Monday, 1 March 2010

Dear Hong Kong.......

Dont expect any comments on this...... unless i happen to get some negative ones but what the hey!
Probably noticed I've been pretty negative recently as far as Hong Kong goes...... & I know I've been bumming people out (especially Julia) & the last couple of days (since I chilled out on plenty of valium so I could get on stage with a cracked rib!) I've been doing a bit of thinking & just thought I'd put a few words up......
I moved to Hong Kong over 4 years ago, bright eyed, bushy tailed & rearing to go! I'd been here a month previously for 2 weeks to see how I liked the place & I was feeling really positive I could make a home for myself & my beautiful (future) wife.
I (thought) I had made some local friends (more about them later!) + a good gweilo (yes, I know thats a negative word but have had to get used to it!) friend who although I dont see to often I still have strong feelings for (cheers Pat!)
One of my 1st Hong Kong memories is going to see NOFX, great gig, shame about the attendance but hey, dumb move to organize it the same weekend as Rockit (RIP) Hong Kong's only music festival! This was the 1st time I met 2 friends, Adam & Arthur, who would become a really good friend & Guitarist in my band. Anyways, went out for dinner that night with some people & was repeatedly told not to hang out with Arthur or Adam, as they were not good guys..... & that is my 1st bad experience with Hong Kong! I was convinced they were good guys & always make up my own mind about people.... & I'm glad I did.
Remember those local friends I talked about? Well thats bad experience #2! Got really stabbed in the back, heard comments like "you are ok for a white guy" (after thinking someone was a friend for several months) & other shit I dont wanna bore you with!
Anyways, skip forward a bit, miss out several racism issues I had (fuck you Gweilo, Gweilo go home) being told I should be more proud to white, someone refusing to give my wife a fanzine because "it's just for locals" yadda yadda.
Thought it would be a great idea to start promoting shows.... had tried to help other in their promoting but realised that was hopeless (not promoting a show coz you think that not telling people about it will keep it underground is retarded!) so yeah, what could possibly be wrong with me doing my own shows? great idea right? something I love doing, doing it for the love, to help out local bands, not for my own agenda? WRONG!
Put my all into this, really thought I could help the HK "scene" (sic) but after just a few shows, I started getting negative feedback, on the equipment (that I wasnt earning any money to replace coz I was basically not making any profits) not being good enough...... this is punk, indie & hardcore bands who anywhere else in the world (let alone somewhere as secluded & with as little opportunity as Hong Kong) would just be glad of the chance to have somewhere to play! Certain people in HK have provided advice on how things work.... well I'm telling you people, you were HUGELY miss-informed! on 2 occasions fairly famous US bands have said to me @ HK shows "wow, we are used to playing school halls & community centres, whats with all the stadium equipment? surely if less money was spent, profits would have been up....."
Next up, I have local hardcore bands demanding stupid amounts of money ($1000 plus on shows that wouldnt make a profit) + allow all their friends in for free..... this was shows that were $180 on the door with an open bar ALL NIGHT! Now, even if you only drink coke, compared with HK bar prices, thats not a bad deal! One band in particular (I'm not gonna name the douche bags) wanted over $1000 for a New Year show.... that was organised just so that for ONCE there was something happening for HK's alternative crowd! If you speak to anyone who went, it was a great night!
After this, several rumors started to float around, that I was a "typical suit wearing gweilo, in it just for the money & ripping off "local" talent. Now for those of you that dont know, "local" means HK chinese, if youre not chinese, even if you were born here, you can never be classed as local. (hmm, wouldnt you be classed as a racist if you had that attitude in a lot of countries?)
So...... had plenty of phone calls informing me of this crap being spread on local forums..... but only to show private support, but to my knowledge no one from "local" bands showed me any kind of public support. Plenty of bands did, but not "local" ones.
I'm not gonna bore you with too much of this shit, various other incidents have gotten to me over the years, stuf involving my business, people screwing over me & (especially) my wife (just recently someone REALLY let her down, showed a serious lack of respect & was very very ungrateful) & we have also had shit in the village we live in, when our neighbors dogs (wild but registered, never allowed inside but viscous & never restrained) attacked our Chihuahua Milo, almost killing him & causing over $10,000 in vets bills threatened to have me killed when i reported them, + informed me I should "f#ck off back where I came from because white people dont belong in Hong Kong" (funny, my wife might be white but she was born here, they are from mainland china & macau!) The police werent interested, neither were ACFD (even though they put down plenty of non-dangerous dogs every day)
So.... to cap it all off, I may have been very negative for a while..... but as far as I'm concerned, HK has really killed my faith in mankind! I was always the guy who would stick up for anyone who needed support, was dead against racism & believed in people in general & thought I needed to get out of London..... recently visited London & believe me, HK is FAR more racist & much less friendly once you dig under it's glossy exterior!
I'm sorry to all my friends I have brought down, bummed out & moaned @ (especially my wife!) I appreciate all your help & support & I'm going to try to make a more conscious effort to be more positive during the rest of my stay here in this beautiful city (there is a lot I DO love about it!) that I currently still call home!

I will end this telling you a story about a very obnoxious local man (lets refer to him as "A'hole" we met around the time of the last U.S. election..... he was convinced we were american because of our tattoos (apparenty brits wear suits & work in banks) & wanted to know who I would vote for..... I dont normally get involved in political discussions but did say that Obama seemed to have a brain in his head which a lot of U.S. presidents seem to be missing..... to which he replied "but he's a negro, do you not feel it's irresponsible for a white person to vote for a negro? do you really feel they are capable of running a country?"
Now I was pretty sick of this A'hole, & went inside to use the toilet & the manager of the bar we were @ asked what the problem was, apparently A'hole was a "nice guy, just a bit drunk" & when I told him what A'hole had said he replied "oh, dont worry, thats not racist, thats just discrimination"......... that says a lot about HK's attitudes & explains why HK is so racist (look @ the way maids of a certain race are treated & people not wanting to sit next to certain races on buses)

p.s. If anyone reads this & feels I'm unfairly talking about them, take a minute to think about: A, do you really need to worry? am I really talking about you? & B, do you deserve it? is something making you feel guilty........


  1. when i first met you back in summer 2006, it was safe to say you and julia were quite upbeat about life and the tattoo parlour was taking off. I wanted to move to HK (dual citizenship) but couldn't catch a break, over the years, I've realised that I made the right choice in staying in london and developing my career here because even though I'm chinese, I would never have coped out in HK. I'm far too westernized but at least i've managed to keep an open mind about everything.

    It's funny, none of my friends believe how racist HK is when I tell them, they think it's some kind of joke and it's the one thing that disappoints me about being chinese, that as a nation, we're institutionally racist.

    It's kind of sad to think i would rather be chinese in england than white in hong kong in terms of racial abuse.

  2. i can't completely relate myself to your situation because im still going to school and all, but even as a chinese growing up in hong kong i have to agree with you on them generally being racist. theres a lot more qualities in these stereotypical locals that annoy me, and at least for me i couldn't do anything about it in those 12 years in local school but to try my best to ignore them. somehow i insisted on individuality all along and became an outcast, and things just kept on going darker.

    it was a relief transferring to international school and removing myself from that local community with all that social conformity and backstabs (i guess thats part of their social practice, but it sucks) and my life just keeps on getting better now that i'm in canada not hong kong! it's strange but i'd rather take pride in being chinese in canada than in hong kong, they're very different types of chinese to me.

    though, im sure there are tons of people out there in hk who are the 'other' type of chinese, just so happen to not be in the scene!

    i hope you find your place in hk just as i did, it's not that bad!
    and im sure a lot of people out there are on your side right now even if nobody said anything. i just know!

  3. Thanks guys, it's nice to have support & not just be told I'm not making effort to fit in, or I dont understand because of "cultural differences"!
    I've even been accused of being a racist myself, which is b#llshit!
    I'm coping now, but mainly because I know i can move back to London @ some point!
    Thanks again, you guys have cheered me up!

  4. Hey, My names is Maria and I just moved to HK about two months ago. I agree with you on well every thing.
    So far it is one of the rudest places I have been to. As far as the racism goes I am from the Us, Montana (it is secluded and mainly white) to be frank we are "trained" to no stare, point, laugh at or whisper about other races.

    Here it doesn't matter I find people staring, I have seen people in the window reflection walk towards me, see that I am Caucasian and then turn around. Some even to the point of standing for the 20-30min bus ride. I told one person who was Caucasus that I happened to be sitting next to on the MTR that its like I have Leprosy.

    Sorry about your dog. My sister lived in Mainland off and on for about 4 years and there manners are worse than HK locals. They don't even try to care, or empathize.

    I applaud you for well sticking it out. Hope all goes well

  5. Dude I cannot agree more on all this. I was born in HK but thank god not raised here. I just moved back to HK a year ago and you know what, I haven't made a single local friend yet! And I am struggling to make international friends. It really sucks living in HK and if only the US economy weren't so bad I'd be there right now.

    @Maria: If ppl stare just fucking stare back until they look away, I do that all the time and eventually they get scared lol