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December 2019 / January 2020

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A Lantau Private Primary School From Reception to Year 6 Please contact us to schedule a school visit T: +852 2984 0006 | E: | Units A & B, 1/F Silver Centre Building, 10 Mui Wo Ferry Pier Road, Mui Wo, Lantau Island, New Territories silverminebayschool EDB Reg No: 579009

December 2019 / January 2020











Lantau Singers’ choir director Sui Ming Chu


A little bit of history – wild times in Tai O


From Pui O to Chi Ma Wan Reservoir











The joy of Christmas


Principal Dion Chen of YMCA of Hong Kong Christian College reveals how community service benefits students


Rahila Refaaq, owner of Lantau-based online jeweller Zaha et Cetera, gives the inside scoop on diamonds



December 2019 / January 2020



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To read the cover story, turn to page 12

Out and about



Music teacher, educator and concert pianist Sui Ming Chu in Mui Wo




Bedroom makeover


Hot places to spend the Xmas holidays

Spiritual lessons your child needs to learn

Showstopping seasonal sides

Eco-friendly gifting and decorating

2019 / 2020

FEELING FESTIVE! Where to eat, shop, play and unwind this month (and why we still love panto)






PUBLISHER Corinne Jedwood

The students, who come from both international and local schools, including YMCA of Hong Kong Christian College, put forward a series of complaints about the proposed project, which includes the creation of a third Central Business District covering about 1,700 hectares in the eastern waters of Lantau. Student concerns include the forecasted budget for the project (50% of Hong Kong’s fiscal reserves), and the destruction of further Chinese White Dolphin and porpoise habitat. In addition, the HKGSA raised widely held doubts that the proposed project would alleviate Hong Kong’s current housing crisis.


“As a team, we learnt that it is the government’s intention to push a feasibility study for the LTV through LegCo as soon as possible, in order to expedite the construction process,” says HKGSA founder and Renaissance College alumna Tiffany Wong. “We also found out that should the government push the study through, it is highly likely that the LTV will become a reality and destroy Hong Kong’s natural environment while draining our fiscal reserves.”


Concluding his discussion with the students, LegCo member Abraham Shek said, “The LTV will be passed, but you have a chance before the decision is final.”


The HKGSA students are now hoping to discuss their concerns with more LegCo members and government ministers, especially those who are adamantly for the project’s completion. They also want to promote ‘eco-literacy’ in the general public – making people aware of the impact they can have in creating a greener future, by holding those who waste funds and resources on unsustainable initiatives to account.

OFFICE MANAGER Nikki-Ann Yee PHOTOGRAPHERS Terry Chow Duey Tam CONTRIBUTORS Beverly Au Alexander Haynes Trisha Hughes Elizabeth Kerr Peter Sherwood Samantha Wong


Photo by Alexander Haynes

PRINTING Champion Design & Production Co. Ltd Flat C & D 9/F Sing Teck Factory Bldg 44 Wong Chuk Hang Rd 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.

n October 29, representatives of the Hong Kong Green School Alliance (HKGSA), a student group that aims to raise awareness of the ecological impact of government policies, met with LegCo members to discuss their concerns about the Lantau Tomorrow Vision (LTV) land reclamation project.

Hong Kong Green School Alliance representatives

Since the meeting with LegCo, the HKGSA has created an online petition in English and Chinese to appeal to the greater public for support. “There is still a chance to stop the LTV from being constructed and to pursue alternative solutions if we gain enough public support,” Tiffany says. “We’re aiming to get the signatures of 1 million individuals and submit the petition to the Chief Executive, the Environmental Protection Department and all the legislators within LegCo.” The HKGSA is also aiming to reach more students. “We have gained support from the sustainability teams across 16 international schools, and our new goal is to get more students from Chinese-medium schools involved,” explains HKGSA spokesperson Taylor Chung, a Renaissance College student. For more on the HKGSA, visit the HK Green Schools Facebook page.





he Special Helping Measures (SHM) that have been applied to six outlying islands ferry routes since 2011 are slated to be extended to a further eight routes in 2021. One of these is the Tuen Mun–Tung Chung–Sha Lo Wan–Tai O ferry route.

Making the announcement in her annual Policy Address on October 16, Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor also announced plans to make the ferries serving the outlying islands more eco-friendly. Eleven entire fleets will be replaced by “greener vessels,” starting in 2021.

Photos by Terry Chow and courtesy of

Currently the SHM scheme partially subsidises the major ferry routes to locations on outlying islands that are either entirely or largely inaccessible by any other route. The government subsidises these routes by reimbursing “certain expenses associated with the operation of the ferry services,” which do not include fuel or staff costs. Out of the eight outlying islands ferry routes slated to be subsidised by the SHM scheme, the Discovery Bay-Central route has the largest daily ridership. Statistics produced by the LegCo Panel on Transport show that in 2015 an average of 11,707 passengers used the ferry every day. In comparison, the two next popular routes to be subsidised are the Ma Wan-Central and the Tuen Mun–Tung Chung–Sha Lo Wan–Tai O routes, which, in 2015, saw average daily riderships of 3,039 passengers and 1,102 passengers respectively. The most popular of the outlying islands ferry routes is the already subsidised Cheung Chau-Central route, which had a daily average ridership of 26,315 in 2015. The Discovery Bay-Central route, which, in 2015, served an average of 11,707 passengers daily, is the second most popular. While Lam announced plans to apply SHM to eight additional outlying islands ferry routes in her Policy Address in October, it will take some time before the changes are implemented. The eight routes will be included in the scheme subject to LegCo funding approval next year, as the budget of the scheme is approved every three years, and the current period ends in 2020.

Tuen Mun–Tung Chung–Sha Lo Wan–Tai O ferry

December 2019 / January 2020



WHAT’S HOT I was researching the Hummingbird Hawkmoth for my book and one suddenly turned up in my garden in Mui Wo! Such a discovery, it was like a gift!”


W Photos by Charmian Woodhouse

ritten in diary form over the course of a year, Lantau Life: A Year on Lantau Island by Charmian Woodhouse is set to become a nature lovers’ bible. Packed with gorgeous photographs, it documents the island’s incredible bio-diversity through the author’s daily encounters with a myriad animals and plants.

In researching Life on Lantau, Charmian says she was inspired by all the like-minded people she came across locally. She recommends anyone looking to identify and learn more about a particular species, starts by contacting Hong Kong Snake Facebook page, Bug City HK 2 Facebook page or the Hong Kong Herbarium. Charmian Woodhouse

A typical entry delicately combines personal anecdote with scientific research. What comes across is the author’s passionate enthusiasm for the discoveries she makes, whether it’s a Blue-banded Bee, a colourful Lantern Bug, a Chinese Cobra or a Bamboo Orchid. She details where each sighting took place and how she took the photo (butterflies and bees are drawn to her; snakes tend not to hang around) before sharing a detailed description. “I want people to know more about the plants and animals on Lantau, it’s such a beautiful island,” Charmian says. “I’m continually surprised by the species you can see, and once you know about [a particular animal or plant], you start to see them more. For instance,

Charmian wrote Lantau Life for her mother, who lives in Cape Town, and it’s an ideal way to introduce friends and family to the island. You can grab your copies at Vibe Book & Music Store and Lantau Base Camp in Mui Wo, and at Bookazine i n D i s co v e r y B a y a n d Prince’s Building, Central. To connect with Charmian, head to Instagram Lantau Life or call 9339 8972.

Melastoma flowers

Blue Spotted Crow Butterfly



outh Lantau mum Orchid Bloom (pen name) is raising funds through the sale of her latest book The Extraordinary Fairies to provide emotional and practical support to women and families, who face the challenges of infertility and pregnancy loss. The aim is to turn the support group Hope Hong Kong into a charity. The group provides a platform for women, who struggle with infertility and pregnancy losses, to seek emotional support from other group members, as well as practical information on treatments. Funds raised will also be used to bring professional counselling trainers to Hong Kong to support affected families, and train more local counsellors.

Through The Extraordinary Fairies, Orchid aims to help both parents and children come to terms with pregnancy loss. “The book is designed to assist grieving mums make sense of their journey, and make a holistic connection between their spiritual and rainbow babies,” she says.

The Extraordinary Fairies is available on, and it is being offered as a ‘sweetener’ to all those who support Orchid’s Gift Compassion crowdfunding project. The project is dedicated to organising professional counselling training in Hong Kong, bringing Hope Hong Kong to a wider audience, and generating compassion in the general public. To find out more, visit the Gift Compassion fundraising campaign on, or head to 6  LIFE ON LANTAU

December 2019 / January 2020

The Extraordinary Fairies aims to help both parents and children come to terms with pregnancy loss

In addition to The Extraordinary Fairies, Orchid is the author of My Roller Coaster Ride to Motherhood, Luxe is in the Air and Papaya Tree – all her books are available on

Winter Camps

Cool ways to keep your kids entertained over the Xmas break







December 16-January 4

Porcelarts: December 14, 15 & 21 Lego® Education: December 18-21, 2324, 27-28 & 30-31

December 16-20, & 23-24

Creative Coding’s fun and educational STEAM Camps are available at Discovery College, and at Coastal Skyline Circle in Tung Chung: Young Engineers (robotics, Lego, science and coding), Minecraft FUN STEM and Christmas Animation Coding & Crafts for kids aged five to eight years; Coding with A.I., Epic Minecraft Coding Adventure, Micro:bit STEAM, and Animations & Game Design for kids aged nine to 15 years. 2707 6578, WhatsApp 9469 8225,

Kids can get creative at HappyNews-EDU with the Porcelarts and Christmas-themed Lego® Education programme at DB North Plaza. In the Porcelarts class, kids aged five and up decorate white porcelain to make their own one-ofa-kind tableware. In the Lego® Education programme, kids aged four to nine, explore their creativity and develop their storytelling skills by creating their own short film and programming their own Lego® model.

Ark Eden’s Christmas camps are all about facilitating a connection between children and the natural world. On a secluded hillside in Mui Wo, Ark Eden offers a unique setting for children, aged five to 11, to explore an organic, wild environment in safety. Christmas Camp themes include campfire cooking with the Grinch, making sustainable gifts in Santa’s Treehouse and the Ark Eden Winter Olympics. 2988 5355,,

6360 1715,, Facebook HappyNews-EDU

SPORTS ESF December 17-20 It doesn’t matter if you are an ESF student or not, ESF Winter Sports Clinics and Multi Sports Camps are now open to everyone. Kids aged two years and up experience a variety of energetic and challenging sports activities combined with competitive games. DB camps are held at Discovery College. 2711 1280,,

HK DRAGONS FOOTBALL CLUB December 16-20, 30- 31, & January 2-3 HK Dragons Football Club’s Christmas and New Year camps at DB North Plaza pitch are suitable for children aged four years and up in the following divisions: Little Dragons (U4 to U5), Junior Dragons (U6 to U8) and Senior Dragons (U9 and up). At the winter camps, children develop their technique, improve their skills and play matches in a fun and safe environment. 5322 5556,,

TREASURE ISLAND January 18-22, 22-25, 25-29, & January 29-February 1 Treasure Island is holding winter snowboarding camps at Hakuba in Nagano, Japan. Hakuba comprises nine resorts stretched across a broad valley in Japan’s Northern Alps, and provides more terrain, vertical rise and advanced ski and snowboarding slopes than anywhere in Japan. Family packages are available, in addition to individual packages for kids aged eight to 16. 2546 3543, inquiries@treasureislandhk. com, winter-snowboard-trip

December 2019 / January 2020





his year, as residents and guests get set to celebrate the holidays, Discovery Bay is paying homage to the proverb that it is better to give than to receive, with festive decorations throughout the resort featuring traditional gift boxes and ornaments in signature Christmas red and green. The fun starts at the gift box-bedazzled tunnel of Christmas lights along the waterfront promenade at D’Deck, and the gleaming installation is hung with ornaments delivering festive blessings such as ‘Love,’ ‘Peace’ and ‘Hope.’ The gift-giving theme continues in DB North with artistic Christmas tree decorations made with gift boxes of different sizes. Visitors to the plaza are welcomed by a decorative installation at the fountain, which features giant gift boxes and a scenescape of a classic Christmas town. Spend HK$200 or above in a single transaction at any of the designated DB restaurants¹, and you can redeem a special DIY Christmas ornament pack upon presenting the original same-day receipt. You can hang the ornaments on your tree at home, or use them to create unique Christmas gifts for loved ones. They can also be customised with English letter initials of your choice. When it comes to buying gifts, look no further than the Discovery Bay Christmas Sunday Market, organised by Handmade Hong Kong. The European-style market, being held in DB Plaza on December 8, is packed with unique vendors – many of whom are local artists and creators. This is your chance to stock up on Christmas decorations, handmade jewellery, eco-friendly apparels, baby products, home decorations, Christmas wine, party snacks and more.

architecture lining the route and breath-taking views along the coast of Yi Pak Wan. Tickets for the Christmas Horse-drawn Carriage Ride are available at the Activity Centre at Auberge Discovery Bay Hong Kong. Each ride lasts for about 10 minutes, with a maximum of four people per carriage. While Jack Frost may not be nipping at your nose, you can wind down and warm up with the Chestnut and Ginger Afternoon Tea Set at the Auberge Discovery Bay Hong Kong (HK$328).* Alternatively, you can enjoy a wide selection of international cuisine and special festive feasts at D’Deck and DB North restaurants. Spend HK$880 or more in a single transaction at any of the designated DB restaurants¹ and present the original same-day receipt at the Dine ‘N Ride Service Counter in DB Plaza to receive a HK$100 dining voucher to be used for a subsequent transaction. With so much to enjoy, visitors may choose to make the most of the Christmas feeling with a special Stay in the North package at the Auberge Discovery Bay Hong Kong. Starting at HK$2,288* (you can upgrade to an oceanfront room for an additional HK$400*), the package is available from December 24 to 26, and December 31 to January 1, 2020. It includes a one-night stay in a mountain-view room with breakfast buffet and a festive dinner buffet for two. There’s also the option to treat yourself to a 90-minute ‘Ultimate Delight’ treatment at Spa Botanica, which includes an eye and scalp treatment with aroma massage or luxurious customised facial treatment, for HK$1,090.* Merry Christmas!

¹ The designated DB restaurants are: 22° North, Three Sheets Marquee Bar, Coyote Mexican Cantina, Ebeneezer’s, Figos, First Korean Restaurant, Hemingway’s, Il Bel Paese, Koh Tomyums, McSorley’s Ale House, Pascucci Italian Caffe & Fine Food, PizzaExpress, Shanghai Breeze, Solera, Zak’s, Cali-Mex, Mirch Masala, MooFish, Tiger Lily, Peony Chinese Restaurant, D’Café and Café bord de Mer & Lounge.

If a ‘ye olde’ Christmas feeling is what you’re after, you can take a horse-drawn carriage ride in DB North to enjoy the European-style 8  LIFE ON LANTAU

December 2019 / January 2020

* Terms and conditions apply; all prices are subject to 10% service charge


Here’s your chance to win great prizes! Life on Lantau prizes are incredibly easy to get your hands on, and you have until December 10 to apply. Simply scan the barcode, or go to, select the giveaway you want, Eureka Bamboo Socks is offering two readers one and enter your details HK$250 voucher each for eco-friendly bamboo socks. into the online form.


Eureka Bamboo Socks is a Lantau-based online business supplying soft, smart, eco-friendly bamboo socks for children and adults. Take your pick from school socks, ‘fun’ socks, sports socks, men's socks and more! The bamboo fibres in Eureka Bamboo Socks are hypoallergenic and gentler on the skin than manmade fibres, as well as being antibacterial, antifungal and odour resistant. Furthermore, bamboo can be 100% organically grown and, it’s an easily renewable resource, requiring two thirds less water than cotton to grow. Online shoppers can pick up their socks in Discovery Bay or enjoy free shipping for orders over HK$350. Visit

Congratulations to last issue’s winners Natasha Kirk and Kerry Rochester for a signed limited-edition copy of The Almost True Story of Sandy Primary School by James Lambert.


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ASHVILLE INTERNATIONAL KINDERGARTEN & NURSERY, MUI WO Tell us how Ashville International Kindergarten & Nursery got started. When I met Gareth for the first time in January 2018, we immediately found great synergy between Ashville UK and what was then the Dramatic English International Kindergarten. We went into partnership soon afterwards, and launched Ashville International Kindergarten & Nursery in September 2018. We’re based in Sea Crest Terrace in Mui Wo; it’s a prime property with floor-to-ceiling windows facing the sea. Sue Woods, vice principal at Ashville International Kindergarten & Nursery (SW)

Photos courtesy of

What do you consider your main achievements these past 14 months? It’s been one of the best years I’ve ever enjoyed in education and we’ve achieved a great deal. Firstly, we have had a pleasing controlled growth of 72% over 12 months. Secondly, we’ve embedded the ‘Ashville reputation’ locally. It’s been wonderful to hear how positively our school is viewed by parents and the community in general. Thirdly, we’ve engaged our staff in developing

a clear three-year strategy to ensure the school’s continued growth and success. What better way to unite a team? Gareth Johnson, director of Ashville International Education & Enterprise (GJ) What has been your main challenge? Winning the trust of the community. Lantau, although large, is actually a small village, and parent confidence in terms of what we do and what we communicate is key. SW What are your main objectives going forward? We have three clear strategic objectives. First, to establish and grow the UK-Hong Kong collaboration for the senior leadership team, teachers, pupils and parents. Second, to establish a new ‘vertical’ partnership with a primary and then secondary school, guaranteeing a robust continuous education for our pupils. Third, to develop clear marketing and communications strategies to achieve a controlled growth model for our kindergarten, securing its reputation as the Lantau school of choice. GJ How do you intend to achieve this? The key factors are to never be complacent about current success, to always look at ways to improve the educational experience for students and to not be afraid to push educational boundaries to new levels and be ‘different’ – nothing is ever impossible and it is all about controlled risk. Specifically, we want to strengthen and grow our Creative Arts programme, as well as our Nature focus, which makes perfect sense given our location. As Gareth says, we are also actively looking at starting a primary school and we are developing new exchange programmes with Ashville UK. SW In what other ways has the Ashville ideology been incoporated? I’ve been developing the UK Educational Leadership and Management Training Programme, which I run for UK senior school department heads, and which is a classic example of what Sue describes – pushing educational boundaries to new levels and also taking a few risks – to adapt it for educational leaders at all levels, not just senior school. It’s been a pleasure to work with our Mui Wo staff on this, and I can’t wait to talk more to international school leaders at the Asia-Pacific International Schools Conference, which is being held at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre in December. GJ


Sue Woods, vice principal, Ashville International Kindergarten & Nursery


December 2019 / January 2020

Gareth Johnson, director, Ashville International Education & Enterprise

Ashville International Kindergarten & Nursery,

Asia-Pacific International Schools Conference,


SI NG! Photos by Tatiana Fomina and courtesy of Sui Ming Chu

Pui O-based Dalcroze teacher and concert pianist Sui Ming Chu has been putting music and movement into Hong Kong for a decade. Elizabeth Kerr gets the lowdown on her remarkable career, including her passionate involvement with The Lantau Singers


ui Ming Chu moves in a way that makes it obvious music is in her blood – literally and figuratively. She swoops into a fast food outlet in Citygate with graceful purpose, looking somewhere in her mid-forties (which she laughs at heartily). I realise that would belie the inordinate artistic and professional qualifications under her belt and we drop the subject.

line at drunken renditions of Summer Nights? Sui Ming, for one, is convinced anyone can learn to sing – that we all have some degree of musical ability locked within us. Everyone has a voice

The concert pianist, certified Dalcroze teacher and driving force behind The Lantau Singers becomes animated at the mention of all things music. She values singing and the ability to play an instrument as a means of self-expression rather than something crucial to a resumé, and she nods in agreement when I suggest that traditional schooling can suck the life and soul out of youngsters’ musicality. “Music is related to emotion and beauty. It’s not about results,” she says.

The native Hong Konger spent 17 years in Europe after graduating from London’s Guildhall School of Music in 1986 and shortly thereafter studied at Hong Kong Academy of Performing Arts (HKAPA). A career in music was almost pre-destined. “I love the spark, I love the essence of it,” she explains. Her father was a theatre professional, her mother an actor, her elder sister is also a concert pianist, now her niece is in musical theatre, and her son is a jazz-blues musician. Sure, Sui Ming’s husband is a lawyer but he loves music and “he has a beautiful voice,” she assures.

Adverse to the idea that musical ability should be judged solely on technique and that singing is only for ‘singers,’ Sui Ming winningly concedes that the invention of karaoke was a brilliant step in making singing ‘allowed.’ “Though, I don’t know if I want to listen to it,” she adds with a chuckle. Who can blame her for drawing the

Ultimately, it was Elsa Findlay’s book Rhythm and Movement that turned her onto Émile Jaques-Dalcroze’s philosophy of eurhythmics, which teaches concepts of rhythm, structure and musical expression using movement (don’t confuse this with Annie Lennox’s ’80s synth band). “Music is about feeling. When we’re


December 2019 / January 2020

young, we’re taught to read music, memorise, practise and repeat, repeat. Then I found Elsa’s book and it taught me that music is light and life, and it started my journey of bringing that into people’s lives,” Sui Ming recalls. “It’s why I started The Lantau Singers.” It’s also why she enrolled in the Geneva Conservatory and became Hong Kong’s first certified Dalcroze teacher in 2009 – the year she resettled back home in Pui O for good. “Oh, it’s beautiful!” she exclaims of her corner of Lantau. “I don’t know what it’s going to look like after all this development but I hope they’ll preserve the natural beauty. Hong Kong and Hong Kongers need a place to contemplate.” Since returning, Sui Ming’s been busy teaching kids (including special needs kids) and adults the Dalcroze method. You’ll still find her at HKAPA, and she’s involved with Hong Kong Baptist University’s continuing education programme, i-Dance Festival (HK), Hong Kong Dance Company and with her own Hong Kong Dalcroze Music Center, founded in 2012 (dalcrozecenter. com). Dalcroze is complex, but Sui Ming boils it down to “holistic music education, mainly listening and coordinating the head and the heart, and feeling the body and movement to learn the senses of music.”

The Lantau Singers It’s amazing Sui Ming has any time for The Lantau Singers. The choir she founded five years ago with just a handful of locals has since grown to number roughly 20. “It began when a few people out where I live came to me and said, ‘We want to sing. Can you help?’ That’s how it started,” she says fondly. Now, those 20-odd choir members include a homeopath, lawyers, housewives, teachers, medical technicians, engineers – and occasionally their children. Scrolling through recent texts for choir members’ feedback, Sui Ming reveals that the draws are “a love of music,” “finding a like-minded circle,” the “sense of community,” “fun and relaxation” and “enriching the soul.” She highlights the way singing boosts wellbeing, and says, “There is something incredible about singing with other people and working together towards a goal. It really makes people happy.”

“‘We want to sing. Can you help?’ That’s how it started”

An educator, choreographer and presenter at international conferences, art festivals and congress, Sui Ming also still performs in concert, most recently on all-encompassing programme that moved from the early 1800s (Schumann) all the way to contemporary Chinese composers.

But Sui Ming’s looking for more. The Lantau Singers’ choristers have worked with other local choirs in the past and she would like to see them do more of that, and she needs more voices. After Christmas she’s planning on registering as a non-profit with the hopes of reaching out to more choirs and perhaps travelling around the region. But – and it’s a big ‘but’ – her word is not law. “I’m not the boss. I don’t want to control everything and everyone. We’re evolving organically from where we began. Everyone has a voice,” she stresses, noting the selections for the upcoming

The Lantau Singers on stage at Sheung Wan Civic Centre

December 2019 / January 2020



Christmas season performances – many of which involve serenading commuters coming off the ferry at Mui Wo – came from suggestions from within. This year’s shows will feature African carols, contemporary jazz and mixed-metre lyrical tunes among others, as long as the choices complement each other. “It has to be musically interesting, and it has to flow: a fast one, a slow one, a romantic one, a rhythmic one,” Sui Ming says of putting a performance together. “It’s like decorating your living room. You put two pieces of old furniture in a new room and it gives it a certain style. It refreshes the ear. That’s a good programme.”

The Lantau Singers performs at community events and festivals throughout the year, and rehearses on Wednesday evenings at Silvermine Bay School in Mui Wo. The choir’s Christmas performances at Mui Wo Ferry Pier are an annual treat – they’ve become a local tradition, with tired commuters often joining in to sing carols before heading home. Sui Ming’s attitude to music is, first and foremost, inclusionary. She welcomes everyone who’s keen to The Lantau Singers; no previous experience is necessary (you don’t even have to be able to read music), there are no auditions and you don’t have to sound like Barbra Streisand. “I haven’t really met anyone who can’t sing. It can be learnt – through the body,” Sui Ming insists. “Some people are Mozart and they’re born with it, but anyone can learn.”


The Lantau Singers at Treasure Island Beach Club, Pui O

The Lantau Singers is performing at the Mui Wo Ferry Pier on December 4. To join the choir and for updates on its Christmas event schedule, visit The Lantau Singers Facebook page or email Sui Ming Chu at

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Wild Times Les Bird in Tai O, 1978

Photos courtesy of Les Bird & by Andrew Spires

Looking back to how we used to live, Peter Sherwood uncovers the history behind Tai O’s 117-year-old police station, now a boutique hotel


t can be chastening when in a flash your superior knowledge of things historical is revealed to be blind ignorance. And expanded upon to make you wish you’d never opened your mouth. There I was telling retired marine police officer and Lantau resident, Les Bird, about the wonders of my new discovery, the magnificently renovated Tai O Heritage Hotel… “Yes, brilliant isn’t it,” said Les. “I used to work there in the late ‘70s when it was Tai O Police Station.

Hijinks in the 1970s

“Matter of fact, I was the marine police inspector there, in charge of the Western half of Lantau, patrolling on foot and by Land Rover.”

“We really were out in the sticks. There was a dirt track to Mui Wo and an overgrown footpath to Tung Chung, which back then was a small fishing village,” Les opens.

Salt was thrust into the wound when Les brought out his book about his experiences in the marine police: A Small Band of Men: An Englishman’s Adventures in Hong Kong’s Marine Police (Earnshaw Books, 2019). I borrowed a copy, devoured it – the book kicks off in 1976 and is filled with gripping stories spanning 20 years – and demanded we head out to Tai O together the following weekend. 16  LIFE ON LANTAU

December 2019 / January 2020

To be given a tour of Tai O Heritage Hotel by someone who remembers it as a wild and remote police station really brought the place to life for me. The sun may well have been setting on colonial Hong Kong in the late ‘70s, but to hear some of Les’ tales it was not close to dipping over the horizon at Tai O.

“My only communication with the outside world was via written dispatches, which were always a day or two out of date by the time they arrived, and I had a black Bakelite telephone that took up half of my desk. To make a call I had to ask the sergeant in the report room to get an outside line, dial the number for me, then put me through.

Tai O, 2018

mony, 1978 Tai O Dragon Boat Festival award cere

There was no dial facility on my contraption. The line was so bad that I had to shout down the trumpet-shaped mouthpiece in order for the person on the other end to hear what I was saying. There were some pretty crazy miscommunications. It was all a bit Blackadder in the trenches in World War 1.” But there were upsides. Les’ quarters, the entire top floor of the police station, could only be dreamed of by others in the force: three bedrooms, a dining room and officers’ mess. His fabulous view was across the Pearl River Estuary to the South China Sea beyond. And he was paid to live there. Les speaks fondly of his then housekeeper, Ah Sam. “We made an odd couple: She was well under 5-feet tall and I’m 6 feet 4,” he says. “She did my laundry, cleaned my quarters, pressed my uniforms and cooked my meals. She had worked at the station since the Japanese left in 1945.”

Les Bird, 2019

December 2019 / January 2020



Bridge in Tai O, 2018

According to Les, not a lot has changed since he was the station’s chief cop. He marvels at the way the restoration has been delicately handled to ensure that every part of the building is easily recognisable. He points out two small cells still standing in the hotel lobby. “I rarely had to use them, but on a few occasions, I had to lock up two Royal Navy men for their own safety. They had the tedious job of working as lookouts, high in the hills above the station, and were inclined to overdo the demon drink out of sheer boredom.” A great historical landmark Amazingly, despite tour buses arriving from the Big Buddha to disgorge their loads, much of Tai O village has retained its charm since Les’ day, thanks to its winding paths and tightly packed stilt houses. Few people venture beyond the central village to the scattering of old houses and shacks beyond, and on to the island’s end – and what is now a gem of a hotel. Built in 1902, Tai O Police Station was restored by the Hong Kong Heritage Conservation Foundation in 2009, listed as a Grade II historic building by the Antiquities Advisory Board in 2010, and given the UNESCO Award of Merit for Cultural Heritage Conservation in 2013. For a little perspective on the age of the station, it is interesting to consider what else was happening in the world while this mini fortress was being built: King Edward VII was crowned in England; Alfonso XIII became king of Spain; the Boer War ended, and Cuba gained independence from the US. Perched high on a lush hillside overlooking the village, Tai O Heritage Hotel has weathered centuries and stands in majestic and 18  LIFE ON LANTAU

December 2019 / January 2020

The opening of Tai O’s first bridge, 1979

permanent beauty. The nine-room property is managed as a nonprofit social enterprise, with the aim being to preserve its heritage and help promote Tai O’s famous landmarks and traditions. “Tai O Heritage hotel has been meticulously restored and refurbished to maintain its late 19th-century character and historical details, such as the cannons, searchlight, corner turrets, dry goods store and cells distinctive to the former police station,” says hotel manager Karl Law. “We hope guests will be able to visualise the beautiful colonial architecture of the olden days and at the same time experience elements of the still thriving fishing village.” Of pirates and resident ghosts But what of Tai O Police Station’s early days, way back in the 1900s? Here again, history buff Les helps me out. “As one of the


earliest police depots on the outlying islands, it was originally established as a garrison to combat pirates prevalent in the neighbouring waters,” he explains. “The marine police, who patrolled by sampan, also had a community role in resolving family disputes and arguments between villagers.” In the mid-19th century, a joint British and American Navy famously took on a fleet of 36 pirate vessels in the Battle of Tai O Bay. About 500 Chinese pirates were killed in action with 1,000 more taken prisoner. Fourteen of the pirate ships sank in the battle. For more on the police station’s history, I look to local author John Saeki’s The Tiger Hunters of Tai O (Blacksmith Books, 2017). Though based in the 1950s, the novel references many dramatic historical events – the march of the British colonialists, the opium wars, China in transition, World War 2 – and their impact on Tai O.

Village elders parade, 1979

“There are terrible stories of the Japanese occupation, of starvation, violence, forced labour, and a torture chamber set up in the old Tai O Gas Station,” John says. “But there are stories of resistance too, for example from Wong Kei-tsai, said to be a triad, who always carried a pair of guns, and helped out the resistance by smuggling salt and bringing in food from mainland ports. And there were Tai O villagers who joined the guerrillas on Lantau’s hillsides. “Tai O Police Station was liberated briefly by the resistance fighters until the Japanese took it back,” John adds. “As far as I know, it’s the only strategic site in Hong Kong that was wrestled back from the Japanese during the occupation.” John chose to base his novel in Tai O, after visiting the Tai O Heritage Hotel. His main protagonist, Eurasian police officer Simon Lee, is banished from the comforts of Central to a wild and rugged Tai O Police Station, for having an affair with the police commissioner’s daughter. The premise for John’s book, which is based in 1954, gives Les pause for thought – he willingly applied for the Tai O posting in 1976. (Incidentally he was the only applicant.) Today you can book a tour of the hotel and it’s well worth doing. You’ll be treated to the story of a rogue Indian police constable, Teja Singh, who killed his commanding officer Cecil Glendinning, and held his wife and child hostage there in 1918. It’s a complex story but the ghosts of Singh and Glendinning are said to haunt the hotel to this day. Should you stay the night, don’t be surprised if you’re woken by the sound of Glendinning’s bagpipes.

Tai O Heritage Hotel, 2018


A Small Band of Men: An Englishman’s Adventures in Hong Kong’s Marine Police, by Les Bird is available at Bookazine, Kelly & Walsh and Swindon

• •

Tai O Heritage Hotel,

The Tiger Hunters of Tai O, by John Saeki is available at

December 2019 / January 2020



YMCA of Hong Kong Christian College: Exceptional achievements derived from a whole-person education


ounded in 2003, YMCA of Hong Kong Christian College (YHKCC) is known for the achievements of its students, as well as the accomplishments of its many alumni around the globe. Building on the foundation of whole-person education provided, graduates have carved out their own paths in a wide crosssection of fields. Their professional success is complemented by their continuing personal growth, which enables them to pursue their dreams and serve their communities. As the only Direct Subsidy Scheme English-medium school in the Islands District, 70% of YHKCC’s student body is from overseas, which results in a dynamic and international learning environment. With students harking from some 45 countries, the school sees itself as a mini United Nations, cultivating eye-opening life experiences and a strong respect for different cultures around the world.

The teaching staff at YHKCC is equally cosmopolitan. The school’s curriculum is enriched by professional, passionate teachers who come not only from Hong Kong but also from overseas – the US, UK, France, Ireland, Japan, Australia, Korea and more. Using their professionalism and cultural perspective, YHKCC teachers are able to create a broad learning spectrum both inside and outside the classroom. In its dedication to whole-person development, YHKCC uses a student-centred approach to learning, which gives students the critical thinking skills they need to thrive in the 21st century. By empowering students with a sense of autonomy, YHKCC enables them to become confident and responsible global citizens, who are capable of overcoming challenges and are dedicated to giving back to society. YHKCC’s whole-person philosophy hinges on the belief that a healthy and happy sense of self is the prerequisite to a student’s success. To help foster this sense of personal wellbeing, YHKCC prioritises opportunities outside the classroom. In addition to a wide range of extra-curricular activities and clubs, students are given the opportunity to attend local and overseas community-service trips and dedicated life-skills learning camps. Academic achievement and performance are supported by the strong bond and partnership among YHKCC’s teachers, parents and students. Accessible information and transparent communication are facilitated by the school’s open communication platforms, which include the Student Council and Parent Teacher Association, regular information evenings, a monthly meeting for parents with Principal Dion Chen, and parent-teacher/ student-teacher conferences.

Photos courtesy of YHKCC

YHKCC is dedicated to building a caring community of students, each of whom has a healthy sense of wellbeing and a strong core of values that will guide them on their future path.



December 2019 / January 2020

MCA of Hong Kong Christian College, 2 Chung Yat Street, Y Tung Chung, New Territories, 2988 8123,


What you need to know Principal Dion Chen, of YMCA of Hong Kong Christian College, reveals how community service benefits students


olunteer work helps students explore their interests and demonstrate what they believe in; they begin to see how important it is to put words into action.

Community service is a valuable opportunity for experiential learning outside the classroom. Students who engage in volunteer work discover where their passions lie, while undertaking feel-good projects that make a difference in their community. Serving their community fosters a better understanding of their neighbourhood and of cultural differences within it. This forms the foundation of mutual respect. Moreover, volunteering expands students’ social circles to include people from different walks of life, and it helps them develop the social skills they will need to flourish in a multicultural society. In the long term, community service enables students to make informed choices about their future priorities and careers, while instilling a lifelong interest in giving back. Students develop confidence, empathy, flexible thinking skills and the ability to use good judgement.

Creating a mural at an orphanage in Phnom Penh helped YHKCC students connect with their Cambodian peers

Photo courtesy of YMCA of Hong Kong Christian College

At YMCA of Hong Kong Christian College (YHKCC), we have seen at first-hand how students have benefited from taking part in our Service Outreach Programme. Here are some examples. 1 Community service develops an increased sense of social responsibility – a desire to give back and help others. In 2016, YHKCC students partnered with Food Angel to help rescue surplus food from restaurants and supermarkets across Hong Kong. Food Angel then transformed the rescued food into nutritious meals and redistributed them to underprivileged communities. Students also visited the elderly and the visually impaired to learn more about the issues these communities face in Hong Kong. 2 Volunteering provides an opportunity for students to apply academic learning to real-life situations. In 2017, YHKCC students helped prepare lesson plans for a student teacher in a Thai orphanage. 3 Through community service, students build relationships and ‘social connectedness’ with peers and adults from disparate cultural backgrounds. In 2019, YHKCC students designed and painted a mural on the walls of an orphanage in Phnom Penh to provide their Cambodian peers with better living conditions, and a colourful and visually stimulating learning environment.

4 Volunteering improves students’ critical thinking skills, along with their communication and interpersonal skills. In 2018, YHKCC students worked as a team to design and cook a balanced meal for children in a Chinese orphanage. 5 Community service helps students find their passions and interests, which widens their scope as they begin to make career choices. In 2015, YHKCC students assisted with construction work at a village in Vietnam and, in 2019, they worked on a farm in Thailand. Through experiences like these, students develop critical thinking and leadership abilities; they are encouraged to think out of the box, in order to cope with challenges under less than ideal circumstances. They see how important it is to be socially responsible global citizens, who are ready to make a fruitful and positive contribution.


YMCA of Hong Kong Christian College, 2 Chung Yat Street, Tung Chung, New Territories, 2988 8123,

December 2019 / January 2020



What you need to know Rahila Refaaq, owner of Lantau-based online jeweller Zaha et Cetera, provides the lowdown on diamonds


ood things come in small packages, and this Christmas, a small box with something sparkly inside it might be the perfect under-the-tree present. “Regardless of the size of the bling or the colour, diamonds up the feel-good factor,” says Rahila Refaaq, owner of Lantau-based online jeweller Zaha et Cetera. “Diamonds are more than just long-term investments,” she adds. “There is an emotional connection between a woman and her diamonds.” Picking out a new diamond for your loved one isn’t the only way to go this Christmas, however. Rahila suggests you might prefer to have a family heirloom or seldom-used piece of diamond jewellery redesigned. “We’ve seen a trend with many clients who bring us their old jewellery to recycle and redesign into something modern and wearable,” she says. “We put a lot of thought into how to make the most of what we have to work with. We’ve even come up with some special flexible designs with detachable parts, so that rings convert easily to pendants – and pendants to rings. Upcycling still has a long way to go but it is becoming more mainstream and it increases the value of a piece.” If you don’t have an existing piece of jewellery to reinvent, Rahila has some helpful advice for anyone shopping for diamonds. “Take note of the 4Cs: cut, colour, clarity and carat,” she says. “The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) invented this way of grading diamonds in 1955 and it’s now globally accepted.

A current trend sees old pieces of diamond jewellery being upcycled

varies greatly. Low-grade diamonds are in fact much cheaper than investment-grade rubies, sapphires or even emeralds. We can’t assume that just because we’re dealing with diamonds, they are all super expensive.” Interestingly too, diamonds come in virtually every colour of the rainbow. “The blacks and browns are the least expensive in the fancy coloured diamond range, followed by the blues, pinks, purples and greens,” says Rahila. “Rare red diamonds are the most expensive. There’s a natural human tendency to want something that’s so rare no one else has it.”.

Photos courtesy of Zaha et Cetera

“The GIA grading system is part science and part art. No two diamonds are alike and each one is graded based on its individual merits,” Rahila adds. “For this reason, the price of diamonds

The 4Cs CUT refers to the quality of a diamond’s angles, proportions, symmetrical facets, brilliance, fire, scintillation and finishing details. The GIA grades diamond cut on the scale of ideal, excellent, very good, good, fair and poor.

COLOUR is graded in terms of how colourless a diamond is. The GIA grades white diamonds from D to Z, with D being the most colourless and Z containing a brown or yellow tint.

CLARITY grading evaluates how free a diamond is from inclusions and blemishes. The GIA grade scale moves from FL (flawless) through to 13 (included).

CARAT refers to the weight of the diamond. Roughly speaking, 5 carats is equal to 1 gram.


Watch out for cut, colour, clarity and carat


December 2019 / January 2020

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Hiking from Pui O through the Chi Ma Wan Peninsula, Beverly Au reports on the natural wonders she encounters


his weekend, my friends and I have decided to hike from Pui O across the Chi Ma Wan Peninsula on trails that are known to only the more adventurous of Lantau’s hikers. Armed with mobile phones, a bunch of snacks and plenty of water, we’ll set out in the early morning and aim to be back in Pui O in time for lunch and a swim. We’ve chosen this particular hike for a couple of reasons. It will be challenging thanks to some seriously steep ascents; we’ll get some amazing views of the South Lantau coastline; and we’ll be deep in the ‘jungle’ for much of the time. Far-flung Chi Ma Wan Reservoir promises to be a highlight of this hike, and we are interested to see the two prisons on its shores, both now defunct. What’s more, many of the areas that we are heading into are seriously remote and, in untouched places like these, we are hoping to see some of Lantau’s rarer species of wildlife up close.

Photos by Martin Lerigo

Pui O to Mong Tung Wan We meet in Pui O, right by Tap Tap restaurant, and take the path marked for Mong Tung Wan. The path meanders pleasantly across a couple of buffalo fields before reaching the tiny hamlet of Ham Tin. Turning left on to a concrete road that runs alongside a riverbank, we are lucky enough to spot egrets, heron and a very rare Brown Fish Owl. 24  LIFE ON LANTAU

December 2019 / January 2020

Spider-infested trail near Tai Long Wan

Overlooking Pui O Bay from the Chi Ma Wan Peninsula

An egret near Ham Tin

Soon enough, the road bends sharply to the left, followed 100 metres later by a sharp right. We pass a small grotto to our right, dating back several hundred years, before emerging to an amazing reveal of the estuary and beach. On our left, a Tin Hau temple dates back to 1798. Taking the coastline path marked for Mong Tung Wan, we enjoy the wonderful views afforded from its vantage point 100 metres above the sea. Here we see both Lantau and Sunset peaks; it’s as if they are guarding the South Lantau coastline. The Soko Islands in the foreground give way to Wai Lingding Island in the mists beyond. Continuing on, the path hugs the coast for about a kilometre and a half, and is an accessway for several gravesites and small columbaria. Many ornamental trees have been planted, including unusual varieties of pine, whose needles scent the air. We soon find ourselves in Mong Tung Wan, a curio from the 1970s, when it was developed to provide holiday apartments for wealthy Hong Kongers. A small stretch of beach fronts three large apartment blocks, now lying empty bar a couple of caretakers, who have the place to themselves. Mong Tung Wan to Chi Ma Wan

A fiddler crab at Shap Long

Following the path through Mong Tung Wan, we are treated to a steep ascent up 100 metres of hillside. At the top, we take a right and continue along the coast.

December 2019 / January 2020


WALKABOUT On this section of the trail, the path cuts through dense jungle and because it is not widely used, we know we have a good chance of spotting some of Hong Kong’s most retiring wildlife. We hear the distinctive cry, like that of a jackal or dingo, of a barking deer but he eludes us, most likely he’s foraging on the upper slopes. Snakes are said to be prevalent on this trail too, often basking on the open path or on the rocky outcrops that skirt its flanks. We watch out (nervously) for a Burmese Python, Chinese Cobra, or White-Lipped Pit Viper, but again no sightings. What we do see though are spiders – hundreds of them – busily spinning and casting their sticky secretions across the path. This is South Lantau not Middleearth but I think of Frodo Baggins. As the path turns west along the coast, there is an option to descend to the right to Tai Long Wan (which translates as Big Wave Bay, one of five in Hong Kong) and the near-deserted Sea Ranch development. But we keep straight on, enjoying views across the sea to Cheung Chau, with its pretty harbour, teaming with fishing boats. In the distance, we glimpse Lamma Island and Central. Here, the thick jungle foliage is interspersed with outcrops of natural bamboo and the occasional grove of planted pine. We continue for another 3 kilometres or so, before arriving at a four-way junction marked with a yellow concrete lotus leaf. We take the path leading to Chi Ma Wan Country Park Management Centre. As the path starts to descend into a lush and shady valley, streams flow on either side and rows of Camphor trees line our way.

On the banks of Chi Ma Wan Reservoir

Clambering down, we find ourselves in a swampy, misty, humid place, and on our left, we get our first glimpse of deep and mesmeric Chi Ma Wan Reservoir. As we continue on, its expanse opens up – a small yet gracefully formed body of water, built to service the two prisons that sit nearby. Emerging, at the reservoir wall, we linger for a while, soaking in the glorious view. The homeward stretch After a short rest, we follow a jungle track, part-concrete, to the entrance of inmate-free Chi Ma Wan Correctional Institution. Dating from 1956, the original prison was the first ‘open’ facility in Hong Kong, later upgraded to house more serious offenders, with high double fences added to the original exterior. We take the road past the now defunct guards’ club and, walking alongside the prison’s outer fence, we continue along the coast. Soon enough, we spot the second of Chi Ma Wan’s prisons just ahead of us, this one a former Vietnamese refugee camp, later converted to a youth offenders’ institution. The path rises above it, affording views of the cell blocks and workshops now gathering moss and dust. We follow the road to Shap Long, a charming series of three hamlets, astride an estuarial inlet and flood plain, home to water buffalo and migratory birds. We know enough about the area to watch out for fiddler crabs, who, with large claws to the fore, gather food at low tide. Such is their number that if you stand still and allow them to emerge from their mud burrows, they create a blanket of moving oranges and reds – a kaleidoscopic natural wonder.

Chi Ma Wan Correctional Institution


December 2019 / January 2020

From Shap Long you can head north, taking the well-marked coastal path to Mui Wo (another two hours of hiking), but we head east on the road back up the hill to Ham Tin and Pui O.

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FENG SHUI: The bedroom By Samantha Wong


eng shui says that your bedroom is the space that symbolises you the most, which means the way it’s decorated has a direct impact on your wellbeing. It should be a place of rest, relaxation and passion – nothing else – so it’s essential that you get the sheng chi (beneficial energy) flowing.

First step to maximising your bedroom’s potential is to get your bed in the ‘command position.’ This means placing it so you can see the entry door (anyone coming in) when you are lying in bed. But don’t place your bed so that it directly faces the door, do this and you’ll be lying in the ‘position of the dead’ – you’ll be ready ‘to go feet first.’ If the bedroom is big enough, leave a space on both sides of the bed. This means you’ve made room for your partner or future partner. Energy needs to flow all around you when you’re sleeping, so keep the space under your bed clutter-free too.

Photo by Bruno van der Kraan -

You’re seeking harmony and balance, so you’ll want to nourish all five senses. Burn essential oils to sweeten the air, play some soothing tunes, and layer soft and inviting fabrics. Treat yourself to breakfast in bed occasionally and always keep fresh water on your nightstand. In terms of what you want to see, go with earthy

tones. Avoid plain white walls because stark white brings in the metal element, which is too mentally stimulating for a bedroom. Go with off-white, cream and chocolate brown to promote peaceful vibes and sensuality. How to boost your love life Speaking of sensuality, getting the feng shui right in a bedroom can kickstart, boost or simply bolster your love life. So, design your bedroom for two even if you’re not currently in a relationship. Present everything in pairs to symbolise union. That means two pillows, two nightstands, two lamps and, if space allows, two armchairs. You need to limit the yang (male) energy and go big on yin (female) energy. Swap out tall wardrobes, overpowering paintings and large photographs. Likewise, nightstands and headboards should be discreet and curved. You don’t want any sharp angular items in your bedroom. The bedroom needs to be low-tech. Computers, phones, televisions, exercise equipment are all taboo – their energy is too yang, too strong. And you need to avoid any reference to water too. This means no plants or water features, no pictures of the ocean, no shells, no fish motifs. Why? Just as water puts out fire, it quenches the hot flames of passion. Skin tones are conducive to sleep but introducing too much peach into your colour scheme is a mistake. If you’re single, you’ll find yourself bouncing from partner to partner, and if you’re in a relationship, your eye will wander. Peach is promiscuous. Note too, that if you place a mirror in front of your bed you are inviting a third person into your relationship.

Avoid peach tones in your bedroom – peach is promiscuous

The best way to erotically charge your bedroom is to make sure the fire element is present in your decor. Place a red object on your nightstand and something copper on your partner’s. Hanging a ruby or garnet over both nightstands will ensure that your bedroom radiates sex-positive energy. December 2019 / January 2020



e ould lik If you w tured os fea t o h p your to see email page, is h t on .hk d e m y ba duey@


COMMUNITY SNAPS The idea was to eat, drink and be scary at the Treasure Island Halloween Beach Party on November 1. A movie and disco for the kids was followed by an adults-only after-party with a DJ on the decks. Find more familiar faces @

December 2019 / January 2020

Photos by Duey Tam

December 2019 / January 2020



e ould lik If you w tured os fea t o h p your to see email page, is h t n o .hk d e m y ba duey@

Starting in Mui Wo, teams raced overnight to beat the sun on October 18 and 19. Barclays MoonTrekker delivers a choice of three course distances – the Moonlit 30, Sunrise 40 and Phoenix 50 – covering some of the toughest sections of the Lantau Trail. Find more familiar

faces @

At Action Asia Event’s HOKA ONE ONE Lantau 2 Peaks on October 6, participants chose between the 23-kilometre (two peaks) course tackling Sunset and Lantau peaks, and the 15-kilometre (half peak). The race features splendid sea views and challenging climbs. Find more familiar faces @


December 2019 / January 2020

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LOCAL NUMBERS COMMUNITY SERVICES Tung Chung Man Tung Road Sports Centre Tung Chung Public Library Tung Chung Public Swimming Pool

2109 2421 2109 3011 2109 9107

EDUCATION Christian & Missionary Alliance Church Education Centre Discovery Mind Play Centre & Kindergarten Discovery Mind Primary School Greenfield International Kindergarten Han Xuan Language Education Centre Salala Kids’ House Soundwaves English Education Centre Sun Island Education Foundation Sunshine House International Preschool Tung Chung Catholic School YMCA of Hong Kong Christian College

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ELECTRONIC REPAIRS So Nice Technologies (Onkar Singh)

6206 3497

EMERGENCY – FIRE/POLICE/AMBULANCE – 999 North Lantau Hospital Tung Chung Ambulance Depot Tung Chung Fire Station Tung Chung Police Station

3467 7000 2988 8282 2988 1898 3661 1694

FOOD & RESTAURANTS A Tavola Bar & Grill Curry Lounge Essence Restaurant - Novotel Citygate Handi Indian Restaurant McDonald’s Delivery Melody Thai Moccato Coffee Shop My Thai Olea Restaurant - Novotel Citygate Pizza Hut Delivery Resto Restaurant Velocity Bar and Grill - Hong Kong SkyCity Marriott

2321 5500 2960 1977 3602 8808 2988 8674 2338 2338 2988 8129 3602 8838 2907 6918 3602 8818 2330 0000 2886 3156 3969 1888

HEALTH & WELLBEING Freedas Max Beauty Spa OM Spa - Regal Airport Hotel Quan Spa - Hong Kong SkyCity Marriott Hotel Rainbow Voice and Soundhealing Spa by MTM Tung Chung Nail Ninjas

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HOME REPAIRS & DESIGN New Look Design Mega Power Engineering/Locksmiths Mr. Chan 24-hours Handyman Shun Yu Engineering

9783 5840 2109 2330 9343 3718 2988 1488

HOTELS Novotel Citygate Hong Kong SkyCity Marriott Hotel Regal Airport Hotel

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KIDS 4 Dimensions+ (Dance, Gym, Drama, Art) Clement Art School Jumping Castles Kidznjoy Little Stars Playgroup Sakura Kids Soundwaves Tung Chung

9446 6013 9021 1502 9662 1747 6273 7347 6479 0390 6674 6194 2164 7210

34  LIFE ON LANTAU December 2019 / January 2020

MEDICAL Bayside Dental Essential Health Family Clinic Human Health Medical Centre Maternal & Child Health Centre North Lantau Hospital Quality HealthCare Medical Quality HealthCare Physiotherapy Raffles Medical Raffles Medical Emergency Skyline Physiotherapy

2185 6550 2109 9396 2109 2288 3575 8370 3467 7000 2403 6623 2403 6328 2261 2626 2261 0999 2194 4038

REAL ESTATE HomeSolutions

3483 5003

REMOVALS & RELOCATIONS Akash Removals FTC Relocations ReloSmart SwiftRelo

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RESIDENTIAL ESTATE CONTACTS Caribbean Coast Club House Caribbean Coast Management Office Coastal Skyline Club House Coastal Skyline Management Office Seaview Crescent Club House Seaview Crescent Management Office Tung Chung Crescent Club House Tung Chung Crescent Management Office

2109 9277 2109 9288 2179 6678 2179 6621 3473 8700 3473 8833 2403 6770 2109 1222

SPORT & RECREATION Aqua Gym Asia Pacific Soccer Schools Canterano Futbol Club Dance for Joy Edge ’n Pointe Dance Centre ESF Sports HK Dragons Kinder Kicks Soccer KipMovin La Cantera Perun Fitness Rugbytots Sparrow Soccer School Hong Kong Tung Chung Rugby Club

2914 0658 2385 9677 5611 2490 9264 8597 6688 2167 2711 1280 2987 4274 2385 9677 6180 3256 2557 8007 6443 6597 5307 6677 6051 8196 6079 0825

USEFUL NUMBERS Alcoholics Anonymous Arrow Accounting Services FTC Apparel Phoenix Wills

9073 6922 6201 9710 2428 2566 3100 0101

VETERINARY & PET SITTING SERVICES Bon’s Mobile Pet Grooming Royal Pets Ltd - Pet Sitting Tung Chung Animal Clinic Tung Chung Vet Centre

9099 9959 6314 9887 2988 1534 2328 7282

ART & CULTURE Flanhardt Galerie und Atelier (FGUA)

2882 3390

EDUCATION Buddhist Fat Ho College Kind Hing Trinity International Kindergarten & Nursery Lantau International Kindergarten Lantau International School Lao Shi Lantau Mandarin lessons Little Lantau Montessori Kindergarten Mindfulness Matters Mui Wo Owls School & Kindergarten Mui Wo Language Cafe

2985 5365 2109 9886 2984 0302 2980 3676 5197 4647 3689 6709 9048 5425 2984 0006 5511 6107

FOOD, BEVERAGES & RESTAURANTS Bahçe Turkish Restaurant Bathers/ Beach House Cafe Isara Caffe Paradiso China Bear Deer Horn Restaurant & Bar Kebab Korner Lantau Grocer Lantana Italian Bistro Le Jardin de Sophie Loi Chan Frozen Meat Co. Long Island Mucho Gusto Natural Plus Robert’s Market Tai O Solo Café The Gallery The Kitchen The Stoep @ High Tide The Water Buffalo Value Vigilantes Treasure Island Restaurant

2984 0222 2504 4788 2470 1966 2984 0498 2984 9720 3484 3095 6429 3507 2702 0050 5465 5511 2997 9070 2984 8346 2320 2001 6422 5009 2984 2233 9193 2937 9153 7453 2980 2582 5991 6292 2980 2699 2109 3331 6132 9120 5236 7013

HEALTH & BEAUTY Greenstyle Organic and Healthcare Pause by the Banyan - health ∙ wellness Spa Ambiance Spa Puretouch Thai Palin Thai Sa Baai

9802 0553 9708 0187 2984 2488 2984 0088 9062 0148 5228 6552

HOME REPAIRS & DESIGN New Look Design Unitek

9783 5840 9156 0360

HOTELS Silvermine Beach Resort Tai O Heritage Hotel

6810 0111 2985 8383

REAL ESTATE HomeSolutions Findley Leung

3483 5003 2984 8334

RETAIL INSIDE Quay House VIBE Book & Music Shop

2890 8606 2882 8710 2984 9371

SPORT & RECREATION Lantau Base Camp Long Coast Seasports Pause by the River - pilates ∙ yoga ∙ dance Treasure Island Group

5463 6060 2980 3222 9708 0187 2546 3543

TRANSPORT New Lantau Bus Company

2984 9848

USEFUL NUMBERS Alcoholics Anonymous Phoenix Wills

9073 6922 6108 8471


2984 0060



LOCAL NUMBERS COMMUNITY Club Siena DB Recreation Club DB Fire & Ambulance DB Marina Club DB Management

2987 7382 2987 7381 2987 7502 2987 9591 2238 3601

EDUCATION DBIS Kindergarten DBIS Primary School Discovery College Discovery Mind International Play Centre Discovery Mind Kindergarten Discovery Mind Primary School, North Plaza Discovery Montessori Academy, North Plaza Discovery Montessori School, North Plaza Epic Adventurers , North Plaza Eye Level Education Learning Centre, North Plaza Mandarin for Munchkins, North Plaza Mathemagic – home tutoring Mathnasium, North Plaza SKH Wei Lun Primary School Sunshine House International Preschool Zhi Zhi Chinese

2914 2142 2987 7331 3969 1000 2987 8088 2987 8088 2914 2202 2812 9206 2987 1201 2441 0098 9366 0000 2480 3909 9135 4724 2628 3362 2987 8608 2987 8143 9648 2966

FOOD & RESTAURANTS 22˚ North Coyote Mexican Cantina Epic Foods, North Plaza Gilmore’s by the Golden Pig, North Plaza Hemingway’s McSorley’s Ale House The Pier Bar Uncle Russ, North Plaza

2987 2298 2987 2848 2172 6111 2662 9168 2987 8855 2987 8280 2520 2166 2840 1188

HEALTH & BEAUTY Afflatus Hair Workshop, North Plaza Maximum Care Nailed It!

2987 0283 2987 2060 2987 2266

MEDICAL Bayside Dental Practice, North Plaza DB Medical Centre Health and Care Dental Clinic Island Health Quality Health Physiotherapy

2987 0855 2987 5633 2666 6183 2987 7575 2473 6200

PROPERTY LISTINGS & BOATS Headland Homes Savills Hong Kong

2987 2088 2102 0888 2987 1919

RETAIL Bookazine P-Solution Wing On Star Mart, North Plaza

2987 1373 2987 1777 2987 9268 2366 6534

SPORT & RECREATION DB Pirates Rugby, Netball, Hockey & Dragonboat Greenwich Yoga School, North Plaza HK Dragons Football Club Harry Wright International Island Dance Kapuhala Train-in-Space, North Plaza Yoga Bay, North Plaza Yoga Up, North Plaza

9255 6133 9685 8366 5322 5556 2575 6279 2987 1571 6101 8434 6704 9851 8197 5591

TRANSPORT Passenger Telephone Hotline

2987 0208

USEFUL NUMBERS Alcoholics Anonymous Auberge Discovery Bay Hotel, North Plaza Island Veterinary Services

9073 6922 2295 8288 2987 9003

December 2019 / January 2020



A truly international festival, Christmas is rooted in a rich combination of Christian and pagan traditions, folklore and conflicting names. We have Père Noël, St Nicolas, Kris Kringle, Father Christmas and Santa Claus, all names for the same jolly, overweight gentleman in the red suit. And while most of us celebrate Christmas from December 24 to 26, in Russia, it’s a 10-day event, celebrated from December 31 to January 10. In the Czech Republic, people fast on Christmas Eve in the hope they will have a vision of ‘the golden pig’ on the wall before dinner, a sign of good luck. In Australia, we just hope we don’t get a raw prawn from the sizzling barbeque. Why ban the festive fun?


Photos by Christian Holzinger & Mike Arney -

The holidays are about gifting, feasting and making merry, writes Trisha Hughes. Why be a Grinch when there’s so much fun to be had?


Despite the way it can bring people together, naysayers across the globe have long had it in for Christmas. You don’t have to be a history buff to appreciate that the idea of banning all the festive fun is not new. In England, in 1649, making himself very unpopular at the time, Oliver Cromwell relieved King Charles I of his head, then banned the Christmas activities along with eating, drinking and being merry. Decorating the house, carol singing and even holly were banned, regarded as a pagan remnant of the Druid’s Winter Solstice Festival. Happily, the festival returned with a bang with the restoration of the Merry Monarch, Charles II, when he arrived on the scene declaring that having fun was back in favour again. Recent times, however, see us close to coming full circle. In a lot of countries whenever Christmas arrives, along with the fuzzy redand-white Santa hats and candy canes, anger surfaces. There has, for instance, been a lot of conflict in recent years between varying religious groups regarding Christmas greetings. As a result, many people now say ‘Happy Holidays’ or ‘Seasons Greetings,’ instead of the traditional ‘Merry Christmas.’ There is even talk about Santa’s greeting of ‘ho ho ho’ being (phonetically) inappropriate. As for me, I like to cover all the bases. Merry Christmas everyone! May the God of your choice bless you. And may you never be too grown-up to search the skies on Christmas Eve.

am definitely not the Grinch, that furry recluse living in scorn and seclusion on a cliff overlooking the cheerful community of Whoville. For me, Christmas is a time for joy, and there’s no better place to feel that joy than in Lantau.

It has long been my dream to live in a world where everyone celebrates Christmas (and all the other major religious festivals for that matter) side by side, regardless of their personal faith or affiliation. And this happens in Lantau – it really does. It’s certain that our community’s multicultural make-up lends itself to this kind of inclusionary approach to religious celebrations, and perhaps never more so than in December. People from Sydney to Timbuktu celebrate Christmas after all (albeit in their own ways), and in Lantau we can see this at first-hand at our neighbours’ homes.


December 2019 / January 2020

Kids everywhere love the jolly, overweight gentleman in the red suit

Profile for Life on Lantau magazine

Life on Lantau December/January 2020  

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

Life on Lantau December/January 2020  

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

Profile for danasha