p6 of Spike - "Expat TV": a list of made-up TV programs, having fun at the expense of local TV and whingeing gweilos.
p8 of Spike - regular column by whingeing gweilo Liam Fitzpatrick. Past subjects have included pollution, the state of the harbour shoreline, Chinese New Year, rudeness, queues, shotcrete and film censorship. You get the idea.
This week's is a classic, though, being a wistful piece about the imminent closure of Bottoms Up, a long-established (i.e. rundown) girlie bar in TST that once featured in a Bond film. Fitzpatrick notes that business has not been good for several years, but seems surprised that this should lead to the bar's closure. Without a hint of irony, he notes that it is a perennial favourite for journalists looking to fill up column inches. Er, yes.
The really odd thing is that he seems to be deadly serious. He apparently believes that it is actually important that a tatty bar in Tsim Sha Tsui should be preserved for the benefit of the few remaining regulars, a scattering of tourists, and feature writers in search of a colour story.
Talking of whingeing gweilos reminds me of someone I used to know who always had something to complain about. He was (in true Hemlock style) the token gweilo in the Hong Kong office of a British-owned business, and everyday he had his lunch in the coffee shop of a nearby 5 star hotel. The company provided him with a house in Hong Lok Yuen, a company car, etc, etc. Not bad, you might think, but he complained that because the company provided the house he had missed the opportunity to buy property and benefit from rising prices! Go figure.
He also some weird ideas about the reluctance of Park n Shop to stock some products because they were "too popular", and warned me at the start of a typical Cantonese ten-course banquet that we'd probably leave still feeling hungry and need to visit McDonalds afterwards. I certainly didn't.
I have to admit that I have been in Bottoms Up once, several years ago when a manager came from the UK office and insisted on being taken out on the town, and even then it seemed seedy and rundown. The next evening we went to another expat favourite that has since closed down, Harry Ramsden's in Wan Chai. I wonder if Liam Fitzpatrick wrote a eulogy for that?
Next week's Expat TV:
11.30 pm - midnight Make Mine A Double
A group of pissed hacks explain the cultural significance of Bottoms Up, the girlie bar in Tsim Sha Tsui that is about to close down, and argue that it is a more important part of Hong Kong's heritage than the Stanley Police Station, Wedding Card Street or any of those boring old temples. Hic!