Hemlock's Diary

The ravings of Hong Kong's most obnoxious expat
21-27 December 2003
Sun, 21 Dec
I have seen the future – and it is hamster enemas.  Over dinner, Polly the lipstick lesbian, favourite married couple Lincoln and May and I review our main investments.  The reflexology clinic is sucking cash out of demented rich women who think foot-rubbing benefits their health.  The members-only singles bar is doing less well, but we can live with it – we're only minority investors.  What's the big thing for 2004?  A new-age animal clinic.  "This will make huge money," I tell my three partners.  "Anthropomorphic expats will pay anything to have their mutts looked after.  I've found a vet in Australia – he lost his licence for drunkenness or something.  He treats bigger animals with the usual jabs and chemotherapy – he says 19-year-old dogs with cancer are a big money-spinner.  But he specializes in new-age treatment for smaller pets.  Colonic irrigation for gerbils is a big deal.  They all look the same, so if something goes wrong you just bin it and give the owners a new one."  The more I tell them about Barry the miracle rodent healer, the more they like the sound of him.  We will get him here, and we will all get rich.

Mon, 22 Dec
A planned day off work comes to an abrupt halt when the Big Boss calls at 7am and demands my presence in the office.  As the rest of Hong Kong flies out for Christmas or just sinks into a Yuletide stupor, the Chairman of S-Meg Holdings decides to panic about something.  Had I not drunk a large quantity of alcohol last night and ended up in the arms of an Indonesian girl with spectacles and very loud lipstick, I might be in a position to help.  As it is, I spend the day doing my token bleary-eyed Anglo-Saxon act. 

Staggering out of S-Meg Tower onto the crowded sidewalk with traffic rolling past, I have the misfortune to encounter Desperately Dull Desmond.  My heart sinks. He tells me a Michael Jackson joke I have heard before.  He mentions golf.  As he drones on, it occurs to me just how repellent he is.  After 20 years of climbing the greasy managerial pole at a British-owned conglomerate, his main achievement is a reputation for passing off his juniors’ work as his own, jamming his tongue up his superiors’ rear-ends, and being petrified of underlings who look him in the eye and know things he doesn’t.  One of his colleagues tells me that his psychometric profile is similar to that of a wife-beater. Two memories come back to me. 

At a school sports day – a fun day out – his nine-year-old son runs in the 100-metres dash and narrowly comes second.  Bursting into tears, the boy walks over to his father, who looks at him coldly.  “I’m sorry daddy, I’m really sorry,” wails the kid, “I’ll do better next time, I promise.”  

In Desmond's apartment one evening, with company, he receives a phone call from the school, 10 minutes away.  Their older son, around 11, has broken his arm in gymnastics training.  “Oh, could you look after it?” Desmond asks the sports coach, “we’re in the middle of a dinner party with some friends.”

One shove, and he could be under a double-decker bus.  But I'm too tired.  That Indonesian girl has a lot to answer for.

Tue, 23 Dec
Faced with the alternative of reading the
South China Morning Post, I find myself browsing idly through Section 9 (1) of Part II of the Crimes Ordinance.  Perusing paragraphs (a) and (d), the truth about Chief Executive Tung Chee-hwa's tireless approach towards pushing through Article 23 security legislation earlier this year suddenly leaps out at me.  Under the existing law, it's illegal to "bring into hatred or contempt or excite disaffection against the Hong Kong Government".  Which is exactly what Tung has been doing since mid-1997.  The legislation he was trying so hard to introduce would have abolished this colonial-era constraint.  I can only sympathise.  If I were guilty of a serious offence under current law, and I were in the fortunate position of being able to do change it, I would be desperate to do so.  Obviously, I am the only person apart from the crop-haired one to have noticed this embarrassing small print.  Since it's Christmas, I will keep it to myself.

Wed, 24 Dec
Hong Kong's community of satirists rejoice after receiving a surprise Christmas present from Governor Pataki of New York in the form of a
pardon, 40 years overdue.  On a scale of 0 (Nury Vittachi) to 10 (Not the South China Morning Post on a good day), Lenny Bruce would rate 100 for pushing the boundaries while exposing the folly and stupidity of people in general, and those who presume to order and lead us in particular.  As a Jew, he would probably not have had much time for Christmas, despite his interest in religious matters.
A lot of people say to me, "Why did you kill Christ?"  I dunno... it was one of those parties, got out of hand, you know. … We killed him because he didn't want to become a doctor, that's why we killed him.
He probably wouldn't have liked Hong Kong.
I hate small towns because once you've seen the cannon in the park there's nothing else to do.
I wonder what Lenny would have made of our Obscene Articles Tribunal, which once tried to ban Elizabeth Frink's sculpture of a male nude from public display because of its "semi-erect" penis?
If something about the human body disgusts you, complain to the manufacturer.
I remember contacting the wife of the Tribunal's chairman to ask whether, given her husband's idea of semi-erect, I could be of service.  She was so grateful.

Thurs, 25 Dec
Hacking my way with a machete through Lam Tin valley's python-infested banana plantations, I reach Walter W Wilde Esq in time for a sumptuous Christmas dinner.  As we dine on roast wild boar, villagers dutifully let off firecrackers to celebrate their district commissioner's barbarian holiday.  Surely, I implore him, it's time to tell them that the British no longer run Hong Kong?  He waves the idea aside and gorges himself on the alcoholic provisions I have brought along, while the local womenfolk fan him with huge leaves to ward off the tsetse flies and keep him comfortable on this surprisingly warm and sunny day.

In the evening, I return to Hong Kong island, where I find Lan Kwai Fong has been invaded by hordes of offensive racial stereotypes.  Throngs of Mainland tourists in clothes that seem to have been found in someone's attic try to photograph each other at 50-foot distances occupied by others doing the same.  Feral Kowloon housing estate bimbos – all glossy lipstick, mobile phones, mini skirts and Salem Lights – strut and pout, while their acne-wracked boyfriends grin nervously from beneath spiky mops of ginger hair on their exotic Christmas night out in alien Central.  Drunk gwailos, mostly called Kevin, talk loudly to each other in ugly Essex and Australian accents.  Slutty-looking, American-twanged Indian girls with their panties showing above their jeans lurk in dark corners of bars where no-one who knows their parents will see them.  Nepalese bar staff in Bad Concept ® uniforms carry supplies between hostelries.  Praying that no extra-terrestrial life forms choose this time and place to do a quick survey of mankind, I retreat to Perpetual Opulence Mansions.