How much is a kidney worth?

I was utterly shocked to hear that a 17-year-old schoolboy in China sold one of his kidnies for 20,000 yuan.

The boy confessed (only after his parents started to suspect) that he saw an internet advertisement offering cash for kidney. Somehow the Great Firewall of China, which blocks out even the most innocent words so efficiently, allowed such ads to roam free.

But why did he need the money so desperately? Not to save his parents, or any other real emergencies as you might be thinking.

He bought an iPad 2.

When a 17-year-old believes a tablet is more important than his kidney, it is an alarm that something is seriously wrong with the society.

I know China is highly materialistic these days but this is really too far. If some gadget can drive a teenager to hurt himself like that, then it can probably also cause someone to hurt others. At least the boy kept the damage to himself. No, what about his parents?

Let’s hope he can live well with just one kidney and never has to use the Dialysis Apps.

打九九九浪費警力記

今晚,發生了一段小插曲。

晚上九時四十五分左右,家人突然看見對面山上有閃光。起初,我們只是覺得奇怪,後來見燈光在固定位置持續閃了五分鐘,才想起可能有行山人士被困,正在打信號燈求救。雖然無法確定是否真的有人遇險,但救人的事寧可信其有。於是,我們決定報警。

報警後大約十分鐘,一隊三人的消防員便到了我家,從露台觀察閃燈的位置。不久,另一隊消防員也到達(原來之前已有其他人報案,所以前後有兩隊消防員)。最後,管理處人員和警察也上來了。

然而就在消防員過來期間,那燈光開始沿山坡向下移。到第一隊消防員到達時,燈光已經過了山腰。最後,我們十幾個人就看著那手持電筒的人,慢慢走到山下的馬路,安全離去。吹漲。

幸好,只是虛驚一場。

起初還擔心會被指亂報警。不過,那些消防員和警員一直相當認真和有禮。記得有一次,在地鐵站看見有人滑倒受傷,也是很快便有警員和救護員等一整隊人馬到達,可見早已有周詳的應急方案和嚴謹機制。這背後是對人命的重視,與鄰近地區的草率馬虎迴異。

至於那山上的人兄到底在做甚麼,無從知曉。不過,他多數不知道人家為了他,勞師動眾了一番。總之經過今次後,我覺得還是不要行夜山的好,一來這活動本身危險,二來萬一讓我這種好事之徒看見,說不定又會引起甚麼誤會!

Brownies

Not the chocolately dessert. I’m talking about brown-banded cockroaches, disgusting critters that began populating my kitchen about two months ago. These are small cockroaches. The adults are a little bit over 1cm, while the babies can be smaller than a sesame.

They’re very hard to catch because of their superb alertness and agility. One slight movement of your hand is all it takes to send it darting into the nearest gap, even if you’re at a considerable distance. The adult males are an even bigger problem, because they can fly. I should have played more badminton.

The infestation reached a peak in May when there were so many of them that I could easily kill more than a dozen every night. On the positive side, though, it was a perfect training for hand-eye coordination.

Worse, they had expanded to the living room. Something must be done before they invade our beds.

So we turned the whole kitchen around. We dragged out the refrigerator and sanitized the space behind it. We cleaned every surface, sprayed every gap with insecticide, and poured bleach into every drainage outlet. We also mined the place with roach baits. That quickly reduced their presence to the occasional one adult or two.

And now, not a single brownie has been seen for two straight weeks.

Silver Cross Pub, London

I was having lunch with my dad when I noticed this girl sitting by the window. The light brightened her face, which formed a beautiful contrast with the pub’s dim interior. I knew I had spotted a good photo opportunity.

She was sitting at the far end of the room, so I had to exhaust the digital zoom of my camera. As a result the photo is a bit blurry and grainy, but in this case I think it adds to the atmosphere.

I like how the light highlights the tips of her hair.