Monday, July 31, 2006

Malcolm & Tibetan Antelopes - Part 1

In a two part article, Malcolm Au tells his story of how a once-in-a-lifetime journey to the Arijin Mountains in Xinjiang from 19 June to 7 July 2006 shooting close-up pictures of Tibetan antelopes has turned out to be...

The purpose of my trip was to find pregnant Tibetan Antelopes and hopefully have a chance to take a close photo shot of them.

These poor animals are listed together with the ‘Giant Pandas’ as two of the top endangered animals found in China. The other non-listed top endangered animal in China is the “capable government official with integrity”. The Tibetan Antelopes are famous and endangered because of ladies around the world are fond of the shawls made from their fur. The shawls are called Shahtoosh and they are so fine and so soft that one can put a large shawl through the center of a wedding band.

Xin Jiang is big, it occupies one sixth of China’s land area. I had no idea how big the province is and how tough the roads and weather conditions are until I got on this trip. It took us five days to drive from Urumuqi, the biggest city in Xin Jiang, to the Antelope breeding ground in the Arijin Mountains.

The trip was not a comfortable ride; it took four Land Rovers, one Land Cruiser and a large supply truck to get us there, by crossing rivers and 7,000m mountains. The Arijin Mountains reserve that we went to is huge – 45,000 sq KM – and is normally not open to just anybody. The exploration team that I went with has sponsored Tibetan Antelope research at the reserve for ten years, so I got this rare chance to sneak in with the rest of the team.

The trip was very good for me. The hardship I encountered made me feel appreciative of what I already have. Living in a single tent at our base camp at 4,700m above sea levels for eight days is not easy. To put a perspective on the altitude, lots of people would have high altitude sickness at Lhasa, the capital of Tibet, which is at 3,600m above sea level. The air is very thin at base camp, containing about half the amount of oxygen as normal air at sea level. The wind was blowing hard and it snowed every night. There were twenty people in our group and a few of us had to be put in compression chambers to alleviate them of the high altitude sickness otherwise they could have turned into ‘vegetables’. I was lucky that I did not feel much of the high altitude effect. They say older people are more adaptable to this kind of conditions and I am well qualified. The condition was so harsh that one did not have the spare energy or mood to count the days one went without a shower. The biggest decision I had to make was, while in the middle of the night, whether I should leave the warmth of the sleeping bag and the tent, put on all my weather gears, to brave the wind and snow and walk fifty steps from the tent to answer the call of nature. The food and drinks were also no consolation. We drank cooked muddy water and ate a lot of prepared food. Fortunately our group brought two chefs so we did not need to do the cooking and dish washing.

For Part 2 of this article, please click here. For a full set of photos accompanying this article, please click here.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Eat Another Mongkok

銀龍茶餐廳 /邱立本





Saturday, July 15, 2006

A World of Their Own

How do our next generation think and live? We may be near to them, but can we say that we understand them well?

Nicam, Tang Hing Lin's son, and Robin, my son, have nicely agreed to share with us their views of the world through their blogs. I have therefore included them in our Links. I hope you'll click onto them (匡時空 and Robin's Blog) to see if these blogs are able to help you understand our next generation a little bit better.

If you have other suggested links to add, please let us know by a comment to this post.

Monday, July 10, 2006

A neat trick

I received the following message recently as a chain mail. It is the best attempt to produce a chain mail in my opinion - enjoy:

This is one of the many tricks to speed reading. They teach you to look at the frsit & lsat letetr of a word and your brain will fill in the rest. Pretty cool. If you can read this, you have a strange mind too. Can you raed tihs? Olny 805 plepoe can to this point. i cdnuolt blveiee taht I cluod aulaclty uesdnatnrd waht I was rdanieg. The phaonmneal pweor of the hmuan mnid, aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it dseno't mtaetr in waht oerdr the ltteres in a wrod are, the olny iproamtnt tihng is taht the frsit and lsat ltteer be in the rghit pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses and you can sitll raed it whotuit a pboerlm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe.Azanmig huh? yaeh and I awlyas tghuhot slpeling was ipmorantt! if you can raed tihs forwrad it.

ONLY FORWARD IF YOU CAN READ THIS...Update the number on top too.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

The Days We Kicked

Looking forward earnestly to the France vs. Italy final of the World Cup, I am posting an earlier article our premier writer classmate Yau Lop Poon sent us reminiscing the playing of the little red plastic ball in the old days, which, to many, was just as indulgent as watching the World Cup is to us today.

初中歲月的絕響 /邱立本





In sending the article , Yau Lop Poon remarked, “This is the piece I wrote on the column of "World Journal" in North America. It was published on April 15, 2006, coincided with the reunion we had in New York. What an affinity . It recorded the days we were, if not the days we kicked, kicking off a brave new world in the years to come.”

In response, Mok Kwok Yum enquired, “Are you sure we couldn't get hold of a red, plastic ball anymore? Otherwise, we could at least play one more game on the BHJS playground in next year's reunion, perhaps as a gesture--futile, no doubt--of trying to hold back our fading youth...”

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

An Age-old Debate of Ages

邱吉爾的母親 /邱立本




Tuesday, July 04, 2006

A Juicy Party in Toronto

Irene Tsai Yan Ying sent us the following journal written in her excitement at 3am on July 2 after a mini-reunion in Toronto with teachers Mrs Peggy Wong, Mrs Lorraine Leung, Ms Irene Fong, Mr Wong Hin Shing and Mr K K Wong attending. Fiona Wong was there visiting from Calgary. Please enjoy Irene’s write-up of the gathering.

Guys, check it out!!!! This will kickstart things in here! I just got back from a fun BHJS dinner party with Mrs. Peggy Wong & Mrs. Lorraine Leung in it!!! Boy, was I ever so glad I made it there. Oh, three other teachers dribbled in tonight as well, but I don't think I need to reintroduce them to you. Can you imagine that LAING NUI, Mrs. Peggy Wong was talking and joking with us in a friendly and bubbly voice? And the whole time she was speaking to us in fluent Cantonese?! She's very upbeat and looking more than good in real person. We stuffed our faces with sumptuous Chinese food and laughed our heads off all night, rolling back 40 years, obviously. Man, oh man, we were all on high tonight.

Anyway, it's almost 3 a.m. now, I'll sign off here to look for CHAU GUNG. But, let me pass the shots from my digital camera to you before I go. Hey, don't lie, I know you're all dying to see Mrs. Peggy Wong again after all these years, especially the boys who had dreamed about her during Jubilee days.

Irene TSAI Yan Ying

While not an official Canada Alumni event, the alumni banner shown in the above photo had just been received from HK and the gathering took a first look at it. All present really liked the banner, which was done by Nicam Tang, Tang Hing Lin's son. Please click here or Our Photos in Links to find a photo taken by Irene of Mrs Peggy Wong with May Ho and Stephen Lau, current and past chairperson of the Canada Alumni.

Monday, July 03, 2006

A Roll of Embarrassment

一捲廁紙 /邱立本




Saturday, July 01, 2006

July First

July 1 is a special day.

We in Hong Kong celebrate the 1997 handover. The borrowed place was returned to its rightful country ending the borrowed time with the beginning of a new phase. Today, we commemorate it with a parade, a demonstration or a day out with the family.

In China, the date marks the 85th official birthday of the Communist Party. From its clandestine beginning at what is now known as the Xintiandi in Shanghai, it has emerged as one of the most powerful political parties in the world. Will it ever allow another party to rise strongly in China? We will wait and see.

People in Canada celebrate the Canada Day. Home to many of our teachers and classmates, Canada is a multi-cultural and peace-loving country of the aborigines and immigrants. All Canadians can be proud of their nation as it epitomizes the ideal of mutual acceptance.

It is also Ho Kit May’s birthday. May is the chairperson of our Canadian Alumni Association. She initiated the reconnection of all 1962 – 67 teachers and classmates and spearheads our 40th anniversary reunion in August 2007. She always reminds us to treasure a 40-year-old friendship and to live fully everyday of our life. We wish her a very very HAPPY BIRTHDAY.

The Letter That No Longer Sent

不再寄出的信 /邱立本