Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Eye | Land | View

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Tung Wan beach

Monday, July 30, 2007

Eye | Land | View

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Shop awning

Ingmar Bergman: RIP

Who are you? I am Death. You have come for me? I have been at your side for a long time. I know.

The Seventh Seal:

Ingmar Bergman, an appreciation: NYT

Sunday, July 29, 2007

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Tung Wan Bay

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Esther Williams: The Blue Danube

For the weekend, a guilty pleasure.

Perfect for this hot weather . . . Esther Williams and a bevy of synchronized swimmers do Johann Sebastian Strauss:

Have a great weekend.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Eye | Land | View

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Ferry pier

Hong Kong: Citybus + Citybus Octopus card webpages have malware?

Do a search for "city bus Hong Kong" and this is what Google currently returns:

This site may harm your computer? According to Google:
This warning message appears with search results we've identified as sites that may install malicious software on your computer:
Citybus Hong Kong? On or off the road, passengers are advised to proceed with caution.

Reading matters

The Church of the Latter-Day Dude: Dudeism
Great Dudes in History: Lao Tzu

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Hong Kong: King of Kowloon is dead

Today's South China Morning Post gives a lot of coverage to the death of the King Of Kowloon (no link, behind paywall).

Worth typing here is this quote in SCMP from Antiquities Board member Ng Cho-nam. It concerns the continuing removal of the King of Kowloon's still existing street calligraphy graffiti:
[Having] a city as clean as Singapore is like being castrated, no character at all.
Quite so.

Furthermore, Mister Bijou would dare to suggest that the castration of Hong Kong applies equally to the on-going campaign by Hong Kong Government and the local cartel of property developers to rid the urban landscape of its traditional dai pai dongs, street and wet markets.

But the King of Kowloon . . . who he? If you ever walked around Kowloon during the colonial era you'll have seen Tsang Cho-choi's calligraphy graffiti covering lamp posts, telephone and traffic-light switch boxes, and walls. All over Kowloon.

SCMP has produced a video about the King of Kowloon, but it's Flash and unlinkable. For the time being, someone else has posted it on: youtube

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Eye | Land | View

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Sage advice

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

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Thirty-three degrees

Monday, July 23, 2007

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Afternoon in the Out-patients Department

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Eye | Land | View

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Tung Wan beach sitting-out area

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Bats For Lashes: What's a Girl To Do?

For the weekend, a guilty pleasure.

Bats For Lashes (Natasha Khan):

Brighton-based Natasha Khan, any chance she'll be at the party on 4 August? Mister Bijou is smitten: videocast

Friday, July 20, 2007

Hong Kong: phone survey and the Obscene Articles Tribunal

Roland Soong of EastSouthWestNorth writes:
At just past 9pm last night, my home telephone rang. I picked it up and it was the Oriental Daily automated computer interviewer asking me about my opinions with respect to the Obscene Articles Tribunal. Yeah! This was my first time as a respondent to a media-sponsored telephone survey in Hong Kong after more than four years. I am just as representative as any other Hong Kong citizen. So I gladly pressed the buttons. Here are the results:
ESWN (and scroll down): Hong Kong By The Numbers (#065)

Eye | Land | View

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On the waterfront, making a movie

Mister Bijou noticed that all the film equipment -- including the mounted camera unit (above) -- has the imprint of Salon Films. No surprise there, Hong Kong's Salon Films is the supplier of all the equipment needed to make a movie, hereabouts and throughout the region.

Salon Film made possible the renaissance of Hong Kong film making in the 1980s and its equipment was/is used on too-many-to-list Hollywood films shot on location in Hong Kong, Macao, China, Thailand, The Philippines, and elsewhere.

Plus, Ang Lee's Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, and the even more recent Johnnie To films (PTU, Breaking News, Election, Exiled) .

So it was sad to learn recently that Salon's main man, Charles Wang, died in New York earlier this month: variety

Life goes on.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Hong Kong: I Ching, Book of Changes

Hexagram 27, 頤 I / Corners of the Mouth (Providing Nourishment) -> Hexagram 40, 解 Hsieh / Deliverance
Source: afpc

Hong Hong: Oiwan Lam, Obscene Articles Tribunal, TELA and Cupid and Psyche

Hong Kong's official
search for
continues apace:

Cupid and Psyche
by François Gérard, 1798
in the Louvre, Paris.

Yesterday, Television and Entertainment Licensing Authority (TELA) officers patrolling the Hong Kong Book Fair issued an "advice" that a book -- Love Mythology -- be withdrawn. Why? The book's cover (above) made the TELA officers uncomfortable.

Soon after Chinese-language newspaper reporters got hold of the story, however, TELA withdrew its advice

Meanwhile, after a complaint to TELA which was then passed on to Hong Kong's Obscene Articles Tribunal, Oiwan Lam is being legally pursued for publishing a photo on her website.

Now, Oiwan Lam has a self-introduction and case briefing: interlocals

Not sure about the clarion call Free Oiwan Lam! As of this writing, Lam is free. That said, it is not a pleasant experience having a legal cloud of unknowing cast a major shadow over one's life.

Other than that, Mister Bijou is also reminded of one graffiti of the Free (fill in the blank)! variety which used to grace the wall of building in Crouch End, London, in the 1970s where one wag had added: with every packet of cornflakes!

Isn't it odd what one remembers?

Anyway, check out Oiwan in: interlocals

Eye | Land | View

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Cloud patrol: helipad

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Hong Kong: Oiwan Lam update

Rebecca MacKinnon (see biography) provides a useful roundup of the latest and ongoing manoeuvre at internet censorship in Hong Kong: Oiwan update: BBC interview, HK Govt double-standards & Flickr petition

Well worth a read and some links that are mighty profitable to follow. Including this one to Hong Kong's Family Planning Association. Be warned, it's totally surreal (Flash required, no pun intended): famplan

As concerns the Yahoo!-owned photo website Flickr, the situation is a tad confusing . . .

According to Flickr, people uploading photos to the site can (if they wish) moderate who can view content using the following three filters:
Safe - Content suitable for a global, public audience
Moderate - If you're not sure whether your content is suitable for a global, public audience but you think that it doesn't need to be restricted per se, this category is for you
Restricted - This is content you probably wouldn't show to your mum, and definitely shouldn't be seen by kids
Fair enough.

If your Yahoo! ID is based in Singapore, Hong Kong or Korea you will only be able to view safe content based on your local Terms of Service so won’t be able to turn SafeSearch off.
Only able to view "safe content"? Local terms of service? WTF?

Bah-humbug! By way of scientific enquiry, Mister Bijou did a Flickr search with "nude" as tag. Evidently, a lot of people do not set any filter on their own content: et voilà!

[Oh, by the way, linking to those photos may be illegal, based on a recent court case in Hong Kong]

Whatever. Even so, it is troubling that Flickr has decided that content on their website which their users deemed moderate or restricted is definitely off-limits hereabouts, even if you sign in: moderate/restricted

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

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Waterfront: late night, cooked food stall

Birmingham City and Hong Kong: a tale of two cities

EXCLUSIVE: The first interview with tycoon Carson Yeung -- Man who wants to rule City unveils his plans: Daily Mirror

Monday, July 16, 2007

Bob Dylan: I'm Not There

A film biopic about Bob Dylan is due out late September 2007. The film is co-written and directed by Todd Haynes. Haynes' previous films include Poison and Far from Heaven. Both are worth a look.

Given the title of the film -- I'm Not There: Suppositions on a Film Concerning Dylan -- it is no surprise to learn six actors portray Dylan: Christian Bale, Cate Blanchett, Marcus Carl Franklin, Richard Gere, Heath Ledger, and Ben Wishaw.

Here's a clip of the film with Cate Blanchett as Dylan, the 1966 edition. Who knows how long the clip will stay up:

Todd Haynes biography: NYT

Birmingham City and Hong Kong: a tale of two cities

This is a follow-up to this previous post

Hereabouts, it will be in the early hours of 17 July 2007 before the news breaks officially. Only then will it be known if a Hong Kong stock trader, Carson Yeung Ka-sing, has successfully purchased 29.90% of the UK's premier division club Birmingham City FC.

Yeung already paid a non-refundable deposit to David Sullivan, Ralph and David Gold, Karren Brady, and Roger Bannister of £1,009,200 (approximately HK$15,744,000).

All that's left is to shunt over a further £13,940,829 (approximately HK$217,477,000).

Yeung has the money.

According to a legally required circular issued on 12 July 2007 by Grandtop International, the Hong Kong shell company which is being used to make the purchase:
Mr. Yeung Ka Sing has agreed to grant the Company [Grandtop] an interest-free, security-free bridging loan in the amount of up to HK$250,000,000 for a period of 6 months for the Company to proceed with the proposed acquisition, such bridging loan may substantially increase the Group's gearing level.
Source: Hong Kong Stock Exchange: pdf

Elsewhere, the vendors (Sullivan, the Golds, et al) and Blues supporters will know the deadline for Grandtop's payment is on or before 5pm (United Kingdom time) on 16 July, 2007.

Barring unforeseen circumstances, it looks like a done deal.

Eye | Land | View

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Ferry pier

Reading matters

Being Nothing: George W. Bush as Presidential Simulacrum, by Carol V Hamilton: CTheory

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Eye | Land | View

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Pak Tai football pitch, weekend event

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Mylene Farmer: Déshabillez-moi

For the weekend, a guilty pleasure.

M'enfin! Déshabillez-moi, mais pas trop vite. C'est le quatorze juillet! La fête nationale!

Have a great weekend.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Eye | Land | View

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Waterfront restaurant, after hours

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Eye | Land | View

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Cloud patrol: Tung Wan beach

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Eye | Land | View

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Tung Wan beach

Monday, July 09, 2007

Timeline of hazardous made-in-China products, 2007

Toxic Thomas the Tank Engine toys. Poisonous toothpaste. Contaminated pet food. Children's lead bracelets. Flammable baby clothes. Collapsing seats. Shocking extension cords. All those and more, banned or recalled by the US Consumer Products Safety Commission in 2007.

The year ain't over yet, it's already a big list: who sucks (via boing boing)

Birmingham City and Hong Kong: a tale of two cities

Birmingham City and Hong Kong: a tale of two cities.

Sort of.

The recent news that a Hong Kong businessman is buying what looks like a controlling stake in the UK’s Birmingham City Football Club piqued Mister Bijou’s interest.

There’s plenty to read out there already: Try googling Birmingham City FC, Carson Yeung, Yeung Ka-Sing, Carson Yeung Ka-Sing. Or do a search of the guardian website.

Anyway, sifting through the news reports some facts emerge.

Firstly, Yeung has put up a £1.09m non-refundable deposit through Grandtop International Holdings Limited to buy into Birminghman City FC. For a bit more on Grandtop, see below.

Secondly, Yeung has until 16 July to come up with a further £15m. At that point, if he comes up with that cash he will then be the largest single shareholder with 29.9% of the Blues. He will need to get his hands on a further £50m to buy the club lock, stock and barrel.

None of the above is chump change.

So, who is Carson Yeung?

Reports are that he started out a barber. Or ran a chain of hair dressing salons. Take your pick. He's probably in his late forties or early fifties. What is certain is that like so many other ambitious young men, years ago Yeung started punting money on the buying and selling of penny stocks quoted on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.

In Hong Kong, penny stocks are the only avenue for legal gambling other than the regulated betting on horse races and the lottery. In Hong Kong, penny stocks are the chips in play for casino capitalism for the common man.

Wheeling and dealing, however, Yeung ran afoul of Hong Kong’s financial regulator the Securities and Futures Commission. But the machinery of justice runs slow: it was only in September 2004 that Yeung stood before the court for offences alleged to have taken place during May and July 2001. For details and the feeble SFC’s determination of the case: SFC pdf

Meanwhile, over in Macau, Stanley Ho’s STDM 40-year monopoly on casino gambling in Macau came to an end on 31 December 2001.

Since when the casino gambling industry in Macau has developed in leaps and bounds -- thanks to the ease with which mainland Chinese gamblers can now enter Macau.

As of end June 2007, there are now 26 casinos in operation in Macau, 18 of which are either owned or managed by Ho's reincarnation of STDM, SJM.

Other than those? Hong Kong-financed Galaxy Casino has five venues. Las Vegas-based The Sands has Venetian Macao and Wynn Resorts has Wynn Macau.

(Ho has a finger in the Venetian pie. Hong Kong's Mr Lan Kwai Fong, Allan Zeman, has been a director of Wynn Resorts since 2002.)

Both the American operations are, of course, massive. The MGM/Ho’s daughter Pansy Ho joint venture is yet to open.

Everyone is making money. Huge amounts of money. The Venetian opened in the summer of 2004 and Wynn in the autumn of 2006. The two Las Vegas companies have been so profitable their quarterly results in 2007 now exceed what they take and make in Las Vegas.

As for Yeung, he had clearly amassed enough money to be (reportedly) a part-investor in the Greek Mythology Casino which opened Christmas 2004 at New Century Hotel, Macau. The casino operates on a sub-licence from Stanley Ho’s SJM. So it goes.

And Yeung presumably kept playing the penny stocks (see Grandtop, below).

But football, what about the football? There’s no doubting Yeung’s passion for the game, and the football business.

For about two years until the spring of 2007, Yeung was chairman of a Hong Kong football team, Rangers. Presumably/possibly, Yeung also had/has a financial interest in the Hong Kong football club.

Still chairmanship of Rangers was not without its drama, with accusations by coach Tim Bredbury of interference: goal goal goal

Be that as it may, since public speculation about the Birmingham bid surfaced, Yeung has been mentioned as previously looking at Sheffield Wednesday FC and Reading FC.

That was then. Keeping an eye on the ball: the money is on the Blues.

But why, oh why, make a bid for the Blues through Grandtop International Holdings Ltd? Why not just whip out your credit card and wave it in front of Birmingham City's largest shareholders?

Who knows. But Mister Bijou suspects that knowing the difference is the reason why some people get rich and the rest of us stay poor.

Even so, a small, loss-making apparel sources company which is publicly traded on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, Grandtop International will be of interest to connoisseurs of "only in Hong Kong".

Grandtop's principal shareholders are Huge Gain Development Limited (was 16.67% -> now 13.89%); Premier Rise Investments Ltd (was 16.67% -> now 13.89%); Ms. Leung Choi Fan (was 3.29 -> now 2.74%). Other public shareholders: was 63.37% -> now 52.81%.

Huge Gain is, by the way, owned by Nerine Trust Company Limited which is the trustee of SB Unit Trust. All the units of SB Unit Trust are held by the family members of Mr. Siu Ban (SB), co-founder of Grandtop International.

As for Premier Rise, that company is incorporated in the British Virgin Islands and wholly owned by Mr. Hui Ho Luek, a substantial shareholder. Source: HKSEC Investor

On 20 June, 2007, Grandtop entered into a Placing Agreement (with Yeung), pursuant to which "the Company conditionally agreed to issue an aggregate of 115,200,000 Placing Shares at a price of HK$0.57 each. Net proceeds of the Placing are estimated to be approximately HK$65,414,000 and will be used for future investments, expansions of the Group's business and as general working capital of the Group".

That sum currently converts to about

A week later, on 27 June, 2007, Grandtop announced it had entered into a "binding MOU [memorandum of understanding] with the Vendors whereby the Vendors have granted the Company the right to purchase an aggregate 29.90% of the issued capital of Birmingham City Plc. from them or their nominees for an aggregate price of £14,950,029 (approximately HK$233,220,000).

Oh, and Grandtop is moving its office from grimy Sham Shui Po, Kowloon, to the lightness, convenience and suitably numerologically upbeat Unit 3008, 30/F, West Tower, Shun Tak Centre, Central, Hong Kong.

And Carson Yeung?

His play on the Blues . . . he did in part by running
approximately HK$65,414,000 to Grandtop International through Great Luck Management Limited, a company incorporated in the British Virgin Islands and wholly owned by Carson Yeung Ka-sing.

Update: see this follow-up posting

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Eye | Land | View

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Sunset, public pier

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Henry Purcell: Dido and Aeneas

For the weekend, a guilty pleasure.

The German dance company Sasha Waltz:

Friday, July 06, 2007

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Village square

Thursday, July 05, 2007

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Wednesday, July 04, 2007

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Cloud patrol: seven nineteen pm

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

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Cloud patrol (from the inter-island ferry): heavy-duty, rain-bearing clouds heading east

Reading matters

Dick Cheney: tales from the dark side.

The Darksider, by Hendrik Hertzberg
The New Yorker

Angler: the Cheney vice presidency
by Barton Gellman and Jo Becker
Part 1: 'A Different Understanding with the President'
Part 2: Pushing the Envelope on Presidential Power
Part 3: A Strong Push from Backstage
Part 4: Leaving No Tracks

On 11 May 2007, Oiwan Lam posted an essay on one of Hong Kong's predominantly Chinese-language, community-oriented forums: InMediaHK.

Lam's essay about the state of censorship in Hong Kong included a photograph (left).

The photo was hot-linked from one of the world's biggest user-generated websites for photos: Flickr.

A week after Lam posted her essay and the photograph, she received a phone call from someone at Hong Kong's Television and Entertainment Authority advising her that it had received "one and only one" complaint and the photo was problematic.

Lam chose to maintain the photo and essay, See here: InMediaHK

Meanwhile, until mid-June, that photo was freely accessible at Flickr. In mid-June, Flickr began limiting access to certain tagged photos for web surfers in four regions: Germany, Singapore, South Korea and Hong Kong. Why those four? Who knows. Photo: joerrorr at flickr

Fast forward to end of June. Oiwan Lam has now been informed her essay has been classified on a preliminary basis as "Category II: Indecent" by the Hong Kong Obscene Articles Tribunal. The maximum penalty is HK$400,000 and 12 months in jail.

What"s going on? The Obscene Articles Tribunal is harassing citizens -- an interview with Oiwan Lam, by Ip Iam-chong. (1 July 2007: InMediaHK

English translation of Oiwan Lam interview, courtesy of Roland Soong at EastSouthWestNorth

Monday, July 02, 2007

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Convenience store's on-street beverage cooler cabinet

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Hong Kong: handover hangover

Ten years on, the natives are restless, by Daisann McLane: slate

Eye | Land | View

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Late night on the waterfront: cheong fan (腸粉) stall