Monday, March 20, 2006

Glowing nowhere

I've been doing a lot of paddling (both outrigger and dragon boat) lately and have the blisters on my hands to prove it. Paddling at night is the most ethereal experience. On Thursday we took two six person outrigger canoes (OC6s) out on the water at Stanley. A huge bruised moon hovered very low in the sky, strangely and dimly orange, and "mist" (AKA pollution) hung heavy in the air, broken by the occasional lights and sound of planes coming over Hong Kong island to land at the airport beyond.

The strangest thing about paddling at night, apart from the almost unnatural quiet once you're a certain distance away from land, is the fluorescent green algae in the water which is brought to life by the passing of our paddles. I was at stroke, right at the front of the boat, and the glowing water sloughed away in front of me as though we were paddling through molten lava.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Chicken on the run

There’s a whole load of chicken nonsense on the front of the South China Morning Post this morning. Under the banner headline “York Chow warns of total chicken ban”, there’s a story about how HK may ban all imports of chilled and frozen chicken if there’s a bird flu outbreak in Guangdong (just across the border); news that the mainland’s Vice-Minister of Health, Wang Longde has declared that it's all right, no need to panic, the people who have died of bird flu so far just had weak immune systems (so it’s their fault then!); and most farcical of all, a story about pigeons at Prosperous Garden, a block of flats in Yau Ma Tei, a place so Prosperous that they have been advised by Hong Kong’s Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation (But Clearly Not of Chickens) Department to buy sticky gel to repel the pigeons which tend to congregate around the building.

Quite reasonably, the Prosperous residents asked the question, repeated verbatim in the paper, “If the birds have avian flu, why would we want to stick them to our buildings”?

The bird glue is called Bird X (naturally), is applied with a glue gun, and costs HK$737 (US$95) (plus shipping and handling, as the South China helpfully points out).

Stand by for a veritable avalanche of similar stories, all designed to make HK residents (just south of Guangdong, after all) feel really, really confident. My friend G was at a dinner party last weekend, and he said that the conversation was confined to two topics: (1) one's villa in Bali, and the cost thereof; and (2) how much Tamiflu one had managed to stockpile.