Thursday, October 25, 2007

Kenyan Monkeys Make Lewd Gestures at Women

Ya think that the old men exercising in Hong Kong parks have taken a trip to Kenya? Maybe they taught the monkey's how to do this.

Could be.

Until Next Time
Fai Mao
The Blogger Who has always thought that monkeys were rude.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Shoppers make sacrifices to avoid China goods

This is why I think that there is a real possibility that the Chinese stock market will crash in the next several months. There are more and more people in Western countries that are avoiding goods made in China. It will be interesting to see how harmonious the society is when everybody goes broke over night.

Until Next Time
Fai Mao
The Blogger who is becoming Bearish about the Chinese economy.

Monday, October 22, 2007

The more we know about each other...

I was on the bus this morning, minding my own business, listening to my MP3 thinking about the morning devotion I had just read in the Gospel of Matthew. There was a young couple sitting in the row in front of me who'd probably been out dancing all night. They were obviously tired and reeked of sweat, beer and stale cigarettes. I noticed, actually smelled them when they walked past me to get to the row in front of me but hadn't paid a great deal of attention to them before that moment. Indeed, I try not to take to keen an interest in the people around me on the bus. I think that is true of most people here. It is so crowded in Hong Kong that you get used to not seeing the people around you. It is almost like everybody walks around in their own personal bubble; kind of an unspoken agreement between strangers to be polite and let each other live our lives as we can. We make a decision to not notice other people. Most of the time this is a good thing. But it has a dark side. It means that we can become cold and calloused to the needs of those around us. In some ways we have to be this way. You can't help or even be concerned about every hurting or needy person you see here; you'd either go crazy yourself, get arrested or go broke. Maybe all three.

More than that, and worse than not seeing the needs of people around us. Our personal bubbles also keep us from seeing the good in others and the beauty of everyday events that make life worth living for those around us. We can spend the whole day hurrying from place to place seeing nothing but our feet and our cell phone. What a terrible thing.

Up until the last year or so Hong Kong billed itself as the "City of Life" Then the government adopted the "Asia's World City" slogan. I'm glad they changed the slogan. I'd always found Hong Kong to be something of a city of darkness. Oh sure, everywhere you go here the streets are filled with neon-tubes advertising everything from air conditioners to Zen meditation schools. But because we are so used to living in our own bubble we end up ignoring the quiet desperation of the person next to us and cannot see the beauty in the lives of others or the world around us. If you've never lived here it is probably difficult to understand how someone can be lonely in a crowd but you are never more alone than when surrounded by 25000 strangers. Hong Kong can be an incredibly lonely place because nobody notices you and nobody cares. Despite the neon, if you really look into people's eyes you often times see a great and terrible darkness, a deep and frightening loneliness. I believe that we often avoid eye contact because we are afraid that others will see in us what we see in them.

This morning, in a moment, without trying I saw the couple in front of me with a new vision.

There is a certain, somewhat nebulous goodness that can sometimes be seen in the way people who care for each other interact with each other. I saw it in them. The gentle touch, the familiar shoulder to rest your head on and the warm hand on the back of your neck; simple acts that have a significance far beyond the obvious pleasure derived. Good things at a deep emotional level, what Martin Heidegger would have called a "Primeval" level. This is a uniquely human thing for it is in loving and caring for each other that we know that we are human. It isn't necessarily a sexual thing because you sometimes see it between people who are just friends and parents and children. It is a loving thing. This morning I saw a tired couple, caring for each other; familiar enough with each other that they didn't care who saw or knew that they were together. There they were, arm in arm, nearly asleep, comfortable in each others embrace. They were relaxed and unconcerned, in a casual display of their love and affection for each other. Beneath the exhaustion, the sweat, the beer and cigarettes were two people, made in the image of God, who cared for each other despite each others flaws and imperfections.

For those with eyes to see it could be seen that they loved each other and it was good.

It was a good thing I saw. I'm glad I saw it.

Until Next Time
Fai Mao
The Blogger whose morning devotions don't always come from a book

At stake: diverse media

Hey Washington State, welcome to the the PRC!

Until Next Time
Fai Mao
The Blogger

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

China Communist Party moves to avert election upsets

So, in the CCP they don't only want party members but the "right" party members elected.

And here in Hong Kong we're hoping for universal suffrage in 2012?

Maybe 3012, if we're lucky.

Until Next Time
Fai Mao
The Blogger who isn't Optimistic

That's so Cool

This is my favorite time of year in Hong Kong. The weather has begun to cool down and the nights are pleasant without being chilly. We are also in the dry season so the humidity is a little lower The past week the wind generally kicked up a bit to blow the smog over to the Philippines so it is easier to breath.

My walk through the park in the morning on the way to work is alway a pleasure but the past week or so have just been over and beyond pleasant.

We have to have a short period of weather like this here every year or God couldn't make people live here and not call it punishment

If you are planning a visit here. Then now is the time of year to come.

Until Next Time
Fai Mao
The Blogger who is enjoying the cooler weather.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Another Chinese Toy Recalled

I am not sure where this came from. Somebody emailed it to me. If I get a source I'll give the creator credit.

A Revolution of Culture

I watched our fearless bureaucrat the Human Bow-Tie (THBT), Donald Tsang on the ATV program Newsline last night. I was astonished that when asked "Are you a leader?" His reply was "I am a faithful son of Hong Kong" What does that mean?

I've actually come to like Newsline since Michael Chugani took over the job as host from the reflexively pro Beijing, anti-American, old Chinese guy who never smiled and who always looked as though he just sat on a vertical corncob. Michael Ghungani appears to be a very competent interviewer. He is pleasant without asking to many softball questions. But last night I was disappointed.

It appeared that THBT knew the questions in advance and had his replies written out. You could see him turning pages as he read his answers to the questions. As is usual THBT was able to use enough slimy words to avoid some direct answers and spent the rest of the time in a state of active self promotion.

I did almost agree with one thing that THBT said however, what is the good of preserving old building and the cultural heritage of Hong Kong if people don't use those buildings. He used the example of the Western market which was saved and renovated and to which nobody much goes as an example. Now, he didn't talk about the huge tunnel vents for the MTR that block the best views of the building or the other problems in the area that might prevent people from going there. But it is still sort of a valid point.

He also had another point that was a lie but contains just enough truth to make it look like a fair thought. When he talks about universal suffrage in Hong Kong he is fond of pointing out that he thinks that the real issue is good government and that universal suffrage does not necessary equate to good government. Assuming that you are talking about the governments that have Manila or Mexico City as their capital he might be right. But, since Hong Kong does not resemble either of those places is it a fair comparison to say that good government and no universal suffrage is better than a corrupt government with universal suffrage? Are we really so stupid that we cannot be trusted to elect our own mayor?

Tell us again Donald how asking for Universal Suffrage could cause us to set off a Cultural Revolution in Hong Kong like the one that happened in the PRC in the 1960's. Are you saying that if we persist in petitioning the government to honor the rights we are guaranteed under the Basic Law then the government will be forced to suppress dissident expression by force and send the leaders to re-education camps in the Gobi Dessert? Make no mistake. Suppressing dissident views was was the purpose of the Cultural Revolution.

Lastly, Michael Chugani asked THBT about the Anson Chan versus Regina Ip cat fight for the vacant Legco seat. I found the question rather than the answer interesting because Michael ask THBT to comment on the fact that it had been reported that some people didn't see a great deal of difference between the two. I wonder if Michael had read my post on that race? Probably not but I can always hope.

Until Next Time
Fai Mao
The Blogger who still watches TV

Friday, October 12, 2007

This is a Dam Distaster

I really would not want to live down river from the Three Gorges dam.

Until Next Time
Fai Mao
The Blogger who grew up in the Desert South West

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Tyranny for the Masses

Watching excepts of the Human-Bow-Tie (THBT) drone away delivering his policy address yesterday was painful. The guy really has no public speaking skills. But, presentation was the least of THBT's problems. I can put up with good ideas in a bad presentation and as every Microsoft user knows you can often put up with bad ideas in a good package. What we had yesterday was a poor presentation of bad to mediocre ideas.

I'm not going to point to all the flaws. If you want to see a good summary of the problems in THBT's policy address then click HERE and scroll down to todays entry. Instead. I'm going to pretend that I am THBT and present in a concise outline form what my policy agenda would be if they made me CE of Hong Kong. I haven't really worried about the nuances of the Basic Law since evidently the government doesn't either. Also, since the government doesn't seem to try to hide their fascist tendencies, I won't hide mine.

Obviously, some of these would be easier to do than others.

Policy Objectives
1. Streamline the Mass-transit system
Why? it would facilitate the flow of people and goods and help to relieve air pollution by having fewer vehicles idling in traffic jams.

Step 1. Revoke the monopolies on the three cross harbor tunnels and put them under control of the highways department. Set all the fees to a standard level that will allow the tunnels to be maintained safely. This would allow motorist to choose the tunnel they need based on where they are going rather than by the cost of the tunnel

Step 2 Hire a Pedestrian/Bicycle coordinator who can design and implement a series of pedestrianized streets and create better bicycle access in Hong Kong. This would help the poor and encourage less use of automobiles.

Step 3 Only allow commercial deliveries of merchandise to businesses between the hours of 1:00AM and 6:00 AM. This would keep delivery vans and stock trucks from blocking lanes during the day.

Step 4. Take control of the three buss companies and turn them into a single, non-profit organization. Then rationalize the routing to eliminate overlap. Remove the duplicated administrative structure and lower fares accordingly.

Step 5. All new automobiles must run exclusively on LPG. Make land available for several more LPG filling stations to meet the newly created demand. Then place a tax on gasoline and diesel that gets progressively higher year by year. Start with 1% after five years and the 2% the next and so on.

Step 6. Integrate the MTR and KCR in such a way that you can change from one to the other without having to go through turnstiles.

2. Change the currency peg from the US Dollar to the RMB.
Why? It just makes sense. We are part of China not part of the US
Peg the HKD at 1 to 1 with the RMB that way Hong Kong could benefit from China's maintenance of an artificially low exchange rate.

Alternately, abolish the HKD and use Chinese money.

3. Housing and Lands
3A Truth in Housing Policy
Why? Because only Hong Kong does the actual vs usable thing and it makes us look like low level cheats to everybody else in the world.

All kidding aside the inflated flat sizes add a burden to everybody here. This is simply a dishonest practice. Developers need to set their price based upon amenities and value not by subtly inflating the areas to increase their profit margin.

3B Zoning and Planning Reviews before building
Why? Because developers have been building buildings that are too tall, and to close to the street for the area they are in or the road they are on and this reduces our quality of life.

Have you ever tried to go to mid-levels at rush hour? Bonham road is two lanes and at places has nearly no sidewalk but lots twist and turns that are so sharp that buses have to wait on each other. Yet the road cannot be widened because it is lined with 40 story tall builds that are right on the street.

3C Declare any building that was built before in 1970 heritage site that should be renovated and preserved.
Why? Two reasons. First the largest element in hong Kong land fills is construction trash. Renovating rather than demolishing buildings would reduce this. Second, preserving and enhancing the ambiance of neighborhoods would make Hong Kong a more attractive place to live. Also, Owners would also have no incentive to delay maintenance while they hope to make a pile off redevelopment

It would also be necessary to have illegal structures removed from older buildings and force owners to make needed repairs. If the government really wanted to get mean it could also publish a mandatory list of tasteful, and attractive color schemes none of which are appropriately Fung Shui but that wouldn't hurt your eyes that builds would have to be painted.

4. Business, Finance and Taxation
4A Adopt an comprehensive anti-collusion law
Why? Let us start with the fact that would force grocery stores and petrol stations to compete rather than set prices through collusion. This would lower prices and benefit consumers, especially the poor

4B Place flat HKD $1000.00 tax on every 6 meter (1/2 Length) container that is shipped or transshipped through Hong Kong
Why? Because it is a low enough tax that the companies overseas would not mind paying it and it would raise 20 billion a year in taxes that NOBODY in Hong Kong would pay. Who needs a GST when foreigners will pay it for you?

5 Law and Order
5A Mandatory Sentences with no judicial Discretion
Why? Because last week one man got two years in prison for killing a cat and another man got basically community service for running over an elderly couple. In order to be effective justice has to be seen as fitting the crime and impartial that is often not the case in Hong Kong

5B Institute Public beatings for Graffiti
Why? because most of the time this is done by young thugs and they couldn't care less about going to jail and their rich parents will pay the fine for them. However, whack them 5 or 6 times with a rattan whip and they'll think twice before doing it again. Graffiti is getting to be a bigger problem here. Let';s stop it before it gets worse.

5C Try Li Kai Shing for a Capital Crime and then hang him from a gibbet in Central
Why? Why not? If anyone deserve to be hung it is a Hong Kong Tycoon. Make up a crime to try him for if necessary.

6 Stop reclaiming the harbor

7. Abolish Functional Constituencies

8. Petition Beijing to form an all volunteer locally recruited PLA regiment that would garrison Hong Kong rather than the garrison we have now.
Why? Two reasons. First because Hong Kong is part of China and should contribute to its defense. Second a local regiment would be less likely to obey orders to brutally put down peacefull anti-government demonstrations in Hong Kong. This would make China a better place to live.

9. Universal Suffrage in 2012. No if's no ands or buts allowed.

10. Education
Combine City U, Open U and Baptist U into a single University. Combine Poly U and UST into a single entity and streamline the administration structure to eliminate duplication. Fold the HKIEd into CUHK and make HKU a private university like Shu-Yan

Why? Because Hong Kong would benefit from having Two good state Universities and two good private universities rather than 8 or nine institutions.

11. Labor Laws
11A There should be only one rate of pay for domestic helpers. It is simply an exercise in racism to pay Indonesian helpers less because the standard of living in Indonesia is less.
11B. The salary and benefits of domestic helpers should be the minium wage in Hong Kong for a full time job.

Until Next Time
Fai Mao
The Blogger who should be a political consultant

Saturday, October 06, 2007

10 reasons NOT to vote either one

The Legco election coming up in Hong Kong between Anson (Got her Fangs on) Chan and Regina (Broom-Head) Yip to replace the un-mourned Ma Lik who died this summer is getting close. As is the norm in political campaigns they are each doing their best to gain the votes needed to win the election. Strangely, I've not heard either of them give any really solid reason why people should vote for one of them over the other. They appear to me to be kind of two-peas-in-a- pod though Anson is a little more wrinkly pea.

Well be that as it may; here are the ten reasons in rank order why I don't think Hong Kongers should vote for either of them.

1. Neither one believes in a democratic Hong Kong
Regina Yip was in favor of Article 23 While most sins are forgivable, this one isn't in a political sense. No one, not one person in Hong Kong except hard core DAB members should vote for the Broom Head simply because of her involvement in supporting this issue.

Anson Chan was a high ranking Civil Servant for decades under the British government and never to my knowledge was very vocal about anything but advancing her career. Can you really say you are pro democracy when you willingly worked for a government that was determined to not allow it?

We need leaders in Hong Kong who long for a government of the people and by the people not of the party and for the Motherland.

2. They are both Running Dogs
Old Anson was almost the private lap dog for the British Imperial government for many years. I'm not sure a lap dog isn't a lower animal in this case than a running dog. Regina seems to want to be Hu Jintau's personal poodle in Hong Kong. Both of them are tied to powers outside Hong Kong that would like to either regain or establish an inordinate amount of influence over Hong Kong.

We do not need officials in Hong Kong who are excessively tied to either Beijing or London

3. Neither one knows the difference between an "Administrator" and a "
I'm sorry, but Anson Chan's assertion, taken as a compliment by Regina that both of them have many years of administrative experience is a horrific example of the wrong mentality exhibited by officials here. Governments don't administrate anything. Most of the time the best that a government can do is to mismanage anything. More to the point I think that most locals here feel that the Hong Kong government is what we'd have called in Texas, a "good - ol'- boy club." It may not be, but it certainly looks to me as though the main purpose of a Hong Kong 's bureaucrat's existence is to simply ensure that their extremely highly paid, cushy, more benefits than Bruce Wayne on a good day job remains their job.

We need fewer officials who want to grow our government by greasing the bureaucratic skids

4. Neither seem to have clear understanding of economics
At best they see a social problem and throw money at it to make themselves feel better. I've not heard either of them speak about how the mortgage defaults in the US will affect Hong Kong, problems with the dollar peg and currency rate. Taxation issues; or anything that deals with the dollars and cents of governance.

We need leaders who have and who can communicate a clear and coherent monetary policy.

5. Both come from wealthy, pampered backgrounds and have never really known what it is like to live as a normal person in Hong Kong
This one is pretty self explanatory. Not that being wealthy is a sin in and of itself. But some wealthy people do a better job connecting with normal people. Warren Buffett, for example, sent his kids to public school and lives in a house that is worth about USD $150,000. He drives a low-end luxury car. Neither Miss Broom or Mrs Fangs On have ever lived anywhere except in the lap of luxury. Even the time Regina spent at Standford in a small apartment would be a luxuriously high life to many university students.

We need leaders who understand what the average person who lives here experiences.

6. Neither, to my knowledge has ever had a job except in government
This is kind of the same thing as number 6 except that how can we expect either one of these two to have clue about what the working conditions are like in Hong Kong when they've never done anything that would give them a clue? Oh sure, they hobnob with the odd billionaire tycoon now and again or other (un)Civil Servants but that doesn't give them a great deal of insight into work-a-day Hong Kong.

We need leaders who know how to work not, to borrow Anson's misappropriated term, "administrate."

7. Arrogance and Condescension
Both of these two ladies just drip with a holier-than-thou attitude. God, it makes my skin crawl! I just want to hit the mute button anytime either of them speaks on TV. Perhaps it is because I grew up in the US which is a lot less class conscious society than either the UK or the PRC but the attitude of "I'm the great and glorious one so far above you plebs." makes me nauseous. I'll say this about them. They've given me a whole new level of understanding of the causes of the French Revolution.

We need leaders who do not talk down to us. The Noble's Obligation is a French thing and shouldn't be a Hong K0ng thing.

8. Both view this election as stepping stone to the CE office in 2012.
I'm not sure that this necessarily a bad thing but excessive political ambition will mean that either of them will be more concerned about the next step in their career path than the job at hand. More than that, it appears to me that both of these women view the CE's (Mayor's or Governor's) office as their entitlement, something they deserve because of who they are. They've lost sight of the function of of elected officials. They believe they are Royals.

We need leaders today not in 2012 and we need elected leaders not Queens or Kings

9. Neither one has shown the ability to think creatively.
There is certainly a place in government, as in all professions for the clerk who follows the rules and grinds it out. But leaders should have a vision, a guiding star or a moral compass that they use to set their political direction and guide their approach to policy. Both these ladies appear to simply be opportunist.

Hong Kong needs leaders who lead through inspiration and because of their ideas, not a bureaucratic compromise artist.

10. The Hair.
Anson looks like she buys shoe polish to color her hair from the same place Jang Zhamin did and Regina really used to deserves the nickname "Broom head" given to her during the article 23 protest marches. Since her return from Stanford she's gotten even worse and her current hair cut makes her look more like wet-mop-head. Perhaps this is trite but appearances matter. Is it too much to ask of either of them to go to the Beauty shop and buy clothing that is neither for a twenty-something Wan Chai shop girl or a frump?

We need leaders who don't look like clowns on TV.

Until Next Time
Fai Mao
The Blogger who'd like to run against these two frauds

Friday, October 05, 2007

Said better than I could

An article that you should see in the main stream media but will not.

The Chinese in Myanmar should hang their heads and weep.

Until Next Time
Fai Mao

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Pre-dawn raids net Burmese protesters

Proving, I guess that the Buddha was correct when he said "The purpose of life is to suffer"

Until Next Time
Fai Mao
The Blogger who isn't a Buddhist

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

The Killing Fields of Burma

My previous post is true. But it is also true, as Chairman Mao (No relation BTW) said "All power blossoms from the barrel of a gun." It is a truth that the monks may have learnt too late.

This is an incredibly tragic story made more so because the monks, assuming that they were true to their faith and pacifist would not have resisted.

Perhaps, and I really hesitate to say this but perhaps it is time for the western simpletons to stop protesting from a safe distance in front of the Myanmar embassy's around the world and start purchasing weapons that can be smuggled into Burma so that the people of Burma can take their nation back.

Otherwise the blood of the Burmese patriots will have watered not the tree of liberty but the strangling vine of tyranny.

Until Next Time
Fai Mao
The Blogger who sometimes talks a good fight.