Thursday, May 31, 2007

Eye | Land | View

(click on photo to enlarge)

Food hawker

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Hong Kong: Legislative Council Questions

Some of the questions (and answers) from the LegCo meeting of Wednesday, 30 May 2007:

LCQ5: Cultural heritage tourism
LCQ9: Obscene Articles Tribunal
LCQ14: Legal liabilities for publishing information on Internet

Eye | Land | View

(click on photo to enlarge)

Cloud patrol

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Hong Kong: Obscene Articles Tribunal + Society for Truth and Light

How Did The Obscene Articles Tribunal Get Hijacked? By Leung Man-tao (梁文道), posted 24 May 2007 at InMediaHK. English translation courtesy of ESWN

Monday, May 28, 2007

Reading matters

I don't believe in atheists, by Chris Hedges: truthdig
Chris Hedges: bio

Eye | Land | View

(click on photo to enlarge)


Sunday, May 27, 2007

Hong Kong: shelter from the storm

Hong Kong Observatory's weather station on a little island in the South China Sea explains today's lack of data between 3:15am and 7:30am as 'maintenance'.

Other residents of a little island in the South China Sea know the electricity supply went down soon after a seriously major thunderstorm began to pass over the island.

It was the first such thunderstorm this year. And if the thunder and lightning didn't wake you up, the cessation of air-conditioning and a bedroom's uncomfortable heat did.

Best thing to do? Sit on the balcony on a Bible-black night. Enjoy the deafening thunder claps and blinding flashes of lightning, the rain lashing down on the square and the trees whipped by the winds.

When the shelter is sturdy, the storm is good.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Hong Kong: Indecent Material?

So, is it indecent material? Is it material which should carry a warning and be kept away from the inquisitive eyes of under-18s?

Hong Kong's Obscene Articles Tribunal says so.

And what happens if someone else repeats the 'crime'? As Roland Soong points out:
. . . I am reproducing material that has already been classified as Category II Indecent. As such, I face a maximum penalty of HK$400,000 and 12 months in jail.
Soong also notes, given a recent case where the Obscene Articles Tribunal fined someone for merely linking to another site:
WARNING: If you even so much as hyperlink to this page, you will run the same risk
Hyperlink to material already classified as Category Indecent II: ESWN

Aslyum Street Spankers: Whatever

For the weekend, a guilty pleasure.


Friday, May 25, 2007

Eye | Land | View

(click on photo to enlarge)

Late night cooked food stall

Hong Kong: (Plastic) Bun Festival

(click on photo to enlarge)

Cantonese opera singer

So, how was it, the re-vamped bun festival with plastic buns? In this world where the real becomes artifice and artifice is hyper-real, a thoroughly post-modern Mister Bijou watched the whole thing in an air-conditioned bar.

Three hundred yards away. On TV. Live.

Somebody won.

But before all that, there was the temporary bamboo and tin opera house at Pak Tai Temple basketball court for a journey into another kind of reality: a spot of Cantonese opera.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Hong Kong: (Plastic ) Bun Festival

To go, or not to go. That is the question. It's going to be really crowded, around midnight:
The individual race will be followed by a relay competition. For the first time, the organisers have invited teams from places outside Hong Kong to join the competition. Teams from Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Macau will take part in the competition. The three teams are Vertex Adventure Team, Shenzhen Mountaineering and Outdoorsports Association and Clube de Escalada Guia Macau.

They will compete with teams from Cheung Chau: Petrel Athletic Association, Confederacy of Hong Kong Shanwei Clansmen, Cheung Chau Hoi Luk Fung Culture and Recreation Association, Hong Kong Netting Cultivation and Fisherman Association and Cheung Chau Sai Wan Ma Sing Temple Management Association.
All participants have to follow the rules stipulated by the organising parties such as no offensive weapon. Participants must climb vertically and are forbidden to climb sideways or climb with the aid of others, by pulling other participants' clothing or safety gear, or by stepping on any parts of other participants' bodies.
Source: press release

Eye | Land | View

This afternoon's procession through the village:

Eye | Land | View

(click on photo to enlarge)

Twelve forty-five am, calm before the proverbial storm

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Eye | Land | View

(click on photo to enlarge)

Pak Tai Temple

Star Ferry, Queens Pier and Erotica

Star Ferry, Queens Pier and Erotica, an opinion piece by Ma Ngok (馬嶽), assistant professor, Division of Social Science, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology):
Ever since the Star Ferry affair, I have been thinking about the relationship between this movement and the development of democracy, social movements and civic society in Hong Kong.
Published in Ming Pao. English translation (at and) by EastSouthWestNorth

Eye | Land | View

(Click on photo to enlarge)

Late afternoon, Pak Tai Temple basketball court

Hong Kong Observatory isohyet chart

Follow up to yesterday's post.

Which had heavier rainfall, Ta Kwu Ling or Tai Po?

Tai Po.

Yes, it did. Check it against the Hong Kong Observatory's colour chart.

See, their colour scheme is seriously confusing and counter intuitive. Why? Generally, the convention is colour shifts from light to dark to represent the gradient from less to more.

Light = less. Dark = more.

But not at the Observatory, where the colour ranges in green and purple run in the opposite direction (light = more; dark = less).

Because the Observatory's isohyet chart does not follow convention, it can easily make for misleading reading.

The Observatory invites comments about the isohyet chart and includes the following address: mailbox [at]

Mister Bijou already emailed. Perhaps some more emails from others might make a difference. [rant over]

Eye | Land | View

(click on photo to enlarge)

Another lion dance

Since yesterday, local lion dance troupes accompanied by cornets and drums have been criss-crossing the village during the day and late into the evening.

Also since day-break yesterday, most of the food outlets on a little island in the South China Sea have fallen into line and gone vegetarian. As is the custom for the Bun Festival.

Given there is a certain flexibility -- cooked oysters slathered in a toxic-looking orange sauce are considered "vegetarian" during the festival -- Mister Bijou decided to maintain what is a mostly lacto-vegetarian lifestyle.

Serious meat-eaters? They need to wait until a little island in the South China Sea's version of Ramadan ends tomorrow afternoon before again eating flesh in public.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Eye | Land | View

(click on photo to enlarge)

Overcast, but clear visibility

Hong Kong Observatory's isohyet chart

Which had heavier rainfall, Ta Kwu Ling or Tai Po?

For the answer, please check back here tomorrow. Thank you.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Hong Kong's Obscene Articles Tribunal

Mervyn Cheung Man-ping, one of the adjudicators of the Hong Kong's Obscene Publications Tribunal, is more than ready to talk to journalists and reporters.

Wow, is he ready: The Very Public Adjudicators of the Hong Kong Obscene Articles Tribunal

Lamentably, however, digging around via Google does not reveal much more (in English) about Cheung. Except he is chairman of something called Hong Kong Education Policy Concern Organisation. That's according to this report first published in scmp on 16 April 2007.

Oh, Mr Cheung is/was (?) also on the board of something called Hong Kong Women Teachers' Organization What's a man doing as leading member of a professional women's organisation? Go figure.

Another adjudicator of the Obscene Articles Tribunal is Choi Chi-sum. Choi is better known as secretary general of the homophobic Society for Truth and Light.

Set up just before the handover in 1997, Society for Truth and Light is a lobby group. It lobbies for "Christian values". STL shares the same values as conservative right-wing Christians in the US and has adopted their organisational style and methodology. STL had 13 full-time staff, according to this scmp report in October 2005.

So what does STL do? Publicly, STL presents position papers to LegCo and lobbied (unsuccessfully) against laws that promulgate equality regardless of sexual preference. STL also conducts surveys about media, youth and sex. And Choi or another spokesperson can usually be relied upon by journalists to furnish at least one quotable soundbyte.

Hong Kong Education Policy Concern Organisation and The Society for Truth and Light, two lobby groups with one aim? Who knows. But Cheung and Choi are both adjudicators for the Obscene Articles Tribunal.

And there is no way of knowing if either or both were sitting when OAT recently declared Chinese University Student Press guilty of publishing an "obscene" survey.

Neither is there any way of knowing if Cheung or Choi (or both) were sitting on the tribunal a couple of weeks ago when a man was found guilty by OAT and fined HK$5,000 for providing links to images in an adult forum. Yes, that's right. Not pictures. Links. Just to be clear: providing a link is now judged as being legally actionable and punishable. This is a very worrisome development.

Cheung and Choi? Instinct tells Mister Bijou that Cheung and Choi share more than meets the eye.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Eye | Land | View

(click on photo to enlarge)

Broken umbrella man

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Friday, May 18, 2007

Hong Kong Copy News: Goat

Sex, violence, bestiality, incest, Obscene Articles Tribunal, the Bible, Tiananmen, hyperlinks?

Yes! The new-look Hong Kong Copy News reviews this past week: goat

Marketwatch: yeung mui

On a little island in the South China Sea, the first fresh lychees to be harvested in south Guangdong have now been sighted for sale in local fruit stores. Mister Bijou will exercise patience however, until the main crop begins to arrive and the price drops accordingly.

Meanwhile, there are yeung mui (left) to enjoy.

And part of the pleasure is wondering how each fruit will taste. For yeung mui can be either sweet or tart, but always full of juice.

More about yeung mui: Wikipedia

Hong Kong: Ma Lik

Hong Kong legislator, member of the Basic Law Steering Committee, chairman of the pro-Beijing political party Democratic Alliance for the Betterment of Hong Kong (DAB), Mister Ma Lik sat down for tea with some journalists earlier this week.

So it was that in between sips of Jasmin, Ma explained that Hong Kong was not ready for universal suffrage because, for starters, many Hong Kong people wrongly believed there was a massacre in Tiananmen Square [in 1989].

Ma and the DAB have since backpedalled on his Tiananmen comments and Ma has now sought shelter in Guangzhou where he is being treated for colon cancer.

Wish him well for the future.

But why go to Guangzhou for treatment when Hong Kong's three major public hospitals deliver world-class cancer treatments? There is speculation Ma may have been put off by the hospital names . . . Prince of Wales (New Territories), Queen Elizabeth (Kowloon), Queen Mary (Hong Kong island): hemlock

Anyway, Ma cited the Tiananmen "belief" to show that Hong Kong people were "not mature enough", that they lacked patriotism and national identity, and would thus not be ready for democracy until . . . 2022.

Just so you know.

Oh, and he also questioned whether gweilos (a Cantonese semi-contemptuous term for Caucasians) should be the ones to interpret the truth about Tiananmen.

To be continued.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Eye Land | View

(click on photo to enlarge)

Late afternoon, basketball court at Pak Tai temple

Before raising the three bamboo towers, it is always prudent to light some incense and burn some paper offerings . . .

Reading matters

Two British civil servants to go to jail for attempting to publish George Bush’s desire to blow up an Al Jazeera office in Qatar. By Gavin Greenwood: Asia Sentinel

Hong Kong: Sex and the City

Fighting fire with fire, culture war hots up in Hong Kong:
(SCMP) More than 1,400 indecency complaints have been filed against the Bible -- nearly 10 times more than those lodged against the Chinese University student journal. The Television and Entertainment Licensing Authority yesterday confirmed 1,406 complaints were received and two of the complaints were made by phone and fax. The rest were filed by e-mail. About 168 complaints have been filed against the university's Student Press.

A Chinese-language website, which has launched a campaign demanding a reclassification of the Bible, has stopped transferring complaints to the authority automatically after complaint numbers jumped to 11,660. "The website has been disrupted with the intention of discrediting our credibility. We do not rule out the possibility of reporting the case to police to find out the guilty party who tries to suppress freedom of speech," a statement issued in the website said.

The website said the Bible was full of stories and references to incest, rape, cannibalism and violence. Therefore, it should be classified as indecent or obscene.
More, much more at: EastSouthWestNorth

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Hong Kong: (Plastic) Bun Festival

(click on photo to enlarge)

Chairman of Hong Kong Cheung Chau Bun Festival Committee, Mr Yung Chi-ming:
"Learning from experience and getting the feedback from participants in the past two contests, the organising parties noted that genuine buns will be easily spoilt and become slippery in rainy and humid weather. This will endanger the participants and affect their performance," Mr Yung said. "It has been agreed that replica buns will replace the buns this year. As in previous years, three bun towers studded with genuine buns will be erected at the basketball court in Pak Tai Temple for worshipping deities during the Bun Festival. People can continue to collect these buns after the festival as they did before. The arrangements both ensure the safety of the competition and maintain the tradition."
Measures in place for (plastic) Bun Scrambling Competition: press release

Hong Kong: Legislative Council Questions

Some of the questions (and answers) from the LegCo meeting of Wednesday, 16 May 2007:

LCQ3: Services for cancer patients
LCQ8: Wan Chai Development Phase II
LCQ12: Number of Usual Residents present in Hong Kong
LCQ18: Illegal parking of bicycles and trolleys

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Eye | Land | View

(click on photo to enlarge)

Late afternoon, waterfront

Monday, May 14, 2007

Hong Kong: Hemlock . . . We Deserve Better since 1997

Hemlock (who is listed in the Some Other Local Blogs sidebar on the right) has written a book.

Hemlock interviewed by a friendly journalist: interview

As you can see (above), the book has a splendid red cover and is titled We Deserve Better: Hong Kong since 1997.

Mister Bijou already has his order in.

We Deserve Better: Hong Kong since 1997

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Eye | Land | View

(click on photo to enlarge)

Sunday afternoon, Our Lady of Fatima church procession

Late this afternoon, a procession passed through the village square. And very colourful was the procession.

Better make that procession cum pageant: among the participants were minor and major angels, boy scouts, and Filipina's in evening ball gowns.

Makes a change from the traditional and noisy lion dancers or the Disneyfied goings-on of the island's Evangelicals. This one was organised by the Roman Catholics.

Their church on a little island in the South China Sea goes by the name Our Lady of Fatima. But why have a procession cum pageant today? Wikipedia is your friend: 13 May, 1917.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Hong Kong: political battlelines shifting?

Daisann McLane writes
The pro-democrats aren't squabbling over democracy, but class interests. The grassroots democrats are pulling away from the stock-portfolio owning upper-middle-class lawyers and professional democrats.

Ten years after the 1997 handover, Hong Kong's battle lines are changing. The people, and the politicians of Hong Kong have begun to focus less on Beijing, and more on the enemy within -- the collusion between home-grown tycoons and a government that exercises almost unlimited control over the city's wealth and development.

(The way this system works to choke Hong Kong's economic growth and initiative is very ably explained by Alice Poon in her great book, and by my buddy Hemlock, in his.)

Hong Kong people have figured out that universal suffrage is meaningless if Li Ka Shing and his family are still getting sweetheart land deals from the HKSAR. That the control freaks in Hong Kong's own government and civil service can be as oppressive and unconcerned with the public's rights as any Beijing bureaucrat. That you can't fight for democracy on a single front.

And so the political game is shifting, re-configuring around new issues. For instance the environment, and heritage -- issues that turn the abstract concept of democracy into something very concrete. As concrete as the four lane highway and gratuitous shopping mall which, if completed according to government plan, will obliterate downtown Hong Kong's waterfront and historic Queen's Pier.

The fight for universal suffrage is no longer taking place in a bubble but in a real Hong Kong, where the right to vote for your government isn't a defense against the excesses of Beijing, but against a clearer and more present danger. That's the difference between 1997 and 2007 in Hong Kong.
More: Learning Cantonese

Carla Bruni: Quelqu'un m'a dit . . .

For the weekend, a guilty pleasure.

Someone told me, you still love me:

On me dit que nos vies ne valent pas grand chose,
Elles passent en un instant comme fanent les roses.
On me dit que le temps qui glisse est un salaud
Que de nos chagrins il s'en fait des manteaux

Pourtant quelqu'un m'a dit . . .
Que tu m'aimais encore,
C'est quelqu'un qui m'a dit que tu m'aimais encore.
Serait ce possible, alors?

Friday, May 11, 2007

Eye | Land | View

(click on photo to enlarge)

Early afternoon, back street

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Hong Kong: Dow Jones insider traders?

Punt some of your own money, get your dad to add some more, top it up with money from an anonymous source with a J P Morgan bank account in Brussels. . . keep an eye on the trading screen, and a couple of weeks later look to scoop up US$8.2 million (HK$63,960,000) .

Two Wongs, a Leung and a Li.

Li? That's (Sir) David Li Kwok-po, OBE, chairman and chief executive, The Bank of East Asia.

Plus, LegCo member, and a lot more besides. A lot more: profile

Scrutiny Seen of Trading in Dow Jones: NYT
Prominent in Hong Kong and, Perhaps, in the Dow Jones Inquiry: NYT

Weather report

Under the weather, again.

Still, Blair is going, so that's an improvement.

What else? The Guardian on-line revamps its front page. Now, the front page is cluttered, unfocused, all over the place.

In short: a dog's dinner.

The irony is that a week or so ago, the Guardian won best newspaper in the Webby Awards (for its previous layout).

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Eye | Land | View

(click on photo to enlarge)

Sitting-out area

Monday, May 07, 2007

Eye | Land | View

(click on photo to enlarge)

Street cleaners

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Eye | Land | View

(click on photo to enlarge)

Dragon head and flagpole carriers

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Redcut: 007

For the weekend, a guilty pleasure.

Soulbro version:

Friday, May 04, 2007

Eye | Land | View

(click on image to enlarge)

Lion head

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Macau's May Day 'riot'

On May Day, a peaceful demonstration in Macau resulted in a 'riot'. Only this was a police riot, just like the one by LAPD goons at the May Day march in downtown Los Angeles.

By way of follow up, in the South China Morning Post, Jake van der Kamp devoted his business column to May Day in Macau. If I remember right, Jake called Macau a fascist economy. Nice one, Jake.

Closer to home, when is someone (beside me) going to point out that Hong Kong's very own Functional Constituencies were almost certainly modelled on Mussolini's 1930s fascist corporativism?

Anyway, SCMP continues behind a pay-wall. But stuff occasionally leaks out. Jake's column can be read here: Simon World

Eye | Land | View

(click on photo to enlarge)

Tin Hau festival, temporary prayer altar

As a little island in the South China Sea is celebrating Tin Hau, the village's numerous neighbourhood associations have set up temporary prayer altars. This is one of them.

To anyone who sees this and reads Chinese . . . what do the three characters mean at the base of the large 'incense' sticks? If you read Chinese and know, you are welcome to explain in Comment. Thanks!

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Eye | Land | View

(click on photo to enlarge)

On a little island in the South China Sea, this is the time of year when people celebrate Tin Hau. Queen of Heaven and Goddess of the Sea, Tin Hau is the patron saint of fishermen and seafarers.

Today, various local dragon and lion dance groups have been criss-crossing the village and parading up and down the waterfront. This up-in-the-air lion seemed to be giving benefice to the people who live two floors above one of the waterfront's 7-11 stores.

May Day

The Incomplete, True, Authentic and Wonderful History of MAY DAY:
The Green
The Red
Author's Note