Last Thoughts On Hong Kong

That's ok for Rome...but what about Hong Kong?

That’s ok for Rome…but what’s one to do in Hong Kong?

When in Rome do as the Romans do. That’s what they say. It’s an invitation to be polite and to abide by the customs of the local culture. Does it apply to Hong Kong? Do I, as a visiting expat, do as Hongkongers do? Do I behave like them? Do I conform to the prevailing opinion of larger society? Do I respect local practices? Is it possible I’ve picked up the attitudes, values or beliefs of locals just by living here over the last few years? God, I fucking hope not. I’d rather be trapped up to my nose in some Roman septic tank shit facility than synchronize my watch to the deplorable practices of these shallow, selfish assholes.

Shitty

My trip to Rome…wish you were here :)

Yeah, I’ll eat a dim sum. I’ll snarl the meat off a chicken wing to ‘fit in’ if I have to. But I won’t spit saliva covered bones onto the tablecloth in full view of other guests when I’m at a wedding. And I won’t lose my fucking mind at the mere mention of chicken wings either. The locals do. They suck chicken wings like lollipops. They dance around like Santa is coming if you mention chicken wings.

A comprehensive list might break the internet so here’s a very short list of some of the things I won’t do…when in Rome…

– I don’t care how drunk I am…I still refuse to burp and fart audibly at work. It’s just not right.

– I won’t take pictures of food or pose for photos where I’m shoveling food into my mouth. The locals love this. If you’re going to take pictures of food, honour the cycle…get some shots of giant coilers floating in your toilet bowl too.

Say cheese...cake...

Say cheese…cake…

– There’s too many self-proclaimed ‘foodies’ in Hong Kong. A self-proclaimed ‘foodie’ is on par with someone who takes scatmunching ‘selfies’. A moron. And there’s a lot of them in Hong Kong. Hongkongers never, ever stop talking about food. Yeah, food. I get it. Shut the fuck up.

– I’ll never assemble my friends together and take photos where we all simultaneously jump into the air with huge shit-eating grins so it looks like we’re floating above the surface of the earth, high on life. You’d think this practice would be limited to 14yo girls in Hong Kong. But it’s not. Everyone does it.

Hurray! Hurray for us and hurray for our tour holiday to Beijing!

Hurray! Hurray for us and hurray for our tour holiday to Beijing!

– I won’t travel overseas as part of a Hong Kong tour group, listening to some tour guide chew my ear off with a microphone and loudspeaker every waking second of the trip. I did that once and nearly committed suicide.

– I won’t invite someone to a workmate’s wedding 2 weeks into their working contract in Hong Kong…and then hold my hand out for an $800 ‘wedding gift’. I thought you were inviting me as a kind gesture…a measure of your goodwill and generosity. Having only just touched down in Hong Kong, and not knowing the bride or groom from a hole in the wall, I kind of thought you were letting me tag along as some kind of cultural experience for the new guy…you know…to show me how humble, down to earth and friendly you all are in Hong Kong. You really slapped that innocent assumption off my face with the entrance fee you artless fuck.

–  I won’t explain cheerily to my workmate that I am going on a trip to Korea over Christmas and am flying Air India because the flight is cheap…and then say, with complete sincerity…I hope the plane doesn’t stink.

What is that stench??

What’s that stench??

– I won’t suppress anger, critical thought, empathy or my own opinions because I’m terrified of losing face or being ridiculed for stepping outside of the group think bubble.

I agree. Me too. Me too. Me too. Me too. Me too. Me too...but just to be sure we better discuss it for another 10 hours. Agreed.

I agree. Me too. Me too. Me too. Me too. Me too. Me too. Me too…but just to be sure we better discuss it for another 10 hours. Agreed. I agree too. Me too. Me too. Me too. Me too….

– I won’t blindly worship the value of education or allow the future of life itself to hinge on the ability of conman celebrity tutors to get a high school kid a slightly better paying customer service job than the next kid.

The conmen

The conmen. The shot of Samuel Chan (3rd from the right) makes me want to smash his teeth in. You know the other thing about ‘Samuel Chan’? I bet if you tried to call him ‘Sam’ his brain would freeze and he’d point blank tell you ‘no…no…my name is Samuel’. Ok Sammy, you colossal fuck knuckle.

– I won’t buy a slave and arrive at work every day of my life with a ‘lunchbox’ prepared by said slave then sit down and eat it like a pampered 2 year old. I won’t have the gall to refer to my slave as a ‘helper’. I won’t  torture my slave. I won’t produce TV ads where locals dress in ‘blackface’ to portray   clumsy Filipina ‘maids’.

Aw me so clumsy!

Aw me so crumsy!

I dunno, I could go on and on and on. You can read a massive laundry list of all this kind of shit here. About the only thing I will do ‘when in Hong Kong’ is walk in a straight line without budging or moving out of the way of others. Now there’s a Hong Kong custom I’ve really come to embrace. That’s how they do it here…and I’m happy to oblige. Not going to move? You oblivious ignorant fuck! Me either then. Collision course is a go…only difference is I’m ready for it. ;)

Posted in Hong Kong | 68 Comments

MTR Meltdown

WARNING: Devastatingly shrill Hong Kong whining ahead:

People flipping out in public are funny as fuck!

Posted in Hong Kong | 9 Comments

I Love the Smell of WD-40 in the Morning

WD-40 airstrikes will begin in HK next month

WD-40 airstrikes are set to begin in HK next month

Like a lot of people in Hong Kong, I live in a decrepit old building full of decrepit, lifeless feet-shufflers. The elevator is broken every other week and the rubbishy stench that wafts up from the building’s central cavity stings the nostrils and makes you swoon.

Hey everyone, for the love of god…stop tossing your trash out the window! If you enjoy the hobo lifestyle and feel comforted by surrounding yourself in refuse and filth, then by all means hit the streets. There’s plenty of nooks and crannies on Nathan Road that you can crawl into and call home. But until then, there are other people living here. Don’t you get that?

The used tissues, greasy plastic bags, old band-aids, bloody dental floss and toe nails falling like rain past my window remind me of my slum days in the shanty towns outside Mumbai. I thought Hong Kong was Asia’s finest city…isn’t it supposed to be the Pearl of the Orient or something? More like the Turd of the Orient, am I right??

Visit Hong Kong: The Turd of the Orient!

Visit Hong Kong: Come for the turds…stay for the stench!

Anyhoo, owing to yet another elevator SNAFU in my building over the past few weeks, I’ve had to use the second elevator and reach home by getting off at the floor below mine and then taking the stairs up a flight. Not a hardship by any means. But the extra legwork has meant that more wafts of putrid stink reach my nose because I’m forced to walk past several windows that look down into the disgusting building cavity . I’m pretty sure that the woman below me throws her used earhole cleaners out into the cavity every morning because a number of them that didn’t quite make it are congealed and stuck on the window sill. Nice!

Elevator SNAFU. Week 3. Left elevator handles the odd floors, right elevator the even.

Elevator SNAFU. Week 3. Left elevator handles the odd floors, right elevator the even.

Using the stairs to get to my floor is where the WD-40 comes in to the story, because to get to the stairs you have to push open a swinging door.  All of these swinging stairwell doors grind open like the gates of hell. They squeal…they creak…they moan…they wail like tortured animals…they scream like murder victims. The rusty hinges cry with such high-pitched grief you almost expect the whole building to implode in on itself in an ecstasy of horrific sympathetic resonance. It’s a sound filled only with torment and hate.

One of the offending hinges

One of the offending hinges. Lord knows when the hinges were last oiled but judging by the sound…I’d say…never

It boggles my mind that no-one seems to have ever thought it might be a good idea to oil the hinges to quieten the doors…to rescue their ears from this  fingernails on blackboard horror.  It’s a simple fix. Fuck. How can people live like this for any length of time without going out of their minds?

The offending stairwell doors are only a couple of feet from the doors to people’s homes and putting rubbish out means opening the stairwell door. So it’s a daily thing at least…and with broken elevators the doors open and close more than usual. I can’t be sure what happens on every floor, but here’s how things go down on mine:

1. Neighbour exits house door (which is a foot and a half from my own door) in a flail of keys and clicking and doorknob turning. TV from inside blares some ridiculous HK game show.
2. Neighbour stands in doorway furrowing brow and yells something back to someone inside at the top of her lungs. She yells it again. Then again.
3. Neighbour opens outer iron gate, smashing it against concrete wall
4. Neighbour reaches the gates of hell – the stairwell door…pushing it open and unleashing twisted, blood curdling rusty hinge screams
5. Neighbour drops rubbish in the stairwell area
6. Neighbour comes back through the gates of hell, letting the swinging door screech and then smash violently closed with a HUGE THUD
7. Neighbour slams closed the outer iron gate and viciously locks it
8. Neighbour reenters house slamming the door with enough force to rattle saucepans on my kitchen bench.

This is totally normal. She’s not angry or having a bad day. She’s just slamming doors because she’s a garden variety Hong Kong moron. All this happens between about 11-12 at night…every night. But that’s not all. 99 out of 100 times, and this is no joke, this stupid old mole repeats the entire process because she forgot to put some piece of rubbish out. So in the end she’ll do it all twice. Her subnormal, box headed minibus driver son is even worse than she is. These are the types of people you’re dealing with in Hong Kong: The Pearl of the Orient. Stupid oblivious morons.

Stairwell leading down to one of the gates of hell

Stairwell leading down to one of the gates of hell

When I first moved in here it took me about 3 weeks before I’d finally had enough and literally ran down to my favourite shop, Japan Home Centre, and bought some WD-40. I came back and doused the shit out of the stairwell door on my floor and instantly felt relief wash over me in an awesome wave. The only sound it makes now is the HUGE THUD every time my fuckface neighbours let it slam…which is every fucking time they use it…which is multiple times a day. But fuck me if I didn’t silence the moaning…the tortured cries…the screaming of those hinges. For me, banishing those screams back to hell where they belong has been a slice of heaven.

Gate to hell

The HUGE THUD makes the glasses in my cupboard chink

So the elevator has been broken for some time now and I have been walking down one floor. The stairwell door below was truly diabolical before I tactically struck with WD-40. Earlier, when I went to work each morning, the screaming hinges really set a grim tone. It’s bad enough leaving your private piece of sanctuary and heading out into public areas of the Turd of the Orient at the best of times, but to do so heralded by the obnoxious screaming of a door that not a soul bothered to, or even considered fixing, is beyond a joke.

When your neighbours treat your general living environment like a sewer and when they show absolutely zero regard for the idea of noise pollution or the concept of ‘other people’, sometimes living in the Turd of the Orient can feel like you’re watching a snail crawl along the edge of a straight razor…crawling, slithering along the edge of a straight razor…and surviving. It can be a nightmare…can make you lose your mind. Quite simply, that’s when you may need large doses of this:

...to smooth out the rough edges and replace your nightmares with dreams

…to smooth out the rough edges and replace your nightmares with dreams

Now when I leave for work it is almost like a dream. It’s not nightmarish like it was before – opening the gates of hell and deploying out into the Turd of the Orient like a condemned man. The door opens silently and peacefully now. It’s beautiful. Sometimes I wonder if my neighbours or anyone at all actually notices that the obscene screeching has stopped. I like to think they do…but I know they don’t. I can’t worry about that though. I just slip out the door quietly and wait for the elevator, breathing in not the filthy refuse building up like an urban landfill in the building cavity outside…but the luscious, rich, fresh scent of sweet, sweet WD-40. And I don’t let the door slam shut behind me. But why would I? I’m not a stupid ignorant oblivious cunt, after all.

One hinge at a time. Some day this war's gonna end...

I love the smell of WD-40 in the morning…it smells like…smells like victory…

...relief washes over me in an awesome wave...

…relief washes over me in an awesome wave…

The Turd of the Orient

The Turd of the Orient

...crawling, slithering along the edge of a straight razor...and surviving...

…crawling, slithering along the edge of a straight razor…and surviving…

Posted in Hong Kong | 25 Comments

Culturally Smart Business Decisions

...where prices are low and decibels high.

…where prices are low and dB high.

I don’t know a hell of a lot about Japan Home Centre. It’s a good place to buy cheap bleach or Drano, I’ll give it that. I did find out, in looking into my grievance with the chain, that despite the name, Japan Home Centre has no relation to the country of Japan. A Hong Kong firm, it started out as ‘International Housewares’ in 1991, selling HK$10 knick knacks before going on to specialise in housewares. A quick google search shows that Japan Home Centre stores are scattered around Asia in places like the Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore, Macau and even New Zealand. Hong Kong’s the sweet spot though, with a branch on just about every corner. When your toilet just wont flush, it’s nice to know help is nearby. In 2012, the Japan Home Centre group approached a branding agency called ‘CBA Asia’ to do something about the word ‘Japan’ in the store’s name. Apparently, research had been indicating that it was hindering the growth of the retailer in Asia in view of resonant political issues such as the ‘Daioyutai Islands’ consumer boycott. 2012 was a touchy year for China and Japan in the long history of the disputed islands. Here’s some of the highlights that had the CEO’s at Japan Home Centre going into public relations meltdown:

August 14, 2012: Hong Kong activists reach the disputed islands by sea for the first time since 1996, with seven activists disembarking onto the island.

August 19, 2012: Ten Japanese activists swim ashore and raise Japanese flags on the island chain.

September 10, 2012: Japan’s government says it has decided to purchase the disputed islands from a private Japanese owner in an effort, Tokyo claims, aimed at diffusing territorial tensions.

September 14, 2012: Six Chinese surveillance ships sail into waters around the Diaoyu Islands to assert China’s territorial claims and for “law enforcement”, leaving after seven hours.

September 15, 2012: The biggest anti-Japanese protests since China and Japan normalised diplomatic relations in 1972 are held in cities across China. The Japanese embassy in Beijing is besieged by thousands of protesters throwing rocks, eggs and bottles.

September 16, 2012: Anti-Japanese protests break out in dozens of mainland cities for a second day. In some cities peaceful protests turn violent as protesters clash with policemen, attack Japanese made cars and smash up Japanese restaurants.

September 17, 2012: Some major Japanese firms such as Toyota and Honda temporarily shut factories and offices across China.

September 18, 2012: Two Japanese activists land on the Diaoyu Islands while widespread anti-Japanese protests have been held across China at the anniversary of Japan’s invasion of Manchuria.

Japan Home Centre public relations officers feared the disputed island issue would lead to a decline in sales of shower curtains, hand-held toilet pumps and replacement mop heads.

Japan Home Centre public relations officers feared the disputed islands issue would lead to a direct decline in the sale of shower curtains, hand-held toilet pumps and replacement mop heads.

The hilarious race for the disputed islands is on

The SS Japan Home Centre makes a bold dash for the disputed islands

So, with the dispute red hot, CBA Asia was called in to clean up Japan Home Centre’s image so that racists could still shop there. CBA Asia claim in their ‘manifesto’ to specialise in ‘brands with soul that can inspire our daily lives’ and in generating an ’emotional connection between brands and consumers’. Holy shit, they sound great! According to CBA Asia’s website, the masterstroke in rebuilding Japan Home Centre’s image was to design a new symbol representing 2 hands gathered into the ‘reconstitution of a roof’ and to shorten the name ‘Japan Home Centre’ to JHC. The new branding was deployed at the end of summer in 2013 and everybody went home happy…funnily enough there are plenty of branches around Hong Kong still sporting the full ‘Japan’ label. Maybe the head honchos at Japan Home Centre hit the panic button too soon and didn’t give the Daioyutai Islands dispute the couple of weeks it needed to cool down, for people to forget all about it and to go back to buying this summer’s new arrivals in rice cookery. Who knows.

CBA Asia...sweeping your troubles under the rug since 1983.

CBA Asia…sweeping your troubles under the rug since 1983.

While I do think it’s strange that a Hong Kong company opted for the word ‘Japan’ in the first place (maybe they wanted to impart a sense of class for their business or to bask in the perceived reflected glory of a much more sophisticated nation…or maybe they just thought Hong Kong Home Centre sounded like some sort of homeless shelter or something), I don’t think it’s really that strange that in 2012 they sought the help of expert branders to steer their image away from controversy. Chinese/ Japanese relations are on a slippery slope at the best of times…might be a good idea to get rid of the ‘Japan’ association, especially if you want to crack on into the big Chinese market as time goes by.

JHC leaders celebrate the sale of their 12 millionth rat trap.

JHC leaders celebrate the sale of their 12 millionth rat trap.

But whatever! I don’t have a problem with any of that. The big business issues of cultural & racial tension based consumer backlash are very ‘adult’ and a bit too high-brow or something for me. I just sit back snickering and tee-heeing at that sort of stuff. I keep imagining the geniuses at CBA Asia sitting around the old think-tank spitballing ideas about how to make ‘Japan Home Centre’ seem…less Japanese…which, to me, is pretty damn funny.

I've got it! Using the word 'Japan' in the name leaves the business with a built in chink in its armour. What we need is to initialise the name and use the same colour scheme. JHC. Those Chinamen won't know a thing. Genius.

I’ve got it! Using the word ‘Japan’ in the name leaves the business with a built in chink in its armour. What we need is to initialise the name, hide ‘Japan’ and use the same colour scheme. JHC! Those stupid Chinamen’ll be none the wiser. Genius.

But it’s not all beer & skittles, dust brooms & cheap saucepans…I’ll tell you something that isn’t funny at all…something so mind bogglingly rage inducing it makes you want to rampage through Japan Home Centre, JHC, or the Culturally Neutral Unit Shifting Centre, or whatever the fuck it’s called, with a huge splintery baseball bat, crashing shelves and smashing glassware and bludgeoning the electrical appliance section into jagged piles of twisted steel…and that’s the hatefully loud, objectionably intrusive, in-store looped PA system hawking policy. If you don’t know what I’m talking about just watch this video. I think it goes for about 4 minutes…but you wont even make it through 1.

That’s right…it’s looped hawking BLARING from speakers placed strategically around the shop to FUCK WITH YOUR EARS and make you buy paper plates, sanitary pads and a thousand other things you didn’t go in there for. It’s a relentless shopping experience. Every time I go into ‘JHC’ I’m like a lab rat that doesn’t know where to stand. I go over here and KA-SMASH, I’m being assaulted by some stupid moron yelling at me about half priced plastic spoons…I run away…but right into the teeth of another hidden speaker screaming at me about toothpicks. There’s nowhere to stand that doesn’t make my ears bleed. The decibels coming out of the speakers are almost visible. The air is rupturing all around me…being raped over and over again…tongue lashed by that horrible piercing voice and it never stops…it wont ever stop while the shop is open. For the love of god…turn it off…I’m already in your store…I’m already innnnnnn!! Stop hustling me…stop hawking at me, I’m already shopping…I’m already shopping!!

It looks peaceful inside...but it's not...

It looks peaceful inside…but it’s not…there’s speakers mounted on every wall and in ever corner like snipers, ready to take out your ears with extreme prejudice

Staggering out of the pan section of Japan Home Centre and into the fire

Staggering out of the pan section of Japan Home Centre and into the fire…’for the love of god make it stop’…

Let’s take a look at the Japan Home Centre end of quarter business report card. Zero out of 10 for your flash in the pan knee jerk culturally neutral re-branding that you didn’t even fully go through with because the Daioyutai Islands issue disappeared from the news after 2 seconds, saving you the need to have to bother to change the signage on all your branches. Zero out of 10 for you and your marketing people who came up with this boorish, blunt, typically Hong Kong sales strategy rubbish: WELCOME TO JHC WHERE WE BEAT YOU REPETITIVELY OVER THE HEAD AND STAB YOUR EARS GOOD AND HARD AND HUSTLE YOU OVER & OVER & OVER AGAIN WHILE YOU’RE SHOPPING WITH LOOPED SUPER LOUD HAWKING THAT YOU CAN’T HIDE OR ESCAPE FROM ABOUT PRODUCTS YOU DID NOT COME FOR AND HAVE NO INTENTION OF BUYING. And while I’m at it, a big fat zero for your association with flimflam artists,  CBA Asia,  and their stupid inanities about emotional bonds between brands and consumers. That’s a grand total of zero. Keep up the good work.

It could be worse I suppose…at least the staff in Japan Home Centre generally leave you the fuck alone, unlike so many other shops in Hong Kong where you’re stalked and eyed suspiciously by salespeople or leered at by dickheads telling you about your fantastic ‘free gift, free gift!’ with every $1000 purchase…but then again, if I was working all day in Japan Home Centre, I’d have no time for stalking customers…I’d be focusing every ounce of my energy on not going completely and utterly bat-shit-insane from having to endure the relentlessly cruel, loud, crude hawking that viciously stabs and snarls at you from every wall.

This post brought to you by Drano...I go through 4 bottles of this stuff a week clearing the decrepit old piping systems in my house.

This post brought to you by Drano…I go through about 4 bottles of this stuff a week clearing the decrepit old piping systems in my house.

This post additionally brought to you by these junked decorative floral arrangements. Opening a new JHC branch is a special occasion and as the crammed rubbish bins indicate...a good time was had

This post additionally brought to you by these junked decorative floral arrangements. The Grand Opening of a new JHC branch is a special occasion and such fertile floral works symbolise the substance and quality that only shopping in a store originally associated with Japan, for some reason, then disassociated with Japan but that still maintains hundreds of ‘Japan’ labeled stores, provides.

Posted in Hong Kong | 17 Comments

The Life of a Dog

Over the past couple of weeks my neighbour’s house has started to reek more and more of dog again. She has one in there somewhere…some small, poor sad eyed thing that hasn’t seen another dog or the outside of its detestable owner’s house since it was imprisoned there many years ago. It’s a living ornament…a symbol of its owner’s selfishness and ignorant disregard for the rights of dogs to piss on tree trunks and sniff the air. Hey Hong Kong, your soulless letterbox houses forfeit your rights to keep pets. The environment isn’t suitable. Don’t you get it? Your tiny homes, cramped conditions and ugly tight spaces have turned all of you into nasty, distasteful, spite filled thorns…god knows what’s happening to the animals forced to live with you. I say ‘god knows’…but there’s really no secret. A quick look at the SPCA site or a walk through pretty much any Hong Kong pet shop will show you that ‘Hong Kong’ and ‘animal cruelty’ are as synonymous as ‘abhorrent’ and ‘despicable’. But that’s a topic for another post. Today, I want to focus on cruelty of a different kind…cruelty that Hong Kong all but institutionalizes. But first, back to that smell…

Hong Kong dog in its natural environment

A Hong Kong dog in its natural environment…loving life.

So my stupid neighbour’s house reeks of dog. Her door is so close to mine that if they both opened outward and not in, they would hit each other half way. Every time I come or go, I get a nostril full of filth. ‘Run a mop over the floor, splash some Dettol around, spray some air freshener, light a box of matches…anything you dirty old bag. Just get rid of that stench. It’s been getting steadily worse for 3 weeks.’ She lives in there with her deranged son. He’s a minibus driver. He walks in huge thunderous clomping steps because he lacks fine motor skills and his fingers for some reason are so bulbous he can’t bend them or hold a piece of paper. In summer, he likes to sit at the kitchen table in his underpants while his mother serves him some kind of Chinese slop. He’s about 40yo. Both of them have prodigious booming voices and like to slam the door as hard as they can every time they come home or go out. I know, I know…it could be worse. As far as Hong Kong neighbours go, I got lucky…but there is that issue of the smell…and I’ll get back to that, but first let’s turn our attention to the Hong Kong mother of 2 who was found guilty this week of the systematic abuse and torture of Indonesian women, Erwiana Sulistyaningsih.

The guilty woman & her victim

The guilty woman & her victim

For the full article go here. For more info go here or here.

Hong Kong court finds Indonesian maid Erwiana Sulistyaningsih ‘tortured’ by former employer

A Hong Kong woman has been convicted of beating and starving her Indonesian maid in a “torture” case that sparked international outrage and put a spotlight on the plight of migrant domestic workers in the Middle East and Asia.

The verdict, read out to a courtroom packed with journalists and activists, was met with cheers by supporters of Erwiana Sulistyaningsih, a former domestic helper who has become the face of a campaign for improved workers’ rights in the financial hub.

Pictures of the injuries sustained by Ms Sulistyaningsih, who was admitted to hospital in her home country emaciated and in a critical condition, at the hands of mother-of-two Law Wan-tung fuelled anger in Indonesia and shocked Hong Kong.

“She was, for want of a better word, a prisoner on those premises,” Judge Amanda Woodcock said.
“She was completely isolated.
“She did not complain about the abuse because of fear…When Erwiana left Hong Kong, she was a shadow of her former self.”

Law, who was arrested in January last year, was found guilty of 18 of the 20 charges laid against her. She had denied all the charges. Law was convicted of offences including grievous bodily harm with intent, assault, criminal intimidation and failure to pay wages. The only two counts she was not found guilty of were related to her treatment of another domestic worker.

During the six-week trial, prosecutors said Law turned household items such as a mop, a ruler and a clothes hanger into “weapons” against her maids. Ms Sulistyaningsih has described in vivid detail how she was “tortured”, starved, beaten and ritually humiliated by Law, with prosecutors saying she was treated as an “unpaid slave”.

She said she lived for months on nothing but bread and rice, sleeping only four hours a day and being so badly beaten by her then-employer that she was knocked unconscious.

Law is due to face sentencing on February 27.

Strings to Hong Kong's bow...racism, abuse, slavery...

Strings to Hong Kong’s bow…gaudy restaurants, bigots, bores, shallowness, racism, abuse, slavery…

What makes this case even more deplorable is that the Hong Kong government has built the potential for this kind of abuse into the foundation of the whole ‘maid’ system…and what’s more, have taken no action to stamp out maid abuse in the wake of the case. Basically, the stance of the government is that it’s ok to pay foriegn domestic workers in handfuls of magic beans, to lie to them, fleece money from them via bogus recruitment initiatives, confiscate and withold documents, manipulate debts, create an environment where it’s ok to portray them as clumsy and inept, to sexually abuse them, to racially abuse them, to withhold holidays, over-charge them in administrative fees, work them like animals for up to 17 hours a day and give them a 14 day window to get out of town or get a job should they find themselves out of contract.

Business as usual for the HK Government. Nothing to see here, nothing to see here.

Business as usual for the HK Government. Nothing to see here, nothing to see here.

The system breeds a dangerously nochalant and negative attitude from a city made up of people notoriously at the bottom of the barrel in terms of the concept of ‘other people’ and the idea of fairness and civility. When gross disrespect is built into the system on a government level, you can imagine the kind of contempt and disregard in the minds of those who buy into the services of a cheap slave. And I say ‘slave’ because euphemistic terms like ‘maid’ and ‘helper’, after all, just don’t cut it and are really only favoured by locals and expats alike, who just can’t manage to take care of their own responsibilities and think they need…’help’. ‘Maid’ and ‘helper’ are soft words for hard labour. And employers know it. Local slave drivers are full of superiority and malice while expats glibly support the system, throwing a few extra bucks at their slave at Christmas to make themselves feel good.

Institutionalized discrimination

Institutionalized discrimination

Man's best friend's home.

Mummy can we have a puppy? I see no reason why not my darling.

So anyway, my neighbour’s a deadshit. And so’s her halfwit son. Guess what happens when the stink of their imprisoned dog gets bad enough to peel paint off the wall? Yeah, a couple of Indonesian ‘helpers’ come to clean up. Their body language says it all. The old bitch intimidates them with her ingrained sense of self importance. She holds all the aces while the maids clean up dog shit and scrub her S-bend. The workers slink in and out of her house with their shoulders hunched and their tail between their legs, as if they are expecting a short clip over the ears at any moment. They speak in hushed tones and don’t look their master in the eye. It’s pitiful. But it’s perfectly ok in Hong Kong. Everybody does it because it’s cheap. It doesn’t matter that a woman was systematically tortured, starved, humiliated and cruelly beaten under this system does it? That’s just an isolated case, isn’t it? Well sure it may be…or it may not be…but that’s not the point. The point is, that Hong Kong encourages an environment where minorities such as foreign domestic workers are treated like dogs…and sees nothing wrong with it.

Law Wan Tung, guilty of torture.

Law Wan Tung, guilty of torture.

I shudder to think what kind of lessons kids like this are learning, as they stroll comfortably down the street with their human mule doing the heavy lifting behind them.

Hong Kong students stroll comfortably down the street while their human mule does the heavy lifting.

Posted in Hong Kong | 59 Comments

Hong Kong Barbeque Shitsplat

The shitsplat

The shitsplat

Recycling means we should bring as much plastic & trash as possible

Recycling means we should bring as much plastic & trash as possible. The more we bring the more we can recycle and that makes good practical sense for the environment…right? Just try your best! Recycle more!

Doing our bit for recycling & the environment

Doing our bit for recycling & the environment…a thousand disposable plates, spoons and bags at a time!

The idea of the Hong Kong Barbeque is to get as much plastic as you can from your house to the BBQ pit. You and your stupid friends have to make sure that you are each armed with enough plastic to not only wipe out everything that swims in the ocean, flies in the air or walks on the ground…but to see to it that your incredible filth scraps stain, blight and defile what should be ‘a nice spot to have a BBQ’ for every other person there. But of course, there are no ‘nice spots’ to have a BBQ. In Hong Kong, there are only horrific, prison-like concrete sties, swimming and choking in the fetid juices and oozing melted sinew of a thousand blister-ridden animal segments, a million discarded plastic wrappers, plastic bags and plastic utensils. But none of that matters, because in the eyes of super practical Hong Kongers, the more trash and plastic you can bring to the party, the better recycling works and the better off the environment is. And that’s why soon after every Hong Kong barbeque gets under way, it turns into one of the biggest and most heinous shitsplats you’ll ever see.

The bright red giblets are mouthwatering

Mouthwatering! Eerily red giblets, framed by a setting of thick scum covered skank.

Step 1 is to lay a base of plastic and then to get serious with more plastic. But you can’t just grab any old plastic. That wouldn’t be very Hong Kong. You have to make sure that everything you bring is grossly overpackaged and wrapped like environmentally unfriendly Russian dolls. The more layers of plastic wrap and packaging an item has, the more you are contributing to the success of recycling. Super practical. That’s how they roll in Hong Kong.

Plastic

Plastic…warm soft drink…meat…trash…litter…it’s shaping up to be another great day

Lay a base of plastic. Try not to touch any surface with your hands or you'll probably be spending the night in the hospital recovering from hepititas or dissentry

Lay a base of plastic. Try not to touch any surface with your hands or you’ll be spending the night in hospital fighting hepatitis and dysentery

Doing our bit for the environment

Barbequing HK style means beautiful scenery, a pleasant environment and more plastic than a dildo factory.

Have hobos been living here? For a month?

.Step 2 is to empty a bag of charcoal into the abused black hole of a squalid blood and gut stained BBQ, being careful not to touch any of the greasy, dysentery besmirched concrete surrounding it. Good luck!

Lovely

Look at that…just look at that…look at that scum

Step 3 is to stab a miniature devil’s pitch fork through whatever sorry looking animal you brought, smear it with cheap honey or oil and hold it inside the flame of the toxic fire starter cubes you just ignited. There you will let it burn, bubble, ooze and drip until it’s half cooked. Then you’ll eat it with your mouth wide open while yelling and screeching with your friends. You’ll all be talking at the same time and bits of semi-cooked animal will start to fill the gaps in your teeth and or fly out of your mouth like sleazy sticking spitballs. But you won’t notice any of that or the hobo style trashdump that’s piling up around you because you’ll be too busy stabbing another repugnant looking piece of carcass to cook because barbequing is FUN and being in nature is FUN!

Stab the meat chunks and stick them in the fire

Burn it real good…but only on the outside…if it looks cooked on the outside…it is.

It sure doesn’t get any better than this

By step 4, the meat is all gone. You’ve gorged yourself to the point of ridiculousness on hair studded pork giblets, fishballs full of crushed scale, jugular red chicken entrails, 50c steak looking things also coloured an eerie red, chemically unsound meat noodles, more pork flavoured chips than a corrupt Macau casino, warm coke, honey smeared pig snouts, sausages barely fit for dogs, hocks, trotters, whole legs and singed ocotpus heads…and now it’s time to really get down to business with some serious plastic unwrapping…some serious recycling. So you open a packet of labyrinthian wrapped biscuits which you’re going to open-mouth smack on. You’re going to manage to actually make eating a biscuit sound like slurping a bowl of soup. Sshhhlllluuuuppp sssschhmmaaaakksss sssshhhhhlllluuuuuppppp is how you’ll sound…and this is how you’ll look:

So anyway, yeah I'm having fun at this gathering this food is so delicious

So anyway, yeah I’m having fun at this gathering and this food is so delicious what do you think?

Yes this gathering is so great!

Yes this gathering is so great!

…and your friends will take photos of you like that. You’ll all take photos like that. And you’ll post them on Facebook along with the shots of you holding whole live lobsters up to your open mouth from the time you visited the staggeringly dirty Sai Kung area (a visit you enjoyed immensely)…there’ll be shots of you cracking undersized crabs and sucking half a gram’s worth of meat out of their poor undersized legs, thumbs up, grinning like some kind of ghoul…and of you being fed sushi in front of 400 oblivious witnesses at HK Immigration. Everybody will like your snapshots and you’ll like theirs because having a BBQ in nature is FUN and taking photos of people biting into undercooked giblet cuts is FUN too!

Scenic & hygienic

Scenic…hygienic…fantastic

A family of 4 has every base covered with this impressive cache of trash

A family of 4 has every base covered with this impressive cache of trash

We love nature!

We had so much fun we didn’t even notice how disgusting and prison yard-like the BBQ site was

Being fed sushi in the middle of HK Immigration.

Being fed sushi in the middle of HK Immigration.

...shots of you cracking undersized crabs and sucking half a gram's worth of meat out of their poor undersized legs, thumbs up, grinning like some kind of ghoul (or moron as the case may be)...

…shots of you cracking undersized crabs and sucking half a gram’s worth of meat out of their poor undersized legs, thumbs up, grinning like some kind of ghoul (or moron as the case may be)…

At the end of the day, when you look around and slowly emerge from your meat binge induced stupor and realize that you’ve just participated in yet another depraved Hong Kong Barbeque Shitsplat and you start to ‘dry reach’ balls of vomit into the back of your mouth and gag at the sight of the abomination you have helped create, there’s a chance that you’ll take pause and ask yourself if having a BBQ needs to be as big a shitsplat as this. But you don’t pause. And you don’t ask. Because you and all your friends are hungry again and want to hurry off to the nearest restaurant to EAT SOME MORE.

Janitors start the cleanup

Time to shine. Janitors start the cleanup

You make a half-hearted effort to clean up, but you don’t really care…you know that as soon as you’re gone, brown skinned janitors will skulk out of their holes and start doing the dirty work for you. Because that’s how you roll in Hong Kong. All you know is that BBQ gathering is FUN! You’ll leave obscene amounts of plastic behind. And maybe that’s the best thing to come out of the shitsplat, because as all practical Hong Kongers know…more plastic is good for recycling and recycling is good for the planet and the planet is nature and having a BBQ gathering in nature is FUN!

Hong Kong BBQ favourite cuts

Hong Kong BBQ favourite cuts

Recycling alive and well

Recycling alive and well. There’s just no other logical reason to explain why Hong Kongers cart so much plastic with them to have a BBQ. The only possible explanation is that they think they are somehow doing their bit for recycling…either that or they are just stupid mindless dipshits.

Perfect

Another half-hearted clean up attempt

. And that, as they say, is that…the HK BBQ…

Splat!

This post brought to you by privilige, opulence and exclusivity.

This post brought to you by privilege, opulence and exclusivity. Anyone know ‘what’s wrong with this picture’? I think it says a lot about Hong Kong, myself. Yep, sure do.

Posted in Hong Kong | 8 Comments

The Mannings Pig Scramble

The Mannings Pig Scramble

The Mannings Pig Scramble

Time:          10:45am
Location:  Mannings
Event:        The Mannings Pig Scramble

I really love the Mannings Pig Scramble. It’s pretty much a unique blend of everything I love actually…mindless crowds, wild yelling, self-centered feverishness, completely uninhibited baseness, squatting, hoarding, littering, greed, irrational compulsive consumption dependency disorder…the list goes on. It’s a real spectacle.

There’s not much else to say. Mainland spending power is a shot in the arm for Hong Kong and scramblers are welcomed wherever they go. Incidentally, if the Occupy Central movement has it’s way, there will be even more freedoms and benefits for mainalnders who love to scramble and Hong Kong will become the mightiest and most delicious pig trough the world has ever known.

So, if you’ve never seen a Mannings Pig Scramble, haven’t seen one for a while or just want to soak up some of the fun and relive some of the memories of your favourite scramble…just sit back, relax and get a load of this shit…

Vital supplies

Oh hi! Doin’ some scramblin’?

Oh yeah

Pawing over vital supplies…over the counter chemist supplies…hand lotion, earhole cleaners, biscuits in the shape of a mouse, 40,000 individulally wrapped Ferrero chocolates…you know…the kinds of essential rarities one could only ever possibly find deep inside some Hong Kong pig trough.

Let's sit directly outside the shop right in front of the door and do the pack

Let’s squat directly outside the shop right in front of the door and do the pack

Suitcase Tetris! She's changed the configuration of her stupid junk 40 times

Suitcase Tetris! She’s changed the configuration of her stupid junk 40 times

At the end of the night...a different kind of pig scramble...ooh lala

When the dust settles…a different kind of pig scramble…ooh lala

Hey everyone...I found a good spot to squat and do the pack...here...right in front of the door. It's perfect.

Hey everyone…I found a good spot to squat and do the pack…here…right in front of the door. It’s perfect.

Happy scramblers

Snout & about at the Mannings Pig Scramble.

Many of the scramblers de-box their junk and leave the discarded rubbish on the ground. Specially trained Mannings staff pick up after them, clearing the way for more scramblers and more littering packs.

Many of the scramblers de-box their junk in order to shamelessly stuff ever more armfuls of useless stupid junk into their gaudy suitcase after which they simply discard the rubbish and leave it on the ground. Specially trained Mannings staff pick up after them, clearing the way for more scramblers and more mess. At Mannings, more mess = more money…and it’s always messy at the Pig Scramble.

Scrambling teamwork

The Chinese are some of the most hygeinic people in the world…a suitcase so full of Mannings toothbrushes, mouthwash and liquid soap, that it takes 2 people to jam it closed, is testiment to that.

A pack can take anywhere from 10 minutes to an hour. Receipts need to be checked with a fine tooth comb several times over...products need to be pawed at, inspected, held upside down, smelt, studied and packed into 16 different suitcase locations before finally coming to rest in a satisfactory spot.

A pack can take anywhere from 10 minutes to an hour. Receipts need to be checked with a fine tooth comb several times over…products need to be pawed at, inspected, held upside down, smelt, studied, poked, prodded and packed into a thousand different configurations. Then it’s off to Watsons to fill the other 9 suitcases.

Fuck it...let's just pack right here...inside the shop.

Fuck it…let’s just pack right here…inside the shop.

Hong Kong's the bucket

Hong Kong’s the filth addled blue bucket…and the pigs…well they’re just dirty fucking pigs.

The Mannings Pig Scramble.

GET SOME!

Posted in Hong Kong | 42 Comments