Ben in Hong Kong©

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Welcome junk boat pictures

Aside from drinking 6 strong drinks and having to have a 2 hour sleep to sober up it was an amaaaaazing day. I have never seen the Hong Kong sky quite so clear.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Window weather watch

It's the junk boat trip this morning! Last week it was cancelled because of bad weather so I have been eagerly looking out of my window waiting so see what the day will bring.

Then I realized it was night time and you can't judge the weather in the dark...

But at 7am this morning, the sky is blue, the clouds are few and i'm going to get sunburnt to a dark red hue!


Thursday, September 27, 2007

More amazing pictures

These photos are amazing, i'm not blowing my own trumpet because I never took them. Click here to be taken to the website of the guy who does.

The first two pictures are of the International Finance Center, the last two are of the one and only Lamma Island


Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Random Holidays

This week is random Chinese holiday week! (Not the technical name) which means...

Wednesday I get a day off to celebrate the Moon Festival (Mid-Autumn Festival). Chinese folk believe that on this day the moon is at it's fullest. They base their festival celebrations around the lunar calendar, so the Moon being its fullest is a pretty important time where families get together and exchange Mooncakes (which are the most revolting things in the world).

So after Wedensday the weekend appears and I get the following Monday October 1st off to celebrate China National Day. We have rented a boat for 55 people to go out onto the water that evening and watch the fireworks celebrations over the city, and the Chinese know how to put on a fireworks display!

Oh, and this Saturday the company has rented two junk boats and we are going island hopping with 70 of us and two speedboats for watersports. So excited la!


Sunday, September 23, 2007


This is a test, i'm trying a new photo uploading system so thought I would use the Wan Chai MTR sign as my first trial.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

The Greatest Skyline Picture Ever?

You need to click the picture to get the full effect. I found the photo on this website.
The guy who creates them uses a system that is way beyond my little laptops power, but it is the best picture I have ever seen of the Hong Kong skyline.

Friday, September 21, 2007

In the papers

I have been going through the photos I have taken recently and decided to upload a few

I went to Macau last weekend and it's a pretty boring place once you have done all the tourist stuff. I did not take many pictures but St Pauls ruins are always worth a click.

The rest of the pictures are from a newspaper article. Believe it or not, the article is not about our organization, but rather our office. We have moved into the unused section of a primary school that the government is trying to close down. The general idea is that our presence and the free work we do for the school on weekends will keep the school yearly intake up and the school open. The group picture is with the school head, the last picture is me talking to a parent with the school head. Between you and me, the parent in the middle spoke not a word of English.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

You England Man?

I was in my considerably cramped old lift today and found myself standing next to a veryold and small Chinese woman. My lift is so tiny that you can't stand side by side with someone else, so I was slightly in front of her and to the right.

On the journey from the tenth floor I suddenly felt a finger jab me (quite hard) in my back. If I was in England, I would have ignored the attack and hope that it does not escalate to a full stabbing before reaching the ground floor. I knew though that this old lady was just trying to get my attention so I turned and peered down at her.

"You are very..." She then made hand gestures above her head. "Tall?" I guessed. She nodded "Yes, you are tall". "I am!" I replied, "and you are very small!" She found this hugely funny and started laughing so hard that the lift began to sway (yes my lift sways). After another few seconds she peered up again, jabbing me with deceptive force "You are England man?" I nodded "Yes I am! Are you are China woman?" That was a mistake. She then started chuckling so much that the lift started to swing like a pendulum still going down.

We reached the ground floor eventually and I left my new friend to talk to my often assumed dead/sleepy security guard. I heard her explain to him that I am "A very tall England man", just as I exited onto the street. I have now decided to speak to every little old lady that I encounter in my lifts, with the aim to befriend one who is a good cook. Although lift swingers need not apply.


I leave you with two random photographs of me, just in case you forgot what I looked like.

Me licking Nikki

Dancing on a bar with some Newbies Holly (who is falling off) and Maxine on the right.


Monday, September 17, 2007

Halloween Preparations

Today about 15 of us went to a rather posh bar called 'Red' in the Central district. Whilst there we discussed a very serious issue. Halloween fancy dress costumes.

We have decided that we want to do a group costume with two main ideas.

1) Sperm and an egg: One of us is a giant egg and the rest are all giant sperm. Sperm chase the egg around Hong Kong for the entire night out. (my idea)

Good point: It will look brilliant
Bad point: A few people are not keen on being sperm. They are now known as spermicide.

2) Smurfs: All dress up in blue!!

Good point: It is easy to be a blue thing!
Bad point: Having grown up in the desert, my cultural knowledge of the Smurf is limited to having never actually seen one except in a picture once at boarding school. I'm not as excited about it as everyone else...

Please give me your ideas!!!


Sunday, September 16, 2007

When it seems funny at the time...

With everyone arriving and moving into new flats in Hong Kong, there are many flat parties.

One flat party on the weekend belonged to a friend called Nick. His flat was slightly cramped though so he positioned his new mini sofa thing outside in the public corridor.

What happened next can be best explained in Nicks words online the following morning.

""So its coming to the end of the night, i'm a bit drunk but its been a good flat warming and looks like everyone enjoyed themselves. Pretty much everyone has gone and I decide its time to retrieve my foot stool from the hall way. To my surprise its not there. I look around the corridor and it's nowhere to be seen. I check some of the other floors in case someone had, for a joke, decided to hide it. Again, nowhere to be seen.
At this point I make a few phone calls to some of the people from the party. No one knows where it has gone. I start to realise that it must have been a disgruntled neighbour who had taken or moved the stool. What to do next? I'm slightly baffled and starting to get angry that my property has been stolen.
I reason to myself 'If someone was angry about the noise they should have just asked us to turn the music down, not take my foot stool'. After searching the corridors and stairwells of all 22 floors, a tiring task indeed!, I realise that it must have been removed from the building.I go down stairs, along with a Chinese speaking friend, and ask the security guard if he has seen anything. This particular security guard is a very nice chap but is nearly always asleep when I see him after about midnight. He says that he saw lots of people leave but can't recall seeing anyone with a large piece of furniture. Me and my friend decide to have a quick jog around the block to see if it has been dumped on the street somewhere. We have no luck. I'm getting very frustrated by now.
My nice foot stool has been stolen by someone in the building and I want it back.""

I know what happened to the foot stool...


Wednesday, September 12, 2007


Do you find yourself the subject of unwanted attention in the gym?

Find that people stare at you whilst stretching, doing sit-ups etc?

Want a solution to your problem?

Well, we have the solution!!!!

It's quick, it's simple, all you have to do is!.........
.......Check the crotch of your shorts for a sodding big hole.


Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Mr Dicks

Before you jump to conclusions, the title of this post is due to my Godfather, Terry.

Hold on though, first I have to explain why.

I got an email around a week ago from a fantastic lady who helps run the Oxford Uni Careers service. I went to Oxford for my February recruitment trip and happened to say on my way out of her office "if you ever find yourself in Hong Kong, let us know and we (the company) will take you out for lunch". Never expecting anyone to actually take up the offer, I was quite surprised to recieve an email from the lady in question letting me know that she was indeed coming to Hong Kong on holiday, and it would be good to meet.

I met her at our nearest MTR station and she had her partner with her too, a really nice guy called Keith who was Sri Lankan/British. We hit it off really well, it was obviously a networking opportunity for the company and myself, but both her and the partner were easy to get along with and it was not an 'effort', to entertain them.

So we had dim sum, then I took the afternoon off to show them around Hong Kong a bit. We did the Avenue of Stars, Star Ferry, tram journey to Central, bar vsiting, and the Man Mo Temple. Then that was the action packed day nearly over. Now this is where my godfather comes in.

I was walking next to Keith and we were discussing Hong Kong politics and the colonial era. I happened to mention that my Godfather once told me that he had visitied Hong Kong for work related reasons when he was a member of parliment, before the 1997 handover.

"Is your Godfather an MP now?" he asked. "No, retired" I replied. "What was his constituancy?" he inquired, "Hayes and Harlington", came my reply. Then there was quite a large pause.
"What was his name?"
"Terry ..." (Surname) I replied.

Then there was an even larger pause.

Now, Keith was polite, but could not hide his clear distaste for my Godfather, or help mention that he campaigned for 'the other side'. He also mentioned that he met him once and that he was not a particular fan. Recognizing the need to drop the subject quite quickly, I decided to comment that we were currently walking through the red light district of Wan Chai. That did the trick nicely, ending tense attention on my Godfather and directing it towards scantily clad ladies outside brothels. Which actually made things less awkward, believe it or not.

My knowledge of my Godfather is pretty limited in terms of the things he said and his stand on issues. I think he made a speech at my Christening and said something which caught the attention of the Sun Newspaper and got him in a bit of bother. Other than that, he is just my Godfather!

I now have a new bit of knowledge though, unless I'm around Conservatives, best to keep the Godfather quiet in case I come head to head with another opposing activist. Especially if i'm trying to keep them happy! Thankfully I never mentioned that the Godmother works for Hertz, otherwise my luck would have been that Hertz screwed up his rental car booking recently or something...


Monday, September 10, 2007

From the Archives

Robyn and myself had many a bizzare moments last year.

One example being when we taught lots of girls to dance at her school.
It was never a regular 9-5 job........

Sunday, September 9, 2007

That is so Hong Kong

So now, from the earlier post, you should have learnt what I mean when I say "That is so Hong Kong."

So I have a test for you.

I wish I could say I was joking, but this is a picture of the inside of a flat which belongs to two new members of staff.

The flat came like this, they added the pot plants though.

Is it 'Hong Kong'???
Yes my students, it is a prime example of 'Hong Kong'

(PHD in Hong Kong weirdness)

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Support for the cause

If you are going to purchase giant metal drums. March through Hong Kong, shout and scream for some type of cause. THAT IS FINE!!!

If you decided to start this protest at 8.30AM on a Sunday morning. That is not going to help you gather support for your cause, it's going to p%#s people off.

Unless, of course, you are protesting about something involving sleep deprivation. Then your protest is not only well timed, it makes me understand your frustration perfectly.


Thursday, September 6, 2007


The man who lives across the hall from me is thankfully not as bad as the 'Shouting Couple' of last year.

He is however a smoker. Not only is he a smoker, he also owns a parrot. Smoking and owning a parrot is not a problem or crime, except I can sometimes smell the smoke, and hear the parrot.

My solution to the problem was pretty simple. My neighbour and the parrot had to die.

Only joking

My solution to the problem was to purchase incense sticks from Lamma Island, and block the gap under my door with a towel. Things were all going fine till I tried cleaning the shelf where my cremated incense stick dust had accumilated. Somewhere in the cleaning process I flicked incense dust up off the shelf, and into my eye.

It hurt, I mean, really hurt. I washed my eye then consulted the packaging from the sticks. Surprisingly enough there was no instruction to help my predicament. I also tried this, but even Google, with all its wisdom, failed to come to my aid.

Despite this trauma, my incense system for solving the smoke problem is still in operation. Now I just need some ideas about how to kill a parrot???


Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Very "Hong Kong"

I have been thinking about how to describe this for some time. You can walk down the street and see how someone is dressed, or see how a car has been decorated etc and say to your friends "That is so bloody Hong Kong". Problem is I have never discovered a perfect example to sum up exactly what we mean by "Hong Kong". Well ladies and gents, I have now discovered it in the picture below.

Over the top, outrageous, and over detailed. like Lilly Savage has vomited all over it and then sprinkled diamonds on top. This is what we mean when we say something is by look and design 'Hong Kong'.
(This was taken through a shop window, it is not my flat!)

Monday, September 3, 2007


Quite a large part of the emphasis of orientation is that you need to be willing to be a little bit crazy, fun and stupid with the students. So that means that there was a great deal of crazy from myself during the first few days.

For example, in the above picture myself and Rachel are trying to mime in a comedy style a rather famous book called the Karma-Sutra. (Disclaimer: There were no students in the room at time of bad Karma Sutra miming)

We also gave our new staff halls full of students to entertain (200+). The newbies were pretty nervous about this but eventually they got into the 'swing' of things and were teaching them how to Salsa Dance (using English as well of course)

In fact, they all did really very well and were quite calm. I however lost my mind, as the picture below demonstrates.

On closer inspection this picture really disturbs me, i look like a zombie.

And here is a picture taken at the exact moment I was asked this question by the leader of this pack of students.

"Which would you rather eat, a live Tiger or a live Horse"?

Talk about creative use of language!


Sunday, September 2, 2007

Quote of the day

The quote of the day goes to a newbie who asked me on the way back from Lamma Island.

"Ben, so to get from one side of Lamma Island to the other, do you need your passport?"

I think this was prompted by talk of the "Western Side" and the "Chinese Side" of the island. Or at least that's what i'm hoping!!!


Typhoon Remains

Just back from Lama Island and now resting in my little flat. It was an awesome day, i was expecting about 10 people to be going but I would roughly say it ended up being more like 40!

Everyone loved the island, what was a new edition was a ship that has been washed ashore on one of the beaches during the typhoon. Despite the 'police do not cross' signs we had to go take a look. Rebels that we are. :)

Saturday, September 1, 2007

What the Shek?

My boss gave us Friday off so the weekend so far has seen a Friday trip to Sheko Beach. Below are a couple of pics

I have no idea what that pink thing is on the left...

Friday night saw some drunken fun and saturday was the recovery. Today is Sunday and I am taking some of the newbies to Lamma Island for beach fun and bookworm Cafe food. Yummmmmmmm