Friday, May 18, 2007

Weasel Words

Some Questions for Ma Lik

  1. If there were not 4000 people killed by the Chinese in June 1989 what was the real number; was it maybe 5000 or 6000?
  2. If those people didn't die, where did they go and why haven't they contacted their families?
  3. If being run over by a tank doesn't turn you into mince (hamburger meat for those of you reading this in civilized countries) what does being run over by a tank turn you into; a meat waffle?
  4. If the PRC didn't cremate the bodies of those killed then what did they do with the bodies?
  5. What is total cost for hair dye by top Chinese officials?
Enquirering minds want to know

Until Next Time
Fai Mao
The Blogger who longs for China to be free

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Small Minds Think Alike

CUHK students have been in a row with administration this week over a sex survey they published in the school paper. They have now started to complain about the Bible saying it is as bad as they. I guess the students who print the student rag at Chinese U can't tell the difference between puerility and history.

Let's take their charges one at a time
Incest - They are probably referring to two events: Lots daughters and episode between a brother and his half sister who were children of King David. Both are condemned. Paul explicitly condemns a man that is sleeping with his stepmother in the New Testament does that count as incest? Still it is a practice that is condemned as is all forms of sexual immorality. When the people who complained said that the Bible "advocates incest" they either didn't know what they are talking about or are simply lying.

Rape - The second example above as I said it is not presented in a positive light or held up as the norm for others to practice.

Cannibalism - Where? Possibly in the description of one of the sieges of a city or as something practiced by the Canaanites before Joshua invaded. Once again not something promoted. Possibly they are confusing the concept of communion "Eat my body and drink my blood" and fail to see the symbolic nature of the passage. In any event, it isn't cannibalism.

Violence - Certainly, the Chinese U. flap that caused this complaint didn't ask about violence so I fail to see the connection because they were asked to withdraw a (Probably poorly constructed) survey about students and sex. So the comparison is apples and oranges. But, that is also beside the point. If we are going to label books that have historical or even semi-historical or mythical accounts of history as unacceptable because they report about wars and killing and all violence in the Bible is presented as a historical account, then we can read no history or ancient mythology. Let us not even touch the fact that if they really wanted to see a religious book that advocates violence then they should have cited the Koran.

It appears to me that the student newspaper at CUHK was actually trying to do something that the accounts of rape, incest and violence in the Bible does not do. They were trying to justify their bad behavior by saying people long ago did this too. Please understand. I'm not necessarily defending anything in the Bible or trying to evangelize anyone. I am not even defending the administration at CUHK who are probably a bunch of repressed and sexually frustrated academics. I'm just saying that the complaint is at best vacuous and in probability a sophomoric attempt to justify their desire to print something that they thought was sensational. Given the cramped living spaces in Hong Kong I would think that it is very likely that many, indeed most children have seen their parents having sex. I bet the number is rather high that have seen their maid having sex or that have had sex with the maid! So what? That happens in bigger houses too. Catching your parents in an intimate moment is in many ways simply part of growing up; part of life. It happens all the time and thus makes the survey about as groundbreaking as as asking "Have you ever dreamed of being rich?"

I have seen have several protest by both HKU and CUHK students over the years. My lovely, gracious, smart, looks 25 years younger than she is, Chinese wife used to be a warden at an HKU dorm so I have had ample opportunity to observe the quality of students in HK universities. This may be the best they can do; and then they wonder why Hong Kong seems to be losing ground to the mainland.

It isn't all Sir Bow-Tie's fault.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007.

Is the Bible indecent? HK officials have 208 complaints saying it is
The Bible became a target of indecency complaints yesterday after an anonymous website launched a campaign asking people to put pressure on the Television and Entertainment Licensing Authority to reclassify the holy text as an indecent publication.
The Chinese-language website said the Bible was full of stories and references to incest, rape, cannibalism and violence in both the Old and New Testaments.
Tela confirmed yesterday it had received 208 complaints, more than double the number of complaints it received over the past week about the Chinese University Student Press, which resulted in two issues being classified by the Obscene Articles Tribunal as indecent on Monday.
It was not clear how many of the complaints were prompted by the website, which is highly critical of the Christian scriptures.
The website runs under a bilingual banner in red, stating: "Legal disclaimer warning: this website contains biblical material, which may offend and may not be distributed, circulated, sold, hired, given, lent, shown, played or projected to a person under the age of 18 years."
The suggested complaint letter contained on the site makes specific reference to the student journal's controversial sex survey.
The survey asked readers if they had fantasised about having sex with family members or saw them perform sexual acts. The letter likens it to more explicit sections of the Bible.
"Passages in the Bible not only advocate incest, but they also aim to rationalise incest and present it as normal," the letter states.
Under the Control of Obscene and Indecent Articles Ordinance, a publication or a display is exempt from the law if it is deemed to be in the interest of science, literature, art and academic study.
If the complaints were upheld, by law it would mean full texts of the Bible would be deemed suitable to be read only by over-18s, and copies would need to carry a warning and be sold in sealed packaging.

Until Next Time
Fai Mao
The blogger who thinks most university students should be seen and not heard

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Get over it baby!

I used to engage in moral posturing over people's fascination with celebrities. But then I sort of realized that hating celebrities amounted to the same thing as loving them. They don't really care whether I like them or hate them so long as I know their name. So, I'll make fun of celebrities if I want to and not feel any moral shame at all so long as celebrity bashing doesn't control my life. However, with the death of Nina Wong I needed another famous person to follow. While I can't say that not having a celebrity to hate has really caused me emotional pain there was definitely something missing in my life without one.

Paris Hilton has ridden to my rescue.

She has all the attributes of Nina Wong except the pig-tails and is better looking to boot. She is also the reason that dumb blond jokes exist. I just wish she were a Hong Kong resident.

Her impending jail sentence is just simply funny. Her arrogance in thinking that the law would not apply to her has an almost comic air about it. The idea of Paris being humiliated in a group shower in prison is so Sadistically funny that I can't help but keep from smiling.

However, in reality prisons, even in rather tolerant and enlightened countries are no joke. I don't think anybody deserves the abuse given out to new arrivals and first time offenders by the more hardened prisoners. In this respect prison reform should be a more high priority political item. A 20 something rich girl going to jail for traffic fines and driving while drunk should not have to fear being raped by lesbians while serving her time; even if she a lazy, shallow, vapid and spoiled high dollar tart.

So despite my glee on one hand that she's getting her comeuppance and a taste of the real world, possibly for the first time in her life, I have some well meant and serious advice for her. (Though I seriously doubt she'll ever read it or know about it.)

These are taken and modified from the chapter "What if you're arrested" of the book Worst Case Scenarios which is a book sometimes given to high school graduating students before they go off to university.

  1. Ask for a solitary cell. You really don't want a roommate.
  2. Stay in your cell unless you must leave. If you leave your cell try and stay within about 10 feet of a guard. Use the time to read a book (assuming that Paris can read)
  3. Stay out of the shower. There is normally a sink in the cell take a sink bath. If it means not washing your hair for 45 days so be it.
  4. Don't accept any favors from other prisoners. You don't want to "Owe them a favor"
  5. Don't offer to help anyone. They might expect more help than you can give
  6. Don't initiate a conversation with prisoners.
  7. Answer questions directly, politely and concisely.
  8. If you must be in a common room with other prisoners then sit in a corner with you back against the wall.
  9. Don't cry or weep where others can see you.
  10. Dye your hair and get it cut off before you enter the jail. It might be a best to not look like you.
  11. Obey the guards. They are your only friends. However don't trust them. They can be just as abusive.
  12. It is OK to be afraid but don't let fear paralyze you
Lastly. Count the days down and get out and then stay out. Learn form this that you aren't above the law.

Until Next Time
Fai Mao
The Blogger who has some sympathy for the person he loves to hate

Monday, May 14, 2007


The last movie in the Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy will start its Hong Kong run this Thursday. I plan to go see it if I can on Thursday evening.

I got into sort of an argument this morning with one of the more patriotic and socially minded students here at the school I work for about this movie. She is upset that Chow Yung Fat plays a part that is a stereotypical Chinese Kung Fu villain (Though how she knows this is beyond me as the movie isn't playing here yet.) and is not a positive role model. She conveniently forgot that this is a movie where all the major characters are PIRATES! None of them are particularly good role models and the whole movie is based around comic versions of stereotypical characters.

She just reinforced my notion that the voting age in all elections world wide should be raised from 18 or 21 to about 38 or 40. The young have no stake in the world. That's why they want to change it. It is often said that the world belongs to the future generations but that is a lie. The world belongs to middle-aged farts who had the money to buy from over-the-hill geezers. The middle-aged take care of the Earth because we want to protect our investment. Attempts by 20 somethings to change the world are really just an attempt by those without money to gain access to the wealth of those who have spent 25 to 30 years earning it.

Until Next Time
Fai Mao
The Blogger who likes to say "Arrrrrgh"

Thursday, May 10, 2007

What, no Bill Gates?

I'd like to have Steve Jobs' job for about two days.

Wow! Better than $600 million US for simply selling overpriced computers that are not compatible with Windows.

Until Next Time
Fai Mao
The Blogger who does not work in a technology field

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

A Heartfelt Thank You!

Sometimes it is little things that make your day.

This morning I got on the bus to come to work and my octopus card was negative. I only had a $500.00 bill and no change. Growl! This normally means riding the bus one stop, getting off, finding a 7-11, charging the card, waiting for another bus and then being late for work. However, when the bus driver saw I had no small bills he said in his best Engrish "OK you sit. OK" I guess he's paid by the hour so it really isn't any skin off his nose if he let's the occasional commuter with a negative card have a free ride But, I was still grateful. Thank You sir. Thank you very much.

Now to a little more grumpy subject.

There was a protest by public housing tenants on Sunday that really bothered me. They were protesting that the parking charges for their automobiles are being raised from HK $100.00 (USD $13.00) to HK $300.00 or $39 US dollars a month.

I can't afford a car. The parking where I live would cost $3500.00 a month and I'd still have to walk three blocks to the car. Why do people that are supposedly so poor that they can't afford housing given access to parking below where they live at 1/10 th the going rate? If they are so poor shouldn't they take mass transit? Hong Kong is the most expensive city in the world to drive in. Public housing tenants shouldn't need parking because if they can afford to drive here they shouldn't need public housing.

This brings up the whole issue of how public housing is done in Hong Kong and why it is problematic. Once someone gets a publicly rented flat they are almost never required to move out or give it up; even if they go on to attain great wealth. I vaguely know a couple (Friends of my wife) who started in public housing probably 30 years ago. They now own a factory and drive a jaguar and live in a big mansion in Melborne. They still rent the public housing flat and let a relative live in it "Just in case they go broke in the future" tenants can also pass a flat along to their children as an inheritance. Pardon me for seeing the potential for huge amount of abuse in such a system.

I find it appalling that better than 50% of Hong Kong residents live in some form of government housing. I have little doubt that because the government is always bending over and dropping its trousers for construction industry to keep the property market at an unnaturally high level most of the tenants of public housing projects could afford no where else to live. Indeed, the way the construction industry is allowed to screw the government here it is a wonder that every female in the Buildings and Lands department isn't carrying a baby fathered by Li Kai Shing. However, I also wonder if the assets and earnings of a significant percentage of public housing tenants were really looked at if it would not be found that they shouldn't be in public housing?

Until Next Time
Fai Mao
The Blogger who thinks that the HK Housing Authority could do a better job

Monday, May 07, 2007

I wonder when they start crawling out of the woodwork?

Now that the French have elected a center right, nominally Jewish man with an apparently more devout Jewish wife as their president I wonder how long it will be before the French Left adopts an openly antisemitic stance?

When will the French socialist start saying that the nation has been taken over by a secret cabal of Jewish Bankers who have secretly been running the world since 70 AD?

I can see the headlines now.

I hope Sarkosy goes down in history as the best president France has ever had

Until Next Time
Fai Mao
The Blogger who believes that those practicing antisemitism should be flogged and then jailed

Another T-Shirt

Unfortunately I couldn't get my camera out fast enough and this woman disappeared into the crowd but I saw a real show stopper T-Shirt in Shenzhen on Sunday. But, even if I could of gotten the camera out, I don't know if I could have gotten a picture of it without her realizing I was making fun of her as it had messages on the front as well as the back.

On the front :
"Help me find my lost virginity"

On the back
"Reward offered"

I might have asked her how I could help but I was with my wife.

Until Next time
Fai Mao
The Blogger who only wheres plain T-shirts

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Cathay Pathetic Airways

The lovely, smart and looks 25 years younger than her age wife made reservation for our daughter to make a summer trip to see grandparents and relatives in the US this summer and generally relax with her favorite aunt and work at a summer job. The wife flies a lot and has bookoo frequent flier miles on her account and we used 40,000 of them to get a ticket from Leeds in the UK to Dallas via London. We made the reservation online and were happy to get the flights so well routed.

All was well and good until my wife called Cathay Pacific and confirmed the tickets. The phone girl didn't know the definition or difference between the word "Confirmed" and the word "Canceled" and she canceled the reservation. We didn't know this until we didn't receive a route and confirmation number and my wife called back. Since Cathay Pacific offers great in flight service we expected them to make the situation right. They went back and checked the tapes and discovered that my wife had indeed said "Confirm" and not "cancel." Up to this point we had no complaint. OK mistakes happen. It was what happened next that lit my fuse. Despite this whole episode being their fault they offered no suitable recompense. They wouldn't even restore the flight!

After a bit of angry talking on the phone they offered to replace: Leeds to London to Dallas on affiliated airlines they offered Birmingham to New York's JFK and then Newark to Dallas with a 4 hour layover. The Newark airport is technically a New York Airport but it is in another state. There is no subway between the two as in London between Gatwick and Heathrow and no dedicated bus service that I know of. How does a 20 year-old single female without a drivers license and who doesn't know the route get from JFK to Newark? When my daughter was small we lived in the NYC area, so I know it is probably a one to three hour trip depending upon the traffic. That's an expensive Taxi ride for someone without US money. It is also easily possible to mis that connection. In the end after arguing with them on the phone for more time than it should have taken since we were not the ones at fault, we got our daughter booked on a flight from London to JFK on a Cathay Pacific flight and then to Dallas on American Airlines but with rather mind numbing 8 hour layover in JFK.

Would it have hurt Cathay Pacific to say "Whoops! We screwed up. You have a right to be upset with this situation. Here, we'll put your daughter in a London to JFK flight with a complimentary ticket even if it means a business class upgrade. Then you can use your Asia-miles to get the American Airlines flight to Dallas. " Indeed since business class is seldom sold out all it would have cost them is a couple of meals. By taking responsibility and solving the situation in favor of the customer without an argument they would have created a lot of good will in what until now has been a very loyal customer in my wife. Their response was "Look you're getting free ticket anyway. Don't complain."

Frequent flier programs are not free tickets. They are rewards for loyal customers.
My wife flew Cathay Pathetic even when they were more expensive to get the miles into the system. She flew Cathay Pacific even when it meant longer routing or an additional stop than it would have meant with a different non-Asia miles airline. Airlines should use these programs to build loyal customers not drive them away. They've probably driven us away.

It might be time to start looking at Star Alliance to see if they have better customer service.

Until Next Time
Fai Mao
The Blogger who doesn't really like to fly anyway.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Political Humor

Political humor is a strange beast. When done right it can be the funniest thing in print. I think was Dana Carvy who used to make wicked
fun out of the first President Bush and was invited to the White House to have dinner with the President as a result. The jokes about Ronald Regan
and Jelly Beans, Jimmy Carter's teeth, Gerald Ford's stumbling down steps were all funny and laughed at by the politician as well as their
opponents. Sometimes political humor makes its way into political advertising. With such famous
lines as “3500 years ago Moses said 'Load up
your camels and asses and follow me and I'll Lead you to the Promised land Today LBJ tells to smoke your camels and sit on your asses this is
the promised land.”

Other times political humor can be simply vile and sophomoric. In its worst form it can be seditious. I believe that the ability to laugh government
and to lampoon leaders is one of the most basic of liberties. Martin Luther once said something to the effect of “The best way to defeat the devil
is first to quote scripture to him and second to laugh at him” This is kind of true with politicians as well.
Being able to laugh at them selves is
a virtue for politicians.

More than that, being able to put potentially contentious issues in a humorous format can allow us to discuss and
examine these issues with less rancor is a good thing.
Being able to allow dissent, especially through humor is something that PRC government needs to learn.
It might also be a good lesson for Hong Kong politicians. Would Sir Bow-Tie look less stiff if we thought
he could laugh at himself?

Until Next Time
Fai Mao
The Blogger who enjoys political humor