Nostalgia and weirdness du jour

This just in: Body found at or near inappropriately named place for the first time in a while…

In the old days, there was a story that appeared in the Hong Kong press pretty much every few weeks. It always happened in a ‘hut’ in, it goes without saying, Kowloon, usually late at night. It would involve several men and one woman. The woman would apparently have been raped, but police inquiries would have been continuing. The key point, however – and this was the common feature to this alleged crime on every occasion – was that all those involved, male and female, went for noodles afterwards.

More nostalgia: amateur seafaring heroes are sailing off in rickety vessels to reclaim the Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands from Japan. As they have for decades…


Apart from that, everything went like clockwork.

This goes back to the 1970s (when the US transferred Okinawa back to the Tokyo authorities). For many of the older generation, it was their first political activism, which is probably one of the reasons feelings run so extraordinarily high about it. It is a rare issue that unites pro-Beijing and pan-democrat activists, just as it puts Mainland China and Taiwan on the same side. You might see ‘Long Hair’ Leung Kwok-hung on the pier next to some seedy businessman from the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment Etc of HK, with Communist and Nationalist flags both on display. By tradition, either someone drowns or the boat falls apart, or at least turns back for lack of insurance cover.

Usually, the Hong Kong government keeps its head down; the official policy has been to prevent the activists from sailing if their vessel was unseaworthy. Colonial-era Chief Secretary Anson Chan referred to the rocky outcrops by their Japanese name and clearly found the expeditions a bit low-class. But our new Chief Executive CY Leung has been more positive and voiced concern for the brave ‘all at sea’ patriots, who find themselves in the unusual position of having something nice to say about him.

The post-World War II treaties clearly make Diaoyutai Japanese under international law, though the PRC was not a signatory to the documents. If you look at a map, the islets look pretty much part of Taiwan – but that is an over-simplistic way of determining ownership, and Scarborough Shoal ‘looks’ clearly Filipino and the Paracel and Spratley islands ‘look’ clearly Vietnamese, so we can’t have that. China’s claim is based on history: ‘our fisherman landed there centuries ago’. Beijing also uses this justification for its claims to places like Scarborough Shoal (as if no-one else’s fisherman went near it).

This approach offers an intriguing opportunity for the government in Manila. Before Chinese settled Taiwan – as recently as the Ming Dynasty – the island had a longstanding aboriginal population who were Austronesians. They might have come via the mainland or, being an island-hopping culture, from Luzon to the south. Either way, they were of what we would now call Malay stock, and the few who keep their traditions alive up in the mountains still have the colourful stripy costumes and the funny dances where girls skip over bamboo poles. In short: they’re Filipino. Thus, so is Taiwan, thus so are the Diaoyu/Senkaku. Problem elegantly solved.

Meanwhile, the Hong Kong weirdness continues: While parents’ backs are turned, girl sells entire family’s worldly possessions for enough to buy a few rounds of drinks. Full details at ten.



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18 Responses to Nostalgia and weirdness du jour

  1. arm bears says:

    There’s not much point putting links to ProChinaMorningPost articles in your posts. Unless you’re a Post subscriber, they just link to the great Kwok paywall.

  2. Bela and Dean says:

    Hello Pop pickers. It’s singalong time yet again…


    Ten cameras for every ploy

    I bought a stupid cause and we call it so worthy
    (Senkaku here we come)
    Not justified, yet an oldie and a goody
    (Senkaku, here we come)
    Well, we ain’t got a back seat or a rear window
    And we don’t have clue where we gonna go

    And we’re goin’ to Senkaku, ’cause it’s ten to one
    You know we’re goin’ to Senkaku, gonna fall on our bum
    Ya, we’re goin’ to Senkaku ’cause it’s ten to one

    Ten journos for every ploy

    See the original….



  3. Real Fax Paper says:

    Linguistic evidence on the origin of Austronesian peoples suggests that they all originated in what is now Taiwan. And it is assumed that the original migration to Taiwan some 10,000 years ago came across the Taiwan Strait from what is now China, so your stripy, bamboo dancing Filipinos are actually Taiwanese, who themselves are in fact… oh nine-dash dear.

  4. Reductio says:

    Taiwanese indigenous people is not something I know about. But, contra Real Fax Paper, how about this:

    “Taiwanese aborigines are Austronesian peoples, with linguistic and genetic ties to other Austronesian ethnic groups, such as peoples of the Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, Madagascar, Polynesia, and Oceania (Hill et al. 2007; Bird, Hope & Taylor 2004).”

    From Wiki, so you never know. But still, seems clear to me.

  5. Real Fax Paper says:

    @ Reductio: That they have linguistic and genetic ties is not in dispute – it is which direction those ties went. Linguistic evidence suggests that Austronesian languages (and therefore people) originated in and radiated out from Taiwan…

  6. Big Al says:

    What it is with these massage chairs? I note that this was one of the items that naughty little girl sold (yes, I know she’s 17 years old, but like many of this age in Hong Kong, has the maturity of a 12 year old). These chairs are massively expensive, massively ugly and massively, well, massive. How can these be crammed into such small flats? I don’t get it …

  7. Walter De Havilland says:

    And we all came out of Africa … so get over it and accept that we are all the same.

  8. Chairman Mao says:

    That would mean Africa belongs to China as we were there first…

  9. Real Fax Paper says:

    So, what you’re saying is that the Senkaku islands are actually Ethiopian? This is getting more and more complicated by the second.

  10. Maugrim says:

    If you mined the Senkakus and struck shit as opposed to oil or gas, I’m sure Chinese interest would wane somewhat.

  11. Walter De Havilland says:

    And give Northerm Ireland back to the Vietnamese … Sorry I need to lie down.

  12. Walter De Havilland says:

    RTHK is reporting that the Japanese have used water cannon against the Hong Kong boat. Stand by for outpouring of protest … this could get interesting .

  13. Stephen says:


    Is there a sixteen year old TVB reporter travelling with the Diaoyu Lads ? I may watch the news tonight and hope it’s Sonia’s night off ?

  14. Joe Blow says:

    Last they sailed for the ‘islands’ one of them drowned.

    Maybe we get lucky again.

  15. Luddite aka Real Tax Payer says:

    @ Stephen

    I have switched to ATV news to avoid Sonia ( Sonya?) A-terrible-O

    IDEA ! ( Apart from exterminating all RTP sound-alikes) : dump Sonia on the Daioyu islands and have her read news 24/7

    That way NO-one in the world would ever want to go there again and HK would rejoice

    ( Now there’s a novel solution for world peace !)

  16. Real Tax Payer says:


    I forgot to delete the Luddite moniker

  17. Real Tax Payer says:

    … and in late breaking news this morning ( Thursday) the activists and the 2 reporters on board have all been taken off to prison in Okinawa awaiting extradition back to HK

    If only Sonya was one of the reporters captured and that we could refuse to re- admit her back here unless she first works for Japanese TV as a news reader for 5 years

    Now THAT would teach the Japanese a lesson they would never forget.

    (why is that no-one else thinks of such simple ways to solve world problems ? )

  18. Old Timer says:

    At least Sonia knows how to intone. Most of the ABCs on both channels have the intonational style of Stephen Hawking’s computer voice.

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