Sort of good news for the weekend

Collapsing markets, forced confessions on CCTV, blizzards and subzero temperatures expected from Washington DC to Shatin, mass-deaths among entertainment stars – and a mysterious huge invisible ninth planet suddenly appears on the edge of the solar system. We desperately need to end the week with some Positive Energy.

We can start with the delectable news that Hong Kong’s tourism industry is facing at least a relatively hard time ahead


Clearly when arrivals have dropped and yet are 59.3 million, you still have a long way to go. But there are reasons for optimism. Economic problems in the Mainland and the strong Hong Kong Dollar look set to continue. We can also rely on the self-centred, short-term gimme-gimme-money-now philosophy of our tourism/landlord lobby (the Tourism Board is headed by the boss of developer Lai Sun, who is also trying to cadge cheap cinemas from us).

A more enlightened, long-term tourism strategy would rest on a first-do-no-harm policy towards the rest of the economy and population. It would calculate that the nicer Hong Kong is to live in, the more it will be attractive to visitors. Instead of evicting local residents to make space for herds of overseas moron-gawker-shoppers, they would focus on making the city pleasant for everyone, and let it keep its character rather than bury it under endless malls.

But the industry can think only of cramming more and more shoppers into our streets. Thus it thinks up ridiculous ideas that should fail gloriously. One of their target markets will be ‘salarymen on short breaks’, which sounds like buses of horny Japanese guys on a Pearl River Delta brothels tour. If it’s Wednesday this must be Dongguan. And they hope to lure families from India and Southeast Asia with a ‘Wine and Dine’ festival and a ‘Cyclothon’. It all sounds laughably dire.

I have a related idea, by the way. I have noticed that the packs of Koreans who wander around my devoid-of-any-interest neighbourhood tend to cluster around these nasty pink signposts…


They are obviously drawn to them, like ants to sugar. Remove the signposts, and the problem may well disappear.

More good news arrives in my email inbox. I get quite a few press releases from hitherto unheard-of enterprises desperate for publicity, but I have never had one that is interesting – until now.

It starts…

Hong Kong’s only laser tattoo removal clinic is holding HK’s first ever tattoo removal competition in 2016. Throughout this year-long event, contestants will vie for the titles of Best Tattoo Removal Progress, Best Transformation, and People’s Choice.

It goes on to explain that…

Unwanted tattoos can lower self-esteem, limit professional aspirations, and harm relationships. “There is a general perception that tattoos are permanent,” [Certified Laser Specialist ] Ms. Winter said. “When people discover the options available to them, it opens doors and affects lives in a positive way. It’s extraordinary to be a part of that.”

On the other hand, tattoo removal does require time and commitment. “We strive to help our clients stay focused and complete this life-changing experience,” Ms. Winter commented. The Ink Out Challenge is designed to continue the motivation and excitement of New Year’s resolutions and goals throughout the year.

Tattoo removal sounds like self-cleaning ovens or weight-loss with no dietary changes or exercise – something that’s impossible, but desperate fools will pay for it anyway. The tone of the press release is interesting for its sympathetic treatment of people who have consciously decided to make themselves look permanently grotesque and then changed their minds.

TattoosMaybe removing a little butterfly from a buttock is do-able. But I doubt even the most talented Certified Laser Specialist could erase the huge zig-zag/stripy/pointy (Maori?) patterns that half the white male 25-35 age group have had implanted onto their arms and legs, presumably as a way to express their unique identities. The important thing is that Hong Kong is on course to be Asia’s Tattoo Removal Hub.

I declare the weekend open with a special treat for fans of the One Belt, One Road initiative. From our friends and fellow residents of the Greater China Co-Prosperity Zone in beautiful Kazakhstan, I bring you Dos-Mukasan


This is a classic example of how you should not judge a book by its cover. It is the 1970s. It is the height of the Cold War. The USSR is tentatively tweaking the extent to which it oppresses its population. In order to counteract the underground market in smuggled Western decadent blue-jeans and Beatles records, the Communist authorities order a little more tolerance for home-grown hip-n-groovy popular culture. But creativity remains suspect. So avant-garde musicians must portray themselves as safe and even ludicrously corny. Whether you like the music or not, you have to admit they did a great job in misrepresenting themselves, and even getting the state-owned Melodya label to bring out the album. Behind the matching red satin suits and horrid hairstyles is some distinctly un-Soviet psychedelic folk-jazz – Kazakh-style…

Who needs a life, when you have YouTube?




This entry was posted in Blog. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Sort of good news for the weekend

  1. Grumbuskin says:

    Bloody hell, the Kazakhs are great — like a more tuneful version of Gong.

  2. Grumbuskin says:

    I now discover that the producer of Gong’s 1973 Flying Teapot album did in fact come from the Soviet Union…

  3. Interweb Troll says:

    OMFG… only fifty-nine-point-three million mainland lumpkins crammed into our streets lugging ox cart loads of shampoo, ferrero rocher and yakult…. The sky is falling! The sky is falling!

  4. Cassowary says:

    “Gimme gimme” is Hong Kong economic policy in a nutshell. Watch how quickly any sector flips from “we have a labour shortage” to “oh noes, mass unemployment” and back again. Today we have the construction lobby freaking out that Legco’s filibustering will throw 80,000 people out of work.

    “Lawrence Ng San-wa, president of the Hong Kong Construction Sub-contractors Association, said: “Taking into account the family members of these affected employees, the affected people would be as much as 1.4 million.”

    I don’t know how fecund he thinks construction workers are, if each one is supporting 17.5 family members.

  5. Medical “doctors” (merely two bachelor degrees but I’m no snob) often rate patients using the Scumbag Index. Numbers of tattoos multiplied by the number of missing teeth. Watch then tattoo victims for that curious “SBI” addendum in your medical notes. It’s nothing medical. It’s just what they think of you. It only applies to British-trained “doctors” I believe.

  6. Red Dragon says:


    Utter gibberish.

    If you can’t do better than this, then please stop posting.

Comments are closed.