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It shouldn’t have been that hard.

Filed in TechnologyTags: , , ,

今日係天后誕正日。我地今日喺蒲台島拍 嘅 。今日見到好多精彩嘅畫面。好玩。
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Today is the birthday of the Empress of Heaven, a god that many fisherman rely on for protection whenever they go out to sea. .
We went to the Po Toi Island to film for the series "Treasures of Hong Kong". It was a great day, lots of things to see during the celebration.

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香港有寶證

Corneal Damage

Filed in HealthTags: , , ,

Last week, I had to make a small repair to one of the hanging cupboards in our kitchen. The people who built the cupboard for the previous owner used ordinary #8 screws to affix the cupboard to the contrete ceiling. With three screws along the back of the cupboard and one or two screws on one side of the cupboard all giving excellent vertical sheer support to the cupboard, the builders must have thought that a couple of normal screws into the ceiling to stop the cupboard from slipping outwards from the back wall would be sufficient.

Well the screws worked for a couple of years but finally gave in to the weight of the cupboard and its contents a few weeks ago. We noticed the cupboard slowly creeping away from the wall and down from the ceiling and knew something would have to be done to avoid a disaster: plates and containers all over the floor, a broken microwave oven and perhaps somebody seriously hurt if they were under the cupboard when it fell.

cupboard before fix

The cupboard before the fix. Notice how it's falling away from the wall.

The fix was easy enough: a couple of quarter-inch expansion bolts designed specifically for concrete. I've done a lot of home repair work in my years including water, electricity, masonary and carpentary. I have to thank my dad for my small abilities in these areas. When I was young, he often required me to accompany him as he built and fixed things around our farm. I was never allowed to hold the circular saw but I guess using the electric drill occasionally was enough to give me a feel for electric tools. Some of the tools I'm comfortable with include electric drills, sanders, circular saws, routers (mine is two and a half horsepower), jigsaws and 'rock cutters'. I'm not the only one in the family with these abilities. My first sister is probably more skilled than I am. While I once upon a time renovated a flat in Tai Po and built every piece of furniture within it, my sister has renovated a whole house in Australia and done an excellent job. She's very talented with her hands. Her specialty is lead/stain-glass windows and doors. And just in case you're interested, my younger sister is also talented. She's incredible with cooking, baking, sewing (including bras and wedding dresses) and handicrafts. I think she received many of these talents from my mum who used to sew all of our clothes. To top it all off, my sister's currently back at university at the tender age of 37 getting a degree in education. She's going to be a teacher.

cupboard after fix

Now that's much better, back exactly where it was when it was originally built.

Back to the main topic here: So the cure for the falling cupboard was to insert two expansion bolts up through the cupboard into the ceiling, all without taking the cupboard down. This required leveraging the cupboard back in place with a strategically placed length of wood and then drilling through the top of the wooden cupboard into the ceiling. It was while doing this simple chore that it happened. I wasn't wearing safety goggles because the only goggles I have are too scratched to see through. Since I was in a confined space looking up at wood and concrete falling down toward me while watching the drillbit carefully so that the holes wouldn't be too deep for the bolts, my eyes were making direct contact with far too much debris.

After finishing the work, I was very aware of something in my eye. Blinking hurt. I looked into our bathroom mirror and couldn't see anything at first. Then I saw something directly over the iris of my eye. I tried to gently move it with my finger tip but it wouldn't budge so I assumed that it was in fact part of my iris pattern. I also assumed that there was probably a small particle of concrete beneath my eyelid.

I put up with the discomfort for two days believing and hoping that tears and blinking would eventually remove the concrete. One night while filming at TVB, the discomfort was bad enough that I tried using a tissue to remove the supposed particle from beneath my eyelid. It didn't work and instead left a small piece of tissue beneath my eyelid. Not good! Fortunately, with some eye drops and a blunt rounded toothpick, I was able to get the tissue out. The discomfort remained though.

My eye continued to tear and water during that night of sleep. I occasionally woke to find spots on my pillow soaked with tear fluid. The next morning, my eyelid was swollen and I knew it was time to visit my doctor.

Incidentally, I have one of our dogs to thank for getting me to the doctor. If Dallas; our first dog; hadn't been barking at two other dogs in front of the kitchen while trying to defend his place in line for possible tidbits, I wouldn't have woken up with enough time to realise the seriousness of the situation and visit the doctor.

Driving to the doctor's clinic was very challenging. The sun was relatively bright and my eye hurt quite badly while I was driving. The only way to reduce the pain was to reduce the incoming light by partially covering my eye with the fingers of one hand while I drove with the other hand. Because my fingers were spread, I was still able to see with both eyes but without the pain.

My doctor; the one who studied one year ahead of me at the University of New South Wales; asked me to lay down and then took a look at my eye. When he couldn't find anything beneath the eyelid, he took a closer look at the middle of my eye and was surprised to find a speck of foreign substance embedded in the cornea over the iris. It turns out that the object I had first observed in the bathroom mirror was really there afterall. By this time though, it had been whittled down by my continual blinking from a small splinter to just a small speck of wood embedded deeper into my cornea. That of course explains the pain I experienced while driving. The wood would have irritated and hampered the cornea while my eye was trying to adjust to the bright sunlight.

The wood had to be taken out of course but how? The eye would have to be absolutely still while the wood was pulled out and that would be very difficult. My doctor gave me two choices. Either book an ophthalmologist and do the operation in a hospital for an estimated cost of around HK$20,000 or lie perfectly still while my doctor took it out. I chose the latter.

Before he had examined my eye, he had applied a local anaesthetic to my eye. I concentrated on this fact knowing there would be no pain during the procedure while I stared at a single point on the ceiling, conscious of the doctor's blurred hand and long needle being directed towards the centre of my eye.

It was over in less than ten seconds; probably five; and the doctor showed me the speck of wood. It's hard to believe that such a small speck could cause such incredible discomfort and if left alone would have eventually lead to infection and blindness.

I began swimming at our local beach a few weeks ago. I swim out to the far side of the shark nets and then swim laps from one side to the other and back again. I was getting used to the distance (approx 640m) and could feel my body strengthening. It was great. I haven't been swimming this week though. My doctor said that my eye would need to be protected from dust and dirt for approximately one week while the cornea healed. The sea water here is so cloudy and mucky (and polluted?) that I can only see one meter ahead of me while swimming. It would most probably lead to infection if it entered my eye so swimming was definitely out of the question this week.

Tomorrow or Monday, I'll be heading back to the doctor for a follow-up examination. He'll apply a special solution that will cover my eye with a coloured film allowing him to see clearly whether the damage has completely healed. I'm pretty confident that everything will be ok. I have never felt pain in the eye since the extraction procedure and it generally feels pretty normal except for some irritation caused by the antibacterial eye drops I have to apply every few hours and some dryness caused by the generally dry air we're experiencing as we enter Autumn here in Hong Kong.

my right eye
Sometime soon, I'll be making a visit to Sheung Wan 上灣. A friend of mine has informed me that there's a shop there specialising in safety equipment. The shop's name is easy to remember because it sounds like one of the local triad organisations, 新儀安全設備有限公司. Hopefully, they'll have a good selection of high quality scratch-resistant safety goggles and I'll be able to avoid a future replay of this incident.

By the way, my eyes are green which you will rarely see in the TVB series because the lights are too high up to illuminate the irises of Caucasian actors whose eyes are usually set deeper than those of Asian actors.

Update (Tues, November 15, 2005)

I saw the doctor yesterday. He applied an orange-yellow liquid to my eye and found that everything is fine. The hole has healed although there's a slight cloud which will need another three to four weeks to heal completely. For two hours after seeing the doctor, I walked around with a yellow band around my eye, looking as if I'd been hit in the face by someone. My wife thought it was funny.

Incidentally, my wife and her sister saw the doctor too. It would appear that everyone in our household has been affected by the bug that made our helper sick. I had slight diarrhoea for a few days last week but recovered fairly quickly. All I have left is a slight cough. My wife and her sister are still suffering though, and so is our helper. Hopefully, they'll all be better by next week. That's what happens when families live together. When a bug pops up, everyone shares it. It's just the way things are.

We’re all equal. NOT.

Filed in Hong KongTags: , , ,

When our previous helper left us to go back home and re-marry, she introduced her friend to us, one who was very eager to work for us. In fact, all of her friends wanted to work for us because we're fair to our helpers. Apparently, many Hong Kong people aren't.

The new helper has proven to be great to have around. She has no problems with our dogs, loves to take them on their walks; even though it requires three trips per walk, two walks per day; works consistently all day without any prompting and keeps our flat cleaner than our previous helper. All in all, we are lucky to have her.

She became sick a couple of days ago; vomiting, headache, dizziness. I took her to a doctor in a near-by clinic. The doctor; a youngish thin man with unbrushed long 60's type hair; said it was gastro-enteritis and prescribed vomit-suppression tablets and pain killers. He said that gastro-enteritis was virus related so taking antibiotics would not help. (antibiotics only kill bacteria. you knew that right?)

The next day after one day of rest, our helper was still just as sick with the same vomiting, nausea and headache symptoms, and one extra symptom; pain in the back of her neck. I took her back to the clinic and we saw a different doctor because the first doctor wasn't in. This doctor; a more doctor-like late twenties early thirties lady; told us that the virus had entered our helper's intestinal region and she would need stronger medicine; including antibiotics (antibiotics? but… now I'm getting confused).

Today, our helper still hadn't recovered. We don't expect instant recovery. My wife had severe gastro-enteritis a few months ago and it took her four days in hospital with a drip and injected high-strength antibiotics to get her up and around again. We do however expect a little improvement each day. What was weird to my untrained eye was that lying down, our helper looked fine. She even felt fine. It was only when she sat up or stood up that the nausea and vomiting began.

I decided we needed better expertise on the matter and called my favourite doctor; someone who studied one year ahead of me at the University of New South Wales in Sydney Australia and excels at everything he does. He constantly amazes me. When he heard about the neck pain in combination with the other symptoms, a light turned on and he immediately suspected meningitis. Only a blood test would be able to confirm it.

Now the first thing that comes to mind is why didn't the second doctor at the clinic think of the same thing. Apparently, neck pain combined with headaches, nausea and fever (and no diarrhoea) are classic symptoms of meningitis. I always viewed cheap clinic doctors as being sub-class doctors with their multitudes of tablets and their cheap rates (admittedly one of my own perhaps unjustified prejudices). Where my favourite doctor charges a minimum of HK$500 per consultation and includes one or two high quality medicines, these other doctors charge HK$170 per visit and include five or six medicines. Who needs five or six medicines? It's pretty obvious that first, many of the patients expect more medicines (more is better, right?), and second, the medicine is low quality so more is needed to cover the various aspects of the sicknesses. Yesterday, a friend of mine; a local Hong Kong girl with a baby boy who occasionally needs to visit the doctor; said she never expects to get better quickly when she visits these doctors. The medicine seems to only be sufficient to prevent the illness from getting worse but that's it. I'm apparently not the only one who has this view of the cheap doctors.

(To be fair, the doctors may have been right. Our helper's symptoms could be related to lots of different ailments and illness. We won't know if they were right until later.)

So one call to my favourite doctor and we discover that our helper might have meningitis. Now while I try to care for everyone in our family equally, I admittedly don't want to spend money that I don't have to. To confirm meningitis, a blood test is needed and I know that getting that blood test at our favourite doctor's clinic would be expensive. The alternative was to book our helper into the local hospital. She's down there now waiting in Emergency with my sister-in-law.

One strange thing occurred during the conversation with my doctor. After explaining our helper's case to him and talking about the meningitis, he said with some degree of emotional charge "so what do you want? I can't tell you that there's nothing wrong with her.". Weird! To my mind, this could only mean that he occasionally gets requests from employers who want him to say that their helpers are faking their symptoms, don't need treatment and are in fact ok to work. That's a sad reflection of the state of helper racism and prejudice in Hong Kong.

When I called my wife to tell her about the possibility of meningitis and the need for our helper to stay in hospital, her first reaction was dismay and concern for our helper. Her second and almost immediate reaction was disappointment because there would be no-one to perform normal household duties and because we'd need to care for our helper. My wife is a great person; she really is; but she grew up in an environment where helpers are treated as work objects. Her family never had helpers because they could never afford them, but many of the people working with her have helpers including one of her best friends and that's where the problem is.

One of my wife's friends and one of my wife's sisters living in another part of Hong Kong both treat helpers like slaves. They expect the helpers to work full speed all day long, listen to their every demand, never make mistakes, never take holidays, and never expect any niceties. My wife's friend already thinks my wife is wrong because we pay our helper full wages and give her all of her legally required holidays. When she overhears that we might be placing our helper in hospital my wife is planning to cook congee for our helper, she looks at my wife with confusion and objection. Why would we do that? Why would we place our helper in hospital cook for our helper? Why should we care so much? The normal behaviour would be to get the cheapest medication available, keep her at home and preferably keep her working while she recovers.

Words are rarely spoken between my wife and her friend about these matters but the looks and feelings are clearly there and it affects my wife. The people around her make her feel inferior, weak and taken advantage of because she treats her helper as a human being, almost as an equal. For my wife, it's even more difficult because on the one hand, she faces these people; people who matter to her; who treat their helpers as inferiors, and on the other hand faces a husband who dislikes any sound, word or action from his family that portends to prejudice or unfair treatment of others. My wife is in a very difficult place.

My sister-in-law just called from the hospital. The doctor doesn't think it's meningitis. He's not even going to test for meningitis. I asked him over the phone if he would take responsibility if it turned out to be meningitis. He didn't like the comment because it questions his judgement. In turn, he indignantly expressed to me questioning curiosity that a doctor would diagnose meningitis from the symptoms. In his mind, headache, neck pain, nausea, fever and vomiting did not mean meningitis. We'll see. In the meantime, they're going to xray her neck to see if anything has been damaged physically. They won't be testing for meningitis. I hope he's right. If he's wrong, it may have dire consequences for our helper.

This whole situation shines light on two persistent problems in Hong Kong; the treatment of helpers by their employers, and the existence of low-quality private doctors when the government is trying to implement a new system to force more of the general population to seek private doctors rather than use the Out-patient and Emergency sections of the public hospitals. Both problems will be impossible to solve and difficult to improve.

I must clarify that I am not a perfect person. Like my wife and many others, I too would not like to see one of our helpers get pregnant requiring three months of paid pregnancy leave. It would be very inconvenient, both from a financial point of view and from a housework point of view. For this reason, many Hong Kong people including my wife and I are very wary of potential helpers who have never married or are developing relationships with a man either here or in their home country. Some Hong Kong people even worry when their helpers go home for holidays each year. It's impossible to know if they'll come back pregnant. I fully believe and understand that it's their right to have a family and raise children. Nevertheless, it would be very inconvenient if this were to happen during their time with us.

Sickness is entirely different. No-one wants to be sick and everyone should be entitled to treatment and rest while sick so as to recover as quickly as possible. There's nothing you can do when a helper gets sick, nothing except to accept the situation, realise that it's hopefully temporary and plan as best you can how to handle the housework that needs to be done while your helper is sick. The way some people view their helpers, I wonder how far they are from saying "put her down and get another one". Harsh? Exagerated? Unrealistic? Definitely, but look up the term 'genocide' and then tell me what you think.

I'm fortunate. My wife and her two sisters living with us have very similar attitudes to my own and that's something I treasure. Within this family, we'll look after each other. If our helper lives here, then she's part of the family; even if she is the hired help.

Update(Tues, November 8, 2005)

Our helper is back home. While the doctor and nurses were examining her, she was vomiting and crying from the headaches. My sister-in-law showed them the medicine she has been taking over the last two days which at least proves to them that we didn't take her to the Emergency ward without trying other venues of treatment first (something I'd like to talk about; perhaps later). While taking her pulse, her heart rate for a moment was only in the mid 30's which was quite a shock to the nursing staff, motivating the doctor to ask for several indepth tests including an ECG (electro-cardiograph) and blood tests. They also gave her injections to ease the pain and nausea.

All tests were negative. She doesn't have meningitis, but she doesn't have gastro-enteritis either. In fact, they don't know what's wrong with her. She has new pain killer and vomit-suppression medicine and is back here with us at home, resting. If she doesn't get any extreme headaches or nausea, she doesn't have to go back to the hospital until next Monday for a checkup.

And she has a doctor's slip giving her three days sick leave ;-)   We thought that was funny because we would never require her to work before she's recovered, and because I usually forget that we truly are her employers and not just her 'family'.

Hummer!

Filed in MiscellaneousTags: ,

I'm guessing it's the hair spray from last night.

A few minutes ago while I was attending to Rose our new companion after reenforcing a suspended cupboard in our kitchen that didn't want to stay suspended, a bee started flying around my head much closer than I would deem normal. If you don't aggravate a bee, it won't generally sting you so I stayed still and let it be, thinking that it'd fly away. I was wrong. Instead of flying away, it settled on my nose! After walking around there for a few seconds, it took off, flew around my head a few more times, landed on my ear very close to my ear-hole, took off again and then landed on my head, just above my hairline. I then walked into the house with a bee crawling through my hair.

I was rather astonished at how sticky his feet were. Many insects use small hairs on their feet to adhere to surfaces. Obviously, those hairs work really well. They were so 'sticky' that they almost stung as he walked around up there.

I walked back outside the house and he flew off again, this time far off into the neighbouring trees.

But now he's back! While I'm sitting here typing this, he's (from memory, all worker bees are male) flying around above my head making a very loud humming sound.

Now he's at the door and Siu Bak 小白; our second dog, our first bitch; is very intent on catching him as he flies by. She's already made several attempts to catch him but without success. He's a little too high up for her.

It must be the hair spray. I was filming last night at TVB and didn't wash my hair afterwards because very little hair spray was used. Apparently, bees like it. If he comes back again, I'll be forced to wash my hair, even though it's only two in the afternoon. Who'd have guessed that a bee could compel someone to take a shower???

沒預料的回報(下集)

Filed in General, Memoirs, Music, Press, 中文文章Tags: , , ,

彈琴伴奏的男人是一個很出色的音樂家。他看五線譜的時候,隨時可以變調,而且全部都很有感覺。他還可以一邊聽著音樂一邊寫下來譜子。無可否認,他真的很棒,只不過荷里活裡有很多這樣出色的音樂家,所以很難找到好的工作,最後只好甚麼工作都做。

當我們上到第八課的時候,這個音樂家沒有出現了。原來他終於找到一份錢和前途都有的工作了,那就是幫一個音樂舞台劇編寫他們需要的所有的歌曲和音樂。我們當然替他高興,但同時也明白我們這個課程剩下的課就不會再有人替我們伴奏了。真可惜。

那天,就是因為沒有這位鋼琴家,我們早了下課。學生們都走了,只剩下我一個人在教室裡。這門課就是我每逢星期五上的最後一課,也是整個星期的最後一課。我沒有功課做,沒有甚麼地方可去,連最熟的同學都有事,不能陪我。回家也不太吸引人,因為我住的地方存在著一種既不舒服又不太受歡迎的氣氛,只好留在教室裡,看看可不可以彈彈我們學生們喜歡唱的歌。

Our classroom, theatrette

The classroom in which Elizabeth's class was conducted was originally a small theatre probably used principally for viewing movies; possibly film clips of Lee Strasberg's lectures recorded before he died. I say this because there's a hole in the wall behind the curtains, a hole through which a projector would have projected the clips. Lee Strasberg's lectures are now shown in a newly renovated theatre called the Monroe Theatre, named after Marilyn Monroe, once a student of Lee Strasberg.

For a 750x500 version, click here.

音樂對我來說是很特別的。無論甚麼地方,甚麼時候,甚麼事情,音樂永遠都會在我身邊,陪著我,安慰我,鼓勵我。除了我的太太之外,音樂就是我一生最重要的,最可靠的朋友。可惜我對音樂的認識太少,幾乎甚麼樂理都不懂,甚至連一種樂器都不會用。

可能這兒就是緣份,在這個特別的情況下讓我有一個機會學到我一生渴求的技術。

坐在鋼琴前,看著一張我不會看的五線譜卻也有為了結他手而寫的和弦,我只好看著那些結他的和弦,慢慢地算出來每個和弦的結構。大調和弦就是用一三五的音,小調和弦就是把第三個音減半個音,就是這樣慢慢地計算出來每個和弦。不知不覺地,我在原本應該下課的時間前已經能彈出其中一首歌。雖然彈得很簡單,有一點兒像彈結他一樣的彈法,但是已經夠了,已經有音樂感。我的夢開始慢慢成真了。

那那天到現在已經有一年了。我不時練習彈琴,盡量使我的彈琴技術一天比一天好。有我的電子琴,有一些音樂書,我隨時都可以一邊彈一邊唱一些我喜歡的歌。不用說,我算不上專業,但是也不能說太差。關於彈琴,當然我還有很多要學的東西。但是已經有了個開始。

上個月,我去了印尼,去我們前家務助理的家並参加她的婚禮。可能因為她家鄉連一個會說英文的人都沒有,而我幾乎沒有辦法跟他家人溝通,我就在那時對印尼話產生了一點興趣。現在已經會說幾個字了,而每天都會跟我們現在的印尼家務助理學一兩個字。學了二十年廣東話,學得那麼辛苦,我沒想到我會再有勇氣敢去學另外一種新的語言。

很多人覺得到了某一個年紀的時候就沒有學新東西的能力了。是不是我這個四十歲的人已經證明這種想法不對的。如果你有甚麼想學的,但因為年紀的問題而不敢嘗試的話,不如馬上就去試試吧。你也可能會得到沒預料的回報。

沒預料的回報(上集)

Filed in General, Memoirs, Music, Press, 中文文章Tags: , , ,

去年,我為了能夠演更好的戲而到荷里活去了三個月。雖然我差不多半生在無線電視台從事演員,但是我依然覺得我的演技還可以好得多。始終,一邊工作一邊學習可以學到的的確有限。只有專業的導師(和一點緣份)才能學到最好的。所以,去年年初,我終於決定上學正式學習演戲。

我在荷里活的時間非常開心,但是因為我很久沒有跟我的太太和狗狗分開那麼長的時間,所以亦有一點想念他們。幸運地,那時候,香港打電話打到美國的費用很便宜讓我每天都可以跟我的太太通兩三次電話,而每星期天還可以到我美國住宿的房子附近的蘋果電腦商店借用他們的電腦和「iChat」軟件跟我的太太通視像電話見面,讓星期天成為我正個星期最開心的一天。

在荷里活上學,我當然學了不少,演技也有一定的進步。但是我也得到非預料的回報,使這個旅程成為我生命中特別重要的一個。

學生們在學校報名的時候需要選擇課文。有些課目就是必上的,而其他的課目就任你選擇。所有的課目都是關於演戲的,除了一個之外。

這個課的老師是一個很精神的八十五歲的名為 Elizabeth Sabine 的女人,恰巧跟我一樣是澳洲人。由於她的年紀不少,所以有時候就會忘記了她剛剛說的話而不知不覺重複說一次,可是她非常可愛的,而我們每個學生都喜歡她。

Elizabeth and Me

Elizabeth was a wonderful person. As far as I know, this was the last class she taught at the Lee Strasberg Institute.

For a 750x500 version, click here.

她教的是唱歌的技術。她曾經在澳洲,英國,美國,甚至香港(還沒有現在的灣仔的時候)都唱過歌,所以對唱歌非常熟悉。學校請她教唱歌的目的卻不是希望學生們能唱好歌,而希望學生們能學怎麼大聲說話。 Elizabeth 的名氣就是來自教人怎麼大大聲聲唱歌,也因為這樣而得到她的花名,就是「The queen of screech」。

一課為三個小時。首四十五分鐘就是鬆身和開聲的練習。十五分鐘休息已後,學生們就一個一個地在班學生們前邊跟一個鋼琴家唱歌,一邊唱一邊聽著 Elizabeth 的指示。

老實說,一般學生選擇課目的時候也都會選擇一兩個不用做那麼多功課的課文,甚至希望可以不上課也有。Elizabeth 的課就是這種課,所以很多學生就會當她的課是一種娛樂,一堂 karaoke,不用學甚麼東西,不用主意老師的指示,不用為了下次上課而作準備。Elizabeth 都知道這一點所以每次遇到努力的學生,她就會特別用心去教那個學生。

Elizabeth coaching one of my fellow students

Elizabeth would coach each of the students as they sung their chosen songs.

For a 750x500 version, click here.

And then there were eight.

Filed in Dogs of our Lives

Last week, we had an appointment with friends for dinner in Sai Kung. We left home early expecting to arrive in Sai Kung with plenty of time to look for a metered parking space (very hard to come by in Hong Kong) only to find ourselves at the end of a queue of slow moving cars waiting their turn for the round-about. We were almost to the round-about when we noticed something unusual in the driveway to the left of us; a small white rabbit.

It was clearly out of place and confused, skipping up and down the driveway, absolutely unsure of where to go. I immediately steered the car into the driveway and got out of the car wondering how I was going to catch the rabbit. As I approached the rabbit, guards in charge of protecting this very expensive home were wondering why an unauthorised car had parked in their driveway. As one of the guards opened the gate to request ("command" might be a better word) that I leave, I pointed to the rabbit upon which he closed the gate and left us alone.

Our new rabbit friend

She's definitely cute; white all over with black bands around her eyes and two black spots on her back.

For a 750x500 version, click here.

The rabbit was injured looking as if it had been hit by a car. Catching it and picking it up was not a problem at all. I later realised that the rabbit was probably in shock at the time making it easier to catch. I placed him on newspapers behind the front passenger seat of our car and drove off to Sai Kung for dinner. That night after dinner, we took him home with us and placed him in a spare cage.

The next day, we fed and looked after him. His injuries were more obvious in the daylight. He had cuts, scratches and grazes down one side of his body, and an injured eye that was completely white and didn't look too healthy. One side of his head appeared swollen and slightly lop-sided as well. He obviously needed treatment and we didn't want to keep him unless we had to so we dropped him off at the SPCA. I made it a point to inform them at the SPCA that we'd look after the rabbit if nobody else adopted him.

After the SPCA's doctor had examined the rabbit, they called to tell me that he was going to be ok and didn't need any treatment although he might eventually need to have his eye removed. Where I had surmised that the rabbit's injuries had been caused by a car, the doctor thought he had probably been attacked by dogs. Unfortunately, the SPCA didn't think he was suitable for adoption because of the bad eye and the unattractive injuries so he'd be put down if we didn't take him back.

Rabbit injuries

Probably attacked by dogs, she had cuts, scratches and grazes down one side of her body, and an almost completely white injured eye. Today, one week after this photo was taken, most of the hair has grown back and the white is going out of her eye. However, we still can't be sure if she'll be able to keep the eye.

And the doctor told us one more thing. The rabbit was a girl! (Apparently, it's very difficult to differentiate girl rabbits from boy rabbits and usually requires close experienced examination.)

So we now have a girl rabbit staying with us. She might belong to someone in the neighbourhood where we found her so we're putting up advertisements in the local ParknShop but I think she'll probably be here for the long haul. One good thing about keeping her is that we now have sexual balance in our home. With four women, one man, seven male dogs and three female dogs, the males outnumbered the females. With the rabbit, males and females are now equally matched. That has to be a good thing right?

Today, one week after finding her, the rabbit's doing really well. The doctor had told me that she might not regrow hair in the injured area down the side of her body but in less than one week, she has already grown most of it back and she's quite pretty. Her pink nose is really cute and almost never stops moving. She's especially cute when she's washing her ears and face. It's the first time I've ever been this close to a rabbit and I'm enjoying the experience.

Our dogs are absolutely captivated by her. Unfortunately, it's more than curiosity. If she ever escaped from the cage, she'd almost certainly be killed by our dogs. I remember watching Beethoven sitting in front of the cage and watching her on the first day she stayed with us. Beethoven; normally very quiet and gentle; was shaking all over with the excitement and anticipation of being able to catch and kill the rabbit. It wasn't a pretty sight but there's very little you can do without time and training. Killing cute furry animals is part of their nature. Beethoven is getting used to the rabbit and behaving much better now but there's no way I'm letting the rabbit out of the cage any time soon. For extra safety, I'm the only one here allowed to open the cage.

Rabbit curiosity

All of our dogs were extremely captivated by the rabbit and very very curious. The dog in this picture is David, the oldest of four brothers and sisters found as pups in a bush near our home. He's very gentle, playful and loving, spending a large part of his free time lying on the floor next to my feet while I sit at the computer.

For a 750x500 version, click here.

I'm hoping that her eye will heal but there's still a very good chance that it's permanently damaged and will have to be removed. Even so, she's very cute.

We haven't named her yet. Any ideas?

Song: The Nearness of You

Filed in Memoirs, Music, Music: My SongsTags: ,

My next am730 article is just about finished. Part 1 was published a week ago and Part 2 should be published next week. I'll post the full article here after am730 has published it.

This am730 article mentions a teacher I had the fortune to meet while studying at The Strasberg Institute in Los Angeles last year. Her name was Elizabeth and we had a wonderful time together. One of the songs I sang during class that she particularly liked was "The Nearness of You", a wonderful song published way back in 1937. I'm going to record some of my songs and post them here on the blog and I thought this song would be a good start.

This song was recorded in September of 2004, just after returning from Los Angeles. Both the piano and voice are mine. With only three months of piano in my pocket, it was the beginning of a new life in music for me.

I hope you like it.

The Nearness of You as sung by Gregory Charles Rivers, September 2004.