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Feb 28 - Chinese Valentine's Day:  Bobsy the Valentine

Lamma's most famous and not-publicity-shy-at-all hippie has been featured in the latest edition of the Chinese Marie Claire HK magazine; single HK people describing what they're looking for in their personal Mr. or Ms. Right. If you can read Chinese, click above. Otherwise, have somebody translate it for you, it's entertaining and insightful, revealing a lot of background on this perennially controversial "Laudable Lamma Luminary". Applications to become Bobsy's Valentine from ladies fitting the very detailed profile above will be welcomed.

In our Chinese forum, people have been commenting on this story, agreeing that Bobsy seems to be looking for somebody very much like himself, vegetarian, spiritual, socially active, "loving the Earth"; but prettier, Chinese and female. He confirmed that he's indeed looking for a "cute Bobsina"! Good luck with that!  ;-)

After this story, quite a few local Chinese commented to him on this high-profile full-page story, some pretty girls even wishing him "Happy Valentine!" No comment was available from his current lady love from Shanghai, pictured here in Green Cottage. Plus a few more of my pictures - from the extensive Lamma-zine archives - of this ever-changing fashion chameleon & "ecopreneur" over the years.

All cozy & cuddly @ Green Cottage, Feb 2010

The Urban Cowboy promoting SaveTheHuman @ Clockenflap 2009

Before his "Bald Bonanza" charity shearing @ Lamma Fun Day 2007

The "Armani Hippie" co-managing Life Cafe, 2004

Opening party @ Life Cafe, 2004

Bookworm Café story in TVB Weekly, 2003

Filming a Star TV documentary about Lamma Forest, 2005

A favourite spot, overlooking YSW, 2005, with Puppy II

Humble beginnings, living up in Hunter's jungle hideaway, 1993

Relaxing after another day of Lamma Forest trail building,
in the former Tai Peng "Party House", 2010

Feb 27:  Durian for Dessert?

One of the delights not available in any of Lamma's restaurants - as far as I know - is the (in)famous, "slightly" smelly, but utterly delicious Durian fruit. In a rare moment of sheer indulgence, celebrating a family birthday, I ordered this dessert above. Green tea ice cream, fresh strawberry on shaved vanilla ice, plus an entire ice cream scoop of pure, ripe durian flesh! This is my favourite dish in this dessert-only restaurant chain, Honeymoon Dessert (27 branches all over HK, but none on Lamma yet.) They offer FIVE different Durian-based desserts!

Why are dessert choices on Lamma so limited? Cheesecake, ice cream or fruits seem to be almost the only options available for people with a sweet tooth. Do Lammaites lack a sweet tooth or are our numerous restaurants just not daring enough? Since the closure of Lamma Sweet House in Sok Kwu Wan, nobody's offering a reasonable range of desserts anymore!

But none of my Chinese relatives was willing to order my creamy, yummy, succulent delight or even try it. Some even made funny, disgusted faces at their Ah-Gung's "weird" culinary preference and Lamma-Por even refused my smooches! Harrumph! I loved it and will order it again next time! Just don't sit too close to me!

Feb 26:  CitiCrook & Devil Bank!

The unusual & intriguing sights you come across on HK Island are making an occasional visit well worthwhile. Leaving our simple-life "rural idyll" occasionally for a kind of "reverse immigration" to the big, modern city, we can still get surprised by unusual sights and happenings, even after decades of living in HK.

Case in point, this protest action below which has been going on for several months outside Citibank in the very centre of Central, at the crossing of Pedder St/Des Voeux Rd. The bank guards didn't intervene in the protest at all and probably waited for the police and/or the street cleaners to take action.

While I'm not sure about the reasons behind this long-time protest (Minibonds?), it's kind of refreshing to see that this kind of David-vs-Goliath civil action is still possible in HK. Dissenters still dare to protest in public, taking on even all-powerful corporate giants, especially global banks causing the global financial meltdown. It brought a smile to my face, but it seemed to be totally and deliberately ignored by almost all passersby, in a rush to make more money to feed their bank accounts.

Returning just a few hours later, all traces of the protest had been erased and cleaned up, the lone protester disappeared (arrested?) Just the usual glossy advertising had been left behind. For example, this truly stupid ad on nearby Entertainment Bldg. which encourages us to "Be Stupid" and buy their clothes. This kind of massive billboards look a lot more offensive to me than honest protest banners.

Feb 25:  My 2nd Surgiversary

Exactly two years ago, Feb 25, 2008, I was wheeled into the surgery theatre of Queen Mary Hospital, undergoing laparoscopic Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy. It was a "last resort" way to lose weight which was beginning to affect my health seriously, making me worry about my future life and well-being.

They removed 80% of my stomach permanently and irreversibly, forever reducing the amount of food I can eat to about a small rice bowl. Nothing else was done in this purely restrictive operation, no liposuction, no removing or rerouting of any part of my intestines, unlike the other, more common but riskier weight loss operations like Gastric Bypass which too often result in serious complications.

Ten more days in hospital and then my serious hard-core dieting started; no more alcohol, soft drinks, junk food or anything high in fat; eat your veggies, fruits and proteins, 1000 calories/day, for 1.5 years! But without exercise, the weight loss could never have been as dramatic. Never having exercised voluntarily before, I hiked frequently, got a bike, joined the Island Gym, found a local personal trainer, took 3 Island Life Studio classes/week, even completed a 10-week Bootcamp.

It all made me lose almost half of my entire body weight over 1.5 years, 82kgs/180 pounds in total. I've shifted from the medical category of "Super Morbidly Obese" to a mere "Overweight" BMI of 28 and a body fat index of below 20%, being much fitter and healthier now than when I was half my age.

My serious, still- undiagnosed double vision problem has mostly healed itself over the last few months. I can eat anything again and my digestion works better than before. I got completely rid of all of my weight-related "co-morbidities" (diabetes, hypertension, acid reflux, sleep apnoea, OA) and could discontinue all my former medications.

I've also managed so far to keep my new weight very steady for the last half a year (see above.) Eating healthy (but well) will have to be my discipline for the rest of my life, otherwise I could slowly regain all the former weight. Fortunately, there are lots of healthy options available in Yung Shue Wan. Sharing a single meal with Lamma-Por saves us a lot of money for some of life's other pleasures.

So how am I going to celebrate my 2nd Surgiversary (a US weight loss forum term, meaning surgery anniversary)? I'm off now to ride my bike over to Mo Tat Wan Village, via Sok Kwu Wan, have a snack of low-calorie, high-protein seafood, maybe hike up Ling Kok Shan a bit.

Sorry, no big, fancy, celebratory buffet with Lamma-Por tonight, I just don't have the stomach for it anymore. Instead, we shared a single soup and starter in The Waterfront, the location of my very last regular-size meal of my life, just before the surgery.

How to Lose 175 Pounds

Feb 24:  'Best Wedding I've Ever Witnessed'

Nick the Bookman - Official Court Music Reviewer, expanding into reviews of weddings and other major social events - Nick's Website.

(Photos by Steve Cray; text edited by L-G)

THE WEDDING - 14-2-2010

Bleugh, snurfle, groan, etc...
I'm waking up slowly and trying to remember recent events. Where am I? What year is it? Am I waiting imminent arrest? Do all body parts function (more or less) as normal? Why do I feel like someone has stuffed a high pressure hose up my nose and inflated my blood? Can I answer these questions?

Basically yes: I'm at home. It's 15-2-2010. No. Yes (more or less). I've been at THE WEDDING. Things are becoming clearer with each gulp of coffee.

"Best wedding I've ever witnessed. I hope to celebrate many of your anniversaries. Gav"

OK. It's 14-2-2010 (Valentine's Day) and the Kiwi boys are throwing a bit of a do. To be precise, Marc is marrying his endearing, exquisite, ethereal, enchanting Thai girlfriend Nuch. They've been together for a few months (?) and he decided that this is one that isn't getting away. All the legalities and paperwork are being done elsewhere, but February the 14th is the day to tie the knot/plight the troth/jump the broomstick, whatever. It's the time-honoured lovers' day and coincides with the first day of the Chinese New Year.

It's the first doubling up of these holidays in the 21st Century (at least according to the basic Gregorian Calendar used by the West). And as TVB keeps reminding us, there won't be a similar occurrence until 14-2-2048. Not that I expect to be hooting and hollering on that occasion as I'll be 93 and rising. Or dead. That might explain my quaffing a lot of wine. Get all your celebrations in now. Especially as Marc and Mike have laid on ample supplies of nectar and ambrosia for the event.

"My flower was handpicked/plucked, but "aha" there was much more loveliness than
I could ever wear here. Marc and Nuch. Happy times,
Will Hann, xx"

The wedding is taking place on the roof of Marc and Nuch's flat in Kam Sham Terrace. There's a well designed roof office and a huge canopy over most of the rest of the roof. Essential for today's nuptials as it's spizzling a bit (as seems to happen every Chinese New Year in recent memory. Everyone remains dry (outside) but their grog lifting muscles are getting a major workout. The wedding music is all programmed into two laptops.

"My name is Anne. Anne Elk. Clive"
"All the best for you both.

About 80% of the guests and revellers are raging upstairs. Nuch is downstairs, smiling beatifically at everything and semi-keeping guard over the victuals. There's a magnificent Thai feast laid out. All the colours under the sun. I'm almost sure that the spice factor alone has raised the temperature downstairs a few more degrees from the 10-12 degrees on offer upstairs.

Kay Ross is downstairs as well, calming last minute nerves. She's a sometime stand-up comedienne and is conducting the service dressed in a rather resplendent purple robe? cassock? whatever. The wine bottles are being drained at a near frenzied pace. The cham- pagne is waiting to go. Beers and spirits are also being dispatched with glee.

The weather is playing its part. Very little moisture and some wonderfully amorphous blobs and tendrils of mist, blocking and revealing the 360 degree rooftop panorama. Most of Cath's Bar is here now. Dave Spicer, Mooney, Cath & Darren, Parksy & Tiff. Alba is in the corner, filming the action. So are several other people with smaller cameras and cell phones. Will is manning the laptops and playing some cool indie rock. The House of Love and The Las among other tunes.

"I must not get drunk at weddings (times 3)...Marcel and Nuch, what a great way to perform your wedding. Very different, but surprisingly good. All the best for the future.
Dave Spicer"

followed by:

"Oh, joy. I write after Dave Spicer...most excellent wedding, the vows were brilliant. Inspiring. Best wishes for a long and happy life together. Chris"

I've been nattering away to Danny and our conversation has veered into Python territory. Talk of "Life of Brian", perhaps. Certainly a mention of John Cleese visiting Yung Shue Wan just prior to the Handover. There's a photo somewhere of my arse outside Pizza Milano. Chatting with Lord Fawlty.
Also present in the picture are his daughter (who played his daugher in "A fish called Wanda") and his second American wife, Alyce, who's recently cleaned him out in an expensive divorce, forcing John Cleese to go back to work to pay for the "extra waffer theen mints" and other luxuries of life. Anyway, the service is about to start. So, over to Kay:

[Speech by the "Eccentric Marriage Celebrant"]

"Great day (and bloody funny service). Thanks for inviting us. Wishing you a long, happy prosperous future together. Happy wedding day/Valentine's Day? Kung Hei Fat Choy. Daz and Cath"

The revelries are underway. I've gone walkabout for some inexplicable reason (probably a desire to drunkenly babble at strangers who are merely friends I don't know) and have managed to "abduct" Anni (her word) and bring her to the party. Somehow, she's managed to sign the book twice, so here are her offerings.

"I was abducted (see, told you) by Nick the book so apologies for my attire.
Have a great future together and welcome to Chelsea Football Club. With love,
Anni x",

and for the follow up:

"Oh, lordy, Nick is drunk again and asked me to do this all over again. Here goes. Blessings to you both. Blessings to Chelsea and blessings to Nurofen
which has helped numb my hangover. Happy year of the tiger,
Anni, xx"

I think I ate about 4 plates of extra-delicious spicy Thai food which led to some tectonic eructations from me later on. Heard a lot of good music. Watched Alba film intensely. Managed to get a few more people to sign "the book."

OK, this is Marc and Nuch's story and I've intervened and rambled enough. So, I'll sign off by saying it was a bloody brilliant day. Congratulations to you both and may many more days like this be upfront in your joined future. And good luck and take care of the baby bump. Someone to look forward to in the summertime. Here's some more quotes.

"Marc and Nuch. May the happy dust rain down on you for many years to come.
Best wishes,

"Marcel and Nuch. Congratulations! What a very enjoyable wedding. I should have expected no less from you. Cheeky! Nuch, you look absolutely stunning and who thought Marcel could look so darling. Lots of love, Emma and Isobelle, xxx"

"Marcel and Nuch. Great to see you both so happy. Good luck for the future.
Chok Dee, Phil"

"Dear Marc and Nuch. Congratulations. What a great way to celebrate the Year of the Tiger and Valentine's all in one. No excuses for forgetting your anniversary, hee hee. Lots of love, Sonya"

"Congratulations on your wedding. Best of luck for the future.
May the Year of the Tiger bring you happiness and fortune.

And now a quick word from the fellow rugger buggers. First:

"A great friend and wicked man to share part of my life with.
I wish you both all the best.

followed by the touring partner and best man:

"Marc and Nuch. All the best. All my love from Mike, your best man. xxxx"

Finally, there's Edith Hamilton-hyphen-Smythe, who said:

"It was an honour and jolly good fun to officiate at your wedding. Thank you and congratulations. Edith Hamilton-hyphen-Smythe aka Kay Ross"

I suppose other tales will leak out eventually about this three-in-one holiday bacchanal, but for now, it's goodbye from me. And it's goodbye from them. ntb

Two more photos, by Cristobal de Lamma

Feb 23:  Central Oasis

Walking from the Yung Shue Wan Shopping Mall - also known as ifc Mall - over to the Central-Mid-Levels Escalator, you come across this very pretty but surprising sight in the overpass inside Central Market, a route many Lammaites are very familiar with. They govt. calls it the Central Oasis, a temporary construction built by the Urban Renewal Authority, a kind of early glimpse, a showcase of what the ancient Central Market building could become after the redevelopment. The project is open now for consultation and feedback.

Nielsen is doing surveys in there now, but only of HK visitors, not residents who are being forwarded to a survey section on the URA website. One of Nielsen's staff approached me, mistaking me for a tourist because I was taking photos of all these pretty decorations and wall paintings where there was just an ugly, utilitarian concrete overpass just a few weeks ago. He didn't want to interview me, so I interviewed him, getting enough info out of him to write this story!  ;-)

"Central Oasis" in Central Market overpass from ifc mall to Mid-Levels Escalator

"Artist's Impressions" on huge posters, showing the proposed
Central Market redevelopment by the Urban Renewal Authority

Wall paintings in the "Central Oasis" - Central Market overpass
from ifc mall to Central-Mid-Levels Escalator

Proceeding to the Central-Mid- Levels Escalator, a short lower section was temporarily out of order. So I spontaneously decided to do my daily cardio workout by walking up all the stairs just besides the entire Escalator as fast as I could, taking two steps at a time. It's a surprisingly fun and uncrowded experience as almost nobody else seems to take these stairs in the uphill direction while the escalator is running uphill.

The area is quaint and interesting, lined with dozens upon dozens of restaurants with international cuisine and luxury shops, mostly well above my financial means. No pretty wall paintings here, many walls look something like this:

But at the top of the Mid-levels Escalator I found more wall paintings, streetside this time, along Conduit Rd (?), promoting the East Asian Games 2009:

Exploring Mid-Levels and SOHO on the way down, I finally found an affordable place, stopping for a yummy $32 Afternoon Tea Set in Delifrance:

Yes, the life of a "professional blogger" is really sooo very hard and demanding, full of stress, sweat and self-sacrifice....

Feb 22:  Lamma Women - HK Cricket Champions!

Mark Burns - Director, Asian Cricket Sixes Tour

(media release, Feb 21 2010; photo by Lamma Cricket Club)

Lamma win Grand Final to be crowned women's cricket champions of Hong Kong for sixth successive year

Lamma Women today won the Hong Kong Women's Cricket League for the sixth year running by trouncing Willow Wielders by 95 runs in the Grand Final at Kai Tak today.

The Grand Final concept, popular especially in Australia and New Zealand and played between the top two placed teams from the round robin stage of the competition, was introduced for this season by the HK Womens Cricket Committee and has proved a popular innovation.

The win in the final means that Lamma CC are still the only team ever to have won the HK Women's League which first started in 2004.

Winning the toss and batting first Lamma put on a very challenging total of 184-7 in their 35 overs. Skipper Neisha Pratt (47) and Connie Wong (40) were the pick of the batters. The Willow Wielders conceded 48 extras.

In reply Willow Wielders were all out for 89 following an excellent bowling display from the Lamma girls. Connie Wong with 5 wickets for just 11 runs, Godiva Li with 2 wickets for 30 runs from 10 overs and Fiona Fitzgerald with 2 for 30 runs from her 10 overs were the pick of the bowlers as Willow Wielders lost wickets regularly and were all out trailing by 95 runs.

Lamma skipper Neisha Pratt was awarded the League cup by trophy sponsor Mark Burns who told the victorious captain that after six wins the Lamma CC women could keep it.

For further information about women's cricket in Hong Kong see HKCA website or see Lamma CC website at

Lamma captain Neisha Pratt with a supporter and 'Go Lamma!' banner
Lamma players and supporters pose with the trophy

Feb 21:  Buyology - the Science of Cats & Store Owners

Jennifer Spratly - PhD Candidate in food anthropology:

(republished & edited from her blog with friendly permission)

Lamma cats live probably over most of the island, but they seem particularly lively in my neighborhood. They play. They climb. They squeal. They look like they'd really want to know what's down that well, or whatever that deep hole is I spot from my balcony. They stick their little heads into that black void and I fear that, one of these days, it might happen that "curiosity killed the cat". Or maybe cats are too smart to loose their balance?

I see feral cats getting fed regularly by kind-hearted animal welfare people. One of the whites made a disgusted face at me the other day as I tried to befriend it by trying to make sweet sounds from a distance. The cat was like... what? And then... yuck! And then took off. Well, fair enough. At least it's honest.

I have also noticed that stepping into someone's store without knowing exactly what to buy may cause active neglect or a reaction quite similar to the cat's, resembling disgust. Maybe the lack of sun these past days has made some people catty?

I think about what if I had to engage in business and family matters in the same confined space, with only a door separating the front shop from the back living quarters. Would the foreign person browsing "my stuff" piss me off? Yes, probably. Customers seem to be expected to look like we know exactly what we want to buy. I must remember to enter stores as if entering someone's private home.

Yung Shue Wan ferry pier, decorated for Chin. New Year (photo by Jennifer)

Feb 20:  VIP Rooftop Wedding on Valentine's Day

(all photos by Steve Cray, headline typography by L-G)

Marc Miller - Groom (wedding website), Mint Urban:

Lamma Island was our first pick – much more conducive to food, wine and merriment…and we didn't have to worry about drunken guests driving home afterwards (unless someone decided to steal a VV, which is relatively unlikely).

The rooftop has a view which matches many backdrops offered by inner-city parks and it allowed us to embed our new house with a great vibe and energy of day. The stormy winds, icy, chilling to the bone conditions and relentless rain suddenly made way for us and it was still, calm and relatively warm – thanks a lot you smiling Lamma weather gods!!

We managed a splendid champagne soaked day…fun, laughter, a couple of broken cheers (and a tear or two) – and a jolly good time was had by all – (and the All Blacks gained 1 new supporter).

Steve Cray - Red Star Rising, from his blog:

Valentine's Day Spectacular

(I do . . . as long as you support the All Blacks)

The dearly Lamma Island beloved were gathered in the presence of the three chimneys on a rooftop at Kam Shan Terrace on Valentine's Day for the marriage of MINT's Marc Miller and Prakai Wannawong (Nuch). It was the wedding with everything; Champagne, beer, top food, wonderful people, humour and more Champagne.

The service was officiated by marketing consultant, healer and performer Kay Ross in character as Edith Hamilton-Hyphen-Smythe and looking every inch as though she just stepped off a Harry Potter set (check out the pointy shoes)...

It was quite the most entertaining wedding I've ever attended - let alone photographed. A top day!

• Catch wedding updates here: and see a web gallery of around 100 of my wedding shots here: wedding web gallery.
See my website by clicking this link.

P.S. I:  I read about this wedding beforehand via a tweet, very appropriate for a wedding so well promoted via digital social media:
Website, Facebook group, Google map, photo gallery, poster via mass email!

"kayross Going to Lamma Island today to do a Valentine's Day acting gig as an eccentric marriage celebrant - fun!"

P.S. II:  The rooftop looked very familiar in Steve Cray's great photos!
Lamma-Por and I were seriously looking at it (twice) last summer
when we were flat-hunting. We liked it but the landlord asked way too much for it, mainly because of the amazing, panoramic harbour view from the rooftop.

We refused the flat and then the landlord dropped the price very significantly, finding Marc & Nuch several months later. The flat back then, when the landlord was still occupying it, had an impressive rooftop garden and was so densely stuffed with toys, house miniatures, pictures, arts & crafts everywhere, like a fairytale museum, almost like in anticipation of this fairytale VIP wedding.

P.S. II:  Just one more photo from Dave Spicer, showing Prof Red Star as "The Wedding Photographer". Dave writes:

"I think it captures a moment that shows the 'new style' Hong Kong wedding that is allowed to take place at any location the couple want. I put in grayscale to simulate the classic 50's and 60's pictures that take the eye of the colour and allows the viewer to concentrate of the faces and characters. The fact that the picture was caught just as the flash was taken has added another dimension of light against vignetting in the corners."

Contact Wedding Photographer Prof RS (or me) for your next wedding!

Feb 19:  13 Degrees... Indoors!

Too cold today to type and publish a Lamma-zine story! 8 degrees outside and a freezing 13 degrees Celsius indoors in my home office, a new personal record low for our unheated flat! 3 layers of clothing and 3 pairs of socks and still not comfy.... {*Shiver!*}

Well, just a few more days and our short winter will be over!


Feb 18:  Marketing Magazine Interview

Feb 17:  Lamma Wild Boar - First-Ever Photos

There have been persistent rumours of wild boars roaming free on Lamma Island in recent years. Many Lammaites dismissed them as just another Lamma Myth (of which there are many... too many.) We've only had occasional anecdotes and stories of very rare sightings so far, for example from anonymous:

"This thing was moving fast, charged across my path about 20 foot away from me. It was large, fat, dark brown, hairy and with a convex curve in its back. There was a real raw primal feel to it, so unexpected that I thought a portal had opened from the twilight zone, pretty awesome, actually!"

The closest to photographic evidence we've ever come were photos of footprints in a dug-up sweet potato patch of Lo So Shing's Paul the Butterfly Man (Repeated Wild Animal Raid On Sweet Potato Fields), over 1 year ago. No photos of any wild boar ever, this most elusive former Lamma Myth! Until now!

Sightings so far, as described on this website:
Wild boars/pigs while mountain climbing ???

So I decided to offer a huge, amazing, fantastic prize for actual photos of the That got the Lamma-zine surprisingly quick results. Within a day, our intrepid Anonymous Guy - the undisputed king of Lamma wildlife photography and the most admired contributor to our Flora & Fauna forum - stepped up to the task and delivered these stunning shots below! Congratulations! So, in which YSW restaurant you'd like to enjoy that free dinner, Anonymous-no-more Guy?


Tigger wrote: "Excellent pictures. And what a beauty that is!!

"So why don't we just leave this little piece of nature alone.

"We live with snakes, frogs, birds and the dreaded 'Lamma Centipede', as well as the odd feral cat, dog and the odd obnoxious human... and this little creature is not about to do any harm to anyone.

"As they don't seem to be dangerous - after all that I have read on the subject - it's nice to have some more 'wildlife' on this island."

I fully agree. Let's declare this young boar a semi-official Lamma Mascot!  ;-)

Feb 16 - 3rd Day of Lunar New Year:  Family CNY Visit

3 generations of my Chinese family - 3 step-children/3 grand-children/2 sons-in- law - visiting Ah-Gung and Ah-Por on their yearly family trip to exotic, rural, far- away, unfamiliar Lamma Island, all the way from their homes on urban HK Island.

I remember the guy on the right riding on my shoulders through Ocean Park over 20 years ago and spending the Millennium night in hospital awaiting the birth of my first step-grandson, now ten years old. HK is my home now.

To our astonishment, they all loved Mr Kebab's food, even though being unfamiliar with Turkish food. The bill for 10 people, $284, was less than our recent simple hot pot for 2 people in Lung Wah Restaurant.) Then we returned to the Lamma-Gung & -Por Residence decorated with some typical CNY flowers & plants, of course:

Then it was time for the highly anticipated exchange of CNY presents and fried cakes, plus the traditional handing out of Lai See packets to all the visitors, of course.

Feb 15 - 2nd Day of Lunar New Year:  Yoga Wendy Is Back!

The first yoga lesson of my life was with Wendy in Sally's yoga studio near the Tofu Lady on the way to the beaches, 1 year ago. She's such a great and experienced teacher, inventing new, special yoga positions tailor-made for my creaky knees by "balancing the smileys on my knees" (see below).

She introduced me to the great health benefits of this ancient practice and I've continued yoga lessons with another teacher occasionally since then, becoming quite a bit less inflexible and unbalanced. Wendy lived on Lamma from 1987 to 1993 and now inhabits Glastonbury UK, "but the sound of waves against the Lamma rocks lives on."

Wendy's just returned to Lamma for a few weeks, giving a number of yoga workshops for her many old friends still living here, plus new "acolytes" like myself. While I understand nothing at all about my chakras and my "body's subtle regions of the energy realms", I look forward again to "embrace both our limitations and our unlimited potential for freedom." It really sounds like "serious fun!" Contact Sally at 2982 4301 for details & directions, or click below:

Feb 14 - 1st Day of Lunar New Year:  Happy Lunar New Year!

Tin Hau Temple, Yung Shue Wan, New Year's Eve. Photos by Dirk Claus:


Feb 13:  Lili's Flat

Our free classified Buy & Sell, Rent & Let forum has become a major place for finding, renting and buying private Lamma properties, without any half-month agency fees. It's also the only place so far, as no property agent or major landlord is offering any property on the Internet or in any printed media yet, leading to frequent enquiries to for flat-finding info. There are only a few, little-known web pages offering short- term, tiny "holiday resort" rooms, but no long-term, regular, residential flats are on offer online at all.

The local landlords and agents rely exclusively on word-of-mouth and little, text-only ads in their Main Street shop windows to attract new tenants and buyers. This is severely limiting their business opportunities to passersby only. "We've always done business this way, why change, why try something new that's not free?" That's the kind of typical feedback I get when talking with them. But the commission they receive from a single flat rental or sale would easily pay for an entire year of advertising on this website, the #1 Lamma website so many people are looking at before they move to Lamma or search for a new flat.

Finally, one forward-looking landlady has woken up to the new world of online marketing opportunities! She's placed an advert on this website to reach a much wider audience interested in renting her great flat and finding a good tenant much quicker this way. If you're looking for a fully furnished flat in a quiet, friendly neighborhood, check out this place! Let's see how very quickly this flat will be rented out after this home page promotion....

I've visited the flat myself recently, chatting with the Chinese landlady, Lili, and her current tenant, Elizabeth. They've become very good friends, even hanging out together frequently and giving presents to each other. All the photos and most of the text come from Elizabeth who's returning to her overseas home for now, but hopes to return for another extended stay soon.

The latest issue of Timeout HK magazine features a full page about Yung Shue Wan, including a few sample properties. This is a very rare case of seeing any Lamma properties listed in any media. Click to enlarge to read the entire page:

P.S. Well, it took just a little over a week to find and confirm a tenant, Lili's fully furnished flat is rented out now. No more phone calls, please!

So, who's next to advertise their flat on this page successfully?

Feb 12:  Tweeting About Lamma

Click above to read what Twitter members have been tweeting about Lamma recently. No need to sign up first - I didn't.

There was one very interesting tweet:

kayross  Going to Lamma Island today to do a Valentine's Day acting gig as an eccentric marriage celebrant - fun!  8:25 PM Feb 13th from web

More about that "eccentric marriage celebrant" and the VIP wedding soon....

Feb 11:  An Arduous, Shambolic & Acrimonious Process

Jo Wilson - Secretary,

Dear Financial Secretary,

Life for everyone on the outlying islands relies upon the ferry services. These are currently not subsidised in any way, nor do they receive financial support from Government in the form of capital injection other than through the provision of ferry piers.

This is a missed opportunity. There would be significant environmental and commercial gains were the ferry services to be given greater support. The boats themselves could be improved to cut emissions and the ferry piers could be renovated to include more retail/restaurant space. There could also be more inter-island services to support tourism.

Other forms of transport receive support, be it directly or indirectly. Buses, taxis and trams are given free, well-maintained roads. Some have received cash injection to allow them to use modified fuel which is better for the environment. MTR receives capital grants and is allocated property to develop.

To date, the Transport Department has held the view that a policy does not allow subsidies to be given to public transport. However, whichever way the Government chooses to word this, it is still clear that the ferry services are out on a limb whilst other modes of public transport are given assistance to ensure their safe, regular and ongoing operations.

The last ferry tendering process turned out to be a debacle and has resulted in total inequality of services on different routes.

We on Lamma suffer a long and very uncomfortable journey if we need to travel to Aberdeen. The service is infrequent and as a result is less frequently used, causing commuters to clog up the roads unnecessarily when traveling to Aberdeen via Central. Effectively, there is no convenient access for Lamma residents to Aberdeen shops and facilities, schools in the areas and Ocean Park.

The direct service to Central is much more acceptable but we are all waiting with bated breath to see how the next tendering process will be handled and if indeed we will be made to suffer a further reduction in this essential service. Ferry routes to other islands are also troubled by lack of Government support.

We note that you are inviting comments from the public for the preparation of your budget and we hope you will address this issue which is at the heart of life on the islands since there is a clear conflict between support for public transport on Hong Kong and Kowloon versus that for the outlying islands.

Yours sincerely,

Sharon - The Island Bar & The Waterfront:

Following an arduous, shambolic and at times acrimonious process in 2007-08 of meetings with government (mostly the Transport Department), tendering, meetings, re-tendering and the like, we secured a largely acceptable ferry service which we currently enjoy. Our current ferry services for Lamma and all outlying islands will be re-tendered next year. The Financial Secretary, John Tsang, has issued a general invitation for public comment and input via his website in regard to his 2010-11 Budget, to be delivered on 24 February.

The Opportunity

Simply put, we now have a shrinking window of opportunity to make our voices heard by the man who holds the purse strings for the government coffers containing billions of dollars in surplus funds, some of which need to be allocated to serving the people who live on and visit the outlying islands.

You may register your concern in a single sentence or in several paragraphs, using simple logic or with heartfelt passion, and doing so now will at the least put us on record as having registered our wishes before the budget was finalised and at best help to secure the necessary government funding to ensure safe, reliable and affordable ferry services for the long term.

Do It Now

These samples may provide some inspiration for your own submission. Simply log into, choose the channel (email/fax/phone) you wish to use and make your voice heard now, when and where it counts.

Feb 10:  ljl - Lamma Artist of the Month

Click for the complete captioned art gallery and Artist's Statement.

Feb 9:  Exploring YSW's Delicious Discoveries

Back on "normal, healthy" diet now and maintaining my body weight for the last 6 months, I've resumed exploring what Yung Shue Wan has to offer in (moderately priced) gastronomic options. I can basically eat anything I like again, without any digestive problems, but all in moderation as regular-size portions are much too large for my small stomach. Usually sharing a single set healthy dinner, Lamma-Por and I eat out locally almost every day. Here are some of our most recent Delicious & Delightful Discoveries and personal culinary favourites:

Fish Grill @ Mr Kebab

Portobello Burger @ Green Cottage 26

Mango Mousse Cake @ Shelly's Cake Express

Chicken Dijon @ The Waterfront  (Lamma-zine advertiser)

Veggie Pasta and Duck Breast @ B&B Seaview Rest. (Lamma-zine advertiser)

Valentine's Day menus: B&B Rest. and The Waterfront (click to enlarge)

Feb 8:  'I Like It! Stay Like This!'

While out shopping mid-afternoon today, a female (married) friend complimented me again on my new slimmer looks, after losing half my bodyweight in the last two years. With a friendly, charming smile, she advised me on not losing any more weight and that she likes the way I look right now, full of energy and with new clothes (not tailor-made anymore, but off-the-rack from Patagonia, sports shops, local boutiques or my Lamma T-shirt collection.)

I got similar comments from my female HK Electric contacts during the press briefing, from Lap Sap Ladies while hiking up Cable Route 1 ("Woaah! Laeng Tsai!") and even elderly Chinese ladies during Dim Sum, occasionally even from guys! To my astonishment and occasional embarrassment, the weight loss seems to have turned me into a (very minor, unimportant) local pseudo "celebrity".

This is still such a surreal, weird and novel experience for me, not having received any compliments like this in over 20 years. Well, I admit freely to kind of liking it and trying hard to "Stay Like This!"

Well, time for another afternoon fast hike over the top of Po Wah Yuen or to Lamma Winds (only 12 minutes from Back Street). It's a nice, little cardio workout (more fun than a treadmill!) before hitting the Island Gym once again a few times a week. I'm also looking around for a Personal Trainer and exercise classes again. Hey, Fred, are you reading this?

Keeping my weight very stable for already half a year now required more than just staying away from sweet and greasy temptations. Losing all the weight (175 pounds/80kgs) in 1.5 years wasn't actually all that hard, but preventing me from gaining it all back will be an on-going struggle, probably for the rest of my life!

Feb 7:  Confucius Grew Up on Lamma

Chow Yun-Fat, Fat Gor, Lamma's favourite, most famous and richest son is still going from strength to strength, after decades of appearing on HK TV - making Lamma-Por swoon as a girl - and many movies locally and worldwide. Born and raised on Lamma Island, he's been acting as a Bulletproof Monk, a Pirate of the Caribbean, King of Siam and Emperor of China. He's now progressed to star as Confucius, the most famous Chinese philosopher, more famous and influential through the centuries than any emperor.

In Mainland China, this movie recently has replaced "Avatar" when the authorities pulled the non-3D version from all theatres. The variety of movie posters above demonstrates the acting skills of Fat Gor very impressively. This cartoon below refers to all the double-barreled killers he's played in his HK cult movies, directed by John Woo, inspiring so many Hollywood copycats:

Feb 6:  Marine Wind Farm off Lamma

View from Family Trail between Hung Shing Yeh beach and Sok Kwu Wan

HK Electric announced yesterday their plans to build an offshore wind farm to the Southwest of Lamma Island: ready in 2015, around 100 megawatt (MW), enough power for 50,000 families in Hong Kong, 1-2% of HEC's annual electricity output, 28-35 wind turbines, each of 2.3-3.6 MW (3-4 times the capacity of Lamma Winds), 600-hectare site, 4km off Lamma, $2.5-3 billions. Details of the proposed wind farm together with its environmental impact assessment (EIA) study will be available for public inspection and feedback starting on Monday (8 February) at the EPD website.

For those of you who eager for even more details, click above to view the entire presentation (PDF file) with a wealth of facts, photos and charts.

Press release: EIA Study Affirms Southwest Lamma Offshore Wind Farm

I've also just started a new discussion topic in our forum. Give us your opinions and post questions and I'll forward them directly to HK Electric and report back here with the replies: Marine Wind Farm off Lamma

Feb 5:  Press Briefing @ HK Electric Centre

Being invited by HK Electric to today's press-only briefing in the Electric Centre above Admiralty was a most interesting experience. It was my first-ever visit to the head office of this website's main advertiser. A buffet kept the hacks happy, after listening to an informative Power- Point presentation about the planned wind farm (see tomorrow's Lamma-zine story) and collecting handouts, CD-Rs, me even getting a "Reporter" sticker. All the major TV networks and over two dozen media people attended and jostled for attention. A few of my photos of the proceedings:

Feb 4:  Inspiring a Happy & Creative Planet

Tamara Norris - Creativity Director,

"Inspiring a happy and creative planet." (photos by Tamara)

The Chinese New Year is approaching and the weather has warmed up - what better time to get things rolling again at Open Space! Here is a listing of upcoming events and workshops - hope to see you there:

Friday February 12 - Jungle Movies

$40 donation to Open Space, bring your own snacks and drinks.

6:30p.m. Kids showing - Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium, rated U -
suitable for 4 years and up.

9:00 p.m. Adults showing - HEAD
HEAD was The Monkees' debut (and only) movie, released in 1968. A flop in theatres, it was pulled out and forgotten. But, to this day, it remains a hit cult flick for die-hard Monkee-maniacs and just generally weird people. :-)
The Monkees where famously contracted to their record label and where known as a 'manufactured' band, but as part of their contract, they where allowed to make and release one album of their own choice, and they did so by making the music movie 'HEAD'. An occasionally funny and truly psychedelic movie, Head has slipped into that category of the 'all time great cult moves' and is a must for those who haven't seen it before: 

Monday, February 15th - Family Jungle Boogie #3

3:00 til 7:00 - DJ, dancing, arts and crafts, campfire, cartoons on the big screen. $50 per child - adults free - BBQ and beverages (for big people and little people) available for purchase.

Sunday, February 21st - Kids Art Jam

1 p.m. - 4 p.m - $200 per chid includes a 30cm x 40cm canvas and all art supplies - healthy snack provided. Adults also welcome to come and paint - $250 for large 60cm x 80cm canvas.
Kids under 8 must be accompanied by an adult.

Tuesday February 23 - Weekly Young Crafters Group Begins

Every Tuesday from 2:30 - 4:00 - $450 (4 sessions). Includes all art supplies, Ages 3 - 6 years.

We are also looking to start up a Drama Club at Open Space for kids and possibly for adults as well. We would like to have a committed group interested in weekly workshops with the goal of creating a production to be staged at Open Space.

Please spread the word about the above events and contact me if you are interested in attending.

Thanks and happy Thursday

P.S. If you would like to host your own party or book a private art jam session for you and your friends please contact me.

P.S II: Open Space will be hosting our 3rd Craft market on Sunday February 28th from 11:00 am til 4 pm.
We are currently accepting applications for new vendors - the fee is $200 for the day which includes a 3ft x 4ft (approximate) table and chair.

Feb 3:  Great Injustice Has Been Done

Our forum remains an extremely lively place, even while approaching 8 years of feisty existence, despite Facebook, Twitter and other recent "upstarts" gaining popularity even on Lamma. We've recently just surpassed 8,000 individual discussion topics and it was quite typical that topic #8,000 was another one of our frequently highly effective free classified ads.

It's well-known how passionate Lammaites are about their pets. A good example of this passion is being demonstrated in another forum fight between dog owners, resulting in some very harsh words being posted. Soon, some of them started attacking the moderators of our forum. Well, as the forum's administrator I take it all in my stride, trying hard to remain reasonably fair, neutral and impartial in this feisty "freedom of speech" environment. But my moderate, conciliatory attitude can result in being attacked from both sides occasionally, as I'm in the middle trying to moderate, not fully supporting either side. You're not on my side, so you must be against me!

Check out for yourself how I and some moderators supposedly hand out "ingratitude as a reward", "prosecute modern literature", allow "kangaroo courts to charge and convict", "pull plugs prematurely", even commit "great injustice" - if you believe a few of our more opinionated members. Well, fine fictional writing still seems alive and doing fine on Lamma, judging from these comments! Nobody has been censored so far for strongly disagreeing with a moderator.

I've also posted my well-intentioned but probably futile attempts at defending and explaining our forum's ground rules, for the amusement of some members who'd love and enjoy to name and shame their enemies, call each other names and dish the dirt on their neighbours and sundry adversaries. We'll continue trying to keep the public forums a lively, but non-libelous community platform.

Well, there's always the private-members-only Fight Club forum which hasn't been too popular recently. There's no worldwide audience like in the public forums, so people seem to lose interest quickly; it's not much fun fighting with your drinking buddies or adversaries in a non-public forum? A member even thought that a "great injustice has been done" when another "personal attack" message had been routinely moved - uncensored, unaltered - into the Fight Club where they'd be welcome to continue their heated debate with other members of this private club.

Judge for yourself: Lamma Our Shire.

Feb 2:  Back to Lamma Once Again

Wendy Teasdill - ex-Lammaite Yoga Teacher:

Waves wash onto beaches the world over but somehow they seem to break that little bit louder on Hung Shing Yeh. From the moment I first swam there, one accidental Sunday afternoon in 1987, I was hooked. And still they break in upon the subconscious, every time I lie down to relax, every time I talk a yoga class through relaxation. Pregnant with my third child, I listened to a Radio 4 programme in 1997 in which a Lamma resident was interviewed concerning their feelings of the handover. I scarcely recall what they said, as my ears were straining to hear the birds in the background: Lamma birds! They still flew and sang, all across the world's airways into my kitchen in Somerset.

Back in the Saturnian clutches of the UK, Saskia held parties from time to time. Those who don't know Saskia should at least know her legend. I would diligently attend these parties where we who used to live on Lamma clustered in sad little groups, clutching at the dream of a bright island in the sun where everyone was creative, solvent and funny.

Yes, I knew that Spanish villas had eaten up the fields where Lamma people once watered their pak choi with night soil, that the narrow paths where we once danced in our psychedelic clothes were now trodden by more sensible, grown-up expat feet. But Saskia's Lamma days, Saskia's puppet shows, and Saskia's Lamma parties where unspeakably outrageous happenings just happened were, as Carey pointed out to me last year, the forerunners of the Lamma Fun Day. Though I knew, even before I returned, that where Saskia and I once danced puppets and babies existed more in our imaginations than on the ancient soil of Lamma, I also knew that the imagination itself was a native flower of Lamma.

But maybe this was just romantic imagination? Perhaps I was idealising things? Not having been on Lamma in an improbable ten years, was I editing out that ridiculous fear of sharks and jellyfish, the tidal blasts of rubbish, the dodgy chemical peels drifting down from the Pearl River Delta? Was my whole vision of Lamma perhaps skewed by a tendency to don rose-coloured spectacles?

Weren't there nasty biting creatures which sucked on my babies' sweet blood last time I was there? What about the deadly but dead bamboo snake I once found on the roof in Pak Kok where I slept? What about that very lively rat snake I once found on my windowsill? What about the swarms of mosquitoes, the smell of shrimp and the way all my favourite books and clothes turned black as soon as the humidity swelled up in the spring?

Well - upon returning last year, Hung Shing Yeh was just as vibrant in reality as in my imagination. Things had changed a little, and it was sad that I could no longer talk to the chickens on the way to the beach, as they have all been whisked away by bird flu to yet another Never-Neverland beyond the horizon.

But all my children are taller than me now, and it was rather nice to be no longer encumbered by a push-chair, to be able to take walks over the hills again with Carey. I was looking forward to seeing Boner, Roberta and Jerry's cat, who used to sleep on our bed when I stayed on Lamma when the children were small, and was delighted that he was still alive. Unfortunately, he died before I could see him, but he was given a compassionate Buddhist send-off.

A pack of wild dogs inhabited the no-dogs beach of Hung Shing Yeh. But they are cosmic dogs, and would sit quietly as I did my nightly yoga practice as the phosphorescence illuminated the waves. And of course the sun shone every day and the black mould was still in hibernation.

And as for the people - well, they were just as beautiful as ever. As always on the cosmopolitan rural idyll of Lamma there were new faces and bodies, each with their unique and fascinating story, and Lamma-Gung was one of them. And yet - the old familiar faces were also present, eternally present for, strangely, nobody actually seemed to have aged. Yes, the bitey things had bitten a few of these magical people, and I shuddered to hear the snake-stories.

It would be easy to say I had been fantasising, but, actually no: it's all true. There really is an island on the other side of the world where people manage to be creative and happy without selling their souls. Impossibly, in less than a fortnight, I shall be returning to pinch myself again, bringing my eldest daughter Iona. She was made on Lamma, and the last time she left Hong Kong she was two. Looking out of the window of the plane, she pointed at Lion Rock, and yelled:

"I - want - to - be - there!"

She can't remember it, but she will.

P.S. Email to the Editor, from Taipengshan- Senior Lammaite:

"That was an excellent piece in Lamma-zine by Wendy Teasdill whom I met after her very first pilgrimage to Mount Kailas. She, in fact, inspired my own trip to Kailas several years later.

At the time Wendy accomplished her feat, Mike Morrow published a book detailing her lone adventure. He gave me a proof copy for review and set up an interview for a cover story I did for The Week, the popular Indian newsmagazine. Wendy, who was staying with Katherine Forestier at Po Wah Yuen, trekked all the way uphill to my home and also arranged for pictures of her trip through her husband. I understand that she, along with her child/ children, has since made several more trips to Kailas?

Wendy, in my book, is a great lady and celebrated ex-Lammaite. Like the late Amelia Earhart, Wendy Teasdill has pushed the boundaries of human achievement."

Feb 1:  Scanner Jam Art Jam, the Sequel

Inspiration for these daily Lamma-zine stories can originate from a multitude of sources, but my favourite inspiration are readers giving feedback.

Case in point, this story, another Flimsy Flight of Fancy of "computer art", inspired by feedback I received just today about this original story from Aug 20, 2006: Scanner Jam Art Jam. Grayson, an art student in New York, working with scanners as well, found my story and images and was interested in my "processes" & software.

As I hadn't looked at this story and images in years, I checked it out and got inspired to create more images, all from the original scanner error that resulted in this messed-up image on the right. See the story and images for details.

In the story I threatened the readers that "these computer art jams are just too much fun and there could be more in the future! Beware!"

Well, it took only 3.5 years for more to come into being, here they are. These images below were all created from this single scanning error above, after playing around with Photoshop CS4 and a veritable armada, a plethora and a cornucopia of plug-in filters and hundreds of trial-and-error image processing operations. All of this creates mostly totally unexpected and surprising results. They're usually pretty ugly results but careful selection and enhancement evolves them into "visually acceptable" results occasionally. Many thanks to Grayson, my muse! ;-)

All of these images and any other from my archives are available as signed prints of any size, at pretty modest prices. Click below to enlarge and then email me!



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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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