Saturday, March 31, 2007

Duke Ellington: Blues for Miro

For the weekend, a guilty pleasure.

Duke Ellington and the Spanish painter and sculptor Joan Miró in an art museum garden in the South of France, 1966:

Have a great weekend.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Hong Kong Sevens?

30 April - 1 April:
HK Sevens 2007

Hong Kong: Li threatened to `rape' institute, inquiry told

It made a false start in early March because one of the judges, after deliberation, decided to recuse himself (backdoor link to scmp).

But yesterday (29 March 2007) the unwieldily titled The Commission of Inquiry on Allegations relating to The Hong Kong Institute of Education finally got down to business.

President professor Paul Morris versus Education chief Arthur Li Kwok-cheung.

On the first day of the Inquiry, the report is of personality clashes, power plays and power trips, sundry threats, and a taped phone call. In other words, an education in higher education.

The story has got, as they say, legs: HK Standard

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Hong Kong: the naming of names

Daisann McLane writes:
You can pretty much divide Hong Kongers into generations, based on the English language names they use. Anybody over 45 will probably sport a common and somewhat archaic British name like Margaret, Grace, Gordon, Alan, Alice or, perhaps, Donald. But under 45, things start to get looser. Among 35 to 40 year olds you'll find Tiffanys, Jennys, Jackys and Eddies. Then, below the age of 35, the dam breaks open in the Chinese-to-English name game: Serendipity, Durian, Ecstasy, Napoleon.
Great read: Call Me Durian

The naming of names. Mister Bijou remembers once meeting a girl called Alcohol. Mister B queried the name, and she looked at Mister B as though he were dim-witted.

There used to be a girl who worked at a professional photo film developer and printer in Central who called herself Bad Wong. Must have been a fan of the words, music and moonwalk of Michael Jackson.

Then there was the salesman called Beatrick. He said people remembered him because of his name. He was right.

That's enough. Please read Daisann.

Shui Hang: Cecil's green patch

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As promised, here is a photo of Shui Hang, Cecil Chao's latest acquisition. This is further to yesterday's post Concrete plans.

If Mister Bijou is still breathing, mobile, and on a little island in the South China Sea when the project is completed, expect another photo from the same spot (at the north corner).

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Hong Kong: Legislative Council Questions

Some of the questions (and answers) from the LegCo meeting of Wednesday, 28 March 2007:

LCQ12: Noise-related nuisance made by users of holiday flats
LCQ18: Nathan Road Road Safety Improvement Plan

Concrete plans

Hong Kong Government sold some land at public auction yesterday. More precisely, the level grass area at Shui Hang adjacent to the coastal Sai Wan road. Next door is Greenery Crest estate, which is immediately to the southwest of the three public tennis courts.

Bidding for the patch at Shui Hang started at $HK39 million. The final, accepted bid was HK$96.5 million. In sterling, that's getting on for six and a half million pounds.

The buyer? Cecil Chao. Did he pay too much? More details: Hong Kong Standard

Long-term residents will recall that Cecil Chao Sze-tsung has a colourful background: Asiaweek

More recently, in Kuala Lumpur he seems to have become a doctor: the star

Mister Bijou will tomorrow go down to Shui Hang and take a photo of ninety-six point five million Hong Kong dollars.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Eye | Land | View

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Fruit store

An autumn tale

What starts out as a simple question -- where is it? -- becomes an obsession. The mysterious origins of a Windows desktop image, by Nick Tosches: vanity fair

Also by Tosches and worth tracking down is his biography of Dean Martin -- Dino: Living High in the Dirty Business of Dreams. Tosches chronicles Dean Martin's life and the writing takes on a semi-hallucinatory darkness as Dino reaches old age, closes the curtains, knocks back some more pills, and opens another bottle.

Living High in the Dirty Business of Dreams is out of print but available at places like the 'new, used, rare and out of print' retailer: abebooks

Monday, March 26, 2007

Hong Kong: change in the weather

Since 1995 when Clarence Fong set it up, the website Weather Underground of Hong Kong has had more than seventy million visits.

The website has been a wonderful resource and (Mister Bijou speculates) influenced the development and range of Hong Kong Government's own on-line endeavours at Hong Kong Observatory.

If you're wondering what happened to all the bells and whistles on Weather Underground and why the webpages are now barebones, here's the reasons why: WU discussion Via batgung

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Eye | Land | View

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Incense man

Hong Kong: small circle election

Well, the election for the post of Chief Executive of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region took place this morning.

It was all over by 11am, what with there being only 800 eligible electors, the 'small circle'. Keith Bradsher of the New York Times nailed the class position and political sympathies of the broad majority of that small circle of electors:
With strong backing from Beijing’s leaders, Mr. Tsang’s re-election was never in doubt. The electors are mainly wealthy businesspeople and politicians with close ties to the mainland.
Many of them arrived at the election site, a convention center next to the city’s outlying airport, in their chauffeured Rolls-Royces, Mercedes, BMWs and even a Porsche.
While most of Hong Kong’s people did not have a say in the outcome, the election still caught the public’s attention. Hong Kong held its first two election debates pitting a leader of the territory against an opponent actively promoting democracy. The campaign grew sufficiently contentious that mainland authorities temporarily blocked signals from CNN even when Mr. Tsang articulated his position on eventual democracy here.
People in neighboring Guangdong province can receive television signals from Hong Kong, and have expressed envy to Hong Kong television crews over this territory’s limited liberties.
More: NYT (registration-free link)

But the numbers? Out of 800? Votes cast: 789. Number of valid votes obtained:

Mr Alan Leong Kah Kit 123
Mr Donald Tsang Yam Kuen 649

So that's 772 valid votes and 17 invalid votes, the latter will be blank votes and mal-formed votes. So it goes


How about a documentary (1hr 28min) about the history, development and art of film editing? With lots of clips from many familiar and famous films?

For film buffs, The Cutting Edge -- The Magic of Movie Editing: video google

Karen Dalton: It Hurts Me Too

Bob Dylan mentions Karen Dalton several times in his book Chronicles, Volume 1. A track of hers -- Ribbon Bow -- is featured on a 2CD that has a variety of singers mentioned in the book. That double CD -- Chroniques -- was, however, only released in France to coincide with the publication of the French translation.

Since when, Dalton's slim body of work -- two albums -- has been re-released. And beautiful the music is, too.

Dalton had a troubled life -- doesn't everyone? -- but hers appeared to be more troubled than most. For a good overview of the life and times of Karen Dalton: Guardian Video clip from 1969: youtube Thanks, Gavin!

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Águas de Março: Elis Regina & Antonio Carlos Jobim

For the weekend, a guilty pleasure.

Águas de Março, aka The Waters of March. With composer Tom Jobim and the delightful Elis Regina:

Have a great weekend.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Eye | Land | View

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Street furniture

Hong Kong: daai seng, the big sound

Daisann McLane writes:
I am in the middle of having a brain operation without anesthesia and a mad surgeon is holding a power drill millimeters from my skull. Oh, wait. The damn jong sau is still going on in flats 15A and B. Here at Profitable View Court, we tenants are living in renovation hell. Every morning at 9am, the construction crew arrives. At exactly 9:15 they finish drinking their naaih cha, plug in the power drills, and the daai seng, the big sound, begins. I'm jarred out of sleep, my head starts to throb and my chest feels like it will explode from the stop-and-start whining and hammering.
Great stuff. To read the rest, please go here: Learning Cantonese

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Eye | Land | View

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Me looking at she, she looking at me, he looking at her

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Eye | Land | View

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Manhole cover.

A little island in the South China Sea has its charms and idiosyncracies. For instance, the island probably has more hair salons and head shops (selling balaclavas, baseball hats, bonnets, flat caps, summer hats, and sun visors) per square kilometre than any other place on the planet. That, and manhole covers. They are everywhere. Lots of them.

Some manhole covers are courtesy of PWDHK (Public Works Department), many others carry the imprimatur of Hing Lee. This one is from the extensive Hop Fung collection.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Eye | Land | View

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This afternoon, Mister Bijou sauntered over to the waterfront's railing to see what the men and boys -- it's always men and boys -- were looking at. Why, of course, other men at work.

In this case, guys with a pneumatic jackhammer who were drilling away at the one of the concrete stanchions which support the ferry terminal.

It was low tide and they were working real close to the shore. Progress report(s) to follow as the tide goes higher and they get into deeper water. Stay tuned!

Monday, March 19, 2007

Hong Kong: South China Morning Post editor-in-chief quits

Yes, Mark Clifford is stepping down as editor-in-chief of the South China Morning Post, ending a short and controversial year-long tenure. Mr Clifford leaves two months after the departure of editor Fanny Fung. C K Lau, who filled Fung's position, now moves up to become top dog. (For more on Clifford's tenure at SCMP, click on scmp in Labels).

Here's the internal email announcing Mr Clifford's departure:
I wish to announce that Mark Clifford will step down as Editor-in-Chief of the South China Morning Post with effect from 1 April 2007 to pursue another opportunity. Mark has been the driving force behind the SCMP's forthcoming re-design. He has contributed in the convergence of the print and digital efforts of the SCMP and overhauled the paper's training program for our journalists. During his tenure, Mark played a key role in changes that have both strengthened and improved the editorial operations.
Editor C.K.Lau will assume responsibility for editorial operations after Mark leaves.
On behalf of the Board of Directors and Management of the SCMP Group, we express our deep appreciation to Mark for his efforts and contributions in the past year, and we wish him the very best in his new position. Please extend your cooperation and support to CK and the rest of his team.

Kuok Khoon Ean
Where's Mr C going? To the Asian Business Council, where he will become executive director. In May. It's not on the ABC website, yet(?). But for the official party line: ABC press release

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

Eye | Land | View

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Late afternoon, two large puddles

It rained early this morning. The heat and sunshine later in the day soon dried out everything and everywhere, except those two last holdouts. This was the first rain in many months, and in a couple of more months' time it will be the start of the rainy season. Typhoons to follow. Oh, this morning, because of the cloud, the partial solar eclipse was not watchable, tant pis.

Multi-touch sensing graphic video display

This is just so awesome. And like the audience at TED, Mister Bijou found himself clapping too. Jeff Han: youtube Thanks, Rick and Nick S!

Digging around, Jeff Han also has a webpage (with more video): Multi-Touch Interaction Research

The youtube clip is from the very worthwhile exploring: TED

Previously featured on Mister Bijou, link to the (video) talk by Dr Larry Brilliant: TED webcast 2006

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Hong Kong: partial eclipse of the sun

Partial eclipse of the sun on Monday morning (19 March 2007)). As observed at Hong Kong, the eclipse will occur from 9.09am to 10.26am.

Maximum eclipse will occur at 9.47am. Which is when 16.1% of the sun's diameter will be obscured by the moon.

The partial solar eclipse will be visible hereabouts in the east southeast, weather permitting. (Standard health warning: don't stare at the sun.)


Mister Bijou has seen few films more than once, with one exception: Performance. Made in late 1968, but only released in 1970, Mister B saw that film six times during the 1970s.

Why? For starters, Performance is crammed with sex, drugs, rock and roll, violence, and issues of identity. What's not to love about a combination like that?

Plus, it's great cinema.

However, from the onset of the 1980s, Mister Bijou's viewership tanked. (It's a long story). But his birthday is coming up and Performance is now available . . . on DVD!

There used to be a couple of clips on youtube, but they have been taken down.

Still there is . . . Performance: Anita Pallenberg talks about the notorious Sixties film: Independent

Or, "What's Been Puzzling You is the Nature of My Game": Performance (Sense of Cinema)

Brill. Just brill.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Pet Shop Boys: West End Girls

For the weekend, a guilty pleasure.

Have a great weekend!

Friday, March 16, 2007

Eye | Land | View

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Village square, student voters

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Eye | Land | View

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Street cleaner

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Reading matters

To be read with a trembling eye. Like many people, Mister Bijou was unnerved as a child by the thought that maybe the colours he saw were not exactly the same as seen by other people. We might have some general agreement as to what constitute red or blue of green, but . . .

Even so, Mister Bijou is not sure he ever talked out loud about it. But he does know a decade or so ago he truly startled a group of people when he recounted something which had been niggling him for years. To wit, how it takes one tenth of a millisecond for light to penetrate the retina, hit those cones and rods, and finally get processed in the synapses and neurons of the brain to produce "what we see".

That's to say, that itty-bitty tenth of a milisecond gap means what we "see" has already happened. Which means (doesn't it?) that we visually live our lives in the constant past. Thus reality -- the here and now -- is an illusion. Maybe Mister Bijou is missing something?

Anyway, Mister Bijou remembers those who were "present" at the telling of this, as if touched by fire, backed away a yard or two. So it goes.

Perhaps this will clarify, The Eye: A Natural History by Simon Ings -- timesonline

Hong Kong: Pak Tai Temple

Yesterday, in the report of an ongoing court case, the following caught the eye:
New City Construction, as McDonnell noted, was the contractor for the "restoration" of Pak Tai Temple on Cheung Chau, which was demolished with the result that all the important architectural items were lost. Source: (Hong Kong) Standard
Important architectural items lost? Surely not. Let's see:
This temple had undergone several major renovations in 1822, 1838, 1858, 1903 and 1989. The latest one by the Chinese Temples Committee commenced in 1999 and was completed in 2003 with a project sum of $13 million. Source: Chinese Temples Committee -- Pak Tai Temple
Thirteen million? Who knew? For a major renovation? But that's for a "major" renovation, not a restoration. What's the difference? Discuss.

Anyway, how about this for a formula: restoration -> major renovation = demolition? Could be. What do you think? After all, during the 'restoration/renovation' the temple was surrounded by shuttering. Work-in-progress was impossible to view by prying eyes. Since when, the last time Mister Bijou went for a walk around Pak Tai Temple -- about a year ago -- all the stonework inside and externally looked remarkably new . . .

Perhaps this oft-quoted statement:
This temple was built in 1783 and is now listed as Grade 1 historical building by the Antiquities Advisory Committee
needs to be re-assessed. Like, for instance:
This temple was last knocked down and rebuilt at the turn of the 21st century but is still listed as a Grade 1 historical building by the Antiquities Advisory Committee.
Truth in advertising, and all that.

(oh, here for photo of Pak Tai Temple)

Hong Kong: Legislative Council Questions

Some of the questions (and answers) from the LegCo meeting of Wednesday, 14 March 2007:

LCQ11: Tree at Hang Ha Po
LCQ12: Shortage of IP addresses
LCQ14: Cancer cases

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Eye | Land | View

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Supermarket check-out

Monday, March 12, 2007

Eye | Land | View

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Stepping off the ferry

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Eye | Land | View

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T'ai chi fan

Saturday, March 10, 2007

The Crystals: Then He Kissed Me

For the weekend, a guilty pleasure.

That wonderful tracking shot from Scorsese's Goodfellas:

Have a great weekend!

Friday, March 09, 2007

Six of the best odd book titles . . .

Here we are, shortlist for the The Bookseller/Diagram Prize for Oddest Book Title of the Year:
How Green Were the Nazis?, edited by Franz-Josef Bruggemeier, Mark Cioc and Thomas Zeller (Ohio University Press)
D. Di Mascio’s Delicious Ice Cream: D. Di Mascio of Coventry: An Ice Cream Company of Repute, with an Interesting and Varied Fleet of Ice Cream Vans, by Roger De Boer, Harvey Francis Pitcher, and Alan Wilkinson (Past Masters)
The Stray Shopping Carts of Eastern North America: A Guide to Field Identification, by Julian Montague (Harry N Abrams)
Tattooed Mountain Women and Spoon Boxes of Daghestan, by Robert Chenciner by Gabib Ismailov, Magomedkhan Magomedkhanov and Alex Binnie (Bennett & Bloom)
Proceedings of the Eighteenth International Seaweed Symposium, edited by Robert J Anderson, Juliet A Brodie, Edvar Onsoyen and Alan T Critchley (Kluwer)
Better Never To Have Been: The Harm of Coming Into Existence, by David Benatar (Clarendon Press)
Cool list, eh? I'm partial to the Stray Shopping Carts of Eastern North America: A Guide to Field Identification . . . (every home should have one). But I think the runaway success will be Tattooed Mountain Women and Spoon Boxes of Daghestan.

What about you? How Green Were the Nazis?

Anyway there's an online poll and it's now open. The winner will be revealed on Friday 13th April on the eve of the London Book Fair. For poll, scroll down, it's on the lower right: bookseller

Eye | Land | View

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Some of the green in greengrocer

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Eye | Land | View

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Street musician

This afternoon, this guy showed up on the corner of the square, played several tunes which sounded like they were from the Chinese traditional repertoire, and then went on his way. But what was he playing?

Digging around, it may be some kind of dobro (resonant guitar), but it was too small to be a regular guitar. It isn't a banjo --wrong shape. Could it be some sort of ukelele with a metal resonator? Or is it a Portuguese/Brazilian cavaquinho (with resonator)? If it is, he would probably have picked it up in Macao.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Eye | Land | View

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Don't know how the Chinese reads, but the English is a tad inelegant if judicious

Hong Kong: Legislative Council Questions

Some of the questions (and answers) from the LegCo meeting of Wednesday, 7 March 2007:

LCQ4: Open-air bazaars
LCQ8: Airport Express service after opening of AsiaWorld-Expo
LCQ19: Government attaches importance to providing assistance to HK residents overseas when in distress

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Lunar eclipse? Obscured by clouds

How was the moon eclipse for you on Saturday evening / Sunday morning, depending on where you live?

Accidentally, Mister Bijou woke up early enough on Sunday morning to view the lunar lightshow at around 5:45am from a bijou balcony, only to be defeated by cloud cover. Thwarted, Mister B went back to bed. So it goes.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Eye | Land | View

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Other people's laundry

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Only connect

The above photo recently won the World Press Photo of the Year award for 2006.

Rich kids in Beirut taking in a spot of disaster tourism? Yes? No, apparently not. For the back story on the people in the car and why they were where they were: speigel

To view the other winning photos in World Press: And the Winners Are?

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Casablanca: As Time Goes By

For the weekend, a guilty pleasure.

Ingrid Bergman, Humphrey Bogart, Dooley Wilson. Play it once, Sam, for old times' sake . . . Play it, Sam, play As Time Goes By:

Have a great weekend!

Friday, March 02, 2007

Eye | Land | View

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