The Girl with The Bruised Face, and other stories

By Mo Wong Goon

our town now
A column not to be be taken too seriously

“It is a still stranger thing that there is nothing so delightful in the world as telling stories.” — Virginia Woolf

The Girl with The Bruised Face

I am standing in a queue waiting for an MTR train. Alongside me in another queue there is a dumpy little girl, probably Indonesian. She is poorly dressed with a brown head scarf. She has many bruises on her face.

I move beside her. “Why is your face so bruised, Miss?” She just looks at me. Her eyes seem resigned, hopeless.

I repeat, “Why is your face so bruised, Miss? Do you need help?” She says nothing, looking up at the tall, by comparison with her, Caucasian.

“There is an organisation that can help you, if you need help.” I google with a mobile phone. A website comes up. CHRISTIAN ACTION HONG KONG. I show it to her.
“This organisation will help you if you need it, Miss.” She says nothing and moves onto the train.

Many domestic helpers become trapped. They can’t speak the local languages. Their passports are taken away. Agencies prey on them with high fees.

They work 16 hours a day and are treated abominably. In some cases, perhaps this one, they are physically and psychologically abused. There are several organisations in Hong Kong that help migrant workers in trouble. Aside from Christian Action, the other notable one is the Mission for Migrant Workers.

Sam likes a beer……

His favourite watering hole is Mr Wong’s Dong on the roadside at Tai Wan. One night Sam — not his real name — necked five or six cans of Carlsberg at $10 each at The Dong. He got bored with the conversation of ex-pilots and current journos. After six beers they had solved all of Sai Kung’s problems. They had identified the assholes responsible. After 10 frosties they had moved onto figuring out the world’s problems. Sam had had enough.

Sam got into his car. Naughty boy. He drove downtown. Into Man Nin Street. Around the Yi Chun St loop.

Oh shit. Flashing lights of a police roadblock. Right outside Anthony’s Ranch. The pub was still open that day. Sam was flagged down and told to stop his car. His pulse rate surged. A white-shirted expat police officer walked up to his car. Sam tried not to look guilty.

But some of Sam’s mates were drinking outside the Ranch. “Breathalyse him! Breathalyse him!” they yelled. With friends like this…

The expat police office said to Sam sitting behind the wheel, “Have you been drinking, Sir?”

Somewhat less than quick-witted, Sam said, “Only about five cans, Officer.” Real dumb.

“Breathe into this.”

Summoned to Kwun Tong Court, Sam wore a Dunhill blazer, white shirt and blue tie. He was trying to look respectable. Sam pleaded guilty and said to the magistrate, “I apologise, Sir.”

The magistrate gave him a severe look and didn’t hesitate. Two years’ licence suspension. $12,000 fine. Plus two years in jail. Suspended, fortunately.

Don’t play it again, Sam.

Never trust a man with good hair

You see them around town. Natty sports coat, checkered shirt, shoes so well shined you can see yourself in them. He uses charcoal wipes on his hair and carries a little tub of hair-thickening paste.

If he was an American politician he would have an aide carry his hairbrush. Locally he is probably a former Government servant with social climbing pretensions.

Columnist Robert Armstrong: “… We all know in our guts a really excellent head of hair is a reliable indicator of moral turpitude.”

Mo Wong Goon’s bald head should not be seen as a sign of bias. The bigger the hair the more doubtful the character. Guess who?

Real men don’t do pomades, facial exfoliators, beard trimmers and the like. That’s the metrosexual look. Better just to keep fit, try for a glowing complexion by exercising in the sun and dress understatedly.

Male restraint should not be matched by female dowdiness. Viva la difference. Women should look decorative. Both genders should express themselves at their best.

Robert Armstrong again: “Subtlety in male turnout is on the way out and crass vanity on the way in.

We should worry about this, for the simple reason that there is a moral difference between a man who likes to look good and a show-off, and a society that can’t make out the difference is in trouble.”

Jogging, or hiking or cycling on roads: Do you think of the danger?

Coming up behind you may be White Van Man who doesn’t give a damn, or Angry Truck Driver, or the Idiot Who Can’t Stop playing mobile phone.

Remember the author Stephen King who was severely injured by a driver who hit him on the side of the road? Local roads are often narrow.

If you wobble in the wrong direction while going around a lamppost just as White Van Man or Angry Truck Driver roars by, he may hit you on the shoulder. You may be flung against the rocks and killed.

Or you could get hit on the back of the head by a wing mirror. That can be the end of you — as has happened to an elderly man on the main street crossing near Man Nin Road.

Obsession with mobile phones is ever more prevalent. Stand outside Bacco, as we have done, on Man Nin St at that busy unmarked crossing and watch the drivers going by. We counted off 100 cars.

Three drivers had mobile phones in their hands. One was tapping his phone with fingers that should have been on the sheering wheel.

If an elderly person shuffles out… Or a naughty child runs in front of the car… Or Mum pushing a pram, also playing mobile phone… Idiots who Can’t Stop playing mobile phone can come driving at you at any time.

Then there are the neighbours who take their small children riding bikes on local roads. Do they stop to think that cycling is statistically the second most dangerous form of transport, after motorcycles?

Bikes look so innocuous few people stop to think how dangerous they can be.

We don’t want more tragedies. But they are inevitable…

Climate change and other PC fads

Let’s try to start a debate. See who we can wind up. For some psychological reason, the human race has always needed fads. Railway shares, tulips, daft religions. Fads come and go.

The more dodgy the facts the more passionate the advocates. At the turn of the century it was computers. How they would all go haywire because they couldn’t cope with the year 2000. Didn’t happen.

The latest fad is climate change. All about how man is wrecking the climate. No, it isn’t. It is about cosmology and geology. The climate has always changed and always will, until Earth is engulfed by an exploding Sun.

The planet lurches from Ice Age to Ice Age. Henning Mankell in his 2014 book “Quicksand” devotes a chapter to “Ice”. He writes that the scientist who was first to figure out the cycles that govern climate change was Milutin Milankovitch.

“An interdisciplinary scientific team all by himself”, Milankovitch saw the explanation for enormous temperature changes was the effect of the Sun.

But that didn’t explain the big differences that occurred at intervals of thousands of years.

He eventually realised that the Earth was affected not only by the magnetic forces of the Sun, but also by the gravitation from the Moon and other plants, especially Saturn and Jupiter.

Milankovitch concluded three factors affected the differing movement patterns of the Earth:

The rotation pattern of the Earth around the Sun, the changing angle between the axis of the Earth and rotation pattern, and the direction of the Earth’s axis.

In short it is impossible for man to stop climate change. And who says we should? Who says that the climate we have now is perfect?

The problem is the PC faddists are using the wrong words. We are not fighting climate change. We are fighting pollution. In all its forms.

We can all agree on that.


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