Page 1

April/ May 2017


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Publishers Publishers in in Lantau Lantau since since 2002 2002

WHAT IS EFFECTIVE ESTATE PLANNING? The answer to this question is to speed up the overall distribution of your estate; and to mitigate unwarranted taxes whilst providing the right people with the right money at the right time!

How does one do this? Writing your Will - This will allow everyone you leave behind to understand what happens to everything you own. If you die with a Will in Hong Kong, the Grant of Probate (a legal document releasing your assets) can take months. Without one, it can take years! Setting up a Family Trust — Your Will instructs who gets what BUT it does not speed up time nor does it distinguish how assets are to be given. Trusts can be more specific to certain property (assets you own.) Trusts can be used for Tax Mitigation, Asset Protection and/or Succession Planning and are not just suitable for the rich and wealthy. Nominate Beneficiaries — If you have any life insurance plans, savings plans linked to life insurance or are member of a company pension or death in service benefit then you can have beneficiaries nominated to speed the process of distribution. When your death certificate is received, your Executor or loved ones can submit this to claim the proceeds. Very often, this method of nomination does not require probate (therefore your beneficiaries receive funds within weeks rather than months or years.) Write assets down — People die without letting other people know what they own! This can leave millions in the various financial institutions such as the bank, insurance company, stock broker etc. If no one claims the money, the institution keeps it after a certain period, depending upon the jurisdiction. You should also let people know that you have a valid Will and where it is kept, or no one would know to look for it. Advisably, you should allow your Executor/s a copy of the document and your Guardians, if applicable. Updating and Reviewing — As you acquire assets globally, you should review your estate planning instructions. If your Will only covers certain jurisdictions and you have secured assets in others, you have to update your Will. The same applies to changes in personal circumstances, for example, a Marriage revokes all other Wills but a Divorce does not! Rules and Regulations are changing fast so it is important to keep abreast of what you own and the effect of them on your estate whilst you are alive AND when you pass away … the rules are different!

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2  LIFE ON LANTAU April/ May 2017

April/ May 2017


FEATURES 16 24 28 31

DISPATCH Incense tree poaching PERSONA Mui Wo activist Tom Yam SPOTLIGHT The role of the expat HEALTH Overcoming exam anxiety


14 22 35 36 40

GIVEAWAYS Win great prizes PULL-OUT GUIDE Home resources LADA UPDATE Smart-city concept LANTAU FACES Community snaps INSIDER Dragon boat racing

AGENDA 04 34 37 38




April/ May 2017



We also publish Discovery Bay’s original community magazine

For general enquiries, email To advertise, email

APRIL 2017


Experiments in green living Easter eggs three ways

If you have a story idea, email To publicise a local event, email

Your guide to the Hong Kong Sevens

Call 2987 0577/ 2787 0886 | Fax 2987 0533

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COVER Escaping the expat bubble


Publishers in in Lantau Lantau since since 2002 2002 Publishers

Photo by Andrew Spires


Carolina Kollmann




For the latest Life on Lantau updates, find us on



The annual Beer Dash saw 5 kilometres of fun and frivolity on South Lantau on March 25, with international beers and inventive costumes aplenty.

ASSISTANT EDITOR Sam Agars DIGITAL STRATEGIST & COORDINATOR Claire Severn SENIOR GRAPHIC DESIGNER Andrew Spires ADVERTISING & SALES MANAGER Connie Cottam SALES ACCOUNT MANAGER Monika Carruthers OFFICE MANAGER Maxine Parry PHOTOGRAPHERS Baljit Gidwani - Jason Pagliari Andrew Spires CONTRIBUTORS Barbara Cooper Jason Danes Allen Ha Marcus Hall Patricia Jover Elizabeth Kerr Katrina Mercado (intern) Jason Pagliari PRINTING Fantasy Printing Limited 7/F Tin Fung Industrial Mansion 63 Wong Chuk Hang Road Aberdeen, Hong Kong DISCLAIMER The views expressed in Life on Lantau are not necessarily those of the publisher, editor or contributors. The publisher and editor cannot be held responsible for differences of opinion or statements published in good faith. The publisher, contributors, their employees and partners are not responsible for the results of any actions, errors or omissions taken on the basis of information contained in this publication and expressly disclaim all and any liability for any such action of any person. The mention of specific companies or products in articles or advertisements does not imply that they are endorsed or recommended by this magazine or its publisher in preference to others of a similar nature which are not mentioned or advertised. No part of this magazine may be reproduced in any form without permission.


Photos by Andrew Spires

WHAT’S BEEN HAPPENING ACROSS LANTAU Find more photos of community events @


In the second year of the Tung Chung World Cup Tennis Tournament, residents played for their national teams in a round-robin format featuring men’s, ladies’ and mixed doubles. Part proceeds were donated to a charity that helps those who face difficulty walking due to bunions.

Photos by Andrew Spires

April/ May 2017



DANCE FOR JOY AT CNY Tung Chung-based Dance for Joy choreographed the dance moves for 82 Cathay Pacific cabin and crew staff at the Cathay Pacific International Chinese New Year Night Parade on January 28. According to Dance for Joy: “The Cathay crew’s hard work and perseverance paid off as they performed like professional dancers in front of millions of people on a live telecast.”

LBC TRAIL RUNNING It’s been a busy couple of months for Lantau Base Camp (LBC) and Lantau’s runners. Held on January 21, the LBC Ladies Race was the first women’s only trail race in Hong Kong and saw a large crowd turn out, while teams of two took on the LBC Valentines Race on February 11.

6  LIFE ON LANTAU April/ May 2017

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TRANSLANTAU Residents from Lantau and beyond tackled the 25-kilometre, 50-kilometre and 100-kilometre races of the Translantau over the weekend of March 10 to 12, with both individuals and teams of two slugging it out on Lantau’s picturesque trails.

Photos courtesy of Alexis Berg and Sunny Lee

BUI O COMPETITION DAY Bui O Public School’s inter-house competition day saw sand sculpture competitions and running races on March 17, with students raising money to support school activities and purchase equipment.

8  LIFE ON LANTAU April/ May 2017



Throughout April & May


Find more information and events @

Throughout Lantau

Inspired by the financial advice given to her own helper, South Lantau’s Shirley Johnson is raising funds for Hong Kong charity Enrich, now in its 10th year. Through her company Lantau Ren, Shirley aims to help Enrich provide domestic workers with 10,000 hours of financial education. To get on board, check out the special edition ‘Super Aunty’ T-shirt and other items in Lantau Ren’s T-shirts for Good collection. HK$40 from every shirt sold is being donated to Enrich. To purchase a T-shirt head to; for more on Enrich visit

April 2

debris, in and around Lantau, visit


April 7


As Hong Kong Sevens fever heats up and kids from across Lantau prepare to converge on Hong Kong Stadium to both play and spectate on the weekend of April 7 to 9, the Tung Chung Rugby Club (TCRC) is again hosting the Asia Pacific Dragons’ star players. An invitational rugby team that competes in the Hong Kong 10s in the week leading up to the Hong Kong Sevens, the Dragons number former and budding All Blacks and other international players, who will be running the TCRC kids through a number of drills and exercises. To find out more, visit


through Protection of Animals Lantau South (PALS), call Jacqui Green on 9197 4371, for Hong Kong Paws Foundation (PAWS), call Kat Cheung on 9485 5188. 10  LIFE ON LANTAU April/ May 2017

TO JOIN A BEACH CLEAN-UP or dive against

Throughout Lantau

National Beer Day is celebrated in bars across Lantau but do you know the history behind this special day? (And that you have US President Franklin D. Roosevelt to thank for it?) On March 22, 1933, Roosevelt signed the Cullen-Harrison Act, which repealed prohibition for beer. Effective April 7, 1933, people across the US could once more buy, sell and consume beer. On the first National Beer Day, April 7, 1993, 1.5 million barrels of beer and ale were downed across the US. Let’s drink to that!

IN&AROUND DB April 7-9


The YRock teens are taking to the East Concourse of the Hong Kong Stadium over Hong Kong Sevens weekend. Young Lantau performers include Mui Wo’s suitcase-drum duo The Folk Ups. Pui O/ Peng Photo courtesy of Jason Pagliari Chau band The Banded Kraits is also bringing its brand of original blues rock to the YRock stage on April 9 at 4.15pm.

Like us on LifeonLantauMagazine for event reminders

April 8 & 15

April 9


Join Enrich graduate and avid mountaineer Liza Avelino on the Enrich Empowerment Hike. There are three routes to choose from – the Nam Shan Country Trail, Lantau Peak and Sunset Peak – and all culminate in a cool-down session at Mui Wo’s Silvermine Beach. Tickets are HK$200 and all proceeds go to Enrich to support its bid to financially empower 10,000 migrant domestic workers this year. To register, head to

Deadline: April 10



HOKA Stairmaster Lantau, organised by Lantau Base Camp and taking place on April 8, sees participants scale both Sunset Peak and Lantau Peak twice on a gruelling 20-kilometre course. In the 10-kilometre HOKA Stairmaster Twins on April 15, runners take on both twins and the hundreds of stairs leading to Stanley Gap Road. To register, by April 6, head to


Open to students across Lantau

The April 10 deadline for the Around DB and Life on Lantau Young Writer’s Competition (YWC) is approaching fast. This year, we are asking students to write a 600- to 700-word account from the point of view of a famous historical figure. The YWC provides secondary school students living and/ or studying in Lantau with the chance to get published. To enter, check the YWC guidelines at or on the Around DB and Life on Lantau Facebook pages.

This musical production of the celebrated passion play, The Witness , kicks off at 6pm at Tung Chung Catholic Primary School and admission is free. The cast is solely made up of children and teenagers from Lantau. To find out more, visit

April/ May 2017


LANTAU EVENTS April 22 April 14-17



Start and finish: China Bear, Mui Wo

Chek Lap Kok The Regal Airport Hotel has a host of options for Lantau families looking to celebrate the holiday in style. The Easter-themed buffet features king crab leg, Spanish sautéed garlic shrimp and Singaporean wok-fried shrimp, as well as special Easter desserts. You can also expect handcraft workshops, cooking classes, a model train exhibition and plenty of Easter activities for the kids. Call 2286 8888.

Into its third year, the Country of Origin race, now sponsored by Life on Lantau , sees over 500 runners tackle a 300-kilometre loop from Mui Wo to Discovery Bay and back. Teams of three individuals of the same nationality run together, with many completing Photo courtesy of Claus Rolff the course in full national or fancy Rainwater Photo dress. For more information and to register by April 8, contact Nic Tinworth on or visit

May 21 & 30


April 27-May 3

Across Lantau

Photo by Seven Mostoviy


Celebrate the Buddha’s birthday by attending the Grand Buddha Bathing Ceremony in the Hall of the Great Gero at Po Lin Monastery. Other entertainment taking place each day for a week includes Shaolin Kung Fu, acrobatics and facechanging performances. Admission is free. To find out more, call 2985 5248.

Dragon Boating is again on the horizon with races taking place across Lantau. There are big meets planned for May 21 in Mui Wo and June 18 in Tai O. The Tuen Ng Festival public holiday falls on May 30, when you can watch local fishermen compete in Tai O. To read more on dragon boat racing in Lantau and the South Lantau Buffaloes Dragon Boat team, turn to page 40.

May 7


May 14

Tung Chung-based Dance for Joy’s annual recital, Around the World , aims to give the performers and audience an opportunity to relate to their own culture through music and dance, and to share a common, cross-cultural goal of unity, love and respect. Both children and adult Dance for Joy students are performing at the Discovery College Performing Arts Theatre, alongside guest professionals from Samoa, Hong Kong and the Philippines. The show starts at 4.30pm, for tickets visit


amazing and dedicated mothers in the Lantau community.

12  LIFE ON LANTAU April/ May 2017

Magazine Online Read the latest community news online. This month’s hottest happenings and events on Lantau Island. Fantastic giveaways and offers. And much more!

GIVEAWAYS WIN TICKETS TO PITBULL’S CLIMATE CHANGE TOUR YOUR PRIZE: AsiaWorld-Expo is offering two readers two tickets (worth HK$888 each) to see Pitbull’s Climate Change Tour at AsiaWorldExpo, Chek Lap Kok on May 29 at 8pm. FIND THE ANSWER: P i t b u l l i s returning to Hong Kong, following the release of his 10th studio album, Climate Change. The Grammy-winning rapper is known for sell-out concerts across the Americas, Europe and Asia, and has sold over five million albums and over 60 million singles. For tickets, visit

Here’s your chance to win great prizes! Life on Lantau competitions are incredibly easy to enter (you’ll even find the answers to our questions right here). You have until April 10 to submit your answers. To enter, email, click on the competitions link at, or scan the QR Code below. Don’t forget to give us your name and telephone number!

How many studio albums has Pitbull released?


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Photos courtesy of Andrew Watson and Alice Lee

Big men with machetes are smashing down gates and cutting up trees in our own backyards. Jason Danes reports on the battle for the incense trees

Logging tools abandoned by an illegal tree-felling gang

16  LIFE ON LANTAU April/ May 2017

View from Ngong Ping Cable Car – fluctuating pollution levels

The poachers’ camp close to Shui Hao Village


hen Andrew Watson first moved to Hong Kong he had no idea what an incense tree was. He didn’t know they were endangered, and he didn’t even know that Hong Kong, which translates as fragrant harbour, is named after the incense tree trade that used to go on here. But in the past year he has gone from being totally ignorant about pretty much everything, to chasing incense tree poachers across the jungle-rich mountains of South Lantau. Needless to say, it has been an interesting time not just for Andrew, but for many people, both local and expat, who call Lantau home.

Native to Hong Kong, the incense tree, or agarwood (aquilaria sinensis) is one of the most prized trees in all of East Asia. Its processed sap is worth more than gold per gram due to its fengshui properties, and people are willing to go to ridiculous lengths to get it out of Hong Kong and into the mainland Chinese black market (and beyond). The tree is on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s Red List and it is already almost extinct in the mainland due to illegal logging. Under siege Let’s rewind about 12 months. Andrew came to Hong Kong in April to do an ecosystem-focused permaculture course at Ark Eden, and part of the course involved visiting a secluded private holding in South Lantau, owned by Daniel Wing. Daniel’s handful of fully-grown Buddha Pine incense trees (luóhàn sōng) are his pride and joy. They were planted by his grandfather in the middle of the last century as part of the beautification of the garden and have been preserved to enhance the property’s feng shui. During his visit, Andrew learnt that Daniel’s garden, however inaccessible, was being targeted by poachers. “In 2015, after the first few were stolen, we started to beef up our security,” Daniel explains. “We put in wi-fi cameras so we could

A resprouting tree fighting to regain space in the canopy

Healthy leaves on an adolescent incense tree

watch and listen to live feed on our phones, and one night in early spring I heard a metallic clinking from the audio feed. I turned up the volume and heard someone say, in Mandarin, ‘Get over here’. I immediately called the police but the men fled before they arrived. They had removed a few cameras, dug the top few inches out of an incense tree and cleared an escape path.” Incense trees transplant best in late winter/ spring, so Daniel was ready for the poachers on their return a few nights later. Awoken by his newly installed motion detector alarms, he saw men running off into the mountain, and immediately called the police. “To their credit, the police sped up the mountain and hollered and searched for an hour,” says Daniel, “but we came down empty-handed.” Before heading back home, Daniel and his friends saw a man loitering nearby, and since it was 4am, in a very remote area, they got curious. The man saw their car and walked away. He then doubled back, ran to his vehicle and fled the scene. Daniel suspects he was the loggers’ look out or driver.

April/ May 2017



Mainland wrappers found by the AFCD near Donna Wan’s property

Daniel has experienced five such attacks on his property, with the biggest occurring in March 2016, when he found 10 people digging out one of his Buddha Pine trees. On being discovered, the poachers disappeared into the forest before anyone could even call the police. Daniel subsequently heard that a villager had seen a speedboat leaving a Lantau beach a few nights after the heist, with a large incense tree strapped to it. “As of right now, we have, on average, a half dozen people living at the garden with three dogs, an army of security cameras, flood lights and comprehensive fencing around the site,” Daniel says. “There could still be hideouts in the mountains. Sometimes the dogs still bark into the forest, so someone may still be in the shadows, just waiting for us to let down our guard.”

Severe damage caused by illegal logging

“We can’t be there 24 hours a day, so we need to work together with the community,” senior superintendent Alice Lee said in November. Alice, Lantau’s then district commander, went on to point out that: “The illegal loggers aren’t dangerous, when people shout at them, they always run. They’re scared – if you chase them they want to go in a hole and hide.” This theory is backed up by numerous firsthand experiences, including that of Donna Wan, a South Lantau villager, who found a man chopping down a huge incense tree at the edge of her back garden last April. When she yelled at him, he ran off into the forest. Convicted loggers face a maximum prison sentence of 10 years and hefty fines, but with so much money on offer from black market profiteering, they are nothing if not persistent. As a case in point,

Eyewitness accounts Not surprisingly, Daniel has become wrapped up in the methodology of the illegal loggers and has gradually pieced together a clear picture through eyewitness accounts. “These aren’t attempts made on impulse, the teams are big,” Daniel explains. “As I understand it, there’s a mainland or local Hong Kong mastermind who is in charge of the operation, a tree buyer, a scout or two, a number of tree diggers, an arborist or tree surgeon, a truck driver, a boat driver to transport the tree back to China, and someone in charge of the complex logistics for the Hong Kong side of the operation.” Faced with the surge in attacks, the Lantau Police has been working with local environmentalists to put an end to the poaching. Thanks to a series of tip offs, they were able to dismantle a poachers’ camp close to Shui Hao Village in June last year. After a lengthy stakeout, a 40-person jungle-trained taskforce reclaimed bagfuls of incense tree pieces and logging tools, though they weren’t able to catch the culprits. 18  LIFE ON LANTAU April/ May 2017

Lantau Police rural patrol after the discovery of the Shui Hao camp

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DISPATCH the poacher on Donna’s property returned just a week or two after he was first discovered, ironically enough on Earth Day. On this occasion, the police again came out in force but it was up to Donna and Andrew to pursue the poacher into the forest. “We chased the man for over an hour but he finally ran down a path into one of the villages, so we lost him,” Andrew says. “I got a picture of his boot prints, and I’ve turned it over to the Lantau Police, but you can’t catch a man from a boot print.” Later that day, the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) got involved. An agent found mainland snack wrappers on the forest floor and evidence proving that 18 trees had been cut down or damaged within the past few days or weeks. Incense trees are slow growing, so seeing that many mature trees damaged or destroyed almost brought Donna to tears.

poaching is a symptom of a much deeper problem. It is not for nothing that Lantau is known as Hong Kong’s green lung. Our wealth of trees act as a carbon sink for some of the carbon emissions created by Lamma Power Station, as well as a gigantic air purifier for Hong Kong’s high-polluting shipping industry and downtown vehicle emissions. The proposed development plans (potentially involving the felling of thousands of trees) may bring with them the promise of more money and jobs, but at what cost? In essence, that’s what this whole incense tree battle is really about. At what point do we decide that enough is enough and we’d rather not make the quick buck if it means dooming an entire species or ecosystem to certain destruction. And that’s where the incense tree, along with countless other species around the globe, is headed. So saddle up: It’s time to change the world.

The bigger picture Police figures show the number of reported cases involving illegal felling of incense trees has increased dramatically in recent years, though it has improved in the past few months due to concerted efforts by the community, Marine Police, AFCD and Lantau Police.

You can report any suspicious activity concerning incense trees to the Lantau Police on 3661 1696 for North Lantau, and 3661 1694 for South Lantau. You can call the AFCD on 2150 6978. To contact the writer, email

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OLD-SCHOOL Mui Wo resident Tom Yam is putting his science background into the fight against city hall, and urging islandlovers to make a stand against the proposed East Lantau Metropolis. Elizabeth Kerr reports


om Yam really knows how to take advantage of his golden years. “I failed at retirement three times,” he begins on this cool, grey morning at Mui Wo’s normally boisterous China Bear. Sure, there’s a little more salt than pepper in Tom’s hair, but he has a youthful face and overall energy that belies his 70 years. We should all be so lucky. Born in Guangzhou and raised in Hong Kong, Tom came home in 2003 after 40-odd years in the US and six in Shanghai, thanks to a degree in electrical engineering and a PhD in control systems theory. Those 40 years were spent in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania (at Wharton), after his first stop in Tennessee. That gave Tom a taste of a world in flux. “In my time at Tennessee, between 1965 and 1968, there were no black players on the basketball team or the football team. Zero. At the time the university was all white, before the civil rights movement really took hold, but I got a front row view of the South before it did. There were very few Asians, maybe 10, and just a handful from Hong Kong,” he remembers.

Photos by Andrew Spires and courtesy of Tom Yam

From NASA to the SCMP After university, Tom bounced from one high-profile firm to the next, among them Bell Labs, AT&T, Ernst & Young and IBM in management and consulting. And if you insist something isn’t rocket science, be prepared for him to argue from a position of strength – he also worked on the space shuttle programme for NASA.

24  LIFE ON LANTAU April/ May 2017

ACTIVIST AT&T took him around the world, most notably to post-Nixon/ Carter China in 1982. “That was an interesting experience. China hadn’t opened up yet,” he recalls. He returned to China in 1995 to run AT&T’s Shanghai office before finally settling back in the SAR. Admitting to having had three or four careers, Tom’s next “semicareer” was as the science and technology columnist for the South China Morning Post. Describing the job as “totally serendipitous”, Tom says: “I happened to know an editor at the paper and he knew my background. We had lunch and talked about a Sunday science column. The idea was to write so that anyone could understand the topic. There was no specific subject. But making it understandable to the general public was important.” Tom unofficially partnered with his wife, Kim, herself a journalist and editor (she edits all his work: “We make a good team”), and wrote on science, and later policy issues like waste management and urban planning. When the budget was cut, Hong Kong was left with no local science voice. ELM Concern Group These days, in his failed retirement, Tom has become one in the chorus of voices rising in opposition to the government’s proposed future for Lantau. “The things I’m involved in now seem like a full-time job: trying to get Hong Kong people to understand what’s h a p p e n i n g o n L a n ta u , specifically at the East Lantau Metropolis,” he says. “We’ve formed t h e E L M C o n ce r n

Group with other green groups and community groups, and we’re in touch with legislative councillors. I appear at forums at HKU and there are a few more to come. I’ve worked with The Pearl Report on TVB. Put all those things together and it doesn’t feel like retirement.” Tom laments losing the fight over the Shek Kwu Chau incinerator construction, despite the Environmental Protection Department’s scepticism and a 20% higher cost than alternative sites. He sees the Shek Kwu Chau decision as “a perfect example” of an out-oftouch bureaucracy: “That does not serve the people of Hong Kong, it serves powerful politicians and local pressure.” He may not admit it in so many words, but the failure to move the incinerator is a bitter pill, and Tom seems determined not to repeat that failure. As he explains, East Lantau’s development is predicated on destructive landfill, inaccurate population projections (the 2017 projection of nine million has passed), the perception of a lack of available land for development (though 105 public schools remain unused after 15 years), and a blind eye to climate change. “It doesn’t make sense, never mind the environmental issues. The ecological and environmental equilibrium is very delicate. Development and human traffic is at its limit. If you rip up Lantau you’ll destroy it,” Tom says, clearly frustrated. “I can’t think of anyplace else in the world with 700,000 people living in the middle of the sea. It’s high risk… There are a whole list of options they could explore, but those require leadership and political will. The East Lantau Metropolis project would cost HK$400 billion and take 30 years to complete. It has nothing to do with solving the housing problem right now. It’s not the same issue.” Tom’s ’60s education really shows when it comes to his and other local concern groups’ position on stopping the HK$250 million in funding for a feasibility study the government is resubmitting for approval this month – one that was dropped in 2014. He urges the public to make its voice known now. “The awareness issue is hard. We can talk until we’re blue in the face but if the government doesn’t want to listen they won’t,” he admits. “It’s hard to get 50,000 to go to a march. The best we can do is talk to all the district and legislative council councillors and their constituents and hope they spread the word. It’s 400-billion taxpayer dollars and a place for all of Hong Kong to enjoy. It’s not just a Lantau issue.”

Tom Yam pictured in Mui Wo, not far from the proposed site for the East Lantau Metropolis

April/ May 2017



Tom buttonholing then Development Secretary Paul Chan at Mui Wo Ferry Pier in February 2016

Active retirement But Tom isn’t all work all the time. He and Kim are blessed with two grown children (and three grandchildren) living overseas, and so what free time they have is spent travelling. Not vacationing. Travelling. “Oh we’ve been all over the place,” he begins enthusiastically. “The last vacation was in the Baltic countries – Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia and the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad right next to it. We spent two weeks in Syria before civil war broke out there. And we’ve been to nine of the former Soviet Republics.” He and Kim make a strong team away from work too. As far as planning for such massive excursions, Tom admits, “She does it all.”

Tom speaking at the Mui Wo Waterfront Forum in March 2016

Tom doesn’t just talk a big game. Hong Kong is home and he’s committed to putting the time into making it better. He’s the kind of guy we need in public office. Would he ever consider a seat on a district council? He scoffs, and then shakes his head at the thought of the work that actually goes into the job. “Maybe if I was 20 years younger,” he says after a pause. “And I’m supposed to be retired.” Oh yeah. Right.

FIND IT • ELM Concern Group Facebook Page

Photo by Andrew Spires



Is the role of an expat to integrate into local lifestyle and culture and does living in Lantau give us a head-start on this? Marcus Hall reports 28  LIFE ON LANTAU April/ May 2017

Marcus Hall pictured in Yat Tung Estate Wet Market, Tung Chung


n a world that seems to show an increasing amount of racial division, is now, more than ever, an important time for expatriates to integrate into local lifestyle and culture? At first this may seem obvious but, when you scratch beneath the surface, the answer becomes a lot less clear. In simplified terms, an expatriate can be defined as someone living outside of his or her native country. At the moment the number of expatriates residing in Hong Kong hovers at around 5% of the population, and it certainly feels that way on Lantau. In Tung Chung, where I have lived for the past few years, resident foreigners are quite clearly in the minority. We may forgive an outsider for questioning how far integrating into Hong Kong society could be a challenge for expats. Hong Kong is a technologically advanced Western-looking city, so it would be easy to think that transitioning between different cultures is easy. However, as those on the inside know, there are significant cultural differences. Integration takes a certain amount of effort and commitment. Intercultural dialogue Very few expats would say that they moved to Hong Kong to explore Chinese culture and learn some Cantonese. In the main, people move here for job prospects and a better quality of life. With this in mind, can we really expect expats to delve into local life? Do we have a moral obligation to join our neighbours for yum cha at Federal Palace in Tung Chung on a Sunday morning? Play Mahjong with senior citizens at Lai Lai Nursing Centre in Mui Wo? Or sing to our hearts’ content with youngsters at a karaoke bar in Tsim Sha Tsui? It could be argued that there is a fine line between integrating oneself in a culture and abandoning your own personal heritage. Expats often might feel far from home and as a result homesick. This is certainly the case for professionals who move here without a family or spouse. With this sense of homesickness, it becomes only natural to surround yourself with what is familiar to you, or what reminds you of home. For this reason ‘expat bubbles’, like Tap Tap Bar in Pui O and the China Bear in Mui Wo, are rife, right across Hong Kong. It has to be said, however, that many expats choose to live in Lantau (rather than, for instance, Mid-Levels) not just to escape the hustle and bustle of life in Central, but also to get a better handle on local life. Organic integration It’s important to note that forced integration into a particular society is not a positive process. Expats who are pushed into integrating tend to approach the situation with resentment and angst. However, organic integration, which has come about through choice, is a far more beautiful and positive thing altogether. If you are planning to live in Hong Kong for a month, a couple of years, or for the rest of your life, you rightly have the choice on how

you live your life. But for myself, I cannot help but feel it would be an opportunity lost to move to a vibrant life-filled city like Hong Kong and not desire to learn about the fascinating culture and experience the Chinese way of life. Travel clearly broadens the mind and gives us a greater knowledge of the world we live in. Integrating into Hong Kong lifestyle and culture could simply be seen as a way of expanding our perspectives and becoming more aware of the society we now call home. Could it then be argued that it is not the duty of an expat to integrate into Hong Kong lifestyle and culture, but rather a boon that we should enjoy and take for granted? If that does not resonate well with you, there is a much plainer argument. Frankly, we should attempt to integrate out of simple respect for the people whose home we have moved to.

Very few expats would say that they moved to Hong Kong to explore Chinese culture and learn some Cantonese. In the main, people move here for job prospects and a better quality of life

Thinking back to my childhood in East London, I remember people in local pubs discussing their immigrant neighbours and throwing around comments like: “I don’t mind them if they are contributing to society... If they don’t disturb my way of life then I’m not concerned with them.” Politically, we could not escape the agenda of making sure that different cultures integrated into British society, and arguably this is still the case today. The question is: Would the way I live my life in Hong Kong be accepted by locals if the roles were reversed and I had moved from Hong Kong to London and lived in the same way? Have I integrated enough to ‘please the locals’ in Hong Kong? As I enter a stage in my life where I look to have children, I hope that they are able to speak Cantonese. I desire for them to be able to integrate fully into my adopted home. They should not feel separated from society but rather valued as a member within it. We need to move away from labelling each other as ‘locals’, ‘nonlocals’, or ‘expatriates’. We are all people of Hong Kong, who live and work together for the greater good of this city. The sooner we do this, the sooner we can share in our commonalities rather than wallow in our supposed differences.

April/ May 2017



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Being prepared mentally and emotionally is the key to success in the final high school exams. Barbara Cooper offers some practical advice for stressed-out students


xam nerves are a completely normal emotion that we all experience from time to time. In fact, a little adrenaline can push you forward to perform well under pressure. It gives you the ‘kick’ to power through the final high school exams and work to a time limit. However, test anxiety can be far more intense for some and cause physical effects.

exams as a threat. Your body may respond with ‘fight or flight’ sensations that include sweaty hands, dry mouth, nausea, insomnia, stomach pain or compulsive eating. These can be the body’s way of saying: ‘I don’t like this – I’m afraid!’ So what is it that you are afraid of? Things to consider

While you can find ways to manage anxiety, for longer-lasting relief what you really need to do is to go to the heart of the fear. For a number of reasons known only to you, you see the forthcoming

An exam answer cannot sum up everything about who you are but it does indicate what you know about the subject. So are you

April/ May 2017


HEALTH small notebooks to revise on the bus or ferry. Try singing your revision notes! Embrace repetition. Completing past exam papers is key and is vital for familiarising yourself with mark schemes. Remember, the examiner will mark your exam paper to those descriptors. When you’re headed into a stressful time, where you are looking at weeks of intense study and assessment, you need to boost your good habits. Be positive and avoid negative conversations with friends. Don’t worry about what they have or haven’t done – motivate yourself. Stay focused and set aside plenty of time for revision

adequately prepared? Be honest! Do you know the subject content? Do you have a copy of each subject’s syllabus? If not – get to it – you need to. Tests do not reflect your worth. You know your own value. You are not your older sibling. You have your own personality and strengths. Identify them. Use them. Do your parents have unrealistic expectations of you? Talk to them. Did you know that many parents get nervous alongside their kids? Do you feel stressed? Talk to a parent/ teacher/ mentor to help you be realistic and get yourself organised. A third party can help with ideas and focus. Exams assess what you know on a particular day and are not always the best indicator of your subject knowledge. But you can’t use this as an excuse.

At the same time, don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need to. It’s good to talk about your feelings and find ways to change negative beliefs. Remember, test anxiety is manageable and treatable. Last but not least, prioritise your well-being. Eat nutritious food, sleep well and exercise. Drink plenty of water. Keep off fizzy drinks and coffee. Ensuring that you are eating healthily, getting some exercise every day, and sleeping on a regular schedule will make sure that you are less vulnerable to anxiety at test time. You may have to quit or drastically reduce time spent on social media to make this happen. Consider asking a parent to take your phone before bed so that you can ensure you have time to unwind before bed and get the rest you need. Gym, yoga, running and cycling are good for reducing your anxiety. Take exercise breaks when studying. Go outside, walk up the hill and use up your adrenaline. Exercise reduces stress, calms you and increases your concentration power. Use your sense of humour – laugh daily!

If you get a lower grade than you want, the world will not end! Getting a B instead of an A will not stop you getting the job you want, finding the love of your life or travelling the world. Think of the bigger picture. Practical things to do Without question, the first step to handling exam time stress is to be prepared, and that doesn’t mean just the night before. Steadily revising in the months ahead, going through previous exams to know what sort of questions might be asked, and then having time to seek the help of a teacher or tutor if you find something you don’t understand, should drastically reduce the stress you are feeling. Make a revision plan that includes a time schedule. Be realistic! Itemise exam times, ferry times and other commitments. Even if you don’t stick to this rigidly, it creates an intention and starts the positive energy of moving forward. There is a sense of achievement and control as you tick off the days. Stay focused and concentrate fully on your exams. Memorise in ways that suit your learning style. Put post-it notes with mnemonics on your mirror; use mind maps, funny rhymes, memes, notes recorded on your smartphone, teachers’ YouTube lessons and 32  LIFE ON LANTAU April/ May 2017

Be positive and prioritise your well-being

Barbara Cooper MBA, BA (Hons). Cert. Ed. offers personalised education mentoring services (including exam preparation and revision techniques) for Lantau students, aged 10 to 18. You can contact her at or 9754 2244.

The sky’s the limit




The challenge:

Write a 600- to 700-word account from the point of view of a famous historical figure.

The reward:

The winning article is published in the June issue of both Around DB and Life on Lantau. There will be prizes for the three winners, and three runners-up, provided by Bookazine.

Open to all secondary school students living and/ or studying in Lantau. The deadline is April 10. Check the YWC guidelines on the Around DB and Life on Lantau Facebook pages or

Last year’s finalists:

Maria Andreeva, 14, Katrina Lowe, 13, and Ryan Harling, 16

Submit your article by April 10 to


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Hong Kong Football Club, Happy Valley April 5-6

April 6

The GFI HKFC 10s is now in its 32nd year, attracting the game’s top players and 10-a-side teams. Catch the Classic Wallabies as they make their tournament debut, along with 14 returning teams. You can purchase tickets, starting at HK$100, at the entrance or by visiting


Hong Kong Stadium, Causeway Bay

Hong Kong Rugby Sevens weekend kicks off with world-class entertainment as British mod legends Madness and From the Jam headline an energy-filled show. For tickets, starting at HK$488, visit



B r i n g i n g lo ca l c i n e p h i le s some of the best homeg ro w n a n d i n t e r n a t i o n a l cinema, the Hong Kong International Film Festival is in its 41st year. For tickets to screenings and lectures, visit

April 11-25


Central Harbourfront Event Space, Central

April 14-17

April 16

Over the long Easter weekend, Hong Kong Disneyland’s Springtime Egg-stravaganza sees ‘character eggs’ roaming the park, or you can head to the Easter Carnival at The Peak Lookout for face painting, egg crafts and balloon twisting. For more Easter activities, visit

34  LIFE ON LANTAU April/ May 2017

Bollywood superstar Salman Khan is bringing his international tour to town for one-night only. Along with stars such as Sonakshi Sinha and Bipasha Basu, you can expect opulent costumes, wild dance routines and, of course, great music. For tickets, starting at HK$499, visit


HONG KONG SPRINT Kam Tin Country Club, Shui Mei Tsuen

LANTAU: SMART-CITY HUB Contributed by Lantau Development Alliance founding chairman, Allen Ha

April 22 Part of the world’s leading obstacle course race series, the 5-kilometre Reebok Spartan Sprint is made up of over 20 Spartan obstacles, involving water, mud and even barbed wire. Registration starts at HK$790 for competitors aged 14 and over. To find out more, visit

GREAT CHEFS OF HONG KONG Grand Hyatt Hong Kong, Wanchai April 27

Photo courtesy of LaDA


ith the rapid advancement of innovation and technology, the smart-city concept – using urban informatics technology to improve cities’ efficiency and living quality – is flourishing across the globe. Through public and private partnership, smart governance, smart environment, smart economy, smart transportation and smart living are already evident, notably in European cities like Vienna, Copenhagen and Barcelona. In Hong Kong, thanks to the data-sharing platform supported by six local enterprises, including Hong Kong Tramways, MTR, CLP Group and Hong Kong Electric, we are already receiving accurate and timely information on transport and weather conditions... and there’s more to come. In addition to the involvement of private sectors, the government is playing its role in building a smarter Hong Kong by enhancing the city-wide technological infrastructure and supporting the technology evolvement of SMEs.

Renowned chefs from leading local dining destinations, such as Grand Hyatt Hong Kong, JW Marriott Hong Kong and TOWN by Bryan Nagao, are coming together to support children and young people with special needs. Foodies get to try various dishes and meet top chefs. For tickets, starting at HK$880, visit

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Lantau, of course, is not being overlooked in the era of ‘smartization’. The planning vision to develop Lantau into a smart and low-carbon community for living, work, business, leisure and study was well received by the public in last year’s public engagement exercise. The new Lantau – a smart island and innovation hub – will be well positioned as a platform to showcase the innovations of Hong Kong and the world. Riding on the convenience and business opportunities brought by the airport and AsiaWorld-Expo, Lantau, with the completion of various major infrastructure projects and economic developments, is well positioned to become a regional smart-business and professional-services hub. We will have many opportunities to seize. Let’s grow a smart-city hub via innovation and technology and bring more convenient, more comfortable and safer living to Lantau. Sponsored Content

The Lantau Development Alliance (LaDA) is a group of local organisations and enterprises on Lantau that have come together to promote the social and economic development of the island. Visit

April/ May 2017




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Photos by Andrew Spires and Connie Cottam

36  LIFE ON LANTAU April/ May 2017


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38  LIFE ON LANTAU April/ May 2017

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April/ May 2017





he Ho n g K o n g D ra g o n B o a t Festival, aka Tueng Ng Festival, is a 2,000-year-old tradition that falls on the fifth day of the fifth lunar month in the Chinese calendar. This year that’s May 30, with races all over Hong Kong in the weeks before and after. The local waterways come to life as massive canoe-shaped long boats, with dragons at their prows, vie for that winning place on the finish line in sprints of typically 300 to 500 metres per race. Tuen Ng Festival is steeped in religious tradition, and a time to celebrate the Goddess of the Sea, Tin Hau, who takes care of fishermen. At season start (back in March this year) all dragon boats are blessed. This involves local dignitaries dotting the eyes of the dragons with red paint and making ritual offerings of leafy greens and chung (rice dumplings wrapped in bamboo leaves). On May 30, the public holiday, you can head to Tai O to see an ancient celebration re-enacted by local fishermen. In the lead up to the races, deity statues are put on sampans and towed by dragon boats through the stilted waterways.

Photo courtesy of

Getting on board Dragon boat teams compete across Lantau, from Mui Wo to Tai O, all season long, with Mavericks on Pui O Beach the de-facto home of the sport in South Lantau. The South Lantau Buffaloes Dragon Boat team trains here and trophies galore adorn the restaurant’s walls, in testament to their achievements. Set up in 2010, the Buffaloes are the elite unit of the South Lantau Paddling Club. “We currently have a membership of around 40 people which includes our Outrigger Canoe 40  LIFE ON LANTAU April/ May 2017


DRAGONS Spring is in full swing and for those with a sense of ancient tradition who crave the competition and adrenalin of sprint paddling, that means only one thing. Jason Pagliari reports (OC) teams, which also compete outside of dragon boat season,” explains chairman Ben Sargent. “We train two to three times per week in the run up to the races and get invited to all the main dragon boat events, including Lamma and Cheung Chau, races on Hong Kong Island and even in Zhuhai.” According to head coach Darrin Dalton, the Buffaloes have six races scheduled so far this season, with the possibility of more. “The first is on April 23 in Deep Water Bay, Mui Wo is on May 21 and the last will hopefully be in Tai O on June 18,” he says. “In our boat there are two rows of 10


rowers and a steerer, with a drummer for the actual race; that’s 22 people in the boat. Typically, there are four to eight boats in any given race.” The Buffaloes are currently looking for “newbies” to join their team, and as regards athletic ability, Darrin assures that dragon boating is not only for supermen and superwomen. “We have no specific fitness requirements; our only criteria are that you must be over 18 and have basic swimming skills.” Good news for anyone wanting to test the waters and try out a new pastime.

South Lantau Buffaloes,

Life on Lantau April/ May 2017  

Life On Lantau is a community magazine for visitors and residents.

Life on Lantau April/ May 2017  

Life On Lantau is a community magazine for visitors and residents.