Supreme Sports Personality Championships: Tiger Woods v Roger Federer

December 10, 2009

Roger Federer is simply the best. He has the best Grand Slam persona. He is a Supreme Sports Personality Champion. He is the perfect role model to inspire others in how to behave decently. This view is qualified by contrasting Roger Federer with Tiger Woods.

These two supremely talented sportsmen and champions have been in society’s collective consciousness for a decade or more and have left impressions on many of us in general (not just on avid golf or tennis fans). From time to time, we have all looked in from the outside at these two great sportsmen of our time, who are both considered the greatest of their generation, and the greatest of all time (true in the case of Federer; in-waiting for Woods). I wish to blog a little about these impressions formed in society’s collective consciousness (some different, some similar) and explain why Federer is so much greater and supreme than Woods.

Talent In Their Chosen Sport
Both Federer and Woods excel in their respective sports. Federer has a record 22 consecutive Grand Slam semi-final appearances, and has won 15 Grand Slam titles. Woods has 14 Major titles. The manner of their domination is what’s interesting.

Federer has always played to his ability and let the results speak for themselves. Jimmy Connors has been quoted: “In an era of specialists, you’re either a clay court specialist, a grass court specialist, or a hard court specialist … or you’re Roger Federer.” Federer does not look down on or disrespect his peers. He does not engage in any noticeable gamesmanship. In fact, he is the most likeable and popular player on tour.
In contrast, Woods dominated his peers only in the early years of his career. Between 1999 and 2002, there was simply no one near fitter, more talented or plain better than Woods. Gradually, as his peers improved and caught up to Woods’ high standards, Woods has had to modify the way he “dominates”. There is no longer a “level playing field” because Woods demands certain “conditions” from his peers, and also from his spectators. Woods is simply treated (and demands to be treated) differently than other golfers. Woods is also not the most popular amongst his peers.
Federer 1, Woods 0

Personality In Their Chosen Sport
Federer has an early childhood history of being rebellious and of smashing up his racquets on court. Fortunately, he learned to control his temper and rage and has gone on to become the greatest tennis player of all time, as well as the nicest champion of all time. He is the most likeable and popular player on tour.
Woods has a history of swearing and of gamesmanship. He growls and snarls and ignores everyone (some might say he is just “being focused”; others might say he is being arrogant and disrespectful). His attitude when he makes a bad shot or when he loses a tournament is not good for kids to see. Woods can be short with people, and condescending. He is not the most popular amongst his peers.
Federer 2, Woods 0

Personality Outside Their Chosen Sport
Woods’ “transgressions” has revealed that he is not the “clean Mr Nice Guy” that his management company would like to have everyone believe. Signs of his “dark side” surfaced during his mid-20s, when Woods hung out with The Brothers (consisting of basketball players Michael Jordan and Charles Barkley American footballer Ahmad Rashad, and baseball player Alex Rodriguez). In 2001, they travelled to the Atlantis Resort on Paradise Island in the Bahamas where Jordan gambled, placing up to $5,000 on a single card. Woods exhibited his rebellious side by bleaching his hair blond. Woods eventually married in 2004 (which is a similar age to when Federer married) but revelations have since appeared that show Tiger has been promiscuous before and after he was married.

Federer is simply a nice guy; an all round top bloke. However compared with Woods, Federer is still relatively young (he is 28 and recently married) so there is a danger that he may find himself in a situation with a mistress. In terms of age in years, Federer is about 5 years younger than Woods. However, the way Federer conducts himself, both on and off the court, demonstrates that he is a mature responsible professional and suggests that he has a good head on his shoulders and has a fantastic support group. Let’s hope Federer does not succumb to any “transgressions” in his future life.
Federer 3, Woods 0

In HKSARblog‘s humble opinion, Roger Federer is the true Supreme Sports Personality Champion.

[Read Comments Here]

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Hocus Pocus For Premiership Players

November 26, 2009

It appears some local bloggers (e.g. Ulaca and In Black and White) like to comment on football or soccer, particularly but not exclusively from England’s Premier League. I’m also a fan so I’ve been thinking about posting something about soccer but with HKSARblog’s usual skepticism about certain practices.

So how about: Desperate and Injured Premiership Players Place Faith on Placental Fluid Miracle Cure?
The media circus started when Arsenal’s star striker Robin van Persie injured his ankle a week ago when playing for Holland against Italy. The initial diagnosis was that he had a partial tear in his ankle ligaments and would be sidelined for six weeks. He then announced that he was going to Belgrade in Serbia to seek a “mysterious housewife” who apparently can help players recover quicker by using placental fluid. Initially, the media did not know much about the treatment, by first saying that the woman massaged placental fluid taken from horses on the injured area. Next, it was dripped on. And now, there are reports that injections of placental fluid are involved. No one appears to know exactly what this alternative therapy is, or who this woman is.

Despite this, it later emerged that a whole gaggle (plethora? pile? posse?) of premiership players (e.g. Liverpool’s Glen Johnson, Fabio Aurelio, Yossi Benayoun and Albert Riera; Chelsea’s Frank Lampard; Manchester City’s Vincent Kompany and Pablo Zabaleta) and some top European players have also been treated by this “Mariana Kovacevic” who has at least three aliases and four different addresses. Why all the secrecy? Tax evasion perhaps, or something more sinister?

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger (usually considered rational, relative to other Premiership managers that is) said he “recognised the psychological benefits such a treatment may have on an injured player”. Yes, Arsene may be on to something here. As with many alternative therapies, the placebo effect can sometimes be significant.

Furthermore, we are talking here about elite athletes in the prime of their lives, whose body conditioning can be significantly different compared with “normal” people (i.e. ordinary citizens who do not maintain their bodies at above-average condition on a full-time and prolonged basis). For instance, if you treat a bunch of injured people with the same therapy and divide them in to two groups (one group being young elite athletes; the other being older, unfit and overweight people), it would not be unreasonable to perhaps expect a difference between the groups in their recovery period and performance. A good example would be swine flu: there have been cases of professional football players who have caught swine flu, and none have died. Whereas in other demographics, some people have died from swine flu.

This is why proper clinical trials should always be arranged, rather than relying on testimonies; in this case testimonies from superfit elite athletes.

Still, all this Hocus Pocus malarkey in the Premiership is interesting to follow. Eventually, the truth will out.

About car plate, licence plate, number plate, registration plate, vanity plate

November 24, 2009

This blog loves names and labels, in whatever shape or form!

In 2006, Henry Tang Ying-yen (then Financial Secretary) announced a relatively minor money-making scheme by allowing the auction of personalised car number plates. This scheme cleverly undermines the intellectual property rights of creative types, and rewards those who have the means (i.e. money) to buy unique car plates. The HKSAR Government justifies this scheme by saying the annual net proceeds from auctioning these car plates would be used to fund poverty alleviation initiatives. HKSAR car plates must use a combination of eight numbers, letters or blanks.

A positive effect of the scheme is that Bloggers like HKSARblog profit (albeit not financially) by being able to comment on the potentially weird and wonderful car plates that zip along Hong Kong’s roads. It’s always nice to be able to take a picture of weird vanity plates (search this Blog for “Vanity Plate“).

Here are some examples reported at some auctions:

16 September 2006 Government Auction

1 L0VE U [HK$1.4 million (US$180,000)]
TVB [HK$800,000]
P0RSCHE [HK$700,000]
C00L [HK$450,000]
K1NG [HK$300,000]
AAR0N [HK$250,000]
SKY [HK$$220,000]

4 August 2007 Government Auction

FC [HK$450,000]
RS [HK$360,000]

15 September 2007 Government Auction

JW [HK$500,000]
JP [HK$400,000]
CM [HK$400,000]
MACAU 1 [HK$80,000]
BILLION [HK$30,000]
DAB [HK$15,000]

17 October 2008 Government Auction

AK [HK$230,000]
HANDSOME [HK$130,000]
OOPS [HK$20,000]
LAZY BOY [HK$10,000]

Related Musings From Other Bloggers
Meet The Wife
Laughter Is The Best Medicine
Dinosaur and Monica driving past chinese boys in white pants

Domestic Violence in Hong Kong

November 21, 2009

Is there an increase in domestic violence in Hong Kong, or are women and support groups lobbying better, or is the media covering this issue more? Perhaps a combination? What can be observed is there appears to be more stories in the local media about domestic violence, such as:

Help system `failing’ battered women (Nov 02, 2009)
Wife punched 10 times after she refused to have sex, court told (Nov 05, 2009)
Kung fu master found guilty of beating girlfriend (Nov 20, 2009)

The latest domestic violence case involved a 62-year-old man who beat up his 45-year-old girlfriend. The man happened to be a famous kung fu master too. I guess he won’t be so easily bullied during his two-month jail stint!

I wonder what a CantoPop or MandoPop version of Luka would be like? Or how about a Chinese version of this famous song from Natalie Merchant and 10,000 Maniacs (unfortunately, I can’t find the MTV Unplugged version):
Don’t Talk

At 1:50 Natalie Merchant makes it clear that this song is about domestic violence (due to alcohol).

Don’ Talk lyrics

Don’t talk, I will listen.
Don’t talk, you keep your distance
for I’d rather hear some truth tonight than entertain your lies,
so take you poison silently. Let me be. Let me close my eyes.

Don’t talk, I’ll believe it.
Don’t talk, listen to me instead,
I know that if you think of it, both long enough and hard
the drink you drown your troubles in is the trouble you’re in now.

Talk talk talk about it, you talk as if you care
but when your talk is over you tilt that bottle in the air,
tossing back more than your share.

Don’t talk, I can guess it.
Don’t talk, well now you’re restless
and you need somewhere to put the blame for how you feel inside.
You’ll look for a close and easy mark and you’ll see me as fair game.

Talk talk talk about it, talk as if you care
but when your talk is over you tilt that bottle in the air
tossing back more than your share.
You talk talk talk about it, you talk as if you care.
I’m marking every word and can tell this time for sure,
your talk is the finest I have heard.

So don’t talk, let me go on dreaming.
How your eyes they glow so fiercely I can tell that you’re inspired
by the name you just chose for me. Now what was it? O, never mind now.
We will talk talk talk about this when your head is clear.
I’ll discuss this in the morning, but until then you may talk but I won’t hear

Related Posts
What’s The Matter Here?
Suzanne Vega and Luka Revisited and Redefined

HKSARblog @ WordPress

November 12, 2009

When I first started blogging in January 2009, I did not know which free Blog service was better for my needs. I therefore decided to use both WordPress and Blogger to see which service was more convenient and practical to use. After one year, my plan was to write a review comparing the pros and cons of both blog services.

Today, ten months in, the blog has been wiped from the Web frozen. I can no longer login. Apparently, there was a violation of the Terms of Service. But I received no notice or warning, and there is no channel for me to contact WordPress about this.

[Screenshots of the site]

Has anyone else experienced this situation? What happens to the blog name/domain and to the blog content?

Fortunately, HKSARblog still exists here! [Plus comments] But can anyone provide good advice and tell me if this blog will be in danger of being wiped from the Web too? I wouldn’t want this blog to go up in smoke.


What’s The Matter Here?

November 12, 2009

Why is it that great songs are often about deeply depressing. madly maligned or truly tragic topics? In keeping with the theme of child abuse (from Suzanne Vega’s Luka), here’s a wonderful but disturbing song from the fantastic Natalie Merchant and 10,000 Maniacs: What’s The Matter Here?

Lyrics (partial)

But who gave you the right
To do this to your own flesh and blood?

And instead of love and the feel of warmth
You’ve given him these cuts and sores
That don’t heal with time or with age

Related Posts
Suzanne Vega and Luka Revisited and Redefined
0216 HKSAR Name of the Day
It Don’t Matter If You’re Black or White

Bus Feet

November 8, 2009

Are more people putting their feet on bus seats? Here are two recent examples:

What’s interesting is that local Chinese are often (sometimes wrongly) criticized for being inconsiderate; but these two examples perhaps show that some non-Chinese can also be thoughtless, uncouth and selfish. However, I offer no statistics so I may be mistaken.

Quality Cabbies Award

November 7, 2009

Congratulations to Mr Yau Chi-keung for winning one of twelve Quality Taxi Drivers 2009 awards. In my book, he’s a hero simply because he refused to complete the lengthy lost-and-found procedures when he took the lost bag to the police station.Ten other cabbies also won the award for “reporting lost property found in their taxis and returning it to the passenger or to police“. The other award went to a taxi driver for “sincere and helpful service“.

If only the police would minimize the amount of paperwork and time needed to report lost property, more people would be willing to report lost items.

Anyways, now that the criteria for winning a Quality Cabbie Award have been revealed by the Quality Taxi Services Steering Committee (pun intended?), let’s hope more Hong Kong cabbies will report lost property (to the Taxi Operators’ Association) and provide sincere and helpful service.

Cabbie who handed in diamonds among 12 to receive quality award
Maggie Ng
Nov 06, 2009

An Indonesian man of Chinese descent was able to retrieve his bag of diamonds worth HK$1 million left in a cab thanks to Yau Chi-keung, one of the 12 winners of the Quality Taxi Drivers 2009 award.

In April last year, the 59-year-old taxi driver drove the passenger from Tsim Sha Tsui to Quarry Bay at about midday. Five minutes after the passenger got out, Yau noticed that a bag had been left under the back seat.

He radioed the Taxi Operators’ Association to report the lost property. Unable to find the owner, he went to a police station not knowing what was in the bag. Police wanted Yau to remain at the station while they completed lost-and-found procedures, but he did not have the time. He took the bag home and returned to the station later to drop it off.

At home, he opened the bag and saw small bags of diamonds inside, but had no idea what they were worth. Yau only found out from police later.

Although Yau had never met the owner of the diamonds before, the owner gave him a few thousand dollars as a reward, which he donated to a charity for the poor.

The driver said that he had no second thoughts about handing in the diamonds once he had opened the bag and found them inside.

“The owner was happy to get back what was his and I’m happy because my conscience is clear,” Yau said.

With more than 30 years’ experience as a cabbie, Yau intends to retire in the next year or so. He has four children and four grandchildren.

Ten of the other 11 winners were also nominated for reporting lost property found in their taxis and returning it to the passenger or to police. One was nominated for “sincere and helpful service”.

Winners received an identity plate yesterday, recognising them as Quality Taxi Drivers of 2009.

The ceremony was attended by Commissioner for Transport Joseph Lai Yee-tak and Jimmy Poon Wing-fai, chairman of the Quality Taxi Services Steering Committee.

Guy Fawkes: Good Guy or Bad?

November 6, 2009

The British have a strange habit of celebrating a tradition that many don’t seem to understand. A bit like in Hong Kong really, as well as in other places. Guy Fawkes Night or Bonfire Night is celebrated every 5 November in Britain, with fireworks and bonfire parties. But why?

Is “Guy Fawkes the man” celebrated or is it “his Foiled Plot” that is celebrated?

Essentially, the Gunpowder Plot was a religiously-motivated terrorist attack in 1605 to blow up the Houses of Parliament and King James I.
If something similar happened today, such as in Australia, the US and around the world, would this be cause for national or international celebration? Or would the terrorists be celebrated?

It’s not a bad idea to question beliefs and traditions more than once in a while!

Myth Musings: Mobiles and Mistresses

November 4, 2009

Wonderful superficial reporting as usual from the SCMP (subscription required) as it claims that it is only a myth that HK cabbies with multiple mobile phones have mistresses.

Is this believable? Or credible?
Are readers to take at face value what the reporters write? Are reporters to take at face value what sources tell them? The reporters quote one taxi driver called “Ricky” who alleges that he does not have a mistress. The driver says all his mobile phones are to help him increase “illegal” business opportunities. And “Ricky the driver” represents all HK cabbies, right?

Wrong. Some cabbies do this kind of fare-discounting business; some don’t. Some cabbies smoke; some won’t. Some cabbies are faithful; some aren’t. A single taxi driver does not tell us anything useful.

Also, is there a point to the news story?


Old mobiles find higher calling in cabs
Kobi Chan and Ng Kang-chung
Nov 01, 2009

People in Hong Kong may exchange their mobile phones as quickly as the seasons change.

But but while more than 50 per cent of people in a survey said they got a new phone every year, taxi drivers tend to follow the more traditional “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” adage.

“Ricky” has six phones across his dashboard.

And contrary to popular myth, the phones are not for communicating with his mistress across the border, but for business.

Ricky said the multiple phones acted like a customer hotline, meaning he did not miss any business, and ensuring communication with other drivers.

Each phone number helps connect him to a network of about 80 cab drivers, who offer substantial discounts and undercut the competition – not necessarily legal, but certainly lucrative.

The driver, who carries about 20 passengers a day, said he could transfer calls to other drivers to pick up a passenger if he was busy.

“Mobile phones are vital to me. They can help me to get more passengers and also earn much money,” he said.

“Because I only use mobile phones for practical purposes, I seldom change them. An old-fashioned model is perfectly acceptable, so long as I can make and receive calls, I’m happy.”

Other consumers, however, are keener to cast off last year’s model. Jack Cheung, who sells second-hand mobiles in Causeway Bay, said he had received six new phones that hit the market only six months ago.

“Some mobile phones are given up because the owners don’t like how they function. Customers have different demands. Some want a basic one that just dials in and out. Some demand a radio, songs and a camera.”

Michelle Au Wing-tsz, Friends of the Earth senior environment officer, says one reason there is such a high turnover is that manufacturers make repairs so expensive that people will buy a new one rather than get a phone fixed.

A man recently complained to the green group that a company had asked for HK$2,100 to repair his phone. Yet when the group took it to a small phone repair shop in Mong Kok, it cost just HK$250.

The group surveyed 1,000 people and 65 per cent said they got rid of their phones less than a year after buying them, mainly because they were damaged, albeit slightly.

“Companies also market phones as fashion accessories so you have to swap them often to keep up with the latest trend,” Au said.

Friends of the Earth says the short lifespan of phones is an environmental problem, creating a growing waste crisis. But the Environmental Protection Department disagrees, saying there is no danger of mobiles becoming a major source of electronics waste. A spokesman said the phones were valuable in the second-hand market and were not filling the city’s landfills.

A spokeswoman for LG Hong Kong said it did not recommend users take their phones to unauthorised dealers for repair. “The parts we use are all up to standard and are properly manufactured with good quality control.” She denied the company’s strategy was to encourage consumers to buy new phones by imposing a high repair fee.

Nokia Hong Kong would not comment on the issue.