Hemlock's Diary
The ravings of Hong Kong's most obnoxious expat

1-7 February 2004

Mon, 2 Feb
Other than champagne-laced sex, with Thelonious Monk playing in the background, followed by a hot shower and kedgeree, is there a better way to start the day than to browse through
China Daily, the friendly voice of the glorious motherland’s caring and devoted leadership?
"It's now the Year of the Monkey. And will the monkey bring good fortune?  I think it will.  Just look at the character of monkeys. They are active, agile, intelligent, resourceful, full of vitality, and a little mischievous – not unlike Hong Kong people."
I am pleased to see the paper report that the HK University of Science and Technology’s Centre for Economic Development has seen the wisdom of my own forecast and started to predict growth of over 6 percent this year.  Or is it just wishful thinking on the part of the overpaid public-sector vermin?  Stronger GDP growth equals higher government revenues equals postponement of long-overdue education cuts equals less likelihood of HKUST’s economics department being bundled up in a plastic bag and buried in a pit full of flu-ridden chickens.  Still, I look forward to our silly local banks, the absurd Trade Development Council, the CEPA-crazed HK General Chamber of Commerce, and – months after them all – our ridiculous Government Economist doubling their current forecasts and falling into line with mine.

Tue, 3 Feb
How glad I am to have dropped out of the running for the post of Chief Executive of the English Schools Foundation!  When I first applied, the job sounded quite attractive.  The HK$20 million tax-paid salary, the 12-bedroom mansion on the Peak with staff, the chauffer-driven Jaguar, the 10 first class tickets a year and the four months’ paid leave all seemed acceptable enough.  And nothing too onerous in terms of work.  Fire a head teacher from time to time to keep the others on their toes, and keep all the dirt about staff remuneration packages and students’ drug use out of the press.  But how wrong I was.  Before he has even started, the new man is
under attack.  Psychotic expatriate housewives froth at the mouth and tear at his flesh like hyenas simply because he is a used-car salesman who left formal education at the age of 14 and is wanted in four countries for embezzlement.  Don't they understand?   If you're serious about squandering taxpayers’ money by subsidizing expat brats and their overpaid gwailo teachers, you need someone who will do it properly.
Wed, 4 Feb
To celebrate its second birthday, I have decided to give this diary a new, simpler look – mainly as an exercise in pointless, unproductive change-for-its-own-sake, but also to encourage lesser page designers who were dispirited by their inability to match the artistry of my previous layout.  In a good mood after receiving a
platinum and diamond Hello Kitty from well-wishers, I will also take a new approach to the content of the written entries.  From now on, I will totally avoid negative, sarcastic and critical comments and unconstructive value judgements, and write only sweetness and pleasantness about all people and things.
Thurs, 5 Feb
Strolling past the Legislative Council building at an early hour, I have the misfortune to bump into James Tien, the slimy mental dwarf who runs that pathetic band of mucus-oozing gastropods, the Liberal Party.  It's hard to believe that he once graced the silver screen alongside legendary thespians like Jackie Chan and Sammo Hung in such
classics as Dragon Fist and Pantyhose Hero.  How tragic that the 'loveable bad guy' persona that was such a hit among moviegoers fails so miserably in the political sphere. "The only time voters like the evil-but-hard-to-take-seriously image," I explain to him slowly, "is when they're munching popcorn in the dark."   He blinks and nods, mumbling something about that's why we need functional constituencies.

Stephen Brown
predicts that the Hong Kong economy will grow by 8 percent this year, the second commentator this week to agree with my forecast of over 6 percent.  It would be interesting to take bets on which practitioner of the dismal science will be the last to recall Donald Tsang's dictum – no-one ever made money betting against the Big Lychee – and ditch their juvenile 2-4 percent estimates.  But as I say, the certainty of our Government Economist's department taking this honour makes such a wager pointless.
Fri, 6 Feb
I don’t object to being mentally undressed every morning by secretaries and marketing assistants as I glide down the Mid-Levels Escalator.  I pretend not to notice them admiring the natural and financial endowments bulging in my pants.  But today the furtive glances and surreptitious perusal give way to lustful glares and suggestive posturing.  It’s that time of the year again.  Only eight days to go before St Valentine’s Day and the dreadful prospect of sitting at home alone while every other girl in the office gazes into the eyes of her gawky beau in a price-gouging restaurant over candlelit pasta (free rose for ladies).  I give as good as I get, gazing back as if judging an unsuccessful modern sculpture and putting on my best 'I don’t think so' face.  By early next week, they will become desperate, suffering from depression and anxiety, to the extent that they will become indistinguishable in appearance from the 14.3 percent of Hongkongers suffering from constipation. 

Although the taxpayer-funded parasites behind this
statistic seek to alarm us, this can only be good news.  It means a wonderful 85.7 percent of us are sensible enough to consume proper quantities of fresh fruit, vegetables and water.  The rest are presumably destined to die horrible deaths as fat, starch and protein solidify in their intestines and their colons turn blacker and blacker.  It is simply nature’s cruel but effective way of maintaining the high average IQ of the Homo hongkongus species.

Will they ever learn on the Mainland?  If you want to be Asia’s financial centre, you need two things – the English legal system, and a big lump of granite sticking out of the sea.  I am distressed that we have so
little time left to get to know Shanghai, the city that will overtake Hong Kong – if not in the direction its promoters envisaged.   This is what happens when government planners think they can allocate capital more wisely than market forces.  Especially in a swamp. 
Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:

And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.

And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand:

And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.

Matthew 7:24-27