Archive for May, 2008

Olympic Torch reaches Hong Kong

May 2, 2008

Today marks the start of the Olympic Torch relay through China – I think it was 100 days to go to the start of the Olympic Games quite recently. It was quite damp this morning, which certainly in the UK would normally mean less protestors, however I don’t think there was a danger of there being mass protests along the route of the torch in Hong Kong anyway. Hong Kong is technically in a tricky position as the Basic Law agreed between the UK and China at the time of the handover guarantees freedom of speech, but the culture here of not wanting to lose face, and also the fact that Hong Kong is part of China means that the authorities here are very sensitive to the possibility of a protest along the route. I’m a big sports fan and am looking forward to the Games but, frankly, couldn’t give a stuff about the torch procession (so it’s been work as normal for me today). However, it’s difficult to miss the fact that the torch relay is happening today. Lots of schoolkids (obviously not in school!) milling around have been handed flags with the Hong Kong (Lotus flower) symbol and the Chinese national flag to wave. Lots of red stickers with apparently the date of the start of the Games printed on them being worn as well. The pro-China propaganda machine is in full swing it seems. From the little I’ve seen of the procession there don’t appear to be any blue tracksuited thugs minders surrounding the torch carrier either.

I’m currently looking into the possibility of going up to Beijing during the Olympics to see about trying to watch some of the hockey during the group stages. This will depend upon when this takes place and the general cost involved in travelling there. However, I do have a trip hockey tour to Jakarta towards the end of May coming up, and I’ve also booked a trip to Australia (Sydney) for the end of July. I’ll get to catch up with some friends I know through work there and also watch the Wallabies v All Blacks Bledisloe Cup match whilst I’m there. That should be very exciting, and set up nicely to watch the same teams play again in Hong Kong on November 1st. I just need to decide who I’m going to support now…

The end of the hockey season is approaching and the Valley B team are entered in the main Cup competition. Having successfully seen off a team from our own division last week (with more than half the team suffering horrible hangovers), we now face the Premier League champions in the next round on Sunday. Could this be a result to rival Barnsley overcoming Chelsea in the FA Cup perhaps? Either way, the most important match of our season is on 16th May when Valley B take on Valley C with 3rd place in the 1st Division at stake. This is an important match for me, as in the revers fixture I was playing for Valley C (when we won 3-0) so I now face my former team-mates… This match will be decisive as to who has the bragging rights at the Valley annual dinner a couple of weeks later. For which a tux is required. I’d bought a new tux back in the UK just over a year ago, and wore it to one Wokingham Hockey Club event, so now have to buy a new one here. Still, it’s an excuse to buy a tailored one which is in the process of being made. Typically, the tailored one is cheaper than the one I bought last year in the UK…

I received an email earlier in the week I have now completed six years with Novell, which served to remind me that I’ve been in Hong Kong for very nearly a year now. A thoroughly enjoyable year I must admit. Later that day, I got the not so welcome news I’ll be delivering another presentation in early June… another chance to talk to a room full of statues who I suspect understand very little of what I’m saying for 30-40 minutes. Ah well.

We’ve got another guy join us on secondment from one of our India offices for 9 months. As he gets to be the new guy (or FNG as new guys were labelled in the UK) it now falls to him to experience unusual foods at lunch time. However, it seems he’s going for the chicken option, and by that I don’t mean eating chicken, by saying he’s a vegetarian and just sticking to a plate of fried rice. Which he then eats with a knife and fork! Part of me thinks that’s quite clever, and another part is sad for him to be missing on the delights of jellyfish and chickens feet etc. In terms of food I feel I don’t do too badly with the food here – although I’ve come to the conclusion I just don’t like prawns. This has been a source of contention with friends in the past, and I’ll accept a lot of the dislike previously was that I hadn’t eaten many, and just didn’t like the idea of them. I’ve now eaten a fair amount, and I now know I really don’t like the taste, the texture as well as the whole idea of them.

Bit of a longer post that I’d originally intended. If you’ve got this far, you must have nothing better to do…