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Ben Zabulis

Columnists > Ben Zabulis

Ben Zabulis

The Road To Hong Kong

Posted by: gwaijai on Sunday May 19, 2019 (09:28:15)   (236 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 ...


Columnists > Ben Zabulis

Ben Zabulis

Pigging Out

Posted by: gwaijai on Monday March 11, 2019 (14:04:55)   (312 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 ...


Columnists > Ben Zabulis

Ben Zabulis

It’s All Greek to Me!

Posted by: gwaijai on Sunday December 30, 2018 (09:30:00)   (544 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 ...


Columnists > Ben Zabulis

Ben Zabulis

A Bad Case Of Wind

Posted by: gwaijai on Saturday October 20, 2018 (08:01:08)   (621 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 ...


Columnists > Ben Zabulis

Ben Zabulis

I Saw You Coming

Posted by: gwaijai on Thursday September 06, 2018 (14:06:34)   (938 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 ...


Columnists > Ben Zabulis

Ben Zabulis

Here Be Dragons!

Posted by: gwaijai on Wednesday July 04, 2018 (11:10:07)   (867 Reads)
And they're off!
In Hong Kong we know summer’s arrived when clothing sticks and dragons emerge, not real ones obviously but those wooden versions intended for the dragon boat festival. The saying, Don’t put your winter clothes away until it’s time to eat rice dumplings, a festive food, spells it out and you must admit, date considered, it bears an uncanny similarity to that British expression: Ne’er cast a clout till May be out. So strip off, grab a paddle and let’s race!    more ...


Columnists > Ben Zabulis

Ben Zabulis

Stretching Oneself

Posted by: gwaijai on Sunday May 27, 2018 (14:25:31)   (851 Reads)
Schematic for a special school in Idah, Nigeria
As a spotty-faced, teenage oik, I’d no idea engineering would take me halfway round the world. So in marking the 200th anniversary of the Institution of Civil Engineers, commemorations of which will align with the UK government’s Year of Engineering campaign to get youngsters thinking STEM, here’s my bit extolling the virtues of what’s on offer: jobs, locations and project diversity – of which, blowing up where I‘d worked, don’t be jealous now, is indeed a good example. Read on!    more ...


Columnists > Ben Zabulis

Ben Zabulis

All Change At Hong Kong

Posted by: gwaijai on Wednesday April 18, 2018 (06:38:38)   (910 Reads)
Cunard Queens in Victoria Harbour
With jumbo-sized poignancy an amusing thought struck me recently; and it was all to do with the very spot on which I stood. You see, had I been there during my previous Hong Kong life, I’d certainly have risked arrest for being a loony or, even worse, flattened by flight BA27 on its arrival from London Heathrow. But no more, the planes have gone and the site having undergone an audacious change of use now accommodates, would you believe, cruise ships!    more ...


Columnists > Ben Zabulis

Ben Zabulis

Wake Up!

Posted by: gwaijai on Sunday March 18, 2018 (13:32:42)   (592 Reads)
Visiting grasshopper
No, not you! But if that is your alarm clock I can hear ringing even from here then perhaps you ought, you’ll be late and you know how tetchy that new boss of yours can be. Actually, I’m talking to our local insects and especially those who’ve been lazily, and very sensibly I must say, snoozing away the winter. For today (5th March) the Chinese calendar tells us is their special day to stir. And you know what? They did!    more ...


Columnists > Ben Zabulis

Ben Zabulis

Who Gives A Fu?

Posted by: gwaijai on Thursday February 15, 2018 (08:23:14)   (748 Reads)
The Chinese character Fu on an outside door
Well, that’s easy: in fact everyone does and especially at this time of year. You’ll notice them all over the place. Of course, I’m talking about the Chinese Fu character, newly purchased prints of which will be meaningfully plastered upon doors, lintels, jambs, walls, household goods and countless seasonal displays. No doubt you’ve realised, Chinese New Year is imminent and by the time you read this article it will be here and we’ll all be celebrating like mad.    more ...