Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Photographs of women

I got home last night to find that somebody had been taping photographs of vacant looking women, wearing vey few clothes, to the walls of our building's reception area. Some of them were wearing swimsuits and glowering out, some of them were covering their nipples with their hands, and some of them had geometric shapes handily censoring bits of their body, but no clothes at all.

All of them looked either dissatisfied with their lot (the life of a woman consigned to have badly reproduced photos of her in a bikini taped to a wall is clearly not a joyous one) or grinning manically (having triangles superimposed on your breasts tickles, apparently). Nipple/hand lady looked baffled.

I was somewhat taken aback by this. There have been various poor interior decoration decisions taken by our building's management company. There was the not bothering to do anything about the boarded-up front entrance for a month. There was the Seventies fake-walnut-veneer that was eventually applied to the walls of the entrance way. There was the fortnightly installation of a new set of wooden slats in front of the air conditioning units, followed by the fortnightly tearing out of the wooden slats, an apparent prerequisite when regrouting some tiles twenty feet away from the air conditioning. Not to mention the ongoing saga of the reappearing doorman's desk, which keeps changing shape and size and existence every few days, or the hanging wires where nobody seems to want to finish installing ceiling lights, or the super-fabulous LED lights in the glass door to make the entrance hall look like the start of a disco. A disco with exposed wiring and seventies fake-walnut veneer.

But they'd never tried sticking bits of low-quality soft porn to the walls before. In the past, did hadn't struck me as the kind of omission that was worth refusing to pay the rent over. Had there been complaints? Did the other residents feel there was a certain absence of dead-eyed ladies with few clothes that required immediate rectification? (The absence, that is. I don't know what a woman requiring immediate rectification looks like, but I bet it's rude.)

Then I realised, it wasn't badly printed soft-porn after all, it was pages from a Chinese language newspaper. Which was basically badly printed soft-porn, in broadsheet format, and it wasn't there for our edification, it was to protect the fake-walnut veneer while they painted the ceiling.

I don't often read Chinese newspapers, because I can't read Chinese, so I'd have to make do with looking at the pictures, and if I wanted to spend all day looking at dead-eyed women without many clothes on, there's enough adverts in the MTR for scientific slimming programmes that I wouldn't need to pay.

(I do get one of my local Hong Kong co-workers to read to me from Apple Daily, which combines rubbish computer generated images of recent news stories with photographs of men in suits holding bowls, but although the foreign news section is leavened by one photo-per-page of a woman in hot-pants/bikini/bikini and hot-pants, there's never whole pages filled with grumpy ladies with inadequate wardobes.

In broadsheet format, which fails to confer any gravitas to the situation.)

But I don't think I can approach anyone in the office and ask "which is the newspaper which is full of pictures of women wearing less than a smile" without getting into disciplinary proceedings, so I may never discover what newspaper the workmen have been reading.

What a pity.


Minnie Bus said...

Actually you have to pay for the slimming ads (sometimes) because they can be in the paid area. Just saying.

Mr Cushtie said...

A valid point, Ms Bus, but I prefer the ones in the free area - in Central you get the Doggie Love one (or whatever woman-in-bikini-bottoms-and-large-Japanese-white-dog is advertising) and Tin Hau is plastered with Dr Face and Unfeasible Breast/Caring Boyfriend With Jacket ads, which is more than enough to provide my fix of slimming ads. Of course, that may not be enough for those with more recherche tastes

Minnie Bus said...

Bikini bottom + large white dog is the outfit of the season I'll have you know. Ignore the wannabes with their short skirts + medium brown yaks.

Mr Cushtie said...

I'm so ashamed of myself.

Partly for searching for 'Le Rivoli' on Facebook, and partly for discovering that bikini bottom + large white dog is only the latest in an ongoing series of pseudo-model-canine hook-ups. Check the terrifying miniature poodle if you dare...

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