Monday, May 26, 2008

The off-season: Bolton Wanderers

As an Arsenal fan, I have a certain grudge against Bolton. They have been the scrouge of the Gunners, being resilient despite Arsenal's constant dominance in matches between the two sides. I think their way of playing of putting ten men behind the ball and hoofing the ball up towards Kevin Davies is not pleasing on the eye for many spectators. I think many fans, including Bolton ones, will not be dismayed if Bolton were relegated, as they nearly were last season.

GK: Jussi Jaaskalainen, Ali Al Habsi, Ian Walker

The Wanderers are in a funny situation this summer with their goalkeepers. With Walker and Jaaskalainen out of contract and Al Habsi disgruntled at not being given a chance, all the goalkeepers could stay or leave. They really should get rid of Walker since there is no need for a third goalkeeper in a squad without European competition. It is most likely Jaaskalainen will leave for fresher pastures, with Aston Villa and Spurs being touted as destinations.

RB: Nicky Hunt, Gretar Steinsson

With Steinsson coming in during January, Nicky Hunt has been pushed down the pecking order. It is most likely Joey O'Brien will be back-up for Steinsson whilst Nicky Hunt should move on.

LB: Jlloyd Samuel, Ricardo Gardner

Bolton have wisely offered Gardner a new contract but he is most likely have to play second fiddle to Samuel.

CB: Gary Cahill, Andy O'Brien, Abdoulaye Meite

The (second) most important area for Bolton to start searching for players. With Meite throwing a strop about not playing, he won't be at the Reebok stadium next season. Gary Megson will need two centre-backs to help Cahill and O'Brien but will have to find players willing need to backup this players and sit on the bench.

WG: Matt Taylor, Ricardo Vaz Te

With Bolton playing 4-5-1, they require less wingers than most teams but they still at least one winger with Guthrie going back to Liverpool, Stelios being let go and Diouf wanting to go to a team who actually challenges for trophies.

CM: Kevin Nolan, Gavin McCann, Blerim Dzemaili, Joey O'Brien, Tamir Cohen

This is Gary Megson's strongest area but they might require reinforcement if the likes of Dzemaili or Cohen leave, as they haven't played that often.

FW: Kevin Davies, Heidar Helgusson, Daniel Braatan, El Hadj Diouf

If Bolton are to stay up, they will require at least two more forwards to supply the goals. Diouf has already stated he wants to leave whilst Helgusson and Braatan haven't performed that well to merit a place in the first eleven.


In: Goalkeeper x 1, Centre-back x 2, Winger x 1, Forward x 2
Out: Jaaskalainen, Walker, Hunt, Meite, Helgusson, Braatan

Pronunciation of "harass"

I listen religiously to "The News Quiz" through their podcast. For those who don't know, "The News Quiz" is a comedy panel program broadcasted on BBC Radio 4 and takes a comedic view on the news over the past week.

On a show a few weeks ago, one of their panellists mentioned the word "harass" is usually pronounced wrong. It is usually said with the stress on the first syllable (sounding like "her ass") but should be said with the stress on the second syllable. For those who don't believe it, there is a Wikipedia entry on this matter.

Does it really matter how you say words or phrases as long as you can get your message across? Well according to my mum and everybody who corrects my Cantonese, it seems to matter. Whenever I correct my mum on her English pronunciation (despite living as many years, if not more, in England as I have), she gets frustrated about it and said I shouldn't do it. I rightly point out to her that she corrects my Cantonese and I will continue to correct her English, even in public, as long she corrects my Cantonese.

I don't usually correct people's pronunciation of English that often. Most of my friends speak fluent English so the situation never arises. If my colleagues and peers don't speak English fluently and pronounce words incorrectly, I usually close my eyes and flinch - even when it is doctors. People in the medical profession in Hong Kong think their English is very proficient when the truth is that their English is as good as any person in Hong Kong. Ask a doctor what the plural of lipoma and haemangioma is, they will say lipomas and haemangimomas which any other Hong Kong person would say. The correct version is lipomata and haemangiomata, which Hong Kong doctors rarely say because what they believe is true.

My gripe with the pronunciation of the English language in Hong Kong doesn't stop there. Chinese people tend to pronounce "mechanism" incorrectly placing the stress in the second syllable (similar to pronouncing "mechanical"). And their pronounciation of letters is worse. I think I covered this topic before in another blog entry but I had to correct my mother on the pronunciation of the letter "F". She says it like any other Hong Kong person does, with an extra vowel sound at the end - "ef-oo" instead of "ef". Many of the letters in the alphabet get "Hong-Kong-ized" with added vowels sounds added at the end of letters. Whenever Hong Kong pronounce letters, I usually have to block out the sound since I want to keep my sanity intact and not have to shout at them for denigrating the language of Shakespeare and Chaucer.

Yet what is the matter as long as you get your message across?

Saturday, May 24, 2008

The off-season: Blackburn Rovers

It's hard to image ten years ago Blackburn Rovers were the Chelsea equivalent, bank-rolled by a wealthy tycoon and winning the league. Nowadays they have limited funds and a small fanbase. Nonetheless their achievements in recent years do match their single title all those years ago. Mark Hughes has done a fantastic job at the Lancashire club, unearthing great players and getting Blackburn to challenge for UEFA Cup places. A good European jaunt and a solid seventh finish should be considered a good season. What Blackburn will find difficult to do is keeping hold of Hughes and their star players, with bigger clubs sniffing around.

GK: Brad Friedel, Jason Brown

With Peter Enckelman leaving after this contract expired, Brown will be putting pressure on Friedel for that number one spot. I don't think Rovers require another goalkeeper, with no European campaign this year.

RB: Brett Emerton, Steven Reid

Mark Hughes seems content to play two midfielders in this position. I think he should be investing in a right-back but I think he has more pressing areas.

LB: Stephen Warnock

With Bruno Berner going, I'm thinking Martin Olsson will be back up Warnock in this position.

CB: Ryan Nelsen, Andre Ooijer, Christopher Samba, Zurab Khizanishvili

The strongest area for Blackburn Rovers, even with Stephane Henchoz leaving. No need to buy players here, except if anyone leaves.

WG: David Bentley, Morten Gamst Pedersen

The most vital area where Hughes should be bolstering. With Bentley courted by the Big Four and Pedersen dropping off in form, they will need back-up or maybe even replacement wingers.

CM: Tugay Kerimoglu, Johann Vogel, David Dunn, Aaron Mokoena

Another solid area for Blackburn but it wasn't so six months ago. Robbie Savage left and Blackburn weren't playing so well. Then stepped in Vogel and they were boosted, only to miss out on an European place. With Tugay staying for another year, it will be a solid midfield.

FW: Roque Santa Cruz, Benni McCarthy, Matt Derbyshire, Jason Roberts, Maceo Rigters, Paul Gallagher

A weird area for Mark Hughes, where he has too many forwards in the squad. There are certain players to keep - Santa Cruz, McCarthy, Derbyshire. Others are not so concrete - Roberts wants to go to find a regular team spot but should be kept, Rigters still has time despite hardly playing at all. I definitely should say that Paul Gallagher should leave, even though he signed a long term contract quite recently.


In: Wingers x 2

Out: Roberts, Gallagher

Friday, May 23, 2008

The corruption of humankind

There was a time I believe in the common decency of man; where everyone does everything for good intentions. Over the years I have learned in the harshest of ways the human race is not a benevolent society and most people regress back to animal instincts of survival rather than thinking of the bigger picture of the greater good. Watching today's news gave me two perfect examples of the corruption of humankind.

In the aftermath of the Sichuan earthquake, there are people abusing the situation of vulnerable people. There have been riots near a store when people found out that the shop owner was selling supplies that were intended for needy people. There has also been another shop who received tents and other outdoor equipment from a factory after pretending to be from the Red Cross. Even in the face of tragedy there still lurks evil in the heart of men and women. In this BBC News article, there are people who are sending text messages claiming to be survivors of certain families and requiring money to help pay hospital bills.

In news much closer to home, the former dean of my faculty has been charged with fraud, theft and misconduct. If you want more details you can read the news here. I don't know if this case is true or not. I don't have all the details and the case is still ongoing. We have the presume he's innocent until proven guilty. Yet one does wonder if this is just the tip of the iceberg. One has to wonder if doctors, who take care of the sick and dying, use their position to gain in other ways. I always said that not all doctors are benevolent. Some people become doctors because of their curiosity in the human body and science, others become doctors for the status symbol and to satisfy their own ego. Few people actually study medicine to help people.

If you want the true benevolent doctors, search for the ones who gave up the comforts of their surroundings, travelled thousands of miles to a different land to help people who require the aid and to do it all for a pittance. Those are the real doctors

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Everybody is entitled to his or her own opinion

I love getting comments on my blog, be it only to show that somebody has actually read my blog. I received one comment on my entry "More about romance and relationships", where I was disparaging towards women. For those who haven't read it, here is is in full:
hmmm just a passerby

your observations are pretty 'interesting'
maybe you never managed to score because you're the one who is unattractive... and yet speaking so critical about some women... eg saying some being fat, bitches...
but then again, there's freedom of speech

what a loser
What I would like to say about the reader's comment is true. I know I'm unattractive. I look at myself in the mirror every day and wonder if I'm conceived from the sperm of Kim Jong-Il. I'm 10 kg overweight with no time to exercise or bring my weight down. I know I'm not the perfect male specimen.

Yet that was not the point of my entry. I wasn't criticising women on their looks or why they don't score with. What I was criticising was the way society views women's role during the courting period and sexual intercourse. To wrap it all up, the reader wrote "what a loser" like he knew intimately and had the authority to make that judgement. I thought he/she could have been more considerate and put his/her thoughts to me more tactfully.

There's a time for being blunt and being considerate; that is what makes a person a human being and not a robot.

The off-season: Aston Villa

Like Everton, Aston Villa are a side constantly improving each season by keeping their manager and investing wisely in players. They finished sixth and qualified for the Intertoto Cup, meaning an early start to the campaign. Thankfully their squad is usually made up of English players and with England not qualifying for Euro 2008, it will them to have a break. Reasonably they should be expected to have another good campaign in the league whilst at least try to win a cup competition.

GK: Stuart Taylor

With Thomas Sorensen leaving and Scott Carson returning to Liverpool, Villa need to invest in a top class goalkeeper. The £10 million price tag placed by Liverpool on Carson has lead to O'Neill looking elsewhere, with USA international goalkeeper Brad Guzan being the top target. O'Neill failed in his bid to sign Buzan in January due to work permit issues but if Liverpool continue to maintain that exorbitant fee for Carson, look for another US keeper to come to the Premier League soon.

RB: Craig Gardner

Yet another area O'Neill should be investing in. O'Neill had to make do by playing central defender Olof Mellberg in this position but has left for Juventus. O'Neill must now face this problem head on. Stephen Carr and Justin Hoyte have been linked with the role, with my preference being on Hoyte (despite my desire for him to stay at Arsenal).

LB: Wilfred Bouma

It seems Aston Villa needs to make signings in every position. This is not surprising since they have one of the smallest squad. Having to recruit in every area will mean a busy summer for Martin O'Neill (and agents). However Martin O'Neill has to keep what he has and he's hoping to retain the services of Bouma plus add somebody else with John Arne Riise mentioned in the tabloids.

CB: Martin Laursen, Curtis Davies, Zat Knight

With Olof Mellberg popping off to Italy and Davies' transfer not yet complete, another addition in the centre of the defence should be required. Yet whoever comes in knows they probably be fourth choice. The gaffer be best to find a full-back who can also play in the centre, like Justin Hoyte.

WG: Wayne Routledge, Shawn Maloney, Ashley Young

Buying players in this area depends on Martin O'Neill's faith in his current players. Obviously there is not question of Young's ability but Maloney has drifted in and out of games. Routledge maybe given a fresh chance in the pre-season but his non-appearance after his transfer may mean he will move on after his contract runs out next year. I'm sure O'Neill will look out for wingers but it is not his top priority

CM: Gareth Barry, Nigel Reo-Coker, Stiliyan Petrov, Moustapha Salifou, Isaiah Osbourne

Probably O'Neill's most important area - not for buying but for keeping. With Liverpool sniffing around for Barry, O'Neill has to keep his best player and captain to ensure another good season come next May.

FW: John Carew, Gabriel Agbonlahor, Marlon Harewood, Luke Moore

It is most likely there will be a swap in this department, with Luke Moore going and another striker coming in. Moore is a good player but just too similar to the far superior Agbonlahor, who is breaking into the England team. What Villa needs is a striker who can drop deep, sort of like the playmaking role of Bergkamp or Sheringham.


In: Goalkeeper x 1, Right-back x 1, Left-back x 1, Winger x 1, Forward x 1
Out: Luke Moore

Monday, May 19, 2008

The off-season: Arsenal

Even though the domestic football season is winding down, with just the Champions' League final coming up, a football fan doesn't stop thinking about football. There will be Euro 2008, even though England won't be in Switzerland and Austria. Plus there will be transfer gossip galore, with the tabloids, magazines and websites inundated with news about possible signings.

I'm anticipating not having much time in July or August previewing the forthcoming season, I will be doing a club-by-club analysis of what the club should be doing. Naturally I start off with MY club, Arsenal

GK: Manuel Almunia, Lukasz Fabianski

With Jens Lehmann going, the question to ask is whether or not the Gunners need to recruit a new goalkeeper. My personal answer is no. I think Arsenal have enough capable keepers to maintain a bid for the title. Almunia proved he can be a number one whilst I think Fabianski will give him competition. If push comes to shove Vito Mannone can provide extra cover. If Arsenal did require a keeper, who could be recruited? It is difficult to find a top quality keeper and pry him from the club that he's at. The only name that springs to mind is Santiago Canizares. Yet he's just been released by Valencia and will he want to come to the Premier League?

RB: Bacary Sagna, Emmanuel Eboue, Justin Hoyte, Kerrea Gilbert.

With Sagna being first choice at right-back, there is fight out for who deputises for him. Personally I think Eboue should go since he can't defend well and he does a lot of play-acting, which has infuriated Arsene Wenger. Yet in reality I think the English contingent of Hoyte and Gilbert. Arsenal should really make an effort to keep Hoyte. Although he's not technically brilliant, he's versatile to play across the back line, he gives 100% to the cause and, most importantly, he's English.

LB: Gael Clichy, Armand Traore

No need to invest or sell in this area. With Clichy cementing his place as the best left-back in the Premier League, Traore gives enough cover and protection for him. Thankfully Clichy won't be going to Euro 2008 for Arsenal's sake.

CB: Kolo Toure, William Gallas, Phillipe Senderos, Johan Djourou

This is where Arsenal have to invest over the summer. With Senderos failing to exert himself as the next Tony Adams, the centre-back area needs a typical English defender to head away balls and go into the crunching tackles. It will mean either Senderos or Djourou leaving the club in all honesty but that is the way it has to be. I personally would like Steven Taylor from Newcastle United to to be bought but it will be difficult. I've heard Wenger would like to bring in Lilian Thuram but with his age and relative lack of height, I don't think he would be a good signing.

WG: Alexander Hleb, Tomas Rosicky, Theo Walcott

With rumours of Hleb going to Inter Milan, I think Wenger needs to start investing in this area. The latest name to be linked is Sami Nasri, who would make a very good addition. However I think we (and I'm referring to Arsenal like I belong to them, since I do) should buy a scoring midfielder, since it has been a problem since Robert Pires left. We need more goals from midfield.

CM: Cesc Fabregas, Gilberto Silva, Abou Diaby, Alexandre Song, Denilson

The central midfield area is a vague zone for Arsenal. Whoever comes to Arsenal knows that Fabregas is the first name on the team sheet and everybody else is secondary. Diaby, Song and Denilson might be thinking about their futures and may want to move on, but I think Wenger will keep all of them. The future of Gilberto is the tricky part. Wenger will want to him to team up again with Fabregas know that Flamini has buggered off to AC Milan. Yet if Gilberto decides his time is up and leaves, Arsenal will require another holding midfielder and I don't see Diaby or Song fulfilling that role just yet. I don't have any preferences on who Wenger brings is, just so that this player must be experienced and dominant enough to protect Arsenal's back four and allow Fabregas to do his job. The other alternative is pushing Toure into this role but I don't think that will happen.

FW: Emmanuel Adebayor, Robin Van Persie, Eduardo, Nicklas Bendtner

Many Arsenal fans might think Wenger might need to bring in another forward, with the injury woes of Van Persie and Eduardo plus Bendtner not doing very well. I think Arsenal can manage without bringing in another striker, especially since we can go 4-5-1 or 4-4-1-1 or even bring Walcott up front.


In: Centre-back x 1, Winger x 1, Holding midfielder x 1 (if Gilberto Silva goes)
Out: Hoyte, Gilbert, Senderos/Djourou, Gilberto Silva

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Choosing internship posts

Yesterday was the first day for choosing internship posts. I have been a bit apprehensive about the forthcoming internship. With my problems I had thought of not going through with becoming an intern. I had heard all the stories about the year in internship. One doesn't really learn much during internship. Those lowly interns are there to take blood for investigations and to record everything into the documents. I had heard about the sleepless nights and the lack of holidays. I worry I could crack due to the stress and relapse into depression again. I worry I'm might not want to get up and go to work, leading to a death of a patient at worse. Many of my friends say I would not lay in bed and kill a patient. They reckon I have a thing most Hong Kong people don't have - a conscience. That may be true but I wouldn't want to bet it with a patient's death.

I decided to go ahead with trying to become an intern. I think my options in the future of what I want to do would be more open if I can say I'm a fully fledged registered doctor. To be honest I don't care where I go to do my internship. Most people don't want to stay our teaching hospital as the pressure is higher than other hospitals and if you want to get a training post outside, it becomes harder if you stay at one hospital. I know I probably be posted to the main teaching hosptal as the doctors there know about my psychiatric condition and probably be a bit more sympathetic.

Most of my choices have been at the main teaching hospital but I've chosen all the psychiatric posts, since that is my interest. I have chosen hospitals close to my (parent's) home and specialties in those hospitals I'm interested in - orthopaedics and psychiatry. We are required to take medicine and surgery posts but I just don't want to do any O&G or paediatrics. I'm just interested in those specialities, both intellectually and emotionally.

I'm crossing my fingers I get the posts I wanted.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Emotional numbness

The recent natural disasters in Burma and China have left many people distraught at the number of deaths involved. The natural reaction is an outpouring of grief followed by the conditional reflex of charity, usually in the form of donating money to one of the charities involved. My mum has been like that for the past few days, especially concerning the earthquake in the Sichuan province. She has been openly saying, "How can such a tragedy happen?" and "I cannot believe so many people have died."

My reaction? I not been having much of a reaction over the incident. I feel I'm apathetic towards most tragedies and disasters that have happened. I don't vocalize or express anything whilst others are saddened by the event. Naturally I do feel something emotionally inside towards the earthquake and the cyclone but that feeling is fleeting. I often want to tell people, "Yes, it is a tragedy these people died but natural disasters happen all the time - earthquakes, hurricanes, floods. More people die of hunger and infectious diseases every day, and I don't see you emotionally grieve for them." Somehow I have put a logical viewing on an emotionally-trying event. I do this with happy events as well - birthdays, anniversaries, holidays. These events occur every year and after a while they tend to become tedious and routine.

I really do need to get out more...

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

More about romance and relationships

Two blog entries ago I was very critical about the female view towards relationships and sex. Perhaps I was being too harsh as I don't blame an individual for their narrow minded thinking. Instead society should take some responability how girls become women.

One aspect I hate about society's views is on the issue of courting. In mostly every single society and culture, it is the male who has to do the wooing and the female has to sit there. In all circumstances, it is the male who has to accept rejection rather than the female. The girl has to choose and that is it. Eventually she will find some guy who likes her or the biological clock rings, then she just finds somebody who is suitable. Even if the girl is fat, ugly and a bitch she will find a suitor. There are guys desperate enough who want a woman like that. I've seen on in a maternity ward. She was nineteen and looked like a heifer. Her boyfriend was a reasonable chap who for some reason had picked this elephant to be his partner for the rest of his life. This is the reason I don't understand romances and relationships. I'm just viewing them from a scientific logical point of view when they are suppose to be illogical.

Eventually the issue of sex arises between a couple and there certainly different views. Some just see the act of coitus as a means to an end, the end being the conceiving of a child. Women often see it as a way to satisfy their partners, without getting off themselves. I thought the act of lovemaking was suppose to be about two people, not just one. If both are to be satisfied both have to give and share.

With all this sexual tension inside, it is difficult for me to be so casual and complacent. During my normal everyday life I find it hard to restrain myself. Nearly almost every hour I feel the urge to smack a woman's bottom. I'm an arse man (in the sense that I like a woman's buttock). You have to be in Hong Kong since women's chests are as flat as Hiroshima after the nuclear bomb was dropped. If I knew I would get away with it or that sexual harassment wasn't a crime or the woman in question wouldn't mind and in fact rather enjoyed it, I would do it. Yet it takes an enormous amount of restraint and self will-power to stop myself from smacking a bottom. I know this makes me sound like a pervert but I'm not that much of a pervert. Perhaps I just craving for affection and touch and this is my way of expressing it.

As I said before, I'll say it again: I'm not looking for the most beautiful, the smartest or the funniest lady in the world. I'm just looking for ONE lady.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Itchy skin and losing another mobile phone

It has been an eventful past week. Some will say it was a bad week but it depends on how you look at it. I lost my mobile phone around about Wednesday and I didn't notice it was missing until the next day. I got a bollocking from my mother since it is the second mobile phone I have lost in about six months. It isn't that bad as it sounds. My old mobile phone was not working very well and I was going to replace it anyway. My dad loves going out to buy gadgets and I'm not really fussed what mobilie phone I have, so he actually has an excuse to go out and buy a mobile phone which he has done. Now I have to find a way of not losing my mobile phone whenever I'm on the minibus. I need to start attaching the phone to my trousers via one of those string attachments.

Losing my mobile phone was not the most interesting event that happened to me in the past week. I think the flare-up of my eczema has been more irritating, both literally and metaphorically. I don't suffer from full blown eczema like my poor brother, who still has to deal with it everyday. All I have is some itchy and scaly skin around my left elbow and knee. It's gotten worse in the past few days since summer has returned and I've started to sweat, which irritates those areas.

Don't worry, I won't be putting any photos up. I spare the readers the horror. The imagination is much more potent in that regard of scaring you.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Problems with love and sex

Thinking about sex all the time is not the greatest of things. Having to constantly think where your next shag is coming from is what prevents men from doing complicated actions such as multitasking. This is why I envy the sexual naviety of most females, especially Asian women. The female brain is not wired to think about getting laid all the time so they can get on with their day think about important matters such as what clothes they want to buy or whether they look fat. By not getting laid all the time, Asian women tend not to know the pleasure of an orgasm and won't actively seek it. They don't know the joys of having oral sex performed on them or what the multiple orgasm feels like.

It's a problem having to think of sex all the time and especially with my mother around. It feels like a second childhood all over again for me living with my mother. I don't have any 'alone time' to pop my rocks off, since she so f*cking scared I will fail she insist she be around all the time. I cannot close the door and say to my mother, "Can you give me five minutes alone? I'm going to spank the monkey."

It's frankly becoming a problem. I started to view some of my single female friends as 'potential girlfriends' which is frightening. I know in my mind there is no way I want a relationship now or that a relationship will sustainable. I know that for me a relationship should be the last thing I need. Yet in my heart I want one. Not just because of the sex but also for the companionship. When you've spent most of the your teenage years and adulthood without somebody you can love, it tends to nag on your mind.

Many factors prevent me from pursuing a relationship - how the other will handle my depression and the fear of rejection.

I think all through our loves, everybody wants to love by someone. We not out there to find the most beautiful, the smartest, the wealthiest or the funniest. We just want to fine THE ONE, that is all.

In one simple phrase - I'm desperate and I know it and it saddens me.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Afterthoughts of the Olympic torch relay

These are things I forgot to put in my last blog entry. Usually I just write what is on my mind. some subjects do tend to be left on the pavements and I have to drive back to pick them up.

Firstly about the Olympic song. Every Olympics has a tacky pop with words like 'spirit' and 'strength', sung by all the local celebrities. I'm just disappointed they have the words "We are ready" in the song. Why should I be peeved at this? Well the words are in English and the rest of the song is in Chinese (it seems the song has a Cantonese & Mandarin version). If we think China is so great, why do we have to bow down to international appeal and put some English words into the lyrics? Just issue an English version with equally stomach-churning words sung by a tacky pop star. Also I just find it ironic those words. 'We are ready.' Beijing may not be ready in terms of air pollution. I think this problem is the only one the Olympic committee have. Compared to the last Olympics in Athens, Beijing is more than ready (except for the issue on human rights, in which they promised to improve once they were given the rights to host this years Olympics).

Secondly the Olympic torchbearers. In London, they had Sir Steve Redgrave and Dame Kelly Holmes, along with other stars such as Sir Trevor McDonald and Konnie Huq carrying the flame. Naturally there will be celebrities in the line-up but most of the spots were filled by athletes; people who have a direct link with the Olympics. Here in Hong Kong it is different. Only a third of the 120 torchbearers were athletes. The others were a host of business people and celebrities. The list of torchbearers never came under scrutiny. I have nothing against the likes of Andy Lau or Eason Chan, it is just the process of allowing celebrities to participate to add more glamour to already otherwise significant event. London didn't get the likes of Leona Lewis or Jude Law to run the Olympic torch relay. The most disappointing thing I heard about the Hong Kong torch relay was what local 'singer' and 'actress' Kelly Chen (I would have rather used the word 'celebrity' as well but my sarcasm meter has already exploded) said. The thing she was most worried about was looking good.

I don't want the Olympic torch to come through Hong Kong again and if it did, please get genuine people like ordinary citizens and athletes to carry the torch, not celebrities wondering if they look pretty whilst holding the torch.

Friday, May 02, 2008

The Olympic torch in Hong Kong (Cathay, the Central Nation - part 3)

Since the Olympic torch came to Hong Kong today, I bowed to the throng of the indomitable masses and made my way to watch the relay go through Central. Packing my digital camera, for the inevitable photograph taking to ensure this event will stay etched in my mind (or at least on my hard drive) forever, and my mp3 player, for the prolonged waiting I would have to endure to ensure an ideal watching position, I made my way to Central Pier one and half hours before the torch was scheduled to arrive.

I need to ensure an ideal place for photographing, since I have a poor digital camera with a very inadequate zoom function. I was thinking of watching from the IFC shopping mall next to Central Pier but it was too far away. It was pointless picking that spot anyway since the mall staff had started cordoning off the balcony areas. This was most likely due to safety reasons. With everybody wanting to watch the Olympic torch go by, the last thing the mall will need is people dropping over from their roof gardens.

I was going to watch from the walkway but I was told by a police officer the walkway will be closed off during the actual torch relay. I decided I had to brave the masses and watch from the sidelines instead. I hate crowds almost to the point of agoraphobia. I don't know why people enjoy the 'atmosphere' of having so many people around them. I detest the ensuing masses for the stuffiness and being squashed like sardines. If I was being pressed against naked gorgeous woman, that would be worth it but we all know that is a fantasy in my wildest dreams.

With an hour to go, I amused myself by a variety of means. Listening to my podcasts of "The Now Show" and "The Bugle", I watched the thronging crowds waving their Hong Kong & China flags whilst cheering at anything that went past, including three trucks with advertising slogans of the major Olympic sponsors and any police vehicles racing by. They even cheered when a few tour buses transporting people to Central Pier went by. I always wondered what being normal is and this is it - cheering at anything that goes by. Sometimes ignorance is bliss.

Eventually the big event arrived. It was hard to say what I felt as I was too busy photographing. That's the problem with things that happen with your life - if you don't pay attention, they just come and go without you noticing. It almost happened to me but I think it is just memorable to see something very few people get to see.

I know many people have used the Olympic torch relay to promote their political agenda. I do oppose this but I also sympathize with their plight, knowing this might be the only way for the world to listen to the message. In Hong Kong there were very few protests compared to London and Paris, partly because there are few sympathizers in the region and partly because the Hong Kong government barred four activists from entering Hong Kong. In a truly free society they would be allowed into Hong Kong and to participate in free demonstrations. However only Mia Farrow was allowed in to speak on the situation in Sudan. People think Hong Kong is ruled under the "Two System, One Country" rule but that is partly true, partly false.

As I said before, ignorance is bliss. That is what most people are suffering from in the world, especially the throngs of cheering people at today's torch relay who 'love' their country. That is what patriotism, religious faith and supporting football teams are as well. It is a deluded belief in something that put unquestionable loyalty to, despite its problems. People in Hong Kong forget that despite China being an economic power with a great Olympic record, the Mainland does neglect the farmers who earn less than US$100 per year (despite the fact that Chairman Mao stated that the power of the Chinese Communist Party came from the peasant farmer) and there was widespread systemic doping in the swimming team. People who follow the Christian church who acknowledge the missionaries do good things in far off region fail to acknowledge the accumulation of wealth by the Roman Catholic church and the spate of paedophilia cases by the US church. To everything side of a coin, there is a bad side and a good side. Without thinking or debate, we should just accept what is laid out to us.