2008. I write to you because 2 weeks ago
Mr. Christian De Sica and Mr. Paolo
Conticini have spent a day in Lamma with me
and my husband Stefano, Piero and some friends.
They are two of the most popular Italian actors,
Christian De Sica. Mr. Christian De Sica
is also son of the most popular VITTORIO DE SICA,
father of the Italian Cinema.
They were very impressed about our community and
love the "Spirit of Lamma":
smile of the people, the courtesy, the genuine
way to help each other, the beautiful seafood
restaurants and shops. I think we deserve this
kind of visit from such celebrities because
stars meet stars!
Please find attach same pictures, if you want to
add them on "our" website.
Lory & Chris
Lory & Paolo
Stefano - Lorena's husband:
I forgot to tell you that
Mr. De Sica & Mr. Conticini
came to Lamma because Lorena
Severi is the World Champion
Winner of Hairdressers
[Editor: Unisex Hair Design,
She is today recognized from
many associations and brands
as The Best Hairdresser in
the world ever. She will
work for the next movie of
these actors as official
hairdresser. Please find her
story attached, available
from the Editor.
These photos were taken by
Spectator Carlie, "Location: Kowloon - Lammaite
wannabe", with his mobile phone while climbing up the
pretty steep hill of Ling Kok Shan, just behind Sok Kwu Wan.
See more of his photos on Flickr
here and read his vivid descriptions of his daring
mountaineering excursions in
Keeping a watchful eye on Lamma-related blogs, I
occasionally choose some story to be republished in the
Lamma-zine - with permission only, of course. I came across this
little post below by Dr Marcus. If you're looking for a
wider audience for your Lamma blog, just email me by
Email to Editor in the weekday header line of every
Dr. Marcus - Adjunct Professor at The
University of HK, Faculty of Business and
Economics - Story republished from his
Blog with friendly permission:
(Story and left picture by Dr. Marcus, other
pictures by L-G, click to enlarge.
For a photo gallery of this beautiful area
BEFORE the construction,
The Brain Is
The lower valley from Yung Shue
Wan to Tai Peng on Lamma Island has been turned
into a muddy concrete trench. Now Hong Kong
Electric contractors give it the rest by turning
it into a garbage dump.
We all have our professional
targets and those of the Hong Kong Drainage
Department are to turn the world into something
like a public toilet. Their latest achievements
can be visited in Yung Shue Wan on Lamma Island
where the lower part of a charming valley was
turned into a concrete trench filling up with
mud and trash by the tidal effect, turning into
a stinking canal every now and then.
It took over one year of noisy
work to fulfil this so-called "improvement
project". Well done. But when is it actually
finished? Just the pavement was closed, a
contractor of Hong Kong Electric broke it up
again to improve the electricity supply. Since
then, all trash and construction materials are
left behind and the site shows no progress...
Now I wonder, when the
contractors will clean up their trash left
behind in a chaotic construction site. Sure,
there are also residents now joining in and toss
their garbage, like old beds, strollers and
office printers. It is not that civilization
would have reached all the minds here.
There is also good news. There
was a time when the trench was protected (from
whatever) with a fence that looked like the set
of a movie production for a concentration camp
drama. Thank god we were freed from that and it
Start of the
Drainage Channel, Tai Peng footbridge on the
Looking from the
newly raised Tai Peng footbridge towards YSW
Lily Pond survived the construction
P.S. Reply to Dr Marcus's email to
firstname.lastname@example.org (Drainage Dept.)
"You may also aware that the sedimentation and odour in the drainage
channel is originated from the polluted sea water. The pollution existed
well before our drainage improvement.
"We will try to mitigate the sedimentation and odour in the drainage
channel as far as practicable but it will be hard to completely eliminate
them if there is no improvement to the source of pollution. Our Consultant,
Scott Wilson Ltd.
is still exploring suitable short term mitigation measures and will advise
us their conclusion soon.
"For long term improvement, proper sewer connection and sewage discharge
are needed. There are and there will be sewerage improvement works under the
Lamma Village Sewerage Phase 1 & 2."
Marcus - Father, Pak Kok Village, letter to
SCMP's Lai See column
(text & pictures by Marcus)
Basic facts of the matters are
Transport Dept. made a decision
3 months ago to tender the Yung
Shue Wan to Central route
separate to the Yung Shue Wan -
Pak Kok - Aberdeen route. Both
communities have long enjoyed
sharing the same ferry company
HKKF as the main route - same
monthly pass, good connections
and a concessionary ticket when
traveling to and from Central.
to this decision the route has
been to tender and the residents
have been left with a 37%
increase in fares, an old-style
ferry (deemed unsafe by many
residents), a 40-minute journey
as opposed to 30 minutes and no
direct connections in YSW to
Central, an essential part of a
daily commute. The new ferry
company announced a new
timetable that bares no relation
to the previous one.
Residents in Pak Kok had 6 days
notice of the changes and YSW
residents who would use the
service to Aberdeen were
surprised too. 4 days before the
service was due to start on Aug
15 some Pak Kok residents
demanded and scheduled a meeting
with the Transport Dept. in the
YSW Football Pitch.
See Lamma-zine story.
Another meeting will be held
tonight, Friday Aug 15, 7pm in
Transport Dept, 41/F Immigration
Tower. Selina Chow will also
attend this meeting after the
following points were brought to
* HKKF and Tsui Wah
ferry (old and new companies)
share the same director, Sandy
Mak, an earlier re tender from
HKKF was turned down by the TD
for being too high.
The two routes
having previously being tied
together in tenders were
separated to the great
disadvantage of the Aberdeen
photos (see right) show banners
that were displayed at Pak Kok
ferry pier after the final HKKF
ferry left Pak Kok to the sad
good-bye waves between residents
and the ferrymen.
Protest banners at Pak Kok
Village ferry pier
(click to enlarge):
Jane Wilbor - Mother of 3 (Louie, 6 years;
James, 5 years; Edward, 3 years) and Pak Kok Village
resident for 7 years:
(text & pictures by Jane Wilbor, click to
fully agree with other people's
concerns over the safety and
comfort of this vessel. I had
intended on taking my 3 children
on the ferry today to go
shopping to gain a clear idea of
how this vessel will work. After
hearing the shocking stories of
the 2 injured Pak Kok residents
I decided to take only my 5 year
old, fully mobile child. The
ferry men helped me the best
they could, but if it were not
for the assistance of another
passenger I could not have
managed getting on and off the
ferry with 1 child and 1 small
shopping trolley. This is a
total nightmare for me as I
regularly have to ride the
ferries with my 3 children alone
and can tell you that I do not
feel safe doing so now.
was always concerned with the
safety of this boat, but after
my trip today I am horrified.
took the boat at 12:25 this
afternoon. It was sweltering! I
have attached an unattractive
photo of myself covered in sweat
when we arrived in Aberdeen. The
life jackets are not accessible
to all passengers downstairs;
upstairs there appears to be
only a couple attached to the
toilet is appalling! The sides
of the boat are too low and
someone could easily fall over
the sides. I'm not a tall person
and the side reached only to
below my hips. The gaps in the
side are as dangerous as I
imagined. I have attached a
photo of my son next to one -
the photo speaks for itself.
soon as it rains the floors will
become a skating rink, they were
bad enough today. The plastic
coverings that can be used on
the sides have gaps and will not
prevent water coming inside the
boat. The small mats in the
outdoor passage could be another
danger as they lift easily and
could be tripped over,
unfortunately right next to the
huge gaps in the side of the
stairs are a hazard and if the
lower cabins are full, how on
earth will I get up and down
with 3 small children plus
school bags, etc. As for getting
on and off the ferry in Pak Kok,
the ferry appears not to have
enough power to stay still. As I
got off the ferry I had to jump
back because the boat was
raising upwards suddenly. Thank
god, another passenger had hold
of my son's hand.
Living and safety standards
continue to rise in Hong Kong
and around the world - that is
progress. It is totally
unacceptable that ours should
fall so dramatically overnight.
Something must be done about
this and I look forward to
hearing the TD's explanations
your info, the protest photo's
are still up at the pier
although a police boat was at
the pier throughout all the am
sailings. Yu Lai Fan apparently
was on the 6:40 am ferry from
YSW and I have just heard from a
lady who slipped and fell over
on the 7:45 ferry to YSW, no
broken bones, just bruises and a
Dragon - Mother, Pak Kok Village
feedback from the first few journeys on the ferry
Accident involving female passenger slipping on
deck - bruises and wet trousers - no real
damage. Flooring is very slippery, even oily and
Accident on same ferry - male passenger bumping
his head on a metal protrusion - sore head,
small amount of blood.
There was a third incident yesterday evening
when a lady scratched her leg after falling down
the stairs on the ferry.
Impossible to get off at Pak Kok with a child
and a trolley of shopping - very scary.
Strong smell of diesel if you sit inside the
Toilets - too disgusting to mention.
Ferrymen doing their best, not armed with
calculator so ticket selling was time consuming.
Same lady working on the jetty in Aberdeen now
for Tsui Wah ferry who worked for HKKF before -
now throwing/catching ropes as well as selling
tickets, just wearing a different T-shirt.
Life jackets kept
in two trunks on bottom deck of ferry - if there
was a need to put them on, there would be chaos
with everyone scrambling to the same point on
the ferry to retrieve them.
Dragon - Mother, Pak Kok Village
note to inform you all of the outcome of the meeting
that took place last night, Fri Aug 15, at the
Transport Dept.'s office in Immigration Tower,
Carol Cheung, Carey Wong and Don Ho from the
Transport Dept attended.
Selina Chow (liberal party) and Chow Wing
Kam (District Councilor Yune Long) attended.
Village Head Mr Chow from PK, Mr Shum YSW and
District Councilor Yu Lai Fan attended.
message was relayed regarding how displeased
everyone feels re:
Increase in price
Long turnaround time of the ferry
Condition of boat - no aircon, 1920's toilet,
inaccessible life jackets, unsafe, slippery, etc
etc etc (3 accidents were mentioned above)
were expecting us to be talking about the timetable
and how it could be tweaked - we stopped them short.
attending the meeting stood strong and gave across
the message that we were unwilling to accept the
current service and that we want a boat similar to
the HKKF boats, giving the same timetable as before
for a price that is not unreasonable (Selina Chow
feels our current 37% IS unreasonable).
Transport Dept are going to look into it and were
given a deadline of one week to report back with a
workable solution - they will do this by emailing
several contact person in PK and YSW and we will
distribute any news we have via email, printing and
posting up news on the notice boards in our
villages. In addition, news will be available on the
note that this is news only - we asked to be kept in
the picture - we stressed that we needed to know the
progress of this matter, not just the outcome
suddenly. Selina Chow was frankly amazing and we
were so lucky to have her at the meeting.
meeting last night was a step in the right direction
and thank you to all who attended and have been
involved in the numerous telephone calls and emails
that have been zipping around since the 8th August.
(Photo by KennyL, click for more)
Keep up with the most newest developments on this topic in our constantly
Aberdeen ferry forum. See the latest
P.S. Reply by the Transport Dept. to the concerns expressed above:
Aberdeen ferry forum.
Jane Wilbor - Mother of 3 and Pak Kok
resident for 7 years:
(text & pictures by Jane Wilbor; click to
enlarge any photo)
Residents of Pak Kok joined
together on the last sailing to Pak Kok last
night. The ferrymen on our route have long been
known as the best, helpful with children,
elderly and the disabled. They have been known
to return to the pier for late passengers
occasionally and have long been considered our
There were tears and sad
farewells when the children went to say goodbye.
The ferrymen had bought them cakes and were
given big hugs and waves in return.
On the last journey, a ferryman
who has worked on the route for 8 years came in
on his day off with a bag of cold beers for us.
In return, we popped open a bottle of champagne
and handed over Lai See packets which seems a
small gesture in return for all they have given
We waited on the pier to wave a
last goodbye (unfortunately delayed as HKKF had
been given the job of hanging the new
Tsui Wah ferry timetable on the Pak Kok
It was a sad sight to see the
ferry pull out for the last time. We got a big
goodbye and thank-you over the loud speaker and
a blow of the horn. To all the ferrymen who have
served us - Ming, Thomas and all the rest - they
were the best!
Attached are some photos of the event.
Ferry leaving Pak Kok pier -
Lamma Photo of the Day -
April 9, 2008
Jay Scott Kanes - Official Court
Correspondent - Exhibition review:
(text by Jay, photos pre-exhibition by L-G)
KONG (August 15, 2008) -- A small but
appreciative crowd gathered at the Sarasen Gallery
in Lan Kwai Fong on Friday evening as the Lamma-Gung
opened another computer art exhibition. The two-week
show, entitled "WONDER,
WHIMSY, WEIRDNESS – 25 Years of Digital Figments of
Imagination", continues 'til Sat, Aug 30,
45 of the Lamma Island-based artist's best
creations from the past quarter-century, full of
bright colors, unusual shapes and astonishing
images, made a strong impact juxtaposed against the
gallery's jet-black walls.
Wines selected (and paid for) by Lamma-Gung
swirled in cups as he worked the crowd, regaling his
friends and some potential buyers with stories about
the pictures and how he created them. Long before
the gallery crowd reached full capacity, he'd made
the first small sale already and received cash on
hand from a Chinese lady.
Some pieces in the show visualize the fascinating
landscapes of distant planets. Others use surprising
colors and shapes to depict the inner personalities
of dynamic people living on Lamma. As more wine
flowed, even the most unusual of the artworks looked
better and better.
But the crowd inside the Lan Kwai Fong gallery
looked sparse compared to the crowds outside as a
Friday night of festivities unfolded in Hong Kong's
popular nightclub district. In fact, some of the
depicted alien faces looked a lot like some of the
nocturnal characters outside.
"If anything, the exhibition opening has taught
me more humility and never to overestimate the
extremely limited and only minimal popular appeal of
my pictures," Lamma-Gung said. "But this won't keep
me from continuing on this path for at least another
25 years, depending on my continued good health. But
computer art can even be done on a laptop computer
in a hospital bed, as I've done half a year ago."
"I hope to continue exploring the creative
possibilities of future computers and programs,
pushing the limits, just to astonish and please
myself," Lamma-Gung said. "In doing so, I can maybe
get an occasional, rare little smile or even a
chuckle out of friends and acquaintances,
Some critics may scoff that computer art isn't
the real thing. "I don't care if it meets the
definition of traditional art," Lamma-Gung said.
"People can't do interesting computer art without
mastering the tools involved, some experience and
inspiration. The computer is just a tool, similar to
a paint brush, but a lot more expensive."
Lamma-Gung invites everyone, including art
collectors, the media, friends and curious viewers,
to visit the gallery 'til Aug 30 and make up their
own opinions about his very colourful exploits and
digital figments of imagination.
exhibition fills the
Sarasen Gallery, 5A, 5/F, Winner Building, 27-37
D'Aguilar Street, Lan Kwai Fong (Go almost to
the top of D'Aguilar Street, look for No. 37. The
Winner Building, also home to the former Deli
Lamma LKF, is in-between Al's Diner and Zinc,
opposite Insomnia. Enter the open Winner
Bldg, up to the 5/F.
photo of entrance.)
Sarasen Gallery at 2525-6984, mobile
Lamma Lamps series
HK in Cyberspace
Xmas Tree Huggers series (bottom)
Gallery Manager. Call her at 2525-6984 for opening
hours and directions to the gallery
More about the exhibition in a
Cairns Magazine cover feature story.
Lamma-Gung who couldn't resist two of these extremely yummy
Click to enlarge any photo
(ALL unaccredited photos in the Lamma-zine are by L-G)
Jay Scott Kanes -
Official Court Correspondent -
ART SHOW REACHES 'BEYOND THIS
Exhibition in Sarasen Gallery &
Studio Plus in Lan Kwai Fong,
Central, HK Island
HONG KONG (August 12, 2008) --
Artist Lamma-Gung, who launches
a solo exhibition in one of Hong
Kong's trendiest neighborhoods
on Friday, has visualised the
fascinating landscapes of
distant planets. Looking nearer
to home, he also depicts colors
and shapes, the markers of
dynamic personalities, as they
swirl around humans in some
highly unusual portraits.
Alien landscapes (sometimes
aliens too), extra-sensory
images of unusual people and
near-magical transformations of
ordinary objects highlight the
WHIMSY, WEIRDNESS – 25 Years of
Digital Figments of
Imagination", scheduled for
August 15-31. Together, more
than 40 of Lamma-Gung's best
artworks create a festival of
bright colors, unusual shapes
and astonishing images.
"It's satisfying to create new
whimsical images that surprise
even me," the artist said. The
exhibition fills the
Gallery, 5A, 5/F, Winner
Building, 27-37 D'Aguilar
Street, Lan Kwai Fong (Go
almost to the top of D'Aguilar
Street, look for No. 37. The
Winner Building, also home to
Deli Lamma LKF, is
in-between Al's Diner and Zinc,
Enter the Winner Bldg, up to the
5/F. Call Lamma-Gung @
6498-6960 if you have
trouble finding it! Click
photo of entrance.)
Lamma-Gung invites everyone,
including art collectors, the
media, friends and curious
viewers, to attend. An opening
reception begins at 6 p.m. on
Friday, August 15.
Lamma-Gung's unusual in other
ways too. Instead of working
with paint, brushes and a
canvas, he sits at a computer.
"I've used computers to create
art for more than 25 years,
almost as long as there have
been personal computers," he
Many of the artworks begin with
photos by the artist, a
himself. Using many different
computer programs, he transforms
and metamorphoses them in
unexpected and surprising ways.
The experimental process may
can be twisting or adding many
different layers, and then
suddenly, 'Wow, a whimsical
alien appears unexpectedly',"
Lamma-Gung said. "This artistic
process is great fun. In a way,
it's creative self-indulgence."
Originally from Europe,
Lamma-Gung came to Hong Kong in
1987. He lives on Lamma Island
and publishes the daily
Lamma-zine and community
website (Lamma.com.hk). He's
exhibited in various galleries
in HK and Europe before.
more information, please contact
Sarasen Gallery at (852)
2525-6984, mobile 6629-2060,
Phoenix for DIGI magazine
Senior Inspector Woo-Woo
Lamma Island Sunset
An email made its virtual round around North
Lamma, bilingual notes for a public YSW-Aberdeen ferry
meeting appeared on the walls and a petition collecting
signatures was circulated. There have been almost daily
smaller meetings recently between different parties (Pak Kokians, HKKF,
Transport Dept., Rural Council, village representatives,
district councilors, etc) about this topic:
Meeting tonight, Tuesday, 12 August 2008,
with Transport Dept 8pm football pitch Yung Shue Wan.
Please pass this on to anyone who might
take the Aberdeen ferry
Transport Dept, Village Reps, Yue Lai Fan
will all be attending.
I joined in as an interested observer.
Sorry, my pictures are crap, as they're from my mobile
phone. I returned late from town preparing my upcoming art
exhibition, so didn't have my professional camera with me.
It was an extremely vocal, even aggressive
bilingual meeting, with lots of very disappointed and upset
ferry customers not happy with the changes coming into
effect this Friday. People got even more heated later on and
there were a lot of shouts of "bullshit" and many verbal
attacks, even a bit of swearing, heckling and personal abuse
for the panel, plus calls for protest actions and ferry
boycotts. In our usually so very peaceful island, it takes a
lot to get residents this excited!
Lammadonna, one of only two North Lamma
District Councilors, was even driven out of the meeting at
the official end with shouts and gestures by a
Pak Kokian and was seeking refuge behind two police officers. She organised the public meeting with the Transport Dept., but
certainly wasn't getting any thanks for it, probably
thinking twice before organising another one like this, I
think. Three officers and the police chief were present to
provide security for the entire heated meeting and to
prevent any physicalities. No photographing or videotaping
of "potential troublemakers" by the authorities has been
detected and the police chief denied any such activities,
more common at protests in town.
Then the microphones were switched off at the scheduled end
of the meeting, but the crowd would have none of it. The two
Transport Dept. officials missed the 9:30pm ferry, as local
in on them to ask many more private questions and even offer
some well-thought-out suggestions. The main official
remained steadfast and unfazed throughout, a true civil
servant, never raising his voice, trying to sound
understanding and supportive, even though he must have been
boiling inside about all the distrust and verbal attacks.
It all looked and sounded like grassroots
democracy in action, I loved it! Where I come from, there'd
have been a local voter referendum soon afterwards and the
govt. would have to accept the will of the majority. But
hey, this is HK. This meeting probably won't make any
difference at all to ferry riders in the current
paternalistic political system of "We know what's best for
you, no need to ask or even inform you in advance, just
accept our well-meaning decisions!".
The very best we can probably and
realistically hope for at this late point in time are small
adjustments to the all-new-and-different Aberdeen ferry
schedules to accommodate early riders like children and
teachers, plus the many Pak Kokians switching over to and
from the YSW-Central ferry. With the currently proposed new
schedules, some teachers, children and Pak Kokians working
in town would arrive too late and wait for a long time to
catch the connecting ferry in YSW.
Many residents were most outspoken to keep
HKKF, the current Aberdeen ferry service operator. But HKKF
couldn't be convinced up to now to continue the route,
even at the new, 37% increased fare. So it'll be
ferry - a completely different and tiny ferry operator not
owned by or affiliated with HKKF (as far as we know, besides
sharing one director, according to the govt. website) -
starting this Friday. We'll get small, not air-conditioned
boats that take 40 minutes to get to Aberdeen, not coordinated yet
with the YSW-Central ferries and a 37-51.5% fare increase.
Sounds quite like an everybody-loses situation to me...
Aberdeen ferry forum to learn more and discuss this daily
changing and evolving Lamma Drama.
P.S. This photo was taken a few hours later that night,
Lammadonna's office door shutter, and posted in our
Chinese forum by freddy law. Ask your Chin.
friends to translate some of all this abuse; click for
Nick the Bookman - Official Court Music
(photos courtesy of
bc magazine 2008)
Well, it's that time of the month again. It's bc
Unplugged # 2 at The Wanch. Thursday, 17-7-08. Only
three bands on the bill tonight, as opposed to five
on the debut show. We've got Rice Magnet, Luke Chow
and Hungry Ghost and Red Star Rising. Nice Oriental
connection with the names - "Rice", "Hungry Ghost"
and "Red Star". Good sort of interconnecting vibe.
I've arrived early at The Wanch. About 20 people
inside. It's not as frisky as Session # 1, when the
US Navy showed up to support their shipmate in his
set of scintillating strummage, but I' ve got a good
seat by the door where I can mumble inanities and
scrawl irrelevancies. All part of the job. Young
Bjorn from Beijing is opposite me. He's a rock
scribe there, on a brief holiday in Hong Kong. I
wonder how his review will turn out. We seem to be
writing at different times about different things...
Meanwhile, "Life Is A Bitch" by The Bastards is on
the jukebox. Cool!!!
All the bands will play about 45 minutes. Up
first are Rice Magnet, a power trio comprising Dave
Ma on vox/gtr, Ken Ling on lead guitar and Eric Ng
on drums. I'm wondering where Simon is. Not like him
to miss his own magazine's showcase. I'm writing
this down as he walks through the door.
Co-Incidence? Cause and Effect? Wishful Thinking?
Instant Gratification? "You've missed about 10
seconds of the show, mate"!" Dave has a deep,
sonorous voice. I'm thinking a little bit Nick Cave,
some Pete Murphy (Bauhaus), but the style is more
nu-gothfolkdelic with a touch of Southern rock in
the guitar solos, bit of Allman Brothers Band
perhaps. Meanwhile, Steve Cray sidles up and remarks
on the singer's sort of similarity to Elvis.
Whatever, it works. Steve also likes the way Dave
treats his vocals, using effects and overdubs of
sorts to create a choir sound. Something like that,
I was kind of drifting off in an ethereal bliss at
the time. A shorthand review of the set would be in
a similar style and mood to Reign Lee, albeit more
macho and muscular. Songs include "End of the
Affair" (the opening song), "Mood", "Losing" and
"The End" from their debut CD "Never Let Go".
There's a Chris Isaak cover, "King without a Castle"
and a new tune called "Forget".
It's been a good start, but not entirely adhering
to the Unplugged Concept. I'm thinking that this
could turn into the Bruce Springsteen type of
Unplugged Session (where "un" is XXXX'd out) as
Hungry Ghost amble up, turn on, tune in and slowly
get an improv groove growing. This is the first time
I've seen Luke play since his laid-back set at
Clockenflap. Certainly, it's the first time with
Hungry Ghost, minus their drummer. Luke and Paul Lam
on guitars. Tiffany L. on bass It's a 60's sort of
mellow glide, part Grateful Dead noodling and part
Kevin Ayres/Roy Harper shades of whimsy folk. It
conjures up images of a vivid floral field,
scampering kids entwined within. Picnic hampers and
pipes. Boats punting on a river. Day-glow flashes.
Riots of pulsing colours. Sounds merge. Notes
coalesce. Long camera pullback over a field and
river, across a road, over a wall, across a quad, up
to a window and within. Fade to grey and a shot of a
little boy in school, KNOWING the grass is
definitely greener and greater out there. That's
sort of how Hungry Ghost sounded. Provided an
evocative dreamscape with pale echoes of what once
was. A very pleasant chill out set. "Songs" included
"This noise", "Internally External", "Chinese
Families" and "Man Waltz". Not having their drummer
did allow the remaining three to experiment. I've
been told that when the mood is upon them, they're
capable of dislodging your genitals, so to speak.
Looking forward to hearing that sometime, but this
was a great expectations deleter of a set.
Haven't seen too
many recent Red Star Rising or Steve's solo shows,
because he will be a gentleman and let all the other
acts precede him. So, it's usually
"...twang-g-g-g..." (fade out). "So long Steve.
We're off to catch the ferry..." (usually yelled out
of a taxi window). Tonight, though, there's time.
It's also the first time I've had a chance to see
Drummer Neil handling the twigs. Steve says welcome
to "the semi-plugged night. We've got such a good
crowd so rock it, let's fuck".
crashes into a mighty rendition of "Megaphone Man".
Alex and Drummer Neil lay down a solid drum/bass
foundation and Steve goes all finger-blurry on the
opening solos. Steve, Alex
and Neil have been playing together since January
and they are tight. Drummer Neil is more 4-to-the-floor
precision rock beats, with occasional flurries. Hugh
the former drummer was more whimsical, shall I say?
In and out of styles and tempos like a gifted
amateur, while Drummer Neil is professional. Think
of Ten Years After doing "I'm Coming Home" at
Alvin Lee is in full
on why-play-5-notes-when-37-will-do mode. Leo Lyons
on bass and Ric Lee on drums are tweaking new
extracts out of minimalist performance. Doing hardly
anything that shows while maintaining a relentless
beat throughout the 9+ minute performance (on film.
They played about 40 minutes on the night.)
The pace doesn't relent until Steve breaks a
string during "Footsteps" and takes a little longer
to replace it than he usually does, because he's
enjoying the inter-riffery between the other two.
The set is a stripped-down Greatest Hits. Tunes
include "Red Claw", the grinder blues-rock of
"Walking With The Devil" and the quirkiness
(somewhat overused word at times, but it still fits)
of "Escalator Girls", "Dollar Arcade" and especially
"Shopping Malls". These three songs form a triptych
of cultural, fiscal and sociological observations of
the increasing importance of Mall Culture. (And they
I've always heard "Shopping Malls" as
their "Dark Star". Their Grateful Dead moment to
stretch out for 20-30 minutes, segue into other
material, mash up other hits, give everyone a solo
etc. Perhaps, I should tell him this one day. You
know, be discreet and obsequious and see what he
thinks. Or on the oth..., hey, wait a minute, where
is everyone? Oh, Drummer Neil's still here. "Great
show. Very enjoyable. First time, I've..." "Isn't
your ferry leaving about now?" "What's the time?"
"12:28!" "G'bye" Taxi, Tardis, whatever. Get me to
the ferry in 25 seconds. The digital clock in the
taxi reads 12:23. It's accurate. "Made it, Ma!" (That gig was) "Top Of The World". And as the
California Governator once said when asked which
classical musician he would like to play in a film,
"I'll be Bach." See you next month.
to the ferry pier, I encountered a wonderful and exciting
event today, a live
demo of this Brazilian blend of martial art, game, music and
Open Day on Wed, Aug 13, 7-9pm at 1/F Lamma Ferry 4,
their website for more details.
service operator contract of the Yung Shue Wan - Pak Kok
Tsuen - Aberdeen ferry route will be running out in just
five days, on Aug 14. Its future has been insecure till
yesterday, when a new service operator has been announced,
Wah Ferry Service, taking over from
HKKF. They're a very small operator and have been
running the Po Toi Island ferry service from Aberdeen plus
various other ferries to small Outlying Islands.
See below one of the two ferries they'll be using for this route,
nice-looking but not air-conditioned, with only 10 instead
of 15 sailings on weekends and not coordinated with the YSW
- Central ferries run by HKKF. To add insult to injury, a
37% fare increase to $17.50 has been announced and a
$720 monthly ticket for the YSW - Pak Kok - Aberdeen
Check out the Proposed Operating Details, schedules and
fares, plus backgrounds on the change-over and the new ferry
co. in our very comprehensive forums:
Pak-kok Ferry results announced (English) and in
The people who will be affected by the new
Pak Kok ferry had a meeting today (see below, photo by a
Pak Kokian). They seem to agree that they can live with
the fare increase but that the new, all-different schedules
will cause a lot of disturbance; many people, especially
children and teachers, will not be able to arrive at school
If you're also unhappy with some of these
announced changes for any reason, you have only till
Monday, Aug 11, to complain directly to the Transport Dept.
Breaking news, just in:
A petition has been
placed in Mrs Chan's shop in Pak Kok and The Green Cottage
in Yung Shue Wan for people to sign. Support a
request to the Transport Dept. to attend a meeting with Pak
Kok and YSW residents re: the proposed new service! They
need as many signatures as possible. The signed petition
will be collected at 9AM on Monday morning to be forwarded
to the Transport Dept. ASAP.
Hurry up, sign today or early on Monday
morning on the way to the ferry!
Most Lammaites will be glued to their TVs
tonight, watching the opening Beijing Olympics opening
extravaganza, many of us on digital high-definition TV which
has finally reached Lamma Island, just in time. Eight of the
digital channels (including the 4 standard TVB/ATV channels)
will cover various sports in parallel, for an
all-you-can-watch buffet of sporting glory, watching China's
gold medal tally go up almost daily.
The Equestrian Olympics events here in HK
will also start tomorrow. But these high-brow sports with
their black-tuxedoed and high-hatted riders are very
unfamiliar, even exotic to the average Hongkonger who loves
betting on horse racing only which is not featured in the
The Lamma Power Station of
has agreed to use more LPG gas during the events instead of
coal in an effort to cut emission of pollutants during the
Olympics and Paralympics events. "The two electric
companies will increase their use of natural gas by about 20
per cent ... we hope this will help improve the city's air
quality," HK's Secretary for the Environment Edward Yau
"Natural gas is still the cleanest fossil
fuels, releasing 2,500 times less sulfur dioxide and five
times less nitrogen oxides and carbon monoxide than coal.
But so far it makes up only 17 per cent of energy generation
for HK Electric due to cost concerns and technical
But as their profits have increased 15.7%
from HK operations and 34.6% in international operations in
the first half of this year, they might be able to afford
these "cost concerns", at least for the days of the
Olympics. Switzerland actually refused to participate in the
Equestrian events due to HK air pollution concerns.
And be forewarned, HK Electric writes in
STEADY GROWTH - Interim Results Highlights for 2008:
"The current high coal prices are expected to result in
higher fuel costs for 2008 which will apply significant
pressure on tariffs."
Another Lamma angle to the Olympics:
Ex-Lammaite Peter Danford won the
Grand Prize in Beijing Tourism Administration's annual
photography contest with a photo of the Olympic Swim Cube.
Over 13,000 entries from 50 countries were submitted and the
prize was awarded on Nov 29, 2006. This generated many
articles and even TV interviews, making Peter quite
well-known for a while in Beijing where he now resides.
I worked with Peter when he created a
virtual reality tour of Lamma for my tourism website about
ten years ago. He also shot an interactive 360-degree
panorama from his Pak Kok rooftop. These are lost in
cyberspace these days, but there's lots more fun and
interactive stuff on his website:
Join Lamma's most sophisticated party
animals and snappiest dressers! They really know how to put
on a great after-games party, awards dinner, Christmas ball,
wedding, baby shower or any other good excuse to have a
great time with their closest friends, fellow players plus
their families, of course.
But in-between all these fun parties, they
compete very successfully in various cricket contests around
HK and even internationally, often winning and making Lamma
proud. But they need new players (men and women) for this
season. The men play on Saturdays starting September and the
women play on alternate Sundays (September - December).
Become part of this very successful and
active sports club! For example, the Lamma women's team has
won the HK Women's League Trophy for the fourth year in
succession! The men's team isn't too shabby either, scoring
a most impressive record. The Lamma CC members love their
regular awards dinners where they can show off all their
And if you're trying to start a family, the
Lamma CC is THE hot club to join:
Three babies were born to Lamma CC parents within
twelve days of one another at the beginning of 2008! Maybe
that's why they'll be holding cricket coaching session for
"Lamma kids" soon. The next generation of Lamma cricketers
is secured and will be trained from an early age, swinging a
bat even before they can walk!
Check out their comprehensive and
professional website at
www.LammaCC.com and contact
email@example.com if you might be interested or have
From my biweekly Lamma-zine e-mail to
(Subscribe at drop-down menu above, please):
Signal 8 is raised and we Lammaites are
trapped on the island with no ferries this morning and
probably most of the day. Well, my rooftop garden has been
secured, canopies have been rolled up and Lamma-Por is so
happy about a paid day off work, enjoying her
high-definition TV soap operas. It's also time again for
Lamma's famous Typhoon Parties!
Email just in: "And a very good
day off to you all. May you come through the storm without
The Island Bar will be at your service from high
noon." Other bars might join in...
Also, what are we left-behind Lammaites up
to while so many of our friends have abandoned Lamma for the
summer to travel the world? In reverse, are you getting
visits from relatives and "old friends" who suddenly
remember that you're still alive and living on an island in
Hong Kong? And what are all these other Lammaites up to?
- The Lamma Ladies conquering
- Barflies, eh, patrons mourning the sudden end of a local landmark
- Distemper spreading on Lamma
- Lamma-Por in High-Definition TV Heaven
- Vile Spambots attacking Lamma.com.hk
- Beautiful Woodland Spiders decorating our forests
- The Japanese Sitar and the Mexican Tabla Maestros entertaining us
- Saheb, Artist of the Month, mixing it up in his Photo Booth
- Andy the former Stick Insect Hunter going corporate
- GreenLammaGroup cleaning up two beaches (again!)
- Lamma-Gung losing 100 pounds but still not being happy
- Meynard the Street Dance Champ looking for new talent
- Dofi & friends graffitising the Fountainhead (again)
Find out by visiting the website at
Please also check out our active Chinese/English forums at
http://Lamma.com.hk/forum if you want to:
- FIND any info about Lamma and
get your questions answered
- MEET Lammaites with similar interests, hobbies or problems
- SHOW off your talents by submitting your photos and writing
- PROMOTE anything (your event, good cause, hobby, rant, praise,...)
- LOOK for any Lamma website, blog, photo, sound, video
- CHECK out the events (local or off-island involving Lammaites)
- SELL something in our free classifieds and Bilingual Yellow Pages
All these new stories - but also 1,000+
stories of the last 6 years - are all online and searchable
now at http://Lamma.com.hk.
Cristobal de Lamma (text,
pictures & captions; click to enlarge)
good things eventually come to an end.
July 28 marked the end of Spicy Island - well known,
if not infamous - Restaurant and Bar located for
many years on Main Street, Yung Shue Wan.
quality Indian food. No more Bollywood videos. No
more idiosyncratic service delivered without charge
(unlike the French). No more "best people watching"
and "rendezvous location" for many of us Lammaites.
final night, some of our lovely local Thai ladies
prepared and delivered excellent Thai food. Mrs
Singh was not able to cook up a final meal as access
to the kitchen is blocked by plywood sheeting. Thus,
no farewell Indian meal.
Island regulars turned out to enjoy a last evening
of soaking up atmosphere and memories.
At around 10:30 Amar Singh demanded all bar bills be
paid, then rang the bell. Open bar after that.
Definitely a fine way to say, "Thanks for your
support!" to the people who supported his business
over the years. Very much appreciated by everyone
that night. Thank you, Amar!
what caused this last night to happen? The answer is
real estate. Or more precisely, lease renewals. Just
like Tsim Sha Tsui, businesses are forced to move
because of lease changes and/or rent increases. Big
City problems have arrived on Lamma. What's next?
Traffic cameras on Main Street? License plates for
Fortunately, I was able to buy a genuine Spicy
Island table to use as my dining table. So I have a
little bit of "Spicy Island" to keep for my own.
what to do? Spicy Island's uniqueness makes it
difficult to replace. Location, food, service (?),
pricing and informality made it more than just
another pub. It was a home away from home. A place
to go to, to meet friends and then make a decision
of where to go or what to do. And in many cases,
just be lazy and not leave Spicy. On the other hand,
maybe it won't take me 12 hours anymore to get a
Simply stated: Spicy
was more than "just another pub". We can only hope
to see if there will be a Spicy Island, Part 2. It
will not be easy to surpass the original.
Amar & son
Ladies who cook
Sad and forlorn
still feel a bit odd about being quoted in newspapers and magazines more and
more frequently. Some local and even overseas media seem to start treating
me as a kind of unofficial Lamma ambassador, asking for interviews and
photos for their own Lamma-related stories. SCMP is working on a follow-up
on our Distemper story, JoongAng
Daily in Seoul published my photos
and Dollarsaver is just asking for my comments on a Lamma story they'll
publish in the next issue. I don't mind doing all of these, but sometimes it
feels a bit like working for free for these purely commercial media, as they
all seem to have in common that they usually refuse to pay for any input,
interviews and photos from a freelancer.
All of this promotional work cuts into my time working on my own Lamma-zine
stories. Supposedly semi-retired, how come I work seven days most weeks? Saving
me some precious time, instead of writing my own story today, let me do a
story about a story where I've been assisting with words & pictures.
In almost all HK hotel rooms and in touristy places right now, you can find
the Aug issue of the glossy
It features a bilingual cover story written by their editor, quoting
extensively from the email interview
she did with me a few weeks ago: "A Breath of Fresh Air - Vanessa Ko
explores Lamma Island, a haven from the hectic Hong Kong lifestyle."
Check it out for yourself on the
CityLife Magazine website.
Two of my photos from the
Lamma Photo of the Day archive were used, interestingly the JoongAng
Daily chose exactly the same sunset picture for their story. Some quotes
from the CityLife cover story, based on my interview:
"Not quite hippies then, but the people of Lamma are indeed living
alternative lifestyles, compared to their urban counterparts."
"Residents have a peaceful environment while still enjoying the major
modern luxuries of air conditioning, wi-fi, mobile connections and clean
drinking water... the benefits far outweigh the disadvantages."
"The close-knit community is the best part of island living...very
unusual in Hong Kong to have a neighbourhood community where people know
each other, care for each other and help out if needed."
"Other eateries recommended by Lamma-Gung are
(36 Main St, Yung Shue Wan) and the
Waterfront Bar and Restaurant (58 Main St, Yung Shue Wan)."
Visit Lamma-Gung's website and blog, full of information and photographs of
The story also called me "probably the island's most fervent supporter".
A very nice compliment, I can live with that! ;-)
Do you have loads of weird and wonderful talents, like so
many Lammaites? Maybe even got a few few hidden ones, only your closest
friends know about? Have you ever thought of teaching them to fellow
Lammaites, spreading and expanding your special skills? Talents like taking
great photos, making your own movie, graffiti, skateboarding, or even more
common skills like the ones listed in the poster below? Professional
qualifications welcome, but not really necessary. If you'd like to teach
this autumn and even be paid a bit,
contact Gary at the Lamma Activities Centre, who's looking for people like
Lamma Ladies Make Friends Everywhere
Ladies après race one...
Captain Gina Meana (above left, showing her
usual face) -
Lamma Ladies Dragonboat team
(All photos & captions by Lamma Ladies. Click
photos to enlarge them.
Follow their exploits day by day, check out the
Lamma Ladies blog!)
Sorry for the long silence. The Lamma Ladies
have been training their little butts off and killing themselves to raise
money to do International Club Championships in Penang. We leave Wednesday
and are all getting a little excited and nervous. This is the highest-calibre
of racing we've done thus far and our goals are not modest, as we are aiming
That may sound mild for the Lamma Ladies, but
here is a snapshot of the competition as a measure of people we will paddle
In any case, I intend to post photos, video and
any comments from Penang regularly (likely in the evenings) and we would be
delighted if you were interested in running these in
Lamma.com.hk - not just because we
are fame-whores, but because we have raised money on Lamma and we want
people to know that their fund-raising donations have gone to a worthy
In the event that there are photos of us
hanging around sexy men, we are NOT having fun; we are infiltrating the
enemy to learn new paddle tips. Honest.
I hope to post all information to the Lamma
Frazer - Our lone Pink Man!
Miss Mel and company,
after the race
"No, you get the drumsticks."
Collision with Singapore Paddle Club
Lamma Ladies kicking ass in the outside lane
After 20+ years in HK, I'm not really homesick for Switzerland anymore,
except on National Day, today. Founded in 1291, my home country remains
still partially true to many of the clichés and first impressions that most
people seem to have (see fridge magnets below). Less than a handful of Swiss
live on Lamma, to my knowledge. Contact me!
So what's this Swiss couple, Lamma-Por & Lamma-Gung, been up to on National
Day? Well, having some Swiss cuisine, of course! Venturing off-island into
deepest, darkest Tsim Sha Tsui, where only tourists dare to go, we shared a
set lunch in
Swiss Chalet Restaurant, our first visit in 10+ years. An amazing
value for money ($142), this 5-star, authentically Swiss "Executive Lunch"
even includes wine, coffee, dessert/cheese platter and petit fours in the
price! I just ADORE their cheese platter! This was a rare and special treat
for us, living a very modest but very happy life.
But besides being cheese, chocolate and watch lovers, did you know that some
Swiss are pyromaniacs? We light up the scenic hilltops with huge wooden
bonfires and fireworks will go off (legally) all over Switzerland tonight.
As a rascal growing up in the rural countryside I used to spend some of my
tiny pocket money on Chinese-made fireworks, competing with our neighbours
for the most impressive pyrotechnic displays outside our houses, usually
keeping the burn injuries to an acceptable minimum. No pain, no gain.
Fortunately, eyebrows grow back, but slowly. These childhood memories make
me love Lamma even more, as the wild, chaotic, disorganised, free-for-all
fireworks extravaganza at Chinese New Year reminds me so much of National
Days back home...
Last year was the first time in decades that Lamma-Por and I had been back
in Switzerland on Aug 1 (see sunrise landing in Zurich; by Swiss Air, of
course). We eagerly joined in the fireworking festivities! But enough
nostalgic ramblings... bring on the fiery pictures! But first you must
endure listening to a politician's patriotic speech during the National Day
celebrations, just outside my primary school. Plus some Swiss yodeling
afterwards, of course! (Click to enlarge pictures)
Read last month's stories...