Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Seb Coe Clarifies Position on Nike Lobbying

                                                   Just did it!

Saturday, 21 November 2015

Racist Attack on British Man in Taiwan Raises One Key Question

If you were that ugly would you call another man "horseface"?

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Bolivian Health Minister Extends Olive Branch to President in Homophobia Row

                                                  Lezbe friends

Sunday, 15 November 2015

So What Does France Do Next?

If I were the president of France, or indeed of any country which lies open to attack from groups characterised by their cruelty and cravenness, that is, relatively wealthy countries with a tradition of freedom and openness, I would be hopping on an aeroplane (preferably El Al) and beating a path to Benjamin Netanyahu's door.

Pick the brains of the leaders of the armed forces of a country of seven million people who live under constant threat of annihilation but have not succumbed because they have procedures in place to defend themselves, because they continuously upgrade those procedures, because they infiltrate every hostile group they come across, and because they inculcate a spirit of cooperation against a common enemy among their people.

I would also ban the phrase "tiny minority" from all my cabinet meetings and press briefings, because frankly it doesn't help, and this is no time for equivocation and diversion.

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Lingnan Council Member Allegedly Involved in Sham PhD Scandal

It seems it never rains but it pours in the wilds of the North-western New Territories.

One of the benighted Lingnan University’s council members – in fact, he was so good they appointed him for a second three-year term in August – Alex Lee Ye Lick, is being investigated by the ever-zealous Apple Daily for allegedly providing the kind of sham PhDs that Dr Herdip Singh obtained via the Philippines.

Bizarrely, as well as being a member of the Lingnan Council, Mr Lee is Chairman of the Board of Governors of – you’ve probably guessed it – Lifelong College, and therefore, I think we may safely assume, a mate of our Herdip.

But, wait, there’s more. Not only is he Chairman of the Board, he’s also founder, supervisor and principal of Lifelong College.

Not only that, but he’s not a Mister, he’s another “Doctor”. However, unlike “Doctor” Singh, “Doctor” Lee is not an alumnus of Tarlac State University in the Philippines but of Bulacan State University in the – um – Philippines again.    

And one might say that the relationship between Lifelong College and Bulacan State University is especially close and cordial. As recently as the end of March, what Lifelong College calls “the oral defence” (viva voce to us classicists) for doctoral degree programmes of Bulacan State University was “successfully held” at Lifelong College

I wonder if that’s another way of saying everyone passed, or am I getting too cynical in my old age?

Maybe not cynical enough, I can hear you hardened cynics say. For, the Lifelong group’s arm in the Philippines (Philippine Lifelong Education Group Limited, Inc.) is located in none other location than Bulacan, the very city from which “Doctor” Lee obtained his doctorate.

I must say, I’d love to see a copy of his thesis…

Plagiarism Runs Riot at Lingnan University

What's all the fuss about? 4% of the thesis was my own work

What is it about Lingnan University that makes it a magnet for ne’er-do-wells and rotten apples? 

First, we had CY Leung, who cut his executive teeth chairing the university council in the days before he became truly and internationally infamous.  

Then we had Lily Chiang Lai Lei, whose fall from grace for shares fraud, for which she received three and a half years in clink, coincided with the time she spent as a member of the university council – and an honorary fellow to boot.  

O tempora, O mores! then we had Edward Chen Kwan Yiu, ex president of the university and chairman of the Consumer Council – as well as being appointed to LegCo and Exco membership by David Wilson and Chris Patten respectively – who had a child by the woman who had been promoted to be his Personal Assistant.

And last, and, okay, very possible least, we come to the fellow who runs the place (or attempts to when his students are not locking him out of meetings), Leonard Cheng Kwok Hon, who was appointed president of the place even though he had worked as an  adviser to CY Leung during his chief executive election campaign. 

And now, just when you thought it was safe to venture into the wilds of Tuen Mun, even to a place called Fu Tei, we have a gentleman named Herdip Singh, Sikh by parentage but a fluent Cantonese-speaking Hong Konger by birth and upbringing, who has incurred the wrath of Apple Daily by obtaining a doctoral degree by fraud.

Already nearing retirement, the Comptroller (that’s chief financial officer to you and me) and associate vice president of the university, who has worked there for 35 years and is an alumnus of what was then Lingnan College, took it into his head to sign up for a Doctor of Business Administration with that world famous institution Tarlac State University in the Philippines.

Dr Singh, as we should call him, since that is how he styles himself, received his hard-earned doctorate in 2013, but the only problem is that he obtained it by dint of the hard work of someone else, one Wu Chunshui, whose thesis he copied to the extent of 96% equivalence. It hardly need be said that the subject of the dissertation was corporate governance.

Interestingly, Dr SinghPhDBA (TSU)” is also on the board of governors of a business enterprise calling itself Hong Kong Lifelong Education Organization Ltd, whose subsidiary Lifelong College (click on "Lifelong in brief") was, to quote its website, “set up to cater for the expansion of overseas diploma, bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate degree programme offerings from US, UK, Malaysia and” – yes, you’ve guessed it – “the Philippines”.

Now, with his son studying at Fenbog Poly in England, one can quite understand Singh Senior’s desire to study at a proper university, but the next step, having identified your tertiary institution of choice, must surely be to identify a brilliant Mainland Chinese student who is willing, for a consideration, of course, to write your thesis for you – from scratch.

Sunday, 8 November 2015

Quis Custodiet Custodes Ipsos?

What a coincidence! Just a couple of days after mentioning in passing the shenanigans at Garden Vista in Sha Tin (where an ex police inspector is implicated in illegal payouts running to many millions), what should I receive but a message from a work colleague who lives in neighbouring Pictorial Gardens to say that she found no fewer than four police vehicles idling on On King Street outside the benighted first mentioned housing estate.

In case the police (or perhaps the Ombudsman) would like to follow up and tell our law enforcement officers to observe the laws themselves, here are the registration numbers of the offending vehicles: AM 6262, AM 7766, AM 7415 and AM 6104.

My friend tells me she drew the attention of driver of the first named vehicle to the infraction of the law and that he switched off his engine. She says she didn't speak to the other three drivers, firstly, because she felt it was not her job, but rather the responsibility of the police officer she had alerted to the infraction, and secondly because she didn't want to run the risk of stepping onto the road in order to tap on the window of the vehicles of the two police officers who were sleeping on the job

Not to mention, I might add, sleeping at the wheel of a vehicle with its engine running. Surely not the kind of thing they teach you at the Police Driving and Traffic Training Centre, which operates under the aegis of the Police College and is run by a highly paid police superintendent.

Highly paid enough, one hopes, that upon retirement from the force he or she won't be looking to supplement his or her generous pension with HK$20 million odd purloined via fraud.

Friday, 6 November 2015

The Crippling Cost of the Octopus Card

As befits its well earned title of King of the Useless Quango, the HKSAR Government is “rolling out” a new scheme to “crack down” on the abuse of Octopus cards by oldies and faux cripples.

This may sound bizarre even by local standards, but not when you consider that the Hong Kong taxpayer is footing an enormous bill every year (the Transport Department, which is doing the rolling out, has been rather coy about the exact sums involved).

The particular Band-Aid which the TD is applying to this particular haemorrhage is to pay a consultancy a staggeringly large sum of money (again, not disclosed, but if the experience of one housing estate in Sha Tin in respect of consultants is used as a benchmark*, we are looking at telephone numbers) to dress middle-aged women up in bibs, give them a clipboard and send them off across the territory from the deepest tunnel in Causeway Bay to the outlying islands to…well, to do what exactly is something the TD is also being rather coy about.
According to that fount of all knowledge, Oriental Daily online ( the consultants’ bibbed ones will conduct a “field survey” as well as asking passengers “to show their identity documents to ensure that they are qualified for the HK$2 concessionary fare”.

You see, the problem is that genuine cripples and geriatrics have been popping along to their nearest MTR station with stunning regularity to buy Disabled Octopus cards and Elderly Octopus cards for all their mates. Now, the ferry companies, the trams, the death-traps that are minibuses and the bus companies don’t really give two hoots about this because the Government foots the bill for the HK$2 scheme.

So, when some fellow from Fanling dusts off his walking stick and totters onto an Airport bus for that well earned break in Thailand, the HK$28.90 he ought to be paying but isn’t a loss incurred by Long Win Bus Company but by, well, you and me the taxpayer. Or, when that aged-before-her-time-grannie from the ghetto that is Tin Shui Wai wants to return to the City of Suicide after trying her luck on the gee-gees, she can save a whopping HK$44.50 by taking KMB Route 869 from Sha Tin racecourse. Again, subsidised by you and me courtesy of the HKSAR Government.    

While most forms of public transport don’t give a monkeys about the fraud and are, to say the very least, half-hearted in their attempts to stamp the malpractice out (and why would a bus driver, who has enough on his or her plate trying to get 130 passengers safely to their destinations at a time when assaults on drivers – for crimes including not stopping the bus when a passenger forgets to ring the bell and leaving the terminal twenty seconds before two angry women want to board – are on the rise?), the partly-Government-owned MTR is getting seriously stroppy about the cheating.       

Now, just what authority has been vested in the vested ones the TD is once again – it is consistent if nothing else – being rather coy about. Will they be empowered to drag that bloke with the walking stick into the MTR control room and demand payment of HK$500, or will they need to be accompanied by an MTR employee as together they frogmarch the miscreant off.

And then of course there’s the really pressing question: how many of the ensuing fights will be posted on YouTube and how many more consultancies will need to be hired by the MTR to post “neutralisation comments”** on those YouTube posts as well as on their own YouTube and Facebook pages?

In the meantime, I have two common-sense suggestions for the TD. (So, yes, we may be confident from the outset that they won’t be adopted.) First, from now on limit everyone (oldie, youngie, able-bodied, cripple alike) to just one Octopus card. Second, register oldies and cripples properly, just like is already happening with Student Octopus cards. Have your oldie come in, make him show his ID card (instead of someone else’s oldie card), take his photo and then tell him to come back in two months to collect it, issuing him with a temporary card in the interim.

* The cost of tearing off the old tiles and sticking on some new ones on six skyscrapers at Garden Vista was doubled by consultants, engineers, architects, builders, the property management company and the chairman of the Incorporated Owners having dinner one night a few years ago and deciding to pay themselves off in various ways and at various amounts. The chairman of the IO alone is alleged to have received $HK26 million. He is a former Government employee himself – a retired policeman.  

** This refers to the widespread practice of companies who pay consultants to sow threads online praising their amazing services and to create dummy accounts whereby Ah Chiu responds to negative comments from Ah So with lines like “I think ABC Company provides an awesome service”.

Wednesday, 4 November 2015

Thomas Kwok Clarifies Grounds for Appeal

When I say it was a "thought crime", what I mean is that I thought it was a crime then, and still do now

Thursday, 29 October 2015

China Issues Sovereignty Clarification

"Chinese soil" has been redefined to include aggregate and sand dumped into the sea near Vietnam and the Philippines 

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Rugby's Governing Body Redefines Role of Referees

      The referee is no longer arbiter of fact on a rugby pitch - we are 

Referee Craig Joubert has been hung out to dry by World Rugby in a statement which sets a precedent, by deliberately opting to criticise a referee rather than support him, and which could have major repercussions in terms of recruiting and retaining high quality officials.

Watch the video below to appreciate how close Joubert was to making the right call (if the Australian number 21, Nick Phipps, had not flicked the ball with his hand after it had bounced off his shoulder, the penalty would be uncontroversial - even as things stand a case could be made for Phipps's flick being involuntary). Consider too that in the second incident shown - which happened earlier - a strong case can be made for the Scottish player Sean Maitland intentionally knocking the ball forward so that it will not end up in the arms of the Australian winger. 

But, irrespective of the rights and wrongs of these tight and difficult calls, World Rugby are behaving in a way that not only brings shame on themselves (and a signature or two on their statement would be a less shameful way to proceed and demonstrate some sort of leadership, not to mention transparency - and a smidgen of courage) but also sends all the wrong signals about a game which has always prided itself on the respect between players and referees. 

Monday, 19 October 2015

The Rock on Which Sport is Founded

Among all the guff - and shifting guff too - that has been written about Scotland's defeat to Australia in their world cup quarter-final, one thing has been forgotten. Every young boy or girl who starts to play competitive sport learns early on that the referee's decision is final. Not always right, but final. 

If one doesn't accept this, then the very rock on which sporting entertainment is founded - and it need always be remembered that sport is a diversion, an entertainment - is in danger of being swept away. And it doesn't much matter if it swept away by a cry for television replays (if they're really serious about foul play, then train thermal imaging cameras on the scrum, ruck and maul), or self-righteous howls of journalistic anguish

Craig Joubert, the South African referee at the centre of controversy in much the same way that Wayne Barnes (arguably the world's best referee) was caught up in a similar maelstrom eight years ago, stands accused of what appears to me to be a correct application of the laws and of then leaving the pitch without waiting to shake hands with the players, as refs normally do.

Well, first, there is, as far as I know, no requirement that the referee stick around (and most things are enshrined in writing these days) and secondly, if he considered that his presence at the end of a match when Scottish passions (on the field and in the stands) were running high - as passions do for minutes before the reason takes over - would have been conducive to ugly scenes that might have blighted the tournament, then I say well done to him.

In the final analysis, he had charge of the match and his word, whistle and decisions are sacrosanct and final. Undermine the authority of referees and the rock will be shattered and the pool of good, young referees coming through is likely to be greatly reduced and much impoverished.

Friday, 16 October 2015

Ken Tsang Case Hinges on Contents of Bottle

                             There may have been a wee mistake

In one of the most intriguing cases ever to come before the Hong Kong magistrate courts, the fate of seven policemen and one chap with a stud in his left ear appears to hinge on the contents of a bottle or vial (possibly a ewer or even a leather canteen of the type seen in countless Westerns).

For it was the liquid that emanated from this container which sparked a scene rarely witnessed in Hong Kong - or indeed anywhere else in the world - although that is not of course to say that it doesn't go on behind closed doors in every country in the world which can boast a self-respecting police force. 

Precise contents of the receptacle notwithstanding, it is not every day that you get to see a bunch of plain-clothed lawmen put the boot into (and in one case a pretty impressive looking fist - worth at least a one-match ban from the citing commissioner at the rugby world cup, unless the perp be Scottish, in which case he'd get three) a bloke who has "I'm looking for trouble" written all over his not especially attractive face. 

Among all the vagaries and twists of a case that could run for weeks, as expert witnesses pore over the video footage (see below) and analyse trace elements embedded in the clothing of the protagonists, one thing we can be sure of: enough hot air will be spouted to float the Hindenburg and Ken Tsang will be found guilty. Of something.  

Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Buddhist Nun Defends Lavish Spending

                   I have two dogs and two husbands to support

Friday, 9 October 2015

Spoke in the Wheel

Everbody's favourite property developer cum cartel cum young earth creationist nutjobs cum jailbirds Sun Hung Kai Properties are sponsoring a thing called a cyclothon this weekend.

If you want to take part in the bit that is open to the public, called rather jarringly the "Kids & Youth Rides" - presumably in honour of the potholes on Salisbury Road, up and down which said youths will peddle - be sure to set out early. Because you won't be able to pop your bike on any form of public transport taking you there apart from the ferry from Wan Chai to the Star Ferry. No buses, no trains, no regular Star Ferry from Central.

I guess some taxi drivers - ever possessed of the entrepreneurial spirit, especially on public holidays - will be quite happy to charge you an arm an a leg for the privilege, but the government seem to be encouraging those who live in the unpretentious part of town to get up at the crack of dawn and risk life and limb by cycling to the venue for the 8.30 Sunday start.

It doesn't get much more out of the box - and into the hospital ward - than that in Asia's World City.

Thought for the Day

Why do telesales people talk so fast? The very speed screams at the interlocutor "Hi! I'm an annoying telesales person!"

If I was responsible for training at HSBC (yes it was you most recently and your bloody loans - oh yeah, while I'm on the subject, if you pay me 0.001 percent for the hard-earned I lend to you, do you really think I'm going to borrow money from you at 5 percent or whatever the fleecing rate is these days?), I'd tell my Filipino, Mainland and Indian charges to be a bit more subtle (yeah, like HSBC does subtlety) and speak like a normal human being.

Like, well, um, Diva Noddle. How I miss the Diva and his homespun approximation to wisdom!

Thursday, 8 October 2015

Ex Sinopec Boss Responds to Corruption Charge

              They’re all at it. Why pick on me?

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Donald Tsang Responds to Corruption Charges

I just checked the Basic Law and there's nothing about the need to tell ExCo about architects called Barry Ho in here

Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Xi Jinping Makes Pledge on Cyber Espionage

                         We promise not to get caught