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Columnists > Ben Zabulis

Ben Zabulis
After graduating in 1982 Ben worked throughout the UK before an unlikely adventurous disposition led him to Nigeria, India, Japan and Hong Kong. Between each of those overseas assignments he had attempted repatriation with varying degrees of 'success'; the last of which occurred in 2004 when he and his partner returned from Hong Kong for what they considered to be a permanent move, only to return to Hong Kong years later. The exotic misdemeanours inherent in that first expatriate period (1984-2004) together with various Asian sojourns and activities, contributed to a series of travel journal scribbles which eventually morphed in to the book Chartered Territory – An Engineer Abroad.

Ben Zabulis

New Year Going Viral

Posted by: gwaijai on Monday February 03, 2020 (13:52:25)   (296 Reads)
NewYear dragon in Kowloon
One of the odd things about living in Hong Kong is that I get the chance to wish you all a happy New Year not once but twice, second time being for the Chinese version which we are celebrating at the moment. So there you have it, New Year with a double dose of happiness!    more ...

Ben Zabulis

Great Expectations

Posted by: gwaijai on Friday December 13, 2019 (08:40:13)   (498 Reads)
Outside the polling station
Although several nations have endured a bout of election fever recently, we in little Hong Kong have enjoyed our moment in the media spotlight too. Nothing quite as grand as a full-blown general election for us however, no, ours was a much more humble affair in the form of a territory-wide district council poll, one held every four years. Although I say more humble, the anticipation and fervour leading up to the event truly belied its status.    more ...

Ben Zabulis

And On It Goes...

Posted by: gwaijai on Saturday November 09, 2019 (09:09:50)   (507 Reads)
Graphic depiction on a Lennon wall
Well, since my last missive we appear to have become the world’s capital of protest and riot, edging out the good people of Santiago, Catalonia and Baghdad who seem intent on giving us a run for our money. But, you know, such events are intriguing as they often seem worse if viewed out of context. Watching our seemingly mad moments of destruction therefore on the late news may have you thinking this is normality Hong Kong-style which, thankfully, it isn’t.    more ...

Ben Zabulis

Carrie On Hong Kong

Posted by: gwaijai on Monday September 09, 2019 (08:19:27)   (695 Reads)
Seen in Kowloon: Liberate HK, revolution of OUR TIME
Protest march, rally, riot, violence, revolution of our time, liberate Hong Kong, democracy, f**k the po-po, are not the sort of words or phrases I ever thought it would be necessary to learn in hitherto peaceful Hong Kong, indeed my Teach Yourself Chinese book is starkly lacking in this area. But, with the past weekends, 14 and counting, spent scrutinising a phalanx of eagerly wielded placards and graffiti, I now find my Cantonese, revolutionary vocab lies greatly enriched.    more ...

Ben Zabulis

Umbrella Movement

Posted by: gwaijai on Sunday July 14, 2019 (13:04:24)   (980 Reads)
The Avengers with John Steed (Uncredited photo from internet)
Growing up in 1960s England, the term Umbrella Movement could only mean one thing: The Avengers TV series and its suave hero, secret agent John Steed, effectively disarming many an assailant with a swiftly yielded British brolly. Today, courtesy of Hong Kong spirit, the humble brolly now stands as a worldwide symbol of peaceful defiance in the face of government intransigence. Agent Steed I imagine would be duly impressed.    more ...

Ben Zabulis

The Road To Hong Kong

Posted by: gwaijai on Sunday May 19, 2019 (09:28:15)   (767 Reads)
Have you ever found yourself in the midst of a teeming conurbation and wondered, somewhat despairingly, where on earth do all these people come from? Well, here in densely populated Hong Kong you can find yourself contemplating that little conundrum on a quite regular basis. And from where indeed is a wonder, for when the British first started sniffing around here, eventually taking up residence in 1842, it was little more than a barren rock as Lord Palmerston famously noted.    more ...

Ben Zabulis

Pigging Out

Posted by: gwaijai on Monday March 11, 2019 (14:04:55)   (664 Reads)
Chinese New Year lanterns at the Peninsula Hotel
One of the problems of living in Hong Kong, though not everybody would see it as such, is that barely four weeks after one’s Christmas bells have fully jingled along comes Chinese New Year and another sizeable dollop of festive gluttony. So this can literally prove a heavy time of year in which great discipline is required if body weight be maintained and the year of the pig greeted in a less than piggish manner!    more ...

Ben Zabulis

It’s All Greek to Me!

Posted by: gwaijai on Sunday December 30, 2018 (09:30:00)   (778 Reads)
Now, what ever does that mean?
Okay, maybe not Greek but the subject of Chinese had me spouting similarly when I first landed in Asia many years ago, especially the written form which has remained a source of fascination not to mention great torment ever since. At least the Greek alphabet is vaguely familiar via algebra and physics, so learnable methinks; even reading and writing French at school seemed manageable but as for those unfathomable Chinese characters, well, where the hell do you start?    more ...

Ben Zabulis

A Bad Case Of Wind

Posted by: gwaijai on Saturday October 20, 2018 (08:01:08)   (926 Reads)
Typhoon Mangkhut approaches (Photo by NOAA’s Suomi NPP satellite )
No, I’m not talking about the unsociable aftermath of last night’s aloo gobi; I refer to an atmospheric disturbance, believe it or not, of an altogether more vicious persuasion: Typhoon Mangkhut, very powerful, you may have heard about it. Although we’re used to handling cyclones here, when experts start talking about the most severe storm ever known to man and an impending disaster of biblical proportions it gets you thinking that this could indeed be a bit of bother.    more ...

Ben Zabulis

I Saw You Coming

Posted by: gwaijai on Thursday September 06, 2018 (14:06:34)   (1165 Reads)
Hong Kong rents can be high so choose carefully
The most expensive place to live screams yet another annual report on expat living. Really? I’m not sure. In fact I sometimes wonder if these authors are referring to the same city in which we live. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying Hong Kong’s cheap; it is of course a major world city with all the baggage that entails but whether it’s significantly worse than anywhere else of equal standing, especially after other costs are factored in, deserves discussion.    more ...

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