After 10 years of self-imposed exile in the United States, I recently returned home to Hong Kong, ready to tackle whatever the city could throw at me. It duly obliged by depositing a fat dollop of slimy water on my face from on high.

There was no way this splodge of precipitation could be confused with rain: Chinese profanities uttered, I quickly realised that the problem of dripping air conditioners had remained unresolved during my absence.

The idea that these drips are "just water" is one that Hong Kong residents will rubbish in a moment. In fact, much of the time we're not even sure that it's water at all. The icky feel-ing it leaves is akin to that of a worm wriggling down your back and, this being Hong Kong, there's little reason to discount that possibility without checking.

With most locals having grown immune to the drip, drip of superannuated contraptions, the government has shown little appetite for tackling the issue. Granted it is an offence to own a faulty air-con unit and, in theory, offenders should be fined, but as the law is not enforced, here we are years down the line still dodging the gunk.