Tuesday, August 27, 2002

HK news
Two gay groups - Horizons and the Chi Heng Foundation - won the status of charities, the first of their kind in Asia. (There are a dozen lesbian & gay groups in Honkers, but most are registered as non-government organisations under the Societies Ordinance and enjoy fewer privileges. Charity status means the groups are tax-free and allowed to organise various kinds of fund-raising activities and apply for financial support from the Community Chest and the Jockey Club - the largest philanthropic organisation in HK.)

Just two years ago, the Inland Revenue Department rejectedHorizon's quest for charity status on the grounds that it did not fall under the definition of "charity" and commented that homosexuality was "still a controversial issue".

Horizons runs a phone counselling hotline.

Something to explain Honkongers mad obssession with brand names:

According to the University of Science and Technology's Prof Dilip Soman, Chinese text, unlike English text, represents concepts, "which could explain why Chinese are more brand-conscious. They learn the language the same way as people learn about brands."
Blogging from Central
Sunday was an absolutely gorgeous day. It was 32C again, but the humidity dropped off slightly. (A welcome relief!)

I met up with relatives on my mum's side - my grandmother and her brother's family. It appears as though as soon as I arrive in HK, my cousins are ready to leave. I won't see them again until December, as both of them are off to boarding school at Cheltenham (?) in wee ol' England. From what I was told, Cleo is about to do the A-Levels (kind of like the HSC), in a massive 5 subjects, while Stephanie is off to board for the first time. It's generally quite amusing around them, as the elder one has an English accent, while the younger has an American one. Although Stephanie was born and raised in Honkers, she refuses to speak Cantonese. (Which is different from me - I try to limit my Chinese, as I give the unfortunate impression that I'm mentally retarded, when I speak.)

Anyways, after lunch at the Jockey Club, we all headed off to Aberdeen to visit my granddad in hospital. He's had some respiratory problems of late (he has a life-long habit of smoking Marlboros). My mum's dad is definitely one of the coolest guys I know. Even though he's over 80, he's got some v. progressive tastes. (He watches MTV Asia and during the last time I was in HK, he picked up the local gig guides for me.)

Monday was a real stinker. I almost died a most unattractive death - steamed like a Chinese pork bun - in the humidity, while navigating the labrynth that is HKU. I went back to the University to tie up loose ends - I handed in most of the forms I received upon registration, including a tedious postgrad questionnaire (answers you question, CreatineMonster!). I also made out an application for a college dorm accommodation. I'm currently 13th in the waiting list for a room at St John's postgrad wing.

I opened another account - a student one - with even more attractive terms. In terms of banking, Australia is definitely in the Stone Ages.

I hopped on a bus to Causeway Bay (a shopper's paradise or hell, depending on the day) afterwards. Met up with HongKongPhooey and Vivian, who had both arrived from Sydney that morning.

These past few days have been absolutely exhausting. I'm amazed that a week hasn't even gone by yet. It's surprising how productive I am when I don't have the internet and television to wile away my time.

Saturday, August 24, 2002

Hong Kong Days
The heat here is incessant... and it's not even a dry heat. For the past couple of days, the temperature has hovered around the 30C mark, without much of a drop off in temperature during the night. The humidity is absolutely oppressive.

I guess it could be worse. The sky is clear, the pollution levels are relatively low and there is not one typhoon to be seen on the weather maps.

For the time being, I'm staying in my dad's old room at my grandfather's place on Prince Edward Road West in Kowloon. Things there are pretty sparse, as my grandfather has moved most things over to his other home in Edmonton, Canada. Fortunately, there still is an air conditioner in the room.

If I am unable to find dorm room accommodation at the University, I'll have to stay at the PERW flat for the forthcoming academic year. If that's the case, I'll have to accept that it'll take more than 50 min to get to and from the University each day on the 103.

After an uncomfortable night's sleep on a rock-hard bed, I headed straight to HKU to register for PCLL on Friday morning. I should have been warned on the number of forms that have to be filled out. Why does everyone second form require passport photos to be attached?

Afterwards, I left the maze-like campus and took the wrong bus down to Central. The 23 weaved around the Mid-Levels, before I decided to get off in front of the Lippo Towers in Admiralty. I decided not the walk in the sticky weather and took the MTR over to Central. I headed over to the Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation (HSBC) headquarters and opened an savings account. It took 15 minutes to find the correct floor and desk area. It took 2 minutes to open the account.

The bank clerk was so amazed at my reaction when he told me that the number of ATM and over-the-counter transactions was unlimited, bar the HK$20,000 withdrawal cap per day. If only banks in Australia worked in the same way!

It was lunchtime by the time I left the Bank. Office workers were beginning to amass around the Statue Square, so I decided to make a quick getaway after taking a few photos of various architectural landmarks around Central. (I shall atmpt to upload these, later.) I took the MTR over to Kowloon Tong as I thought the crowds at the Festival Walk mall would be smaller. Well, I got that wrong. Nevertheles, I spent a couple of hours wandering the stores, not at all tempted to buy a thing. (OK, I actually bought something - sports socks, but I needed those.)

I thought I'ld waste a couple more hours, so a bought a ticket to Austin Powers in Goldmember. (More of the same jokes, really base humour, paper-thin plot - more like a whole lot of sketches tie awkwardly together, amazing cameos. Thoroughly enjoyed it!)

Well, that was a blow-by-blow account of my first full day in Honkers. I could tell you what I did today, but I think that would seriously damage some folks' mental health. Plus, I do want to retain some readership...

A little entertainment tidbit: according to the South China Morning Post, Brett Ratner, the director of Rush Hour, is planning to make a feature length film with Hong Kong's most recognised foreign ambassabor. No, not Suzie Wong, but the janitor/super hero, Hong Kong Phooey.

By the way, there's good advice given to new arrivals in Honkers by the Big White Guy.

Things to take note of:

  • Italian-made lemon lime Gatorade tastes funky. Do not buy again.
  • Five spices beef noodles from Maxim's is nasty. Not worth it, even if it's only 20 bucks.
  • Advertisements for slimming products/services are everywhere. Ignore.
  • Continue to consume Yakult and yoghurt, on a daily basis, to fortify the good bacteria levels in the gut. Do not wish to experience those two hellish weeks in December ever again.

Thursday, August 22, 2002

University of Hong Kong
I forgot to mention a couple of days ago that I have finally received news of my acceptance into the PCLL program at HKU. About time, methink!

This news comes in the nick of time, as registration ends next Monday. I'm suppose to pay the fees for Fall semester as well - more than HK$20, 000. Even though the Firm is prepared to reimburse the amount to me in the future, the University wants to hash out that amount of money with less than a weeks notice!

In related news, I heard from the College of my choice that they are fully occupied for the forthcoming semester! Where am I going to live now?

HKU is evil!
Hello there. Thought you wouldn't hear from me so soon, right?

Well, I'm in transit in Singapore at the moment, waiting for my connecting flight to Hong Kong.

The flight from Sydney was v. much as expected - pleasant, yet terribly boring. The choice of movies was quite typical (Spiderman, Scorpion King, etc). I chose a really great film that I highly recommend - My Big Fat Greek Wedding. It's absolutely hilarious. Oh, and I saw X-Men again, on their "Past Hits" channel.

About the flight itself, the SQ flight attendants were friendly, efficient and immaculately groomed as usual. I refrained myself from asking the stewardesses on their hairstyling tips. (After a six-hour flight, their hair always remains in the exact shape as when you board the craft.)

So, I'm here sitting at an internet terminal for S$8 an hour. I have two hours to spend, mulling around the airport, before the Hong Kong flight departs. The people who espouse the fabulousness of Changi Airport clearly did not refer to the airport's Terminal Two. Apart from the fact that there is nothing much to do, there seems to be v. little of the type of action that airports are generally notorious for - cruising.
Ce matin
I've had six hours of sleep. Yet strangely, I feel more tired now than when I went to bed.

I'm off.

Wednesday, August 21, 2002

Last day
I am so beat. I have been running around the place like a headless chicken. There has been so many things to do. As per usual, I left until the last moment to do them. Fortunately, I took some time-out and spent much of the afternoon in the Botanical Gardens, the Opera House foreshore and Circular Quay, simply admiring the view, loving the brilliant weather and taking in the fresh air.

It's getting quite late now. I really have no idea why I am still awake. I'm bloody exhausted, after packing and repacking my luggage over five times this evening. (I've taken half the items out of my bags to limit the load to 34kgs.)

Okay, I'm forcing myself to go to bed now. I am flying off at 8:20am, so it means I'll have to wake up in six hours time. Keith needs his beauty sleep and he definitely needs all the help that he can get in that department!
It is official. I have become a tragic victim of the fashion industry. Please take away my wallet and all those magazines.

With my last remaining Aussie dollars (which is worth as much and is as colourful as Monopoly money), I purchased my first piece of prêt-à-porter apparel. Nothing to big, just something distinct and tasteful. Nevertheless, brace yourself for I shall tell you how much I spent...

For a whopping $415, I bought a white, sleeve-less T-Shirt by DSquared. (The designers, Dean and Dan Caten, designed the Western-themed component of Madonna's Drowned World Tour.) The piece is covered with "bullet holes", diamantes and studs for punkish effect. It's an absolutely rockin' design and has an awesome cut, even though it is from their Fall/Winter '01 collection. (Does that make it "vintage"?)

How can I justify the purchase? (I wouldn't even dare mentioning it to my parents. They'ld go ballistic.) I cannot call it temporary insanity, because it was premeditated for over a week. Maybe if I was to be molested on the dance floor (Is that a song?), then the shirt would have paid for itself?

Fortunately for me and my feeble finances, I only discovered the store in Sydney that sold DSquared a couple of weeks ago. Who knows, if I had found out earlier, I would probably be in v. deep trouble now.

Tuesday, August 20, 2002

I started importing music into iTunes. I thought it would be smart to copy some of the music I regularly listen to into MP3s on my laptop, instead of hauling a load of CDs overseas with me in my luggage.

Hours later and a mere 147 songs imported, catalogued and labelled, I am starting to regret that decision.
Like them apples
As soon as I laid eyes on her, sitting quietly across the room, I knew it was love at first sight. As those old clichés go, I was struck by a bolt of lightning; hit straight in the heart by Cupid's arrow.

Simply one look at her would tell you why. With her flawless, porcelain skin, exquisite features, amazingly compact frame and bright, friendly face, iMogen is absolutely and undeniably stunning. It is no surprising then that people often unconsciously stare, passers-by always take a second glance.

Nevertheless, her physical beauty is only a pale reflection of the beauty that lies within. I love her mind. She is more than completely accepting of my queer tendencies; she encourages it. She shares my interests and tastes, including my silly obssession with Gabriel Aubry and my eternal devotion to Mrs Ritchie.

I never knew switching sides could ever come so easily or this naturally.

It's early days yet, but somehow, I know this is the start of a beautiful relationship.

Friday, August 16, 2002


Happy Birthday, Madonna! You're a bloody legend!

Thursday, August 15, 2002

I caught the second episode of Degrassi yesterday afternoon. The series takes off with Emma (yes, the baby Spike had during the original series!) and her pals in the new Degrassi School. It was surprising to see how young they all are (actual 12 year olds playing 12 year olds) and to realise that the original series began with a cast of similarly aged actors. It was fun to see cast members of the original, Spike, Snake, Caitlin, Joey Jeremiah and Lucy at their 10 year high school reunion.

In great Degrassi tradition, they headed straight for the "issues" jugular, with the episode about sexual predators on the internet! However, I felt it was unnecessary and somewhat condescending to the young viewing audience for the ABC to use a spokesperson to introduce and conclude the show with a "serious message". Like, whatever...
It seems all I do these days is wait.

I still haven't heard anything about the status of my application to the University of Hong Kong. I've started to hassle them via email. Apparently, it's hardly unusual not to hear from the Administration until the week before semester begins, so I am not too worried about the whole thing yet. Nevertheless, it's an incredible hassle, knowing I'ld have less time to prepare for classes and organise dorm-room accommodation before the semester begins.

I placed an order for a sexy lil' iBook last Tueday (not the 13th, but the 6th!). I am still waiting for them to call me so I can pick it up.
Upcoming movies
Here are two films I am dying to see:

According to Dark Horizons and Hollywood Reporter, Wolfgang Petersen has delayed production of Batman Vs. Superman in order to make a Gladiator-inspired epic of the Greek siege of Troy, titled... um, Troy.

Have you seen the posters for the Roger Avary-directed Rules of Attraction (based on Brett Easton Ellis' book and starring everyone's favourite Creek-dweller, James Van Der Beek)? What's the term for people who have soft toy fetishes? Plushies?

Wednesday, August 14, 2002

HongKongPhooey has kindly written me a javascript countdown clock. Unfortunately, I have not been able to align it properly and it is currently placed in an awkward position underneath the title.

Anyway, there is only eight days to go until I fly off.

Those feelings of fear and dread that I was previously experiencing have naturally dissipated. I'm now quitely excited about the move and the prospect of things. (This is a big contrast to the emotions I felt prior to leaving Sydney for that year abroad at Chapel Hill. I remember how I was unable to sleep for days, completely ecstatic and giddy with excitement, day dreaming of all the potential adventures... I was so fearless and naive then, compared to the jaded and cynical version people see today.)

I've made a firm decision on limiting the amount I'll be taking with me - two pieces of luggage on the plane, with a third suitcase to follow (taken by my uncle in a month's time). I've even decided not to make any parcel shipments. It amazes me how two other fellow "expats" have decided to hire an entire shipping container for their personal belongings. All I'm taking with me are clothes, a stock of medical supplies (with the sky-high cost of analgesics over there, it's better to take your own), the odd book of two and my childhood Care BearTM (a Wish Bear that has almost been loved to death).

Tuesday, August 13, 2002

Tying the knot
Gosh, another schoolmate got engaged the other day. It's the second fellow within the last month.

I shouldn't be so surprised with the trend, considering that they are 23 or 24 years old, are eligible young professionals and have no major psychopathic tendencies. In short, they're a future mother-in-law's wet dream, so to speak.

However, I couldn't imagine I would be able to commit to one person till "death do us part", even if gays were permitted to "marry"1 in Australia. At least at this point in my life. It's not a question of monogamy, nor is it the notion of "settling down". It's something different. I honestly do not believe I could find anyone who I could tolerate (or who could tolerate living with me) for long stretches of time (actually, any period more than a week), without the over-powering desire for either party to lynch the other.

Anyway, congratulations Gopes!

1The NSW State Government plans to introduce 23 new laws during the current session of Parliament to re-write or amend legislation on de facto and same sex couples. The new statutes will provide de factos and same sex couples with the "same" legal rights as married people in the state.

Nevertheless, I do not think de facto partnerships equate to marriage, at least until their is a government registration system. For example, I think there is a stronger tendency for couples to reconcile their problems within a marriage than that of a de faco relationship. After all, divorce is not an easy process to go through.

Currently, there are no Federal registered partnership or civil union laws in Australia. Under present interpretations, the Marriage Act 1961 (Cth) considers marriage as that between a "man and woman". (However, it does not specifically confine the institution of "marriage" to the union of different-sex couples and may be re-interpreted in the next test case. Anyone volunteering?)
I dislike most of the characters on Queer as Folk, although that hasn't stopped me from getting completely addicted to the show:

Find your queer as folk personality!

How could this be? Justin and I have nothing in common, apart from the artistic qualities. I despise the snotty little arrogant twit.

However, this is definitely me:

Which Sex and the City Player Are You? Find out @ She's Crafty

Find the name of your inner black diva. Mine is Dawnelle De'Boise Williams. Fabulous!

Link is courtesy of Banita Cleopatra Witherspoon, aka Frankie.

Monday, August 12, 2002


Gee, where did all the time go?

Friday, August 09, 2002

Higher education hijinks
Residents of South Sydney Council were shocked, when they discovered a letter in their mailbox from their Council, notifying them of a new mandatory levy attached to the regular council fees, to be used to revive the debt-ridden Mardi Gras organisation, this week. Naturally, the media swooped in, some politicians became outraged and the residents demanded answers...

Well, the culprits were finally revealed yesterday. Baxter College at UNSW claimed the University's Foundation Day prize for "best stunt" (which is judged by "media coverage, public outcry and ministerial condemnation") for this hoax with dubious merit. Other awards presented on the day included "best road trip", "charity fund raising" and "scavenger hunt" (which offered points for best female mullet, red light, speed cameras and Osama bin Laden look-alike, among others).

Thursday, August 08, 2002

"Wake up in the morning, feeling shy and lonely,
Gee, I gotta go to this school.
I don't think I can make it, don't think I can take it,
I wonder what I'm gonna do.
But when I look around and see,
That someone is smiling right at me,
Wait, someone talkin' to me,
Hey, I got a new friend..."

Darn! I missed the premiere episode of Degrassi: The Next Generation on the ABC, yesterday arvo.

It's hard to imagine this "new" series being as ground-breaking as the original (a television drama, which was aimed at kids, which dealt with bold "controversial" issues, such as depression, eating disorders, interracial romance, teen pregnancy, sexuality, drugs, divorce and even AIDS, in a realistic and non-condescending manner, in the late 80's!). If it's half as good as the original, it will be brilliant!

"Everybody can succeed,
All you gotta do is believe,
Let's be honest with yourself,
Forget your fears and doubts,
Come on give us a try at Degrassi Junior High."
I mention the following birthday wishes without prejudice. They shall not, in matter of words, suggestions or innuendo, be referred to in any way in future communications (comment box exempted). This privileged information shall not be admissible as evidence of the writer's actual vain and superficial character, in the eyes of the reader or in a Court of Law.
  1. broader shoulders
  2. an extra 5 kilos of lean muscle mass
  3. a supressed gag reflex
  4. smaller, unclogged facial pores

Tuesday, August 06, 2002

Fellowship Of The Rings
It's the 6th. Must get the Lord of the Rings DVD. Must get the Lord of the Rings DVD. Must get the Lord of the Rings DVD. Must get the Lord of the Rings DVD...

I'm out the door now, to line up with all my fellow geeks at HMV.
Vibrator = lethal weapon
Another amusing RoF report:

"An American woman is seeking compensation from an airline after she was made to hold a sex toy in front of her fellow passengers.

Renee Koutsouradis and her husband were waiting for take-off at Dallas airport when a tannoy announcement asked her to leave the Delta Airlines plane. Once outside on the tarmac, she was told that her luggage was vibrating and was asked for an explanation - an embarrassed Mrs K explained that a sex toy she had taken on holiday was to blame.

But rather than taking her to one side, an over-zealous security agent insisted she open her bag, remove the vibrator and hold it up for everyone to see. Apparently she had to hold thing up in the air for a whole minute. Needless to say, her fellow passengers watching through their windows enjoyed this hugely and, Mrs K claims, three male Delta employees who were also witnessing the scene laughed like hyenas and made "obnoxious and sexually harassing comments".

Mrs K has accused Delta of negligence, intentional infliction of emotional distress and gender discrimination and is seeking damages of over $15,000."

Can anyone ever overdose on complex carbs?

I am not one who devote myself to that insanely self-depriving Atkin's diet (I'm one of those people trying to gain more weight, rather than lose it), but I think I over-did it with carb consumption on the weekend. I made a whole batch of bubble-n-squeak (the extent of my culinary abilities) and scoffed it all down, with bad consequences. Immediately afterwards, I felt absolutely horrible (and it wasn't due to any guilt at being such a pig). I have had weird symptoms ever since - groggy head, bloated stomach, flatulence...

... thought I'ld share this information.

Friday, August 02, 2002

Mardi Gras
The fat drag queen has finally sung. Within the next 24 hours, the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras will be no more.

I may be a tad over-dramatic, but the organisation is on its deathbed. Previous attempts to raise funds to keep the organisation from falling into the hands of administrators have failed, including the results of the most recent rescue appeal in June. The mystery benefactor, who agreed to loan $400,000, withdrew on Tuesday night after organisers failed to meet conditions placed on the loan.

Although I have (now regrettably) never been an active participant in the Mardi Gras (attending one party and watching the Parade doesn't really count), I cannot imagine this city without its famed pride parade, without the annual Mardi Gras and Sleaze Ball parties, or the fabulous "buzz", felt in the community, during Mardi Gras season at the end of Summer. Even when I was at high school and absolutely petrified with the notion of coming out or having someone "find out", it was reassuring to know that there were men and women marching proudly on the streets, only a block away. Let's just hope something else comes around to replace it...
Yahoo groups
CreatineMonster has urged me to make a public announcement. His favourite "Men's Health" cover model, Bradly Tomberlin, has a Yahoo group. Founded on June 26, it already has 325 members.

He also wants me to mention that fellow MH cover model, the interestingly named Rusty Joiner, has a Yahoo group as well.

Oh, by the way, Gabriel Aubry has not one, but two Yahoo Groups.

Continuing on with GabrielwatchTM, Gab has come second in the "Hello!" male model readers poll, behind the Calvin Klein-ed Travis Fimmel, with 22 per cent of the votes. Alex Lundqvist came in third.
Early birthday present
Hallelujah! My short-term cashflow problems have been solved. (Although I have often mentioned the idea to some folks, I did not succumb to the notion of "easy money" and become a rent boy.)

I received my tax refund cheque. (Like the good little citizen that I am, I sent my tax return early.) It's a humble $600, but it's enough to last for the next few weeks (or at least until the 22nd, when I leave.) Duty free shopping anyone?