Trouble in Hong Kong…

an outsider's perspective of hong kong

Archive for the ‘in the mind of small trouble’ Category

it’s so hard to say goodbye

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have you ever had one of those days where you walked around with a sad thought lingering at the back of mind, mind far far away from the physical body and your heart so heavy and yet you somehow know you need to keep it all together?

i had one of those days last thursday. just before i left the house at 7.30, a breaking news flashed across bloomberg announcing the death of steve jobs. when he announced that he could no longer fulfill his duties as ceo, i guess i knew it was anytime soon that we’d be seeing that in the news. but still i was really sad.  till now, i cannot understand the wave of sadness that i felt because steve was not anyone i knew personally.

i felt so silly when i told my boss – steve jobs passed away and i was fighting to hold back my tears. i don’t know steve. i am just one of the many million of beneficiaries of his innovative products. i have a mortal fear of dentist and every time i went to the dentist, i made sure my ipod was powered up with the loudest possible songs. prior to my ipod era, the sound of the drills just drove me crazy.. so thank u steve for that.

there are days i get really bored with the world. i hate the fact that our civility has made us so void of humanity.. everybody tries to do the same thing without questioning the integrity of doing it.. but steve was different. steve jobs was a bright spot in the midst of all the blindness.

the apple store in hk has become somewhat tribute hall for steve. i stood there reading some of the many notes that were written for steve..

many people said – you are an inspiration.

i hope that many people can see that steve did not become an inspiration by trying to be somebody else. i am sure as hell as steve became who he was without asking – do you have a template or a case study to do this?

he was who was because he could not agree with the way things were done.  while many of us including myself find it hard to agree with how things are done but we don’t do anything to turn it around and present a different view to it. we just walk away, shrugging off the thought and accepting it.

steve – you make me want to fight harder for the things that i don’t agree with because if i walk away not doing anything or saying anything or presenting my view – i have failed to make an impact to the world.

for days now, we also have been anticipating farewell to my good friend ruby’s cat – bagel. it happened on the same day.

that anchor in my heart just became heavier. my godson jake had to learn to say goodbye to a friend that has been so much a part of his life..

goodbye bagel – hope towards the end, it wasn’t too hard. you were a good cat.



Written by smalltroubleinhk

October 8, 2011 at 8:28 am


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on an average working day in central at the corner of the street corner from my office on pedder steet, it is not uncommon to find someone holding out a charity box asking for donation. somedays it’s for old people, some days it’s for animals.. all types of causes under the sun.all very deserving causes for any form of help.

when i was five years old, my grandmother took me to the temple with her and there was a beggar outside asleep on the sheltered pavement. i asked my popo for a loan of a dollar as i quietly dropped the dollar into his bowl.

that act of giving made me feel warm and fuzzy and that i did something. it was the quickest adrenaline to make me feel good about myself.

a few days ago, i read this story about paris hilton visiting india. a beggar woman had knocked on the window of her car asking her for charity. she handed her a 100 USD. the beggar lady who had never seen money in USD approached her relative for help. seeing that and recognizing that it was in dollar denomination, the two ensued in a fight resulting the dollar to be torn in two. left aghast, the snazzy ms. hilton said – i could have given the poor lady more money in her currency.

when that song – we are the world came out in the mid 1980s. i thought it was the best thing in the world. collecting money from people who are able to give to those who are less fortunate.

after 20- 30 years of donating money. have we done a good thing or a bad thing?

there is a cleaner lady that sweeps the floor around my neighborhood. i befriended her and gave her household stuff such as old fans, free-tshirts that i didn’t need. after a while, i found her avoiding me. i was really hurt by her action and i asked her friend why she did that. she simply said – there is integrity still for being poor and less fortunate in your eyes. she doesn’t need your charity.

and she was right. by giving money to people whom we think are less fortunate – are we helping them or are we killing their instinct for survival?creating a false sense of dependency on charity. we can’t help someone because you feel sorry for them. this is not empowerment. you empower them by helping them to be self-sustaining and being able to fend for themselves.

that is why when someone hands over a donation box to me these days, i look away because i don’t want to contribute to this paralysis.

and that is the problem with the world. we are hand feeding everybody. people who could be something are not because they think why bother – the government can help, there are shelters for me to get free food. why bother.

i have had a mother who told me – i told my son to quit his job because his job is too demanding. why?  if only more mothers think – my child is like an unpolished diamond, he or she will become better after some good old polishing.maybe this will be a better world.

if only we stop thinking that the way to help someone is by giving them an easy way out. if only…


Written by smalltroubleinhk

October 8, 2011 at 7:13 am

counting my blessing

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bad things happen to remind us the fragility of all the goods things that are happening around us.

it may be hard to see through the dead of a loved one but it serves to remind us to cherish the living.

whenever i am unsatisfied with what i have ( which happens a lot) i think about people who are born in the wrong countries ie. north korea, pakistan, burma or palestine. being born in a shitty place automatically means you have less opportunities to raise above the odds and succeeding

i think about people i thought were going to do well in life who did not make it just because of one life changing incident that happened.

i think a lot about how i am going to exchange my youth and time in this life time with meaningful deeds, accomplishments that i am happy to speak about and all the good people that will come my way who will add value to my life.

i think a lot about filtering out the bad ones and cutting the ties should they continue to shed negativity on my life.

i think a lot about counting my blessings and to do what i can do change the little bits that i don’t like about myself.

this is because i believe when i change something small for something good, the right things will always come along.

Written by smalltroubleinhk

September 18, 2011 at 8:04 am

wake me up when september ends

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lately i have a few lady friends confessing to me that they did not marry the man of their dreams. they said they should have married this boyfriend or that boyfriend and that they should not have married their husbands.

to be honest, i  find this statement dribbled with utter stupidity because  i know for a fact that it is so much easier to maintain a relationship with a boyfriend rather than a husband. once you marry someone, you are compounded with so many issues you never have to deal with when you are dating them. his family becomes your family and you now have to play out the expectation they have of you. then you have kids – what you were earning before is not going to be enough unless you triple it by the time they go to school. life makes its demands of you at every stage of a marriage.

during my father’s funeral, i was reunited with my aunty whom i haven’t seen in 20 years. i asked her how her husband was and this is her story..

she hates her husband. when he was young, he sat around a lot to talk about politics while she worked like crazy. now that they are old, he had a stroke and is left paralyzed – she has to take care of him.

she said jokingly – if only euthanasia was legal.

in the context of humanity – it is a very cruel thing to have said that but if i were her i think i would feel the same. i would feel angry, cheated and deep down i think we know what kind of life we deserve to have.. that’s why i feel very sad for people who are married to people who not only didn’t improve their lives but are total liabilities.

at the end of the day, in any relationship, it is up to us to want to be the best version of ourselves so that this journey of life doesn’t become a dread and a total waste of life.

Written by smalltroubleinhk

September 17, 2011 at 9:31 am

steve and devan

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two news generated the most discussions this week ( more so than most)

first of all, can anyone tell the truth anymore? it seems like no one dares to stand by the truth anymore. on the first week of august, i really must applaud s&p for downgrading the us’s credit rating. yes, it means that financial markets will enter a state of chaos but seriously looking at the way the us is spending money, using debt to fuel more spendings – it’s just like digging deeper fiscal hole.

if we looked at the us as a person with hefty credit bills to pay, will you give him or her money to spend or an extra card? what the chances of them repaying that? pretty bleak.. i would say.

a few days ago, i was utterly shocked to see the news of devan sharma leaving s&p as its ceo. doesn’t take a genius to figure the behind the scenes drama, i suppose. this is what you get when you don’t cooperate with “the great forces in the world”.

the best way in the world to get by these days is to suck up and never talk about the truth. the truth is too controversial. kinda reminds of a corrupted police force. can you be the only clean cop around? it’s harder than you think.. but s&p, you did the right thing. there is no way the us could repay its debts without biting the bullet and right now the us like a 500 pound obese man who doesn’t think he has a weight problem.

steve jobs.. when i went to work on thursday i just said to my boss – i guess ” it won’t be too long now”. a man like him, it would be hard to let go unless he had no choice.

the fact instead of being really negative about it. i’d like to think of steve jobs one of those few people who have/ had a super life. the older we get, the realization of our mortality is never too far. if time and achievements are good factors to chart out someone’s life – steve jobs did good. someday when i die, i hope that i have achievements to look back on. we will grow old, our bodies will fail us, we will die but i hope my journey would have a good one. i love my life right now, to be honest i am i am trying to be the best version of my life, of my what i could be.. it will be different for everyone.

but steve, you did good!! well done



Written by smalltroubleinhk

August 27, 2011 at 10:16 am

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

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