10 things this week
Sunday 7 October 2012, 12.50pm HKT
THINGS haven’t been smooth sailing lately for me, so I’ll just summarise and leave things at that.
I’ve managed only eight posts last month, way down from my average batting record of 20 a month. The below were some of the distractions for me for this state of affairs.
Money is tight.
toilet bowl of a city I’m living in called Hong Kong has stopped making money.
Financial printers like me depend on printing IPOs (initial public offerings, a.k.a. public stock flotations, a.k.a. initial public outrage) for the bulk of their income.
Notwithstanding media reports and official government announcements to the contrary, the worldwide financial situation is worsening by the week, and no light at the end of the tunnel in sight.
A London-based jeweller pulled the plug on its US$1 billion Hong Kong IPO in May because of the eurozone crisis and China’s economic slowdown. Had it gone through, it would have been Asia’s biggest flotation for the year. It was the fourth major IPO to be aborted this year here.
Right now, I understand a mainland Chinese dairy company with a longwinded name is planning a Hong Kong IPO this year. I understand the dairy company is hoping to raise US$800 million to US$1,000 million (i.e. US$1 billion) from the IPO. If true and the deal sees the light of day, financial printers in this deal-starved market will be in a mad scramble to win the printing contract.
The dismal IPO market this year has been the lowest for Hong Kong since 2003. That year Hong Kong led the world in IPOs. For most of this year, printers have been begging Oliver Twist-style for any kind of print jobs. Things are highly likely to stay rough because banks themselves have been cutting costs to the bone as those IPOs that made it through have seen their values dropped by 80%.
Three days of high court hearings. This is the long-running lawsuit my building’s Incorporated Owners (that’s Hong Kong-speak for ‘owners and residents association’) got faultlessly sucked into with the government and a third party. Ergo, the flat owners got faultlessly sucked into pooling the legal costs.
Courtroom-side fee is HK$6,000 (US$770 or £480) an hour × 3 hours a day × 3 days of hearings per lawyer. (Hong Kong has a ‘split’ legal profession: barristers are trial/courtroom lawyers and solicitors non-trial/non-courtroom lawyers.) Repeat the rate for the solicitor.
And that’s just the cost for court time. Repeat the rate for non-courtroom work such as legal preparation, research and ‘discovery’ during the lead time to court hearings. You work out the costs.
Shut your gob … I don’t want to talk about it, but it’s something related to my kitchen.
Ratta (you’ll remember her if you’ve been following this blog for more than six months) lost her job with Ferrari (“for those with more cash and a love to crash”) in February.
Since then, she’s been bouncing from job to job. Her cash is pretty tight too.
Fortunately, she became a nursery or kindergarten schoolmistress two months ago.
Unfortunately, her employer (the owner/headmistress) turned out to be right royal bitch of a psychopath (no kidding!). I’ll update about her in another post another time.
You just wouldn’t believe the things that go on in schools here.
Big fight with Johnny, my neighbour’s son.
Let’s say the fracas had been a One-Way Saturday Night Square-Up On A Monday.
(A British ‘square-up’ is a ‘square-off’ to our American cousins.)
- I was in charge of Johnny on behalf of his mum
- he became Mr Invisible all day and all night long
- he lied through his teeth about his whereabouts
- his lies were lame-arsed and I ‘tipped over’
Let’s not actually indicate:—
- how I scared the living daylights out of him
- in the street
- in full view of the general public
- with certain body parts of his
- ‘voluntarily impacting’
- against certain body parts of mine
- whilst I explained why it’s bloody dangerous for him to become Mr Invisible
- somewhere in the city
- when he’s only 18 years old
- and a skinny, scrawny, chronic asthmatic to boot
No, honestly, it’s nowhere violent as that. Hand on my heart, if I lie, hope to die. (Err, best forget that quickly.)
Truth is, Johnny’s a bit of an oaf (a blockhead).
And that’s the problem. ‘Bad’ kids usually can take care of themselves. Oafs can’t. True fact.
Just these two years in our district, two people went missing (or ‘gone missing,’ if you’re an American). Both were expat women in their mid-30s. Nothing’s been heard of them. No word from the police either.
If fully grown expats can disappear in a tiny town like Hong Kong, be sure you’re putting your own life in your own hands when you’re an oaf.
Lesson learnt (for now, at least).
BEST ON TV
Had to be “The Fog of War: Eleven Lessons in the Life of Robert S. McNamara,” a 2004 Oscar-winning American documentary film.
“Never answer the question asked of you. Answer the question you wish it had been asked instead.” — Robert McNamara (1916-2009)
The 11 lessons:—
- “Empathize with your enemy”
- “Rationality will not save us”
- “There’s something beyond one’s self”
- “Maximize efficiency”
- “Proportionality should be a guideline in war”
- “Get the data”
- “Belief and seeing are both often wrong”
- “Be prepared to reexamine your reasoning”
- “In order to do good, you may have to engage in evil” (but minimize it)
- “Never say never”
- “You can’t change human nature”
Average age of GIs in Vietnam: 19 (not 22).
Those who don’t know who McNamara was, ask your grandparents.
Gennie, Mongolia’s first female rapper
“Mongolian Bling“ on Al Jazeera (English) about rappers and hip-hop people there. If you think white supremacists are scary, wait till you see non-racist Mongolian supremacists.
Average age of Mongol rappers: 30.
chicks girls ladies. Jacinta (a blonde from Sydney) and Bella (a Filipina who lived her entire life in Peking/Beijing). Nice chat with them at the IKEA Bistro on Thursday.
Not either of them: just a placeholder girl to whet your appetite
Sorry, no pictures available (because I was distracted). I know, I know, “no pictures, it didn’t happen.” I’ll do better next time.
Bizarre dream the other day (it was day, not night).
I think I met myself and was being interviewed by a news crew about it. I was asked to describe the other ‘me’:—
“This man is easygoing, a bit of an oddball, with a sense of humour that puts friends in stitches but doesn’t seem like such a person to outsiders. Paralleling this is a vicious streak in him, which sometimes makes him take umbrage over the smallest matters.”
What?! I’ve nothing vicious or umbragey in me!
Oh, well done … now I have myself making defamatory statements about myself in my dreams to subconscious news services for broadcasting to my subconscious audience.
*Headdesk* I need to get a hamster (see why below).
As a ‘next-level’ kind of guy, I’m going to have to take this blog to the next level. Just a bit, not too much. I don’t want to scare you lot off, but mainly I don’t want to scare myself.
I’m going to have to start posting ‘interesting’ pictures more.
Those ‘interesting’ pictures might be ‘inappropriate’:—
- possibly inelegant
- probably off-colour
- likely to contain nudity (or, even worse, fully clothed)
- gore is possible (but only in a non-gorish way)
- politically correct
- or whatever takes my whim
Can’t help it — the images are piling up badly.
I need to rant more. Bottling things up inside is not good for health (yours and mine).
Need to tone down my ranting/bitching drafts first. Need to ungrammaticalise them too so that they would appear more ‘authentic.’
Would like to get a pet hamster again in order to have some semblance of sanity. But I just can’t live with the fact that hamsters live only 20 to 24 months and can’t be cloned in the home kitchen.
Longtime readers will note that I have a long history of either over-delivering or not delivering on my promises.
It is true: my mileage varies.
* * *
I don’t understand why it can’t be stretched
© The Naked Listener’s Weblog, 2012. (B12341)
Images: Silver moneybag charm by thenakedlistener | Hong Kong High Court via HK Pinoy TV | Rat doll via furry.org.au | Star Wars dogfight wallpaper by A.L. Meerow and Nick Kurochkin via arts-wallpapers.com | Kennedy and McNamara via Movie Mail | Gennie, Mongolia’s first female rapper via Film Ink | Placeholder girl via c4c | Dreaming artwork from http://4.bp.blogspot.com via Our American Generation | Level-Up Letterpress by artnoose via Flickr | “Can be cut to the desired length” by thenakedlistener.