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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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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ALL THE POTENTIAL OF SRI LANKA: HOW LONG BEFORE IT’S FINALLY REALISED?

By Hans Ebert
@hanseberthk

It always seems like a good idea: Take a total break from the monotony and autonomy and lobotomy of it all. You can already smell the sand and sea and surf, and images of still to be discovered delights ping pong around your head. But all this is like premature ejaculation. Before that much-needed break becomes a reality, those who wish you the best, and know you’re suffering from burn out, still need that one more job explained, or better yet, done, because, well, as Robert Plant once squealed while grabbing his beloved Percy, they’re dazed and confused.

So, if a professional, one makes the time while the PA calls and asks if you have a visa to enter the country you’re visiting. What visa? As the visa takes 24 hours to be issued, the flight is delayed by a day. Then comes all that time to kill when your flight from Hong Kong to Sri Lanka takes off at 2am. You think, I could have just gone to Macau, or at worst, Discovery Bay. But the latter has recently become the new public toilet for Mainlanders who have invaded their recently found small slice of nirvana.

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When Alzheimer’s hits home…

By Hans Ebert
@hanseberthk

You start to think when the first tell-tale signs started to show. Was it the repetition for years of the same two jokes about being on a seafood food diet and where she sees food and wants to eat it, or that other one about how mangoes where women go? Was it the much repeated story of the many years my parents waited to have me, their only child, and the hours she was in labour before I decided to pop out- on her birthday- apparently looking like an…eggplant.

The passing away of Glen Campbell recently to Alzheimer’s which leads to full-blown dementia struck home. My mother passed away from this dreadful disease some years ago and it’s always been something I’ve “blocked from view”. But as the feeling of mortality finally grabs you by the balls, you try to retrace your steps for some answers, and, perhaps, redemption.

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