Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Sir John Cowperthwaite

An item in today's (Hong Kong) The Standard reminded me that a friend -- who has lived in Hong Kong for a long, long time -- several days ago sent me a link to an obituary in the UK's Daily Telegraph. The Standard's piece looks like it heavily relied on the Telegraph obit. . . Thus, spurred on by the Standard, I went back to the Telegraph. After all, Cowperthwaite, it turns out, was one of the chief architects of Hong Kong's post-war success.
Another aspect of Cowperthwaite's modus operandi was a habit of holding his cards very close to his chest. When Milton Friedman asked him, in 1963, to explain the mechanism which kept the Hong Kong dollar pegged to the pound, Cowperthwaite remarked that even the management of the Hong Kong & Shanghai Bank (through which the peg was operated) did not understand it - "Better they shouldn't. They would mess it up." As for the paucity of economic statistics for the colony, Cowperthwaite explained that he resisted requests to provide any, lest they be used as ammunition by those who wanted more government intervention.
A Colonial Administrator chap of the Old School: polished, amusing, with a razor-sharp mind. And whatever else the Daily Telegraph is, its obits are generally first class: Torygraph obit
The last sentence of that obit, moreover, rang a bell or three, the one about the son "predeceased them". Cowperthwaite. . . A quick google confirmed the link: the Boracay serial slaying in May, 2004: property developer Anton Faustenhauser, Hong Kong gallery owner Manfred Schoeni, Hong Kong-based British architect John Cowperthwaite, and Filipina maid Erma Sarmiento.

Nam June Paik

TV, electronic multi-media, video artist, Nam June Paik died on 29 January, 2006. Paik is probably most best remembered for the work he did in the 1960s with the cellist Charlotte Moorman.
But, for yours truly, his TV Garden was one of the highlights of the 1978 retrospective at the Georges Pompidou Centre, Paris.
You entered a very large and enclosed dark room, not knowing what to expect. Once inside, you were shepherded around a gantry walkway that bordered upon a dense mass of tropical foliage amongst which 30 TV sets were installed.
Many of the TV sets were laid flat, their screens facing upwards. Half hidden by the jungle foliage, the electronic images -- in colour, black and white, multitudinous and quick edited -- flickered, with the same reel looped through all the TV sets but not in synchronicity. A soundtrack, for there was a soundtrack, was very atonal, loud, in a New York groove, dance music. Taken together, the ensemble was dark, fetid, fast and furious. Puzzling? Yes. What did it mean? What does Van Gogh's A Starry Night mean?
Beauty, they say, is in the eye of the beholder. For this beholder, Paik's TV Garden has puzzled and pleased ever since. To do both is no mean feat. Nam June Paik, here and here.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Google in China

Thanks, Lincoln!
But what do we have here? Tap in 'massacre square' using images.google.cn: result

Sunday, January 29, 2006

The day after

Yesterday was the first day of the Chinese New Year. It was also Cold. Wet. Drizzly. In short: Miserable.
Hey-ho. . . Friends tell me such weather is 'auspicious' for what is regarded hereabouts as the 'first day of spring'. They possibly made that up. To make it tolerably better able to bear.
Yes, I know: rain is neither good nor bad, 'tis thinking makes it so. But it also pays to carry an umbrella and wrap up warm.
Anyway, I am pleased to report that spring has indisputably sprung: this mid-afternoon it is 20C and bright sunshine. Hooray! ('Cors, that may change.)
Be that as it may, ce soir is to be spent chez Mike + Wai-fong for A Chinese New Year Dinner. Hip, hip, hooray!

Friday, January 27, 2006

Kung Hei Fat Choy!

(click on image to enlarge)

Year of the Dog -- Congratulations and Be Prosperous!
To one and all.
Photo: Thanks, Gavin!

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Festive Chinese New Year

Is it the cold weather? Another recent funeral? Solitude? All of the above and more? Whatever and however, the festive spirit that is patently evident on a little island in the South China Sea has, until now, passed me by somewhat. Still, this too, shall pass.
Many of the streets are bedecked with red lanterns. At night, they look so pretty. As do the mute but animated light displays of catherine wheels and fireworks in the main square and along the waterfront.
During the day, big pots of yellow chrysanthemums, and those small shrubs -- the name of which I cannot recall at the moment -- the ones with small orange-like fruit, are on sale. As are candied melon, melon seeds, candied coconut, peanuts, and lotus seeds. Tangerines come in different sizes and prices; I bought six sweet tangerines for HK$10 and the lady gave me seven, which was nice of her.
The first day of the new year is 28 January, 2006. Monday and Tuesday are public holidays hereabouts. It's premature, but timely, even so. To one and all: Kung Hei Fat Choy (congratulations and be prosperous)!

Where's George?

Where's George? Why, follow the money, of course. But before that, this. . .
The Hong Kong SARS epidemic in 2003 began with a doctor from Guangzhou who came to Hong Kong to seek medical treatment.
On his way to a local hospital, the sick physician infected a dozen or so other people, while waiting at a lift lobby on the ninth floor of a Kowloon hotel. With the medical man's arrival at the local hospital, the infection was then transmitted to other medical staff.
The infection rapidly spread, cluster-like, in and around hospitals and -- mysteriously at the time -- among many residents at Amoy Gardens housing estate.
Meanwhile, two of the people from the hotel lift lobby had boarded aeroplanes: one flew to Toronto, the other to Singapore. Infection clusters promptly developed in those two metropolitans areas.
So it goes.
I don't know if the researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self-Organisation in Göttingen, Germany, are aware of any of that, but they have come up with a good whizz --
George Washington gives clue how flu pandemic could spread: physorg
Where's George? Follow the money: bill tracking report
Chicago blues: Dead Presidents, by Little Walter

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Room temperature

It is cold, again.
Has been so since Saturday.
Sunday, I went to a funeral:
Jimmy Mac,
he was a lovely man,
who died in his sleep from having lived.
A woman with red eyes,
tears running down her cheeks,
gave me a white rose
to place gently on his coffin.
Later, we hugged each other,
which is when she shook and sobbed.
Then we parted, went our separate ways.

A Day In the Life: video

Lots more Beatles videos: youtube

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Farewell, northern bottlenose whale

Euan Ferguson:
In the last day or so lovers will have been taken, jobs will have been won and lost, novels begun, tears shed at funerals, new life conceived and, when asked can you remember when that happened, we can answer: I remember it well, because it was that day. The day a whale sailed through the middle of London; and the people of the city, rather than trying to hack it to death, came in their thousands and lifted it and tried their hardest to sail it back.
Farewell, Hyperoodon ampullatus

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Osama bigger than Oprah?

Twenty-four hours after Osama bin Laden told the world that the American people should read the work of a little-known Washington historian, William Blum was still adjusting.
Blum, who at 72 is accustomed to laboring in relative left-wing obscurity, checked his emotions and pronounced himself shocked and, well, pleased.
"This is almost as good as being an Oprah book," he said yesterday between telephone calls from the world media and bites of a bagel. "I'm glad." Overnight, his 2000 work, "Rogue State: A Guide to the World's Only Superpower," had become an Osama book.
In gray slacks, plaid shirt and black slippers, Blum padded around his one-bedroom apartment on Connecticut Avenue. A portrait of the Brooklyn Dodgers in the '50s hung on his kitchen wall. Bookshelves bowed under the weight of secret histories of the CIA. The cord on his prehistoric phone let him roam across the living room. He'd already done CNN and MSNBC. A guy from the New York Post knocked on the door to take pictures. The BBC rang, then Reuters and Pacifica Radio stations on both coasts.
Washington Post

Songs my mother taught me

Recently, a friend lent me several books. Among them, Marlon Brando's Songs My Mother Taught Me. This is Brando quoting from a letter the playwright Tennessee Williams wrote to film director Eli Kazan about the characters in A Streetcar Named Desire:
"There are no 'good' or 'bad" people," Tennessee wrote. "Some are a little better or a little worse, but all are activated more by misunderstanding than malice. A blindness to what is going on in each other's hearts. . . nobody sees anybody truly but all through the flaws of their own egos. That is the way we all see each other in life. Vanity, fear, desire, competition -- all such distortions within our own egos -- condition our vision of those in relation to us. Add to those distortions in our own egos the corresponding distortions in the egos of others, and you see how cloudy the glass must become through which we look at each other. That's how it is in all living relationships except when there is that rare case of two people who love intensely enough to burn through all those layers of opacity and see each other's naked hearts. Such cases are purely theoretical to me. . ."

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Kim Jong-il's unofficial visit officially over

It is announced on 19 January 2006 that Chinese president Hu Jintao (R) shakes hands with Kim Jong-il, general secretary of the Workers' Party of Korea and chairman of the National Defense Commission of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea , at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, on Jan. 17, 2006.
Thusly, in Beijing, officially ends the week-long, unannounced and 'unofficial' visit of North Korea's Dear Leader to Wuhan, Yichang, Guangzhou, Zhuhai and Shenzhen. Report: Xinhua

Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds

Feds want Google search records

Don't Look Now, But It's Happening: John Battelle's Searchblog

A Day in the Life: extended version

Further to the previous post. Drifting semi-aimlessly around the web -- going somewhere else, looking for something else -- can produce some interesting results. In this case, the discovery that John Lennon not only wrote A Day in the Life on 17 January 1967, but that a couple of days ago (17 January 2006) the song's lyric sheets were placed for auction. According to Bonhams, the auctioneers:
There is general agreement among music critics that one of the most outstanding accomplishments within the Beatles songbook is A Day In The Life, the Lennon/McCartney collaboration inspired the morning of January 17, 1967 as John Lennon read the Daily Mail. As the final track on the multi-platinum-selling album Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, released in June of 1967 and considered one of Rock’s first and best concept albums, the work was voted “Best British Song” this past October in London's Q magazine by music critics who called the track "the ultimate sonic rendition of what it means to be British.”
Erh... Discuss.
Anyway, for the full auction sale's pitch: Bonhams
Which includes a measly-sized facsimile of the lyric sheets. Lennon wrote the lyrics firstly in lowercase then copied them out in uppercase, for readable facsimiles: Beatles Bad Handwroter (sic) Archive

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

A Day in the Life

Who else? The Beatles...

Many other vids at: youtube

update: You have reached YouTube, the premier digital video repository on the Internet. We are currently rolling out new changes to the site. After these messages, we'll be right back...

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Year of the Dog: Intelligent Design

Looking at the stats, it is evident a fair number of people are googling or yahooing "2006 year of the dog horoscope" and being directed to Mister Bijou's post. Someone, yes, even left a comment. Which I finally followed up on. Oh, am I glad I did! See above, "Intelligent Design". Year of the Dog, indeed. Highly recommended: cairotheboxer

Tacky solution

SCMP (no link; paid) City Briefs (17 January 2006):
A 25-year-old man glued his and his girlfriend's hands together before slashing his neck, chest and wrist during an argument about their relationship in a taxi yesterday morning.
The cab driver pulled his vehicle over on Chatham Road North to request help from a patrolling policeman, who arrested the male passenger.
The couple were taken to Queen Elizabeth Hospital [Kowloon], where the man was in a stable condition.
The woman suffered slight injuries to her right hand when it was freed from that of her boyfriend, and she was subsequently discharged.

Year of the Dog: Hong Kong stamps

Not terribly exciting, are they? Four in all: Hongkong Post

More Gore, please

Witnessing former Vice President Gore's speech today in which he basically accused President Bush of criminality for warrant-less eavesdropping on Americans was fascinating in part because it demonstrated just how spicy a Washington speech can be when the person giving it has nothing left to lose.
That's from the newsblog at Chicago Tribune
To read full text of Gore's speech: Raw Story

Monday, January 16, 2006

Those were the days, my friend

Christmas & New Year (1970) Official Ribbon Cutting Ceremony on a little island in the South China Sea. Islands District Officer Donald Tsang is fifth from the left. The lady in red is Mrs Tsang. (click on image to enlarge).
7 January 2006. Hong Kong's Chief Executive: (Sir) Donald and Mrs Tsang. Same spot, but with the crowd behind the camera.

Latest angry confrontation: Zhongshan, Guangdong province

According to radio reports on Hong Kong's RTHK English service news today, things have calmed down somewhat near Zhongshan. Usual story, local people up in arms because local authorities have seized their lands and offered derisory compensation. Land rights have become an increasingly and especially explosive issue in the Pearl River delta region -- where more and more farmland continues to be requisitioned to build roads and factories
Of interest, more than 20,000 people ("onlookers") are reported to have been present on Saturday night during the blockade of a main highway; the local riot police may or may not have used electric batons.
Not the RTHK news: Xinhua
Map: cityu.edu
Useful info on Zhongshan: Wiki

I Have a Dream (1963)

Today is, in the US, Martin Luther King Day, a federal holiday. As good a day as any to listen to the electrifying speech King gave from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC to 250,000 people on 28 August 1963.
It wasn't the speech King intended to give. He had another prepared speech. We have to thank the gospel singer Mahalia Jackson for encouraging King: "Tell them about your dream, Martin! Tell them about your dream!"
So, Martin did.
Please, listen: mp3; text: I Have a Dream

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Health & Beauty

Skin Care Department: Dr Bronner's Magic Soaps

Oasis, the band, in Hong Kong

Oasis? Apart from that song -- Wonderwall-- and media reports in the 1990s about Liam Gallagher's very public intemperance, of Oasis I know very little. Just the aforementioned, and that they are doing one show in Hong Kong toward the end of February.
A little digging around, however, reveals they are a hard-working band, based on their work schedule.
And judging from these two videos it could be a great show. Exhibits A and B: the mega-poignant Let There be Love and the majesty of Don't Look Back in Anger. Mind you, the videos are from live performances last year in front of trillions of people on the band's home turf: Manchester City Stadium.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Weather? There's a lot of it about

Under the Weather: Us and the Elements, by Tom Fort:
"Our weather is much more interesting than what they have in other countries," Cedric Roberts tells Fort. For more than 60 years, Roberts has recorded the weather in Halesowen. His maisonette bristles with electronic equipment, but now he is old and in ill health. There is no one to whom he can hand on the project. Then, two months after he was interviewed by Fort, a thunderbolt wiped out his software.
Review: Guardian

So, Bob Dylan and Madonna walk into a bar...

Keep a clean nose and (always) carry a light bulb: Rochester

No room at the inn

The previous claim to fame of the White Swan Hotel in Guangzhou was that my sister and brother-in-law spent several days at the newly-opened luxury hotel while on their Far East honeymoon in 1983.
Now a guest of a different order has been sequestered in the inn on Shamian Island. According to the South China Morning Post (no link, paid), the hotel management on Thursday evicted all the guests and residents of the 840-room luxury hotel so as to make way for a 'mystery guest'. Guess who? The numero uno of the pathological, criminal Stalinist state of North Korea... Kim Jong-il, aka Dear Leader. (His father, you will remember, was Great Leader.) More on the the Dear Leader's visit to the hottest hot-bed of unfettered, robber baron capitalism: IHT
The Dear Leader is also expected to make a visit to Shenzhen. Goodness me, how time flies. In 1983, Shenzhen, just across the border from Hong Kong, was a small fishing village... now Shenzhen is a city of ten million souls (give or take a million). Shenzhen in Wiki

Friday, January 13, 2006

Hong Kong WTO: afterword

For those wondering about the fate of the Hong Kong WTO Unfortunate Fourteen (see previous post), wonder no more.
On 11 January, 2006, Wednesday afternoon, charges of Unlawful Assembly were dropped against 11 of the accused. The 11 walked out of Kwun Tong Magistrates Court amid much jubilation. However, two Koreans remain charged with Unlawful Assembly, and the other Korean has now been charged with Unauthorised Assembly. The three were granted cash bail of HK$30,000 each, are allowed to leave Hong Kong, and are supposed to come back in March for a five-day trial at Fanling Court. Oh, yeah.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Drunk, and proud of it

Currently Number Four in the New York Times most emailed category: Ever Since Falstaff, Getting Sloshed is Cricket:
Drink also featured heavily in the life of George Brown, a Labor foreign secretary in the 1960's, who is once said to have stumblingly invited a guest in flowing purple robes at a reception in Peru to dance. But it was not to be.
"First, you are drunk," the guest is said to have replied. "Second, this is not a waltz; it is the Peruvian national anthem. And third, I am not a woman; I am the Cardinal Archbishop of Lima."
New York Times

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Center of the Milky Way

(Click on image to enlarge)
Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/S. Stolovy (Spitzer Science Center/ Caltech)
Instrument: IRAC
Wavelength: 3.6 microns (blue), 4.5 microns (green), 5.8 microns (orange), 8.0 microns (red)
Exposure Date: Sept 3, 2004 and Sept 15, 2005
Exposure Time: 10 seconds per position
Field of View: 1.9 x 1.4 degrees
Orientation: galactic north is up, galactic east is to the left
Release Date: January 10, 2006

The pictured region is located in the Sagitarius constellation; the Galactic Center: awesome, just awesome. More details at Spitzer Science Center, Caltech

Chinese New Year horoscope

This coming year is Year of the Dog. Celebrations for CNY are during the days and nights of 28-31 January. Not that Mister Bijou believes in it, but as a public service: Year of the Dog horoscope

Flagging in Chinese New Year

Hereabouts, preparations for celebration of the coming Chinese New Year continue apace on a little island in the South China Sea.
Several days ago in the island's main square, ropes were strung up high between the lamp posts and flags were hung. The square is now bordered with a colourful, fluttering necklace.
Yet some of the flags looked familiar. This island still has a large trawler fleet, albeit a fleet that is gradually diminishing... and Mister Bijou had a nagging hunch. Wikipedia, again, came to the rescue. Yes, the flags (and pennants), it turns out, are all international maritime signal flags.

Cold spell over

Thank goodness, that cold spell has passed. Despite wearing four layers of clothes and a woollen hat -- indoors, mark you -- Mister Bijou stiffens more than ever in cold spells. Still, there is a roof over the head, food in the larder, gas with which to cook, a warm duvet. Many others are far worse off. Like those poor people in post-earthquake Kashmir. Donation? Oxfam

True love's way?

What happened after a would-be girlfriend moved to Hong Kong: Wired

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Oceans become deserts

Study the above for a moment. Consider that net's width, consider its height. Know that the ground rollers destroy most everything -- yes, everything -- in their path. Together, the ensemble is an underwater behemoth, a pitiless Shiva of the deep. That's terrorism. That's extremism. OK?
For what it is worth, if you are interested or not, Mister Bijou remains moderately positive most of the time. How else is one supposed to keep going? But casting about -- considering the world his teenage nephew and niece are iPoding their way into -- gloom can quickly set in:
The oceans are emptying. In a single generation, once thriving populations of deep sea fish have been driven to the brink of extinction by expanding fisheries, researchers say today. Records of catches logged by trawlers operating in the North Atlantic from 1978 to 1994 show that at least five species of deep sea fish are at such low levels that they qualify for the World Conservation Union's critically endangered list. The research, published in the journal Nature, adds weight to demands by conservationists for the creation of internationally protected reserves to place vast areas of the deep seas out of bounds to fisheries.
"These are species no one really cares about, but they play a key role in the ecosystem," Ms Devine said.
The scientists reviewed trawler logs for records of five deep sea by-catch species - the roundnose grenadier, onion-eye grenadier, blue hake, spiny eel and spinytail skate. All are slow growing, reaching more than a metre long and living to 60 years. They found that levels of all the fish plummeted by 87%-98% over the 17 years, a rate that will see a decline over the next three generations of 99%-100%. Records for roundnose grenadier and onion-eye grenadier from 1995 to 2003 show those species have collapsed by 99.6% and 93.3% in 26 years.
We are turning our oceans into deserts: Guardian

Elsewhere? We are a world bent on the methodical destruction of itself:
That the demand for life itself has now become a revolutionary programme is demonstrated, at least negatively, by the following fact: carried farther and farther into madness by the necessities of their dominance, those social forces that would once have been described as conservative are no longer concerned even with the conservation of the biological bases for the survival of the species. Quite the opposite, because they are in fact bent on the methodical destruction of those bases. The dimensions of the gulf that they are digging for us are forever being calculated and recalculated, right down to the likely speed of our descent into it, right down to the bottom line -- which is, in the event, the lifespan of cesium or plutonium. For this society is mad in Chesterton's sense: it has lost everything except its reason -- everything except that abstract rationality of the commodity that is its ultimate raison d'etre, and the one that has outlasted all the others. No doubt one could find other ruling classes in history which, having lost all historical perspective beyond that of their own survival, sank into a suicidal irresponsibility; but never in the past has a ruling class been able to press such vast means into service of such a total contempt for life.
Abyss: L'Encylopodie des Nuisances

Monday, January 09, 2006

Bonsai kitten

What makes a prank great? The Economist is inviting nominations for the finest prank in history, explaining in 750 words why it deserves the title. Pranks: priceless or puerile? Economist
Bonsai kitten? errrh... google it, if you must.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Friday, January 06, 2006

Cold Night

Date/Time: 6/1/2006 18:20
Chek Lap Kok 10.6 5813.9/ 9.8NNE 28.0 48.01025.3 7.5
Cheung Chau 9.9 5812.7/ 9.6N 39.0 63.01023.9 5.9
Green Island

---/---NE 37.0 53.0

HK Observatory10.7 6213.3/10.6

King's Park 9.8 55---/---N 14.0 36.01025.1 7.8
Lau Fau Shan 9.6 6111.3/ 9.0NE 30.0 44.01025.6 6.1
Ngong Ping 4.1
6.5/ 3.4ENE 39.0 56.0
Pak Tam Chung 9.4
11.6/ 9.0

Peng Chau 9.8 5611.9/ 9.4N 32.0 52.01025.0 6.2
Sai Kung 9.6 5511.5/ 9.3NNE 24.0 65.0
Sha Chau

---/---NNE 41.0 58.0

Sha Tin 10.0 5211.7/ 9.3NNE 11.0 32.01024.7 8.5
Shek Kong 9.0 5611.3/ 8.5ENE 13.0 31.01025.2 7.0
Sheung Shui 9.3 5211.7/ 8.5

Stanley 9.8
13.4/ 9.7N 6.0 19.0
Ta Kwu Ling 8.7 4911.0/ 8.2NE 24.0 50.01025.9 5.4
Tai Mei Tuk

---/---NE 21.0 39.0

Tai Po 9.8 5912.2/ 9.4

Tap Mun

---/---N 21.0 47.0

Tate's Cairn

---/---NNW 46.0 62.0

The Peak 7.1
9.4/ 6.7

Tseung Kwan O 9.7 5512.2/ 9.1E 15.0 41.0
Tsing Yi 9.8 5512.3/ 9.2N 12.0 38.0
Tuen Mun 10.1 5911.7/ 9.0NE 14.0 42.0
Waglan Island 9.8 6012.0/ 9.8NNE 48.0 60.01023.6 5.3
Wetland Park 9.8 5411.9/ 9.0

Wong Chuk Hang11.1 5013.7/11.0NE 14.0 40.0

Twelfth Night

Wikipedia? Love it. Today's main page notes that 6 January is Epiphany. What's that? Moreover, one thing leads to another... in this case to the bottom of the page. Wherein is the See Also section with its Twelfth Night. Twelfth Night? Well, that was the day we took Christmas decorations down when I was a kid. Twelfth Night? A play by William Shakespeare. But why did he name it so? Twelfth Night.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Mind reader

Some years ago, it was necessary for me to undergo a number of medical procedures including a CAT scan and a brain scan.
The brain scan was to be done using MRI. To try and lighten things up somewhat before the MRI examination, I asked the doctor if she was going to be looking at my thoughts. She sternly snapped back at me: "This is purely organic."
Oh, well. Not any more. Don't Even Think About Lying: How brain scans are reinventing the science of lie detection. Wired

Darwin Awards: local division

South China Morning Post (no link; paid), City Briefs, 4 January 2006:
An air-conditioning mechanic was convicted yesterday of making obscene video calls using a 3G mobile phone. In the first case of its kind, Leung Kwok-chi, 23, pleaded guilty in Kwun Tong Court to three counts of making calls to strangers between March and June.
The prosecution heard that when the victims -- all women ages 17 to 31 -- answered the calls they saw a man masturbating on the screen. Magistrate Julia Livesey released Leung on HK$300 bail until he is sentenced on January 27.

The business of traffic

Take me home, Chinese roads: Asia Times

未濟 Wei Chi/Before Completion

未濟 Wei Chi/Before Completion, hexagram 64, Wilhelm/Baynes:
But if the little fox, after nearly completing the crossing,
Gets his tail in the water,
There is nothing that would further.

The conditions are difficult. The task is great and full of responsibility. It is nothing less than that of leading the world out of confusion back to order. But it is a task that promises success, because there is a goal that can unite the forces now tending in different directions. At first, however, one must move warily, like an old fox walking over ice. The caution of a fox walking over ice is proverbial in China. His ears are constantly alert to the cracking of the ice, as he carefully and circumspectly searches out the safest spots. A young fox who as yet has not acquired this caution goes ahead boldly, and it may happen that he falls in and gets his tail wet when he is almost across the water. Then of course his effort has been all in vain. Accordingly, in times "before completion," deliberation and caution are the prerequisites of success.

易經, I Ching, Yijing, Book of Changes: Wiki
Hexagram 64: Wiki
Calling Crane in the Shade (links list on right)
Wilhelm/Baynes: AFPC

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Security matters

Window's security flaw.
This vulnerability is, however, major. That's according to people who know much more about such matters than I do: Internet Storm Center
Believe me, those people are trustworthy.
I made some changes, yesterday.
You might want to do the same.
For more info as well as links to how to patch and/or protect your system: WMF vulnerability
Tekkies: ISC WMF FAQ
Mac, Linux and other OS users? It's Schadenfreude time.

Update, for those who may be interested. This is whatI did:
In Windows Start, open Run, Paste: regsvr32.exe /u shimgvw.dll Click: OK
Apply the patch: available at ISC (direct link to download the patch .exe file)
Turn on Windows Automatic Update (AU works for kosher and non-kosher versions of Windows XP).
Not changed?
Windows XP Security Firewall.
F-prot virus checker.
The mighty fine browser Firefox 1.5.
The old but sturdy text-only email software by Eudora (circa 1994). Voilà!

An Outline of the Buddha’s Teachings

Bradford Hatcher:
In the forty-five years of the Buddha’s teaching many such lists of vices and virtues were enumerated, and perhaps registered with more rigidity than was intended. In the end they suggest that the simple life is rich with things to be done. In the Buddha’s last words:
Vayadhamma samkhara, appamadena samapadetha
Subject to change are all compound beings --
Save yourselves with heedfulness
The Four Noble Truths, The Noble Eightfold Path, Progress on the Path: hermetica

Monday, January 02, 2006

Year-end mixes

Marathonpack has four -- yes, four -- year-end mixes for our listening pleasure. I am currently listening to Volume One and very nice it is too. The mixes won't be up for long. Thanks, Marathonpack. Mp3s to download: marathonpack

Reading matters

José Mourinho, by David Runciman: London Review of Books

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Look to this day

Look to this day,
For it is life,
The very life of life.
In its brief course lie all
The realities and verities of existence,
The bliss of growth,
The splendour of action,
The glory of power --

For yesterday is but a dream,
And tomorrow is only a vision,
But today, well lived,
Makes every yesterday a dream of happiness
And every tomorrow a vision of hope.

Look well, therefore, to this day.
Sanskrit proverb

Police Log

OK... to get the new year going, the police log: Aracta Eye

Which book are you?

A quiz? Who needs it? Beats me. But a Which Book Are You Quiz? OK, I'll play. This one I found startlingly eerie. Why? Well, it just happens to be one of my favourite novels of the 20th century. Other than that? The instruction at the end to stick to bottled water, or else. Which is what I do, because the other stuff nearly did. The first part? Currently Under Consideration...
You're Love in the Time of Cholera!
by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Like Odysseus in a work of Homer, you demonstrate undying loyalty by sleeping with as many people as you possibly can. But in your heart you never give consent! This creates a strange quandary of what love really means to you. On the one hand, you've loved the same person your whole life, but on the other, your actions barely speak to this fact. Whatever you do, stick to bottled water. The other stuff could get you killed.
Book Quiz

A Bright New Year

It's One Thirty Ay Em.
In this part of the world we are already into 2006. Other bits of the world will follow suit in their own good time.
This evening I saw the old year out and the new year in, in Hong Kong, with sober friends. It wasn't always like that. But that was then, and this is now.
We all had a good time, and hugged each other at midnight. And then I took the ferry back to a little island in the South China Sea.
Just before midnight, I got a text message from a friend. I hope she won't mind, but this is what was in the message:
Before the sun sets on this year, before the memories fade and before... the networks get jammed, wish you a Happy and Bright New Year 2006, Love F.
Yes, a Happy and Bright New Year to you, too. Thanks, everyone!