Friday, June 14, 2019

Chorlton / Hardy

So someone finally told them about this - but what a klutzy solution! And why change the Chinese as well?

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Carrie on Lying

Does anyone in Hong Kong really believe that Carrie Lam thought up the controversial extradition bill all by her vacuous self?  It has Beijing's fingerprints all over it, not least in the indecent haste with which the usually lethargic government is pushing through a .change widely opposed by the legal sector, many of Hong Kong's major trading partners, large parts of the business sector (including some the government can usually rely on for support), and most importantly, the majority of the Hong Kong people

Then there was her description the other day of the Tiananmen Massacre candlelight vigil as "some sort of gathering to commemorate a particular historic incident".  I'm not a violent man, but I really wanted to slap her around a bit and shout "It was a bloody mass murder, not a 'historic incident'" in her uncaring ears.

And a day or two ago,m she even started playing the mother card.  "As Chief Executive and a mother of two...".  Really, give us a break.

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

May You Never Again

Before becoming an awful Prime Minister, Theresa May was an awful Home Secretary.  Her legacy of disasters includes cutting police funding by 20% just as Britain was facing a growing wave of knife crimes and a spate of terror attacks.  The impact has been so devastating that police forces now openly acknowledge that they do not have the resources to handle minor offences, and just have to ignore them.

Even worse than this was May's proclaimed policy to create a "hostile environment" for illegal immigrants.  Unfortunately this also created a hostile environment for legal immigrants - to the point where hundreds of people who had lived in Britain for several decades and were legally entitled to remain were wrongly hustled out of the country.

This disgraceful human rights catastrophe - known as the Windrush Scandal - should have disqualified May from ever holding high office again, but alas, it only came to light after she became Prime Minister and had set out to turn the whole country into a hostile environment for everyone.  Arriving in Downing Street with a platform of excellent promises, she failed to deliver on any of them.  Instead she obsessively pursued her promise to "deliver Brexit" long after it became obvious that no realistic withdrawal deal would ever satisfy the Brexit nuts, and opinion polls showed a clear majority for remaining in the EU.

Perhaps May's only plus point is that just about all the alternative Tory leaders on offer - especially the arch braggart Boris Johnson, a man so incompetent he doesn't even know how to comb his own hair - would be even more awful.
  My poor country!

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Caring, Sharing, Racially Comparing

This curious question is part of the application form for the HK$4,000 Caring and Sharing Scheme handout, one of the government's series of cockamamie programmes for giving back the taxpayers' money with the minimum of rational targeting and the maximum of bureaucratic expense and inconvenience.

Curious because the scheme is open to all Hong Kong residents with no racial qualifications, so there is no obvious need to ask the question.  Indeed, to do so is probably in breach of the Personal Data (Privacy) Ordinance.

Curious also for the apparently random selection of countries included.  While there are substantial numbers of South Asians in Hong Kong, few of them are from Sri Lanka, while those of white European ancestry - a much larger group - are not included at all; nor are Africans or Arabs.  And while the Scheme has been promoted in various ethnic minority languages, these do not correspond with the list in the questionnaire.

And curious too because most of those listed are not ethnicities at all, but nationalities.  By Bengali the form's compilers probably mean citizens of Bangladesh, but millions of those with Indian nationality are also ethnic Bengalis.  Sri Lanka has two major ethnic groups - Sinhalese and Tamils - while all the countries on the list have multiple ethnic groups or at least substantial minorities.

So what is this all about?

The Lucky Lemming

Unfortunately I don't have another EU nationality, unlike this happy chap.

This can't go on forever - can it?

Monday, May 13, 2019

Andrew Marr gets up Nigel Farage's nose

Nice one, Andrew!  Since Farage's past lies played a major part in creating the current Brexit mess, it seems entirely appropriate for Marr to call him out on them.

Friday, May 10, 2019

Accidentally like a martyr

Was it really necessary for the Hong Kong authorities to wrap jailed LegCo member Shiu Ka-chun in chains like a ferocious wild animal for his return from hospital to prison?  Shiu is a gentle soul whose only "crime" is peaceful civil disobedience, not a vicious thug who needs restraint to ensure public safety.  A token pair of handcuffs would be more than enough precaution against the unlikely possibility of him taking flight.

There are two possible explanations for this security overkill.  One is gratuitous nastiness on the part of a government whose velvet glove is increasingly coming apart at the seams.  The other is that the powers that be are more afraid of the democratic opposition than they would ever admit, even to themselves.  Either way, they should all be sentenced to go away and read the works of Thoreau for a while.

Tuesday, May 07, 2019

Cross-Cultural Appropriation

Branding experts like to ask what a brand stands for.  When a Japanese bakery in a Chinese city advertises itself with a picture of a European child so perfectly white he could have auditioned successfully for a Hitler Youth recruitment poster, what indeed?

Monday, April 29, 2019

Far from the Madding Crows

I was originally going to name this piece either Pigeon Post, after the Arthur Ransome story, or Like a Bird on the Wire, after the Leonard Cohen song, but then I accidentally came up with the typo above which seemed to fit a bird-related post.

The pictures come from the point where Johnston Road turns off from Hennessy Road in Wanchai by the Chinese Methodist Church.  For some reason, large flocks of pigeons regularly gather on the tram lines at this point.  What puzzles me is why they choose this particular perch - some nearby food source perhaps?  Or are they devout Methodist pigeons waiting for the next service to start?  Perhaps any ornithologist reading this could suggest a reason.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

The Moral Bankruptcy of Julian Assange

Julian Assange's arrest in London has brought forth predictable howls of outrage from those who view him as a hero of press freedom, from perennial anti-American propagandist John Pilger to indifferent actress turned semi-coherent political activist Pamela Anderson.  But is the Wikileaks founder the saint they make him out to be?

Wikileaks was certainly founded on a moral principle: the belief that governments use their control of information to lie to, deceive and manipulate their own people, and that ordinary people should have the opportunity to see this information and know what their government is hiding from them.  A noble idea, though somewhat marred by the fact that the most repressive governments - like those of Russia and China - tend to spawn the fewest whistleblowers, meaning that in practice most of the secrets exposed by Wikileaks come from relatively open societies - in particular the United States of America.

When it came to the 2016 Presidential election in America, Wikileaks got hold of a large cache of emails from parties related to Hillary Clinton's campaign.  What we now know from the Mueller investigation and other sources is that Assange released these in stages in a way calculated to hurt Hillary's campaign and get the odious Donald Trump into the White House.  In other words, Assange was doing exactly what Wikileaks purports to be campaigning against - using his privileged access to information to manipulate political outcomes.  In the process, he helped to elect the worst President in American history - but even if he had thrown his influence the other way, he would still be not a hero, but a hypocrite.

Unholy Land

Wednesday, April 10, 2019


You have to wonder what kind of dining took place before the restaurant posted this notice!

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Everything old is new again

It appears that "Where innovation meets tradition" is developer-speak for "Where we pull down an old building and replace it with a new one".  Hmm.

Thursday, January 31, 2019

Pressing On

Question for Christians: could there be a more convincing advert for atheism than "liar says God wanted an even bigger liar to be President"?

And since the White House Press Secretary's main job is to give regular press briefings, and Sarah Sanders hardly ever does so, why is she still receiving her salary?  Just another Trumpian snout in the taxpayer-funded trough.