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the really useful magazine

August 2017

Life's a beach! Hong Kong’s top sandy spots

Sing with zing

Family fun in the Lion City

Entertain me

- fun days out for the fam (in air con!)

Back to school

- cool things for kids





Editor’s letter


Life & style

Welcome back!

The painting’s on the wall

4 Contributors


Things we’d buy

Meet the team

Back to school


What’s on


Big day out

More holiday fun

Air con fun


Things you need to know

50 Travel

Dim Sum

Singapore with the family

12 News


Flailing spouse

High days and holidays

Goings on this month

18 Giveaways

Loads of free stuff


Debate of the month

Raising children


Me & My Big Idea

Ethical gifting


My Hong Kong

Art with heart


Book review

New releases plus brand new children’s writer


Modern Family

Family freak-outs






32 Cover story

Sandy moments on Hong Kong’s best beaches


School news

IB results and hard hats at Shrewsbury


Open day

Taking the stress out of schooling


Scan and visit our website 1

editor’s message

who’s in charge? Publisher Tom Hilditch

Editorial Editor-in-Chief Shreena Patel

Editor Carolynne Dear

Acting Editor Eric Ho

Editorial Assistant Jessie Yeung

Editorial Assistant Jai Rane

Design Design Manager Cindy Suen

Graphic Designer Anna Schulteisz

Sales & Marketing Sales and Marketing Executive Venus Man

Sales Director Hilda Chan

Sales and Marketing Executive Kiran Hiranandani



nd so the summer rolls on. Maybe you’re away from Hong Kong and reading this online, maybe - like me - you’ve recently returned. I have to admit, once we’d recovered from the 12-hour flight to Europe, it was fabulous re-connecting with family and friends - but gosh, it was also quite hard work! After a packed four weeks, it is nice to be back in Hong Kong and with no more long-distance road trips on the calendar as we desperately tried to fit friends and family into our schedule. The “joys” of summer holidays and catching up with the relatives is the subject of this month’s Modern Family discussion - have a read on page 30. Lovely as the heat is, it’s also good to escape indoors to the aircon now and again. We have put together an exclusive list of the best indoor activity venues for kids this month, including an exciting new launch in Quarry Bay. Find out more on page 46. We’ve also been travelling down to the Lion City this month. If you’re looking for a quick and easy break with the kids, look no further. With a flight time of under four hours, Singapore is packed with great days out for littlies - with the added bonus of no jet-lag! And of course for many of you, August is “back-to-school” month. Maybe you’re dreading an empty house, maybe you’re counting the days to when the school bus finally pulls up at the front door again, or maybe, like me, it’s mixed emotions. But whatever your feelings, send them back in style with our guide on page 44. Whatever you’re up to this month, stay cool and have fun! Digital Assistant Cora Chan

Office Manager

Peace Keepers

Office Manager Amanda Chia

Fish & Chips

Contact us Admin: 3568 3722 | Editorial: 2776 2773 | Advertising: 2776 2772 Published by Hong Kong Living Ltd, L1 Kai Wong Commercial Building, 222 Queens Road Central, Hong Kong Printer Apex Print Limited, 11-13 Dai Kwai Street, Tai Po Industrial Estate, Tai Po, Hong Kong

HONG KONG Expat Parent is published by Hong Kong Living Ltd. This magazine is published on the understanding that the publishers, advertisers, contributors and their employees are not responsible for the results of any actions, errors and omissions taken on the basis of information contained in this publication. The publisher, advertisers, contributors and their employees expressly disclaim all and any liability to any person, whether a reader of this publication or not, in respect of any action or omission by this publication. Expat Parent cannot be held responsible for any errors or inaccuracies provided by advertisers or contributors. The views herein are not necessarily shared by the staff or publishers. No part of this magazine may be reproduced without written permission from the publisher.

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Adele Brunner

Rebecca Simpson...

Kate Farr our fabulous life and style guru. This month she met with French painter Elsa Jean de Dieu, creator of gorgeous murals for kids. If you’re looking to brighten up a few walls, turn to page 42. With kids heading back to school this month and next, Adele has also curated a “must-have” list of school bag fillers. Find out what she recommends on page 44.

...with student mental health a real hot potato at the moment, Rebecca has spoken to schools throughout the territory to find out how they are keeping spirits up and anxiety to a minimum. Rebecca is a regular educational contributor to Expat Parent and works from a floating home in Lantau with her two daughters.

...our hard-working contributor has penned two features for us this month - in Big Day Out she rounds up the coolest activities for kids. And for our Travel section, she has scoured Hong Kong’s rival city Singapore with her two sons for the best in family entertainment. Follow more of her adventures on Instagram @accidental_tt.

Want to write for Expat Parent Magazine? Contact

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Photo by Hong Kong Wetland Park of Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department

what’s on

Hong Kong Wetland Park ‘edutainment’ activities, until Nov 13




A lively international drumming festival for all ages in Ngong Ping Village. Listen to drum performances at the Village Square and try your hand at different drumming styles with professional drummers. To find out more visit or call the Guest Service Hotline of Ngong Ping 360 Limited at 3666 0606

IFC mall is collaborating with Japanese art collective teamLab to present an interactive digital installation that promises to offer visitors one-of-a-kind spectacle. Watch your drawings instantly come to life from 2D sketches to movable 3D digital installations in this groundbreaking artistic project. Suitable for all ages and sessions need to be reserved at the Sketch Town ticket counter,

A breathtaking multimedia light show that features 3D projection mapping, high-tech sound effects, and spectacular music. Reexperience Hong Kong through a diverse array of cheerful cartoon characters. 8.20pm, 8.40pm, 9pm, 9.20pm, 9.40pm, Hong Kong Cultural Centre Open Piazza, Tsim Sha Tsui.

Ngong Ping 360 Lantau Drumming Spectacular


Home Kong Exhibition in YellowKorner As part of the city’s ongoing celebration of Establishment Day, YellowKorner is showcasing Hong Kong’s vibrant street life in a photographic tour of both its most famous and most underappreciated spaces.The exhibition presents urban street photography of Hong Kong by internationally acclaimed artists such as Laurent Dequick and Jorg Dickmann, as well as local talent Andy Yeung. Free, 58 Hollywood Road and PMQ, 35 Aberdeen Street, Central. 6

Sketch Town

Hong Kong Pulse Light Show


On Sharks and Humanity Exhibit in Hong Kong Maritime Museum Parkview Arts Action and the Hong Kong Maritime Museum are bringing together 34 international and local artists to raise awareness about the state of our oceans. Come along to the Hong Kong Maritime Museum to take a look at paintings, sculptures, film, and photography by a mixture of internationally renowned and up-and-coming talent. Central Ferry Pier No. 8, Man Kwong Street, Central. All ages welcome. Tickets range from $15-30,

what’s on UNTIL OCT 18

Ancient Egypt Exhibition at the Hong Kong Science Museum Explore Ancient Egypt with this special learning adventure set up at the Hong Kong Science Museum. With six Egyptian mummies and around 200 related archeological objects, the exhibition hopes to facilitate visitors’ understandings of Ancient Egypt using hologram technology, virtual reality and 3D projection mapping. 2 Science Museum Rd, Tsim Sha Tsui East, for details.

11am-5.30pm, Sha Tin Town Hall Exhibition Gallery, 1 Yuen Wo Road, Sha Tin.

AUG 4-7

Eugene Baby Fair

AUG 1-6

Slava’s Snowshow Part of this year’s International Arts Carnival, Music Nation will be hosting the return of the show to Hong Kong. Staged by Russian pantomime artist Slava Polunin, the show is recommended for children eight years and above. From $480, Lyric Theatre, Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts, 1 Gloucester Road, Wan Chai,


Hong Kong Wetland Park - Where Wonders Begin: Our Nature The ‘Where Wonders Begin: Our Nature’ programme is a series of ‘edutainment’ activities designed to teach children and young people about Hong Kong’s biological resources and how they are used in daily life. Activities include several public guided tours, a Badge and Origami Workshop, and a ‘Traditional Wisdom Grocery Store’ Exhibition. For more details go to


‘Hong Kong Impression’ Exhibition This ongoing exhibition displays the twodecade infrastructural evolution of Hong Kong alongside the future development outlook of the region. Be ready to experience a fusion of the historical and cosmopolitan faces of Hong Kong. Free admission. 10am-6pm closed on Tuesdays except Public Holiday. City Gallery, Central, Public Display Area. To find out more go to or call 3102 1242

The price per session is HK $50 for adults and HK$20 for students. Thursdays 7.309pm (Island School); Saturdays 3pm-5pm (beaches). Further details on HongKongBeachWaterPolo.

Underwater Hockey A non-contact sport where two teams compete to score a puck in a swimming pool. The Hong Kong Underwater Hockey Association has meets twice a week in the Island School swimming pool. $150 for adults, $100 for students. Wednesdays 7.30-9.30pm; Saturdays 10am-12pm; Island School, 20 Borrett Road, Mid-levels. Contact or for more details.

Learn about the trends in infant products by exploring this one-stop shop for all your baby’s needs. 10am-7pm, HK Convention and Exhibition Centre Hall 1, Wan Chai, Hong Kong. $25 for adults, $20 for children, free for children under 1m.

AUG 4-5

Ink Global The Young Artists Development Foundation is showcasing 500 of the world’s best ink paintings. The exhibition hopes to foster an appreciation for the art of ink painting and to enhance the art form’s position in the international art scene. The Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, 1 Expo Drive, Wan Chai. Free Admission. To find out more go to or call 2885 0172.


What’s Love Top Knit up a trendy hip-length woollen tank top in this four hour tutorial. $875 per person. Bring 4 balls of WATG’s Tina Tape and a 6.5mm circular needle before the session. All items can be brought at the venue. Starts at 12pm. 28 Pound Lane, Sheung Wan. Email nicola@ for more details.



Beat the heat with Hong Kong Beach Water Polo. The group trains twice a week: once at Island School and once at different local beaches. The club run the annual International Hong Kong Beach Water Polo Tournament which is scheduled to take place on October 28th and 29th this year.

Learn to swim and pose using professional merfins and mermaid leggings with mermaid experts. From $580, includes training session, mermaid leggings, photography and merfining, 12pm-4pm, Island School, 20 Borrett Road. Call 8106 6453 for more details.

Hong Kong Beach Water Polo

Become A Mermaid With Us

AUG 1-2

‘Home sweet home’ Participants are invited to build their dream homes and communities using a cardboard “gadget supermarket”. Organized by the Leisure and Cultural Services Department as part of the LCSD’s ongoing International Arts Carnival. Attendees are free to take their creations home after the event. $240,

Knitting classes at Yarn in the Works, Aug 5 7

what’s on AUG 5-6

Mandarin Oriental Wedding Fair The Mandarin Oriental is collaborating with a series of luxury brands to help couples prepare for their special day. A dedicated team of wedding planners will be on hand to provide couples with advice as they travel through the fair sampling culinary creations and a variety of bridal and evening wear. Register by calling 2825 4821/2825 4871, or email


Mummy’s Day Out at Baumhaus All mums of children aged two and under are invited to join the Baumhaus team for an afternoon of tender loving care. Bond with your little one in a Mummy-Baby Yoga session led by Dee Cheung and glean tips on how to care for your baby’s sensitive skin from Catherine Cervasio of Aromababy. A selection of tasty treats will be available from Cafe Sausalito. $400, first floor, Kar Yau Building, 36-44 Queen’s Road East, Wan Chai, mummysday for further information.

Mix It Up Summer Workshop, Aug 6, 13, 20, 27

childhood classic by infusing it with contemporary dance, live sand drawing, fresh music, and animation. The show is open to families with children or young adults aged 3 and above. Sha Tin Town Hall Auditorium. For further information visit

Paws For Latin Brunch

Undertake a creative adventure in these reading and art sessions inspired by Hervé Tullet’s interactive children’s books. Each child leaves with a paint kit worth $100, tickets $280, held every Sunday 3-5pm. Unit S513, PMQ, 35 Aberdeen Street, Central. Register at Call 2155 2282 for more details. The Little Prince, Aug 11-13

AUG 12-13

Bored kids? Woodland Montessori Academy is hosting two separate summer camps this month. Enroll your child in the Summer Fun programme, a comprehensive and diverse programme featuring musical, culinary, arts, drama and sports activities. Alternatively, boost kids’ fitness in the Summer Sports & Games programme. Prices start at $2400 per week. Fung Building, 110-118 Caine Road, Mid Levels. Email, visit, or call 2549 1211.

Salsa Summer Party

AUG 11-13

AUG 14

The Little Prince by City Contemporary Dance Company Come witness the story of Little Prince from asteroid B-612 as you have never seen it before. The City Contemporary Dance Company has recreated the beloved 8

World Humanitarian Day

AUG 19

Mix It Up Summer Workshop

Woodland Pre-School Programmes

AUG 19

Recognizing the aid workers who risk their lives to provide humanitarian relief.

AUG 6, 13, 20, 27

AUG 7-11

concurrently at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre this month, another being the Home Delights Expo. Ticket prices range from $10.

Enjoy live performances by professional dancers from the World Salsa Championship and learn some beginners’ steps in their free workshops. Free Admission. Lee Tung Avenue, 200 Queen’s Road East, Wan Chai, Hong Kong. More details from leetungavenue. or Lee Tung Avenue Customer Service Hotline, 3790 2304.

AUG 13

International Lefthanders Day Back to school Autumn term begins at ESF schools.

AUG 17-21

HKTDC Beauty and Wellness Expo This is part of three expos running

Sai Kung Stray Friends Foundation is holding a fundraising event to support more than 100 dogs in need. The fundraisingfiesta will be held at newly launched Latin restaurant, PICADA, where guests will find live performances, dog-themed cocktails, and a ‘Poodle Pinata’. Suitable for adults and children, $500 per person which includes an appetiser buffet, main, dessert and freeflowing cava, beer, and cocktails. 2/F, LKF29, 29 Wyndham Street, Central, tickets from . Aberdeen Street, Central.

AUG 25-26

‘Les Étoiles du Ballet’ by the Royal Ballet of Cambodia Performing for the first time in Hong Kong and attended by Her Royal Highness Princess Norodom Buppha Devi and His Royal Highness Prince Sisowath Tesso, the royal performances will feature 14 elite dancers selected from the hundreds of hopefuls who apply each year. The royal ballet is an official UNESCO Intangible Heritage with more than 1000 years of history and association with the Khmer people of Cambodia. 8pm, Studio Theatre, Hong Kong Cultural Centre, Salisbury Rd, Tsim Sha Tsui, $200-300,


Malvern College Rugby Experience Day

A chance for five to 12 year olds to get a taste of the global game,

held with the support of Hong Kong Rugby Union. Bring along your sportswear, trainers (without spikes), water bottles, energy and the spirit to tackle every obstacle

along the way (pun intended), and join Malvern College Hong Kong on this fun and exciting day. Sessions last approx. one hour, sign up at to book a spot. Admission free, The Education University of Hong Kong, 10 Lo Ping Road, Tai Po.


Hong Kong Blue Tie Ball Help support mental health, and wellness programs for young people by attending this charity ball at the Hong Kong Football Club. The evening is being hosted by the Hong Kong rugby community. Expect live music, a delicious dinner, and great community-orientated company. All proceeds go to batyr and KELY Support Group. Tickets available at HK$1000 for a single ticket.

DEC 1-2

Raymond Briggs’ Father Christmas A heart-warming adaptation full of merry touches, live music, songs and puppetry. Join Father Christmas as he gets ready for his busiest day of the year, Christmas Eve. Watch as he prepares his Christmas deliveries, feeds his reindeer and finally takes flight into the snowy night. Full of merry touches with plenty of live music, songs and playful puppetry, a perfect introduction to theatre for young children aged two to six years. Performances run for 60 minutes with no interval at 11am, 2pm and 4.30pm, The Hong Kong Jockey Club Ampitheatre, The Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts, tickets from 9

things to know


2 ng o lo a i X o ba


Dim sum (or “dots of love”) are the descendants of Chinese yum cha. In ancient times, teahouses sprang up along the Silk Road for weary travellers (yum cha means “to drink tea”). Word got around that tea is a good digestif, so small food items were added to the menu.

Over the centuries, the Cantonese of southern China developed the travel snack into a rambunctious family dining experience.

Bamboo steamer baskets are traditionally used to cook dim sum. Bamboo is naturally antibacterial, fosters better water absorption thus preventing condensation dripping onto the dumplings, and is said to produce tastier food owing to bamboo’s special scent.


Expect bite-sized steamed and fried dumplings, rolls, buns and cakes packed into bamboo steamers. Traditionally dim sum are served from steam-heated carts that are wheeled from table to table - try Lin Hueng Tea House (160-164 Wellington Street, Central) where the trolley ladies still hold fort.

Things you need to know

Char siu bao

Dim sum i Siu ma


In Hong Kong and Guangdong, it’s traditional for the elderly to meet for dim sum after their morning exercises. But so popular is the experience, these days you can find dim sum served at any time of the day and night - and also in takeaway form (even Marks & Spencer Food Halls are in on the act these days).

So how did the humble dumpling become one of Hong Kong’s most popular treats?


Tea drinking is an equally important component of the dim sum experience - popular teas include green, oolong and chrysanthemum.




Popular dumplings include Xiao long bau (meat or seafood with a yummy broth - how the broth is infused into the dim sum is a tightly kept secret), Char siu bao (steamed bun with barbecue pork), har gao (shrimp dumplings in delicate rice wrappers), and siu mai (steamed pork and prawn).

Tea etiquette demands you pour tea for your companions before yourself. If pouring to the right, hold the teapot in your left hand, and vice versa. Thank the pourer by tapping your cup with your bent index finger (if you’re single) or index and middle fingers (if you’re married). This symbolizes bowing. If you’re all tea-ed out, tip your cup upside down.

Sponsored feature 11


Plastic not-so-fantastic

Cute, environmentally-friendly water bottles are now available from Lion Rock Press, with proceeds going to Plastic Oceans Foundation to support its education initiative in Hong Kong. Following an online campaign where followers were asked to vote for their preferred bottle shape, the two winning bottles will hit shelves this month. “They’re great to take to the juice bar for your juice or smoothie, or to Starbucks for an iced coffee or to simply fill up with water in the office,” says Lion Rock Press founder and bottle designer Claire Yates. “I’m hoping they’re a hit as I find the plastic waste in Hong Kong appalling. So much of it is preventable. By taking a full tumbler out with you rather than buying another bottle from 7-11 or a vending machine, you are actively doing something to reduce single-use plastic. We can’t change the world overnight, but we can all play a small part.” The bottle retails for $250 and the tumbler (pictured) for $225, with 10% of sales going to Plastic Oceans Foundation,

Sai Kung soccer school open to new talent Sai Kung Bulldogs is offering free summer football trials and workshops this month. Head over to Sai Kung’s Wai Man Road playground pitch (opposite the swimming pool) and test your football skills in a fun, challenging and welcoming environment. Three age groups include Toddlers (ages two to four years), Kids (five to nine) and Advanced (10-17). The trials will be held on August 19, 20, 26 and 27. Contact head coach, Steve, for more details on 90851886,,

Sai Kung Bulldogs gear up for a new season



Brit favourite Tesco hits town Online grocery concierge Honestbee is now partnering with UK supermarket giant Tesco in Hong Kong. With over 6,800 stores worldwide, the 100-year old British grocer will already be familiar to many. Honestbee will be stocking its ‘Finest’ range, available online from this month, including dairy, biscuits, crackers, pasta, sauces, crisps and other treats. Along with the Tesco partnership, honestbee is also launching a meal delivery service. Known as honestbee FOOD, the service will allow customers to order from over 700 restaurants covering an area from Pok Fu Lam to Happy Valley. It is anticipated this area will be extended to include TST and Hung Hom by the end of this month. To celebrate the launch, honestbee FOOD will be waiving all delivery fees and

offering $150 off any order of $250 or more by using the discount code HKYUMMY150. The offer is available until September 20. Honestbee launched in 2014 and is now available in eight Asian cities, using ‘concierge shoppers’ to handpick groceries from customers’ preferred stores and brands. In Hong Kong partners currently include Park n Shop, GReat, International, Taste and Fusion supermarkets, as well as boutique stores Feather & Bone, The Butchers Club, Pet Line and Baby Central. First time users can claim a $100 discount on any $300 purchase with the discount code BEEHK until August 31. Honestbee groceries and meals can be ordered using the honestbee app or by clicking onto Online grocery store honestbee is partnering with Tesco

Brekkie a piece of cake

Melt-in-the-mouth British retailer Marks & Spencer has launched four delicious new ice cream flavours this summer, using wholesome British West Country milk and cream. Get your chops round a Madagascan Vanilla, a Sao Tome Chocolate, tropical passion-fruit or coconut. The icy treats cost $59 for 500g and are available from Marks & Spencer Food Halls across town.

Lemon-ricotta pancakes at the Cheesecake Factory Sunday brunch

Californian favourite The Cheesecake Factory has launched a Sunday Brunch option for families at its recently opened Hong Kong venue. Available every Sunday between 10am and 2pm, the “savory and sweet” breakfast includes bruleed French toast - thick slices of French bread soaked in a cream and egg batter and lightly grilled - and lemon-ricotta pancakes, topped with fresh strawberries. Savory options include fried chicken and waffles benedict, and a Monte Cristo sandwich - think French toast grilled with ham, Swiss and Fontina cheese and 14

scrambled eggs. There is a $98 Kids Brunch menu for younger diners which includes smaller portions of toast or buttermilk pancakes with bacon and fruit. And to wash it all down there are summer special tall and icy glasses of The Cheesecake Factory Special Lemonade in strawberry, raspberry or cucumber flavours. The Cheesecake Factory Brunch is available 10am-2pm every Sunday. Shop G102, Harbour City Gateway Arcade, 25 Canton Road, TST, 2791 6628. 15


Beach dining glams up on Lantau

Wifi on the fly

Over 200 Emirates aircraft are now wired up with wifi

It may have weary business travellers groaning - there aren’t many places these days where you can escape an email from your boss - but it’s great news for bored kids on long-haul. Dubai-based airline Emirates has now expanded its inflight wifi service to over 200 aircraft in its fleet. Skywards platinum and gold members are now being offered free unlimited wifi access regardless of their class of travel, as

well as all Skywards members travelling in first and business class. Meanwhile, at the back of the plane, from this summer economy and non-Skywards members will have access to 20MB of free data usage within the first two hours of login, double the current 10MB being offered. Additional data can be bought in 150MB or 500MB blocks with tiered discounts for Skywards silver and blue members.

Pedal power to fight Perthes disease Strap on your helmet and start training for the Pedal Through Perthes Cycling Challenge charity fundraiser being held this autumn. The event has been organised by Leanne and Richard Farmer after their seven-yearold son Jack was diagnosed with Perthes disease last year. Although Jack can no longer play rugby or ride his BMX bike because of his rare degenerative condition, the Farmer family has found a new way for him to cycle. With a custom-made, hand-powered Handcycle, Jack will cycle with his supporters at Pedal Through Perthes on November 11 along a three kilometre New Territories route. Now an old hand with the specially adapted bike, Jack joined the last stretch of handcyclist Robert Groves’ coastline challenge from Brighton to London in July. The family fun ride in November starts at Renaissance College basketball courts in Sha Tin, and will end with barbecued sausages and a silent 16

auction. Cyclists and supporters can buy a t-shirt from the website, and proceeds will be donated to the Farmers’ two chosen charities, The Perthes Association and Sailability. After Pedal Through Perthes, the Farmer family will travel and carry out conservation work before taking on the Danube Cycle Trail in Europe as a sponsored cycle next May. Find out more at

Jack Farmer hits the road on his custom-design bike

Restaurant group Woolly Pig Hong Kong has opened Bathers, a beachfront restaurant on Lower Cheung Sha Beach, South Lantau. Inspired by waterfront restaurants in Australia, restaurateurs Chris Woodyard and Bronwyn Cheung are promising al fresco dining, friendly service, and a seasonal menu from British gastropub chef Toby Barrett. Woolly Pig founder and former chef Chris Woodyard says his childhood ‘down under’ was the inspiration for Bathers. “Being able to enjoy a great meal close to the ocean is a part of Australian culture,” he said. “But on Hong Kong’s beaches there are often very limited choices when it comes to dining. Bathers allows locals and visitors to enjoy great cuisine on one of the city’s most dramatic stretches of coast.” With established restaurants in SoHo (12,000 Francs) and Kowloon (Madam S’ate), the group envisages Bathers as part refined destination restaurant and part contemporary beach club. The restaurant’s ‘surf’ cocktails include the rum-laced Lantau Slushie, a variety of on-tap options, craft beers and boutique ciders. When hunger hits, beachside classics such as beer-battered barracuda, salt and pepper squid, seafood platters and charcuterie plates should hit the spot. More formal fare will include charred pork chop, grilled lobster and a selection of Australian grass-fed steaks. Little nippers aren’t forgotten with a dedicated kids menu. Bathers will also be open for breakfast on weekends and public holidays. Woodyard and his team will also be opening Mr Chipper next door, a fish ‘n’ chip stall serving a range of fresh, daily catches, salads and gelatos with selfservice seating. Bathers is open from 12pm onwards Tuesday to Friday; 9am onwards on weekends and public holidays; 12 Lower Cheung Sha Village, South Lantau, reservations at

Fresh is best, say farmers Taikoo Place has launched Tong Chong Street Market Pop-up Farmers’ Stall this summer, with a special Farmers’ Stall where local growers come face-to-face (or stall-to-stall) with celebrity chefs. Customers will be able to chat with the farmers about their produce and then watch how chefs go about using it to prepare homegrown, organic dishes. In an effort to beat plastic waste, Taikoo Place has also collaborated with Food Angel, a food rescue and assistance programme. Ecofriendly containers and utensils will be served with all dishes on sale and organisers have joined forces with local entrepreneurial group Be Nice To Life so customers will also be able to invest in eco-wrap, stainless steel straws and cutlery at the stall. The chefs will be whipping up a yummy - and healthy - lunch menu on August 15, 22 and 29. Dishes cost from $50 and all proceeds go to local charity Food Angel. The locally grown produce will be available until September 29, noon to 6pm, Monday to Friday, outside Dorset House in Taikoo Place, Quarry Bay.

Tall tales Local charity Kids4Kids has launched its annual ‘My Story Creation’ competition. Children aged six to 12 years old are invited to submit a story with illustrations. The top ten stories will be selected by a panel literacy professionals - including the editor of Expat Parent - and will appear in the Kids4Kids treasury that will be published later in the year. The competition is being sponsored this year by Cambridge University Press. All profits will go towards empowering low income families through literacy development programmes run by Kids4Kids. The deadline for the Open Category (Individual) is August 31. For more information, see Happy writing! Canton Road, TST, 2791 6628.

Participants from last year’s storytelling competition 17

giveaways WIN HERE! Click the Giveaways tab on our website:

Waterfall Sports and Wellness

A perfect chance to perfect your golf swing! Get the most out of your golf practice in the driving range of Golf Waterfall. Conveniently located next to the Olympic MTR station, the club is equipped with a multi-storey long driving range, diversified short driving range and bunker, and a multi-curvature nine-hole putting and chipping green. We are happy to give away a companion golf membership offer valued at $1,000.

The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (ABRIDGED)

Experience William Shakespeare as you never have before and see all 37 plays in just 97 minutes! The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (ABRIDGED) has been performed to millions around the world; including USA, New Zealand, Japan and finally Hong Kong! The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (ABRIDGED) was one of the

most successful ever to grace the stages of London’s West End, having clocked ten years at the Criterion Theatre. We’re giving away a family set of four tickets, worth $2,380 in total, for the opening night at 8pm on September 19.

Azzita Hoverland


Channel your inner Marty Mcfly in this hoverboard experience! Azzita HoverLand is a local Hong Kong brand which started as an online platform, with an international network across Europe, the United States, Australia, Russia and Taiwan. With Azzita HoverLand’s hoverboard experience voucher, you will get to try out hoverboarding under guidance for 20 minutes. We are giving away 30 Hoverboard Experience vouchers worth up to $2,670 in total.


Younibody offers holistic healthcare services to individuals who want to improve their health but eliminate the guesswork. Their expert registered dieticians, health coaches and therapists provide nutrition planning, bioresonance therapy and lab testing services in seven locations in Hong Kong. Don’t let

the technical term scare you - bioresonance therapy is great for children and people suffering from allergies, skin problems such as eczema, and attention deficit disorders (ADD). We’re giving away a free quantum health test and 50 per cent off your first bioresonance therapy session, valued $1,970 in total. 19

debate of the month

Keeping order

It takes a village to raise a child, or so the saying goes. But would you dare discipline another child? And how would you feel if a stranger reprimanded your own kids? “A neighbour was able to understand some nasty racist comments directed at her child she disciplined the offenders but a couple of hours later the police were knocking on her door. It turns out the children had gone home and cried to mummy. Fortunately their helper was able to give the cops the correct version of events.” Janet, Ap Lei Chau

I told a child to stop throwing stones at the buffalo on Lantau. She ran off to her parents. It takes a village and all that…

Kate, South Lantau

“We all have a responsibility for the way young people turn out. If we turn a blind eye to bad behaviour in children, we will later have to deal with the same behaviour in adults.” Jaimie, Hong Kong Island

“In general I speak up. All adults are responsible for the wellbeing of people who are unable to care for themselves. That goes for the elderly and our young people. We are a community.” Victoria, Pok Fu Lam

I calmly told a kid off for skateboarding in Fusion. The mother came round the corner and treated me like I was curtailing the kid’s human rights!

If I see behaviour that is not respectful to either other people, animals or the environment, I will say something.

Helen, Southside

Julie, Pok Fu Lam

“It depends on circumstances and everyone’s parenting style is different. If the parents step in, I wouldn’t say anything. If the bad behaviour was being ignored and was negatively impacting my child, I would speak up.” Amy, Mid-levels “In general I speak up. All adults are responsible for the wellbeing of people who are unable to care for themselves. That goes for the elderly and our young people. We are a community.” Sonia, Sai Kung

“I will speak up. It was normal when I was growing up in the ‘70s and ‘80s. Sometimes it takes a stranger calling out someone’s bad behaviour for that person to think twice.” Bex, Southside

“It’s how you say it, I think. If older children were pushing my child around, I would say something, not shout, just ask politely.” Helen, Tai Tam

“I don’t think there’s any harm “reminding” a child that their behaviour may not be ideal. And if your own child sees you talking to another child, it’s a good pointer that other people notice if you behave badly.” Jayne, Sai Kung

We want to hear from you! Next month: School lunches - usually uneaten, or worth the extra prep? Email your views to or go to 20 21

me & my big idea

Out with the old

Discovery Bay resident Leon Adeoye is hoping to recycle one family’s cast-offs into another family’s treasures, with a brand new app So what’s the big idea? The enrich others app is about gifting your once valued but now unwanted possessions to another home. Unlike endless Facebook browsing, the app is jam-packed with a number of specific gift-giving features to make the dispersal of your unwanted possessions more seamless and more targeted. Firstly, items can only be given away for free - there is no clutter from other items for sale. Secondly, app users will need to maintain a category-based interest list of things they are on the lookout for, and when someone posts a gift they also have to select a category. The app’s algorithm then takes care of the matching based on categories and GPS locations. So if you are interested in board games within a 5km radius, and someone nearby has posted a chess set, it will feature on the landing page of your app. Thirdly, the enrich others app can handle multiple requests by permitting up to five people to request a gift. When potential beneficiaries make their requests, they are required to provide a justification for their need. The benefactor is then free to carefully review these justifications, along with the profile and gift history of the potential beneficiaries before deciding who should be enriched – hopefully in favour of those individuals with the most generous gift histories. I think it is important for me to also emphasize that the enrich others app performs a secondary function of reducing waste, encouraging recycling, and hopefully, one-day providing a circular economy. What prompted its invention? The inspiration definitely came from living in Discovery Bay. Just before my daughter, Harper, was born, we had a clear-out and gave away lots of stuff for free to both friends and strangers. Some decent stuff, I am ashamed to say, even got thrown out with the trash. I realized soon after that there was nothing out there specifically built for the purpose of giving away things for free. How long has it taken to come to fruition? I have been working on this project most 22

Leon Adeoye hopes to create a circular economy of free stuff

evenings for a year now. But I’ve not done it alone – I’ve had help from fellow DB residents, professional programmers, my family, and even colleagues at work. Just perfecting the design and architecture, the look-and-feel, the wording, the security layers, multilingual support, and the social media aspects of the app has taken a lot of effort. How can readers get involved? Download the app and post two or three unwanted possessions right away, spread the word to friends, family, and colleagues wherever they are in the world, introduce the app to any contacts they have in journalism, NGOs and charitable organisations and mention the app and the website ( on social media. The app is free to download and free to post gifts onto. It’s also packed with features - such as interest lists, gift tracking, in-app messaging, contact preferences, auto-assignment, multiple requests handling, multilingual support, gift history and user

profile management, and GPS location sensitivity. Hopefully these features should also be self-promoting once the word gets out. What’s the next step? I have lots of ideas on how this app could work for charities and NGOs during disaster relief and charity campaigns - I just need some introductions and some funding. I would like to increase the global footprint of the app – it already has multilingual support in French, German, Japanese, Spanish, Putonghua, Bahasa, and Hindi, and we are currently working on more languages. I would like to build a sister website as a platform for people with different abilities and comfort levels. And finally, I hope to create a circular economy of free stuff - a world where googling for “free board games” returns three neighbours who have recently posted Snakes and Ladders, a Chess set, and Cluedo as gifts on the enrich others app. 23


My Hong Kong the illustrator

Artist Natalie Hui at the launch of her first exhibition with MTR’s ‘Art in MTR’ programme

Artist Natalie Hui tells Expat Parent about her creative collaborations across the city I was born in Hong Kong and emigrated to Canada at a very young age. I flew back every couple of years to see family. Coming from suburban Toronto, I was fascinated by the hectic pace and cultural vibrancy of Hong Kong. Last year I graduated and decided to start my career here - I was driven by the slow Canadian economy and a desire to spend more time with my grandparents. I find the summer heat in Hong Kong to be quite unbearable. You can often find me taking shelter indoors at various art and book stores. I’m most attracted to the cluttered chaos and rich local culture found in Hong Kong’s street markets, old tong lau 24

(shophouse architecture), narrow backstreets and all sorts of old stores that still remain from decades ago. I love the retro vibe of traditional Cha Chan Teng (Hong Kong style cafes) and the milk tea and pineapple buns they serve there. Everything from the light fixtures, floor tiles to the cutlery seem to be from an older time and it is heartwarming to see the interactions of the owner with long time customers. My favourites areas to visit are Wan Chai and Shum Shui Po. I also enjoy bike riding along the trails around Sha Tin. In my spare time, I enjoy leisurely walking around street

PEOPLE markets or older neighbourhoods to search for antiques and of course new inspiration for my illustrations. As a child, my mom would patiently teach me how to draw and together we would dream up creative projects, like giant cardboard houses or picture books. I later attended a regional arts high school which developed my technique and critical thinking. Illustration was just a hobby picked up during my university years as a way to unwind under a heavy workload. It’s only recently that I have begun to seriously explore my potential as a professional illustrator. The visual impact of art is a powerful tool to stimulate conversation and inspire change. I hope to convey positive social values and promote a cheerful outlook on the world through my illustrations. Every project I take on uses my skills to tell a story to bring awareness to topics such as social diversity, autism, learning disabilities, protecting the environment or positive parenting. The act of creating art is also important. A recent study found that Hong Kong is the number one city in the world for not knowing how to smile. Children are raised in a highly competitive setting here and have to deal with a lot of stress. Creative extracurricular activities can help release tension by encouraging children to use art as an emotional outlet. I think parents can also be inspired to communicate with their child through art. At the end of last year I established my business as an illustrator. My artist name is “chikatetsu_n”. It means “subway” in Japanese, which is a coincidence as this month I partnered with the MTR for my first solo exhibition under MTR’s “Art in MTR” programme. This is a great platform for local artists to gain exposure to the general public. I want my illustrations to speak to all walks of life. My exhibition is called “Next Stop: Your Dreams” and uses the idea of a subway as a metaphor for our progress on our life journey, with each station representing a milestone in our dreams. I believe sharing your journey with others is a big contributor to personal growth. This exhibition is a colourful message of hope and encouragement - a small reminder to smile and keep going. I try to take on projects that give value back to our society. I am working with a local city playgroup to bring about a connection with nature and with cultural diversity. All the

Hui’s illustrations will be displayed at Sheung Wan and Sai Wan Ho stations until October 9

illustrations and activity sheets encourage the children to broaden their perspectives and explore their potential. I’ve also worked with a centre using art as a visualization tool for young people with autism. And I’m putting together a picture book with a local school to creatively showcase their boarding school programme for disadvantaged boys and to highlight their support programme for students with learning disabilities.

old street-side newspaper stands, pawn shops, small makeshift vegetable stalls, and so forth. I want to capture and celebrate all the minute details that make this aspect of local Hong Kong so fascinating to me. Using my background in architecture, I also hope to annotate each drawing and give more insight into the era and cultural significance of each building. I hope to eventually publish this collection.

Fuelled by my love for old and unconventional Hong Kong architecture, I am also working on a series that documents

Follow Natalie Hui on Instagram @chikatetsu_n Her work can be viewed at 25

book review

Family history Local author Ritu Hemnani has drawn on her own family history to conjure up a tale for children about Indian partition One day my daughter Nadia came home from school saying she had to answer a question - why do people migrate? So we talked about Hong Kong being a transitory place, and about refugees in Afghanistan, Syria and Somalia, and suddenly it hit me that our own family, just two and three generations ago, had been involved in one of the biggest mass migrations in world history - Indian partition. I realised it was something not only my own children should know about, but all children, as partition and the subsequent migration was a life-altering historical event.

It suddenly hit me that my own family had been involved in one of the biggest mass migrations in world history.

The story I have written is a true account of how my children came to learn about the partition of India and why the SindhiHindu community is scattered like diamonds across the world today. Most importantly, it establishes a connection of how how these events relate and should matter to them today. I don’t want to give too much away, but Gope and Meera, the two young friends in the book whose lives are tipped upside down by partition, are the actual names of my parents. I used their names to symbolize that, like them, my ancestors were just ordinary people who found themselves in extraordinary circumstances.

present-day Pakistan), that through no fault of our own, we had to leave behind.

Their strength and determination - in the face of heartbreaking circumstances enabled them to not only survive, but to thrive in various parts of the world today, whilst preserving our inherited values and culture. This, I believe, is something to celebrate and pass down to subsequent generations to help build a bridge for them, back to our homeland of Sindh (now in

I work as a private tutor, freelance voice actor and I’m a mum of three, so I only really have time to write after the kids have gone to bed. Writing is definitely a challenging discipline when you’re first starting to establish a framework for your story, but once you get going, you need the discipline to stop and go to bed! I tried to write or edit for at least an hour or two up


Author Ritu Hemnani launches her book this month

to four times a week. My research involved reading books, newspaper cuttings and previous interviews online and listening to stories from my own family and other senior members of my community. It took me six months to find an illustrator. Eventually I found the right ‘fit’ - someone who was able to understand my vision for the characters and setting. It was important that she would express more than what was written, through her expressions and images.

book review As a child I loved imaginative stories, like Charlotte’s Web, The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe and the Famous Five. They took me into worlds and cultures that I knew nothing about. I wanted to imagine what it was like to walk in the shoes of a person I’d never met. Favourite authors included Enid Blyton, Roald Dahl and Judy Blume. These days I soak up every word of Khaled Hosseini, Lois Lowry and long time favourite Jane Austen. I’m currently reading The Shadow of the Great Game: The Untold Story of India’s Partition by Narendra Sindh Sarila for my bookclub. I’m also enjoying When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi and A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman.

Gope and Meera - A Migration Story will be launched on August 19, 4-6.30pm at Parc Palais Function Room, Yau Ma Tei - all are welcome. The event will be attended by the co-founders of the Sindhi Association of Hong Kong and China and the Indian consul general. Indian Independence Day is held on August 15 and this year celebrates 70 years since partition.

Since finishing Gope and Meera I’ve been working on an historical fiction novel set in pre-partitioned Sindh. It goes much deeper into the history and personal impact of partition. It’s due to be completed next year.

Signed hardback copies are available from with free worldwide shipping. Books are also available from and Bookazine stores. Follow Hemnani on Facebook at

Out this month New for August

The Strange Case of the The Last Tudor Philippa Gregory (Touchstone) Alchemist’s Daughter

The Diplomat’s Daughter

Theodora Goss (Simon & Schuster)

Karin Tanabe (Simon & Schuster)

Penniless Mary Jekyll is curious to find out more about her father’s history - a clue hints that one of his former friends and also a murderer, Edward Hyde, might be nearby. With a reward on his head for his capture, Jekyll thinks this may solve some of her financial problems. Instead, she discovers Hyde’s daughter, a feral child being raised by nuns. With the help of Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson, Jekyll uncovers more women who have also been created through terrifying experimentation by a group of power-crazed scientists. Can these monsters triumph over the monstrous?

The latest historical novel from a bestselling author. This latest tome features Tudor Lady Jane Grey and her two sisters, each of whom dared defy her queen. In a political manoeuvre, Grey is crowned queen to prevent Mary Tudor acceding to the throne. Jane reigns for nine days before Mary Tudor’s army throws her in the Tower. “Learn to die” she writes to her sister Katherine. But young, pretty, vivacious Katherine is heir to the infertile Queen Mary. When her pregnancy betrays a secret liaison she too is imprisoned in the Tower. “Farewell, my sister,” she writes to the youngest of the Grey girls, Mary. Will Mary be the only sister to survive the paranoid Tudor court?

A story of three young people divided by the horrors of World War II and how they find each other again. Following the Pearl Harbor bombing of 1941, Emi Kato, daughter of a Japanese diplomat, is locked away in a Texas internment camp. There she meets Christian Lange, whose German parents were wrongfully arrested for ‘un-American activities’. They fall in love, but then Kato is sent back to Japan and Lange enlists in the US Army. Meanwhile, Kato’s first love, Jewish refugee Leo Hartmann, enters the scene, struggling to survive in a Jewish ghetto in Japaneseoccupied Shanghai. All three paths eventually collide.

The Bedlam Stacks Natasha Pulley (Bloomsbury)

It’s 1859 and Bedlam is a holy town that stands on the edge of a forest in Peru where a line on the ground separates the tiny settlement from the forest - anyone who crosses the line dies. But the forest is also home to cinchona trees, whose bark yields quinine, a cure for malaria. The deadly disease is rampant in India and the India Office orders ex-East India Company smuggler Merrick Tremayne to Bedlam to bring back cinchona cuttings at any cost. Surrounded by local stories of lost time and cursed woods. Tremayne must separate truth from fairytale and find out what befell the last expeditions. 27

book review

Dog days Popular children’s tale turns 40


ritish children’s favourite Dogger turns 40 this year, and to celebrate, publisher Penguin Random House has launched a special edition. For those who may have missed this much-loved childhood tale, Dogger tells the story of a little boy called Dave who loses his precious toy, Dogger, at a school fair. The well-cuddled, shabby toy is mistakenly picked up and placed on a stall and subsequently bought by a little girl. After a fraught exchange involving Dave’s big sister Bella who generously offers to give up the enormous teddy she has just won in the raffle, the little girl agrees to give back raggedy Dogger in exchange for the shiny new bear and all is resolved. Beautifully presented, Dogger is written and illustrated by Shirley Hughes, who was awarded the Kate Greenaway Medal in 1977 recognising the year’s best children’s book illustration. On the


medal’s 50th anniversary in 2007, Dogger was named the all-time ‘Greenaway of Greenaways’, following a public vote on a shortlist of ten previous winners. Interviewed in last month’s London Daily Telegraph, 90-year-old Hughes revealed that while Dogger is based on a real toy, he was never lost in real life. She drew on memories of her own son mislaying his favourite teddy and when, in a ‘moment’ as a child herself, she threw her koala out of the car window. “I was so appalled that I’d done it, I didn’t say anything. So by the time we went back, he couldn’t be found,” she said. Several decades later, Hughes is still working, at present putting together a book entitled Ruby In The Ruins, which draws on her own childhood memories of Second World War London. The 40th anniversary edition of Dogger is available in hardback, or in paperback with CD, from 29

Modern family

Many happy returns? Is it hugs and tearful reunions when expats make the annual pilgrimage home? Or is it a case of real life not meeting heady expectations? Carolynne Dear explores the reality behind the annual family get-together


remember my first year as an expat. I was pregnant, homesick and a long-haul flight from “home”. It was too hot, nowhere sold Marmite and I just wanted a nice slice of mum’s cherry cake and a decent cup of tea. I could almost feel her gently rubbing my back and cooing “there, there” as I lapped up the attention and another slice of cake on the sun-dappled back lawn of my childhood. Of course the eventual trip didn’t turn out quite how I expected. The reality was lots of argumentative car trips the length and breadth of Britain with my other half as we attempted to catch up with all and sundry. The baby wouldn’t sleep, I was exhausted, and my childhood bedroom was way too small for me, my husband and several overloaded suitcases. By week three, somewhere outside of Birmingham and trying to locate a university


Extended-family fun isn’t always straight forward

By day three, the grandparents are visibly beginning to flag

friend’s new country pile, we were tired, fractious, lost and had a screaming baby on the back seat. Arguing over the sat nav, we pulled out of a side-road and straight into an oncoming car. Fortunately nobody was injured. At that point I swore I would never come home again. The reality of a visit with a baby in tow was an awful long way from

gentle afternoon teas in sunny gardens. But of course, we did come back. Again and again. The pull of reuniting with family and old friends is hard to resist. But it turns out I’m not the only one for whom reality seems to be a long way from what I build up in my mind each year. “By about day three the grandparents are visibly beginning to flag,” Jane*, a mumof-two, admits. “We’re all so excited to see each other in the first day or so, but then the reality of keeping two children under-the-age of five entertained begins to set in. And of course we’re usually horribly jetlagged as well, which doesn’t help. I’ve learnt over the years to keep it short and sweet, a week at most with my mum, then we move on to a friend’s place for a few days, and then my inlaws. By the end of the trip we’re exhausted and to be honest, happy to be back in our

Modern family apartment in Pok Fu Lam.” Out of routine and with none of their usual friends around, children can be less than enthusiastic about touring unknown territory in the back of a car. Hiring a holiday house is a solution for some. “Renting a country cottage came out of us all literally growing out of my mumin-law’s place,” explains Catherine. “By the time number three was born we just couldn’t fit into her home anymore. So we rented somewhere nearby and asked people to come to us, with mixed results. It’s definitely more comfortable having somewhere for the kids to let off steam and not have to constantly be on their best behaviour, but not everyone has taken us up the offer of visiting.” Despite having made the 12,000 km, 12-hour flight from Repulse Bay to London, certain friends and family members have been reticent about hitting the road themselves. “The excuses have blindsided me,” Catherine admits. “Friends who claim their children are too small to travel to see us - and we’re talking no more than a couple of hundred kilometres - or who are apparently too busy and cannot possibly cancel their plans. I know, I shouldn’t expect them to disrupt their lives for us, but we have just flown halfway around the planet with three small children to try and connect with them!” “I’ve been planning this trip all year,” admits Emma, a mum-of-two from Clearwater Bay. “I’ve got spreadsheets coming out of my ears. My in-laws live in Devon, mum lives in Yorkshire, so I’ve gone for the middle ground and booked a cottage in North Oxfordshire (I’m an Oxford university graduate so also have friends in the area). But nobody is happy. My side of the family has claimed it’s too far, as have the in-laws, and despite me asking if they can visit at the beginning of July to allow me time to see friends with children breaking up from school at the end of July, apparently they can all only manage the week beginning July 23, the week we leave. The cottage is costing a fortune and to be honest I could have spent the money on a fabulous villa in Phuket for a month.” And it’s not just the Brits who have issues. One Mid-levels mum admits to strained relations with Sydney-based relatives. “We have a lovely holiday house on the south coast, about two hours from Sydney. But my mother-in-law insists we spend a few days in town first so she and her husband ‘don’t have to travel too far’. Sydney is extortionately expensive for accommodation in the summer so we have to stay at her place, squeezed into the spare room and on the couch in the

Family time is only possible if everyone makes an effort

lounge room. I hate it. So this year I’ve told her we’re going straight to the holiday house, no discussion - the ensuing conversations have been interesting to say the least.” Another long-term expat mum flew her

Our country cottage is costing a fortune. I could have spent the money on a villa in Phuket.

family of five from Sydney in order to christen her youngest amongst family and friends in England. “Everything was looking good - we’d made it, the boys were behaving, mum had done a great job with the cake - and then my sister-in-law called to say she couldn’t make it. Bearing in mind we’d asked her to be godmother, this was pretty cataclysmic news. She said my niece had a ballet exam she couldn’t skip. We later found out there had been no exam, so we could only conclude she just didn’t want to drive the couple of hours from Oxfordshire to London. I’ve never said anything, we just “sucked it up” as you say, christened the baby and moved on - all the way back to Sydney.” So why is it people often don’t seem to meet our expectations? What is acceptable when it comes to making plans to meet up? Jo was an expat for fifteen years, first in Singapore, then Kuala Lumpur and finally Hong Kong. She now lives as a “non-expat”

back home in Sydney, Australia. “We’ve been through it all,” she admits. “We ended up shedding a whole lot of friends who just weren’t prepared to make the effort. But as a “normal” resident living at home now, I do understand. I think there can be a certain amount of jealousy - after all, you’re leading an exciting new life while things at home might not have been so stimulating. And perhaps people are genuinely busy. School holidays don’t always coincide with visits and non-expat schools frown on unwarranted absences. ‘Oh, we’re meeting Auntie Lou who’s just flown in from Hong Kong,’ doesn’t really cut it in suburban Sydney public schools. “I also think the cushioned lifestyle leaves expats with a bit more energy for life - in my experience, housework, the endless drudgery of washing and ironing, not to mention taxiing the kids all over town for sports practice, does kind of take it out of you. Sometimes it’s difficult to get excited just because a friend’s popped over on a jetplane, especially when you’ve got to be up at six the next morning for Year 7 soccer practice and work.” “We love seeing you,” admits my own sister. “Having all the cousins together is so special. But we do have our own lives, we can’t just drop everything. No matter how much we want to spend time with you, compromise has to be the order of the day. And I know it sounds harsh and I totally don’t mean it to, but at the end of the day you were the ones who chose to live 12,000km away.” Wise words, and words I hope to remember as the excitement mounts again this time next year. *Names have been changed to ensure harmonious future family gatherings. 31


Brilliant beaches Our pick of the best sandy spots in the territory

New Territories Hoi Ha

Trio Beach

Long Ke

Catch the number six green minibus from Sai Kung (or a green cab) and transport yourself to the serenity of Sai Kung Country Park. Hoi Ha is part of a protected marine park and as such is a favourite with snorkellers. Wouter van Marle of Countryside Adventure Tours has been leading snorkelling adventure trips to the area for a number of years. “There are no coral reefs in Hong Kong,” he explains. “The geology of the area is just not right for reefs to build. The corals grow on rocky sea floors, generally in shallower waters (up to ten metres), as Hong Kong’s waters are not clear enough for sunlight to penetrate any deeper, and corals need light. This means that snorkelling is a great way to see the corals - there is no need for scuba to get up close to them.” Book a tour at

A favourite with locals, Trio is accessed by sampan or a three kilometre, gently undulating walk through bushland (partly paved) from Hong Kong Yacht Club. Once on the beach, enjoy the gently lapping waters, a protected and life-guarded swimming area, snacks from the small kiosk as well as BBQ pits (bags of charcoal are available from the kiosk). There is also a shaded children’s play area away from the sand. Too hot to hide? Sampans run regularly from Pak Sha Wan pier and cost $10/head. Dogs are also permitted on board, although not on the beach.

No self-respecting Hong Kong beach roundup would be complete without a nod to the infamous Sai Wan stretch of beaches in the New Territories. Long Ke is actually the bay before Sai Wan and despite the sailing time from Sai Kung (around one hour), it does get busy in August and on weekends. But it’s totally worth the journey - think clear, turquoise waters and icing sugar sand. To add to the other-worldly bliss, if you wait until sunset, you may glimpse the wild cows amble their way down from the mountains for a twilight stroll. If you’re anchoring, the bay is shallow, all the more so on an ebbtide - worth bearing in mind if you have mini adventurers dive bombing the waters from the tops of boats. For non-junkers, access Long Ke by speed-boat from Sai Kung pier, by foot (it’s on stage 2 of the Maclehose trail), or catch a green cab from Sai Kung and walk down to the beach.


Photo by Graham Uden



The glorious beaches of Sai Wan bay in Sai Kung Country Park

Feel the serenity on this tiny beach hidden away on the southern side of Lamma. Not to be confused with the equally lovely Turtle Cove Beach on Redhill Peninsula, Turtle Beach is closed for half the year so the turtles have a chance to nest (yes, the clue really is in the name). To access the beach, it’s an adventurous, off-road bushwalk away from the main drag, but it’s also possible to swim in from a junk. The bay is a lovely, unspoilt location for a day on the water. If you’re walking, take a ferry from Aberdeen to Mo Tat Wan, climb up the steps behind the restaurant and away from the signs pointing to Sok Kwu Wan, and follow the coat round past Tung O and a couple of other bays.

Photo by Clementrossignol via Wikimedia Commons

Turtle Beach

This beach offers easier access if you’re determined on a trip to Lamma but have smaller children in tow. Hung Shing Yeh can be accessed by signposted, paved pathways from the ferry stop at Yung Shue Wan (catch a ferry from Central). It has a netted swimming area, a life-guarded beach, changing rooms, showers and small shops and kiosks selling beach paraphernalia (a godsend if you’ve mislaid small people’s swimmers or towels), drinks and snacks. The Palm Tree Beachside Cafe, part of the Concerto Inn, does a tasty line in easy, holiday favourites, a good option from which to kick back with a beer while you oversee the kids splashing around down on the sands.

Photo by Exploringlife via Wikimedia Commons

Hung Shing Yeh 33

Photo by Graham Uden


Hong Kong Island A delight for young families (apart from the steep set of steps from the road to the beach come prepared for a good workout), this beach has it all - a fun, tree-shaded playground, including ping pong tables, BBQ pits, a cute kiosk serving life’s essentials (water, snacks, inflatables), and a life-guarded bay for easy swimming. As with all Island beaches, it gets busy on weekends, but can be remarkably quiet on weekdays. Catch a taxi from nearby Stanley and access the sands from the very end of Chung Hom Kok Road. The beach is west-facing, so as with St Stephen’s (below), sunset watching opportunities abound.

St Stephen’s Less manic than Stanley Main Beach, St Stephen’s is a ten minute drive on from Stanley and occupies a tranquil west-facing corner of the peninsula. As well as lying on the sand and admiring the sunset (not to mention Lamma Island and Ocean Park’s Hair Raiser, which can also be glimpsed on the horizon), there is a government-run water-sports centre from which kayaks and windsurf boards can be procured (if you have the relevant licences). 34

Photo by 圍棋一級 via Wikimedia Commons

Chung Hom Kok 35


School news

Heads down for a perfect score After months of hard work, 25 Hong Kong students have received perfect scores in this year’s International Baccalaureate (IB) examinations. Of the 159,400 students worldwide who took the exams, only 218 achieved the maximum 45 points. Fifteen of the 25 students came from English Schools Foundation (ESF) international schools, six were from St Paul’s Co-Educational College, and there was one student each from German Swiss International School, Canadian International School, Diocesan Boys’ School and Po Leung Kuk Choi Kai Yau School. The IB diploma, recognised by universities across the world, requires students to undertake six academic subjects, a 4,000-word research paper and other projects, including community service and sporting activities. The Canadian International School extended its congratulations to its Class of 2017 as this year’s cohort of 133 students surpassed the IB Diploma worldwide average, achieving the school’s highest ever results with a pass rate (24 points or more) of 97%. Nicole Hon was CDNIS’ ‘perfect scorer’, achieving a score of seven in all six major subjects in addition to securing an A grade in both the Extended Essay and Theory of Knowledge. Hon, who hopes to study medicine at either the University of Hong Kong or the University of Toronto next year, said the Diploma had “challenged me beyond my abilities”.

ESF students who achieved the maximum 45 points in what is ESF’s 50th celebration year

Meanwhile, ESF saw 15 students achieve scores of 45 - eight from Sha Tin College, four from King George V School, two from West Island School and one from South Island School. The overall ESF pass rate was 98% and the average points score was 35.8. “The performance of ESF schools is exceptional,” commented ESF chief executive officer Belinda Greer. Meanwhile French International School (FIS) students Raphael Breitburd and Ianis

Tamoud achieved perfect scores in the French Baccalaureate, with 100% of FIS students achieving a pass. Forty six per cent of students received the highest honours (mention tres bien). “Congratulations to all our students for these excellent results,” said headmaster Christian Soulard. “I am very proud of their achievements in my final year as headmaster here.” British A-level and IGCSE results are due to be released later this month.

Comic genius The winners of this year’s English Schools Foundation (ESF) Language & Learning Spanish Comic Competition have been announced. From over 300 submissions, Shraavasti Bhat of King George V School won the under 16 category for Most Creative Award, while Bonnie Tsui of Island School came first overall. In the under 12s, Alessio Boni of Discovery College took the Most Creative title, and Marcus Wong of Chinese International School was awarded first prize.


The event was launched in March and entries flooded in from ESF schools, ESF after-school programmes, international schools, local schools and homeschoolers. The comics were judged jointly by the Consulate of Spain, Consulate of Peru, the University of Hong Kong and the Chinese University of Hong Kong. The judges said they were “delighted” to see local and international students loving and embracing Spanish language and culture.

Bonnie Tsui of ESF Island School is presented with her first place certificate in the Spanish Comic Competition


Sneak peek at Shrewsbury International School Shrewsbury International School has conducted its first school site tour, inviting a media group to view how the building work is progressing. The school is on track to open its doors in September 2018 and anyone living around the LOHAS Park area will have undoubtedly seen the school’s campus begin to take shape. Four floors have been erected and key features are now identifiable, including the indoor running track and the sports hall that sits underneath it. A canny choice of venue, the campus enjoys unobstructed views over LOHAS Park and is situated amongst the beautiful emerald mountains that back onto Clearwater Bay. “We’re right next to some great hiking trails which we can take the older kids on,” said founding principal Ben Keeling, who knows the area well. Not forgetting the younger children, Keeling highlighted the nearby Tseung


Getting the lowdown

Kwan O South Waterfront Promenade which would make ideal fresh air territory for littler legs. The primary school is scheduled to open in September 2018 and applications are open for children aged from three to 11. For the academic year of 2018-2019, the tuition fees are expected to be $137,000 for Nursery, $147,000 for Reception and $169,000 for Year 1 and above. Each application requires a non-refundable fee of $2,800.For more information visit

Primary students enjoyed a fun introduction to the physics of golf at a STEM+A Programme hosted by Hong Kong Golf & Tennis Academy in Sai Kung. Over 120 students from surrounding schools were invited to participate in the programme. It featured four levels of courses to suit each age range, each using interactive activities to explore the correlation between STEM and sport, and to test theories with the objective of improving the students’ sporting performance. Activities included exploring the relationship between the strike position of the ball and its subsequent flight path and understanding the importance of energy transfer. Students were then given materials to design a model to test their theories. The session was concluded with a debriefing. For more information about the Academy, contact 37


Summer of love

Student mental health has become a hot issue in recent months. Rebecca Simpson finds out how Hong Kong’s schools have been balancing the stress of learning


appy students are successful students. But this is more than a glib, throwaway soundbite - there’s research to back-up the statement. According to a study conducted by researchers at Research Schools International (part of Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education), St. Andrew’s Episcopal School and The Center for Transformative Teaching & Learning (both in the US), there is a significant correlation between happiness and academic success. To want your children to be happy is a universal parenting trait, but for many Hong Kong parents, this yearning is at odds with their drive to see their children succeed in our competitive academic environment. It’s a bittersweet and very sober reality for many parents. In recent times, there’s been much discussion among Hong Kong educators about better supporting Hong Kong students’ wellbeing. 38

Student wellness and mental health is a priority for ESF Discovery Bay College principal Mark Beach

The 2016-2017 school year was marred by the stories of Hong Kong students’ mental health challenges. There’s been a collective cry from parents for more support. For some of our city’s leading schools, wellness and students’ mental health is already a priority. Academically high achieving schools like German Swiss International School, ESF Discovery College, Canadian International School and Victoria Shanghai Academy have already established formal programmes and full time resources to help support students through the stresses of modern student life. For most school students, the stresses of student life peak in the final years of school, these are also the years where curriculums like the IB programme tend to drop compulsory sports classes. It’s an untimely pairing, because being active is one way many students find respite from stress. Becoming inactive can be dangerous for young bodies and minds. To

combat this issue, Discovery College (DC) devised a dedicated wellness centre for their IB Diploma students (Years 12 and 13). The DC wellness centre was ideated and implemented by the school’s first graduating IB Diploma class. And what a legacy they’ve left for the students who’ve followed in their foot-steps. The school’s wellness centre is a dedicated space, accessible only to senior students, offering a wide selection of workout options and it’s manned by a full-time wellness coordinator. Terri Chrisman, is a professional personal trainer with a qualification in human nutrition and she guides each student through a personalised training regime. Chrisman has been the wellness coordinator at Discovery College since 2013, and she has a huge enthusiasm for both wellness and the DC students she works with day in and day out. She was instrumental in the current set up of DC wellness centre, explaining that an


German Swiss International School principal Annette Brandt-Dammann leads an art class

accessible space was key. “I didn’t want any student to feel like it was scary. If you’ve never been in a gym before it can be overwhelming. I wanted to allow students of any ability to experience the centre,” she said. “The aim is to empower students and that was Mark’s (Mark Beach, Principal of Discovery College) vision – it doesn’t matter what the students do, as long as they come in and exercise.” The centre is open from 7am in the morning and offers an array of exercise options that include TRX, Yoga, weights, cardio boxing, HIIT, metabolic training and even aqua aerobics. The initiative aims to help students stay active while they’re at school and provides great benefits for students, “On a day-to-day basis, exercise gives you endorphins, it makes you happy, it clears your mind, it refreshes your body so you can go back and readdress a challenge,” says Chrisman. “If students are

On a day-to-day basis, exercise gives you endorphins, it makes you happy, it clears your mind, it refreshes your body so you can go back and readdress a challenge. doing an essay and have writer’s block, they can take a break and exercise, then come back to that task when they’ve reset their cognition and are fresh.”

The centre also plays an important longterm role for DC students, setting them up with the knowledge and confidence to self-motivate their own health regime. This is an integral part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle once at University and well into their adult lives. While the senior years definitely pose a challenge to many students, wellness isn’t just about senior students. School can be stressful from the very first day. The education system affords a huge opportunity to teach our littlest students about their minds, moods and managing their mental health. One school with a structured focus on wellness in the Primary years is Victoria Shanghai Academy (VSA). VSA is a school where students excel academically, and many may be surprised to know it’s also a school where Primary 4 students start the day with a guided, mindful breathing exercise. These types of initiatives are the brain-child of principal Ross Dawson who has recently 39

schools returned to VSA from a sabbatical in Australia furthering his expertise in psychology and the science of the mind. “I’ve been gone for two years, studying coaching psychology so I’ve been able to come back with a lot of insight,” he said. Dawson is committed to equipping his primary students with the skills to understand their own emotions, to learn empathy for others and to express themselves in a way that gets them heard and lets them source the emotional help they require. The school has been exploring the latest educational research in order to develop practices that help students become resilient, focused learners who can handle their emotions and communicate well with others. Dawson explains the school is focused on ensuring students are happy, healthy and accomplished. According to VSA’s head of academy, Dr Judith Guy, “if you don’t get the first two right, you’re not going to get the last.” “Even though we have high standards, we recognise cognitive overload,” said Dawson. At the German Swiss International School (GSIS), students and teachers have recently participated in the school’s first Mental Health Awareness Week. “The aim of this week was to break down some of the taboos that surround mental health and encourage students, parents and teachers to be open about the topic,” commented Mary Peart, head of English Secondary at GSIS. During the week, the school hosted a visiting speaker, Dr Anisha Abraham, a renowned paediatrician specializing in the care of teenagers. Dr Anisha Abraham led a series of workshops with students on issues such as stress management, healthy living and preparing for university, as well as holding parent seminars on Raising Teens to be Happy, Healthy and Confident Adults. GSIS teachers were also involved in the school’s Mental Health Awareness Week, offering students’ special sessions that introduced them to various strategies for stress release and relaxation. Teachers hosted a variety of activities such as colouring, meditation, yoga and even a chill-out lounge. “Feedback from the week has been very positive and whilst the Mental Health Awareness Week will now be a fixture in our annual calendar, we also plan to develop the initiative further throughout the year,” said Peart. The school has also developed a pastoral care programme to cover stress prevention topics for all year groups in an ageappropriate manner. “Wellbeing is taught both as a discrete learning area from Year 1-6 and also as an integrated topic within the general studies 40

GSIS staff were involved in the school’s Mental Health Awareness Week

programme. Our transition programme from year 6 to secondary also deals with such issues as stress, academic pressure, peer pressure, change and adolescence,” explained head of English Primary, Jon Keelty. At the Canadian International School (CDNIS), students right across the spectrum of the school are being engaged in activities and programmes that help support their emotional development and maintain their mental health. In pre-reception to grade six, students are being helped to focus, calm down and deal with stress and anxiety using Mindup and Mindfulness resources such as art therapy. “Using colours and Mandalas we are teaching students to regulate their breathing and calm down, this is a very powerful way to release stress and build emotional and mental wellbeing,” said lower school guidance counsellor Shelly Chutke. While “resilience” has become an overused term in recent years, most teaching professionals agree that the ability to bounce back from adversity is an important skill

for young people to master. Primary aged students at CDNIS are being guided to develop such life skills, learning to cope with anxiety and emotional issues through the school’s My Friends For Life programme. This is a programme devised schools to help students build emotional resilience and to learn techniques to cope with stress, anxiety, depression and build self confidence and self worth. While all of these programmes are unique and powerful in their own right, they all share one commonality – the inclusion of parents. Parents play an instrumental role in the happiness of their child, and so schools are opening their doors to share these new initiatives with interested parents. As momentum gathers, we seem to have started to move in the right direction, where a child’s happiness is at the centre of education. And at this point, Hong Kong parents may finally be able to exhale and give a little smile. 41

life & style

Wall Art

When faced with a bare wall, French painter and visual artist Elsa Jean de Dieu doesn’t draw a blank. Instead, her stunning, hand-painted masterpieces are putting Hong Kong on the mural map, writes Adele Brunner How long have you been an artist? I come from a family of artists – my grandfather and great-grandfather were both painters – and I started creating art before I went to school. I studied art and interior design in Paris, and then went to the Atelier Tourtoulou. There, I learnt how to become a specialist painter in the traditional way by studying and perfecting special mural art techniques such as how to achieve trompe l’oeil effects. When did you set up your company? After moving to Hong Kong in 2008, I worked first with a local company and then with an interior designer friend of mine. I subsequently struck out on my own and set up my wall design company Elsa Jeandedieu Studio in 2015. I’ve worked mostly with corporate clients – such as Chanel, Pure Yoga, Pure Fitness and Tate Dining Room - but I think the demand for residential murals is growing. Why do you think that is? Hong Kong’s style and design tastes are changing and people are looking for something unique. Nine years ago, Sheung Wan, Kennedy Town and Sai Ying Pun were totally different to the way they are today – they are really cool areas now – and the same goes for art. One of the problems here, however, is that many people don’t own their apartment or house and they move around a lot. I can produce something on canvas, which I do in my workshop, but I prefer working directly on a wall. It’s more fun. How do you feel when faced with a blank wall? Super excited! I love that I can start with nothing and in a few hours create a story. It is a magical feeling and always gives a room great character and energy. However, once I start work, I don’t stop until I get it looking just right. This can often be stressful because I sometimes get stuck in the 42

life & style

Exquisitely painted animal murals transform a child’s bedroom

creative process and can’t work out what a painting needs to look perfect. And then it will suddenly come to me in a second. That’s what makes my job so interesting.

on site I draw and paint directly onto a blank wall. It is an intense process and usually takes from two to six hours for a children’s illustration, for example.

What is your signature style? I don’t have any particular style – I follow the client’s brief and enjoy giving them the freedom to choose whatever they want. Although the subject matter isn’t always my idea, I’m usually able to create what I like in terms of colour and composition. Some clients have very strong ideas but if they don’t, I will suggest different concepts in a presentation, go through their likes and dislikes and get to know them. I always manage to find a solution and can translate someone’s thoughts and ideas into a wall design. In that respect, I suppose I would describe myself both as a bit of a chameleon and a psychologist.

You create children’s murals? This is a new side to my business, partly because I want to do more residential projects but I also want to make the public aware that murals are fun and affordable. I’ve got a portfolio of animal illustrations that clients can choose from and customise with colour, letters, names and quotes or I can come up with a totally new design. People often think murals have to be huge but they can be any size and still look great in a room. My main aim is to make children and their parents smile whenever they look at my creations.

What does the process entail? I prepare a drawing on paper first but once

What kind of paint do you use? I use non-toxic acrylic paints. Kids can sleep in the room on the same day that I’ve painted the mural.

What are your most popular animals? So far, I haven’t done the same thing twice! How much does a children’s mural illustration cost? They start at HK$2,000 for a mini hand-painted animal [approximate size 15cm x 20cm] and one quote, including a consultation and design work. They make really special birthday, baby shower or christening gifts. What’s your favourite colour? I don’t really have a favourite. All colours are beautiful and it is the combination of different colours that I love the most. If I had to choose one, it would probably be green. I am a trail runner and get my inspiration from being outdoors in nature. For further information or to book a consultation, visit 43

things we’d to buy

Kids’ Happy Jackson Lunchbox $150 from J.Crew Various locations including IFC, Central, 2628 5611,

Pressure Free School Bag $449 from Dr. Kong Tseung Kwan O Plaza, No. 1 Tong Tak Street, Tseung Kwan O, 2207 4262,

Varsity laptop bag $289 from Cotton On 34-36 Granville Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, 2367 2190,

School days Send them back in style, says Trisha Harjani

Nike Lunarepic Low Flyknit 2 $1,299 from Nike Stores across Hong Kong, 8212 2122,

Kindle E-Reader $999 from EmotionTech, $999 from EmotionTech, 3427 3627

KEY Cable $250 from Native Union Nam Wo Hong Building, 148 Wing Lok Street, Sheung Wan, 2522 0803,

12 Colours Gel Ink Pen Set $95 from MUJI Stores across Hong Kong including IFC and PMQ, 3971 3120,


Sweet Collection 2-Pack Notebooks HK$110 from kikki.K Stores across Hong Kong including Prince’s Building, Central, 2116 0870

things we’d to buy

Black napa Leather School Shoes $450 from Simply Shoes Remex Centre, No. 42 Wong Chuk Hang Road, Wong Chuk Hang, Travel Umbrella $375 from Shopbop Urban Outfitters Mint Daily Journal $160 from OHH DEER

Heartcombe pencil case $180 from Jack Wills Stores across Hong Kong including Harbour City (3101 9776) and Leighton Centre Causeway Bay (3105 1798),

Philips Earphones $195 from HMV Stores across Hong Kong, 2739 0268

Herschel Supply Co. backpack $782 from Herschel Woaw Store, 11 Gough Street, Sheung Wan, 2253 1313,

Hardshell Mac Case $398 from Apple Store Stores across Hong Kong including IFC,

Samsung 128GB USB flash drive $365 from Amazon MACKERI clock with noticeboard $229.90 from IKEA Stores across Hong Kong including Causeway Bay, 3125 0888,

Unisex training bag $499 from Adidas Stores across Hong Kong, 2456 5531,

Crocbite Pocket Puncher $68 from Homeless Stores across Hong Kong including 29 Gough Street, Central, 2581 1880, 45

big day out

Cool runnings

Hong Kong summer holidays are a hot trot. Kate Farr rounds up a heap of activities to keep kids busy - and chilled - until the school bell rings again

Go big or go home If bigger means better in your household, then look no further than Discovery Bay’s Epicland. At 14,000 square feet, Hong Kong’s largest play centre is fully trickedout with fantastic facilities to match its huge space. Daredevils can test their nerves on the sky-high Air Trek obstacle course, while down below you’ll find a mini golf course, trampolines, laser tag, foam ballistics room, climbing wall, vast playground, dedicated toddler area… the list goes on. There’s a snack bar for quick bites. You can also take advantage of DB’s family-friendly restaurants and make a day of it. Open daily from 9.30am to 7.30pm. Admission costs $148 per child on weekdays and $188 per child at weekends (admission includes one adult per child); ages 13 and over cost $168 46

on weekdays and $200 at weekends. G/F, 31 North Plaza, 96 Siena Avenue, Discovery Bay; 2441 0098

Water world Brand new for Summer 2017 is Aqua Float, a vast inflatable adventure playground bobbing atop Lake Egret Nature Park in Tai Po. With 43 individual obstacles to tackle, you can set adrift on floating icebergs, scale improbably bouncy steps then zoom down a 6m-long sheer water slide, test your balance on speedy slip-and-slide runways and catch some air on the park’s aquatic trampolines. Open seven days a week, Aqua Float is just one of the facilities at Core HK’s sprawling site. If you’re especially energetic, you can also try out wakeboarding and water-biking

(yes, it’s a thing!). Feeling peckish after all that wet-and-wild activity? Pack a cool box and make the most of the on-site barbecue pit where you can grill your dinner and dry off a bit. Open daily from 10am to 8pm, Core HK, 2 Hung Lam Drive, Tai Po Kau, Tai Po, New Territories, 2465 3468, Aqua Float admission costs $108 per hour if pre-booked, or $138 per hour on the day. There is a free shuttle bus provided from Tai Po Market MTR Station.

What goes up… If your idea of a family day out involves hauling yourselves up sheer rock face then you’re in luck! Based in Quarry Bay (in the same building as Ryze trampoline park), Verm City is a brand new climbing gym that’s suitable for the entire family. Adults

big day out and older kids can tackle tougher top-roping and bouldering, while on Mondays and Fridays, Verm offers free sessions on Asia’s first augmented climbing wall – a completely unique projector-based rock climbing game. Meanwhile Verm’s Clip-n-Climb Park is suitable for kids aged four and above, with 19 different climbing challenges, games and puzzles to tackle. Do note that you’ll need to ditch the flip-flops, as socks and sneakers are compulsory for all climbers. Open Monday to Friday from 11am to 11pm; Weekends from 9am to 9pm. Clip-n-Climb Park costs $180 per hour with regular packages available. Bouldering wall costs $180 per day with membership packages available. 4/F, Kodak House, 321 Java Street, Quarry Bay, 2560 8128,

Playroom costs $100 for the first child and $60 per subsequent sibling. 1/F Kar Yau Building, 36-44 Queen’s Road East, Wan Chai; 2321 5898

fine print and happy jumping! Ryze is open daily from 9am to 9pm; Bounce is open weekdays from 11am to 9pm and weekends from 10am to 9pm. Ryze costs $95 per hour for under-sixes and $150 per hour for age six and over. Bounce costs $98 per hour for kids over three, but under 110cm tall, and $140 per hour for anyone over 110cm tall. For maps and directions, visit:

In the zone

From little acorns… One for the younger siblings, Baumhaus has two learning centres with attached play areas that are perfect for tiny tots. Sign up for music and drama classes, or simply drop in for a play – both the Wan Chai and Tsim Sha Tsui branches feature large birch wood “tree houses” surrounded by plenty of soft play space and wooden toys to explore. Mums and dads will appreciate the on-site coffee shops, offering a range of healthy snacks and drinks guaranteed to keep everyone happy. Open daily. Wan Chai branch between 9am and 6pm, Tsim Sha Tsui branch between 10am and 7pm.

Jump around If you’d rather no more monkeys jumping on the bed, then pack them off to one of two trampoline parks to expend their energy! Hong Kong’s original trampoline park, Ryze’s fun soft obstacle course and slackline challenge makes this a great Island-side option, while Bounce’s offers Kowloonsiders an airbag crash-pad and extra-long tumble track, to name but a couple of its many attractions. Both parks require you to sign a waiver before entering and have strict safety rules in operation, so read the

A classic crowd-pleaser that’s a sure-fire hit with the toddler-to-tween demographic, Funzone’s three convenient locations (Kennedy Town, Ma On Shan and North Point) mean that you’re never too far away from an air-conditioned soft play when the need arises. All three branches are spacious, with ample space for cooped-up kids to run, jump, clamber and slide to their hearts’ content. You’ll also find dedicated toddler zones, on-site cafés for convenient refuelling stops… and unlimited free Wi-Fi for ever-patient parents. Opening hours and admission fees vary by location. For more information visit 47

big day out Get lost Great for tweens and teens, Causeway Bay’s LOST is hard to beat. An escape room game designed to be completed as a team, this is a physical and mental workout that’s great for the whole family, although under12s will need to be supervised by an adult. Find hidden clues, solve complex puzzles and complete a variety of challenges to escape the locked rooms, which are graded by difficulty and theme. Each challenge lasts between 45-90 minutes and can accommodate teams of up to 10, making this a fun birthday party activity. Open weekdays from 1pm to 11pm and weekends from 11am to 11pm. Pricing varies per room selected. 15 Matheson Street, Causeway Bay; 2892 2393

In the house Another multi-branch (North Point, Yau Tong and San Po Kong) indoor option that’s great for rainy or simply sweltering days, Playhouse has the classic soft play format down to a T. Think slides, ball pits, obstacle courses and climbing frames, alongside other less commonplace amenities like electric driving circuits and library corners. All branches can be booked out for parties, and their San Po Kong branch also features a café. Opening times, facilities and fees vary by branch. For more information visit:

Ice, ice baby For something a little bit cooler, head to Megabox and the aptly-named Mega Ice Rink, Hong Kong’s largest. Situated in the mall’s atrium, Mega Ice is the city’s


only international-sized rink and, as such, regularly hosts major hockey, figure skating and speed skating tournaments, which are open to spectators. For those of us who are less steady on our skates, a more sedate experience is on offer through general admission. Sessions allow for a maximum of either three or four hours skate time, and your admission fee includes skate hire. Bring your Octopus card to use a locker and pay attention to announcements, as the rink is regularly resurfaced throughout the day. Open weekdays from 10am to 10pm; weekends from 10am to 12am. Admission costs from $70-$80 per person, depending on time slot. Unit 1, Level 10, MegaBox, 38 Wang Chiu Road, Kowloon Bay; 2709 4023

Hit the slopes The world’s largest revolving carpet ski and snowboard slope, Slope Infinity uses real ski boots, poles and bindings to replicate an authentic on-piste experience without a trip to the airport. Suitable for the entire family, this is a class activity rather than a drop-in play session, but if you’re planning a snow break this winter, this offers the ideal environment for fully-supervised training, building confidence and honing skills. Opening times and fees vary according to training options required. 1/F, 148 Electric Road, Fortress Hill; 2107 4567 49


Singapore fling Kate Farr puts the “roar� into a family break in the Lion City 50



lthough beach holidays are always a big hit with kids, every now and then it’s nice to explore a city with the family in tow, and a recent trip with friends found us in Singapore. Our rationale for choosing this destination was simple – the Little Red Dot is one of the most child-friendly cities I’ve ever visited, but also has plenty to keep adults entertained, making this an easy escape with a family focus.

A huge - and free water play area was the highlight of the visit.

Arriving at Changi – which, with its multiple play areas, butterfly park and rooftop pool, sets the kid-friendly tone of the entire city – we hopped in a taxi to our home for the duration of the trip. We were lucky enough to be staying at The Hideaways Club’s beautiful Singapore apartment, situated right in the heart of the city at Robertson Quay. The three-bedroomed apartment was fully kitted out for visiting families, including Lego, storybooks and, just for the mums, a nicely chilled bottle of champagne on arrival. Tearing the kids away from the huge on-site pool and kids playground was a challenge,

but soon enough our stomachs were rumbling and so it was time to grab dinner nearby. Just a short stroll from our accommodation, Robertson Quay is packed full of great dining options for those travelling as a family. That evening, we opted to hit up Super Loco, a buzzy Mexican restaurant situated right on the quayside. The kids absolutely loved their quesadillas, while the parents lingered over a few wellearned frozen margaritas to celebrate a day well done. The next morning we decided on a full day of adventuring, and so needed a good breakfast to fuel our exploration. Having stayed in the Robertson Quay area previously, we already know and love Kith Café, with its great coffee, brightly coloured toy animals and outdoor play area, making it a great spot to linger over your bagel while the kids make new friends. Refuelled and ready to go, we decided to begin at Gardens By The Bay, Singapore’s 101-hectare city centre nature park. Hitting the park early, we wandered along, taking in the Flower Dome and the spectacular Supertree Grove. These vast vertical gardens are amazing enough by day, but you should ideally try to catch them at night for a fabulous free light and sound show – returning the following evening we were treated to a medley of sci-fi theme tunes, which were right up our kids’ street! However, our daytime wandering brought us to what we all agreed was the highlight of the visit – The Far East Organization Children’s Garden. This huge water play

Kate Farr and son Alex soak up the sights 51

travel choose to walk the safari park, however as little legs were tiring, we took the Tram Safari, allowing us to hop on and off at key stages, while also learning more about the incredible wildlife – including tigers, leopards, hyenas and lions – courtesy of our expert guide. The park is open from 7.30pm to midnight every day, and if your kids are up for a late night, I’d highly recommend this. The next morning, we headed back to Changi tired but happy after our whistle-stop visit and already planning our next visit to this most family-friendly of Asian cities.

Stay The Hideaways Club at Robertson Quay

area is packed with fountains, sprinklers and water cannons, and was the perfect spot to cool off from Singapore’s seemingly relentless heat. There are clean changing facilities, ample seating for parents, and a nearby café for snacks and drinks, making for the perfect half-day’s entertainment for kids with energy to spare. Best of all, the water play is completely free of charge, so definitely pack a change of clothes and take your time. But with bellies rumbling once again, it was time to drag our reluctant kids away and head for lunch. Just a short walk from the Children’s Garden is Satay By The Bay, a nearby open-air hawker centre selling authentic Malay, Indian and Chinese food. Our mixed satay sticks went down well – so much so that we had to order a second portion, and the kids were absolutely fascinated watching their lunch being cooked over an open charcoal grill.Stuffed with satay, we walked off lunch with a leisurely stroll out of the Gardens and over the Helix Bridge – a very cool structure

modelled on DNA strands – and on to the Singapore Flyer. This 165m-tall observation wheel is one of the best ways to view the city, and thankfully by this point, well airconditioned too! A full rotation takes around 30 minutes and gives you spectacular views (and plenty of selfie opportunities!) as far as Singapore’s neighbours, Malaysia and Indonesia. After all that high-flying, we decided to stay on-theme and head back over the bridge to the Marina Bay Sands shopping complex, and the DC Comics Superheroes Café. Menus here are comic-themed, and you’ll eat surrounded by memorabilia and life-size models of Superman, Wonder Woman and Batman, amongst others, which was obviously of great excitement to my superhero-obsessed boy. Top tip – try the rainbow cake for a guaranteed “wow” from even the hardest-to-impress tween. That evening, we took a taxi out to the Night Safari – one of Singapore’s most famous family attractions. The world’s first nocturnal zoo enables you to get up close and personal with a vast array of animals in enclosures that have been carefully designed to replicate their natural habitats. You can

The Hideaways Club Various locations worldwide.

Eat Kith Café 7 Rodyk Street, Robertson Quay, Singapore 238215. Tel: +65 6341 9407 E:, Super Loco The Quayside, 60 Robertson Quay, Singapore 238252. Tel: +65 6235 8900 E:, Satay By The Bay 18 Marina Gardens Drive, Singapore 018953. Tel: +65 6538 9956 DC Comics Superheroes Cafe Level 1, The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands, 2 Bayfront Avenue, Singapore 018972. Tel: +65 6688 7610 E:

See and Do Gardens By The Bay 18 Marina Gardens Drive, Singapore 018953. Tel: +65 6420 6848 E: Singapore Flyer 30 Raffles Avenue, Singapore 039803. Tel: +65 6333 3311

The DC Comics Superheroes Cafe was a big hit


Singapore Night Safari 80 Mandai Lake Road, Singapore 729826. Tel: +65 6269 3411 E:,


To advertise, email or call 2776 2772.

marketplace 53



To advertise, email or call 2776 2772.


To advertise, email or call 2776 2772.

GET LISTED! 2776 2772 55

flailing spouse

Location, location Palm-fringed beaches aren’t all they’re cracked up to be, discovers our mum


ummer is particularly lovely for catching up with relatives. And we don’t see ours often enough at all. We’ve been away from “home” for 17 years now, which is a huge chunk of time and quite overwhelms me every time I think about it. Seventeen years of living in and discovering parts of the globe I never dreamt I would set foot in back when I was a teen. So it was entirely lovely to welcome my sister to Hong Kong this summer with her brood. Unlike me, she never developed much of a wanderlust and is perfectly happy living in a pretty house deep in the English countryside with her three gorgeous children. It was heart-warming to witness my own brood enthusiastically showing off their Asian home to their country cousins and generally getting along very nicely. Conversations have been interesting, to say the least. I was particularly intrigued to accidentally eavesdrop on Cousin No 1 telling the Blonde Child that this had been her first time on a plane. Blonde Child: (Jaw unattractively scraping the floor) “What? So how do you go on holiday normally?” Number One Cousin: “Oh, daddy drives us.” Blonde Child: (Scraping up jaw from the floor) “You go on holiday in a car?” Number Two Cousin: “Once we went on a train!” Blonde Child: “But where can you go in a car?” Number One Cousin: “To our caravan in North Wales!” Blonde Child: “Where’s Wales?” Anyway, lots of frenzied chatter later and the Blonde Child and the Boy Child come racing down the stairs. “Mum!” they yell. “Can we go on holiday to North Wales in a caravan next year?!” “Absolutely not,” replies my husband gruffly from behind the South China Morning Post. Like myself, he was raised on chilly holidays in the west of Britain where eating chips in gale-force winds on the seafront and electric blankets in August were the


Our columnist is a long suffering expat wife, and mother to several energetic, third culture children. She lives in Hong Kong.

“Mum!” they yell. “Can we go on holiday to North Wales in a caravan?” “Absolutely not,” replies my husband.

norm. We did both eventually venture as far as the tropical climes of southern Europe in adolescence - me to the slightly less cold but equally blustery west coast of France, and him on a two-day bus-ride to the

Spanish costas to enjoy “Eeenglish fry-ups” and pub quizzes. I think we both mentally promised ourselves hotter and more exotic adventures for our own children. And it has always been an unwritten condition of remaining married that neither of us ever suggests holidaying in a caravan. Oh, those childhood memories of playing hours and hours of Happy Families as the van rocked precariously on its cliffedge perch, the rain lashing sideways into the windows and the seagulls dive-bombing the metal roof. Today, a happy holiday is a Shangri-la, a big blue pool and a palm-fringed beach. But of course our own children don’t hold those “special” stick-of-rock-and-adonkey-ride-on-the-beach kind of memories. To them, Phuket is good, but just a “filler” kind of holiday when the school holidays are too short to go anywhere else. The Philippines is lovely, but more school camp territory than exotic holiday location. (I kid you not, those high school camp options are mind-blowing - “yoga and learning to surf in Sri Lanka” was my particular favourite on this year’s list). In a case of “the grass is always greener” - or perhaps “the sand is always whiter” - it turns out what they really want to do is what their cousins are doing. And what they are doing is exactly what their cousins are dreaming of. “Thailand!” breathes Cousin Number One in a trance-like way. I’m making up a bed for her gap year already. So, as a compromise, we packed up the tents and marched everyone down to the soft sands of Sai Wan in the New Territories. It was hot, rained a lot, exotic at the beginning with everyone splashing about in the turquoise waters, and slightly tedious towards the end sitting under canvas playing Texas Hold ‘Em Poker when the monsoonal rain refused to ease off. So all in all it ticked a lot of boxes and was the perfect mix of 1980s English caravan trip and 2017 tropical Asian holiday. And we all had chips in Sai Kung on the way home. 1


Expat Parent Aug 2017  
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