Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Someone else's Turn

Steven James, who I don't know has written another HK Christmas Carol.

Pretty funny

Until Next Time
Fai Mao
The Christmas Caroling Blogger

Walk About

The lovely, really smart, looks 20-years younger than she is, wife and I made our normal all-day walk about in Shenzhen this past Saturday. I enjoy these outings for many reasons but not the least of them is seeing how China has changed over the past dozen years or so.

China has lots going for it these days. However, I am not as rosy about China's future as many people are. Here is why:
  1. China has 1/6 th of the world's population but 1/2 of all the smokers live in China. When I am in China it sometimes it seems like my wife and I are the only people on the street not smoking. Since the population of China is fairly young I wonder what the effect upon the health care system and labor supply will be in 25 years when all of the 30 somethings are 50 somethings with lung cancer?
  2. The One-Child policy means that China has a rapidly aging population. Indeed, China's population will start to fall in the near future. While this good in many respects it means that the cost of labor in China is going to rise dramatically and soon. It also means that the stuff that is manufactured in China is going to become much more expensive. China will no longer be the ubiquitous source for cheap shoes or toys. What will that do to the economy of China?
  3. China has huge, modern looking cities that are fed by aging peasants who own tiny farms that are plowed with oxen. Most of the younger generation have moved to the cities for better paying jobs. China needs to allow the creation of large, efficient farms that use modern technology. It also needs to encourage at some of the next generation to stay on those modern farms. A nation cannot truly call it self a super power if it relies upon illiterate 70 year olds to grow its food. Who is going to feed all those factory workers as the farmers, many of whom are already elderly die?
  4. I could not be normally called an environmentalist. However, China has huge environmental problems which if not addressed are going to kill the nation. There are thousands probably tens of thousands of kilometers of rivers that are horribly polluted. Worse than anything anywhere in Western Europe or North America. China is literally polluting its drinking water to the point that not only can the water not drunk but KILLS crops that are watered with it. While less obvious than the foul air this is a horrific problem that China must address soon to avoid literally dying of thirst. What is China going to do about its water supply?
  5. China needs to deal with the endemic corruption that is part and parcel of the lower levels of government. That probably means that the party needs to allow people to openly criticize the party. In short, China needs to live up to the rights it constitutionally guarantees to its citizens and allow free speech. How can government corruption be fought if it is against the law to complain about the government?
  6. Indeed, the government in China needs to enforce its constitution at many levels. If it did many of the problems in China would become much more solvable. When will the government of China prosecute county and provincial officials who oppress religious and political groups which have a constitutional right to exist in China?
  7. China needs to harness the patriotism of its population in positive ways. True patriots want the best for their country and do not simply parrot the party line. It is time for the people of China to stand up and demand that their government change. When will the Chinese people learn that they must stand up for a better China?
Locals in Hong Kong probably know all of these things. It may even be patently obvious to everybody but me. But, it is what I have been thinking about this week

Until Next Time
Fai Mao
The Blogger Who Observes China

Friday, December 15, 2006

Fancy squirrel stew or roast fox? TV chef gets meals from tarmac to table

Back when I was a kid we always used to laugh at the poor, reclusive old woman who would clean and eat road kill.

We called her crazy.

I guess if she'd lived in the UK she could have been a TV star.

It looks like crazy red-necks have come up in the world

Until Next Time
Fai Mao
The Blogger who will continue to get his meat from the store

Just Leave Christmas Alone

This is an old column by Charles the Hammer.

It is also one of his best ever.

Merry Christmas
Fai Mao
The Blogger Who Celebrates Christmas

Thursday, December 14, 2006

The day we killed John Lemon (er, I meant Lennon)

I am so tired of the deification process that pseudo-intellectual, aging hippie losers with brains that are fried from drug use keep trying to start for this guy.

"Imagine no possessions,
I wonder if you can,
No need for greed or hunger,
A brotherhood of man,
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world..."

He couldn't imagine this. If he could have imagined it and it bothered him he would have given away his wealth to help the poor. He didn't, he just sang about it. I read somewhere that Lennon was worth just over 40 million at the time of his death. How much good would 20 million or so have do to alleviate the problems he was singing about?

Here is my new verse for this song

Imagine 20 million
I wonder if I can
No need for them to suffer
I've got more than I can spend
Imagine all the people
Sharing what I have!

Until Next Time
Fai Mao
The Not a John Lennon Fan Blogger

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Not From My Baby You Won't!

An official in the UK is seriously suggesting that the country take samples of everyone's DNA when they are born and of immigrants and store those records in a database. I cannot believe that anyone in their right mind would allow a government to do this. George Orwell would be proud of this guy!

There are several objections that spring to mind with a plan like this:
  • It assumes that every citizen is a criminal because the information would be stored in a criminal database.I guess in the UK they no longer believe (if they ever did) in the presumption of innocence because the purpose is to find criminals. So, you are a suspect in every crime unless there is no evidence to prosecute you.
  • I guess that the population doesn't fear the database would eventually be used to silence the critics of the government. This despite the overwhelming evidence that governments will eventually abuse power to maintain themselves.
  • I guess that in the UK citizens do not have the right their own body, otherwise they would not force their citizens to do this.
  • I guess the people in the UK would rather live as safe slaves than a free people.
None of these are even remotely acceptable. Any government that would keep records of every citizen like this is evil and any nation with this type of surveillance cannot call itself a free country. Period, full-stop, end of argument. They will not accept genetically modified wheat or corn but they will allow this?

First get samples of the DNA, then control the parents, number, gender, intelligence, personality and other genetically influenced aspects of citizens lives through genetic manipulation. "Hello Cybermen!" Unfortunately there is no Dr. Who to save us!

But I guess I'm just a paranoid American who has an irrational fear of government.

Better an irrational freeman than a rational slave

Until Next Time
Fai Mao
The Libertine Blogger

Monday, December 11, 2006


The wife and I went to Shenzhen on Saturday.

I always enjoy going one of the nearby cities in the PRC proper; it is a good break from Hong Kong Kong. In Shenzhen we did a little Christmas shopping but mainly just explored. We rode the subway to an area we'd not been to before and just walked all day from about 11:30 AM until about 6:00PM with a 1 1/2 hour lunch in a hot pot restaurant.

One of the great things about China is the mangled English that you see on signs. Here are some I saw on Saturday

#1 - Sorry this is a bit fuzzy. The name on the store is "Bo Lin WHTCH" So are they selling watches or witches? Phonetically it could be either but in reality all they had were handbags.

#2- I wonder if this store named "B.S.Boy" sells counterfeit jeans, mushrooms or organic fertilizer?
#3 I find it rather strange that a Nation that is officially Atheist would have so many stores that sell Christmas decorations. I do not remember seeing stores like this in the malls at home. Well, maybe one but not a whole city block of them

Until Next Time
Fai Mao
The Blogger who Shops in the PRC

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Ding Dong the Witch is Dead!

The Hong Kong government officially abandoned its plans for a GST this week.

It is now seeking a more socially palatable tax and is considering, among other things a Capital Gains tax. These people just go from bad to worse. One of the strengths of the Hong Kong economy is that every body saves. The population as a whole saves nearly 20% of their income. A capital gains tax discourages saving and investment and amounts to a double tax on income. It would also hit the middle classes here very hard.

Hey Henry Tsang, has anyone ever told you you are aren't as smart as you think you are?

Because I believe in civic responsibly, I am going help Henry. I am going to propose taxes that would be neither repressive nor onerous and would not not have a devastating effect upon the poor that the GST or Capital gains taxes would have. Some of these are serious and some are tounge in cheek. I'll let Mr. Tsang decide which is which

1. A flat HKD$1000.00 tax on every shipping container that leaves the port of Hong Kong. This would be easy to collect and raise about 20 billion a year. Since it would only apply to goods shipped from or transshipped through Hong Kong it would be a tax that is paid by people in other countries. Since the value of a container of goods can be millions it is actually a trifling tax and the people who purchased the goods in the container could simply pass the increased cost along to the consumers in the destination country.

2. A imaginary square footage property tax on developers. This would be a tax on the difference between the advertised size of a flat and the actual interior size. Thus if a developer builds a flat that is advertised at 1200 square feet and the interior actually measures 800 square feet then the developer would have to pay a tax on 400 square feet a year for as long as the building stands. The rate for this should be some thing like $25.00 a square foot. The tax would be non-transferable so that the builders could not slide the tax into a management fee. Existing buildings would be exempt from this tax but the floor space would have to corrected when the flat was sold. This might not raise a lot of money but it would go a long, long, long way toward making the Hong Kong real estate market more honest.

3. A flat $100.00 tax on any new cell phone with a new price of over HKD $2500.00

4. Tax the contracts of Filipino and Indonesian maids. If you are rich enough to afford a maid you are rich enough to be taxed for it. How about making the tax equivalent of 1/2 the total cost of the contract. (Note, this a tax paid by the employers of the maid not by the maid)

5. Quadruple the amount of taxes on everything associated with private automobiles. License, purchase fees, petrol everything. Nobody needs a car here anyway. Clearing the roads of the arrogant, unsafe drivers who think the are a superior species would make Hong Kong a safer place and the government might not need to build that extra freeway through Central.

6. Impose a one time "Your sooooooooooo ugly" tax of about $60 billion on Nina Wong.

Until Next Time
Fai Mao
The Tax Expert Blogger

Confessions of a Retrogrouch

Sometimes it is good to know you aren't alone.

Until Next Time
Fai Mao
The Retrogrouch Blogger

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Burned Out

This has been a strange few months.

I started this school year with a bang because I was coordinating a big project to give us inventory control of textbooks. That meant that I started tired. It was a lot of work. I generally try to push big jobs to either the beginning or the end of the year because I feel that it gives me more time to deal with students and the normal everyday grunt work of running my library. However, the textbook inventory program was a bear. It really took a lot out of me. Almost immediately after that I had to coordinate our Fall Fair. Then the main book order arrived and had to be processed. I am the faculty representative for the standing committee that deals with accreditation issues. I just finished being a chaperon to a group of middle school students on a week long field trip of camping and hiking.

It gets worse after the Christmas break. The school is moving to a new campus next year so I have to start managing and implementing the moving process not to mention doing the technical assistance for staging and construction for school concerts, plays and other performances. I hit the ground running in August and haven’t slowed down.

I realized somewhere about mid-October that I do not want to do this anymore. I am tired. I am tired of working from 7:00 AM until 4:30 PM or later, not including many Saturdays and eating lunch at my desk.

I am tired of dealing with children, who have had so many extra English, Math, Advanced Math, Really Advanced Math, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Violin, Piano, Russian, Japanese, Sanskrit and SAT preparation course or tutors that they don’t know how to play and be real children. I am tired of dealing with children raised by Filipino maids who are psychotic because they only see their parents once a month and have never been the recipient of any form of loving discipline other than bribes. I am tired of dealing with kids that are given more money for their allowance every week than Bruce Wayne could make in a month.

I am tired of the air-pollution. I am tired of having to listen to old-men yell into their cell-phones on the bus. I am tired of people farting in the MTR. I am tired of people who claim to be so busy yet walk so slowly on the street. I am tired of the vacuous TV. I am tired of the crowds. I am tired of the abysmal customer service. I am tired living in a cramped flat with no closets. I am tired of the noise. I am tired of smelling the polluted harbor. I am tired of having to carry an MP3 player so that I can tune out the surrounding environment. I am tired of having to pay a fee to listen to baseball via the Internet. I am tired of feeling like I have to be rude to walk down the street. I am tired of my upstairs neighbor’s karaoke machine.

I am tired of the paternalistic, do nothing, mealy mouthed government bureaucrats who are more interested in keeping their over paid jobs than providing good government. I am tired of bow-ties, crew-cuts, long hair and the broom head. I'm tired of Anson Chan and Nina Wong. I am tired of having to carry an ID card with my life history and finger prints recorded on it.

I am tired of walking by dried seafood stores.

I am tired of having Pakistani tailors wanting to make me a suit.

It would not bother me if I never see another mini-bus.

I’ve been in Hong Kong for 10 years and I am tired of it. I am beginning to wonder if it isn’t time to cash in and go somewhere else.

Until Next Time
Fai Mao
The Blogger Who Thinks Mineral Wells is Looking Better All the Time

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Cell-Phone Bells

It is that time of year again.
Christmas is weird in Hong Kong. Over the years I have wondered what would Christmas Carols have been like if their writers had been from Hong Kong? Sir David Bowring, who was governor of Hong Kong wrote a Christmas Carol but it isn't very good and nobody ever sings it. So I'm left with rewriting the carols of others with a Hong Kong flavor.

You can see my previous efforts by clicking the links below.

Walking in a Hong Kong Wonderland

Hong Kong 12 Days

Hong Kong Jingle Bells

This Year I have chosen the Carol "Silver Bells" as my Hong Kong Carol

City sidewalks, busy sidewalks.
Dressed in DKNY style
In the bus
There's a few
old men standing

Children pouting
People staring
walking mile after mile
And on ev'ry street corner you'll hear

Cell-phone bells, cell-phone bells
It's still work time in the city
Ring-a-ling, don't you hate them to sing?
Soon it will be dim-sum time

Strings of street lights
Even stop lights
Blink a bright red and green
As the shoppers rush
home with their cell-phones

Hear the snacks crunch
See the tourist bunch
"Is this the way to Mong Kok?"
And above all this bustle
You'll hear

Cell-phone bells, Cell-phone bells
It's still work time in the city
Ring-a-ling, don't you hate it when they sing?
Soon it will be dim-sum time

Until Next Time
Fai Mao
The Christmas Caroling Blogger

Monday, December 04, 2006


I cannot agree more

Until Next Time
Fai Mao
The Blogger Who Doesn't Trust Reporters

Friday, November 17, 2006

China plans human rights exhibition

This article reminds me of the woman who murdered her husband, parents and children and then asked the court for mercy because she was a widowed orphan still mourning the death of her children!

Until Next Time
Fai Mao
The Blogger Who Thinks the PRC Government has a lot of Gall

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

So much fun

Hemlock is in top form this week.

If you haven't stopped by in a while then you should

Until Next Time
Fai Mao
The blogger wishing he could have breakfast a girl named "Winky Ip"


I cannot imagine a society like this. I guess it is good I don't have to use my imagination.

Until Next Time
Fai Mao
The Blogger Who Isn't a Hindu

The Spell of the Meme

I cannot improve upon this man's argument. He just nails it

Notice, clicking on the link above will open a PDF file

Until Next Time
Fai Mao
The Blogger Who Sometimes wishes He were more Eloquent

Monday, November 13, 2006

I must really be dumb

I must really be dumb. I get a couple of emails a day with a message similar to the one copied in below. I must be missing something; I don't understand this at all.

Make recommendations to Corporate Drug Safety Committee, as required.
Good communication skills.
Those who have interest in doing quality projects and expand their carrier growth are welcome. Interact with pharmacovigilance units in countries.
Perform black-box, guerilla, and regression testing of software products as required.
Interprets and prepares virology data for regulatory submissions. Then they are transform into the rice plant for the transgene expression and finally their analysis.
Ability to read a lot of material and condense the information.
Prepare reports of PMS studies for regulatory submission. After the constructs are clone into the suitable vectors they are mobilised into the Agrobacterium Strain.
Those who have interest in doing quality projects and expand their carrier growth are welcome.
Candidates well versed with GLP, FDA and other regulatory requirements will be preferred. Incumbent will work closely with Sales and Manufacturing Departments, as well. The candidate will perform data entry, data clean up, and data loading to maintain and expand a commercially successful database of available chemicals.
After the constructs are clone into the suitable vectors they are mobilised into the Agrobacterium Strain.
Degree: Life science degree expected with particular focus on virology.
Experience in sterile cell culture procedures, cell processing is needed.
Ensure that the global pharmacovigilance database is updated periodically.
A HO licence is preferred. Solids and liquid dosage form experince.
Board certified or board eligible is preferred.
Solids and liquid dosage form experince. This position will be responsible for production of analysis datasets and specifications, well documented code, summary tables and some statistical analysis of data. Participate in company core data sheets and product label changes and medical interpretation of safety data for regulatory documents. Provide pharmacovigilance input on designated products. Apply results to bug tracking system. Those who have interest in doing quality projects and expand their carrier growth are welcome. Responsible for supporting pre-clinical and clinical development of HCV compounds. Interact with pharmacovigilance units in countries.
The job requires: Independent working to develop processes and molecules within challenging time targets. D in pharmaceutical sciences.
Manages clinical staff and clinical projects, including CROs and contract labs. Experience of setting up facilites for sterile and cytotoxic products.
Board certified or board eligible is preferred. To produce and manage material for a variety of scientific disciplines. Interact with bug tracking system to monitor fixes and retests.

Until Next Time
Fai Mao
The Blogger who Receives lots of Spam

His Title Not Mine

This is the second part of the four part refutation of Global Warming Issues.

He make a very good point about China opening a new coal burning power plant every five days until 2015 or so.

Until Next Time
Fai Mao
The Blogger who Knows what the Word "Meretricious" Means

Friday, November 10, 2006

A Different Perspective

The link to the speech by Michael Creighton is an interesting read.

I find his premise to be interesting because I often see left leaning people complain about science being high-jacked by corporate (right-wing) interest but who fail to see how their own ideology has distorted science as well.

You may agree or disagree with Creighton, I don't care. The object here is to provoke some thought on an issue that many people don't normally think about. Namely, "Is what I believe really based upon reason and evidence or a political or emotional agenda?"

Until Next Time
Fai Mao
The Blogger Who is Agnostic on the Issue of Global Warming

Monday, November 06, 2006

Leaving America Redux

I originally posted this after the last presidential election. I think I'll re-post it here again as I am sure similar discussions are going to spring up in a couple of days.

Leaving America

Let me start out by saying that I am an ex-American. While still a citizen of the US I have not lived in the US for years. I live in Hong Kong and in China. I do not plan to ever live in the US again. My wife is Chinese and her family is here. My child was not born here but grew up here and is not really comfortable in the rural US settings that I remember. Thus, I am caught between the love of my native culture with the rhythm and pace of the small Texas town and the frenetic crowdedness of Hong Kong. I have thought long and hard about renouncing my US citizenship. But, changing your citizenship is, in many ways, like getting married. You are in the new country for "better or worse until death do you part." Indeed, it strikes me that it is easier too change your spouse than to change your nationality the difference being that to renounce your citizenship you don't need a lawyer.

That is why when I read article after article in paper after paper about people in the US who want leave the US because George Bush is the president for four more years I simply have to smirk. I don't know who will read this blog. But if you are one of the people who are considering this then let me as an American ex-patriot give you some advice.

Stay where you are. It isn't better somewhere else. I know. I've been there; I've done that. While my reasons to consider renouncing my US citizenship were, I think better thought out and based upon sounder logic than simply being frustrated that my party had lost an election it was still a mistake and it is a mistake that if you make it; you cannot call it back. It probably won't be better somewhere else.

I've read that one of the main reasons liberal democrats want to leave the US is because they are tired of dealing with all the *$#%@ Christians in the US who seem to have an inordinate amount of influence upon elections. I'm not going to challenge their assumption. Not because I necessarily believe they are right but because I can say that unless they go someplace like Northern Europe, if there, it doesn't get any better. I am also assuming that if they think Christians are bad they will also think that the Buddhist here in Hong Kong who burn phony money to the gods of the underworld so that they can have a good life the next time around are also rather depraved.

Indeed, the Good-Land Buddhism as practiced here with it's evil spirits and thousands of gods to bribe so that your stay in purgatory between incarnations is shorter makes the Southern Baptist look good. The whole idea of Chinese Buddhism as it is practiced by the locals, not necessarily as it is presented in English language guides to religion, is that you suffer less in Hell after you die and gain a better life after being Re-incarnated if you BRIBE the gods of the underworld in this life. Far from being a religion that discourages a materialistic lifestyle Chinese Buddhism glorifies it.

Hong Kong is the most devoutly and overtly religious place I think I have ever seen not only the Buddhist but the Christians here are quite bold and try hard to evangelize. There are also thousands of devout Muslim women who work as domestic helpers and walk around veiled.

Christianity is growing at a rapid pace and Buddhism is doing a good job of holding on to its own. So if you don't want to be evangelized don't come here!

Where else could the disaffected American liberal go? South America? Get real they are 98% Roman Catholic and Catholic dogma is an official part of the state. Furthermore, they are not the nearly lapsed Catholics that are politically liberal that you find in the US. They take their faith SERIOUSLY. So these people in the paper want to run from a place where only about one third of the population attends a religious service once a week to a place where 90% plus of the population does? I am sorry. That is idiotic.

Other articles I read have mentioned people wanting to go to nations like Canada or New Zealand that they, the distraught voter feel would be more suitable with their politics. Really? What happens to the Canadian economy if three-million people or a million or 1/2 a million suddenly show up looking to live there? Prices go up and wages go down that's what. It is just that simple. The governments know this and they will not allow so many people to immigrate that they wreck their economy and overload their social systems. The dirty ugly fact is that it is easier to take less skilled workers and then assimilate them as they gain prosperity than it is to take in lots of skilled workers who drive down the price of white-collar wages.

That means all the disgruntled liberal voters are going to have to spread themselves around. That means they need to think harder about where to go. That means you need to think non-English speaking.

When you think of non-English speaking countries you need to think about your children. If you were to go to a non-English speaking place are you willing to home school them like a fundamentalist Christian? I doubt very seriously that there will be a bilingual English track in the local schools. Even if they do, (some schools in Hong Kong have such a program) you are not going to like the schools. Would you think proper for your child to do five hours of memorization homework every night? I didn't think so. How about classes that require them memorize Bible, Koran or Buddhist scripture verses? Corporal punishment anyone? Do you want your children to be taught why they should be patriotic Singaporians?

If you don't like the options above that means private schools. Can you afford that? Doesn't that mean your kids will go to school with the children of the international corporation managers who are in that nation raping the resources and destroying the environment for the benefit of the capitalist pig developed world at the behest of Dick Cheney and Halliburton? Does that bother you? It would would me if I were an American liberal. Especially since you'd probably have to work for one of those companies before you could come here.

But, private schools don't really solve the religion problem. Arguably the best private school in Hong Kong is one that was founded by Lutherans missionaries. I know some of the teachers there. Indeed, I know the director of personnel. Nice lady. She attends a church with a Dallas Theological Seminary graduate Pastor. Yeah, fundamentalist in Hong Kong. Indeed, ECC it is quite probably the largest Protestant church in Hong Kong.

If the religion in the schools doesn't scare you the cost of tuition should. The Private schools here that use English fall into three categories: expensive, very expensive and cost more than Harvard. Can you afford to pay USD $20,000 a year per child for a private school in Hong Kong? That is about the minimum tuition charge here.

If you go with the less expensive international schools you get names like International Christian School, United Christian College, Christian Alliance International School and St. Paul's Convent School. Do you as a liberal see anything you don't like in those names? If I were leaving the US because there were too many Christians I would.

Are you a proponent of Gun control? May I suggest you don't go to any place in Asia. Yes, Hong Kong has a very strict gun control law but the triads (local gangsters) still have some. I know first hand from shopping in Southern Thailand that you can purchase a used AK-47 for about USD $25.00 in the street markets. (I was only willing to pay USD $20.00 and the guy wouldn't go below USD $25.00) Try doing that in L.A.

What about crime? Hong Kong and Japan are very safe (though very expensive) but most places in Asia are not. Central and South America are worse. How would you feel about having to hire an armed body guard to take your kids to school? What about limiting your shopping trips to daylight hours? If you are concerned about your safety don't go to the third world.

Racial prejudices are a world wide problem. Generally, it is worse anywhere else but the US. I mean that. If you have never lived outside the US you haven't seen prejudice. If you want your kids to learn how to be a bigot let them live South Korea! If you want to be discriminated against because of the color of skin then try being a Caucasian living in China! If you want them to become passive snobby bigots then move to the UK.

You want to see women oppressed try the middle East and Asia or Africa though any Muslim nation will do.

Pedophilia anyone? Go to Bangkok Yeah, 12 year-old girls and boys as prostitutes are everywhere there. Does that bother you? It should unless you're one of the people abusing those children.

A last reason not to go overseas is quite simply you will get trapped here. It happens all the time, and it happens in two ways. First, if you get that good job, and make a lot of money will you want to go back in four years to a job that makes 1/3 as much? Even if you have to live in a small apartment, in fear for your life and in an intolerant and abusive society? Lots of people can't bare the loss of money.

Conversely, You may find that you have nice life but can't afford to return. I know of a man in Wuhan which is a city in China. He went there 10 years ago to teach English on a two year contract because he wanted to help the poor and thought it was noble thing to do. He has four children. He does not make enough money to fly back for vacations in the US. He can't really save that much because he doesn't make much. He can feed his kids and actually has a pretty good life in China on the USD $800.00 a month (Twice the local teacher salary) but he can't leave because his standard of living would fall dramatically if he went back to Canada. He and his family are trapped in China. Does that sound appealing? He cannot even afford to send his kids back to Calgary for summer visits to Grandma.

A last reason to not go over seas is that your standard of living will probably fall. What if an apartment that was 500 to 600 square feet cost you USD $4-10000.00 a month and each of your kid's school tuition was USD $1800.00 a month. What if for USD $110,000.00 a year you couldn't afford an automobile? On top of all that, you would still have to fill out US tax forms every year. Doesn't sound so great anymore does it.

What about air pollution. How may days did the pollution index where you live hit 85? In most Asian cities and many South American cities that is an everyday event.

Remember the grass always looks greener but is because you are looking through your gestalt glasses. Your lenses are tinted green by politic, envy or both.

Now all of this not meant to make it sound like places other than the US are certified Hell Holes. They aren't. I greatly enjoy living in Hong Kong. It has been a wonderful experience to live here. It is a good place to raise a family. But, it isn't necessarily better than the US if you are an American Liberal.

Until Next Time

Fai Mao
The Blogger Who Would Find It hard to Return to The USA

Oooooooooooooh Boy!

I may write more on this article later.

The whole debate about glogal warming is interesting because of the political undertones involved.

Until Next Time
Fai Mao
The Blooger who Wants Warmer Weather Anyway

Friday, November 03, 2006

(Sigh) Again?

The article above deals with a Protestant pastor who molested a teenage girl.
(I hope that the supposedly "Open URL" actually works. The South China Morning Post is a subscription site.)

He pleaded guilty and was given 40 months in jail. I bet that guy Ted Haggard in the US wishes he was here and not in Colorado.

The justice system here really seems to have a problem understanding that molesting girls and murdering people is a serious offence. This is about the third molestation case in the last 6 or 8 weeks to receive very lenient sentences from a Hong Kong judge.

To give this man only 40 months in jail for raping a 15 year-old girl is a crime almost as bad as the one pervert preacher was convicted of.

How does one bring charges of dereliction against a judge?

Until Next Time
Fai Mao
The Blogger Who Thinks that Hong Kong Judges should Start Administering Justice

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Ever Feel Like You are Being Watched?

The cameras described in this article are bad enough but they are now talking about electronic ID devices planted under the skin!

Tell me, is this just sick, sick, sick or, simply 6-6-6?

It gets worse if you look at the DNA database being compiled by the UK government. Various officials want this thing to include everyone.

The UK cannot be considered a free country if this type of practice continues as standard practice. However, it looks to not only be standard practice it looks to be becoming even more ubiquitous.

I can't believe that people there cannot see that the government will abuse this system. The temptation for some policy wonk ideologue to use a system like this to further a political end is just too tempting.

The problem is that once the government abuses begins it may very well be too late. By that time dissent will be easily eliminated by simply altering a few tapes to make it appear that dissenters are just common criminals. I would rather deal with a higher crime rate than have every citizen considered to be a criminal. I refuse to be a suspect simply because I breathe!

I have been and will continue to be an out spoken critic of the mandatory ID cards in Hong Kong. The old ones were bad enough the new "Smart Cards" are a horrific infringement of privacy. Indeed, I fried the chip in my ID card by placing it in a Microwave oven so that it won't work. I encourage every one to in Hong Kong to do the same. But, this kind of thing goes way beyond anything going on here in the Pearl of the Orient.

There is an anonymous saying, wrongly attributed to Benjamin Franklin that the citizens of the UK should perhaps think about: "People willing to trade their freedom for temporary security deserve neither and will lose both."

The UK is on the road to losing both.

Kind of reminds of the old Larry Norman song:

"Well my phone is tapped and my lips are chapped
from whispering through the fence.

You know every move I make
or is that just coincidence?

Well you try to make my way of life
a little less like jail if I promise to make tapes and slides
and send them through the mail."

Until Next Time
Fai Mao
The Blogger Who is Glad He Doesn't Live in the UK

Life's a beach which is why my shorts are full of sand

It has been a bad day today.

Until Next Time
Fai Mao
The Bummed Out Blogger

Who are you?

I took this test the other day. It is kind of interesting. I liked the write ups that the "Experts" give after you score your test.

Until Next Time
Fai Mao
The Mastermind (INTJ) Blogger

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Life and Death in China

This kind of thing is disturbingly common in China.

What is strange is that no reason for the suicide attempt is given. That leads me to think it was a political protest of some sort.

Until Next Time
Fai Mao
The Horrified Blogger

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

What would William Wallace do?

The UK is a lost cause when business owners cannot take even preventative measures to stop this. It looks like Hong Kong imports its jelly judges from Scotland.

Until Next Time
Fai Mao
The Blogger who thinks there is reason that Great Britian is now called the UK

Monday, October 23, 2006

World War II is Over

Once again I agree Charles the Hammer

I don't think it is necessary for the Japanese to acquire nukes but just talking about it might get the PRC to rethink their uncritical support of North Korea.

North Korea and China actually have very little in common; or so it appears to me. I think the reason the PRC continues to support the North Koreans (Norks) is a combination of inertia, they always have, and because the Norks are useful as a foil that keeps the US from looking to closely at what goes on in the PRC.

But, given their obvious Neo-imperialist intentions I think the leaders of the PRC would give up the Norks rather than deal with a nuclear Japan that probably has four times the economic muscle of the PRC and infinitely more technological know how.

If Japan decides to acquire nuclear weapons as a result of the Nork program then the situation would be transformed from being a neuralgic problem for the US to a neuralgic problem for the PRC.

Anything that gives the leaders in Beijing a pain in the butt is probably a good thing

Until Next Time
Fai Mao
The Blogger who knows what the word "neuralgic" means

Thursday, October 19, 2006

A Study Guide

The Writing Game Part 4



The Nature of Truth:

Knowing and how we know what we know

Other aids in this series have examined the actual process of writing. This study-aid begins to examine the foundations of logic, proof and knowing. In some ways this should have been the first of the series. In other ways it should have been the last. It is with-out-a-doubt the hardest of the group to write because it deals not with the "how" of writing but the "why" of thinking. It might not be apparent, at first glance, how these two are related. I hope I can make the relationship clear.

The word "Truth" or "True" is a funny word. It comes from the Old English word "Triewth" and is used in a variety of ways. A wheel that rolls without wobbling is said to turn "true." The correct answer on a test is said to be a "true" answer. But these are ways that the word has slid connotatively into other areas of meaning. The actual meaning of the word "true" or "truth" is, according to the Concise Oxford Dictionary "The quality of being true or truthful." Well, so much for definitions. The same dictionary defines a forest as "a large area chiefly covered with trees and undergrowth..." Fuzzy ideas, like fuzzy definitions, can lead to misunderstandings. By using the definition of a "forest" given above a well-meaning person could mistake an overgrown lumberyard for a forest. Just as a forest is an ecosystem that is more than a bunch of trees, truth is more than not telling lies.

Finding what is true can be compared to playing the game of “Scrabble” You know how to play scrabble don’t you? You take randomly drawn letters and build words that give you points for the length of word or obscurity of the letter.

Finding truth in the materials you use for references in your school projects is a lot like that because, truth is built from facts just like words are built from letters. Many times, though not always, an argument is considered more “truthful” because it contains more facts. So, just as a longer word in scrable gives you a higher score a more facts tend to make a statement appear more truthful. A series of facts that spell out a “word” of truth is called a “Truth Statement”

We, like Pilate, at the trial of Jesus, need to ask, "What is truth?" If you, as a scholar, do not have a clear sense of what truth is then you will not have the ability to judge what you read and what you write as worthwhile. Having a clear concept of truth is probably one of the first steps in becoming an educated person.

The concept of "truth" is, or so it appears to this fat cat, tightly bound up with the concept of absolutes. What do I mean by an absolute?

I realize that it is a popular notion, held by many people who are otherwise intelligent and rational, that there are no absolutes. This is a position that allows people to be non-confrontational in that they believe that they can accept any idea as true to that individual. The denial of absolutes in this regard appears to me to be thought of as a form of moral tollerance because absolutes are often conceived of in moral terms.

While there are a plethora of cutesy rebuttals to this position I would like to approach the issue of absolutes from a little more serious angle. I would like to try to show that absolutes exist in a variety of areas. After doing this I would then like to talk about what absolutes have to do with library research and, by extrapolation, your homework and your research papers.

In their simplest form absolutes can be thought of as laws that cannot be broken. It is important for us to realize that absolutes exist in several areas.

Permanent Absolutes
In nature we have several well-known examples of laws that I will call a "Permanent Absolute". Gravity, for instance, is a universal (In the literal meaning of the word universal) law that we cannot break. We can overcome gravity when an airplane uses enough force to create lift across its wings; or like a balloon by making ourselves lighter than the surrounding air but we can never go where gravity is not a universal law.

I could cite several other examples of absolute laws from the physical world. Whether physical science has any moral applications is another study guide; it is also irrelevant to the current discussion. The point is simply that many absolutes exist in the form of physical laws that can never be broken.

Our definition of truth needs to be able live within the world in which that these absolutes exist. We can label these absolutes as a "Permanent Absolutes" because they never change.

Positional Absolutes
Other absolutes are not so permanent. We can call these "Positional Absolutes."

An example of a positional absolute is a 1966 Ford Mustang that I owned in high school. This was a great car. It was fast and good looking already a classic enven in the 1970's. I looked just like Joe Cool when I drove it around town. The only problem with this car was the ignition switch was worn-out. Any flat object that would fit in the switch could be used to start the car. At various times I started the car with a pocket knife, a screwdriver, a sliver of plastic cut from a credit card and even an Ice-cream stick. While it would not be true to say that every car could be started using these items it was absolutely true that this car could be. It was an absolute that was true about a particular thing at particular time. It is different from a "Permanent Absolute" because it does not have to exist, does not exist everywhere and may not always exist.

Denotative Absolutes
There is another type of absolute that we could call a "Denotative Absolute." The best example of this type of absolute is seen in language. Think about it. If you as the reader did not have a shared definition of the meaning of the letters used to write this study-aid then you could not read it. Not only that, if we had no common definition of the meaning of the sounds that make up words in a spoken language (In this case English.) then we could not even talk. Granted, the connotative meanings of words may escape us. We do not use words in an absolutely consistent manner. But, we understand each other because we have a set of shared definitions of not only words but of letters and grammar.

This type of absolute is an arbitrary absolute. It is different from a "Positional Absolute" because it depends upon the way that a language is used. It is different from a "Permanent Absolute" because it is possible that it might not exist; it is an absolute that we simply define to make life easier. Some group of people started using grunts and moans in a systematic way among themselves and a language developed. I pronounce the word "potato" as "potato" and not as "Shilgmagisterist" because I have defined set of phonetic sounds called "English" that defines the sounds for the arbitrary letter shapes of p-o-t-a-t-o.

Conotative Absolutes
Lastly we can say that there are what we might call "Connotative Absolutes." We create connotative absolutes when we use mental pictures to define an object. How do you know what a "chair" is? Well, you could look up the definition in a dictionary provided you knew how to read. However, as we saw with the definition of the word "truth" a definition might not tell us much. In reality, we define a chair as an object that contains all or most of the characteristics of "Chairness." These are probably very fuzzy and there is obviously overlap between the characteristics of a "chair," "bench" and "stool." But, part of the definition would include the use of the object, its general shape and so-forth. Our definition of a chair might look something like this: "A chair is an object that we use to sit on. It normally has a seat, a back and is movable. But, sometimes is just a place to sit."

You can actually play a rather fun game by taking the various parts of your definition of a chair and trying to figure out what is "meant" by each of the various components of the definition. What do we mean when we say "sit", "back, "movable"? How rigid is the definition? While fun, this kind of game actually has little practical value once the people involved are using a language that they both understand. This is a type of absolute that occurs when people have a connotative mental picture of the attributes of a thing. It does not even have to be real thing. This connotative list of object characteristics coalesces in the user's mind into a mental definition that can, in most cases be shared by many people.

This type of absolute is similar to Plato's concept of a "Form." Notice that this form would transcend language. It is a mental picture of a thing that would encompass a large variety of synonymous objects or words used for similar purposes. These "forms" are effectively absolutes. They may be fuzzy and open to a certain amount of interpretation but if they were not absolutes then we would not be able to write a definition of a chair that would enable us to tell a chair from a dog because a dog has four legs a back and a place to sit. We also could not translate our words into another language.

In all of these areas we can legitimately say that that we have absolutes. We can obtain truth because we can know the absolutes that comprise truth. For example: It is absolutely true that gravity is a force of attraction between objects that increases in intensity with mass and decreases with distance.

It was absolutely true that my 1966 Mustang could be started with a pocketknife.

It is absolutely true that if I call my wife on the cell phone and say, "I'm going to be home late. The bus is caught in traffic." that because we both speak English she will understand what I mean.

If I ask students in the library to sit in the black chairs then I do not expect them to sit on the table because they know the connotative difference in the definition of a chair and table.

In each case absolutes lead us to truth about an item or the world around us.

We can prove that at least in the areas of physical science, relative position, and language and in the definition of objects and abstract concepts such as "chairness" that absolutes exist. This is significant for several reasons but the point of this study-aid is to allow you to better find out what is "true" in the books and periodicals that you read. So, how do these examples help us come up with a working definition of "truth" that will be useful in completing homework assignments? The answer to that question is contained in examining the examples used above.

First, when looking for truth or writing about truth we are looking for absolutes. We can also see that like gravity many absolutes are easy to define but like our mental definition a chair others are somewhat fuzzy.

Second, other absolutes exist only by definition and some of those like the grammatical rules used in English language may be arbitrary and have very little to do with logic and have exceptions.

What is not in dispute is that absolutes exist and therefore, something called "truth" also exist.

Third, because we know for a fact that some absolutes are hard to define it would follow that they may be difficult to grasp. The full implied meaning of any particular absolute might be very broad. There may be rather subtle aspects of an absolutes' nature that need to be examined.

Fourth, some absolutes are only absolutes by the position of certain facts (like my 1966 Mustang's faulty ignition switch). We will need to be able determine the difference between what we could call a positional absolute which could be different than it is from what we could call permanent absolute like gravity which does not change regardless of position.

Taking these four elements and combining them into a definition of truth we would come up with a definition of truth something like this: "Truth is a thing that really exist in the world as both an abstract concept and definable entities. Truth can also be of a permanent, denotative, connotative, or positional nature." We could possibly also add this additional sentence: "Truth can, it is generally believed, be known because the absolutes that comprise truth can be known."

So, how do you use this definition of absolutes in your homework or research paper? Well, start by looking for the underlying absolutes assumed or presumed by the author of what you are reading. What is that author's definition of truth? Are the absolutes credible? Are they observable? Is evidence of a permanent, positional, denotative or connotative absolute presented that would allow you to believe the author's conclusions are true? If the author is appealing to a connotative or positional absolute is that absolute really an absolute? If it is a positional or connotative absolute does it apply in this case? Is it really connotative or positional absolute or is it like gravity, universal and permanent?

Examining you readings using an adequate definition of truth will help you answer these questions. An adequate definition of truth will make you better reader and help you to study more effectively. An adequate definition of truth will also help you write better papers because you will be better able present you evidence and have great faith in your information.

Think about it.

Oh yeah, I almost forgot. Christians believe that in addition to the "truth" talked about above there is another kind of "truth." This other "truth" is spelled with a capital "T." Jesus said; "I am the TRUTH…" If you would like to know what the difference between truth and the Truth is stop by the library. I would be happy to talk with you about it.

Until Next Time
Fai Mao
The Philosopher Librarian

Saturday, October 14, 2006

What if this had happened in Hong Kong?

If this murder had happened in Hong Kong and the HKPD actually managed to apprehend someone then the suspect could claim they killed her accidentally while driving a minibus and get off with a suspended drivers' license

Until Next Time

The Blogger Who Is Still Unimpressed With The Hong Kong Legal System

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Caribbean Justice

Yesterday TVB reported that the mini-bus driver that murdered a bicyclist at the triathlon last year had his sentence increased from 5 to 8 months. The suspension of his driver's license will stay at two years.

He should be glad he doesn't live in the Bahamas. While the penalty in article above maybe a bit harsh it is still closer to justice than any criminal in Hong Kong has received

The judges here are completely negligent in their duty of protecting Hong Kong citizens from criminals. It won't take long before criminals figure that out.

Until Next Time
Fai Mao
The Blogger Who Sometimes Wishes He Were a Judge

Sunday, October 08, 2006

A Few Sane Voices

I hope this is not too little too late. I hope that enough people are paying attention in the UK and France and Germany.

Europe in particular and the West in general need to stop allowing the intolerant, abusive and backward; not to mention violent and oppressive apostles of 7th century Arab Cultural Imperialism to immigrate into their countries. Muslims get upset when Jack Straw politely suggest Muslim women to unveil in his office and yet Islamic countries such as Saudi Arabia have no problem FORCING non-Muslim women to wear veils.

I also don't think that the British know what Britishness is anymore. If they did they'd ditch the EU. (My problems with the EU is another topic for another day) It isn't enough to stop kowtowing at the alter of Multi-cultural lies. It isn't enough to stop tolerating intolerance.

But, it would be a good start.

Muslims need to hear that tolerance is a two way street. If they are not will to live in a multi-religious society then they should go back to their third-world Islamic slum.

To quote Pete Townsend: "Let's be free and see who cares!"

Freedom and submission are incompatible concepts.

Until Next Time
Fai Mao
The Blogger Who Lives a True Multi-Cultural Life Style but isn't Multi-Cultural

Friday, October 06, 2006

Do 12 Year-Olds Need To Know This?

I've been preparing a book order for the library I work in. This is an every year job and is normally one of my favorite task.

However, I have noticed a trend in juvenile and young adult fiction over the past several years that is disturbing. Many of the new books published for children are very dark. I don't mean dark like Harry Potter with the magic and stuff. I mean dark like real life bad.

It may be true that the world is a bad place. It may also be true that most of that badness is caused by what adults have done. But, do we have to let 12 year-old kid know that?

Why can't we let them grow up and find out that life stinks for themselves? They come to a different conclusion.

Until Next Time
Fai Mao
The Blogger Who Feels Kiddie Lit Has Gotten A Bit Too Intense

Is this justice?

I have no words for this kind of behavior.

It does look like that the judge moonlights in Hong Kong as the sentence appear to be very lenient for this barbaric a crime.

Until Next Time
Fai Mao
The Blogger who is still Looking for a Justice System that Punishes Criminals

Thursday, October 05, 2006


This past Sunday was National Day which is the Chinese equivalent of July 4th.

The lovely, intelligent, looks twenty-five years younger than she is, gracious and hard-working wife and I went to a friends' apartment which has a harbor view. We sat on the balcony with other people and watched the fireworks in the harbor. It was a good show. As a person with a very pronounced Peter Pan complex I really enjoy fireworks.

When I was a boy in the US, July 4th used to be a favorite holiday. The fireworks, the BBQ the parties at the beach and all of the activities that go along with a summer holiday were just great. Usually after the civic fireworks display put on by the city there would be some sort of patriotic speaker who might be a congressman or commentator of some sort. One year my town had Paul Harvey speak after the fireworks. I was too young to know who Paul Harvey was but his goofy voice and off canter delivery was fun to listen to. I was only about 8 years-old but I remember his speech. He talked about how we should be grateful to live in the US and recounted various exemplary episode from US History to make his point. It was a good speech. I went home thinking that I should join the army.

Well, I am grateful that I live in China. Not that China is a perfect place. Not that Hong Kong is better than the rest of China and the fireworks didn't make me want to enlist in the PLA. However, it is truly a privilege to live in China.

There is no other nation with the history, the heritage and the list of cultural achievements that can match China. It was an empire before there was a Rome. China had huge cities when the Britons and Celts and Franks were living in dab and wattle huts that they shared with their cow or their pig.

The Chinese were glazing pottery when Europeans were still banging rocks together to make sparks for a fire.

China has endured invaders, flood and famine, despots and buffoons and still there is a China. I believe that as long as there are nations there will always be a China. Europe is rapidly losing its freedom and is becoming Eurabia. The E.U. will be living under Sharia law in 20 years and European culture will be subjugated and destroyed by the Arabic cultural imperialism that is Islam.

When Europe disappears as a culture China will remain. China is becoming free as it lives up to its constitution. There is a long way to go but the Chinese are a patient people. The road will be tough to walk because of the endemic corruption fostered by the socialist state. (The last great horror that European civilization foisted upon the world) But, I think China is walking the road to freedom in a purposeful manner despite the efforts of its leadership.

I think that China will become a free and noble nation again. I pray that I live to see that happen. I am grateful for the chance to live here.

Until Next Time
Fai Mao
The Non-Native Chinese Patriot

Friday, September 22, 2006

Charles the Hammer Pounds Heads

One of my favorite columnist strikes again.
And yes, the use of the historical nickname is intentional

Until Next Time
Fai Mao
The Blogger Who Wishes He could Write as Well

Human Rights in China

I don't quite know how to react to the article above.

I am not normally a huge fan of Amnesty International but I think they are correct in this instance. I am also glad to see they are paying attention to China.

Now, if you'd start seeing headlines about the pollution in China I'd begin to think that there is hope for the profession of news reporting. I find it incredible that anyone who has been to China and then been to the US or Europe can claim with a straight face that China isn't the worst polluter on Earth. It isn't close.

China has a long way to go before it is a truly modern and free country. However, it is heading in the right direction. I just wish it would get there sooner.

Until Next Time
Fai Mao
The Blogger Who Wishes China Would Clean Up It's Act In More Ways Than One

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Unshelved for today

I have an Internet subscription to this comic.
Today is a fitting one for Hong Kong

You can see more of these and get your own subscription to Unshelved at the Unshelved Website

Until Next Time
Fai Mao
The Blogger Who Doesn't LIke Cell Phones

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Say What?

It would not be unfair to label me as an "Anti-Catholic" However, I've got to admire this current Pope. It takes guts to stand up and say that Islam is a violent and backward religion. Not because it isn't but because the Muslims will then kill you for saying it.

The term oxymoron is one that applies to Muslims conceptions about them selves. They think they are peaceful but they are not. They think they are enlightened but they are not. They think that Mohammed was a prophet but he was not. They think the Quran is holy when it is not. They think they are going to Heaven but they are not.

Until Next Time
Fai Mao
The Non-Muslim Blogger

Friday, September 15, 2006

50 Ways to irritate anybody

38 &39 are particularly appropriate for Hong Kong

However, I don't think this list goes nearly far enough. However, it is a start.

51. People who yell into their cell phone.

52. Old men who drink beer on the bus

53. Teenagers who make out or in some case apear to be making love in the MTR or on the bus.

54. University undergraduates who think they understand more of the world than any adult except perhaps that special professor.

55. Karaoke machine in high rise dwellings

56. Grocery stores putting regular priced items over signs for sale merchandise

57. Parents who let their children run around restaurants

58. Young people who dress, walk and behave in an obviously threatening manner who then get upset when you don't trust them.

59. Any photograph of Nina Wong

60. Taxi drivers who take you from Kowloon City to Causeway bay via Tai Po and Lo Wu.

Feel free to ad your own

Until Next Time
Fai Mao
The List making Blogger

Tuesday, September 12, 2006


I must be stranger than I thought.

I was in Wellcome last night and just got totally lost in thought while buying grapefruit that was on sale. (For those not in Hong Kong, Wellcome is a grocery store chain that misspelled the word Welcome on purpose so they could trademark it) I don't know why I remembered this incident last night, it isn't that I haven't purchased grapefruit many times before.

When I was a about 11 or 12, I helped some of my cousins build an air powered cannon that we used to shoot moldy grapefruit across a pasture.

My grandfather had a air-compressor that ran off a 30 horsepower motor that he bought from a factory that closed down. This was a compressor that was designed to power 10 or 20 air-tools at one time. It had just a huge tank that was about 10 feet tall by 5 feet in diameter and could store air at just enormous pressure. It had a brass multi-connection point air line that ran down one wall of the barn and you could hook up a 3/4 inch rubber line to the brass line. Among other things it could drive an air powered table saw with a 15 inch blade. (Isn't it interesting what kids used to play with when I was young?)

Well, we found a 4 foot length of 5 or 6 inch iron sewer pipe that was new. Mike who was the oldest and knew something about welding, welded the end cap shut. We then drilled a hole in the back of the pipe and placed an air-hose fitting through the hole which was secured on both sides by a washer and nut. It was then a simple matter to charge up the compressor tank to a ridiculous level of pressure and connect up the cannon to the hose. Because there were cut-off switches on the brass feeder line we had a ready made trigger.

We'd place a wad of old news-paper in the barrel and a grapefruit on top of the paper then another wad of paper to hold the grapefruit tight. Two of us would hold the cannon up at an angle, one would count to three and the fourth kid would quickly open the cutoff valve.

Pow! A moldy grapefruit would fly 200 to 300 yards out into the pasture. We had a 20 lb bag of old grapefruit that we were supposed to feed to pigs but this was way more fun. The best part was that Mike kept turning the compressor higher to get more distance. This meant that some times, if it were a particularly moldy grapefruit it wouldn't fly at all but disintegrate when the air hit it and we'd all get doused in moldy grapefruit juice.

We finally over loaded the rubber air hose that connected the cannon to the brass feeder tube and it blew up with a bang that caused more than one of us to wet our pants.

Kids can't have fun like that anymore

After an unknown period of memories I suddenly remembered that I was in Wellcome. I looked up and only saw one or two odd looks. Sometime memories are worth it.

Until Next Time
Fai Mao
Who Sometimes Wishes He Could Be 12 Again

Monday, September 11, 2006

In the Air

My wife is flying from London to HK today.

What a day to fly.

Until Next Time
Fai Mao

Monday, September 04, 2006

The GST Once Again

The proposed GST is still in the news here. It looks to me as though the government is going to implement some form of this even if it has to do it over the dead bodies of most of citizenry of Hong Kong.

I have spent considerable time wondering "Why the big push for this when there are other options available?" I'd put it down to the normal pig headed stubbornness that I often see here. When Hong Konger's get an idea about something they often seem to be unable to let it go. I think it has something to do with the vomitoria style of education here. They are used to memorizing one answer for any problem and then vomiting it back to the teacher when demanded. I think that form of education, especially when taken to the extreme that Hong Kong government schools take it, results in people who know lots of facts but cannot creatively solve problems. However, in this case, I'm not so sure about that anymore.

I think I may have to give Henry Tang some credit. He seems to have actually risen all the way up to the level of low cunning. I have speculated before that the real reason for this tax is not to simply "Broaden the tax base" but to broaden the government. I think, I have some indirect proof of that. Here is a link to an article from the investment firm of Price,Waterhouse and Cooper.

It has some rather unusual statistics about Hong Kong.

Apparently, one of the goals of the Hong Kong Government is to bring the cost of government down to below 20% of the GDP by 2008. What the article does not tell me is how far above 20% the percentage of the GDP the government take currently is. That 20% figure seemed high to me so being a librarian after all, I looked it up. My intuition was, both wrong and right.

If you look at over all percentage of government expenditures as a portion of GDP you find that the nations on the table spend from about 35% to nearly 60% of the GDP on government. So on the surface, Hong Kong would look to be at the low end of the scale. However, you have to throw out the nations with highly socialistic economies like the Sandinavian countries because their economic structure is very different from Hong Kong.

If you look at the more market oriented nations you'll find that they normally spend about 1/3 to about 1/2 of the GDP on government. However, all of the other nations listed have to also spend money on things that Hong Kong doesn't. For example, when I was an undergraduate, the number 17% was often cited as the amount of the US budget devoted to defense. Well, if you take the 35% or so of GDP the US spends on government and subtract 17% you end up with 18%. If Hong Kong, a market economy is spending over 20% of its GDP on government then as a percentage it is spending somewhere between 2% and 11% more of it's GDP on government without funding an army or navy or a foreign service that mans embassies and consulates. That is assuming that the government currently spends no more than 29% of the GDP on government which is what the article implies to me.

So, what does this have to do with Henry Tang rising above his education?

It appears to me that Henry sees that the government cannot meet its goal of reducing the percentage of the GDP used by government to less than 20%. Especially since most of the HK baboons (My term for the Hong Kong Civil Service) were trained Europe they would look not at the US but at Europe with slower growth, higher taxes and less freedom as their model rather than the traditionally lower tax, higher growth and more personal freedom model that the people here are used to.

In short, I don't think Henry Tang believes the government can reduce its cost to less than 20% of the GDP because countries like France, and the UK and Germany are, after subtracting their military and diplomatic budgets, higher than that, but can't say so because of the political problems it would cost. He wants to keep his job.

He is trying to find a way to increase the governments revenue to, at least in part, cover the bloated salaries that government officials are paid because he knows very well that those salaries are one of the first things that the local population will call for cutting rather than raising taxes.

A GST is a good way to do that because it is a hidden tax. People pay it a little at a time. They get used to it after a while. So why should Henry cut his salary or forgo hiring 50 more cronies at the ministerial level? Why not raise taxes?

Or, it could be that Henry is thinking like a European socialist. He may believe that the road to freedom is to tax the population into prosperity.

Or maybe He thinks his astronomical salary of over USD $45,000.00 per month is justified because he is so much more competant than the average Zhou.

Or maybe, it is just low cuning

Until Next Time
Fai Mao
The Libertine Blogger

Friday, September 01, 2006

My wife would kill me

That must be some bike.

Until Next Time
Fai Mao
The Blogger Who Would Rather Sleep with His Wife

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Truth is Stranger than Fiction

I think that dog would have been given a license in Hong Kong. He could even earn a living driving a minibus

Until Next Time
Fai Mao
The Blogger without a Drivers License

Monday, August 28, 2006

Funny in an Ironic Way

The Link above is what you get when you click on the page for information on "Victims of Violent Crime" at the Hong Kong Department of Justice

It figures

Until Next Time
Fai Mao
The Blogger who doesn't believe that Hong Kong has a justice system

What More Can Be Said?

Yet another egregious judicial decision last Friday by a Hong Kong judge.

A group of young men captured a young girl in 2004, tied her up, beat her and sexually assaulted her over a span of two days before she died

The longest sentence given to any of these perverted reprobates was nine years in prison. One of these sub-human, throwback (I used in the old social Darwinist term on purpose as it is the most insulting term that applies to them) monsters received only a three month probation.

This is the third judge in a two week span to give incredibly lenient sentences to perpetrators of brutal crimes.

Hong Kong currently has a very low crime rate. It is a safe place. However, if the non-justice system keeps doing this then Hong Kong will not remain a safe place for long.

Look at what is happening in the UK . Not only the burglary but violent crime is on the rise. Hong Kong judiciaries were trained in the UK and evidently have the same flawed understanding of the law not to mention human nature. We are in trouble if we do not remove these idiots from the bench.

Do these judges actually think that the Triads haven't noticed this? Watch; it will not be long before the Triads start having 14 or 15 year olds murder rivals because a teenager will be able to get off with probation. I'd be surprized if it hasn't happened already.

Yep, the crime rate for violent crimes in Hong Kong is now officially on the way up. It gets worse. In Hong Kong you can't even defend yourself, it is like the UK because you can't own a weapon to protect yourself. If you strike back at an agressor you are often charged with a crime. Part of the bargin that gun control advocates claim to make with the population is that you don't need to protect yourself because the government will do it for you. What happens if the state doesn't protect you but doesn't let you protect yourself? Hong Kong may be about to find out.

Now that the state has stopped protecting the citizens it could get bad fast.

Until Next Time
Fai Mao
The Blogger who wishes he had the right to a sleeveless shirt in Hong Kong

Friday, August 25, 2006


Jazz trumpeter Maynard Ferguson died today or yesterday depending on which side of the date line you are on.

I know that nobody lives forever but, aren't there just some people you wish could?

Until Next Time
Fai Mao
The Blogger who always wanted to be a Jazz Trumpeter.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Lurking and Posting

Some unidentified person left comment correcting something I'd said about the man arrested in the Jon Bennet Ramsey murder. The correction doesn't really change the thrust of the post but it does make me more believable if I have facts straight.

Thank you Madam/Sir whoever you are. Please come again.

I do wish people would leave a name or place.

Unlike a newspaper reporter I don't think I'm infallible. I'm not going to give anyone a written slap down if I can avoid it. If I think I've gotten a reply by a crank, I'll probably just delete the comment and move on. I've had a couple of rather strident replies over the years I've been doing this and I've always tried to be polite when replying. Which doesn't mean that I don't try and defend my position if I think I'm right.

I'm always appreciative when people take time to respond; even if I disagree with them.

I think the ability to have people with more knowledge than I in certain subjects offer corrections is one of the great things about blogs. (In this case the person had probably read more recent news reports.) This is important because words have consequences. What I say affects or possibly affects what others do. Thus, it is important that I have my facts straight.

One of the false defenses sometimes used against censorship (as opposed to those that are valid) is that "It is just a book or just an opinion or just art and doesn't affect anybody" Well, it is my hope that when I write something that it affects those who read it. Indeed, I cannot imagine any artist saying this. Yet, I've heard this many times in discussions on censorship.

Why would I go to the trouble to write long angry essay about what I perceive as problems with the justice system in Hong Kong if I didn't think that I could either change someone's mind, alert them to a problem, or let them know that there are others who agree or disagree with them?

In a broader sense, if art has no affect or effect on us then why do we do it? Even if that effect is only to bring us pleasure or enjoyment. In my case, I am hoping that people enjoy my opinions. I hope that they find me funny or insightful or intelligent or to at least be saying something in an entertaining way. I think that my post, or essays are a form of art. I may not be a very good artist but I don't think my writing is valueless. What I say here has the potential to affect people and have an effect in their lives.

Anyway, I ramble.

Until Next Time
Fai Mao
The Blogger Who is Probably Not Really A Very Good Artist

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Another Evil Hong Kong Judge

It seems that bad judicial decisions are becoming as common in Hong Kong as raunchy T-Shirts.

Yesterday a female Hong Kong judge with the surname of Poon gave a sentence to a man that was breath-taking in its calloused disregard for the damage inflicted upon the victims. It was also stunning in its misidentification with the plight of the criminal and in putting the rights of a criminal over the greater good of society and the welfare of the victims of violent crime.

A 42 year-old man was given eight years for molesting at least 12 children. What’s that work out to, 9 months per rape? Assuming, of course that the only raped each child once.

After the creep is released he will have to undergo therapy.

This was not justice. It was a miscarriage of justice. I do not care that he pleaded guilty. I don’t care that after he was caught he confessed. This man raped 12 little girls.

To make matters worse the judge was quoted as saying that she was surprised to know that parents would let children as young as nine go to the park by them selves. Perhaps I misunderstood but it appears to me that she is, in part blaming the parents for the allowing a pedophile to attack their children. I guess she doesn’t realize that not everyone here can afford to hire two Filipino or Indonesian helpers per child as babysitters, tutors and substitute parents so that like her the parent can go to work and meditate upon the arcane and ancient craft of law.

What a travesty

What a farce.

What an incompetent human sack of shit

Judge Poon should retire to her 3rd or 4th house in London or the South of France and drink white wine in garden with her other rich and benighted friends.

This man ruined at least 12 children’s live. He has traumatized whole families for many years to come. He has committed a crime that many, if not most people feel is more heinous than murder. He did not commit the crime once but many times. This man is a monster. That he received a term of incarceration of only eight years for these crimes should be staggering to anyone who believe that society has a right to be protected from such people and that government has the responsibility to keep such people off the streets.

A few facts that judge Poon could have looked up if she had chosen to do so:

Child molesters have the highest recidivism rates of all criminals. Once they start they can’t stop.

Therapy and counseling are seldom helpful in such cases.

Societies have basically three choices with this type of criminal. They can locked them up forever; They can be executed; or possibly electronically tracked. The last option is not appropriate for Hong Kong. Where can one live in Hong Kong where you are less than 500 feet from a school or pre-school? The GPS devices used in the US and Canada would not be of much help here.

The only hope that justice will be served in this case is that molesters are not very popular in prison. One, Jeffery Dahmer was put back into the general population several years ago in the US state of Ohio. The other prisoners killed him. Maybe the prisoners in Stanley prison will be so just and rid Hong Kong of this monster.

Until Next Time
Fai Mao
The Blogger Who Thinks that Hong Judges Are a Criminals’ Best Friend