Some of my photos in the Lamma-zine end up in
various places on the Internet and even
occasionally in print publications and on TV.
The photos in my recent
Randomly Through the Hills Lamma-zine
story got this email feedback from Peter
Zezschwitz, an ex-Lammaite who has been giving
workshops about Creative (Waldorf) Education in
HK and China 3 years ago:
I must confess that I did something terrible:
I could really resonate with the pictures you
took and I manipulated them to enhance their
In 2006, I combed through Lamma taking a lot
of pictures, many of them I treated similarly by
mirroring and skewing.
Please don't take this as a copyright
infringement but rather as a compliment!"
Of course, I was not offended but sincerely flattered!
I have just appointed Peter as the
Lamma-zine Artist of
the Feb 2009!
He writes, "My brain, at 82, is a little
shrivelled, but it was never an organ I could
I had to augment it with my comedian-type
perception of imagery, seeing goblins everywhere
[see left] and I left the rest to my guardian
angel, who looked after me very well during my 4
month stay in China (and HK)."
Here are some of his artworks, the first three
(click to enlarge) are based on my Lamma photos,
but the others are all his own:
Lamma Drain Steps
Tin Hau Temple,
"I walked across the island
and, shortly before coming to Sok Kwu Wan I
found these two images: You realize (of
course...) that there are mysterious gargoyles
looking at ya in all my images...!"
Abandoned Totem Site
Sok Kwu Wan
For a lot more of Peter's Nature
Magick images, design portfolio,
anthroposophically inspired fonts and Fine Art
plus a detailed "Artist's Statement", click
The last word (and picture)
belong to Peter as well, of course:
"Perhaps you are interested in my
I stumbled very badly in HK and I could
hardly get up the next day in Lamma, but the day
following I decided to take a long trek to Sok
On the way I took great care where I walked
and I almost trod on the obvious picture of an
angel (the workmen had left a rag on the wet
concrete and it created that image), -
reflecting it as I usually do, it became an
image which I called "Adoration" and it became
my Christmas card! Here it is:"
Mr Chik - SSGT, Lamma Police [bold type added
In order to fulfil the engagement of
community and maintain a closer relationship between
both youth, parents, school, community leaders, as well
as Lamma police. A large scale Junior Police Call
recruitment exercise will be held at the coming
Saturday, 2009-02-28, 2:30pm, at
Hans Anderson Centre, Tai Wai Village,
On that day, officers of Police
Community Relation Officer of Marine Port District will
be conducting a recruitment exercise after a
We hope that a number of Lamma teenagers whose age is
over 9 years old will
attend this exercise.
The main purpose of joining Junior
Police Call is to inspire JPC members not only to foster
Police-youth partnership in the
fight against crime and establish a correct
value and goal towards their life, but also to strive to
become one of the best youth organizations in Hong Kong
and to assist Lamma Island remaining as one of the
safest and most stable communities in the Hong Kong.
We'd be grateful if you would
disseminate the subject message to your friend,
especially their children and invite them to join our
exercise on the coming Saturday. Your kind assistance is
highly appreciated. I am looking forward to hearing good
news from you this Saturday.
best and quirkiest Lamma-zine headlines I write are sometimes
based on submitted quotes, adapting them to the specific and
unique Lamma focus of this daily magazine. This press release
below from Senior Lammaite Bobsy's new campaign
save the human! featured a very
memorable quote (see above). Being a "Meat Eater on a Bicycle"
myself - who tries to be eco-friendly and minimise his carbon
footprint - I felt personally surprised and a bit embarrassed by
It compelled me to find out more
by actually attending the launch party on this
Sunday evening - 6pm in Solas, Central - and report back
to you in a photo story. It is an "awareness-raising campaign
aimed at informing people about the impact meat and dairy
consumption is having on the state of our planet."
Hey, come along, too! It's free
and open to anybody, not just for us "wannabe eco-friendly"
types. They will (probably) not force you to convert to
vegetarianism at the party, just spreading the friendly,
cheerful message of "Eat less meat. Stay green and love our
planet." Most of our readers are (probably) human, so don't
you want to be saved? ;-)
Please join me at the party, I
don't want to be the only "Meat Eater on a Bicycle" facing all
these "Vegetarians in SUVs"! They could run me down!
This looks like a really major
and very important event - organised by Lamma's ABLE charity -
and lots of volunteers, including numerous Lammaites, have been
working for months in preparation. "ABLE charity is the
custodian of the ever-growing Lamma Forest on the Northern hills
of Lamma Island with almost 20,000 trees planted since 1997."
party promises "awesome music, beautiful
people, belly dancers, DJs, tribal drumming, theatrical
performance, video art, empowering knowledge, organic vegetarian
finger food and green raffle prizes to be won." Enjoy the
premiere of a "publicity short film featuring 85 people from
different nationalities" (inc. several Lammaites) and meet
"beautiful vegetarian supermodel Rosemary" (see
above, get the same T-shirt!)
"Save the Human" Facebook group or
event for more details;
email Bobsy Gaia - Founder & Brainchild (it says so in
the Facebook group); or simply read and click on the poster below.
For a larger and more detailed
poster with more facts & figures, click above.
been exactly one
year since my weight loss surgery (Vertical
Sleeve Gastrectomy) in Queen Mary Hospital
reduced my stomach to a small pouch, restricting me to never eat a
regular-sized meal again.
135.7 pounds (62.3 kg) lost in a year; just
another 17.8 pounds to reach my intermediate
goal! It's been quite a ride, changing my life
so drastically, improving my general health
dramatically and avoiding all my former and
weight-related problems, the real and sole
reasons for the surgery. Almost all the former
"co-morbidities" of this former "super morbidly
obese patient" (medical term, really) -
diabetes, blood pressure, knee/back problems,
acid reflux - have simply disappeared and I feel
20 years younger.
A pretty strict
diet, working out, taking up biking & hiking &
yoga has all been worth it and the results speak
for themselves, I'm being told. But getting all
these great compliments on the street almost
daily, often from pretty ladies, is something I
haven't gotten used to yet.
while continuing my dieting and fitness
regiment, this guy formerly nicknamed by some as
Other Fat Bastard" might go nuts from
happiness & joie de vivre once in a while. I'm testing my
new-found body and abilities: SkyJumping off the
Macau Tower, climbing Mt Stenhouse, hiking to
South Lamma, even thinking about bungy and
parachute jumps (maybe). All these are
challenges that were totally unachievable just a
short year ago...
We'll be celebrating my 1st
Surgiversary (a term found in weight loss
forums) with some new-but-getting-famous-quickly
BBC-BBQ @ Banyan Bay Cafe tomorrow
night. I'll be sharing a regular, healthy set
dinner with Lamma-Por, as usual, and taking the
leftovers home, well enough for my entire lunch
the next day. This saves us quite some cash and
avoids food waste, but we're not very good and
profitable restaurant patrons anymore, unlike
before. Well, they haven't thrown us out
anywhere yet for not ordering enough...
Some Lamma-zine readers have been
commenting that there are a lot less stories
with restaurant reviews and food pictures than
before. But who'd ever want to read about my
new, boring food choices! Best salad or mixed
veggies in YSW? Best high-protein
snacks/desserts? Best sugar/alcohol-free drinks
in the bars?
We need new, better-qualified
People with healthy appetites and unrestricted
stomachs who love their food! Where are you?
Step forward, please!
another Sunday morning, sleeping in late,
relaxing to a cup of coffee or tea, looking
forward to a restful, peaceful day staying home
on Lamma. Wouldn't it be oh-so-nice to have the
English/Chinese Sunday newspaper(s) waiting for
you in your mailbox instead of having to trot
down to Main Street to get them? Wouldn't it be
even nicer to have them delivered by these two
cheerful, local, young ladies above, Gina &
Anna? They're like a bright 'n' bubbly
breath of fresh air on a grey and muggy Sunday
morning. I was fortunate enough to meet and
interview them this morning for the very first
time, after their first delivery to the
Lamma-Gung/ Lamma-Por residence. Noticing their
little poster on the Democracy Wall (see below),
I emailed them and they replied right away,
"We'd also like to say
a big thanks [in advance] for the story, we're
extremely excited right now!"
only the second Sunday for these two friends,
both international school students, of doing a
paper route and they've only got a few customers
so far. This great, friendly and convenient
service is a first for Yung Shue Wan, as far as
I know. Gina & Anna will deliver to most
addresses in and around Yung Shue Wan, even Po
Wah Yuen and Tai Peng, but on Sundays only. For
a mere $3 extra per English/Chinese newspaper,
this is a really fantastic deal, I think. I've
already prepaid them for the next two weeks.
Email Gina & Anna for more info!
The Lamma-zine loves little local
enterprises like this one and is very eager to
support them! Having fortunately been spared
from any negative impacts of the economic
downturn so far, we'd love to do more free
promotions for little local enterprises and
services like this one. Only mainly
profit-oriented businesses are ever asked to
support this website with paid advertising. Any
good causes & activities, all Lamma-related
charities, non-profits, schools, churches,
sports and public events have always enjoyed as
much free publicity in the Lamma-zine as they
Email me for your free promo!
What started out as just a little quick stroll
up to Lamma Winds ended a few hours later in
Cyberport, after a totally unplanned, random
Random, unplanned, no-destination
stumbling through the hills of Lamma is an
activity I can highly recommend, very healthy
for body, mind and spirit. At every crossroad
along the way, make a spontaneous decision where
to go next, turn left or right or straight, and
follow the innumerable little paved and dirt
paths through the hills and valleys. Lamma is
small enough that you'll never get really lost,
never far from help and never out of reach. It's
also big enough to make new and interesting
discoveries every time, even after years of
Case in point, my recent hike to
the windturbine, then along the new Back
Passage trail behind the windturbine around
Mt Panorama, down the Snake Tail to Tai
Peng, up to the Old Village, down Cable Route,
along the lower part of the Project X trail,
down to the Waterworks at the far end of Pak Kok
Tsui, then onwards along the ragged coast to the
Pak Kok Village ferry pier.
The last ferry for YSW for
several hours had left before my arrival. I
spontaneously took the ferry to Aberdeen on HK
Island instead and then hopped on a bus to Cyberport. I enjoyed a surprisingly fine and
cheap lunch in a randomly selected restaurant I
had never been to before. Then I chose a movie
in their multiplex, Yes Man with Jim
This entertaining movie encourages
people to say YES! to life, try new things
they've never tried before, visit new places,
make spontaneous decisions and be open to the
surprises of life which turn into great, new
opportunities sometimes. How fitting, that's how
I arrived at the cinema in the first place!
Serendipity had struck once again...
Click to enlarge my few random,
spontaneous snapshots along the way:
A gnarly old frangipani tree in Tai Peng Village
-- Through the bushes above the new Waterworks
in Pak Kok Shan, down a totally overgrown
A secret ritual involving rotten star fruits? --
A really welcoming garden entrance
A bird watcher's secret hideout, inc. tripod -
drainage ditch - Aberdeen ferry pier
The currently not very inviting-looking Pak Kok
ferry pier with the "temporary berthing barge",
used while the pier is being renovated
Cheap & yummy Cyberport set lunch: duck breast
w/cherry sauce and risotto --
Aberdeen ferry banner
supposedly uninhabited island in Aberdeen harbour, just off Ap Lei Chau
Passing along the
steep coast of Pak Kok Village --
Arriving back home in Yung Shue Wan harbour
Afternoon Beer -
MAK Keung Wai, 2008, Acrylic on Canvas, 51cm (H)
x 61cm (W)
Look what our Alert Reader and Lamma-zine writer
OM the Amazing Shrinking Tai Penguin found in the Cultural Center
this week. A painting, titled Afternoon Beer, of Lamma's
Gentleman Eco-Warrior, sitting in front of his favourite pub
Spicy Island (closed in July 2008, to be reopened 100 metres down
the road to Tai Peng soon)!
OM discovered this beautiful painting in the Yoyage of
Discovery: Shek Kip Mei to Tsim Sha Tsui exhibition above,
currently showing in the Cultural Center in TST, part of the HK Arts
Festival. OM sent me an SMS from inside this free exhibition and I texted her to
take pictures for this story. On her way home, she "met the man on
the canvas going up to Tai Peng. I have shown him the photos from my camera,
he smiled. Hihihihi!"
It's not the first time the Gentleman Eco-Warrior has been
featured in a painting in the same location and exhibited in an art gallery, see my
exhibitions and calendar, featuring him as
Mr July 2008. If anybody else would like to use
this true gentleman as a patient model,
contact me. ;-)
P.S. by the Gentleman Eco-Warrior:
"I was not aware that anyone was painting me and it came
as a complete surprise when your friend showed me the picture on
her digital camera."
P.S. by OM:
"You know there are people we can't forget, even though we
don't know them. What makes them stand out is their uncommon
characteristics that define them. As a Lamma Newbie, there is
one person on Lamma whom I always recognize without even knowing
him. If I describe this person as invariably wearing a hat,
could it be an old Borsalino Super Fino Montecristo Fedora hat,
enobling the gentleman?
"What a surprise to meet this particular gentleman in an
exhibition on canvas, drinking an icy beer on a sunny day, while
relaxing reading his newspaper with his loyal companion
peacefully sleeping at his feet! What a beautiful acrylic
canvas: the spontaneous brushes of light revealing this
gentleman, another unforgettable and original individual living
Jay Scott Kanes -
(story, photos & captions by Jay, click to enlarge)
HERE, MASKS FALL:
LAMMA STARS IN A MOVIE
With a modest production budget but a big theme,
independent film-maker Alba Rayton has created
Masks, an emotional, scenic and content-rich short
movie about tiny Lamma Island that most viewers will
love. Already showing signs of success, it's poised to
screen at three overseas film festivals – one in
America, one in Europe and one in Asia.
"It's magical and exciting to create a story that not
only friends can see, but also people around the world,"
Alba said. "I love to share my imagination."
Although moody and laced with exotic Asian flavors,
Masks nicely captures the natural beauty, village
lifestyle and eccentric touches that make Lamma special.
Nearly every scene in the 50-minute movie demonstrates
63-year-old Alba's artistic talent. How artistic is she?
Consider a strategic camera shot of a departing ferry
seen through the spokes of a bicycle wheel.
"I try to create cine-art," Alba said. "My films are
very lyrical and poetic with the images. We achieve that
with the camera, lights and shapes. The audience should
feel that all emotions have been touched."
Plans call for a Hong Kong premiere in late May. "If
for some reason we can't have a public screening on
Lamma, then my intention is to have a night elsewhere
mainly for Lamma people," Alba said.
Based on Alba's own script, the movie tells of Dan,
an American schoolteacher living with a pet parrot in
the hilltop village of Tai Peng: "Two different birds
played the parrot's role. They worked in shifts."
Suddenly, Dan receives a phone call urging that he
provide a home to Philip, his 13-year-old nephew.
Reluctantly, he agrees, and two anguished souls must
live together. Is Lamma really big enough for them both?
"It's about the conflict within them and how the pain
they share can divide or unite them."
Philip dislikes Lamma, partly because his uncle
insists on feeding him chicken feet, octopus,
thousand-year-old eggs and other oddities. When unhappy,
he retreats into the winding arms of sturdy trees.
But Dan tells the boy: "I'm happier here (on Lamma).
I don't have to wear masks. I have fewer cravings."
An image of two passing ferries, one going, one
coming, symbolizes the characters' relationship. Wise
beyond his years, the boy warns Dan: "Grandma says you
can die of loneliness," and "Seriously, you need a
girlfriend, one you can touch, talk to and love."
Nearly the entire movie, produced at a cost of about
HK$150,000, unfolds on Lamma. The cast and crew shot
images along Yung Shue Wan's Main Street, at the fishing
village and adjacent beach, along footpaths with
familiar green railings, on hillsides and a rooftop,
near the windmill, at a shrine behind the clinic, on the
pier and even on ferries. Practicing dragon-boat racers
paddle past. Nick the Bookman makes a cameo
appearance, as does a familiar fishball merchant. The
Green Cottage has prominence in the credits because the
crew took breaks and ate there.
Stretching a tight budget often means disregarding
formalities. "For short scenes, there's such a thing as
guerrilla shooting," Alba said. "You don't ask
permission. You just do it."
Naturally, she needs other talented, dedicated people
too. Each crew member has multiple tasks. "It's hard on
us physically, mentally and emotionally," Alba said. "It
She heaps praise onto Fandy Fan, the editor,
cameraman, assistant director and much more. "He really
held things together." And production assistant Lisa
Cherfan smoothed away one problem after another.
Lamma Islander Richard F. Jones joined the crew
and contributed strongly on sound.
Most low-budget movies can't pay the actors. Simon
Rayton, Alba's 34-year-old son, plays Dan. "That was
a great experience for us," she said. "We got to know
each other much better."
The movie co-stars 12-year-old Alex Cherfan as
Philip, his sister Mikaela, age 10, as
Christine, Philip's friend, and actress Jo Jo Yee,
originally from Malaysia, as Christine's mother. The
Cherfan children, once Alba's neighbors in Pokfulam,
later moved to Australia.
In May, Masks will screen at the British Film
Festival in Los Angeles. Then in June, it shows at the
International Film Festival in Phuket, Thailand, and at
the Heart of England International Film Festival.
When shooting on weekends for two-and-a-half months
early last year, Alba fell in love with Lamma so deeply
that she and her husband John, a retired
bio-chemist and businessman, now also her executive
producer, promptly moved here. Shooting ended in April,
and they arrived to stay in May.
"In search of a movie setting, I went to a few
islands," Alba said, "and I realized that Lamma has much
more than just seafood restaurants. I fell totally in
love with the place."
Like most Lamma newcomers, Alba and John then adopted
pets – two young dogs, Ginger and Mabel,
who as puppies resembled brown bear-cubs. "We always
wanted animals," Alba said. "After finding the two dogs,
they made our lives on Lamma even happier than we
Simon, a businessman, poet and now lead actor, also
lives on Lamma. "He moved here soon after we did," Alba
Long a drama teacher (ideal to direct rookie actors),
the worldly Alba, originally from Puerto Rico, has lived
in the United States, England, Thailand, Indonesia,
China and now Hong Kong.
She took up film-making a few years ago and studied
at the Hong Kong International Film Academy. "Finally,
I'm pursing what I always wanted -- film-making and
directing," she said, mentioning the names Richard
Wong and Gilbert Po as her "very important"
So far, Masks is her longest project. But one
earlier film, The Birthday Party, finished in
2007, won an award at the Hong Kong Gay and Lesbian Film
Festival. Nineteen minutes long and costing just
HK$10,000, The Birthday Party revolves around a
love triangle, a pregnancy and a positive HIV-AIDS test.
Next, Alba aspires to do a documentary about the many
unusual characters, both human and animal, living on
Lamma in harmony with nature and each other. She'll find
ample material because, like her protagonist Dan,
real-life Lamma Islanders dislike wearing masks.
Alba can be reached by email:
Lamma through her lens:
Alba Rayton takes aim.
Alba finds inspiration on her rooftop.
Husband John has a suggestion or two.
Technically no film buff, Ginger's still a close
Pet dogs Ginger and Mabel offer creative input.
Moments of contemplation:
part of the creative process.
Movie directors must do paperwork too.
Scenes from the movie,
shot from the screen,
sorry for the quality!
Lamma on the big screen:
the ferry pier.
A main character strolls on the Main Street.
seen in movie scenes.
As the windmill whirs, so does Dan's troubled mind.
Movie meow: a Tai Peng cat crosses the screen.
On 'magical' discs,
Alba 'shares her imagination'.
Lokkanat - Official Court Storyteller:
Fellow Lammayans and Friends!
As we all know the economy has not been
good lately and it is not likely to get any better in
the near future. This has been putting a lot of stress
on a lot of Fellow Lammayans and Friends. So our Shire
Council has been working with various ministries to come
up with some suggestions and recommendations to ensure
we don't lose the integrity of our Shire.
These are all very preliminary drafts.
In other words, I'm just leaking out what I know and
what I've heard.
Ministry Of Magical and
Non-Magical Residents has received complaints
from various Lammayans, tenants and landowners, that
property and rental prices have been artificially
inflated to create a false sense of security that
the economy of Lamma is booming despite the global
The Ministry is taking these complaints very
seriously because price fixing is an illegal
practice. Real estate agents and landowners who
engage in such illegal practice should be aware that
the Ministry is now working with the Ministry in
Minas Tirith to review these complaints. The
Ministry is also planning to hold a press conference
to talk about the danger of artificially inflating
property and rental prices on Lamma. The economy is
bad because money is NOT flowing i.e. no one is
spending. If property and rental prices are
artificially inflated, this will only discourage
people from spending. Eventually this will choke our
economy to death.
Ministry Of Parenting and
Ministry Of Ferry Service have received numerous
complaints about parental negligence lately. So the
economy is bad and the parents are under stress. But
it is never acceptable to neglect the proper
upbringing and socialization of children. It is
already a disgrace to our Shire to have children
screaming, yelling, and stomping all over the ferry
with absolute no respect to other ferry passengers.
It is simply despicable that parents, who are on the
ferry with these unruly fast and furious brats, do
nothing to discipline the brats and respect the
rights and welfare of other ferry passengers.
Ministry Of Parenting has now enlisted the help of a
group of Fellow Lammayans to document the disruptive
behaviour of the fast and furious brats AND the
irresponsible parent if around. If the Ministry has
to resort to name and shame, so be it! In the
meantime, the Ministry Of Parenting likes to remind
all parents and all those planning on having
children that if they don't know how to be good and
responsible parents, there are many books on
parenting. If you are not prepared to be a
responsible parent, there are a lot of
contraceptives available as well.
Ministry Of Public Works has
received literally hundreds of complaints every week
about all the construction work on Lamma. The
Ministry Of Public Works would like to remind all
Lammayans that the Ministry Of Public Works is not
the only one responsible. There are the Ministry
Of Waste Water Management, the Ministry Of Public
Transport, the Ministry Of Nuisance, the Ministry Of
Population Control, the Ministry Of Blood-Sucking
Mosquito Rights, and countless more.
The inconvenience some Lammayans and friends are
currently experiencing is as a result of their
incompetence to properly coordinate with each other.
That is why you keep seeing the same spots being dug
up over and over again. Our Shire Council is well
aware of this incompetence and will be looking into
this very seriously. A full report will be ready
when all the construction work has been completed in
5 to 10 years' time. So if you have any complaints,
send them to our Shire Council.
Ministry For The Care And
Protection Of Magical Creatures has recently
received fresh new evidence that a local breeder is
applying for council land to breed three-headed dogs
like Fluffy [Hagrid's puppy featured in The
Philosopher's Stone as guarding the trap door, blah,
blah, blah]. While it is perfectly legitimate to
breed three-headed dogs like Fluffy if you have a
proper license, it is absolutely against the law to
strangle or drown unsuccessful litters. So they only
have one head. Most dogs have one head, in case you
have not noticed!
Besides, it is not their fault to be born with one
head. Anyway, since this local breeder has been
previously brought to court for inhumane cruelty
against puppies [although the court found him not
guilty], the Ministry is now in close consultation
with our Shire Council to review his application. If
you have any evidence which can help with the
review, please submit your evidence for the
Last but not least, our Shire is only
our own Shire if we make it our Shire!
When webdog founded our forums on
23, 2002 10:07am, he probably didn't expect them
to last for (almost) 7 years and grow to such an
impressive size. It took a great deal of time
and effort to get these forums to survive and
grow and become a valuable resource and online
meeting place for Lammaites. Maintaining the
discussions at a mostly civil and constructive
level, keeping the relentless spammers out,
solving technical and registration problems
("Lost my password!"),
starting new topics, encouraging new members,
handling disputes takes a lot of time and
commitment. The forums have always been
completely non-commercial and generate no
revenue whatsoever, even the classifieds are all
free. The forums are webhosted separately and
are supported by a handful of private, anonymous
sponsors and a bit of ad revenue from the
separate Lamma-zine/Events Calendar/Photo
When I joined up as forum member #13, I
imagine the number of registered members to grow
to the current number of 6,639 (OK, quite a few
spammers and multiple registrations) and 4,018 topics to be
discussed. My becoming a co-administrator,
moderator and founder of the Lamma-zine, Events
Calendar and Photo Galleries happened almost
right away in 2002. Many thanks to all the forum
moderators who put so much effort
and time into the forums, plus all the loyal and
members posting so many informative, critical,
friendly, silly, hilarious messages over the
last almost 7 years! By the way, this is the
Top-8-Topics list of these years:
Message #50,000 (in Chinese, the
most popular language in our forums, of course)
was posted by loyal, long-term member
HAPPY MOTHER, forum member #5,906, posting 170 messages
in total so
far. Congratulations! She's expressing amazement and ridicule
700 sq ft - Rent $22,000 ad in a
property agent's window on Main Street. This is
a new record price, the complete opposite of the
falling property prices in the rest of HK and
worldwide. This ad has got many renting Lammaites riled
up, including myself.
Unlikely to ever find a stupid-enough tenant,
this ad seems to be part of a recent local
trend, trying to push up 2/F w/rooftop, 700 sqft
flats to $10,000/month and far beyond. They're
probably hoping to take advantage of rent
refugees from HK Island who are used to even
higher rents and are the only ones who maybe
might consider these new, outrageous prices on
Lamma acceptable. Ads like this poison the local
rental market, IMHO. I really hope my own
off-island landlord won't hear about this new
trend. We're still only paying $6,000 for our
own 2/F w/rooftop dream flat with great
all-round views, just 9 minutes from the ferry.
Lokkanat - Official Court Storyteller (photos by
Max1217, click to enlarge)
In the Old Days, when Lamma was
connected to the northern land mass, the sea level was much lower.
Lamma was then just a hilltop outpost overseeing a vast patch of
fertile land to the south. As the sea level began to rise, some
mystical creatures from the south migrated up north to Lamma. One of
them was a pack of feline dogs with golden brown brindle markings.
According to the Lammayan Chronicles,
the locals first noticed large black dogs with tiger markings in the
forests shortly after the first sudden rise of the sea. They also
noticed the large black dogs behaved more like cats than dogs and
preferred to venture out of the forests under the cover of night.
Their golden eyes glowed in the dark and they had this long growl
which sounded like a purr. So the locals started calling them
Lammayan Tigers and locals lived
together in harmony for seven years. During this time the harvest
was good and more people came to settle down in the fertile land
south of Lamma. Travellers from the north came to see the Lammayan
Tigers and local taverns and businesses were all happy making a lot
of money from the travellers.
Then one night shortly after the first
full moon of the lunar year the Lammayan Tigers started to howl. The
locals were scared to go out and all night they stayed up listening
to the blood curdling howls of the Lammayan Tigers. When the sun
rose the next day, the locals ventured out and noticed the Lammayan
Tigers were all gone from the forests.
The following night the locals heard
the howling again but this time it came from the hilltop. Some of
the locals went out to see what was going on and they saw the golden
eyes of the Lammayan Tigers all over the hilltop.
The next day the locals talked amongst
themselves wondering what was going on with the Lammayan Tigers. One
of the biggest land owners who had never really liked any cats and
dogs saw the opportunity and claimed the population of the Lammayan
Tigers had grown too large and their evil wild nature had begun to
surface. It would be a matter of time before the Lammayan Tigers
start raiding the local village. Although some of the locals were
scared, they did not pay much attention to the land owner because
they did not like him.
That night in the middle of the night
the howling started again like the night before. But this time the
howling was just outside the village and the howling was almost
frantic. Remembering what the land owner had said earlier, some of
the locals went to see the land owner for advice. The land owner
told the locals they must kill the Lammayan Tigers or they would
lose their village. So together they rounded all men and women of
the village and confronted the Lammayan Tigers just outside the
all started the night of the first full moon of the lunar year when
the sky was clear and the stars were shining bright. During the
course of the lunar eclipse, the Lammayan Tigers saw the signs in
the sky and sensed the future in the air.
… a wizard went on a bushwalk into the
wilderness. For 30 years he wandered looking for someone to pass on
his knowledge because the gods had told him in a dream. Then one day
he came across a pack of feline dogs in a large oasis. He was old
and tired. When he saw the feline dogs, he thought the gods had
abandoned him and the feline dogs would surely devour him. But
instead the feline dogs found him fruit and kept him warm at night.
Every night the wizard noticed the
feline dogs would gaze upon the stars. At first he thought the
feline dogs were just curious about the twinkling stars. Then one
night the feline dogs started to howl and became agitated. So he
looked up at the stars and he realized the feline dogs could read
the signs of the sky.
The feline dogs nudged the wizard and
urged him to leave with them. But the wizard was old and could not
move properly. He knew his time was up and he was heart-broken by
the kindness of the feline dogs. Instead of slowing down the feline
dogs, he asked to speak with the leader of the feline dogs for he
must fulfil what the gods had told him.
"Anoob, I am old and I can go no
further. You must lead your pack south east to solid high ground
before the sand swallows up everything. Once the sand is all
settled, you must travel up north along the river where you will
find men like me. To you I pass on the power of speech and my
knowledge of life and death. Now you must go." The wizard smiled and
Anoob cried and cried. Although he knew
he must lead the pack away, he could not bring himself to leave the
body of the wizard to the elements. So he told his pack to go south
east and wait for him up the mountain near the great lake.
When his pack had left, he cleansed the
body of the wizard with the knowledge of life and death the wizard
had given him. Anoob then dug a deep hole in the sand and buried
both the wizard and himself….
90 days Anoob stayed buried with the wizard while the earth shook
and the sand churned. For 90 days he guarded the body of the wizard.
When all was settled, he dug out and carried the body of the wizard
to the great lake to find his pack.
His pack had waited faithfully for
Anoob at the great lake. When they saw Anoob, they were shocked to
see how he had changed. The elements and the starvation had ravaged,
if not transformed, the body of Anoob. His dark fur now had streaks
of golden sand markings and his eyes were the colour of golden sand.
Some of the feline dogs were angry that
they had waited for so long and they did not approve Anoob of his
recklessness to risk his own life for the preservation of a dead
man's body. To them, Anoob said, "All life is sacred and death is
just a transition in life. For over 90 days you waited for me. No
doubt you wondered if I had perished. Yet you waited. You waited
because you knew I would come back. I waited because I knew the
wizard would be back."
Anoob followed the last words of the
wizard and led his pack up north where they found indeed wise men
like the wizard. With the power of speech from the wizard, Anoob
explained to the wise men up north the story of the wizard and the
plight of his pack. The wise men were so impressed by Anoob that
they built a temple to honour him and they took him and his pack as
Anoob lived for nearly six thousand
years and men had come to revere him as a god. With the foresight of
Anoob and his pack, men flourished and learnt the secrets of the
stars and the knowledge of life and death. Giant sandstone temples
and monuments were erected throughout the kingdom of the wise men to
honour and worship Anoob and his pack.
Anoob fathered a lot of puppies but
none of them had a life span longer than 20 years. Although his
descendents did not inherit his longevity or power of speech, they
all had eyes and brindle markings of brilliant golden sand colour.
They could all read the signs of the sky and foresee the future….
So on the night of the lunar eclipse
when the Lammayan Tigers saw the signs of the sky, they knew what
they had to do lest neither Lammayan Tigers nor their fellow men
would live no more….
The Lammayan Tigers stopped howling as
they saw the locals approach. At first they thought the locals had
gotten their message and had come to go up to the mountain with
them. But the angry faces and the weapons the locals carried told
Some of the Lammayan Tigers lowered
themselves in a submissive position to beg the locals to reconsider
for they meant no harm. Some even rolled over to show the locals
they had come in peace. If only the Lammayan Tigers could speak.
The locals started to massacre the
Lammayan Tigers. They clubbed and hacked and before long the blood
of the Lammayan Tigers soaked the ground. One Lammayan Tigers
managed to escape and run up the hill. So the land owner rallied the
locals to go after the lone Lammayan Tiger.
When the land owner and the locals
reached the hilltop, they found the lone Lammayan Tiger hiding in a
cave. Afraid of venturing into the cave, the locals set up a fire to
smoke the lone Lammayan Tiger out. As the fire raged on, they saw a
pair of golden eyes slowly emerge from the darkness of the cave. The
land owner urged the locals to keep the fire ablaze and filled the
night with his so cold-blooded mirth while the lone Lammayan Tiger
gave out a long eerie howl of deep sorrow and pain.
Suddenly a strong gust of wind blew the
fire away from the cave towards the locals who then started fleeing
for their lives. When the locals were half way down the hill away
from the fire, the sea started to suddenly rise and completely
submerged the village drowning all their children before their eyes.
According to the Lammayan Chronicles, Lamma then became an island
and the locals moved to different parts of Lamma to start all over
In its recorded history which ended
abruptly about two thousand years ago, the Lammayan Chronicles
continued to report numerous sightings of a lone Lammayan Tiger….
passed and there were many stories about the Lammayan Tigers and
what had really happened from the first howling to the night of the
massacre. Many Lammayans believed the Lammayan Tigers had come to
warn them of the calamity. But their ancestors being foolish and
ignorant ended up slaughtering the Lammayan Tigers.
As for the lone Lammayan Tiger in the
cave, many locals believed it had managed to escape and eventually
mated with the local wild dogs because once in a while they noticed
the local wild dogs would give birth to puppies with very subtle and
patchy golden brindle markings. But some locals believed it died in
the cave and the ghost of the lone Lammayan Tiger still roamed the
hills looking for its pack.
However, descendants of the land owner
held on to their belief that the Lammayan Tigers were evil. Whenever
there were sightings of a Lammayan Tiger or just simply wild dogs on
Lamma, some of the descendants would secretly put out poison along
the hillside. Many innocent dogs and cats were killed over the
years. Still no Lammayan Tiger was ever found.
Before the Lammayan Chronicles abruptly
ended about two thousand years ago, there were two almost cryptic
entries--one about a mysterious wizard and one about a mad land
One day a wizard came ashore. He went
straight up to the hilltop and entered the cave where the lone
Lammayan Tiger had hidden years ago.
For 90 days the wizard stayed inside
On the 91st day near dusk when the
fishermen came back from fishing, they saw the silhouette of a
wizard holding a staff sailing off towards the setting sun. Beside
him, they saw the silhouette of a big wolf dog.
So that night some of the fishermen
went up to the cave to check on the wizard. They noticed the cave
had collapsed and chiselled on the rock above the cave was an
inscription of some pictogram or hieroglyph which none could
Out of fear that it might be a curse,
the fishermen smashed the inscription and buried the cave under tons
Mad Land Owner
Every now and then innocent dogs and
cats continued to get poisoned and died. The locals were getting
angry because every time there was a poisoning, the economy
suffered. Locals would move away and travellers would stop coming to
Then one day an innocent child playing
along the hillside outside the northern village got poisoned and
died. Seeing her only child convulse and die before her, the mother
lost her mind. She carried her dead child into the village. She laid
down the dead child in front of the village council and started
pulling her hair out.
"I curse those who poison our
hillsides. For every innocent dog and every innocent cat poisoned,
those who put out the poison be condemned to living hell. You have
killed my only child! I curse you and your family for all eternity!"
The mother then ripped out her throat with her own bare hands and
That night the relatives gathered
together to pray for the souls of the mother and the child at their
ancestral home. All the neighbours stayed indoor to respect their
privacy and offered their own prayers. In the middle of the night,
there was a lot of weeping and screaming and it went on all night
In the morning all was quiet and the
neighbours went on leading their usual life.
A week later the neighbours brought
food and offerings to the ancestral home as part of the local
customs and rituals to honour the dead. They knocked on the door and
there was no answer. But they could hear the voice of the patriarch.
As the door was not locked, the neighbours opened the door and
They found the patriarch and his wife
sitting on the table talking to themselves and laughing. In front of
him were the dead bodies of his relatives--all clubbed and hacked to
When the patriarch saw his neighbours,
he said, "They came to help. But look what we have done!" The
patriarch and his wife laughed and then took their own lives.
Shortly after these entries, the Old
Ones left Lamma. The Lammayan Chronicles have only been recently
unearthed. We are still trying to piece together and decipher the
The End For Now...
P.S. by Dr John of LAWC, posted in our
"Yes, there are still Lammayan Tigers living in the hills above Hung
Shing Yeh, obviously descendants of Anoob - see Lamma-zine, Feb 16.
A 7-week old feline-dog baby was found this week on the
hill beside the police station and is being fostered by
Animal Welfare Centre has one who we found last
September under a boulder in a dried-up stream in the valley
above Herboland. We have called him Galang and he is one
of the sweetest, most intelligent, young dogs you could ever
hope to meet.
Click for more info.
contact us if you would like to share your home with a
Nick the Bookman - Official Court Music Reviewer of
[abridged version] by Nick, photos from Mogwai's publicitity)
- Live in HK - Jan 18 2009
It's the eve of the dawn of a new day in American
and global political history. I'm walking home from a Mogwai gig at
HITEC. In a few hours, Barack Obama is going to be the Most Powerful
Man In The World, replacing George W. Bush....
for full review...
I was returning home from Mogwai's second HK gig in
about two years. Only found out about their debut after the event.
Local band Elf Fatima, who are musical kin under the skin,
were the opening act. Mogwai are a Scottish quintet whose career
began 13 years ago. They're on tour to promote and perform their
sixth and latest release "The Hawk Is Howling". Their music is
experimental, electronic, electric and eclectic. They've composed
film soundtracks, notably for the documentary about now retired
French footballer Zinedane Zidane. I'm up for a night of quiet/loud
dynamics intermingled with dissonance and melody. The performance
can cause timeshifts in perception. Some of the music might even by
created by the mixmeisters at the master console, interacting and
shaping the flow of the noise. The gig is a sellout. About 700
people crammed in the auditorium on the third floor of HITEC in
Kowloon Bay. Elf Fatima are on tour, so they're absent. There is no
...Arrive safely and bump into Nick B. (fellow
Lammaniac of Little Red Email fame). The hall is the same one I saw
Michael Schenker Group and Strativarious (from Helsinki). True to
form, everyone rushes to the front row seats for the best view.
Doesn't matter. Even at the back, you're not going to miss anything.
I find myself standing next to Regina and Vincent
AKA Snoblind. Have a good mag about the show. Haven't seen them
since their two excellent gigs at Clockenflap at Cyberport and a
more ambient gig on the middle floor of Pier 4. They've just played
a recent Underground gig as well. If you're reading this, Snoblind,
sorry, I couldn't get there. I strained my back and over-medicated
myself for the pain. Am looking forward to hearing your new CD. Oh
yeah, Sil, the drummer for The Sinister Left and a fellow YSW
resident, is in attendance. Not surprised to see him here. Spotted
him on a recent ferry ride looking admiringly through a big
selection of Can CD's. Can are one of the pioneers of Krautrock,
along with Amon Düül, Faust, Neu and Ash Ra Tempel. Don't forget the
'tronic boffins either like Tangerine Dream, Cluster, Edgar Froese
and Klaus Schulze.
Anyway, Nick has joined me on the walk home. We're
discussing the performance and its lysergic chrono-distortion and
meander into a general chat about time. How much is there? What
about the Space Time Continuum? What do we mean by time?
As a concept, Time is youthful. Our period of
existence and civilization covers about 11,000 years, That's one of
the longest intervals between cataclysmic Ice Ages to date. Almost
everything worthy that has been accomplished by mankind has occurred
in this tiny micro-blip of existence. Our species has been
struggling along for about 74 millennia since the eruption of the
Lake Toba supervolcano in Indonesia wiped out over 99.98% of us.
Leaving a "genetic bottleneck" of primitive survivors in East Africa
to cope successfully with the Nuclear Winter. This eruption changed
behaviour patterns from isolated tribes of hunters to collections of
farmers and agriculturists bonding together for species survival and
eventual population re-growth. Then re-colonisation of Earth.
Aboriginals arrived in Australia about 40 millennia ago. Europe and
Asia slowly got settled along the way. Man grew into a way of life
marked by the diurnal/nocturnal divide and the seasonal flow. Even
had time to paint on cave walls in Auxerre about 24 millennia ago.
The population gradually grew to millions - enough to cope with what
caused the last mini Ice Age about 11,000 years ago. Time would
become more refined. Intervals for work and feeding. The invention
of sundials to break the days into hours and minutes. Splitting
seconds came along in the last century with scientific
breakthroughs. Atomic energy. Quantum Theory. Discovery of light
speed. The refinements in the age of the Totality that is our Space
Time Continuum. We've gone all the way from Planck Time to the Heat
Death of the Universe...
...and we're fucked. The End. Curtain down. So,
there's a limit to time, until it all starts again. Anyway, enough
wasting time. The show's about to kick off...
"Hi. How are you doing? We're Mogwai from Scotland
and it's nice to be back." Adoring roars as Mogwai commence a
two-hour set comprising about 12 tunes and one song (of sorts)
Opening track comes off as a tantalising mix of Spaceman Three
monodronic plucking and fiery vintage Velvet Underground squalls of
white noise and feedback. Very soothing and just what the true fans
want to hear. Might have come from the new CD. They haven't gone
interstellar yet and fragments and shards of melody drift
deliciously through the mix. There's one bass, three guitars and a
ferocious drummer who's cranking out the bpm's at a d n' b pace.
Plus keyboards and electronics ranging from simple "Tunes R Us"
level to screech-honking blasts of sonic delirium.
Found and treated sounds include bagpipes and wheezy
panting pipe organs at times. That might be me though relapsing into
a Kraftwerk moment. There also seems to be a subtle disorienteering
interplay between band and mixer. Tunes rise, grabbing you by the
throat and bellowing in your face. They dissipate leaving you
drifting for what seems like a fortnight, before returning to
shelter. There's even an endearing attempt at a song. Asking Nick
how he would define the band's sound, he says "an ambient Jesus and
Mary Chain". Apt in places. I can also hear echoes of Kraftwerk, the
Electric Prunes raga riffs. There are vintage King Crimson freakouts,
especially in the final tune. Now they sound like My Bloody
Valentine, now like space whispers versus howls and gibbers from
some cyber-mutant monkey house. Chilly atmospherics collide with MC5
freakouts. Early Floyd, say hello to a darker ambient Sigur Ros and
cascades of shivertones and Frippertronics. Long groandrones and
Massive fun. I'm a confirmed fan, but not as much of
an anorak as Nick who knows at least 3 tune titles. In a nutshell,
the concert was pretty much like this review. Expect the unexpected.
Buy the ticket. Take the ride. Meander hither and yon. And enjoy. I
Click for the full, unabridged review...
Click for photos...
Yes, it's something I thought I'd never ever put into the
Lamma-zine, a Hello Kitty sticker! But it's Valentine's Day
today when even usually hard-nosed, tough and cynical guys can become all
mushy, dripping with sweet sentiment, whispering sweet nothings
into their beloved's ear...
Well, the Love of my Life, Lamma-Por, and I went for a romantic Dim Sum
(much cheaper than a $500+ dinner) in Sampan Restaurant today, sharing a
table with a Chinese elderly couple we didn't know. After the end of the meal,
a Gwailo father was passing by with a pram and his cute, blonde daughter,
about three years old, we guessed. She ran up to the elderly man and
spontaneously hugged him, to his great surprise. She skipped up to us,
not knowing us, answered a few questions - her name was Milly - and then peeled a tiny Hello Kitty sticker off an already almost emptied paper and
stuck it onto Lamma-Por's dress (see above). I got a balloon sticker from
this cute young lady, plus broad smiles. Then she ran back to her grinning daddy
who was waiting and watching patiently a few metres away. They continued on their
merry way down Main Street, doubtlessly blessing more people along the way
with her stickers and spontaneous displays of genuine friendliness to perfect strangers.
I was so amazed by all this that I even forgot to take a picture! Soon
afterwards it dawned on me what had just happened and how it would be hard to
see this happening almost anywhere else in HK. "Don't talk to strangers!",
would be the constant warning from parents, "Come back here right away!"
The girl being brought up trusting enough to approach strangers and share
her favourite stickers with them, without expecting anything in return, plus
her daddy letting her do this, it's surprising and wonderful, IMHO (in my
humble opinion). It says a lot about them and the safe, non-threatening and
friendly village environment we live in. What a mentally healthy and strong, outgoing,
amiable lady with great people skills this girl might grow up to become!
Well, maybe I'm just feeling a bit emotional, even sappy and
infatuated with life in general today. You know this wonderful feeling of
FOHAL (Full Of Happiness And Love), just
being alive, healthy and feeling simply great that has almost nothing to do
with money, flowers, presents or other worldly possessions? You don't? Hug your loved ones
tightly today (and everyday) and feel it yourself...and make them feel it,
The Island Bar is celebrating Valentine's
Day one day earlier than everybody else, on an
"unlucky" Black Friday, Feb 13th - ahead of the
times once again, it seems. But what's on in
Yung Shue Wan tomorrow? One sign of the times,
11 red roses for just $180 on Main Street. But
the prices of Valentine's Day dinners seem to be
holding steady at around $500/couple, about half
of the cost in town.
B&B Rest. is already
sold out, with
The Waterfront also
filling up quickly:
Valentine's Day Special menus (click
The Waterfront - B&B Bar & Rest. - New Holiday
Farha - Standard Chartered Marathon participant
(Text & clippings by Farha, click to read)
the race: "a fat woman"…
Last Sunday was the Hong
Kong Marathon. My decision to participate was made one
year ago, when I was loosing weight and exercised a lot.
The prospect of running a marathon motivated me even
more. I absolutely do not regret it for one second!!!
Since my decision I went
through some difficult times and started smoking and
putting on weight again. But keeping this upcoming
marathon in mind helped me to get back on track, but
this time I'll do it just for the fun and not for the
physical performance. I thought, "One word: FUN! And
come what may…."
the race: "a 發 woman"
costume was packed and I opened it only when I arrived
at the starting area. People started to react positively
to the costume. Before the race started, three officials
came with their memo pads and interviewed me. I could
hardly reach the starting line as everybody wanted to
take a picture with the 'fat' mah-jong tile.
At that point, I thought
because of my body weight and the costume, I'll do what
I used to do: power walk. But that was without knowing
how people would cheer me up along the way.
Then we heard the start!
Everybody shouted merrily and began running. I followed
the flow thinking that after 1 km I'll start power
walking. But, honestly, the atmosphere was so cheerful
and people were all giving great comments on my costume
made with the main purpose of having FUN! I could hardly
believe the effect of this costume! Finally, I ran all
the way. Others were either clapping or showing their
thumbs up saying, "fat choi, hou leng, hou lek, awesome,
very good, very original", etc. After a while, there
were some runners switching to walking. But when they
saw this "發" Mah-jong tile, they started running again,
catching up with me and taking a photo of me running! I
have spent those 10 kms laughing and saying "thank you!"
to people! My legs could not feel those 10K at all as I
was completely enjoying seeing people laughing, having
fun as I was having fun with them too.
The surprising media coverage!
When I arrived, I was
looking for hubby when official staff from the marathon
came to me and asked me to follow them to take photos. I
knew that everybody wearing a costume had to take a
photo. It was written on the website, so I followed
them. But on the way, so many journalists asked me for
an interview Why I had chosen this "original,
eye-catching" costume, how I made it, how long did it
take, what do I think about the Hong Kong economy, how
well I think the event was organised and so on and so
on. I only remember the logos of NOW TV, TVB, and also
Hong Kong marathon on their microphones. Then there were
many many others whom I can't remember. There is even a
journalist who asked her photographer to take a photo
with me with her mobile phone after he had taken a photo
with his professional camera.
All of this was very
surprising and very enjoyable, hahahaha!
After the interviews and
photos, a long time had passed during which hubby
probably thought that I was dying exhausted on the road
and still had not arrived, probably suffocating in that
He saw me arriving with a
very big smile on my face. I told him what had just
happened. People were still asking me to take photos
with them. I took off the costume, threw it in a big
dustbin, thinking that after all it was only material,
but the main important thing to remember was the fun I
had that day. This Hong Kong marathon 10K was only a
short distance, but for me it represented an entire fun
journey back to health: a sound mind in a sound body,
and that was the message I carried with this particular
Moreover, every marathon
supports one or several community projects. Finally,
running a marathon is one of the best ways to do
something for yourself and give to the community.
SCM Post, click to read
HK Economic Times
Wendy Teasdill - Ex-Lammaite Yoga Teacher
by Wendy, photo below by L-G, click
for more photos.)
Sally's Lamma Studio, after L-G's first-ever
private yoga lesson, Feb 9, 2009.
More Archival Yoga on Lamma
In 1989 I started teaching
slightly more formal yoga sessions on Lamma. I had a
flat just below the power station and kept the living
room completely empty - save for the murals of lilies
and lotuses which I painted over every wall. I was
gripped by the idea of the lotus, the lovely flower
which floats serenely on the surface of the water while
its roots grope for sustenance in the mud deep below.
'She's crazy,' said the
landlord, 'completely crazy.'
The living room was big
enough to hold about eight or nine people and their yoga
mats for a rolling yoga class every Sunday. We started
in the morning when the first person arrived and
stretched on for hours - sometimes till late into the
afternoon. People would come, stay for a session, and
then move on, their places taken by others. We
sweated and chatted, joked and gasped, fuelled by rivers
of tea. The prohibitions and precautions which are
so much a feature of the British Wheel of Yoga syllabus
which I now teach were completely absent, but we were
all young (well, younger than now, that's for sure), fit
and bendy, and I encouraged everyone to stretch to their
maximum capacity. We used straw beach mats and blankets
damp with the humidity; cotton mattresses supported
their shoulders in Sarvangasana (shoulder stand) as I
hoisted them higher onto their thoracic spines.
It was a social occasion
with quite a number of twists. A curious blend of smoke
- incense of various provenances - and Kittaro billowed
from the balcony and wafted across the unfurling green
of the banana leaves, over the shushing leaves and
yellow flowers of the trees whose name in Chinese
translates as 'Lovers whispering to one another', to the
ever-audible repetition of the sea's waves upon the
beach. There was never any no food, and no money
changed hands: the stretching, sweating bodies all
belonged to friends and I didn't really cash - the
British Council provided that.
I handed the Lily Pad over
to Saskia, and again disappeared to other stories - to
India, for two months at the Iyengar Institute in Pune,
to China, Tibet and Nepal. When I returned, there was a
place for me up in the hills, but there was no space for
more than myself to do yoga there. The classes moved to
the beach and went up-market: I put up a poster and
began to charge.
At first the only person to
reply to my advertisement was Pinky Chan. After
the excitement engendered by that had died down, Roberta
appeared - half an hour after I'd given up on anyone
appearing. I met her on Power Station beach the
following week, along with a few others. Interestingly,
now I'd started charging - $HK50 per session - some
people decided to drop out and others to drop in.
Roberta, Jerry, Sally and Rodney were the regulars now,
with half a dozen or so more bodies coming and going.
The yoga sessions took
on a new identity: at five o'clock on a Sunday
afternoon I'd write an AUM sign on a stone with a piece
of charcoaled firewood from a left-over fire, light one
stick of incense, which drifted weedily up into the wide
open spaces of the sea air, and we'd do focussed
standing postures for a few brief hours until it was
truly dark. I worked them hard, using the terrain: the
sloping beach was perfect for Adho Mukha Svanasana (Dog
pose) and Virabhadrasana 1 (Warrior pose), and instead
of blocks for the hands in Ardha Chandrasana (Half Moon
pose) we used stones worn smooth by the attentions of
The words of BKS Iyengar
rang forever in my bones: 'It is your DUTY to
practise yoga every day!' Saturated in the Iyengar
ethic, I encouraged them all to develop a fine
repertoire in standing and sitting postures. As it was
Sunday afternoon, we would sometimes find ourselves
providing entertainment for small crowds of Chinese
visitors. We ignored them as we took the opportunity to
sharpen our focus - and when we thought about them
again, inevitably they'd be gone.
Relaxation consisted of
everyone lying down in a state of exhaustion while the
waves of the sea did most of the work. Between the
clanking of the Power Station and the dignified watch of
Mount Stenhouse, the gentle rhythm of the South China
evening sea seethed at the borders of pure
consciousness, introducing a renewed, natural and
effortlessly benign view of the world which never
seems to quite wear off. For the waves followed me.
When I returned, pregnant,
to live in the UK, it became apparent that to teach yoga
I'd need a qualification. I trained with the British
Wheel of Yoga, not only to teach yoga, but also to
train teachers. I must have taught thousands of yoga
classes since the mid-nineties - in black-walled drama
studios, glossy purpose-built rooms with blonde-wood
floors, damp barn conversions, rural retreats protected
by sacred trees, soggy terrapins, glass-walled havens,
stuffy meeting rooms with the sound of Body Pump classes
racketing through from the gym below, on lawns under
willow trees and in village halls of every description -
but at the end of each one, the waves of Power
Station Beach wash through the relaxation. Thanks to
the combined influence of the British Wheel of Yoga's
emphasis on modifications and the rather less fit and
bendy state of the bodies I teach in the UK, I'm
actually a more compassionate teacher than I used to be.
after year, those waves continue to sweep up any doubts
I might ever have had about the wisdom of choosing
freedom over all else.
Serendipity: ability to gain knowledge
from accidental events,
lucky in making unexpected and fortunate
Another glorious, warm and sunny spring Sunday with
clear views, it's just too tough to remain
indoors. The green and hills of Lamma are
beckoning to be hiked once more. A few
serendipitous chance encounters en-route can
make it even more alluring and interesting. You
never know who and what you're going to meet out
there. Sorry, not a single picture taken this
time, as I've taken too many pictures recently
and still haven't caught up with processing them
all. Going on a hike without incessantly taking
pictures of everything, as I used to do, is a
very different and more focused experience, even
more rewarding sometimes. And some people seem
to prefer viewing my photos only but rarely
reading my full stories, tsk-tsk!
I'm starting my mid-day stroll - no bike this
time - at the
Boot Camp Sign-Up event in the new
Island Life Studio behind the North Lamma
Clinic. I'm meeting up with the very fit
trainers, one of them dressed in military
fatigues (think Demi Moore in G.I. Jane). More
from them at the very first weekly session next
Sunday morning at 8am which I hope to attend to
take a few pictures of willing volunteers (IF I
can make it out of bed.) I just narrowly avoid
being drafted into the Boot Camp, using my knees
as an excuse. Draft dodger!
pink and powerful
dragonboaters also signed up for the
Boot Camp, just before embarking on their first
training session of the 2009 season. The Lamma
Ladies and the Boot Campers still got a few
places left for the not-faint-of-heart, who are
eager to get drilled and have their physical
fitness and mental toughness (and looks)
dramatically increased before the summer season.
Email the Boot Campers and/or
Lamma Ladies if you have what it takes!
Continuing my Serendipitous Spring Sunday
Stroll, I wander up to our local landmark and
major tourist attraction, Lamma Winds.
I'm timing myself at 14 minutes from Back Street
via the quiet, paved path through the woods, via
the Basket Ball court, Kindergarten, Open Space
and Tai Ling village. A short rest, where to go
next? Up and over Mount Panorama, onwards via
the pavilion, down Cable Route the other side or
around Mount Panorama to Tai Peng Village on the
very little-known, but beautiful
Back Passage and
Snake Tail paths. Well, let's continue
on one of my all-time favourite little Lamma
Snake Trail from Lamma Winds to the Youth Hostel.
Usually deserted, there are quite a few locals
up there today, a Sunday, for example the local
model aeroplane enthusiasts. Their
gliders feature remote-controlled steering, but
no propellers, so they soar in the warm updrafts
rising up from Lo Tik Wan, like the ubiquitous
Black-eared Kites nearby. But after all this
majestic soaring, these very enthusiastic
enthusiasts have to clamber enthusiastically
through the dense brush on the steep hillsides
to retrieve their gliders which have run out of
updraft and usually land hard after just a few
minutes. But they've got picnic baskets and even
folding chairs up there to make themselves
really comfy. They seem unperturbed and
oblivious to the occasional passing-by and
staring hiker like myself.
After greeting a few more intrepid hikers on the
Snake Trail, while hiking up a steep hillside, I
get overtaken by a fully geared-out
mountainbiker. This is actually the first one
I've seen up there in quite a few months (I
usually don't hike on Sundays.) His friends
follow behind closely and some of them stop at
the very top, recognising me, calling me. This
happens quite frequently, as even more people
know me by sight now than I know in person so
far. All the friendly and frequent compliments
about my weight loss are appreciated but still
feeling strange for somebody not accustomed to
receiving compliments before. I might have been
doing this website for too long, my sweet and
treasured anonymity is almost gone.
The mountainbiking group of Lammaites introduce
ourselves and it turns out that they are some of
the major movers and shakers in the local, very
active mountainbiking community. These
are the amazingly fit and healthy studs helping
out with the Lamma Enduro race, building local
biking trails, running a
website, etc, besides holding down
full-time jobs in town. A serendipitous,
unplanned chance meeting, indeed. The Lamma-zine
hopes to hear more soon from this little-known,
low-profile local group who feels misunderstood
We chat for quite some time about hiking and
mountainbiking on Lamma. They dare to tease me
about me not joining them yet, using my own
mountain bike only on the paved paths all over
Lamma but never off-road so far. My excuses? I
might not be able to afford all that fancy,
fashionable, protective gear so mandatory for
off-road biking, or I might be simply trying to
get fit without breaking, dislocating, twisting
or scraping any parts of my body, or I might
just be chicken....
The bikers continue to the Lamma Quarry and I
continue my hike to the Youth Hostel and
down to the crowded Family Trail, the
only trail over 95% of Lamma visitors ever seem
to use. Dance music is thumping all the way from
Power Station Beach and I change the destination
of my stroll spontaneously. Planning on a salad
as a late lunch in the Concerto Inn hotel
on Hung Shing Yeh beach, I'm tempted by a
grilled chicken wing, a few crackers and a
Gatorade from the beachfront Cavia
restaurant instead. A really cheap but unusually
big and quite satisfying lunch for somebody
still on a long-term (almost one year now)
eat-half diet. Some Lamma-zine readers have been
pointing out that I don't seem to write so much
about food and restaurants anymore.... Anybody
would like to help out? Refueled, I proceed
onwards to Power Station Beach to see
what the noisy commotion is all about.
Sleiman's 40th birthday party had been
raging all night, I find out. Tent on the beach,
bonfire, BBQ and Mr Beach Party's professional
sound equipment, his own generator and major
Bose speakers; no wonder I could hear them from
the Youth Hostel! The few remaining survivors
are not dancing anymore, but are still awake and
lucid enough to update me on the news in their
lives, resulting in several potential future
Lamma-zine stories (another Artist of the Month)
and photo shoots (Lamma's most amazing ruin)
A very nice lady in a swimsuit (who recognises
me and calls out to me who didn't know her
before) tries to convince me to go for swims
instead of gyms. Then she recounts seeing a
suspicious fin in the sea recently, mentions
potentially bird flu-infected wild birds washing
up on a Lantau shore and describes her last
jellyfish encounter and how it took a week for
all the itchy, burning bumps to heal. I'm not
quite convinced yet to go swimming in the sea.
But she convinces me to write more about my
weight loss/health/fitness adventure and that's
what I'm doing right now!
Oh, by the way, Happy Birthday, Sleiman!
I hope to get invited to your next major
birthday party, maybe your 50th?
I take a shortcut through the
woods from Power Station Beach via Wang Long
Village, while listening to the Sunday beach
drum circle pounding away. I crawl home,
looking forward to a steamed fish dinner, knees
complaining, slightly dehydrated, physically
tired after a 3-hour stroll. But I'm mentally
invigorated, inspired and reaffirmed in my
belief that Lamma and its community is just a
fantastic place to live a happy & healthy life!
working in New Holiday Mood.
Story printed in English Street, a magazine for
It was photographed from the outside wall of the
restaurant where manager Ricky proudly displays
his media clippings, including the Lamma-zine
Click to enlarge and read Ian Watson's fun
There are some little creative art projects
happening on the walls of Yung Shue Wan,
sometimes unintentionally. Case in point,
several different posters promoting a "New Baby
Group" a number of weeks ago. The posters were
all inkjet-printed and not waterproof, so they
started to change and morph into "abstract art"
as soon as they got rained on. Some of them
turned into some pretty interesting blobs and
patterns, making our village walls even more
colourful and fascinating:
Dan Peterson - Co-owner,
Bar (text & photos, click to enlarge)
Clive – In Memoriam
A rather larger than usual,
albeit somewhat subdued crowd, gathered at
The Island Bar on Sunday. A small group had
attended the Cape Collinson Crematorium to
say farewell to Clive Brook-Fox around
midday and regrouped at The Island Bar at
3:00pm to raise a glass in Clive's honour.
As well as many Lamma
friends, some of Clive's close acquaintances
from his business and sailing days came
along to show their respects. Son Ralph who
had been here in Hong Kong during his
father's latter days, was joined by his
partner Roberta and Clive's older brother
Julian who were given a short tour of Lamma
and introduced to Clive's favourite areas.
Clive's family were welcomed
into the heart of Lamma and we hope to see
more of them in the future in finer
Refreshments were provided
courtesy of Ralph with a delicious array of
food supplied by Cath's Banyan Tree Café,
Geng's Lamma Gourmet deli and The
Clive will be long
remembered as the character who sat at the
corner of The Island Bar with his pipe,
sometimes keeping to himself and his daily
crossword, sometimes engaging in spirited
and occasionally controversial conversations
about the state of the world or the start of
mankind amongst other salient issues. A
plaque to honour Clive will be put in place
in due course above his regular seat.
Clive – a long term friend, an honourable
man, fondly remembered. RIP.
Harry Harrison's cartoon, inspired by
"WARNING! Asian Giant Hornets" poster,
our forum it
Click for more photos from the
funeral and wake, by Mr DickStock.
Clive's son Ralph on
(photo by Mr DickStock)
Roberta at far end of
the table laden with Lamma Ladies
CNY Unicorn Dance
during the wake was courtesy of The Island
Bar's good neighbours, the Man Fung
Clive's stool in The Island Bar
love getting feedback from my readers, good and
bad. But this subject line in an email from a
dear friend today took me by surprise and made
me laugh out loud. She was referring to my
SkyJump off the Macau Tower yesterday
("the world's highest", see right), calling it "Pure Unadulterated
Idiocy" and she's stopped "admiring you for
your sense and sensibility!"
Well, I called it "great fun!"
and another major milestone in my weight
loss/health/ fitness journey. After a pre-jump
video interview on the platform - asking
encouraging questions like "Your last words?" -
they hooked me up to an amazingly thin steel
wire (see above). But jumping off that narrow
ledge on the 61/F, 233 metres above ground, into
empty air was really the toughest part and took
all my courage, trust and confidence...
a short drop I was dangling like
an oversized fish from an angler's line a few
metres out in front of the Observation Deck on
the 58/F for what felt like a very long time. I
started waving at the gawking spectators who
waved back excitedly, before I was lowered down very
rapidly into a huge air mattress.
Going back up I had to take the elevator which
takes a lot longer (55 seconds) than the descent
of just a few seconds. Several of the
spectators, even a security guard, came up to me afterwards,
congratulating me on the jump, asking questions.
Of course, I've got the photos,
video, certificate, T-shirt and wrist bracelet
as memories. It's all a well-organised,
professional "Adventure Activity" and (probably,
hopefully) as safe as
an amusement park thrill ride. A more expensive, head-over- heels
(see left, the guy jumping soon after me) might
be in my future.
But Lamma-Por, suffering from
severe altitude sickness, even inside the
Observation Deck, offered this "official" comment for
this story: "Lamma-Gung has gone nuts!"
Aww, all this sweet flattery from her and
my friend above will get them everywhere. It
might probably even encourage me to attempt
something more daring next time, like the
Mast Climb to the very top,
Visiting Macau for one night to celebrate Lamma-Por's
birthday, we were astonished by the Chinese New Year
lighting displays all over town and the outrageous, ostentatious,
especially the Grand Lisboa, Stanley Ho's proud
and shame-free display of virility and upmanship,
showing the new-arrival Las Vegas tycoons who's
still the King of Macau, even buying our hotel,
the Mandarin Oriental, a few days before our
A few of my Macau snapshots:
After all this visual and auditory overload I
had to cool down in the resort's outdoor
swimming pool, being the only hotel guest out
there on a cool Monday morning, frolicking under
the warm waterfalls in the Jacuzzi (more
Shoulder Massage by Waterfall) and
diving to the deep rock pool's bottom.
But then I was getting addicted to their thrill
ride water slide... going down eight times...
missing the noon checkout time... returning to
the hotel room and finding it empty and made up
for the next guest. Lamma-Por had checked out by
herself already and returned to her favourite
10-cent slot machine, surprisingly winning over
200 dollars. After all the expenses of the day,
Lamma-Por's birthday cake consisted of some
simple, cheap but very yummy Macau-style egg
tarts, carried all the way home to Lamma!
B&B Restaurant supplied a candle for our
egg tarts (see above right) and they even sang a
Read last month's stories...
started on Sep 1, 2004, and will be updated frequently with anything vaguely related to Lamma
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