I want “Hebckoe”, NO “Kronenbourg” and NO “Paulaner”

I had a bad time ordering the Russian beer “Hebckoe” (pronounced Nevskoe)  in the hotel in Russia.

The problem is they don’t want to serve it to me (Chinese) but happily serve it to my colleagues (English & Czech)

So I complained to the General Manager of the Hotel via email who is German I believed.

Our Emails are attached below. (I have disguise  the name of the hotel and chain but there is only one westernised hotel in Novgorod!)

From me to him

Hi Benjamin,

I recently stayed at the Veliky Novgorod Hotel for my business trip

I was very surprised at a number of occasion that the staff at the lobby bar has refused to serve me the Russian beer “Hebckoe” instead I was offered the other beer Kronenbourg.

I was made aware that they don’t have Hebckoe and Kronenbourg is the only one they have.

But I was more surprise when my two European colleagues who had no problem of ordering the Hebckoe beer from the lobby bar and sometime even at the table when I was present.

I feel very disappointed and somewhat discriminated against.

I wouldn’t have even mind if they charge me a higher price for the Hebckoe beer because we prefer the taste compared with Kronenbourg.

Overall I was happy with my stay but certainly leave me with a bad memory of this negative experience.

I hope you can respond and clarify this is not a common practice at your hotel.

Many Thanks


His respond – I am disappointed that I didn’t get a free room, but he joins in and try to sell me another German Beer! Did he get the message – I want Hebckoe!!!

Dear Simon,

First of all thank you very much for sharing your experiences with me.

Please accept my personal and deepest apologies for the behavior of my staff and be ensured that I take the situation very serious.

Be ensured that your experience is not the regular standard that the PI Veliky Novgorod nor any other PI Hotel usually delivers.

We are in process to convert and rebrand the Hotel into an international standard delivering property.

Not only the hard ware like rooms and public areas are going to be changed step by step. The focus is also to train, teach and educate the employees.

The philosophy of PI is to hire attitude and to train skills. The Yes, I can attitude must be an essential characteristic for all personal that wants to work with us.

Dear  Simon, we have had development dialogues with our employees and have identified those that are capable to be part of the PI team in the future and will stay with us after 20 years of local management.

The process has started and will continue.

Could you please let me know when you plan to visit the PI Veliky Novgorod in the future.

I would like to meet you personally and show you the improvements we have done so far.

As of Monday we are also serving original Paulaner beer. (Simon: Paulaner is German!!! I want Hebckoe!) It would be a great pleasure for me to invite you also into the beerstube and show you that we are hosts as we can be expected to be.

Best regards


Ng – caught (Gin) bowled (Tonic)

I was at the one day international cricket match between England and Australia a day before my birthday.

The ticket was £45, and to be very honest, I didn’t really see much.

Not because we play rubbish or anything I got drunk and when I get drunk I go to sleep.

I went with my school mate Anthony and his friends. I join them for their gin and tonic picnic.

My breakfast was a pint and then I used the pint glass for a series of super large gin and tonics.

I don’t recall alot, saw Pointing got stumped (the 2nd wicket) and then headed down to the loo.

I sat near the wheelie bins afterward to be feeling very sick…

But I remember a lovely lady gave me a bottle of water. Because it was the hottest day of the year.

She thought I was dehydrated. Thank you for your kindness…

I got taken to first aid, I simply went to sleep there.

It was also when England played Germany in the world cup. Anthony picked me up from first aid on his way to catch the football game. I got myself on to a taxi shortly after leaving the ground. I went home, slept and even missed the football match (still have not watch it seen and actually I am glad I didn’t)

Slept and Slept until Helen came round and took care of me.

Sorry I didn’t even eat the lovely lunch box she made for me. To this day I still hunting for the person who ate my lunch box.

So there you go. I got drunk at the cricket big time, pint of g&t is not a very good idea on a empty stomach and such a hot day.

In fact, I am a bit scared of alcohol now…

know your limit and take care of yourselves and each other.


An hour early

“An hour early” was a form of birthday present at my Boarding School. It was not really a present; it was more like a plank!

This involved changing his clocks, watches to an hour early while he is fast at sleep. So he would get up an hour early!

I don’t know if this still exist amongst modern boarding schools but this is a classic.

Of course I did get the same treatment. But I made them work hard! As in those days I never took off my watch, so it wasn’t easy for them to change the time on my watch without waking me up.

So they did, and so I did wake up at an hour early. While I was getting dress and ready for Breakfast, I was surprised that no one was up, everyone was still asleep. I turned on the radio a little to find out that I have been done. My roommates were pretending to be sleeping and started to laugh at me.

I said “You bast@rds!”, before I burst out laughing too!

I know I soon be another year older. Although I don’t have any roommates, but this morning the time on my alarm clock was set to an hour early. It must be me during my sleep! As I was about to leave the flat, I noticed the real time from another clock. I was done… by myself!

Happy Birthday to myself then, my inner self send me a present, thank you! LOL!

It means that I am at work an hour early, so I am finishing early, after all its date night on Monday nights!

Take Care

Simple Simon Happy Day

WoW! This is my 200 Blog Posts…

I am “Simple”, I am “Simon”, I am “Happy” and this was my “Day” today.

7:00am – Woke Up

7:15am – Got Up – Put my work face on and my HAIR up at a cool but looking professional angle

7:30am – Wondering around my flat to get myself more woken up

7:35am – Got dress, picked a tie!

7:40am – Left the flat, took the lift to the car park

7:42am – In the car, setup the TomTom, picked an album (Escala was today’s pick)

7:45am – On route to site

8:00am – Humming inside the car along the motorway, hurray! no traffic was stopping me today…

8:30am – Arriving on site, what a lovely sunny spring day…above the GIANT chimney…

8:45am – Met up with my manager

8:55am – Got kitted up, safety boots, hard hat, safety specs, big yellow jacket…

9:00am – Met the client

10:00am – Meeting over then went around for the site tour

10:30am – Breathing in and eating wood dust

11:00am – More breathing in and eating wood dust but now enjoying it!

12:30am – Lunch – Thank god, they ran out of “Wood” Chips.

12:35am – Talked Football

12:45am – Talked Chinese New Year

12:55am – Talked Hong Kong

13:00am – Talked Climate Change & Work

13:30am – Proper engineers’ discussions

14:00pm – More of above

15:00pm – More of above

16:00pm – More of above

16:45pm – Got into car, stayed in the car, first Tweeted then returned missed calls and voicemails, then checked emails

17:15pm – Drove off back to the office

18:00pm – Arrived at the office, my-happy-self said “GOOD MORNING” to people who were still there *joke*

18:05pm – A colleague said “He was worried by the cleaner’s ringtone last night when he was the last  one in with him. It sounded much like those religious music!”

18:06pm – Simon said “Don’t worry about it, but if he takes out a video camera with a tripod and some black curtains then run for your life!” Cracking up haha…

18:15pm – Got changed into my football kit sporting the Arsenal colours

18:30pm – Drove off to the football place

19:00pm – Kick off, started in goal – of course!

19:02pm – First Save

19:05pm – Second Save

19:07pm – Third Save

19:10pm – Fourth Save – lost count then…

19:15pm – Swapped and played outfield

19:20pm – Bad dribbling

19:25pm – More Bad dribbling

19:30pm – More Bad dribbling

19:40pm – Dribbled pass one, shaped to go left but went right, saw a gap to bottom right corner, curved the shot around a player and the goalie in the tight bottom corner GOOOAAAAALLLLLLLLLLLLL (it was a good goal but very much dramatised by my words…heh!)

20:00pm – Game Over, said Goodbyes, drove home…

20:25pm – Got home, checked facebook, twitter, skype, emails

21:00pm – Dinner – just made something quick…

21:30pm – Writing this blog

22:00pm – Publishing this blog

22:30pm – Getting ready for bed

23:00pm – Updating this blog and checking my loudsy spellings and grammar.

23:30pm – Will be reflecting on a good day, feeling happy and smiling to myself

00:00am – Sleep & will be having a dream or two…(greedy me…)

Can a human video recorder be in “Heores”?

I am talking about my memory skill. Is it a skill or a ability? Is it Nature or Nurture?

Unfortunately I don’t have the answers. Nor I believe that I can be a character in Heroes. I mean what use would I be, I rather be Matt and read minds than collect vivid past memories in my head.

There are three things that I believed to have contribute to my so called “ability”

  1. I have a larger than normal head size. In side that large head, I have a larger size brain!
  2. When I was a child, my mum always reminded me that I was not as bright as others and therefore had to work ten time as hard to be on par.
  3. I had a very high temperature fever when I was young. Went to hospital and subsequently had to carry out a series of brain scans and monitoring to check if I had brain damage or not.

You might think that this is a good ability to have. Well let me tell you, there are disadvantages too.

I remember most times when jokes are on me. Mistakes that I have made. All the lack of courage moments when comes to talk to the opposite sex. Failures at school, uni and work. Any sporting disappointments and other other embarrassment. Over the years, I have learnt to suppress the negative memories and only bring out the positive ones for my blog.

Sometime I feel like an old man telling tales but my ability is still improving. There are still loads of space left in my human video recorder! Yes that’s what I am – a human video recorder, on continuous recording mode!

So you have be warned, if you tell me or show me something, I will most definitely remember that for LIFE!

But here I am living to find even more exciting, interesting, defining moment to treasure. Who wants to be in my video tape?

Stories of The Ryan House Four Tigers

This year is the year of Tiger, it reminds me of “The Ryan House Four Tigers”

Ryan House was the name of the student block of flats that I have stayed with three others during my 2nd year at Uni. It is located on Cavendish Street in Hulme. The three other Tigers were Adam, Edward and Pedro.

The beginning

Edward and Adam were my fellow hallmates of mine at Weston Hall during the 1st year. I got to know them through playing Basketball. Pedro is Edward’s coursemate and he also tagged along to play basketball too. Needed to find a place to stay for the 2nd year, I was open to a few options. I was going to rent a place with my coursemate Lester but needing to find others to make up the number for a house shared. A fellow UMIST football teammates & ChemEnger also asked me to join his houseshare in Didsbury. Well I took the third option when Edward asked me whether I would like to join them. Edward, Adam and Pedro were looking together and have found this new build private student hall. All they were missing was me the fourth person to make up the number for the flat. So I joined them and Ryan House.

Ryan House

Ryan House was privately owned. It was going to be built just in time for us to move in. It was charging £60 per week similar to that for Weston Hall. We were at Flat 7 on the third floor. Not surprisingly there were alot of South East Asian students too. The flat opposite also came from Hong Kong but study at University of Manchester. The flat above was Singaporeans and the flat below was Malaysians. One of the attraction was the claim that Ryan House will have an internet link with the University similar to University halls like Weston. But this claim never came true, so slow death dialup it was then. The guy who owned the building didn’t really have alot of experience of running a student hall. They splashed out on new Ikea furniture everywhere. One mistake was he didn’t bring in comerical coin-operated washing machines and dryers. He just installed normal domestic ones. This meant that there was no way of recharging us the students. So hurray for free laundry!

Cooking Roster

We had a cooking roster. That was the fun part of living together that year. Pedro didn’t really want to think about cooking so he volunteered to do the washing up (everyday that is!). So the cooking roster was between us the other three. Basically we rotated to cook for everyone. Proper Chinese dinner that is, no oven or microwave rubbish! We were quite traditional in that sense, having RICE everyday!!! There would normally be three dishes, two meat ones and one veg. Funny enough we had our own different style, so dinner was never dull.

Edward’s style was “Choppy”. He chopped and cooked everything in small chunks and bites.

Adam like Chinese style steam water-egg and other very homie dishes.

Not surprisingly I was the extravangant cook who would try anything and was also the messy one!

We normally finished Uni at around 4/5ish and would come home to cook. I don’t think many other people did it like us. But religiously it went on throughout that year.

Weekly Supermarket

Our local supermarket was Asda in Hulme. It was about 20 minutes walk from our place. Again we would religiously go together during the weekend. We would take out two trolleys one for shared food and one for personal stuff. It is normally the case that Pedro and I were buying too much for our own personal indulgence. Edward has to in many occasions stop us the children!

We would then wait for a taxi to take us back. When we got back I would be the one to interpret the receipt and we would work out who owes money to who etc. We kept a noticeboard in the lounge for tracking our debts.

Dinner Time TV

Although there was no fast internet, the owner of the hall was kind enough to set us up with then called ON Digital. They funded the basic package but we had upgraded to get the Sky Sports channels. I remember one period we were watching Dragon Ball Z on cartoon networks, then series of Friends, NBA basketballs and football of course. Adam being a ManU fan, Edward is a Liverpool fan and me the Gooner!

Weekly Basketball

Every Saturday morning we all went to play basketball together at Sugden Sports Centre. And again we had our own different style of play too. Adam’s Jordan fadeaway, Edward’s all round brilliance, Pedro the unorthodox and me the big slow shooting rather than layup centre.

Rubbish & Micky Mouse

I was lucky that day when it was my turn to cook. So I watch the event unfolded from upstairs. There were a big pile of rubbish building up because other flats were not dumping rubbish properly into the bins. They just trunked out onto the backyard. We the sensible lot put up a notice to ask everyone to join in and clear the rubbish. Unsurprisingly no one came other than ourselves. With me watching on from upstairs’ window, Adam, Edward and Pedro went about clearing the rubbish. They form a human line and started to transfer the rubbish bags into the big bins. After a few bags were removed. A frightened Micky Mouse dashed out. He first bumped into Edward’s right foot then bounced on to this left before going through his legs and ran towards Adam. Who was then shouting “Mouse Mouse Mouse!” in a shocking voice and jumped immediately onto one of the concrete pillars. I was have the best of time watching from above. The mission was then abandoned and we reported it to the managing agent. They got a professional guy out and murdered Micky. As a lesson for our fellow residents, Micky was hanged on the wall immediately behind the back door to reminder others. Well it definitely reminded Adam & Edward for a second time. When they took the rubbish down and were shocked to see the hanging Micky clearly displayed in front of their faces. I would definitely have nightmares if I was one of them.

There were many other memorable stories but I will keep them until the next time.

Take Care of yourself and each other


Jimmy’s Kindergarden

It was a trend to send your child to kindergarden/pre-school and still is.

From the age of 3 to 5, I attended Jimmy’s Kindergarden in Aberdeen, Hong Kong. Believe me, I still have a lot of memories, even though it is more than 25yrs ago. I will try to give you some highlights.

For a start, my name is Ka Man Ng. I hated the name when I was young. Here was one of the reasons why.

There was a girl in the same class as me with the same name Ka Man Ng, although the Chinese character was different, but the pronouniation was the same and therefore the English name was spelt the same. Yes my name sounded girly in Cantonese! Please give me a break.

Aside from name calling, in those days you scribble and draw alot. I was rubbish really at either. I was already a funsionist (see previous post) by then, I once stuck a canyon into a pot of glue to see what happen. I was told off very loudly and the teacher told my mum afterward, bad times.

I was already a Chemical Engineer back then, mixing the dye into the glue to create colour glue! or the other way around to make sticky ink! There was nothing wrong about trying to be creative.

I remember my favourite toy was the plastic cash till machine, when you pressed the button the draw came out. chi ching.

So when will I have a shop then! Not anytime soon…

The highlight of the year was when Uncle McDonald from yes the “McDonald’s” came by and visited. Brainwashing the kids to like junk food, not on really. But it was really the best time, you get free burgers, some lucky ones.

I was really thick back then, stupid and dumb. I was so quiet the teacher thinks I am a crazy child, also given that I stick things in glue, not normal apparently. What do they know!

Next time when I am back in HK, I will dig out some photos if they are not too embarrassing.

Any other Jimmy’s out there, it is a very small world you know.

Link on google map: