Trouble in Hong Kong…

an outsider's perspective of hong kong

Archive for March 2010

no, i don’t have any investing tips

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jesus christ people, for the last time i did not ask jim rogers for any tips and i don’t know what he is investing in. seriously, when i ask him to teach me, i wanted to do it the hard way because in life there is no point with someone giving you a fish a day when you should learn to fish for yourself.

if i had asked him for tips, it would be an insult to him. i don’t have any tips for you  but i can tell you this, he is 68 years old, he got off the plane with a stack of newspapers in his hand. when i showed him how he can now read financial times, bloomberg, awj on the iphone, he offered to trade his blackberry for my iphone( sorry rim, your technology is so passe) the man reads and observes – loads. and think about it, he was picking cans to sell at the age of 5. what were you doing? i was climbing trees, playing badminton with my neighbors and cycling. so does it surprise you he is more successful than you and me? the answer is no, he worked hard, he never took no for an answer and he lives his life seeking to learn new things.

and seriously, you do not need to ask mr. rogers how commodities will fare. as i was at the gym this evening, two ladies( they are cleaners) were chatting and they said that the prices of meat went up 50%. stop hanging out with people who earns only 200k a month, they won’t know. ask people who earns less than 10k a month. they can tell you how real inflation is and stop having your nose buried in your game consoles, the world is trying to teach you something. just open your heart to it.

by the way, mr. steve jobs please send mr. rogers an iphone and have one of your glorious mac genies teach him how to use . do it before eric schmidt does it – because you know what after seeing the android ( man the screen is so beautiful) i am now lusting for it.


Written by smalltroubleinhk

March 31, 2010 at 2:40 pm

how i met jim rogers

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a couple of weeks ago i read this book  by jim rogers – a gift to my children: – a father’s lessons for life and investing. the book had such a profound effect on me that i read it twice. after a day i still had many of jim’s words stuck in my head. i said to my husband, i am going to write jim an e-mail.

for those of you who do not know jim rogers  – he is an investing legend. unlike warren buffett, jim had retired at the age of 37, went around the world a few times – first time on a motorbike and second time in a specially modified Mercedes with his wife paige. he is the bona fide indiana jones. the thing i like most about jim’s investing style is the fact that before he invests in something – he goes and sees it ( doesn’t get more real than that)

i stayed up many hours that night drafting that e-mail. i wrote it again and again and went to bed. the next morning, i called a friend of mine who is the head of m&a in a very big financial institution and i asked him” do you think jim rogers will reply  me?”. he said – you have job offers waiting for you, stop chasing after  a pipe dream”.

i said – i thanked him, i said f**k you and hung up.

before i sent out the e-mail to him, i typed in the last line – i hope my mail finds a way to reach you.

honestly, i was so scared of hoping because like many people, our hopes have been dashed before. somehow at the back of our heads, we don’t really believe in luck, in life anymore. maybe the older you get, the more jaded you’d become.

on the same day, at approximately 5 in the evening, a popped up – it says James Rogers. i held my breath because i thought it a pr representative mailing me back- thanking me for buying his book.

it says thank you for your terrific e-mail. i will be in hk between ( dates) at this (hotel), we could meet for a minute if you like.

at that minute, i started to cry. i guess sometimes, dreams do come true.

a few days prior to his arrival, he asked me to meet him at the airport so that we could ride to town together because he had a busy schedule. you know what, he is a funny man. he told me to hold up his name and his book. i really don’t see the point because i know how he looked like and i was worried about attracting far too much attention.

anyways, a car ride with jim rogers is one you wished it will never end. you will learn so much from just one car ride. i asked him his permission to write to him once a week with questions i have ( i hope i don’t kill him because i have so many)

i sincerely hope that happy and baby bee his two girls will learn from him because his mind and his zest for life are just  the richest things about him.

thank you jim !!!

to all my friends and people who may read this – sometimes in life, there are so many people who try and dissuade you and tell you that life don’t work that way – you know what, life has no formula. you make your own formula. use your heart to guide you – it never lies and dream big  because you know you deserve better. i know i do.

too old to be a groupie - i mean me not jim

it says - nat, life is short, ride hard and far...make it happen jim rogers. so jim from an investor p.o.v. - is this going to go up in value someday?

and i told him to dedicate this to jake my godson - its says jake listen to your parents and your godmother

Written by smalltroubleinhk

March 30, 2010 at 3:58 pm

his royal highness – prince of white flower oil

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there is a very special hong konger that i like to thank and talk about because when i first moved to hong kong, this man had provided me with so much entertainment.

he is none other than stephen gan fock wai (顏福偉) the heir to the white flower oil empire. white flower oil is a form of medicated oil that is used to relief headaches, nose blocks and almost everything else. it is as ubiquitous as panadol in chinese households. apparently when my husband was young, whenever he complained of a tooth ache, his mother would ask him to apply the oilment on the tooth ( goodness!!) i am not being bold when i make the claim that almost every chinese household has a bottle of this miracle medicine ( yes including mine) and that made the gan family very rich.

stephen gan was ceo of the white flower oil empire till a sex scandal toppled him in 2008. apparently he had molested a taxi driver while he was drunk – you can read about it in a news report i found – prince of white flower oil admits fondling cabbie

the most amazing thing about prince stephen is not this sex scandal. it is the fact that he is also an aspiring singer albeit not a very good one. he has more than 8 albums under his belt and if you think paris hilton loves the limelight – prince stephen LOVES it even more.

until his run in with the law, he was in all of white flower oil’s tv commercials. he even sang all the songs. let me show you a few

this is the english version of keep us together

and you can watch the cantonese version of keep us together. don’t you find this concept of using the white flower oil as a shuttlecock scary?

this is my favorite – it’s called the white flower oil dance. i love this so much and that there was a point my colleague erica and i would sing this at the office everyday and dance as well.

i really miss prince stephen but you know what, he is back with a new song call go!go!go!

you go prince stephen! oh by the way, i have been doing my due diligence – if you work for the white flower corporation, prince stephen performs every year at their annual dinner and you will also get a free copy of his album. can i get an invitation?

sigh – the best thing about being rich if you can use it to finance your dream. who cares what other people think or say right?  go, stephen!!!

by the way, i still question his action of molesting a cabbie – because till now i haven’t found any cab driver worth molesting.

Written by smalltroubleinhk

March 27, 2010 at 10:35 am

sad movies always made grandma cry…….

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grandma and i watched a lot of tv together when i was young ( sometimes i miss her so much, i wished there was a medicine i could eat to take away the pain of just missing her) she was a real softie and she often cried  over sad movies.

she always said that – “when you grow older, you cry a lot more because you relate better to different types of emotions”.

it never made sense to me till lately.

i cry a lot these days but it’s not tears of sadness. most of the time, i cry because i get really really overwhelmed. i was watching eason chen’s concert the other day and i cried. i have never cried at a concert before but i did. that wave of emotions that i felt really shocked me.

i have to try and explain to you why i cried. i thought about his story – eason’s dad had wanted him to be an architect and right before his final exam, he took a flight home and he took part in a talent show. like they say, the rest is really history.

when you see eason on stage, there was no way in hell he could have been an architect. he loved performing so much. when he closed his eyes and sang, you know eason had found his reason for being.

when i left my job last month, i made a list of things i wanted to do – things i have always wanted – i can’t tell you how happy i have been lately. i have always believed that when you open your heart for change, somehow; stars will align. somehow, somewhere. somehow, lately i have only been meeting wonderful people who found their reason of being and that really overwhelms me.

i have noticed things i have never noticed before until recently.

a day before i came back to hong kong, i went to grandma’s grave to visit her. i went for a walk after that. like i say, i like stories about people. when you a living person amongst the dead, you will realize what you have that they don’t – these people are the past  because i do not ascribe myself to the belief that there is an after life – i f***king want to live my life like as though there is none. i did a general calculation in my head – the average person live 60 years ( with the general improvement of healthcare, i’d say i can push the median to about 65- 70) that is all we have and i am already 31 years old – halfway there.

i don’t want to waste time. when i die someday, please just don’t let me die with someone delivering my eulogy and telling the world – “oh she was a nice girl”. that is my nightmare. i want to be known as someone who lived as honestly as possible, when i say honestly – i mean, i am being honest to myself. i just want to find my reason for being. i know what is my reason for being and i hope you find yours too.

if you wondered why i am more like a boy than a girl - i grew up with boys

Written by smalltroubleinhk

March 25, 2010 at 2:21 pm

leng jai – where is my dim sum?

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someday if i ever had the chance to lead a business development team again, i will conduct all of my interviews at lin heung. i want to devise this game for the people i interview because i am telling you, lin heung has the perfect ecosystem to :-

a.) test a sales person’s endurance  and ability to hunt for sales

b.) observation skills ( which is very important because most sales people talk more nonsense than actually listening to what their  clients’ requirement)

c.) creativity ( you need creativity to get the best dim sums)

lin heung is one of last remaining HK style dim sum restaurants with push carts, waiters with really bad attitude but business is still really good ( try going there for lunch and you will know what I mean)

the reason is simple – the food is just so good and cheap.

i really need to give you a survival guide to lin heung. when you walk into lin heung first and foremost, you need to observe where the carts are coming out from. they come out from this little corner on the left, so try and get a seat closest to ground zero.

everything i have tasted at lin heung is pretty good so i don’t really have a list of recommendations for you but one thing you must really try is the custard cake.

with all this fighting for dim sum action; i realized the best way to get the best dim sum is to make friends with the waiters. so don’t let their shit attitude impede you.just call them LLLLLLLEEEEENNNGG JAIIIIII ( handsome) and by the way, in HK they don’t really have to be all that leng jai for you to call them that but please look like you mean it when you say it.

my prized - custard cake!!!! i am like a kid on christmas morning!!! all mine all mine!!!!!!!

yum yum!!!

dim sum snatching action

i really love the nostalgic old dim sum house atmosphere

when do you know food is good? just look at the love affair. nothing comes between you and the food

seriously - if you can't read chinese, you look at what people are eating, that is the best yardstick to gauge what is good at a restaurant

the damage is done

to go to lin heung160- 164 wellington street ( they open every day except the first three days of chinese new year) bless them, they are really very hardworking people.

Written by smalltroubleinhk

March 25, 2010 at 6:27 am

wing lee street – remnants of the past

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there is a thai lady who lives on the second floor in my apartment building and i go to her regularly for massages. she gives the best massage in the world. as it turns out, she was born in a village less than a 1000 kilometers from the border of malaysia. till she was about 20, her little village had no electricity and many of the girls either turn out to be masseurs or prostitutes.

i don’t know about you but have you thought about where you are born and the options you are then given in life? i think a lot about these things. i think about how possibly f**ked up my life could be if i was born a little more north, or i was born in saudi arabia or north korea or even somalia. perhaps you can argue with me and tell me that what do you not have, you will never know what you are missing out. maybe..

people have asked me why is a foreigner writing about hong kong. i can tell you; people of hong kong are some of the world’s luckiest people in the world but some of the saddest too because they want so much, too much as a matter of fact.maybe you too need a foreigner to remind you that – we all need to feel a tad bit of appreciation for the things we have. i need to remind myself that too because i too could have been born a 1000 kilometers more north and walking the streets of bangkok without knowing about the other options in life.

went for a little walk  with hubby to wing lee street – the street where they filmed echoes of the rainbow yesterday.

to go to wing lee street, go to hollywood road at the side of man mo temple

finally wing lee street has been saved from demolition

if echoes of the rainbow hadn't been such a major success, do you think the voices of the people will be heard?

direct translation - save wing lee street

apparently wing lee street has one of the last remaining intact row of tong laus ( old shop lots)

although it is saved the people living there still has to fork out for its maintenance

i enjoy taking photos at a close up angle

lock and keyhole. wonder how many different families have lived here throughout the years

the people living there must find it so noisy these days because taking photos on wing lee street is apparently the in- thing to do in hong kong.. poor thing

i love this picture!!!

this building is so old - weeds are growing on the window ledge. but it's kinda charming

beautiful beautiful texture..

strong tree, strong roots

in every city.. no matter how busy it is, i guess we need to find a little solace in it. i love trees

mr. postman - i only get bills now.. no one really writes except my birthday cards from mum

this old man is too cute

there is a tree lined path that connects wing lee street to the back streets of sheung wan. it’s a nice walk if you fancy seeing a different facet to the city. oh yes, there is also a museum of medicine and herb on caine lane. happy exploring

a little piece of heaven not too far from crazy hong kong

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there is a constant line that people use a lot in hong kong –  “hong kong is so small, there is nothing to do.”

how do you really measure small or big? but then when you ask them, what did you do over the weekend – they tell you “i was in causeway bay or tsim sha tsui shopping”. no wonder shopping is the national sport of the territory.

two years ago, i bought a hiking book because we wanted to do all hiking trails throughout hong kong. we are even not halfway through, so how can most people say – hong kong is small when most of their radius of movement confines within the office, home and causeway bay? there is even this group of people who call kowloon the dark side and they won’t go there. what is so dark, i still do not know.

sophie and i went to peng chau today. not many people know this but people who live in discovery bay love buying food from peng chau. it is a little self -sufficient island community and many of the locals grow their own vegetables. it’s also really cheap to buy food there because the locals in discovery bay call park n shop – park n rob.

the sun has been shying from hong kong for over the month but  it came back today. sophie and i went for a little walk and saw a different side of peng chau. i was a little sad i didn’t bring my camera but i won’t let anything stop me  – i had my iphone and i used it and relied the rest on the wonderful photo touch up techniques.


sophie loves looking out at the sea

bikes are still the number 1 mode of transport to get around peng chau

there is a small beach at the back of the island

some people like taking photos of people, of food but i like textures in general. architectures are my favorite

hot day ya!

this is really pretty

hard to believe this is freaking peng chau

this house is so pretty. would love to live in a house like this in hong kong

do you think sophie is the most well travelled dog in hk? she has been to a lot of places

found an old abandoned house. felt like i was young again - looking for a ghostly adventure

for a brief moment, i felt like i was in shanghai.

spring is back. flowers are in bloom again. yay!!!

sophie is a lot like small trouble. we like to make friends whereever we go

of course this is not me la.. i'd die if i had fizzy hair like that but this is definitely my favorite pose

you may not believe it. this is the best fried rice i have tasted. reminds me a lot of my grandma's fried rice

if you ever come here - remember order the fried rice!!

best thing to buy in peng chau - fresh seafood!! really cheap too.

hey which musical was it - the song " oh what a beautiful morning, oh what a beautiful, i have a wonderful feeeling, everything going my way".

postcard from peng chau

my exploration came to a halt when i heard jazz music wafting out from this shop - they teach pottery here. nice!

fresh farm eggs - 7 for 10 bucks. beat that?

not a bad retirement life - watching the sea go by

compared to lamma island or cheung chaupeng chau is hardly promoted at all. i think it’s really a great getaway from the city and to spend some great family time together. personally i think it’s place where you find a lot of happy and contented folks. it’s a place where life can still be good. even if you have no one to go with, just upload all of your favorite songs on your ipod and go and explore it. you will like it. have fun!

you can board your ferry from central pier 6

Written by smalltroubleinhk

March 20, 2010 at 5:03 pm

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