Hemlock's Diary

The ravings of Hong Kong's most obnoxious expat

3-9 November 2002
Sun, 3 Nov
Excuse me, but what exactly are we supposed to be getting outraged about
here?  Hong Kong�s high-end whoredom gathers outside Central Government Offices to protest against the publicity machine that keeps it fat. Emily Lau (no relation), fearless defender of press freedom, warns that the Legislative Council might have to pass restrictive laws.  Government officials weigh in, trying to gauge, and then replicate precisely, the degree and tone of public indignation. All this because Eastweek magazine prints a photo of a naked bimbo actress being held against her will during a brief abduction 12 years ago.  She didn�t press charges, but that�s standard in Hong Kong�s movie industry after unsolicited career advice from triads. 

Who�s at fault here? 
Eastweek, for pandering to shallow readers who stubbornly refuse to read The Economist?  The talentless movie stars, who � without the likes of Eastweek � would not be famous even in Mongkok?  Hong Kong�s lower orders, for whom celebrities have replaced religion in an era of commercial mass media?  Or is the whole thing just a publicity stunt by a slightly ageing (though I personally wouldn�t say no to a quickie) third-rate actress?
Alas, not quite this delectable in real life.  Among Carina Lau's classic movies: La Brassiere; Love Generation Hong Kong; He's a Woman, She's a Man; C'est La Vie, Mon Cheri; Lover of the Swindler; Girls Without Tomorrow: Gigolo and Whore; Days of Being Wild; She Shoots Straight, and hundreds more
Mon, 4 Nov
A phone call from a friend of fragrant socialite Rosabelle Lam, advising that Frou-Frou the poodle � or whatever it was � has passed away after a long and valiant struggle with some unspeakable ailment of the canine posterior.  Tender loving care is in order, I am told.  I send flowers and a heartfelt note.
Dearest Rosabelle,
My deepest sympathy goes to you at this difficult time. It is natural that you will grieve for Frou-Frou for a while, but there are two sides to everything.  You often remarked on the loudness of her barking and her unfortunate incontinence. Death is not extinguishing the light � it is only putting out the lamp because dawn has come.  As time passes, I am sure you will find much to appreciate about her absence.
R  I  P
Tue, 5 Nov
People duck and weave as they walk through Central, trying to dodge the conspiracy theories flying around them. Fans of
Occam�s Razor favour the idea that the Eastweek photo is an act of revenge by Albert Yeung, boss of the exceptionally scummy Emperor Group, whose products include Cantopop star/motor insurance nightmare Nicholas Tse. Yeung�s other interests include a bank in Cambodia � catering to heavy Khmer demand for mortgages, presumably � and a casino in North Korea.  Another theory is essentially the opposite � enemies of his are using this to get him.  The two theories are not mutually exclusive.  Still, Yeung seems to attract good luck, like the time he was tried for criminal intimidation in 1999 and all five prosecution witnesses suffered sudden memory loss.
We are wading through a nullah.  In the old days, these open sewers contained the bodies of unwanted newborns floating among the nightsoil and effluent from dyeworks.  Ours is overflowing with thick, malodorous hypocrisy. The Government�s anti-sex squad has banned the offending (and apparently last) issue of Eastweek as the self-righteousness index reaches levels unseen since the Society for Truth and Light last pontificated on soccer gambling.  My 10 copies will be worth a few bucks in due course, I believe. Government ministers are visibly growing sexually aroused by the widespread clamour for tighter controls on the media.  Having frothed at the mouth with everyone else, the Democrats and other Legco rabble are unable to indulge in their usual pant-wetting about job losses as a remorseful and contrite Yeung dramatically "closes" his money-spinning magazine.  Normally bad actors deliver fine performances in the role of man-with-skeleton-in-closet-afraid-of-press. Is there any person involved in this who does not deserve to be sodomized with a durian for eternity?  I can't think of one.
Dinner with Polly the lipstick lesbian and happy married couple Lincoln and May.  In a rush, we choose a place in Soho claiming to offer authentic Manchu cuisine, which no doubt it does extremely well � they just don�t warn you that Manchu food was never very good.  Lincoln delivers a regular update on our investments, the best of which remains our reflexology clinic, proudly advertised on a hoarding near the Mid-Levels Escalator. We are making big bucks from this venture, thanks to the stupidity of expat housewives and other rich, gullible types who believe health problems can be solved by foot massage. It is tempting to expand into other varieties of New Age rubbish.  There are tons to choose from � ridiculous fads like rekei, inner-child healing and aromatherapy, not to mention the nauseating colonic irrigation.  But Polly urges caution. As with other irrational beliefs, many of these mystical practices are incompatible with one another. A clinic offering the wrong combination will be as credible as a Baptist mosque with a rabbi. She will ask around at yoga class.
Thurs, 7 Nov
Dash off a quick email to Selina Chow, the thinking man's Carina Lau and boss of the sad HK Tourism Board, with an idea that will help increase visitor arrivals to our beautiful City of Life. Selina's people
need help.  The Board organizes fatuous "Chinese-looking" events � grinning chefs strolling down the street swinging noodles in the air as lion dancers prance around in the background � to meet what it imagines to be tourists' expectations.  They are ashamed of the city as it really is.  My idea is a fun fact that captures the essence of the real Hong Kong in a zippy slogan... "We have more suicides than road deaths".  I would not be surprised if this attracts significant additional numbers of tourists seeking a statistically unusual destination, or at least one where the dangers of traffic are taken seriously. 
Fri, 8 Nov
Mentally undressed by the charming young Nepalese lady who sweeps the dandruff off the Mid-Levels Escalator � a nice start to the morning.  Awaiting me in the office is an email from unusual acquaintance A-Hing, whose dog-poisoning activities in Bowen Road and elsewhere titillate
South China Morning Post readers so much, and whose kind gift of carbofuran I have never had the chance to use.  He asks a simple question: Are Jehovah�s Witnesses edible?  Faced with that old ethical dilemma � the law versus the common good � A-Hing does not wrestle with his conscience; he simply sneaks up from behind and hits it with a baseball bat.  Barry Goldwater�s �extremism in the defence of liberty� comes to mind. Put this man in the Executive Council!