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

28 April-11 May 2002
Mon, 29 April
An email from the office of our fearless leader Tung Chee-hwa.  Urgent, according to Cecilia, the the most buxom flunky in the place. Can I think of anything Tung can do this week that is guaranteed to please the big landlords?  She gives no particular reason why he needs to please them at short notice, but it's hardly the first time.  Perhaps some of them are going up to Beijing next weekend to deliver a performance assessment to the imperial court.  After giving the matter a few seconds’ thought, the answer comes to me in a flash.  “Tell him to announce that the government’s going to occupy the last bit of decent-sized flat land in Central, thus, in time, squeezing the amount of private-sector office space downtown.  They’ll love it.” 

Tue, 30 April
Bump into wild American friend Odell, who is looking the worse for wear. Apparently, he woke up at 4am this morning in a cheap Wanchai guest house with a young Thai lady next to him.  He quickly dressed, staggered out, grabbed a taxi and got back to his flat in Caine Road, had a pee and made it to bed without his fellow Mormon missionaries noticing.  Or so he thought.  The bad news was that the condom he had neglected to notice he was still wearing ended up in the toilet. His flat mates are praying for him.

Wed, 1 May
The press announce that the Tamar site, worth some $15 billion when the economy picks up, is to be wasted on a grandiose monument to huge government, at a cost of an extra $6 billion or so. Li Ka-shing voices his approval.  Hopefully, Tung will remember who gave him the idea in the first place.

Thursday, 2 May
The Big Boss is in a terrible state after Eastweek and the other rags run an expose on the affair his counterpart at Bank of East Asia, David Li Kwok-po, is having with Peggy Liu (Liu as in Liu Chong Hing Bank).  He is, of course, flattering himself in imagining that he is in the same league as David Li, either in terms of importance or style. Or taste in women, for that matter – the only magazine that would want a picture of the Big Boss’s ugly bloated Mainland mistress on its cover is Pig Breeder's Weekly.

Saturday, 4 May
To the once-unsalubrious district of Western for the evening.  Polly the lipstick lesbian has bought a new flat – the first for three years (a clear indication that the market is about to turn).  Happy married couple Lincoln and May join me in an inspection.  A decent enough property, I suppose, if you can live with the name of the place – Flatulance Towers. Why not just call it The Belcher’s and be done with it?  Oh, they did.

We kick around a few business ideas.  The absurd reflexology clinic is bringing in huge amounts of money from gullible new age types, and we have been thinking of expanding it.  May suggests going into colonic irrigation, but I veto that on the grounds that I couldn’t possibly discuss a venture concerning such a peverse practice over dinner, as we like to do.  She gets her revenge by dismissing my tourism-related suggestion – group trips to the Mainland that include attendance at a public execution as part of the package. Maybe she is right is saying that Chinese wouldn’t be interested, but I’m sure many Westerners would pay handsomely for the opportunity to experience the prurient frisson associated with such events.  Obviously, the marketing would need to be sensitive and tasteful, accentuating the educational aspects of the tours.

Talking of frissons, whatever happened to women's underarm hair?  Brainwashed by the disposable razor industry, virtually all Hong Kong women - with the exception of one of Polly's friends - now sport ugly stubble where there had once been those tantalizing and delightful little tufts of hair that nature intended. Only in the more hellish neighbourhoods on Kowloon side can this charming sight be seen today.

Wednesday, 8 May
The Big Boss is in hospital after being attacked by his wife - a swipe to the face left a nasty, diamond ring-shaped gash on his cheek.

Take advantage of this and venture all the way out to Sai Kung to see Ben, Hong Kong's second most obnoxious expat.  He is feeling desperately sorry for himself after ejecting Rainbow, his live-in girlfriend of two years' standing (on the entirely reasonable - indeed imperative - grounds that she wanted to get married).  Nothing that can't be fixed by a couple of bottles of Beaujolais, a few bowls of opium and a cautionary tale about marriage in the form of a description of the Big Boss's blood-drenched experience at the hands of a cruel wife.  Leave him in much better spirits.