Trouble in Hong Kong…

an outsider's perspective of hong kong

Archive for June 2011

seven days in heaven

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when i got married, my mother discreetly asked me if she needed to buy a new teapot set. i instinctively knew what she was talking about. she was hoping that i had included a tea-serving ceremony as part of my wedding ceremony.

i said, no…

looking back maybe i  should have been less of a selfish b***** and said yes because it must have meant a for the old people but i have always been that sort of girl whereby, i need to question everything especially matters that has a lot to do with traditions.

i hate rituals and traditions… i really do and if i could help it, i’ll never want to do any of it.

a few weeks ago, i watched a taiwanese movie entitled seven days in heaven.

it talks about the death of a father in a small town in taiwan and how his two children; a son and daughter had to carry out an elaborated 7-day funeral ritual to send him off.

when it comes to final rites, taiwan is well-known for its drama. apparently you can even hire professionals to cry at your wedding and the louder people at your wedding, the more meaningful it becomes.

seven days in heaven is one hell of a movie. i must say that in the last few years, i have developed quite a taste for taiwanese movies ( not the dramas though) because it usually bear a strong sense of taiwanese culture. taiwan culture, i find is very unique.

seven days in heaven evoked such a strong emotion in me because i suppose i too had lost my father three months ago.

like i have said, i don’t know my father very well so it would be hypocritical for me to say it was a great loss because when he was alive, i took a lot of things for granted.

when i was carrying out his funeral rites, i questioned why i had to this and that..all these stupid traditions, i suppose it’s to make the living feel better about the dead.

a few days ago, i was making a phone call using my skype account. i saw his mobile number on my dictionary. i felt a little sad because he and i are no longer living in the same world anymore. i could no longer pick up the phone and call him although i must say the phone calls we had with each other were short, courteous and littered with uncomfortable pauses.

i cannot attach him to many of my memories. but somehow in the quiet corners of my mind, i might just be able to find a way to remember him and to celebrate his somewhat short time here on earth.

happy father’s day.



Written by smalltroubleinhk

June 19, 2011 at 3:06 pm

i can’t afford it but it’s okie

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i like michael moore a lot. i don’t agree with him but i think it is important for people in this world to have opposing views on things to test our principles and beliefs.

i watched his latest documentary/movie – capitalism: a love story with much amusement.

one of the pervading themes of the movie is the divide between the rich and poor, the privileged and the under privileged.

when i was young, i wished that i was born in america or in one of those land which i thought god favored. i would have access to the freedom of speech, i would have been able to go to harvard or any of the ivy leagues if i had wanted to, i would have access to democracy, free enterprise and all the good things which was then associated to the west. i would have been a freerer woman, if only.. i was born in the us of a.

but then again, my masseur who is thai said to me last week. being born in thailand is a curse in itself. she was forced into an arranged marriage. she had a daughter before she turned 16. she can’t read well because she only had a primary education and for sure she didn’t think she would lived past 30 years of age. but she did.

i think one of the things that michael moore needs to learn is the fact that life is unfair and it’s high time we accept it. there is no such thing as one class of people. the moment you are born, you have a caste. people don’t say it and they condemn india for it but who we went school with, where we went to school, who our parents are, what they did, the neighborhood you grew up it  had already determined your class and what you are about to do for the rest of your life( note: people do cross classes but you need a lot of will, hard work and perhaps the right marriage partner)

i must admit that till today, i feel so uncomfortable with people who are deemed blue blood, the pedigrees. i will not be one of those but perhaps if i worked really hard, i can afford to give my daughter or sons the privilege to go to schools and play with the royals.

but it’s okie, the key to happiness is acceptance and i think right now i like my status quo.

to me, the only people who hate capitalism are people who aren’t competitive enough, who aren’t strong enough, who weren’t give the means and access to play the game… we tried communism and have we forgotten why it failed?  if you work the same amount of hours and time and effort and get paid as much as lazy joe – why do you want to work any harder? chances are you don’t.

i hate to admit this some of these people who are made redundant, they absolutely deserve it.i have seen how a lot of people work, they treat their work as clockwork, a routine they come in and do. they don’t put themselves in the game. it’s just a way for them to earn salaried work. they hide behind a so-called blue chip company and become a cog. cogs are replaceable especially nowadays when the world of finance rule.

those people whose homes got foreclosed? it’s really sad but if you have been living in a house for 40 years, chances are your mortgage is paid for and if you are not too greedy about keeping up with the kardashians, chances are you could have a simple but contented life. so don’t just blame on the big bad bankers.

is the world of finance deceiving and complex? yes they are and that is why, we need to understand it more.

when i was young, my parents always tell me this – we cannot afford it. it was okie because you will learn to accept it and make the best out of what you can afford. there is no shame in not being able to afford something. but in the last 10 years, everything is affordable because of easy financing. if we look at personal debt today, it is no wonder why the sales of antidepressants went up by 310%.

if we could think about the evils of capitalism. think about the evils of communism as well. michael moore forgot to include an important part to why those people lost their homes  and their jobs…. think about it.

Written by smalltroubleinhk

June 14, 2011 at 4:01 pm


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very recently i went to visit my friend who has a young baby i couldn’t help but notice how she had the entire house baby-proof and make it a safe environment for her 16 month baby.

i can’t help but to think – do we in general try too hard to protect our kids and attempt to create a false, presumably safe environment for them?

i think we do.

not to long ago, i had a girlfriend who told me why she had opted to leave her husband.

her husband is the only son in the family along with two other sisters. he grew up in an environment whereby his parents especially his mother did everything for him. she made all the decisions for him including where he went to school, what he studied and when he came out of university. she bought him a house, a car and when their daughter was born, his parents gladly upgraded them to a bigger apartment. when the financial tsunami came, he was made redundant and became a broken man. he took two years off to do his masters while attempting ” to figure out his life”.

the reason why my friend chose to leave him was not because he was out of a job it was because he defaulted on his responsibility to be a father and a husband.

the story of this man is common one of this generation.

i don’t like what we have become. i don’t like how we try and make the world seem like a safe place and how risks could be calculated and explained. if we examined the world as a jungle, we know that at every point, our life is at peril because of its predatory natural state. why do we falsely think that we could protect our children? we can’t make them live in a bubble.

i listen to people all the time and i ask them things that make them unhappy about life and about their jobs. it’s always the same thing. they don’t like office politics, they don’t like how they are treated at work, they don’t like how they are paid – a lot of times even when you talk to the most educated people, you would be shocked at how they really see the world. they really think that bing bang boom – they deserve the best jobs with the best bosses and the best opportunities to land on their laps just like that. i don’t know what happened along the way, it’s like we got fooled and trapped in this conspiracy thinking that on the day we were born, we would all be living a glorious wonderful life.

if i were a parent, i would want my kids to be able to figure things out on their own. i think that i would want to try and do everything i could for them but the fact is, we won’t know how strong we truly are until we are tested. i like to think that people do not have thresholds because the best of us are made out of hardship and desperation. i would want my kids to be the best versions of themselves and that they need the only option they have at life is to work hard at finding solutions. if i were a parent, the best thing i think i could do for my kids is make them aware that their best chance at life is awareness and managing pain the right but hard way.

Written by smalltroubleinhk

June 11, 2011 at 2:57 pm

learning new tricks

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i have hooded eyes and oily skin and i love dark eye liners. as we inch closer and closer towards the most crazy humid days of the year, i am suffering like mad. my eye liners have the tendency of leaving an imprint. it’s so ugly and messy. during the day it’s hard to clean as well because you have to leave everything else intact. looks like those days are behind me now that i have been introduced to nars’ smudge proof eyeliner base. i was skeptical of it and i told nicole the sales representative that if it doesn’t work, i will never come back to nars.

thank god, it does and i so love it. just apply it before you put on any eye liner.

something else new that i started doing this week is to go for yoga at this yoga place – yoga village. there are yoga classes at the general gym that i go to but nowadays i have been working 11 – 12 hours a day and after work i don’t have much time. i need to do high impact exercises that would guarantee that i burn the most calories in an hour and obviously that would be running. also i have been doing yoga to help me alleviate muscle soreness but i haven’t had any great improvements at all. and so i thought of upping my game to learn under different teachers.

i love the teachers at yoga village. they don’t try and do too many poses in one hour and you hold the poses for a much longer time. they explain the reasons why you do the poses and what muscle groups you need to work on.

at the end of the day, i love trying out new things. it’s amazing how much you learn you by doing something you thought you knew differently.

Written by smalltroubleinhk

June 6, 2011 at 5:08 am

scents and sensibility

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when i was very young, my father took me to buy a gift for my mother. i picked for her a bottle of perfume. it came in the prettiest shape and i thought i could keep the bottle once she is done with it. it was nina ricci’s l’air du temps. it smelt old and awful and over the top  and that was my memory of perfumes in the 80s.

whenever grandma, mum had finished with a bottle of perfume. i would ask them to give me the bottle. it is the smallest, cheapest and simplest way of being happy.

i was happy to stumble upon the exhibition perfume tales and legends at pacific place yesterday. 120 bottles of perfume with the majority contributed by guerlain – the exhibition weaves a tale steeped in history, luxury and allure.

the exhibition is now on at pacific place till the 16th of june.


be a pack leader

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i first heard the name cesar millan several years ago when he appeared on oprah’s talk show to  help her with her dog problem. after that, i read this book – what the dog saw by malcolm gladwell where the infamous dog whisperer was featured as one of the stories in gladwell’s book.

what an extraordinary man and story about a modern day – pack leader.

i love watching cesar millan and the fact that his is easy on the eyes is a definite bonus. his show is now my favorite new show on national geographic every wednesday night.

ohhhh myyy god – i think we need more people like cesar and we need to be more like cesar.

i have an argument to make and this is based on my general observation of the world.

there aren’t enough pack leaders in the world. our parents have failed to become pack leaders, our governments have failed and even at schools they have completely failed.

let me give you an example, in the last few months there has been a lot of debates going on in hk about the government giving each person a tax return of HK$6000 after saying they won’t. the government caved in and did it solve the problem? no. it became worse because every same people who demand for it are now asking more. it is human nature and every politician out there has forgotten the basics, they ought to read the prince again and try to really understand the essence of what machiavelli was trying to convey.

i have learnt from my observation that people want direction, you just need to tell them what to do and hold the rein of power. it is not different to what cesar does.

i am no nostradamus but at the rate we are going i think a lot of governments will fail because they have totally lost the plot.they try to do things to please voters and to gain votes. it is so sad but popularity is now in the way of doing the appropriate thing.

the issue of raising the debt limit in us, i am no economist but every one that holds a credit card should be able to tell what happens if you keep paying the minimum rate – you get eaten up by paying compound interest.

isn’t it sad that nowadays, you can always almost rely on the government to do the wrong thing all in the name of popularity.

till today, i must say that one of the best politicians in the 20th century was lee kuan yew. call him a dictator, a tyrant, blah blah blah but at the end of the day, he got his country together. look at singapore today. people don’t understand that too much of something becomes toxic, you cannot have  freedom of speech when you have three different religions in a small country. for general good, i don’t mind not having all the freedom in the world. this is because when you have a failed state, you can say everything you want to say…and your life will be a hot mess..

so like what cesar says – be a pack leader. be stern and be calm.

actually dogs and us – ain’t that different.

Written by smalltroubleinhk

June 5, 2011 at 4:21 am

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