Tuesday, August 27, 2002

DISTRUST OF HONG KONG GOVERNMENT HITS RECORD HIGH: A newly released survey (link requires registration) by the University of Hong Kong shows that 37 per cent of the people surveyed trusted the Beijing Central Government, 5.6 per cent more than those who trusted the local government. I can't decide if this speaks worse of Tung Chee-hwa's competence or the Hong Kong people's intelligence.

Does anyone actually believe that the Beijing government would even allow a survey showing its popularity?
DATELINE JAKARTA: Vigilante mob kills police officers.

JAKARTA (Agencies): Angry villagers attacked and killed two plainclothes policemen in the village of Cikijing, Majalengka district, West Java, some 300 kilometers southeast of Jakarta, agencies reported.

District police chief Muktiono said the officers, identified as Sgt. Asep Irawan and Sgt. Mayan, were attacked on Monday night by hundreds of people when the two were investigating thefts of motorbikes in the area. After one motorbike owner shouted "thief and robbers," villagers responded by attacking them.

I'M OFF TO BANGKOK tomorrow for four days of depravity diguised as a business trip. The prospect brings to mind a half-remembered passage from Melville, which I have pulled:

"Our company was now wholly given up to every species of riot and debauchery. Not the feeblest barrier was interposed between the unholy passions of our crew and their unlimited gratification. The grossest licentiousness and the most shameful inebriety prevailed, with occasional and but short-lived interruptions, through the whole period of our stay. Alas for the poor savages when exposed to the influence of these polluting examples! Unsophisticated and confiding, they are easily led into every vice, and humanity weeps over the ruin thus remorselessly inflicted upon them by their European civilizers. Thrice happy are they who, inhabiting some yet undiscovered island in the midst of the ocean, have never been brought into contaminating contact with the white man."

Field reports to follow.
I HAVE A DERANGED downstairs Chinese neighbor. I've now 'hit for the cycle', as I have previously had a lunatic upstairs Jewish neighbor, an insane next-door Indian neighbor and a psychotic WASP roommate. Mental instability is, it seems, an equal opportunity affliction.

The latest bane to my existance is threatening to sue me because water dripping from my window air-conditioner has purportedly damaged her apartment. She should feel blessed. Water from the antiquated plumbing system in my flat in London would regularly flood the French bakery located downstairs. The effect was torrential. They would have viewed a dripping airconditioner as a cause for celebration. Notwithstanding that the proprietors were French, they were absolutely cool about the entire situation, tolerating numerous wash-outs as I fruitlessly searched England for a plumber capable of pouring piss out of a boot with the instructions written on the heel. The only exasperation they ever displayed was a single frantic phone call crying "Le deluge! Le deluge!"

Anyway, this morning my neighbor faxed me a convoluted letter, in which she pretended -- quite transprently -- to be a solicitor representing herself, setting forth her legal claims, which are non-existent. She is threatening me with all manner of legal horrors, apparently blissfully unaware that I am, in fact, a solicitor. Combine this irritation with the fact that she has, on two previous occassions, pounded on my door in the wee hours of the morning, complaining about non-existant noise, and I am on the verge of expending an enormous amount of unproductive time and legal skill, dedicated solely to making her life an unimaginable and extremely expensive hell.

Stay tuned. . . .

Monday, August 26, 2002

THIS EXPLAINS WHY: my Cantonese lessons are not going well at all.
LILEKS DOES IT AGAIN: Managing to articulately skewer that which leaves me sputtering and speechless. His reaction to the firing of the moronic DJs who procured a pair of rutting idiots to fornicate in St. Patrick's Cathedral in order to promote Sam Adams beer:


Good. Maybe the next time some promotions director floats the idea of sponsoring a fellatio contest in a day-care center, he’ll be met with hard looks instead of high-fives. This stuff is “controversial,” sure - but only by the most banal definition. Sawing off a puppy’s legs on the air is controversial. Stuffing a midget up Anne Sprinkle and having him broadcast from her oft-examined cervix is controversial. It’s also sick. It’s tiresome. It’s the work of people so jaded they think that intellectual bravery is defined not by the traditions you honor, but the ones you debase.

And while we're on the subject of inserting foreign objects in inappropriate orifices -- Sam Adams, you know what you can do with your beer.
YOU CAN'T MAKE THIS STUFF UP: Said Agil Hussein Al Muniwar, Indonesia's minister of religious affairs was caught red-handed desecrating a 15th century archaeological site. His initial explanation: a soothsayer told him there was an enourmous treasure buried there. This outraged the counsel of Ulamas -- the country's enforcers of Muslim orthodoxy -- who accused him of blasphemy and threatened him with a fatwa. Reconsidering, he then claimed that president Megawati Sukarnoputri approved the expedition. This story fell apart when the president denied all knowledge of the undertaking. Figuring the third time was the charm, Said Agil pled altruism, claiming that he was only trying to help his fellow citizens by recovering the riches in order to pay off the country's US$155 billion dollar foreign debt.

No treasure was found.