Notes: Bikers in Hong Kong (Pt 4/finale)
Tuesday 7 February 2012, 9.00pm HKT
7. We have our own fair share of jaw-dropping biker douchebaggery (a.k.a. guidoism, fratboyeurism).
- On a lean, mean and preened muscle chopper, you wear a hiking anorak, hip-hop hoodie and Reeboks
- Full Grand Prix racing gear on a scooter
- Gay-bondage leatherwear on a BMW (well, not too mismatched, if you ask me)
- High-wing bars and a pinstriped shirt and tweed jacket
- Instead of saddlebags on a chopper, plastic tailbox (the kind used by deliverymen)
- On deathrider choppers, Quadrophenia-style scooter helmets
- On Vespas done up Quadrophenia style, deathrider leather gear
Please, I don’t want to go on, I beg of you.
Please look the effing part, mate!
Mods in 1960s and 70s UK
8. Be seen (and heard) to own an expensive bike is paramount.
Here in Hong Kong, owing an expensive vehicle makes it almost obligatory to instigate some kind of shameless maximum ‘exposure’ — and that takes first place over any need to cultivate the right looks.
Which amply explains our biking and automobile douchebaggery.
Like no other place in the world, our ‘bikers’ wouldn’t bat an eyelid and be seen wearing ‘chav’ or fratboy’y gear like a Burberry scarf or a Dunhill leather jacket or a Hilfiger something whilst riding a Harley-Davidson Heritage Softail Classic* with air-cooled twin-cam 103B engine and six-speed cruise drive.
* Basic, no-frills price HK$247,000 (roughly US$32,000 or £20,000).
There’s just no accounting for taste over here.
9. Our bikers customise their machines to death to make it look just like one thing.
As a rule, bikers are customisation freaks. Theirs is a yen to make their beloved machine special, unique, different, kewl, evil — the ‘wow’ factor is big with them.
But here, our bikers customise their machines to resemble a Harley and nothing else.
Anyone with any money left after the mortgage payments, rent, card bills, gambling debts, etc will do their hardest and bestest to transmogrify their Yamaha, Honda, Kawasaki, etc into their favourite model of Harley.
And another thing: when Hong Kong bikers customise, they customise for ‘camp’ (hence the psedo-death-metal-goth look) rather than ‘normal.’ That’s because the stuff they read in Japanese biking magazines (their main source of information) is mostly OTT (over the top).
Originality, as you’ve gathered by now, is not our forté even when it comes to copycatting.
The most expensive bike ever made,
at the Sturgis Motorcycle Museum in South Dakota, USA
10. Hong Kong has no real biker gangs. We have something deadlier.
No biker gangs the likes of which we see in America, Britain or Australia, criminal or otherwise.
Our ‘biker gangs,’ so to speak, are corporate financial suits and other playboy types with impatient personalities and insolent attitudes who additionally own luxury sportscars like Ferraris, Lamborghinis, Alfa Romeos, etc.
In our raw capitalist city where living space is microscopic and cost of living is astronomical, choppers are mostly the preserve of playboys and corporates. The hoi-polloi make do with scooters (whose prices, incidentally, are just as expensive as choppers), or public transport.
These fratboys with bikes and shites frequently have it out in the wee hours of the night in illicit auto races that unnervingly mirror the high-speed car chases in ‘The Fast and The Furious.’
Their favourite ‘racetrack’ so to speak is a long, straight stretch of creepy-feeling highway called Tuen Mun Road (屯門公路) in the northwest corner of Hong Kong.
There’s bloody big money involved when off-duty policemen and on-duty mobsters join in the races as suitors or tributes.
Everybody here knows that cops and robbers face off b(w)ankers and playboys in illicit races — it’s an open secret even among non-drivers.
The best part of these internecine races is the obligatory life-ending crashes and their participants’ highly mutilated body parts strewn over a wide area usually by 5am when road surface conditions become shitty because of morning air damp over that highway — just in time for the highly educational 7am bus rides of the schoolchildren.
Yup, I lurve the smell of petrol and burnt flesh in the morning.
The ‘winner,’ so to speak, is the one who survives long enough to be ferried to the local favourite ICU and dies a horrible death fully two weeks later.
The whole thing clearly is evolutionary natural selection in action.
The most recent racing crash was around middle of last year, when some dude died practically bodyless after ramming his black Ferrari costing a cool HK$4 million (US$516,000) into a tree or something with the force of a thousand suns. I think the fire brigade recovered a kneecap and a few bits of bone, but otherwise nothing else.
I honestly hope the insurance company is okay with a bodyless traffic fatality, otherwise the insurance agent-person might lose his job handling that account, and it ain’t nice to be an innocent victim.
It’s very easy even for an outsider to know what’s going on. When there’s a news report of a racing fatality, if the authorities get cagey about the victim’s details other than that standard-issue phrase “still under investigation” — it’s a cop.
They know, I know, and so does everybody else. Just who are we kidding here?
FYI, I have never ‘raced’ (except in a courtroom), mainly because I don’t want to be part of any dead-end evolutionary natural selection process like that, thank you very much.
© The Naked Listener’s Weblog, 2012.