Six years here and a bit more besides
Wednesday 20 August 2014, 3.08am HKT
11.57pm local time (19 Aug 2014), 27°C (82°F), fine
I’ve been in pain. Physical pain.
My kneecaps and pretty much most of my left side are creaking like a pair of rusted-up pliers, which explains why I’ve gone AWOL for three or four weeks now.
I blame it on the weather: the soupy heat of Hong Kong summers and I have never really gotten on too well.
In other news…
Six years cohabiting with WordPress
Today (19 August) is the sixth anniversary of this blog’s migration to WordPress.
Back in 2008, everything was working out nicely at Windows Live Spaces — until Microsoft decided to pull out of the blogging business by 2011. Microsoft recommended WordPress.com and here I am ever since.
I’ve always liked the way WordPress does things. But it recently messed around with the user interface that left a lot of users peeved. While the WordPress establishment have fixed many of their ‘improvements’ and spruced things up a bit, the general interface is still making it a bit of a chore to post articles. I’ll post a thought or two about this some day.
The Naked Listener’s Weblog started in 1995/96, so I’ve been blogging for 18 or 19 years now. That’s pretty breathtaking, considering the crap I write about.
We’ve been here for 170 years
Situationskärtchen von Kanton, Makao und Hongkong
An 1888 German map of the environs (via Wikipedia)
Also today is the 170th anniversary of my mother’s side of the family in Hong Kong. That side relocated here on official instructions in 1844.
I can’t imagine what went through my ancestors’ minds when they were deployed here by the Chinese Imperial Court. Hong Kong was founded just three years before (1841) and the place must’ve been near-prehistoric in living standards. Must’ve been a “sent-down” in more ways than one.
Shameless bit of self-trivia coming up…
We’re not Cantonese people. We’re northerners and still don’t have a drop of southern blood in us. My maternal line was from Chihli 直隸省(“Directly Ruled Province” by the Imperial Court), which now equates to Hebei 河北 province — or Hopeh in oldspeak — and where Peking/Beijing is now in.
That fact is now a family lore and passed on to us younger ones as such since around the time of mum’s birth (1935). Our own documentary evidence of the relocation was destroyed in WW2. Official records with the Chinese and Hong Kong governments were also destroyed during wartime.
So my mum ended up having the label “Place of birth: Hong Kong (No Proof)” on all her passports. She never gave a shit about that though — it never hindered her travels, which goes to show money is king: When you’ve got the dough, you can roll.
In any case, it’s not my family’s responsibility if the government(s) couldn’t safeguard or salvage their official records. “No proof” from THEIR perspective, but not from OURS. So there.
So, 170 years in Hong Kong. Which explains why in times of extreme upset I sometimes say, “My cat has more right to be here than you.”
Oh, please, not another round…
This is a lemon we can’t make lemonade out of.
My I.O. — that’s Hong Kong legalspeak for “incorporated owners“: the management committee of property owners in my building — continues to be in deep and hot water over its long-running lawsuits over four stupid underground pipelines that (reputedly) run off waste water from my building.
The current legal costs are in arrears by around HK$7 million (nearly US$1 million). Now the I.O. has again asked owners (like me) to chip in for the legal defence fund. It’s bollocks, really, but I’ll write a post about it later to show why.
Where sadists and masochists inhabit
Skinned and treaded on, if you like that sort of thing
If you’re the type who likes being skinned alive or be given a hard time for what you know from experience or fact, then you’ll enjoy this certain site.
Seeing that the WordPress user interface was a shambles until a few days ago, I spent my hard-earned free time on Quora just for kicks.
Instead, I (and others) got kicked in the teeth (fortunately back to non-Internet Reality) by the appallingly overweening attitudes of the users there.
The Q&A style of the website makes it VERY ADDICTIVE. If you’re old enough, it’ll remind you of the USENET minus the barbed humour.
I’ve read somewhere that there’s a core of 150 users who keeps answering every conceivable question put online — I certainly noticed the same user names keep cropping up and hogging all the questions.
And minus the straightforward language of the USENET too. Reputedly 40% of the Quorans (“quoroids” is how I would describe them) are non-native English speakers: there’s certainly a lot of questions and answers there written in mock-Victorian pseudo-Edwardian Municipal Administrational Imperial Colonial Disneyesque English.
Depending on the topics you follow, a lot of the questions seem to revolve around the English language and English grammar, about writing, or how somesuch sentence should be phrased. As one user from China remarked in an answer, there are a lot of secret grammar nazis on Quora, and one of their most annoying and demoralisingly naffest antic is to ‘correct’ and edit your answers. That already caps any addiction I might have for the site right there, fortunately.
I’ll have more to say about this website and its users (and their answers) some other day in a separate post.
Wine, women and song
A fresh Lebanese fig in Hong Kong
There are a lot of places I missed, so there are lots of food that I missed too. I went completely barmy at the sight of that fresh fig from Lebanon.
Figs are dirt-cheap fruits — in Hong Kong that one up there cost a criminally outrageous HK$20 (US$2.58 or £1.55). Here, nearly everything is farkin’ upside down.
Meanwhile I bought three legs of Spanish Bellota Guijuelo jamón these couple of weeks, washed down with Spanish white sherry and Spanish vino blanco. I’ll show pictures in another post.
A home is where you lay your hat, I suppose
Hong Kong in the 1960s, ’70s, ’80s, ’90s and 2000s
(images from Wikipedia)
(click on image for full size)
Images: ‘Facts,’ WordPress screencap, lemon, sheepskin and the fig by me. All others as indicated.