Hemlock's Diary

The ravings of Hong Kong’s most obnoxious expat

23-29 June 2002
Mon, 24 Jun

Our decisive Chief Executive Tung Chee-hwa unveils his new cabinet of accountable ministers, several days after having to postpone the event as incredulous Beijing officials demanded to know whether he couldn't find anyone better to fill the posts.

I feel for CH.  The mediocrity of this line-up is testament to his complete failure to convince men and women of calibre to join his team.  Not only did all his first choices turn him down, but so did all of the second ones, and many of the third ones.  Talk about scraping the bottom of the barrel. Among the new faces
: a congenitally pompous university vice-chancellor, a lady with unatttractive legs who is regional manager of a civil engineering company, and an eye doctor who, to his credit, once had the good taste to denounce artists who rely on government grants as worthless layabouts.
Tue, 25 Jun

Like all shareholders of Cheung Kong Holdings, I am being offered a guaranteed number of shares in the company's new spin-off, CK Life Sciences, a loss-making fertiliser company promising a cure for AIDS, and other miracles.  "Bio" is the new "cyber".  I hugely respect Li Ka-shing's ability to conjure money into being, and I am more than happy for us both to profit from the stupidity of Hong Kong's pitiful speculators, who will subscribe in droves for shares in this latter-day dot com.  My application form, needless to say, is in the bin.

Wed, 26 Jun

Does Soho need another French restaurant?  Lipstick lesbian entrepreneur Polly thinks so.  Fellow business partners Lincoln and May are divided, the former being unsure, and the latter saying the majority of restaurants go bust within a year, so don't bother.  I therefore have the casting vote.  A real quandary.  On the one hand, I have thought up a truly brilliant name –
Est-ce que les Teurs...? (Teur being a family name, perhaps).  On the other hand...  May is right.  We're trying to make money, not chuck it away. We shall leave restaurant ownership to sexual deviants who enjoy losing large amounts of sleep and money. 

Fri, 28 Jun

An afternoon off.  It is 90 degrees, but not too humid, so I take a stroll in the woods up the hill from Pokfulam behind HK University.  In a particularly dense thicket I hear gruff voices speaking Japanese.  Hiding behind a tree, I spy three men probably around 80 years of age, wearing ragged uniforms and carrying bolt action rifles with fixed bayonets.  Two are squatting on the ground.  The third, sporting a samurai sword, is standing and is clearly in charge.  Given their advanced years, it seems unlikely that they will be awaiting orders for much longer, so I withdraw and leave them in peace.

Sat, 29 Jun

The dangers of meeting on-line acquaintances in real life are well-known.  Apparently decent people turn out to be dangerous, mentally deranged predators, or at least fat and ugly.  So it is with trepidation that I meet up with "Susan" who contacted me out of the blue on ICQ a few days ago.  Needless to say, I take a can of pepper spray and my trusty 7.62mm Black Star.  Much to my surprise, she turns out to be a pleasant young lady, with the real-life name of Apple.  No orange lipstick.  No Hello Kitty. And, aware of Chinese girls' reputation for wealth appropriation, insistant on going halves for lunch.   Or at least, she
appears to be pleasant.  Maybe it is just an act.  Judging by the way she brazenly used a mobile phone in the bar of the FCC, she may be a closet psychopath. Plus pink toenails.  Next time, I will take the pepper spray, just in case.