Trouble in Hong Kong…

an outsider's perspective of hong kong

Archive for April 2010

good old fashioned jazz

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music as a universal language is a cliche that is as old as time. as i get older, i find that it is very hard to listen to music the way i used to.

two saturdays ago, i got reacquainted to my first love  through hanjin.

it brought me back to the time when good music meant just thing – a good voice no fluff nor bluff.

hanjin overwhelms me. i don’t really have any words to sum up his talent. i don’t have to.  ingrid bergman’s best quote- ” a kiss is lovely trick designed by nature to stop speech when words become superfluous”. i feel the same of hanjin’s immense talent.

words have become superfluous. thank you hanjin. you are a reminder of all things good.

hanjin’s new album raw jazz is available at all hmv stores.


Written by smalltroubleinhk

April 28, 2010 at 4:04 pm

vintage ah mo

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i have a knack for trouble. when i was young, i like making friends with the scariest kids because i like to see the flip side and the element of surprise.

it is that same knack that landed me right to the doorstep of beatniks – hong kong’s best kept secret in the form of a vintage store. my friend ah mo who owns the shop is the scariest woman in retail. i have never met a lady boss who tells customers- don’t wear this, you look terrible.

maybe it is because i am sick of other retail girls telling me standard lines like – wow you look so slim or this is really trendy that makes me turn to ah mo. but she never fails to deliver. i hate my clothes looking so put together and everyone knows everyone that shop at zara because everyone will be spotting the same look.

ah mo buys one piece of everything and it is the perfect place to go if you want to reclaim your identity.

i love hanging out at her shop because she is my muse and my creative outlet. this is what she told me a few days ago – “this girl walked into my shop and asked me, isn’t it difficult to do vintage clothes?”. then she asked me,” what will you say if you were me?”. my mind went blank.

” i told her, it’s hard to be a human being, so are you still one?”.

my conclusion about ah mo – there is thin line between a genius and lunatic. they often overlap.

but i can deal with creative people. they are often difficult because they expect a lot from other people and themselves. that separates them from the mediocre.

one of a kind!!!

will miss the old shop when she moves to the new one at staunton street. love to just sit out on a nice cool night and have a good laugh

caution- you need to be able to think and pick out creative pieces..because like everything here- they are loud like ah mo

new address - and if you want a discount - tell her you're my friend

before i went to do my glamour photos, she helped me pull this look. i said old hollywood siren!

out of bounds with ian wright

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there is something very aspirational about traveling the world and seeing how different peoples’ lives are. i met ian wright yesterday as the funny englishman  was here in hong kong to promote his new series out of bounds.

in real life, ian wright is animating and if you tied his hands together, he probably won’t be able to talk. again, my theory of the chihuahua personality trait is well and alive in ian wright. a small person that takes up a lot of space as he dances from one end to another, enthralling the audience with his crazy adventures.

after a one year hiatus, he is back with out of bounds. in short as he said, it is a show about where americans won’t like to go – cuba, sri lanka, siberia, syria and okinawa. he whetted my appetite as he told us questionable stories about buying flashing lights underwear in syria, throat singing in tuva and unravelling the secret  fact that in okinawa, the birth place of karate – karate masters despite the zen ulterior actually harbor the thirst to kill. i think of mr. miyagi very differently after yesterday.

i think ian wright and anthony bourdain have the best jobs in the world. someone in the audience asked a really good question yesterday – who have you enjoyed meeting the most?

ian’s answer to them – it is about ordinary people. it humbles you. it is about the nurse who survived hiroshima and who believes that her sole purpose of living is tell people about the real accounts of hiroshima. it is about the russian general who was imprisoned in a gulag for 20 years and rejoined his family after. it is the story where the human spirit counts.

watch out of bounds on the travel channel

here is a sneak peak of out of bounds

fancy swimming at -25 degrees in siberia?

don't think zen masters are that zen - they will kill you at first blow

such an honor meeting one of my favorite hosts!!!

Written by smalltroubleinhk

April 26, 2010 at 6:50 am

i feel pretty…

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i have always wanted smoky eyes like victoria beckham but i don’t want to pay victoria beckham prices. last week i saw this group of pretty young girls with the most luscious smoky eyes. i couldn’t refrain myself. i went over to ask them what brand of make up they were using.

they pointed me to boujois and they have a little corner unit on the lower ground floor of times square, causeway bay.

i love what i found!!!! love love love! seriously if you ask me. my eyes are possibly my best asset. you will know when i am angry, when i am annoyed, when i try to be cute – they are all projected through my eyes. that is why i love dramatic eyes!!!

i absolutely love their smoky eyes palette and it’s really cheap – Hk$ 128 for three colors and it is the best thing i have bought in a long time.

i went home thinking – is there a huge difference between the really expensive stuff and over the counter products?

so i did a little experiment with what i have at home.

four different palates - the most expensive being mac, shu uemura, bourjois and i bought the cheapest palette i could find at muji - Hk$60

1st row - shu eumura and on the second row - boujois. if you click on the picture, you can see how flaky shu uemura is while bourjois is really easy to apply and glides across very well ( i don't know if this makes sense to you, i don't speak a lot of make up)

i added a layer of benefit stay don't stray- stay put primer and concealer. look how well the colors are turning out

the search for my perfect smoky eyes is now complete

my conclusion – the worst is shu uemura. i don’t think it’s worth the money  and i don’t like the texture

i love mac because you can build your own palette and they have amazing selection of colors. each color is about Hk$100 ( if i remembered correctly)

muji which is the cheapest is not too bad, the texture is slightly more creamy and easy to apply.

but seriously my ladies and my lady boys if you want hot eyes – go for bourjois


Written by smalltroubleinhk

April 22, 2010 at 1:12 pm

diary of an (ex) fat kid

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the best decision i have ever made in my life was to lose weight. three years ago, my weight was absolutely out of control. i am a short person ( though i have a huge voice and personality) and my weight ballon-ed up to 130 pounds. it seemed as though, even drinking water could make me put on weight. i was miserable like hell.

the breaking point came when i went on holiday and when i saw pictures of myself – there were two things in my mind, my husband had bad photography skill or shit, am i really fat ? the latter  proved more true and  bitter pill to swallow!!

i joined the gym on the 1st of june 2007. have you seen sloth on an elliptical machine? that was how i looked like. in life, the hardest decision one has to make is the absolution of just making it happen. ever since i was a girl, if i laid my eyes on a dream or a goal, i don’t see obstacles. that is why whenever i do something, i dedicate all of my energy to just making it happen! by the end of the first week, i discovered muscles i never had, i couldn’t sleep at night because every part of my body hurt like a b****.

i started losing my first pound after 2 months. did i tell you that my body fat was a scary 41%? my god, i had more lard than brains!!! no wonder drinking water makes me fat.

in the book from good to great, it talks about  the evolution of companies and how great change happens. it never happens overnight. it is a gradual force but once momentum catches on, it is very swift.  i lost 3 pounds after 4 months. i changed my diet because when you work so hard, you don’t want to eat nonsense, you walk better because looking at the mirror so much gives you a full view of your posture, you start to buy new clothes because your aunty clothes don’t fit..

after half a year, i enrolled for the standard chartered 10k run. i didn’t have to win but i wanted to change my training routine.

after 1 year i enrolled for another race, a dragonboat race, i went hiking weekly, i worked out 5 days a week. if i had to entertain clients at night, i went to the gym during lunch. i never skipped meals ( that was the most important thing) i smoked my last smoke on nov 6 2008.

after two years, i wanted to learn more, i took up a personal training course because knowledge is the most important thing in life. it someone tells you to train your triceps this way, you want to know 6 other ways. we are humans, we are made to innovate.

it’s been three years, i am a healthy 108 pounds. am i perfect? absolutely not. i still want more muscular arms.

i have thought about writing this topic because it may be very sensitive. don’t get me wrong- i am not telling everyone to lose weight. i wanted to lose weight because i was unhappy with myself. i believe that in all of us, there is an image of how we look( how we want to look maybe), how we want to be projected and the moment we are too far from it, we get angry with ourselves.

this is me, this is what i want be. i want to be mentally and physically fit. i want to run up a flight of stairs without breaking a sweat. i want sales assistants to give me a size 2.

every time someone says – wow, you have a great body. i don’t wish to tell you i actually have fat genes. which i do. i want you to remember me the way that i am…

fat and frizzy -one shouldn't be standing next to a celeb. no one looks too good! the only thing i can say is - i have a fro!

this is very incriminating evidence. please don't remember me looking this. it's something i want to bury too.

this is the image i have in my mind of myself - a little bold, a little nasty, a whole lot of attitude

changing scapes

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nothing lasts for very long in hong kong. the city is too unsentimental when it comes to change. i like change but there are things that i think are worth saving. one of the changes that are unfolding right before of our eyes is wanchai. have you taken a walk lately on queen’s road east?

i walked through the whole stretch the other day and i think queen’s road east is simply amazing. no one talks about in guide books but wanchai is going to be the new soho soon.

i love the small roads off queen’s road east – ship’s lane, wanchai gap road, sik on street. there is the reputed haunted house nam koo terrace, the blue house, off the beaten track art galleries, tree lined roads  and SO MUCH GOOD FOOD. there is a group of people that offer wonderful heritage walks around wanchai – my friends and i went for the haunted tour and went to see all the haunted spots around wanchai. we didn’t see any ghosts but we got good stories to tell our friends after the tour!!!! everybody loves good stories. call them – the wanchai livelihood museum

enjoy my photos and if you want to walk around wanchai – please invite me. i want to show you this really cool road that connects wanchai gap to bowen road where you can see the whole hk skyline- literally at your feet!!!

sikh temple - gives out amazing free vegetarian food every friday. sits at the very edge of queen's road east close to morisson hill

the infamous blue house

the new glitzy buildings along queen's road east

apparently back in the 50s there was a ghostly postman who would deliver death notes to random households in wanchai, the temple was built to stop the overnight delivery

the artistic side of wanchai

the old side of wanchai - wonder how long they will continue to stand

a man named kai bong

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i asked my husband – baby can we be like chau kai bong and brenda chau?

he said -loh poh ( wife) we are not as rich as mr and mrs chau. we can’t have a gold and pink rolls royce.

i said – a pink toyota will do.

chau kai bong aka bong bong ( oh i love saying that name, it has so much star power) has been living a life of fabulousity way before kimora lee simmons was born. he was the man with a beautiful wife brenda, he had a gold toilet and best of all he had a pair of pink and gold rolls royce.

whenever i flip the pages of tatler  they were always there in the most outlandish his and hers costumes ( i can’t consider what they wear ordinary daywear because they are just too theatrical) two months ago mr. chau kai bong passed away from cancer and out of curiosity, i googled to find out more about this bigger than life personality  – chau kai bong

in this month’s prestige magazine, his only son brandon had written an eulogy about his father. it was so well crafted, so honest and beautiful. it really touched my heart.

in the last few years, i have too on my personal accord been reevaluating the relationship that i have with my parents especially with my mother. until a few years back, my mother and i used to fight like crazy. whenever i think of all the terrible things i have said to her, it really makes me cringe.

i used to tell my friends  “i know my mother loves me just not in the way i want to be loved”.

i would like very much to aplogise to her because i was stupid to think that. when someone loves you, they just love you the way they know how to love you. and that’s enough.

the only person who can love you the way you want to be loved is really yourself.

my mother knows that i have left my job and that i have moved on to a new challenge – i know she has been praying for me. she doesn’t tell me but i know. when i was home she made us glutinuous rice balls that the chinese eat for fortune. she insisted that i eat 8 balls ( another symbol for  fortune) it’s not an easy feat because those rice balls are damn filling!!

i have come to this point whereby i don’t want to think who is right or who is wrong. i am just grateful that i still have a bit of time to make amendments.

my mother and i

Written by smalltroubleinhk

April 16, 2010 at 5:31 pm

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