Trouble in Hong Kong…

an outsider's perspective of hong kong

Archive for July 2010

bloody good coffee in hong kong

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oscar's coffee promotion - get yourself a free coffee valid till september

if you asked me last week, does hong kong need another coffee place – my answer is i don’t really care. but after stumbling upon oscar’s expresso bar, i can tell you THIS IS  where bloody good coffee is served.

while i was living in australia, one of the things i enjoyed most are the moms and pops’ coffee places. each is unique and each is outstanding in its own way. oscar’s expresso bar is a star in its own right. everything that is made here is made out of love. the latte i had was whipped to perfection.

my bloody good latte

seriously, i went to the gym right after  the latte and i was as high as a kite. the coffee is really potent. i got so excited as well because oscar’s serves anzac biscuits. i haven’t seen them in hong kong. oh i miss them so much. they are my favorite australian cookies.

in australia, we call biscuits, bickies. i want my anzac bickie now.

i had the chance to chit chat a little with my new friend the barista – nelson canon and he tells me that the owners, an australian couple who loves going around to source their own coffee as the owner’s brother is the world barista champion.

i have always been curious about how businesses in hk make money despite the high rents and apparently this couple has been bringing coffee for years to the local australian community in hong kong for years due to the lack of good coffee.

for me, i can’t tell you what good coffee really is but i can tell you what bad coffee taste like. pacific coffee has the worst coffee, the worst staff, the worst qc and their decor reminds me of my grandmother’s living room.

my new friend nelson canon.

i enjoyed my chat with nelson tremendously. he has been living in hk for 17 years and was originally from the philippines.

i asked him – what do you of the new leader – aquino jr?

i was expecting him to say – the country is shit, the country is corrupt.

he said – philippines has gotten better and it will continue to become better.

i said to him – i have wondered about your people. they always look so happy  to be here although they hold possibly the most unappreciated jobs in hk.

what he said to me, touched me deeply – ” we are blessed to be here because we are providing for our families. it is an honor to be able to do that and us filipinos are brought up with a lot of hope, not hope for the things we know but hope for the things we don’t see”.

i know many rich and powerful people. i don’t know that many happy people, you know.

every time i get disheartened, i hope to remind myself of nelson’s story.

visit oscar’s – they are at 85 wellington street, tucked quietly under the central escalator.


a child was born today

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jaden han miller also known as husky boy because he has brown and grey eyes

if i tell you that i love children too much to want to have kids, would you believe me?

i am the one of the strangest people you will meet because there are days i think so much, i wake up in the middle of the night in cold sweat. i think a lot about our children not being able to reach their actual potentials because the world had become too easy for us and for them.

before you disagree with me, please let me continue.

a child’s mind is the most beautiful thing in the world for me.

i was child who grew up in the 1980s. i belonged to a generation call the Ys.

the 1970s and the 1980s were the most amazing time in asia. many of our parents became rich. we became the privileged generation. our parents gave us everything and anything our little hearts desired. we learnt musical instruments, we were tutored by the finest tutors, we were taught from a young age that in order to prosper in this society, there is a set of rules that we need to play by.

everything is so god damned easy for us. we need very mediocre results to get into university. most of the time, you just need to be able to afford it. when we start to work, a lot of our parents’ connections landed us with the so called dream jobs.

we work but at the back of our minds, we know that we always have our parents to fall back on.

this is what frustrates me. my great grandfather was sold to malaya as a slave to work in a mine. he made his money after a few years. he was a man of steel.

i look at my grandfather – he raised six children. he could do anything.

i look at myself. i don’t even know how to slaughter a f**king chicken.

we live in world complete with everything and yet are unfulfilled in so many others.

i feel sorry for children for the same reason. they go school, they learn musical instruments, they learn everything because they have been lied to – they need to play this game.

there is very little left to the hope that life would find a way.

we have no imagination. we have no innovation. we have nothing that drives us because we have no opportunities to develop passions. in fact if you are a little different, your life is a nightmare. you would laughed at, ridiculed and treated with so much alienation.

and this why i  feel so sad for children today because – how many of them live lives that truly belonged to them?

and this is why i love children too much to want to have my own kids.

Written by smalltroubleinhk

July 28, 2010 at 9:34 am

happy birthday dragonair!!!!!

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one of the things i loved to do was i was a kid was to watch planes fly

happy birthday dragonair. thank you for flying me to china all these years. for one, i won’t dare to fly airchina so…. thank you so much….

my favorite airline without a doubt is cathay pacific. for one i L-O-V-E the inflight entertainment system. that is aviation’s best privilege. i love it especially when i have to fly long haul. watch 3-4 movies in a row. if i need a snooze, i’ll pause it. the selection of old movies are so extensive. i actually enjoy flying just because of cathay pacific.

when is dragonair going to have that mr. tyler?

tallest and best looking ceo - mr. tony tyler

one of the reasons why i wanted to go for dragonair’s 25th anniversary was to meet tony tyler.

i went over to him to introduce myself. i told him i write a blog about hong kong.

he asked me “what are you going to say about me?”

” that you are the most good looking ceo i have ever met”.

he said, ” no you can’t say that, you should say i am the tallest ceo”.

but mr. tyler, anyone is tall next to me. i am small and i am trouble.

poor mr. tyler i am sure coming to asia has made his posture really bad. he often has to hunch over to talk to us.

william tang who designed the uniform...

i call william the michael kors of hong kong. he is always in black. i guess he won't be one of those who say - oh my god, i have nothing fabulous to wear!!!!

i said to my husband, ” they should put mr. tyler in a pilot’s uniform. he would look very good in one.

husband said, ” loh poh, tony tyler isn’t like allan zeman and besides john tsang was there. the man has serious business to do.

oh they said donald tsang was supposed to be there but he is in chengdu playing with pandas.

“mr tsang, you have loads of work to do, don’t go playing with pandas” ( well at least pandas and other animals are the only ones who can’t talk back at him these days)

they even concocted a special cocktail call golden dragon for the anniversary

anyways, happy birthday dragonair. i have been flying airasia because when you have your own business, you have to take care of your bottom line. i need to work a lot harder to earn back my right of flying only cathay or dragonair. soon, i hope!!!

hong kong tong laus

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there is a saying about hong kong’s intimidating density – if you ever ran out of salt while cooking, you could always reach out over to your neighbor’s house to ask for some.

hong kong tong laus are residences above shop lots. they are usually about 3-5 storey high. they are old and they have a lot of character. compared to most residential areas, tong laus have higher space efficiency. don’t know if i could ever live in one though because the city is so noisy. i actually know of a girl who sleeps with earplugs on.

all pictures are taken over a bridge in prince edward, kowloon using an iphone.

on spirituality

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of late, i have been hearing a lot of people talk about spirituality. when i was 18 years of age, i had many questions about religion and in order to find the answers to my questions i set out on a personal journey to learn about different religions. i read all of the important religious texts in the world, talked to religious people and spent a lot of time in worship places.i must say that i like all religions. i just hate religious leaders and people who use religions for their own personal gains.

given a choice, i’d like to say – i believe in bits and pieces of every religion.

i feel sad that most people would not be as privileged as me. religion is an inheritance for a lot of people. they won’t get to choose what they want to believe in. they would have not have the privilege like me to try and get to know god.

people always tell me they find spirituality in far away exotic places like india, bali and tibet.  i must say conde nast and lonely planet have done an amazing job positioning these two places as spiritual vortexes. i want to start asking the indians and the balinese people – are you guys spiritual? just because they lay out offerings at street corners or do yoga in the mountains – are those signs of spirituality?

maybe as well- trained consumers, we feel that something is good only when we have to pay for it. haven’t you noticed that there is a course about everything. we have failed to see that spirituality is everywhere. you don’t need to get on a plane to find it. start by listing out things that make you happy and what makes you productive. people or things that cast a negative energy on you, do i what do – ignore them!!

Written by smalltroubleinhk

July 23, 2010 at 3:59 pm

one cool way to cool down one hot summer

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vitamin water is the trendiest liquid in the market today. i first noticed the product a bit over a year ago when i was cutting my hair and the server at the salon asked me if i wanted to try it. after that, they were everywhere at all the coolest spots in town. i like vitamin water. it gives me the convenience of carrying a bottle of water packed with vitamins everywhere i go.

i hate summer time in hong kong. the humidity drives me ( and my hair) crazy. the good people at vitamin water is making the best out of it. they are driving around hong kong in this humongous truck where you could play dress up with your fabulous friends and sample some vitamin packed water!! besides that, it is a good way to escape the summer heat

look out for it. starting from the 23 – 25 of july, they will be at isquare in tsim sha tsui and times square on the 30th of july till the 1st of august.

becareful i scratch when i am annoyed

corporate bullshit

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a couple of weeks back – i made a very difficult decision to stop working with two clients.

my partner said to me – ” do you think we should not do that because our business is still so new?”

i struggled with the answer for a while and then with much determination said to her, ” yes, let them go”.

not too long ago, when i was a company woman, i could see how much unsuitable clients affect the ecosystem of a company.

first a client who do not enjoy working with you – will not trust you, he or she will then make it difficult for you and your staff, the process will then demoralize you and your team. you waste far too much resources and time on clients who don’t like you.

have you ever attended an agm? i spend a lot of time listening to ceos and their bullshit spew about increasing market share, creating new goods. i have been wondering why not many people talk about taking care of existing clients?

like i said, it is very hard for me to go back to the corporate world because i think structurally  too many organizations are to big to be effective. for one – i f***king hate admin people. i f**king hate forms and procedures. all i love to do is sell and make sense of what i am selling but because ceos are chasing after investors’ interest,gaining the approval of analysts and chasing short term results – products and sales people are disjointed.

i was with a friend this evening, he works in one of the biggest companies in the world. he said, he should have a new title  – highly paid secretary. i think a lot of people are in this predicament as well.

so this is how i am going to do it – i want to work with selective clients who feel good about working with me and my partner,  i am going to empower my clients to help me grow my business via word of mouth only. i hate telling people i am good at something because i feel that the only people who truly have the right to make that judgement are my clients.

i do not trust companies who tell people – our clients are everyone. if you cannot figure you want as your customer, the battle has ended.

Written by smalltroubleinhk

July 20, 2010 at 4:56 pm

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