Trouble in Hong Kong…

an outsider's perspective of hong kong

Archive for the ‘small trouble's hong kong adventures’ Category

the world of rob ryan

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rob ryan's book - this is for you. it is a book about love and loss told in the form of paper cut outs. holy moly!!!

this is intricate world of rob ryan. how extraordinary that almost all of his work is cut out on delicate fragile pieces of paper

this man’s talent is so oh my god, where do you even start? we live in a world where so much of what we see of art and think of art has been duplicated and replicated to the point whereby you go-  i have seen that done a million times!!  but somehow you could never quite say the same about robert’s art. there is a subtle quality whereby you know that you can’t copy his work blindly because each piece is imbued with so much intricacy and effort. yes, effort is the word i am looking for the world lacks so much of it.

i have been so fortunate to have been asked by a friend of mine to help her company do some copywriting on this project ( it’s highly secretive now because i am not supposed to talk about it now) and the next thing you know – i found myself researching and gorging down with unfounded excitement all of rob ryan’s portfolio and previous projects.

known as the edward scissorhands of today, rob ryan has been fascinating the world for quite a number of years now.  most well known for his outstanding work in vogue magazine – the paper cut dress caused many readers’ jaw to drop in awe.

the paper cut dress by rob ryan

i was reading his blog and what he wrote really spread a big wide grin across my face and made my day!!! thank you rob!!
Were you the kind of child that ate your way all around the edge of the hole in the middle of a biscuit bit by bit with tiny teeth in little nibbles? –  yes,  i was and i don’t think i was alone. where were you rob?

Were you the kind of child who spent much more time drawing margins and making multi-colored borders and underlining the titles and subtitles of your homework than ever actually doing it?
I was always busy jumping over and around the cracks in the sidewalk, and I looked up at the spaces in the sky that lay between the shapes made by crisscrossing telephone lines and power cables waiting for a jet plane or a bird to pass perfectly into the centre of the frame that I had created in my head. At that instant, I shut my eyes as if they were a camera shutter and captured that moment and made it mine – i didn’t do that but i used to play this game of sitting in the field and asking my friends – what does this cloud remind you of?

I do like this whole paper-cutting thing.I like the fact that I don’t need paint or brushes or water or oil or palettes or canvas, just a piece of paper, a knife, and a pencil [and a rubber (eraser)!]. So much less—less mess, less waste, less stuff. More time—more time to say the things I have to say without detail getting in the way. No adding on of paint, layer after layer—no more never quite knowing when to stop. Only taking away and taking away, first of all, all of the holes from the middle of all of the doughnuts in the world, and then the tiny slivery gaps that exist in the spaces in some lovers’ entwined fingers, or maybe that tiny little island of nothingness that lives between two pairs of kissing lips. And then a bigger hole that really is the entire sky, and so on and on until all the gaps fill up and slowly become the solidness that is the world we live in that somehow lies betweenbig big grin. when people are in their element it always shows and their work speaks volume

thank god for people like rob ryan. life can be so banal because we live in a mass-produced society. everybody wants a template to do something because we are expected to produce a standardized level of work. sometimes i think, maybe life was more fun a 100 years ago when most of our biggest discoveries happened throughout different stages of trials and errors and sometimes even as a direct result of an accident.

for more on rob’s work, please go to mister rob


Written by smalltroubleinhk

March 8, 2011 at 9:47 am

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.

damn good seafood on lantau island

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the biggest joy i derive from life is discovering something new everyday. after years of staying in discovery bay, we sometimes take the shuttle bus over to tung chung for a movie and to shop at tung chung. i have noticed for a while now, shuttle buses outside the mall with little standing billboards of different restaurants and long queues.

in hk, it is worth checking out a queue to see what the fuss is about because hk people don’t queue for fun. they do it in all seriousness.

on dragonboat day, i told my husband – let’s try one of those restaurants( we have been saying that for ages) we didn’t even bother researching. a surprise would be lovely!!!

there were quick a few restaurants to pick from but in the end - with the frequent shuttle service and the picture of the sunset - wah tao won hands down

it was either wah tao or the indian restaurant. the allure of watching the sunset was far more tempting and also wah tao( chinese being chinese) has a really good shuttle service. 5 minutes from the town centre of tung chung just behind yat tung village, lie another facet of hong kong; one that i have not seen before.

seafood restaurant by the edge of the sea at tung chung bay

it is a little seafood restaurant built on stilts; packed to the brim. we asked to sit outdoor and within a few minutes, i was happy to be breathing in saltwater and watching the tide come in.

picture perfect.... can you believe it's hong kong?

hkia is at where the bright lights are

wah tao is so far the only place in hong kong where one could see many modes of transportation. as hkia is in the near distance, you can see a plane departing almost every other minute, there are loads of boats and can you see the hanging cable cars as well? great place for a nice date.

the food is relatively inexpensive. at hkd 200 per person, you get the whole nine yards of seafood -mantis prawns, steamed fish, scallops.

to go to wah tao- take the mtr to tung chung and head towards the red taxi stand.

an inexpensive candle light dinner!!

mantis prawn with fried garlic - very succulent!!

nice cold beer on a hot summer evening

i can’t wait to go back. here is my suggested agenda – shop till you drop at citygate mall ( where all the fashion outlets are) or hike around tung chung. then indulge yourself!!! have a merry seafood feast!

the jedi code- fear breeds anger

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my friend had just invited me to join her for a workshop called breakthrough to success hosted by this dude – christopher howard. i hesitated  because i am really scared of overly enthusiatic individuals jumping around proclaiming ” you can change your world”. i wanted to say no but then i stopped myself and googled for more information. i am at this point in life whereby i don’t want to say no to anything. i believe that every person that i meet, i can take something from them. good or bad, let me the judge. i just don’t want to deprive myself from any opportunities.

this is what i found – christopher howard – the lifestyle guru that specialises in helping people overcome fear.

fear is a b*****. the older i get the more i realize that fear is the only thing that stops people from achieving what they truly want to do. when i graduated from university in 2002, i went for an audition to be a newscaster. i love the idea of talking to people, it is my inherent quality and it’s something i do  well at. i was holding the microphone and the camera was rolling – i froze. my mind went blank. that was just one incident. why had i allowed fear to rob of a life i had wanted?

i am going to confront fear – head on. everything i fear, i am going to turn it around.

today i was talking to a friend and he told me he likes this girl who lives in his apartment block. he has been thinking about an opportunity  to know her. he told me his grand plan – he is going to steal her mail and take it back to her house. he asked me what i thought.

i said – you do it!! why not? don’t you think that doing something crazy reminds us all how fun life could be? so what if it doesn’t work out? then we move on but at least, we walk away with the experience of saying – i did it!!

the lifestyle guru himself - chris howard.

chris’s seminar in hong kong  takes place tomorrow – 21-23 may. sorry for the last minute notice. if you want to go for it, it is at the rotunda 2- level 3 hitec kowloon bay. for more information, please visit

by the way, i was watching charlie rose when he interviewed helen mirren. she said ” my mother always said – be cautious of fear”. damn, that was a good line!

Written by smalltroubleinhk

May 20, 2010 at 2:20 pm

is there a doctor in da house?

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suffering from a cough is possibly the most anal form of small ailment. it keeps you awake at night, it’s potentially very embarrassing especially when you are caught at meetings trying to refrain your lungs from flying out. in hong kong, it’s  even worse because after SARS, coughing or blowing your nose are social taboos.

since i have been in hong kong, i have been adventurous enough to try out new forms of alternative healing. i like the theory of traditional chinese medicine. while  western medication knocks you into a comatose phase , chinese medication seeks to help the body regain its natural equilibrium. this is because it believes that when someone is ill, something is out of synch.

my chinese doctor is a 78 year old guy named chow kit tung – he is the bomb!!! i was coughing like mad for over a week before i went to see him and immediately after two doses of yucky and bitter chinese medicine, i was as good as new.

he told me he is shortening his business hours from 9 p.m. till 7 p.m. he used to work from 8 a.m. till 8 p.m. i think it’s well deserved considering his old age. anyways, if you want to try out an alternative healing method – give it a go.

the good doctor doesn’t speak english so you need some tips from small trouble

1.) go between 10 – 11 a.m. or 3 -5 p.m. because there are less people there.

2.) he will ask you two very important questions – have you been shitting well or is your shit normal? ( i often struggle with the answer because what i think is normal may be abnormal for some people right) and if you are a lady – he wants to know your last menstrual cycle.

3.) just let him listen to the pulse on both of your hands. relax and don’t clench your fists up. lastly, stick out your tongue at him. he needs to see the color of your tongue

4.) consultancy fee is hk 60 and he will write you a prescription. take it to the lady at the back who minds the medication booth. tell her to fix you your drug and arrange a time to come back to drink it.

good luck and have fun!!!

dr. chow’s address is wellington street ( close to the escalator), it’s opposite wang fu. the number is 25496513

look for this sign - on wellington street

i am telling you - this woman had such a long list of illnesses. i wondered what's keeping her alive

the dr. writing me a prescription

the medicine counter

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

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