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Oct 28:  Hectic Halloween Weekend

Scottish Simon Says:

"Recently our team - Lamma United - entered into the 48 Hour Film Project ( and was shown at the Grand Cinema at Elements last Saturday along with 20 other entries from across Hong Kong. All movies had to be between 4 and 7 minutes long.

Members from each team gathered at Yumla in Central on Friday 15th October at 7pm where we picked one of 14 genres out of the hat - we got drama - and all teams had to incorporate a prop (headphones), a character (Tina or Tony Chan, a HK journalist) and a line of dialogue ("Excuse me, I think this is yours.") into their script.

We had only 48 hours to write, act, edit and deliver our final film to Yumla by 7pm on Sunday 17th October. A pretty sleepless weekend!

Many people have asked if our 7-minute film To Whom It May Concern is going to be screened on Lamma, so this Sunday we'll be doing 2 premiere screenings."

"It Came From Lamma..."

The biggest Lamma show of the year not on Lamma!
Lamma Island's *FOUR* Scariest Bands *Raise the Dead* in Wanchai!

Transnoodle, The Curs, Swapp Things & Bahouki Sat, Oct 30, 10pm

Xperience, G/F Asia Orient Tower, 33 Lockhart Rd, Wanchai
(Back entrance next to The Wanch, front one next to Swindler's):

A wild and eclectic night of punkabilly / global ska / trashy country / celtic crazines, plus Comedians, Mummers and Tramps.

A Transylvanian, err, Transnoodlian writes:

Fancy Dress welcome but not required. Transnoodle will shock and surprise (and possibly anger).
We wanted to do this show on Lamma, but it was just gonna be TOO LOUD!

SEE The Curs shockabilly jug-band blasphemies.
HEAR Transnoodle tackle Blue Oyster Cult.
DRINK because you'll bloody need to.

Bands have vowed to take sampans home.
*SAMPANS WILL BE HAPPENING* Call 2143 6008. FREE! Poster, Facebook.

Haunted House Party: Sun, Oct 31, 7-10pm:
Hans Andersen Centre
, Tai Wan Village, YSW:
"We Are Funny Ghosts", free, in Cantonese, supplemented w/Eng.

P.S. If that's not enough events for you for one weekend, there'll be another Cultural Melting Pot - Island Festival this Sunday, at Discovery Bay.
I've been invited to help representing Lamma - another (unpaid) assignment for this "Unofficial Lamma Ambassador". I'll report back in words & pictures, of course.

The next one in this series of Outlying Islands Festivals will take place in Yung Shue Wan on Sunday, Nov 21:

Oct 27:  Coolest Award Reception @ Hyde

Picture by Jay Scott Kanes  (picture cropping by L-G, still trying to hold on to my before-weight-loss policy of "No pictures, please, I'm too shy!").

I was wearing my limited-edition (4 printed worldwide), full-colour DickStock XV T-shirt. It was a great conversation starter; I met some of the people actually voting for Lamma and one of the Hyde bartenders worked in the Lamma Power Station before!

The award plaque can be viewed in Lammadonna's office, a public place where anybody can enter during office hours and view it. This makes more sense than displaying it in my "secret hideaway" Lamma-zine home office.

In addition to our Official Court Pet Correspondent and Lamma-Por, we were joined by North Lamma District Councilor Lammadonna & Mr Leung Siu Tong, Islands District Councilor and holder of the most impressive number of titles I've ever seen on a single, folded name card:

Oct 26:  Lamma Fun Day, Saturday, Nov 13

Clean out your cupboards!

If you have unwanted clothes or homewares that are in good condition but you no longer need, put them to good use and donate them to Lamma Fun Day. The second hand bric-a-brac stalls are always popular and all proceeds go to CWS. We have two collection points where you can donate goods, in Central and on Lamma:

Bric-a-brac collection points:
Lamma - Diesel's Bar, Yung Shue Wan, October 30 and November 6, 3-5pm. For other collection arrangements on Lamma call Pam 6019 3364.

Central - CWS Office, Room 303, St George's Building, Ice House St. Office hours 9:30 - 6pm. Collection until November 11. Call 2526 8810.  Find out more...


Volunteer - we need you

Lamma Fun Day needs volunteers to help on the day. There's always plenty to do, whether it's running children's games, selling food or second hand goods. Enjoy your day out even more by donating a couple of hours of your time!  Find out more...
Play volleyball
If you want to be a bit more active in your involvement, get a team of friends together or enter a corporate team into the Lamma Fun Day Volleyball tournament. Great prizes to be won!  Find out more...

Bid for an auction item or buy something!

There are fantastic items up for auction including luxury hotel accommodation in Phuket, Cirque du Soleil tickets with a backstage tour and much more! Make a bid, win a great prize and support CWS. There will also be a range of goods for sale plus a great food and beverage selection.
To get involved please contact us or visit
If you can't make it to Lamma Fun Day you can still support CWS.
Visit our website to find out more

Oct 25:  Panda PR

Jay Scott Kanes - Official Court Pet Correspondent - Cairns Media:

(Pictures and story by Jay Scott Kanes)

Dedicated Pro Works Like a Dog

One of Hong Kong's top public-relations pros never issues press releases. Relying on a different forte, he's the slickest, most-devoted doorway-greeter and photo-poser in the business.

Nearly every day, Panda, a congenial, 10-year-old, mongrel dog, handles PR duties at the Artlab gift shop on Lamma's Main Street. From the doorway, this pet greets passing pedestrians and welcomes them into the shop. Constantly, people pause to caress him. Often they want him to pose for photos. Probably even a rival celebrity, the nearby Nick the Bookman, isn't photographed more.

"Panda is much more than just a pet," said Artlab proprietor Agnes Tam. "His job is as my PR manager, and he quite enjoys it.

"Panda has a special character," she added. "When you talk to him, he knows what you mean. More than other dogs, he shows some human qualities in his thinking.

"He's very nice and always friendly to people. If people show friendliness to him, he enjoys it very much. If they want to play with him or take photos with him, he's very co-operative. He'll sit or stand without moving, just like a person striking a pose. People can take lots of photos with him."

Plenty of repeat visitors to Lamma deliberately visit the Artlab looking for Panda. Some ignore the merchandise and try to negotiate to buy Panda instead.

Fat chance! Agnes considers Panda an outstanding employee who works hard for modest pay. "Some people come into my shop just for Panda," she said. "Others don't come inside. They stay outside, just sitting there with Panda."

In appreciation, Agnes uses Panda's image on souvenir postcards, painted refrigerator magnets, ceramic-tile coasters and other items for sale. "He gives me inspiration," she said. "The market for products with his picture has been quite good."

Panda makes friends elsewhere on the Main Street, at Power Station Beach and near Hongkong Electric's windmill too. "Even in those places, he approaches strangers and sits with them, often for a long time," Agnes said.

In a way, Panda does PR work for the entire dog species. When he greets some people, they react with fear, even panic. "I don't mind if a few people run away," Agnes said. "When Panda stands at my shop's doorway, more people gain exposure to dogs and can realize that dogs, including mongrels, aren't so scary. Any frightened person who really does touch Panda and visit with him won't be frightened anymore. Then Panda will have done his job really well.

"Too many Hong Kong people come from the city and give bad impressions to their children. Seeing dogs, they point at them and tell the youngsters, 'Ah! Stay away from them. They will bite you.' Parents saying that give their children a wrong concept.

"Panda easily shows people that mongrel dogs, or any dogs, are friendly if you're friendly to them. When problems happen, they usually start with the people, not the animals."

Sometimes Panda finds time in his busy schedule to nap on the shop floor. When customers arrive, he rouses himself to resume PR duties.

If everything's quiet in the shop, Panda may step outside for a stroll. "That's when he walks around, touring the village," Agnes said. "He knows every shop. Other shopkeepers don't mind him because he's so friendly to everyone. He just stays without annoying anyone. If someone dislikes him, he knows and goes away. Panda's understanding of the neighborhood is very good. He knows more people than I do."

Agnes doesn't mind when Panda temporarily steps out or even works briefly on PR at other businesses. "I just want Panda to be happy, to enjoy himself," she said.

As part of his pay, Panda often accompanies Agnes to teashops and restaurants. Sometimes they go together for dim sum at the Sampan Restaurant. "That makes him very happy too," Agnes said. "People say it's no good to give human food to dogs, but he likes it. He's getting older (showing bits of grey), so I try to give him what he enjoys."

Not originally from Lamma, Panda arrived as a two-month-old puppy, having ridden the ferry inside a backpack. One of Agnes' friends had found him wandering amid garbage on Cheung Chau.

"That friend took a small dog out of his backpack and said, 'Wow! This puppy is beautiful and needs someone to care for him.'"

Smitten, Agnes and her husband Luke adopted the puppy whose black-and-white fur led another friend to suggest the name Panda. "He looked very lovely, like a small panda bear," Agnes recalled.

"It was our first time keeping a dog. Until then, I used to be a little afraid of dogs too. Now I'm no longer fearful to touch dogs or cats. In fact, if any dog or cat doesn't approach me, then I'm unhappy."

To Panda's credit, he's one of just a few Lamma dogs whose guardians took the trouble to escort him into the city for a temperament test that allowed him to qualify as a therapist in the Animals Asia Foundation's Doctor Dog program. For a while, he traveled to the city and visited with people confined to hospitals and seniors homes.

Panda's well suited for that work too. "He knows what people feel and understands their moods," Agnes said. "If you're happy, he's happy. If you're sad, he stays beside you. If you like him, he kisses you."

But Panda's busy schedule in PR means he's no longer an active Doctor Dog.

In 1996, Agnes and Luke moved to Lamma as newlyweds. Once Panda joined the family, they enjoyed his company so much that they adopted three more dogs: Cable, a seven-year-old male initially found wandering on Lamma's Cable Road; Chu Chu, an eight-year-old female; and Dan Dan, an 11-year-old male.

Even so, Panda prefers to socialize with people. "He likes people much more than other dogs," Agnes said. "Maybe he's a little angry at us for adopting more dogs. He was our first, and now he's slightly jealous of the others."

That minor grievance fades away when Panda goes to work at the store. After all, he's a professional, a real social animal.

"He enjoys meeting people in the shop more than being at home," Agnes said. "I'm very proud of him."

Public relations in action: Panda entices a young woman toward the stop entrance.

If anyone has tasty snacks near Panda's workplace, he offers to help them.

Eager to socialize, Panda joins a table at a popular rest.

Pay day: Panda waits as Agnes orders dim sum.

Temporarily Panda steps in as a greeter at the Sampan Restaurant.

Supreme satisfaction: the look of a dog enjoying his career.

Ready to greet guests, Panda stands in the shop’s doorway.

As a puppy, Panda dreams of a promising future on Lamma.

Oct 24:  Feral Puppies Pickup

Autumn Sunday morning in the Lamma hills behind Lamma Winds. (click to enlarge)

Meeting this troupe of Feral Puppy Rescuers by chance on my speed-hiking constitutional to Lamma Winds, I decided to tag along and act as photographer.

Hiding deep in the bushes, till I heard faint noises and then spotted them
Dr. John gotcha! -- First-ever contact with humans, just 6+ weeks old.

So amazed that these puppies didn't offer any resistance, after just yelping a bit when picked up, but then cuddled up to their rescuers right away, no biting and scratching at all, just some frightened bowel movements...

Diane and her new friend -- Rescued not far from Lamma Winds.

I've asked one of the valiant puppy picker-uppers for a few words. By the way, these very cute puppies are looking for fosters and adopters! Contact LAWC!

Diane Cox - Lamma Animal Welfare Centre:

The cute little puppies, 6 in all, that were rescued from the hills today only serve to illustrate the lunacy of the Government's refusal to support a systematic Trap/ Neuter/Return policy for feral dogs in Hong Kong.

The existing system, whereby ferals are rounded up and killed, does nothing to solve the problem of population control. For every dog taken out a vacancy is created for one to move in. That's the way nature works - replenishing the stock until the carrying capacity of the environment is reached. Only effective sterilisation and return is effective, as studies around the world show.

It is important for people to look beyond the short term and urge the Government to adopt the only humane and effective method of dealing with the feral dog supply. Until they do, we will continue to find more and more little bundles of pups in the Lamma hills.

Oct 23:  Vespa Affinis

Photo by Anonymous Guy, Lamma's best wildlife photographer.

This is the exact hornet species that stung my foot a few weeks ago,
as identified by bicolor. It took Guy about 200+ shots with a Nikon dSLR to get this almost perfect shot of this only 1 inch long insect.

New bird photos by Anonymous Guy (Welcome back to our forums!)

Oct 22:  Coolest Outlying Island Award

HK Magazine, Friday, Oct 22, 2010:

Sarah Fung - Deputy Editor - HK Magazine:

Dear Lamma-Gung,


   HK Magazine's readers have chosen



  Coolest Outlying Island

in  the HK Magazine Readers' Choice Awards 2010.

Come and celebrate with us (and pick up your shiny plaque)
at our cocktail party and presentation ceremony.

Hope you are all well. I email with exciting news--Lamma has won an award in our Readers' Choice Awards! We're having a party to celebrate (see above). Proper e-invites to follow soon. We're also doing a special "awards" issue of HK Magazine this week, so keep an eye out for a copy, out Friday, 22 Oct.

Also, Lamma was judged runner-up in the categories "Best Place to Take Tourists" (behind The Peak) and "best Hong Kong hideaway" (behind Sai Kung).

We are absolutely thrilled that plucky Lamma has triumphed in our Readers' Choice Awards. It only confirms what we have long-known about your lovely island.

I understand that HK and Lamma have had a--shall we say--complicated relationship over the years, but please rest assure that any ribbing on our part is fully intended as good-natured banter, and we hope they are received in the spirit that they are meant. After all, what other Outlying Island would keep such a good sense of humor? Certainly not Discovery Bay!

Unfortunately, distribution of the magazine falls out of my jurisdiction, but we do have similar complaints from Lantau residents of not being able to find it.
(L-G: I was complaining about not a single distribution point for HK Magazine anywhere on Lamma.] May I suggest nominating one bold Lammaite to pinch a dozen copies from another distributor in Central and convey them to Yung Shue Wan for all to enjoy?
[L-G: Or download the weekly PDF file for your PC or eBook reader.]

You may also be pleased to know that HK Mag is now available in PDF format and the full book (plus lovely ads) can be sent to your email every Wednesday afternoon. Sign up at our website:

Here at HK we do see Lamma-Gung as a Lamma "ambassador". Obviously you feel very passionately about the island and you really put yourself out there with your articles about Lamma life, and also your campaigns to make Lamma an (even) better place to live. In our eyes there was no question that we'd love to have you picking up the award. However, if you feel your District Councilor's nose may be put out of joint with a lack of an invite, we can definitely ask him/her to come by as well.

If your rabble feel as though must stuff all the vegetarian canapes in their pockets as a snack for the ferry ride home, please try not to do so during the speeches. [L-G: Lammadonna & friends were eager to tag along with our "mooching hippie rabble".]

All joking aside though, congratulations again, and hope to see you at our awards party.

P.S. To follow our forum discussion about this prestigious, glorious, magnificent honour and get the behind-the-scenes story: Coolest Outlying Island award.

Oct 21:  Boost Your Body @ Boost Camp

Boost Campers in the YSW Basketball Court, 2 evenings per week; highly
recommended by Lamma-Gung who's been attending for several months now,
seeing astonishing progress by working out with this fun and relaxed group!

Lunging, squatting, twisting, jumping, running, pushing-up, stretching...

Donna the Herbalicious, aka "The Body Booster"

"Plankety-plank hanky-panky!" -- Star jumps -- Yoga body twister

Recovering...getting ready for the next "burst" of exercise!  (all photos by L-G)

Oct 17:  Lammaites Rocking Halloween

Adam the Stylish Producer, Andy the Riff Raff, Meg the Dream Girl:

(Photos for this "Sponsored Feature" by Stylus HK Theatre.
Text based on my email interview with Andy & Meg.)

Lammaites Andy Fullard and Meg Teckman are performing once again in a Stylus HK Musical Theatre performance. He's playing Riff Raff, the servant handy man of Frank N. Furter and Meg is one of the Dream Girls singers and a member of the very flirty chorus.

Both of them are very ambitious performers with a huge love of all things Musical Theatre. The chance to dress up in provocative, outlandish clothing as well as blasting their way through some of the best rock'n'roll numbers theatreland has to offer was too good an opportunity to pass up. (By the way, the photo above is NOT showing Andy & Meg, but the lead actors playing Janet and Frank N. Furter.)

The show has very much a "free to do what I want, any old time" vibe to it and allows its characters to pretty much be "debaucherous" and devoid of cares, much like most of the Saturday nightlife on Lamma!

They can't think of any real comparisons with Lamma figures, but it would be interesting to see someone like Nick the Bookman playing the mad rock'n'roll punk Eddie!

Sadly they won't be in their colourful and fancy show outfits on Lamma on Halloween, but only because the show is running on that night! The show runs from 27th October until 31st October.




Richard O'Brien

Presenting co.

Dungeon Productions

Principal Sponsors



October 27th – 31st 2010


8pm (and 11.55pm on Saturday 30th October)


Shouson Theatre, Hong Kong Arts Centre, Wanchai


English (with Chinese synopsis provided)


Box office opens on September 27th at
Stall tickets 300 HKD, Circle tickets 250 HKD

Age Limit

16yrs+ (adult content and sexual themes)




The Rocky Horror Show is one of the most popular cult shows of all time. It began as a stage show in London in June 1973. A massively popular motion picture, The Rocky Horror Picture Show followed. This is a full stage version including all of the songs.

Synopsis: Brad and Janet, a newly-engaged all-American couple, are forced to seek help at a lonely castle after a flat tyre. There they meet the transvestite scientist, Dr Frank N. Furter and his minions who lead them on a journey of sexual self-discovery that will leave them both changed forever.

Key songs: Time Warp, Sweet Transvestite, Toucha Touch Me

Principal cast members: Brad – Doug Pyle, Janet – Kim Haslam, Frank – Daren Durkin

Director Adam Harris's credits in Hong Kong include Equus, Private Lives, Journey's End, The Merchant of Venice and the 2006 production of The Rocky Horror Show.

P.S. More Lammaites Rocking Halloween, also in Wanchai.
Click below for details or check out their Facebook event page:

Oct 14:  Where Are the Posters?

Jo Wilson - Secretary, Living Lamma:

There has been much debate on the Welcome Wall. I'd like to give you a bit of background information and also let you know about the launch of a design competition to enhance the appearance of the wall.

The Welcome Wall was included in the booklet produced for the Stop the Mess! campaign, which contained 253 photographs of rubbish black spots, rusty railings, and other areas that had fallen into disrepair or become eyesores on Lamma. This booklet was prepared by Living Lamma and presented to different government departments in a series of meeting this year. Though the wall serves a valuable service, being a communications board for the community, it had fallen into disrepair and was in need of renovation.

It took several months to ascertain who should be responsible for the upkeep of the wall. The Home Affairs Department (HAD) has now taken charge. In fact, HAD is co-ordinating other government departments and is actively working its way through the the other photos in Living Lamma's booklet. The recent replacement or repainting of rusty railings and removal of rubbish on Tai Peng Hill are part of these efforts. I'm even told that the Water Services Department will soon be repainting their building in Yung Shue Long. Things are happening and we are really pleased so far with the response. It has taken a monumental effort, but we are now moving in the right direction.

Why is it so difficult to clean up things on Lamma?

Like other places in the New Territories, the question of land ownership often gets in the way. For instance, in Tai Peng New Village, the government wants to put a hand railing on the stairs and the side of the path where there is a rather nasty drop. Unfortunately, about 5 metres of this path falls on private land and so government needs the permission of the licensee before they extend the fence along the most dangerous part of the path. Though government has written to the licensee, they have not received a response and therefore can only partially fence the path. The owner may be unaware of the situation, but the government officers are not empowered to take further action.

In the same area, there is now a huge stockpile of green waste, which is too big to compost effectively and which has also been used as a dumping ground for other rubbish over time. Though government contractors have been responsible for depositing some of the green waste on private land, most likely unwittingly, (there is nothing anywhere to indicate the boundaries and the area concerned extends back from the bin area), the government cannot clean it up because it is private land. For the private land owner, there will be costs involved in clearing this pile of which he probably has no knowledge.

Living Lamma is trying to work with government and the local community to solve these problems. The response from the Rural Committee has been fantastic and we are now working with Chairman Chan to identify the right people to talk to and see what can be done. In the case of Tai Peng New Village, we will be speaking to the village heads and trying to take further steps to contact the licensee. We will also offer assistance to help private land owners who have waste on their land that they want to clear.

And now back to the issue of the wall.
First there was the question of ownership to overcome, which after months of no-one seeming to know the answer, HAD resolved by taking charge of the renovation. Then the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department (FEHD) had to come and clean it, which was when the notices were first removed and the wall was power sprayed. Contractors for HAD then repaired and painted it.

Living Lamma did not have any say over the colour. In fact, when the scaffolding first appeared, I was straight on the phone to HAD, thinking "Dear God, don't let them paint it pink!" I was told that the paint had already been ordered and that it was "monochrome." A couple of phone calls later and we had ascertained that indeed, monochrome meant grey, the colour of concrete.

But don't worry. The grey wall is a TEMPORARY measure. We have a document from HAD stating that:

"A further beautification works will be done and we shall invite the locals/Living Lamma to provide a draft painting design. Beautification works will commence right away upon the confirmation of the design."

In the meantime, I have been told repeatedly that residents are welcome to continue to post notices on the Welcome Wall (and don't worry if a bit of paint comes off, it's temporary after all!)

So the next step is to invite all artists, architects, designers and landscapers (of any age) to take part in the design competition. Living Lamma is working with the Rural Committee to organise this and posters outlining the competition details within the next week or so.

We are also looking for a small committee of volunteers to help encourage people to participate and with general co-ordination. If anyone would like to help, please contact Jo Wilson at 2982 0920.

Details of the competition will, of course, be posted on the Welcome Wall and on

Read more about the Democracy, err, Welcome, err, Democracy Wall as the status seems to be changing almost daily right now:
The 'Democracy Wall' - a discussion.

Oct 5:  Lamma Philo Cafe - 1st Meeting

Tavis - HK Philosophy Cafe - Lamma Branch:

Photos by Cindy (above) and L-G (below)

By all accounts, the first meeting of the Lamma Island Branch of the Hong Kong Philosophy Café was a roaring success. Graciously hosted by Ken of the Bookworm Cafe (wearing a "Prayer Warrior" T-shirt for the occasion, see right), over 20 of us gathered to think, question, learn, and most importantly dialogue on the topic of meditation as considered from within a Christian context.

Our esteemed guest presenter, The Rev. Cynthia Bourgeault, PhD., an Episcopal priest for 35 years, spoke with a warm and unaffected manner about one of her greatest passions, Centering Prayer, a Christian form of meditation. She revealed her interest in meditation to not be restricted within the Christian domain only, citing studies of the effects of meditation upon the brain that are well funded by the Dalai Lama. Also a member of The Spiritual Paths community where the practitioners of many the world's major religious/spiritual paths practice together within a context of mutual respect and sharing, Cynthia pointed out that it is in meditative practice that that the world's religions come closest to touching.

Cynthia using part of the Bookworm's decorations to make a philosophical point. 

Louise, a café participant posed a direct challenge to the concept of Christian meditation: She asked, "Why do we need to associate our meditation with any religion at all?" Cynthia responded positively, affirming that the beneficial neural response to meditative practice is not dependant upon the religious context, but that meditation will bring about naturally a marvelous awe of our cosmos and ultimately some sense of the universal as personal, relational and unitive.

Wonderful! So, how much should we meditate? "As little as possible" suggests Cynthia. Explaining her surprising response, she suggests that it isn't helpful for meditation, itself, to just become another addiction. Rather, a meditative practice should support the broadening and calming of our minds so that our "doings" are positive and loving.

The meeting was attended by wide range of Lamma and non-Lamma persons, seeming ranging in religious interest from atheist, Buddhist, agnostic, liberal and even fundamentalist Evangelical Christians. There was also a nice mixture of Chinese and non-Chinese as well as a range of different levels of English fluency. There will always be some who can assist with translation. Feedback after the event was almost unanimously positive except for some difficulty with extraneous noise and difficulty in hearing the speaker.

Cynthia herself affirmed her enjoyment of the event in no uncertain terms:

"Thank you for a perfectly delightful evening on Lamma Island--not only one of the best nights I've ever had in Hong Kong, but in my life! What a treat to gather in the delightfully funky and welcoming Bookworm Café, surrounded by spiritual seekers from all over the globe, sharing their deepest thoughts in two languages! It was a glimpse of the human spirit all too rarely visible these days in our sanitized, commercialized world, and I loved every minute of it!"

Our next meeting will be at 7:00 p.m. on November 7th,and meetings will follow on the first Sunday evening of subsequent months. Professor Steven Palmquist, founder of the Hong Kong Philosophy Café pointed out that usually meetings will not have external guest speakers, but topics will be mostly generated by members of the Café itself.

We are looking for topics and presenters for upcoming meetings! Presentations of a topic can range between 5 and 20 minutes and may be presented in whatever fashion the presenter chooses. Some topics that have been suggested so far include:

Are mixed or intercultural marriages less likely to succeed?
Should we love our jobs?
(Questions that might be posed by different spiritual/religious groups on Lamma including atheists and agnostics.)

So, if you are looking to exercise the gray matter and build some new community connections, come on out to our next café meeting! Contact me!

Various reactions to the discussions (Cynthia in center, Tavis 2nd from right)

Oct 4:  Monkeying Around in a Country Park

Jay Scott Kanes - Official Court Pet Correspondent - Cairns Media:

(Pictures and story by Jay Scott Kanes)

China's National Day:
Time for Monkeys

A COUNTRY PARK, Hong Kong – On the recent holiday weekend for China's National Day (October 1), the official events in Hong Kong and those on television from the Chinese mainland shared a common problem – the wearisome presence of government officials.

Eager to spend my time with more noble companions, I located some tiny individuals (many about the size of former Chinese president Deng Xiaoping) who may look and act much like government officials. But they're vastly more interesting.

My quest led to the Monkey Hill in a country park north of Kowloon. That's home to many of Hong Kong's several thousand macaque monkeys, who appear there perched on posts, clinging to trees and ambling along hillsides. Never mind that most of Hong Kong's real monkey-business happens in company boardrooms, SAR government buildings and the Liaison Office of the Central People's Government.

Even when stepping from a taxi, I spotted monkeys near the roadside. Serious jaywalkers, some of the primates scramble dangerously between passing cars on the busy highway. Safety-conscious ones use a nearby overhead pedestrian walkway.

These monkeys aren't shy. Some sat on a road leading into the park, reluctantly stepping aside when a car or truck turned off the highway and approached. Others clung to the highway railings as if ready to hail taxis. One rested a paw against a PCCW phone booth. Did he plan to place a call?

When a taxi stopped to deliver another human visitor, a monkey hopped onto its red engine bonnet. Instead of welcoming this potential fare, the cabbie shooed away the animal.

Prominent posters in the park warn visitors to "protect yourself from monkeys" and to "stop feeding feral monkeys". They caution against "eating when monkeys are watching you".

Initially, I envisioned staying alert to prevent the monkeys from stealing my spectacles, wallet or even camera. Maybe they'd turn the tables by photographing me instead of vice-versa.

Actually, most of the macaques behaved like tolerant hosts. Youngsters, seniors or in-between, they showed little fear or hostility. If I avoided sudden moves, they let me quietly approach and expressed few objections as I shot photos at close range. Despite their failure to smile on cue, I doubted if professional fashion models could co-operate better.

Peering into the faces, especially of older monkeys, gave me powerful impressions of savvy and wisdom. I never feel such sensations from TV images of Chinese president Hu Jintao or Hong Kong chief executive Donald Tsang.

Unperturbed by my presence, the monkeys continued their regular activities – climbing, foraging, munching on plants, toting babies, ambling about, checking for insects in each other's fur, watching humans for possible food handouts and even (apparently) meditating. The favorite multi-task involved napping as a partner inspected and picked impurities from one's fur. That looked as relaxing as a spa treatment.

Allegedly, most wild monkeys in Hong Kong have descended from pets released in the 1920s. One variation, the rhesus macaque, is native to southern China. The animals like to live in large groups. Up to 200 may eat, sleep and hang out together. Females can breed by age four and then give birth to a baby per year.

Hong Kong's Wild Animals Protection Ordinance forbids anyone without a permit from feeding the monkeys. Offences may lead to fines of HK$10,000. Supposedly, too much food from humans makes the monkeys greedy and aggressive, ready to mug anyone with shopping bags.

According to the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department, "The feeding ban is a measure to:

  • reduce monkey nuisances and attacks;

  • curb the unnatural growth of the population of monkeys;

  • reduce monkey deaths in traffic accidents by avoiding monkeys staying along the road for feeding;

  • help monkeys revert back to their skills to forage in the wild; and

  • minimize any possibility of disease transmission between monkeys and humans."

Some monkeys, seen munching on berries and leaves, clearly possess the skills and motivation to focus on finding edible plant-life. Others show more enthusiasm to forage at the bins where people place rubbish.

One monkey chewed on slices of bread. "Why not make a sandwich?" I wanted to suggest.

A nearby poster declared: "Monkeys are primarily vegetarians. They have excellent memories and high learning capacity in discovery of new food sites. They can recall their experience of foraging and adapt to different plants for food as the season changes.

"Rhesus macaques take mainly fruits, seeds, roots, buds, sprouts, grass, leaves, algae from ponds and even mushrooms for food. Longtailed macaques eat mainly fruits, buds, sprouts and young leaves. They also feed on insects and small invertebrates."

Suddenly, a brainstorm hit me so I asked the monkeys within earshot: "Hey, do any of you guys want to move to Lamma Island? It's a good place. You'd like it."

One macaque looked quizzically at me before diverting his attention to scratching an armpit. None gave a direct reply.

Yung Shue Wan, the Lamma village where I live, would become much livelier with resident macaques. Imagine them climbing onto balconies, swinging from awnings and tugging at dogs' tails!

Wisely, I resisted a desire to grip two monkeys by their paws and lead them to the Lamma ferry pier in Central. They enjoy their country park. Surely, a pushy human urging them to move, or even touching them, would get bitten by sharp teeth and pummeled by fist-like paws.

The primates' behavior outshone that of passing people. Most humans strolling past carried sticks and waved them at the nearest monkeys. What needless hostility! Why do people feel threatened by these small relatives from the animal kingdom? Personally, I felt happier and more relaxed among the monkeys than I ever do on the streets of Tsim Sha Tsui or Causeway Bay.

As for the monkeys' perspective, I imagined them thinking: "Humans grow taller than us, but they're timid and easily frightened, definitely an inferior species."

Nasty people sometimes try to stab the monkeys or place traps in the park, but experts warn against eating monkey meat. The Wild Animals Protection Ordinance stipulates stiff fines or jail terms for hunting or deliberately disturbing wild animals.

Overhead, tree branches heaved and swayed as macaques swung among the leaves. Unlike Lantau Island's Ngong Ping cable cars, their sky-transport never breaks down.

Then a sprinkle of warm liquid traced a path along my right shirtsleeve and forearm. Surprised, I glanced up into a tree just in time to sidestep a new stream of falling monkey urine. Someone among the leaves disliked me. Had the suggestion of moving to Lamma aroused more resentment than I realized? Would fellow passengers on the Lamma ferry later sniff out my from-the-sky perfume?

Not annoyed, I felt amused, appreciating the mischievous monkey's sense of humor. His behavior brought to mind how Hong Kong's leaders treat the local people by favoring big business and neglecting to defend public interests in Beijing. The government's actions aren't as funny.

Several monkeys scaled towering trees, ascending into the sky. Their climbing skills made me think of how the central government had exploited National Day for propaganda by launching a lunar-probe rocket then – a mildly impressive feat, but one that solves no problems on the ground. The agile monkeys impressed me more.

By the time I left the monkeys, I felt spiritually rewarded for visiting them. Maybe I can mingle with the same crowd next year. What better time than China's National Day to meet with monkeys?

Professional fashion models couldn't pose better.

Pensive primate: a monkey looks thoughtful.

Happy to pose: 'How's this for my best angle?'

Why not make a sandwich?

The face of a senior monkey shows wisdom.

A woman carries a big stick to walk near the monkeys.

Into the clouds: monkeys scale a towering tree.

Mother and child: wary of human monkey-business.

Like a day at the spa, snooze as a partner cleans one's fur.

Rubbish duty:
alert to what enters the bins.

Lamma-zine's correspondent 'fits in' with the macaque clan.

Oct 3:  Newspapers Home Delivery

Julia & Gina - Newspaper delivery on Sunday mornings:

We offer a Sunday morning paper delivery service, charging $13 for the South China Morning Post and $11 for the Chinese paper. Anna and I first started this service because our parents used to have to bribe us to go down and get the paper, so we thought why not make a bit of pocket money from it?

Anna has left to attend boarding school, so my sister Julia has now taken over. At the moment we deliver around Yung Shue Wan, mainly in Po Wah Yuen and Tai Peng. If you are interested please feel free to email us with your address, contact details, choice of newspaper(s) and wake up to a paper at your doorstep! Our email is:

Oct 2:  Encouraging Elderlies to Care for Elderlies

Oct 1 - National Day:  Philosophy Cafe Opens

Tavis - HK Philosophy Cafe - Lamma Branch:

The first meeting of the Lamma Island Branch of the Hong Kong Philosophy Café will meet this Sunday, 7:00 p.m. at the Bookworm Cafe.

The topic of the first meeting will be: Can "Centering Prayer" - a form of meditation, support a renewed hope that (in the words of G.K. Chesterton) "Christianity isn't a failure; it just hasn't been tried yet." The Presenter, Cynthia Bourgeault, is an Episcopal priest, writer, and internationally known retreat leader who travels globally to teach and spread the recovery of the Christian contemplative path. Cynthia is the author of six books including, most recently, The Meaning of Mary Magdalene: Discovering the Woman at the Heart of Christianity.

In spite of the religious theme of the first topic – A Philosophy Café is NOT a religious meeting.

No system of belief or values will be privileged over any other…

     Except for…

a belief in and a deep commitment to genuine dialogue, where the right to present one's own point of view is protected (provided it is not denigrating the dignity of others or ridiculing different opinions) and where dissent is not only allowed, but embraced as the fuel that powers a deep exploration of ideas.

The Lamma Philosophy Café will provide a friendly place for the exploration of ideas, where we may question our own assumptions and the assumptions of the various circles of culture within which all of us struggle to find our own 'right path'. It will not always be comfortable, but as we learn to embrace our differences and celebrate our commonalities, we will build a community of sharing where we will learn it's safe to be ourselves – to be different. And all of this while potentially enjoying a favourite veggie snack and a cup of coffee or a glass of organic wine or beer.

The Lamma Philosophy Café will meet on the first Sunday evening (7:00 p.m.) of every month (a different topic will be explored every time).

For more information, contact me at, or view this topic in the forum I'm moderating:
New Philosophy Cafe on Lamma.

P.S. A related event will also happen this Sunday morning, 11:30 a.m., on 2/F, 8 Back Street YSW, vis-a-vis the Thai shop; click below to find out more:


Read last month's stories...

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