About McPherson's Rant


McPherson’s Rant is an old Scots Folk Song about a Robin Hood Type Character who was hanged.

There is no connection, unless you count the “rant” part.  The world’s a strange place and sometimes a “rant” at absurdity and unfairness is just what’s required.

Here you can expect to find examples of stupidity, irony and idiocy , especially relating to Hong Kong, and with particular attention to the SCMP, and its’ letters page. A common problem with many blogs is their failure to find something new to say, I find the SCMP, and it’s letters page, provides plenty of ammunition on a daily basis and will reference them frequently. If you have your own letter not getting published, put it on our comments section.





Monthly Archives: April 2010

Seoul Law To Protect Actresses

Did you know Seoul was passing a law to prevent their actresses from being exploited after a survey showed 60% of them were pressured to have sex to further their career?

Ok on the face of it, good idea!  But the casting couch is nothing new, ask Marilyn Monroe, and I’m really not sure how you can enforce it.  However, I would like to see a similar law in Hong Kong, if only to save us from the pathetic talentless pseudo stars that are the “canto pop up tartlets” of today.  It’s common knowledge in this town that the industry is controlled by two companies, who shall remain nameless here in case I fall out a window by accident at some point, or even get stabbed in my hospital bed as happened to one journalist.  These companies don’t have tattoos, but there’s tattoos in the background, and every single wee tartlet from one twin to another and beyond, got where she is today, by not insisting on remaining vertical at her interview!

Such is life.  Sorry Seoul.  The law is unenforcable.  But I wish you every success.  And do you want to borrow some canto pop tartlets?

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There was a good paragraph in a letter in todays SCMP:  ” In its quest to become more like the mainland, an increasing number of laws are being passed in Hong Kong but ignored by the authorities tasked with enforcing them.”

So true, and like the smoking ban, this is a consequence of the Hong Kong approach to policy making.  Take a good idea, pop it in the consultation blender and what emerges is an unrecognisable piece of junk that is impossible to enforce, all because no one in government really wanted to piss anyone off.  Wankers.  Idling engine ban? Lets do it, but only for show!  Smoking Ban? Lets do it, but don’t enforce it!  Liquor Licencing? Lets show we are really strict by making it really difficult to get one!  But lets ignore the seven elevens!  Rules of the road! Stupid colonials… didn’t they realise Asians don’t do traffic regulations.  Consensus politics gives us a pile of shite masquerading as legislation so why do they bother?  ’Cos it’s all smoke and mirrors. They want to be seen to be doing something but in reality prefer to do nothing.  I call it the inverse swan scenario… on the surface everyone is rushing around like maniacs, supposedly getting stuff done, but underneath, or in the offices, everything is smooth and serene, cos everyone is doing nothing except posturing for promotional position.


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7/11 Business Model


You want to open a bar?  So you find suitable premises. Pay an intolerably high rental to a rapacious landlord.  Spend a couple of million fitting it out. Navigate your way through a meandering maze of archaic legislation which is over seen by 400 different departments, all of whom send a different case officer for every inspection.  But eventually, after complying with some pretty dumb criteria that defies all logic they finally deem you worthy of a Liquor Licence… provisionally of course.  But you’ve got it, the Holy Grail to profitability.  Now there’s a chance you might get a return on your investment, although up to 70% of new ventures don’t… ever.  But you’re on your way to success.

And then bastards!  Seven Eleven scum open up next door.  They don’t need a liquor licence.  The don’t need fire escapes or toilets, or any of the other mundane criteria required by the Liquor Licencing fuckwits.  They’re allowed to sell alcohol which is fair enough, IF it’s for taking away.  But they break the law with impunity!  They allow people to drink on the premises, they open the bottles for you, they’ll even supply you a paper cup if you fancy sharing a bottle of wine, they sell to kids and drunks… all of which are against the law… but no authority will do a thing about it.  Meanwhile you just kissed goodbye to your investment thanks to the motely crew hanging around your venue, scaring custom away, or worse, buying from Seven Eleven and sneaking in unnoticed.  But hey, it’s Hong Kong and someone will be profiting by looking the other way.

As I said!  Bastards

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A strange nugget in the SCMP today…

“A 91 year-old man is critically ill in hospital after setting fire to himself in an apparent suicide attempt.  Police are treating it as Arson.”

I thought arson implied wilful damage to property, generally with criminal intent.  Maybe it’s just me, but I would have suggested treating it as a suicide attempt, or even a cry for help!  But then, it’s Hong Kong!

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Filipina Nurses

An editorial in yesterdays SCMP suggested the government could solve the severe shortage of nurses in Hong Kong by employing Filipina nurses.  Great idea.  The editorial then states that the Hospital Authority cites the major stumbling block is language; most patients are Cantonese, forgetting of course that the majority of Filipinas in Hong Kong pick up Cantonese quite easily.  The editorial failed to mention the most salient reason… racism.  It’s no secret.  There are some in Hong Kong, albeit a significant minority, who believe Filipinas are no better than servants, and the use of ‘dogs eyes’ towards them, a term once exclusively reserved for the ‘gweilo’ who looked down on the local, is common.  When I first came here, I was shocked by  a young kid abusing his domestic helper in a McDonalds: “You’ll do as your told he shouted and I’ll have what I want.”  I was apoplectic at the obnoxious wee shite, I very nearly ‘cuffed him on the lug’ as they would say in Scotland, sadly, I learned it was normal for 10 year old brats to abuse their helpers in this way, the spoiled little emperors learn it from their parents.  Another time I had the misfortune to engage one of Hong Kong’s very few talkative taxi drivers who spent the journey regaling me with his exploits with prostitutes in Shenzhen.  I jokingly asked: “Why don’t you go to Wanchai where there are Filipina prostitutes.”  He  turned around while driving, looked at me as if I were mad and held his fingers to his nose.  And then there was Chip Tsao, a one-time columnist with HK magazine, amongst others, who, in an article he claimed was satire, called the Philippines a ” nation of servants.”  He did apologise and again emphasised his satirical intent, only problem is Chip, satire is supposed to funny!

Of course there are many local people who treat their helper as one of the family, but as long as there is this racist undertone towards domestic help in general and Filipina ones in particular,  don’t expect to see any Filipina nurses in Hong Kong anytime soon.

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Cathay Hero Pilots II

You may remember yesterday I said there was something not quite right about the Cathay Hero Pilots!  Now it seems that Cathay says there was no shutdown of engines, while Civil Aviation Director General Normal Low says data retrieved from the aircraft shows there was a period when both engines malfunctioned.  Of course he then goes on to say this is not necessarily a contradiction, and: “I am pretty sure we are talking about the same thing.”  Really?  There are a few other issues to bring up here.  Some in the industry believe the flight crew should have immediately returned to Surabaya as soon as the engine problem manifested itself, it would seem that would be the safest option for a twin engined jet. That would be my preference, but I’ll concede there are pilots out there who will maintain there was no issue with continuing on one engine… and I’ll admit to being a paranoid flyer… and this is where I have to revisit my argument from yesterday.  As soon as a flight starts its descent my paranoia ascends… I’m in a constant state of heightened awareness wrought by anxiety.  I feel the airspeed, I listen for the flaps, I check the angle of descent, I listen for the pilot applying more power and assume he’s screwed up when he does, I balefully wait for the landing gear to go down and then hope it has locked and when eventually I hear them cut all power and watch as we descend the last 50 feet… I’m ready to throw women and children behind me and trample over the elderly in a rush to exit… should anything untoward happen on landing… which statistically is when ‘something’ is most likely to happen.  How?  How? How… did these people not know that they had just had the pleasure of an emergency landing?  So ignorant were they that some were trying to leave with their hand baggage.  Something is not right here and Chief Exec Mr Tony Tyler may see this ‘positive story’ descend into a PR nightmare, unless of course he gets his spin doctors working overtime.

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Cathay Hero Pilots

Anyone that lands a plane is a hero to me, if its got one engine, he’s up there with Nelson Mandela, if its got none he’s a GOD.  But the Cathay landing, which yesterday was lauded as miraculous, has me wondering!  If you have one engine, and that engine is surging…making airspeed control a problem as you descend… surely, as a passenger, you would be well aware that there was some major shit going down… and you might be following it…down!  Yet in SCMP, passengers are quoted as saying they didn’t know anything was wrong until told to evacuate the airplane. Cathay has had some negative coverage in the press recently, there’s ongoing protests from cabin crew, local pilots accusing them of racism and a surge of anger about a recent Total Caring Award.  Would it be too cynical of me to think that this story has been hijacked?   I have no doubt there was a problem on this flight.  But I think the story has been blown up and presented to us by some slick PR machine.  Not a single source name was used in the piece, it’s all: “A Cathay Pacific spokesman,” or “a colleague.”  In fact, one colleague really stuck it to all other airlines and even other Cathay pilots:  ”If this had happened on another airline or if this had happened to less skilled and resourceful pilots, there is no way those passengers would all have walked away from that plane alive.”  Something about this story just doesn’t fly, in my book.  Keep your eyes open for updates.

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Pontificating Papal Bull!

Firstly I have to admit to my prejudice, or should that be prejudii, as I do appear to have a number of them.  If a failure to believe in bullshit can be defined as prejudice… I’m guilty! A common prejudice you used to hear amongst the lesser bigots and idiots in Northern Ireland and the West Coast of Scotland was that you could identify a catholic easily… their eyes were closer together than ‘normal people’.  Sheer prejudice and shocking bigotry! And then I find myself looking at Ratzingberger’s eyes!  I’d  not be surprised if someone told me he was once in the Hitler Youth. What! He was! Waahh!

I’m motivated to mention him today because of two letters in the SCMP on Sunday, interestingly both were from non residents of Hong Kong, and both were full of shite!  One was from a familiar correspondent on religious matters Mr Paul Kokowski from Canada.  On this occasion he is sucking the popes, seeking to stick up commending the pope for not being intimidated by false critics blah blah blah… I can smell the bullshit all the way from Ontario Mr Kok.  One pertinent fact hitherto ignored is this: in any civilized jurisdiction failure to report a crime is a crime in itself so every single bishop or prelate or Pope who did not report perverted pedophile priests committed a crime…and should be punished…period.  Kokoski excels himself with his final paragraph:  ” Justice and Truth demand an objective analysis of the facts.”  This from a man who believes in transubstantiation, Papal infallibility and the concept of a virgin birth!  Tosser!  The other letter was from a Mr Andrew Norman, who it seems wrote a book about T.E. Lawrence, or Lawrence of Arabia as most of us know him. Lawrence was raped during the war by some Arab who’d not got his goat.  Mr Norman’s theory goes like this, the rape  led to Lawrence’s later problems in life, ergo, anal rape is a heinous crime, therefore it ruins the life of everyone who experiences it, therefore the life of everyone who was raped or molested by a priest was irrevocably damaged.  This really is an illogical argument. Lawrence was a Philosopher,  his Seven Pillars of Wisdom is worth a read, if only to illustrate what a troubled soul he could be, but we all know Philosophers are an unhappy breed to start with so to blame his whole character on his rape is disingenuous. More importantly to say that every child who was sexually abused by a priest was scarred for life is a simplistic lie, and does the more serious cases, not only of sexual assault, but of physically violent assault a terrible injustice. Children are remarkably resilient, and given the opportunity can bounce back from almost anything. But tell an adult that his failures in life are due to the fumbling of a dirty old man and that adult can suddenly justify his own failings. There is simply no valid comparison to be made between T. E. Lawrence and the current scandals engulfing the Vatican.

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Sevens recovery

This year I was one of the stadium announcers for the games at the Sevens, I didn’t touch a drop of alcohol all weekend, therefore watched every single game of rugby… sober… and you know what? I enjoyed it.  So I’ve came to the bitter conclusion that I am, now, officially old.  The South Stand no longer calls out to me, in fact it almost repels me, I say almost, as I couldn’t help cast an envious glance occasionally, but the envy was the confident youth on display, not the discomfort.  I see in the South Stand now, ghosts of sevens past, and forlornly yearn for when I too was a player, in the party stand, but nostalgia is one thing, a comfortable seat with a birds eye view, a screen for instant replays and a microphone are their own rewards.

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