|The ravings of Hong Kong's most obnoxious expat
6-12 February 2005
|Mon, 7 Feb
With many of Hong Kong’s clean-living, overtaxed and disenfranchised middle class leaving town for the New Year holiday, the crowd is thin on the Mid-Levels Escalator this morning. A British couple – relatively new to the Big Lychee – show an unhealthy interest in the charging of Nancy Kissel with the murder in 2003 of her husband Rob, neither of whom they ever met. “Is it that big a deal to you?” I ask. “Domestic murders happen every day in public housing estates in Tin Shui Wai. Rat poison in the congee, meat cleavers in the skull.” Yes, they admit, but it’s different isn’t it? After all, if it could happen to the Kissels… I will send them a copy of the Life Cycle of the Expat Wife, which the Immigration Department is supposed to issue with every work permit.
As we glide down towards Queens Road, we are joined by my marketing executive neighbour in Perpetual Opulence Mansions, who is more worried about political character assassination. She is angered by the Dongguan police force’s suspiciously eager insistence that Alex Ho falls into line with their story of how he was imprisoned without trial for hiring a prostitute. “Put yourself in their shoes,” I tell her. “They can’t have this despicable little man dragging their name through the mud like that. The reputation and integrity of the Mainland’s public security system are at stake.” Long Hair will be next, she predicts. Already, the scurrilous Eastweek magazine is running an expose on his love life – trysts with a harem of groupies late at night, when proper, dedicated legislators are tucked up in bed reading their copies of the Legislative Council’s Rules of Procedure.
FLICKING THROUGH the news in my office, I read that someone called Brad Pitt is to appear in a TV commercial. Off the top of my head, I suspect Mr Pitt is a movie actor, though I don’t recall seeing him in any films. Indeed, if he came up to me on the street and bit me on the nose, I wouldn’t recognize him. It seems he has had a ‘marital split’ from one Jennifer Aniston, of whom I have never heard at all. Another Hollywood star? Who cares? What makes me curious is why the editors think I should be interested in these people, whose activities seem to have no bearing at all on air quality, oil prices, interest rates, the advisability of bombing Iran, my stock portfolio, the value of my apartment, my dental health, the mood of the Big Boss, the number of women lusting after me, taxes, or anything else that affects the world I live in. It’s like the woman on the radio in the morning who, every 10 minutes, feels a need to tell us that the Houston Oilers beat Manchester United 10 sets to 1 with a birdy. There are people out there who devote time and mental resources to following these events in detail – I know from the anguished looks on their faces when they ask to see the newspaper’s sports section and I tell them it went straight in the bin. As a result of these new opiates, the masses have less knowledge that can be used to gain respect, wealth or influence. Which leaves more opportunities for the rest of us. So well done Brad! Whoever you are. Keep it up.
|THE STITCH-up of Long Hair begins, with communist-funded Wen Wei Po summarizing Eastweek’s world-shattering exclusive – ‘Dastardly unpatriotic legislator goes to bars and hangs out with foreign women, goes into 4-star hotels after dark, stays out late and comes back looking like a zombie’. But could this backfire? From a psephological point of view, I think Long Hair comes out ahead. I foresee a massive rise in the Honourable Leung Kwok-hung’s popularity among young male voters, impressed by the rebel’s new image as ‘blonde American babe-magnet’. In theory, Hong Kong womanhood might rush to vote for pro-Beijing candidates to punish the frisky Trotskyist for being a traitor to his race. But they will probably be too busy doing their Asian temptress acts, enticing rich, helpless, gullible Western men away from their plump wives and screaming kids. And then there are the wives of legislators and officials who have been photographed in hotels with other women. They will surely vote for singleton Cheung Mo out of spite for their philandering husbands. And there are enough of them to swing an election.|
|Tue, 8 Feb
Sitting at my desk on the top floor of S-Meg Tower, I become aware of an alluring aroma gradually permeating my office. It arouses something deep inside me and compels me to investigate. I walk out the door and stroll across Private Office to the reception desk, where I find Ms Fang the hunter-killer secretary sitting with a male epsilon, one of the three Stanleys from the mail room. Before them lies a large stack of crisp, newly issued, consecutively-numbered HK$100 banknotes, almost shimmering with their sweet scent. Ms Fang takes a shiny bill off the pile, folds it gently, aligns the corners perfectly, puts a sharp crease into it with a metal ruler, and flicks it to one side. Stanley picks it up and puts it into a small, bright red S-Meg Holdings-branded envelope, which he seals. This is the Big Boss’s supply of lai see. I ask Ms Fang how many red packets they have to fill. She says a thousand. Some are for staff in the building, but the rest are for our visionary Chairman to dispense to well-wishers over the first few weeks of the Year of the Rooster. Everyone’s favourite Chinese New Year custom. So much more practical than vague and invariably futile wishes for peace on earth and goodwill to all men.
|Wed, 9 Feb
I wake up to find a youngish lady lying next to me, examining me with adoring eyes. “I love looking at you while you’re asleep,” she murmurs. “You look like a little girl.” I frown and turn over. “Yes, it’s strange,” she continues, “but I get a real kick out of that.” I bury my appealing features into the pillow. “I think – wow, I was having sex with this person who looks like a little girl.” She puts her arm round me. “It turns me on!” she hisses. I would put it down to her poor eyesight, or the fact that she is some sort of pervert. But this is not the first time I have heard something along these disturbing lines. Far from it. I would use the word ‘Adonis’ rather than ‘little girl’ – but it is true, thank God, that I do not resemble the sort of Neanderthal extra-Y-chromosome half-beasts who have to scrabble for a living driving a truck or carrying bags of cement. And I am more than happy that right-thinking women find such savages visually repulsive and can gaze upon me contentedly for hours. But can’t they keep their depraved fantasies to themselves first thing in the morning? It is a peculiar start to a five-day weekend.
|Fri, 11 Feb
Even by Chinese New Year standards, Hong Kong is dead this holiday season. Apart from the distant clatter of mahjong tiles in low-rent neighbourhoods where people are amused by such mind-numbing pastimes, the only signs of life are the tourists searching in vain for signs of life – as promised by the Hong Kong Tourism Board. Why doesn’t someone sue those imbeciles for untruthful advertising? They promise excitement and festivities at a time when everything is shut down. On the bright side, the unfortunate travellers will learn something – the Big Lychee is a great place to live in, but you wouldn’t want to visit it.
The only noteworthy thing I can find on an early morning stroll past the galleries of Hollywood Road is one of the most artless modern Chinese paintings I have yet seen. My wonderful Olympus Mu 1410 camera sees fit to capture reflections of the old police station and a passing taxi, but I think my photograph shows the scene well enough. A group of weakly rendered elderly men, members of a Chinese ethnic minority, sit at a table examining a bad portrayal of Botticelli’s Venus. Some Westerner will pay big money for it. The artist is Chinese and therefore wise and mysterious. Thus the painting is deep and meaningful and of great cultural merit and financial worth. Like all scams, it can’t last.
On the subject of bad taste, I read that Britain’s Prince Charles is to marry Camilla Parker Bowles on 8 April. The union will be consummated live on CNN from a royal suite in Buckingham Palace. Maybe that trendy but vacuous Mainland artist could depict the event in oils. If he can make Venus ugly, what level of grotesquerie could he attain with this hideous couple?