Straighten up and fly right...


There’s a scene from “The Aviator” where Leonardo DeCaprio playing billionaire Howard Hughes has let everything get the better of him and surrendered to whatever is attacking his mind and retreated into his cocoon. It’s a cocoon comprising paranoia, boxes of tissues, and severe obsessive-compulsive behaviour.

Being equally obsessed with the life of Howard Hughes, and probably having read about him more than I should have and studied documentaries on his life, this is how I am starting to see many with whom I am in contact with in today’s upside down world that is Hong Kong.


While the rest of the world has decided that it’s time to learn to live with this chameleonic variant as there’s a need to get back to enjoying life and letting the sunshine in, in Hong Kong, common sense and the ability to think things through are slip sliding away.



Maybe social media has something to do with it as so many are on Information Overload and going nowhere.


Frankly, I sometimes feel a bit like Dorothy Gale in “The Wizard Of Oz” who clicks the heels of her magical red ruby slippers that are shoes, closes her eyes, wishes and repeats the line, “There is no place like home” and is suddenly back in her home in Kansas with her dog Toto.

The difference between Dorothy and Toto and myself is that I am stuck where I am knowing that even if I had red ruby magical slippers and clicked them together and wished like crazy to be somewhere else, I will wake up to go through another Groundhog Day with Bill Murray.


You see, children, maybe there’s no magic in Hong Kong these days.


Good friends who had so much to offer have left for one reason or another whereas I am a prisoner here of my own devices, perhaps by having ignored the early warning signs, but mainly through a shortage of flights outta this place that’s been my home since I was nine years old.


The real Hong Kong has flown away and is starting up again somewhere else where there’s music and rainbow coloured unicorns good vibes and fabulous looking naked women dancing around and reciting poetry while pouring the nectar of the Gods into waiting mouths. So I hear, anyway.


Back here, the renamed Gnok Gnoh, there’s no dancing, no music, no poetry, no naked women except for those better seen clothed, and no nothing but only the Hammer Of The Gods and the Wicked Witch Of The East coming down hard on minds already bent outta shape by almost three years of trying to escape the relentless negativity of the mysterious Dr Stress and the Stresstones.

The once vibrant and positive Gnok Gnoh is today a confusing and growing blob of fear and confusion with priorities reduced to chubby little checkered dumplings.


There’s suddenly been an alarming lack of that thing called Common Sense. Instead, there’s a herd instinct in place who take orders from daily updates coming from Big Sista.


2022 has become George Orwell’s “1984” and Big Brother or Big Mama has Big Sista to do her bidding. This bidding is not an auction because once wealthy Gnok Gnoh has become emotionally bankrupt and happy to be drowning in a sea of unhappiness and panic and every kind of fear along with some new ones.

So what’s there to do? Nothing much because there’s no one left with those things called- you know- ideas. And a point.


Whereas in Harry Nilsson’s wonderful little parable called The Point, the round headed Oblio with the faithful Arrow by his side learned that having a point is pointless, in Gnok Gnoh, no one even has a point while, instead of everything being pointless, everything has become meaningless.

It’s talking to blank faces because nothing is being absorbed. There are set orders and which everyone is unhappy enough to obey and go down the same path to nowhere without thinking.


This isn’t Oz, and there isn’t any Wizard. Just people running around grabbing anything they can and happy with nothing that really matters.


This is what the confused Big Sista is selling: Nada which, like Ganga, is highly addictive and like that Pink Floyd track makes everyone comfortably numb and nowhere people.

The rest of the world laughs at them, but they don’t care because, again, nothing matters, everybody hurts and, like The Joker said to the Thief, there’s no way outta here.

Gnok Gnoh needs someone like DJ El Toro and his good vibes. But what could he do in 2022 that would be relevant?

Well, there’s no time limit to good vibes and good times and getting down with Le Freak and Love’s Theme.


Overnight, Gnok Gnoh could become Hong Kong again with the hills and the Peak and Kowloon and Hong Kong filled with the sounds of the Eighties and the city becoming one big disco ball. And Big Sista became Sister Sledge singing “We Are Family”.


We can dream, can’t we? Or swim against the tide.


Copyright © Hans Ebert


#hongkong #gnokgnoh #howardhughes #dorothygale #djeltoro #goodvibes #wearefamily #1984 #hansebert

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