Hemlock's Diary

The ravings of Hong Kong's most obnoxious expat

16-22 February 2003
Sun, 16 Feb
To the Che Kung Temple to perform the New Year ritual of shaking a bamboo stick from a container so some demented old charlatan can tell my fortune.  Examining the stick, the ancient seer initially looks alarmed, then becomes reverent and even awestruck.  I am, he tells me – trembling – the secret love child of Donald Rumsfeld and Regina Ip. The surrounding crowd falls silent. All eyes are on me.  People in rags reach out to touch me.  "Stay cool," I tell myself.  I bow slightly and leave smartly in such as a way as to suggest that he has confirmed what I have long suspected.

Ex-Mormon Odell turns up unannounced and drunk, with beer and problems. He was at yesterday's march against war in Iraq, he reports. It took place?  I had looked for it as I wandered around Central and Admiralty, but found no sign of it. "There were only a few dozen of us," he says. "You wouldn't have noticed unless you got up close."  He is ashamed of being on the same side as the senile Methodist from Newcastle, England, Elsie Tu.  Who wouldn't be?  If there was one good reason for war on Saddam, there would probably have been few, if any, decent, if simple-minded folk like Odell protesting worldwide yesterday alongside the cretinous anarchists,
Greenpeace and other anti-capitalist weirdos.  But there isn't one – there are at least four that are distinct and compelling, plus a few more if you want them.  Too much for these people to handle.  Mark Steyn gets it right: "Today's demo is good for Saddam, but bad for the Iraqi people… One day, not long from now, when Iraq is free, they will despise those who marched to keep them in hell."

Which is where Odell will remain, as it happens. It emerges that Mee, his supposedly computer-illiterate Thai wife, has not only learnt how to switch on his PC, but has been rummaging through his Internet bookmarks and does not like what she finds. "I tried explaining that a link to
Mature Eskimo Anal Sex Sluts is standard with MS Explorer," he says. "But she doesn't believe me."  And there's worse.  "She went through all the numbers in my mobile phone, called up every female listed, and told them to drop dead and not come near me.  My sister was in tears."  Reasons to stay single accumulate at such a rate that I sweep them up and fill one big plastic bag full of them every week.
Mon, 17 Feb
Like many do-gooders,
Oxfam HK has a difficult circle to square – how to stay trendy and cool and anti-American, yet not appear to support evil tyrants like Saddam Hussein? Its recent internal discussion descended into tortured, relativist cliché. “Are we as vigilant condemning [Iraq] as we condemn the Western powers who demonstrate imperialist behaviour?” asks one CK.  “I'm
not quite sure.  Despite the imperialist nature of the Western governments, they are checked by democratic systems so that we can leverage freedom of speech to criticise.” Yes, unlike in those non-imperialist places, where they rip your fingernails off in a dungeon.  Chan Yau, the Oxfam HK boss, concedes that they should avoid double standards, but points out that the US is also guilty.  “We know that Saudi and other Arab regimes are equally if not more oppressive to its people than Iraq… We know that Israel possesses weapons of massive destruction with US support.” And we know that Oxfam should stick to feeding starving babies.  What is it that convinces these people that they must hate the civilized world to help the uncivilized one?
Tue, 18 Feb
Hallucinogenic substance abuse hits an all-time high among our Legislative Councillors, judging by tomorrow’s motion on the 2003-04 Budget, the work of Dr the Hon Yeung Sum, charismatic leader of the Democratic Party. 
“…this Council demands the Government, when formulating the … budget, not to raise tuition fees, not to increase … fees and charges that affect people’s livelihood, not to cut spending across the board on … services , and not to introduce tax increases targeted at the middle class.” In an amendment, scruffy-looking YC Yeung of the Beijing-funded DAB piles on yet more areas not to be cut or taxed, namely welfare and the lower orders.  In another, sex-bomb Miriam Lau of the protectionist, anti-competition, pro-cartel “Liberal” party tosses in a plea not to raise duty on vehicle fuel – one of her little fetishes.  So you clowns want no money to be raised, but tons spent? Fine.  As if our Financial Secretary Antony Leung doesn’t have enough on his mind, with his young, medal-winning wife about to produce future Olympic-diving progeny.
Wed, 19 Feb
I need a
Financial Times to help me make sense of a world where Eastern Europe’s naughty children tell menopausal France where to go, and Japanese lesbian monkeys leap out of their Hokkaido closets. But where to get one as I glide down the Mid-Levels Escalator into the heart of Asia’s World City at 8am?  The newsstand on Staunton Street? No, the loutish youth in charge is still in bed.  The newsstand in Central Market?  No, it has not yet been delivered.  The newsstand in IFC 1?  Ditto. But how come it has already been delivered to the fake-Deli France on the next floor up, even though that outlet’s mission in life is to sell lame coffee and pastries, with newspapers a mere afterthought?  Even more puzzling – why would anyone want to imitate a Deli France?
Thurs, 20 Feb
“If you were thinking of having a baby, this would be an ideal time to get pregnant,” Edwin Ma, the
South China Morning Post's all-seeing astrologer, tells everyone born in the Year of the Dog.  This gifted clairvoyant's ability to detect that every woman born in 1958, ‘70 and ‘82 is about to ovulate is uncanny and must have a more profitable commercial application than the writing of horoscopes.  But I am at a loss to know what.
Fri, 21 Feb
Pathetic spineless wimps, everywhere I look.  First,
as I suspected, the Constitutional Affairs Bureau will not include the herbalists and other traditional Chinese voodoo quacks with the scientifically trained sons of Hippocrates in the Legislative Council’s medical constituency.  The two groups loath each other, and the circus would have been noticeably more entertaining if this cruel idea had been implemented. Second, the cowards of the USS Blue Ridge chickened out when they had a boatload of deranged and dangerous Greenpeace HK lunatics in their sights, calling on police launches when a quick burst from a half-inch calibre machine gun would have resolved the matter economically.  Saddam can sleep easy.  Thirdly, the Government has predictably backed off from staunching the ooze of public-sector pus gorging itself on our reserves and wallets.  They nervously propose that civil servants on packages 200% too high should take a 6% pay cut.  Phased in over two years.  If it’s alright with them. Will this trigger the long-overdue backlash from an alliance of business and the middle class?  The “Dump Tung” campaign still smoulders silently in boardrooms, and patience is wearing thin in the world of negative equity, salaries tax, Canadian passports and kids’ piano lessons.