Elle Ess Dee (Part 2)

Wednesday 14 May 2014, 6.00pm HKT


8.09am local time, 27°C (81°F), rainy days and nights


Life used to be coin-operated.

Nearly everything in the old days was priced, sold, bought and paid for in coins. Then Mammon (Thatcher) came to power. We went full retard and everything began to cost in notes (‘bills’ to our American cousins).

By the way, “bread and honey” is Cockney slang for ‘money.’

‘What’s that in old money?’

decimal coins via UK Metric Association

UK decimal ‘shrapnel’: the 20p came in the 1980s and £1 later still
(via UK Metric Association)

Read the rest of this entry »

A walking, talking kind of fail

Tuesday 26 November 2013, 6.30pm HKT

5.36pm local time, 20°C (68°F), overcast and cool

Stowing stuff away when I happened upon a note of mine from last year.

My note dated 14 June 2012

14 June 2012.
Some people never learn. Nearly a year of silence, and DW
only manages to email me one measly message of 25 words.
Unf**kingbelievable. By the 5th word, it’s the same setup —
asking for advice, but never saying what advice being asked for.
Some people are born organic versions of spam.



© The Naked Listener’s Weblog, 2013. (B13396)

Notes: Whole Earth Catalog, Spring 1969

Tuesday 28 February 2012, 12.01am HKT

Is there anybody left in this world who remembers this?!?

This was the Whole Earth Catalog.

Think of it as the analogue or paper version of the Internet.

It was the size of two sheets of A4 or letter-sized writing paper, and printed on newprint.

A long time ago when I was a kid, I had a copy. I put it in the second drawer of my writing desk, with my stamp album on top of it. Then both got thrown away by mistake by some idiot.

There’s a really vivid image in my mind, the one that got me buying it in the first place — “The Indian Tipi.”

I didn’t know (and still don’t) know why I was drawn to that entry, but it clinched it for me. I just HAD to buy it and read it from cover to cover. Knowing the stuff contained inside it was like going into historic territory for me.

And believe you me, it really was historic territory.

Loving this kinda proves I’m something of a hippie inside me.

Except that I’m not. Except that I am. Except that I’m not.

Except that I’m everything that I am and am not.

© The Naked Listener, 2012. Image via World Earth Catalog.

Notes: Bikers in Hong Kong (Pt 1)

Tuesday 7 February 2012, 12.54am HKT

The only kind of cyclist that trumps a biker

1. ‘Bikers’ are guys (and gals) in leather jackets.

‘Cyclists’ are the other two-wheelers.

Value your life. Don’t ever mix up the lingo, especially in the presence of a biker. Srsly.


2. Bikers are mostly ‘next-level’ kind of people, so watch it with them.

A biker is a personality as much as it is a person who rides a motorcycle, and that applies to males as well as females.

This is something 99% the rest of us just don’t get it — and probably won’t ever understand.

Bikers have an ability (not necessarily a tendency, mind you) to ‘take things to the next level‘ — know what I mean?

Okay, let’s put it in terms those of us WITH Ph.D.’s can understand.

A generic 700cc motorbike weighs around 500 lbs (227 kg). It’s got a burning engine between your legs. To ride on top and outside of burnin’ metal and nil power steering, you can appreciate why the rider has to be a ‘next-level’ kind of person.

Bikers jeer at cyclists (usually male cyclists) for their comformist and effeminate faggotry (e.g. skintight doodads, participating in organised events, etc).

Deep down, though, bikers rezpekt cyclists because it takes one to know one — that there’s nothing wimpy about a human-powered ride running eyeball to eyeball with hefty buses and motorcars driven like chariots by crazed drivers assisted by power-steering.

Don’t diss cyclists, or a biker will belt you around the mouth. Srsly.

They both ride ‘bikes,’ but only one of them is a ‘biker.’


More on Part 2

© The Naked Listener’s Weblog, 2012.

Images: Female cyclist via Colorado Cyclist ♦ Bike or motorcycle via wpclipart.

Notes: My firm was born today

Friday 3 February 2012, 12.30am HKT

This is a shamelessly shameful self-plug — without naming names.

Today (2nd February) is the day my firm was born in 1898.

Eighteen ninety-eight.

It’s a tiny little firm and I am its principal equity holder (‘the boss’). The firm was originally my grand uncle’s (grandmother’s brother) and its ownership got shunted around between family members because Grand Uncle died without issue (a.k.a. kids).

You've no idea how much I wanted to say this...

The business is printbroking and financial printing — indeed, it was the first security printer in Hong Kong.

In its heyday, the firm was big enough to have parts divested from it. One part that had been divested in the 1930s became absorbed into the Government Printing Department.

Another part was bought up 50 or 60 years ago by a major bookseller, and today that bookseller has a branch that still occupies my firm’s original address.

Eventually, I got shanghai’d into taking over. I figured I’d run it maybe for five years tops and then pinball it to somebody stupid. It’s been 20 years now and I’ve found nobody stupid enough.

I thought I write down this bit of personal history in case I go stark raving barmy as a result of all the insanity that’s taking hold of our world.

© The Naked Listener’s Weblog, 2012. Image via c4c.

Notes: The Man Who Would Be Spy

Friday 6 January 2012, 6.02am HKT


YOU never knew who you’re working with until you knew.

Simon Wai and I used to work together back in the late 1980s at a major international financial newspaper owned by Dow Jones. When I joined the newspaper, Simon was already 70-something and had been a proofreader there for 20 years or so.

English: Statue in Hong Kong Park, Admiralty, ...

(via Wikipedia)

Working the overnight shift in the Production Department down in the basement, Simon was constantly poring over horseracing almanacs, doing calculations and, when the shift was over, trundled off to the bookies to place bets.

Born Simon Verde, the son of a Spaniard and a Chinese mother, he stood six feet tall and had a strangely military air about him. You could just about tell he was Eurasian, although in fact he looked perfectly Chinese.

He took the surname Wai (the Chinese pronunciation for the first syllable in Verde) to ‘fit in’ because Eurasians were denigrated by most Chinese in the old days. Simon wasn’t Cantonese, but spoke the language perfectly.

He had married several times before, but every one of them ended up in him being a widower. Which was why he refused to marry his latest partner — he didn’t want to live through another ‘dead’ marriage and thought he was jinxed in the marital department.

None of his marriages lasted long enough to give him children. Which was also why he continued to work way past retirement age — and the job paid him enough for use as horseracing seed money.

During the Second World War, Simon was approached in 1942-43 by five-star General George C. Marshall of the U.S. Army to engage in espionage for the Allies in the China theatre. At the time, Simon was based in eastern China, either in the seaport of Ningbo or in the city of Nanking (now Nanjing) in the lower Yangtze River.

English: Paraset WW2 Spy radio

Paraset: a WW2 spy radio set (via Wikipedia)

Why him? Simon had a knack for seeing what was coming — no doubt from that horse-betting skill of his. He was apparently already involved with guerrillas or partisans, and fought in guerrilla sorties against Japanese units.

Above all, Simon was literate (not exactly common in those days), knew English fluently and spoke multiple Chinese dialects (highly useful in those days when Mandarin wasn’t uniformly widespread as today).

Simon had to decline the General’s spy job offer. There was much to lose and precious little to gain for everybody. Being a punter (and a winning punter at that) all his life, it was evident to him that the Allies were still highly disorganised in the Pacific theatre. Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaya, Borneo, the Philippines, the Dutch East Indies (Indonesia), Papua New Guinea and many islands in Melanesia fell to Japanese forces almost simultaneously in 1941.

Japanese forces, meanwhile, were trashing 90% of China and pummelling 90% of Allied spearheads on all fronts throughout the Far East. The situation for the Allies in Europe weren’t much better either.

Memory no longer serves, but Simon probably said he continued with his usual activities until the war ended, when he came to Hong Kong to escape the wretched civil war in China.

* * *

Simon was one hell of a character when it came to horseracing bets. He was one dedicated punter, but positively not describable as a gambler. Nearly every month for literally decades, this guy took in winnings that equalled to his salary. Amazingballs.

(Analystfags and investmentfags, can you do THAT?)

* * *

It’s kind of hard to tell if a person is Eurasian or Chinese when the person is over 70. For some strange reason, nearly every Eurasian born before 1970 look Chinese or Asian than mixed.

* * *

PAY ATTENTION, management maggots!

You have no idea what performance, dedication and integrity actually mean — unless you knew Simon.

Simon’s horsey activities in the workplace never ever interfered with his job duties. With him, the work always came first, and play second. He could spot the tiniest typo or broken fount or uncentred hairline in a sea of grey type in an instant. All night long. Night in, night out. Aged over 70. And paid a pittance.

Now, that’s performance, dedication and integrity.

Much better than the performance from the boozing bozos upstairs or the insanely pointless managerial faggotry from head office.

© The Naked Listener’s Weblog, 2012. Images powered by Zemanta/WordPress.

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