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.











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.