Hong Kong

Posts filed under Hong Kong

On a clear day

Filed in Dogs of our Lives, Hong Kong, Photo of the Day

Overall, the weather here in Hong Kong has been dismal for the past six months. We've had much more rain than usual and blue skies have been rare. Unfortunately, even when we did have blue skies, they carried a heavy tinge of brown thanks to the increasing levels of pollution coming across from China. There's nothing we can do about the pollution except be grateful for the blue skies when they do appear.

Because blue skies are becoming rare, I sometimes spontaneously run off up the hills and mountains around Hong Kong to admire the view. This happened one fine day in the beginning of July when I took Batty and Siu Bak with me up a near by mountain. I took my camera with me too so I have a few photos to share.

Of course, for those of you living overseas in places like Canada or Australia, blue skies are frequent (and bluer) and these photos might not mean anything to you. For those of you living in smoky cities, they might be a breath of fresh air.

Ocean view from a hill

It was almost sunset when we reached the top of the hill; a short 45min walk up. The oceans looked cool and calm. Even Batty enjoyed the view.

For a 1200x800 version, click here.

In recent months , I have noticed that the clouds forming in the skies are far different to what would normally hover around Hong Kong. I've seen them in Australia but almost never seen them here in Hong Kong; heavy cumulus nimbus clouds. Since early this year, I've sensed a change in Hong Kong's weather, perhaps a change related to the same phenomenon causing the huge storms over in the USA at the moment. On one occasion, I dashed up Lion Rock Mountain to get photos of the clouds over the busy city centre of Hong Kong. While the skies were not as blue as I would have liked, and while there was a certain amount of pollution hanging in the air to murky up the pictures, I still think a couple of the pictures were worth sharing. I have many more but I don't like to bore people with photographs if possible.

Cumulus nimbus clouds over Kowloon

The hills in the background are on Hong Kong Island with the towering business buildings of Central and Wanchai in front of them. Closer to us are the business centres of Tsimshatsui and the residential areas of Kowloon Tong. The park in the foreground is actually an archery range and is part of the Lion Rock Country Park.

For a 1200x800 version, click here.

And finally, I took this photo while up on the hill near our home with Batty and Siu Bak. I liked it so much that it's now on my computer's desktop. I think you'll like it too.

Batty looking back through the grass

For a 1200x800 version, click here.

Justice like fine wine

Filed in Current Affairs, Hong Kong

I've been watching a lot of the amazing "CSI" American television series lately and something occurred to me while watching it. For the justice system to work, a certain assumption has to be made; that all police work can be trusted.

If a case against a criminal is built entirely on evidence collected by the police, then the courts have to assume that the police-provided testimonies and evidence, and everything about the evidence is true. If not, then no case would ever get prosecuted.

For example, a criminal scientist collects a strand of hair at a murder scene. The first assumption would be that the hair was actually collected at the scene and not swapped afterward (or planted earlier) by a corrupt officer. The second assumption would be that the hair was correctly handled, labelled and transported so that its authenticity and usefulness as a piece of evidence wouldn't be affected in any way. The third assumption would be that the scientist within the crime department who analyses the DNA of the hair is not corrupt, knows exactly what he's doing and does it accurately to identify the owner of the hair. The fourth assumption would be that the database used to compare the hair's DNA so as to identify the owner is accurate and up to date.

You see, once the results of the investigation of that hair get into the court, the source of the hair, the handling thereof and the DNA identification won't be questioned by the court. It can't be questioned or the case would never get prosecuted. The scientist and the department has to be absolutely unreproachable. That's why in the various television series regarding law, the departments are always extremely concerned when one of their members; be they policemen, scientists, attorneys, judges or whatever; gets impeached with corruption, mishandling of evidence or plain old negligence. When this happens, every case that has ever involved that person or the evidence they touched becomes questionable, and convicted criminals have a basis for retrials. Within the law system, those working within the system are truly assumed innocent (and capable) until proven guilty. It's the only way the system will work.

Unfortunately, police departments around the world are not pure. They become puppets for corrupt governments, politicians or rich people. All around the world, rich people frequently get away with criminal activities; including murder; and there's almost nothing that the common person can do. I know people who worked within the law system of Hong Kong and they hated going to work because they saw rich people orchestrate trial results even before going into court. It happens in Hong Kong. It happens all over the world.

I think it's probably worse in countries where most court cases are prosecuted behind closed doors so that the public only has access to the evidence and findings that the courts deem suitable for public consumption. It's even worse when those same courts don't allow the suspects to hire their own independent attorneys. From the beginning, the suspects have no chance of disproving the accusations against them. The courts have already decided the result without hearing all evidence from both sides. They have no interest in hearing the truth. They have no interest in justice. They only want a speedy trial and the occasional larger-than-life demonstration conviction that they can show to the citizens of their country to prove that they're doing a good job.

The justice system is like making wine or meringue. If even a little vinegar gets into the wine, or if even a smingen of egg yolk gets into the egg white, then the wine and the meringue will go bad.

One of Hong Kong's Independent Commission Against Crime (ICAC) department's responsibilities were to make sure that any corruption within Hong Kong's justice system be uprooted, so that the system always remained pure like fine wine. Before the 1997 handover, the ICAC did a pretty good job although there is at least one case that I can remember where the bad guys were not prosecuted by the ICAC because of their connections to important people in China. After 1997 though, the ICAC apparently lost the "Independent" part of their name. If you read the news regularly, it's easy to sense how things have changed there and how the ICAC is becoming more and more a puppet of the Hong Kong government. Recent controversial changes to the communication/phone-tapping laws; passed by Sir Donald Tsang without even asking the Legislative Committee; are only the most recent clues that the ICAC is no longer what it once was when first conceived back in the 1960's.

In case it hasn't occurred to you, the changes made to the phone-tapping laws combined with legal phrases such as "disturbing the social order" basically allows the government to spy on anyone they don't like; ie, "big brother" from the book "1984" by George Orwell.

Some people claim that justice is for all when the truth is that justice is only for the rich. For a while, some poorer people in Hong Kong had a good chance of getting justice when private companies were springing up to help people prosecute and sue others without requiring any legal fees up front. Once the suit had settled, the company would keep a percentage of the awards and everyone would be happy. Rich people didn't like this though and many of the expensive attorneys didn't like it either so the attorney association put out a letter forbidding all attorneys from aiding these companies. Basically, they wanted to make sure that only the rich had access to justice. Fortunately, some of those companies are still running, allowing some of the poorer people in Hong Kong to continue getting access to justice. Note that "poorer" doesn't necessarily mean sleeping in the streets or living on the poverty line. Attorneys and lawyers are extremely expensive, so much so that most middle class people cannot even consider hiring attorneys when they've been wronged.

The rich will always want their own way, and those in positions of power will often be owned or persuaded by the rich. As mere mortals, there's not much most of us can do. Thankfully though, there are still a few upright moral people within the justice system. Hopefully, they'll prevent the system from becoming completely biased to the rich and powerful, and prevent the wine from going completely sour.

A friend leaves

Filed in Hong Kong, Life

One of our friends left us today. We took her to the airport and watched her leave after being a part of our lives for the last two years.

Asih; that's her name; was originally hired to look after my mother-in-law who with serious symptoms of diabetes and heart disease needed 24-hour care. Shortly after hiring Asih, my mother-in-law passed away.

Our own maid's contract was almost up for renewal and for various reasons including the fact that Asih could speak Cantonese, we decided to let the other maid go and stick with Asih.

Most Hong Kong people would already realise that Asih was Indonesian. Many Indonesian maids speak Cantonese while most Philippino maids has no knowledge of the language.

I've always considered Asih to be my mother-in-law's parting gift. From the first day, Asih almost never frowned, was almost always happy and generally was great to have around the house.

When she first began working for us, we moved my mother-in-law and Asih into our flat so that my wife could keep close to my mother-in-law. At the time, we already had eight dogs and Asih was pretty scared of them. Over time though, that changed and she became the dogs' best friend. Over the last two years, most of their walks have been with Asih with me only taking them out at night time. Almost all of their baths were done by Asih and almost all of their meals were organised by Asih. In addition to the usual dog food, Asih prepared beef heart rice once or twice a week for them using beef hearts that my wife took the time to buy each week from the local markets; the hearts by the way are very heavy.

Shortly after moving to our current address; two days before Christmas actually; Asih had an accident while taking the dogs out for their walk. While holding their leashes in her right hand and using her left hand to close the gate behind her, one of the dogs stood up and lunged forwards away from her. The unexpected and sudden jolt pulled Asih full force into a concrete pillar and she snapped one of her front teeth.

Asih was a happy girl and the last thing we wanted to take away from her was her smile, so we decided to take her to our regular dentist and fix her up as best as we could. Our dentist was amazing. He was able to use a new solution to extend and remould the broken front tooth so that it was almost impossible to tell that it had been broken. An xray showed that the root of the tooth had also broken straight across but the dentist was able to re-glue the root by carefully injecting a special solution into the root of the tooth at the break. The result was a tooth that even today is strong and always ready to smile. Consequently, Asih remained a happy person, always ready to show that great smile of hers.

It's unfortunate that in Hong Kong, many people mistreat their maids. The maids are forced to work from early morning to late night, sometimes without a break. Some maids are not allowed to take off the mandatory one-day-a-week holiday, and some; most notably Indonesian maids; are only paid half the legal minimum wage by their employers who conspire with the domestic helper agency to defraud the maid for their own financial benefits. Many people believe that there is little to no racial discrimination in Hong Kong but at the same time consider the Philippino and Indonesian maids to be far beneath them. In many cases, the only difference between the maids and would-be-slaves is their salaries. It's cases like these that we see otherwise civilised people behaving more like animals than people. It's unfortunate and depressing.

Asih left us today to go back home and care for her own sick mother. We will miss her but we'll see her again soon. In September, she will be getting married, and I'll be there in her home town to see the wedding and share the occasion with her. It'll be great fun.

Like my father, I like to go to non-modern places, walk around, watch the people, and observe the architecture and environment. I don't mind sleeping on the floor. I don't mind not being able to stand in a shower to bathe. I don't mind that there isn't any air conditioning, and I don't mind eating different food. I love the experience.

It's rather disappointing that most tours from Hong Kong to any other place in the world try to organise Chinese food for the tour group. If you're travelling to another place, why aren't you trying the local food? In addition, the Chinese food that is arranged for the tour group is usually sub-standard to keep costs down. On the few tours that I've taken with my wife to various places in Asia, we've often chosen to leave the group during meals and find our own food. On at least one occasion, it saved us from indigestion. While we were eating authentic Indonesian Indian food, the tour group was eating bad seafood at a Chinese restaurant and they all came down with diarrhoea.

I leave for Indonesia in the middle of September. I'll be met at the Bali airport by Asih and her family and we'll then take a privately booked minibus for a seven-hour road trip to her home town. I'll be there for four days, just enough time to see the wedding and enjoy the scenery, after which I'll return to Bali to join my wife for another four days before coming back to Hong Kong. I'll be taking my camera so I'll have plenty of photos to show everyone when I get back.

We will miss her here though. Her energy and her happy personality lifted spirits in our home and that will be greatly missed. But I'm happy for her.

Take care Asih, and have a great life.

Ouch!

Filed in Current Affairs, Hong Kong

The price of petrol has just gone up in Hong Kong; again. We're now paying HK$12.66 per litre for normal grade petrol and HK$13.44 for high grade petrol. It's very expensive here but the oil companies don't mind increasing the price every chance they get anyway.

The latest excuse for increasing the price was the world wide cost of oil which recently hit US$61 per barrel, possibly the most expensive it's ever been. It's good and it's bad.

Caltex & Esso

It's good because it means that people will be more conscientious about the cars they buy and how much petrol they consume. It's good because more people will begin buying hybrid cars which are more environmentally friendly but still a little more expensive than a straight petrol burning car. It's good because institutions and companies working on engines that burn water rather than petrol will have more funding and more opportunities to finish their developments and release the final product onto the market.

It's bad because it's affecting the world economy. With higher oil prices, the only winners are the oil distributors and drilling companies. Everyone else loses. Companies' profits decrease. People have to spend more on petrol leaving less for other purchases. Overall, people have less to spend and that hurts the economy and everyone working within the economy. That's why the stock market is still not returning to healthy normal levels; although healthy might not be the proper word to use for a market where almost every company is over-rated.

Current petrol prices For years, we have heard rumours of people, inventors and companies who have worked on alternative engines, who have made progress and then been either bought out by the oil cartels or assassinated by the oil cartels when they refused to sell their inventions. Today's world is probably twenty years behind what it could have been in technological advancement if all of the world's inventions were allowed to be used and produced, including countless inventions not related to engines. Has anyone heard of the light bulb invented in Japan that doesn't burn out? No replacements needed. That was bought out real quick.

Another rumoured invention was that of an advanced passenger aircraft invented by a scientist in Holland, apparently for the U.S. government. The aircraft used advanced technologies to fly from Europe to the U.S. in just a few hours. That kind of invention wouldn't last long in today's world though. With all of the airlines heavy in debt paying large mortgages on their current aircraft, the last thing they'd want to see is a new airline using planes that can fly four times faster for the same price. They'd all be out of business quicker than you can fry an egg, and the banks holding their mortgages definitely wouldn't like that. Boeing wouldn't like it either and since they're best friends with the U.S. government, nothing that could hurt Boeing's earnings would be allowed onto the market without a major war.

HK$12.66 is a lot of money to pay for petrol. Our car is a very comfortable albeit slightly ageing car with a three litre engine. To drive my wife to work in the morning costs around HK$83 including tunnel fees. That's a little shocking. It's no wonder smart people use the public transport here when they can. Add to that the cost of parking should you want to park your car at or near the office and you'd need to be a millionaire to survive through the year.

As a rule, there is no free parking in Hong Kong unless you're in the countryside. Parking in the city costs anywhere from HK$20 to HK$30 and more per hour. A few car parks even charge HK$50 per hour. That's a lot of money. During SARS and the economic depression, people stopped driving so competition began increasing among car parks. Consequently, a few things occurred. First, the hourly fee came down; just a little. Second, the car parks began using deceptive advertising. Their fee boards at the car park entrance would show the fee in large friendly letters. It was only after turning into the car park enough that you couldn't back out again that you would discover that the large friendly fee was per half hour, not per hour. It's now common for all car parks to advertise half hour fees rather than hourly fees. In some ways, it's good for the drivers because we can pay per half hour rather than per hour. Overall however, it's still more expensive than it used to be. Some car parks are now charging per quarter hour with a minimum charge of one hour. That gets rather complicated to calculate if you're in a hurry.

The charge-per-half-hour method used by the car parks is similar to the deceptive pricing methods used by the local supermarket chains, most notably ParknShop; owned and run by the infamous Li Ka Shing. They frequently put products on 'special'. If they change the prices frequently enough, people lose track and begin to think the prices really are special when they've actually been increased. My wife and I only buy a few things from ParknShop so we have excellent mental tracking of the prices. For some products, we watch for the fair dinkum discounts and then buy enough to last until the next discount; for example, washing powder and long life milk (fresh milk is way too expensive here).

Everybody loves to increase their prices. The local banks just announced service charge increases due to 'increasing operation costs' even though they continue to profit billions of dollars every year (which is why we keep our savings in bank equities rather than bank accounts). Oil companies increase their prices all the time, usually in response to crude oil price fluctuations. Unfortunately for us, they almost never decrease their prices, even when the crude oil prices fall. Anyone want to guess what the oil companies will do should the crude oil price come back down to US$50 per barrel?

Where has the clarity gone?

Filed in Hong Kong

Since owning the Canon 350D camera, I have been taking many more photographs than I've taken in many years. I have also had to spend an inordinate amount of time loading them onto my iMac, converting to tif and then touching up and converting to jpg (in three sizes). By touchup, I don't mean opening the photos in Photoshop. In fact, I don't own Photoshop. All of my touchups are done with a scanning and image processing software called SilverFast, developed in Germany and sold around the world. A lot of professional photographers know about the software; many non-professionals don't, only aware of Photoshop which by the way is too complicated for me personally; it's true.

My touchup only involves improving the colours, contrast, colour range and lighting of the photos. Sometimes, I need to adjust the white balance which in itself is a topic I plan to discuss some time in the future. It's while making these adjustments that I have become aware that almost always, nature in Hong Kong doesn't look as beautiful as the photos. It's a shame but true. The biggest factor is contrast and clarity. They're simply not there in nature.

I remember back in the days of SARS, the scenery in Hong Kong was fabulous, better than anything I'd seen in all the years I've lived here. I had to wonder why this was so and the only answer I could come up with was pollution. At the time, masses of people were staying at home, afraid to go out. Most people would continue to work to continue providing for their families but going out for entertainment or food was simply out of the question. Combined with the effects of the economic depression in effect at the time and you get a situation where the number of cars on the road at any one time was only a fraction of what would be normal.

Driving to work in the Tseung Kwan O industrial estate, the hills were green, the sky was clear blue, and sea was crisp. Just looking at everything around me was a pleasure in itself and gave me a great feeling. It's a shame it couldn't last although nobody obviously wanted SARS to last.

Pollution in Hong Kong is pretty serious now. The Hong Kong government has a rating for air pollution levels throughout Hong Kong but they are a comparative rating from low to high (the Disclaimer is interesting). The common person is never told the actual levels of chemicals and pollutants in the air. I remember a few years ago that some interest groups in Hong Kong were complaining about the rating system compared to the actual levels of pollutants. They were especially concerned about crowded popular shopping areas like Causeway Bay. People were actually advised to stay away from these centres because of the pollution levels. I haven't heard similar warnings since but can only imagine that they'll reoccur soon with the increasing pollution and extreme heat that we'll see in the coming months.

I guess we've been lucky so far this year. The extra rain would have taken a lot of the pollution out of the air and washed it away.

Industry hasn't increased in Hong Kong in the recent years so where's the extra pollution coming from? Apparently, it's coming from China, places like Gwangdong. When asked about the pollution problem, officials replied there was nothing they could do. Every developed country had gone through a highly polluted industrial development stage and China was no different. Hong Kong would simply have to put up with the pollution while it's parent grew and developed into something better. Regrettably, it's true. We'll have to wait; maybe another twenty years or more. Development takes a long time.

China has rules and measures in place to reduce pollution from factories and industries. Some of these require the use of catalytic converters to change the pollution into something friendlier to the environment and to people. Unfortunately, the catalytic converter systems are expensive to maintain and run so many of the factories in China turn them off at night to save money. At night time, the dirty pollutants can't be seen by the average person so nobody's going to report the factories for violating the rules.

Today in Hong Kong is a wonderful day. The sun is high in the sky and there's a breeze blowing through the air. Unfortunately, the hills only a kilometer away are slightly blurry to look at simply because of the pollution and there's nothing we can do;

except touchup our photos on our computers to make the world appear better than it actually is.

Household enemy #1

Filed in Hong Kong

日日彩排新嘅舞台劇 。好開心。新嘅挑戰,再次突破
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改編自王安憶之同名小說
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焦媛實驗劇團製作
主演:焦媛、河國榮
藝術總監:焦媛
改編:喻榮軍
導演:蔣維國
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為了愛⋯⋯你的底線又可以去到幾盡?
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演出日期:
2018年2月2-3日 晚上8點
2018年2月3-4日 下午3點
地點:高山劇場新翼演藝廳
買飛:http://www.urbtix.hk/internet/eventDetail/34048
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@perrychiupcet
fb.com/PerryChiu.Theatre
home: www.perrychiu.com

Instagram image

我愛比爾

Household enemy #1

Filed in Hong Kong

You know the weather is changing when the pets change the way they sleep, or rather the surfaces they sleep on. Yes, the weather has finally warmed up here in Hong Kong. The fog has left us and although we still cannot see blue skies because of the nice pollution we get from our large neighbour, the weather overall is great; not too cool and not too hot. We're averaging around 28 degrees celcius, probably warm enough to go for a swim which we probably won't do anytime soon even though we live literally 10 minutes walk from a beach.

When the weather cools, our dogs scrunch up the blankets we provide them and then sleep on the blankets. Now that the weather is warming up, they're choosing to sleep on the tiled floor instead where it's cooler, so cool in fact that considerable moisture builds up in front of their faces on the floor as the moisture in their breath condensates upon contact with the cool floor.

Mosquito Along with the warmer weather came more mosquitoes; many more. It is now one of my responsibilities here at home to scan the home before I sleep, armed with an electric mosquito swatter, pouncing on every mosquito I can find. I have the best eyes in the house so it's only natural that I'm the one to be given this responsibility.

I hate mosquitoes. In fact, they're probably the only existing animal or insect that I despise. We don't have many flies here so they don't bother me although the meat-eating flies are a real threat if any of our dogs are injured with open wounds. Last year when I was stung on the big toe by a centipede, I didn't seek to kill it or punish it. It was simply protecting itself so I accepted the warning and let the centipede continue on its way. I didn't get off lightly though because my foot and then my lower leg were in severe pain for three to four hours after the sting. It was very difficult to bear, even when iced.

I hate mosquitoes so much that I'm now quite adept at swatting them in mid-air with my bare hands. I can swat them so fast that they slam against the wall and frequently stick to the wall as their blood-filled belly explodes onto the wall. Consequently, our maid has the additional task of wiping dead mosquitoes off the walls whenever she sees them. It happens a lot.

I hate their buzzing at night while I'm trying to sleep. They don't bite me often because they apparently don't like my blood, and I also suspect that the hair on my arms and legs makes it more difficult for the mosquitoes to get close enough to my skin to actually begin sucking. However, that buzz and the mere threat of being bitten while asleep is impossible to ignore. It also annoys the heck out of my wife, and they love to suck on her blood. Unfortunately, she swells readily at each and every point where they bite, and the itching really gets to her. It can be very uncomfortable for her at the best of times, so it is doubly important that I kill as many mosquitoes as possible before I sleep.

Mosquito trap We actually purchased a mosquito trap from the U.S.A. a little over a year ago. It mimics a heart beat, releases a fragrance similar to the carbon dioxide that animals release and emits warmth just as a warm-blooded animal does. It works pretty well but it doesn't catch everything. The instructions state to place the trap away from where the people live to attract the mosquitoes away from the people rather than to them. This theory simply doesn't work in our case. With ten dogs and five people, the warmth and carbon dioxide emanating from our home is simply too over powering and attractive for any mosquito to ignore no matter where the mosquito trap is placed. After weeks of experimentation and some careful analysis of my own, I concluded that the best place for the trap was just outside our screen door. The breath and warmth of ten dogs and five people would ultimately draw the mosquitoes to the door. When they realise that they can't get to us, they'll take the next best thing; the mosquito trap. In its current position, it works really well. Unfortunately, we can't buy replacement carbon dioxide strips and sticky paper here in Hong Kong so we have to organise with friends to get the replacements from the U.S.A. whenever we can.

There are other mosquito traps available which transform LP gas into warmth and carbon dioxide and attract the mosquitoes to a vacuumed area using these attractants. These traps are apparently very effective, even more so than our current trap, but they are extremely expensive to buy here in Hong Kong. In fact, the Mosquito Magnet Liberty trap costs twice here in Hong Kong what it costs in the U.S.A. At those prices, only institutions can afford to buy them. That counts us out. So for the foreseeable future at least, I'll be the principal weapon in our war against mosquitoes.

I was going to talk about something surprising I found in a loaf of bread, but I'll talk about that another time. I'm going to brunch with friends at a friend's restaurant tomorrow morning so it would be prudent of me to shower and sleep earlier rather than later tonight. My friend's restaurant by the way is great. She cooks everything she serves, and that includes more than fifteen varieties of cheese cake. Yummy!

Till later, don't let the mosquitoes bite.

Fog, fog and more fog

Filed in General, Hong Kong

The last time I wrote about the weather here was back before the Chinese New Year when it was foggy and wet. Guess what? It's still foggy and wet. In the last eight weeks or more, we've only seen six or seven days of warm weather with sunshine. Otherwise, it's been foggy and wet. The only difference now is that the temperature is on the way up with average temperatures of mid-twenties (that's celsius for those of you in fahrenheit countries). By summer time, the temperature will be up in the high twenties and sometimes near the mid-thirties. It can get very warm here.

Living in the fog, the humidity is very high. The tile floors inside the apartment and outside the back door are still creating water without any help from us or the dogs. It makes it very difficult to keep the apartment clean when the floors are constantly wet or at least moist.

I've lived in Hong Kong for the last 18 years, and I've lived in our current area for five years. This foggy weather is very unusual. We normally get foggy weather each year, but it's normally in March and only lasts for three or four weeks. It even has a name. It's called "Return of the Southerly Winds" or 回南 as it's known locally. With this big change in weather this year, I believe we can look forward to some really strong and powerful hurricanes in early and late Summer. We had a couple last year but I haven't really seen anything really strong since 1985 when I visited Hong Kong the first time for just a week with a fellow student from the University of New South Wales.

You have to remember that I come from Queensland, Australia where they have real hurricanes except that they're known as cyclones there because they rotate in the opposite direction. At least that's what my friend says. I remember that we had cyclones in Queensland when I was growing up, but I also seem to remember having hurricanes. I always thought that hurricanes were larger in diameter than cyclones. I guess I was wrong. If my father reads this, I'm sure he can enlighten us all.

Which brings me to another small detail that came up as a consequence at lunch the other day. Supposedly, water while flushing down the toilet rotates or swirls in opposite directions in Australia and Hong Kong because they're on opposite sides of the equator. I believe it but I've never actually made the effort to compare the directions for myself. Maybe I'll check the next time I go back to Australia.

And that brings me to Annie's song: "Oh, the sun'll come up, tomorrow. Bet your bottom dollar that tomorrow, there'll be sun." I hope so; soon at least.