Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Hong Kong news 27 October

Today, as budgets are limited (we spent the extra money on booze) we rely solely on the South China Morning Post (SCMP), that mouthpiece regurgitating every fleck of spittle emanating from Hu Jintao's imperious mouth.

I am doing the sport first today, as there actually is some news, and South Africa features. Now I know stuff all about horse racing, but the newspaper seems to be very happy that a South African jockey, Anton Marcus, is going to be riding in the Cathay Pacific International Jockey's Championship at Happy Valley Racecourse in December. He will be the first South African flag bearing participant in this race, although a chap called Douglas Whyte from South Africa has oft competed here under the Hong Kong flag. It seems from a small editorial on sport page 2 that South Africans have been very successful here, all representing differing nations though. The paper goes on to say that our nation has made a huge contrbution to Hong Kong racing. This is all pretty cool, because Hong Kong is the most horse-racing befok place I have ever been. So it is BIG NEWS!

The Wallabies and the All Blacks are set to lock horns in Hong Kong on Saturday in a Bledisloe Cup match being touted as a mere preparation match before the World Cup next year. There is absolutely no new angle on this whatsoever.

Paul the Octopus went to calamari heaven. Boohoo. I'm so fucking sad.

Feel for Indonesians. Last week reports surfaced of torture being carried out on random citizens who don't give two shits about politics. Yesterday 113 people were killed by the combination of a 7.5 magnitude earthquake, a tsunami and a volcanic eruption. Interestingly, a friend of mine travelling back from Australia was on a plane which had to make an emergency landing in Jakarta. All African passport holders were forced to remain on the plane while it was being fixed (while the others sauntered nto the airport) for fear of them gaining illegal entry into Indonesia (because of the hordes of South Africans making their way there?!). Give me South Africa any day. At least you can fight off criminals. Good luck beating a volcano with a cricket bat.

There's this blind lawyer who pissed the Chinese government off and him and his whole family have been placed under house arrest. The USA has now decided that this doesn't sit well with them and have instructed their ambassador to go and check out the conditions in which he lives. I expect the Chinese embassy in Washington DC to send a delegation to Gitmo forthwith.

Anti-Japan protests continue in China with the city of Chongqing joining the fray. Basically, China and Japan both reckon they own the same set of islands. A few weeks ago a Japanese vessel arrested the captain of a Chinese vessel within the boundaries of the islands and it caused big diplomatic kak and sparked off protests in both countries. The ones in China seem not to be dying down though with Chengdu, Mianyan, Deyang, Sichuan, Langzhou, Hainan and five others, all having loads of folks marching down the street smashing up Japan-made cars and singing about how much they hate Japan.

China has unleashed a new high-speed railway which will cover the 200km between Shanghai and Hangzhou in about 45 minutes. Although the train has been measured doing 420kph (a world train speed record, from what the SCMP understands), it will operate at around 350kph.

That big-ass French public strike and protest against raising the age of retirement from 60 to 62 seems like it will become law as it was passed - 171 votes to 150 - by the Senate. It will go to the National Assembly next where it is expected to pass there easily. Expect lots of angry French people. No, I mean angrier than normal.

We feature again: South Africa is set to build what will hopefully become the world's biggest solar power plant at a cost of R200 billion. For that amount of money we could build a big enough fucking hotel to house all 50 million of us. As things stand, California is building the biggest one first which should power 750 000 homes, but it is expected that ours will eventually be 5 times the size of theirs. The newspaper alleges that 83% of South African houses have electricity. Really?

Hillary Clinton has added a stop in China to her 2-week Asia visit scheduled sometime soon. I think Hu Jintao might have a family emergency right at that time.

You may have read recently that Singapore wants to buy the Australian stock exchange or some such shit. Well it's freaked Hong Kong out and now they're planning in trading for an extra hour every day - with the start of the trading day being moved half an hour earlier and another half hour removed from the 2-hour lunch break. The real consternation seems to be whether lunch will go from midday to 1.30pm, or 12.30pm to 2pm. The lives of rich people are just never easy, are they?

A poll by HSBC has identified climate change as the greatest care of Hong Kongers. Odd considering this is the least green city I have ever been to. It's not as though anyone cares enough to even pretend (like they do in Cape Town) to recycle or conserve energy. I'd imagine that HSBC interviewed wealthy people (green policy's largest target market) and not those who have to worry about money or housing or where their next beer is coming from.

23 samples of the plastic wrapping around a Halloween headband have been tested for safety by the HK SAR government. Conclusions thereof indicate that children could suffocate on it. Yes. It took this for them to realise that children can choke on plastic. I swear this is an actual news story.

Check this other cracking headline: "Diet, exercise and regular checkups are the key to staying healthy".

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