One VERY good week

Yep a very good week here in Hong Kong. Everything seems to be going right (other than not having a Porsche, but thats another matter).

In no particular order, I have a new Job (with Cathay Pacific AIRLINES!!!), my book has been published for the Hong Kong Dog rescue Charity and we have our Christmas cards back from the printers.

Life is good, and this is the time to store some luck (and pay a visit to Won Tai Sin to say thank you...)

And in case you missed it - Here are the photos from 2007

Padstow meets his Sister

Padstow on his walk today met a new friend, actually his sister! There was some jealously from Ivy but this soon passed to mere boredom and more interesting smells on the other side of the street.

Even better Mrs B let me buy a Jackie Chan signed T-Shirt at the HKDR fund raiser today. So happy news all round. and if you have never met Padstow (he is the good looking chap on the right).

So many people from Hong Kong (both Chinese and Western) had a great time and I am sure that plenty of money was raised for the charity. However, one Chinese lady (I think with a dog) told me that she was scared of "black dogs," yes you read correctly, she was scared of black dogs??! Not any old dogs, just black ones. How odd.

Has anyone else heard of this - people being scared of Black dogs??!

2007 Photo Gallery is finished

So it comes to that time of year when I can finally finish up my 2007 gallery of photos. It has been a great year, kicking off in Cuba and taking in Padstow, Hong Kong, Singapore, Vietnam and one of my all time "must see before I die places" The Great Wall in China.

So 2007 has been great in terms of travel. I can't wait to see what Caz and I experience in 2008, but until then here are the photos from this year.

Click here to see them on my web site or on FaceBook

Find Zilla a Home for Christmas

Christmas has started in Hong Kong (but thats another story for another time) - I am trying to help this poor (but very beautiful dog) find a home.

Zilla (right) was beaten so badly as a puppy that she now has a lop sided face. She is a friendly dog and has been in kennels for 6 months without a new home... Can anyone in Hong Kong help her? See photos here and here. Perhaps she can find a home in time for Christmas.

Email me here or please forward this on to some friends who might know someone.

Crash Bonsai:

CrashBonsai wrecks

Dead Man’s Curve is no place to play
Dead Man’s Curve: you’d best keep away
Dead Man’s Curve: I can hear ‘em say:
“Won’t come back from Dead Man’s Curve”

– Jan and Dean, “Dead Man’s Curve” (1964)

A car — a tree. Good thing it’s a bonsai.

Artist John Rooney creates car wrecks: tiny ones. Using creatively crunched model cars and meticulous little junipers, maple, and ficus, Rooney artfully collides modern automotive culture and the ancient Japanese pastime of bonsai.

CrashBonsai: another incidentRooney calls his work CrashBonsai. His website claims it’s a synthesis of creation and destruction. It will certainly get some looks sitting on that Ikea coffee table.

Want one of your own? It’s strictly BYOB (Bring Your Own Bonsai). But Rooney will be happy to sell you a perfectly crafted Caddy Eldorado, Jaguar, or Ford pickup truck model — all pre-crashed and ready to adorn your bonsai of choice. Order early to avoid the Christmas rush.

And drive carefully this holiday season, particularly if you’re behind the wheel of a 1:18 scale 1961 Porsche 356B. They’re a little tail-happy in the rain.

Link: CrashBonsai

Does anyone work at the South China Morning Press?

I only ask as I am really hoping that someone on their staff takes note of this article from TechCruch and removes their online subscription model.

I doubt that SCMP is actually making any money from having a subscription area to their site, but in the days of bloggers and search it is (for a newspaper site at least) utter madness not to have a completely open site.

And so Rupert Murdoch (who knows a thing or tow about new media) has decided to tear down the Wall Street Journal's pay wall - Finally. Here I quote:

"We are studying it and we expect to make that free, and instead of having one million (subscribers), having at least 10 million-15 million in every corner of the earth."

Read the article here (no subscription required thanks Chri**st!)

If he can see that this makes finanical and consumer sense, why does the SNCP carry on as it is? Any suggestions welcome.

All that glitters isn't necessarily gold...

Despite the wealth and adverts advertising Macau to the world there are many issues. I quote the SCMP

"A plan to set up a non-mandatory central provident fund was unveiled by Macau Chief Executive Edmund Ho Hau-wah yesterday as part of his package to tackle "snowballing social problems" in the former Portuguese enclave."

Read the full story on the SCMP here

Are the japanse completly nuts?

This is weird/odd wrong and yet strangely compelling. So all told it sums up everything that I have to come to love about the Japanese.

This is an arcade game where you poke the bottom of a virtual enemy and win "prizes." It takes the arcade game to a whole new level (and not necessarily upwards in the world if you know what I mean...)

Anyway, for a Monday it really made me laugh. But I'll set the web site describe it in better detail:

"The object of Boong-Ga Boong-Ga is to score points by spanking or performing kancho (anal probing) on a model of a human posterior embedded in the game’s cabinet. A plastic finger is attached to the machine for players to perform the latter.

The game features eight characters players can “punish”: “ex-girlfriend”, “ex-boyfriend”, “gangster”, “mother-in-law”, “Gold-digger”, “Prostitute”, “child molester” and “Con-artist”. During gameplay, the facial expression of the chosen character is displayed on a monitor.

The game also dispenses cards that rates players on their “sexual behavior”, and for players who perform exceptionally well the machine will dispense a small plastic trophy in the shape of pile of feces."

Madness or genius? You tell me! Read the full article here

Mills: "Paul called me a one-legged bitch"

From Digital Spy - Showbiz News
A report claims that Heather Mills has a tape of Paul McCartney calling her a "one-legged bitch".

Well if the shoe fits...

Sorry, could not resist. As you can see I'm on the side of Sir Paul (as is most of the world if you believe the Sun newspaper)

A new favorite quote from the SCMP: China PR

So China is building its own (and I stress) COPY of London's millennium Wheel. Now having been to Beijing I have no idea what people are going to see at the top of this attraction other than smog, which interestingly this "artists" mock up does not seem to have.

But the best bit form the article is the quote from the PR manager. and yes he really did say this, "When you take a ride, you can see all the new developments in the city's business district, parts of the Forbidden City. And with a bit of imagination, you can see the great wall."

Lets read that last bit again, "with a bit of imagination you can see the Great Wall." ???! What??! With a bit of imagination I can see the great Wall from my office window in Hong Kong... Doesn't mean I can actually see it!

China PR team strikes again. Link here to the full story (subscription required)

You might not like him but he's right

Michael O'Leary who is the head of Ryan Air on climate change and China:

"Rejecting the idea that concerns over climate change could affect passenger numbers he said it was "complete bloody nonsense" for western governments to worry about aviation when it produced only 2% of the world's carbon emissions while shipping and the power industry produced much more.

"China and India are laughing at us while they build more coal-fired power stations. The European middle classes are having a mid-life crisis and the sooner we wake up and say so the better."

Hate the guy but I agree with what he says. Of course we need to take stand on climate change, but here in Hong Kong where the results of pollution can be seen most days it has rejected recycling for being non-cost effective.

When the President of China came for a visit they had a problem of the pollution so what did they do? Why they shut down the factories for a week. Genius.

A new arrival to the family: IVY

Well its been a busy week-end here in Hong Kong. We decided on Saturday to foster a new dog, don't ask me how this happened it was over in a flash. one minute Padstow and I are in the dog rescue home chatting with the dogs (me talking with Sally the founder) and bam! Caz has found a new friend for Padstow.

So far so good, everyone seems to be getting on and I hope that Ivy (short for St. Ives, get it?! Padstow and St.Ives!) will be a permanent fixture in our flat. She is a beautiful dog and of course very much this seasons colour (White) with Padstow (black) its all very Prada Hong Kong cool.

More photos and news if we decide to keep her, she has a week with us and we'll decide then.

Question: Does she get your vote? Leave a comment and let us know.

Update: Yes she is very calm, sensible and gentle. And yes Padstow is attention seeking, naughty and loud. AND YES, I know there is a direct comparison between me and Caz...

Internal emails

Interesting week it must have been back at the mother ship in Chicago. Employee survey email was sent out two weeks ago, then last week an email from the CEO asking employees to fill out the survey. Then one from the global Business unit head, then one from HR, then another from Asia Pac head, and finally the one from my direct boss.

The reason: Only 43% of employees had filled out the form.

Now, this may just be me (and my management style) but if 57% of employees are not filling out a survey on how they think the business is run, you don't need a survey, the answer is right there in front of you.

Now I am being corrected on MY English??!

Coming to Hong Kong was (and still is) something of an adventure. I have experienced many new things and met many new people and cultures. But something new to even me was being corrected on my English pronunciation. Amazing, I would have thought that the plummy accent and the fact THAT I AM ENGLISH, would have meant that no one would dare to try and correct my words in China.

Oh, how I was wrong.

In a meeting I am introduced to a new colleague who introduces herself as "Samanfa," I being the polite chap I am do not correct her, instead preferring to say "hello Samantha."

"Its Samanfa!" comes the response.

...??! "Saamaantha." I say. "No, Samanfa!" - It sounds better don't you think?

Cue 100 Croydon pram face council mothers collectively shouting "looser, minger" in my head.

All I can bring myself to say is "Hello." I will never complain about an American accent again. Promise.

Mao was an "imbecile"

These are not my words, but a quote from Steve Wynn, billionaire casino developer who described Mao Zedong as an "imbecile", telling more than a thousand investment advisers that the communist revolutionary "almost ruined" his country.

Read the rest of the article here (subscription required to SCMP)

Now, I am no billionaire, but this is just not a smart thing to say. And when you consider that Wynn casino is doing very nicely in Macau its just not a good thing to say to a government who don't take to kindly to quotes like this.

Billionaire yes, politician, no.