Lau Wing Sang’s Day Off

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In 1930, the Republican-controlled House of Representatives, in an effort to alleviate the effects of the… Anyone? Anyone?… the Great Depression, passed the… Anyone? Anyone? The tariff bill? The Hawley-Smoot Tariff Act? Which, anyone? Raised or lowered?… raised tariffs, in an effort to collect more…Anyone? Anyone?…revenue for the federal government. Did it work? Anyone? Anyone know the effects? It did not work. Today we have a similar debate over Whats…Anyone? Anyone? Whatsapp…

School Principal, Lau Wing Sang, is very popular. The sportos, the motorheads, geeks, sluts, bloods, wastoids, dweebies, dickheads – they all adore him. They think he’s a righteous dude. And while he can tend to be both stupendously and profoundly vague at times, his heart’s almost in the right place. He’s putting himself out there on record as a no nonsense principal ready to tackle the problems of the modern age with good old fashioned common sense and brute force confrontation. Lau shoots from the hip with machine guns in each hand like a couple of out of control garden hoses.

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Mr. Lau Wing Sang… Ed… you’re a beautiful man. I want to thank you for your warmth and compassion. – Sloane Peterson, Form 5 CNECSS

Copying homework, words like fuck cunt cuntfucker fuckface fuckery skullfuck cunthole slutfucker, and the latest terrors: gossip and bullying – these are the school-based demons Lau says we must slay. Like all mad geniuses, Lau’s one step ahead of the game. According to Lau, homework copying, foul language, gossip and bullying are not linked to human nature at all, but are the work of a sinister modern day evil…the abhorrent phone application: Whatsapp…and more specifically…Whatsapp Groups

Here’s the report…

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The details of Lau Wing Sang’s life are quite inconsequential…

SCHOOL WARNS PARENTS ABOUT STUDENTS’ USE OF WHATSAPP GROUPS
10th December, 2015
by Koel Chu

A secondary school in Chai Wan has issued a notice warning parents about students using WhatsApp groups to ask friends out after school or during holidays. The notice stated that there are four problems created by the use of WhatsApp groups. These include copying homework and asking other students out after school or during holidays. Other problems suggested by the notice relate to indecent speech, gossiping and cyber-bullying.

The notice was issued by the Principal of CNEC Lau Wing Sang Secondary School to parents of Secondary One students at the school in late October. It states that some students were causing problems by setting up different WhatsApp groups, with members ranging from a few to over 20. These problems were “worrying” and “must be confronted,” the letter reads.

“Some students who made the mistakes were appropriately punished. Discipline teachers, counsellors and social workers were also involved to help the students change their bad habits and get back on the right path,” the notice said.

James Lam Yat-fung, the Subsidised Secondary Schools Council chairman, told Apple Daily that technology has its advantages and disadvantages.“If you utilise it well, you will receive a lot of positive information and learning opportunities but if you use it improperly, it will be devastating,” he said.
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CNEC Lau Wing Sang Secondary School’s principal said that “something bad” happened when Secondary One students went out together, and the school wanted to prevent that by reminding parents to keep an eye on their children, Apple Daily reported.

On Tuesday, a Secondary Two student from the school attempted to jump off a building when the teacher requested to see her parents. The suicide attempt was prevented by a teacher and the student was sent to the hospital afterwards.

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Wtf did I just read???

They don’t get much more articulate than Principal Lau. ‘Something bad happened’ when ‘students went out together’. With a handful of choice words, Lau speaks volumes. He wields words like mother nature wields hurricanes and Lau doesn’t mince words either. Friendship is to be spurned, especially after school or during school holidays. Such bad habits are worrying and must be confronted. Parents, he says, have been issued a warning against committing the sin of allowing their child to engage in activities in their own free time with anywhere between ‘a few’ and ‘over 20’ members. Lau just won’t stand for it.
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In a follow-up interview, when questioned whether the absence of Whatsapp would eliminate homework copying, Lau chortled mysteriously and remarked that we must ‘try our best’. When asked what he meant  by that, Lau grinned and encouraged us to ‘add oil’. Questioned whether gossip and bullying were inherent and well-documented aspects of the human condition, which would exist with or without Whatsapp in one form or another, Lau yelled FIRE! and ran out of the room.
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I guess what we can take from Principal Lau’s steel-trap mind and wealth of knowledge and experience, is that Whatsapp and Whatsapp groups are modern day evils leading children astray and need to be destroyed. Stop Whatsapp…and we stop the problem. It’s hard to argue with Lau.
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Apart from that, Principal Lau says that all is well with CNEC Secondary School…well there was that minor incident involving the attempted suicide of a form 2 student who tried to leap from a school building to her grisly death because her teacher requested to see her parents.
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‘Oh the suicide thing?! That sort of shit happens every day, Lau laughed. ‘Hahaha we sent her to the mental hospital already. Maybe she can drink more water and take a good rest.’
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Whatsapp made me do it

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Regurgitation, memorizing dates, recalling facts, following orders, rote learning and pushing 13 year olds to the point of severe, lethal mental exhaustion are key foundations for the proper adjustment of tomorrow’s responsible adult. – Principal Lau Wing Sang

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Disclaimer: The attitudes, values and beliefs of Principal Lau Wing Sang are not to be confused with those of Ferris Bueller, the deluded free thinking anarchist, who said that life moves pretty fast…if you don’t stop to look around once in a while, you could miss it. Nobody ever got a sweet, sweet customer service job in Hong Kong with that slack approach.

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Posted in Hong Kong | 9 Comments

Laughing at Old People

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That old woman’s crazier than my daughter LOL!

 

Posted in Hong Kong | 47 Comments

Weekend at Bernie’s

He's the life of the party...well almost.

He’s the life of the party…well almost.

In a scene right out of classic comedy Weekend at Bernie’s, a homeless woman lay dead at a Hong Kong McDonald’s restaurant for hours surrounded by diners and staff who failed to notice anything awry. CCTV footage showed the woman had entered the restaurant the previous day at 8:39am. It wasn’t until 8:30am the following morning that a McDonald’s employee called police after finding the woman ‘unconscious and cold’. Unconscious & cold of course meaning dead as a door nail.

Customers go about their meals on Sunday even as the area where the woman died is cordoned off with a black sheet.

Customers go about their meals on Sunday even as the area where the woman died is cordoned off with black plastic.

Say what you will about the callous and morally bereft nature of Hong Kong society…the coldness, the lack of empathy, the selfishness, the obliviousness, the disregard, the shallowness, the base ‘me first’ attitude, Antisocial Personality Disorder Syndrome, the ability to fake genuine human emotion, the obsession with personal gain and material possession, Social Blindspot Disarrangement Dysfunction…say what you like about that…but I won’t hear a word against Hong Kong McDonald’s or Wendy Lam, senior director of McDonald’s Hong Kong:

“McDonald’s Hong Kong would like to express our grief over the unfortunate incident at our Ping Shek Estate restaurant. We welcome everyone to visit our restaurants any time. In order to provide a pleasant dining environment, we would not disturb our customers, but our service will be offered promptly upon request.”

Read it an weep naysayers! From the horses mouth, Hong Kong McDonald’s categorically states its grief over the potential damage to its ‘fortunes’ with this unseemly incident. You think McDonald’s Hong Kong doesn’t care? Wendy Lam, with her finger well and truly on the pulse, assures customers still living that their dining pleasure won’t be diminished and that they won’t be disturbed even if they are dead. She then reminds customers of the ‘prompt service’ they can enjoy. How’s that for compassion and heart? This kind of commitment to business, promotion and profit, even in the face of corpses piling up in your restaurant, is really touching and sums up Hong Kong’s spirit of capitalist adventure in the face of bad luck and adversity. Take a bow while the world is watching HK McDonald’s.

The dead woman is wheeled out of McDonald's who stressed to point out that the dead customer had not ordered anything from the menu.

Takin’ out the trash. McDonald’s stressed that the dead customer had not ordered anything from the menu. ‘Our food is totally safe. She just drank water.’

Senior Director of Hong Kong McDonald's, Wendy Lam relates how she 'sees dead people'...but let's them finish their cheeseburgers.

Senior Director of Hong Kong McDonald’s, Wendy Lam relates how she ‘sees dead people’…but let’s them finish their cheeseburgers.

Rigamortis set in about 13 hours ago

Rigamortis…I’m lovin’ it!

Dropping like flies

A ‘not so happy meal’. One minute you’re chewin’ on a burger, the next minute you’re dead meat!

New promotion: If you find you've been sitting next to a dead person next order 2 for 1!

New promotion: If you find you’ve been sitting next to a dead guy next order 2 for 1!

To fulfill this site’s unbiased and fair reportage policy let’s take a look at what some random people have to say about the ‘incident’:

  • The indifference of HK society on full display – Johnny. C
  • What a sad indictment of HK society – Penelope. W
  • So HK has outsourced its social welfare system to a hamburger vendor that can provide overnight shelter and toilet/ washing facilities. – Anon
  • Journalistically, are the last two sentences of the article, promoting McDonald’s, really necessary? It’s quite inappropriate in an article about a woman dying in a McDonald’s for the companies managers to be promoting it’s all night business. – Alan. P
  • And still no service…a whole new meaning to ‘I’ll be dead before the food is served.’ – H.C
  • Is anyone really surprised? It’s a disgusting culture with the way they treat people, babies and animals. – Cindy. C
  • They had a special on double cheeseburgers after they wheeled her out the back door – A.C. 
  • “Can I take that for you, or are you still working on it?” – Anon
Why don't we just pretend he didn't die? Just for a bit?!

Why don’t we just pretend he didn’t die? Just for a bit?! Worked for hundreds of customers and staff in HK McDonald’s!

McWeddings have long been a tradition in Hong Kong. Stay tuned for cheap funerals coming to a store near you

McWeddings have long been a tradition in Hong Kong. Stay tuned for cheap funerals coming to a store near you

This post brought to you by all the Bernie's of the world. Life goes on...all around you.

This post brought to you by Bernie…and…

...dropping...

…dropping…

...dead...

…dead…

...in restaurants.

…in restaurants.

Posted in Hong Kong | 170 Comments

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.

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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 | 514 Comments

MTR Meltdown

WARNING: Devastatingly shrill Hong Kong whining ahead:

People flipping out in public are funny as fuck!

Posted in Hong Kong | 15 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 | 38 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.

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