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 | 8 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 | 49 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 | 7 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 | 41 Comments

Circular Queuing & Bindling

Mindless lemmings

Mindless lemmings

Back in my day, if you wanted to collect glamour and fashion magazines to sell to pulp recycling merchants for fistfuls of magic beans, you’d scour the city on foot, from end to end, squirreling away your paper stuffs and other people’s trash in your makeshift bindle. When you got tired from all the trampin’, you’d slump in an alley, passout in a hobo park or go and hide under a rat infested bridge with one eye closed and the other eye on your precious bindle.

But it doesn’t work like that in Hong Kong. In Hong Kong, it’s much more orderly and practical. All you have to do is join a circular queue and recycle yourself to the head of it over and over again, collecting as much sweet, sweet paper as you can. Talk about practical! This plush setup is a scavenger’s dream. Not only are your scrounging needs conveniently localised, but the mint condition fashion magazines are laden with ink – their weight attracting anybody who isn’t above looking totally ridiculous by going around and around and around on the same 10 square metre spot like a human lemming, filling up a bag one magazine at a time.

Hong Kongers are super practical. Just ask one. They won’t be able to agree fast enough. The proof is in the circular queuing I suppose. We never would have thought of a circular queuing magazine scam like that back when I was a panhandler, tin can collector and street recyclist, though. We weren’t practical enough. We mooched our scraps the hard way.

Me back in my bindling days

Me back in my bindling days

Posted in Hong Kong | 9 Comments

HONG KONG: Elevator Frottage

Could a penchant for frottage be the reason for elevator obsession among HK people?

Could a penchant for frottage be the reason for this ungodly obsession with elevators?

Sometimes, when I have a free hour or two, I enjoy nothing more than getting out on the happy, bubbling streets of Hong Kong for a nice old stroll. Talk about fun. More fun than lancing a boil! More fun than a clown on fire! It’s the most frigging fun you can have with your pants on…

…which is interesting, as we will see, because in Hong Kong you often find hoards of people queuing up to jam on in, skin to skin, into public elevators that travel…one floor. And, I ask myself why…why are these people so keen to avoid a few stairs in favour of lining up and cramming into a small enclosed space only to stare blankly into the eyes of a bunch of strangers while other strangers spoon them from behind?

Well, the answer I came up with, of course…is that they enjoy it. It’s fully clothed fun for all…and the more the merrier, as they say. The smaller the room…the tighter the spoon! A cube full of cushion…the sweeter the pushin’! It ends up that what I think is happening here is a bit of good old-fashioned frottage…or as enthusiasts like to call it…elevator frottage.

Let’s take a look at the evidence…

Orderly anticipation of 4 seconds worth of frottage action?

Orderly anticipation of 4 seconds worth of frottage style elevator action? LOL you couldn’t swing a damn cat in that elevator…but the frottage…ohhhh the frottage…

Here’s what we can observe:

1. Too many fucking jackets and jumpers and wind-breakers. It’s not cold yet. Restricts frottage.

2. A strange, willingness to queue up. Half these people probably joined the line instinctively…petrified that by not getting to the head of it, they would miss out on something.

3. The other half are anticipating the coming frottage possibilities.

4. People at the end of the queue who have already done the maths and realised that there are probably too many people ahead of them to be guaranteed a spot on the next trip down…and who are happy as Larry to stand there in line like a moron while the elevator goes down, empties a pile of frotteurs, picks up another pile of frotteurs, comes back up, empties them out and is only then finally ready to take them the one floor trip down to the MTR that they have been avoiding like the plague in favour of lining up and spooning with people they don’t know.

5. A lack of invalids or anybody who looks like they actually need an elevator. Sure there’s one or two old people in this particular picture…but as many of you no doubt know…age has nothing to do with queueing in Hong Kong. Nor does the love for cramming into tight spaces with strangers.

6. Sloth. Just bone idle laziness.

Going down?

The only human contact some busy Hong Kongers get (because FUCK ME Hong Kong is FAST OK!) is in the elevator with stone cold strangers…and they love it. PS. Frottage is not to be confused with ‘mopery’, which as everybody should know, is exposing yourself to a blind person.

Anyway…there it is…my question answered. Why do Hong Kongers love to queue up so that they can jam themselves into small public elevators to travel a couple of metres? In summary…because they are stupid lazy fucks, queueing is instinctive and they enjoy rubbing against strangers to satisfy the lack of human warmth and humanity in their dirty, soulless city…happy & bubbling I mean…happy & bubbling city.

Ohhhh the humanity...thousands of locals line up for the one floor trip up to the Apple shop to buy phones.

Ohhhh the humanity…thousands of locals line up for the one floor trip up to the Apple shop to buy phones. The frottage was intense.

Finally, how could we leave without a cheerio to our democratic friends fighting the good fight all over the streets of Hong Kong?! God speed, peace & love my buddies…only you can save HK from these barbaric mainland tourists and their designer shopping suitcases…

…and with a little help from Mr Democracy, we can vote these loathesome, filthy savages out too…

Hong Kong for Hong Kongers!
Frottage of the HK people, by the HK people and for the HK people!

See you in the elevator ;)

Posted in Hong Kong | 21 Comments

Hong Kong Conspiracy

Look at these cunts. With felons like these negotiating your future, you know you have no chance.

With felons like these negotiating your future, you’ve got no chance.

Strap on your tin foil hats movers and shakers and let’s get greasy! Oh yeah, I’ve been eating this whole Hong Kong protest thing up with a spoon ever since little Josh Wong almost got sconned on the noggin with an errant tear gas canister back on the 28th of September. It’s been an action packed 3 weeks or so watching people in the protest and online froth at the mouth, do the straight arm finger-point, gnash their teeth, bleat, lie, cheat and whore themselves (I’m looking at you 60 y.o. surgical mask wearing money grubbing taxi drivers…and you throw a bottle for $1000 agitators…and you $500 to tear down supply station saboteurs…you opportunistic entrepreneurial capitalist ratbags!). And it’s been fun watching hearts bleed, people kid themselves and fawn over the heroic democratic deeds of protesters (hello expat sympathizers, and other soft-brained western media types…democracy great, hurray…China horrible, boo!). Stepping back, it’s been like spending 3 weeks watching a frog try to jump its way out of a greased wok, while spectators stand around arguing over its chances. It’s hard to pick an outcome. Mass head cracking? A compromise riddled with stalling lingo and long distance promises?  Who knows.

Wok a nightmare

Wok a nightmare

So anyway, with heavily layered aluminum moulded all over my head and coat-hangers dangling from my ceiling to deflect electromagnetic radiation and brain infiltrating gamma rays, the coast is clear to wade into the muck and inspect some of the opinions related to the great Hong Kong Protests of 2014…no matter how fantastically crazy they may seem to be or how kooky they get. Let’s start with this outrageous timeline I came across somewhere way, way, way out…deep in the internet:

cc1

This is totally outlandish and I, for one, won’t tolerate such an outrageous conspiracy theory. China wasn’t ass fucked by Britain in 1839. It was between 1839 and 1997 that they were continually ass fucked by Britain.

Why won't people listen to me?? The Hong Kong protests are all about democracy, peace and loooooove!!

Why won’t people listen to me?? The Hong Kong protests are all about democracy, peace and loooooove!! The protests have nothing to do with disgusting Chinamen or the extermination of locusts. That was the old protest…this is the new one…with extra looooooove! Hurray!

What’s next? Some insane conspiracy theorists out there have been contending that the whole Hong Kong protest episode has been fuelled, funded, trained and backed by creepy world giant, America, all for the purposes of undermining China and strengthening world democracy…or some shit. These are seriously deluded nuts who probably still live with their parents and haven’t been out of their bedroom in 17 years. If they knew anything at all they would know that local Hong Kong citizens don’t need any help whatsoever to fuel their white-hot rage toward the mainland invasion that has been destroying their city and standard of living more and more every year since 1997. Their revulsion needs no backing or inspiration at all, thank you very much.

These protests aren’t to do with democracy or US skullduggery…oh no…that’s conspiracy theory nutjob stuff and won’t be tolerated here…these protests are about good old-fashioned hate. And why not? If someone came into my house and pissed and shat on the floor, stole my toothpaste and shampoo and gave birth to a mewling cabbage in the spare room I’d put aside for Aunty Gin, I’d want to show them the door too. The Chinese media, who are reporting this idea of US backing, are not to be trusted…nor is the German media or the Russian media who are reporting the same thing. Crazy fucking nuts. Even America’s official foreign policy, which gives support for the democratisation of HK under the Omnibus Appropriations Act of 2009  (provision of $17 million for the promotion of democracy in Hong Kong) should only be taken with a grain of salt. If it was possible to identify the influence of CIA spooks within the Occupy Central ranks, what are we going to do? Cry ‘conspiracy’ like some deranged lunatic? CIA assets would only be responsible for the supply of delicious apples and water bottles for a couple of supply stations here and there anyway. Big deal! So, yes…I diligently block out all reports that try to demonise creepy world giant, America…no matter how hard they attempt to infiltrate my protective tin foil defense systems. Conflicting views and outrageous conspiracy theories simply aren’t to be tolerated. Apples and water bottles however, don’t do any harm at all and can be tolerated. Why, Uncle Sam says we can all have a free apple whenever we want. Hurray! :)

Captain America overseas the protests on behalf of creepy world giant, America.

Captain America overseas the protests on behalf of creepy world giant, America.

 

What else? Lately, there has been a lot of frothing at the mouth about thuggery, hired mobsters and gangsters causing problems for innocent, defenseless, peaceful protesters.  Thousands of boring broken records are out there using up precious internet space playing Where’s Wongo – spotting, identifying and calling out paid agitators and gang members who they say are in the employ of diabolical CY Leung to break up protests…these ignorant bores are literally tripping over each other as they post images online captioned with stammering comments like ‘there is no way he is from HK look at him he’s a paid mainlander!’ or ‘look at his tattoos, he is a gangster!’ and ‘CY Leung ought to be ashamed!’ Well, this sort of conspiratorial quackery is hardly fit to print. CY Leung tossing a few Hong Kong dollars around among some of his good friends for a few favours is nothing compared to the gargantuan budgets western leaders have at their disposal to control information, silence dissent, bribe, blackmail and extort whistleblowers, imprison dissidents and crush opposition.

Hk$500 to tear down a supply station full of water bottles and crisp, juicy apples? Are these kooks for real? How does that even compare to the kind of institutionalised corruption and felony western leaders commit each and every day? You think China is a den of corruption…stand in AWE at the all time, undefeated  world champions of hard-core corruption…the west. Those fuckers wrote the fucking book. At the very least…how is one better than the other? We’re talking greasy politicians here. You’d have to be a dangerously unhinged lunatic…a conspiracy loving nutcase…to imply that one group of politicians are better than another. What’s CY  to do anyway? You think he’s going to say no to China? Fuck, they’ll curb-stomp his jawbone or take his thumbs or something. Maybe these crazy conspiracy nutjobs should try for a second to absorb comrade Leung’s own comments on the issue of thuggery and use of intimidation tactics:

“What would you do if thousands of painfully idealistic students camped out playing ping pong and ordering McDonald’s on streets all over your city for 3 weeks? What would you do if you were part of a supposed ‘minority’ NOT hoodwinked by this whole democracy love and peace bullshit? What if you saw it for what it is…a spiteful, elitist hate campaign, originally known as ‘Occupy Central Against Locusts & Chinamen’, run by spoilt self-entitled milk-sops against their own people…all disguised as a virtuous love-in? How could you possibly explain the futility and irrationality of such a tantrum to thousands of protesters who are scandalously unable to admit or probably even see their true motivations? They want democracy? What the fuck are these deadshits on about? Hong Kong never had democracy before anyway, so why should China ‘give’ it to them now? Are these people fucking insane? To the average Chinese man or woman with any shred of insight, all this humping at the western leg must really make them swoon. Here’s a city, originally designed to serve the drug pushing, bullying, lying, cheating, money-laundering British Empire, by emptying it of resources and prosperity and consolidating it all on behalf of criminals in London…for over a hundred years, mind you…begging, just begging, the instant their home nation passes a bit of inevitable legislation about the 2017 elections, to basically go back to their old swindling, forked tongued masters. Talk about knee jerk, ungrateful cunts.”

– CY Leung
(Excerpted from an impromptu morning assembly speech delivered to The Hong Kong Jockey Club Mother of the Weeping Virgin Widow Presbyterian Catholic Leung Shau Ping Old Boys’ Association PWSCC cum Memorial Primary School Number 2.)

 

Classic straight arm finger point tactics

Classic straight arm finger point tactics

Anti protest agitators dismantle barricades while thousands of peaceful protesters look on

Anti protest agitators dismantle barricades while thousands of peaceful protesters look on

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And the conspiracy theories roll on…what about this piece of paranoid, misguided, ill-conceived propaganda…

The Real Issue in Hong Kong Protests

How dare an upstanding institution like CNBC sully the name of good, honest, hard working journalists everywhere by daring to suggest that the Hong Kong protests are much more nuanced than most reports would have us believe? How dare they suggest that the true motivation for Occupy Central is not a heart warming pining for democracy, but a much more complex issue hinged on rising economic uncertainty in Hong Kong and ‘misguided colonialist nostalgia accompanied by ugly discrimination of the mainland Chinese & even virulent bullying’?

Strike me down! It gets even more oddball from the CNBC madmen. My tin foil hat is literally buzzing like a beehive. How can they look at themselves in the mirror and use phrases like ‘according to the narrative in the west’. Narrative? Are these nutcases implying that the western media is making up stories? I won’t hear of it. Let us not tolerate these outrageous conspiracy theories. What else have they had the gall to say…
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when under British rule from 1841-1997, the UK did not promote democracy. That begun, conveniently, after the handover.

– huge discrepancy between HK’s economic gains and its eroding social fabric

– the real precedent for the HK protests is the Occupy Wall Street movement in the US

– HK’s income inequality is worse than Zimbabwe

– What HK needs is responsible political development..yeah…not students sitting around singing kumbaya and gnashing their teeth because mainlanders are dirty

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Fuck! I think I just lost the rear deflector shield in my tin foil hat! It sounds like someone is frying bacon in my brain! How dare CNBC spread such grossly accurate, impartial, fair and balanced information? This is just another deluded opinion that must be avoided at all costs. Don’t mess with our peace and love CNBC, mmmk.

Far enough removed from mainstream media to spread a little truth?

What about this? Talk about whacko…

Good god…the gamma rays are slicing at the back of my eyeballs and lazering my skull into diced bone! Must…increase…foil…
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It gets worse…listen to the music! It’s got to be true…

Head imploding…coat-hangers melting…

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Then there’s this article…and a million more out there I’ve been avoiding, all trying to bring down my feel-good buzz. I can’t take it. I got to get out of here and get back where I belong…back to the streets to play ping pong and eat KFC on the road…with hundreds and thousands of my other democracy buddies…buddies?…hey…where’d everybody go??

People power

Democracy. The people have spoken with their feet…and nearly all gone home

 

Get the fuck off the street you dirty hippies, we're trying to get through to Cafe de Coral

This post brought to you by some of CY Leung’s closest friends. “Get the fuck off the street you dirty hippies, we’re trying to get through to Cafe de Coral.”

Who's up for some ping pong?

Who’s up for some ping pong?

Posted in Hong Kong | 10 Comments