14 October 2011

Hong Kong returns a peaceful and ethical society from now on!

From now on, the drug problem that has been seriously damaging our society will be no more, because without all the thugs and triad members, where the hell could junkies possibly get hold of their highs? Yesterday, we finally found a remedy to the long standing problem of thugs and triad in this village. In face of scary creatures like the one below, even thugs get totally pwned (and expelled from the Legco chamber):

The footage of what happened yesterday can be found here. Watch at your own risk; it's as spooky as the Walking Dead.

15 August 2011

Kudos to our seafood police! Of course also to SCMP...

The Hi-Tech Village starts this week off again with exciting news like the upcoming Mayor "election" that every single sane person here gives a fuck about, so the SCMP decided to give us something different this morning: the story about how our brave coppers busted HK$5.64 million worth of seafood smuggled to motherland first half of this year. This headline breaking news is supplemented by another enlightening story telling us that "Marine chases dangerous, police say".

To honour our fearless boys in blue, what's better than featuring a portrait of their seafood loving faces on the homepage of the SCMP site?

Thank you, officers! You saved our seafood from the all-evil motherland! By the way, any news from the investigation on the infamous Marine Police Seafood Feast back in 2009?

26 July 2011

Transformer 4: Dark of the Mall

Have you watched Transformers 3? Pretty confusing, isn’t it? For example, I can’t tell the good robots from the bad ones because they look pretty much the same. I can’t catch up with which transforms to what as the transforming process is so fast and the final product is so different from its original that I feel completely lost.

That makes me think of the Hi-tech Village as well, especially our favourite shopping malls. One evening, I had a movie date with a girlfriend and days before our date we had decided to head to Union Bar and Grille at IFC for some fatty foods and men-hating chat before the movie. We’d been there a lot of times over the years so we decided to meet directly at the bar. Turns out, I forgot my phone and when I got there, Union Bar and Grille was gone. What’s worse, my girlfriend just changed her number so I had to call a guy to hack into my email to find it. The stupidest thing I’ve done in the 21st century.

You know what happened to Union Bar and Grille? It transformed into a jewellery shop. It’s a million times harder to get a guy buy you a diamond ring than buying you a drink. Now one less place for central ladies like me to hang out. Quality of life downgraded from B- to D-.

Other transformers that make you wonder whether the Village has been attacked by some dark forces in the Universe.

Starbucks to Louis Vuttion at Pacific Place. Frappuccino transformed to luggage boxes.

Seibu to Harvey Nichols. Shoes you can splurge on transformed to shoes that will cause you bankrupt.

Kelly and Walsh to a greenhouse that is going to incinerate the only few readers alive. The original location of the bookstore, again, will be transformed to a palace of Our Majesty, Louis Vuitton.

Let’s pray the leather of the luxury goods can keep us alive when the Village has come to an end.

13 July 2011

An Urgent Question for our Bald Eagle Copper Chief

In the early morning of July 2, 200-odd hordes from the LSD and People Power were arrested by the coppers "on charges of illegal assembly and obstruction of public places". As these punks from the LSD and People Power are infamous hooligans and could easily blow the whole Hi-Tech Village to smithereens, our boys in blue decided to pepper spray them in the face and handcuffed them upon arrest. Chief of the local coppers, the Bald Eagle Tsang Wai-hung insisted that there had been appropriate use of force, as they had worried that the thugs would hurt themselves and others. As an open suppressor of civil liberties and human right, I of course see eye to eye with the Bald Eagle and can in no way see why the hell Human Right Watch asked us to investigate into the coppers' action...

Until I saw this thread at the Hong Kong Golden Forum. The poster dug out some journalist pictures of arrests in the Village in the past and asked why those under arrest were not handcuffed. Among them are:

A driver who beat a pedestrian up and refused to undergo an alcohol breathalyzer test

Francis Ng Chun-Yu who allegedly wounded others

A man who allegedly murdered his girlfriend

Another man who allegedly stabbed his neighbour

An alleged murderer who had her hand free to give us a finger

So Bald Eagle, why aren't they handcuffed? I demand an immediate remedy to this lawless situation. I hereby suggest that anybody under arrest in this Village to be turned into a human centipede so that they cannot hurt themselves and others. Kids who steal chocolate bars from supermarket, prepare to eat shit.

07 July 2011

Apple Daily Juxtaposition FAIL! Or WIN?!

Last night, when I was busy leveling my character on World of Warcraft, Icarus asked me the most awkward kind of questions you can get in-game: "Hey, is Jiang Zemin dead?" Upon hearing that senseless important question in the midst of a fight realer than anything in the motherland, I almost stopped throwing heals on Icarus and let the mobs fucking rape him. But Icarus had his point. The rumors are so real because ATV, the pro-Beijing TV channel that nobody watches in this village, had the nerves to report that last night. Worrying so much about the motherland's dearly beloved former president, I have been keeping an eye on the update, but till now we still have no clue. After a whole sleepless night and prayer after prayer wishing Comrade Jiang well, I dragged myself out of bed this morning heavy-headed to find the below on the headline of the most trusted paper in this village:

Now that is clearer. Long live Comrade Jiang!!!

03 June 2011

How to Raise an Autistic Child

The DSM IV (the main diagnostic tool for psychological disorders) lists several symptoms of autism that I see in many of the high-achieving students I work with in HK. Among these are: marked impairments in the use of multiple nonverbal behaviors such as eye-to-eye gaze, facial expression, body posture, and gestures to regulate social interaction, failure to develop peer relationships appropriate to developmental level, a lack of spontaneous seeking to share enjoyment, interest, or achievements with other people, a lack of social or emotional reciprocity (not actively participating in simple social play or games, preferring solitary activities), and apparently inflexible adherence to specific, nonfunctional routines or rituals.

These teenagers I work with are not actually autistic, but their social skills are so impaired that when I walk in the room and say "hello" they just sit there and stare straight ahead, not responding to me verbally or even looking at me. When I leave the room, it gets even weirder. They do not speak to each other like normal children would, and continue to stare straight ahead at the empty whiteboard or take out their phones and play video games. They all hope (or their parents hope for them) to attend elite schools in the US. When they get there, they are destined for years of being the weird Chinese kid who doesn't speak to anyone. Most of them will make tons of money, and live totally unfulfilling lives, and then repeat the pattern with their own children.

So how can you turn your normal happy child into a borderline autistic child who will raise your social status by attending elite schools and making tons of money? Ask Amy Chua, she wrote a how to manual on the subject.

25 May 2011

On Going On Diet

Aside from fashion and cosmetic products, one way to enhance feminine beauty for women is perhaps going on diet. In this skinny era, far too many women depart from the classical ideals of feminine beauty and often find themselves complaining that their waists are too wide, legs too short, and sometimes even breasts too small. Unlike ancient times, chubbiness is no longer an indicator of physical virtue, but rather, an offensive deviation from an ideal proportion that runs contrary to the Golden Ratio.

How much determination they need to resist the temptation to salivate towards a box of Belgian chocolate; how much courage they may have to show to devour a piece of strawberry cake regardless what a scientific formula about sugar and fats may have to reveal. To fill their stomach with the tiniest amount of sugary product is to lay down the very foundation of obesity. It's almost as if a piece of candy may easily lead women to avoid the verdict of a full-length mirror and possibly deny them of the opportunity to appear on a Vogue magazine.

Yet this aesthetic assault which women have so rigorously practised is hardly the sole evidence of masochism. Humans are both independent and dependent creatures. If women are willing to suffer from this assault, it might be because men tend to be seduced by this concept of slimness as well. According to most men, physical beauty of women can be measured according to an objective standard, a view that is so influential on women that it has become their own. In order for a woman to be beautiful, the contour and the shape of a woman have to be symmetrically balanced, waists narrow, breasts not flat, bottoms slightly larger, and legs thinner so as to make them seem longer. This view seems to suggest that there is a mathematical basis of beauty, hence the faces that successfully appear on the front cover of magazines are necessarily rather than subjectively pleasing.

What's more is that the rigours of going on diet may bear a certain wisdom that comes from ancient Greek philosophy. In ancient Greece, self-control was of the utmost importance. Inscribed on thousands of vases and ceramics was the guidance on how people should maintain their diet. Socrates once said to one of his companions Epigenes, "You've got the body of someone who just isn't engaged in public matters." He then suggests, "You should care for your body no less than an Olympic athlete." Apparently, physical training was part of the duty of a Greek citizen. The ancient Greeks believed that physical self-control could eventually lead to self-control of the mind which was a necessity if one were to participate politics. Hence modern women may be said to draw wisdom from the ancient Greek philosophy not in order to participate in politics, but instead to nurture their reasoning abilities. How easily a masochistic practice may be mistaken to be self-indulgent.

However, ruminating over the schism between aesthetic perfection of femininity and culinary delight, is it really impossible to reconcile these two ideals? Are women to rely on bases, mascaras, eye liners and such which could chisel a dent from their bank accounts to meet the criterion of absolute beauty? Do they have to be committed to a self-inflicting diet in order to wear bikini and lingerie?

The fact that most women spend a great deal of fortune on cosmetic products, fashion, and diet programmes has risked inspiring an unfair neglect of their habits of eating and a misguided enthusiasm towards artificial inventions. If their appreciation of dessert and junk food is liable to rupture their physical beauty, it is not because these things are inherently harmful, but because women have never quite got the ability to savour what they eat rather than taking in too-big quantities, given the fact that we are living in a society that encourages us to get several things done within a day. The stomach needs time to register fullness, and through taking our time while eating, we may slowly reduce our overall consumption which will prevent obesity. Slower eating not only helps us to productively realise how much food we really need, but also enjoy life while we are eating. We should not forget that the best kind of food is to be enjoyed through our manner of absorption instead of the extent of our consumption.

Those who have known me long enough should testify that I'm not very far from being a skeleton. So eating slowly must work. Therefore, women should eat all they want. Only through eating what they like and enjoying it, they can become slimmer.


16 May 2011

A day in the life of a Lolbertarian

This morning I was awoken by my alarm clock powered by electricity generated by the public power monopoly regulated by the Environment Bureau. I then took a shower in the clean water provided by the Water Supplies Department. Then, I brushed my teeth with that water, filtered to standards set also by the Water Supplies Department.

After that, I turned on the TV to one of the channels regulated by the Communications and Technology Branch of the Commerce and Economic Development Bureau to see what the Hong Kong Observatory determined the weather was going to be like. I watched this while eating my breakfast of Centre for Food Safety checked and controlled food and taking the drugs which have been determined as safe by the Department of Health.

At the appropriate time kept accurate by the Hong Kong Observatory, I got into my Transport Department approved vehicle and set out to work on the roads built by the Highways Department, possibly stopping to purchase additional fuel of a quality level determined by the Environmental Protection Department. On the way out the door I deposited any mail I had to be sent out via Hongkong Post and dropped the kids off at the public school.

I parked my car on the street, paved and maintained by the Highways Department. Then, after spending another day not being maimed or killed at work thanks to the Occupational Safety and Health legislations imposed by the Labour Department, I drove back home which had not burned down in my absence because of the Buildings Ordinance and inspection by the Fire Services Department, and which had not been plundered of all its valuables thanks to the Hong Kong Police Force.

I then logged onto the Internet which had been developed by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency of the US government and posted on Facebook about how SOCIALISM in labour protection is BAD because the government can't do anything right. Keep government out of my Statutory Minimum Wage!

For more information on Lolbertarianism, refer to the entry in Encyclopedia Dramatica (NSFW).

03 May 2011

Our ball-less Apple Daily

Earlier today we reported on the new 2012 U.S. presidential campaign slogan of Barack Obama; as a friendly gesture to our media partner Apple Daily, we linked to their exclusive footage of the Bin Laden kill, the first ever video clip on earth as it was uploaded yesterday May 2 at 10:54pm.

We checked again tonight and found the footage gone from Apple Daily's site.

Why? Because they chickened out. The great Apple Daily chickened out because the CG video they made was offensive.

Apple Daily needs to realise for once that there is a thing greater than their balls: the interwebs. We found a copy of the original fucktard CG clip on YouTube. Mind you again, it is offensive.

Jimmy Lai, ready for the revenge from Al-Qaeda?

However, we know the game. Little Jimmy is going to ask YouTube to remove the clip by claiming an infringement of copyright. Let's see when the clip will be removed. Is Jimmy or Al-Qaeda faster this time?

Update on May 4:

Jimmy, told you the interwebs is greater than your balls. Yet another source of your fucktard CG video we found here. A bit tricky for you this time, I guess?

Breaking: 2012 U.S. presidential campaign slogan of Barack Obama

Kill we can believe in.

And of course the footage from our partner Apple Daily.

27 April 2011

54pc think news media self-censors as credibility rating falls, survey finds (and read it twice)

Talking about media credibility...

It might not have much to do with self-censorship but the general stupidity of our media. Although this e-newsletter is free, the links in there take you to the pay wall. As a paid subscriber (out of a stupid mistake) of SCMP I guess I have the right to rant.

I know I'm a cynical cunt...

21 April 2011

Motherland Travel Alert; Libertines Pub Travel Alert for Motherlanders

We know you're not working at all today. You simply can't wait for the Easter long weekend.

You must all have planned to spend your whole Easter praying to God visiting the Motherland. The bad news, however, is that Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements in China, the Hong Kong Journalists Association and the China Human Rights Lawyers Concern Group issued travel warnings for the whole Motherland, as we're told by SCMP (hit the paywall hard with this link):

So now you can drop your trip up North, or well, simply shut the fuck up and you will be absolutely fine.

The Libertines Pub always care about our sisters and brothers from Motherland. Likewise, we officially issue our travel alert for motherlanders today (if they managed to get to our site at all from Motherland):

Happy Easter!

20 April 2011

Please kindly please kindly please kindly

Thanks Cenny. I only read the whole thing thrice to understand what it said. I was so flattered at being invited to a visit to the HKU library.

It's also very KIND of you to be KIND within every ten words you wrote.

By the way, happy April 20! Some lame flashback of the Libertines Pub Drug Week last year.

30 March 2011

Our honoured lawmakers, we don't need those fucking guidelines.

This week, the government published a set of guidelines for employers, educating them on how to follow the minimum wage law, which is to take effect on the coming Labour Day, 1 May 2011.

We all know the minimum hourly wage is going to be HK$28. Feeling satisfied with it is like feeling happy with a bank which claims to lend you money with zero interest rate. Something must be lurking behind the devil’s contract.

What we care about is whether our fellow workers’ monthly salary will increase to a humane level, or whether workers can work less for the same amount of salary so that they could enjoy life more. Two things come to our concern: meal breaks and rest days. Will they be counted as paid working hours?

So here comes the Holy Guideline. Read what it says about meal breaks.

“When an employee during his meal break also falls under the circumstances of hours worked as specified in the Minimum Wage Ordinance, such meal break is hours worked for computing minimum wage.”

Need help? Here’s an example to illustrate. “Example 10: An employee has his meal break from 1pm to 2pm. At the same time, he remains in attendance at his post for the purpose of doing working in accordance with the contract of employment or with the agreement or at the direction of the employer. Such meal break is hours worked for computing minimum wage.”

Excuse my poor English. What the heck is it talking about? Does it mean, in order to have your meal break paid, you must have lunch and do work at the same time? Or you need to order takeaway so that you “remain in attendance at your post”? Or you must eat with your boss in order to be “at the direction of the employer”? How can that be?

It’s like men saying “I’m not ready to be in a relationship yet”, just a lousy way to say NO. Why don’t they just fucking plainly say so?

The Commissioner for Labour said the law does not prescribe that meal breaks and rest days should be paid. Matters like these are to be agreed between employers and employees. (In SCMP, there’s even a typo “between employers and employers”. Freudian slip maybe?) Hell yes. I want to reach an agreement with my credit card company too.

According to the news report, legislator Lee Cheuk-yan said the guideline appeared to favour employers.

But wait a second. Weren’t you supposed to take care of the law in the first place, my honoured legislator? When you were wearing fancy T-shirts and making drama at Legco, as we’ve seen on YouTube, didn’t you also fight for us in every single detail of the piece of legislation?

Even the Minimum Wage Ordinance is a piece of subsidiary legislation, its Bill drafted first by the administration, it still needs to be read, amended and passed by legislators to become effective law. Why didn’t our lawmakers make it certain and clear in the first place? We don’t need a goddamn guideline to tell us so much later that the legislation can’t help us.

In the full text of the Minimum Wage Ordinance, nothing has been mentioned about meal breaks and rest days. Fantastic.

The only thing that is slightly clear can be found in the Guideline. It’s about rest days.

“Payment made to the employee for any time that is not hours worked (e.g. holiday pay, annual leave pay, sickness allowance, maternity leave pay, rest day pay, etc) must not be counted as part of the wages payable to the employee.” Sympathy allowance perhaps?

21 March 2011

Faith and the Future

The landfills are almost full, the Himalayan glaciers that supply water to the Pearl river (as well as all the major rivers of China and India) are disappearing, the planet is running out of oil...and all anyone in the Hi-tech Village cares about is their next LV bag, how they're going to get their hands on an iPad 2 and their next meal at a posh sushi restaurant. Part of the explanation for this is simple ignorance: many people literally don't know about these problems because governments and corporations don't want them to know about them. But there's more to it than just ignorance; religion also plays a part.

In the free-market economies like the US and HK, instilling the faith that technology will solve all our problems is crucial to the legitimacy of government and corporate elites. The key assumptions of free-market capitalism are that resource scarcity doesn't matter (because we can always invent our way out) and that the planet can handle an infinite amount of waste. This belief is not science, but faith; there is absolutely no evidence that resource scarcity isn't a problem and tons of evidence that it is.

Essentially what this boils down to is an unquestioned faith in economic growth. If growth is good, then consumption is good, because without increased consumption you can't have economic growth. Dictionary.com defines the verb to consume as: to destroy or expend by use, to eat up or drink up, devour, to spend wastefully. Sounds about right, so why is this seen as an unambiguous good? Because of the belief that we can't ever run out of resources.

In the post-war twentieth century, the world was locked in a struggle between two utopian secular religions: Communism and Neo-liberalism. Communists believed that rational central planning could eventually do away with the problem of scarcity, Neo-liberals believed that the free-market would do the same thing. With the collapse of Communism in Europe, China's government switched to a pragmatic, non-ideological approach to economics, and with the abandonment of faith they have succeeded in doing what communism failed to do--bring millions of Chinese people out of poverty.

During the same time period, the US strengthened its faith in free-markets, deluded by what Neo-liberals saw as the vindication of free-markets by the failure of Communism. But while the US economy grew, real wages for most workers had stagnated. The average Chinese person got richer because of the abandonment of faith and the average American got poorer because their faith got stronger. In the US, the income generated by economic growth went almost exclusively to the people who needed it least. Elites continued to promise that the wealth would eventually "trickle down" and that income inequality was a necessary evil for promoting economic growth, which would benefit everyone in the long run.

What's ironic is that the Neo-liberal ideologues who have argued that resource scarcity doesn't matter are, in many cases, the same people who were the architects of the Iraq war--which was at least partially about securing access to oil reserves. This is similar to what's going on in the US's (and HK's) economic systems in general. Elites who claim that unregulated free-markets will eventually make us all rich, and make scarcity irrelevant are also hoarding resources at an unprecedented rate so that they'll be able to survive the eventual resource shortfalls.

The ongoing occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan are as much about the threat from China as they are about any country in the Middle East. Occupying Afghanistan effectively cuts off China from the oil in Iran. If Iran wants to send oil to China, it has to go through areas the US controls (either Afghanistan, or by sea, where China's navy can't compete with the US's). China's response to this was predictable: they started hoarding oil, realizing that hoarding currency wasn't good enough since war between the two countries would make the US debt to China largely irrelevant, and they started massively upgrading their naval power. Currently, the US and China are engaged in a competition for access to oil reserves in Africa and all over the developing world. It certainly looks like the two countries are preparing for the possibility that their competition for resources could eventually lead to military conflict. And that is the worst possible thing that could happen for humans on this planet. But as long as Chinese people continue to aspire to the obscene level of consumption that exists in the US (and HK), and as long as Americans continue to believe that that obscene consumption is their birthright, the worst case scenerio looks increasingly likely.

It may be possible for humans to innovate our way out of these environmental problems, but it's far from a certainty. It certainly isn't possible with existing technology.  It will take planning for the future, and reduced consumption. Unfortunately, the current faith in free-markets precludes both solutions. It's much harder to avoid driving off a cliff when you can't see the cliff.

15 March 2011

[BREAKING NEWS!] Will the radioactive materials from Japan's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant reach Hong Kong? (14 March 2011 updated)

The following diagrams show the path of air mass reaching Hong Kong for the next three days (15 - 17 March 2011). The paths show that the air mass reaching Hong Kong mainly comes from the Luzon Strait on 15 March, and from mainland China as well as the vicinity of Hong Kong on 16 and 17 March.

Figure 1. Trajectory of air mass reaching Hong Kong at 8 a.m. 15 March 2011

Figure 2. Trajectory of air mass reaching Hong Kong at 8 a.m. 16 March 2011

Figure 3. Trajectory of air mass reaching Hong Kong at 8 a.m. 17 March 2011


The answer, my friend, is blowin' in the wind
The answer is blowin' in the wind

Good Job, HKO!

09 March 2011

International Financial Village at its best

Central, the CBD of Hong Kong, on a Sunday morning.

Well, this kind of trading looks like a solution to our erratic economy, seriously.

07 March 2011

What should I do with that $6000?

Do you remember not long ago, our Financial Secretary appeared on TV and called for ideas on how to prepare the Budget? Well, I never see Steve Jobs, aka the Holy God of Geeks, advertise himself on TV, asking us for ideas on how to prepare iPad 2. It’s not our job to know what we want (except in the bedroom department of course) because someone, like John Tsang, is supposed to be paid to do it.

Even we were willing to pay John Tsang and the advertiser and sacrifice our ideas, our dear John was still able to come up with lousy proposals, which a sensible human is incapable of conceiving. Injecting $6000 into my MPF account to combat inflation? Even my high-school level of Economics can tell it’s rubbish. No need to bother the political scientists and financial analysts.

So after some outcry about John’s original masterpiece, he finally bowed to pressure from all sides of the city and decided to hand out $6000 cash instead. The second I heard about it I jumped from my seat in my tiny cubicle and cried, “hurray! At least I can go Yum Cha!!!”

What a cheap date I am. Soon I felt embarrassed by my humble idea of indulgence. I should think BIG!

I should treat Mom a dinner! But Mom gets that $6000 too plus she’s subsidised by Dad and doesn’t have recurrent wardrobe expenditure. Um…

I should go for a trip! But many Villagers here will think the same and Thailand, Korea and Japan will soon be flooded by my fellow tourists. So not refreshing!

I should enjoy fine-dining at some Michelin-star restaurant! But molecular gastronomy is so not my thing. I’ll be fine with just tomatoes and spaghetti.

iPad 2 is up and coming right? I must grab one. But its price has been doubled before it arrives in Hong Kong. I don’t want to spend more than my cash prize, or I may become bankrupt like most lottery winners.

What about a Prada bag? But you need to queue for hours with those mainlanders who are so ready to spend tens of thousands of dollars in the shop. Besides, whom do you expect to serve you? $6000 will only get you a key bag.

Well, I shouldn’t be such a consumerist. I should invest in my future right? Maybe I should buy shares from some China bank which I know nothing about. Ever learnt from our financial disaster three years ago? My forgetfulness is embarrassing me already.

In the end, I figured I don’t need that $6000 at all and decided to do nothing. John is simply unable to give me what I need, i.e. a decent living place to have decent amount of sex and stable price of tomatoes. Thanks for nothing, John.

02 March 2011

Ouch! There goes our Village Mayor

The TVB late news starting at 11pm every evening usually winds me down very well, or should I say, the TVB news is actually a powerful tranquilliser, as we know nothing really happens in this dull Village. But last night, when I sat on the sofa staring into the vacuum of the news programme, something somewhat interesting happened. And this morning it's all over the Village, and our beloved Apple Daily had it best; it reads:
Last night, a 66-year-old man reported a chest pain and was taken to the Queen Mary Hospital for medical examination. The injury was found to be superficial. The man named Tsang Yam-kuen and he is Chief Executive of Hong Kong...
This introductory passage of the news is one of the best lines written by Apple Daily and is certainly Pulitzer Prize stuff. Anyway, as our coppers already got their hands on the case, the Pub decided that we would withheld our judgement on the case. If you're really interested in a detailed analysis of what happened, read this tl;dr informative blogpost by our fellow basement dwelling LSD bandwagon investigative journalist-blogger.

However, I did have a question that puzzled me all night after watching the news last night. TVB reported that the 66-year-old man who visited the Accident & Emergency Department in Queen Mary had only stayed for 30 minutes. Now, I don't know if our readers have been to any A&E in this Village before; I had. Last time my friend hurt his lower back and was temporarily paralysed from the waist down. His girlfriend called an ambulance as there was simply no way for her to help this 6-foot, 170lbs+ man up. He was taken to the A&E at around 2pm. According to the triage system of our local hospital, his case was determined semi-urgent. Not until 6pm did he get his X-ray. And around 7pm he was sent to a ward. Mind you again, he was temporarily paralysed from the waist down.

Last night, however, that 66-year-old man who was mildly and superficially "injured" got his medical examination, X-ray, cardiogram, and prescription; also, instructions were given to the head of the Queen Mary A&E on what he should say to the media, all within 30 minutes.

The Libertines Pub sincerely wishes our Village Mayor well, my ass.

25 February 2011

Moral Circles

Ethical systems differ in a variety of ways, perhaps most fundamentally in the scope extent of the moral circle--the group of people (or animals) that we owe moral duties to. Perhaps the three most important contributors to our understanding of the moral circle are Confucius, Jesus and Buddha.

Let's look at Confucius first. He's clearly the most conservative of the three, emphasizing duty to authority and respect for tradition over empathy. I think Confucius's moral circle is considerably smaller, and also more complex than either Jesus's or Buddha's. The story, from the Analects, that has always disturbed my Western mind the most goes like this:

The Duke of She informed Confucius, saying, “Among us here there are those who may be styled upright in their conduct. If their father have stolen a sheep, they will bear witness to the fact.” Confucius said, “Among us, in our part of the country, those who are upright are different from this. The father conceals the misconduct of the son, and the son conceals the misconduct of the father. Uprightness is to be found in this.

Maybe my interpretation is wrong here, but Confucius seems to be saying that a son’s duty to his father trumps his duty to society. So Confucius’s moral circle seems to be small, and layered. In the first ring is family, who we must be loyal to even if it means harming everyone else in the society (letting theft go unpunished is almost surely harmful to society), the second ring is our duty to the ruler (and so far as I can tell, it is our common duty to the same ruler that constitutes the primary moral tie between unrelated individuals within a community) and in the last ring is our duty to our friends. There is an outer ring as well, where we have a duty (of sorts) to all of humanity. This is expressed in Confucius’s version of what Westerner’s call the Golden Rule: “do not do unto others what you would not have them do unto you.” Some have argued that this is logically equivalent to the Golden Rule espoused by Jesus (“do unto others as you would have them do unto you”), but I don’t think they are equivalent at all. If we follow Jesus’s teaching, we are duty-bound to help someone in need, while if we follow Confucius’s teaching, we are only duty-bound to avoid causing direct harm to others, and would seem to have no obligation to do anything for anyone we don’t have a relationship with. If we find that our obligations to our family conflict with the greater good, Confucius tells us to serve our family first. This shrinks the moral circle to the smallest size possible (since if we shrink it one level more, to the individual, it can hardly be called a moral system at all—then it’s just called capitalism!)

Jesus, on the other hand, greatly expanded the moral circle. Before Jesus, ethics in the Middle East were fairly ethno-centric. This can be seen in the story of David and Goliath (where David, the in-group Hebrew is virtuous and human, but Goliath, the out-group Philistine, is portrayed as an inhuman monster). Dehumanizing other ethnic groups is, unfortunately, fairly natural to our species. Indeed, Jane Goodall observed chimpanzees who "dechimpized" chimps from other tribal groups during inter-group warfare, treating them not as fellow chimps but as prey animals. This is why Jesus's teaching, which expanded the moral circle to all of humanity was so revolutionary (the expansion of the moral circle can be seen in Jesus's story of The Good Samaritan, where a hated ethnic groups is shown to be good, moral, and deserving of inclusion in the moral circle).

Buddha's moral circle was considerably wider than Jesus's, including not just all humans, but all sentient beings. (The moral circle of Hindu India at the time already included all sentient beings, but Buddha gets credit for transforming this moral teaching into a religion that was more exportable to other regions.) This to me is the most ethically defensible moral circle: if an animal is capable of feeling pain, we should try not to hurt it. Though natural selection has imbued me with feelings that cause me to favor my family members over non-family members, and even my nationality over others, for the most part I can resist these impulses because my rational mind tells me they are just instincts, and instincts can often cause immoral behavior (like my instinct to sleep with lots of women, even when I'm in a relationship).

The smallest moral circle, as I alluded to above, is that of capitalism. At first, capitalism doesn't seem to qualify as a moral system at all, in part because the moral circle is restricted to the individual himself. But libertarian thinkers like Milton Friedman and Friedrich Hayek argue that if everyone pursues their own selfish interest, this leads to the greatest possible benefit to society. Their theory is based on a lot of false assumptions about human nature which I don't have time to get into now, and is backed up with essentially no empirical evidence (if someone can provide some, I'd love to take a look at it). But because rich powerful people love the idea that screwing over poor people is not only not morally wrong but morally right, the theory has been promoted by governments and other powerful institutions. I believe this to be the predominant moral philosophy of Hong Kong and the United States. Luckily, humans aren't as selfish as free-market fundamentalists assume, and so even when a society is designed to maximize selfishness and greed, kindness and generosity still exist.

15 February 2011

Yet another gov't propaganda FAIL!

Since the Libertines Pub officially endorsed Stag's Head closed down with zero notice last December, dozens of lonely souls wandered off the Hart Avenue like a mini zombie outbreak, including yours truly. As much as we'd like to believe that the Stag's closed down because we had stopped offering free beers to our readers, our research unveiled that it had actually been the 60% increase in rent that dealt the death blow. As of today, the site is still not rented or sold out, so if you're feeling a bit rich any day and would like to fund the idiots here to run a Libertines Pub in real, write us.

Just another example of how our Village is full of business opportunities and how cheap it is to start up businesses.

The very night when I found out the Stag's Head had been closed, I didn't have the energy or patience to wander very far. So I rushed into this little bar just opposite to the old Stag's and became a regular since then.

Last Saturday, when I was drinking a chilled pint of Tetley's with Icarus in that little bar, the enchanting owner of the spot, Ms K, approached me and said, "Henry, I want you to take home this gift." And she shoved towards me this pile of things:

The "gift" from the rather attractive Ms K turned out to be this pile of Road Safety Council made beer/drink mats left by the coppers the other night. Let's not comment on the graphic design of the mat, as we all know it too well already that anything made by the Village's government is bound to be the ugliest possible. But what's with these plastic bags wrapping every single mat individually? What are they thinking seriously? Did they expect that the bars will actually use these mats? If they did, did they then expect these busy people working in the bars would have the time to open all these bags up and take the fucking ugly mats out for use? Or they might dream that the patrons would take these ugly mats home. Still, why all these plastic bags? Yes, maybe when it's down to emergency, the patrons could take the ugly mat out and throw it away, wrap the plastic bag on their things for action, only if the size would fit.

I took another sip of Tetley's while looking at this pile of shits and I had to ask myself again, "Why all these plastic bags?"

On Sunday, when I read the blog of our Financial Secretary John Tsang, I suddenly had a clue. Yes, the government has to be vigilant with its money. That's why they need to wrap every single piece of those crappy beer mats with plastic bags to make sure that they will be in good condition.

That night I didn't take one single piece of those craps home. I asked Ms K to wrap all of them up with another plastic bag and send them to the Environment Bureau for Edward Yau's attention.

10 February 2011

Pub Talk: What's up with these crazy bright lights?

Wes: So I've been wondering, maybe you can shed some light on this for me, why are Chinese restaurants so bright? What's with the giant, fluorescent lights everywhere? Do Chinese people not care about being comfortable, do they have a different standard of comfort than Westerners, or what?

Henry: Well that's a good question, I dunno why either.

Wes: I've heard that the bright lights in restaurants are there to show how clean it is, like they've got nothing to hide. Sorta like white sheets and towels in hotels. And that makes some sense to me, even though I'd rather not have my retinas burned when I eat dim sum, but then I was shocked to learn recently that many Villagers have these awful lights in their houses...by choice. It must be like living in a chemistry lab.

Henry: I know what you mean now.

Wes: Is it possible that this is some cultural bias I have, like is it only Westerners who find these lights unpleasant after a while. It doesn't feel like a cultural thing. These lights are physically stressful to me, and I don't think I've ever met a gweilo who doesn't find them at least slightly unpleasant if he thinks about it.

Henry: I just came up with a theory. It might have something to do with the favorite entertainment of the locals: TV.

Wes: I'm confused. Isn't it easier to watch TV with low light in the room?

Henry: When you're watching TV for most of the hours in the evening, you don't care about lighting.

Wes: Ok, but Americans watch a shitload of TV, and we would never think of putting these lights in our houses.

Henry: Ok, or is it that the locals prefer to have one light to light up the whole room, while others use different lamps throughout the room, so they have a relatively weaker source for each?

Wes: Yes, they do seem to prefer that. I guess it is easier to just use one overhead light, but I think they would feel much better if they chose lighting that was actually comfortable. Just a question of priorities?

Henry: They think using different light sources will increase the bill.

Wes: I'm not sure they're right about that, seems like those fluorescent lights use a lot of power. But ok, it's about saving money vs. being comfortable. And since the purpose of life is to acquire as much money as possible, and not to have pleasure, they choose saving money, and don't give comfort a second thought!

Henry: Bingo, Wes! Hahaha.

09 February 2011

Don't judge a man by his crystal-jeweled shoes

Recently, I went on an organized tour to Taipei with my grandma, along with about 30 other Hong Kong people. In Canada, we'd all have become friends (or at least engaged in some kind of conversation with each other) by the first day or two, but this is Hong Kong and most people try to avoid talking to strangers as much as possible.

As I was there to accompany my grandma, I too acted local and had no intention of meeting or getting to know any of the other tourmates, let alone the tour guides. Call me antisocial, but I just didn't see any point, especially when many of them looked like misfits from wherever they came from...

There was the large Aussie-passport holding family with 3-4 burly ABC (Aussie Born Chinese) guys in a uniform of sweatpants and sneakers, who could be spotted from a mile away carrying their mascot: a giant yellow and pink plush seahorse from Ocean Park.

There was the pair of short and stubby Mainland-looking sisters/cousins/friends(?) with tomato haircuts and butchy features who seemed to come straight out of the village, as their footwear choice of socks with slip-on plastic sandals seemed to say.

And then there was this pot-bellied local Hong Kong man in his 40s with a short, stiff (and therefore perverted) mustache wearing these:

I have to say that when I saw them, I immediately thought, "Aren't those for chicks?" and I couldn't help but get a super tacky impression of him, especially with his smug looks and flygirl wife - a woman in her 40s who dressed like a Mongkok teen.

But on the last day of the tour, this 'tacky' man suddenly struck up a conversation with my grandma that completely changed my mind about him. Not only was he friendly, talkative and kind, he was also a really good listener who got my usually quiet grandma to open up. After that convo, I noticed that he also approached other tourmates to start random conversations, creating a nice bond between us all, and he continued to watch out for my grandma like telling her to watch her step or to button up her jacket, etc.

For some reason, I never expected this from a guy who wore crystal-jeweled shoes…could this mean that tackily dressed people are actually normal and *gasp* nice? :-O

Read all the fun stuff at Miss Fong in Hong Kong.

07 February 2011

Lots of Abortions and a 3.63M tall man

On the first working day after our long Chinese New Year break, everybody gets a bit rusty, including our news media.

TaKungPao told us there're lots of abortions happening around Che Kung Temple last Saturday,

While RTHK said the coppers were looking for a missing person of 3.63 meters in height.

A pretty good start for the Year of the Rabbit, Villagers!

28 January 2011

Sex and the Market

I am not here to share with you the market outlook of prostitution or how that industry actually contributed to the GDP of the Village. The Chinese New Year is coming to town, so does the Flower Market. Like all the other misnomers here, the Flower Market isn't only selling flower. The newspaper report told us you can also find a pair of air-blow big tits and 1:1 Chrissie Chau cushion. And most importantly, if you spend enough at the booth, you are eligible to enjoy a 5-min preview of a Cat. 3 movie in 3D.

In this pseudo-open society, some might find it interesting, but more find it annoying and they need to get rid of it. The FEHD, organiser of the Flower Market, said due to cow crowd control reason, playing of movie will be banned. They even warned us about closing down the booth. Anything related to sex in the public is something very important to the parents in the Village. They couldn't even help themselves to mention the word "SEX" in front of their children, but openly and happily gossip about which actress is dating and having SEX staying overnight with which Millionaire(s). The reporter interviewed the Chairman of the Committee on Home-School Co-operation Professor WONG Po-choi. What is interesting here is that Home always comes first, because the parents "pay" for the service from School. Anyway, Prof. Wong said the public screening and selling of sex related merchandise is walking a fine line of morality and it's difficult for parents to explain to their children when they encounter that. He condemned the merchants for trying whatever means to profit.

Following the Home-School "cooperation" principle, Prof. Wong cooperated and suggested the FEHD to confine an area for 18+ only. Don't be surprised! In this Village, the education and protection of children are always a duty of the gov't, and the parents' role is solely to suggest, blame, and condemn because they have paid for.

This is not incomprehensible with a Red mind, of course. When all properties are public, children are public, even your wife or husband are public. The Village is one step closer to our Motherland while the Motherland is million steps closer to the world.

19 January 2011

Village Film Review: Lover's Discourse《戀人絮語》

What is love? Or what lovers experience when they are in love? We are told that the Chinese word "戀", one of the many Chinese words sharing the meaning "love", signifies what Roland Barthes might like, fragments of discourse in one's heart. From there young directors Derek Tsang and Jimmy Wan presented us with what they called "empirical examples" of what love is in Lover's Discourse《戀人絮語》.

Nancy (Karena Lam) and Ray (Eason Chan) met one evening at the crowded and confusing Causeway Bay. Like any other couples who spend their evening out, they didn't know where they should go and what they wanted to do. Unlike other couples, it turned out their romantic relationship had ended some obscure time ago. Nancy and Ray in the end both confessed that they still miss each other. In the middle of a kiss, Nancy's phone rang and it's time for her to go back to her boyfriend. What would happen even Nancy and Ray couldn't tell.

Paul (Jacky Heung) received some online messages from a stranger one evening, telling him that his girlfriend, Nancy, had been seeing another man. At the other end of the line, Kay (Mavis Fan) was in a major confusion and she needed a company in that; she felt that her boyfriend, Ray, had been seeing somebody but she was not sure. Kay and Paul decided that they would find out the truth together. The search for the truth turned out to be at the same time a search for what holds two persons together. Twelve years ago, Paul the teenager (William Chan) didn't know why his best friend's mother (Kit Chan) still clung onto the marriage, when she had known her husband (Eric Tsang) was having an affair. Paul wanted her "Auntie" to be happy; or it's more like the young Paul actually wanted her. We thought the setting was perfect for Paul and "Auntie" to make it to the bed, but they didn't.

These stories all shed certain light to the question of what makes two persons clinging onto a relationship. Is it something they miss about each other when they're not together? Is it because we do not bother moving on and finding a new love? Or is it just the confusions about everything in between, like not even knowing what to do and where to go, that fascinate us?

There was another story about a young laundry shop keeper Gigi (Kay Tse) having a crush on Paul's childhood best friend Sam (Eddie Peng), who's a regular customer. This story seemed to be the most enjoyable and funniest part of the movie, judging from the giggle among the audience. However, there's something I don't quite get. Why in Gigi's imaginations, Sam became a mannequin/puppet? Is it intended to be comical and tell us how laughable a crush can be? Or the hidden meaning is way too deep for me to apprehend? This story seems to me to be rather pointless and has undermined the depth and variety of emotions in a crush. Or, I just don't get it if they've tried. The forced acting by Kay Tse there only made the story more incomprehensible. The whole section reminded me of Kay Tse's Watson's commercial, especially with the tune she sang in the middle. To be very honest, I paid more attention to Kay Tse's costumes, which showed her suggestive pair of legs dangling the flip-flop and the figure under her tight tees more than her acting there.

Some people are better off singing than acting, some, sadly speaking, are better off not showing their faces in any screen whatsoever. Every time Jacky Heung showed his face on the big screen, he's dead seriously angry. When he's following Eason Chan, he is angry. When he's driving Karena Lam around, he's angry. When he's meeting Mavis Fan the first time in a cafe, he's also angry. Yes, we know one must be very angry when his girlfriend is seeing others, especially when your girlfriend is Karena Lam. But for fuck's sake, this is not A Fistful of Stances, you're not about to kick Eason Chan's ass when you found out the truth.

The cinematography of Lover's Discourse《戀人絮語》is brilliant. Many of the scenes in the film can be frozen and framed into good photographs. The background music, other than that cliché tune hummed by Kay Tse, and the sound effects go well with the pictures. It is a beautifully made film and I enjoyed the 117 minutes spent. Mavis Fan rendered convincingly the helpless and confused young woman. Kit Chan proved again some singers can act (while others not) and it's refreshing seeing her again on the screen. Karena Lam certainly picked a good film as her last; she's so naturally beautiful playing Nancy and she will definitely be missed.

In the end, what's the answer to the question we asked at the beginning? The film might have told you nothing other than showing you the puzzling and confusing experience you might have when you are in love. After all, as we're told at the beginning of the film, love probably cannot be reduced to neurological reactions in your brain, in that case they are much easier seen and understood objectively.