One of the banes of one’s life as an expat is the frequent calls from often very persistent “Financial Advisers” who claim to be able to offer all sorts of ways of enhancing one’s wealth. Unfortunately, bitter experience has taught me that the only people’s wealth they tend to enhance is their own – and the best example of this for me is the “Meyado Private Wealth Management Group“, a UK-based group who were active in Hong Kong in 2001 to 2003 and succeeded in extracting quite a bit of wealth from me before they were run out of town by the Securities and Futures Commission. It is clear that I was far from alone in this, and there are various sites on the internet where others have expressed their displeasure over the years with Meyado (there were more, but apparently Meyado has resorted to legal action to get some taken down). The latest such attempt to get a critical mass of people together to go after Martin Young (the CEO and owner of Meyado) and his cronies has now appeared at http://www.forespoke.com and I wish it every success. Read the rest of this entry »
It’s been a bit quiet here on the blog, not least because life has been like that too. Apart from the odd bit of hiking (with crappy visibility, so no pictures) I’ve been trying to make inroads in to the pile of books beside the bed, so here are a few quick reviews. Read the rest of this entry »
I had a great trip yesterday to the island of Po Toi, which for some reason had never really occurred to me as a place to go in my 10 years here. Which is a shame because it’s a beautiful place and somewhere to which I’ll definitely be going back. Apparently it’s very busy at weekends, and during the week there is only one kaito each way on Tuesdays and Thursdays (leaving Aberdeen at 10am and Po Toi at 2pm), but the main restaurant was open, and while we were there they had two other parties of gweilos as well – one from a yacht and one from a junk.
The journey by kaito is part of the attraction. These little ferries are part of the wonderful thing that is Hong Kong’s public transport system.
(Click on any of the images to open a bigger version in a new window/tab.)
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Occasionally I pick up a book that holds my attention so well that it just gets read cover to cover in one sitting (fortunately my semi-retiredness means that staying awake all night isn’t a big deal). The latest such work is Craig Murray‘s Murder in Samarkand (known in its American edition as “Dirty Diplomacy“) which I thoroughly recommend to anyone with an interest in the “War on Terror”, British diplomacy and politics, or Uzbekistan. (Apparently the US version names a few more names directly since it doesn’t have to deal with the UK’s over-protective libel laws.) Read the rest of this entry »
… you’ll find something quite fascinating, if you happen to be on Section 3 of the Wilson Trail (at distance post 026, grid reference KK163701, just above Ma Yau Tong), as I was yesterday.
There is a large collection of brightly coloured sculptures featuring people (apparently of various races) and animals, many of them labelled in English, as well as a shrine with some sort of deity in it. The sculptures are getting a little dilapidated, but the shrine itself is still clearly maintained on a regular basis. Here are some examples:
Another page has turned in the history of the Foreign Correspondents’ Club (where I am but a lowly “associate”) with the death of Hu van Es, one of its best known members.
I hope to address the current institutionalised panic in more detail when I have time later. But I just have to say that the government’s imprisoning of 300 people against their will in the Metro Park Hotel for no rational reason whatsoever is a gross violation of their human rights, and I hope that they were take appropriate legal action for false imprisonment when they are released. I hope that a good number of them are foreign citizens who will be fully supported by their governments in this.
It is a crying shame that Hong Kong has been made the laughing stock of rational people worldwide by the actions of the administrative class in Hong Kong. These people were very well trained to administer the city under other people’s leadership, but they are totally and utterly out of their depth intellectually when it comes to providing the leadership which this city has been so sadly lacking for the last 12 years.
It is so refreshing to have a US President who isn’t under the cosh of Christian fundamentalists, or indeed of religion in general. The Heresiarch has written an excellent piece analysing and contrasting the speeches of Messrs Obama and Blair at a recent event; it is long but well worth the effort. It is great to see that not only does Obama make a point of reaching out to all faiths, he explicitly and repeatedly includes humanists in his comments and explicitly acknowledges that a decent moral code does not require a religion.
Clearly it is still very early in the process, but could Obama’s election possibly mark the being of the end of the period (short in the history of mankind) during which religious delusionists have been the major force in the world? We can only hope so.
For those of us of a certain age who spent our school summer holidays listening to Test Match Special one of the last links with those days has been broken with the quite sudden death of the Bearded Wonder. The commentary might have been from John Arlott or Brian Johnston, and the “expert analysis” from Fred Trueman or Trevor Bailey, but the person who kept them all on the straight and narrow for more than 40 years when it came to facts and statistics was Bill Frindall. Read the rest of this entry »
I was intrigued yesterday (yes, I’m behind with my reading) by this article from last week’s Economist. Apparently, for men at least, the relative length of your first and third fingers (known in scientific circles I now discover as 2D:4D or digit ratio) is a good indicator of your potential prowess at competitive sport or financial trading. Read the rest of this entry »
It is good to see from the Beeb that Denmark (my paternal ancestral home) is taking a lead and finally prosecuting people for genital mutilation of their children.
It is unfortunate, however, that, so far at least, they have a sexist application of this law. I look forward to the day when god delusionists of various types are up in court for mutilating their sons.
My rant for the week is about both the poor requirements of food labelling in Hong Kong and the lax enforcement of such standards as do exist.
Firstly ingredients: the Government in its wisdom recently introduced new food labelling regulations for Hong Kong. Not content with accepting that if, say, the food was labelled adequately in English for the US, EU or Australian markets then that would be sufficient, they insisted on imposing their own rules and hence requiring almost all imported foodstuffs to be relabelled specifically for Hong Kong, thereby imposing a significant cost increase on the suppliers or distributors and thence price increases on the consumers. Read the rest of this entry »
I guess it shouldn’t come as a surprise, but news from my old school recently has had me reminiscing and beginning to feel old. Firstly the last teacher who taught me (and was still at the school) retired this summer, and today I heard that the founder of the Adventure Training that constituted my annual holiday for two or three years died last week.
There are bits of my youth that I wish I had captured on film to assist my fading memory, and Adventure Training is one of them. Read the rest of this entry »
When Elton John came to Hong Kong a while ago I looked at the price (HK$1580 if I remember correctly) and decided not to go on that basis alone. I then spent ages regretting the decision. So when Billy Joel (frankly not so high on my “must see” list as Elton John) came up at $1280 for decent-ish seats Mrs smog and I decided to go. And overall we’re glad we did. Read the rest of this entry »
Last week we had a power spike chez smog (in fact the power was out at our apartment for nearly 3 hours, which is a first for me). The only consequence was that my monitor just played dead.
So I bundled it up and took it down to Wanchai Computer Centre to get someone to fix it. Much to my amazement I couldn’t find anyone in any of the so called “repair & service” shops who had the slightest interest in having a look at it. They all simply said “throw it away and get a new one – they are only seven or eight hundred dollars”. I offered them $500 if they could fix it. They refused. Read the rest of this entry »
Just back from an excellent gig at Grappa’s Cellars where Eugene Pao & some friends performed an excellent classic rock gig this evening. Read the rest of this entry »
The SCMP reports today on some of the details of the contract which Albert Yeung Sau Shing’s Emperor Entertainment Group has with one Isabella Leong. If any doubt remained that this man is basically a pimp procuring young girls as his slaves then it is pretty much dispelled now. Read the rest of this entry »
I find no reason at all to object to the making and publication of the following film. I do, however, have a major problem with the actions and views of the Muslim people shown and described within it. I’ll write more on this later, but in the meantime here is the film. Read the rest of this entry »