Sunday, March 27, 2011

On a cold damp day in HK

HK is unusually cold for the end of March and today was even more miserable with a light drizzle too. Having lost the Boy to the HK Sevens rugby all weekend I have been enjoying some bonding girl time with Eve. After ruling out museums and playrooms (we went yesterday) and shopping there isn't much left to do indoors in HK on a wet and cold day. However, I have stumbled on a great way to spend a day. Bus adventure!

HK is blessed with a brilliant public transport system with lots of regular, clean and warm buses. To have a bus adventure you start at a bus stop somewhere away from where you live (thereby giving you a more unusual range of buses). You agree to get on the first bus that arrives at the stop and go as far as you can on it. Then get off and have some fun. For the second and subsequent legs of the adventure (and to avoid just getting the same bus back again) you pick a number from one to ten and get on a bus with that number on it. Eve and I had lots of fun and variously ended up in a market, a coffee shop, HK's fanciest shopping centre and Marks & Spencer (I may have engineered that one so I could pick up supper!).

We had such good fun, seeing new bits of HK and not quite knowing where our adventure would take us. Definitely one to do again.


On the same weekend as some half a million british turned out in London to demonstrate against the cuts, Hong Kong had a similar demo going too.

People in HK, if pushed, go a long way to protect the freedoms afforded them under the One Country, Two Systems of government when the UK ceded control of HK to China. The turn out every year at the candlelit vigil of the 1984 Tiananmen Square massacre is tremendous, almost 20 year after the event. When the HK government tried to enact Article 23, which effectively would have given the government the right to restrict many freedoms under a subversion law (similar laws are widely used in China to silence dissent) a million people came out onto the streets. If one bears in mind that there were only 7 million people living in HK at the time, this number seems all the more impressive.

Todays demo, however, was on a somewhat less grand scale. The demonstration was against the governments latest budget, the main point of which seems to involve giving every permanent resident a gift of HK$8,000. Despite this, there are some cuts and the local socialists and left wingers organised a demo today. I only know about this because Eve and I were on a bus adventure today and we got stuck in some light traffic. Despite the news reports of there being 10,000 people, I estimate there were about 150.

The wealth gap in HK is one of the worst in the world and there is no real social security to speak of (although medical care and schooling remains free for the poorest, which still puts HK well ahead of most countries in this region). However, it is also possibly the most capitalist country in the world as well. As I walked past the socialist party of HK banner I felt a sense of respect - it's not even an uphill struggle trying to bring socialist principals to a city like HK, it must just be akin to banging ones head against a mountain in the hope that one day you might chip just a tiny bit off!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Dear germs, again

Dear germs,

Did I say something wrong? Did I do something to offend? I am not sure what I deserved for you to make Eve's ear hurt so much and fever so high that I only got 2 hours sleep last night. And another doctor's bill today.

I would like to thank Dr David for telling me exactly the same thing as Dr Louisa did yesterday, but seeing how frazzled I am and giving me some slightly stronger painkiller for Eve tonight. Take that germs - ha ha ha (hmm, perhaps I am a little bit overtired).

Hopefully I'll get some sleep tonight.

Yummy Mummy

PS. I did find that the lovely Dr David, who usually sees Eve at night, fancies Dr Louisa, who sees Eve during the day. I find that sort of sweet.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Letter to the germs

Dear germs,

I know that you need to live and eat and have happy germ sex or whatever it is that is your reason for being. I am really truly grateful that you saved the earth in War of the Worlds. I am impressed by your evolutionary rigour. However, I don't need this rigour and life-loving spirit to be displayed with quite such regularity via my daughter.

When I took her, again, to the doctor today (please bear in mind that I am not fond of doctors and they are bloody expensive in HK so it takes a lot for me to take Eve) and the doctor asked me how long she had been ill for I struggled to think of a time in the last year when she hasn't had a cough or a cold or a fever or some minor childhood ailment that has been just under the surface and mildly annoying for all concerned.

I am hoping that the 8 times she vomited today, including twice on me, will be the last display that you need to make for a while. It has been pretty impressive an I hope that you also found it amusing that I am having to shove a supository up her my daughters' bum to stop her vomiting. Can we just now agree I realise you are big and clever and can you please now just bugger off? For a couple of months at least. I really need to get some sleep and Eve needs to stop wiping her nose on her sleeve.


Yummy Mummy

A little bit of HK panic

If you have been breathing and near a TV or radio over the past few days then one will inevitably know about the horrific disaster that has befallen Japan in the last week. I have a particular fondness for Japan - Eve's first Christmas was spent in Tokyo, where her first steps were taken too. The Japanese are such kind people and I urge anyone to help in any way that they can.

However, this post is not about the Japanese. It is about the complete overreaction of people here in Hong Kong. Even the biggest doom-mongers regarding the nuclear reactors are not suggesting it will contaminate the whole region. Japan possibly and, if the wind changes, some of the coast or Korea and China. This is tough to contemplate, but it does not mean that Hong Kong needs to undergo some sort of mass panic.

The Hong Kong observatory website has, clearly knowing the tendency for people here to panic a bit, put up a nice clear diagram about exactly where our air comes from i.e. not Japan. It has also put the pages dealing with radiation levels, which I suspect never before registered a single hit, linked to the homepage. This is not so much Douglas Adams telling us "Don't panic" but rather "there is absolutely nothing to even register a panic about".

This has not stopped the gossip or doom-mongering. One colleague I sit near has taken to loudly telling anyone who calls from Europe that we are all watching Bloomberg closely to see what will happen with the reactors and whether HK will be effected. I admit that we are all looking closely at Bloomberg, but that is because the stock markets have been in freefall for the last 3 days AND WE WORK AT A BANK. The day I rely on Bloomberg for advice on nuclear physics I may as well pack up and turn off the lights as I leave!

Another colleague has booked herself an open ended ticket to Australia. Another is talking about whether she can work from the Singapore office.

None of this is in anyway logical. My point to anyone who cares to listen is that the point at which we in HK need to worry (meaning that most of Taiwan, Korea and China would have been hit too) there will be far bigger global ramifications for us all than whether we can get on a flight to Singapore. Concern and worry should, in my opinion, be squarely where it is deserved - right now that is with the people, including my colleagues and friends, who are in Japan.

Saturday, March 12, 2011


There's been a bit of a gap since my last post. There are lots of inane reasons I could blame. The computer broke and I can't log on from work. I've been super busy with a promotion and exams and so managing the work-life balance has meant not much time for other things. As Eve grows up things change less quickly, I get better at managing the challenges and need to write about them less (I still read all the other blogs regularly though).

However, the real reason is that I've been having a tough few months. My beloved Dad died just before Christmas. Bereavement, whatever the circumstances, is overwhelming and although daily life goes on, it is a constant filter through which you see and do everything. I have started a whole bunch of posts but when I read them back I realised how they were coloured by this filter so I binned them. I also don't want to upset my Mum, who is the most amazing woman and I want to only do things that help and support her. I know she reads this, and she worries about us and I don't want her to worry, so I wanted to be strong and sensible and alright.

Now I have decided just to have done with it and write this.

I really, really, miss my Dad.

That's all for this post.