Hemlock's Diary

The ravings of Hong Kong's most obnoxious expat

24 February-2 Mar 2002
Mon, 25 Feb

The big boss fires the human resources manager in front of all 20 of us at the morning meeting.  She runs out sobbing, just like the two he summarily dispensed with last year.  He then starts shouting at the rest of us because one of the Pakistani security guards accidentally discharged his shotgun in the Head Office reception area yesterday, leaving a "good feng shui" wooden panel on the ceiling splattered with buckshot.  "Tell Miss Tsui [whose sobbing can still be heard outside the door] to give him his papers!  And now! [thumps desk] Not after he gets out of hospital!"

Tue, 26 Feb

The South China Morning Post has printed another of my “children’s letters”.  They thoughtfully correct the English and delete the bit that says “Aged 10, Form 4C, St Francis RC Primary School” but leave the exasperatingly infantile logic intact.  The gist of this one was that it would be nice if Hong Kong could be a nicer place, if possible – without offering the slightest suggestion as to how this might be achieved.  Do they print these letters out of pity, or simply to fill space?  I think my next letter will be from "Mr Angry Expat Dimwit", proclaiming that Hong Kong cannot be a world class city as none of its TV stations broadcast the quarter finals of the Lithuanian national soccer championship.

Wed, 27 Feb

Fox hunting is being banned in Scotland, and apparently the same is going to happen in England.  Thank god we are no longer a British colony, or this highly enjoyable pastime would probably be outlawed here as well.  As it is, the Fanling Hunt has an excellent time this afternoon, even though Dennis Zhou (who claims to be the only member of the Chinese Communist Party who is also a master of hounds) had to destroy a Jack Russell that broke its leg falling into a fishpond.  We have examined the possibility of obtaining some real foxes, although Petri, Mr Zhou's Indonesian domestic helper, is not a bad substitute and clearly enjoys her fortnightly run around the New Territories. And yes, she is a dish.

Thu, 28 Feb

Of all the life forms in the world, the one that most deserves extinction is surely the Greenpeace activist. I suspect the ones in Hong Kong are simply stupid rather than malicious, and have no idea that they belong to a manipulative money-grubbing organization that uses unscientific scare tactics, childish theatrics and plain lies to peddle its anti-capitalist agenda.  Still, the fact that they seem to thrive in Hong Kong – where today they have yet again been dressing up in protective clothing to retrieve harmless GM food from supermarkets – is actually a good sign. By the time a fad hits Hong Kong, it is usually on its way out in the rest of the world.  Environmentalism is yesterday's thing

Fri, 1 Mar

The authorities in Beijing have ordered McDonald's to remove huge "golden arches" signs above their outlets, on the grounds that they are ugly.  Quite right, too. But what about the smell?  The most offensive food-related smell in Hong Kong used to emanate from the stinky tofu vendors, but nowadays it's McDonald's.  The odour is nauseating - a sort of saline-grease aroma.  You have to wonder what on earth possesses people to walk through the door, let alone put this putrid, inedible and unhealthy muck into their mouths. 

Sat, 2 Mar

Open laisee.  I have received 52 red envelopes this year, mostly containing $1,000, plus a few with just $100 (including the one from our Cheap Executive, Mr CH Tung).  At the beginning of the last-but-one Year of the Dragon, I experimented by putting every other envelope to one side and immediately opening the rest as I received them during New Year.  I found that the group of envelopes that had been saved until later yielded an average 50% more than the ones I opened immediately, thus confirming that they really
do contain more money the longer you leave them.