Hemlock's Diary

The ravings of Hong Kong’s most obnoxious expat

7-20 April 2002
Mon, 8 April

A small package arrives from my strange acquaintance A-Hing, who, with a long string of dog terminations in the Mid-Levels to his credit, is undoubtedly Hong Kong’s leading expert on the noble art of canicide.  Inside is a small plastic bag of purple crystal granules – carbofuran, a pesticide commonly used on Mainland farms.  It is the method of choice for those needing to despatch small mammals, such as my neighbour’s incessantly barking beasts.  When the curs stop yapping long enough to eat some meat laced with this substance, they will start to drool and twitch.  Within an hour, after some rather inconvenient, violent convulsing, they will die of shock and respiratory failure.  The effect sounds rather like that of sarin, the nerve gas.  One problem, however – how to deliver such tainted meat to the highly audible but inaccessible targets?

Tue, 9 April

An irate Secretary for Security Regina Ip calls, demanding to know why rumours are floating around that the two of us are having an affair.  I am momentarily stupefied before it dawns on me.  Many passers-by must have seen me earnestly holding her hands and looking into her eyes one lunchtime around a month ago at the now-defunct Elgin Tastes restaurant in Soho.  I had merely been imploring her to go with her instincts and introduce the death penalty for Mainland right-of-abode seekers who illegally stay in Hong Kong with their grizzly-looking relatives, rather than return to their pig farms as required by law. She seems relieved to be reminded, and makes a funny noise when I mischievously accuse her of calling me simply to arouse my interest in the probable delights of a genuine affair with the shapeliest Secretary for Security Hong Kong has ever had.

Wed, 10 Apr

Bump into Jason KC Wong, the number-two at one of Hong Kong’s
nastier little law firms, wandering down the corridor outside my office this morning.  He has come into S-Meg Tower to enlighten the big boss about the legal ramifications of wives referring to their husbands’ mistresses by name in suicide notes – an area in which Jason is Hong Kong’s leading authority. Sadly, his expertise being in great demand these days, we have no time to talk. 
Sat, 13 Apr

The Independent Commission Against Corruption has arrested dismal and talentless Canto-Pop star Nicholas Tse on suspicion of having switched drivers after crashing his Ferrari late one night on Cotton Tree Drive (one of the straightest and widest roads on Hong Kong Island).  That, at least, is the official reason being fed to the public.  My contacts at the ICAC tell a different story, however.  They say that incarceration has been ordered from the very top, as it seems to be the only way to stop him recording yet another album of his highly unpleasant music and corrupting the nation's youth by flaunting his odious lifestyle.

Tue, 16 Apr

A group of Mainland tourists is being shown around the neighbourhood, being left in no doubt that capitalism rules.  "This is where the gwailos, bananas and some Taiwanese and Japanese live," says the tour guide pointing to residents walking down the Mid-Levels Escalator.  "The brown ones work in the restaurants and clean people's homes."

It's good to see Mainlanders wanting to broaden their minds and learn about Hong Kong, rather than hit the karaoke bars like some people do when they vacation overseas.  And it's interesting how it's as easy as ever to spot Mainlanders in Hong Kong. In the past, they all had dowdy clothes, squatted on the ground, spat a lot and stared at everything.  Nowadays, they're the ones with black hair who can speak English.

Thu, 18 Apr

The Big Boss drags me along to a gathering at which I am lumbered with Martin Lee of that sad group of single-issue fanatics, the Democratic Party.  Lee denounces Tung Chee-hwa’s accountability system, presented to Legco yesterday. I sigh wearily and roll my eyes to the ceiling. 

“Look,” I tell him, “Tung is inept. If we can get some halfway competent ministers to kick arrogant civil servants into action, it can only improve things.”  “No, no” Lee wails.  “This doesn’t make government any more accountable to the people.”   Eyes roll even more.  “Mr Lee, how on
earth will Hong Kong benefit from having a government accountable to people who, after standing in line for hours listening to Nicholas Tse, buy – and immediately discard – a McDonald’s meal, so they can get a plastic model of Snoopy?” 

Needless to say, he cannot answer but just stands there with his mouth open.