Hemlock's Diary

he ravings of Hong Kong's most obnoxious expat

28 July-3 August 2002
Sunday, 28 July

How can you fall in love with someone who doesn't understand basic economics?  I certainly couldn't.  But then, I'm not Odell, whose infatuation with Mee the extremely innumerate Thai lady becomes obvious as I have lunch with the pair at Cafe Siam.  It says something about the quality of the squid salad that not even the sight of the happy couple constantly pawing each other prevents me from enjoying it. To my horror, they say they have already booked a wedding date.  It is clearly a marriage made in Immigration Department heaven. It seems that Mee, who must be 10 years older than Odell, has the right to live and work in Hong Kong, thanks to a fake marriage years ago to a police constable with serious gambling debts.  Odell therefore gets the right to stay here when his missionary's visa is revoked at the behest of spiteful Mormons. Meanwhile, Mee eventually gets a US passport, presumably opening the doors of Salt Lake City to a whole tribe of relatives wielding blowpipes and shrunken heads.  

And no, sadly, I can't be best man as I'll be out of town at the time.  Probably...  Hopefully...  If necessary, I'll ask the dentist to do a root canal for fun that day.

Monday, 29 July

Many Hong Kong institutions could be helping to lead the city into the 21st Century if they were headed by the best talent the world has to offer.  Instead, they are run by ex-civil servants in need of a little empire to play with.  The classic example today is the Stock Exchange, which paved the way for the great penny stock crash on Friday by proposing the automatic delisting of low-value stocks identifying the bad pennies (of whatever value) being too much hard work.  Hong Kong would probably be a better place if people who traded penny stocks were drowned at birth, but that's not the point.  It would also be a better place if Stock Exchange chief executive KC Kwong transferred market regulation to a disinterested body and then stepped down in favour of a businessman who concentrated on boosting returns to shareholders of the exchange, a listed company.  Instead, he is oozing his way from one media interview to another, leaving large amounts of grease on radio stations' headphones and the growing impression he is just possibly not worth HK$10 million a year after all.  I am tempted to write to the newspapers and tell them about the time I saw him catch a flying insect with his 10-inch tongue, but I would probably not be believed. 

Wed, 31 July

Wake up at 4am having a terrible nightmare that I was living in Discovery Bay.  Take an hour to get back to sleep, by which time I'm about to wake up anyway.
An email from Winky Ip, last heard of as Financial Secretary Antony Leung's assistant.  She has been transferred from the FS's office at the request (she claims) of possessive Olympic diver Fu Mingxia otherwise known as the new Mrs Leung who, being famously streamlined,  is jealous of Winky's figure.  Winky is now heading a HK$28 million public education campaign to discourage nosepicking in public, a practice that I have observed dying out on Hong Kong island, although God knows what happens elsewhere. To help her, I email back a quick sketch of a nose picking itself, which I feel might make a useful logo for the campaign.
Thu, 1 Aug

Another email from Winky, taking me to task for saying Henry Tang, Secretary for Commerce. Technology and Subsidies for Sunset Industries, looks like a horse, when it is obvious that he closely resembles a dog.  A 
dog?  She can't be serious.
A Horse                       Henry Tang                        A Dog
I would have serious doubts about Winky's eyesight or general cognitive abilities were it not for the glowing remarks she makes about my proposed logo for the anti-nose-picking campaign.  Apparently, she has now won an extra HK$20 million budget for this enterprise by promising to "create jobs" by hiring unemployed graduates as Nostril Ambassadors, who will distribute leaflets throughout the many parts of Kowloon and the New Territories where people are in need of advice on this subject from their caring government.  What a shame my logo will probably never be seen on this side of the harbour.

Sun, 4 Aug

The chattering expat rabble have so little to whine about in August that they are picking on supermarket chain Park n Shop for selling dog meat during winter in its Mainland branches. On the occasions I have tried this seasonal delicacy, I have not noticed any "warming" effect beyond that of any other highly seasoned meat stew.  But anything that reduces the world's canine population
and simultaneously irritates anthropomorphic gwaipos can only be a good thing, and I will redouble my efforts to persuade our leaders to legalize the use of this plentiful source of protein here in Hong Kong.