Wednesday, December 15, 2010

"Where the skies are blue"

Someone sent me the link above.

It induced one the rare bouts of homesickness I still get.

I am going to the UK to be with our daughter this Christmas. But my family is originally from the other Birmingham; the one in the US state of Alabama.

Until Next Time
Fai Mao
The Blogger who won't be home for Christmas

Monday, December 13, 2010

Civil servants fight for post-retirement rights

I guess if I were them I'd do this to. Well, no I wouldn't I'd be too ashamed of the amount of money I'd taken while orking for the government. These people are so over paid it isn't even funny. Why do they need a pension at all?

In related news there appears to be an epidemic of brain tumours in Hong Kong. I guess it would be too much to expect that they would all be found in (un)Civil-Servants?

Until Tomorrow
Fai Mao

Monday, December 06, 2010

Told yah

If only the HK Government would read this

The guy is a little strident for me but makes a good point

A lot of the "multiculturalism" preached today is based in nothing more than cowardice, envy and laziness. Notice, I said a lot, not all.

This is really true in Hong Kong where they don't even really understand the issue. As long as the primary driver of the government here is that Civil Servants are able to keep their jobs then there will never be good government in Hong Kong.

Until Tomorrow
Fai Mao

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Here Comes Kim Jung-Ill

My fake Christmas Carol this year is a bit greusome. It is sung to the tune of "Here comes Santa Clause"

Here come Kim Jung-ill, here comes Kim Jung-ill
Right through the DMZ
Tanks and army they’re a blitzin’
Right towards you and me
Bombs are falling, children screaming
It’s real scary tonight
Grab your gun and say your prays
Cause Kim Jung-ill comes tonight

Here come Kim Jung-ill, here comes Kim Jung-ill
Right through the DMZ
He’s got a bag that fill with missiles
Pointed at you and me
See the shells explode and bodies splatter
Oh what a horrible sight
So jump in the shelter and cover your head
Cause Kim Jung-ill comes tonight

Here come Kim Jung-ill, here comes Kim Jung-ill
Right through the DMZ
He doesn’t care if you’re rich or poor
He hates you just the same
Kim Jung-ill thinks we’re all Jimmy Carter
Cowards who will never fight
So lock and load and take good aim
‘Cause otherwise he is right

Until Tomorrow
Fai Mao
The Blogger who seems to like gallows humor

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Mack the knife and North Korea

One of the problems with leftist is that they don't believe in the law of unintended consequenses. A prime example is the Wikileaks web site which released a massive amount of diplomatic documents over the week-end. These were embarrassing to lots of governments and lots of government officials. The publication of these documents was also in violation of any number of laws and the colaborators who funished the documents to the webpage are probably going to spend the rest of their lives in prison when found. The problem is that these dispatches reveal sensative material that could cause millions of people to die. The best example of this the memos that talk about changing attitudes concerning North Korea by the PRC government. How much did these documents add to the tension in Korea right now when we find from Wikileaks that the Chinese are possibly willing to sell out the North Koreans?

(Courtesy of Sister Toldjah)
The leaked North Korea dispatches detail how:

South Korea’s vice-foreign minister said he was told by two named senior Chinese officials that they believed Korea should be reunified under Seoul’s control, and that this view was gaining ground with the leadership in Beijing.

■China’s vice-foreign minister told US officials that Pyongyang was behaving like a “spoiled child” to get Washington’s attention in April 2009 by carrying out missile tests.

■A Chinese ambassador warned that North Korean nuclear activity was “a threat to the whole world’s security”.

■Chinese officials assessed that it could cope with an influx of 300,000 North Koreans in the event of serious instability, according to a representative of an international agency, but might need to use the military to seal the border.

In highly sensitive discussions in February this year, the-then South Korean vice-foreign minister, Chun Yung-woo, told a US ambassador, Kathleen Stephens, that younger generation Chinese Communist party leaders no longer regarded North Korea as a useful or reliable ally and would not risk renewed armed conflict on the peninsula, according to a secret cable to Washington.

So if you are the "spoiled child," psychotic dictator of North Korea and you just found out from the international press that your only friend was getting ready to double cross you what would you do?

I think there is a very good possibilty that Kim Jung-Ill decides to take as many people down with him as he can.

Until Tomorrow
Fai Mao
The Blogger who is glad he does not live in Seoul

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Lawyers, they never change

This falls into the "You can't make this stuff up" catagory

Untill Tomorrow
Fai Mao
The blooger who does not steal ladies underwear

Friday, November 19, 2010

Friday, October 22, 2010

You can't make this stuff up

A plane crash in Africa was caused when a crocodile that had been smuggled onto the plane as luggage got lose and starter attacking passengers. How do you do that? Who would do that?

Kane West has his teeth replaced with diamond implants. Quick somebody lone me a club and pair of pliars!

A three-year-old and five-year-old are engaged in Syria. What do you expect?

The Yankees are getting beaten like a rented mule in the playoffs. Its about time!

Sombody thinks that the Hong Kong realestate market is not bubbled up. Just goes to show you that idiots live everywhere.

Until Next Time
Fai Mao
The Blogger who enjoys odd news

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Hong Kong and Tripods

Part of my job is reading juvenile literature. I’ve been reading the Tripod books by John Christopher the past few days and found them quite thought provoking in a number of ways. It is always interesting to be able to see the way that moral issues are handled in books for teen-agers; especially in what is left unsaid at times. It is also interesting to see how often I think people who review books, not just these books but most books completely miss the point.

Fiction is often a way for us to explore what might be and to clarify our moral and ethical horizons. It doesn’t have to do this and it is perfectly appropriate for it to simply entertain us but it often does so much more than entertain. The Tripod books do more than entertain.

The plot of these books is a pretty basic one. The Aliens from space land, they take over and a small band of humans manages to overthrow the alien oppressors despite what would appear to be insurmountable odds. Like many books of this type there rather huge gaping, holes in the plot and more than a few rather incredible coincidences needed to allow the good guys to win.

What sets these books apart for me and makes them a book I’d recommend to students is the discussion in the books of what it means to be human and what constitutes good and evil. The space alien bad guys in these books view themselves as morally superior good guys. On their own planet, in their own society, they don’t have crime, don’t have wars, they cannot lie and don’t have social problems like over population. They also don’t have art, humor, or friendship.

Yet, these same beings that live in peace with each other practice racial genocide on planets that they conquer. The vices they avoid with each other they inflict upon those weaker than they.

The idea of political elites that believe they have the right, or responsibility to force a population to do good always devolves into a tyranny that is upheld by force. Political elites resulting from education, wealth or heredity are, in effect, a “Might makes right” argument. The idea that government control is better than individual freedom is a particularly virulent and widespread form of this.

A particularly damning aspect of the Tripod books was how even after the mind control device had been turn off many of the people who had been "Capped" were unable to function normally. They still needed the protection of the tripods.

When governments win the support of the masses through the use of subsidies then they have just as effectively “capped” the population as the tripods ever could. The use of housing subsidies proposed by THBT and the HK government will simply mean that the government has moved from enslaving the poor to enslaving the middle class. Governments like to have a population dependent upon them because people who are dependant upon the government support the government even when it oppresses them. They have no choice. The rent to purchase scheme proposed by THBT will accomplish just that. It also does so without addressing the root cause the high cost of housing in Hong Kong; namely, the corrupt monopolistic practice of the property developers who actually control our government with the tacit approval of the Shoe-polish-hair-dye-brigade in Beijing.

So how should THBT have approached this problem?

Require developers to build on the land they buy. Right now they build the “luxury” flats and mothball the developments slated for more affordable housing. Simply tell them if you don’t have a building up in “Nth” number of months you must pay the equivalent of the rates (Property Tax) that the owners would pay.

Do not allow real estate agents to engage in price fixing of their fees.

Pass an anti-collusion law so that developers cannot collude with each other to keep prices high and quality low. This would also bring food prices down.

Require developers to advertise the actual internal size of the flats they sell with out adding part of the elevator lobby, bay-window and imaginary rooms.

To curb speculation place a 50% capital; gains tax on any property re-sold within 180 days

Limit sales of flats priced below 3 million dollars to people with valid Hong Kong residency

Until Next Time
Fai mao
The Blogger who  thinks Hong Kong is looking and more like a bad Sci-Fi novel

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Dollar for dollar?

THBT almost gets some points from me on this one. Almost not quite.

How about this. How about he, personally, Donald Tsang, gives two months salary to the coause helping the underprivilged and challenges the business comunity to do the same?

He seems to be mighty generous with tax dollars but I doubt he is as generous with his own funds.

Come on Donald, shell out a few million, you've got pleanty.

Until Next Time
Fai Mao

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

China Tells Norway What to Do

When I first moved to China in the early 1990's China was becoming a freer place. Under the leadership Dung Xiaoping and then Jang Xiamin China it looked like that China would make the transition from a dictatorship to something approaching a free nation. Hu JingTao has reversed that process

This kind of thing actually makes me nervous. It seems that they have reclaimed the position of the old Empire that they are "The Middle Kingdom" and the true rulers of the whole Earth. It could also be that they are still assuming the eventual inevitable triumph of dictatorship, err, I mean Communism.

There has been a noticeable increase in the uneasiness I feel over the actions of the Chinese government over the past several years.

This is a scary time to live in China

Until Next Time
Fai Mao
The Blogger who hopes for a free China

Sunday, September 26, 2010


Fans of bad teams sometimes get some love

Monday, September 20, 2010

Please Accept My Humble Apologies

I have over the years made rather well deserved fun over the strange first names you find in Hong Kong. While giving lip service to the idea that other people in other places might have names as strange I never really believed it.

Well Marijuana Sawyer takes the prize. Chocolate Cake Wong, Swim Ng and Shampoo Chan are a distant second. (Yes those are actual people I've met.)

Until Next Time
Fai Mao
The Blogger who in real life has a normal name

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Remembering Grief

I remember when I was watching television with my wife ten years ago and the phone rang. It was our friend from Singapore and he asked if we'd seen the buildings? Because TVB was slow to the disaster we hadn't and then Jenny Lam broke into the evening show and TVB cut to footage from ABC just as the second plane hit the second building.

We watched in horror for the next several hours. We saw the collapse of the buildings I walked as zombie for several days afterward, unable to sleep much or concentrate. I watched as Muslims in various cities celebrated over this and called it a great act of Jihad. I literally prayed for every Muslim I saw for several years after that; I prayed that they'd find true peace and abandon their filthy cult of death. My prayer was that by September 11, 2051 800 million Muslims would come to Christ. I still do. If that makes me less than politically correct or unenlightened then so be it. The current wars the the US fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan are not, as the Islamist claim Crusades. Would that they were, the world would be a better place without the followers of that false prophet who announces the anti-Christ

I am generally apathetic about US politics. But I saw the speech below when it was televised later that week. I wept then. It still makes me weep. On that evening at least I was proud to be an American

Until Next Time
Fai Mao
The Blogger who has nephews and cousins in Iraq and Afghanistan

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Playing with dogs

Just because it's fun

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

The T-Shirt Patrol Strikes Again

I saw a young mother this morning walking her primary school age child up to school. She had a T-shirt that said "Work Hard & Party Naked" Not that I necessarily have any problem with that but I wonder if she could read the shirt? You don't see as many weird T-shirts here as you used to. Several years ago I'd see one every couple of days at least and sometimes several in one day.  I don't think that is a reflection on improving English standards in Hong Kong so much as an improving level of not selling overstocks from adult book and gift stores in the street markets. I think the retailers are getting a little more sophisticated.

Until Next Time
Fai Mao
The Blogger who still looks for strange T-Shirts

Sunday, August 22, 2010


One of the things that seems to have gotten harder over the years is pleasure reading. In a way that is odd since I work as a librarian you'd think I read all the time. Well I do, but only in a professional capacity. I try to read at least four or five juvenile novels a year so that I have some idea what middle-school and high school students are reading. That means that I seldom read anything that I appreciate as an adult. Most  of the books read are written for students aged from about 10 to 17 and while they are sometimes very good indeed, most of the time they are are not very good at all.I don't count those because I am reading them as part of my job. I don't have a great deal of time to simply read something because I want too.

I ran into an exception this week. I read The Housekeeper and the Professor by Yoko Ogawa.I read it because it is a book that is read by the high school students in the school where I work in the 11th grade.

I was absolutely stunned by this book and it will haunt my thinking for weeks to come. I am sure I will read it again. It is a lovely book.

Like all really good books it is utterly unbelievable.  I think that is why the book works so well. While the themes and ideas presented are simply stunning; generally speaking only talking animal books, Watership Down, The Book of the Dunn Cow or The Wind in the Willows can deal with subjects in the way this book does because we know humans too well to talk like this. In a normal novel the professor would be contrived or corny and he isn't in this book.

The basic plot of the book is that a 28 year-old, unmarried mother who is the daughter of an unmarried mother is sent to work as a housekeeper for a retired professor of mathematics, a genius, who has only 80 minutes of short term memory because of brain damage in an automobile accident many years before. After 80 minutes he forgets everything and everybody. The professor can remember everything in his life until 1977 but has to write note to himself for important things in order to live. He does not remember the housekeeper from day to day; or even from morning until after lunch.  The housekeeper has to struggle to find ways to deal with this most eccentric of old men. In the process she becomes his friend and he becomes something of a father figure to her son. And yet, because he cannot remember them from day to day cannot return their affection.

Something that I found especially odd about this book is that only one of the main characters is named and he never speaks. A main character in the book is a famous Japanese baseball player Enatsu, who was a favorite of the professor before the accident. The housekeeper's young son is always referred to by the nick-name the professor gives him "Root" never his real name. You never find out the name of the housekeeper, the professor, Root, the professors widowed sister-in-law or any of the other people in the book. In a sense that helps the reader to internalize this book and makes it more personal. It is just assumed that you know every-bodies name.
You'll learn a lot about math from this book and wish knew more.

You will also struggle to be thankful fort being able to wake up and know your name.

To say more would be to spoil the book for you.

I highly recommend this book to anyone looking for a read that is more than simple entertainment.

Until Next Time
Fai Mao
The Blogger who should really read more

Saturday, August 14, 2010

The Long Road Home

After a summer of traveling we returned home to find jobs waiting for us and a buyer for the Causeway Bay flat with cash in hand. The really-pretty-looks-25-years-younger-than-she-is-smart-hard-working-Chinese-wife and I were suddenly in moving mode.  We'd purchased the flat in Causeway Bay as an investment and never really thought that we'd live there. It turned out to be the place we've lived longer than any other place since we've been married. We owned that flat nearly 10 years and there were a lot of memories tied up in it but I was still glad to leave. Sometimes we see stories on the news or in the media about people that have lived in one place for 40, 50 or 60 years. This is presented as some sort of virtue but I wonder about that.

I think it is good to move house every so often and this was the time for us to move.

We invest the places we live with part of ourselves. The pictures on the wall the paint on the door, the curtains and even the scratches and wear on the floor become comforting and make us feel secure. A home home also ties us to our past and as we age it becomes important to move on or we may find that we cannot move at all. When I was younger I used to live up the road from an old woman, in her 90's, who had one child, a son and he died in accident along with her husband when the son was about 8 or 9 years-old. She never remarried and still had her dead husbands clothing in the closet and the little boys bedroom just as it had been 65 years before. She'd grown old but hadn't really noticed because she was trapped in the past. She should have moved on past those tragic deaths but couldn't and I think that after awhile it was the house that trapped her.

Mrs Mao and I have had nothing that tragic happen to us but as empty-nesters it was time to move on. Our kids are grown, married and gone. All we have left besides photographs is the occasional Email and even rarer visit. That isn't a sad or bad thing, it is life. They have their own families and their own concerns. They are doing well enough and I guess I should feel thankful that they seem to be happy in their lives and done bother us for huge piles of cash. Yet, in the Causeway Bay flat we were tied to an earlier time. Symbolically moving was a way to start again; to move on into the next phase of life.

Because we both work in the New Territories it made sense for us to be there rather than on Hong Kong Island.

Until Next Time
Fai MAo
The Blogger with a new home

Sunday, July 11, 2010

More lies - But then they never tell the truth

Nothing these people say is true. They are all liars, all the time.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Hold on to your Hats

I thought that I was the only one who could see this coming.

The Chinese boom is actually a Chinese bubble. Not only for the reasons listed in the article but because of the one child policy which will mean there are fewer workers to work in the coming years thus each worker will be worth more; but also the fact that 1/2 the smokers in the world live in China and what is going to happen when those 30 year-old  smokers become 50 year-old cancer stricken coughers?

This is actually a huge oportunity for Hong Kong if the government and people here are smart enough to see it.

Until Next Time
Fai Mao
The blogger who still lives in China

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

On Patriotism

As a Hong Konger who is from somewhere else I find the expression of and lack of expression of patriotism by the general population in Hong Kong to be quite odd. It seems that either the population is somewhat rabidly pro PRC or distrustful of it and have a suitcase packed in case the tanks roll down Queen's road. There is no in between. We are either fully supportive or just here for the money. Indeed, perhaps the most loyal Hong Kongers that I have met are the expats from really slimy and oppression places Rwanda and London where they understand the problems that come from living in a society that lacks respect for basic human dignity. Thus, I am not sure how much the article I've linked too above can be extrapolated into similar feeling about Hong Kong. I would still  like to know how many citizens here describe themselves as "patriotic?"

I watched the parade and demonstrations here in "The Pearl of the Orient" on July 1st. Since I live in Causeway Bay I had very little choice! Group against group and party insulting party. What should be a day that is a celebration of the return to China, which no matter how imperfect a nation is the proper place for Hong Kong to be part of; has instead become a day that has been turned into just another chance to show how intolerant and childish we are of others.Why can't we have a holiday where we simply express how happy we are to be Hong Kongers; where we put aside, if only for a little while political differences and squabbles and celebrate the good things about each other and the city where we live?

Until Next Time
Fai mao
The Blogger who likes where he lives

Friday, July 02, 2010

Looking foward to fall

This is turning out to be the summer of my discontent. Last spring was ridiculously busy and I had trouble finding time to post  Summers are always problematic because I am often out of Hong Kong. I am something of a technology Saboteur in that I do not carry a cell phone or one of those devices which would allow me to post from wherever I am. I post from from home or from work.  If I am not one of those places I don't post

I am home for the next couple of weeks.

Yesterday was a trapped in the flat day as the yearly mish-mash of protesters, party sympathizers and running dogs and radicals were all out marching and waving their banners and shouting slogans. I actually think that the people who are worried about Hong Kong being a free place should take a step back and look at Victoria Park yesterday.

Until  Tomorrow
Fai Mao
The Blogger who needs to get back in the habit of posting everyday

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

50 things that make you a better person +1

This is cross posted from Martin Freeberg's Blog

Fifty Things That Make You a Better Person
    Sunday, June 13th, 2010
A short time ago The Blog That Nobody Reads put up a list of one hundred things that do not make you a better person. We perceived then, and still maintain today, that the need for the list was present, intense and palpable. People nowadays seem to be grasping at straws, trying to find ways to show their wonderfulness; and the things they do to show off their wonderfulness, overall, do not seem to have beneficial effect.
Frankly, over the years we have come to see this as something of a crisis. We’d even go so far as to say society would be better off if everyone just chucked the whole effort, and contented themselves with regarding all others as a bunch of stinkers, and being seen that way.
We had many thoughts about the ensuing reactions to this list, which we jotted down during vacation. We were most impressed by this: If you measure the response by nose, it seems close to ninety percent of the readers agreed with us. If you measured it by perceived volume, the ratio became reversed. To put it more simply, those who objected to our list objected loudly and forcefully, toward the end of projecting greater numbers in their camp than it seems actually exist. And they seem to be doing this deliberately. It seems they’ve picked out their chosen techniques for demonstrating some cosmetic personal wonderfulness they don’t really have; showing it over and over again, manic-compulsively, takes enough of their energy and they aren’t terribly receptive to having to contend with debates about whether the wonderfulness is genuine or not. Wasn’t part of their plan.
It occurs to me that perhaps there’d be less consternation and contention if alternatives were provided. How can people show off their wonderfulness? My short answer would be: Just stop showing off. After all, if you look to others to confirm that you’re wonderful, and what you’re really after is self-confidence, obviously you’re never going to get there — you have to develop your own internal barometer for your wonderfulness. You need to be sure. You have to get hard-nosed enough that a whole room full of people can tell you you’re wrong about something, and deep down you’ll still know you’re right. You have to measure this independently.
I was not able to come up with a list of a hundred things that really do show you’re a better person. But I did come up with fifty.
1. Run.
2. Walk.
3. Ride a bicycle.
4. Run, walk or ride, just a little bit further than you ever have before. Make records. Break them with new records. Then break those.
5. Read until you find a word you’ve never seen before. Find out what it means. Use it…just once. Then do it all over again.
6. Notice some things about what people do that you’ve not heard of anyone else noticing. Point it out.
7. Donate — anonymously.
8. Open a door for a pretty girl.
9. Open a door for an ugly girl.
10. Teach a child a new skill.
11. Make a list of things to do for your entire day. Cut it off at five. Make a list for the entire week. Cut it off at seven. Make sure each one is all-the-way-done.
12. Make a pot of coffee while your girlfriend/boyfriend/husband/wife is still sleeping. Prepare a cup exactly the way they like it, and bring it to them.
13. Stop an echo.
14. If someone’s working hard to sell you something, and the product makes sense to you, buy it. If it doesn’t, tell them why you aren’t buying. Tell them exactly why. The whole story. Whether you think they can do something about it, or not. Put them in charge of figuring out the next move.
15. Find someone you know who is doing more than their share of the work. Figure out if there’s anything you can do to help. If you can do this, then get it done. If you can’t, ask.
16. If you can see the bartender is one of these workhorses that keeps the whole place from collapsing, and she’s keeping track of what’s going on, taking initiative, but doesn’t enjoy any advancement or seniority from any of this, tip her something crazy. I mean, like 150% percent. Tell her why.
17. If you see a soldier out celebrating his safe return with his girl, motion your waiter over and tell him you’d like to settle the soldier’s bill.
18. If you can do #17 anonymously, do so.
19. If you cannot, give the soldier a great big thank you.
20. Find some arcane political issue you’ve never understood. Read up on it until you do understand it.
21. Always vote down whatever creates a new “civil right” that didn’t exist before, since this would deprive someone of freedom.
22. Also, anything that would nationalize an industry or function that is currently within the private sector. We’ve moved far enough in that direction already.
23. Whatever would make litigation more plentiful or likely, because hey, who really wants to live in a world like that.
24. Everything that would make it more difficult or impractical to start, buy or manage a business; if the thing we want is a stronger economy, then let’s start working toward that.
25. Find out who is responsible for the proposed laws that fit #21, #22, #23 and #24, and vote them out of office. Something tells me they don’t really want to be working at anything anyway.
26. Always give kids the bigger picture. If you’re watching a thirty year old television show with a twelve-year-old, explain Watergate and Nadia Comaneci, so he knows why bad guys had to wear business suits and good guys had to rescue Russian gymnasts who were trying to escape bad guys in nice business suits.
27. Completely sidestep it when a liberal veers off the subject of the argument, and starts evaluating your worthiness as a person. Just come out and tell him: Yes, maybe I’m a creep, but back to the subject at hand…your idea won’t work. Keep doing it.
28. Grab the grocery cart that jerk has let loose in in the middle of the parking lot; use it as yours if you’re looking for one, otherwise put it where it belongs.
29. Pick up litter.
30. On a rainy day, hold your umbrella over the head of a woman who forgot to bring hers.
31. If you know an old person who is living independently, see what you can do about delivering their groceries.
32. Take lots of pictures.
33. Show them to people.
34. Put them on the Internet, if that’s appropriate…
35. Having your life at the mercy of a complex piece of machinery is a privilege and an opportunity, not a problem or a burden. If your home computer does things you don’t understand, find out what those things are and figure out how they work.
36. If you’re told the rules say you can’t do it, take the time to find out what rule that is. Make them tell you.
37. Better yet: Call back, get a different person on the line, find out if they’ve ever heard of this rule, and if that really makes it impossible.
38. Even better still: Find out what it takes to change the rule. People who lack this vision, shouldn’t have control over the people who have it.
39. If you gave someone some money because they needed it, and a very short time later they need more, find out why.
40. If someone is angry and you have the opportunity to mollify them by doing something, remember Thing I Know #52. Put some real thought into maybe letting them stay as angry as they want to be.
41. Usually when people are unwilling to consider clearly superior alternatives, it’s because they don’t have a full reckoning of the consequences of what they want to do. This is especially true if they refuse to allow anyone else to get a word in edgewise. See what you can do about letting them feel the full weight of the consequences, you might be doing them a favor.
42. Combine your bill-paying into your exercise routine.
43. Project what day your bills are due, with what day-of-week that is. Plan it out three months in advance, and see if you can pay every single bill a little bit early.
44. Browse a store that sells fine, reliable tools. Then browse your home looking for something that doesn’t work quite right. Repeat, and repeat again, until you can define an inexpensive project that will improve things. Then do it. Keep doing this. Think creatively. Build things that work for you, regardless of whether they’d be right for anybody else.
45. Follow objectives, not procedures. If there is a list of steps in your life that you have to follow, take the time to learn about each step until the list itself comes to mean nothing. See if you can learn enough to improve the list.
46. If the teevee show is put on the teevee to indoctrinate, rather than to entertain, change the channel.
47. If the school’s special activity is there to indoctrinate rather than to educate, pull your child out of it.
48. This one is for my blogger friend Daphne, who is currently stressing (although I’m sure she doesn’t really need to be told): Don’t keep your kids away from dangerous things. Put together a list of safety rules; make sure it is right. Triple check it. Make sure they understand all of the rules and competently practice them. Then let ‘em go do it.
49. Find something people had to know how to do, back in your grandparents’ time, that they don’t have to know how to do today. Figure out how to do it. Even better, figure this out with your kids.
50. Find someone who wants, desperately, to be wonderful; point out to them the things they have already done that are genuinely wonderful, and make sure they know they are admired for this. Maybe you can stop them from supporting liberals.

51. Learn to tell the difference between opinion and principle and base you decisions upon principle

Thanks Martin for a great list

Until Next Time
Fai Mao
The Blogger who will cross post

Up for air

This has been an incredible month for being busy.

Hopefully I'll be able to post more. It isn't as if there has been nothing to write about, there has been pleanty. I've just been too tied and tied up to say anything.

Until Next Time
Fai Mao

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Some General Information

I received a rather strident, but not unexpected comment from someone regarding a previous post on the problematic behavior of domestic helper picnics on the sidewalks in Hong Kong. It started with the rather predictable. "These women are treated like slaves"

Two words: B.S.

They are not slaves. Nobody forced them onto a slave ship. They were not "Sold" at a market and they can quit any time they want. At the end of a two year contract the employer has to pay their way back home. They often quit in the middle of a contract and either return to where they came from or find another employer in Hong Kong. They have garanteed days off and holidays. None of those things are rights that slaves have.

More than that, domestic helpers are not particularly low paid by Hong Kong standards.

Domestic helpers in Hong Kong have a higher actual salary, when you include their benefits and more days off than many of the locals in Hong Kong.

The commentor says "I don't believe that!" Well let us add it up: Domestic Helpers make about $3500 Hong Kong dollars a month in basic salary. All of that is disposable income because they are provided room and board and you have to look at the cost of that as well in figuring their salary. How much is that worth? Well a small room with a shared bathroom and some kitchen privileges in Causeway Bay is about $2500 a month. Figure that food cost the average low wage earner in Hong Kong about $50.00 a day assuming they do not eat out. Maids have to have an insurance policy provided for them by the employer; which cost about $500.00 a month. They are provided airfare home once a year which must be figured into their income. When all of this is put into the total, a maid in Hong Kong actually has a life style closer to a local person making about $8000.00 a month. They don't work more hours than many other professions like security guards or those in food-service or hotels, indeed even most rather high-dollar jobs here require lots of hours. So, let us assume a maid is on duty 12 hours a day, six days a week. That comes to 72 hours a week and 288 hours a month or about the average for a job in Hong Kong. $8000 a month divided by 288 is about 28 dollars an hour. Lots of people in Hong Kong do not make that much. Please notice, my wife and I looked at hiring a maid and this is how I know these figures.

Now are some, possible a high percentage of the maids done hard by their employers? Yes, certainly. Does that mean that all employers treat them poorly? No, it doesn't.

However, whether the domestic helpers are treated badly by their employers our not is irrelevant to my point. They maids I complained about were having a picnic on a pedestrian bridge that was over a busy street. The police will not let pedestrians block that bridge for other purposes, we can they? If it is a traffic hazard for the normal population to do this then it is a traffic hazard for domestic helpers to do so as well. Their working conditions have nothing to do with it.

If the other low income workers in Hong Kong cannot picnic on the sidewalk then the domestic helpers should not be allowed to either. I would bet that the person making the comment drives a car, and thus does not have to walk over the maids.

Until Next Time
Fai Mao
The Blogger without a maid

Would that it were so here

This is a message that the HK government needs to hear as well.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Dogs in Space

Did they have melamine in the milk powder?

Inquiring minds want to know.

Until Next Time
Fai Mao
The Blogger who does not eat dogs

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Move over Nancy!

I have a new favorite female offender, Leung Sin-ting. I have some sympathy for her in a sense though not very much. She was, I think totally and certifiably nuts but I am not sure that nuttiness should exonerate her of this crime.

What is interesting to me about the horrific crime is the role that culture (Notice I didn't say society) plays in mental illness? If this woman had lived in a culture where a married woman who has problems conceiving a child receives a bit of sympathy rather than being scorned by her inlaws and where adoption is considered a noble option would she have felt pressured to do this? 

While having some sympathy for this woman I am still angered by the fact that it appears in Hong Kong a "Guilty Plea" almost always receives a reduced sentence. Suppose this woman had actually been innocent but through a bad lawyer, lazy judge or poor police work been wrongfully found guilty? Suppose she had pleaded innocent because she was innocent and been found guilty by mistake? The judge would have given her far more jail time. That means the justice system here is actually unjust because it penalized plaintiff that plead "Not Guilty" assuming, I guess that they are liars. It just bothers me but then what should I expect from a legal system patterned off a country with no "Bill of Rights" and not written constitution that limits the scope and power of government?

I could write more but it would be politically incorrect.

Until Next Time
Fai Mao
The Blogger who hopes he never has to go before a judge in Hong Kong

Sunday, May 09, 2010

The Rule of Law and Domestic Helpers

My wife and I spent time on the telephone with the Hong Kong police today. My tolerance with the passive-aggressive herds of domestic helper buffaloes that are allowed to flagrantly disobey the loitering laws; sell merchandise in direct violation of their employment contracts; block sidewalks and generally make life Hell for the residents of Causeway Bay every Sunday reached a breaking point when a group of them had a the pedestrian footbridge near the Rosedale Hotel completely blocked at one end. There is no ground level crossing at this point and the bridge is over a very busy street.

The only thing that really makes me angrier about this situation is the fact that so many local Hong Kongers put up with it. When the police officer came the shit-assed-coward of an officer refused to up hold the law and make them leave; despite the fact that this activity is a potential traffic hazard. Suppose one of these women had dropped a water bottle onto the road below that landed on an automobiles windshield? Suppose that caused a traffic accident and a child or pedestrian was killed?

So the police are more afraid of offending a group of domestic helpers than upholding the law? This is a blatant form of corruption in that the police are treating one group of citizen in an unequal manner before the law. Why are the maids allowed to break the law and I am not?I can guarantee the reader that If I had a picnic on that bridge with my kids on a weekday the police would ask me to pack up and leave.

The officer complained about being a low level person, with no authority, and nobody had complained about this before. He wouldn’t even ask them politely to leave or relocate but simply talked to them. The Hong Kong police are cowards. Criminals, commit your crimes brazenly and as long as they don’t affect the property developers or THBT’s lunch then you can be as criminal as you want to be with impunity because you now a full proof legal defense.

That defense is that if the police know that the law is being flagrantly and habitually broken by a large number of people and refuse to take steps to see that the law is actually enforced then they have lost the legal authority to enforce any part of the law; more than that they have lost any legal standing to stop otherwise law abiding citizens from taking the law into their own hands over this situation. 

Notice, this is very different from a unique event like a riot where some of the rioters get away. This is simply domestic helpers, in large numbers, breaking the law with impunity every Sunday and Holiday. Because a report was filed, illegal activity was observed as being illegal and noted but no action taken and indeed, it was clearly stated that no action will be taken, I as the citizen have no legal recourse but to take the law into my own hands. That does not mean I will but I legally could.

The actions of the police today in Causeway Bay have legally justified vigilantism against the women who break the law every Sunday.

Until Next Time
Fai Mao
The Blogger who refuses to hire a maid

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Civility and Manners

The article linked to above is a good example of why kids should play sports. The unwritten rules in any sport are often as  important as the written ones. They also bleed over in a positive way into the rest of the players life and help to explain why geeks and over protected kids are often so rude. The unwritten rules help the player, child, student, adult internalize the concept of fair play, respect and graciousness. These are lessons that a strictly academic education is often woefully lacking in.

I see rather prominent educational initiatives both at the school I work at and in other international schools that deal with ethical education.  These often look to be rather simplistic and trite to me and deal with everything from running in halls to anti-bully programs. I don't see them as being all that effective.

You see the same problem, I believe in places like Thailand with the endless political protest, The Red-shirts and Yellow Shirts need to learn to wait for the next election. The HK leg-co and PCCCPXYZ!@#SARB or whatever that thing in the PRC is called needs to learn some respect for the opposition,

Maybe, schools simply need to require less math but more baseball.

Play Ball! Double Header anyone?

Until Next Time
Fai Mao
The Blogger who wanted to be a knuckleball pitcher when he was a teenager, just like Charlie Hough

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

The case against a Capital Gains Tax

Hong Kong does not have a Capital Gains tax or a VAT tax. The lack of those two taxes, I believe go a long way towards explaining why Hong Kong is prosperous DESPITE the incompetent government officials.

Here is a good  overview of a Capital Gains tax and why it is a bad idea.

Until Next Time
Fai Mao
The blogger does not support a Capital Gains or VAT tax

Why I am enlarging my carbon foorprint

Robyn makes a wonderful point.

The rub for me is that the environmental movement majors in minors. How much pressure did the environmental movement in Hong Kong put on the government to force stores to stop using plastic bags? This despite the FACT that it was the environmental movement in the 1980's that forced stores to use plastic bags because they were more environmentally friendly than paper bags!

I bring this up today because CLP has a truck parked in the garage downstairs that has display inside the back detailing how environmentally friendly they are. This is the company that has absolutely NO as in zero, Nada, zilch filters on its smoke stakes to remove sulphur dioxide, carbon-monoxide or particulates. CLP and Hong Kong Electric are the largest polluters in Hong Kong.

Robyn is correct. the green movement isn't about saving the planet, it is about control. Government control of what I eat, where I live and my ability to voice dissent. That is a shame because there are certainly problems with pollution that need to be addressed and that could be solved. Unfortunately, they can't be solved by bowing down to the false green goddess Gaia.

Until Next Time
Fai Mao
The Blogger who has a smaller carbon footprint than most people who actually believe in AGW

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Let's Name Some Things

The definitions below are my reply to a post by Morgan Freeberg's about definitions for various phenomenon:

1. Womynism: That branch of feminism that seeks to divide privilege from responsibility, so that all gender disparities having to do with privilege can be ended, but disparities dealing with responsibility can endure indefinitely.

2. Pan-Gaism: Those of any religious affiliation that seek to win converts through fear and threats, by linking random disasters to the vengeance of an angry, spurned God.

3. Idolatry: Excessive adoration for a public figure based not on the sensibilities of his ideas, or their likely success, but rather on the uneducated perception that he would be a close and dear friend if only his acquaintance could be made somehow.

4. Locutionism: Pronouncing oneself to be the champion of a debate after having deployed nothing but “zingers.”

5. Chamberlainism: The mistaken belief that war must be caused by those who show the temerity to acknowledge it is coming, or to respond to its arrival, or to prepare for its arrival, or to enlist for the purpose of responding to it.

6. Qualitative Research: Making horrible ideas look like possibly-good ideas, by socially stigmatizing their opposites.

7. Sustainable: When an awful idea of yours is put to a test, and fails, behaving as if history began the day after that test; conveniently forgetting about any & all occasions on which the idea has been exposed as a miserable failure.

8. Relativism: Insisting that secular people like you are just as moral as religious people, and then defining morality according to your own personal likes and dislikes — how else could it be done? — completely missing the irony.

9. Noblisobligism: The notion held by certain people “at the top” of a structure of money, power or prestige, that people beneath this level should be forced to cope with limits that don’t apply up there. Hypocrisy coupled-up with a sense of elitism.

10. Entitlementism: Angry people show off their anger. Say they’re angry because they don’t have stuff. The other people get them whatever it is they want. The angry people stay angry as if they were never given the stuff, even though they were.

Here are some new terms for Hong Kong
1. Peakism: The idea that those who live in high(er) dollar neighborhoods that were formerly reserved for the British overlords are somehow smarter than the average Hong Konger and deserve to rule, reign and lord over the rest of us simply because they live up there.
2. Polivolumism: The way that the interior size of flats is inflated by property developers in Hong Kong
3. Running-Dogism: Regina Ip's exercise program.
4. Deitism: The attitude displayed by Hong Kong Civil (un)Servants who clearly believe they are God Almighty or at least His favorite drinking buddy. 
5. Red Shirtism:  The policies of the DAB
6. Lookatmeiamaslutism: The real reason Christina Chan tries to stage protest that get her face on TV.
7. Helpliosity: The stated reason that legco members cannot accomplish anything
8. Parity: The wage scale that provides Hong Kong (un)Civil Servants with salaries and benefits equal to 6 to 8 times what they would make in the same job if it were not in the government and gives them lifetime employment regardless of how incompetent they are.
9. Dim-Sum: Grease, rice flour, chicken feet, tripe, parts of fish that are not normally eaten and some unidentifiable goo.
10. Legco: A dog and pony show

Until Next Time
Fai Mao
The Blogger Who like things well defined

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

There is an interesting post today at “The House of Erathothenes” about freedom. It is actually a link more than a post but the article it link’s to is interesting. It presents a very clear and well written summary of the Objectivist definition of freedom which the objectivism claims begin with property rights. There is a lot to like in the article and on many levels I find myself agreeing with the Objectivist in day to day matters. Except that its premise is wrong.

The foundation of all other freedoms is not the right to property as the Objectivist claim. I believe that because the foundation of the argument is wrong the entire argument is, in fact ultimately wrong. That doesn’t mean that there isn’t some truth in the argument just that ultimately the argument will fail to provide a satisfactory explanation for the phenomenon it is justifying because it is built one level too high in the logical chain. The Objectivist’s believe that there is only this life and then you die. Thus, what you do while you breathe is of utmost importance. Goodness or virtue is only a means to an end, greater material happiness.

Another novelist, like Ayn Rand who had philosophic pretensions was George Orwell; he came closer to the truth in his book, 1984 when Winston Smith says that “The basis of freedom is the ability to say that 2+2=4.” This gets closer to the root of what freedom is. Indeed, it is close enough that if George were here talking to me he could perhaps convince me that the difference is a simple matter of semantics; but, in philosophy, perhaps more so than any other field, word choice is often extremely important. It isn’t the ability to a say that 2+2=4 that makes you free, it is the ability to not believe that 2+2=4 that makes you free.

The essence of freedom is the ability to believe or not believe anything of your own freewill. It is even the right to not believe in freewill. It is this ability to accept or repudiate any statement without fear of undue coercion or force, the ability to imagine the world in a different way. It is this that makes us as free. This is a freedom that we, as humans are born with. You may argue that it is given to us by a deity or something we have attained by an evolutionary process but this is the fount of freedom, to say “No!” or to say “Yes!” It has nothing to do with living, dying the pursuit of happiness or property. The proof of this is that the Objectivist, the Communist or the three-year old can look at me and say “I don’t believe that is so.” The very act of refuting freedom affirms it. I am free because I can always say “No” even if someone kills me for it. There is no other or greater freedom than this and cannot be. It is a linguistic and moral impossibility. “Cogito ergo sum” is not only a declaration of sentience but of freedom. I am free because I think, imagine and consider.

If I believe that there is more to life than piling up things, or comfortable chairs, fast cars, hot women and cigars then freedom takes on a different tint. If I believe that life does not end at death then the ability of persons or the state to end this life becomes less important. Freedom in that case becomes not a means to an end but something Holy, a gift from God or the highest goal of evolution. It is freedom not things that gives me dignity. And it is freedom defines me as human.

Where I agree, in a sense with the Objectivist is that I believe humans, at least most humans, trade absolute freedom for convenience and safety. I give up my freedom play loud music because in doing so my neighbor then gives up his right to boil sulfur in his living room. My music bothers him and the sulfuric fumes bother me. But each of us realizes that it is in each others interest to limit our more extreme desires in order to live near each other and obtain the benefit of each others expertise. This is the essence of the Social Contract. When it becomes a larger group than simply my neighbour and I we have a government.

What is important is that a government should realize the choices it asked individuals to relinquish are, in a very real sense, the only thing that they own. That is a major reason why as society has developed (Notice I didn’t say advanced) humans have come to see the efficacy of a representative government. If a government marginalizes the individual choices that have been sacrificed for its existence then that government has become oppressive and evil.

The real reason that the government in the PRC is evil is that the party attempts to deny the individual the choice on how they re governed. The whole “Harmonious Society” slogan is an affront to freedom because they are asking in a none too subtle manner, for me to relinquish my right to say “No.” The reason that functional constituencies in Hong Kong are evil is that they bypass the voices that say No in favour of pro-government voices that say “Yes.” The tyrants are in a sense in complete agreement with Ayn Rand. I may own my home, my car and furniture. I may move to wherever I can afford. I may pile up possessions until the floor in flat sags and I have more wealth than I can count; but I still might not be free because as long as the government says “I give you these rights to life liberty and the pursuit dim-sum” but reserves the ability to take those choices away from me then I have given up my right to be free and am only a slave in a gilded cage.

Until Next Time
Fai Mao
The Blogger who is fond of saying "no"

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Home with the Armadillo?

There are times of year that I miss the prairies. Spring on the prairie is like fall in the mountains. It is the time when nature shows off.

Today is homesick day. I can't really say why. It isn't family I miss, or people it is the land and sky, the dirt, the smell of the plants, the silent ghost that walk the roads of our memory. I despise the crowds today. There is no comfort in the relative solitude of the flat in Causeway Bay. I miss miles of nothing. I have an unfulfillable longing for a '67 Mustang with a 289 and a 4-speed, no AC and three-hundred-and-fifty-miles of empty high-way. There is a freedom in solitude that is impossible to capture in Hong Kong.

I am reminded of the British Physicist, I think his name was Fuch who was a closet communist and defected to the USSR in the late 1940's. He returned to the UK several years later even though it meant spending the rest of his life in jail. When asked "Why?" he said; "I've beed a communist since I was 18 but I was born and Englishman."

I live in Hong Kong. It is my home and probably will be for the rest of my life. But there are days I wish I were somewhere else. This is one of those days. Today, I wish I were in Texas.

Until Next Time
Fai Mao
The Blogger who'd really appreciate a Lone Star Beer right about now.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Allegorical Nose back on the Alligorical Grind Stone

I've been on a haitus from this blog for a while. I had a daughter get married over the Easter break had lots to do when I came back.  I guess I should feel relieved that I no longer have to complain about the no-good-lay-about boyfriend.

Personal issues aside, The SCMP has a story today about some shoe-polish hair dye guy from up North making a proposal about the electorial process here in the Land of the rising Air-Pollution. It doesn't look like a very good proposal but at least the Mandarin are trying so I'll not be too mean,

I'll write more tomorrow

Until Next Time
Fai Mao
The out of practice blogger

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Cyber-attack on U.S. firms, Google traced to Chinese

And the PRC is going to put several Rio Tinto employees in jail for asking the executives of Chinese steel makers how much they could produce?

Geez, I thought this level of hypocrisy only occurred in Barak Obama's administration. I guess it just goes to show you that the political left is corrupt regardless of continent.

I was also wondering today how long it will be before we get letters in the SCMP that say the pollution from the sand storms in China are caused by Global Warming rather than poor agricultural practices? Maybe I should look, they are probably already there.

Until Next Time
Fai Mao
The Blogger who does not work for Rio Tinto

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Google shuts up shop in China in row over state censorship

I am not a fan of Google. They scare me with their reach and ability to monopolize the flow of information. But, good for them on this issue!

This is a move more companies should make. And yes, it just means that it is harder for the citizens of the PRC to get actual information and not Baidu propaganda. However, the situation will never change until the people in China want it to change. If it gets so that the business in China cannot access their customers or markets then the government will have relax the censorship rules.

Rio Tinto should say: "Sorry President Hu, asking about the production capacity of a private company is not a matter of national security and isn’t spying. If you are going to arrest our employees for asking basic business questions then we won't play. Mine your own iron ore from your own damn mine; assuming you can keep them from caving in.

I don't think the Chinese realize how evil they look to most people who are not from China. It isn't just the government. The Chinese are the only people I know of who will enslave their others of their own nationality. If you go into a large Chinese restaurant in the US or Europe then employees who are not family members are illegal’s who live in dormitories and are paid less than 1/2 minimum wage. I grew up in an area of Texas that was heavily Hispanic. The local Hispanics didn't hire "Wet-backs" and generally despised them as being the criminal element of Mexican society. However, they didn't go out of their way to enslave them either. We did hire migrant workers, often Hispanics to help on the farm but we didn't treat them as slaves. The propensity of the Chinese to take advantage of other Chinese is absolutely astounding.

The stereotype of the Ugly American tourist is often over played but has some at least mythological basis in actual behavior. The ugly Chinese has overtaken the US in this area. Not even other Chinese like the mainland tourist. They'll take their money but are glad when they leave. Hong Kongers used to snicker at the boys from up North. They were naive and innocent country bumpkins. Now they all dress like gangsters, smoke like freight trains and spit and curse and go out of their way to insult and throw their money around.

Notice, I believe that the corruption in the government goes hand in hand with the corruption of the individual. The PRC will never clean up the corruption in the government until it cleans up the corruption in its society.

I think I will go make a search using Google and click on a couple of adds.
Until Next Time
Fai Mao
The Blogger who still thinks that in 15 years the PRC will be freer tha Obama's US

Friday, March 19, 2010

King of the Wild Frontier

Fes Parker died yesterday at 85.

I had the hat. I had the toy musket.

There are days I just feel really old

RIP Davey Crocket
RIP Daniel Boone

Until Next Time
Fai Mao
The Blogger who knows that Daniel Boone was a man, yes a real man

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

A Classical Liberal

I've struggling to post of late because I get tired of complaining. It is more fun to bang my head on the table than it is to continually recite the list of problems with the PRC or the Hong Kong real state market. I have really try to look for more positive things to write about but sometimes it is just so hard. I've even thought about becoming a poet and filling this space with silly sonnets or bawdy lymricks.

I actually wrote this post as a comment on the Strat-Sphere blog and I thought would fit as a post here as well, if for no other reason than I took quite a bit of time to write the comment. There is an on going conversation at that blog as to what it means to be a political Centrist. This is actually an important issue because one of the common mistakes in identifying political ideology is to use a term but fail to see how the definition of the term has changed. No where is this more evident than politics. The word Centrist does not mean today what it meant 100 years ago. But more than that, what does it mean to govern from the center? What do I mean when I say that I consider myself a Centrist?

Here is how I define a Centrist.
1. A Centrist is someone that I might disagree with on any of several issues but is willing to work at resolving those issues in a legal manner.

2. A Centrist is someone who believes in the rule of law. This is, for example the real problem with the abortion issue. Not that the moral components of the problem are not a problem but that liberals used the courts to short-circuit the system of creating laws.

3. A Centrist is someone who believes broadly in individual freedom but also in individual responsibility. There should be consequences for your actions, deeds and beliefs. This is not just a law enforcement issue though crime and punishment play a big part in it. I think one of the reasons you see such flagrantly goofy individuals in places like the UK and Japan is because of the nanny state. You can be a loser who dresses up like a vampire or ragdoll and not starve. If those places did not tacitly encourage that type of behavior by not requiring idiots to work for a living they wouldn’t dress like that.

4. A Centrist does not use inordinate amounts of coercion in dealing with others. This means that a Centrist believes that that law should be limited in scope and developed with the consent of the greater community. In other words, laws are public entities and morals are private entities. Obviously there is some fuzziness around the edges on this point. I may not support homosexuality. But as long as that Gay man isn’t recruiting my children it is his right to be wrong in my eyes. This same rule applies to people who practice various religions or hobbies I am not fond of. I allow them to do their thing because they allow me to do mine. I am free to convert them and they free to evangelize me. That does not mean I believe all such activities are equally valid or true.

5. A Centrist is someone who realizes that they might not always have all the answers. That is what is so frustrating about the left. They can never seem to learn from their mistakes. It does not matter how often a welfare system fails they think they can make it work. The far right is just as bad because they believe they are speaking for God and that their words are inerrant.

6. A Centrist is someone that believes that while there are times that government must step in there are many other times when the government overtly or inadvertently becomes an oppressor that severely limits personal freedom. As P.J. O’Rourke said: “I don’t want government that works; I want it to stop working.”

7. A Centrist does not believe in the perfectibility of humanity through human means. We are never going to solve all the problems sometimes we just do the best we can. But, we can keep from making things worse

In short; a Centrist is, someone who if possible works within the law and believes in the rule of law and that all citizens are equal before the law, believes in both personal liberty and personal responsibility, avoids the use of political coercion, does not believe they have all they answers, believes that excessive government leads to tyranny so government should be limited, and does not believe that all problems are solvable by government action.

A.J. Strata added:
And a centrist is a skeptic who thinks for themselves. Make a sound argument, don’t demand blind allegiance!

At times I appear to be far away from the political center in Hong Kong. However, that is because our government here is so steeped in authoritarianism that that it makes me look a revolutionary. Maybe if I look like one here I am.

In any event, a positive post. There is hope for me yet!

Until Next Time
Fai Mao
The Blogger who stands on the white line in the middle of the road

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Superbugs in HK Hospitals bug me

I am not a big fan of government hospitals and the ones here deserve my scorn more than many I've seen. I bring this up because there is a front-page, above the fold article today in the nearly always unreliable SCMP about the growing problem of antibiotic resistant bacterial in Hong Kong Hospitals. I will give the SCMP the benefit of the doubt on this story because the issue is easy enough for a student with mental disabilities, such as journalist to understand.

Unlike a lot of ex-pats I do not make enough money to use the private hospitals here. I must use the public ones. So I have had the opportunity to use the services of the public hospitals in Hong Kong on more than one occasion and can verify the claims made by the paper from my own experience. They are dirty, the care is lousy and the staff generally un caring.

A case in point: Several weeks ago the really-pretty-very smart-hard working-looks 25 years younger than she is- Chinese-wife got sick. She was dehydrated from a mild case of food poisoning and fell in the bathroom after passing out. I carried her back to bed and called an ambulance to take her the emergency room. We then spent several hours in the emergency room while they gave her fluid through an IV and something to ease the other symptoms she was experiencing. Despite the professionalism of some of the staff it was a thoroughly un-enjoyable experience for reasons other than her sickness. I was impressed by how dirty and ragged Ruttongee hospital looked when we were there.

The equipment was in poor mechanical shape.

The walls were painted a very dingy color making the entire place seem depressing.

There was a dirty old woman, apparently a street sleeper who was roaming from bed to bed taking naps; I mean she was absolutely filthy. Yet, as far as I can tell nobody on the hospital staff asked her to leave or at least stay in one place.

There was also a small group of staff standing around talking. Maybe they were off work so I can't say they were goofing off but their conversation was intriguing. One of them had just managed to join the ranks of civil servants who work for the hospital. They were quizzing another such employee on ways to defraud the system, receive extra benefits and milk more money for less work. In a sense I can't blame them as they are simply part of the system.

That is the point; it is the system that is wrong. Socialized health care always seems to mean poor service, uncaring staff and prices not noticeably lower than could be obtained through private care. At least it appears to everywhere it is tried. Honestly, the trip was only worth HKD $100.00 because we had to endure crazy old woman, slow service, a bed that wouldn't work right and loud uncaring cleaning staff. The problem is we actually pay much more than that for this service through taxes. If I am going to pay the taxes that would provide me with an at least 2nd class hospitalization policy I want at least 2nd class service.

So, the cry is raised yet again. Fire some civil servants. Don't reduce the pay of the ones entering the system Fire the higher ups that make 80gazzillon a month for doing nothing except eating dim sum.

How about this? Rather than pushing paper all day how about some of the hoity-toits get out of the fancy office and come wipe down some surfaces in the hospitals they administrate. How about making the high level administrators USE the hospitals they run? I guarantee that if THBT had to take his wife to Ruttongee he'd be expecting better care than we received.
Until Next Time
Fai Mao
The Blogger who wants to see an antibiotic that kills civil servants

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

I had a friend who used to drop acid.

Unfortunately a drug using friend is not the same as this guy.

I find it amazing that the response for this serial thug is so silly. They install security cameras AFTER an attack is made when the attacks are never made in the same location. What exactly do they hope to see?

How about this.
Require purchasers of this type of material to show an HK ID and have the store record the ID and then subnitt the ID number and the date of purchase to the relevant government agency? Then at least the sleaze would have have to sneak the stuff accross the border. Tracking the purchases would narrow the field of suspects down from 7 million to at most a few hundred that the police had to think about questioning.

Not a perfect solution but better than what is being done now. I doubt that legiimate contractors and those with a commerial need for acid would mind this, I can not see how it would cost more than all the cameras and would have a better chance of catching a creep. It would also have fewer privacy issues

Logic, it isn't something taught at HKU, at least not in the subjects the civil servants major in.

Until Next Time
Fai Mao
The non-acid dropping blogger

Friday, March 05, 2010

This versus That

There is a very sad story in the SCMP today about a family in the PRC who had to steal their dead father's body from a hospital and keep it in a freezer for months until they could get someone in the government to conduct a murder investigation. In Denver they are starting a government pannel to contact Space aliens.

When I read a story like the first I really want to leave China. When I read a story like the second I wonder where I'd go?

Until Next Time
Fai Mao
The Blogger who sometimes just shakes his head in unbelief

Friday, February 12, 2010

On Bondage, Liberty and Justice

As a rule, I publish every comment, few as they are that I receive on this blog without regard to weather it is supportive or oppositional to my point of view. If warranted I will reply and enjoy people's comments. There are really only two exceptions to this rule. I don’t generally publish comments created by either Spambots or those which are commercial in nature. Comments should improve a post and those don’t. Second I don’t publish simple insults. You are free to call me “::::::::::::::::” I just don’t have to publish it.

The only other comments I have not posted, that I remember are some of the ones I received from my posts about Nancy Kissel. I’ve written about her quite a lot over the years and for some reason those post have been among the most widely read. If I use Google’s Analytics function it is clear, the post about Nancy Kissel get read far more often than anything else I write. My traffic on that day or the day after a Nancy post is much higher. I have even posted most of the comments I've received about those post. But, there have been comments and Emails from what I believe are family members of both Nancy Kissel and her late husband. I did not post those. They were simply too personal. However, I also steadfastly refuse to use Nancy Kissel’s name in a post to simply pull in traffic.

Well, Nancy was in the news again yesterday and today. In a surprise decision the Court of Final Appeal awarded her a new trial yesterday. I missed the news last night and didn’t see anything about this until quick recap at 10:00 PM right before CSI. Talk about a jaw dropper!

Let me start off be reiterating, Nancy Kissel murdered her husband. She is guilty as charged and in a society with a properly functioning justice system should be in jail for life and the reason this case just fascinates me is because I believe it showcases everything that is wrong with the justice system in Hong Kong. I believe that because of the incoherent or seemingly arbitrary way that judges set sentences Nancy Kissel should be simply freed. That doesn’t mean I think she is innocent.

Honestly, at this point I think her lawyers have a good argument that she cannot and possibly could never have received a fair trial in Hong Kong. There was just too much publicity surrounding the case. The court should have issued a gag order during the first trial. Once the details of this case started getting out, especially in the sensationalist Chinese language papers and the even more sensationalist SCMP any chance of an unbiased jury was gone.

THBT should cowboy up on this one and ask the shoe-shin brigade in Beijing to watch this trial closely. If Nancy is freed, even on a technicality, he should point one of his stubby fingers at them and say: “See, the government doesn’t have to always win. You need to take politics out of the legal system.” In China, Nancy Kissel would never have received a new trial. She’d have been dead 4.5 years ago. As flawed as the legal system is here, it is miles better than the one up North.

I have said, and I will continue to say that the greatest gift Hong Kong can give to China and the Chinese people is a first hand look at what a free society looks like. Freedom is more than not starving. Freedom is more than having money. The Chinese need to see what it means to have a government that abides by its own laws even when those laws cause embarrassment to the state. In recent years China has stressed the need for a harmonious society. That is bad idea. What China needs is a free society, a tolerant society, a society that allows dissent. The PRC does not need Hong Kong’s money, its expertise or experience. The PRC needs the freedom, no matter how imperfect Hong Kongers enjoy. In a harmonious society everybody agrees with each other. In a free society we respect each other and realize that other may differ with us. I'd rather live in a free society than a harmonious one.

Forget Tibet, free China!

If the new trial awarded to Nancy Kissel serves to help, even a little to get the gangsters who run the CCP to be answerable to their own laws it will be worth every cent spent. I’m sure Liu Xiabao would agree. China needs a justice system that isn’t controlled by the party and that is not answerable to the cadres. One like we have in Kong Kong, only better.

Until Next Time
Fai Mao
The Blogger who wanted to grow up and become a lawyer when he was little and didn't know any better

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Looking Around

I spent a large part of the morning completing a 360 review of my administrative assistant because her contract is up for renewal. What a complete or near complete waste of time!

I have never liked these reviews. Suppose my assistant, let us call her “Sharon” is doing a good job? If I simply fill out the 360 form and say “Excellent” in every box it looks like I am not serious about filling it out. Alternately, if I really take the time to fill out the evaluation form and present it to the HR office with every little flaw in Sharon’s work performance then it looks like Sharon has all sorts of problems and is a lousy assistant and she isn’t.

Why can’t the HR office simply ask a couple of fairly obvious questions?

1. Do you recommend a new contract for this person?

2. Do you recommend a step on the pay scale for this person?

3. If not what are your recommendations?

a. Why

b. Why

c. Why

Unless I want her fired I don't see the point of this type of evaluation. When I need her to do something I ask and she does it. If she needs to be trained in a procedure I train her. She is not perfect, none of us are but she does a wonderful job. I just don’t see how these evaluations help?

Until Next Time
Fai mao
The Blogger who has a really, really good assistant

Jacko death rap doc bailed

What a great headline.

I was never a "Wacho-Jacko" fan. But this is just so sad. The guy had become a parody of himself and it would have been nice to see him age at least as ungracefully as The Who or The Rolling Stones. Not many entertainers manage to age well. Paul McCarthy has, as have the Eagles; very few others.

Until Next Time
Fai Mao
The Blogger who thinks Michael Jackson and Cher may be more alike than either realized

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Of Babies and Bath Water

This past Sunday a woman threw her daughter over the seventh floor rail at a shopping mall and then climbed the rail and jumped to her own death while her husband and other shoppers watched in horror. Luckily or perhaps unluckily the little girl landed on safety netting and was physically unhurt. I would not want to have to deal with the emotional damage this incident caused the child.

The SCMP, assuming it can be believed, says today that the reason for this was that the child had failed to get into an ESF (The English Schools Foundation) school after completing the ESF kindergarten. The Standard has an article up about how the rails and balustrades at malls need to be higher, which while probably true misses the point.

Many schools in Hong Kong have Kindergartens that accept more students than they can enroll into the 1st Grade. The one I work for is that way, so are most of the International Schools. ESF is evidently no different, though you could make a good case that it should be. ESF is the English speaking public school system in Hong Kong. They get huge government subsidies but still charge through the roof tuition. They were setup by the colonial aristocracy to provide a school environment similar to the one that existed in the formerly Great Britain which is now the UK. That way a civil servant from “Merry Old England” could come to deepest darkest Hong Kong, and not have to worry about putting their simpering, monolingual brats in schools where they would have excessive contact with the children of the benighted, slant-eyed, tofu eating locals. Separate but unequal, the true spirit of Britain! At least Americans tried to maintain an illusion of separate but equal back in their more overtly racist education policy days. The result is that unlike the, supposedly more exclusive private, international schools which cater to the wealthy or more overtly religious ESF does not, or should not need the money spinner that Kindergartens are to supplement finances. They should be a through system, just like the Chinese speaking schools. That is not the view that the ESF teachers and administration have of themselves but it is effectively what they are.

But, I digress; or maybe not.

The real issue is that the local population sees that the Chinese speaking schools are underfunded, understaffed and to this observer basically uncared about by the EDB boot-lickers, Shoe-Shine Boys and Running Dogs for the now departed colonial regime. I cannot blame the local parents for wanting to get their kids out of a classroom that has a 44 to 1 teacher student ratio. The Chinese language schools curriculum consists of mainly memorizing and repeating it back and seems to be designed to create graduates who are marginally literate, follow the rules and don't ask questions of their betters. Sort of an intellectual vomitoria rather than a school.

It does not take a genius to realize that if you want your child to have a chance of a better life than living in cramped, noisey and unattractive government housing and working as a sales clerk or waitress they might need a little better education. I cannot blame parents for not wanting to place their child in a local school. That does not excuse what this mother did but does make it understandable. There are fates worse than death and spending  the rest of your life working 18 hours a day in a menial job may be one of them.

Granted, the parents here many times push their kids too hard. Granted, the parents here have expectations for their children's education and abilities that are far above what could called rational or reasonable. Granted, the purpose of an education is not simply to get a better job. But, the real blame for this tragedy falls at the feet of the EDU who have consistently refused to reduce class size in the Chinese schools or improve the curriculum.

The over funded ESF and a few of the so called “Elite English Schools” which are also government funded  soak massive amounts of money while the majority of local schools are ignored. The EdB simply, and obvioulsy if you look at the budget does not care about the educational needs of the poor and less fortunate in Hong Kong. They have refused to install anything approaching a child centered curriculum. The government has also aided and abetted the unscrupulous tycoons who have created a working environment here that is so oppressive that parents regularly work 80 or 90 hour a week to make enough to not starve. Can you blame a parent wanting better than that for their child? Can you blame them for thinking that perhaps if my child works harder now they won't have to slave away in a restaurant kitchen for 18 hours a day?

Parents realize how bad the Chinese schools are. Even the teachers in the local schools realize how bad the schools are. That is a shame because unlike say the US or UK most of the problems in HK schools are not related to a decaying social structure. The problem here is simply one of curriculum and access to a quality education. The Hong Kong Government could fix the problems in the Chinese schools but simply doesn’t. Instead it builds a useless high speed rail link that will allow the THBT and his cronies to have lunch with members of the Shoe-Polish brigade in Guangzhou every other day.

So, Mr Michael M Y Suen, Secretary for Education, how hard is it to wash that blood off your hands? Do you even notice it is there?

Until Next Time
Fai mao
The Blogger who thinks all Hong Kong children, not just the British ones deserve a decent education

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Oh Boy

Maybe I should just  post this and not comment further except to say that my really-pretty-hard-working-looks-25-years-younger-than -she- is-Chinese wife works harder than most men I know

Until Next Time
Fai Mao

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Death of a Diva - One last time

So, Tony Chan lost his attempt to gain control of Nina Wong's, ChinaChem fortune. The judge found his will to be fraudulent and awarded the fortune to Nina's late husband's family. This was such a bazaar story. Hong Kong used to be a more interesting place when there were more people like Nina Wong running around.

Just to recap.

Nina Wong, who at the time was just past her prime but still a rather hot-to-trot gold digger, in need of a patron to make her his mistress struck pay dirt when she was able to actually marry and aging tycoon. Said Tycoon is kidnapped shortly thereafter. Nina pays ransom, or said she did. Tycoon is never returned and is presumed dead after several years. During probate Nina turns up with a slicker than grease lawyer from the UK and a hand written will that is unsigned, not in her husband's handwriting and before this date not known to exist. This new, somewhat dubious Last Will and Testament revokes the old will which gave Nina a pension suitable for a high dollar mistress and instead gives the entire ChinaChem fortune to Nina. The now presumed to be dead tycoon's family received nothing but the shaft. Nina loses in probate and appeals. She appeals again and has a judge call her a lying, counterfeit will forging scum bag, though not in those precise words. Undeterred, Nina takes her case to the Court of Final Appeal and wins a surprise and final victory. There is no other court higher that the now dispossessed family members can raise appeal too.

Nina is suddenly the wealthiest woman in Asia as well as the ugliest as she is now well past her prime. But Nina undeterred plaits her hair in pig tails like a little girl and bounces around Asia building up the fortune of her stolen business and breaking camera lenses and mirrors from here to Shanghai. She makes plans to build a 115 story tall hotel in Tsuen Wan which can't be done because the area is in the flight path of the airport and settles for a mere 60 or 80 story tall corporate HQ instead with a Japanese anime style cartoon character sculpture of her self in the lobby. Supposedly she also considers producing a children's cartoon series based upon her life. I kid you not!

Several years later Nina announces that she has cancer. Nobody was surprised because she looked like death on toast anyway and to see her actually dead would be an improvement.

Shortly thereafter, Nina dies because she refused any treatment except that provided by a Fung Shui Master who was also acting as a Chinese herbalist.

Her will leaves her entire fortune to her late tycoon husband’s family which has been waiting all these year in if not in penury then at least a state of relatively non-super wealthiness.

But wait! In steps the Fung Shui Master cum Chinese herbalist Tony Chan. He appears with the same slicker than grease lawyer from the UK and a handwritten, but not in Nina's handwriting, Last Will and Testament that was not known to exist before her death that gives the entire ChinaChem fortune to him, rather than the late tycoon husband's family because (You couldn't make this stuff up) he was her friend, business advisor, adulterous lover and trusted confidant in all things Fung Shui, business and amourous for nearly two decades. (Fung Shui is a Chinese superstition that makes Astrology look like a real science for those of you not in Asia.) Tony claims that first he helped Nina look for her missing husband then helped her with her business ventures. He nexted helped her look for her underwear before he helped her look for her check book. Lastly he provided medical treatment for her cancer. Indeed, he, in his role as Fung Shui Master cum Chinese herbalist was the only one Nina allowed to treat her cancer. Hmmmmmmmmm, motive, opportunity and access all he needed was a will. Well he got one!

It gets better.

It seems that over the years Nina had paid said Mr. Chan over 2.3 BILLION Hong Kong dollars in Fung Shui, business consultation and giggilo fees. Tony's wife, an ever practical and modern Chinese woman when informed of her grinning husband's two decade long affair with an aging gorgon 17 years his senior said; "I don't care what he does as long as he provides enough money and I like to be wealthy." Nice family!

It now turns out that the Hong Kong Casanova did not declare any of the 2.3 billion Nina gave him as income on his tax returns. If I may say so Tony, that was a mistake.

I wonder how jail is going to affect his Fung Shui?

Until Next Time
Fai Mao
The blogger who reads the society pages in the SCMP rather than watching soap operas

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Pardon me, I hope this isn't a dumb question but........?

I wish that the Hong Kong Standard would do a better job of putting today’s news up with links. This tragedy happened this weekend and they have it in the "Today's” edition that you can browse but not with an IP that I can link to.

The gist of the situation is this.

A slumlord owns a building. In an effort to maximize both the rent generated by the building and to increase the misery of the poor in Hong Kong said slum lord has the building modified so that it contains smaller rooms thereby turning a two bedroom flat into a 7, 10 or 12 bedroom facility with a shared bathroom and kitchen but each room is rented to a different person or persons. To facilitate this conversion the slum lord has weight bearing walls taken out to make the interior more space efficient. Removing weight bearing walls causes the building to collapses killing six people. It also destabilizes the adjacent buildings and they have to be evacuated and demolished as well.

The government comes in and cleans up the mess and relocates the affected tennants. The owner of the building has, to this point continued to walk around free and has faced no immidiate financial liability other than the loss of rent.

Now for the dumb questions:

  1. Why hasn’t the owner of the building that collapsed been arrested and frog-marched out in front of TV cameras?
  2. Why haven’t the assets of this slum lord been frozen?
  3. Why is it the government’s responsibility to pay for this?
  4. Shouldn't it be the slum lords responsibility to pay for this? 
  5. Didn’t this break all sorts of safety laws?
  6. What about fire codes?
  7. Isn't it illegal to put this many people in a building not designed to house so many?
  8. How is the slime that owned this building still allowed to breath free air?

To be fair some of the people in the Buildings and Lands department should be strung up as well. This building was inspected 6 months ago. The overpaid, underworked, intellectually challenged, HKU graduate civil servants that populate the HK government cannot even seem to issue repair orders to poorly maintained buildings. They issue warning  after warning after warning but allow the landlords years, YEARS to come into compliance if anyone complains or contest the notice. Honestly, some of the civil servants and inspectors who allowed this to happen should also go to jail and more should be looking for another job. Somebody needs to be prosecuted and somebody needs to be fired over this beyond the slum lord.

Some of the renters displaced by this event are complaining, and rightly so I might add, that the locations that the government has provided for relocation are too far away from where they work. Now if you are an over paid underworked civil servant who has a Mercedes and a driver living in Tuen Mun and working in Hung Hom might not be a big deal. But if you are a working class person who makes $5000.00 a month who has to take a bus this is a big deal. These people should be relocated to flats in the immediate area and the slum lord who caused this should be responsible for paying for three months rent to give the people affected by this a chance to find another place to live.

The slum lord should also be prosecuted for murder as should the contractor who agreed to remove weight bearing walls. That to my knowledge they haven't been arrested and have even been given three or four days to hide assets is gross negligence on the part of the government and law enforcement officials in Hong Kong.

Hey maybe if the laws don't apply to this slum lord they don't apply to me as well. Maybe I should find out their name through the records department and go after them with a tire iron. I mean if they are not arrested for what they did then how could I be arrested for beating them to death? I am not going to do that but I wonder if I could? Now there is a good question!

Until Next Time
Fai Mao
The Blogger who thinks that wise landlords think about the safety of their tenants