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Lamma News - May 2011:

May 30

The Standard,
May 30


L-G, May 29

May 27

Drowning Accident:
"A 49-year-old man drowned after going for a swim from a leisure boat off Hung Shing Yeh beach."

"The man who drowned was surnamed Cheung, 49. He and his family had gone to Hung Shing Ye Wan, on Lamma, to swim. His daughter noticed he was missing and called police. Marine police found Cheung unconscious and he was taken to Eastern Hospital where he was pronounced dead." Read more...

It happened on Sun afternoon, May 29 - see my helicopter evacuation picture @ Helipad, 3:10pm.

678+ public comments received re: Baroque on Lamma's Rezoning Application to Town Planning Board by the deadline on Fri May 27.

More News... - Email me your news & photos, or contact me on Facebook: Lamma Gung, or call 6498 6960!

Lamma-zine Stories - May 2011:

Lo Tik Wan Rain Shelter

The Govt. announced another rain shelter to be built above Lo Tik Wan; for public comment - June 6.

Lamma Website of the Day:
Wind Farm

Let's start to highlight very interesting Lamma websites.

The Baroque on Lamma -
an Eco-Development?

You've heard about the "marina, sailing centre, hotel, plaza, flats in South Lamma?

Boost Your Body!

Looking to boost your metabolism and your body?

A Sea Bass Out of Water

Lamma-Gung's (mis)adventures at the Gala Dinner of the HK Journalists Association.


Upset about all the recent newspaper stories about Lamma property? Me too!

Before Breakfast

Experiencing YSW in the early morning, while looking for the best places to have breakfast.

A Story about Dim Sum and Rock 'n' Roll

"Nutters like you are the reason why Lamma is a cool place."

Lions, Dragons & Unicorns @ Man Fung Seaview Rest.

North Lamma has been invaded by a wide range of Chinese Mythical Creatures yesterday.

Lamma Dragons Triumph by Milliseconds!

500m: Mixed Cup Champions:

Lamma Dragons Mixed!

Women's Cup: Lamma Ladies!

Lamma 500 Updates & Photo Contest

"Founded in 2007, the Lamma 500 is one of the most challenging and competitive..."

RIP - Warwick Matthews

"It is with great sadness that I report the death of Warwick Matthews in Tai Peng on May 1."

Joining Forces to Create a Legend?

"The project aims to introduce a green project in Hong Kong, embodying a world-class...."

Missing: Tony the Rabbit

With his Easter duties all taken care off, numerous Easter eggs buried in many gardens and even on Power Station beach,

Harbour Reclamation Survey

This questionnaire has been handed out at the Yung Shue Wan ferry pier yesterday before 9am, by Lammadonna & her....

Lose Weight With Discounted Donuts

After my once-weekly weigh-in, I continue to update my stable weight in a "Weight Loss Ticker".

Lamma Warriors vs. Lamma Xtremes

Another Pinoy-flavored Sunday sports spectacle, this time volleyball skillfully played,....

$50,000 Rent for Village House?

Yes, it's finally happened. A few flat rentals have rocketed off this planet and reached....

5th Lamma 500

Welcoming all competitors & visitors to the fifth annual Laracy & Co Lamma International Dragon Boat Festival 2011!

Tree Doctor @ 'Lamma Garden'

... I noticed 3 guys doing some serious work on the trunk of this iconic cotton tree.

Bulbuls Nesting on Balconies

Having a nest of Red-Whiskered Bulbuls on your flat's balcony is not an uncommon happening on Lamma.

"Am I sad? And would you like to join me?"

Gratuitous irreverence & down- right offensive comments about "The Royal Wedding".

Remnants of the Days

The almost dismantled Cantonese Opera bamboo structure in the YSW Football Pitch, only the remnants of....

Have a WILD Summer

These new graffiti painting has appeared recently on the same wall replacing the former painting after just a few months.

May 31:  Lo Tik Wan Rain Shelter

There is another notice up on the public noticeboard (opposite HSBC, in front of the Policebox) about building a rain shelter in the hillside above Lo Tik Wan, on the walk down behind our major tourist attraction, the Lamma Winds windturbine.

But is this rain shelter really necessary and how will it look like? Like a pretty touristy pavilion (like the ones along the Family Trail) or another ugly square concrete box like some existing rain shelters?

Also, how many tourists ever venture way beyond the windturbine, down the hill the other side, to the tiny village of Lo Tik Wan with a few houses and a little pier? This is a pretty, pristine, natural area, does it really need another concrete structure that needs to be cleaned and maintained?

There are only a few days left to comment or object, till June 6. Details:

(14) in DLO/IS 01/19/2001/NL. For enquiries, contact Mr. Chan of District Office, tel. 2852 4621. District Lands Officer (Islands) in charge is Laura Sze, tel. 2852 4262, (she'll forward comments to the District Office).

Let them know your frank (but politely expressed) views and opinions.

May 27:  Lamma Website of the Day:  Wind Farm

Let's start a new regular Lamma-zine feature, highlighting very interesting, but low-key, little-known Lamma/Lammaite-related websites. I'll be showcasing and linking them for several days on the right side of this home page, under a brand- new Website of the Day heading. Afterwards, they'll move into the permanent Lamma Links page, which is linked from the top of every page of this site, including our forum.

Today, Building an Offshore Wind Farm near Lamma Island, an almost unknown website about the 2nd largest renewable energy project in HK. Approved already, with very little local opposition, to be constructed by HK Electric by 2015, this is their official project website with the basic info. Check it out, as well as this Lamma-zine story: Marine Wind Farm off Lamma.

If you'd like to get YOUR Lamma-related website featured for free and wouldn't mind quite a bit more traffic and visitors to your site, email me.

For not-free advertorials, ads and email shots to market your website, business, products or services, you're also most welcome to email me, of course.

May 26: The Baroque on Lamma - an Eco-Development?

I've just received the very first The Baroque on Lamma (BoL) Newsletter in English and Chinese (pdf, 1.6MB). The newsletter describes BoL as an "innovative green project, embodying a world-class marina, an ecological tourist destination, a sailing/windsurfing training centre, a 6-star spa resort hotel, a public waterfront plaza and low-density residential communities."

You can subscribe to these news and updates at their new, comprehensive, bilingual website. The promotional, bilingual Blog of Baroque has just published new stories about the former Mo Tat Wan School (see above) and the Tin Hau Festival in Sok Kwu Wan celebrated last week.

The BoL newsletter also encourages anybody to send in comments to the Town Planning Board this Friday, May 27 (Town Planning Board, TPB). According to TPB, a total of 768 public comments have so far been submitted for the BoL rezoning application, probably a record for a Lamma-based project. Some of these submitted comments have already been made public, for example those from Living Lamma, WWF, and green groups on/off Lamma.

Keep an eye on the Lamma-zine which will continue to provide facts, links and info on any local matters, trying hard to present both sides. For more info, details and background of this controversial project, see my last BoL story, or click on any of the text and picture links in this story.

There have been so many public comments and strong opinions expressed already (our BoL forum, on Facebook, RTHK Radio, etc), let's focus today on the most interesting parts of the BoL proposal: the numerous proposed "green features".

Green seems to be their favourite corporate colour and their proposal looks and sounds like the most ambitious and comprehensive eco-development we've seen on Lamma, or all over HK, perhaps. Click for overviews of their Green Building, Green Marina, Green Tourism, Green Community, Green Partners,....

GREEN INITIATIVES (summarised from BoL proposal, using some of their words):

"Conservation Corridor":
This is mostly abandoned agricultural land, woodland and tall shrubs at the Tung O Wan foothills with an variety of indigenous flora and fauna (see right, from lower left to upper right corner, no. 2 in the map, click to enlarge, legend). They propose to conserve these habitats and restore identified pockets and streams for public enjoyment, education and research, with help from specialists and interested NGOs.

Abandoned farmland will be re-farmed for organic produce. Part of it could be converted to artificial wetland for waste treatment of public facilities within the Conservation Corridor.

Restore abandoned/damaged village houses and artefacts (including those found in archaeological sites at Tung O and Sham Wan), trying to "re-create" or at least showcase the old-times Lamma lifestyle for visitors.

Waste water will be treated and recycled for irrigation, cleaning and other purposes. Waste sludge will be reused as fertiliser, kitchen waste composted in package plants. The buildings will adopt "smart" design to be energy-efficient, supplemented by solar and wind energy. Rainwater will be stored and reused to further reduce the demand on fresh water.

Green Marina: The proposed design of the marina stays away from the existing rocky shore and the rocky portion of the seabed where some corals can be found. The design of the marina and the breakwater will protect water quality and provide an environment where marine life can flourish. The marina structure and the breakwater will become even better habitats for all sorts of marine life than the current sandy, silty seabed.

The marina is also committed to achieve international "green marina" standards (such as Blue Flag, Green Marina, Green Anchor and similar certifications). A major criteria for these will be maintaining good water quality and public education.
The breakwater structure is also suitable for high-capacity rainwater storage, district heating/cooling, waste recycling as well as desalination (if required).

Green Community: BoL believes to have sufficient scale to create a self- contained "green community" without sacrificing the natural environment or the quality of life. They'll carry out carbon audits during different stages of the design to make sure they're achieving their goals. They can also expect to be held accountable about their green initiatives by the HK Govt. after the land grant.

A final word from BoL to attract more Green Partners:

"We have been inviting participation from local scientists and institutions to help explore and develop our green initiatives. We are pleased to have Mr. Lucien Gambarota of the Motorwave Group [well-known HK wind and wave energy expert] to participate in the exploration of utilization of tidal stream energy to generate not only electricity but also compressed air (for heating/cooling and as a power source) for the development:

"We also welcome the participation of the Ichthyological Society of Hong Kong and the Zoological Association of Hong Kong to form an expert committee to prepare a Ecological Master Plan for the proposed Conservation Corridor and marina basin.

"There are so many aspects of the project that we need external advice and assistance! BoL welcomes participation particularly from local groups who have the knowledge, passion and expertise to participate in the project to make it a reality and a showcase of how conservation and ecology can co-exist with new development."

Quoting the (obviously not unbiased) Green Partner, Motorwave boss Mr. Gambarota (see his letter to the SCMP Editor on the right):
"The Baroque on Lamma project is an extremely good opportunity for private developers and the government to show they have learnt something from environmentalists. Being an environmentalist is not always about keeping everything like it was but rather ensuring the positive integration of humans and nature."

The proposal sounds all pretty wonderful and very promising, addressing many of the most popular eco-issues (even fashionable carbon audits). But how many of these proposed green initiatives will they be able to implement in reality, and at what price to the natural environment, beloved by the (still very rare) visitors? I've collected the major critical questions from Lammaites, submitting them to the developers, hoping for answers. Keep an eye on this home page!

May 25:  Boost Your Body!

This is how dynamic and fast-moving you'll feel after a BoostCamp! It was all just too fast even for my professional Nikon in Action/Sports Mode. It couldn't capture our trainer, Donna the Body Booster, well, as she rarely ever stands still or stops her non-stop moving around. Her body is so boosted, it's tough for us mere mortals - especially me after still being on a 2-month working-out hiatus due to skin surgery - to keep up. But we all try hard and do our best, getting a bit fitter, stronger and faster each week ...

... and after just a few weeks, some of us also start to move really fassst ...

... until the entire BoostCamp class is becoming just a blur of fit 'n' fast action ...

... while some of our animal companions are watching us, probably puzzled and bewildered about our strange behaviours and vaguely dance-like contortions, fueled by Donna's iPhoney, err, iPhoned workout play lists:

Besides the 3-times weekly, low-cost BoostCamps for Lammaites in the YSW Basketball Court, Donna the Body Booster is also offering BoostCamps for Kids, Weight Loss Challenges and Personal Training. Check out her new website and her Herbie Shop to find out how YOU can become so fit'n'fast-moving yourself. Leave your non-Body-Boosted friends in the dust, while they admire your brand-new, dynamic fitness & health. Then buy them all a round of healthy beverages of their choice to stop them from becoming too jealous.

May 20:  A Sea Bass Out of Water

Mr. Gordon Siu, the former Secretary of Planning and Lands,
is the founder of Music for Our Young Foundation.

You probably know the expression, "like a fish out of water". That's how I felt today, being invited to the HK Journalists Association's 43rd Gala Dinner in the J.W. Marriott Hotel in Admiralty on HK Island. But as an Internet (wannabe) journalist, I couldn't resist this free dinner and Lucky Draw, of course.

But my (otherwise wonderful) table host made me wear a long-sleeve shirt (with buttons) and a TIE! (Aieeyah! Arrrgh! The unimaginable horror!) I haven't worn one in YEARS, since my pre-Lamma career as General and Regional Manager. I had to rummage deep in my corporate closet to find one of those sordid strangulation accessories. Fashion-wise, my old ties are so far out of style by now; remember very wide, loud, colourful, flamboyant Versace ties? I stuck out like a sore thumb amongst the crowds of very dark-suited businessmen with single-colour, narrow ties, not just because I was one of the only 1-2% of Gwailos invited. My Chinese is not quite up to the highly professional standards of business chit-chat and polite-society networking.

Seeing the word Lamma-zine on our table's name tag in this swish ballroom (see below), with "real" journalists and "old media" people from Now TV, Cable TV, Sing Tao Daily and HK Economic Times at our table, it felt like a little validation of my 9+ years of my "new media" work on the Lamma-zine, with almost 3,000 stories published so far. Finally, after all these low-key, little-appreciated years, a little, tiny, miniscule speck of respect! {*Sniffle!*}

I really felt like a fish (Sea Bass in my case, see below) out of water (golden white wine in my case). All wine of the evening was sponsored by Henry "Why can't I be the next Li Ka-shing?" Tang who seems so eager to please the often adversarial media. Is he hoping for our support for his rumoured bid for Chief Executive in 2012? The wine was great, rumoured to cost up to $1,000/bottle, so I'll gladly vote for you, Henry! Or I would, if we Hong Kongers could actually vote for our CE in the next election. Interestingly (or not), my table host and my own former employer are all part of the Li Ka-shing empire, so it stayed all within this big, oh-so-happy, but occasionally feuding family.

There was a fund-raising auction for the association, including a bottle of Methuselah Red Wine, opening bid $100,000 (no typo)! Jimmy Lai - "a business adventurer and pioneer who transformed the media industry in HK and Taiwan" - offered a Warren Buffet-like dinner invitation up for auction. To save money, it'll be at his home and he'll even cook.

Chow Yun-fat, Lamma's favourite, most famous son was donating (not in person) a "mysterious photograph" with his own autograph, up for auction starting at a bargain price of $8,000. Maybe we should try to convince Fat-Gor to auction off a dinner with him, raising much-needed funds for the Lamma-zine's highly- endangered future survival?! Wow, that would be quite something, saving and maintaining it for years! Well, I'm still allowed to have crazy dreams, don't I?

Well, hey, I won the most valuable table prize, a Lavender Vanity Case by Crabtree & Evelyn (see above). An instant surprise present for Lamma-Por who loved it, fortunately. If not, could you imagine me walking down Main Street with this pinkish case, the butt of even more jokes than usual?

But the Lucky Draw prizes all eluded me; very sad as I had really set all my hopes and dreams on the #1 prize, 2 CX business class tickets to anywhere in the world, worth $100,000! It would have been so nice to join my brother's wedding in Brazil this October, especially after not having been on a plane for almost as long as we've been "involuntarily semi-retired" on Lamma. Our carbon footprint is really, really low; it's almost exemplary, though somewhat involuntarily.

Mid-dinner, we got the top-urgent update of THE Hottest News of the Day, iPhoned in to the journalists and then whispered from table to table within minutes. What was this news, getting all these professional journalists so excited? Breaking news from a war zone, a terrorist attack or a natural disaster?

No, it was "3 winners in the record $130+ million Mark Six draw tonight!"

These actually employed (Hurray!) journalists on stage above spoke and even sang about the daily trials & tribulations of being an underpaid, overworked, low-self- esteemed and little-respected journo. Tell me about it, brothers & sisters, I feel your pain!
Each guest got a salt shaker with the Chin. words "I have a Bottle of Salt", which sounds like "I still have my DIGNITY!" in Cantonese. Very thoughtful of the organisers! If we impoverished journos can't afford to eat out anymore, having to cook at home, then at least we have a bottle of salt left to season our meagre rations, while dreaming of being invited again to next year's fabulously wonderful HKJA gala dinner. I hope our table host will read this story, thinking of me next year....

OK, that's all for tonight, folks! Sorry for this way too long article, but it takes only 1-2 glasses of good wine to make me tipsy and talkative. Go, Henry, go!!

P.S. Two days later, the SCMP newspaper featured a story about a Mainland Chinese pair arrested over theft at this gala dinner, basically for crashing the party, freeloading at the dinner and swiping some table prizes, till organisers became suspicious of them and called the police.
Nobody ever checked my identity at all; but I'm so glad I was officially invited, otherwise this story might have been filed from within a holding cell from my Wifi- connected laptop PC. Then I'd have lost even my last (salt) grain of DIGNITY!

May 19:  $5,000/sqft!

The SCMP newspaper's Alex Lo contacted me last week, fishing for info and pictures of the recent record-breaking sale of Lamma property, the $3.5 million sale of a 700sqft rooftop flat in a 30+ years old Village House in Yung Shue Long New Village ($5,000/sqft, see above.) As a rent slave myself, facing a 30-50% rent increase in Aug, I've expressed my views before: Red Hot Lamma. I've been showing SCMP cub reporter Jennifer Ngo around YSW today.

It's really about time to enquire about really low-cost rentals, for example in the Fishermen's Village, which is closer to the YSW ferry pier than almost any other property! For idyllic "flats" like the one on the right and below, how much rent, if any, would that be? I know an artist who lived in one of them till recently.

These two photos show the bottom and the top end of accommodations on Lamma, both unique:

Fishermen's Village, low-cost "Public Housing", Lamma-style?

Lamma Garden luxury development.

May 18:  Before Breakfast

I'm slowly getting back into my habit of early-morning power hikes from YSW up to the pavilion above our iconic Lamma Winds, with its 360-degree, long-distance views. Hiking before 7am, before breakfast, is highly recommended as the air temperature is not too hot yet (below 30 C). It's all a great little cardio workout and the sights, flora & fauna and people you encounter along the way you'd rarely ever meet in a gym. A few examples from just today:

Besides our numerous glowingly fit early-morning dog walkers, our cherished and cheerful Lap Sap Ladies are up even earlier than me, cleaning away all the messes we made yesterday. I greet them and they giggle and cheer, giving me a thumbs up, then making the universally understood "sooo fat!" gesture. I love those hard- working, underpaid ladies and I think they are more important and valuable to our community than any politician or even myself, for sure.

Many of the middle-aged or elderly locals know me well, but usually only as "the Gwailo who's lost so much weight", not being aware of the Lamma-zine and this website (never using this new-fangled, technical thingie called the Internet).
But quite a number of Internet-savvy locals like to call me Lamma-Gung in person, or simply Gung-Gung, making me feel kind of humble and honoured.

Feeling blessed walking up Snake Path, through the Cable Route 1 underpass.
A hitchhiker I picked up involuntarily on my trousers (these young butterflies are nowadays abseiling from many tree branches along metres-long silk threads).
A wood-fired, open-air stove in Tai Ling; with ashes, wood and newspapers.

This reminds me so much of growing up in the countryside, collecting wood in the forest, splitting it with an axe, kindling a wood fire with newspapers in our kitchen oven which fed into our Swiss Chalet's central chimney, boiling a kettle of water.
All of this was needed just to make hot water for our breakfast coffee.

After descending from Lamma Winds, high time to pick up takeaway breakfast!

The Congee Lady - Ah-Can of Tropicana - Tai Fook Café's baked goods

Tak Fook Café, similar to the ever-popular Man Kee Rest,
but with freshly baked Chin. breads throughout the day (but no seaview).
Lamma-Por and I are huge fans of this brand-new bakery, visiting often.
The Western bakery has been closed for so long, unknown if they'll ever reopen.

3 different breakfast options, all bought within a few metres of each other on
Back Street this early morning. Yes, breakfast is a major meal in our household, especially after a power hike up to Lamma Winds, and the leftovers last all day:

Fried glass noodles and congee from the Congee Lady,
Tropicana's fruit salad, HK-style filled baked goods from Tai Fook,
plus, last but best, Lamma-Por's special fruit jelly, exclusively available in the
worldwide Lamma-zine HQ (our home) to residents, volunteers and visitors!

May 17:  A Story about Dim Sum and Rock 'n' Roll
                    "Nutters like you are the reason why Lamma is a cool place"

"Where to stay if you are going to Hong Kong? Lamma Island, of course. The island where no traffic is allowed, where the fish look you in the eye before you decide to kill and eat them, where the jungle is still lush and where you can retreat in a green, peaceful, alternative oasis after a day in Sky Scraper City."

That's the great intro from a blog post on Bas and Julia on the road, subtitled A Story about Dim Sum and Rock 'n' Roll. They visited Lammaite friends for a week and really got into the lifestyle, learning what Lamma is all about for many residents:

"Chartered a luxurious Chinese boat back to Lamma Island in the middle of the night; Had great sea-food;
Enjoyed a birthday party at a beach full of men with too small shorts and too much bronzing oil;
Got to cook a home-made dinner after three months of choosing from a menu;
Gave our bodies the much needed sleep until noon every day;
And loved the company of Joleen, the biggest and cutest "puppy" of all times.

We absolutely fell in love with the nice life style in HK and it was hard to resist the temptation to move there."

Despite the crushing torrent of daytrippers nibbling on dripping satay sticks and fishballs on weekends and holidays along Main Street and the Family Trail, Bas & Julia represent the kind of Lamma visitors we appreciate most: interesting people who stay more than a few hours and take the time to get to know us....

P.S. As a nice counterpoint to this positive story above, see a post I just found on GeoExpat: Sep 2006, by taihunggao, forum topic "Living in Lamma it good?"

"Although the published ferry fare is only $11, you've gotta figure in "concrete boot" ferry protection money to the Lamma Triads (there's only two of them, but they are 150% badder than regular triads.)
That's gotta add $195 a day to your six hour commute.

And the last ferry from Central is around 4-5pm, if it bothers to go at all. The first one off Lamma in the morning is around 11am, although I generally wait for the police launch to Central, since the morning ferry's destination is pretty unreliable, with it generally beaching onto a different Pok Fu Lam rock every day.

Waders [Wellington Boots] and an understanding boss are an essential part of island commuting life.
Check out to see in what misery we live in here."

Thanks for the free plug and link, taihunggao! Yes, I love to please my many off-island readers, describing our miserable, horrible Lamma lives in great detail!
Some other GeoExpat members took him completely seriously, till jayinhongkong commented, almost coining a new motto, a tag line, a greeting for Lammaites:

"Taihunggao: love the handle and the post.
Nutters like you are the reason why Lamma is a cool place ... hehe."

May 15:  Lamma Dragons Triumph by Milliseconds!

For all details, see Lamma 500 website and Facebook page.

500-metre Mixed Cup Champions: Lamma Dragons Mixed,
plus some of their children, the next generation of Lamma Dragons
and future Cup winners, we hope! (click to enlarge)

For more photos by Kevin Bishop of the winning teams, click here.

(Photo by Karen Carmen who paddled for both teams!)


Anna Juliet Dowson, Jess King, Nicky Jones, Vicky Travers, Denise Boudreau, Vicky Medcalf, Rachel Adams, Natalie Stenhouse-Stewart, Lisa Stella, Bek Joyce, Karen Carmen, Heidi Carroll, Marion Shearman, Sara Jordan, Isabella Lee, Dawn Roughsedge, Tess Alton, Alexandra Heri, Claudia McGregor Tarr, Jakki Phillips, Jo Rickards, Sharon McGinley, Ann Cheng-Echevarria, Gina Miller, Laura Ann Bryant, Elisabeth Attwood, Greg Pittams, El Josh Sellers, Leo Chung, Henry Ludemann, Andrew Shields , Martin Roeth, Kevin Harrison, Amanda Holroyd, Ken Ng, Paul Collins, Oliver Armistead, Paul Davis, Danny Flatt, Brad Tarr, Richard Kallagher, Alex Miranda, Jamie Wilde, Jonnet Kudera, Donna Lacap-Bugler, Hera Montellano, etc.

Did we forget somebody? Email me to add your name above if you were one of the triumphant paddlers today!

The customary wild revelries, ear-shattering chanting of "We are the Champions!" - louder than the live lion dance music next door in Man Fung Seaview Rest. - plus lots of joyful grimacing, baring of well-tanned skin, beer bottle fist pumping and precarious dancing atop tables ensued in The Island Bar for the rest of the night (including famous ex-Lammaite dragonboater Del Kyme in the center, white Tee):

(Photos by L-G, click to enlarge)

Just a reminder, we're organising another Lamma 500 Photo Contest this year, giving away full and half cases of mixed Thirsty Horse Premium Wines to 3 winners who'll also get a chance to be on the cover of the Official Lamma 500 Programme 2012. Email me your Lamma 500 photos, links or galleries!

P.S. on May 17: Definitive Lamma 500 2011 video just put up on YouTube, by Donna Foreman!

May 14:  Lamma 500 Updates & Photo Contest

Blessing at Yung Shue Wan's Tin Hau Temple on Sat, May 7, 2pm (Brad, Gina,...)
Photos by Josh at
Crowded Studios.

Brad the Event Director writes about the Laracy & Co Lamma 500:

"Founded in 2007, the Lamma 500 is one of the most challenging and competitive races on the Hong Kong dragon boat calendar. Staged on Lamma Island's Tai Wan To Beach it offers a deep, fast-water course, set against the incredible backdrop of one of the territory's highest peaks, Mount Stenhouse, and the dramatic industrial landscape of the Hong Kong Electric Company.

"'The Lamma 500' known for its International-race standard 500-metre course length, is a celebration of Hong Kong's Dragon Boat history. Staffed and supported by the Lamma Island Fishermen's Recreation and Sports Association, The Laracy & Co Lamma International Dragon Boat Festival blends the history of Lamma's sea-faring community with the present-day competition of local Hong Kong teams and international guest competitors."

Forty-seven Teams Line Up for this Weekend's 5th
Laracy & Co Lamma International Dragon Boat Festival!

Record number of Women's teams line up for the
Laracy & Co Lamma International Dragon Boat Festival 2011

Great Britain International Dragon Boater Derek Kyme Flies in to Hong Kong for the Laracy & Co Lamma International Dragon Boat Festival 2011

See the List of Teams Entered.

Download the Information Package for this Sunday's race.

Greetings from ex-Dragonboater Mike the Bike, in training (see his Lamma OCC shirt) in Northern Canada at -15 C for his return to the Lamma Dragons someday.

And last but best, we'll organise another Lamma 500 Photo Contest this year, giving away full and half cases of mixed Thirsty Horse Premium Wines to 3 winners who'll also get a chance to be on the cover of the Official Lamma 500 Programme 2012.

Email me your Lamma 500 photos, links or galleries!

Follow the 2011 Lamma 500 on Twitter and Facebook for real- time updates during race day. Real-time Results will also become available here all day!

May 13:  RIP - Warwick Matthews

Nancy writes:

"It is with great sadness that I report the death of Warwick Matthews in Tai Peng on May 1. Warwick had been a member of the Tai Peng Community Garden since its earliest days and he brought his own personal brand of antics and many laughs to our Sunday gatherings. Ever the task-master, Warwick reminded us to keep on top of the weeds but sat with a sweet smile on his face during our potlucks.

I last saw him on Thursday standing at the edge of the garden and staring at all of the beautiful flowers.

Warwick's friends at the Tai Peng Community Garden are heartbroken over his passing, but we hope we will be able to share some Warwick stories and nice memories in the coming days.

Rest in peace, old friend."

For more from his many friends, see our forum: Passing of Warwick Matthews.

The funeral will take place on Monday, May 16, 1pm in St. John's Cathedral, Central.

May 12:  Joining Forces to Create a Legend?

"Joining Forces To Create A Legend - In short, the project aims to introduce a green project in Hong Kong, embodying a world-class marina, an ecological tourist destination, a training centre for windsurfing and sailing elite athletes, complete with a 6-star spa resort hotel, a public waterfront plaza and low-density residential communities, thereby introducing a new destination which blends in with local ecology."

This is the short project description of this planned private development in Tung O, South Lamma, by the developers of The Baroque on Lamma (BoL, a joint venture of King Wong Development and Agile Property Holdings - Stock code:3383 - "Agile's Contracted Sales Revenue from Jan-Apr 2011 Surged Approximately 53% to RMB11.5 Billion"). It's gone public now, after years of consultations with stakeholders, South Lammaites, politicians, govt. depts. and green groups, plus around ten years of preparation, including buying almost all of the necessary land from the individual owners already.

A Planning Application has just been submitted to the Town Planning Board, applying to "rezone the application site from 'Agriculture', 'Conservation Area', 'Coastal Protection Area' zones to 'Comprehensive Development Area' zone and to incorporate the part of the seabed at Tung O Wan to ... zone it as 'Comprehensive Development Area'".

Here's the Gist of the BoL Development Proposal on the Town Planning Board's website, basically an Executive Summary with the basic facts, maps and artist's impressions; only an 18-page PDF, have a look. The full version with more information is available in the Town Planning Board offices for public inspection, as usual. Deadline for your comments on the application: May 27.

Click on this map of South East Lamma to zoom into areas and the legend. Mo Tat Wan w/ferry pier is in the middle top, Turtle Beach in the lower left corner):

A few numbers: Site area: 853,520 sq metres, half land, half sea; 156 domestic blocks, 34 non-domestic, 10 mixed, not exceeding 4 floors. The marina will have 500 berths, the spa resort hotel 120 rooms and there'll be 900 residential flats.

BoL has also just submitted a Project Profile to the Environmental Protection Department, the first step in the standard Environmental Impact Assessment process, scheduled to be completed end of this year. Deadline for your comments about this EIA Project Profile is May 25, 2011. Construction, pending all the numerous govt. approvals, would start in 2014 the very earliest.

But when was the last time you have visited down there in South Lamma? You can either hike over the hill starting from the Tin Hau Temple in Sok Kwu Wan or stroll around Picnic Bay from Sok Kwu Wan via Mo Tat Wan (or take the ferry to Mo Tat Wan from Aberdeen or SKW); it's about 1 hour's walk.

If you'd like to visit down there soon and do something great for the environment at the same time:

Beach Cleanup: Sun, Jun 5, 10am-1pm: Shek Pai Wan, Tung O Wan, South Lamma: Email to RSVP or see the Facebook Event or poster for details.

I took a few pictures last year (click for photo gallery):

You can learn a lot more about BoL by checking out their bilingual, comprehensive website below, just announced today, including a blog and email newsletter:

Voice your opinions freely in our public The Baroque on Lamma forum. I'll collect all your major questions and approach BoL directly to get some answers, hopefully.

P.S. This Lamma-zine story is basically just providing information and links FYI, no opinions yet. You can get loads of very outspoken opinions in our long-running BoL forum above and on Facebook. The Lamma-zine will publish more BoL stories soon as well, from fierce supporters AND fiery opponents of this planned project, including interviews and Q&As, offering a public platform to air your views about this or any other of the numerous current or planned local development projects.

May 11:  Missing: Tony the Rabbit

With his Easter duties all taken care off, numerous easter eggs buried in many gardens and even in the sand on Power Station beach, Lamma's semi-official Tony the Easter Bunny wanted to take a well- deserved rest and seems to have eloped.

He loves snacks and nap time and actually answers to his name! If you have seen Lamma's missing Easter Bunny, contact his owner who misses him very much. If he's not found in a healthy and lively condition, next year's Easter on Lamma might be in serious jeopardy, making our kids (and many kidults) very unhappy!

Tony the Rabbit (Pets forum)

May 10:  Harbour Reclamation Survey

This questionnaire has been handed out at the Yung Shue Wan ferry pier yesterday before 9am, to ferry commuters only, by Lammadonna and her two assistants. Her office has spare copies or you can print from here, fill it in and fax it (no email address, email submissions are explicitly not welcome). Here's a higher-quality bilingual pdf file for printing, filling in and returning to Yu Lai Fan's office (next door after Lamma Gourmet cheese/meat shop) before end of May.

Questionnaire on Yung Shue Wan (bilingual) -- Questionnaire forum

No further distribution actions are planned besides this one-time, Monday morning activity, according to my little interview with Lammadonna in her office the next day. But people are welcome to pick up a bundle of questionnaires and put them up in shops and restaurants. The results will be tabulated by hand and submitted to the Govt. next month, trying to support her case for the harbour reclamation. Lammaites are promised to see the results of the questionnaires later as well, after the Govt.

Harbour Reclamation Links:

Forum -- Project Profile -- Environmental Impact Assessment Study Brief

The fledgling opposition has been distributing Chinese-only leaflets along Main Street the next day after the Questionnaire distribution, today on the Buddha's Birthday holiday. It's basically a Chin. translation of the harbour reclamation story published in the Lamma-zine a few weeks ago. It includes an appeal to email complaints to the District Council and Rural Committee offices:

Leaflet in Chinese or English.

Also today, the CEDD Dept. has officially promised a public consultation in an official Letter to the Editor in the SCMP, see below:

May 9:  Lose Weight With Discounted Donuts

After my once-weekly weigh-in, I continue to update my very stable weight in a "Weight Loss Ticker", see above. This free and extremely popular website with many other "tickers" is supported by Google Ads which are chosen automatically to fit the content of the web page, hopefully attracting more people to click on them, generating income for the website and Google with every click. These would obviously be health-, fitness- and weight loss-related ads on this page, so imagine my surprise to see a Groupon discount ad for donuts, burgers, hot dogs and ice cream, junk food galore. A real LOL moment! Stop your silly and hopeless dieting, you fool, enjoy our discounted donuts and burgers!

As a freelance Internet Marketing Consultant myself, I usually wouldn't let ads like this one appear on any of my clients' fitness- or health-related website for sure! But maybe this makes good business sense? The more the viewers of this weight loss page get back into junk food, the more they need the diet ticker and will return to this page, making more money for the website and Google! Hmmm, maybe I should start accepting cleverly targeted Google Ads like this one, too.

P.S. If you need any help with your company's Internet marketing efforts, like email campaigns, banner advertising, social media marketing, advertorials, monetizing your blog, SEO, traffic analysis, website optimisation, lead generation and all those other mysterious Dark Arts, try the expert services of an Internet consultant with 16 years of experience: Lamma-Gung!

May 8:  Lamma Warriors vs. Lamma Xtremes

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

(Pictures by Ivy of Dark Himaya)

Serving up Volleyballs,
Excitement, Even Banana Cake

Another Pinoy-flavored Sunday sports spectacle, this time volleyball skillfully played, began on May 8th at the Yung Shue Wan Basketball Court.

After several weeks of practice, four women's teams are contesting the first Lamma Pinoy Volleyball League. The Lamma Warriors, in blue uniforms, have the most players on their roster, but that's no guarantee of ultimate victory against the Lamma Xtremes (purple) Teen Titans (pink), D'Machine Guns (red).

Practice paid dividends because the opening-day play looked impressive. Bumps, volleys and serves routinely cleared the net and came flying back. No one scored many easy points.

I watched the Teen Titans put on a praise-worthy display against more-seasoned rivals, the Lamma Xtremes. Despite finally wilting a little, the tenacious young Titans fiercely contested every point and nearly toppled their "elders".

Action in the Pinoy Volleyball League, complete with uniforms, game officials and a scoreboard, almost assures that the basketball court will be Lamma's most exciting place on Sundays for the next few weeks. The promise of competitive, well-played games makes an appealing prospect. Honestly, dragon-boat races or mountain-bike contests aren't nearly as entertaining.

As a surprising bonus, fellow fans on the sidelines love to eat and generously share whatever treats they have. While enjoying the opening-day action, I had the unexpected pleasure to taste some fantastic banana cake and other snacks.

League organizers successfully converted the basketball court for volleyball. They erected the necessary net, and taped off the volleyball court to eliminate (most) doubt about whether balls landed inbounds.

Only a few weeks have passed since the Glamorous Tigers triumphed in the championship game of the Lamma Island Pinoy Basketball League. That men's competition brought unprecedented activity to the basketball court in March and April.

Apparently some residents of the few buildings within earshot felt inclined to complain about the crowd noise and announcements during those games. Imagine the difficulty to take such complaints seriously! What better idea than to put an under-used sports facility to good use – and to have fun in the process?

The official poster

May 7:  $50,000 Rent for Village House?

Yes, it's finally happened. A few flat rentals have rocketed off this planet and reached formerly unimaginable heights, circling Earth now in an orbit never before achieved in Lamma's history! Latest top rentals, confirmed by 2 leading property agents, for the 3 floors of a brand-new, standard-size, 3*700sqft Village House:

G/F @ $18K + 1/F @ $12K + 2/F @ $20K = $50K!

I've been showing a photo of this ad above from an agency window to another competing property agent. It looks like an unfurnished 1/F flat w/balcony, 1 bedroom, no garden or rooftop. He wasn't surprised at all - no Waaaah! - and he confirmed proudly the same maximum rental price in his own agency.
Top sales price for a just-completed 2/F, 700sqft flat w/rooftop: $3.5 million.

This means that a few new Village Houses have managed to catch up to exactly the same asking price as a brand-new luxury house of the same size (2,100sqft) in Lamma Garden (formerly Lammarina), advertised at exactly $50K/month. Our property agents must be so proud to reach this sky-high target! I wonder who won any bet to be the first?

But in the exclusive Lamma Garden "gated community" you'll get (when it finally opens) a swimming pool, clubhouse, gym, security, beachside location, pier, satellite TV, 24-hour private boat; almost none of which is available anywhere else on Lamma at any price.

Fortunately, these prices above are only the tiny, pointy tip of the iceberg and average flat prices are still far below half of these all-time records. If you ever admit to paying anything not far from these peak prices, your fellow Lammaites will either laugh at you or get angry at you for giving in to the naked greed of a mere handful of (usually off-island) property owners.

Complain, Commiserate and Condemn these temporarily grossly over-inflated property prices in our property forum, while we eagerly await the bursting of yet another property bubble in the near future....

P.S. Follow-up story on the same topic in The Standard HK newspaper on May 16: Red Hot Lamma.

May 6:  5th Lamma 500

Brad the Wine Baron - Lamma 500 Organiser:

(from Premium Sponsor Thirsty Horse Premium Wines.
Words of Wisdom from Brad: Wine vs. Water):

Welcoming all competitors & visitors to the fifth annual
Laracy & Co Lamma Int'l Dragon Boat Festival 2011!

Time flies for one of the most-loved Dragon Boat Festivals in Hong Kong. This year, the Laracy & Co Lamma International Dragon Boat Festival is celebrating its fifth birthday, and expects more competitors, more excitement and more noise and celebration than ever before.

Staged on Lamma Island's Tai Wan To Beach, near Yung Shue Wan, the race best-known by its short handle, 'The Lamma 500' for its International-race standard 500-metre course length, is a celebration of Hong Kong's Dragon Boat history. Staffed and supported by the Lamma Island Fishermen's Recreation and Sports Association, The Laracy & Co Lamma International Dragon Boat Festival blends the history of Lamma's sea-faring community with the present-day competition of local Hong Kong teams and international guest competitors.

Tai Wan To Beach, Lamma Island, with Mount Stenhouse in the distance.

The Lamma 500 is one of the most challenging and competitive races on the Hong Kong dragon boat calendar. It offers a deep, fast-water course, set against the incredible backdrop of one of the territory's highest peaks, Mount Stenhouse, and the dramatic industrial landscape of the Hong Kong Electric Company.

Our poster above features last year's Lamma 500 Photo Contest winner (long-term Lammaite Anonymous Guy), who's also featured on the cover of the official programme.

We can do another photo competition - a case of TH wine again to the winner. Derek Kyme is coming to the event, and paddling back where he started with the Lamma Dragons. His achievements below.

We have 46 teams this year, 10 women's teams which is more than ever. The Lamma Fishermen are entering too, which is new.

We are celebrating our 5th year. Laracy & Co. have been the title for 4 years. Other big sponsors are Thirsty Horse Premium Wines, HK Electric Company and The Henley Group. Make-A-Wish Foundation of Hong Kong is our charity still. Website address:

We will be running the 1,000m race again with nearly all teams participating.

Food and Drink available, beach party afterwards.

For more info...

Record number of Women's teams line up for the
Laracy & Co Lamma International Dragon Boat Festival 2011

P.S. It's my honour and pleasure that will again be an Official Media Sponsor and promoter of this event (see logo on lower right of poster above). More news and info and photos coming soon, before and after the event.

May 5:  Tree Doctor @ 'Lamma Garden'

Walking past the "almost finished" Lamma Garden (formerly nicknamed Lammarina, below the DickStock Residence) today, I noticed 3 guys doing some serious work on the trunk of this iconic cotton tree.

As a self-confessed tree hugger, I was eager to find out more. The development's construction foreman, a long-time acquaintance, let me into the gated compound. I took some close-up photos and they even got me in touch with the tree doctor in charge on the phone to find out more and ask a lot of critical, nosey questions.

Somebody seems to have called the police to complain about the work on the tree already, suspecting them trying to kill the tree; a similar rumour to one we squashed three years ago about the same tree. Removing so much bark from the tree below ground level looked quite worrisome, I have to admit.

It was actually the opposite, the same tree doctor's company at work that saved the tree from termites 3 years ago - Dynamic Source (Horticulture Landscape Management Services) - restoring it to beautiful, fiery red bloom back then and last year. There are some new leaves and buds growing on the tree right now, so there's hope for a fast recovery.

Read more about this topic in our Tree Hugger ... err ... Flora & Fauna forum.

And before you ask:

No, nobody has moved into Lamma Garden yet; from my sneak peek:
the infinity swimming pool is filled (still the only pool on Lamma, I believe), cobblestone streets, private clubhouse and Phase I houses ready and fitted with marble, oak wood, double-glazing and German appliances, trees and shrubbery planted. But it's still officially "to be finished and opened soon...."

Just a few of my recent photos:

May 4:  Bulbuls Nesting on Balconies

Having a nest of Red-Whiskered Bulbuls (photo by Anonymous Guy on the right) on your flat's balcony is not an uncommon happening on Lamma. It seems to happen almost every year in June, as we just found out today from Ewa Wilkinson. She sent me this beautiful and rare photo above, taken on her balcony, without knowing the species.

Verifying the correct name by searching our forum - it's like a history of Lamma of the last 9 years - I came across pictures from last June by Lamma_Kat and pink panther of Bulbuls nesting on a balcony and just outside a kitchen window.

For the full story, photos, hatchlings and even a new video by Ewa, see our forum: Balcony eggs? Which bird?

P.S. May 31: We've just heard from Ivy of Lamma Band Dark Himaya that they've also got a Bulbul nest, but in their rooftop garden!

P.S. II: June 5:
From Dr. John's Ko Long Garden where the Bulbuls have just hatched!

May 3:  "Am I sad? And would you like to join me?"

                          Lots of gratuitous irreverence and downright offensive
                    comments about "The Royal Wedding of the Century"

Yes, even some of us Lammaites couldn't resist watching the "Royal Wedding of the Century". Lamma-Por was very enthusiastic about it, as an ex-British colonial subject. Several bars showed the wedding live and a British lady (who prefers to remain anonymous) sent out an email titled "Am I sad? And would you like to join me?". She was inviting her many friends to watch it together live in The Island Bar ("provided their regulars didn't start throwing things at the screen."):

"I hate to admit this publicly, but I'd really like to see the royal wedding tomorrow (I know, I know)...(cringe with embarrassment)... It must be my age, hormones, passing phase, something?"

It also inspired our Official Court Music Reviewer, Nick the Bookman, to deviate from his usual music reviews and spend 7 hours (!) typing up a well-researched, detailed but very passionate Wedding Review. It includes a hilarious, scandalous history of the British monarchy and must be one of his very best and most entertaining reviews ever, for our royalist and anti-royalist readers alike:

The Royal Wedding - 29/4/2011 - by Nick the Bookman

"WARNING: There will be lots of gratuitous irreverence and downright offensive comments during the course of this story. If you believe in The Happily Ever After flow of events, you should stop reading now. Keep your Fairy Tale perspective and your memories unsullied. As for those who enjoy a (fully-protected) saunter through the sewer, welcome to the real world...."

May 2:  Remnants of the Days

The almost dismantled Cantonese Opera bamboo structure in the YSW Football Pitch, only the remnants of the stage are left over now.

A few of Lamma's athletic young ladies took this only- once-per-year opportunity for their enthusiastic sunset workout in this oversized, fun playground full of left-over discoveries and "toys".

And this young-at-heart kid couldn't resist exercising his dormant-for-too-long creative urges to play around with his photo in Filter Forge Free Pack 4 (click to enlarge):

May 1:  Have a WILD Summer

These new graffiti painting has appeared recently on the same wall - on the backside of the house opposite Ah-Can's Tropicana takeaway shop on Back Street - replacing the former painting (see below) after just a few months. This has obviously been created by the same team of off-island artists (see their signatures above).

This team of artists paint only with explicit permission on Lamma, in broad daylight, unlike the very controversial and almost universally disliked graffiti around the harbour - for example the "Welcome to Lamma" on the seawall - done after midnight without permission, by a local painter who wants to remain anonymous.

So we're getting quite an active graffiti art scene happening around Yung Shue Wan. More and more simple graffitis, tags and drawings are popping up in unexpected places. Several new, pretty nice and colourful paintings popped up recently in the just-opened Jing Jing Bar on Main Street, by an entirely different artist, introduced via the Vocational Training Council:


Read last month's stories...

Lamma-zine started in 2002, and will be updated (almost) daily with anything vaguely related to Lamma Island or its residents, be it news, stories, events, links, photos, artworks, videos, etc.

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