GET REAL, HONG KONG! PLEASE!

By Hans Ebert
@hanseberthk

I’ve been telling as many people in Hong Kong as possible recently how I wish I could bottle the city and take it to places like Tokyo, Amsterdam, perhaps Taipei, Copenhagen, certain parts of Melbourne, but away from the usual suspects in horse racing, and if one can stand the pollution, Beijing and Shanghai. Why? To try and bring Hong Kong’s mojo back- that is if it ever had a mojo. To see where and why it’s lost the plot and needs to start all over again with a new mindset. Seriously now…

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BURGHERS, BURGERS AND CEYLON TEA AND SYMPATHY (PART 3)

By Hans Ebert
@hanseberthk

There were a couple of very weird years- not as weird as my first acid trip- but weird nevertheless. For example, there was an American kid at KGV whom we called “Fuzzy”. His real name was Bruce Barron. He was brash, he was cocky, he was supposedly extremely rich and was one of the first kids to have his own drum kit- a Ludwig drum kit. But no one wanted him in their band.

Fuzzy Bruce was almost always being beaten up for mouthing off. But when his father was shot dead one New Year’s Eve while working alone in his office in Star House- his murder still remains unsolved today with word being that it was a hired hit man from the Philippines- the helter skelter lifestyle took a brief pause. Very brief.

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THE UNREALITIES OF SOCIAL MEDIA

By Hans Ebert
@hanseberthk

If it wasn’t for the fact that it’s part of my job responsibilities and being paid quite nicely to be part of it, I would just press delete and detonate my presence on social media. And more and more, it’s all too obvious that I am not the only one considering doing this.

Friends are closing their Facebook and Twitter accounts as the initial thrill is gone. Seeing way too many nobodies trying to be somebody when no one cares is aggro no one needs in an already aggressive world getting angrier and full of hate every day. Keyboard warriors forcing themselves to be heard above the rest of the din don’t help.

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SWITCHING OFF, TUNING IN

By Hans Ebert
@hanseberthk

“If we’re going to have dinner, I want you to turn that bloody thing off.” “What did you do when you didn’t have a mobile phone? Surely, it didn’t incapacitate you? Surely, you still went out, had a good time with friends and with no need to constantly check if you missed out on anything?” “I refuse to reply to you with text messages when I can just call you or you can call me. If we’re going to move this relationship anywhere, I don’t wish it to be based on some emojis.” Smart woman. Definitely not from or in Hong Kong, some of whom judge you by the size of your, well, iPhone. Seriously though, in Hong Kong, your phone is like an invitation to join Mensa.

There were more, but these were just a handful of remarks received about being iPhone dependent and this becoming an invasion of privacy, and stunting interpersonal skills. There’s also a fast-growing backlash against that oxymoron known as social media. And don’t think millennials are not part of this move. Most are leading the revolt. Many have tired of what they see and read on social media and are hopefully returning to more simple and honest times.

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BURGHERS, BURGERS AND CEYLON TEA AND SYMPATHY (PART 2)

By Hans Ebert
@hanseberthk

My family arrived in Hong Kong in 1958 after over two weeks by ship where my father spent most of the time in our cabin with seasickness while I played shuffleboard with my mother and a group of Italian priests. It wasn’t exactly The Love Boat.

What was awaiting us in Hong Kong? Nothing. With only very little life savings, there was no option but to live with my father’s eldest sister Primrose, her Portuguese husband Gustavo, my grandmother and family matriarch Hilda and cousin Suzanne in a tiny apartment. It was hardly The Brady Bunch and nothing like the wide open spaces of Ceylon, but beggars can never be choosers.

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BURGHERS, BURGERS AND CEYLON TEA AND SYMPATHY (PART 1)

By Hans Ebert
@hanseberthk

The first memories of my mother was Podhi. Podhi was the servant “designated” to me. She fed me, bathed me, took me to kindergarten, sheltered me from bullies, cleaned my backside, and being an only child, she was my one play friend.

She played marbles with me, put up with my temper tantrums, and looked after our stray cats and dogs. She was more than a mother and it was extremely emotional seeing her when visiting for the first time what had become Sri Lanka in over twenty years, locating her. and her touching my face, looking me in the eye, and remembering her “baby”.

Her much younger and buxom niece Alice cooked for the family and apart from the visits to the house by my father’s younger brother Uncle George whom I adored as he was tough- played professional rugby and cricket, lifted weights and could handle himself in a fight- and listening to my godfather play piano in a way that made Liberace seem manly- this was pretty much the framework of growing up as the only child- a Dutch Burgher which meant a mixture of Dutch, Portuguese ancestry intermingled with something rarely mentioned- marriages with the local inhabitants- in what was then called Ceylon.

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SOCIAL MEDIA AND MUSIC: THE GOOD, THE EMBARRASSING AND THE LEGENDS IN THEIR OWN LUNCHTIME

By Hans Ebert
@hanseberthk

It’s not death we should fear, it’s wasting the time we have in this particular world. And when one sees the amount of pontificating and self promotion that goes on in one of the most anti social and time wasting mediums to be embraced by so many called “social media”, apart from shaking my head in disbelief at how real life priorities have taken a backseat to a mixed bowl of nuts made outta hot air, it makes me realise where music has gone wrong. Social media amplifies the total absence of what could be called “real music” because of the avalanche of clutter.

Fortunately, many of us travel through YouTube and Facebook hoping to re-discover what has come before when it comes to music- and it’s a minor miracle that so much of it can actually be found. Perhaps some of us were too young to know those early recordings by the Jazz greats, most of which are available now- and not just the sound recordings, but the original videos.

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WHEN SPINAL TAP BECOMES REALITY

By Hans Ebert
@hanseberthk

I was speaking to my ex wife last week- yes, it seems a contradiction in terms- about life and how I have outgrown Hong Kong, the people and the kinda stunted lifestyle now led compared to the Wolf Of Wall Street days when living at 1616, four numbers that stood for anything goes and where everything did. Did we care? We were letting the good times rock and roll and doing cartwheels across the floor.

Today, well today, there’s so much out there one needs a filter to remove the crud and clutter. If not, it’s back to taking in strays. Those days are gone forever. So is taking in every event as a predictable show of support when you know what’s going through your head: What am I doing here? Why is what’s going on more Spinal Tap than Spinal Tap, but without the self deprecating sense of humour.

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THE GRAND HYATT HONG KONG NEEDS TO GET ITS MOJO BACK

By Hans Ebert
@hanseberthk

Around 10-15 years ago when still in the music industry and having recently split from my long suffering wife, our real offices were The Tiffin Lounge and the Champagne Bar at the Grand Hyatt. Living right next door to the hotel meant convenience if needing some different type of stress release during those Wolf Of Wall Street days when nothing was impossible and The Longest Cocktail Party was meant to continue forever.

These were the Days Of The Long Lunch and where I had “graduated” from the English pub scene of the Dicken’s Bar from my days in advertising to the five star lifestyle of being a senior music executive. And being part of this supposedly brave new world, we became legends in our own lunchtime.

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LET’S JUST REBOOT THIS LIFE, SHALL WE…

By Hans Ebert
@hanseberthk

It wears you down. Yes, it eventually wears you down because how much is enough? And when you do let it all go, there’s nothing left. U2 is still singing, I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For when actually you know you what you had, but you let it go for damaged goods and gypsies, tramps and thieves. Live and learn and move on…

Birthdays are always a time for internalising and hoping that tomorrow brings about some clarity and removes the clutter. And so, this birthday, I shut myself off this “regular” world, switched to my telephone without all the apps and decided to get away from everything and everyone that’s crept up and become part of what passes off as life in Hong Kong- and elsewhere. It was The Big Kiss Off to all this “sharing” where very very few actually give. Don’t they realise how obvious this is? How small it makes them look?

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