Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Hong Kong: scene at a barely married life

The pay-off for tit-for-tat aka equivalent retaliation, Hong Kong-style. . . What happened when the husband called in an interior decorator, and the wife thereafter hired an interior decorator of her own: EastSouthWestNorth

Monday, November 27, 2006

Malay apple

Mister Bijou's favourite fruit and veg shop on a little island in the South China Sea has Malay apples back on sale.

Ten Hong Kong dollars a pound, that will buy you three or four.

In Cantonese, I think Malay apples are called lian wu (洋蒲桃)?

Native to Malaysia and Indonesia, Malay apples are also known further afield in the English-speaking world as wax-apples, java apples, water apples, jambu airs, wax jambu, and bell fruit. In French, they are known as jamalac.

Whatever the name, the fruit doesn't taste much like an apple (nor a pear) but has a crunchier texture and is generally much sweeter than either of those two fruits.

Nice . . . Shopping hint: the reddest ones are said to be the sweetest.

hong kong copy news: edition 11

It's weekly, local, satirical, and in an adorable animation format: hong kong copy news.

Ah, but it seems there are currently technical probs which they say will get sorted by Tuesday.

Wait till Tuesday? A triffling obstacle for those who won't wait . . . Dancing queen Mimi Monica Wong, West Kowloon Cultural District, Hong Kong API, Sudan IV red dye eggs, Hong Kong Tramways. All waiting to be watched at: hk copy news

Hong Kong: I Ching, Book of Changes

Hexagram 20, 觀 Kuan / Contemplation (View) -> Hexagram 4, 蒙 Mêng / Youthful Folly
Source: afpc

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Spinal Tap: Well, it's one louder, isn't it?

For the weekend, a guilty pleasure.

Spinal Tap's Nigel Tufnel, some of his premium guitars, and the custom-built Marshall amp:

Friday, November 24, 2006

Mister Bijou: service announcement

Normal service will be resumed as soon as possible.

The Saturday posting "guilty pleasure" for definite.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Hong Kong: Number of days with thunderstorm since 1947

In Mister Bijou's neighbourhood on a little island in the South China Sea at just after 3:pm yesterday, the electric power went down for about 25 minutes.

Sheets of heavy rain swept through the village streets, the trees swayed, the sky grew dark, the street-lights turned themselves on. People as well as feral cats and domesticated dogs scattered to shelter from the storm.

It was what Hong Kong Observatory is wont to call a squally thunderstorm.

For, oh, did it rain yesterday:

Such unseasonal weather. Rare, too. For how rare, please consult: Number of days with thunderstorm since 1947

Hong Kong: Legislative Council Question Time

Some of the questions (and answers) from the LegCo meeting of Wednesday, 22 November 2006:

LCQ14: Baby-sitting and breast-feeding facilities
LCQ16: Trees planted in country parks
LCQ17: Escalators leading to MTR stations' entrances/exits
LCQ19: Youth Ambassador Against Internet Piracy Scheme

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Hong Kong: Weather report

Lunchtime on a little island in the South China Sea, the rain started. Followed by a thunderstorm from the southwest, which is advancing eastwards. The above shows cloud-to-ground lightning strikes.

Thunderstorm in November? Yes, indeedy. Hong Kong Observatory predicts heavy rains tomorrow, and temperatures to fall to 20 degrees or below in the next few days. HKO: Lightning Location

Hong Kong: New animation-powered satirical blog -- hong kong copy news

It's new, weekly, local, satirical, and in an adorable animation format: hong kong copy news.

The latest issue focuses on Milton Friedman, Buddhists, South China Morning Post humour failure and Canto-popstar Eason Chan's father.

C**t as in Celt: hong kong copy news

Monday, November 20, 2006

Young-hae Chang Heavy Industries Presents:

Young-hae Chang Heavy Industries Presents (Flash required; 18 min 30 sec): The Art of Sleep

Hong Kong: Clash of civilisations (also spelt, civilizations) at SCMP?

Mark Clifford, South China Morning Post newspaper editor-in-chief, make that 'change agent', versus the rest?

A mainstream media take on the latest sackings affair at the SCMP: International Herald Tribune Thanks, Gavin!

As of today, it is to be noted there has been no, to my knowledge, coverage in either of Hong Kong's English-language newspapers, neither in SCMP nor in (Hong Kong's) Standard.

First report of the latest SCMP sackings appeared in the Chinese-language press (Apple Daily, Ming Pao) and was thence reported by bilingual blogger EastSouthWestNorth.

Mister B, um, shuffling of feet, whereupon picked up the baton: senior editors sacked. According to logs, bloomberg, guardian, dow jones, singtao are among the news media which are known to have stopped by Mister B. Hi, everyone.

Anyway, for background on editorial hoo-ha at SCMP, please see previous posts by Mister B (+ accompanying comments in Comments): Stand Off and Sackings no joke and SCMP senior editors sacked

For newer/previous posts, please click on scmp in Labels.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Centennial celebration

Today is the 100th anniversary of a little island in the South China Sea's Vegetable Grower's Association.

Enter stage left: Association lion dancers and accompanying musicians banging and hooting and clattering through the streets from early this morning till just after 10pm.

Enter stage right: Lion dancers from the dozen or so different local kai fongs (neighbourhood committees) also banging and hooting and clattering through the streets from early this morning till just after 10pm.

Result? Lots of colour, movement, and several people midway through a phone chat asking me, "what's that noise in the background?"

That's not noise, it's just a lion dance passing by. And it looked like they were having a good time. No matter that there are no longer any commercial vegetable growers hereabouts. Nor, for that matter, pig breeders (there's an association for them, too).

Why let progress get in the way of tradition? The City of London still has its Worshipful Company of Candlemakers, of Cordwainers, and other long-gone trades, so a place like a little island in the South China Sea is just as entitled to retain and celebrate its own past associations (in the widest sense).

No doubt the lion dancers, musicians, associates, girl friends and whatnot ("we're with the group") are all now in several restaurants where they are heartily eating and drinking, all the better knowing that someone other -- one or more local worthy or unworthy -- is footing the bill.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Maurice Ravel: Jeux d'eau

For the weekend, a guilty pleasure.

Clip of Argentinian-born Martha Argerich playing Maurice Ravel's Jeux d'eau:

Discovery hereabouts of the piano compositions of Maurice Ravel (1875-1937) was a delightful accident. . . the telling of which is for another time.

Meantime, Ravel's piano works Menuet antique, Jeux d'eau, Miroirs, and Gaspard de la Nuit all have a wonderful, liquid shimmering sound, whilst his Le Tombeau de Couperin and Pavane pour une enfante défunte are, as their titles suggest, beautiful sad.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Hong Kong: I Ching, Book of Changes

Hexagram 57, 巽 Sun / The Gentle (The Penetrating, Wind) -> Hexagram 36, 明 夷 Ming I / Darkening of the Light Source: afpc

Hong Kong: Music for Asthmatics and for Others Who May Be Air Impaired

Aphex Twins, Ventolin: youtube

Too harsh? OK, try samba-smooth Diariamente, by Brazilian singer Marisa Monte: youtube


Thursday, November 16, 2006

Hong Kong: vehicle number plate code decoded?

Over at Simon World, Simon asks the question: For those in Hong Kong, why are government official plates all "AM"? Does it stand for anything?

What a good question. Curiosity aroused, Mister B decided to ferret around. . . um, googling led to Wikipedia and Hong Kong car numbers (Special Prefixes).

Bingo! AM = Administration.

Having posted that info at Simon World Comment, Mister B thought the moment also opportune to post a photo here of one of the several one-man operated (there are no women operators, yet) Mad Max-type fire tenders which serve the population of a little island in the South China Sea:

Yes, the Mad Max machines are all registration F.

Hong Kong: Stand off at the South China Morning Post

Updated and detailed report by Justin Mitchell:
Asia Sentinel

Image: UK Press Gazette

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

SCMP and other four-letter lexical formations

SCMP and the power of c**t? Next time, how about c***? As in:
caba cabs caca cade cadi cads cafe caff cage cagy caid cain cake caky calf calk call calm calo calp calx came camp cams cane cang cann cans cant cany capa cape caph capi capo caps carb card care cark carl carn carp carr cars cart casa case cash cask cast cate cats cauf cauk caul caum caup cave cavy cawk caws cays ceas ceca cede cedi cees ceil cell cels celt cens cent cepe ceps cere cero cert cess cete chad chai chal cham chao chap char chas chat chaw chay chef cher chew chez chia chic chid chik chin chip chis chit chiv chiz choc chon chop chou chow chub chug chum chut ciao cide cids ciel cigs cill cine cion cire cirl cist cite cito cits city cive clad clag clam clan clap clat claw clay clef cleg clem clew clip clod clog clon clop clot clou clow cloy club clue coal coat coax cobb cobs coca coch cock coco coda code cods coed coff coft cogs coho coif coil coin coir coit coke coky cola cold cole coll cols colt coly coma comb come comp coms cond cone conf coni conk conn cons cony coof cook cool coom coon coop coos coot cope cops copy cord core corf cork corm corn cors cory cose cosh coss cost cosy cote coth cots cott coup cour cove cowl cowp cows cowy coxa coxy coys coze cozy crab crag cram cran crap craw cred cree crew crib crim cris crit croc crop crow crud crue crus crux cube cubs cuds cued cues cuff cuif cuit cuke cull culm cult cunt cups curb curd cure curf curl curn curr curs curt cush cusk cusp cuss cute cuts cwms cyan cyma cyme cyst cyte czar
Source: Ozzie Scrabble

Plus, coot. Don't forget coot. For two earlier reports (plus must-read Comments) about SCMP and its internecine war of words: Mister B: sackings no joke and Mister B: senior editors sacked

UPDATE: UK's online Press Gazette: "What apparently upset Clifford was the use of the word c*** under the SMP masthead (with asterisks included, I should point out) and some mildy derogatory references to the newspaper's deputy editor, a Chinese woman by the name of Fanny Fung."
(Image: Press Gazette)

UPDATE: Elsewhere, British TV person Sir David Frost now has a show on the new English-language output at Al Jazeera TV. That show is, however, unlikely to be as interesting as the one on London Weekend TV which Frost hosted in 1970.

Self-proclaimed Yippie Jerry Rubin, Whole Earth Catalog founder Stewart Brand, and musician David Crosby offered Frost some dope. The smarmy Frost turned them down but the show turned chaotic anyway, and someone uttered the C-word -- a first for Britsh telly, apparently.

This historic moment is revealed at youtube

Via Guardian's arts blog.

Economist: Go west, old man

Jetlag can be fatal if you are flying east -- and you are an elderly mouse: Economist

Hong Kong: Legislative Council Question Time

Some of the questions (and answers) from the LegCo meeting of Wednesday, 15 November 2006:

LCQ1: Global warming and climate change
LCQ6: Work of the Hong Kong Tourism Board
LCQ10: Rooftop greening projects for buildings
LCQ16: Mainland women giving births in Hong Kong
LCQ19: Fixtures on external walls of buildings
LCQ20: Sea burials

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Hong Kong: 19 November, Leonid meteor shower

Planet Earth passes through the 10-micron flakes of debris shed by the Tempel-Tuttle comet this weekend. Calculated peak time for meteor shows is 4:45am (GMT) on 19 November 2006.

Like the recently cancelled Mariah Carey Hong Kong concert,the Leonids meteor shower show will be a sight unseen by the starstruck of a little island in the South China Sea. Why? Too bright, daylight. For more details of why that will be so as well as an explanatory globe: Armagh Observatory

For a great report about the 2001 Leonid meteor shower, the astronauts in the International Space Station: Nasa

Even if it were night time, the chances of seeing the meteor shower locally would have been slim: (a) the atmosphere is too "hazy" and (b) there is too much ground-based light pollution.

If you are somewhere where you can and do see an abundance of shooting stars, don't forget to make a wish (or three) and may yr wish(es) come true. Just be, as they say, careful what you wish for.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Hong Kong: SCMP sackings? No joking please, we’re journalists

A most excellent piece about the latest sackings at South China Morning Post:
In an unprecedented action, an estimated 80-plus newsroom staffers – male, female, Chinese and western alike – have signed what amounts to a no-confidence vote in Mark Clifford, the editor-in-chief of Hong Kong’s largest English language newspaper, after he fired two senior editors for their small roles in a mock front page farewell gift for another editor whom Clifford had fired.

The incident, which began as a traditional office ritual for a departing employee, has uncovered a sharp divide in the newsroom of one of Asia’s oldest newspapers, essentially pitting a new chief editor against many of the paper’s long-time employees.

Please read the whole thing by Justin Mitchell at Asia Sentinel. Via every day HK

UPDATE: Subs sacked over leaving page: MediaGuardian

That Guardian report requires cookies as well as Registration Required. However, you can read the Guardian report in Comments (below) as well as an unlocatable (no URL found so far) report by Ken Sweet at Bloomberg. Thanks for both, Anonymous and Anonymous!

For newer/previous posts, click on scmp in Labels.

Danwei TV: A Hong Kong Story with Roland Soong

Ah, yet another youtube find.

So just where in Hong Kong is that retaining wall which features in Eileen Chang's (张爱铃) novella Love in a Fallen City (顷城之恋)?

Hint: it is almost certainly not in Repulse Bay but somewhere in Central and known to many not for the Chang connection but as a Lan Kwai Fong wall which is, well, unmissable:

For more on Eileen Chang: Wikipedia and here.

Roland Soong is, of course, the power behind blog extraordinaire EastSouthWestNorth.

Hong Kong director Ann Hui's 1984 film adaptation Love in a Fallen City (with English-language subtitles), starring Cora Miao and Chow Yun-fat is well worth a look-see.

Just published. . . Love in a Fallen City, by Eileen Chang; translated by Karen S. Kingsbury: New York Review of Books

Hong Kong: Star Ferry

Hong Kong Standard carries a Gavin Coates' cartoon every weekday on the front page of its online edition. Here's today's:

This one accompanies a report on the closure this weekend of the Hong Kong-side Star Ferry terminal at Edinburgh Place and opening of a new terminal at Central Ferry Piers Nos. 7 & 8.

Leslie Kwoh's report has some interesting back history as well as suggestions from some locals: Standard

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Reading matters

How author Ian Fleming anticipated the now common, worldwide obsession with brands. By Brian Cathcart: New Statesman

Or, to rework the famous phrase "je pense, donc je suis" of le philosophe Mister René Descartes (1596-1650):
James Bond (007): I possess aspirational brands, therefore I am
Disclosure: whilst in his mid-teens Mister B developed a taste for scrambled eggs (on toast) with smoked bacon, after having read From Russia with Love. Or was it Dr No? It is so long ago.

Scrambled eggs? Still eat them. Such is the power of the printed word on an impressionable mind.

Lest we forget: Remembrance Sunday

This Sunday morning, there is an official ceremony at Hong Kong's Cenotaph, Statue Square, Central. The ceremony includes two minutes' of silence starting at 11am.

From my mother's sleep I fell into the State,
And I hunched in its belly till my wet fur froze.
Six miles from earth, loosed from its dream of life,
I woke to black flak and the nightmare fighters.
When I died they washed me out of the turret with a hose.
-- The Death of the Ball Turret Gunner, Randall Jarrell

Yes, it is Remembrance Sunday -- the nearest Sunday to Remembrance Day/Armistice Day (11 November).

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Hong Kong: SCMP senior editors sacked

According to today's Hong Kong Chinese-language newspapers Apple Daily and Ming Pao, two senior editors at the English-language South China Morning Post were summarily sacked on Friday, 10 November 2006.

For more details, EastSouthWestNorth

UPDATE: Oh, and you'd be well advised to read the Comments (below) for some other inside information as well as the Mark Clifford (SCMP editor-in-chief) email to staff. Thanks, Anonymous!

UPDATE: Further stuff about SCMP kerfuffle is here at Mister B: sackings no joke and also here Mister B: scmp and other four-letter words as well as Mister B: Stand off at SCMP and the very latest, Mister B: Clash

For much newer (2007) posts, please click on scmp in Labels. Thank you.

Joy Division: Love Will Tear Us Apart

For the weekend, a guilty pleasure.

Joy Division:

Friday, November 10, 2006

Hong Kong: Star Ferry

Just a reminder that the Star Ferry sails from its current Edinburgh Place, Hongkong-side terminal for the last time on Saturday night, 11 November 2006.

Traffic, transport and crowd control arrangements for the evening of 11 November: Hong Kong Info press release

What happens from 12 November?

Central Ferry Pier Nos. 7 and 8 (but see also this previous post by Mister Bijou).

Elsewhere, website of the Star Ferry Company Limited The Wikipedia page is very good, too: Star Ferry

Hong Kong: she works hard for the money

In Hong Kong, there is no legal minimum wage for workers -- except for the extremely low one set for foreign domestic helpers (of which there are well over 275,000 -- almost all females, almost all from Indonesia and the Philippines) .

A statutory and legal minimum wage? It's not as if there is no demand for one, there is. Hong Kong's Confederation of Trade Untions has long lobbied for one as have various Christian NGOs, to name but two. All to no avail. Never fear, Hong Kong Governnment studies the problem: Legislative Council Question 4.

In mid-October, Hong Kong's Cheif Executive, (Sir) Donald Tsang encourages the cleaning and security sectors to implement a voluntary minimum wage. Voluntary? Yeah, right. That'll go down well.

So, in the absence of a statutory minimum wage, local women -- mostly poorly educated, unskilled for the labour market, married with children -- continue to find themselves victim of a lamentable state of affairs: earning as little as about HK$10 an hour.

Recently, Next Magazine reported on the lives of a number of such women. It's a good but sobering read. Roland Soong translated the article into English and you can find it on his blog, here: EastSouthWestNorth

Thursday, November 09, 2006

WHO? The Politics of Health

Never mind that Mexico's minister of health, Doctor Julio Frenk (see Wikipedia), is much more experienced and far better qualified.

The politics of health dictate Hong Kong's former director of health Margaret Chan Fung Fu-chun, "our Hong Kong girl" emerge the sole nominee for the post of director general of the World Health Organisation.

The nomination was the result of much jockeying by various major powers.

While Doctor Chan as director of health for Hong Kong dealt succesfully in 1997 with the first bird flu outbreak hereabouts, it was during the SARS epidemic (2003) that she made a series of fatal errors. Fatal for others, that is.

Still, having reacted too slowly to that SARS outbreak, maybe the good doctor has learned the value of fast communication. Let's hope so.

Nevermind. It's only politicians making a power play with people's health.

Learn from Comrade Lei Feng!

Lei Feng was a cheerfully selfless 22-year-old PLA soldier who in 1961 was accidently crushed to death by a telegraph pole. Or not. Nobody is really sure.

However, in 1962, the Great Helmsman, Mao Tse-tung, called on the entire Chinese nation to Learn from Comrade Lei Feng.

As a result Lei Feng became a synonym for "serve others," "volunteering," "whole-hearted dedication," "selfless generosity".

Since there is no point in letting a Unique Selling Point fade away, someone in China is now selling a condom called Learn from Comrade Lei Feng.

For more about Lei Feng and the condom (by Justin Mitchell): Asia Sentinel via EastSouthWestNorth

Poetry corner: Rumsfeld + Rumsfeldiana

So farewell, Rummy. (A pastiche.)
The General
'Good-morning; good-morning!' the General said
When we met him last week on our way to the line.
Now the soldiers he smiled at are most of 'em dead,
And we're cursing his staff for incompetent swine.
'He's a cheery old card,' grunted Harry to Jack
As they slogged up to Arras with rifle and pack. .
But he did for them both by his plan of attack
-- Siegfried Sassoon

The Secretary of Defense
“Good to see ya son,” Rummy said with a grin,
When he bade us farewell in a hanger in Maine.
Now the grunts he waved off are crippled or dead,
And we blame the president for being so lame.
“He’s OK, served his time,” called out Jose to John,
As they schlepped into Fallujah with rifles and bombs. . .
But he got it wrong - and the boys are now gone.
-- Anon
Thanks, Gavin!

There's more! The poetry oF Donald Rumsfeld in His Own Words:

The Unknown
As we know,
There are known knowns.
There are things we know we know.
We also know
There are known unknowns.
That is to say
We know there are some things
We do not know.
But there are also unknown unknowns,
The ones we don't know
We don't know.
-- Feb. 12, 2002, Department of Defense news briefing
For other examples of the Zen-like poetry of the Don: slate and slate

Update! Mp3 of Rum's Unknowns known and unknown, put to music by someone called E R Flynn: The Lights are Dim via WFMU's Beware of the Blog

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Exile on Main Street

IMHO, the Stones' best album, ever.

That, and Let It Bleed.

OK, Exile was a double album.

Exile outakes: Mp3s.

Don't know how long those tracks will be up:

aquarium drunk

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

USA: hacking democracy

They have them there elections in the US today. For many outsiders, the US voting system appears a ramshackle, third-world affair.

Unlike other countries where the voting system is uniform across a nation, in the US each state is responsible for deciding the method of voting as well as organising and running elections, be they state or federal.

Since there are fifty states, throughout the US there are a variety of voting methods: hand counted paper ballots; mechanical lever machines; punchcards; optical scan systems; and the leave-no-paper-trail electronic voting machines.

The latter are wide open for manipulation for those with nefarious intent.

Scary stuff. . . an HBO Special -- Hacking Democracy (72 min): googlevideo

Monday, November 06, 2006

Old friends: Saddam Hussein, the CIA, and Donald Rumsfeld

The news is in: Saddam Hussein sentenced to death. Ah, but this is the second time Saddam has been sentenced to death!

The first time was in 1959. That was after a plot to kill Iraq's then prime minister, General Abd al-Karim Qasim.

The assassination was authorised by the, um, CIA.

However, the operation was bungled, and Qassim survived. With the assistance of CIA and Egyptian operatives, Saddam fled to Beirut, where he participated in a CIA training course, then was sent to Cairo. There he studied law and helped the CIA compile a list of Iraqi communists and radicals.

In 1963, Qassim was overthrown by the Ba'ath party, and Saddam returned to Iraq to head the Ba'ath party's intelligence service.

Saddam's intelligence service, using the CIA-compiled list, soon went about arresting and interrogating suspected communists -- many, however, were simply and summarily gunned down. The mass killings, presided over by Saddam, took place at Qasr al-Nehayat, literally, the Palace of the End.

The rest is history.

Shaking Hands: Iraqi President Saddam Hussein greets Donald Rumsfeld, then special envoy of President Ronald Reagan, in Baghdad on December 20, 1983.

Shaking Hands with Saddam Hussein: The U.S. tilts toward Iraq, 1980-1984
National Security Archive
Electronic Briefing Book No. 82
(Edited by Joyce Battle)

Sunday, November 05, 2006

A few words about Pauline

By Tim and Alison.

Hong Kong: Taxi Driver Hit The School Girl In The Head With A Hammer

Roland Soong compares the reporting in several Chinese-language newspapers and English-language South China Morning Post (no link, SCMP pay-wall) of an incident in Chai Wan yesterday.

(click on image to enlarge)

Mister B is not sure SCMP has any local reporters -- just sub-editors. They who daily sit behind their desks to re-write press releases issued by Hong Kong Government departments, PR companies, and the public affairs departments of Hong Kong Stock Exchange-listed companies.

All that stuff, plus the editing of all those international agency reports from AP and Reuters that also make up most of the SCMP's content.

Roland Soong: EastSouthWestNorth

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Cliff Richard: Summer Holiday

For the weekend, a guilty pleasure.

Cliff Richard and The Shads. Summer Holiday. Yeah, I know. But this is a guilty pleasure. Besides, Summer Holiday is a great singalong and also happens to be one of the most politically subversive artefacts produced in the late twentieth century. See below.

We're all going on a summer holiday.
No more working for a week or two.
Fun and laughter on a summer holiday.
No more worries for me and you.
For a week or two.

We're going where the sun shines brightly.
We're going where the sea is blue.
We've seen it in the movies.
Now let's see if it's true.

Everybody has a summer holiday
Doing things they always wanted to.
So we're going on a summer holiday
To make our dreams come true
For me and you.
Most of the audience for the 1962 British film Summer Holiday -- starring Cliff Richard and The Shadows -- had probably never heard of Jack Kerouac nor read On the Road, Kerouac's paean to freedom written in the late 1940s, completed in 1951 but only published in 1957.

Yet by the time the audience walked out of the cinema after the end of Summer Holiday (and the playing of the National Anthem), many had fallen for the charms of a story and visual fiesta which was just as culturally and politically subversive as Kerouac's: screw work; hit the road; explore the unknown; turn your dreams into reality; destination sun, sex and other assorted fun.

Have a great weekend!

The Shame and the Pity

Israeli Defence Force murdering women? The events in the Gaza town of Beit Hanoun which led to the shooting dead of two women and injuries to others is not the first such incident. But it must qualify as a new low by the Israeli military.

According to Palestine Centre for Human Rights, the number of Palestinians killed by Israeli Defence Force in the Gaza Strip between 25 June 2006 and 6 September 2006 stood at 226. That number includes 47 children and 12 women. In addition, 726 others, mostly civilians, including 196 children, 27 women, 4 paramedics and 4 journalists, have been wounded.

That's June to September. For casualty figures between 6 September and today, Mister B has not so far been able to track down reliable numbers. Whatever they are, they are dreadful.

Friday, November 03, 2006

In praise of Pongo

Pauline Harrison's funeral service and cremation take place in the City of London, tomorrow, Saturday, 4 November, at 11am.

Among the living, those who will be attending include a UK-based contingent of ex-residents of a little island in the South China Sea. Sadly, Mister B won't be in London, but he will be there in spirit + will burn some incense sticks in Pauline's honour at the allotted hour.

Pongo? Please read Tim L's eulogy, which will be posted here on Sunday. Thank you.

UPDATE: a few words about Pauline, by Tim and Alison

Fire! Again. Smokey time to re-name Chung Yeung festival?

Mister B has long held the opinion that the just-celebrated Chung Yeung festival should be re-named Burn a Hillside Festival.

Without fail, every year families clean their ancestors' graves and leave, among other things, burnt offerings. This being the dry season, hillsides catch alight and thus we are treated at night to the sight of flaming necklaces advancing across the mountains.

This year, the outer wind bands of typhoon Cimaron fanned the flames mightily. Of the 139 hill fires reported, the one in Tai Lam Country Park near Tsuen Wan New Town in Hong Kong's New Territories has destroyed an estimated 65,000 trees and made a lot of smoke.

It has taken nearly 680 firefighters and volunteers as well as three helicopters the best part of three days to put out the flames. Hillside fire fans declare the Tai Lam blaze to be the most extensive hillside fire these past ten years.

Welcome to Charcoalsville.

Hong Kong: Typhoon Cimaron

After forming in the western Pacific, typhoon Cimaron last weekend headed west and ripped across the Philippines (what's new?) and then churned its way into the South China Sea. Three days ago, Hong Kong Observatory raised the Number One as the said typhoon had come within 800km of a little island in the South China Sea (as well as elsewhere), and Cimaron looked like it might pose a threat hereabouts.

Fortunately, Cimaron dillied and then it dallied, before losing strength to become a mere severe tropical storm. Cimaron (Philippine wild ox) is now sedately making its way toward the Vietnamese coast.

Still, this is a bit late in the year for typhoons.

I am Mister Bijou and I also approve this message

Keep on Truckin'
Robert Crumb