The mood on the Mid-Levels Escalator this morning is one of celebration as news spreads of the return of A-Hing, the Bowen Road Dog Poisoner.
Mostly. There are one or two mournful looks among some of the more pasty-faced female commuters. Not that they would bring their pets onto this wondrous mass transit system – no-one has done that since the tragic accident with the Chihuahua in the fake Louis Vuitton handbag and the 30-foot drop onto Hollywood Road into the path of the Number 26 bus. (People still go on about it. Has the animal nipped anyone’s fingers since then? I think not.)
For 99% of us, the return of the infamous Mid-Levels Dog Strangler is a cause for rejoicing. The importance of the mild-mannered A-Hing’s contribution to society is impossible to overestimate, yet it is hard to pin down exactly what drives him. Tony Blair, in his recent debate in Toronto with Christopher Hitchens, claimed that religion was a force for good because it inspired some people to serve their fellow man to a greater extent than would otherwise be the case. Yet few folks are more selfless than A-Hing, who is not a man of faith. To him, it is simply the Right Thing to Do. I offered to put his name forward for a Silver Bauhinia Star, but he would have none of it.
To A-Hing, the incessant barking and yapping that makes life a misery for thousands upon thousands of innocent people, day and night, throughout our densely populated community is cause enough to dispatch the furry fiends. The right to sleep and a bit of quiet comes first. Then, he adds, you consider the excrement on the sidewalks, and the flies and diseases it creates. Then there is the physical fear the beasts cause among young children traumatized by the sight of bare fangs and dripping, rancid saliva inches away from them. There are the actual bites, and in extreme cases, infants savaged to death. It is immoral and anti-human not to eliminate the animals, says A-Hing – and unlike many of us, he actually does something about it.
What about the disgusting smell the creatures give off when wet? I have asked him. And that perverted habit of jabbing their disgusting damp noses against your crotch? And the bottom sniffing thing? A-Hing laughs these off as eccentricities; he is a tolerant type. But dogs don’t belong in town, except on a plate.
Meanwhile, the dog-worshiping cult is up in arms. As always when reminded of the mortality of mutts, they complain that our law enforcement agencies are not doing enough. This time the self-centred anthropomorphs are demanding:
- Round-the-clock stationing of the entire Police Tactical Unit on Bowen Road for the next five years, with helicopters and night vision equipment
- Personal armed bodyguards to accompany each pet taken for walks anywhere in the Kennedy Road/Peak area
- Inclusion if the word ‘excruciating’ in every sentence (rather than paragraph) in all South China Morning Post reports of doggy-demise
- Canine emergency resuscitation units offering CPR, Heimlich manoeuvre, oxygen, mustard foot baths, etc for all breeds at 50-yard intervals throughout the threatened neighbourhood
- All middle-aged Chinese males of modest net-worth appearance to be arrested and sent off to concentration camps in cattle trucks, to protect the more sacred life-form
As Hong Kong’s hard-working and resourceful middle class glides down the hill towards the central business district, some of us wonder whether a different method of dog eradication might calm down the agitated pet lovers as the vital process of pest removal continues. Mrs Chan the marketing manager suggests electrocution, while Mr Ng the banker proposes hanging. Visions of the garrotte flash though my mind, but I think better of it.
“I can only quote the great Dorothy Parker,” I tell my friends…
“Razors pain you;
Rivers are damp;
Acids stain you;
And drugs cause cramp.
Guns aren’t lawful;
Gas smells awful
You might as well poison the curs with Carbofuran.”