Monday, June 23, 2008

Nokia No use

I'm no Luddite, but I sometimes doubt whether mobile phones are entirely a good thing. For one thing, there are the inconsiderate jerks who yak away on them in cinemas and other unsuitable venues. (I was greatly embarrassed recently when mine rang while I was sitting in the public gallery of a magistrate's court, although I thought I'd tuned it off.)

Then there is the invasion of privacy: one used to get home and be asked "Where the hell have you been?" Now you can be called up at any time and asked "Where the hell are you?" And of course they give telemarketers another channel for bothering people.

All of which is by way of introduction to the fact that the Nokia phone I've been happily using for the past few years was becoming harder and harder to switch on and off. Finally I decided the switch had had its day, and took the phone into the Nokia service centre in Causeway Bay. There they took one look at it and instantly declared it too old to fix - "no spare parts". Of course they suggested I trade it in on a newer model.

Hmmm - why would I want to buy a brand that breaks down and can't be fixed? Maybe I should try a Sony Ericsson instead - after all, I've got a Sony TV that's still working fine after 15 years or so.

But really I don't want a new phone at all, just for this one (for which I only recently bought a new battery) to carry on working. I'm not a gadget freak who salivates over the next generation iPhone or whatever. My eyesight is crap, so i don't text muxh and I need a decent sized screen. Most of the newer phones have keyboards too small for my large fingers. I have a PC for Internet access, an MP3 player for listening to music, and a digital camera for taking photos, so I don't need those features in my phone - am I the last person in Hong Kong who just wants to use his phone for voice calls?

Given the number of old phones being discarded, is there any third-party repair service that can cannibalise another phone for the part I need? Or do I just have to resign myself to buying a new one? And how do I choose from the thousands on the market?

One more thing: if I need to buy a new phone, how do I dispose of the old one in an environmentally responsible way? And how many old (but often still functional) phones end up in landfills rather than being recycled?

Friday, June 20, 2008

Get out and don't come back

The abrupt closure of the Tatami Hampton Hotel this week is another blow to Hong Kong's already sagging reputation as a tourist destination. Whatever the legal wrangles over the hotel's ownership, when a private residence changes hands the residents cannot be evicted at a moment's notice. Yet apparently under Hong Kong law it is perfectly legal to toss forty hotel guests, many of whom will have paid for their accommodation in advance and may have little spare money with them, out into the street without warning or compensation. This is simply wrong, and the government and Tourism Board need to work together to ensure that it cannot happen again.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

4 - 1 = H5N1

It's not only ATV News's English that is suspect; their mathematics may need a brush-up as well. On tonight's 7:30 news they translated a Chinese farmer's words as, "Sales went down by a quarter. I sold only 100 ducks when I usually sell 400."

That is not going down by a quarter, that is going down to a quarter. If his sales went down by a quarter, he would be selling 300. It's just as well his sales didn't fall by 90%, or ATV would have had an opportunity to misuse the word "decimate" - though in fairness, most of the population of Britain gets that one wrong too.

So if ATV is so bad, why don't I watch TVB news instead? Mainly because I find them too parochial - TVB usually leads on a domestic story and has less adequate coverage of major international events.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Thanks from all the fish

Do my ears deceive me, or did Belinda Lloyd really say on ATV news last night that floods in southern China had made many houses inhabitable?

Does ATV employ any competent writers or editors? Do the reporters actually think about what they are saying? Does anyone care except me?

Monday, June 16, 2008

And now for something completely different (from reality)

A couple of weeks ago, when it became known that leaked Hong Kong police records had appeared online, the first reaction of Police Commissioner whatshisname was to appear on the TV news claiming that police computers are secure. Immediately after him, Security Secretary Ambrose Lee appeared to reassure the public that government computers are secure.

So, that's all right then.

In other recent Hong Kong Government announcements:
> Sharon Stone to be guest of honour at Olympic Games.
> Falun Gong to be Hong Kong's official religion.
> Monty Python's parrot "not dead".

Most pretentious job title of the week

PARKnSHOP is advertising for a Replenishment Assistant - or as it used to be known, a stock checker.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Among my possessions

The publishers of HK magazine are advertising for a new editor for their other publication, The List. Among the stated requirements is this:
"The applicant should possess a university graduate".

I didn't know slavery was still legal in Hong Kong - but at least our slaves are well educated.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

But wouldn't it be more comfortable horizontally?

The text on this paper towel dispenser in Guangzhou's Baiyun International Airport suggests that China's programme to improve the English on signs in Beijing for the forthcoming Olympics has not been extended to other provinces.

Incidentally, why do all new airport terminals look as if they were designed by Norman Foster? (or perhaps they are all designed by Norman Foster?)

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Advertisement for Myself

Unlike the near-confessional detail of some blogs, I generally keep my personal life out of this one, but today I will make an exception; the fact is, I am looking for work. I have no idea who reads this apart from a small number of friends and family, but maybe it will reach someone appropriate, who knows?

If you, or someone you know, is looking for help with copywriting, editing or proofreading of English language documents of any sort - reports, proposals, corporate profiles, correspondence, website text, press releases, advertising and promotional materials, speeches and presentations, procedure manuals, etc. - I can probably help, whether it's a single page or a major project.

In addition to 15 years experience of providing corporate communications services for many clients, including numerous well known brands and leading companies, I also have extensive experience in business process improvement. I began my career in systems development, moved into IT systems quality management, then broadened my scope to quality management in the wider world.

I have been involved in projects as varied as ISO 9001 and 14001 compliance; Business Process Reengineering; the development of strategic plans and business plans; creation of mission and vision statements; Balanced Scorecard preparation; conducting job evaluations; compiling competency profiles; developing training plans and curricula; job evaluation and preparing job descriptions; and the odd bit of teaching thrown in.

I am also a published writer (not just here!) who has had about 40 articles appear in magazines.

If any of this sounds useful, please get in touch (serious enquiries only, please). You can leave a comment here to contact me - as the blog is moderated, I will receive it but it won't be published online. And by the way, I also have a bunch of qualifications ranging from an MBA degree to an advanced certificate in food hygiene, despite which I won't charge you an arm and a leg!

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Dead People Day

I have quite a few things I want to write about, but no time to do so. But I did just want to mention the passing of Bo Diddley at age 79 - of the six towering figures who shaped early rock'n'roll, he is probably the one who earned least recognition (and money), despite his songs being recorded (or ripped off) by everyone and his dog. Now he's joined Elvis and Buddy Holly in rock'n'roll heaven. 54 years after it all started, we should be thankful we still have Chuck Berry, Fats Domino and Little Richard around.

And today is of course June the 4th. Take a few moments to remember, because after 19 years, there are many people in positions of power who would prefer you to forget.