Four years

Sunday 13 July 2014, 12.01am HKT


sick piggybank

TO THINK that it’s been only four years to the day that I was let off crutches — a highly memorable ordeal for me that lasted 37 months and taught me a few things about the people of my town.

I rarely reblog the work of others and don’t like to repost my own stuff, but I should think some people needed reminding on a variety of things for a variety of reasons.

This post originally appeared on 15 July 2012, now updated with very slight editing touches to align with the demands of today’s over-(in)sensitive souls.

(Image via International Boarding & Pet Services)

Read the rest of this entry »

Living in another’s material world

Thursday 29 November 2012, 3.59am HKT

2.08am local time (Wed 28 Nov 2012)
18°C (64°F)
pelting down

IT’S WONDERFUL WEATHER right now. Rain. Low temperatures. Middle of the night. Feels alive, man.

Artist friend of mine just force-fed some badly needed inspiration down my hatch to revv up this sordid unhilarious excuse of a blog.


If you could switch with someone for one day (say, job-wise),
who’d it be out of the people you know?

Like the friend says,

“…it’s one of those questions I’m sure people have asked others many times but I think sometimes … that would reveal what people secretly desire from life.”

Too bleedin’ true.

A quick backgrounder. Friend says on those social networking sites I probably wouldn’t want more of the ‘drama’ that I’m already getting from my honest living working with crooks like bankers, lawyers, accountants and assorted government regulatory officials. I said that if I ‘retire’ (read: crawl into a corner and die) I might as well let my friend have my company, lock, stock and barrel (along with the fish in the barrel for shooting). Friend says, “LOL, I don’t think I could handle your company … sounds majorly stressful” (translation: Me no chopped liver).

Printing’s a great business — no money in it, sunset industry, total and constant drama, insane faggotry, high costs, no sleep — all from congenital morons who are overpaid, oversexed, over the top and over here. You name it, we’ve got it. What more could anyone ask of an honest living?



a.k.a. “The Naked Listener’s Merry-Go-Round-The-Bend”

Right about now, my funk soul brutha, I shall speak with perfect clarity and vision whilst eating French pork tongue in aspic (jellied pork tongue) suitably washed down with cheap made-in-China German lager that from this point onwards, I’ll be The Naked Listener no more.

For the duration of this article, I’ll activate my alter ego, Sir Dystic.

(Sir Dystic, sadistic, geddit??? No? Never mind, we’ll carry on.)

Sir Dystic here is going to give things a twist. Instead of just laying on you, Gentle Reader, lameness like I would like to swap places with (say) Zarathustra or somebody divine, famous or notorious (or even a notoriously famous divinity), I’ll go through EVERYBODY one by one and rule them out, or not.

Here are the possibilities (all real-life characters from my unreal life, with aliases to protect the not-so-innocent among you from actually back-tracing and contacting them for ‘fun’):—

The Naked Listener

Why the hell would I want to swap places with myself???

Right about now, my funk soul brutha, I’m Sir Dystic.

I’m divine enough in my mind.

I’m famous enough because you’re actually taking time to read this crappy ‘drama’ of mine.

I’m notorious enough because my blog name has the word ‘naked’ in it.

Why shouldn’t ANYONE want to be The Naked Listener?


Jason Voorhees

Not the ice hockey fetishist in the movie “Friday the 13th.” Instead, this personage (notice: not his real name) is much, much worse.

‘Jason’ is a wanker banker with a major-major investment bank with tons and tons of IPOs (initial public outrage offerings) to his résumé.

He’s loaded, he rakes in wads of filthy lucre, and pays virtually no taxes.

By all standards, ‘Jason’ is a supersalesman who can sell vacuum to outer space. (I think he’s done that once or twice before.) With him, everybody loses, big time. He himself wins, all the way, all day, every day, in every way.

Will swap with, if for no other reason he’s got good taste in chicks.

Ultimately, rule out: guys like him are gonna get cleaned out shirtless. One fine day, his type will fall for that highly innocent-looking local girl who’ll turn out to be a right moneygrubbing monstrous whore — and end up moneyless to buy an unmarked gravesite to be buried in.

Michael Myers

Nicknamed this personage for the “Halloween” series of slasher films. He’s a lawyer by profession, so he’s trained and licensed to wear a mask.

He (like me) has an IQ higher than Einstein, but that comes to naught because ‘Michael’ is an imbecile.

He fails to understand that, in the grand scheme of Life, rubbing people against the grain does not friends make.

Any other detail about him is superfluous and irrelevant. So rule him out too.

Dr Wankismo

He’s rude, he’s offensive, he’s unpleasant.

You guessed it, this guy is an academic. He teaches something connected with education and English, not very well, but in a bigheaded sort of way. He’s in love with his own voice.

Unfortunately, he’s got tenure (I think), so everyone’s stuck with him.

I once had the misfortune to have been in one of his courses — and that’s saying something, coming from a person already in the misfortune of the printing business.

That being said, would actually swap with, merely because he has access to an incredible number of pouting, under-imaginative but over-promiscuous chicks with jumpers, glasses and heavy boobs books.

Ultimately again, must rule out, though, because he’s so wrapped up in his sense of superiority that he doesn’t even notice the chicks around him.


This specimen is one of two relatives of mine who together kept their dirty little mortgage swap secret from me, so I ended up unknowingly paying off HK$300,000 (US$38,000 or £24,600) on a superseded mortgage.

He’s also pretty creative too, inventing some pretty vicious slander about me that actually cost me lots of reputational damage and actual health problems.

Despite that, would trade places with for one day (or even a little bit longer). He’s got a good business line going and could actually make millions of dollars from it, so that at least would be worth the stretch.

Thing is, must rule out because his longtime girlfriend is exactly that — a longtime girlfriend. That’s a red flag that the person has some serious character faults.


Sir Dystic has never, ever, needed to unfriend or block anyone on those srsly and totally online social networking sites — until this unbalanced lady materialised and became my friend.

This erstwhile lady guitarist is twentysomething, reasonably well educated in comparison to the general run of people in Hong Kong, and her folks run a thriving family business.

I actually know Bubbles in real life. My only regret was that it was real life. Of the literally thousands of people I know or come across in work, rest and play, Bubbles plus two other personages are the most difficult people I’ve ever known — and all three from Hong Kong!

I’ll restrain my brutality here. Of all possible people, you’d think a guitarist would be more ‘with it’ than the rest of us. Instead, Bubbles comes across like 40-something woman living alone with two grumpy cats, one with arthritis and the other diabetic. She has a mind-boggling fixation on analysis and rationalisation, but without the commensurate skills to match.

On Facebook, she has disabled practically every possible privacy/publishing functionality there (write to Wall, status updates, photos, etc) “in order to be humble.” Don’t ask me how that works in her mind. One of my colleagues last night gave me the perfect comeback to people like her:—

“Be even more humble! Leave Facebook!”

Hahahahahaha! That’s a good one. Thanks.

Would swap with for one day (just one) because her in-born ‘drama’ can outgun any of the crap I get from professional faggoteers (i.e. my customers).


No last name here, please.

We went to school together in the UK. He’s a well-to-do, centre-right Tory (Conservative Party) politician who’s got his head screwed on the right way and Does The Decent Thing, political conditions permitting.

And for those reasons (Tory, politician, decent thing) alone, I’d kill to swap places with Jeremy for a whole year.


Real name. Fabio is an Anglo-Italian (or Italo-English, if you prefer).

His nunchaku skills are eye-opening. (Stand close enough, and it’ll be head-opening too.)

He’s tall, he’s srsly handsome (absoeffinglutely supermodel looks with a body to match), and he’s srsly getalongwithable with anyone.

Definitely swap with for a lifetime, if only just for his looks and chick-skills.

Marc’s dad

I can’t name him. He’s a top-level healthcare scientist working for the Spanish government, and has no-waiting-necessary direct access to the Spanish Cabinet. That spells i-m-p-o-r-t-a-n-t.

He’s brilliant and has patents to his name from here to there. He literally speaks half a dozen languages fluently and flawlessly. He drives a Lamborghini or Ferrari or something of that sort. He lives in a super-luxury house with a long, long driveway and everyone in his family look like they’re from some fairytale. Swap with for a lifetime.


That’s his real name. We went to prep school (private elementary school) together, but for just under a year before I had to bounce to someplace else with my folks.

Wurm was a brianiac: 10 years old and the wisdom of a 50 year old without the middle-age attitude. Will swap for three days — his wisdom in those mere three days would last a lifetime.


Hottie classmate at Uni.

There’s no damn way I’m going to show you a full-sized picture of her on her own. You’ll have to figure out which is which. I need no drama from my own wilful accidence.

She didn’t look that hot at Uni. Since leaving that sacred institution of mediocrity called Uni, Val has become the very definition of hawtness. Now living in a certain Southeast Asian country previously dubbed “The Red Dot,” Valerie is not for swapping with —  she’s for moving in with. Enough said.


Facehunter (sometimes Face Hunter) is a public figure: Yvan Rodic, a professional photographer hailing from somewhere in Europe (France? Switzerland?).

I’ll swap my present and future lives with him anytime. He travels the world every week and takes pictures of the divine, famous and notorious, and parties with them.

By my reckoning, Facehunter must’ve clocked up at least one million flight miles.

His Facebook is [HERE].

Jeremy Irons

The British actor. I happen to know him personally (at least back in the 1980s), not well of course, but personally. He’s great playing nasty, sardonic, aloof characters. One day in the life of him will do me just fine for kicks.

John Galbraith

He’s probably gone now because he was already in his late 50s or early 60s when I knew him in the 1980s.

He was a London society photographer for Tatler, Harper’s & Queen and other ‘society’ magazines. Very professional, very graceful with the subjects, extremely fast, and secretly knew all the society gossip that gossip columnists would have killed for.

If he was alive today, I’d swap with any day.

My dentist

This guy’s from my ancient history when I was only yay-high and somewhere in Latin America. HIS ancient history was even more colourful and sinister.

My folks nearly had a mental blowout when some two-by-four-bit hack newspaper revealed our dentist was an ex-Waffen SS combat officer.

From our personal point of view, that wasn’t exactly believable. We knew the man personally, socially and professionally. He DID admit he fought in the German Army in the war, but so’s a ton of other ex-Germans.

I tell you, man, this guy didn’t have a shred of racism or Teutonic assholery in him. Srsly, he was the kindest man we ever knew. I tell you too, man, Mum could spot anyone who’s pretending or lying a mile off, and Mum said this man was a good man. He taught me such good oral hygiene techniques that I have never needed fillings.

I can’t recall exactly now, but in one social gathering, he said to me:—

“You are still a young boy, so this is the perfect time to learn the right things, and with those, do the right things, even if everyone else are [sic] doing everything wrong. Read your history books, and count the number of things done wrong, and ask your father and mother to teach you how to do the right things.”

And my folks told me to write those words down, so I may remember and understand. So I did. Took me a helluva time to fish that one out from my storage bins.

He died shortly after we left that country, survived by his Iranian wife and two grown-up children, one of whom we heard married a half-Jewish dentist.

Would not swap, because I’m chickenshit scared of that kind of background of his.


Yes, she’s an artist, and I sometimes shanghai’ed her into contributing to this blog.

C’mon, peep’l, she’s a professional artist doing something most sane people would like to do professionally even for one day.

Swap. Why ever not? At least she jolted me into doing this blast from the past.


Tell me who you’d like to swap places with for one day.



© The Naked Listener’s Weblog, 2012. (B12430)

Images: Aspic and beer by the author | The Naked Listener by the author | Jason Voorhees via | Michael Myers via Wikipedia | Girl with Blackboard Question Mark via AskVelazquez | Head for Cover via Videojug | Big Ben via | Nunchaku via Wikipedia | Microscope via Morehouse School of Medicine | Notebook by Problemchild via | Val from author’s collection | Face Hunter profile picture via Facebook | Harper’s Bazaar via Found in Mom’s Basement | The Boys From Brazil via Wikipedia | Ophelia’s avatar from author’s collection.

Reminiscences: Week 31

Saturday 4 August 2012, 4.35pm HKT

A FRIEND said I should start doing this PDQ before my memory evaporates.

I’ve be writing them down on index cards (BrE: record cards) for quite some time. Then it struck me early on that it’s going to too hard and too confusing to organise, and too wordy to explain even to myself.

So I’ll just throw the whole lot into the wind whenever the crap comes on and see what sticks.


In no particular order of occurrence during Week 31:—


PDQ (‘pretty damn quick’) — a TLA hardly ever heard nowadays and mostly replaced by the colourless initialism ‘ASAP.’ Shame that.

Incidentally, PDQ was also an American TV game show that aired in the late 1960s. Two celebrities made up the ‘Home Team’ and one celebrity paired with a non-celeb civilian were ‘The Challengers.’

Also incidentally, PDQ (Predictive Dynamic Quoting) is an printing cost-estimation software developed by Haybrooke Associates Limited. Never used it.



Huntingdonshire, England

Since 1974, this county in the East of England region was (and still is) run as a non-metropolitan district by the non-metropolitan county of Cambridgeshire. The county’s abbreviation was ‘Hunts’ and it’s no longer used anywhere.

Huntingdonshire is most famously associated with two people:—

  • Oliver Cromwell (1599–1658), Lord Protector of England, Scotland and Ireland (1653-58: “all King but name”)
  • Samuel Pepys (1633–1703), the 17th-century diarist and politician

Huntingdonshire is unfortunately also associated with John Major (born 1943), the former British prime minister (1990-97) who sent Chris Patten (now Lord Patten) to Hong Kong as its last governor.


An Orwellian republic run in the Crown’s name

To cut a long story short, the administrative geography of the UK has been a mess ever since 1974.

ENGLAND has been structured into Greater London and 9 Regions. Those Regions are altogether divided into 83 counties (6 metropolitan and 77 non-metropolitan). There are also 55 unitary authorities (UAs, a kind of single-tier local government) that cover whole or part of those 77 non-metropolitan counties. Elections are held regularly for all these authorities, and winners act as ‘shadow authorities’ (a particularly English phraseology) until the handover date.

Alternatively, all of England (including London) is divided into 48 ceremonial counties with a Lieutenant (‘lef-tenant’) or Lord-Lieutenant to represent the Queen. All such lieutenancies throughout the whole UK are unpaid.

With me so far?

Wikipedia has a list of English regions, counties and districts — scroll down midway.

WALES now has its own government and ‘parliament’ (the National Assembly for Wales’). That nation is divided into 22 Principal Areas. For ceremonial purposes, the Queen appoints a Lord Lieutenant to each of the eight ‘preserved counties’ of Wales that roughly match the traditional Welsh counties. Still with me?

SCOTLAND also now has its own government. It used be structured into 9 Regions and 3 Island Areas when I was there. Today, Scotland has been reorganised into 32 Council Areas (unitary authorities). More’s the pity, I’d say. The Queen appoints a Lord-Lieutenant to each ceremonial lieutenancy area. Aaaarrr yeeoooou steeel weeeth mee?

NORTHERN IRELAND is part of the UK (which our American cousins often need reminding, I’m afraid). The traditional six counties there are now reorganised into 26 Districts with a council for each. Unlike English, Welsh or Scottish councils, North Ireland (not Northern Irish) councils don’t carry out any public administration. The whole of Northern Ireland is run by various unitary agencies such as the Northern Ireland Library Authority, the Education and Skills Authority, or the Land and Property Services agency. For ceremonial purposes, each of the traditional six counties have a Lord-Lieutenant. Confewzed yet?

Royal Mail (the national postal service) used to divide the whole of UK into 48 postal counties when I was there. Since 1996, Royal Mail has abandoned that system in favour of just using postcodes, thankfully.

Incidentally, there are currently 99 lord-lieutenants in the UK, some of them women. All lord-lieutenants are addressed as ‘My Lord-Lieutenant’ (men and women alike), never as ‘My Lord’ and certainly not ‘My Lady.’ When you’re the high sovereign’s feudal rep, your title and form of address must sound like they come with an iron fist.

Now you know why “Nineteen Eight-Four” could only have been written by an Englishman like George Orwell.



Renfrewshire, Scotland

This former shire about two-thirds the size of Hong Kong existed as a local-government county until 1975. It used to belong to the former Strathclyde region until Scotland reorganised its geographical administration into 32 stupid council areas. It’s now split up between Renfrewshire and East Renfrewshire council areas.

The centre of local government is not in the county town of Renfrew but in the nearby town of Paisley. Renfrewshire gave birth to the Paisley pattern and remains a symbol of the area and its weaving past to this day.

Interestingly, about half of Scotland’s entire Jewish population lives in East Renfrewshire.



Swordstick umbrella

Back in the 1980s when I was still in the UK, I bought a swordstick umbrella for £6.99 (US$11) from a certain C.A. Anderson based somewhere in Scotland.

I’ve no idea what on earth possibly took hold of me to buy such an incredibly dangerous weapon.

Mine was a working gent’s umbrella with a burnished handle of walnut wood, around 3 feet (1 metre) long. It housed a very, very sharp blade that meant the meanest of business.

I’ve never used it (not even for rain). And then it got stolen when I moved house.

You’d never thought I’d be a person who’d buy such a thing, did you?



X-ray glasses (USA)

That image took me a helluva long time to find. That’s exactly the one I remember. Only the vendor’s name and address are different in that image, so these guys clearly were recycling the same ad among themselves.

Gosh, L.A. and those foggy, groggy, faggoty, faggotising X-ray ‘spex.’

A few of us kids bought them for the right royal sum of 75¢ each.

And much fun was had by all in realising we’ve been shafted big time. We couldn’t see our bloody fingers, let alone see through walls and girls’ knickers.



Candy the Cat
If you had something like this, your childhood was awesome

I love this. Lost mine yonks ago. This push-button puppet was made by Kohner in Hong Kong, ca. 1960s, 3 inches (76mm) in height.

Kohner Toys reshaped the modern toy industry. Frank Kohner (died 0n 6 February 2011 at the age of 100) and his brothers Paul and Michael were pioneers in toy branding development and using TV for advertising toys. The Kohners are to toys what the Rothschilds are to banking.

Read the full story about Kohner in Global Toy News: [CLICK HERE]



Pan American World Airways advertisement, 1969

This is the Pan Am ad that really stuck in my mind.

My folks never flew to the USA on anything but Pan Am (“The world’s most experienced airline”), just as we never flew on anything but BOAC to the United Kingdom.

Pan Am was one helluva nice airline.

I only remember my Pacific Ocean flights to the USA. We always stopped over in Guam and Hawaii. Every single instance of landing in Guam, it was at night and raining there.

On every flight, I remember seeing a couple of soldiers in their dark green dress tunics with lots of specialist patches, either on their way to or from Vietnam, carrying their olive-green airflight bags with orange interiors.

I also remembered on one Pan Am flight the flight attendants were scamming passengers for money to pay for free inflight meals — but that was the only one time.

I remember all of the the Pan Am stewardesses were blonde with that oh-so-American angular facial features that are just no longer seen in any American person nowadays.

I hated and detested the U.S. government for not lifting a finger to help its flag carrier and letting it slide into oblivion.

I mean, do the people in Washington DC actually realise how many American soldiers flew on Pan Am on their way to Vietnam and never took the return trip?



© The Naked Listener’s Weblog, 2012.

Images: In Case of Cultural Discomfort via Douglas Yeo | Huntingdonshire map via Wikipedia (German version) | Renfrewshire map via Wikipedia | Swordstick umbrella (handle) in author’s collection | Swordstick umbrella (full) via Imosh | X-ray Glasses via Tom Heroes | Candy the Cat via | Pan Am Tokyo Flight advertisement via Vintage Ad Browser.

English Legal History

Making English Legal History easy and enjoyable to digest.

Diary of a Psychokiller

take a trip with me to the darkside

Lipsync Lawyer

Stop bitching and know your law differently

Daring Fireball

Hearing ordinary lives talk

An English Man In SF

a diary of life as an immigrant

MB Forde

Ghosts, Legends, Folklore and Writing

Motorcycling in Hong Kong

On two wheels in Asia's World City


Making her way back to Neverland one day at a time...

The Naked Listener's Weblog

Hearing ordinary lives talk

Basti in China


Making Maps: DIY Cartography

Resources and Ideas for Making Maps

Pointless Diagrams

A new, meaningless diagram drawn daily, just 'cause.

The London Column

Reports from the life of a city, from 1951 to now, compiled by David Secombe

Vintagerock's Weblog.

Just another weblog

Shirley Chuk

Chuk Yin-yuk 祝燕玉 of Hong Kong

%d bloggers like this: