Trouble in Hong Kong…

an outsider's perspective of hong kong

Archive for July 2011

my own food revolution

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all my creations --- some good some bad but most of all i learn something new every time

at the start of 2011, i made a resolution to eat better. i don’t mean dining out at the endless michelin star studded restaurants in hong kong. what i wanted was to start a life long reverence towards what i put inside my mouth and a process of getting to know my food better

i am lucky because i have been predisposed to food in many ways. looking back, my grandma who used to make me do menial tasks around the house had rewarded me with the primary knowledge of working with food.whether it’s mincing pork using a butcher’s knife or peeling garlic – i subconsciously remember most of it at the back of my head.

many years would follow before i discover i had an innate talent for cooking. maybe not entirely but i am one of those egomaniacs who enjoy the thrills of successes.

also, there are many reasons to why i started cooking obsessively.

1. i no longer trust what i eat because outside food taste so bad and with inflation robbing us blind and cost of living especially rent increasing a few folds, one must always question what kind of food  business owners are using to feed us.

2. i am more traditional than i look because i enjoy eating together. families to eat together tend to stick together- more rewarding after you know for a fact that you have worked hard for your food.

3. as look back, the things that make me the most happy is not money -it’s achievement, it’s the sense that i am able to strip down a problem and finding a solution to is fun because there are so many ways you could make it your own and besides i figured, what is the worst thing that could come out of it – you ruin it and if you are lucky like me – if you have a  dog like sophie, she doesn’t need any coaxing to help you get rid of food experiments gone wrong. bless her

4. i observe what people eat a lot and i don’t like the fact that we have been so removed from the process of preparing the most basic elements of food. we eat but other than filling hunger pangs, i am not sure if we are giving ourselves the right types of fuel. many years ago when i went to the us and when i went food shopping for the first time, i noticed a disturbing trend.. i saw that people were buying 1.99 bags of giant nuggets or sausages or eating frozen tri-color vegetables and treating that as a holistic meal. they were not students; they were mothers and parents buying food for their kids…

if someday, if i did become a mother and not allow my kids to eat mcdonalds, do you think the world would chastise me and call me a control freak?

our friend's 10 month old baby - eating boiled broccoli whole - sophie eyeing his food

because i had started to cook, i now cook for sophie as well. after a freak discovery i made a couple of months back when  i accidentally left her food container opened for a few days – there was no sign of her food turning mouldy;  it was then that it dawned onto me -my dog is a modern dog who eats processed food. i said – f**k i am killing my dog.

she now eats brown rice, lean meat, vegetables and fruits. as for her snack – we feed her carrot and celery sticks and believe me when i say this – she has never looked better. her eyes are clearer, she has lost a bit of weight and because of the carrot and celery sticks, her breath is much better

i watched jamie oliver when he presented his food revolution on ted a few nights ago. i became so depressed after watching it because i saw how sad the world had become that our kids do not know how a carrot looked like if not diced in squares. when an obese mother was told that she was killing her kids with burgers and pizzas and tacos; i became so angry – not at her but at the what society taught us as food.

we are so blessed, so well informed, so educated but why is it that we have gone back to zero when it comes to life skills. we don’t teach our children the fundamentals anymore. we teach them theories in life, all the wonderful things but we don’t even teach them how to cook for themselves and chicken actually don’t just come frozen. we need our children to be involved once again. we need to help them get involved. i believe that there are many jamie olivers and people like myself out there and we will change the world bit by bit by starting with ourselves and people closest to us. i am taking on the food revolution today.


Written by smalltroubleinhk

July 31, 2011 at 3:46 pm

remembering bruce lee as not a martial artist

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mother always said he died too young, too tragic.

grandpa was perpetually playing re-runs of his movies.

from the point of view of a child, he was a strange man. very strange indeed – he made a lot of funny noises when he was kicking and punching and he always looked at people in such a strange way. i couldn’t decide then he was skinny or if he was fit. i could see all those muscles but compared to the people he fought with, he looked so small in comparison.

it’s been forty years since he died but how come we can’t forget him?

bruce lee.

in the last recent few years i have been reading his books, watching his documentaries and his interviews.

though he may have only lived 32 years, i think he was one of those people who got it. i know some people who die at the ripe of 70 or 80 and they never got it.

i think bruce lee lived every day of his 32 years with a lot of depth and put in a lot of thoughts in his action and in the way he discovered the world. he may have been remembered fondly as a martial artist but to me bruce lee was an extraordinary human being.

i want be like bruce lee.

my favorite bruce lee quotes –

 empty your mind, be formless, shapeless – like water. now when you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup, you put water into a bottle it becomes a bottle, you put it in a teacup it becomes a teapot. now water can flow or it can crash. be water my friend.

if you always put limit on erverything you do, physical or anything else. it will spread into your work and your life. there are no limits.there are only plateaus and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them.

I am learning to understand rather than immediately judge or to be judged. I cannot blindly follow the crowd and accept their approach. I will not allow myself to indulge in the usual manipulating game of role creation. Fortunately for me, my self-knowledge has transcended that and I have come to understand that life is best to be lived and not to be conceptualized. I am happy because I am growing daily and I am honestly not knowing where the limit lies. To be certain, every day there can be a revelation or a new discovery. I treasure the memory of the past misfortunes. It has added more to my bank of fortitude.”

Written by smalltroubleinhk

July 18, 2011 at 8:14 am

goodbye magic

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watched the last and final boy wizard harry potter film last night.

for me harry potter and the deathly hallows ended on a bitter sweet note. as a child, i often wished for magic and miracles. i wanted to believe in unicorns and enchanted forests.

the first time i fell in love with magic was probably with enid blyton’s the enchanted forest series. harry potter fed on the remaining aspirations i that had for magic. one is never too old to believe in the world of magic. magic represents all that is possible and represents our hopes and optimism.

what i enjoy most about harry potter movies besides talking walking photos are tales of great courageous  friendships and adventures

if life was magical journey, then we better find people we like to share it with because at the end of the day, everything will end and change.

goodbye boy wizard. goodbye dark lord..

it has been a good 10 years of magic. it is definitely a curtain call to a a great era.



Written by smalltroubleinhk

July 16, 2011 at 4:23 pm

stay hungry stay foolish

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i recently read this in this month’s copy of wired magazine with steve jobs on the front cover. i hope you will like it as much as i have..

you cannot connect the dots looking forward, you can only connect them looking backwards. so you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. you have in something – your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. because by believing the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow you heart, even when it leads you off the well-worn path and that will make all the difference.

job’s second story was about being fired from apple. “the best thing that could ever happened to me. the heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure of about everything. it freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life ( during this time, jobs built up NeXT and pixar and met his wife.

job’s final story – was about death. he recounted the story of the diagnosis of his pancreatic cancer. ” remembering that i’ll be dead soon is the most important tool that i have ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. because almost everything – all the external expectations, all price, all fear of embarrassment or failure – these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving what is truly important.remembering that you are going to die is the best way i know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. you are already naked. there is no reason to not  follow your heart.

a couple of weeks ago, i have had some interesting conversations with random people revolving around the subject of death, of growing older and life in general.

i asked my husband one night during our daily late night walks – what is the most important thing in life for him and he said – having lived a meaningful life that belonged to me.

from a new friend whom i have been hanging a lot with these days – she is a lot older than me but her soul is so young and she is increasing becoming a positive force in my life. i asked her – “if you could change one thing in your life what would it be?”. she said – time squanders a lot of things from us. i wished i hadn’t wasted so much time on partying and worked on a general plan. i had so many talents and i wished i had worked harder at my job to give me a sense of achievement.

my boss said to me a couple of weeks ago – natalie, how many pairs of shoes do you have?

i said to him – i have so many shoes that my husband built me a cabinet to store my shoes. but i had put the brakes on my shopping habit.

when my grandma passed away three years ago, i cleaned her stuff. i realized she had so little stuff and i guess it was easier for people back then to be happy. they didn’t want too much. after she passed away, i don’t really like to buy anything ( people may not believe me but it’s the truth) i have come to realize that when you own too many things, it is a burden. you need to think about ways to store them and keep them nicely. knowing that one day when i die, when my loved ones clear away my belongings, they are probably not going to put the same value i had on my stuff and that made me realize i was investing in things that are frivolous

it more important for me to be there for them. to be present and to have them connect me to their memories. that’s meaningful to me.

and besides once you like to collect something say for example shoes, there is no end to it like all forms of addiction.


red bar

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i love nothing more than having a few drinks on a mid summer’s friday after work. i thought i knew central intimately but yesterday while we were at red in ifc, i was surprised to see a pooch hanging out at the podium of level 4.

oh i’d loved the idea of bringing sophie for after work drinks. the problem would be.. where to store her while i go off to work in the morning.

i love the ifc mall. i love the podium.. i love watching the sun set on the deck. i love the view of the city.. it’s one of the best things about living in hong kong.

Written by smalltroubleinhk

July 9, 2011 at 3:24 pm

losing ownership

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in the last few weeks, i think i have at least had four people( 1 of them  a friend that i had known all my life ) calling me a cynic. if you hear something continuously a few times over by people who mean something to you, it does come to the point that i need to once again, evaluate my actions, my thoughts and my words with some degree of honesty.

i am cynical but i want to be proven wrong. deep down i am a nostalgic person. i enjoy the little facets of beauty the world has to offer, i try to the best of my ability to invest in meaningful relationships with people closest to me, i try to do good most of the time if my work is not conflicted.

there are things that had bothered me and maybe in the last few months, i have allowed it to over-boil.

maybe because over the last few months, i have seen and witnessed a very disturbing dilemma that we are now facing as a generation of people.

last week, my friend told me that she has been seeing a therapist in the last few months to help cope with her divorce. i asked her the details of what was discussed at these sessions and i told her – seriously if you had come to me, i’d probably tell you the same shit, maybe with a lot less sugar coating and you don’t have to pay me a single dime

when my friend told me why he was getting a divorce, he cited the reason – touching her feels like touching myself. my jaw dropped and said – seriously i won’t be surprised if you became one of those people who die alone and people have to find your badly decomposed body after one week ( if you’re in hk  and iffyou go back to the states – maybe a year) all because you were unwilling to invest in a family and let someone be your source of comfort

i am bloody pissed off with what we have become. i hate the fact that we are not willing to work on anything anymore. instant gratification. we want the government to fix our problems, we blame our parents for their shortcoming but never once, we put ourselves into the driving seat and say, this is it, i am going to take charge of my life, confront my difficulties and make it work.

before i got married, my friend ( bless her out of her goodwill) gave me a sample of a pre-nuptial contract. i thought about it hard and long and decided i am going to be one of those people who is going to find a way to work it out.

why are we paying so much for a stranger to listen to our problems? it is because we don’t have a family that is strong enough. look at all the strongest trees in a forest, look their roots – they are deeply entrenched and they are stable. when you don’t have a strong family unit, you may be successful for now but i doubt your success would be sustainable.

i am cynical because deep down i don’t like what society is teaching us. i don’t like how our kids, the things we teach them. it seems to me that we want to standardize how everyone is. we give them problems to solve by giving them examples to follow.

have you wondered why so many of us so something without committing ourselves into it? i think we lost ownership on our lives.

Written by smalltroubleinhk

July 9, 2011 at 9:54 am

she is an old fashioned kinda dog

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cheung sha beach in lantau island is one of my favorite beaches in hong kong.. i went there for the first time two years ago on sophie’s fifth birthday. despite there signs saying that dogs are not allowed , the 2 km stretch of sandy white beach is isolated enough for people to ignore them and leave them be.

i suppose maybe as well, lantau islanders are a lot less anal when it comes having dogs on the beach compared to the other beaches around

i love taking sophie out to the beach. i love letting her be just a dog. i want sophie to be an old-fashioned dog because i am an old-fashioned girl. i think that in a way, people today are so rich that they are spending money on unnecessary on their pets such as shoes for dogs or prams. i know many people love their pets but i think we have confused what animals need. they don’t need boots or prams. they want a good run and they want to dig holes and bury themselves in mud.

i love being to give sophie quality time and good exercise. i am thankful that throughout these couple of years, sophie has always been by my side whether i am doing yoga, or a hike or a swim at the beach or a run. sooner or later, sophie will get tired faster than me, i am outrunning her now..

it always breaks my heart when i think about how short their lives are.. but hopefully, sophie by then would have been a dog that had been almost everywhere in hong kong.

Written by smalltroubleinhk

July 5, 2011 at 4:01 pm

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