Hemlock's Diary

The ravings of Hong Kong’s most obnoxious expat

16-22 June 2002
Mon, 17 Jun

The subject of Vivienne Chow’s column in the SCMP today?  Soup.  Yes, soup.  No recipes.  No advice on the creation or consumption of soup.  No information about soup whatsoever.  If the writer were a chef, her column would be cabbage soup, of interest to no-one unless they are following Regina Ip's weight-loss diet.  Most of us prefer something a little more substantial.  A bouillabaisse, or a tom ka kai, perhaps.  Or a clam chowder.  Or, given the time of year, a gazpacho.  Was moved to write the following email, which was copied to the SCMP's editor and features editor on the off-chance that they take an interest in the quality of their scribes' work.
From: "Hemlock" <hemlock@hellokitty.com>
To:  vivienne.chow@scmp.com,richard.feldman@scmp.com,arw@chineseculture.net
Subject: Your SCMP column
Date: Mon, 17 Jun 2002 12:19:42 +0800

Dear Vivienne, Richard, Annie,

In case you are interested in feedback, your respective SCMP columns
are being discussed on the following message board threads:
I'm sure you would be welcome to join the discussions.
All the best,
I look forward to hearing the SCMP's columnists' responses to the constructive criticism, which they will undoubtedly find makes a valuable contribution to their development as journalists.
Tue, 18 Jun

A rare email from Walter W Wilde, Esq., who last visited Central in 1991 and lives as a recluse in a cave in Tai Lam Valley, in the primeval depths of the New Territories.  He walks around in a peaked cap and long shorts, waving a swagger stick and commanding instant respect among the local population, who are unaware that the British no longer rule Hong Kong.  Indeed, among the older members of the community, he is venerated as a living god.  

He says that on Sunday the local villagers found a 10-foot python killing someone's cat (one "Meimei") on the temple roof, and were at odds about what to do.  The village elders were minded to kill it.  The younger ones, exposed to green, pro-environment ideas at school, were arguing that the creature was harmless (unless you were Meimei) and would depart of its own accord if left alone.  Along came Walter.  After listening carefully to both sides of the argument, he decreed, quite rightly, that the repulsive beast should be beaten to a pulp and fed to the pigs, which it was – but not before Hong Kong’s only surviving gwailo district commissioner took this charming picture:
© 2002 W Wilde     Used by permission    All rights reserved
Fri, 21 Jun

The Big Boss invites the consul-general of a poor and corrupt Southeast Asian country to lunch in the S-Meg Tower penthouse, and the company gwailo is dragged along to make up the numbers.  The Big Boss wants to complain about a business deal that went wrong in the hell-hole concerned, so he has to listen politely as the diplomat recites tedious statistics about the large number of his compatriots living in Hong Kong, mostly as domestic servants.  "My friend Odell's bonked about a third of them," I announce.  "He thinks they're great."

Well, I could have.