Monday 31 December 2012

1130 HKSAR Name of the Day

Dawn Proligerous Information Consulting Service, 'marriage' agency (providing services to pregnant mainland women who have Hong Kong husbands to book a bed at private obstetrics departments)

Note: many registered businesses or companies in Hong Kong and mainland China have novel names. If any readers come across some, please kindly reference them here (you will be credited, obviously).

About Novel HKSAR Names
Name Category: Creation; Company Name

P.S. Happy New Year !!

Saturday 29 December 2012

1129 HKSAR Name of the Day

Manly Wong (Miss), student, University of Hong Kong

About Novel HKSAR Names
Name Category: Creation; Phonetic-based?

Friday 28 December 2012

Aquarium Bursts ... Made In China

Shocking scenes as sharks are smashed and spreadeagled over shoppers in Shanghai

 Before ...

 ... After

 Poor lemon sharks!

Videos of the 'cracking' scene can be seen at these links:

Aquarium bursts in shopping centre in Shanghai (BBC News)

Caught on camera: Moment 33-ton aquarium bursts in shopping centre, showering crowds with LIVE SHARKS and shards of glass (Daily Mail)

Thursday 27 December 2012

1128 HKSAR Name of the Day

Cavin Chow Ka Man (Miss), student, University of Hong Kong

About Novel HKSAR Names
Name Category: Creation

Tuesday 25 December 2012

1127 HKSAR Name of the Day

Jethro Pak Sek Huen (Mr), student, University of Hong Kong

Is there a Jethro To (which sounds very similar to Jethro Tull)?

About Novel HKSAR Names
Name Category: Rare

Sunday 23 December 2012

1126 HKSAR Name of the Day

Wines Lau Wing Si, student, University of Hong Kong

Perhaps "Wincy" was too obvious (phonetic-based)?

About Novel HKSAR Names
Name Category: Creation

Friday 21 December 2012

I Feel Fine

REM  It's The End Of The World As We Know It

That's great, it starts with an earthquake, birds and snakes, an aeroplane
And Lenny Bruce is not afraid
Eye of a hurricane, listen to yourself churn
World serves its own needs, dummy serve your own needs.
Feed it off an aux speak, grunt
No strength the ladder starts to clatter with the fear, fight down height.
Wire in a fire, representing seven games with a government for hire and a combat site.
Left of West and coming in a hurry with the furies breathing down your neck.
Team by team reporters baffled, trump, tethered crop.
Look at that low playing! Fine then.
Uh oh, overflow, population, common food, but it'll do.
Save yourself, serve yourself.
World serves its own needs, listen to your heart bleed.
Dummy with the rapture and the reverent in the right - right.
You vitriolic, patriotic, slam, fight, bright light,
Feeling pretty psyched.

It's the end of the world as we know it.
It's the end of the world as we know it.
It's the end of the world as we know it and I feel fine.

Six o'clock - TV hour.
Don't get caught in foreign towers.
Slash and burn, return, listen to yourself churn.
Locking in uniforming, book burning, blood letting.
Every motive escalate. Automotive incinerate.
Light a candle, light a votive.
Step down, step down.
Watch your heel crush, crush. Uh oh,
This means no fear - cavalier.
Renegade, steer clear!
A tournament, a tournament, a tournament of lies.
Offer me solutions, offer me alternatives
And I decline.

It's the end of the world as we know it.
It's the end of the world as we know it.
It's the end of the world as we know it and I feel fine.

The other night I dreamt of knives, continental drift divide.
Mountains sit in a line
Leonard Bernstein.
Leonid Breshnev, Lester Bangs and Lenny Bruce.
Birthday party, cheesecake, jelly bean, boom!
You symbiotic, patriotic, slam book neck, right?

It's the end of the world as we know it.
It's the end of the world as we know it.
It's the end of the world as we know it and I feel fine... fine...

(It's time I had some time alone,
It's time I had some time alone,
It's time I had some time alone
I feel fine...)


Related Links

Believers prepare for 'Mayan apocalypse' (BBC News)

Hey, the Christians Are All Still Here ...

1125 HKSAR Name of the Day

Nekki Tang Ka Hei, student, University of Hong Kong

About Novel HKSAR Names
Name Category: Creation; Substitution

Wednesday 19 December 2012

Monday 17 December 2012

Saturday 15 December 2012

1122 HKSAR Name of the Day

Pinky Lai Ping (Mr), former chief of exterior design, Porsche, Germany

Pinky Lai Ping is credited with designing the car that helped transform the fortunes of Porsche.Photo May Tse

see 0016, 0150, 0427 and Pinky Dolls
About Novel HKSAR Names
Name Category: Creation; somewhat common in Hong Kong for girls

A journalist has written: "Pinky Lai Ping regards himself as something of an anomaly in the car industry." 
Well, HKSARBlog regards Pinky Lai as something of an anomaly in the world of novel names!


Drawn to the power: Hong Kong's Porsche designer Pinky Lai (SCMP; paywall)

To mark his gleaming career in car design, Pinky Lai Ping is publishing a collection of his finest automotive artwork, writes Mark Sharp

Friday, 16 November, 2012, 12:00am

Mark Sharp
Pinky Lai Ping regards himself as something of an anomaly in the car industry. "I like long-distance driving, but I don't enjoy daily driving," says Porsche's former chief of exterior design. "I reject over-motorisation because with a Porsche you only need a quarter of the horsepower to have fun. You don't need 400 horses."

So it is perhaps unsurprising that Lai has turned his attention to the art world. Due to retire from Porsche in 2014, and now working in a consultative role for the German carmaker, Lai will display sketches of his groundbreaking designs and concepts in the run-up to next year's Venice Biennale art exhibition.

Pinky Lai Ping is credited with designing the car that helped transform the fortunes of Porsche.Photo May TseThe Hong Kong native was in town last week for a preview of some of the images, which are also being presented in a book, titled Ideation, to be released early next year. The book is a window on more than 30 years of Lai's work at Ford, BMW and Porsche. It includes sketches of his redesign of the iconic 911, which helped save the ailing Porsche from being taken over in the 1990s, and won him many awards.

The exhibition will take place from April 15 to May 14 at The Arsenal gallery in Venice and will coincide with the Italian regatta of the America's Cup World Series.

"The regatta is held right in front of the gallery. So a lot of preparation is needed to make it perfect. I want to set up models of a car and boat outside. Not real production models, but something sculptural that is linked to the sketches inside," says Lai.

He got the idea for the exhibition from an old friend and mentor who likened his flowing car sketches to modern art, he says, and the book was a natural progression.

"I realised that it's not just about putting up sketches for the show. I would need a catalogue because a lot of people would be asking for copies of this, or the original of that. In future, the catalogue would be the only thing to communicate all this."

Graduating in industrial design from Rome's Istituto Superiore per le Industrie Artistiche in 1978, Lai joined the car industry by accident, and one of the first companies to show an interest in his talent didn't initially offer what he had in mind.

"I wasn't even aware there was a profession called car design," he says. "After graduating, I saw an advert in a German car magazine. Ford was looking for young designers. I thought: oh, car designer. Well, it's an industrial product, so why not give it a try?"

But rather than employ him, Ford offered Lai a two-year scholarship to study transport design at the Royal College of Art in London, with internship opportunities during holidays.

"I was so upset and disappointed not to be offered a job. But I just packed my stuff and went there, then worked my ass off seven days a week at the college," he says.

After honing his skills in London, Lai spent 4½ years at Ford, working on designs for the Sierra, Fiesta, Escort and Scorpio models. He was then offered a senior designer job at BMW, where he was responsible for designs for the 3, 7 and 8 Series, and the Z2 concept. Lai's 3-Series facelift was one of the first cars to be produced without a chrome-plated metal bumper and was a big hit.

"It was the first BMW with the soft nose. I said, 'If you don't get rid of that metal bar, you are still old school'."

The only other car at the time to feature a soft nose - a rubber skin that reverts to its original shape after impact - was the Porsche 928.

After five years at BMW, Lai was approached to work at Stuttgart-based Porsche in 1989. He gained international recognition more than a decade later, at a time when the company was experiencing difficulties. As chief exterior designer, he reworked the 911, designated internally as the 996. It was the first radical departure from Ferdinand Porsche's original 1963 design, and became the company's saving grace.

"The company was about to be sold to either Toyota or Mercedes. The only model they were selling was the old 911. Sales were dropping from 50,000 to 40,000, and a year later 30,000," Lai says.

The younger generation was no longer captivated by the 35-year-old design. "It was really tough and for the first time in the company's history we made four full-sized models; four different designs for selection. I was asked to do one and my colleagues were asked to do others. We divided the direction into advanced (very way ahead), modern, contemporary and classic. I did the advanced one and they picked mine."

The 996 was a revolution, with a water-cooled engine replacing the air cooled one. That required a totally new mechanical layout. But Lai's headache was the aerodynamics demanded by the design brief, and the budget didn't allow a moving spoiler for the sloping-backed car.

"You might think it looks very streamlined, but it was bad in the wind tunnel. There was no stability. And once you put a thick spoiler on a 911 back, it's not a 911 any more. You need this kind of coffee table for the spoiler to create downforce. That was a nightmare because the moving spoiler was not in the product catalogue."

Lai got around the problem one day in the air tunnel. "There was an engine cover on the rear with cooling louvres. I fitted the last one with an extension, and it started to react - the downforce was there. Then I called up the project leader and said 'Hey, give me a small budget for just a simple mechanism. Just a little extension of another maybe 5cm and you'll get the downforce you need'."

The innovation greatly improved the car's lap speed, and therefore its sales potential.

Lai won a slew of awards for the 911 Turbo and Carrera models between 1997 and 2003, including five from Italy's L'Automobile Piu Bella Del Mondo (the World's Most Beautiful Automobiles). But his biggest accolade, he says, was the 2002 German Design Award for the 911 Turbo.

"I think that was my highest honour because it was from the German Design Council - the toughest one. I have a framed photo of that handshake with the German president [Johannes Rau]. It was the best in class, beating all the Ferraris, the big BMW and the AMG Mercedes with a six-cylinder turbo. And I had to pat my own back, because I was the only Asian standing centre stage in front of the big European armada of designers."

Although he can look back on a life of accomplishments, and forward to his book launch and Venice exhibition, Lai has not yet decided how he will spend his time once he leaves Porsche. But it's unlikely he will relocate to Hong Kong, where he returns once a year.

"It really depends. If the opportunity allows then I might stay here a little longer, like a week or three weeks. It's very hard to give up the quality of life in Germany."

Thursday 13 December 2012

1121 HKSAR Name of the Day

Rocco Yim (Mr), alumnus, University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong

About Novel HKSAR Names
Name Category: Rare

Tuesday 11 December 2012

1120 HKSAR Name of the Day

Gensan Yim Ho Man (Mr), alumnus, University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong

About Novel HKSAR Names
Name Category: Creation

Sunday 9 December 2012

1119 HKSAR Name of the Day

Eirene Yeung Yat Chi (Miss), alumnus, University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong

About Novel HKSAR Names
Name Category: Rare

Saturday 8 December 2012

So That's What She Looks Like

A pudding bowl haircut with bangs!

Susan Jung is one of my favourite local food writers. Her appearance surprised me, but it just goes to show we should never judge a book by its cover (double pun intended)!

Susan Jung. Pic from SCMP.

Related Posts (please follow this link)

Critic of Food Critics

A Body Like A Fish

Verbal Diarrhoea #9


Susan Jung publishes new cookbook, A Celebration of Food (SCMP; paywall)
Wednesday, 05 December, 2012, 12:00am

Jolie Ho

Food and wine editor Susan Jung has published a new cookbook with restaurant chefs' recipes and her own.

Susan Jung, long-time food and wine editor of the South China Morning Post, is hoping that her new cookbook, A Celebration of Food, will be food lovers' top choice of gift over the holiday season this month.

For the book, Jung, who became this newspaper's food and wine editor in 1997, compiled 60 of her recipes that have appeared in Post Magazine over the years, and added 20 recipes by chefs at some of her favourite restaurants in the city.

At the book's launch on Monday at the Private Lounge by Miele in Causeway Bay, Jung said: "I'm very excited about the book. I think we've done a really good job. I'm very grateful to the 20 chefs who appear in the book - for many of them, it's the first time their recipes have been published."

Jung said it took a busy and intense four months to finish the book so that it would be ready in time for the gift-buying season.

"It will be a long time before I publish another cookbook," she said with a laugh. "I have to wait until I've forgotten how much work this one was."

Cliff Buddle, the Post's special projects editor, regards the cookbook as "much more than a stocking filler for Christmas".

Buddle said the book is a distillation of Jung's many years of experience working as a pastry chef in kitchens in Hong Kong and the United States.

Friday 7 December 2012

1118 HKSAR Name of the Day

Effie Yao (Ms), alumnus, University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong

mainland Name of the Day?

About Novel HKSAR Names
Name Category: Rare

Wednesday 5 December 2012

1117 HKSAR Name of the Day

Corina Wong Ko Mee Wan (Mrs), alumnus, University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong

About Novel HKSAR Names
Name Category: Rare

Monday 3 December 2012

1116 HKSAR Name of the Day

Simmy Edith Woo (Mrs), alumnus, University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong

About Novel HKSAR Names
Name Category: Creation

Saturday 1 December 2012

1115 HKSAR Name of the Day

Rex Wong Wai Chung (Mr), alumnus, University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong

About Novel HKSAR Names
Name Category: Rare

Thursday 29 November 2012

1114 HKSAR Name of the Day

Wilkie WG Wong (Mr), alumnus, University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong

see 0867 and 0377 HKSAR Names of the Day

About Novel HKSAR Names
Name Category: Rare

Tuesday 27 November 2012

1113 HKSAR Name of the Day

Julius Wong Tak Fung (Mr), alumnus, University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong

About Novel HKSAR Names
Name Category: Rare; Self-important

Sunday 25 November 2012

1112 HKSAR Name of the Day

Angeline Tang Yiu Ching Fun (Mrs), alumnus, University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong

About Novel HKSAR Names
Name Category: Rare

Friday 23 November 2012

1111 HKSAR Name of the Day

Golden Kong, sports commentator (Cantonese), Omni Television, British Columbia, Canada
About Novel HKSAR Names
Name Category: Rare

Wednesday 21 November 2012

1110 HKSAR Name of the Day

Aouda Wan (Mrs), alumnus, University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong  

see 0220 HKSAR Name of the Day

About Novel HKSAR Names
Name Category: Creation; Insertion; Translocation

Monday 19 November 2012

1109 HKSAR Name of the Day

Sunny Tsui Hing Chung (Dr), alumnus, University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong

see 09310703, 0572 and 0147 HKSAR Names of the Day

About Novel HKSAR Names
Name Category: Rare; somewhat common in Hong Kong

Sunday 18 November 2012

Try Telling That To Professor Stephen Hawking

The University of Hong Kong marathon team has been promoting a rather strange slogan, particularly for a tertiary institution where many academics and, say, medical doctors cannot be said to be very healthy.

"A strong mind starts with a healthy body"

Oh yeah!? Where's your evidence please?

Saturday 17 November 2012

1108 HKSAR Name of the Day

Aloysius Tse Hau Yin (Mr), alumnus, University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong

About Novel HKSAR Names
Name Category: Rare

Thursday 15 November 2012

1107 HKSAR Name of the Day

Lucia Tsang Yee Ha (Miss), alumnus, University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong

About Novel HKSAR Names
Name Category: Rare

Tuesday 13 November 2012

1106 HKSAR Name of the Day

Jackson Tang Wai Kuen (Mr), alumnus, University of Hong Kong, Hong Kon

About Novel HKSAR Names
Name Category: Son-suffix; somewhat common in Hong Kong

Sunday 11 November 2012

1105 HKSAR Name of the Day

Hezek Tang Chi Lik (Mr), alumnus, University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong

About Novel HKSAR Names
Name Category: Creation

Saturday 10 November 2012

Obi-Wan, Not Orangutan

Chelsea's Mikel John Obi clearly uses "inappropriate language" at referee Mark Clattenburg but it is the latter who is accused of using inappropriate language at the former. Pic Adrian Dennis/AFP/Getty Images

John Obi Mikel is commonly known as Mikel John Obi, John Obi Mikel or John Mikel Obi (or possibly Obi-Jon Mikelbi!?).

His non-English team-mates Spaniard Juan Mata and Brazilian Ramires swear they heard referee Mark Clattenburg say "Shut it Monkey" instead of "Shut it Mikel".

Clatts probably prefers to use the name "Obi" and in his northern English accent, "Hey Obi-Wan Kenobi" probably sounded like "Hey Orangutan so sue me".

Related Post

Becks is Theck

Friday 9 November 2012

1104 HKSAR Name of the Day

Rosita Tam Shuk Wah (Miss), alumnus, University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong

About Novel HKSAR Names
Name Category: Rare

Thursday 8 November 2012

Becks is Theck

No, I did not call David Beckham 'thick' ... where I come from, that is not even a word! I called him 'theck' ... as theck as butt sheets.

Kiwi Prime Minister John Keys. Pic Ross Setford/AP


New Zealand PM accused of calling David Beckham 'thick' (The Guardian)

New Zealand PM accused of branding David Beckham 'thick' (The Telegraph includes video)

Wednesday 7 November 2012

1103 HKSAR Name of the Day

Weena WN Lee, solicitor, Hong Kong

Note: Not sure if this solicitor is male or female. Sounds like a Weiner hotdog or something.

About Novel HKSAR Names
Name Category: Creation; Substitution

Monday 5 November 2012

1102 HKSAR Name of the Day

Freeman Lee Ping-chiu, certified International Association of Athletics Federations track and field coach, who has a masters degree in sports medicine and health science from Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong (e-mail address is: freeleeman at

About Novel HKSAR Names
Name Category: Rare

Saturday 3 November 2012

1101 HKSAR Name of the Day

Siqi Yu, a regular PowerPlate user at Pure Fitness, Hong Kong

About Novel HKSAR Names
Name Category: Creation

Thursday 1 November 2012

1100 HKSAR Name of the Day

Anfernee Leung, strength and conditioning coach and spokesman for TurboSonic, Hong Kong

Note: As a spokesperson, let's hope Anfernee does not speak with a lisp or speech impediment. Or perhaps this is really how his novel name arose ... because he could not properly pronounce Anthony!?

About Novel HKSAR Names
Name Category: Creation

Tuesday 30 October 2012

1099 HKSAR Name of the Day

Winco Woo Kam-wing, 48-year-old veteran police sergeant who shot himself in the foot (literally), Hong Kong

see Veteran cop shoots himself in foot

About Novel HKSAR Names
Name Category: Creation

Saturday 27 October 2012

Jeremy Linsanity Lin Seriously Kooky

Cuckoo, cuckoo!!

 Jeremy Lin in Hong Kong. Pic KY Cheng
Hong Kong Linsanity. Pic KY Cheng

"Maybe if three to five things happened, it'd be a coincidence. But for all 13 to happen, that's what I call a miracle"

said Jeremy Linsanity Lin who claims 13 things that had to occur in his life for his meteoric rise to happen is actually the work of a supernatural being.

Lin reminds me of another kooky American-Chinese sports celebrity from a previous generation … Michael Chang


Forget fame and money, only God matters for Lin (SCMP; paywall)
Magical NBA run was all down to 'the big guy in the sky', basketball star tells faithful
Jennifer Cheng
Aug 27, 2012    

Basketball star Jeremy Lin yesterday told the story of his climb out of misery while playing in the Development League to "Linsanity" in the National Basketball Association. But he said he only found emptiness at "the top of the world".

Lin, a Taiwanese-American born and raised in California, plays point guard for the Houston Rockets in the NBA and is visiting Hong Kong. The 24-year-old shared his testimony of faith with a crowd of 10,000 at a private church-organised event yesterday at the AsiaWorld-Expo.

"God's fingerprints are all over my life," he said, listing 13 things that had to occur in his life for his meteoric rise to happen. "Maybe if three to five things happened, it'd be a coincidence. But for all 13 to happen, that's what I call a miracle."

1. Lin's dad moved to the United States from Taiwan, and fell in love with the game of basketball.

2. He was born into an Asian-American family where basketball was a part of his life from birth - which is "very rare".

3. Nearly 2 metres in height, Lin is much taller and heavier than any other relative. His parents are both of unremarkable size.

4. When Lin broke his ankle in high school, he learned humility.

5. He was recruited by Harvard University to play on the basketball team after "God closed the door" on any athletic scholarships, including one at Stanford University that Lin was "begging" for.

6. He didn't get drafted into the NBA after graduating from university.

7. NBA team the Dallas Mavericks offered him a spot on the Summer League team.

8. His Achilles heel was injured but recovered on exactly the day that the league training began.

9. In the league, the Mavericks played against the Washington Wizards, which happened to have the number one pick in the draft.

A Mavericks player was injured and Lin filled in.

10. Fast forward to December 2011. The Houston Rockets picked him up after another team dropped him, but then found they were oversubscribed. After two days of trying in vain to trade other players to make room for Lin, they waived him - or gave him up - on Christmas Day.

11. The New York Knicks picked him up immediately to fill in for Iman Shumpert, who had just injured his knee. If the Rockets had waived him two days before, the Knicks could not have picked him up, as claims must be made in a 48-hour waiver window.

12. This was the time of the NBA lockout, when teams play three back-to-back games, and the last of the three was the game against the New Jersey Nets that sparked Linsanity. Lin was given a chance to play because his teammates were too tired from the non-stop games.

13. Top Knicks' players Amare Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony were unavailable and Lin became the team's primary offensive option, which ended up giving him a "magical run".

When Lin first played for the Knicks, a security guard tried to stop him entering the arena, telling him the entrance was for "players only". All that changed, but the joy faded quickly.

"I had the best education, best job, more money than I could ever dream of. I had what the world said was the perfect life, but it wasn't enough."

He told the audience that the big guy in the sky who was with him in "the depths of the D-League" and "the heights of Linsanity" was the only one who could give him satisfaction - something that no amount of fame could.

Lin tells pupils how he chased his dream (SCMP; paywall)
Basketball ace talks of rise from underdog to superstar as he launches charity sport scheme for underprivileged children in Hong Kong
Jennifer Cheng
Aug 25, 2012    

It's not "Linsanity" or the adulation of the fans but the chance to "wake up in the morning with a smile on your face and chase your dream" that is the best part of being basketball superstar Jeremy Lin, he told children at the only public appearance of his Hong Kong trip yesterday.

The Taiwanese-American sensation fielded questions from around 120 primary and secondary school pupils gathered at a Tsim Sha Tsui mall to launch a charity basketball programme for underprivileged children.

Young fans wanted to know every detail of the 24-year-old's underdog story of success, and Lin dished out a nugget of wisdom from his basketball shooting coach: "Every day, you lay brick by brick, baby step by baby step - and then you look back and realise you have something big."

And despite the outbreak of "Linsanity" as he made it big in the National Basketball Association with the New York Knicks, Lin admitted that the past season had been a test of his resilience.

He said the NBA was not what he expected. "The speed and athleticism of the players is something I've never seen before. What you see on TV is the glitz and glamour, but it's tough, it's tiring ... there's lots of travelling. You get to a city at 2 or 3am and play a game [the next day]."

The 1.9-metre star will start next season with the Houston Rockets after the Knicks failed to match the US$28.8 million, four-year deal he was offered to play his basketball in Texas.

One pupil asked how it felt to be subjected to racist remarks for being an Asian-American on court. "I'm naturally stubborn and hard-headed ... don't let people tell you what you can or cannot do," he replied.

Asked what his favourite was of the many puns that have been made out of his surname, he chose "Super Lintendo" - for his love of playing the Super Nintendo games console.

Lin knows what it's like to be an underdog given a chance, and when children volunteered to join the star on stage to play games Lin picked the shy ones.

His most telling gesture was the way he treated seven-year-old Marcus Wong Ching-fong, who waited for four hours to see Lin but was not on the list of pupils registered for the event.

Lin's father saw Marcus and was touched, and made sure the boy would join his son on stage.

"My favourite player is Jeremy Lin ... he beat [Los Angeles Lakers legend] Kobe Bryant," said Marcus, who attends Diocesan Boys' School's primary division. "I want to play in the NBA."

When asked if he felt pressure ahead of the new season, Lin said he would rely on his faith. "When I play for God and Him only, I tend to play better."

Lin has openly proclaimed his Christian faith and will share his "Story behind Linsanity" at a gathering tomorrow organised by the Hong Kong Mandarin Bible Church at AsiaWorld-Expo.

Friday 26 October 2012

1097 HKSAR Name of the Day

Wyss Yim Wai-shu, professor, earth sciences department, University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong

About Novel HKSAR Names
Name Category: Creation

Wednesday 24 October 2012

1096 HKSAR Name of the Day

Carene Chan, mother who took her six-year-old daughter Yvette to Ocean Park, Hong Kong

About Novel HKSAR Names
Name Category: Creation; Deletion

Monday 22 October 2012

1095 HKSAR Name of the Day

Ceajer Chan Ka-keung, Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury, Hong Kong Government, Hong Kong

About Novel HKSAR Names
Name Category: Creation

Saturday 20 October 2012

1094 HKSAR Name of the Day

Zero Ngai Ka-ying (Miss), To Kwa Wan, Hong Kong (SCMP letters 28 Dec 2010)

see Male version 0571 and Female version 0617 of these zeroes

About Novel HKSAR Names
Name Category: Creation

Friday 19 October 2012

Squashed by Bodies or Squeezed by Hands?

Better to be squished by crowds below or groped by hands above??

Shocking scenes from the recent Senegal vs Ivory Coast qualifying match for the 2013 African Cup of Nations.

Senegal have subsequently been banned from next year's tournament (despite the fact that they would not have qualified anyway). Is this justice?


Senegal, Ivory Coast qualifier for Africa Cup of Nations abandoned
Monday, 15 October, 2012, 12:00am

Agence France-Presse in Dakar

Ivory Coast fans are evacuated onto the pitch as Senegal supporters go on a rampage at Stade Leopold Sedar Senghor in Dakar. Photo: AFP

An Africa Cup of Nations qualifier between Senegal and Ivory Coast was abandoned after home fans went on a violent rampage as their team slipped towards a humiliating defeat.

Fires were set in the stands while stones, chairs and bottles were thrown at the players after Ivory Coast went 2-0 ahead, 15 minutes from the end of the second leg of the tie.

"After 40 minutes' suspension, the decision was taken to abandon the match," a Stade Leopold Sedar Senghor official said.

Violence erupted after Ivory Coast skipper Didier Drogba, who plays for Shanghai Shenhua after moving from European champions Chelsea, had scored his second goal of the match from the penalty spot.

That made the score 2-0 on the night and 6-2 on aggregate for Ivory Coast, putting them comfortably into the 2013 finals to be staged in South Africa, while eliminating Senegal.

English Premier League champions Manchester City said after the riot that brothers Yaya and Kolo Toure, who play for the Ivory Coast, appeared to escape the trouble unhurt.

"Yaya and Kolo were both involved in the second-leg clash and early reports suggest [they] are unharmed," the club said.

Thursday 18 October 2012

1093 HKSAR Name of the Day

Howie Chun Tak-yau, 25, cadet pilot of a Eurocopter Super Puma AS332 L2 helicopter that ditched into the Shing Mun Reservoir on 27 Dec 2010

About Novel HKSAR Names
Name Category: Rare

Tuesday 16 October 2012

1092 HKSAR Name of the Day

Magdalen Yum, Mid-Levels, Hong Kong (SCMP letters 27 Dec 2010)

About Novel HKSAR Names
Name Category: Rare

Sunday 14 October 2012

1091 HKSAR Name of the Day

Minnie Poon Kin-kwan, Tsuen Wan, Hong Kong (SCMP letters 27 Dec 2010)

About Novel HKSAR Names
Name Category: Rare; Brand-based like cartoon characters Winnie and Kitty

Friday 12 October 2012

1090 HKSAR Name of the Day

Kady Wong, Tsuen Wan, Hong Kong (SCMP letters 24 Dec 2010)

About Novel HKSAR Names
Name Category: Creation

Wednesday 10 October 2012

1089 HKSAR Name of the Day

Carmen Wong Ka-man, Tsuen Wan, Hong Kong (SCMP letters 10 Dec 2010)

About Novel HKSAR Names
Name Category: Rare; Phonetic-based; somewhat common in Hong Kong

Monday 8 October 2012

1088 HKSAR Name of the Day

Paulus Choy, North Point, Hong Kong (SCMP letters 2 Dec 2010)

About Novel HKSAR Names
Name Category: Rare

Sunday 7 October 2012

Hong Kong Loves Weird English Names

Devil. Whale. Chlorophyll, Violante, Treacle — you name it, Hong Kong probably has someone who goes by it.

Inquisitive, enterprising and resourceful journalist Joyce Man has written an engaging piece to US readers about "weird" names adopted by Hongkongers (see below and link here).

The comments section below the piece is also enlightening.

Recommended reading to anyone interested in novel names.

Creation and Job-based. Credit: Joyce Man

Hong Kong Loves Weird English Names

Devil. Whale. Chlorophyll, Violante, Treacle — you name it, Hong Kong probably has someone who goes by it. The former British colony is obsessed with weird English names. Unusual appellations have been found on people of all kinds. The secretary for justice is Rimsky Yuen ...

Declaration: Joyce Man contacted HKSAR Blog for comments to be put in the article.

[Full Text continues ...]

... and the previous secretary for food and health was York Chow. Among celebrities, there is a Fanny Sit, Moses Chan, and Dodo Cheng. Models? We have a Vibeke, Bambi, Dada, and Vonnie. But lawyers take the prize. There is a Magnum, John Baptist, Ludwig, Ignatius, Bunny and four -- yes, four -- Benedicts. 

Odd names make for odder situations. Last July, police arrested a woman named Ice Wong with 460 grams of ice -- the drug, not frozen water. Months earlier, the law caught up with Devil Law when he was brought before a judge for drug possession and crashing his car into a bus. In 2010, a woman called Cash Leung was jailed for paying cabbies with fake cash. 

There are so many examples that one blogger keeps a list titled "HKSAR Name of the Day." HKSAR Blog, which is in its third year running, has almost 2,000 entries in the list.

Linguistics experts say English names, including unusual ones that would not be found in Western English-speaking countries, are becoming more prevalent, though they cannot pinpoint when the trend began.

"There are no signs of abating," said David Li, a professor at the Hong Kong Institute of Education's department of linguistics and modern language studies. "There are more and more exotic or unusual names if one cares to collect and document them."

The immigration department, the government body overseeing identification registration, does not compile statistics on categories of names, but a cursory inspection suggests the experts may be right. 

In 2005, the author of HKSAR Blog concluded that the names of 2.5 percent of 5,707 lawyers were unusual, uncommon, or unique. When I recently surveyed the current register of 7,367 lawyers myself, I found the proportion of names matching these descriptions had risen to 6 percent.

To unravel why Hong Kongers would choose to be called Whale or Uriah instead of John or Jane, we must explain why they use English names in the first place.

 In Hong Kong, where English is an official language and international commerce is the bread and butter, adopting an English name often comes naturally. In the early 1980s, before the government started promoting Chinese as the language of instruction, 90 percent of secondary schools taught in English. Some Hong Kongers are given the names by their parents at birth or by their teachers at school. Some devise them themselves. 
The practice goes back to colonial times. "There was a period when it seemed desirable or prestigious to have an English name," said Stephen Matthews, an associate professor of the linguistics department at the University of Hong Kong's school of humanities. "Businessmen would take on English names as a mark of sophistication or to show they did business with foreigners."

 In school, it was easier for English-speaking teachers to remember students' English names than their Chinese ones, Matthews said. And, as Li notes in a 1997 paper, addressing students by their English names was one way to encourage their interest in the language. 

Li writes that English first names served as a "lubricant" to speed up the process of getting acquainted. Chinese forms of address, which are either very formal or overly familiar, do not favor quick rapport-building between strangers.
"In North America or the U.K., people transition to the first-name basis quickly," he said. "We Chinese are not so willing to use given names, which are reserved for people who are really close, like family members."

Matthews estimates that 90 percent of the institution's female and 65 percent of its male students have English first names.

As for the unconventional names, he said they initially arose in part due to an "incomplete knowledge" of the English language. Hong Kongers might have not appreciated the connotation of the name Kinky, for example. Februar might have been a misspelling or the result of someone over-generalizing the use of the names of the months like April, May or June, or both.

Over time, however, people have stopped questioning whether such variations are real names and accepted them. "It started as an inadequate knowledge of English, but if you see an unusual name today, it's because [Hong Kongers] are taking charge of their own language, not because their language abilities are not good," Matthews said. "People feel they can do what they want with English. If you tell Decemb or Februar that theirs are not English names, they'll say, 'I don't care, it belongs to me.' In a way, they're asserting their Hong Kong identity... [The English language in Hong Kong] is no longer a symbol of British influence, but part of people's identity."

 Li said the younger generation has found conventional names less and less attractive and wants to be unique. "I think most such names are driven by a desire to be different."
Hong Kongers tend to shop around for a unique name and sometimes take inspiration from sports brands or luxury labels, for example, Chanel and Rolex, he said.

HKSAR Blog's author said substitution, deletion and the insertion of single letters appeared to be common patterns, which "may indicate a level of 'creation' or 'creativity.'" First names with the -son suffix are common, too. Examples from the lawyers' list include Samuelson, Winson, Philson and Garson.

Many English names mimic the sound of Chinese given names. A solicitor called Tse Kar-son, for example, has Carson as his English name. Singer Lee Hak-kan's English name is Hacken. Another singer, Chan Yik-shun, is called Eason.

Fashion designer Amus Leung's story demonstrates the many forces at work when adopting an English alias. Leung reminded the teacher who named her of the biblical prophet Amos. The teacher cross-bred the name with amuse, which she thought matched Leung's personality and sounded more feminine. "I love my name English name," said Leung. "It is unique and easy to remember. So far I am the only Amus Leung in the world!"

 Ho Wai-leuk, a journalist, got his name another way. "When I was a student, everyone kept saying my Chinese name really fast until it started sounding like 'hoh lok,'" he said referring to the Cantonese pronunciation for Coca-Cola, "so Cola stuck."

It's certainly different from picking a name out of a book. And that's the difference. As Leung's and Ho's stories show, when naming a Hong Konger, a plethora of cultural and linguistic factors are at play. In countries where English is the mother tongue, parents usually choose their children's names from a limited list. As long as Hong Kongers keep getting their names the way they do, Titarians, Heinzes and Yildizes are going to continue dotting the phone book. It's probably for the best. Because when you live in a city where you can meet a Raimundo, Psyche or Schubert at any moment, life is more interesting.

Saturday 6 October 2012

Thursday 4 October 2012

1086 HKSAR Name of the Day

Morty Choi, Tsz Wan Shan, Hong Kong (SCMP letters 3 Jun 2010)

About Novel HKSAR Names
Name Category: Creation for females; Rare for males

Tuesday 2 October 2012

1085 HKSAR Name of the Day

Herry Yiu, Sha Tin, Hong Kong (SCMP letters 20 May 2010)

About Novel HKSAR Names
Name Category: Creation; Substitution

Sunday 30 September 2012

1084 HKSAR Name of the Day

Alton Ma Choi-cheung, Siu Sai Wan, Hong Kong (SCMP letters 18 May 2010)

About Novel HKSAR Names
Name Category: Rare

Friday 28 September 2012

1083 HKSAR Name of the Day

Haigan Wong, général manager, Adega Royale (Portuguese wine company), Hong Kong
see Hacken Lee Hak Kan

About Novel HKSAR Names
Name Category: Creation; Insertion; Substitution

Wednesday 26 September 2012

1082 HKSAR Name of the Day

Vicky Cheng (Mr), executive chef at Liberty Exchange Kitchen & Bar, Hong Kong  
see Mr Pony Ma 

"Don't be afraid to experiment, says chef Vicky Cheng" Photo: Dickson Lee (see other Dickson names)

With Vicky as his first name, Mr Cheng the 'experimenter' *has* to say that doesn't he?

About Novel HKSAR Names
Name Category: Creation for Males; Substitution

Monday 24 September 2012

1081 HKSAR Name of the Day

Jackson Lee, a freelance consultant with a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 34.6 (height 1.7 metres and weight 100kg) which means he is morbidly obese, Hong Kong

About Novel HKSAR Names
Name Category: Rare; Son-suffix

Sunday 23 September 2012

Manila Hostage Crisis Campaigners Still Seeking Justice

Survivors and relatives of the victims of the Manila hostage crisis march to the Philippine consulate in Admiralty last month to demand justice. Pic Sam Tsang

Related Posts

Shocker in Manila: Philippines Bus Siege Plays Out Horribly

1065 HKSAR Name of the Day


We'll take our fight for justice to the president (SCMP; paywall)
Hostage crisis campaigners consider return to Philippines to put case to Aquino after 'disappointing' talks at consulate two years after shootings
Simpson Cheung
Aug 24, 2012    

Survivors and relatives of victims of the Manila hostage crisis are considering visiting the Philippines again to seek a meeting with President Benigno Aquino after "disappointing" talks with the country's consul general.

Yesterday marked the second anniversary of the bus siege, in which seven Hong Kong tourists and their guide were shot dead by sacked policeman Rolando Mendoza, who was later killed in a bungled rescue operation.

The families and survivors are demanding a government apology, compensation and that Philippine officials be held to account over their handling of the crisis.

A delegation including the brothers of slain tour guide Masa Tse Ting-chunn, Tse Chi-kin and Tse Chi-hang, and survivors Lee Ying-chuen, Yik Siu-ling - whose lower jaw was shattered by a bullet - and Joe Chan Kwok-chu, met Philippine consul general Noel Servigon and consul Val Simon Roque.

But the talks yielded only a promise to convey the delegation's message to the government, Tse Chi-hang said after the meeting.

"We do not rule out flying to Manila to meet the officials. Two years is too long for survivors and it is irresponsible for the Philippines government to leave us rushing around to follow up the incident," he said. The group also submitted a petition and observed a minute's silence.

Members of the group visited Manila twice last year and met Secretary for Justice Leila De Lima, who promised to keep them updated, but they have not heard from her since.

Lee said that depending on developments in the next two months, they might travel to the Philippines again to negotiate with De Lima, government officials and, if possible, President Aquino, to press their case.

She said her mother Lo Kam-fun, who also survived the hostage crisis, was still afraid to talk about the shootings. A source said Jason Leung Song-xue, who suffered brain damage and whose father and two younger sisters were killed, was receiving five days of physiotherapy a week and was struggling hard to learn to walk and speak again.

Chan said hand injuries he received in the siege were still far from fully recovered.

For Tracey Wong Chuek-yiu, who lost both parents in the bloodbath, the ordeal has inspired her to be a journalist and she will enter Shue Yan University to study journalism. Her younger brother Jason Wong Ching-yat, released by the gunman before the shootings, starts Form Three next month.

Li Yick-biu and his wife Tsui Fung-kwan, also released early by Mendoza, are now in London for Li to receive treatment for diabetes.

In a statement released after the meeting, the consul general said lessons learned from the tragedy were being taken seriously by the Philippine government. A new integrated land-sea-air crisis action force had been established to protect VIPs and night courts had been opened to help foreign tourists.

The group will meet Secretary for Security Lai Tung-kwok and Chief Executive's Office director Edward Yau Tang-wah today.

Saturday 22 September 2012

1080 HKSAR Name of the Day

Queendy Lee, long-serving member of staff  who joined the China Tee Club in 1987 (news about China Tee Club moving out of the Pedder Building in Sept 2011)

About Novel HKSAR Names
Name Category: Creation

Thursday 20 September 2012

1079 HKSAR Name of the Day

Josline Chu, co-founder of the China Tee Club (news about China Tee Club moving out of the Pedder Building in Sept 2011)

About Novel HKSAR Names
Name Category: Rare

Wednesday 19 September 2012

Big Heads

Big Heads look strange ... particularly in real situations ...

 Hong Kong Hospital Authority chairman Anthony Wu Ting-yuk

It is always an oxymoron to see overweight, unhealthy, cigarette-smoking medical doctors. Although Anthony Wu is no medical doctor, he is chief of Hong Kong's public hospitals and is overweight (if not obese).

Ling Jihua, a key aide of China President Hu Jintao

Is there anything strange and peculiar about this photo? Is the swept-back hair also photoshopped? Ling Jihua looks more like a cartoon character out of the Simpsons or Futurama.


Hospital Authority chairman has term extended (SCMP; paywall)

Anthony Wu's term extended one year to give some stability to volatile administration
Friday, 14 September, 2012, 12:00am

Emily Tsang and Olga Wong

Anthony Wu Ting-yuk has been appointed for a further year as Hospital Authority chairman amid talk Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying's government is suffering a recruitment crisis as it deals with a host of controversies.

Wu, who had not been expected to renew his contract when it expires in two months, is the authority's longest-serving chairman. By the end of his new term he will have filled the post for nine years.

Observers say Leung is opting for stability amid turbulence, while having difficulty finding people willing to take the heat of a government post.

"It may be the right way to keep things unchanged for a while when the government is surrounded by so many flames," Polytechnic University social scientist Chung Kim-wah said. "After all, any new person appointed may risk drawing further attacks."

A source close to the government agreed, saying Wu's reappointment was " an appropriate arrangement for the new government, especially when it is seeking stability".

Wu, once a supporter of failed chief executive candidate Henry Tang Ying-yen, had already been given a two-year extension after an initial six-year term.

Former secretary for education Dr Arthur Li Kwok-cheung was once tipped to succeed him, but public hospital doctors said they were uneasy with Li's "heavy handed" leadership style.

"Both Wu and Li have their supporters and opposers, but I guess Li may draw comparatively more concern from doctors," former Public Doctors' Association president Dr Ho Pak-leung said.

Leung appointed five more members to his team yesterday, including three undersecretaries and two political assistants. But his team is still thought to be short seven under-secretaries and 13 political assistants.

Hints have been emerging that he is set to scale down the government restructuring plan that failed to reach the Legislative Council in its previous term because of lawmakers' delaying tactics.

A source familiar with the situation said earlier that Leung had already shelved the plan to create deputy posts for the chief secretary and financial secretary as a result of political pressure.

Wu said yesterday he was honoured to stay on.

"One of the priorities that the Hospital Authority needs to accomplish is to manage patient waiting times amid the challenges of an ageing population and the shortfall in medical manpower," he said.

"Certainly we will continue to find ways to improve the working conditions and environment for our staff."

The authority's chief executive, Dr Leung Pak-yin, said his management team was delighted by the reappointment.

Wu is not the first Tang backer to be reappointed by Leung. Allan Zeman, Ayesha Macpherson Lau and Tang's brother Tom Tang Chung-yen have also stayed on in various statutory bodies.

Car crash scandal complicates leadership transition (SCMP; paywall)

Emerging details of Beijing car crash in March have served to complicate an already uncertain picture after Bo Xilai's downfall

Wang Xiangwei
Monday, 03 September, 2012, 12:00am

As a popular Chinese idiom goes, misfortune never comes alone. On March 15, the Communist Party leadership sacked Bo Xilai from his position as party chief of Chongqing, bringing to the public's attention one of the biggest political crises to beset the party in a decade.

Three days later, an accident in Beijing, involving a Ferrari, the son of one of the mainland's most powerful officials and two young, ethnic-minority girls, served as a double whammy to the party's leadership.

The political ramifications from the twin scandals have added intrigue and additional complications to the party's once-in-a-decade leadership reshuffle scheduled for the 18th Party Congress. The opening date of the congress hasn't been officially announced, but analysts expect it to start in the second half of next month.

While the Bo scandal has been extensively reported on since March, details only recently began to emerge in the crash of a black Ferrari that killed Ling Gu, the son of Ling Jihua, a key aide of President Hu Jintao, and injured two girls. Details of the accident are in today's South China Morning Post.

Despite strong reactions from within the party, Chinese leaders seem to have decided to sweep the crash under the carpet, presumably because the party can't afford another major scandal made public so close to the leadership transition.

Saturday's announcement that Ling Jihua had been appointed to head the United Front Work Department served as a strong indication that Hu wants to engineer a "soft landing" for his protégé, but it also means that the prospects of Ling securing a seat on the Politburo have dimmed greatly.

Until Saturday, Ling was the head of the General Office of the Communist Party - equivalent to the job of chief of staff to the American president. He had complete control of access to Hu's office and set his agenda. Before the crash, he was even considered a strong candidate to the join the all-powerful Politburo Standing Committee.

Instead, Ling could be named a deputy chairman of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, a largely ceremonial post but one which would entitle him to be treated as a national leader, according to mainland political hierarchy.

But Ling's "soft landing" has apparently angered many party elders and officials, who raised sharp questions over the elaborate attempt to cover up the accident, including the forging of a death certificate, and about how a young man in his 20s could afford such a Ferrari.

Drama surrounding the incident is unlikely to end soon, as the scandal looks set to put Hu's camp on the defensive at a critical juncture when party leaders are fighting among each other while trying to find their own supporters to fill Politburo positions.

Several mainland sources said Hu had seen his political will and bargaining power sapped in light of the scandals, and this had allowed former president Jiang Zemin to wield more influence in deciding the new leadership line-up.

As previously mentioned in this column, it is now unlikely that Hu will follow Jiang's example by staying on as chairman of the Central Military Commission for two more years after retiring as party chief next month and president in March.

There has been speculation that Hu wanted his protégé, Vice-Premier Li Keqiang, who looks set to become the new premier next year, to be made a vice-chairman of the military commission at the 18th congress. This would help maintain Hu's influence following his full retirement.

But several mainland sources said that this was unlikely to happen, as it could set a dangerous precedent of potentially allowing the armed forces to play a significant role in the day-to-day governing of the country's economic and social development.

Tuesday 18 September 2012

1078 HKSAR Name of the Day

Eveline Chu, co-founder of the China Tee Club (news about China Tee Club moving out of the Pedder Building in Sept 2011)

About Novel HKSAR Names
Name Category: Rare

Sunday 16 September 2012

1077 HKSAR Name of the Day

Loletta Chu, former Miss Hong Kong and co-founder of the China Tee Club (news about China Tee Club moving out of the Pedder Building in Sept 2011)

About Novel HKSAR Names
Name Category: Rare

Saturday 15 September 2012

Verbal Diarhoea #16

"Single women should learn how to appreciate themselves and seek medical help if necessary"

Claims Mr Ricci Chang Lik-chee, director of Mind Pro Psychological Medicine Centre, Hong Kong

Question: Does this pathetic and pithy 'advice' also apply to men who cannot find wives? Imagine how this 'advice' would sound when given to the 30 million mainland Chinese men who cannot find wives due to the gender imbalance caused by the One-Child Policy.

"Hey guys, you should appreciate and love yourselves … otherwise go get some medical help you losers!"


Doc reveals strain on mature women hunting husbands (The Standard)

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Many "blossomed women" are likely to suffer from emotional disorders as they face enormous pressure to get married, according to a psychiatrist.

The term "blossomed women" - meaning mature women - was first coined in the TVB 10-episode reality show Bride Wannabes that was aired last month.

It featured five single women in their late 20s to late 30s going through all sorts of makeovers in order to get hitched.

Ricci Chang Lik-chee, director of Mind Pro Psychological Medicine Centre, said the show stigmatized single women and could have added more pressure on them, resulting in mental problems such as depression.

Chang cited one of his patients, a 33-year-old nurse, who was so worried about becoming a spinster that she tried nearly every means, including speed dating, to find a partner.

Despite all her efforts, she still failed to find a mate. She began to feel desperate and suffered from insomnia and other neurotic symptoms.

Chang said he saw a 50 percent increase in patients exhibiting such symptoms after the show was aired.

Despite the increase, he said most single women suffering from depression are still reluctant to see a doctor.

Chang warned that getting married may not be the solution. He does not advise seeking partners at random.

He said single women should learn how to appreciate themselves and seek medical help if necessary.

Friday 14 September 2012

1076 HKSAR Name of the Day

Yuko Leung Wai-ying, Tsuen Wan, Hong Kong (SCMP letters 13 Sept 2010)

About Novel HKSAR Names
Name Category: Creation; Substitution

Wednesday 12 September 2012

Monday 10 September 2012

1074 HKSAR Name of the Day

Joseph Lui Cho-ze (Dr), Area chief executive, Hospital Authority, Hong Kong

About Novel HKSAR Names
Name Category: Common but Phonetic-based

Sunday 9 September 2012

Verbal Diarrhoea #15

"For years, Santos, a book lover, could not concentrate enough to finish one book. Last month, she read four."

Claims a newspaper article about Maria Santos, (name changed for patient confidentiality reasons), 44, a project manager at a bank who moved to Hong Kong four years ago from the United States, where she was diagnosed with hypothyroidism (an underactive thyroid).

Question: Are these completely new books, or the books that she never finished over the years? Pray tell.

About Verbal Diarhhoea


The silent scourge of thyroid disorders (SCMP; paywall)
Nadine Bateman (
May 29, 2012    

For more than a decade, Maria Santos suffered symptoms of a thyroid disorder that left her struggling at work and unable to enjoy life.

"I felt tired all the time and found it really hard to get out of bed in the mornings," says Santos (name changed for patient confidentiality reasons), 44, a project manager at a bank. She moved to Hong Kong four years ago from the United States, where she was diagnosed with hypothyroidism (an underactive thyroid).

"I couldn't concentrate properly; my brain felt 'foggy' and slow. I was moody and irritable. My skin, hair and nails were terrible - really dry and dull - and I gained weight easily … My husband used to say 'Come on, let's go to the gym, you can get out of this lethargy', but I just couldn't."

Hongkonger Milia Chan, 40, has experienced the other extreme of thyroid disorder - hyperthyroidism, or an overactive thyroid - since being diagnosed in 1995. The service business manager with an information technology company has symptoms that include "an extremely fast heartbeat, shaking hands, shortness of breath and bad temper".

Both forms of thyroid disorder are surprisingly common (an underactive thyroid being more common) but they often go undiagnosed because many of the symptoms are similar to those of other conditions. The symptoms can also be attributed to "lifestyle factors", such as stress, poor nutrition, and a lack of exercise or sleep.

The thyroid, a butterfly-shaped gland in the neck, controls metabolism. It produces hormones called T3 and T4, which tell cells how much energy to use. Hyperthyroidism occurs when the thyroid overproduces the hormones and the body uses energy faster than it should. Hypothyroidism is the opposite: the thyroid doesn't produce enough hormones and the body uses energy slower.

People of all ages can get the disease, but women have it more often than men. It is estimated that one in five people worldwide have a thyroid disorder. Hence World Thyroid Day, last Friday, to promote understanding of the condition.

Dr Lauren Bramley, a family doctor who has a clinic in Central, suspects the figure is higher because many cases go undiagnosed. She recently completed a master's in endocrinology, diabetes and metabolism at the Chinese University and is treating a number of patients with thyroid conditions.

"Hypothyroidism is now rampant," says Bramley. "Hyperthyroidism, although increasing in prevalence, is not nearly as common as hypothyroidism. Furthermore, many hyperthyroid patients can become hypothyroid."

She says the list of hypothyroid symptoms is exhaustive, which is why it can be difficult for doctors to diagnose. "For example, fatigue - a major symptom of hypothyroidism - is also present in many other conditions or the result of lifestyle factors. But thyroid disorder has more symptoms than any other disorder in the body. This is because the thyroid gland is important in so many functions of every organ."

Other key symptoms of hypothyroidism include low body temperature, sensitivity to heat or cold, difficulty waking up in the mornings, severe fatigue at around 3pm, difficulty concentrating, low mood, enlargement of the thyroid gland in the neck and thinning of the outer areas of the eyebrows. Weight gain and hair loss are common complaints but are not always present. Bramley also believes pollution may negatively impact the function of the thyroid gland.

Hypothyroidism can be caused by many factors, such as autoimmune thyroid disease, hereditary conditions, inflammation (thyroiditis) and tumours. Worldwide, the most common cause is believed to be iodine deficiency.

Dr Teofilo San Luis of the Asia & Oceania Thyroid Association says: "Iodine is available through eating marine foods such as fish, shrimps, squid, oysters, crabs and seaweeds; processed foods which have been iodised; milk; and iodised salt."

He says people affected with thyroid disorders will have goitre (thyroid enlargement) as evidence of poor iodine nutrition. However, he says that goitre is "only the tip of the iceberg" as there are "more insidious manifestations" of iodine deficiency not commonly recognised, such as reproductive failures.

"Women are very vulnerable because of increased demands for iodine during pregnancy and lactation, and if their iodine nutrition is overlooked this could result in their babies having significantly lower IQ levels."

Patients are typically diagnosed through a physical examination, analysis of medical history and laboratory tests such as blood tests. Bramley notes lab test results can sometimes be unreliable.

If the condition is hypothyroidism due to iodine deficiency, San Luis says the treatment is to increase intake of iodine through iodised salt or, in extreme cases, iodised oil capsules. (Bramley, however, suggests refined, iodised salt is "not the ideal source". She advises taking unrefined sea salt which is not iodised, and supplements such as Iodoral tablets or Lugol's Solution.)

In general, Bramley advises first correcting underlying deficiencies of iron, vitamin D3, selenium and iodine, and suggests a review of heavy metal toxicity such as mercury, arsenic and fluoride.

Medications such as oral contraceptives and psychiatric drugs should also be considered. Identifying and balancing other hormones such as cortisol, progesterone and DHEA are important, says Bramley.

Chan had an operation to remove her thyroid gland last April. Her doctor, Laurence Shek, prescribed thyroxine, which she will take every day for the rest of her life. "It took my body a while to adjust, but my heart is better now and I can do more exercise," Chan says.

Last September, Santos was prescribed T3, vitamin D, DHEA and iodine supplements - she had previously taken T4 medication for years without benefit. "I'm so much happier. I've more energy - I go to the gym three times a week. I feel good when I wake up in the mornings; I'm enjoying socialising again; and I'm losing weight."

For years, Santos, a book lover, could not concentrate enough to finish one book. Last month, she read four.

Saturday 8 September 2012

1073 HKSAR Name of the Day

Milia Chan, Hongkonger and hyperthyroidism sufferer, Hong Kong
see Verbal Diarrhoea #15

About Verbal Diarrhoea

About Novel HKSAR Names
Name Category: Creation; Deletion

Thursday 6 September 2012

1072 HKSAR Name of the Day

Kristal Tin Yui-nei, local actress and wife of Chapman To Man-chak, Hong Kong

There appears to be two spellings of Chapman To's wife's name: Kristal Tin Yui-nei (see Being Vulgar in Hong Kong) and Crystal Tin Yue-lai (see 0152 HKSAR Name of the Day)

About Novel HKSAR Names
Name Category: Rare

Tuesday 4 September 2012

1071 HKSAR Name of the Day

Dada Chen (Miss), local actress, Hong Kong
Dada is a Nigerian name and its meaning is "curly-haired"

Dada Chen (third from left) in the local Hongkie movie Vulgaria (see Being Vulgar in Hong Kong)

About Novel HKSAR Names
Name Category: Rare

Sunday 2 September 2012

1070 HKSAR Name of the Day

Koala Cheng, Kwun Tong, Hong Kong (SCMP letters 3 September 2010) 
see 0047 HKSAR Name of the Day

About Novel HKSAR Names
Name Category: Nature-based; somewhat common in Hong Kong

Saturday 1 September 2012

Jolie Ho Says Let's Hear It For The Boy

The fact that Miss Ho's name is in fact a cheerful, upperclass British hurrah is probably lost on many. Damn shame, what pip I say, old chap.

see also 1069 HKSAR Name of the Day

Let's hear it for the amazing Joseph Ng (SCMP; paywall)
14-year-old gets top grades in sciences and is no slouch when it comes to languages - and you should hear him play the piano. The shy prodigy yesterday found himself among the elite of the city's students
Jolie Ho and Lilly Zhang
Jun 30, 2012    

Joseph Ng Kwok-chung might seem like a regular 14-year-old who likes Garfield comics and is shy around strangers.

But he is also a science and music prodigy who scored three As in the A-level examinations intended for pupils four years older.

Joseph, who is in Form Seven at the International Christian Quality Music Secondary and Primary School, was the youngest candidate to sit the last A-levels and earned top grades in physics, chemistry and mathematics, plus a C in English and a D in Chinese. He took only nine years to finish 13 years of school. What's more, when he was 12 he received first-class honours in the International Junior Science Olympiad and picked up a performance diploma in piano.

Joseph's parents realised they had a prodigy on their hands when he was a baby.

His father, Ng Sai-keung, says his son began to recognise Chinese characters at the age of 18 months. When he was three, Joseph was watching a fountain and, seeing it never overflowed, asked his parents where the water went.

He jumped from Form Two to Form Six after taking the Hong Kong Certificate of Education Examination, normally taken in Form Five.

His parents were concerned that he would struggle to bond with his new classmates, but Joseph threatened not to go to school unless he was allowed to study the more advanced classes. They needn't have worried - he quickly made friends with his "seniors".

"We went to Disneyland and karaoke together," he said.

And his class adviser, Tsang Ling-sze, said Joseph worked well with his fellow pupils. "He puts Garfield strips on the boards and is eager to share the cartoon stories with his classmates," she said.

Joseph admits that his natural academic gifts would count for little without hard work.

"A lot of revision and exercises are needed," he said. "We cannot just memorise stuff but have to understand the logic behind it."

Kate Ching Kei-suet, 18, studied with Joseph. "Joseph was shy when he first joined the class, but after a time we started to get along well," she said.

Joseph is now waiting to hear whether he has won the university place he wants. He hopes to become a professor of chemistry.

Also celebrating is Matthew Li Man-hei, 19, of Po Leung Kuk Ngan Po Ling College, one of the few students to take seven A-levels. Despite the heavy workload, he scored six As and one B. While he attributed his success to hard work, his teacher, Lau Ming-wai, said: "He definitely works hard, but he also plays hard."

The sports fan didn't miss Champions League soccer matches even on nights before his exams, describing it as a good way to relax.

His results went beyond his expectations. "I didn't think so much about the results when I took the exam, and didn't expect I'd score six As," he said.

Matthew, who hopes to become a banker, spent four hours on his studies every day and read the South China Morning Post to expand his English vocabulary. He also enjoys reading philosophy books.

While even the most gifted students usually take no more than five A-levels, Matthew decided to study for seven because he wanted to meet the demands of global business programmes at local universities.

Despite their feats, they've not quite managed to match the record of Hong Kong prodigy March Boedihardjo, who in 2007 passed the British mathematics A-level with an A grade at the age of just nine.


There is no second chance in this final A-levels exam, so I gave my very best.

Kong Hiu-fung, 6 grade As, Hang Seng School of Commerce

I played cards with the top-scoring seniors. The winner quizzes the loser on difficult business topics that are likely to appear in the exam. It is a fun way to learn.

Andrew Chan Yik-wing, 5 As and 1 C, Hang Seng School of Commerce

To relieve stress, I read and projected myself into the world of words.

Ma yin-yee, 5 As and 1 B, Hang Seng School of Commerce

I will stick with what I want to study, think positive and stay optimistic. I think I can still get a scholarship somewhere.

Angela Wong Man-Ling, Pentecostal School, whose results did not meet the requirements for a degree course

There are numerous choices to further my studies nowadays. Even if the result is not good, no one has to be worried.

Katherine Lai Sze-wing, Wai Kiu College, who also failed to make the grade