Very Interesting, Mr. Bond

Here is a list of the most interesting questions I was asked in Hong Kong.

Q.  Do you want your orange juice hot or cold?

A.  Cold, please.  Thank you for asking.  “Hot Juice” would be a good name for a band, though.  No-one has ever asked me that question before.

Q.  Don’t you find that Hong Kong is just like New York?

A.  What?  Maybe if New York was 99% Chinese.  Do you know what the phrase “Melting Pot” means?  I saw a black dude yesterday and I thought I’d won some sort of a prize.  Hong Kong looks like New York probably will in 2025.
Q.  I saw your Facebook profile yesterday, and in one of the photos you looked very thin (indicating in the neck and face where I was looking more thin.)  Were you thinner when you were younger?

A. For one thing, thank you so much for asking.   Secondly, no, unfortunately I was born this size.  Like Athena springing from her father’s head full-grown, I exploded my mother.  I never got to meet her, but I did see her bloody shoes left on the floor.

Questions I have for Hong Kong:

Does a giant black skull make people want to buy high-end t-shirts?

Does every event really have to have a mascot?  Here’s the one for the Shanghai technology expo.

Can it…is it following me?

Karaoke In Its Homeland

And so it came that I was in Hong Kong for the last night, and had not yet sung any karaoke.  Since I was alone, and singing karaoke alone in a foreign land does not make you pathetic, but strong and brave, and because I was worried about oversleeping for my flight, I made the only logical decision available to me: I would close the karaoke bars on a Wednesday night, pack whilst drunk, and stay up until it was time to fly home.

I started out at My Favor Bar in Nathan Street, a bar whose vodka selection was WHITE WOLF VODKA, the cheapest vodka available on the free market.  It is so full of impurities, it has a thickness.

This is my friend Jacky, who taught me how to operate the DIY karaoke system.  We sang I Love Rock and Roll, Crazy Little Thing Called Love, and Don’t You Want Me, Baby.  The barstaff was thrilled that someone who spoke  English was singing.

On the one hand, you have to enter your own songs, but on the other hand, there did not appear to be any real stigma to singing again and again.  Also, every song has a video.  If it doesn’t have a video, it’s not karaoke in HK.

Karaoke is so prevalent that it’s hard to find a bar where it’s NOT offered, but hard to find one where it’s the focus.  Out of the three bars I hit, the gain on the mike was so high that it’s best held waist level.  The reverb is also turned way up, so you sound like you’re singing in an echoey bathroom.  Also, there’s no stage or light, you just sing anonymously from your barstool.

On my way to my third karaoke bar, I cut myself on a glass elevator.  This is considered an occupational hazard and is not a cause for concern.

Selection:  The English selection holds all your standard favorites:

Centerfold by J.Geils, Spinning Wheel by Blood, Sweat, and Tears, and WHAM’S Careless Whispers.  After that, there is an obscene amount of ABBA, Beatles, Simon & Garfunkel, and Richard Marx (!).  I was asked repeatedly to sing various Richard Marx songs that I had never heard before.  No wonder they think we’re mentally challenged.  They think we LOVE Richard Marx.

Facilities:  This is a really nice way to say- UNISEX TOILETS.

My last bar was named after my vocal range, which is good because I can’t remember anything about it.

Style: The preferred microphone is wireless, and the preferred delivery is sitting, and the preferred song is Cantonese ballads. These are sung by superstars in outfits that make Bjork look like Kathie Lee Gifford.  The Chinese find my style, which involves dancing,  various attempts to “work the room”, and make eye contact, embarrassing.

By the way, staying up all night before a twenty-hour flight is a GREAT idea until you actually turn up at the airport at 6AM, strung out and surrounded by Australians.