Hemlock's Diary

The ravings of Hong Kong�s most obnoxious expat

2-15 June 2002
Mon, 3 Jun

After countless months of trials � probably the same amount of time it took NASA to design the Apollo lunar module � the electronic message board on the Mid-Levels Escalator above Lyndhurst Terrace has gone into test mode.  It is now displaying the message
  Be caution to the sl
  ippery floor
As the late Douglas Adams put it - Keep banging those rocks together, guys.

Thu 6 Jun

South China Morning Post has introduced a daily Chinese horoscope alongside the Western one, doubling the choice of guidance for the superstitious and feeble-minded.  Apparently, everyone born in the Year of the Rat should beware of pickpockets today � presumably, the rest of us can safely walk around with wads of cash hanging from our pockets. 

Sat, 8 Jun

A call from Regina Ip, our valiant Secretary for Security, complaining about being ridiculed in the press for her special weight-loss diet. The poor lady is genuinely hurt at the way the press have gleefully reported the critical and self-serving comments of spiteful dieticians.  I gently reassure her that her diet is fine and in no way sets a bad example to young anorexics.  Indeed, I tell her (with fingers crossed, it must be said), if I needed to shed a few pounds myself, I wouldn�t hesitate to restrict my daily intake to a cup of cabbage soup, a 4 oz bowl of plain congee, one small raw carrot and two spoons of steamed rice.  

Mon, 10 Jun

South China Morning Post has launched a new column called �Karaoke Generation�.  Written by some mop-headed creature called Vivienne Chow, it is a vacuous, self-indulgent and infantile piece on how karaoke helps self-esteem. If it were turned in as English composition homework by a 12 year old, you might imagine the writer to be mildly talented.  Alternatively, the article would have the effect of very slightly spicing up the Singapore Straits Times.  What a waste of space.

Tue, 11 Jun.

What on earth is happening at the
SCMP? Another new column launched � �Naked in the City� by Richard Feldman, baker to the gentry in Soho.  Once again, it is bland and insubstantial.  It seems to be about sex, but is obviously aimed at a child-like, Singaporean-standard of audience.  "...Clearly we place too much importance on losing our virginity and not enough on the responsibilities and risks that go along with it..."  Gosh yes. How riveting.  Compare this with Stuart Wolfendale�s column in the Standard every Saturday. The last one was about dog poo � the need to dispose of which guarantees at least one remaining good use for the front page of the SCMP features section.

Wed, 12 Jun

Three times in a row.  Clearly, the
SCMP is determined to bore its readers to death by publishing a pale blue box of drivel at the bottom of its Features section every day.  This time it is the painful �People�s Republic of Desire� by one Annie Wang � one of those �pretty woman� writers who churn out artless novels in which Mainland bimbos indulge in such stomach-churning behaviour as buying designer label handbags and fornicating with Germans. 

Take afternoon off.  Wandering through Lan Kwai Fong, I meet Odell, who demands that I join him in a bar to watch a televised soccer match that�s just about to start.  He is amazed that not only do I not realise that England are playing Nigeria, but I am completely unaware that the World Cup is currently taking place.  I counter by expressing surprise that soccer is popular among Mormons, but on entering the bar I find that virtually the whole of Hong Kong is watching. I briefly get that �whoops � wrong planet� feeling I have when in the company of married people and mobile phone owners.  I can stand about 10 minutes of the game.  The spectacle is tedious � people running up and down a field kicking a ball.  The bar is unpleasant, full of boisterous soccer fans chanting and singing � an interesting study in communal reinforcement, crowd psychology and mass hysteria. A budding Fascist dictator in need of a mob would love it. I retreat in search of a soccer-free zone.