Things I learnt on hitting 30

Thursday 25 July 2013, 8.09am HKT

NOTHING starts a conversation more than about ageing.


meme 30 years old in real life

(via lmaobruh)

No, not me. I’m considerably and irretrievably more than 30 down the road to hell and high water with piranhas and electric jellyfish swimming up my pantaloons.

Here’s what a friend of mine says through my social feed:—

Some things I’ve learnt since being 30…



1. Breakfast doesn’t make you fat, DINNER does.

2. Family does come first.

3. The weekend are made for restand series.

4. Going out late means you’ll be home by 12am (ok … latest 1am).

5. Phones are for apps and games, but rarely used for actual calling.


30 zone sign

(via c4c)

6. The weather is NEVER nice to you … (too hot, too cold, too humid, too dry…)

7. You used to think when you wake up, that belly would disappear… but now it doesn’t.

8. Metabolism is no longer an internal function, you have to work for it.

9. My FB friends are all either, married, getting married, pregnant, had babies
or the ones that are “forever single.”

10. You can live without a phone, but you can’t live without WhatsApp.

button 18 with 12 years experience zazzledotcom

(via Zazzle)

11. A good night out is when you go home by 11pm, shower and in your bed by 12am.

12. Flats are your new best friends.

13. Makeup is not compulsory, skin care is.

14. Massages are a necessary part of a weekly routine.

15. PMS stands for pre- and post-menstrual … which means the entire month…


Compatriots speaketh

“Welcome to this age tickbox, though I already forgot
what I observed when I was 30 because it’s bloody long time ago!”

“… I totally relate to this list…”

“LOL. And … life starts at 30.”

“Makes perfect sense at 30. Like #11.”

“At least 7–8 items describe me!!!”

“But didn’t you turn 30 like a few years ago?”

“Oh … and should add two more things…

16. Lazy to walk and prefer to take transport instead, even if a short distance.

17. Less eager (or dare not go on rides)…

“Been there, done that…”

“What about ‘Yeah, I am going to a party this weekend!’
actually means a baby’s 100th-day or birthday party
rather than an all-you-can-drink/dance/club party!”

“Forever single indeed!!!!!”

Stark naked reality checklist there. (Yours truly)

(hat tip to Clara for the feed)


The Naked Listener’s Corollary

Your ability to pull chicks or studs (or both!) is now superseded by
your ability to pull the nearest waiter to get your food ordered.



Could suck more, given half the chance

TO anyone out there who’s just turned 30 or in imminent danger of it, the ‘Dirty Thirties’ aren’t all they’re cracked up to be.

Then again, things could suck big time, thanks but no thanks to your forebears…


old young girl zara hartshorn 13yo

This is Zara Hartshorn of the UK in 2010

She’s not a middle-aged woman.

(via Jalwah)

old young girl zara hartshorn with mum

Zara with her mum in 2010

She was just 13 years old then, looking like this.

She has lipodystrophy, a genetic disease that makes her look far older.

She’s got good-looking arms though. Look!

(via Jalwah)

old young girl Zara Hartshorn in 2013

Zara’s sweet sixteen now.

Imagine no more about her possible cleavage.

I COULD just picture the horrific excitement of you lot of perverts out there about
MILFs and grannies with teen staying power.

Tsk, tsk, you dirty sods…

(via the Mirror of the UK)


Draw your own fountain of youth, sooth or vermouth

Just so you newly reached (or even born-again) “Dirty Hairy” folks understand:–


keep calm you have 30 years

(via keepcalm-o-matic)

Or it could mean this—


condescending wonka 30 years old

(via quickmeme)

Your mileage may vary, and account for variable change.

Draw your own conclusions — or from your own fountain of youth, whichever is easier.

Or just settle on the vermouth and the thirtysometing teen porn, I guess.



© The Naked Listener’s Weblog, 2013. (B13246)


Continuing the explanation about the desperation to become lawyers…

limitless uk poster

Read the rest of this entry »

How to blow your cash and time on Earth (1)

Monday 6 May 2013, 6.40am HKT

Updated 07 MAY 2013 (typo fixes)

3.41am local time, 21°C (70°F), coolish with some drizzles


RECENTLY a discussion cropped up in my Facebook feed about the current pathways to becoming a lawyer in Hong Kong. Some people here just don’t seem to realise the consequences that those pathways entail in time, effort and money.

rosewood gavel

Hitting the nail on the head

Nailing the head, more like…

Read the rest of this entry »

‘John Carter’: A romantic story … actually

Sunday 31 March 2013, 3.54am HKT

2.57am local time, 19°C (66°F), few squally thunderstorms

MOVIE REVIEWS aren’t even a fixture on The Naked Listener’s Weblog, but once in a blue moon there’s a movie that I have to say something about.

Read the rest of this entry »

Two years’ walking

Sunday 15 July 2012, 3.50am HKT

10.51pm local time, 33° C (91°F)

YESTERDAY (Friday the 13th) was exactly two years I’ve been off using crutches.

If you’ve ever read my About me and Random fun facts about me pages, I had spent 37 months in crutches from a busted pelvis after being run into by a pedestrian.

That was from 01 June 2007 to 13 July 2010.

My Ripley corduroy jacket, my Tennessee-made cowboy boots,
and the proverbial G.I. crutches that crumbled to pieces by the third week of use

Soon after coming off the crutches, I had wanted to write about my time being temporarily crippled/disabled/semi-mobile/semi-immobile.

I clearly never got round to it because of:—

  • inability to think straight
  • inability to walk straight
  • inability to sit straight
  • inability to pull chicks
  • inability to pretend to be cool and debonair
  • writing unfunny stories for you lot on this brain-damaged blog
  • plain bloody laziness

Two dozen months later now, this is as good a time as any to talk something about that ‘cripple time’ of mine.


“You will receive an Identity Disc.
Everything you do or learn will be imprinted
on this disc. If you lose your disc or fail to follow commands,
you will be subject to immediate deresolution.”
— TRON (1982) and TRON: Legacy (2010)


When you’re ‘crippled’ (or choose your favourite politically correct term), your PERCEPTION of the world around you becomes warped by YOUR OWN SELF.

There are no subtractions in this game.

Your normal way of seeing the world up to and including the moment of your crippling doesn’t leave you. You get to keep that department. That is your ‘identity disc.’

The additions are new bits of perception resulting from your injury or illness. Those new bits are responsible for warping your existing department. The worse part is, you never know you’re unprepared for them.

Just as you’ve been unprepared for the impact that crippled you, the additionals can cripple you if you can’t manage to handle them in the early days.

The additionals come on in a flash the moment you’ve come round and realised you’ve been in an accident or illness. They don’t come on slowly, gradually, imperceptibly — that’s just special effects in the movies. If you’re expecting slo-mo, that’s just self-deresolution. The addiitionals are supposed to hit you just right behind the eyes like too much wasabi on your nigiri sushi.

Draw your own conclusions about objectivity vs. subjectivity.


The additionals come from the EYES OF ONLOOKERS glaring at you as you lay there in injury or in bed with some disease.

It’s the moment you say to yourself, buggermaquilt, is this what I have to look forward to for the rest of my days?

And then you suddenly come to realise that our built-in, automatic survival mechanism — The Three F’s (fight, flight and mating) — is actually focused on how others now view you.

Then it dawns on you: Our glorious survival mechanism isn’t designed or evolved for survival. It’s for dying.

You are wasting time by distracting yourself with the look on other people’s faces — which are 100% irrelevant to your purpose to continue living.

Broken things do not function properly. A survival mechanism in a broken animal, vegetable or mineral CAN’T function properly.

That’s why we should go the extra mile to help those in trouble. They can’t help themselves — it’s just not on the cards.

Draw your own conclusions about the survival instinct.


You’re constantly angry at WHY you’re constantly in resignation.

You’re surprised too at the constantness of all this.

You wonder where on earth that energy could have possibly come from to be constantly angry at being constantly in resignation.


Broken fingers have been proven to be
an effective antidote for lying

You suddenly develop a very keen sense of when people are lying to you.

Throughout the duration of your enforced disability, you’ll hear (as I had) a lot of unadulterated bollocks from others:—

How they’ll help the worse-off
How they’ll never discriminate against the handicapped because they’re blameless
How they’ll do their utmost to help via volunteering or financial donations and whatnot

The song-and-dance routine many put up in front of you is very convincing too.

But in the dead of night during your first week of handicappedness — as you lay in bed writhing in throbbing pain and the misery from that sickening sour-bitter aftertaste in the mouth from having ate too much painkillers — you realise The Truth that you’re in the midst of:—

Everyone discriminates against the handicapped in the worst-possible way, ever.

The MERE SIGHT of your crutches and/or prosthetic body part invariably elicits instantaneous blame and stink-eye from everyone (and ‘everyone’ includes the other handicapped).

And the discrimination is going to happen tomorrow, and the tomorrow after, and the tomorrow after that.

If you live in a society where the culture is about in search of perfection — in other words, in which perfectionism is the desirable, sought-after quality — the person with any kind of temporary or permanent disability or disfigurement is the lowest form of animal life for all practical purposes.

Most Far Eastern/Oriental cultures are perfectionist cultures, even though many practical aspects of those societies are anything but.

Draw your own conclusions about altruism.


During my 37 months as a temporary cripple, I was a disruption to the general ebb and flow of humanity.

Many people make it a conscious point to let me (and other cripples) know we were such an unwelcomed disruption.

Fellow cripples and I got shouted at in the most unbelievable of ways and places. A well-dressed office lady with a mauve Prada handbag (cost: HK$12,000 or US$1,550) yelled at me at the top of her lungs in the underground (subway to our American cousins):—

“Hey, cripple boy! Get out of the fucking way! Have you no consideration for others?!! Stay home when you’re crippled!!!”

That was inside the Central MTR Station on 2nd July 2007.

And ascribe all sorts of derogatory causes for your condition:—

You were in a fight
You got beaten up in a fight

You’ve been a busybody who got sucked into a fight
You’ve been a busybody who got sucked into a gang fight
The gangs who fought thought you were a busybody
You had the nerve to diss someone and he beat you up
You dissed someone who then called for backup to teach you a lesson
You’d been negligent and now caused your employer to pay for your medicals

And you deserved to be crippled for every single one of those reasons.

Draw your own conclusions about moral integrity.


As a patient, you’re just random fodder for someone to administrate.

I don’t know how things are done in your country.

Here in Hong Kong, an outpatient is one who receives hospital treatment but isn’t hospitalised. The outpatient gets assigned to a patient follow-up group (or ‘PFUG’) after the initial treatment.

Patients in each PFUG have (or supposed to have) the same or similar type of injuries or ailments resulting from the same or similar aetiology (causes).

This is a kind of triage, although the term ‘triage’ is normally a term in Emergency Medicine.

In the PFUG I belonged to, there were:—

Me — ‘mechanical injury’ in medical parlance: resulting from straightforward brute-force impact (by a pedestrian, no less)

A 71-year-old man whose limbs no longer functioned because of diabetes

A 21-year-old guy whose right leg had been so grotesquely disfigured and mangled in a previous surgery (at the same hospital) as to defy belief

There were roughly 30 others in my PFUG.

Mostly, there was no commonality in our causes — other than the fact that our limbs weren’t functioning normally.

My PFUG wasn’t at my nearest hospital either. It was at another hospital right across town, about 45 minutes to 1½ hours away by bus. So, of all people, we cripples were required to do a trans-Siberian/Gobi Desert/Himalayan trek to get our follow-ups.

Draw your own conclusions about triage.


Pets rank higher than you in our hospitals, boyo

The hospital treats you as a case, not as a patient.

I spent a good part of my 37 months in and out of hospital.

Most of that time, the nurses and doctors never even bothered to speak to me face to face to find out how I was doing. They sat there, mostly behind a computer monitor, doing some kind of administrativa related to my case rather than related to me as a patient.

Those medicos who DID actually talked to me with some semblance of normal bedside manner were all foreign-trained. The locally trained doctors all took my abject queries the wrong way — they considered that I was questioning or doubting their abilities.

If you don’t mind, I never once doubted their abilities. I had been a medical labtech in a London hospital before, so I’m not ignorant of their abilities. It was their general demeanour that I found offensive and disturbing. My fellow PFUG patients thought the same too.

None of the local doctors had ever said anything about the progress of my condition, out of some real or imaginary fears that to give me a prognosis was tantamount to giving me a cause to litigate in case their prognosis didn’t pan out.

A Korean-American on exchange by the name of Dr Lee was surprised that I was never let off crutches for such a long time. Dr Lee signed me off and explained to me what I could expect when out of crutches, what could worsen the condition afterwards, and what I should do or not do in order to maintain good mobility.

“I don’t understand why we’ve kept you on [the crutches] for so long,” Dr Lee kept saying. (Notice that he said “we’ve” — even though he was only an exchange doctor.)

His signoff was countermanded by the hospital administrators, I later found out.

Another signoff came from Dr Wong, a UK-trained local doctor. “Just lay off the crutches for a bit and see how it goes,” he told me. “If it gets bad, come back and we’ll see to it.” Pure gold too. That signoff also was countermanded.

Draw your own conclusions as to who is actually treating you.


I know what our American cousins are thinking.

This isn’t an indictment of the public healthcare system. Most public healthcare systems around the world — and I’ve seen most — are in fact well run for the benefit of patients. But the one in my city is an abortion.


You develop a superpower against your will.

Now that I’ve had the opportunity to live the dynamic, luxurious, globetrotting, oversexed, champagne-guzzling high life of a cripple (albeit on a temporary basis), I’ve discovered that even highly visible, totally horrific physical disability makes a person invisible.

Yes, you develop the superpower of invisibility.

People don’t give you any berth to manoeuvre. Indeed, many times people walk into you. People none-too-subtly elbow you out of the way. Horror of horrors, they kick at your crutches (as had happened to me many, many times).

Of all the things anyone could possibly do to a crutch-borne person, the one thing never ever to do is to kick at their crutches. That is how people fall down and DIE.

Here are some observations — shared by many of my PFUG patients:—

The locals are practically blind to your presence. You could visibily be seen to have a half-completed lobotomy, with one leg per Long John Silver style, a Terminator-style metallic prosthetic arm, AND a urine bag and catheter clipped to your tattooed nostrils — and still people cut into your ‘lane.’

The expat residents stay clear of you, either because they think you’re about to die on them or because you hvae some nasty, horrible, infectious Chinese disease — but at least they stayed clear of you.

By contrast, European and American visitors automatically give you room because they know your Jackie Chan-like manoeuvrability ain’t so hot anymore.

At my local McBongo, one American serviceman — a marine, I think, judging from his Mk. 1 haircut — whose warship was in port for an R&R visit had the heart to ask:—

Him: “You want a hand with that?”

Me: “Nah, I’m okay for now, thanks.”

Him: “Just let me know if you need to.”

And this from a guy who’d been trained to kill. Draw your own conclusions.

If the USA and China ever were to go to war, the Yanks’ Special Forces wouldn’t even stand a level chance from a half-hearted frontal assault by civilian office ladies carrying Prada handbags (mauve-coloured, no less). The bitches’ yelling alone would blow out the commandos’ eyeballs already.


Even the signs meant for you are retarded

When you’re crippled, you’ll also discover that your disability causes others to see you as a retard.

(You might actually be a retard to begin with, but that’s beside the point.)

Your statement that the Moon is round (which it is) will be doubted. State you prefer your food sweet, sour, salty or bitter and that will be questioned. State matter-of-factly that you’re a bloke, and you will be doubted.

Perversely, even fellow disable-ees will doubt you and think you’re as retarded as they are.

Now that I’ve been off crutches for two years, I find there’s a lot of truth in thinking cripples are retards. The effort and energy in using the damn crutches, prothetics or what-have-you does cause some sort of retardation in you. It’s because your ability to react is constantly undermined by your attention paid to protecting your aids.

As soon as you’re off those aids, you then live a new life as an ex-retard.

Draw your own conclusions about the quintessentialness of self.


Your injury or illness is some edjumacation.

I’ve talked some people who had been lucky enough to be ex-disabled/ex-retards. Nearly all of us have come out of our experience having learnt a few things about ourselves:—

  • It’s not a forgettable experience — ever
  • Even after recovery, you’ll never be looked on as a ‘recoveree’ — you’ll continue on as an ‘ex-injured’ or ‘ex-sick’
  • You discover you have the propensity for violent fury in the most intense way in the shortest time possible
  • You become surprised that you can actually control that intense fury in the face of the most obnoxious provocation
  • You’ve evolved new ways of defending yourself from attackers who want to rob you because of the disadvantages of your condition
  • If you’re not too crippled, you discover your newfound defensive manoeuvres can outgun hand-to-hand commando fighting

And a few, rather blunt, facts about others:—

  • Everyone (including your own folks) hates your guts because of the way you look
  • Everyone (including your own folks) are 10 times more callous than you thought imaginable
  • Their callousness and hatred of you and your condition can be highly creative than you ever thought possible
Draw your own conclusions about the learning process.


Permanent cripples should take a leaf from ex-retards like me.

A permanent cripple is someone who’s on enforced self-retardation. He’s retarded because he’s got it into his thick, soggy skull that he can ‘handle it’ on his own, even for such simple things as getting through a doorway.

Unless you’re fairly badly handicapped, negotiating a doorway is something most disabled people can do with no help from others.

Realise this:—

There ARE kindly souls who really want to give you a hand, but are afraid that you might take it the wrong way.

Protip for permanent cripples:—

Let others help even when you don’t actually need it.

I always allow others to help me. Not that I needed the help, usually speaking.

Getting on or off the bus, for instance, I let others help me if they wish to. No need to cart me on or off — just keep a hand on my shoulder (not the elbow). That doesn’t help jack physically, but it lets them know I appreciate their kindness. It’s good for their souls (I should hope) and good for mine.

To all the permanent disabled (on crutches, wheelchairs and whatnot):—

Learn to take your disability in your stride straight away in the early days.

Even if you CAN handle it on your own without help, let others help even if it’s just symbolic.

If nothing else, it teaches others to get used to helping the disabled.

And if they’ve learnt something about the disabled in the process of helping poor angry you, then we can all be truly thankful.


Grandpa once said, with a little bit of low cunning, all diseases (and injuries) can be made to go away.

But you’ve got to do it in a way as if you’ve NOT got the disease or injury.

Since, however, when you’ve got the wretched disease or injury, that really needs some high cunning in order to do the low cunning.

Conclude your drawings.



© The Naked Listener’s Weblog, 2012. Updated 06 June 2014 (formatting fixes, extra tags).

Images by me: Crutches and cowboy boots ♦ Rabid dog No Depend, Cautious Step Me and crutches Hong Kong coins in author’s collection.

Images by others: Hard disk monster via c4c Girl with camera graphic via c4c Why sign via c4c Trust the Lies via irational Hospital gore via c4c Mindless Behavior via Assigned to Encourage Edjumacation Girl via Video Fantastica.

One lump or two, luv?

Friday 17 February 2012, 6.46pm HKT

THIS IS A SIDEBAR to the four-part ‘You don’t blog?’ mega-feature that’s published since 15 FEB 2012.

This sidebar chiefly relates to the copydesk advice mentioned in Part 4 of the series.

* * *

Do we use one or two character spaces
after the full stop (period)?

Ask a professional writer or a journalist (even better, a professional typesetter), and 99% of the time they’ll tell you it’s one character space.

Don’t take their word for it — take mine!

Actually, you shouldn’t have to ask. At your age, you should have been tee’d up on it already.

I happen to be a trained secretarial typist (85 wpm) and shorthand transcriber (25 wpm) as well as a trained typesetter (which is why I’m in the printing business and not practise law).

I can’t answer for earlier generations of typists, but Pitman’s Typewriting courses back in the 1970s taught two things:—

Two character spaces between sentences when using fixed-pitch founts (such as Courier and suchlike fount slugs on fixed-pitch typewriters)

One character space between sentences when using proportional founts (such as those in typesetting and on webpages, including proportional-pitch typewriters)

If two or three generations of professional typists since 40 years ago have learnt those two rules, you’ve got no excuse for not knowing!

“Every modern typographer agrees on the one-space rule. It’s one of the canonical rules of the profession, in the same way that waiters know that the salad fork goes to the left of the dinner fork and fashion designers know to put men’s shirt buttons on the right and women’s on the left.” — Farhad Manjoo (via turri design)

Never mind the bollocks.

Read this person’s article about why two spaces after the full stop is wrong, if you don’t trust what I tell you.

Another writer tells us HTML coding automatically ignores and corrects the two-space usage.

Truth to told, most blogging services won’t correct. They’ll just let it run. That’s because there are still numerous battalions of doublespaceheads out there, and these doublespaceheads will surely go ballistic at the mere possibility of being ‘corrected’ by some disembodied HTML coding autopilot and relocate their blogs elsewhere.

Not always a good business tactic to correct others, it seems, particularly via autopilot.

Never mind the bollocks.

Since the appearance of the electronic typewriter with proportional spacing in the 1970s (like the IBM Selectric ‘Golfballs’), there’s no need to put in two spaces. Read the full 2011 article in Slate magazine, which is seriously on the button.

(I had a green-coloured IBM Selectric II typewriter, made in 1974 and weighed a ton, that I used to bash on constantly until overuse completely totalled it.)

Predictably, there’s always one singular individual who takes the opposite view in a rather elegantly reasoned monograph, and used double spacing throughout his text. His reasoning may intellectually elegant, but he’s still wrong.

(Off-topic here a bit: Indeed, zeroing in on the minutiae of details and reasoning things out according to some predetermined set of ‘logical’ steps don’t necessarily make your conclusions right. You’re just ‘making things fit.’ A lot of intellectuals and academicians are operate like that, to be honest.)

Never mind the bollocks.

Let’s look at the the other side of ‘facts’:—

FACT: Xerox Corp. started the DTP (desktop publishing) craze around 1977 (Star Wars era) by developing hardware and software that use typesetting-like elements for typography.

FACT: Then came a DTP typesetting program called TeX (pronounced ‘tek’) in 1979, which was extended by LaTeK (‘laytek’) in the 1980s — both of which used true proportional founts.

FACT: Then DTP hit mainstream paydirt when the Apple Macintosh 128K computer hit the markets in 1984. What was used in the Mac quickly got taken up by Windluzer 1.0 in 1987 (in MS Write) through to Windoze 3.1 in 1992.

In other words, fully 28 years of using proportional founts on PCs and there’s a sea of morons out there who still haven’t gotten the hang of it.

Dead slow children!


All webpages (and your blog is a series of webpages) use proportional founts (unless you customise it to a fixed-pitch fount like Courier or Lucida Console — then you really are brain-damaged). Two character spaces between sentences cause your text to run with ungainly rivers of white space.

Please grow up and keep up with the times! You’re living in the 21st century now. Read my post on draft vs. manuscript.

Some philistines hard up on the brain department say they find it more readable with two character spaces — the “wider space” between sentences in printed matter.

The “wider space” ISN’T made up of two character spaces, numbskull. That’s actually an en-and-quarter space (sometimes an em space). That’s handsetting, idiot.

At the very least, these otherwise blameless individuals clearly are reading for sentence separation rather than actual content — the ‘message’ behind the sentences. This, I’ve noticed in some people for a demoralisingly long time.

Modern typesetting output machines — since the likes of the Linotype Model 6 molten-lead linecaster (1965) and the Linotronic 202N imagesetter (1972: the one I was trained on) — make automatic intersentential space adjustments according to the fount used (unless the automatic setting is overridden for some special typographical effect).

Don’t bother rationalising your preference for two character spaces with me — you don’t know enough about this than I do.

This is how I roll:—

On a computer or a compositor (and anything else that uses proportional fount), I automatically, unconsciously, conditional-behavourially, operant-conditioningly type one space after the full stop.

On a typewriter (or anything else that uses fixed-pitch fount), I automatically, unconsciously, etc, type two spaces after the full stop — even when thoroughly distracted by high-octane, high-penetration porn.

Why can’t YOU do that?

© The Naked Listener’s Weblog, 2012. Updated 18 May 2013 (updated tags)

Images: Manual typewriter keyboard via Online Business Blogger | Two-space ban via Doobybrain | Ascii art chick via PingMag | Scribus desktop publishing via Nyutech | Fount spacings via Tom Sarazac | Books by Ian Britton via freefoto.

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