30 April 2010

Say Yes to Grass Mud Horse!

Screw that CRHK sold-out scandal! It's totally retarded and worth our zero attention. Another important and meaningful cause has stirred up in our Village. About 3,000 Villagers are asking the Ocean Park to import Grass Mud Horse. The Facebook group was started by our Village's Internet Toughest Guy Mr Charles Mok. Charles even made a point of writing an open letter to the Chairman of Ocean Park Allan Zeman on that. Let's not focus on the cause itself at the moment; the letter is a piece of literature I tell you! It's entertaining, witty, funny, filled with laughter and faint hints of sadness and nostalgia. Absolutely must read! I wish I could write as good as Charles!

I am all for this intelligent and monumental cause and would like to ask you to support that as well. Let's all say "Fuck your mother"(in Mandarin) loudly! To honour Charles, the genius and mastermind behind this innovative initiative, let me talk a bit more about him:
You may wonder why internet guys should care? Because:
And below is the reasons why I think it's a brilliant idea to have the animal in Ocean Park:
Simply can't wait; will it surf?

29 April 2010

Reasoning Backwards

When I still lived in the US, I was pretty put off by American culture and the American lifestyle. I readily criticized groups who I didn't associate with myself, like suburban Republicans. I railed against their environmentally destructive lifestyle: their giant SUVs, giant houses far away from everything they need, their conformity, and their dogmatic belief in Christianity. Sometimes I got into conversations with them in which I would attempt to convince them that their lifestyle was unsustainable and environmentally destructive. Needless to say, I never made a convert, and though my tactics could have been more tactful, I really don't think my lack of success had anything to do with my rhetorical techniques. I was criticizing their lifestyle, their way of existing in the world, and perhaps most importantly I was criticizing the economic system that they depended on for survival, well being, and happiness.

Now that I live in Hong Kong, when I hear non-Americans criticizing those fat, self-centered Americans, I feel something stir inside me. Some part of me says, "No! You're wrong! You're criticizing my people, and so there must be something wrong with you or what you're saying!" What changed was context. "Them" became "us." Increasingly, "us" feels like Americans, or people from Western cultures, or even...gasp...white people. When I was back in the US, the stereotypical American felt like a "them" and so I had no emotional reaction to criticism of that lifestyle. For the most part, I have disassociated my identity from that stereotype (I'm not that kind of American), but I still feel this visceral push to defend the American lifestyle from what my rational mind still tells me is perfectly reasonable criticism. In some cases, criticisms that I have this emotional reaction to have been criticisms I myself made before "they" became "we."

When we make statements like "I am an American" or "I am a liberal" or "I am a Christian" we connect our identities to a set of beliefs, beliefs about morality, human nature, history, and science: beliefs about how the world works, and how it ought to work. When we do this, we begin to perceive attacks on these beliefs as attacks on ourselves, and often have an emotional response that compels us to defend our beliefs as strongly as we would defend our bodies.

This need to preserve our identity has absolutely no limits. As anyone who has ever argued with a Christian fundamentalist about the age of the Earth knows, no amount of evidence can convince people that their identity-beliefs are wrong. So far as I can tell, there is nothing so outlandish or ridiculous that people won't believe it if it's attached to their identity. It seems that our faculties for reasoning weren't really designed to objectively evaluate reality. They were designed to subjectively evaluate reality, through the lens of group and individual identity. It's the difference between what's true and what's useful to the organism. Now to be sure, natural selection deals harshly with certain types of false beliefs (like the belief that cobras aren't dangerous, or that jumping off a cliff won't hurt you) but those beliefs never spread in a population, so I believe that natural selection generally favors individuals who suspend their objective reasoning faculties when it comes to beliefs that everyone else in their group shares.

When we reason from group identity to beliefs about empirical reality, we reason backwards. This is the danger of "isms." Ideologies and identities organize reality: they tell us what information to pay attention to, and what to ignore.

Experiencing a different culture has caused me to question many of my long-held assumptions about politics, human nature, even epistemology. As a result, I'm no longer willing to call myself by any of the previous labels I attached to my identity (like "liberal" or "progressive"). I find this to be somewhat psychologically discomforting at times, but the only things I can be sure of is that certain statements are false.

If you have a belief system, it's false.  It's a simplification of reality, not reality itself.  It may be useful, for psychological well-being, for making predictions within a certain set of parameters.  But it makes assumptions, and the more you believe in it, the less you see those assumptions.  Consequently, when some of those assumptions turn out to be false (like that resources are infinite, or that technology will always solve our problems before they destroy us) the consequences can be harmful.  Being against isms isn't just about some abstract quest for truth, it's about preventing disaster.

As the speed at which the world changes increases, isms become more dangerous.  Previously safe and reasonable assumptions become dangerous and false with increasing rapidity.  As a species, we're going to have to make some difficult choices in the near future, some compromises.  Moral certainty is the enemy of compromise.  Certainty that market fundamentalism is false is reasonable; certainty that any one alternative or solution is the best, or the only, way forward is not reasonable.  That kind of positive certainty is what engenders tyrannies.

When I sent a rough draft of this post to Henry, I wasn't sure if it was "HK-specific" enough for Libertines, so if you found that ramblings about my expat identity issues boring, I apologize. I thought I would add Henry's comments at the end here, since he connected these ideas back to HK in a way that I thought was worthwhile, but would have felt inauthentic coming from me. What follows are Henry's thoughts on the subject, and how it relates to HK.
When I was young, it was still British Hong Kong. For reasons we all know, we're educated to look down on our mainland brothers and sisters. They're dirty, barbaric, and mostly importantly, they maintain an economic system called communism, the most evil thing that could ever happen on earth. Our grandparents who fled the communist regime and settled in Hong Kong told us that if not for the communists, they'd have been blah blah blah...That was the way before 1997. We lived in a racially Chinese body, but criticised heavily the Chinese in us like we're born westerners. If you want to talk about criticism towards one's own race or nationality, Wes, the complex is around this village, pal.

That's interesting that it took an "emigration" for you to discover that you are actually "them" - the Americans. For us, it was the decolonisation from the Brits and re-colonisation by Beijing that force fed us our Chinese-ness, our "we". "We" had a successful Olympic Game in 2008; "we" are going to host the Expo in Shanghai. "We" - but do we really care? I don't know. People from my generation might care less, the younger ones definitely are educated to care. So it's working the other way around here.

In the end of the day, what's up with this Libertines Pub project? Maybe it's a futile escape from the "we" and back to the "I"?...

28 April 2010

Motherland is pleased by your concern.

WOW, T.V sure was boring last night (or the night before precisely, when this post comes out), srlsy?

While I am all for helping those who were affected by the Earthquake, It seems that every time when there's a major disaster in Motherland, the major media outlet is obligated to takes on the duty of producing mass donation gathering and ZING! lo and behold, celebs of all kinds start pouring out from left and right, (Hell even this little bitch got a part?) and start asking us for donation in exchange for having our name and donation amounts appearing at the bottom of your T.V screens. (you know, the one that says Henry C-100 Eric W 50, John Wayne 20 etc etc)

Apart from being bored senseless by the program, yours truly was also disturbed by the numbers of Companies using the donation ticker tape at the bottom of our T.V screes as cheap advertisement, paying attention to the ticker tape was arguably the most entertaining part of the whole show, everyone knows that, right?

That being said, I suppose since China is one of the most un-powerful and un-influential country with the least amount of money EVER, then it make sense for us Villager to shower them with cash, because it's the only way we can show we care.

In the end, if we give them money, everything will be ok, right? Well, at least I will feel better about myself, see, I did that for the Sichuan Earthquake and see how everything is better now (What? the news stop saying it's a shit hole, so it must not be a shit hole anymore, life is peachy.)

Everyone was too busy to feel sorry and sad for those effected, and EVERYTIME something like this comes up (flood, earthquake etc etc), we got all worked up with donations and ''lend a helping hand with our blood brothers'' bullshit. No one seems to question the fact that how many time is Motherland gonna let shit like this happens before they do something call ''PREPARATION''?!

Did you know there are steps that one can do in order to prevent and minimize the causality when shit like this happens? No I guess you're all caught up with the celebs (BTW Kenny G, u were priceless! ) telling you how much the victims need our money, and Motherland is too busy to give a shit about a region filled with ethnic minorities until something like a Earthquake comes along, a heaps of them died and the stories ended up on the news.

27 April 2010

Our wasted youth, or is it the wasted press?

There's this alarming news yesterday on the Standard and my beloved Apple Daily. According to the poll conducted by the Evangelical Lutheran CHURCH, we again have every reason to worry about our kids. Yes, again. The Standard reported that about ONE percent of our Primary 5-6 students, reads 11.1 of the 1,110 interviewed, said it would be "fine to have sexy or naked pictures taken and have intimate physical or sexual contact in exchange for payment". This is a big deal, you know? That means pedo bears will only need to try 100 children to get one who will take the bait. Moreover, five percents of them found it "acceptable for a friend to be paid for having a meal with someone, or having their pictures taken in exchange for money". Here I echo my TDS mate by asking what these fucking questions they've asked are. I actually expect far more "yes" than five percent. I'd say yes as well, wouldn't you?

One thing that puzzled me is that the above figures didn't appear in the Apple Daily report and that is so not Apple Daily! Instead of heading the "news" with an alarming and eyes-catching title like "Pedo Bears WIN" or "Alarm as kids say yes to pedophilia compensated dating" like the Standard, Apple Daily took a more moderate reporting angle of sexuality among peers and gave us a list of acceptance of different intimate or sexual acts by our kids (from 1,100 Primary 5 to Secondary 3 kids; so was it 1,110 or 1,100?):

  • Dating - 46.8%
  • Holding hands - 47.5%
  • Cuddling - 45.6%
  • Kissing - 28.7%
  • Caressing - 16.2%
  • Fucking - 7.2%

That made the piece of "news" far less alarming as the Church intended it to be. Unless you cling on to that Stone Age belief that students should not have romantic relationships, you wouldn't be surprised by these figures. It doesn't take a poll to tell that kids are more open to relationship and sex these days compared to our days, and virtually more channels to get acquaintance. Let's not debate on whether kids should fuck before 18, but I think 7.2% is about the right percentage of acceptance to sex. I imagine the percentage of positive replies to that question would actually be higher if they asked us when we're in school, when sex was still a mystery to be unveiled through the secret viewing of our dads' porno. Everybody wanted to get laid in my school and we spent hours everyday pondering on how. That's just normal adolescent life, isn't it?

Whether they would really fuck, if it is right or wrong, and how adults should handle the issue, is another question. I wholeheartedly support that they should be better educated on sex. They should be taught about safe sex and stuff. It's nothing worrisome but an opportunity. They will do it anyway...teenage is about sex, sex, sex. Been there, done that.

"In case you're worried about what's going to become of the younger generation, it's going to grow up and start worrying about the younger generation." - Roger Allen

Anyway, the difference in how this piece of junk food news from certain obscure church was handled by the two papers was interesting. There're certainly more gweilo and gweipo readers for the Standard than the Apple Daily, so maybe Kaylene Hong thinks that gweilos and gweipos are more into pe...pedo...ah, well, I mean, people who like to buy somebody meals and have their pictures taken. Lesson to learn, Jimmy. Apple Daily should have been more tabloidish than a real tabloid.

On a side note, I
thought the cracking down of the 300 millions worth of cocaine on Sunday night would make it to the headlines of every single newspaper of our Village. This is historic, isn't it? But no. The Standard headed the first page of their Monday paper with the Taiwanese leaders' debate. Tony Chan and the Church poll headed the local news section. Maybe the reporters there don't work late on Sundays? Oh, Kaylene Hong was busy reporting on the ICC "top jobs" on Sunday as well. That explains why they missed the real news.

I start to love the Standard more than Apple Daily.

26 April 2010

Decoration and Happiness

If we are to talk about the difference between men and women, one marked difference is perhaps women's decorative instinct. Aside from fashion, women have also prided themselves on being victims of decorative objects. One of the conflicts in a romantic relationship often stems from the unmentionable gravity of what surrounds us: the kinds of curtains, sofas, tables, and chairs. The female obsession of what and how to decorate confirms the frequent complaints of men who think the matter is as useless and fugitive as what to wear. Why does it matter that a lamp should stand against this side of the wall rather the opposite side of it? How is it possible that the colour of the cupboard is able to threaten to end their relationship? Don't these objects fulfil their purpose as long as they are functional?

Of all international cities, what makes Hong Kong unique is perhaps its lack of architectural beauty. It is not uncommon to see skyscrapers, the symbol of modernity, being tightly packed on the streets in an disorderly manner, just like what the renowned French architect Le Corbusier remarked when he visited New York City in the 30's, that it is the sign of an "illogical city". They fail to integrate individual liberty with collective behaviours. If Hong Kong is lack of architectural beauty, it is perhaps because pecuniary interests dominate the mind-sets of our government and property developers. Beauty is none of their concerns, rather than attaching values of beauty to our lives, their trouble only lies in whether they can derive financial satisfaction from pouring concrete on certain empty lands. If we cannot affect much urban planning of Hong Kong, isn't it sensible to retain our liberty to construct the interiors of our homes?

The female insistence on decoration may lie in their clear-eyed understanding of how decorative objects can influence us. Imagine the life of an ordinary businessman in Hong Kong. His daily routines of work are compromised. His days are dense with meetings, insincere handshakes, gossip, and bureaucracy. He may pride himself on saying things that he does not believe in to win over the opinions of his colleagues. He may only work towards goals that he essentially doesn't care much for but only to please his boss. Driven by financial necessity, he may have to work overtime or even moonlight to ensure the acquisition of a status that is not inimical to the developments of friendship.

A visit to an ordinary home in Hong Kong offers conclusive evidence of why many people are so miserable and anxious. Many times when I visit a home I find a certain reluctance to precision and order by the home owner. The home is usually in a mess. Of course, it is a mistake to assume the home owner champions the French aesthetic obsession of ease and playfulness rather than the Japanese aesthetic ideal of orderliness and stability. He has no intention to establish an argument over the intellectual debate on beauty between the two schools of thoughts. Rather than encouraging aesthetic sensitivity, his selection of furniture as well as his disoriented perception of colours hint at a psychological distress of what business and finance account for.

All of a sudden, the awareness of how to select decorative objects to be placed in our homes is raised to a status of supreme importance because these material objects, often described as representations of vanity and self-indulgence, often, like a psychological mould, hold up our moods. The art critic John Ruskin once remarked, "A building must do two things: it must shelter us and it must speak to us of the things we find important and need to be reminded of." If it is true for the case of architecture, why, then, can't we say the same for decorative objects? There exists a tendency in our human nature to associate inanimate objects with human sentiments. What strikes us beautiful is often in accordance to what we feel about it. Through the promotion of a chair, a table, a door, and a bookshelf, we may find a material articulation of certain good ideas of life, of what we think is precious, just like a chair with a straight contour may imply logic and rationality as much as one with a curved contour may imply passion and emotional sensibility.

Why is it important that we find such evocation through decorative objects? All too often we harbour different selves through the tedious daily routines of work. We are stripped of the chance to reveal our authentic selves. However, after a long day of work, coming home to the objects that express what we seldom publicly express, that feel what we whole-heartedly feel, may strip away the worries and anxieties that we confront during work. We need something that shores up our moods because much of the world is opposed to our allegiances. After all, we long for a home, a home that speaks to our inner selves.

Many men have blamed women on their decorative instincts. The male worship of mechanics renders our society unimaginative and dull. Women, on the other hand, invite us to become aware of certain values which most of us always neglect. Science is always accounted for the promotion of civilisation, but perhaps through our minutest observation of the daily habits of women, we may find the most intelligent kind of happiness.


23 April 2010

On Drugs

For those who have access to high morality, the word "drugs" becomes a dispiriting concept. It leads me to think of melancholy moments when celebrities abuse drugs, while serving as our role models, we have to revere them for their works of genius, implicitly suggesting those works are the outcome of these harmful substances. However harmful drugs may seem, aside from their recreational and medical purposes, the Dutch have legalised marijuana for public use. In the Age of reason, perhaps one is supposed to ask two questions, has the time come for us to revise our long-standing prejudice against drugs? Are we confident enough not to be seduced by the satanic sophistry of drug dealers?

If drugs are associated with morality, it is perhaps because drugs inflict harm. From a religious perspective, because we were all made in God's image, drugs should be prohibited on the ground that they offend God's province. There exists in human nature a peculiar tendency to prevent people from inflicting harm upon themselves. Rather than regard life as a property of a free individual, they harbour a belief that life comes into existence for some sort of objective reason. That is how suicide and euthanasia fall under their tyranny.

Unfortunately, the British philosopher John Stuart Mill would have disagreed. Mill, in his book "On Liberty", suggested prohibition should not be justified on the ground of preserving the man himself from harm, but of preserving other people from harm. He thought he could draw a clear distinction between things that belong to an individual and things that belong to the society, that things which belong to an individual should not be interfered.

Of course, there are well-grounded reasons for the prohibition of drugs. However, the prohibition of all drugs under all circumstances is a horrible mistake. The fear of drugs is often disproportionate to the harm drugs can actually do as suggested by propaganda. Because opponents of this sort are easily open to being swayed into unhelpful directions by a mere glimpse at a picture. It is not hard to realise the consequence of smoking cannabis, as suggested by Henry's chart, is much less serious than taking alcohol and tobacco. All too often we hear car accidents inspired by alcohol. But cannabis? Not much.

If our society grants us the liberty for alcohol and tobacco, why, then, can't we say do the same for cannabis, given the fact it is milder than our commonly accepted "drugs"? If we are liable to grow addicted to them, it is perhaps because we are challenged by our inability to self-control. Though the concept of self-control has been discussed by philosophers for ages, our awareness of it stems from an exaggerated sense of the importance of healthy diets. Nutritionists often remind us of the cruelly confusing fact that everything we have eaten could be as harmful as drugs without self-control.

But one might argue that it is precisely the reason why we need to ban the use of drugs, that human beings are deprived of the ability to self-control. As to tobacco, in fact we have propaganda that tells us to quit smoking as well. Perhaps people use propaganda as a similar approach of how religions approach the problem. In order to turn us into good, compassionate beings, we need to be constantly reminded of what it means to be good or we will deviate from the path of moral goodness. But the fact that we lack the ability to self-control may have sprung from the hampering of our curiosity ever since we were children. Though not as strong as the prohibition of sex knowledge, it seems knowledge concerning alcohol, tobacco, and drugs are rendered impassable to children. Even when our curiosity demands it, we are more allowed the destructive aspect about them rather than the constructive part of them.

British philosopher Bertrand Russell invites us to look at morality from a more humanistic approach. Rather than laying down rules of conduct, morality should be about caring for good ends. "Say no to drugs" is no different from "abstain from sex". They are merely rules of conduct. Instead of telling us what we should not do, morality should tell us what we should do such as "Thou shalt love thy neighbours as much as thyself". By recognising what is good about drugs, we may discover ways that drugs are beneficial rather than harmful. It is not wise to legalise all kinds of drugs for public use, but we may do so for recreational and medical use. As to cannabis, I do not know how much longer I can write for the pub until it is accessible under our free-market model.


22 April 2010

Why do you hate drugs, Mr. Government?

Errr.... On behalf of the Libertines Pub, I would like to apologies for the last post. Total misunderstand from my part, took the drug week thing literally. (drug week in a blog? who's stupid idea was it anyway?)

So here's my humble post:

If you've been around the village lately, no doubt you've noticed that the government has made a big fuss over the alleged drug problem, while all sign pointed to the fact Teenage using drugs has always existed and it really isn't that much of a serious problem here in Hong Kong.

If our drug problem isn't really that much of a drug problem, why the big fuss, eh Donald?

I guess one of the biggest motivation will always be the fact that, historically, Hong Kong wouldn't have been Hong Kong without drugs. And us villager will always remember how evil drugs totally ruined our life and allow the evil westerner to snatch us right under the glorious Empire of China! Thus drug always = No Good.

While I agree some drugs, such as Meth, Cocaine, Heroin will almost always cause you physical and possibly psychological harm when used without control (notice the terms without control) and are substances that indeed needed to handle with regulations. But one might ask, after looking at Henry's useful chart of things that will fuck u up, why is LSD and Cannabis illegal when harmful stuff like alcohol and tobacco legal?

Our Pub buddy Wes (We're buddies, aren't we Wes?) rather brilliantly pointed out the economic side of the reasons behind certain substances ban. One should also take into consideration the nature of the substance itself! While many villagers seems to concern themselves with the physically aspect of how certain substances will affect the users, most choose to ignore how psychologically and mentally a substance can affect the user.

One of the reason why former drug user are great teachers when it come to helping drug addicts recover is because they have been there, they know exactly how it feels to be high, and how it feels when you come down and crash and how it feels when the urge arise, since these are things that non drug user simply cannot see or feel. To put it in a simple terms, the World is simply different when you do drug and one just cannot understand it without actually do it.

Where am I going with this?

I do not know how many of the Pubs reader has done drug like LSD or Cannabis, for those who have, it is safe to assume that once you are under the influence of these substance, your perception, your principle, your very core of existence often come under questions, from who you ask? Why yourself of course.
Come have a look at the most comprehensive drug educational website, users of all kind of substance actually post their experiences online, what more do you want?

Don't get it? Hey I'm gonna enlist a little help from Katt Williams.

The point of Katt is, once you are under the influence of cannabis, sometimes certain things that seems important to you might not be so important anymore.

That's right! Did you know?!! The human brain is a amazing thing! Sometimes, when you simulate it with certain substance (let it be alcohol, weed, LSD, or even chocolate!) it can work differently!

With cannabis, and LSD, sometime it has the funny capacity to make the user takes on life on a different prospective: Maybe it really is not worth it to die for a war base on political ideologies? Maybe working as a middle class is really slavery in another form?! Maybe there are things that seems morally correctly at 1st but are really hypocrisy in another form?! Maybe caring less about oneself and giving love to other is really the way to self-actualization?! (OKKKIIEEE I'm sounding like a hippie here....)

I guess my point is, people are just simply a lot more easier to control when they are thinking like a herd and within a box, and for some strange coincident, during the era when substance such as cannabis and LSD were hugely popular and used by a large group of people, there were a lot of non-conformist out there throwing shit at the governments and questioning their decisions.

So Libertines, let me ask you this. Still think certain drugs are illegal because it's harmful to you? Or do you dare to think outside the box, and realized that there's a greater picture from within, be it for economic reason, moral misunderstanding, or the fact that once your are under the influence, you think differently and your government does not want you to do that.

Every human being has the right to find their very own state of thought and mind, through out the human history, different cultures has often enlist the help of substances to pursue visions and seeks answers (alternative perspective), so what right does the governments has to take away that freedom?! The freedom to think otherwise and act upon alternative perspective?



WOOOOOOOWEEEHAAAAA Oh im getting the munchies..
LEt me call Henry..I heard he has Doritos, I'll get him to bring em over.. hEh we should do this drug week thing more often. oh hey Giant Spider, what do u want. HEY PASS THE VAPORIZER! DRE-DOG!! The Giant Spider is asking for it!!!!

21 April 2010

What the gov't wants us to know about drugs

Before we start, let's look at some anti-drugs advertisements by the gov't in the last decades.

This is a gov't advertisement 20 years ago.

15 yrs ago

And a recent one

English Version

For decades, anti-drugs is one of the social campaigns the gov't continuously holds. As you can see from those ads, the basic message hasn't changed before and after 1997. As an average Villager who's not a drug user, doesn't have friends being a drug user (not being told at least), and who's not a parent, those ads are just another gov't ad to me. I don't really care much about it; it's none of my business.

Imagine one day, the gov't tells me that they are going to open a methadone clinic or a rehabilitation centre next door. I would go out and complain to the newspapers and protest on the street; I would want those "dirty things" kicked out of my backyard. But why is my first impression on them so negative? Probably I have already stereotyped drugs, drugs users and the consequences of using drugs. I simply reject anything related to drugs without a second thought.

This is not the double standard as Bambi mentioned in her last post. Having a standard of your own requires some basic understanding of the thing at stake and some thought on it. I believe most Villagers including me simply have a NIMBY mindset, rather prefer spending time on those stupid TV series. We don't even want to spend a second on understanding the issue that seems trivial to us. Or we simply believe in what those gov't ads and campaigns told us. This also applies to other social issues. You care about constitutional review? minimum wage? No way, I don't care. NIMBY and none-of-my-business are the philosophy of life in this Village.

Our Double Standard of Morality

As probably the most “right” member in a suspected Commie group, I can understand why decriminalization of drugs sounds an attractive idea. As you know, some of my mates claim themselves to be musicians. Music without drugs is like French films without sex scenes and the banking industry without overpriced chain store coffee. Ray Charles, the Rolling Stones and Amy Winehouse may not have produced such genius music with substance had they not relied on some substance in some way. In fact, thanks to cocaine, an ex-fiancee of a rock star, Kate Moss, remains as a fashion icon for decades with her never fully conscious and skinny look.

However, as appealing as the idea can be, the chance of success is destined to be doomed. It may work in Europe, but never in my hometown the High-Tech Village.

Why? Because we Villagers have no problems in showing our double standard of morality, as soon as it involves a member of our family.

We don’t mind Tiger Woods cheating because he’s just being human. But if our husbands and boyfriends cheat? We want to give death penalty.

We fancy chasing jail baits because what they are hinting is just consensual sex. But if they are our daughters? We want to lock either them or the boys up.

We understand some teens need a proper rehab school because they are just innocent children who deserve a second chance. But if the school is relocated to our neighbourhood? We need to protect our children from the junkies and our elders from stepping on disposed needles.

That’s how the zero tolerance policy attracts support. Because we can’t afford a tiny chance for our children to go astray, not even bother to know whether the drug problem can be healed, how little harm drugs can cause or why children are lured to drugs in the first place.

As soon as we become parents, our voice of morality is always louder than strangers’ voice of liberty. And we parents, hold the votes.

There’s a Confucian saying that we should care about the elders and children as if they were our own. Under this doctrine, extending our tyranny of morality to fellow Villagers sounds so logical and wise.

20 April 2010

Seriously, who benefits?

Henry has just reminded us that many legal drugs are more harmful and more addictive than many illegal drugs. So if it's not the harmfulness, and it's not the the addictiveness that determines which drugs are banned and stigmatized, what is it? How do governments decide which drugs to prohibit, which to regulate as medicine, and which to allow for recreational use by adults? (In addition to harm and addictiveness, one might also look at the benefits of these drugs. Here again, it seems not to make sense that marijuana is illegal and and alcohol/tobacco legal since marijuana has some medical benefits and the two legal drugs have none.)

Henry hypothesized that the only beneficiaries are the triads, but I think his real point was that society at large doesn't benefit from current drug policy. But laws can be changed, so if governments choose to retain and enforce laws that don't benefit society at large, it makes sense to ask what subset of society might benefit from that enforcement. This is economic analysis, not conspiracy theory. I'll ask two questions: what groups, organizations, or individuals benefit from current drug laws? and do those groups, organizations or individuals have sufficient access to the political system to influence drug policy?

The obvious answer, if you look at the graph in Henry's post, is anyone who makes drugs that cause a relatively high degree of harm, have a relatively high degree of addictiveness, and yet are still legal. Anyone who makes these types of drugs (alcohol and tobacco are the most obvious from the graph, or from common sense) benefits by having free access to their target market, and also by having potential competitors (like anyone who grows marijuana) kept out the market. People who make or sell these types of drugs also benefit by being able to advertise. Makers of less harmful competitors are not only denied the right to advertise, but must compete with government propaganda demonizing their product.

It certainly looks like alcohol and tobacco manufacturers benefit from current drug policy, as do makers of prescription drugs that might compete with marijuana, like opiate painkillers. Doctors also benefit, since people often visit doctors for prescription drugs (though in HK this is unnecessary, since any drug made by a corporation is freely available without a prescription in the pharmacy, regardless of how harmful or addictive that corporate-made drug is).

So do these groups have sufficient access to the political system to get their preferences enforced by law? In the US, where much of these policies originated, the answer is clearly yes. Campaign contributions and lobbying create a situation where any group that is sufficiently well-organized and well-funded can subvert the public interest, provided the public isn't organized against them. This is largely the case with drug laws, though things are changing (in many states, the public is organizing for the public interest and things are becoming more reasonable). Things seem to be changing in the opposite direction in HK (enforcement is up, not down, and getting more oppressive). I'll leave it to readers to decide whether these groups have enough access to the political system in HK, since I'm new here.

It seems to me that the crucial difference between marijuana and alcohol isn't harm, but simply the fact that marijuana is easy to manufacture; it just grows. It doesn't require elaborate brewing processes, or plantation agriculture. So if it becomes popular, and people choose it over more harmful corporate-made drugs, corporations are out a lot of money. In any economic analysis, it makes sense to begin by following the money.

19 April 2010

Who exactly stands to benefit from our ill-founded anti-drug campaign?

The government suddenly started telling us that the drug use or abuse problem is serious in this Village, especially among the youth, and that more stringent controls are needed, including that of a school-based drug test. They tell us that drugs are harmful, and nobody should ever use them; not even once. The whole society should do whatever it takes to drive them out.

Let's take a good look at this graph:

Where are the two legal drugs, namely alcohol and tobacco, on the rational scale to assess the harm of drugs? Ketamine, the "evil" drug that is now haunting our schools according to our government, is far less addictive than alcohol and tobacco, though inflicting more physical harm. So I guess our kids are alright; they will get over it sooner or later. More old fashioned stuff like LSD and ecstasy are actually better drugs; they're less harmful than alcohol and tobacco and are far less addictive. Time to worry about our wine loving Chief Sec Henry Tang, maybe?

The point I want to make here is that, all these governmental drug controls and wars on drugs might be arbitrary upon choosing what to ban and what to allow. Governments around the world decided that they want to cash in with the selling of alcohol and tobacco, even though they're scientifically proven to be more addictive and harmful than other stuff like cannabis, LSD, and ecstasy. They waged a war against all drugs other than alcohol and tobacco, calling those other drugs evil and their users scum.

They ban the possession and usage of those drugs, arrest and imprison the users. However, everybody knows that drug use will never go away. Like prostitution and gambling, these outlawed activities became criminal businesses. We all know that the criminals and triads will take up the operations of whatever that is outlawed, even KFC. They sell drugs at a unreasonably high price, make even higher profit by diluting the drugs with dangerous contaminants. They lure the users into harder and harder stuff, so that the junkies will be even more hopelessly addicted. They make these drug users the free labour of their dirty deeds in exchange of drugs. Their tricks we all know.

The government just carries on fighting its moral war against drugs. With more stringent measures, they effectively drive the users deeper underground and more towards the triads. Drug users, due to the arbitrary classification and criminalisation of drugs, are seen as criminals and lower lives. Nobody wants to hire them for work, nobody trusts that they will become sober. They ask everybody to stay away from drug users and never befriend them. The only "friends" of drug users are their dealers. Just like sex workers, drug users are marginalised. They're the people we "normal" people try hard to avoid and are educated to hate. Drug users are left to deal with their own problems in their own way, or more precisely, the way our triads and criminals so desired.

Harm reduction policy on drugs

There exists another plausible way of dealing with problems related to drug use and abuse. We can rationally treat drug use as a health problem per se, trimming the criminal and moral burden off the issue. We can take on a harm reduction approach.

We can decriminalise drug use. We can legalise the prescription of harder drug like heroin to addicts. Heroin assisted treatments are proven to be effective and will improve the health and social situation of addicts. Addicts will no longer have to deal with criminals and triads. They will no longer have to do dirty works to support their addiction. They can pay a reasonable price for getting safe prescription of drug with quality guaranteed. They get their injection with clean syringes at safe sites monitored by medically trained personnel. There will be far less chance of getting infected with HIV or hepatitis through injection. They will be patients who need regular treatment just like people with cancers.

In such a situation, they can truly see the chance of kicking the habit if they desire. After all, the nasty part about drug addiction is never the physical dependence. Even heroin addicts could quit the drug in seven days cold turkey. It's more about quitting the dealers - the people who make money out of the addiction, the people who would like to see the addicts getting into a deeper shit.

We should also start to ask why we allow the selling and consumption of alcohol and tobacco while banning "softer" drugs like cannabis and LSD. I left this question to Eric and Wes to answer later this week. I could only say that, in a society where drugs are criminalised, triads and criminals are the only people benefited. Everybody else loses.

Drug abuse and addiction can be nasty and harmful to the society. However, it's the same for any other types of abuse and addiction. Internet and World of Warcraft can be addictive as well. In a liberal society, we should stop playing everybody else's parents and help them to decide what's good for them. We leave these matters to their personal choice. We only offer help when they need it.

We should stop saying no to drugs. We should lower the war flag against drug. We should stop considering drug addiction immoral. We should stop all the propaganda that makes drug users ugly and the government officials looked good and responsible.

We should start treating drug addicts as people who need help and have a health problem. We should start respecting people's choice for recreation, just like we respect others for their responsible drinking. We should take back the selling and manufacturing of drugs from the criminals. We should wage our war against drug trafficking and illegal dealing. We should provide safe, quality, and legal high and rehabilitation.

We should end our unjust war against drug users. War on drugs has been ill-founded from day one, it's never been fought against the drug but the helpless users themselves.

The Libertines Pub Drug Week

Since July 2009, the Libertines Pub has been one of the humble voices in the local blog sphere that opposes the ill-founded anti-drug campaign in Hong Kong, especially the school-based drug test scheme. We've been jokingly giving drug test survival tips, hoping that somebody will finally see the absurdity and the breach of our civil liberties of an authoritarian control on drugs. Our stance is that the drug test does not work and is a devastation of our children's privacy.

Four months have passed since the launch of the school-based drug test, we have yet to see any positive result. The government told us that 264 students were tested and non of them showed confirmed positive result. The result could either mean that the drug problem in school has been exaggerated by the government or our drug using students were lucky. What it could not conclusively show is that the drug testing scheme is working as intended, that "a drug-free campus culture has been forged".

The editor would like to point out that the problems of drug abuse has never started and will never end in schools. Like prostitution and gambling, these "darker" phenomena of the society will always be there. And there are many thinkable and possibly better ways of dealing with them other than the zero tolerance approach our government is promoting nowadays.

Little known by our Villagers, April 20 (420) is a counterculture holiday to celebrate and consume cannabis. This week of 420 is going be the Libertines Pub Drug Week. Our contributors will all talk about different aspects of drug control policies and their impact on our rights and morality. The editor understands that our contributors hold very different views from each other on the issue. As always, the Pub is not intended to feed our readers with any particular ideology or point of view. We want to liberate your thinking. We want you to think twice about the accepted views on controversial issues like drug use.

Wes and Eric will talk about the possible conspiracy behind the War on Drugs. Bambi and Dick will look at how our Villagers see the issue and bash the contradiction and nonsense in our Villagers' views. William will analyse the issues around legalisation of drugs and the morality in it. Henry will tell you about the marginalisation to drug users brought about by the zero tolerance policy on drugs.

Haters and lovers of the Libertines Pub, we urge you to stay tuned for the Libertines Pub Drug Week, because it matters.

16 April 2010

To kill or to be killed

Before I start, please spend 1 min to watch the following video.

You may have watched many videos of this kind on the internet captured in the US or other countries. This is not uncommon now in this High Tech Village too, as more and more car owners installed a video on their toys. I know I am a geek but I am going to promote or sell any gadgets here but my nerd rage against drivers' attitude and behaviour in this Village. You may have some ideas of what I am going to talk about if you drive here. Don't worry if you don't, I will tell you some.

Everyone here should have some road experience as a driver, a pedestrian or a passenger. Do you notice that everyone seems to be in a hurry? Pedestrians cross the road when red light is on and cars running fast towards them with horn tooting; taxi drivers cutting lanes like crazy even when there is only a narrow space in between (like what you just saw); drivers overtaking and cutting across you for an exit you are about to enter; mini-buses race over the zebra crossing when you have stepped on it.

There is zero tolerance on the road too. You will have a horn blared at you if you stop for 5 seconds to let somebody crosses the road or gets on or off cars; or have somebody chasing your ass looking for a chance to overtake, even if you've already been running at +15 km/h of the speed limit.

Driving is a magic that can turn everyone into a judge on whom deserved punishment, a legislator who creates new rules, or a superman with supernatural power.

The videos above are some extreme examples but not uncommon in this extreme Village. I believe the rules of the road are for protecting life, not making life difficult. Driving is not like when you're walking on the street, bumping into others, then say sorry and walk away. It's tones of metal with a velocity that possess a huge momentum that kills. If you forget the rules, please go here to refresh yourself.

15 April 2010

On Gender Equality at Workplace

Let me make myself clear first in case someone suspects I’m a man: I hate that when women are paid less than men for the same kind of work. I hate that when people don’t take young women seriously because they bother to dress and groom nicely for work (to look “professional” somehow means you have to desexualize yourself by wearing dark trouser suits and trimming your hair short, or at least putting it up). I also hate that when senior male executives make use of their position to pressurize their junior female colleagues into contributing to their sexual rejuvenation, be it faking laughs for their lame jokes (Ha-ha-ha), an “innocent” dinner for two or something more. And thanks to my career confidence, I’m always able to put up an indifferent blank face to such kind of invitations. Life is too short to worry about whether someone has crossed the line.

However, to assess gender equality by way of counting the number of men and women in certain industry, or in certain level of management, often becomes a misplacement of fact and value judgment. Take the construction industry for example, it’s a global phenomenon that male construction workers and engineers are far more than their female counterparts. Does it mean the industry has been barring equally qualified women from the industry because of their sex? What about it’s just a fact? Just a fact that qualified women for construction work happen to be less than men. Same applies to scientists and footballers. Feminists’ approach to place value judgment on the head count and conclude that males have been dominating the industry and scaring off women is like saying the drawing machine of Mark Six favours the particular 6 numbers and discriminates against the other 43.

In addition, what about women are just not that into certain industries, instead of being dominated or suppressed or enslaved by patriarchy as claimed by feminists? Take judges as an example. The UK has been making effort to increase the number of female judges in higher courts but the result was less than promising. While people are still blaming the old boys’ network within the system, research found that women just do not fancy the job. They prefer the independence of being a self-employed barrister and dread handling bureaucracy. I suppose the same applies to the politics industry. The attractiveness of hanging out with Long Hair, staying awake to Stephen Lam’s speech and holding a smiling mask to Chinese officials is as depressing as having a sugar-free brownie.

Feminists may argue that even women are nowadays given equal opportunities in employment, there are barriers for them to rise to the top, mostly because they are held back by the traditional role of childbearing. If women have a choice and decide to choose family over career, is there anything wrong? That the idea is not as trendy as Sex and the City doesn’t mean it yields less value or happiness to the lives of women who embrace that idea. The argument is also based on the misconception that not making it to the Fortune 500 means you don’t have the same social respect. In fact, women not occupying half the list has no relation to their powers in reality, from making strangers to buy them drinks, driving men to work their ass off to keeping the retail industry alive and ruining a golfer’s career.

And let me assure you that the Libertines Pub never intend to be misogynistic just because I'm the only woman among the seven contributers. It just happens to be a product of some bromance among the founders and I just bumped into them and happen to be a woman. In fact, my fellow contributors are all lady-loving gentlemen.

14 April 2010

Respect the elderly! Sure, but all of them?!

As a young kitten, when in school, church (!) or at home, I've always been told to respect the elderly and be nice to them, and to this day, I still obliged and respect my elderly to without question.

Why? Because everyone say it's the right thing to do! Even the bible said so. But let me list some of the common answers when asked why that the elderly deserved respect (feel free to add more in the comment box if I missed some):

1) They took care of you when you are young.
2) They're still taking care of you..
3) They contributed to the society when young.
4) They're wise (like Gandalf/Magneto)
5) They have experiences in things.(all kind of things)
6) They've been through so much and still alive! (i.e. WWII, Vietnam, etc etc)

Through out the history of mankind, we do seems to have a common principle of respecting the elderly in all cultures, one of the main factors maybe because back in the days, it's just so damn difficult to stay alive; A person with old ages reflects that person has certain social skills that enable him/her to stay alive and now his/her experiences are considered valuable to the younger generations, hence the respect.

But the thing is, at this day and age, staying alive has never been easier. Thanks to our amazing social welfare system, one can live a decent life in Hong Kong without having to lift a finger for a long long time. (FFS, we just had a CSSA double pay!)

Now, let's say I was to quit my job right now, and live my life as a basement dweller, I will do nothing but play COD:MW2 all day, collect CSSA for the next 50 years. Let's cross check the 7 points above and see if I'm a respectable old cat in 2060?

1 and 2) Took care of who? Lady, you just a girl who claims that I was the one, but the kid's not my son. Awww~
3) COD:MW2 all day man, all day: That's my contribution to the Xbox360 community. Plus I collect CSSA, you're paying for my internet connection. Haw Haw.
4) All xbox360 achievements, does that makes me wise now?
5) See above
6) Yeah, I'm still around, the 2nd Korean war in 2015? Didn't go. The Canada-US war in 2025? Didn't go. WWIII? I have flat feet, the military won't take me, srsly.

How many of you will respect the 78 years old me?

As longevity in life is no longer a rare event because of medicine and health care development, I guess it makes sense for the elder population to increase. I know many current (and future) elderly have had long, contributing and fulfilling life with life experiences that are beneficial to the younger generations. While there are also a lot doing/did nothing and play Xboxs all day and leech on CSSA. So do all elderly deserve respects? Well, I thought so, until I met some utter douchebag old man the other day on the MTR/at Family gathering/Work. and srsly gave me 2nd thoughts....

Do you know any elderly that deserve no respect? Or is it just me?

12 April 2010

Poison Wars

Chimerica is the most powerful and destructive economic force on Earth. The economic relationship between the US and China has been described as symbiotic. I think they're more mutually destructive than mutually beneficial. One has to wonder just how much of that destruction is unintended by its exporters.

Americans are complaining about being poisoned by Chinese products again. This time, it's not poison pet food or lead-based based toys. This time, Chinese-made drywall is poisoning American homeowners. I'm pretty sure this kind of thing happens in China all the time, except that rather than investigate it, people complaining of sickness get visits from Big Beijing's department of propaganda. In HK as well, I notice that people put up with a much more poisonous environment, both inside and outside, than I was conditioned to accept. But even though they're killing us, Americans are hopelessly addicted to cheap Chinese-made products.

Chinese people are getting poisoned by American products as well. McDonald's, KFC, Coca-cola, Marlboro and Camel all peddle products that, just like Chinese drywall, will cause serious health problems or death if used exactly as intended. For the past 30 years or so, American tobacco companies have made a concerted effort to target East Asian markets in light of advertising restrictions in the West. The Marlboro man has been aiming his lasso at Chinese people as long as I've been alive. And man is he ropin' 'em in. Using the mental toxins of advertising, the US has hooked Chinese people on its poisonous products, peacefully. No Opium War needed.

So who's winning the poison wars? Considering that both sides are poisoning themselves as much as the other, it's hard to say. In HK, we're lucky enough to get poisoned from both sides.

On Job Hunting

It is often remarked that we ought to get a job immediately after graduation from university. Driven by financial necessity, there exists a tendency to think that chasing money is our prior objective to ensure happiness. Money, rather than man, as opposed to Aristotle's maxim, is the measure of all things. Our parents and peers encourage this sentiment. Instead of encouraging us to pursue our dreams, we are enforced to submit our thinking to the rigours of pessimism, that seldom we are able to overcome the conditions of reality. We are destined to fill our busy days with tedious jobs.

If the pursuit of our dreams is deemed too impractical, it is because what we do is largely determined by chance. We have been taught that this is a meritocratic society. But all too often the media offers conclusive evidence of a contrary fact, that talents and intelligence don't necessarily ensure success. In Hong Kong, it is not surprising to see the wise are governed by the stupid and books are written, while lacking any grandeur, by those who are deprived of common sense. Small wonder our dreams are kept in the realm of fantasy.

However disappointing the reality may seem, are we not allowed the superstitious faith that one day we can savour our dreams? Are we forever condemned a chance to articulate the fabric of human mind so our life can take on a certain value? Are we to approach life from an evolutionary perspective that life is deemed meaningless?

But when we are young, what distinguishes us from other age groups is perhaps something called passion, a desire to put our imaginative vision into practice. Our thoughts are not confined within realism. Rather, we harbour a strong determination to be able to change what is. Of course, we are often reminded of the possibility of the attainment of our dreams after retirement. Unfortunately, this optimistic line of thought is easily interrupted when we look in the mirror and locate signs of imminent mortal disaster along the contours of our face, threatening to crumble up our skin texture. A marked quality of old age.

Perhaps it is true that success depends on sheer luck. But rather than devote our entire strength to money chasing when we are young, isn't it more sensible to devote it to the pursuit of our dreams given the fact that we are all mortals? Money is relatively unimportant at an early age. We will not regret missing the chance to chase money because we can work ourselves to death for pecuniary reasons our whole life but we will regret not pursuing our dreams because it is only a privilege associated with youth. It does not sound very inspiring, but it is generally true. Moreover, the pursuit of dreams is more like a direction, not necessarily a place, and burns itself out with the attainment of its goal, hence gives meaning to our life.

Therefore, for those who graduate and read my article until this point, if you still don't retreat from your habitual job hunting, I shall have lived in vain.


09 April 2010

Personal Hygiene; You are doing it wrong

True Story:

Last week, while I was busy sitting around doing nothing with one of my colleague, the topic of nostrils hair came up and we both agreed on how another colleague of ours has a serious case of nostrils hair overgrown. It has got to the point that every time we tried to have a conversation, we simply cannot focus on any other facial features but the bush coming out from his nostrils. (one of the girls have arachnophobia and it freaked her out big time, she thought it was some spider leg poking out from his nose....)

So anyway, we've decided enough is enough! One should have the right to work in a stress-free(yeah right) and phobia-free environment without having to worry about nostrils hair attacks! Those hair had to go! We would let him know how much of a distraction it is!

Here is what happened:
(E =Me, C1=Colleague 1, CH= Colleague with overgrown nostril hair)

C1: 'So CH, how's it going, we need to talk to you bout something.'

CH: 'Hey dudes sups, sure what is it?'

E= 'Say...can you even breathe properly? [Cue Evil eyes from C1] Err....em..with the air pollution and all that.....'

CH: 'Yeah...sure..I'm used to all that'

'coz u got a extra bushy filter in your nostrils that's why..' E thinking to himself

C1: 'Great, yea..crazy footy game last night er? Hey, you know what? you should get rid off that nostrils hair, it's doesn't looks that good on you, plus it's a real distraction'

CH: 'Oh! Ok..sure, yeah, crazy game last night, hey gotta go, ttul..' [Walks away]

Random girl in office: 'God! you guys were so mean! How could you say that to him!!'

Really!? Were us mean?(OK maybe I was)

Something I have noticed while working in the village is, whenever somebody in your office or school has extra long n' bushy nostrils hair/Body odor/Wet armpits/Dandruff avalanche/Bad breath and parades it around for the whole world to see/smell/feel. People in our village tends to take the option of not coming forward and not actually tell the person to do something about it?! Instead, what we have is shamelessly childish whispering and name calling, while silently putting up with the personal hygiene disaster? And when somebody finally tell the person about it, it is considered mean?

I don't know, maybe we were doing it wrong and should have wrote him a letter? or even better, a song? Or maybe I should have never bother trimming my nostril hair neither then when he sees how majestic my nostrils hair is and how insignificant his is, he will trimmed it all out of shame?

Fellow Libertines! How do you deal with office/school personal hygiene disasters? Let us know in the comment box so Eric will be prepared next time when the spiders strike again!!

08 April 2010

On Filial Piety

It is not uncommon to find conclusive evidence for our rebellious nature starting from the age of our puberty. All too often we are enforced to reluctantly pay our monthly tribute to our parents and pay attention to the minutest details of what our parents have to say. Psychologists and self-help books are consulted by parents on the ground of how to make their children less rebellious. Seldom we regard it as a virtue rather than a vice. But what is wrong with being rebellious?

If our rebellious nature is severely condemned, it is perhaps because it offends the Confucian virtue of filial piety. This virtue reminds us that parents ought to be worshipped as gods, rather than regard them as secular beings who are susceptible to errors and flaws, we should feel the need to submit our thinking to parental authority instead of the rigours of rational examination. To challenge their opinions is to disrespect them. It is a societal convention that we should stifle our doubts and follow the flock because we are deemed too inferior to commit an intellectual offence against the idealised figure of Confucius. But is the age-old wisdom of Confucius still applicable in the twenty-first century?

The virtue of filial piety may have been overlooked. Confucianism seems only to painfully inflict pre-modern ethical codes upon us, while presuming morality has an objective criterion, it enforces our mind to submit to tyranny rather than autonomy and therefore is falsely raised to a status of intellectual superiority. The fact that we offer verbal offence against our parents suggests something optimistic about the maturity of our minds, a sign of the independence of mind and the ability to protest against the common tendency to rely on intuition, emotion, and custom, rendering our parents imperfect mortals.

Moreover, our parents are solely responsible for taking care of us. Whether it is the fact that it is their inability to regulate sexual impulse or the outcome of rational decision, they successfully deprive us of the right to choose to be born on this planet. We are merely the products of some highly intuitive minds who wish to spend a night together sharing the same bed for the sake of sensual pleasure.

Isn't this what liberal education is all about? Are we to accept our destiny that we cannot be pioneers of difficult, unfathomable truths? The virtue of filial piety seeks to destroy the freedom to exercise our autonomy. It lowers us as something below humans. Perhaps The act that we have not buckled our doubts and retracted our thoughts because others have complained should deserve praise rather than blame.

Filial piety only teaches us how to obey our duty, but only through spontaneous impulse, we learn how to love our parents.


07 April 2010


Where I come from, “trendy” is not a compliment. Particularly when a straight man says it about another straight man, the implication is that the trendy person is a tool, someone easily manipulated by media and advertising into buying products whose appeal will only be temporary, someone without a mind of his own. The negative connotations of the term explain why it is never used in advertisements in the US. So I was a little surprised to see that the word is frequently used in HK advertisements. In HK, it seems that “trendy” is something to aspire to. To be trendy is to be high-status; trendiness proves one can afford to buy products whose appeal will only be temporary. The kids in the expensive pre-ripped jeans don't seem to understand why torn-up jeans got cool in the first place. It seems that in HK, being a rebel consists of knowing which corporation is currently cool.

I guess I shouldn't be surprised. I knew HK was one of the most capitalist places on earth, a center of global finance, and a city that had grown rich from its belief in free-market ideology. I just figured that, in a city as educated and cosmopolitan as HK, there would still be plenty of people who questioned the consumerist ethic. After all, New York and London are global financial hubs, but they’re also hubs of a growing anti-consumerist movement. Just in case you aren't familiar with the basic arguments of the anti-consumerist movement, I'll let Annie Leonard make it since I can't possibly explain it better than she does in her 20 minute video, which is getting attention in the US despite it's obvious anti-corporate sentiment.

Now I know where the epicenter of consumerism is, and it's the USA. So don't misunderstand me; I know who's fault this mess is. But good God, don't follow our mis-steps here. I'm not saying all Americans have this all figured out, and all Honkies are corporate stooges. The difference is a matter of degree. But there is a difference. Before I moved to HK, I don't think I ever met a straight man who named "shopping" as one of his favorite leisure activities. Now I have, more than once. And I've only been here half a year.

This is why I was so happy to find Libertines, and why I contacted Henry about blogging here. Finally, a place in HK where consumerist ideology is questioned (so far I've only found virtual places). So prove me wrong Libertines Pub fans! Tell me all about it. I'm a gweilo, so it's highly probable that my inability to speak Cantonese or read Chinese has caused me to totally miss the massive underground HK anti-consumer movement. Help me out here!

01 April 2010

Btw here's a Big Mac, now get lost.

One week goes by, and the pub STILL hasn't been sue yet. Time for drastic measure. It's time to piss on another multimillion corporation!!! Join me for this week's troll!

Now before I begin, let me invite you guys to see this little heart warming advertisement from everybody's good friend and Colonel Sanders' nemesis Micky D:

For those of you who are handicapped in Cantonese. Here's a rough translation:

Kid : T_T ''Man. what's wrong with them, they used to love me so much and gave me so much ATTENTION!!! One day Imma gonna put a bullet in that little bitch, but they're always around her, dammit! Tell me what to do Jack Bauer!!!'

Mom+Dad :''Oh boy, looks like our son has found out that we don't love him no more...better do something!!''

Later in Micky D........

Kid sulk.....Dad comes with a tray full of McD's goodness!

Kid: 'OH!! 509 Calories! with 52% coming from fat!! Not to mention the Freedom Fries!! it's over 9000!!! and I'm barely 10 years old!!! This is some grown up food!''

Dad: ''That's right son, stuff your vein with this shit, course we don't give a 2 cents bout you no more, but since you gonna be over weighted in the future, your self-esteem is gonna plummet and you're just gonna blame yourself and not us!!'

Kid: '' :D I'm lovin' it!''

Micky D--because 509 Calories can just about solve any family issues. That's love right there.

Are you lovin' it yet? Lazy parents sure are lovin' the crap out of it!!

(Henry-srsly, lube it up real good, bro)