Yearly Archives: 2009


POLITICS – HK Time Out Magazine – Column #18

I’m currently contributing a short, light-hearted political column to Hong Kong Time Out Magazine. Below is the uncut, original version of my latest piece…

Pet Abandonment
For two years I lived in the heart of the pet district on the cusp of affluent Ho Man Tin. Here I saw how, for many locals and expats alike, pets have unfortunately become semi-disposable fashion accessories and status symbols (big dog = big flat = big money!) Whether it’s the latest trend in exotic reptiles or dressed up designer puppies in pimped up prams, the pet market is booming in a city hardly suited to domestic animals.


POLITICS – HK Time Out Magazine – Column #17

I’m currently contributing a short, light-hearted political column to Hong Kong Time Out Magazine. Below is the uncut, original version of my latest piece…

Taxing Times
Einstein claimed that the hardest thing to understand in the world is tax, yet even our most air-headed pseudo-model would grasp HK’s straightforward tax system. We’ve no sales, estate or currency tax, capital gains or VAT, and individuals pay 2%, 8% and 12% income tax progressively. Only the filthiest of the filthy rich (just 1.7%) pay the highest band of 17%. HK’s rates are relatively super low – it may just feel a lot because our demands arrive in one annual beating, such is the simplicity of our tax law. In fact, the entire ordinance stretches to just 200 pages and has barely changed in 60 years.


ACTIVISM – Letter in The Standard 1

Hong Kong’s Sing Tao newsgroup owns the territory’s second largest Chinese language newspaper and its only free English daily. Their pro-government stance has stood both before and after the 1997 handover to China, switching its support to Beijing after Hong Kong was returned to Chinese control as a Special Administrative Region. Sing Tao’s global circulation is second only to the International Herald Tribune and it has aligned itself with several mainland news outfits.

In 1996 several staff members were arrested by HK’s anti-corruption unit after manipulating circulation figures. In 2001, Sing Tao’s Canadian arm was issued an injunction by Quebec Supreme Court for describing the Falun Gong as an ‘evil cult’.


POLITICS – HK Time Out Magazine – Column #16

I’m currently contributing a short, light-hearted political column to Hong Kong Time Out Magazine. Below is the uncut, original version of my latest piece…

Electric Avenue
What with our splendid public transport system and the high costs of parking, fuel, maintenance, licensing, insurance, registration and tolls, you’d think opting to drive would be the reserve of planet-loathing egomaniacs. And you’d not be wrong, as only 5.3% of Hong Kongers own a vehicle in this, a city built around the automobile.


POLITICS – HK Time Out Magazine – Column #15

I’m currently contributing a short, light-hearted political column to Hong Kong Time Out Magazine. Below is the uncut, original version of my latest piece…

Stopping the traffic
Since the 1922 seamen strike, Hong Kongers have long expressed their grievances and achieved results through protest. Our lack of a voice at the ballot box means over 3,800 public rallies and protest meetings are held annually in the territory. This can make it difficult to catch the attention of the guilty parties being targeted, let alone the fickle mass media.


POLITICS – HK Time Out Magazine – Column #14

I’m currently contributing a short, light-hearted political column to Hong Kong Time Out Magazine. Below is the uncut, original version of my latest piece…

Petty politics
The pro-Beijing DAB may dominate LEGCO seats but their recent behaviour suggests they might be a couple of roast ducks short of a buffet. This summer, they called a press conference to reveal local up-skirt exposure black spots. This highly comprehensive list, which pinpointed public places whereby Peeping Toms can spy on women, happened to double splendidly as a list of public places for Peeping Toms to spy on women. Perhaps we should also expect a handy list of dodgy websites we definitely shouldn’t visit?


POLITICS – HK Time Out Magazine – Column #13

I’m currently contributing a short, light-hearted political column to Hong Kong Time Out Magazine. Below is the uncut, original version of my latest piece…

Maid in the Mainland
Was I right to feel like some idle, neo-colonial taskmaster in hiring a domestic helper for a day, or was I just being a wet hippy? Despite being wrought with guilt after asking a friend’s maid to tackle my grimy kitchen, the penny dropped when she repeatedly thanked me for the extra work. Somehow, I only then realised that migrant domestic workers wanted to be employed, and employers wanted to employ them – something I was blinded to amidst the politics.


POLITICS – HK Time Out Magazine – Column #12

I’m currently contributing a short, light-hearted political column to Hong Kong Time Out Magazine. Below is the uncut, original version of my latest piece…

‘Green shoots’
Greenpeace won’t be happy with how I learned to stop worrying and love the skyscraper, but Hong Kong’s super high density set-up is actually a very economical model. Our compact living arrangements minimise the impact on the local environment, which is over 70% countryside, giving us one of the highest proportions of national park reserves in the world. It means almost everyone is well-connected to public transport, it quashes the need for car ownership, enables local economies and makes commuting to the supermarket an outlandish idea. One local blogger calculated that only 0.15% of the world’s land mass would be urbanised if everyone were to live, as he does, on an 18,000 person housing estate. Plus, efficient living needn’t denote a bleak and claustrophobic existence, as most land would be left to nature or for public use.


POLITICS – HK Time Out Magazine – Column #11

I’m currently contributing a short, light-hearted political column to Hong Kong Time Out Magazine. Below is the uncut, original version of my latest piece…

Mainland meddling.
Show up to any protest vaguely involving China and you’ll spot dark clothed men murmuring in Putonghua with earpieces and shaved heads – the mainland undercover police ‘goons’ stick out worse than Donald Tsang’s spottiest bowtie. They suspiciously eye you up as if you’d just killed their cat – though, I hardly blend in either, being a pale, ginger-haired beacon of gweilo tallness (somehow we both like to think we go undetected!)


POLITICS – HK Time Out Magazine – Column #10

I’m currently contributing a short, light-hearted political column to Hong Kong Time Out Magazine. Below is the uncut, original version of my latest piece…

In bed with the Junta

China may have begun to distance itself from the wacky regime in North Korea, but its support of the detestable Burmese junta hasn’t missed a beat. India, China and Hong Kong have too many vested interests at stake to have joined the international chorus of condemnation when democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi was sentenced this month. It should come as no surprise that China’s Foreign Ministry simply said that the world must ‘fully respect Myanmar’s judicial sovereignty’.