Thursday, March 31, 2005

Dou Dou...again......

Comments by e-mail on my last post......

"PS, you could always knit fallen cat hair into a mohair sweater for Dou-Dou in your spare time."

"Have fun knitting at the next public guillotining for an errant pet-pamperer."


Only in Hong Kong #3, in a bit of doo doo....

How can it be, in a "world class city", with a population of 6.8 million, that the South China Morning Post uses this story (requires subscription)to take up the majority of the front page of the HK "City" Section....

Give me strength......

To cut a long story short (no pun intended!), Dou Dou the hound has, instead of being 'groomed', had all his hair shaved off at the doggy grooming salon. Allegedly, the hound is now suffering from depression.....his owner, Ms Louie said.......

"He is very self-conscious. He loves the mirror and the camera," she said. "He used to eat right in front of the mirror but now he just looks away from it ... I have never seen him this naked. I don't even know if he has any birth marks. How can I identify him?" she asked.

Meanwhile, Ms Louie - who says she is reserving her legal rights - has found a way to cheer up her fretting pet in the six months it will take for his coat to grow back.

"I am buying him more attractive and colourful outfits to make him feel better ... we have to cheer him up and let him know he is still handsome."

I ask you....surely there must be more important things happening in this great city of slightly misquote Airplane...."There are...and stop calling me Shirley". I feel a bit better....!!!! Thanks Dou Dou!


All of a lather....

Nothing at the moment is piquing my interest, nothing is keeping me interested for more than a few minutes. Concentrating has become a real challenge. I can't even settle to watch the news...unheard of for me.

I know I suffer more than most from post "good time" blues, but this is also me recovering from a week of feeling quite ill - some kind of virus decided to inhabit me for a few weeks, draining me of all good things. Getting out of bed in the morning is a real challenge, let alone completing a full day at work.

I will snap out of this eventually, through sheer will power and grit...but I hope it doesn't take too long.

I need something to look forward to.....must start planning.....


Tuesday, March 29, 2005

and finally....

just following on from yesterday's post....

I would like to point out that I am not about to start a great hunt for a husband and my biological clock is not about to take over from Big Ben.

The only difference to my life these thoughts will make is that if certain opportunities present themselves in the future I will not end relationships or move countries as I have done in the past!


Monday, March 28, 2005

Be prepared for change.....

At the tender age of 10, I announced to my mother that I never wanted to have children and never intended to get I am 25 years later and still a strong believer in those two statements....or at least I was until two Sunday's ago at the sevens....

I don't like children, they are too unpredictable, too demanding, too time consuming and I am too selfish...I have never seen the appeal of little kids in cute outfits saying cute things and doing cute just doesn't do anything for me. Numerous friends have said that this will change with time, as I get older etc etc...well it hasn't - at least until Sunday 20th March it hadn't.

The 20th March will go down in history for me as the day I got my first maternal pang...seeing Waisele Serevi walking around the stadium with his son up on his shoulders was for me a maternal that second I could see what it was all about. No, I am not about to run out and start breeding but it has put a seed of doubt in my mind that maybe I shouldn't close off all of life's possibilities.

Now to the idea of marriage...again something that I have avoided (sometimes quite dramatically!) up to now, not because I don't believe in the ideals of marriage...more because I believe in them too much. I know that I get bored easily, I know I need constant entertainment and challenges and I have always figured that if I do get married it should be later in life so I have less opportunity to get bored and hopefully will have got a lot of my adventures out of my system.

My thoughts on marriage were tweaked yesterday when reading the reports of Jim Callaghan's death , I saw that his wife had died just 11 days before him and they had been married for 67 years. Now that in itself is a challenge and an adventure and I realise that I will never now have that opportunity to share my life with the same person for such a huge amount of time (a life time for a lot of people).

Do I regret the decisions in life that I have made thus far? No, not at all.

Would I change any of my decisions? No.

Have I done a little soul searching and realised that maybe there are two things in life I shouldn't close off any more?Damn Straight.

So, where do I go from here....!!?? Answers on a postcard to....


Sunday, March 27, 2005

Three weeks ago....

It's hard to believe that three weeks ago I was all excited about my trip to Thailand and the impending arrival of three great friends....well it's all over now and the last friend has just left. Needless to say, I am suffering "post good times blues"! No doubt I shall recover, but one friend's departure will take longer to recover from than the others - a rather unexpected development in my normally very organised emotions!

Now is a good time to start planning my next holiday...I find planning future holidays reduces recovery / depression time from the first.


Wednesday, March 23, 2005


will not be posting until Sunday...too many visitors, too much fun, no time for sleeping - let alone anything else!


Wednesday, March 16, 2005


Reading who has been reading my blog and where they come from is quite the beginning I got a thrill when I actually saw someone had just clicked on my blog (usually more by luck than judgement), then that thrill wore off and I started getting excited about how long they spent reading it - now I get excited at the number of return visitors.

So to all of you who come back...thank you...and I hope I keep writing things that you enjoy.

To the person who spent 22 hours and 45 minutes browsing my blog...either it was fascinating (but slow reading) or you forgot you were clicked onto Madame Chiang........or you were so bored you fell asleep!



Been back a few days and suffering from "post holiday blues"....a week with beautiful clear blue skies, warm sunshine and lemon sodas on tap....back to cubicle land with a view out to grey, damp, grotty sky - yes it's Hong Kong in March!

Spent a nice week in Thailand....a few days in Bangkok seeing the sights...afternoon tea at the Oriental etc etc!

Then to Phuket....which was as beautiful as ever, the sea looked particularly calm and passive, hard to believe the ferocity and violence that it unleashed just over two months ago.

Phuket is crying out for tourists, the place is deserted...if you are planning a break over the next few months....go to Phuket....We did not experience any breakdown in service, communication or transport and we pottered around the island, went shopping and enjoyed the nightlife. Granted, it is a difficult decision to go and enjoy yourself where so recently so many people died, however, if the tourists do not return and start spending money the local population will suffer even more. message again........Go to Phuket...have a look at this website for a hotel update


Tuesday, March 08, 2005


Away for a little R&R...back next Sunday.


Sunday, March 06, 2005

Losing my Religion

This week, in Britain, a case has come to a conclusion that concerned the right of a Muslim girl to wear her Jilbab. The court ruled that she was unlawfully excluded from her previous school when she wore her traditional Muslim dress.

I have mixed feelings about this case....on the one hand I am glad that Britain's multi-cultural society is alive and kicking. On the other hand it bothers me that Britain is becoming so swamped by so many other cultures and religions that indiginous Brits are becoming the minority.

There have been so many cases in Britain over the past few years that show that they are being discriminated against in favour of our immigrant cite a few....

the Red Cross shops in the UK stopped Christmas Trees, decorations and anything displaying Christian symbols or scenes being put in the windows of their shops under the auspices of not offending Muslims and other religions. This was in the news headlines in 2003, whilst I was living in collegues (predominantly Muslim) were horrified that this was the case....a few of them citing the Christmas Trees in their own homes and on display around Amman.

Another religions issue in the UK, again related to Christmas, is the number of town councils that have decided that 'Christian' Christmas decorations should not be put up in their town centres in order not to offend those that subscribe to other religions.

All in the name of multi-culturalism.

As I have mentioned before I have travelled a fair amount and lived in a few Muslim countries....whilst living in Jordan, Indonesia and the UAE we were careful to be sensitive to the local culture and religion - dressing appropriately, behaving appropriately in public, ensuring that during Ramadan we were sensitive to the occassion...I remember in Dubai (about 1977) sitting at home with the curtains closed having lunch during Ramadan. I am not complaining just making an observation...this is what you need to do when you have the chance to experience and live in other countries...the local population has made you get to enjoy the benefits of living there....but the trade off is that you need to be sensitive to the local culture, history and if necessary religion.

So, the upshot all means come to live in the UK, enjoy the freedom of speech, the benefits of the social security system, NHS etc etc...but do not try to change our culture, basic beliefs and traditions.

One of my favourite memories of Amman is Christmas Eve a few years back, standing outside Books@Cafe and looking down over Downtown, the sky was that beautiful deep, dusk blue that only the sky in Jordan seems to produce....the sky was clear and the stars were just coming out, the lights of the city were coming on, the white lights in the houses dotted the landscape interspered with the telltale green lights of the Mosques...there were only two sounds to be was the sound of the Mosques calling people to prayer, the second was the sound of the Church bells ringing to call people to church for that is the kind of religion that I can handle...everyone getting on with their own thing and not infringing on anyone else's beliefs or thoughts.

I was pleased to see via Mental Mayhem that there is someone in Egypt that agrees (however ironically!) with my basic sentiment. Big Pharaoh seems to understand where I am coming from.


Saturday, March 05, 2005

Another book finished....

Have just finished reading A Winter in China by Douglas Galbraith.

It is a very gentle book written about a very violent time. The author's style of writing paints incredibly vivid pictures of what his character's see and feel. His descriptions of his character's emotions are very evocative.

Winter in China

The book is set in China during The Rape of Nanking and is based around a British girl, Sally, her husband to be and a collection of other expatriates caught in Nanking. Although the book is written in a very gentle fashion, Galbraith does not leave out the violence of the atrocities that occurred in Nanking he just describes them in less clinical but no less horrific terms. Of course if you know nothing about the violence of the Rape of Nanking then the author's descriptions may wash over you - so to get the full impact of the book I would suggest a little background reading.

This link from Wikipedia gives a fair amount of information about the Rape of Nanking.

All in all, an excellent book and one that I shall be recommending to my friends.


Friday, March 04, 2005

Jumpsuit Orange

A quick flick through the news took me to CNN and their lead story was about Martha Stewart about to end her five month prison sentence in "Camp Cupcake". This sort of news doesn't normally interest me. However, I thought I would bring myself up to date and skimming through the article I discovered that a website has been set up by supporters of Stewart;

I have lots of comments about this whirling around my head...but probably none of them suitable for this blog. Suffice to say I will not be purchasing one of their T-shirts emblazoned with "Jumpsuit Orange is so last season"....or the postcards.

....I wonder if those are the postcards that Ms Stewart used to communicate with friends and family whilst being detained?


Shopping this morning..

The wonderful thing about having Dymocks at the Star Ferry is that one can indulge in early morning literary retail therapy.

My purchases this morning consisted of two books for my upcoming holiday....

Desert Queen: The Extraordinary Life of Gertrude Bell: Adventurer, Adviser to Kings and Ally of Lawrence of Arabia by Janet Wallace. The Middle East being one of my great interests, adding in Lawrence of Arabia and an adventureress...sounds like a gripping read to me! Gertrude Bell was an important person toT.E. Lawrence as not only did she understand and agree with him on many Middle Eastern issues but she also supplied him with vital intelligence for his military movements. Being such an expert on Middle Eastern issues (particularly Iraq and Persia) took Bell into many experiences that a woman at her time would otherwise probably not have been included in. One such occassion would be the Cairo Conference of 1921 when Churchill in trying to solve the problems of the Middle East called in his most knowledgable people including Bell and Lawrence.

Bell was involved in the sketch that drew up the borders between Iraq and Transjordan and also was a close friend and confidante of King Faisal, the first king of the new state of Iraq and was instrumental in him being placed on the throne of she could be called Iraq's "Founding Mother".

I have just realised that this has become more of a quick brief on Middle East history than a summary of my retail excesses!

Anyway - back to subject....

As a more local read I chose Generalissimo: Chiang Kai-shek and the China he Lost by Jonathon Fenby.Chiang Kai-shek (as well as being the name of one of my cats)is a character that has interested me for a long time. I have read a number of books about him and this looks as if it will be a worthy addition to my reading time.

I am enjoying Disney War but the size of it in hardback means that carting it around to read on my escaltor, Star Ferry, elevator commute is just not feasible so it has been relegated to bed time reading which I can just about manage if I prop it up on my pile of pillows and wedge it into the gap!


Thursday, March 03, 2005

Pretty Pictures

Had a few minutes spare (doesn't often happen) so decided to add some pretty pictures and flags....

'Pathetic', I hear you say....

'Damn Straight', I respond....'but I don't care, it's fun!'


Chasing Pigeons

I went to work much earlier the other day and so had time to observe HK's commuting getting under way.

The many pigeons that live at the Star Ferry (TST) were out in force and I stopped and watched for about five minutes as people reacted differently to them...some charged through the flock, some skirted around the edges, some spoke to the pigeons as they stepped gingerly through, some picked out one for special treatment and followed them as they meandered through the flock, other's made vain attempts to catch them. It was an interesting insight into how different people react to a situation - if I had more time and a degree in psychology then I am sure I could write a fair amount comparing dealing with pigeons to dealing with life.

I am the world's worst parallel parker...acutally, truth be told - I just don't bother even attempting it as I just can't figure it out, even with the help of formula so you can imagine how impressed I was to watch the Wasa Queen docking at the Ocean Terminal by tucking itself into the corner between the Star Pisces and the promenade to the Star Ferry. Parallel parking on a huge scale...I tried to start a round of applause but only the pigeons seemed to react!


Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Latin memor

I don't often laugh at Chinese English as my Cantonese is non-existant, but the person who writes the notices for my building has a lovely way of writing favourite notice which appears every so often is entitled

"Objective dropped from high floor"

The last time I had to deal with Latin objectives was when I was learning Latin, many years ago and I would have been very keen to drop if from a high floor.

As we often used to say (and I am sure all good school kids used to)...

Latin is a dead language, as dead as dead can be,
It killed off all the Romans and now it's killing me.


"(dis)Honour Killings"

Thank you to Natasha over at Mental Mayhem for highlighting one important story coming out of Jordan. Unfortunately for the last few days I have not been able to access the Jordan Times website so missed the story, which is.....

A man sentenced to one year in prison for killing his sister had his sentence increased to seven years today after the case was returned to the Criminal Court. Jaber Mohammad, 39, was originally sentenced to a one-year prison term by the court in July 2002 for stabbing his 35-year-old married sister eight times on Jan. 22, 2001.

However, after a review by the Court of Cassation, the Criminal Court yesterday overruled the original charge of misdemeanor and found Mohammad guilty of manslaughter. "The defendant knew of his sister's affair for almost a month and did not kill her, therefore he does not benefit from the fit of fury clause used in the previous ruling," the higher court said.

Article 98 of the Penal Code, which states that: "He who commits a crime in a fit of fury caused by an unlawful or dangerous act on the part of the victim benefits from a reduction of penalty.
(From the Jordan Times via Mental Mayhem)

This can only be good news for all those people that are trying to stop the light sentences passed down on men convicted of "Honour Killings". Personally, I think that locking these people up and throwing away the key is too good for them..I have in mind a slightly more gruesome end for them.

I would like to point out that the title of this post is not aimed at the women who are killed in these so called honour killings, it is aimed at the people who perpetrate (normally men) and support these crimes against women who are trying to lead a life or grasp an opportunity that I take for granted - these are the people I call dishonourable.