Many happy returns, Stanley


For many years now, every December 31, amateur actuaries with a twisted sense of fun have put casino/property mogul Stanley Ho at or near the top of their Hong Kong Celebrity Death Pool list. And every January 1, as they tick off their correct predictions and calculate their winnings, they ruefully note that the old guy has breathed another 12 months.

With just five weeks of 2016 to go, it looks like Macau’s most prominent tycoon has defied the odds again. The ever-groveling Standard celebrates Ho’s 95th birthday with a grinning-family-plus-cake photo and an enthusiastic account of the sprightly billionaire flinging money at worthy causes. A close look at the picture suggests a near-phantom, briefly unplugged from the hi-tech equipment at the hospice, unaware of anything, especially the vultures circling overhead.

I’m still not convinced. Shouldn’t there be a copy of yesterday’s newspaper on the table?

I declare the weekend open with an exciting selection of diversions. Another believable and generally grim outside-looking-in analysis of Hong Kong’s struggle against Chinese Communist Party oppression, including the phrase ‘irreversible feedback system’ (of the sort ‘that runs the risk of making Hong Kong, one of Asia’s most important international cities, ungovernable’). And talking of casino owners – an abandoned 1990s documentary about Donald Trump, in which business contacts, neighbours and others say pretty much what you would expect. Then, we have free booze…


…being given away by Finland’s Consul-General in Hong Kong, if you come across him. I think the message is: since you people don’t buy Nokia phones any more, we’re desperate and going into the gin business, so try some.

Lastly, a (for some reason site that is essentially a shrine to 1970s UK civic/municipal communications-materials design and ethos, by way of a creepily surreal parallel universe – Scarfolk


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2 Responses to Many happy returns, Stanley

  1. anon says:

    “for some reason”
    I believe will direct you to whichever domain is your closest.

  2. Knownot says:

    Three Shops in Tuen Mun

    In the nineteen-nineties, I suppose,
    Häagen Dazs, aiming high,
    Decided they would try
    In Tuen Mun. Who could pay their prices? They had to close.

    More recently, they thought they could re-enter
    The market. As far as I can tell,
    They’re doing pretty well
    In Tuen Mun MTR ‘V-City’ shopping centre.

    – – – – – –

    A Rolex shop is centrally located.
    Boarded up. I thought the shop
    Had finally come to a stop.
    Not at all. In fact, it’s being renovated.

    – – – – – –

    A place selling ‘tiramisu ice-cream’.
    Forty-five dollars a cup.
    You eat it standing up.
    Most customers are local kids, or so they seem.

    Buy one, buy another for your girl-friend.
    Eat them standing in the walkway.
    Ninety, blown away.
    What a lot of money the youngsters have to spend!

    – – – – – –

    I wrote this about a month ago. I offer it now, for what it’s worth, before it goes out of date. The Rolex shop has reopened.

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