Sunday, September 30, 2007

If you're Chinese

Then you may today celebrate the Chinese National Day.
Hundreds of millions of people are not working today.
I am. I guess I'm not Chinese.
Of course many a Chinese work too.
People will go to restaurants,
hail a cab,
get on a bus,
have babies,
get ill,
It's all got to be taken care of.
Even today.
China has a lot to be proud of.
The metamorphosis has been rapid.
You can make the finest of products in China.
Made in China.
Toys with lead paint.
Contaminated toothpaste.
But also the finest furniture, electronics, fashion,
machines, tools,
and toys without lead paint.
They make wonderful leather products.
The picture shows one of China's proudest
brands in luxury goods.
A wallet made out of the softest and finest leather.
Packaged in a beautiful box.
A bargain. if you earn western money.
Wait a minute.
It reminds me of another brand.
I'm sure they also make their wallets in China
or some place where the workers don't get paid enough
to buy the stuff they make.
The margins they make are enormous. But then again,
of course,
they made a huge investment in building that brand.
How Denghaoli, Denhaoli, Dunholi, Dunhillo is going to
build its brand seems pretty clear.
i'm not being cynical. Or?

Saturday, September 29, 2007

I'm corporate

I'm exhausted for the wrong reasons.
everything went, well, okay, brilliant, a success.
It seems.
I wasn't so sure the last night, or morning rather, at 4 or so A.M.
That's when things go wrong.
Well it didn't, sort of. Other than the fact we were late as usual.
I can't remember how many times we've delivered the very last minute. 
Touching up until the last second. 
A tweak here, a nudge there.
No matter how much planning. Last minute is law. 
Always the last minute. Never the last word.
Always exhausted when one should be sharp and fresh and springy and sparkling.
I wonder if I snored during that second speech.
2 hours of something resembling sleep. Rehearsals 6 A.M.
Start 9. A.M.
the film took almost two month to make.
We started in NY.
Went on to Amsterdam and Velsen, Holland.
Drobak next. It's in the Oslo fjorden.
Numbingly pretty.
Svalbard next. Didn't shoot any polar bears. 
You were not leave the the populated area without a gun. You had to leave the gun outside the post office though. Figure it was basically bearless.
Next stop rubber dinghy, from one ship to another outside Svalbard.
On to a Russian trawler named Kaptein Gromso, or something.
Filmed the deadliest kind of catch for a week. 
Rubber dinghy to a supply ship. Engine barely makes it across. 
Three days later we see the first sign of the fjords leading to Tromso Norway.
Hongkong next. One night. 
Qingdao, China says welcome.
This is where China is going to hold the Olympic sailing competitions.
This is where they make TsingTao. The beer.
It should be brewed form the purest of spring water up in the mountains. That's where the original brewery is.
Nobody believes any longer that all Tsing Tao beer contains that water. At least not every bottle. Or can. It can't. Can it?
And so the film ends and lands in Hongkong. 
Or at least it was shown at a corporate gathering here this morning.
I'm glad to say we survived.
Corporate movies are ot stuff people survive, if they're truly honest.
I can sleep now.
It was not the usual corporate movie. Maybe I show it here next week or so.
Here's an image from the conference. 
That was when it was just me there. 
Besides that busty stiff and the hard working staff.
Stiff and staff.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Someone called out my name.
A loud whisper. Close.
Did I feel a cold breath?
I sat straight up in the bed.
The alarm clocked glowed green.
A few minutes past 3 A.M.
I reached for the light switch.
A dream. Or a wish?
The door was locked. The windows secured.
I was alone.
As I've been for quite a while now.
To be lonely is not to be free.
Or happy.
I have always been surrounded by family.
My children.
No longer tired I put on a pair of jeans, 
the same t-shirt as yesterday.
Went out in the dark night. Onto the streets of 
a city thatnever sleeps.
They say.
I don't know if they sleep or not. The people of Hongkong.
At least nobody slept in the street.
Neither did I meet anybody awake.
I got lost in the narrow labyrinth of hilly streets which is the
neighborhood I dwell in at the moment.
The bars and restaurants and laundry shops and pawn shops
were all dark and closed.
I came upon a place named "Joyce doesn't live here".
I figured that was probably true as it was a bar.
A sign sat outside. 
Sad Hour. It read.
How true, I thought.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

I saw the moon that wasn't mine

There it was.
A day too late. 
The moon that belongs to the Chinese 
wasn't for me to see 
the day they all saw it.
I wonder if the Feng Shui masters 
would approve of the way I shot it?
There's the Bank of China bank tower. 
By architect IM Pei. 
The dragons don't like that building, 
according to the Feng Shui forces.
It has too many sharp angles. 
Not boding well for business.
China is doing quite well at the moment. 
But it might be better to wait and see.
The taller building to the right 
is the tallest of the two IFC towers.
It houses a mall with the most exclusive brands on earth.
It's one of the most prestigious office buildings in Hongkong.
It's part of the complex you end up in when taking 
the Airtrain from the airport. 
This could be your first impression of this city.
There are hotels and restaurants, cinemas, 
and just about everything you'd ever need.
As a matter of fact, 
you could well fly into Hongkong, 
go to IFC, 
spend a week, 
and then go back.
You could claim to having been in the real Hongkong. 
As modern as it is.
Or you perhaps haven't been in Hongkong.
And like me 
you'd miss the Moon Festival.

moon festival in Hongkong

I missed the annual Moon Festival. I was working. Left the studio 1 A.M.
The party probably went on all night, but I needed sleep.
I've never seen these celebrations despite having spent a few years of my life out here.
somehow I always miss it. 
People gather in parks and on beaches.
They lit candles and lights and have pick-nicks.
The images above is obviously not from the Chinese Moon Festival.
But it is an image from the project I spent the night working on.
The chef in the picture is Jaakko. He's can be found at F.I.N.D.S. (excuse the pun) in Hongkong's Lan Kwai Fong district.
The serve wonderful Scandinavian fare. 
And some highly refined Chinese dishes to that.
Don't know if they had Moon Cakes on their menu?

Monday, September 24, 2007

two worlds

Last night I decided to go to bed early. 
Read a bit Henning Mankell. The Dogs of Riga. 
Imagine trying to read a murder mystery set in a wintery 
Sweden and Latvia accompanied by loud tuneless Chinese karaoke? 
Coming from the neighbors. Rock concert decibel level. 
Somehow i fell asleep. Woke up 5 am this morning. 
Not to karaoke. But it was suddenly quite.
With lots to do I figure i walk down to the office and start doing some 
retouching on some 
product images i shot last weekend.
It's strange how empty Hongkong is early mornings.
There were only a few people out. Mostly garbage collectors. 
Buses and taxis and trams were operating, but mostly empty. 
No private cars.
This is Tuesday. But it felt more like a very early Sunday morning in NY.
none of the juice stands were open. only a few of the 24 hour eating houses. now serving breakfast dim sum,
They sometimes like to call Hongkong the city that never sleeps.
That might so be, but when they don't sleep it must be in their tiny apartments 
out in the suburbs.
This relative quietness reminded me of the total peacefulness of 
northwest Norway.
I was there in August. 
Traveling with  brilliant photographer (stills, film, video) and film maker, 
Patrik Andersson.
We were on our way back from the Barents Sea. 
(I'll get back to that another time soon.)
The image above is taken as we approach Tromsø.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Good Morning World.

Morning in Hongkong. 
Alleys are filled with fresh food stands and little al fresco places to eat a breakfast Congee (rice porridge), or a bowl of noodles.
It's raining after the night's light typhoon came through. 
Rain is apparently not a hindrance when it comes to food shopping. 
This image was taken in Graham Street market. 
It's a block down from where I rent a tiny pad.
It's only a 10 minutes walk from the office cum studio I currently work in.  Nan Fung Tower in Central.
Without an umbrella and rubber boats I'm soaked. 
Stepped in a puddle that reached my ankles. 
Those things happen when you lead your life through a lens.

Okay, so here we go.
It took me half a year from creating this blog account to actually post anything.
How do they do it? 
They guys who post at least one piece per day?
I don't know where this animal is going? 
I will hop on and see where it takes me.
I hope to find something interesting to say. 
That's the hard part. 
As a blogger I'm now officially part of the ww babble. Word pollution, visual pollution, pollution, and waste.
I've spent my life polluting. I'm in advertising. Which I'm reasonably happy with. It could have been something worse. 
I took the picture above 5 minutes ago. Outside an office I work in. In HK. Typhoon warning is hoisted, so the streets are getting empty. It's a little after 8pm here in HK. It's Sunday night. 
The last couple of weeks have been very polluted. Smog. Hot. Smelly. Perhaps a typhoon will blow it away?