Death listing

13 09 2014

While researching the Lai Tak Tsuen estate (I was curious exactly how many people had leapt to their deaths in that great circular space) I discovered this; Hong Kong’s premier English-language real estate website keeps a listing of potentially-haunted houses, complete with details of what happened there. Apparently this is common practice for HK real estate agents. My boyfriend told me that banks will not offer loans for properties on this register, effectively making them un-sellable.

RIP Ladies Code

10 09 2014

No more rohypnol-and-bazooka anthems from Ladies Code. RIP to two of the members of the promising K-Pop group who were sadly killed in a car crash in Seoul this week. The shocking news has prompted a campaign to name and shame Korean celebrities who are snapped sans seatbelt, which is perhaps a positive thing to come out of the otherwise senseless news.

The girls had burst on to the scene last year with this quite catchy and genuinely bonkers pop moment- especially in its second half.

Dog Days

25 08 2014

Hong Kong was gripped last week by a controversy over an unfortunate stray dog that ran on to some train tracks and was sadly killed. Bizarrely though, this has led not to muttered offerings of regret but to a large-scale outpouring of anger at the transport authorities who “didn’t do enough”. Teary protesters marched on the government headquarters bearing photos of their own dogs and pillows shaped like giant dog biscuits. They shouted and wept for justice.

Watching them on the news I was, frankly, disgusted. In the context of a city where the population does not yet have the vote, in a country riven with stark inequalities and human rights abuses, in a world where ebola is stalking Africa, Syria and Iraq are engulfed in the horrors of war, sea levels are rising and whole species are being pushed to the brink of extinction every week  – this is what the chattering classes of Hong Kong have to be angry about?

It was so parochial and so childish that it made me furious.

Winter sun

6 08 2014

An otherwise idyllic day of lazing in Mebourne’s Botanic Gardens was otherwise ruined by being price-gouged at the cafe there (thirty dollars for a sandwich and a fruit salad!!!!!) and Louis’s spotting of a sign – in Chinese only  and presumably aimed at cashcow mainland tourists – which intimated that you have to pay to use the public toilets, which is clearly untrue. We should have taken a picture and complained.

The week in Hong Kong

8 06 2014

This week Hong Kong was rocked by two tabloid sensations which snowballed into one fever-pitch screaming headline. The story had it all – guns, blood, sex and celebrities.

First, Thai-Chinese director Oxide Pang was sprung having an affair with a nubile model. His wife – the widely popular star of his classic horror film “The Eye” – was splashed across magazine covers looking distraught. So far so typical for the incredible invasive HK tabloid press.

But meanwhile across town in Kowloon City, another story was emerging. A  lone gunman  – a disturbed middleaged man – shot his neighbour dead and then held court at a televised siege of his apartment  block ,which had been hastily evacuated and surrounded by police SWAT teams and circling news helicopters. The man clambered onto his balcony before the TV cameras and waved his gun about wildly,  before going back inside to shoot himself in the head.

Both of these stories were big in their own right, but what made them especially eyecatching was the bizarre coincidence (?) uncovered by tabloid reporters from the Apple Daily who followed the gunman’s family to the morgue where they were to identify the body. They noticed a striking resemblance between the dead man’s daughter and the model who had been at the centre of the Pang scandal – a development which electrified the city, leading to a paparazzi chase that tailed the grieving family of the gunman right through the New Territories until they were forced to cross the border into China to lose the news cameras.

The man has since been confirmed as the father of Pang’s “other woman” and now speculation is rife, and rabidly fanned by the gutter press, over whether the revelations of her indiscretions had been the deciding factor which tipped her father off the deep end.

Asian pop scandal(s)

3 06 2014

In Japan, two members of the world’s biggest girl group, AKB48, were attacked by a crazed saw-wielding fan at a handshake event (known to otaku fans, creepily,  as a “touch” event). The assailant caused serious injuries to the hands of two of the girls being “touched”. This follows the “semen hand” incident in which another creepy fan jerked off into his own hand before shaking that of one of the starlets. Online commentators speculated on whether or not the girls’ management would now cease the “touch events”, with some claiming that these were in fact the key to the group’s success, with socially inept male fans buying up to ten CDs a piece for tickets to the events, which they never listened to.

Meanwhile Hong Konghas a scandal of its own. The tabloids splashed pictures of a 1970s Jackie Chan receiving a blow job in a nightclub in Japan over the front pages. The star himself, recently unpopular over pro-Beijing political views, refused to comment and it was only a few days later that the photos were revealed as photoshopped fakes.

Preparing for the invasion of the Yellow peril

28 04 2014

Mainlanders have been much in the news in Hong Kong this week. This follows an online campaign in the PRC to make May 1st an international “piss in the streets of Hong Kong day” – purportedly to “educate” Hong Kongers about how natural and harmless this habit is. All this follows the latest in a semi-regular series of HK-Chinese-tourist-pissing outrages, this time a small child caught on camera urinating with parental encouragement in a busy shopping street. The family is promptly surrounded and hounded by the baying outrage of an HK mob. Pissed PRCers (if you’ll pardon the pun) have responded by threatening to flood Hong Kong with their yellow anger before declaring a three month tourist boycott on the city, to demand more respect.

Amongst all of this, coincidentally, French artist Paulo Grangeon is sending in his own Peoples Liberation Army of pandas next week. In a stroke of poetic time, his 1600 panda sculptures will be positioned around town to promote the plight of the everybody’s favourite mainlanders.


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