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Oct 31:  12 EXCITING Ideas on Renewable Energy

A new and exciting press release from HK Electric:

12 exciting ideas on renewable energy awarded by HK Electric

It's featuring the biggest, greenest, most exciting power switch I've ever seen:

The Convenor of the Non-official Members of the Executive Council,
Mr. Leung Chun-ying, (third from left) and Managing Director of HK Electric,
Mr. Tso Kai-sum (third from right), officiate at the ceremony to announce the awardees of HK Electric Clean Energy Fund.

"Twelve exciting ideas that encourage students to make creative and good use of renewable energy (RE), including one which harnesses solar energy to power an organic farm of Chinese herbs, were today awarded at a presentation ceremony of the HK Electric Clean Energy Fund. Over the past three years, HK Electric Clean Energy Fund has funded 36 projects for RE installation on school campus around the territory.

The projects from seven primary and five secondary schools will be launched on school campus in the next 12 months. Apart from the organic farm, a green road safety town, a "micro-wind farm" as well as a hybrid solar lighting system which uses optical fibre for sunlight transmission will also be installed."

Exciting & Excellent Examples:

  • Zero-carbon living with solar rooftop panels

  • Irrigation system & mosquito-killing lamps powered by solar energy

  • Rooftop garden powered by RE and organic Chinese herbs garden

  • Installation of 120 micro wind turbines on a rooftop to power irrigation system and lightings for the green platform.

A green road safety town will be built in Christian Alliance SY Yeh Memorial Primary School where traffic lights and street lights will be powered by solar energy.

Below is my favourite exciting picture sent over by HK Electric. Doesn't it look like the two excited girls on the left are thinking, "He's growing organic herbs and he's sooo handsome and kawaii!" The girl in the middle looks ready to exclaim in an excited voice, "Back off, he's MY exciting bfriend!"

Students of the Assembly of God Hebron Secondary School will make use of solar energy to power an organic farm of Chinese herbs.

Oct 29:  Speedo Slave Auction & Jello Wrestling!

Gina Meana - Lamma Outrigger Canoe Club Captain, Women's Team:

The Halloween Party is a "small f", fund-raising party with auctions and games and party-goers participation. Funds raised are dedicated to race entry costs for our annual Round Hong Kong Island Race (approximately 46km), which the OCC men and women will be entering for the fourth year consecutively.

This year's Halloween theme is the Rocky Horror Picture Show! Dress as your favourite character and come do the time warp, throw toast, or just toss your cookies.

For fun and games: There will be jello wrestling (put down dollars to pit one OCC lady against another in - you guessed it - a paddling pool full of Halloween-theme orange or black jello. If that isn't enough horror for Halloween night, the real frights come later as the men enter the "slave auction".

The highest bid on any Lamma OCC male paddler means that lucky fellow gets to wear the Rocky Horror Golden Speedos (and nothing else) and serve drinks to the generous Halloween benefactors and winning bidders. We suggest folks pool their resources, as the many-times Lamma Dragon Men's (former) Captain Oliver appears to be leading the pack of golden-speedo favourites - with bids at approximately $1,500 already (his lovely wife may counterbid, or make home movies for posterity... we're not sure which).

It all makes witches and vampires sound terribly pedestrian, I am sure.

There will be a lucky slime-pick - entrants dig their arms into the grossest (but not unhygienic) concoction we can whip up to draw prizes. These include iPod gizmos, seats for 4 people aboard the Round Island Junks during the race - with a hamper full of yummy stuff like hooch and cheese and fish eggs and whatnot - as well as paddle gear for outrigger/dragonboat paddlers and other assorted things.

So in a pumpkin-shell - that is it! The Lamma OCC Halloween party. Far more trick than treat, I'd say.

P.S. from Oliver after I've asked him for a reply:

"There is no way on God's Earth I am wearing a golden speedo! I don't care how much someone donates to the club. And you can quote me!"

Sounds to me like he's trying to drive a hard bargain to push up his own auction price! How much does it take to see him in a Rocky Horror Golden Speedo? Offers!

P.S. II:  What else is happening this Halloween weekend?

Click below to find out (see also our up-to-date Lamma Events Calendar.)

Spicy Boys Become Black Mariah: Fri Oct 30, 9:30pm, The Wanch: Poster.
I've been asking the Boys - true Living Lamma Legends - to explain their surprising name change, giving unique insight into how their twisted minds work:

Denis: "We tried an electoral process where we all picked five names and then marked all twenty names out of 5.
The winner was not liked. So I removed the votes for your own five choices and the winner was worse.
Then I was looking at the shortlist and saw Red Alice and thought I like the idea of
a colour and a girl's name together...then Black Mariah popped out. The police wagon immediately came to mind. In fact, Black Mariah has many connotations: religious, poker, transferring prisoners...."

HK Cricket Sixes: Sat Oct 31/Sun Nov 1: Kowloon Cricket Club:
$680 for 2-day pass, $480 for Sunday. Organised by Lamma Cricket Club members. Website, Lamma-zine story.

Red Star Rising: Sat, Oct 31, 11:15pm: The Wanch, 54 Jaffe Rd, Wanchai.
I've asked Steve Cray for more info on his Halloweenie gig:
"I'm thinking of masking up and wearing a scary thong!"

Handcrafted Lipbalm & Healing Balm Workshop:
Sun, Nov 1, 11am-12:30pm: Island Life Studio:
Fee: HK$240 + $20 for materials. Registration email or call Gisela at 9452 5385, Facebook, poster.

Oct 28:  Can Shower Heads Kill?

A great example of how informative and helpful our forums can be to local residents, often answering unique local questions and solving problems. It all started when our forum moderator Leggova started a new forum topic, Strange medical mysteries asked....

"In the summer time I get really itchy when I get out of the shower. Here are some criteria for when this happens ..."

An intensive discussion ensued, 71 replies! Other members with similar problem joined in and many potential solutions were proposed, till this tricky problem was finally solved!

What you're question or problem? Tell us!

The forums are anonymous and we promise not to laugh out loud at you even if it's an embarrassing problem (we might just snigger or giggle a little bit....)

Oct 27:  Stop Dieting, Eat Cheese & Ice-Cream!

This is the clear advice I got today, following several friends and even Lamma-Por who were all worrying about me getting too skinny for my own good. Somebody even called me recently a "Skinny Bastard", the very same guy who called me The Other Fat Bastard just two years ago. Am I in danger of becoming anorexic?  ;-)

But the source of this advice was surprising: my dietician Vivian in Queen Mary Hospital, the last person who'd usually hand out advice like this. She's normally trying hard to convince her obese patients to start or maintain their strict diets for many good health reasons. As a formerly "super morbidly obese" patient, she agrees that I've lost enough weight by now, more than any of the doctors ever expected. It's time to stop dieting and start a maintenance regimen, not to lose more weight but also not regain any. I'm 88kgs (194 pounds) now, losing 180 pounds, an almost normal BMI of 28, all lucky, easy-to-remember numbers which I'll try to maintain for many healthy years to come, I hope!

But after two years of following a strict low- fat/sugar/carbs and high-protein diet, it has become second nature to me, not really feeling like dieting anymore but just like normal eating. I actually have a hard time stopping my diet and switching to a more "normal" way of eating. It was a quite novel and unusual problem for Vivian and it baffled and surprised her!

She instructed me to "increase my sugar and fat intake" and suggested foods like cheese and ice-cream - which I've mostly avoided these last two years - as healthy foods to be eaten in moderation. Wow, most surprising advice from a professional dietician! This is most definitely good news for Emily's Ice-Cream Express on Main Street and Shelly's Cake Express on Back Street. I've been severely neglecting to patronise their fine establishments these last two years.

Measuring my body fat at only 20.6% was also a big surprise (down from 23.6% just a few months ago. This is certainly due to all the regular, rigorous exercise I've been following. But I stopped completely three weeks ago when I got hit by this debilitating double vision, making me home-bound for now.

Well, it's high time to leave my sanctuary, start moderate exercise again and wear my new eye patch! Look out for Lamma-Gung the Pirate this Halloween!

Oct 26:  A Lifetime of Pleasure & Creativity

Oct 25:  The Mango Tree -
or Rabbit Takes Fox to Court for Theft and Trespassing

Marisa Dalla Valle - Lammaite:

(Photos by Marisa)

On October 14 the Northern Lamma School held an impromptu puppet show called The Mango Tree.

After rehearsing their roles for only two hours four students from the Northern Lamma School put on a remarkable performance. Lovely played the role of Rabbit like a pro, while Sara and Camille did an incredible job handling all the masks, string and hand puppets: Pelican, Cow, Horse, Sheep, Donkey, Fox, and various birds. The only one to drop her lines was the person who wrote the story, in the role of Lion but Aloise, as narrator, didn't miss a beat. She carried through and nobody was wiser.

The Mango Tree is the story of Rabbit who will not share the mangoes from her laden tree. Though it's a very hot day she will not give any to her neighbours. She falls asleep and Fox snitches a bag. When she sees what happened she's inconsolable and complains about how hard life is on her, "Woe is me, woe is me."

Lion thinks she's very foolish and asks for a mango. She is so busy crying she doesn't see the danger and when she refuses he catches her and drags her to his den. Rabbit's neighbours hear her cries but say they are too hot, too hungry, too tired and too thirsty to help. Only Fox is brave enough to risk his life, and saves her from Lion. She thanks him, and asks him to return the bag of mangoes. Lion goes home to his wife Ethel, who shows no pity.

One must find the moral oneself. Did Fox do the right thing? After a stint of twelve years in the United States I'd think twice. In fact, in the next story, Rabbit takes Fox to court for theft and trespassing. Trust me, you can never be too careful.

Oct 24:  The Merchant of Lamma?

Adam West - Stylus Theatre:

William Shakespeare's classic of love, friendship, revenge, prejudice and a severe credit-crunch in an English-language production featuring Lamma resident Andy Fullard.


November 11th - 15th
7.30pm (2.30 Sat/Sun)
Shouson Theatre, Wanchai

BOX OFFICE open now - hurry, tickets selling fast

200-250 HKD

Andy Fullard has been a Lamma resident for over two years and is playing Launcelot Gobbo (playing the clown, a servant of Shylock the money-lender) in the upcoming Stylus production of The Merchant of Venice.

Andy's origins in the UK Lake District meant that Lamma felt like the closest thing to home when he moved to Hong Kong in 2007. He is a dedicated theatrical performer and is thoroughly looking forward to performing in the show in November.

(Stylus Theatre is a Lamma-zine advertiser)

Oct 23:  Young Guns @ HK Cricket Sixes

HK Cricket Sixes - Media release (abridged):

(Text & photos by HK Cricket Sixes)


Hong Kong, October 23, 2009 – In keeping with last year when David Warner thrilled local crowds, Cricket Australia has announced a team of dynamic stars of the future will compete at the 2009 Hong Kong Cricket Sixes, to be played at the Kowloon Cricket Club on October 31-November 1.

First played in 1992, the Hong Kong Cricket Sixes is the longest-running international tournament of its kind and will this year celebrate its 15th edition. As such, the Sixes has been included by the International Cricket Council (ICC) as a 'Catch the Spirit' event to celebrate the global governing body's centenary celebrations.

This year, it will be new crop of youngsters seeking to earn Australia's first-ever victory in the Sixes – led by the rising trio of Michael Cranmer, Josh Hazelwood and Marcus Stoinis.

In addition, the squad includes Simon Keen (22 years of age), Glenn Maxwell (21), Jeremy Smith (21) and former Queensland Sheffield player Greg Moller, at 26, the veteran of the side.

Captain Shahzada Saleem Ahmed, President of the Hong Kong Cricket Association, said:

"With the confirmation of this great young Australian team, we have a strong line up of very competitive teams for the 2009 Hong Kong Cricket Sixes. All of them are capable of lifting the Butani Trophy as the winners in a week or so, so it is going to be another outstanding tournament."

In a new innovation for 2009, the Hong Kong Cricket Sixes pools will be divided into Northern and Southern hemisphere groups. As such, Australia will compete against traditional rivals South Africa and New Zealand along with hosts Hong Kong on day one.

Ticket prices have been revised this year for the Sixes, allowing fans to purchase two-day passes for $HK680 for adults, a 13 per cent discount over last year, while children's tickets will be available for $380, a reduction of 15 per cent.

To give spectators greater flexibility, for the first time single-day passes will also be available at $HK300 (Saturday)/$470 (Sunday) for adults and $180 (Saturday/$220 (Sunday) for kids. Tickets are on sale through HK Ticketing, the Kowloon and Hong Kong Cricket Clubs and Dot Cod restaurant in Central.

The host broadcaster for the 2009 Hong Kong Cricket Sixes will again be Taj TV-owned Ten Sports from Dubai, who will provide a live broadcast of the entire event into Hong Kong, the Indian subcontinent, Southeast Asia, the Middle East, Australia and South Africa.

Additional coverage will also be seen in North America, the United Kingdom, Europe and China. The 2008 Sixes was broadcast to 80 million households worldwide.

About the Hong Kong Cricket Sixes

Six-a-side cricket is the quickest, most fun-filled version of the game - a feast of world-class players, thrilling matches and big hits. First played in 1992, the Hong Kong Cricket Sixes is the longest-running and highest-profile Sixes tournament in the world. It offers two days of fast and furious action in a festival atmosphere - eight international teams, 45-minute clashes and global television coverage.

Stars who have taken part include Brian Lara, Sachin Tendulkar, Javed Miandad, Steve and Mark Waugh, Viv Richards, Andrew Flintoff, Shane Warne, Anil Kumble, Adam Gilchrist, Wasim Akram, MS Dhoni and Sanath Jayasuriya.

The Sixes won the prestigious 2007 ICC Award for Best Cricket Promotional and Marketing Award.

England recorded a record fifth Sixes title last year after a stunning final in which they finished tied with Australia on 121 runs. When Australian batsman Stephen O'Keefe was run out attempting a second run from the final delivery that would have given his team victory, England were confirmed victors as they had lost fewer wickets (three wickets to one).

(HK Cricket Sixes is a Lamma-zine advertiser)

P.S. The Lamma-zine has just received two free tickets - worth $470 each -
for Sunday, Nov 1!
  You'd like one?

I'd expect you to write a few paragraphs about watching the event (no expertise required) and/or take some pictures for a Lamma-zine story to be published afterwards!  Easy!  Email me!

Oct 22:  Breakfast Is Being Served on the Balcony, Milady

What Lamma-Por seems to have been missing most while I was away for a week of hospital checkups was our little morning ritual of me preparing a varying breakfast for her six days a week. She had the same set breakfast in Man Kee restaurant every day while I was away.

6:30am in the Lamma-Gung & Lamma-Por household:
I wake up to the noisy whistling sound from the boiling kettle set up by early riser Lamma-Por. She'll follow up persistently if I don't get up within 1-2 minutes. Boiling water will be the only kitchen task she's performing in the kitchen before leaving for work in Central on a rush hour ferry.

Being double-visioned is no excuse, according to Lamma-Por! I hoped it might save me some work, only having to prepare one breakfast and seeing it double makes two breakfasts, no? Nah, didn't work....

Making a simple, little breakfast like this takes an astonishing amount of effort and time. Today, my freshly ground cafetiere coffee with skimmed milk, her lai cha with carnation milk, heated raisin buns filled with real butter, sliced fresh fruits, cottage cheese and ham omelet. Coming up with a different breakfast every day is pretty easy, rarely planned and created on the spur of the moment, depending on available ingredients in our kitchen. Basically, it's staring with sleepy eyes into the fridge after just getting up, checking what's left and mixing it up. Special requests from Lamma-Por will influence the daily menu, of course.

Lamma-Por loves to encourage her personal chef with smooches and hugs from behind occasionally while he's working, showing her appreciation, but also making sure he does his very best in her preferred way and finishes his work in a timely manner, well before NBC's Nightly News at 7:30am. Then she continues watching TVB Jade news, slurping her lai cha and a fruity appetiser I've served already. She really loves and enjoys it tremendously to be served....

"Breakfast is being served on the balcony, Milady!" After watering the balcony plants together, we're enjoying a leisurely breakfast. Our great, green, open view really gets us up to a great start for the day. Real Quality Time and well worth rising so early, even for a home office worker who could sleep in as late as he likes, at least theoretically.

Official verdict from Lamma-Por:
An enthusiastic, broadly grinning "Yummy, yummy!" She's not a lady of many words but her face will display every emotion and can be read so easily. Then she departs for her rush hour ferry, still a smile on her face.

After watering my rooftop garden and feeding the fishes in the outdoor fountain, it's time to get my regular working day started at 8:30am in my home office. First and most pleasant job of the day, this Lamma-zine story! Some days, Lamma-zine stories like this one almost write themselves, while others can take months with dozens of emails, research, finding contributors and materials, photo shoots, hours of text/ picture editing, formatting and follow-ups.

Oct 21:  Redesigned, Refurbished & Reopened

(Bookazine is a Lamma-zine advertiser)

Oct 20:  Craft Market @ Open Space

Tamara Norris - Creativity Director, Vivid Vibrations:

(Photos by Tamara)

A heart felt and loving thanks to all who ventured up the hill to Open Space last Sunday afternoon - vendors, browsers and shoppers! The Craft Market was a huge success in so many ways - crafty people showcasing their crafty stuff, community kids raising money (and a lot of it) for charity, great music (and cold beer) throughout the day thanks to James the DJ, good eats from the BBQ thanks to brother Dave and adventurous city dwellers braving the hills of Lamma Island!

A big apology to those who tried to find Open Space and didn't.....signs and balloons were hung and were also mysteriously taken down in almost a blink of an eye...we promise to do better with this next time!

The next craft market will be held on Sunday December 13th - noon till 5 pm. If you are interested in being a vendor or would like more details, please contact Tamara.

Quotes from vendors at the Craft Market, Sunday, Oct 4, 2009:

"Thanks Tamara, we made an amazing $1,550 for the Red Cross typhoon appeal. It was a great experience for the kids as they made the signs, helped make the cakes and drinks, then sold them."

Earth Girl Creations:

"Thanks Tamara for all your effort. The event definitely had a little on-the-wild side to it (the hike, location and heat) but it gave a real individual feel to it. I really enjoyed the day with like-minded individuals and friends....and I made a fair sale! I will definitely participate again."


"A big thank you and heartfelt congratulations to Tamara for organizing the Open Space Craft Market. It was a truly uplifting and fun community event. Tamara had clearly organized this with care and a great deal of effort so that it ran smoothly and catered to diverse needs. Thanks too to DJ James for the wonderful music that kept us upbeat and smiling all day long. As a stallholder, I can say this was one of the most joyful markets I have attended for a long time. I look forward to the next market."

Quotes from shoppers/visitors:

Julie Hannaford - one of the lead actresses in Isle Be Damned:

"The craft market at Open Space was fantastic. It had lots of interesting crafts for sale and the atmosphere was wonderful. We were greeted by a group of young girls selling homemade lemonade and then I snapped up some lovely cards, a beautiful necklace and some Herbalife products from Donna. All in all, a great Lamma event at Open Space!!!!"

Megan - HandMade Hong Kong:

"Greeted with lemonade, mojitos, and cupcakes and invited to linger over BBQ, the Open Space Craft Market is the perfect oasis for an Arts and Craftsy afternoon. The quality of work presented was impressive, and made it pretty much impossible to go home empty handed. I was greatly inspired by not only the variety of goods, but the family friendly and inviting atmosphere of the market."

Oct 19:  Rambo's Pendulum

It never ceases to amaze me what Lammaites are coming up with in their spare time. You might say, some of us, including myself, have way too much spare time on  our hands, but some Lammaites pursue amazing and often very creative hobbies, far from commercialism and competition, just for fun. After all, that's how the Lamma-zine and this website started over 7 years ago.

Have a look above at what RamboLai has been up to recently. An outstanding professional photographer himself, he frequently indulges in the most unusual photographic experimentations. Yes, these patterns above are NOT computer graphics, but photos, painted with light! Let Rambo explain below, he even provided a diagram! But I still have no idea why he's named Rambo, being one of the friendliest, most unassuming and mild-mannered guys you'll ever meet!

RamboLai - Photographer and frequent Photo of the Day contributor.
See his amazing Lamma photos in his blog, Photos and the Days:

Spinning Earth

I hang a torch with a string on the ceiling and put the camera on the floor pointing upwards. The exposure is just around 5 minutes.

I just copy the idea from some other websites. This is my setup, see right:

Pre-focus the lens to the torch. Step down the aperture to have maximum depth of field. Dim the room light. You need to swing the torch before starting. The orbit of the torch will become an oval after a few swings. Use a wide angle to start. Stop the shutter before the torch stops swinging. A variation is to point the camera at an angle and use a larger aperture. It will set some of the path out of focus.

A long pendulum would help as you don't need to have a large swinging angle thus lowering the friction. Actually, when you release the torch, the gravity would pull it down along the axis of the string. As the earth is spinning, the torch's path will slowly rotate over a 24-hour cycle. But such a long exposure is not convenient, so I just use a few minutes each time. Maybe my title of "Spinning Earth" is a bit misleading as the path is not 100% caused by the earth spinning. Anyway, have fun trying something like this by yourself, but add your own twists and new ideas!

Oct 9 - 18:  Seeing Double

While you were probably working hard in the village, in town or, preferably, at home last week, how did I spend the week and why have there been no new daily Lamma-zine stories?

Well, I spent the entire week in Queen Mary Hospital, starring in something similar to a HK version of House M.D., the TV series. I was the patient with the mysterious, very-difficult-to-diagnose serious illness which mystifies all the doctors at first and usually takes an entire TV episode to diagnose and cure.

For two weeks now, I've suffered from severe double vision (Binocular Diplopia), making it very difficult to work on this website, a computer or even leave home. The vision problem causes severe dizziness, disorientation, tiredness and upset stomach, especially when going outside.

The Lamma Clinic referred me to an eye appointment in Queen Mary Hospital, having to wait for weeks to even get an out-patient appointment for sometime next year! So I got myself checked in as an in-patient last Monday morning to get properly diagnosed for this urgent and debilitating illness. Here are a few highlights of my strange and unusual week in Queen Mary Hospital:

Monday: Surgical ward: I'm the youngest person in my 6-bed open room. The guy opposite my bed died just before I checked in. The nurses draw the curtains of all the beds, so we won't see them moving him out of the ward in a box. Very soon afterwards, they clean the bed and re-use it for the next patient checking in, not telling him that somebody just died in his bed, of course.

They've got Wifi in most of the hospital now from PCCW, not free, of course. Pay-as-you-go for Netvigator customers at $18/hour, or a monthly fee, or prepaid cards. I prefer to use the free, public PCs in Starbucks downstairs, but their expensive snacks & drinks cost much more than $18/hour. I've visited Starbucks more often this week than all other HK coffee shops together so far this year. So I get to check my email once a day and even visit our forum, making me feel still connected to friends and the world in general.

Tuesday: They're drawing 7 more ampoules of blood for neurologist-ordered blood tests. When I'm finally permitted to leave hospital on Saturday the results haven't come back yet.
All the doctors pressure me into getting an urgent and mandatory, but external and private MRI scan; because I'd have to wait several months for a free, internal one.

$5,120 in the least expensive option, in the nearby HK University clinic, to be paid in advance of the scan! It's more money than we currently have available, so we start scrambling to raise this much cash on such short notice. A great, dear friend and supporter of this website steps in offering to help out, transferring half the fee just hours before the scan on Thursday morning. Many many thanks!

The neurologist checks me out in his Dr Frankenstein lab, putting electrodes on various sensitive spots all over my body. He and his sidekick (surely named Igor?) are shocking me many times with painful series of of up to ten electrical shocks each time, testing the quality and speed of my nerves. Everything's fine. Dr Frankenstein & Igor manage to suppress sinister stares, gleeful cackling and mad eye-rolling while watching me squirm painfully. But I feel strangely re-animated and rejuvenated after the whole ordeal….

Wednesday: Nothing's happening all day besides waiting, no tests, no doctors, no specialists, no results, just waiting, while "enjoying" the hospitality, the still awful food (Hey, what do you expect, it's free, don't complain!), the pill desserts and the tender pampering of frequent (always normal) blood pressure readings, starting at 6am. No shoulder massages, unfortunately.

Browsing through my patient (Pt) folder makes for some fascinating and frightening reading, especially the very detailed comments from the doctors, like:

"Pt reading newspaper." If you ever dare to question or talk back to the doctors you might get a "Pt refuses..." in your permanent records!

Watching a lot of DVDs on my laptop PC, including a new episode of one of my favourite TV series, House M.D. The patient, a genocidal dictator, actually dies in this episode, being killed intentionally by one of the doctors. Perfectly suitable late-night entertainment while lying in a hospital bed? But why's that doctor looking at me in such a suspicious way?

Thursday: Right after being transferred to the Neurological ward, I have to go all by myself to University Hospital's MRI clinic by taxi. The hospital forgot to arrange any transportation and no volunteer is available to accompany me there. They insist on me taking along a four-legged walking stick and make me sign a home leave form, before they bundle me into a taxi instructing the driver. He drops me off several blocks away, making me scramble up the hill to the MRI clinic. It's a quiet, brand-new, sophisticated building complex that shouts "Private! Expensive!" from every nook and cranny, a world away from the basic comforts of free-public-healthcare Queen Mary Hospital.

The numerous attentive staff make absolutely sure that there's no metal of any kind on or inside my body as the massively strong electromagnets of the MRI would attract anything magnetic, even my hairband clip, slicing it through my brain. Fortunately, my permanent Titanium stomach staples are non-magnetic (I hope!) They tie me up, tie me down, plug my ears, mask my eyes and put an intravenous drip into my hand (for enhanced brain contrast) and advice me to remain absolutely still, almost sensory-deprived.

Getting a MRI is an unexpectedly fun and almost psychedelic experience. Lying motionless inside the narrow tunnel of this multi-million-$ marvel of technology creates the most unusual Si-Fi soundtracks during the numerous scans. A real cacophony of high-decibel rhythmic clicking, droning, humming, whirring, banging and clanging. It's almost like an electronic rave concert, almost enough to put you into a sensory trance. Quite a head trip! Expensive, but well worth it for the unique experience, my first-ever! Let's hope they don't find anything, like a stroke, a tumour, Alzheimer's….

Talking about trippy experiences, a Hospital Chaplain is stopping by in the afternoon. After my insistent prompting, he tells me about the bible being true word for word, Earth being less than 6,000 years old, created in exactly 7 Earth days, creationism, modern science getting it all wrong, demons possessing patients, UFO aliens maybe being angels, apocalypse in the next 20 years when even all the good people will be killed and roast in Hell for eternity if they don't worship his fundamentalist, cruel, vengeful God.

After 1.5 hours of friendly "indoctrination", he's laying his hand on my shoulder and prays for my speedy recovery, hoping to add this agnostic, scientifically-minded non-believer to his fine track record of successful bedside conversions to The True Faith. Good luck to him, but a hospital is admittedly an ideal place to do missionary work, with all the people in my ward with much more serious illnesses than mine. My middle-aged bed neighbour can't move his lower body anymore, using adult diapers and getting bedsores.

I consider myself lucky and grateful to be completely healthy and totally symptom-free; besides this annoyingly severe double vision, affecting my lifestyle. Both eyes are fine, clear and sharp individually, but they don't work together properly for 3D vision, forcing me to close one eye not to fall over on our currently very uneven paths or bump into people and things.

Friday: Finally, after 5 days here, I get to see an eye doctor, being pushed in a wheelchair (I'm considered to be unsafe walking by myself outside the ward) to the extremely busy Ophthalmology out-patient clinic. Joining an 8-wheelchair line-up, I'm waiting for a total of 4.5 hours for several tests, even meeting some out-patient Lammaites.
They dilate my eyes with drops and then the overworked ophthalmologist shines an extremely bright light directly into my eyeballs, checking the eye interiors, while a sleepy medical student is watching on….

I'm getting my MRI scans and results, all negative, fortunately! It includes two cool CD-ROMs with all the images and a viewer/player program that even animates the hundreds of scanned slices through my head in several directions. All the pictures in this story show the inside of Lamma-Gung's head! I'm selecting and saving the visually most interesting images on my laptop PC. My next computer art project and online exhibition will be coming soon, working title "MRI Double Visions"….

Saturday: The senior neurosurgeon, neurologists and various doctors congregate and announce their final verdict and advice, after dozens of tests by several specialists all week long, just before releasing me back home, exactly in the same physical state I entered the hospital, without any improvement whatsoever:

DIAGNOSIS: Diplopia from Sixth Cranial Nerve Palsy (the nerve controlling the muscle which is moving the left eyeball has some still undiagnosed problem, preventing the left eyeball from focusing correctly, causing the double vision).
No single major or even minor medical problem or disease of any type has been found, MRI and all tests were negative. I seem to be in great health overall otherwise, thanks to me losing half of my former body weight.

CAUSES: Unknown. ALL the common risk factors for nerve problems do not apply in my case (no smoking, trauma, obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, unhealthy diet, etc.)


  • None; no medication, treatment or therapy available for this condition!

  • Rest, exercise, diet or anything else I could do will make no real difference in healing this problem.

  • Learn to cope with your disability by yourself. Wear an eye patch.

  • Take your pills (only B complex vitamins & 1 multi-vitamin, see below).

  • Come back if it gets even worse. Follow-up out-patient appointments in the next several months.

PROGNOSIS: Unknown. Wait & see. There's some hope that the problem will improve by itself (in months, years or never).

What else did I learn this week?

  • A lot of new medical lingo, especially all the exotic diseases I was tested for, but don't have, fortunately. Brain tumour, Myasthenia gravis, ophthalmoplegia, Fisher-Miller, etc. But most of these have treatments, unlike mine.

  • I've improved my Sudoku skills considerably, now even being able to solve the most difficult, level 5 Sudokus in the SCMP on weekends.

  • I got great pictures and animations of the inside of my head - for just the price of a week on an exotic beach - inspiring me to new creative flights of fancy.

  • I gained new appreciation for the capabilities (and severe limitations) of modern medicine and HK's still fantastic public healthcare system and its devoted, capable, hard-working people. It's a shining example worldwide and way ahead of most developed countries in many ways!

    (Sadly, our govt. sounds extremely determined to dismantle this highly successful and reliable system, trying to push people into private healthcare which is absolutely unaffordable for the vast majority of Hong Kongers.
    The dismantling has started already, more and more important drugs and tests are not covered by public hospitals anymore and the system and its people are being squeezed more and more by the govt.)

  • This is the (temporary?) end of me leaving home frequently, the end of my hiking, biking, tough exercise and leaving the island, no more events, concerts,....

When you encounter me in person, with one eye closed…no, I'm not winking at you, just trying to see you clearly!
Maybe I should start a new Lamma fashion trend of colourful, quirky eye patches?

The Lamma-zine will continue on a regular schedule, of course!
I can still read or focus on a computer screen if I tilt my head in exactly the right way to find the small remaining sharp area in my field of vision. But it's tiring....

P.S. A new forum topic has just been started about this story. You're welcome to post your comments there (and make fun of me, of course!):  LG.

Oct 8:  Short. Sweet. Tough.

$1,320 for the entire 8-week Bootcamp.
Special discount on Studio membership for Bootcampers, only $500/month (instead of $680) for access to all classes listed in white or black on the weekly schedule.

Call/SMS 9286 9111 or email them.

As a survivor of Bootcamp 2 myself, I can recommend these weekly workouts highly. I lost 10 pounds during the 8 weeks and increased my fitness dramatically. If a former couch potato like me can do it, you can, too! Testimonials:

We Are The Champions!
Handstands, Pull-ups & Virgin Cocktails

(Island Life Studio is a Lamma-zine advertiser)

What else is happening this weekend? Here are 4 musical events involving Lammaites, but 3 of them are actually happening on HK Island:


Oct 7:  Circling Lamma Clockwise

Click above for L-G's photo gallery

(Thanks to Lamma OCC for letting me ride along on their junk as the race's "official" photographer, following them all around Lamma!)

Gina Meana - Women's team captain, Race MC, Lamma Outrigger Canoe Club:

(Photos by Siuyu Leung, click to enlarge)

I just wanted to send you a "thank you" for coming to the Round Lamma Race this year. I think you will all agree that the times were brilliantly fast this year.

The new course record is now 1:54:56 – owned by the HKOCC men. Last year's record was the Island Paddle Club men with 1:55:47.

The ladies fastest time this year was IPC with 2:18.50, beating the record of last year, which was 2:27:48.

This year's winning mixed crew from Lantau arrived with an excellent time of 2:19.35.

The YC Rowers were 2:06:51, while the OC2s recorded 2:10:51 by John and Ross, and 2:23:14 by Peter and Anna, who joined us at the last minute cause they simply had nothing else on the books that day (brilliant!) and felt like a paddle in "different water."

Special call-out goes to Greg Pittams, who has not been in an OC6 more than three times since last October/08, has never paddled around Lamma in an OC1, and who chose to make the trip just because he could. Greg recorded a perfectly dignified time of 2:54:36 netted him a trophy, which we can assume he may be using as a spittoon even now.

In the next few days, our photographer on the junk will be posting photos from the afternoon's events. Please visit to see these.

Again, thanks to you all for attending, and congratulations to everyone. Please forgive the typos in the chart below. I have no idea what gremlins took possession of my fingers earlier today as I compiled the file.

Oct 4:  Mid-Autumn at the Beaches

Sat, Oct 3, Hung Shing Yeh Beach, photos by Dirk Claus:

Power Station Beach, photos by L-G:

Oct 3:  Rooftop LammaBBQ

Family visit on National Day by most of my 3 HK-Chinese step-children,
2 sons-in-law and 3 step-grandsons, visiting their (grand)mother Lamma-Por and grandpa "Uncle Ah-Gung" on Lamma, Lamma-Gung for short.

We were picking up BBQ foods/supplies from on Hung Shing Yeh beach; an amazingly wide, low-cost range of marinated meats, seafoods and BBQ supplies, a lot more and better quality than can be found on YSW Main Street.

Rooftop BBQ at Lamma-Gung & Lamma-Por's new flat.

With apologies to our vegan and vegetarian readers...

Fun in our 2nd-hand, $200 pool for my 3 step-grandsons.
All of them living in typical high-rises on HK Island, so they really enjoyed the wide open spaces and the freedom & convenience of a rooftop, but are not eager at all about Lamma's dogs, mosquitoes, snakes and bugs in general.

The rooftop pool is even big enough for L-G to play floating "dead man".

( is a Lamma-zine advertiser)

Oct 2:  Crafty People Doing Crafty Things

Another Lamma weekend with a wide range of activities for all ages:

Round Lamma Outrigger/Surf-ski Race: Sat, 10am-5pm, Power Station Beach
Bootcamp 3 intro/Q&A: Sat, 6:30-7pm, Island Life Studio

Origami Lantern Party: Sun, 11am-noon, Island Life Studio
Craft Market: Sun, Oct 4, 12noon-6pm, Open Space
Open Stage: every Sun, 3-6pm, Island Bar


"There will be a PAID BBQ at Power Station Beach on Sat afternoon (priority is paddlers, but guests are welcome at a charge of @$75 each; booze extra).
It should be great to see the boats come in again this year - it's an incredibly fun race, and the different parts of the island offer all kinds of challenges."

Read about last year's Round Lamma Race: Sexy Time & Losing Your Virginity.

For more events every week: Lamma Events Calendar.

Oct 1:  Happy 60th Birthday, PRC!

Banner at the YSW Library, opposite the ferry pier, front/back, night/day

Here's the birthday cake! You can have it and eat it, too!


Read last month's stories...

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

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