Almost anything seems allowed in Lamma's mostly wild forests
- exploring, digging, montainbiking, camping - not restricted by the many
official Country Park regulations and restrictions. So it was quite
unusual to see this official, bilingual police poster on my early morning
constitutional to Tai Peng Village and beyond.
So what are these explicit and severe "Acts Prohibited In
Forest" warranting special attention from our severe police force, severely
warning us against committing them, subject to a very severe fine of $25,000
and even severe incarceration for a full year?
The mind boggles and the fertile imagination of many a
Tai-Penguin passing by must have been intrigued, causing them to step closer
to become good citizens well-informed about any illicit acts perpetrated in
our peaceful local forests.
Click below to find out:
To learn even more about some of these
nefarious activities in our forests.
P.S. A few days later I got this feedback from Oliver:
"Just read your article on the tree with the police notices on them.
I was the one who put them there.
I would have
preferred a slightly less jokey article about the "nefarious
goings on in the forest". Phrnnarr.
The fact it is
that the hacked tree in question is a magnificent specimen
and it is outside my front gate.
This is so up
close and personal that even an ardent, die-hard, non-tree
hugger like myself has become interested in its fate."
See also Mar 12: Incense Tree Poachers
Kinesiology Asia presents:
Kinergetics Courses levels 1-5
Kinesiology & Energy Healing
KINERGETICS Level 1
Saturday April 17th, 2pm-7.30pm
Sunday April 18th, 11am-6pm
Saturday April 24th, 2pm-7.30pm
Hong Kong Kinesiology Centre
201 Ivy House, 18 Wyndham St, Central HK
This is an experiential course where you will learn
muscle response testing. How to use muscle response
testing locate and balance.
Stress - Pain - TMJ & Pain - Food Sensitivities
Dehydration - Brain Integration balance.
No previous experience is
corrections are done with healing energy.
KINERGETICS Level 2
Saturday May 1st, 2pm-7.30pm
Sunday May 2nd, 11am-6pm
Saturday May 8th, 2pm-7.30pm
Dates to be confirmed
Prerequisite Level 1
What's in it?
Emotions - TMJ Suppression - Spheniod balance -
Hypertonic Muscle balance - Chakra Emotion balance
Belief System balance - Vision balance - very powerful
with anatomical and metaphysical balances
KINERGETICS Level 3
May 29th, 2pm-7.30pm
Sunday May 30th, 11am-6pm
Saturday June 5th, 2pm-7.30pm
Dates to be confirmed
Prerequisite Level 2
$3,500 for each
level, workshop manual included in all levels.
$500 non-refundable deposit is required by Easter for
Repeat students POA
Numbers are limited, please book early
to avoid disappointment.
Call 6114 8871 or email
For more info
(Free advertorial for a
long-time Lamma-zine advertiser)
Mrs. Santa Claus
- Co-owner of
The Island Bar and
Wednesday night at The Island Bar found
us (and loads of you) partying today, March 24, from
6-ish until far too late-ish for those of us who had to
go to work at 9-ish the following morning!
front-man John, Fiddler Dave & Bass-man
Neil were there to help the celebrations - the crowd was really appreciative of the music, most
appreciative of the snacks provided by The Waterfront
and the great cakes provided by friends, and especially
appreciative of the open bar provided by Kumar,
Kumar, attractive young guy that he is
(well he has ONLY JUST joined the over 50's club)
attracted a really great group of friends who all
contributed to a wonderful evening of fun and frivolity
which culminated in dancing (so what's new???) and
finished with the Dragon Boaters arriving to help him
party (OK, they arrived late; so what, they had only
see Uncle Tom Jones perform in person in Hong Kong) in
their own inimitable way at The Island Bar.
Thank you to
all Kumar's Friends.
Jay Scott Kanes
- Official Court
(Pictures by Christine
The pleasant lifestyles on
Hong Kong's outlying islands usually beat bottled
medicine as a tonic for big-city stress, long-term
problems or even family feuds. That's what Ann,
the leading character in British author Christine
Coleman's new novel, Paper Lanterns (Novel
Press, 2010, Birmingham, England, 287 pages), learns in
a life-changing one-week visit to her elderly mother on
"beautiful" Lamma Island.
Driven by adultery and
yearning hearts, the story swirls around love-starved
characters of all ages, many of them Lamma Islanders.
The multi-generational plot bounces from 2008 to the
1970s to the 1930s and back.
For most of her life, Ann,
"a dumpy, plain, middle-aged woman with an over-large
chin", has simmered in resentment at Vivienne,
the "irresponsible" mother who took a young lover,
abandoned her family and resettled on far-away Lamma.
Decades later, the lover forsakes Vivienne, and Ann
reluctantly travels to offer comfort.
Ann's first impressions of
Lamma can't be mistaken for anywhere else. She
"blinks and looks around her as the track veers to the
right along the waterfront and leads them under a yellow
canopy between a shop front on the left with its
displays of tanks full of large, colourful fish and, on
the right, white-clothed tables overlooking the small
boats in the bay. It's like walking through the middle
of somebody's house."
What happens next is
"typically Lamma" too. "There's a squeak of bicycle
brakes, a shrill ting-a-ling and two young Chinese girls
on cycles speed by, calling out, 'Sorree! So sorree!' as
Ann sidesteps out of the way, banging her thigh against
the edge of one of the tables."
Like most first-time
visitors, Ann's surprised that Lamma has no cars or
buses, only glorified delivery carts. There's no
out, Ann!' Just in time, she presses herself against the
railing as the rattle and clank of a noisy motor bears
down on her. The narrow vehicle looks like a tall
version of a go-cart, and is driven by a grim-faced man
in a dark blue jacket, gripping the steering wheel and
staring straight ahead as if to say to any pedestrian,
'Live or die – it's up to you!'"
To Ann's surprise,
Vivienne, a garment-shop proprietor on the Main Street,
shows little despair. Even more remarkably, she shares
an old diary and letters that reveal family secrets and
lead Ann into a dilemma.
More than a nice setting,
Lamma plays a greater role – almost like a leading
character. "Far below, boats are slowly drifting on
their moorings…. A ferry is chugging towards the pier. A
couple of dark brown birds are circling above…. In
between the distant screech of bicycle brakes, the
twittering of birds, the sudden deep-throated bark of a
dog, she registers the underlying hum of the power
station. The heartbeat of the island, she thinks, and
for a moment Lamma itself seems like a living entity."
Coleman has spent enough
time on Lamma to understand its ebb-and-flow and to
accurately depict it. She knows that most Lamma
Islanders show mild eccentricities. So do her
is no fool. She's a highly intelligent woman. We all
have our little quirks….
'Has her cat died or something?'
'One of her cats has died. One of her 27 cats.'"
Like Poppy, some real Lamma
residents loom "larger than life" as "the life and soul
of any party… well able to hold their own…,
out-drinking, out-talking, out-dancing, out-playing".
The author has attended some Lamma house-parties. When
Ann does too, a vaguely familiar crowd joins her:
Paper Lanterns, a new British novel, depicts life
on Lamma Island.
Author Christine Coleman:
seen on Lamma, then scenes on Lamma.
Alternative cover design
Alternative cover design,
the author's favourite
"There's the German women who runs the deli and has
lived on Lamma with her American husband for nearly 20
years. She's talking to the young English couple who
stopped off at Hong Kong on their way back from
Australia and decided to extend their stay for a few
weeks. And there's that pleasant Dutch man who sells
second-hand books from a roadside stall, taking to
Julian's Chinese friend, Charlie. Among the
disparate group of 30 or more guests, the one common
factor is the lack of conformity: the ages range from
late teens to 80 and there seem to be almost as many
nationalities as there are people present…."
Suddenly, Ann recognizes
what most Lamma Islanders instinctively know. "The
realization strikes her like a revelation: everyone here
is at ease with themselves. Tall or short, dumpy or
scrawny, old or young – smart, scruffy, long hair, no
hair – white, brown, black, pink, tanned and freckled….
Ann's mouth stretches itself into a wide smile. She
feels almost dizzy as the words shout in her head: I'm
the same as everyone else… because I'm different.
Because I'm me."
Ann also rides the Peak
Tram and explores the Mid-Levels on Hong Kong Island,
but she makes her most important spiritual discoveries
on Lamma. The concrete jungle and its skyscrapers lack
the same appeal. "Look at those huge blocks of flats
over there – like vertical ant-hills. Some would say
total eyesores. Only a very few years ago that was
hillside – now, those few square yards, maybe as much as
an acre, are home to tens of thousands, I guess."
The book's title comes from
a passage likening human souls to flames that flicker in
gusts of wind. They need colorful paper lanterns as
Coleman shows a nice touch
with details, often inserting meaningful objects at
suitable moments. For example, Ann recalls being an
angry teenager who retreats to her bedroom and flips
through Anne of Green Gables, a classic novel
about childhood angst.
The cover of Paper
Lanterns, showing three green lanterns on a lofty
Lamma balcony, may cause confusion. Usually, Chinese
lanterns are red. Do these green ones symbolize Lamma's
trees and hillsides?
A former high-school
teacher turned novelist and poet, Coleman toils
part-time in a British adult-education program. Her idea
for Paper Lanterns came from two directions. She
found a collection of 1920s-era love letters written in
China by two women to the same man. On visits to Hong
Kong, she grew "fascinated by the contrasts between the
busy urban districts and the beautiful scenery of the
Coleman wrote one earlier
novel, The Dangerous Sports Euthanasia Society,
published in 2005. That's about lust for life as an
escapee from a seniors home makes new friends on a quest
to find her grandchildren.
More than most tales, Paper
Lanterns satisfies its readers by drawing strength from
the setting. When Coleman mentions Hong Kong "working
its magic" on people, she really means Lamma-style
serenity. Urban Hong Kong lacks that remedy, but the
outlying islands deliver it in generous doses.
82 per cent.
For more information:
P.S. from the author, Christine
her blog about her time on Lamma over CNY this year, plus her blog
stories about her online contest/voting for the
book's cover design)
"I was thrilled to read John
Cairns' detailed and generous review of Paper Lanterns. Please
can you convey my thanks to him.
"Where the book can be
Copies of Paper Lanterns have now been distributed to all 8 of
the branches of Swindon Books: Swindon Books in Lock
Hong Kong Book Centre, Central and Taikoo Shing branches,
Kelly & Walsh, Pacific Place and Exchange Square branches,
also at the 3 University Bookstores run by Swindon (HKU, CU and
"If any customers cannot
locate the books, they can always approach the staff, they have
access to check stock of other branches and they can also make
orders for customers.
"I have also given copies of
this book to the managers of
Dymocks and Bookazine, so if people were to
contact them, making similar enquiries, they might decide to
order some copies too.
"I can also
take orders direct from my website."
Lamma as the setting of a novel.
The air is
cold but crisp and neat,
people walking, walking down the street,
coming together in the morn,
going, flowing beyond the dawn.
and finding rhyme,
to reach that goal within the time,
all breeds and creeds, the meek, elite,
casual, formal, what is normal?
Some tired and
worn, alone, forlorn,
others warm, reborn, smiling sweet,
their eyes alive, they will survive,
hearts in tune to a common beat.
The goal is
reached, a partial peace,
the waters' ways are opening,
then off to work, no time to shirk,
struggling, conquering or just coping.
Then to return to
all we yearn,
cultures confines are releasing,
the soft silence from whence we came,
cycles cleansing never ceasing.
submitted by Nancy the Frog Lady, taken up in Tai Peng
Village this weekend. This is one of the few really poisonous
and quite dangerous snakes on Lamma. Nancy writes:
"The viper was at the same pond again, hunting my frogs. I scared it off
with my camera and it went into the vegetation. It was a beauty despite the
fact that it was trying to get frogs. It was about halfway grown, maybe
80cm, slender and a bit shorter than a full-grown snake.
This is the bright green, venomous snake that can make you quite sick. It
is a quite common species in Hong Kong, but it is rarely seen because it is
nocturnal and blends in well with the vegetation. The snake is very docile
and will make no attempt to bite you unless you step on it or try to grab
it. The front of my camera lens was about 0.6 metre from the snake when I
took the photo and it wasn't in the least bit bothered."
The SketchCrawlers of Lamma Island: Roz,
Perry, Vicky, Dina, Elkie (left to right)
Lamma Artist -
Through a Facebook link,
I came across this wonderful web site,
It was started 5 years
ago by an animation and story board artist living in San
Francisco. He likes to sketch and sent an email to a few
friends to meet him to draw together; the idea being
that they would meet in a pub and try to get round 7 of
them in one afternoon/ evening! Hence the name sketch
crawl after the pub crawl idea. They only made it to 4
pubs (luckily), as I doubt if they would have been able
to tell us about it!
Anyway he spread the word
to friends and soon he had arranged another crawl and
then another. Each time, the groups got further away and
the idea for it going global started.
Now after 5 years and 26
sketch crawls there are more than 120 countries and
hundreds of participants. It's all documented on a
forum- style website,
In November last year, I
started coaching drawing on Lamma for both adults and
young people and have around 11 students now. It seemed
natural to get a group of us together for the sketch
crawl and we met at the Green Cottage at 10am on Sat,
Chatting with a co-owner
at Green Cottage, ex-
fashion designer, fan of sketchcrawlers that day. He
gave us all a free drink on the house!
and two ladies from the New Territories arrived and we
spent 3 hours sketching Lamma. It was great fun and we
have posted our results on the
Sketch Crawl web site.
For the last 3 months I
have been enjoying teaching fine art classes on Lamma. I
am very pleased to have had a chance to stay on home
turf and not to have had the ferry commute!
I don't teach arts and
crafts so much as basic drawing skills which can be used
for many different creative activities. Both children
and adults enjoy improving on their drawing and are
willing to put in the practice needed.
I have a class once a
week in which I have been introducing some drawing
concepts to a lively group of year 4 primary students.
The course consists of developing drawing skills by
observation of real objects, using different drawing
materials, e.g. pens, different pencils, watercolour
pencils and charcoal.
figures, illustration have all been touched on and we
have used tempera and watercolour paint to learn a
variety of painting techniques including washes,
textures, brush work and colour mixing.
For this class, I have
had the use of
Banyan House school which is a beautiful space
half way up Tai Peng.
On Tuesday mornings there
is a small group of dedicated adults who like to meet up
at the Fishermen's Village near the library for drawing
and painting coaching. We work for two hours and have
lots of fun discussing and sharing ideas at the end of
each session. Sketching and drawing are worked on at
these sessions and will form the basis for later
perspective, proportion, and shading are all covered in
this session. We use watercolours as they are easy to
carry around and dry quickly outside. We have had a lot
of fun with several keen students enjoying their new
New classes for children
over 7 yrs at Banyan House start April 15th. Thursday
classes for adults are ongoing. Meet at the Fishermen's
Village at 10am or HSBC at 9.45 on Tuesday mornings.
All the classes cost 100$
per hour. The adult class lasts for 2 hours and the kids
classes one hour.
Email me or call me at 9348 8726. See the
Flickr photo stream of my work and the Sketch
See all images...
Perry Chau: Tin Hau temple
Mandy: A view of a typical
Dina: One of many
restaurants on The Main Street; this one is called B&B
which stands for beer and babble!
Dina: The wonderful
vegetarian cafe, Green Cottage; über-cool & friendly.
Emma: 11yrs. Another of our
Vicky: Beautiful coastline
Fruit and veg shop on high street.
Chau: Yung Shue Wan coastline
P.S. More about these classes and the Sketch Crawl in the blog of a
Queenie Bee - a creative buzzness.
update about the tree poachers currently active at night, from our friends
at the Living Lamma
5, 2010 12:48 AM by Jos Vernon
[updated Mar 8,
2010 8:16 PM]
Nick the Bookman
- Official Court Music Reviewer -
(video stills by Alba; text edited by L-G)
Steve's acoustic night at
March 7, 2010
Once upon a time in
deepest, darkest wherever, there lived a mighty tribe of
pygmies called the Faqawi. Their homelands were
verdant and lush with tall semi-impenetrable foliage.
Quite often, individuals would get lost and the
jungle/veldt/ high plains would echo to their plaintive
cries of "We're the Faqawi"...
I'm reminded of their sorry
plight, because I've been walking up and down Main
Street for about 20 minutes, trying to find Steve Cray's
(semi-)unplugged gig. I thought it would be at The
Island Bar, but no! Eventually, someone says it's taking
place at Diesel's.
Steve Cray's second acoustic/electric set at Diesel's, and
there's quite a large audience waiting in anticipation. The
show's supposed to start at 1930, but is running about 30
minutes late, due to some last minute rehearsals between
Steve and Franklin, his amiable new bassist in Red Star
Rising. Apparently Franklin had about one day to learn 13 new
MP3 downloads of tonight's material. Will he rise to the
challenge? We shall see.
The gig starts about 2000
hours. Alba is filming the show for her never-ending
Lamma documentary. Marc has also bought his camera along
to get extra footage of the show, the bar, the audience
etc. Handy for the cut-aways. Gary (in his kilt) and
Nicola are still celebrating her birthday with Peta
joining in the frolics. Dick(stock) Jones, Jilted John,
Moonie, Maria (of jewellery fame) and American John the
Lawyer are opposite me. Jason and Clare (YSW's newest
residents) pop over.
introduces "Franklin Torres, my bass player from Colombia and
good guy all round". Bit of strumming.
"This [first song] is Turning Tide." It's
an original that has a full-bodied sound and hints of Jethro
Tull and the Hendrix version of "All Along the Watchtower"
scattered through its construction. Franklin is doing a great
job on the bass, providing extra melody lines. It's an affecting
piece of Americana in its way and not too much blues seeping in
yet. On the big screen, a Premier league replay shows Arsenal
going 1-0 up against Burnley, who soon draw level 1-1. A couple
of other original songs quickly follow as Steve informs us that
this is "a sort of serious rehearsal" for an
upcoming tour of European folk festivals this summer.
amazing what one can learn in a pub, aided by huge
intakes of grog. Phil comes over and almost drools in
envy as he tells me that Steve's acoustic axe is a
"Martin Om Orchestral model guitar. Very expensive (and
with rare red strings). The OM model was made between
WW1 and WW2 from Adirondack spruce trees - none of which
are left, especially for making guitars."
Meanwhile, Steve and
Franklin have played a few more tunes. It's probably
just my fevered imagination, but there are reminders of
Leo Kottke, Fairport Convention and early Who in some of
Steve's playing and finger techniques. And then Franklin
starts to strut his stuff...
One other thing about the
Faqawi. They love their drums, which cause unease and
panic among seasoned travellers and explorers to their
mystery lands. One expedition resulted in all the native
porters fleeing in terror as the drums stopped. When
asked why, they replied that it's "very bad when the
drums stop." "Why is that? Are we all going to be
killed?" "Oh, no. Very bad when the drums stop, because
then the bass solo starts..."
whimsical observation can most definitely NOT be applied
to Franklin. His left hand has made a bridge at the
bottom of his base while his right hand is plucking
relentless, throb-free notes which augment and enhance
Steve's input. His stylish effects draw whoops of praise
from Dick(stock) and calls for some Robert Johnson.
Steve obliges with "Walking Blues" and unleashes
some fiery harmonica action to boot. One of the best
solo bass vs. solo harmonica solo duets I've heard.
While listening, the audience forgets that there are no
other instruments in the mix. Franklin is that masterful
in weaving a spellbinding sonic tapestry. At one point
he somehow manages to replicate clucking, scratching
chickens, adding a down home Southern gothic reality to
starting to flag a little, so time to wind this up.
There's a great song called "Shampoo the Dog".
Inspired by an anonymous Lamma resident who declined a
snifter in the pub with Steve because the missus was
coming back after a few days and he had to go home
and... you know. Almost a bit of the late Jake Thackray
in there. Steve also plays a 16th Century madrigal as a
nod to his classical early roots and to show us that
anything Sting can do, he can do better.
evening ends with a second more storming version of
"Walking Blues". Finally, "Ladies and gentlemen
of the jury, we'll go out on a sensible note with 'Wild
Wind' in modal G." Reminiscent of early Cat Stevens
in places. The match has finished 3-1 to Arsenal.
Franklin has made many female friends, especially Peta
who is sort of tingling at the thought of an upcoming
possible date. If she gets any happier, she'll look like
she's sat in a huge puddle. Thanks for the beer, Gary.
Happy belated, Nicola.
Well done Steve and
Franklin. You did the biz. Now, I'm off to crash.
Jay Scott Kanes
- Official Court
Pet Correspondent -
(Photos by Jay and
Deanie, showing Gail, the Lamma dog holding the
most pictures featured in the Lamma-zine over the
FIRST-IN-A-LIFETIME EXPERIENCE ON LAMMA
LAMMA ISLAND, Hong Kong – At times, the
city-dwelling day-visitors to this outlying island
astonish the locals. A few indulge in a first-time-ever
experience, one they'll always remember. Yet Lamma
residents take it entirely for granted.
What's this mysterious, near-magical activity?
Riding the ferries? Nope!
Eating seafood? Nope!
Hugging a tree? Nope!
Breathing fresh air? Nope (despite the city
You'll never guess! It's "walking side-by-side
with a dog".
When a long-time city friend named Deanie
recently visited at our home in Yung Shue Wan, my wife
Eva introduced her to Gail, our dog, and
to our six house-cats. Deanie, from Chai Wan on Hong
Kong Island, mentioned that she last visited Lamma about
a decade ago. So Eva and Gail took her on a walking tour
through Yung Shue Wan, to Hung Shing Yeh and Power
Station Beach and across much of northern Lamma.
Later as we dined at the Lung Wah Restaurant, Deanie,
a grown woman with a no-longer-tiny daughter, surprised
us by proclaiming what an historic day she'd had. "It
was my first time to walk side-by-side with a dog," she
Naturally, she had a few observations about the
remarkable experience. "Your dog's very quiet and good.
Even when she walked by herself in front of us, she
stopped and waited for us if we were slow and fell
Deanie came to Lamma seeking a change of scenery for
a few hours. She took away a memory likely to last into
No doubt, Gail enjoyed the stroll too, but probably
failed to recognize its big impact for her temporary
companion. Too many day-visitors from the city react
with frantic fear, even screaming or running, when they
see the local dogs out walking. Such people need a taste
of Deanie's memorable experience.
Then Deanie surprised us again. "It also was the
first time I ever saw so many cats inside a house," she
Hong Kong city folks! They're so deprived. Too many
of them live in skyscrapers and focus on chasing
dollars. On Lamma, we enrich our lives even more by
sharing our homes with pets.
One dog, six cats and two humans! That's just a
medium-sized Lamma family.
Right this way! Follow
Most Lamma dogs love to hike in the hills.
A sofa may be comfy, but how about an outing?
Dogs know many of Lamma's pathways.
A grown woman who never has walked with a dog?
That's cause for concern.
Hiking with a canine friend! It's a pleasure.
What's happening in Yung Shue
Wan's always active and
ever-changing culinary scene?
Just another little update:
The former Green Cottage
will be reopening very soon as a
bakery shop/cafe, run by one of
the former staff. Keep posted!
The former popular, all-local
Nam Wah Yuen will be
reopening very soon, but not as
a restaurant... as just another
Tsap For Po, a regular grocery
shop! As if we wouldn't have
more than enough of those
already along Main and Back
Another former restaurant has
been turned into a clothes shop:
Jade Chief's Bar, very
popular with locals, especially
the "noisy bunch" of fishermen,
on Nick's Corner closed down end
of Nov. It has reopened as
Banyan House (no affiliation
to the Banyan House
kindergarten), targeting mainly
Han Lok Yuen/Pigeon Rest.
is still closed (since last Oct)
and no reopening date is
available from them. They "might
be moving" to another location
in Hung Shing Yeh, they say.
Lambcombe Rest. looks
like it'll be reopening pretty
soon, too. After chucking out
the very successful former
tenants and some major
renovations, the landlords will
reopen it using the same name.
And two very popular restaurants
are advertising in print for
chefs. Know somebody qualified
and eager to move to Lamma? A
major challenge, it seems...
a directly related note, there'll be another exhibition & sale of Jill
Eason's crystal chandeliers, candle bowls and jewellery in Banyan Bay Cafe
this Thursday, Mar 11, starting at 7pm. Probably too early to taste the
full-time cook's menu,
but they'll offer $25 wine by the glass. See the Lamma-zine story about
Jill's last major exhibition, in the very same venue:
Dec 19 '09: Jill's Show of
By the way, special events in
local restaurants are always
invited and most welcome to be
promoted for free in this
website's forum and Events
Calendar, if they're advertisers
or not. If it's something of
general interest, artsy or for
charity, it might even make it
onto this home page!
Following up on this Lamma-zine
Aug 23, '09: Dreaming of a
Rooftop Canopy, this
village house finally got its
dream fulfilled. I did a little
time lag photography and
animation about the construction
of this new, increasingly
popular style of rooftop canopy.
It's not using the former type
of flexible cloth anymore, but
fixed, painted aluminium slates
that do not need to be rolled up
before a typhoon hits. I
expected the construction to be
done within a day or two, as
quick as our own fixed alu
rooftop was built recently, but
it took about a week in this
(abridged and edited from
her blog by L-G who'd like to thank Jennifer for
making him laugh out loud several times while doing so!)
Did you know that Saturday March 6
was "Ching Che"
[Jing Zhe] or
Feast of Excited Insects Day? I didn't until I
read it in the
Sunday Morning Post.
[Editor: It's a kind of start of Spring, insects
arising from hibernation, also known as
Chinese Groundhog Day].
It explains why all of a sudden there
were hundreds of energetic mini ants crawling all over
and inside my Mac! What the h***!
Che is believed to be the best day to "beat the
devil" in Hong Kong (perhaps all over China?)
But I did not go under the flyover of Canal Road West to
"devil-beater lady" 50 HK$ to have her beat
a paper devil with shoes while swearing and cursing the
image to fight off bad luck.
After a panicky moment of being paralysed by the amazing
speed in which these mini ants climbed up and down, in
and out, I located the source. They stepped onto my Mac
right where the power plugs in, after crawling along the
power cable. I put the Mac on the balcony floor and
waited about 10 minutes for them to leave.
that very morning started with a rather big and devilish
ant turning against me in my own living room! It was
scary, because it wasn't behaving like insects should:
brainless, guided by instinct, busy with their little
tasks. As soon as I stepped into the room, the ant
turned around and faced me, looking mad as hell, as if
it was a dog or something fierce. It acknowledged my
presence. I felt her. I think it was a she. And I killed
her. There was a lot of blood (ugh, who's?)
My study also had a stupid bug lying on
its back (not a cockroach, thanks heaven), which I
escorted outside because of its sheer size. I am sure
that one day I will have to face one of those
centipedes, AGAIN! I encountered a long and fat one,
almost like a snake, coming out of the roadside greenery
and crossing the road about a centimeter in front of my
open-toe shoes. It happened one night last spring when I
was coming off the last ferry and walking home all the
way to Hung Shing Yeh Beach.
I don't live way over there anymore, but
since moving back to Lamma in April 2009, I have started
walking and entering rooms with a little apprehension. I
heard that centipedes love hiding in wet towels. They
can bite for no reason. I expect the next one behind the
Recently, I went to a City University HK
talk by Prof. Peter Howard from Bournemouth University,
He opened with:
"Is nature cultural?"
"Is culture natural?"
He continued, "Is bird watching
natural? It's reason enough to come to Hong Kong.
You can't keep away from nature, it keeps coming in."
I guess it doesn't make much sense
thinking about whether you like or dislike nature. It's
just there. We're in it. It's in us (or maybe I should
say all over us). What to make of a Feast of Excited
Insects Day? It's scary to think that there's one
second, no ants at all, next second, a hundred! 50 at
I clean my Mac with disinfectant
wipes regularly, but maybe these Excited Insects,
these newly awakened ants like the smell….
afternoon, Yung Shue Wan harbour,
the Lamma Ladies practicing hard
for the first dragon boat races
of the season starting soon. But
have a closer look at the back
of the boat! Somebody's
reclining and lounging there, in
full view of the weekend
tourists and all beach
restaurants! This might
potentially severely impact the
image of the Lamma Ladies, won
over many years of tough
practice and many glorious
"freeloader" (maybe a paying
passenger?) is reclining and
sunbathing in full view of the
weekend tourists arriving at the
ferry pier and all beach
restaurants! That's how this
photo was taken by Jennifer
the Food Anthropologist who
was enjoying her regular coffee
at the new Green Cottage's
beachside tables! She emailed me
the photo to forward it to the
Lamma Ladies. Jennifer
attacking South China Sea
Saturday afternoon. Stress-free
member of The Freewheelers
Club :-) in the back – linking
paddlers and passengers to share
experience of travel… Saves you
energy, helps other people to
paddle harder and reduces
pollution (I guess?)"
I made this a
Lamma Photo of the Day and asked
the Lamma Ladies for
explanations to prevent a major
public relations disaster for
these very image-conscious
paddlers who love to
"OUT-PINK, OUT-PADDLE and
OUT-PARTY" all the other
HK teams! Captain Dawn
"It may look
like Vicky, Vice Captain,
is lounging around at the back
of the boat topping up her tan
and generally having a good
time, but look again!
What you will
actually see is that she is very
studiously practicing her
Pilates and is in fact doing
stomach crunches and managed
4,325 by the end of the session!
You see how
appearances can be deceptive!
Glad we had the opportunity to
put the record straight."
Libertines.hk with friendly permission)
02 March 2010
I moved from Sheung Wan to Lamma Island over the
weekend. I have a love/hate relationship with Sheung
Wan, Central, and the north side of HK Island in
general. Sheung Wan has a great energy to it,
particularly around 8pm when I get off work. And it's
nice to be so close to Central and the Mid-levels. But
now that I've escaped to Lamma, I can finally be honest
with myself about the negatives in the Sheung Wan
I still work in Sheung Wan, but now I get to go on
vacation everyday. On Lamma, I hear birds rather than
car horns. I smell flowers instead of diesel smoke.
People smile, and dance. And this is joyful, spontaneous
dancing, not the dancing-as-status-display that you see
in Lan Kwai Fong. People actually go out in public
without trying desperately to look "trendy." Maybe this
has something to do with the fact that Lamma is
completely free of the oppressive advertising that
poisons hongkongers minds. There are packs of
mixed-breed dogs and mixed-race children happily roaming
the streets. It's my kind of place.
But for all it's bohemian charms, Lamma is still the
SAR. On the surface, it appears to be the only place in
HK where people have some respect for the environment.
But there are random piles of garbage along the trails:
old toilets and worn out couches dropped in the middle
of green spaces. People still look at me like I'm an
alien just because I don't want them to give me two
pieces of garbage with every purchase. The seafood
restaurants, packed with hypocritical hippies, are
obviously unsustainable. Those diesel powered
Lamma-vehicles are annoying, and make an unreasonable
amount of noise. There's still a ridiculous amount of
loud construction everywhere. (Why do roads in HK seem
to require 10 times as much maintenance, at 10 times the
volume, as roads in the US or Europe?) Then there are
the three smokestacks, reminding everyone that this
isn't really a remote fishing village, more like a fake
tourist version of one.
The biggest drawback, of course, is the fact that the
last ferry for Lamma leaves at 12:30. But if it were
more connected to the city, it would be more like the
city. So that drawback is part of the charm. I'm just
happy to be able to take my headphones off. And breathe.
A Lammaite was
recently featured in the online
Hip Hong Kong:
grizzly man in his early 70s.
All dirty fingernails and lanky,
matted hair and a beard like a
Manson Family reject who was
just too darn nice for any of
that murderin' back in '69.
Although his eyes darted to and
fro he appeared of sound mind
and genial spirits."
Easy to guess,
despite getting his age wrong by
20 years, Nick the Bookman, of
course. The article, A Lament
for Lost Lamma, was written
by a daytrip visitor, Oliver
Clasper, and was pretty
different and much more
controversial than the usually
complimentary drivel appearing
in blogs by other Lamma visitors
over the years. One more quote:
hubbub of Main, round a corner
and up a steep incline
three-storey faded white houses
came into view. With un-ironed
clothes hanging on racks to dry,
crooked television aerials
poking this way and that, and a
smell of raw sewage trickling
by, it didn't seem all that
different to the centre of a
major city – with its rundown
and dilapidated tenement blocks
and eerie non-action. Only here
there was more tired shrubbery
and slightly less people. In
truth, it seemed to me like a
very odd place to reside."
descriptions caused quite a few
heated comments on the
Hip Hong Kong website
and in our forum,
Lament for Lost Lamma.
Make up your own mind by reading
the full story and add your own
This is the hand
of 2nd-hand Gary and his
new "pet", found very close to
consignment shop, right behind
Emily's Ice Cream Express.
A true "Lamma Moment", a
friendly commotion ensued, with
loads of friends and passersby
stopping their leisurely evening
strolls down Main Street to
admire the biggest moth we'd
ever seen on Lamma. Nobody was
shooing away from it and nobody
would want to hurt it in any
Several of us
were taking pictures for
posterity as well, always
carrying cameras with us. The
moth was most accommodating,
even letting itself being
flashed while crawling all over
her new "master" Gary. He has
identified it as an
Asian Luna Moth (Actias selene),
which lives only for one week
and is unable to eat during this
Gary released our
pretty model back into the wild
after our successful
picture-taking session for the
"highly coveted and prestigious"
Lamma Wildlife of the Day
spot on this home page. No moths
were hurt in the making of this
story, of course. Many thanks to
Gary and his short-time pet!
the Food Anthropologist even beat me by several hours in
putting photos on our websites! See her blog entry
Spring, Springier, Springiest
with some great shots of even
more Lamma wildlife in spring! She subtitled the photos with
"A Man. A Moth. A Moment!
Apparently, it lives only for a
week and is normally spotted in Mexico… the moth, I mean."
Chin. New Year
unicorn dance all day all over
YSW, going from house to house
to offer blessings (as long as a
substantial Lai See has been
promised in advance.) Photos by
"I heard a din
in the street and rushed towards
to see what was happening and I
took these photos.
I'm sure you already have got
plenty, but in case you don't,
you can be free to use them or
select and pick up one to
publish as "Photo of the Day".
I can do much
better than that, dear Alain,
and publish them as a photo
story, see below. All I took
myself was this bad shot from a
great distance from my rooftop
Jay Scott Kanes
Correspondent, Proud Canadian -
(Photos by International
Olympic Committee Photos)
Canadians Enjoy Gold-Medal Riches
The 2010 Winter Olympic Games that
closed Sunday in Vancouver looked like a success, even
when watched in bits-and-pieces from far-away Lamma
Island. Sports fans saw many highlights and one tragic
A flurry of Canadian victories in the final few days did
wonders for the host nation's self-esteem. Never before
has Canada harvested so much Olympics gold.
When an overtime goal by star-player
Sidney Crosby ended a tense ice-hockey final, with
Canada defeating the United States 3-2, Canadians began
to celebrate from coast-to-coast and overseas.
Temporarily, they cast aside a degree of mild manners
On Lamma, fellow Canadian-born residents
rushed up to me on Yung Shue Wan's Main Street.
"Congratulations," we told each other while shaking
hands or embracing. "We won the Olympics, eh?"
Well, not "us" personally. But it looked
mighty good to see Canadian athletes adorned in gold and
the Maple Leaf flag wave with such prominence atop the
Canada ended the Games with 14 gold medals, more than
any other country, which echoes host China's gold-medal
victories at the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics. But for
Canada, such success nearly defies belief. Although
Canadians have world-class experience with ice and snow,
it's rare for such a thinly populated nation (34 million
people) to outpace all the sporting giants like China
(1.3 billion people), the United States (309 million)
and Russia (142 million).
Admittedly, athletes from the United
States (with 37 medals) and Germany (30 medals) made
more trips to the winners' podium than the Canadians (26
medals including seven silver and five bronze). But the
14 gold medals glittered so impressively, especially
beside the runner-up totals -- 10 gold for Germany, and
nine each for the U.S. and Norway. (The Norwegians
over-achieved too. No one handles winter sports better
than those five million people.)
Of course, any discussion of the
Vancouver Olympics requires a solemn moment to remember
Georgian competitor Nodar Kumaritashvili, who
died in a tragic crash when practicing for the luge
event. In tribute, 60,000 people at the closing ceremony
gave the Georgian team a standing ovation.
Within a few days, Canadians everywhere,
including on Lamma, should calm down enough to view the
Games and the gold medals with a more-customary modesty.
Then they'll yell less, simply smirk a little and think,
"Not bad, eh?"
Not bad at
Sidney Crosby scores to
give Canadians what they most want – the gold medal in
men's ice hockey.
The Olympic flame burns in Vancouver.
Fun, sports and spectacles in the snow make the Winter
Fans in Canada prepare to celebrate.