[chinese blood, irish heart] - DEFUNCT: October 2006

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Delay No More!

Oasis Airlines finally got the gasp of air they were so desperate for. The Ruskies finally gave approval for access of their airspace after a sudden turn-around last night during Oasis' maiden voyage. What a PR disaster! Even the marketing executives were on board. You have to wonder if any of the big airlines were in on this? I concede this as a *very* generalised opinion but a lot of Russian civil servants are corrupt... a friend of a friend who was leaving the country was stopped by an airport customs-whatever guy and when he handed him his passport, the Ruskie took it, turned around and put his hand behind his back to indicate he wanted money for the procedure! Can't remember how much he had to bribe him for, but that was just ridiculous. Anywho I went off on a tangent... Speaking of flights, I've finally churned out my hard-fought annual leave (+ no pay leave) to go back to Ireland for eight days: 24th-1st. Wasn't the two weeks I was looking for because I had initially wanted to quit ATV by December, but because my massage therapies and medical check-ups have all been pre-booked for the next four or five months (all in the morning) -and also because this job gives me the time to do that - I reckon I should finish the therapies before I quit. Oh yeah, plus I don't have another job down the pipeline yet!

Friday, October 20, 2006

Stubbed Out!

Well Hong Kong, join the smoking ban club.
As you may or may not know, the green Emerald Isle with which I hail from was the first country to enact a smoking ban law.
Yesterday with a majority show of hands, Hong Kong legislators approved a bill to be enacted on January 1st of 2007.
Now it's a matter of enforcement... how many teahouses and 'cha chang tengs' (little restaurants?) are out there? Way too many for one thing. Die-hard smokers will be tough to budge. Will the weary, underpaid staff be up to the challenge of locally enforcing it? Tough to say also. But hey, if us fiery Irish can hold our end of the bargain, why can't Hong Kongers?
Tell you one thing though, there'll be more smokers on narrow and crowded paths.
It'll be funny to see all the chuppies hanging outside bars, even more ironic at the Irish pubs!
I don't know if it'll apply to HK, but in Ireland, but hanging outside bars/clubs to smoke has become a sort of new pseudo-culture, where the segregated can find comfort in each other - aswell as hooking up with new friends and more.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

"Hong Kong's air pollution will stay bad for years"

In a radio address Sunday by Donald Tsang, he admits "the reality is that we will not see major improvements for a few more years yet. But with all the small steps we are taking we will see incremental improvements over the next few years."
'Incremental improvements' eh? The major thing regarding fighting pollution in his policy address concerned the Euro-IV engines to be "voluntarily" installed in vehicles. Even Environment Secretary Sarah Liao said on Newsline admits bus companies would be hesitant to upgrade their fleet since each upgrade costs $3 million.
But even the smallest incremental improvement we can all do, like stop using plastic bags, recycling paper and turning down the air-con, even the general public can't even do that!
I hardly see anyone using BYOB's in shops. Today at Taste I saw some chuppie with a gay man-bag taking a big plastic bag to store two apples. I don't want to generalise, but from what I've seen in the past year, how can we depend on these irresponsible pricks to help build an environmentally-sustainable place? And look at all the other pricks: care-free drivers who leave their engines idling, chuppies driving around in their shiny gas-guzzling cars, fashion-victim teeny boppers who don't care about anything other than their looks and mainland immigrant workers who also have no sense about conservation whatsoever. (although conversely, they do take up most of the shit cleaning jobs) And GODDAMN corporate scumbags who put profits before anything!
"There is no doubt that we deserve a better environment for the sake of our own physical health, as well as that of our economy ... If we all join hands to conserve energy then we are all doing our bit to make Hong Kong a cleaner city."
You tell me, without strong government and draconian measures, how can we improve the air quality with ordinary people lacking the intiative. I say, slap fines, fines and more fines on 'em. Make people suffer. Go on Donald, wave your iron fist, we don't live in a democracy anyway.

And these assholes across the road from me leave their lights on at night. How hard is to switch lights off when you're not using them huh? Ya see what I mean? Complete irresponsibility. I'm gonna write them a harsh letter.

Rockit Schmokit

Well, Rockit was definitely one of the most weakest music festivals I've ever been to. Not enough rocking punters and way too many foreigners.
Look at the mess all those fucking cheeybyes left behind at Rockit!
I thought expats cared about the environment!

Friday, October 13, 2006

Yeah sure buddy, I really want to pay to learn bad English... Posted by Picasa

A proposed sign on smoking bans in er, 'public pleasure grounds.' Oh the jokes... Posted by Picasa

I'm a 'contributor,' how about that.

World Battle of the Bands spread... didn't use the pics I really liked

Donnie's policy speech

So Donald apparently is a lame duck, according to Longhair, voicing his dissent with his newly formed League of Social Democrats (yes, insert LSD jokes here)
I was fairly disappointed at his timid approach in tackling air pollution and environment.
He claims he won't make any big decisions because of his limited time left with his current term, yet he's most likely to win next year's election. So maybe he's saving up the big guns when he's re-elected? If it is - then it's a good strategy I guess.
There were a lot of minature protests of the sort, all shouting he should do this or he didn't say that... but in fairness to him and the government, there's not a lot they can say (much less act on it) without the support of the financial community - which in some ways are a lot more powerful than Legco.
Sure you can slap on a tax on plastic bags (if I had my way I'd put it at $5), but this will probably create a severe backlash from retailers and wholesalers who might rethink their options in Hong Kong. It's commercial giants like these that makes Hong Kong afloat... unfortunately. So instead of just attacking a figure-head like Donald Tsang, the LSD, green groups, activists etc. should do a more jointed effort in hitting the big businesses aswell. Politicians after all, talk the talk... businesses however, have a lot more freedom and less responsibility.

Let the battle for ads begin...

So finally the long awaited 'Taxi' magazine is out by the folks at Asia City Publishing.
Admittedly I'm extra excited since my ugly mug's in the contributor's listing. (I should've shaved, but I was in Vietnam at the time). Though the eejits spelt my email address wrong. Well, I hope whoever does contact me is clever enough how to spell 'Vodafone' correctly!
I also spotted some older pics I had taken for HK Mag a while back... guess it's fair to recycle them.
Now we wait for the other contender, 'Juice,' to come out next on the commercials catwalk...

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Last day in Vietnam... again

Well, I've paid my last visit to the doctor here in Vietnam.
He gave me 10 more days worth of medicine and I should be a-ok from then on!
I can even start eating some of the foods I had so cherishingly avoided for the past year and a half: beef, eggs, seafood and alcohol!
But I should start sparingly... alcohol is actually one I should be cautious of. He said I can drink moderate amounts of beer, but not too much heavy stuff. Guess I'll lay off the shots for a little longer - save it for next Paddy's day.
My relatives were impressed with his diagnosis too. (They came along with high expectations of this doc.) He took my uncle's pulse and knew he had an eczema issue, even without him saying anything. So they have to come again next month for a check up. So it's 16 more days of medicine and I should be good as I ever was.
It's kind of settling... in an unsettling kind of way.
I have a new lease on life now without having to worry about my skin, so I'll need to start making more of my time. Whereas in the past with my skin condition, I secretly took refuge and can afford to be well, lazier, because it warrants my condition.
Now, I'll really need to start becoming more enthustiastic and take greater challenges.
But still, I'm so amazed at how quick this doc healed me. It's quite hard to sink in!
Now a lot of people are seeing me as a shining example to heal all sorts of skin conditions. Hmm, maybe I can start my own little tour group? After all, I pretty much know the good spots around Ho Chi Minh City, cheap airfares and packages. We'll see...

Friday, October 06, 2006

Check this out: I got the tripod dolly on Apliu Street for $250! What luck and what a bargain. Now all I need are tracks Posted by Picasa

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Plastic nightmare

Before I go to work, I always stop by Taste to pick up an apple or whatever. Up to now, still, I've been using the same plastic bag (the ones you use for fruits and veg) to store the apple, so it won't get dirty as I carry it back to work. Yet, I doubt many people would have the same consideration for re-using plastic bags, if not bringing their own 'BYOB' bags.
Everyday I see a bunch of nitwits clamouring for plastic bags in the 10 items or less counters. Today, I saw some woman carrying a large Marks & Spencer Bag while buying only a few items. She could've easily slotted them into the M&S bag instead of taking a plastic one.
I mean, how hard is it to bring your own bag?? Or just using the one you already have?
This 'BYOB' on the first Tuesday of every month is absolutely weak. It got some press coverage in the beginning but now everybody forgets.
The Environmental Protection Department says that 33 million plastic bags are circulated every day... on average that's about 5 bags per person.
The thing I always say about Hong Kong's government or environment related commercials are all so terrible... they're often gimmicky ("Plastic is not Fantastic"), unprovocative, polite and compromising. People need to be shocked and awed in order to get your message across.
Here's a few 'direct' suggestions that should tackle the plastic bag issue:
1. Tax, levy, whatever, on plastic bags... not when, but now. I don't give a flying fuck if it's inconvenient for shoppers, get used to it! I reckon at least 50 cents. In Ireland, the equivalent is about $2.50.
2. If the major retailers are serious about the issue, they should have days whereby no plastic bags are given out. No, not days where you 'encourage' people not to use them, ban them completely, then it'll make shoppers feel guilt.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Tagspotting - Live!

Tagspotting, an indy documentary about graffiti in Hong Kong
is now availible on iFilm.
A Chan, Lee, Li, Szymko production!

Ah feck it, you can watch it here instead: (this is the 2nd version)