NaNoWriMo!

I’ve been to places throughout October, and I got a lot lining up to write about. However it is November now and I have to get on with a novel I’ll be writing for absolutely no reason beyond fun.

Will get back to this in December.

ADOLIT8 II – Lee’s Force Field

The stormy gloomy aside, typhoon is a perfect opportunity for Hongkies to excel their exceptional sense of humor.

Allow me to introduce to you the richest man in Hong Kong first: Lee Ka Shing.

He is the big boss behind much of the everyday labour in Hong Kong, to which are mostly essential to maintaining the life styles that we have grown up with and faithfully believed in – groceries, pharmacies, financial markets.

As you can imagine, that’s a lot of everyday labour affected if a bad typhoon really halts all those operations, biggest impact being that word which starts with M. Coincidentally, typhoon rarely aims straight at Hong Kong, which only results in some edgy gusts that doesn’t often warrant a level 8 disaster.

The best and quickest way to explain this is metaphysics, the favorite science for Chinese culture. It is said that the richest Hongki man believes in 24/7 nonstop hard work, and it would be a real shame for precious opportunities of work to go to waste. Thus with his power of wealth and prosperity alone, he single-handedly willed a magnetic force field into being, one that’s powerful enough to repel, redirect, or even dissipate any incoming typhoon.

Now that’s real power coming from a rich man.

ADOLIT8 (A Day Of Life In Typhoon 8)

I had an appointment at noon in Langham Place before my afternoon shift work. It was still a summer day like any other, with half blue sky and half white clouds in addition to the unbearable heat. Two hours later I walked out the mall, there was a “typhoon 3″ warning sign by the window. As I look behind the sign, the city has changed.

The clouds had gone into an unfamiliar dark grey. Trees were raging in the air. While the Mong Kok goers were still out and about, the pace has slowed down and became less dense. I proceeded to work as usual, because my job ignores regulations that disallow people to go to work during extreme weather (with compensations, of course). It was until I reached the airport that it began to rain, then stopped, then became even more weird when I settled in the office.

A thick fog, or rather a piece of low-flying cloud, emerged from the west and began covering the buildings on the other side of the sea our office faces. It was difficult not to draw reference from Silent Hill or various horror classics. Colleagues who sat near the windows have expressed that they could feel them shaking ever so lightly. As night fell and it was only our shift team left in the office, the winds began to rage.

There were many adjectives to describe the noises that happened after night – bellowing, snoring, shrieking, threatening to shatter the glasses, howling – and probably didn’t stop there. The dynamics of those winds were surprisingly wide. It was also later at 10pm that Hong Kong Observatory announced Typhoon 8 warning – the work waiver that my line of work ignores and means nothing to us. Well, means nothing to us going to work or not, but it means a lot to our safety during transport between work and home.

The next shift team did their best to arrive at 11:30pm. My team hurdled together to catch a taxi, which fees can be claimed by the company during extreme weather. As we walked outside the building, various sights beheld before us, such as dancing street lamps, collapsed plants, shower of rain that was akin to broken water pipe from the sky, long taxi queue and an outrageous taxi fee, which drivers took advantage of to compensate their effort in bad weather.

I got home safely in a dress, which I had tugged in with my hand during the journey outdoor. Even after I shut my home door behind me, winds continued to shriek through the corridor outside my apartment, like many unrest spirits of Hong Kong desperate for their vengeance and justice…

Delicacies of the Mid-Autumn

One of the well-celebrated festivals of China – Mid-Autumn Festival – has just passed last Monday on 8th September. Celebration methods include playing with lanterns, candles, and having this addictive festive food we call moon cakes, all while sit under an open sky and stare at the moon together. In a way, Mid-Autumn Festival feels like Valentines Day, due to a full moon symbolises reunion in Chinese culture, resulting in a lot of seasonal wishes along the lines of sharing this moment with people you love. In other words, it is yet another day to remind yourself that you are forever alone.

As someone who works in shift for a 24/7 help desk, the only celebration methods for me are staring at the moon as I was on my way to work, plus a lot of moon cakes at work and home.

Traditionally moon cake is made with lotus seed paste with 1 – 4 egg yolks inside. In the 90s there are “icy moon cakes” made with white / green bean paste that are served cold and have a more modern taste. 2014 seems to be the year of even more obscure moon cakes though, and it probably won’t stop there.

Last year when I returned to Hong Kong for work, I was introduced to custard moon cake, which should be kept refrigerated but served warm. This year we have ice cream  moon cakes, which my friend has mistakenly placed in the main part of the fridge instead of the freezer, and much mess was made when he shared it with me.

There is no telling what kind of moon cake we’ll see next year (meat moon cake? May be it’s about time there’s a salty variety of moon cake…).

Suzuki Cafe @ Tsim Sha Tsui

It is to my own guilt that I don’t keep this place updated frequently enough. Upon some self-evaluation, I decided to write posts about my adventures as they happen, instead of struggling to catch up my past journeys. That being said, yesterday’s dinner night with my former high school mate shall be my immediate inspiration right now.

Coffee Decoration Menu

Coffee decoration menu, HKD $5 each, with a meaning behind the pictures.

Suzuki Cafe is located on the top floor of The One mall at Tsim Sha Tsui. The One is a busy mall that surpassed its neighbour mall Miramall in opening hours, evident from the shops that are still left opened and the queue at the mall toilets. It’s not a large cafe – narrow if anything, but unlike most other eatery in Hong Kong, it is never fully packed. Likely due to its lack of publicity and above-average price tag.

The cuisine here is what we call “Western-Japanese”, a gentle blend of spices, seafood and cooking methods from both Italian and Japanese culture. According to our judgement, the signature dish of this restaurant, or Western-Japanese food in general, would be this sea urchin and scallop udon.

Sea Urchin and Scallop Udon

Sea urchin and scallop udon

Sea urchin is a luxurious seafood delicacy in Asia, and its taste has been mixed into the sauce on this udon beside the lone piece of urchin on top. My friend loves it, and while I’m not picky, this really stands out as the flagship dish of Suzuki.

Then we also ordered baked crab meat rice with cheese, a light flavour dish suitable for my sensitive Cantonese tongue. For appetizer that came much later than both of the above and the drinks, we asked for mango soft shell crab pizza, a bizarre sounding mix with seemingly irrelevant ingredients, but it was okay.

Calling itself a cafe, it has just as many pages for drinks as there are for food. The drink menu is where the concept of “Western-Japanese” cuisine really shines, featuring green tea latte and coffee with premier Japanese dairy.

We left the cafe satisfied with HKD $352 bill for two.

Origin: Hong Kong

Welcome to my new website. Let’s start with my home – Hong Kong.

20131007_200210
Central district - Hong Kong Island

Pearl of the Orient, Pearl of the Easts, the Shopping Heaven, these are the names to the public that Hong Kong has come to be known as. Like most other major cities / capitals of each countries, the public beauty of Hong Kong certainly does not fall short on the international scale. Its night life is ever illuminated, activities ever thrive on its streets, there is no boredom. There is no dull moment.

But everyone probably already knows all those fabulous things Hong Kong has to market itself with, considering the high ratio of foreign people who take an interest in visiting Hong Kong some day. Feel free to look up all the other wonderful features Hong Kong has to offer in your own time; What I’m going to talk about here are things about Hong Kong that you don’t really hear about – the good, the bad, and the ugly.

IMG_0206
An ordinary day at the market - Tsuen Wan

A psychedelic city, a crowdy living hell, concrete pandemonium with seemingly eternal social and emotional conflicts – these are the names I crown the home that I love and hate. Like that particular family member in your household, no matter how much you hate him or her, it does not change the fact that you are blood related, and you still have to care for that fact alone.

DSC_0003
Pedestrian bridge on Sunday afternoon - Central

No amount of words can emphasise the emotional stress that is invisibly weighing on everyone’s shoulder in this dreadful city. The place is under heavy social and emotional conflict – having gotten used to British system only to have mainland China government assimilating everything this generation had ever known; Herd mentality is strong, coming from a collective thinking culture; Highly egoistic and competitive society due to its dense population. It may be fun to travel here once in a while, but living here is not for the faint of heart.

There are places of escapism here, but there is always an echo of industrial hum in the air, ringing in my head that probably shouldn’t be born here.

In the future series of A Day Of Life In Hong Kong, I will continue to introduce different places and culture of Hong Kong, that are less known to those unfamiliar with Cantonese, or Chinese altogether.