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Time to let go (The pup, Part#2)

Filed in Dogs of our Lives

Getting him to the vet to get his rotting skin treated was a challenge. After giving the pup three sleeping tablets that the vet had given me, our visitor refused to sleep. In fact, he only displayed just a hint of drowsiness. Half an hour later as instructed by the vet, I gave him another two tablets. Now he was feeling sleepy but still refused to lie down. His survival mode was in full gear and there was no way he was going to let me put him into a car.

The following day, I talked to the vet and was given another seven tablets to try again. Back at home, I wrapped five of the tablets in cheese and gave them to the pup. An hour later, he was feeling the effect but was still in full control. I gave him the other two tablets and waited another half an hour.

the young wandererBy this time, it was obvious that I was going to need to get a muzzle onto the pup or I'd never get him to the vet. However even after seven tablets, his survival mode was still running strong and he'd bite at the muzzle every time I approached him. He even chased me around a couple of times, extremely annoyed that I wouldn't stop following him around trying to muzzle him.

After an hour of following him around in the midday sun, I had no choice but to try something else. He loved food; he didn't get much when he was out on his own; so I decided to try to get him into a cage.

I placed food in the cage. He was definitely interested but didn't know how to get in. Being careful to maintain a safe distance from him, I turned the cage until the door was facing him. Joy of joys! He walked into the cage. Unfortunately, it was a small cage and his backside was sticking out through the door. Tentatively and apprenhensively, I pushed his backside into the cage hoping that he wouldn't turn around and retaliate. Success! He was in the cage and the door was closed. I could breath easier again but I couldn't relax just yet. I had to get him to the vet as soon as possible while the tablets still had an effect on him. Together, our maid and I placed the cage into the boot of the car (the cage was too big to fit in the back of the car) and I scootted off to the vet.

A few hours later, the pup was doing well. His skin had been cleaned up and he had been de-sexed because it would be difficult to get him to the vet again. The vet said he was a very lucky pup. Even though the skin was very bad and foul-smelling, the screwworm flies hadn't found him. He was fine.

A few minutes later, we carried the pup back to the car, still in the cage for safety sake. While talking to a friend who had just driven by, the pup; minutes after being anaesthetised; stood up in the cage, turned around to get more comfortable and laid down again. This was one tough pup!


The pup's rotting neck
Back home again, the pup rested for most of the day and ate a little food. The next day, it was obvious that he was well on his way to recovery. He was happy and full of energy.

It was at this time that we realised he had never played with people. He didn't know that our skin is soft and persisted in biting too hard when playing. One of our neighbours was familiar with the pup and was interested in adopting him. Unfortunately, they have a nine-month old baby and adopting a dog with a biting habit; even though it was just being playful; wouldn't be a smart choice.

The biting problem was a serious one. Part of it was his lack of knowledge about people. Part of it was that he still needed to protect himself. He was always on guard and wasn't yet ready to trust anyone. He had after all been dependent on himself for most of his life. The biting had to be solved though. I tried the 'ouch' method with only minimal success. I needed a better solution and fortunately found one; diluted vinegar!

Dogs hate vinegar. It irritates their sensitive noses. We placed two spray bottles of equally diluted vinegar around the house and garden. Whenever he tried to play too rough, we yelled NO at him while spraying the vinegar in his direction. This would accomplish two things; he would quickly learn that the biting is wrong, and would associate the word 'no' with unwanted behaviour. In later stages, the word 'no' could be used without the vinegar.

Jump to the present. The pup has made excellent progress. His skin has healed and his hair is growing back. He almost never bites, and never hurts us even when he does. He's healthy, energetic and happy. He never goes to the toilet in the house and he's even ok walking on leash! That's pretty amazing for a wanderer dog.

Now it's time to let him go. We already have ten dogs. It would be unfair to my wife and to the dogs if he stayed. Furthermore, if he stays any longer, he and I both will get too attached. We gave him a new beginning. Hopefully, someone can now give him a new home and a new life.

The new owner will need to be experienced with dogs, and preferably already have one or two dogs that the pup can play with because he's young and loves to play.

One thing is for certain.
Whoever loves this pup will in return get a very loyal dog.

If you or your friends are interested, please email me asap.

Pushing too hard

Filed in Health

Sometimes, the harder you try, the worse everything gets. I equate this situation to pushing on a door to open it not realising that the door opens inwards toward you rather than away from you. In such a situation, pushing on the door will obviously bear no results no matter how much energy you use (unless you're superman and you break the door down completely). The only way through the door is to relax and give the door space. You'll then be able to open it (by pulling) and move through.

I had depression for two to three years. My father had a mental problem called burnout syndrome (a very general term) for a couple of years. In both cases, trying to overcome the problem only made it worse. My father had to stop all forms of work involving thinking for six months to a year. During that time, he worked on a potato farm. I wasn't there for that part of his life because I was studying at university so I don't know exactly what he was going through. This rest time however was the only chance he had of recovering. For me, relaxation was also imperative. If I ever exerted myself, my body would relapse into a situation worse than previously. I simply had to accept the situation and move on slowly.

Friends and co-workers at TVB didn't understand. They simply told me to 'buck up', 'encourage yourself', 'stop being so lazy' and other similar statements usually with good intent but unwanted results. Even my doctor didn't believe me. It's unfortunate but true. Until you've suffered this type of problem, you'll never understand its effects or its reality.

You're not the only one that suffers though. Everyone around you suffers too, especially your family.

What I realise now that I didn't understand then is that we're not in complete control of our emotions even though we'd like to think we are. The chemicals and hormones running through and controlling our bodies have far more control over us than our minds. Sometimes, there's nothing we can do about our behaviours.

There are many situations where it is better to stand back a little than to push forward. There are many people who you'd like to convince to behave differently but it won't happen just because you talk to them or encourage them or perhaps even try to force them. For example, one of our dogs is scared of oncoming cars. Every time a car approaches, he dodges off into the roadside grass and pretends to be looking for something. He hopes that the car won't see him and will consequently leave him alone. We tried desperately to change this behaviour. We tried yelling at him, comforting and reassuring him and even complementing him. Nothing worked. It's not a behaviour that's going to change overnight, if at all. It's a part of his makeup and we'll have to accept it.

People can be the same way. If you know someone with a problem that presumably they should be able to overcome by will power alone and nothing you've said has changed them in any way, don't try so hard. Instead, stand back and support them by simply being there when they need you. With the reassurance they gain from knowing you're there for them, they'll relax over time and they'll then have the ability to change for the better.

This is obviously very difficult to understand. I know because it's extremely difficult to explain. I can only hope that my examples helped you to understand at least a little.

Important. Not all depressions are the same. Not all depressions are mental although the symptoms might be. Not all depressions can be solved through psychology intervention. Most importantly; with depression, nothing is at it seems.

I've been there. I know.

Thank you all.

Filed in Miscellaneous

My wife and I have been overwhelmed by the support expressed by the people of Hong Kong and of Chinese people around the world. I have received comments and emails from Hong Kong, Canada, New Zealand, Australia and other countries. The world wide web has really affected the way the world works and communicates. It's phenomenal.

Thank you to everyone who has left comments, written email messages or simply visited this blog. I truly appreciate the support. I'm still digesting everything and the final affect won't be fully understood for a long time to come.

Many people have commented that they are in similar situations to myself. They live overseas in a strange and foreign community. Some are students. Some are working, but they're all working and in some cases struggling to adapt and integrate.

I remember a non-Chinese lady I met outside the local ParknShop store one day last year. She had a baby in a pouch on her back, two doberman dogs on leash and three heavy shopping bags. She asked me to help her place the shopping bags on her arms because her hands were busy holding the dog leashes. She didn't drive. She chose to walk. I commented on her predicament and she answered, very wisely; "there are no shortcuts in life".

This statement stayed with me. It applies to all of us. Many people are having difficult times. I have friends who like myself have struggled for many years, especially so since the 1997/8 economic meltdown in Hong Kong. We don't give up though. We carry on, ever hoping that tomorrow will bring good news.

I'm pleased and surprised that my life is giving moral support to other people who are themselves struggling. This was totally unexpected and unintended. All I can say to these people is exactly what many people have said to me in recent emails; never give up.

The people of Hong Kong have faced many difficult times. Time and time again, they have proven how tough and resilient they are. This is one of the reasons I admire, respect and have a fondness for Hong Kong people, no matter where in the world they may be located. Hong Kong people are special.

I have a personal adage:
"Today's pain, Tomorrow's gain", or
「今天的痛苦,明天的獲得。」

(P.S.: 這個網誌所有的中文是我自己想,自己寫。真的!)

Take care; all of you.

Mac OS X “Tiger”

Filed in Technology

Many people know that I'm an avid user of Apple computers. I've been using Apple computers since around 1989 when I purchased my first Apple computer, the IIci. Actually, it wasn't my first Apple computer. The first Apple computer I ever owned was a IIe purchased, used and sold back in 1983 before the first Macintosh was ever released.

desklamp iMacThese days, I'm using a 'desklamp' iMac with a 17" screen, running Mac OS X 10.3 "Panther". It's very solid. Applications almost never crash and when they do, they have no affect on other applications running at the same time. At this very moment, I have only seven applications running, but there are usually in excess of 15 applications running at any time including email, web browser, text editors and photograph processing applications.

For two years, I worked with the SilverFast scanning application from Lasersoft Imaging so I know my way around scanners pretty well. I recently switched to digital photography when I purchased the Canon 350D. One of the reasons for this was that it simply takes too long to scan film. Scanning one roll of 35mm film can take hours, even with the latest Nikon Coolscan 5000ED film scanner (I own the Coolscan 4000ED). Of course, I'm extremely finicky about my photos so I take time to make sure that every scanned photo looks as good as possible.

Last month, just one day prior to my birthday, Apple released the next version of Mac OS X named "Tiger". I would usually update my computer almost as soon as the upgrades are released but I'm taking my time this time. Tiger is a big upgrade and I'm definitely going to upgrade. With the new version of iSync, I'll finally be able to synchronise my computer's calendar and address book with my Nokia 7610 phone (although I wonder how many of my customised phone entries will get synchronised). And the ability to search for and find anything anywhere will be a big efficiency boost with the use of Spotlight.

For now though, I'm going to wait. The first version of Tiger was rushed out the door, possibly to increase company earnings for the current quarter, and possibly to get broad public beta testing done before the upcoming developers conference. Whatever the reason, I don't think people should upgrade to Tiger just yet.

iBook_green I've read that update 10.4.1 is coming soon, possibly next week. I've also read that it only fixes three dozen or so known bugs. To me, that's not enough knowing the number of bugs reported on the Macintouch and Macfixit sites. I'll probably wait until 10.4.2 is released before I take the leap and upgrade my computers; including an aging but still totally usable green 'clam shell' iBook.

Since I'm talking about Apple computers, it might be prudent of me to mention that there is a Macintosh User Group here in Hong Kong. I was a member for many years and still attend their meetings from time to time. I have quite a few friends in the group, and quite vivid to me at this very moment is the memory of being at a HKMUG meeting when news of the 911 attack was broadcast on television. The meeting was stopped and all attention was cast to the television as we watched the second plane hit the towers. I'm very cynical when it comes to 911. I believe Bush shares much of the responsibility for the attack but that's a sensitive issue and one which I'll not discuss at this time.

In any case, hold off until 10.4.2 before upgrading to Tiger; if you can stand the wait.

Count your lucky stars (The pup, Part#1)

Filed in Dogs of our Lives

Count your lucky stars that you're not married to me. My wife has a hard time putting up with my idiosyncrasies, habits and overall behaviour. She puts up with it because she loves me. There's no other way she could stay married to me for these seventeen years.

Case in point: Tonight, I finished "Perfume" 香水 rehearsals (you remember, the play that you're all going to see because you just know it'll be great!) and was home in time for dinner. My wife though had spent the day out and wasn't home yet. It was also our maid's day off so there wasn't any dinner to speak of. I knew this in advance though and had already planned to order pizza from PizzaBox where I can always get a large pizza for half price as long as I pick it up myself. It's a good deal.

Anyway, on the pavement next to the main road just beside the car park, I noticed a scruffy dog sitting there, apparently waiting for its keeper to come home. I tried taking a couple of photos with my new Canon 350D and then drove off to get the pizza. The photos didn't work out because it was far too dark for the camera to catch anything without blurring.

A few hours later after our family had finished our pizza dinner, we took our dogs out for their nightly walk; five at a time (only possible because we use Gentle Leader collars; not to be confused with the Halti which I don't like as much). Upon returning home with our five dogs, the other five were already home, standing at the fence and barking down the back path. I've heard their barks enough to recognise which barks mean what. Based on their barking, there was probably a dog down the path. I looked and sure enough, there was a dog lying on the paved path down near the neighbour's house.

Wild dogs and semi-wild dogs would not sleep on that path. It's too exposed and insecure. I suspected that the dog was weak. I also recognised it as being the one I saw earlier up on the road near the car park. So I gathered some dog food and took it down to him.

I'd never seen the dog before, and even though he was wearing a collar, there was no way to know if he was friendly or not. You have to be very careful when approaching strange dogs, and you need to note all of the signals that dogs give off to each other. This dog stood up as I approached but he wasn't scared; just a little nervous. When I put the food down in front of me, he started eating almost immediately.

The path was rather steep at that spot and the food bowl was round so it needed supporting to prevent it spilling over. As I stretched my hand to steady the bowl, the dog curled its lips and gave a soft growl. I knew this message but I wanted to steady the bowl anyway. He took a soft nip at my hand. Note the word 'soft'. Dogs have excellent control of the pressure they use when they bite. He nipped my hand with just enough pressure to warn me off but not enough to hurt me in any way. He had proven that he was friendly.

While feeding him, I noticed two patches behind his head and down his back where the hair was wet, matted and sticking up. It wasn't a good sign. If the wetness was from rain or water, the hair would be wet and flat, not sticking up. Sitting there a few minutes was more than enough to expose me to the smell that the dog was giving off. Something was very wrong.

I grew up on a farm in a small town called Gympie in Queensland, Australia. Growing up on a farm in the bush, you soon learn to recognise the smell of death; ie, the smell of rot. The smell coming from this dog was not the same but it was similar. Combine the smell with the wetness and the way the dog shook its head every few minutes and you could almost be sure that he had a case of flesh-eating-flies; ie, Screwworm Maggots 舊世界螺絲蟲蒼蠅(蛆症金蠅).

After eating the food, he became very friendly, so much so that I was able to coach him back to our back yard and get him into a steel cage we have there. I gave him some water and he basically settled down. Our dogs didn't exactly like having a strange dog in the yard but they can't do anything while I'm around. Beethoven; our #1 dog; has stood inside our door looking out at the cage outside at least three times tonight though so he's really keeping watch on the new dog.

So what to do? He'll need surgery. He might need to be put down. Last year, our vet told me about the maggots. Whatever you can see on the surface, you can be sure that the damage is three times as bad inside. I remember seeing a dog die just over a year ago in another village where we lived. It died from maggot infection which was so bad that one of his back legs had literally fallen off. Flesh-eating-maggots are a real danger for wild dogs because they are sure to get involved in fights and there's no one around to cover up the wounds after the fight; perfect targets for maggot carrying flies. (See this "Kit for Detecting Flesh-Eating Maggots" article by the U.S.A. government to get an idea of the severity of the problem and danger. See also this note on Hong Kong's government site.)

We'll have to take the dog to the vet tomorrow. There's no question about that. We'll probably have to give him sleeping medicine so that we can carry him to the car and to the vet. Then we'll have to see what the vet says.

If he eventually recovers, we still can't keep him. We already have ten dogs and that's bordering on crowded in our 700 square-foot home with a 1000 square-foot garden area. No, we'll have to find him a home or give him to the SAA. The SPCA is out of the question. Friends have told me that the SPCA routinely hands unattractive and sick animals over to the Agricultural Department which normally has them put down within days of receiving them. You'll never read about this though because they have an excellent marketing department and tight control of the press in Hong Kong; unfortunate but true. The SAA on the other hand has an excellent reputation, especially among the artists and animal lovers at TVB where I work.

So you can imagine what it's like to be my wife; or maybe you can't. A stray animal approaches the house and I'm concerned about its well being. Fortunately, the three pups growing up next to one of the car parks in our village are doing extremely well with help and food from other people in the area. In other words, there are many other people that care as much as I do. That's a good thing.

We'll know the condition of the dog better tomorrow, providing I can get some sleeping medicine for him. I'll keep you updated.

In the meantime, go and see our play "Perfume" 香水 if you have time. I think you'll enjoy it. The whole team has done an excellent job with this play.

The big 40!

Filed in Life

My birthday is just one day away. On Saturday, I will hit the big 40.

I don't know if I should celebrate or not. 40 is a big number. Fortunately, many in the Chinese culture believe that 40 is just the beginning of a man's life. I tend to think that this will be true for me too, with far more opportunities and experiences to materialise in the coming years. Call me an optimist (and a cynic but that's another topic) but that's what I feel.

So, Happy birthday to me, and also to Esther, a good friend whose birthday is also on Saturday, just a couple of hours before or after me; not sure which.

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.

Java from Australia

Filed in Food & Drink

Here's that coffee article I promised.

I have some friends who I have known for a long time. We met in Australia while attending the University of New South Wales, were together frequently for most of the time I have been in Hong Kong and still stay in touch since they moved back to Australia. We're good friends.

Occasionally, I help my friends out with their Apple Mac computer problems. I've been working with Apple Mac computers since the late 1980's and know enough to be helpful to my friends. So when my friends announced that they were coming to visit their families in Hong Kong, I quickly asked them about bringing me a coffee espresso maker.

While in Australia last Christmas, my family's neighbour mentioned that the Australian Choice magazine had done a study and comparison of espresso makers. Remembering this little tidbit, and the fact that the leading espresso maker was not the most expensive one, I went online and found the study. It turns out that Breville makes good espresso makers at a price that I could justify. I researched the Breville espresso makers and promptly asked my friends to check the local pricing for me.

Now I've had one or two bad experiences with buying electrical appliances overseas before. Back in April of last year, I purchased a KitchenAid countertop cake mixer while in Los Angeles because the price was great and decent cake mixers are almost impossible to find in Hong Kong. The average Chinese person does not make cakes. My wife brought the mixer back with her but we later discovered that the mixer had developed a problem. In Los Angeles, we actually tested the mixer once and it worked fine. Back in Hong Kong, the vaunted "very slow stir" was malfunctioning. I can only conjecture that the mixer was damaged while being transported by airport cargo staff. If you've ever watched the video seen of airport cargo staff on 60-Minutes, you'll understand that your cargo is definitely not in the best hands at the airport.

Unfortunately, the mixer's warranty only applied to the U.S.A. so unless I could get the mixer back to the States, it wasn't going to get fixed. It never got back because we couldn't find any friends to take it back for us. We then discovered that KitchenAid actually does have a distributor here in Hong Kong, one that even supplies 220V models. If we'd known earlier, we would've bought it locally. They can fix our mixer for us but it will cost HKD600 for inspection and extra for any parts they need to replace. The price of the mixer could easily double once the cost of the repair is included. It's a really nice mixer so we'll have to fix it; soon.

So this time, I was a little more careful and checked to see if the Breville espresso makers were available in Hong Kong. It turned out that Breville has a local office and distributes product locally but they don't distribute the espresso makers locally. Bummer!

My new Breville espresso maker Well my friends came to Hong Kong and were anxious to see me asap. They completely surprised me by bringing over Breville's top model; the 800 Class Espresso Machine; and giving it to me as a gift. I was one very happy customer.

I've now had the espresso maker for almost two weeks. The available options are extremely limited but its two primary functions work extremely well; making espresso and frothing milk. There are no electronic LCD control panels and there are no complicated choices to make. And the machine is made extremely well; no plastic! It's a work of art.

So I won't be visiting Starbucks as often as I used to. The coffee I'm making at home is pretty good and getting better every time I make another cup. All I'm missing are a couple of shot glasses to measure the espresso output.

For those of you into coffee, here are the primary characteristics of the espresso maker from my perspective:

  • The entire machine is made of stainless steel. There's almost no plastic used in its construction. Almost every other espresso maker I've seen on the market is made of plastic unless you're buying the really expensive models.

  • It uses a 15 bar Italian-made thermoblock pump to deliver the espresso and the steam. 15 bars is a lot of pressure and espresso makers with that much pressure usually cost a whole lot more.

  • The water tank is easily removed for refill. It also features a transparent plastic gauge on the front so that you can instantly see how much water is left. It even uses a small blue light above the water so that the water level is extremely obvious no matter how bright or dark the room is. In addition, the water tank can be refilled by removing the tank or by flipping down a door at the back of the espresso maker and pouring water directly into the tank.

  • The milk frother just works. It's extremely easy to froth milk and it's quick.

  • There's a 'full' indicator in the drip tray so you'll know instantly when it needs to be emptied.

  • Maintenance and cleaning are simple and it doesn't require priming before or after each cup of coffee as some espresso makers require.

So if you're in the market for an espresso maker, take a look at Breville.

If you have any suggestions for coffee brands, please let me know.

Update (26 March 2008)

The Breville 800 Class Espresso Machine is now available locally here in Hong Kong. I've seen it in the B&Q store at Megabox.