Archive for the 'Rant' Category

:: Hong Kong smoking ban — July 1 2009

June 30, 2009
No puffin!

No puffin!

That annoying Hong Kong smoking ban finally hits the lungs of Hong Kong on July 1, 2009. I’m shaken down to my nicotine stained bones. As a smoker, I value being able to walk out of a “pleasure establishment” reeking of tobacco. Now, after the smoking ban, non-smokers won’t stink of my Camel Lights when they exit a bar. They’ll only smell of sweat, hormones and booze.


I’m not alone in my angst. In May, Hong Kong bar workers rallied against the ban for fear their businesses will take a serious dip.

Speaking of dips, I suppose I could always take up chewing tobacco instead.

Maybe its time to breakout the spittoons Wild West style and get to chawin’ pardner! I could just pinch a dip of chew into my lip and let that sweet flavored tobacco take me away to la la nicotine land. One dip can end up feeling like smoking 4 cigs at once (not that I’d know). I could import the stuff and make a fortune. Dip tycoon of Hong Kong is what I’ll be called. Epic.

Ok so I’m disheartened by that pesky lip cancer. But I won’t be messing with electronic cigarettes in Hong Kong because I don’t feel like going directly to jail without passing go.

I suppose I could just quit smoking. Crazy concept I know, but benefits abound with the quitting option. No more stank clothes, no more leaving the bar to take a puff, and no more chewing gum like a fiend throughout a date. Oh yes, and no more huffing and puffing walking up hills in Hong Kong.

Where to light up after the July 1, 2009 Hong Kong smoking ban

On your balcony – Light up before going out, then you have the option of brushing your teeth pre-boozy hookup, thus giving you a better chance at a boozy hookup.

In your bathroom – Don’t feel like stinking up the apartment or giving your neighbors kids an early onset of cancer by smoking on the balcony? Don’t have a balcony? Can’t afford a balcony? Take a seat on The Throne, turn on the fan and puff away.

In a corner on the street – Don’t blow smoke in the faces of people walking or standing around you. You do it even if you’re not trying to. Trust me, I unintentionally blow smoke in people’s faces on a daily basis. So find a nice, dark spot away from the rest of the group and light up to your heart’s (at least what’s left of the black, shriveled olive you now call a heart) content.

Next to a trash can – Always a favorite spot for the Hong Kong smoker because nothing says “Damn I’m cool” like chillin’ by an orange or blue trash can.

In a designated smokers area – Roped off like a herd of diseased swine, smokers can inhale love fumes in specially marked off areas designed specifically with the smoker in mind. If you didn’t stink to high heaven before, you will after.

The Hong Kong smoking ban is here to stay folks. Better get used to it.


Crazy Brits, squash, and a foot orgy ::

March 27, 2009

The 100o year old game of racquetball has been butchered by the Brits. If you’ve ever enjoyed a game of racquetball with blue balls flying, intentional shots to the back, and sweaty headbands then you know it is the purest form of the “court sports.” Only the ancient Aztec game of Decapitated Slave Head Footie comes close in terms of intensity, skill and sheer badassery.


The only people that could think up such a perversion of racquetball live on an island with shitty weather and nothing better else to do than to screw with perfection. So they shrunk the racquet ball, the racquets, and the court. They also added more rules to the game like pointless lines on the front wall and side wall. The ball is also, for lack of a better word, squashy. Which is where my research has led me to believe the name of the game was derived. I’m still trying to put everything together, so don’t quote me.

Bloody hell. So I played this bloke from work yesterday down at the sporting center in Central Hong Kong. Fellow was quite good twisting me up on the squash court I must say. Had a bloody good serve that I couldn’t hit for the life of me. By jove! I needed a pint after he was finished with me! It was a jolly good time though, regardless of the strained buttox I endured during the last game. Good show for my friend, beating me 8-1, 8-2, 8-2 in three games.

Jolly. Good. Show.

I hate squash. What a dumb name for a game.

Luckily I was able to have some of my beating massaged away at Joy Massage on Caine Road afterwards. I’ve never participated in a foot orgy before. 14 people lined up in chairs with their feet raised and oily, accompanied by the sounds of hands massaging between toes (ick). Toes everywhere, but not a happy ending in sight. For those of you wondering what a “happy ending” is, it is when two people love each other very much and they decide to love each other for very long tine, or at least for the duration of the commercial break during a Chinese TV drama.

After all the intense activities, I needed to harmonize my sausage and stomach with a smooth fruit drink.

Sausage and Stomach Drink

Then it was time for a hike in the boonies, far, far, far from where we were supposed to be. Good thing my sausage was harmonized!

:: 3 questions to rule them all – and 1 answer to confuse and disturb

March 11, 2009

When you first meet somebody what’s the first thing you say? “Hi, my name is Chris” or Mable, or Sue-beth, or Harry or whatever your name may be. This is pretty standard fare no matter what your current locale. Move to a place where you’re a minority aka expat, and that first question is followed up by “Where are you from?” 

What typically comes next? If you’re an expat living in Hong Kong, after you’ve answered “Where are you from” by attempting to detail the closest location that the person you have just met might have heard about, you will be asked, “So what do you do?”

This is by far the most important question. Your name could be Sally Sucksalot and you could be from Herpes County but if you reply, “I work for Some Place Important Inc.” then you shall receive raised eyebrows and a business card will magically appear in your hand even if, now this is the amazing part, even if your hand is in your pocket. At any social gathering this can be expected to happen at least once, and many nights once you finally stumble home you can expect to find business cards tucked away on your body in the most surprising of places. 

Just last night I found cards…

In my left sock.

Under my hairline

Between my shoulder blades

In a pocket I didn’t even know I had.

You are what you do plain and simple. If you currently live in Hong Kong or have for a while, or even in any major city where you’re out and about meeting “important” people (or people who think they are important) then you know of what I speak. How many of your “friends” could you call your actual friends? How many of them talk to you for who you are and what you can offer them professionally? 

I would like to propose a social experiment to anyone reading this. I’ll understand if you don’t have the balls or ova to follow through on it, but this experiment at the very least deserves some consideration. The next time somebody asks you what you do for a living, just blurt the first thing that comes to mind AFTER the truth. 

Dude in a blazer that costs more than what you made last month, “So what do you do?”

Answer, “I shovel shit for a living.”

Dude in blazer, “Seriously? You’re joking.”

Answer, “Seriously. Its very rewarding. I hire professional pooper scoopers to follow dog owners around when they walk their dogs and scoop up their poos. I have to train them all.”

Confused and disturbed dude in blazer, “It was nice to meet you.”

Answer, “So you’re a dog owner? I could follow you and your dog around to show you what I do, then maybe we could grab a biscuit or something.”

Dude in blazer is gone, only the vapor trails from his hasty escape are visible.

This would obviously be more interesting if you are a very attractive female that doesn’t look like she scoops up crap for a living. I’d be willing to bet that if somebody continues talking to you after you’ve professed your job as something less than important then that person either thinks you’re totally full of it or they’re not as concerned with your “standing” in life. Either way, you can tell the truth at some point and the ice will be broken with a good story that they will surely not forget. 

I think my next job will be a muskrat groomer.

Central-Mid-Levels Soho Escalator manners – breach at own risk! ::

March 10, 2009

I saw a nun get rolled yesterday. First a little background. The Hong Kong Central-Mid-Levels Soho Escalators are people movers that lug pedestrians up and down the steep streets from Central through Soho to Mid Levels. There are about 7 – 10 flights total passing popular streets like Hollywood Road, Elgin Street, and Staunton, so some people have a bit of a ways to go from their apartment to the end in Central, myself included. Now picture if you will, a morning and evening rush hour of suits riding the slides to and from work. There are two simple rules for all the slide riders to follow. 

1. If you’re not going to walk, get to the right to let people pass on the left.

2. Don’t drop an ass bomb.

So on my way home from work last night I just got on the first flight going up, and there was a little blue nun (nuns are like crayons, they can come in different colors) blocking the path on the left. The gentleman directly ahead of me was kind enough to put the nun in the proper place reserved for those not in a rush, the elderly, infants, and apparently nuns. He managed to elbow her just enough to send her stumbling to her knees directly into a free space on the slow side. I was impressed by the obviously practiced skill this man displayed in making right such a horrible breach of escalator etiquette. The next time the nun rides the slides she’ll be sure to think twice about blocking the fast lane. Nuns, can’t live with em, can’t go to heaven without em.

Mine eye, she twitches. The Bus Stop is at fault ::

March 9, 2009

Remember? Have you forgotten already? Probably. It was very important, and now you’ve blown it. You’ll remember in an hour when you can’t tell somebody what it was you were thinking about in the first place.

Don’t you hate that?

So that thing I’m thinking about is how my eye is twitching. Happens when I’m tired, and I’m tired because of The Bus Stop, aka my new apartment. I’m right off Caine Road by the Soho escalator and I expect to get about 6 hours of sleep a night for the next month or until I adjust to the noise. Last night the buses stopped at 12:10 am, then at 12:36 am a garbage truck pulls into the alley below, “BEEP BEEP BEEP &#@!kin’ BEEP!” What in the wide world of sports is a garbage truck doing loading trash at 12:36 am? Maybe I’ll ask him tomorrow night. In my underwear. Wielding that rice cooker I was talking about.

I suppose the one bonus of living in The Bus Stop is I won’t need an alarm clock since buses start screaming by at about 6:20 am. I’m up! I’m up! OK! Shower! Check. Clothes! Check. Coffee! Check. Off to work an hour early. Eye twitches.

Yeah, I need earplugs.

I know what you’re thinking, “You live in Hong Kong you candy ass, deal with it! Hong Kong is a huge, noisy city and you’re complaining about some buses? You could be dealing with the Traids (Hong Kong gangs for those of you who think Hong Kong is a small fishing village in Singapore) having kung fu Big Trouble in Little China style battles outside! Come on! Pansy!”

To that I say…I lived in the Cali suburbs for the last year (nearly) where it is deathly quiet at night. If you hear something loud then it is either a giant meteor crashing to Earth and  its Armageddon, or somebody is whupping on their kids. The two events could easily be confused I imagine. But I keep waking up so I’m guessing a meteor hasn’t hit yet.

These kinds of things are some of the fun challenges you deal with moving to a new city. If you value quiet, then prepare to live far from everything. If you want to live in a hoppin’ area then you better prepare for a few little ups and downs here and there. Or, to pay a small fortune which I am not prepared to do.

PS. Hong Kong is 50% British and 50% French banker for those wondering what the demographic is here. Cars drive on the left side of the road and unemployed French bankers (what ones are left) wander the streets like zombies, throwing cash at bottles of champagne like they’re still making money.