By Hans Ebert

It’s about an inner calm that’s not there. More people than one think are trying to find it. That inner peace. The Inner Light George Harrison sang about. How All Things Must Pass.

How embracing Indian spirituality and his friendship with sitarist Ravi Shankar took him away from living in the material world and accepting how we’re here and then we’re gone. He was quietly preparing himself for the next part of his journey when the cancer had spread and it was time to leave.

George Harrison was an extraordinary man. A paradox who could be cranky, but this had to do with not having the patience for small talk and small minded people. Even when knowing that he wasn’t well and his time was limited, it didn’t stop him from working- but only with those, like his family, he wanted around him.

Thinking about George Harrison and him singing, “Beware Of Darkness” was playing in my head a few days ago.

I was happy to have reconnected with a friend who persuaded me to come with her to some gig.

The days of going to “gigs” late at night ended for me years ago. The music did nothing for me and neither did drunk talk. Still, I thought, Why not?

This night, the gig was over, there were some nice enough people still “hanging”, but there was a strong whiff of déjà vu. It was more drunk talk. And as always at these alcohol fuelled late nights, jealousy or insecurity takes over and someone has to take a snide pot shot your way.

A few years ago, I wouldn’t have let it go. I would have questioned the “blokey” bloke. Someone never met before. No idea who he was and what he did.

What was his problem? Was he not getting laid regularly? Career going nowhere? Trying to make the parts fit when there was nothing to hold them together? But that night, I let it go. Getting aggravated by those who don’t matter is really not worth the, well, aggravation. It’s boring. Juvenile.

While whoever was left wanted to continue carrying on, common sense prevailed. I said goodnight to my friend and returned to who was waiting for me at home. She was disappointed for coming back so late and which disappointed me in myself for not knowing when to say, “Sorry, but I’ve gotta go”.

Why did I decide to “go with the flow” when these were exactly the types of nights that have always led nowhere? It’s being with people already off their heads wanting to numb themselves even more because they’re not really living. Been there, done that and need no reason to go there again.

The next day was taken up with throwing myself into a new creative project, but still thinking of the night before and all the far better nights enjoyed with far more interesting people years earlier.

It made me think of a friend asking me a few weeks earlier whether when I go out these days, there’s the feeling of wondering why bother.

Both of us had done it all, seen better, sure, had drunk too much and smoked too much, but those with whom we indulged had incredible portfolios of success. They weren’t knobs and twats and strays.

We had dined with kings and queens and plenty of court jesters. And once you’ve been there, one can’t regress into a Now filled with vapidity and tolerating those who have suddenly had some internal awakening and preach to you about something learned the hard way years ago.

When some of us were introduced to yoga and meditation, it was partly being trendy. But, if like George Harrison, one let it flow over you, happiness wasn’t a warm gun. Happiness was what happiness is and it’s in your heart. This guides you and you can sense the danger signs.

Recently, a number of people are seemingly in a rush to embrace meditation and yoga and Pilates. So long as it’s for the right reasons, good.

CNN showed a documentary about many from around the world coming to India for enlightenment. Perhaps to get away from this social media driven world which Andy Warhol predicted decades ago and which many saw coming, but didn’t know in what shape it would arrive. But it’s here and it’s a personal decision to be part of it or close the door on it and throw the key away.

What social media has reeked on the world is hard to say. A journalist friend who’s covered the ISIS calls it a “religious fantasy”.

He’s not a stupid man. He showed me an interview he had filmed with a Finnish woman and her daughter whose father she couldn’t remember and now wanted to return to Finland while still embracing Islam.

He was absolutely positive that she couldn’t be trusted if ever returning to Finland. He showed how Isis uses social media to recruit followers and brainwash them into their way of thinking. And then send them out there and out here.

It shook me up. Especially after what recently happened to what happened where I was born- Colombo. I was suddenly seeing, first hand, how, especially Facebook, is used to spread religious hate and how there’s are a number of wars going on. And there I was thinking the big problem of social media are all those people on Instagram showing off their photoshopped bodies and buying false fame.

Last night, we had decided to go out and listen to some music. We thought about where to go, who we might see in these places, what would be the return on our investment in time and money.

The decision was to stay in, have a home cooked meal and spend the night watching a couple of movies they don’t make anymore.

More and more, we’re revisiting the past. We’re hand picking the best of those times.

The question is this: How can what might jog our minds and what people like George Harrison helped him get through the night, start “trending” again in the real world.

How to get us away from this very bad place and very bad people who we allowed in and gave them the keys to unlock and enter fragile minds.

We f***ed up. But we don’t have to keep messing up.

#GeorgeHarrison #innerpeace #meditation #yoga #HansEbert #socialmedia #Facebook #CNN #Isis


By Hans Ebert

Difficult to believe, but not too long ago, it really mattered for some to show that they had more followers on Twitter than mere mortals. It seemed to validate their position in the pecking order of the world. It made them feel as if they were standing out from the rest. It was like being a Kardashian- but without the smarts to make billions out of being famous for doing nothing except being famous.

Fast forward to today. All those birds who flock together have migrated to Instagram. Zuck was there way before them. Waiting with open arms.



By Hans Ebert

“No, man, please. I really don’t wanna see it or talk about it.” It was a friend telling another friend about something or another he had found on someone we vaguely know on social media. Why did it matter? “But the huge numbers here are bullsh*t”, continued the other friend. “They’re not legit. They’re all private accounts with no previous posts!” Why did this matter?

I sat there and thought about that saying how there’s no such thing as bad publicity. Remember that? These days?

Maybe too many of us have way too much time on our hands and which is why we continue to feed the social media beast.

Continue reading “HEAR THAT WAKE UP CALL?”


By Hans Ebert

It was while talking with a small group of people about how that first real love never ever leaves and lives with you forever- even in your dreams-and how love inspires us in so many ways. And just how bereft of inspiration the world is today because love is no longer what it was. And should be.

During this long day’s journey into night and being the only passenger on this mystery train through the past, someone asked whether I’m on Instagram. It was a strange adjunct to the conversation.



By Hans Ebert

The first reaction is one of panic. Good Gawd, both my iPhones are not recharging! The batteries aren’t going to last for much longer! I have to tell people that this is happening! What if my phones have died on me? What about all my drafts?!!! My photos!!!

So, while having a Yeezy moment, the girlfriend looks at my meltdown and calmly says, “Baby, you’re not breathing. You must breathe. You’re having an anxiety attack about nothing. And can you buy yourself some new underpants? There are holes in what you’re wearing. Never mind. I’ll buy them for you.”



By Hans Ebert

Pulverising the senses with non-stop clutter. That’s how a friend describes it. Life in today’s social media mad driven would where, try as one might to escape the tsunami of information and misinformation and information overload that we certainly don’t even need, it catches up with you. And it’s getting worse. It’s the great plague of our time. It’s what negatively affects us with everything. Yet, many keep going to that well… To the abyss.

Left Facebook and Instagram. Updating both accounts had taken over. Taken over from trying to make my real life relationship with someone go somewhere. It was my compulsive personality running the show. She tried to wean me off it. Go cold turkey. Get out more. Exercise. Sexercise. Cook. But it didn’t work. She walked.



By Hans Ebert

Less is more. Or less was more. And maybe this is where Hong Kong has gone wrong. It’s become Mr Creosote.

Gluttony has taken hold of the city. Perhaps not gluttony so much, but because of not knowing what people want, throwing everything against the kitchen sink and see what sticks. Usually, nothing. It’s just another buffet of odds and sods. Fusion cuisine where confusion reigns as no one is really sure of anything. It’s Dabblers Anonymous.

When first arriving in Hong Kong from what was then Ceylon, there suddenly appeared the…lunch box. It was a brilliant concept. Lunch in a box. For a nine year old, the highlight was a Saturday. Mum would have a half day from work and would bring home a lunch box- either chicken curry and rice or baked pork chop and rice from what was probably the first fast food outlet in Hong Kong: Ong Lok Yuen.



By Hans Ebert

It’s signalling the end of an era. It’s heralding something new about to happen. Some of us are wondering what’s in store next.

Some of us are facing our own mortality. And though trying to live life to the full in the allocated time given and move forward, there’s the nagging feeling that the race has been run and it’s time to coast. And so you wait for things to happen. The answer is on Netflix because it’s hipper than Facebook. Really?



By Hans Ebert

It’s actually on the snack menu. Meant to be enjoyed with a glass of wine or a glass of champagne. But have an order around 7pm and that’s dinner for the night. It’s on the menu of the Champagne Bar at the Grand Hyatt and comes in six pieces- basically, lobster salad with celery and a little kicker which can be eaten as a spread on toast (HK$350) Goes down a treat.

After that it was probably 9 or 10pm, the resident singer and friend Maricel was singing (except on Sundays), and the once popular 5-star bar, hardly the meeting place that it was, plodded on. Where is anything like what it was when Hong Kong today is bulging with choices? Where things get wobbly is that none of these choices are much good. But if at the Champagne Bar without any great expectations, like one of the regulars- an extremely attractive female lawyer who just wants to chill out, not be bothered by inebriated desperados, and take in the music- it’s a safe, pleasant night out. Expensive to many, but when in any five star venue of a five-star restaurant does one not expect to pay five-star prices? This isn’t McDonald’s.



By Hans Ebert

You’re judged by the company you keep. My parents drummed this into me and I kept along this path for years until ego got the better of me and it became an adult version of being with the cool kids. But when swept along by enablers feeding off wherever you can take them, the company become strays and false friendships are formed and last long past their Use By date. And in this day and age of “engaging” on social media, “followers” become “friends” until you reach that point where you’re hit with a large dose of reality and jolted into the land of common sense.

It’s about taking stock of your life and prioritising those who really matter. It’s not about taking in strays and for reasons that make no sense undertaking various acts of kindness other than feeling pity. Are these ever repaid? Of course not. They’re taken for granted and always detonate along the way. There are of course also those acts of kindness that can take one into some extremely perilous and dysfunctional relationships.

If looking back on the friendships made after a career in advertising, journalism and music, there would be less than ten people I would consider friends- those one can trust and who’ll be there for you. Really be there and not just the false promises. The rest? Acquaintances at the most and really not very important ones.

Having reasonably recently been involved in the horse racing industry- involved as opposed to being in the thick of it- there are probably two and a half individuals who would be considered friends. Again, plenty of acquaintances, but where there’s no trust, and no engaging in the real world, and too many cliques and click baits, even with all its problems, there cannot ever be the chance of a friendship. No one even passes Old Kent Road.

As for social media, there are zero friends. One might enjoy the company of a few people actually met in “real time”, but the rest are only names with nothing else there. It’s like online dating. A few acquaintances have jumped headfirst onto online dating sites where some have even married those found there whereas others show photos of the new someone in their lives even though they’re still to actually meet.

One such person has been seeing the same girl for eight years. They’re still to meet. She’s a single mother in Kiev and he’s penniless in Paris.

A couple of girlfriends I once dated are with men they’ve met on online dating sites and who have become marriages of convenience. They have bailed them outta financial problems and offered them security. These are sugar daddies. It’s no different to being a highly paid escort.

It is what it is and it works for both sexes as the male of the species who’s down on their luck is also looking for that emotional and financial security. So what you have is this fake world of make believe and with everyone carefully keeping up pretences.

Whatever happened to meeting someone, eyes meet and where one knew from holding hands that this was meant to be and that there couldn’t be a day that went by without being with each other? Those days are gone because romance is gone. Romance is gone because honesty has been replaced by games and pettiness.

Once upon a love, there was someone in my life who would say, “Romance me.” The feeling was there, but that simple action was put on Hold. I always thought it could wait. It couldn’t and that time together faded to black.

It’s still about believing in romance, however, and how much music plays in this dance of life. The problem is that it takes two to tango but the right partner is becoming someone almost impossible to find as, again, technology and sites and social media platforms have ripped out that much-needed emotional quotient. The heart of the matter.

It’s become all about the challenge and the conquest rather than working to make sure it works with the right one. About remembering where the first one went wrong and not bludgeoning the same mistake to death.

Like collecting online “friends”, we’ve stopped being choosy or are so locked into whatever happened when you pressed Enter that’s become the rest of your life.

Our parents had it right. We’ve been lousy students. We’ve also been childish adults. Shame on us.