Mid-levels Jan 2018

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Mid-levels hongkongliving.com


January 2018

Revamp your rental

Rehab calling How much is too much?

Women’s fitness Where women go wrong

Career pivot?

Central night courses

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Mid-levels The really useful magazine


January 2018


Real-life rehab stories and how to get help


Fab things to win

10 LUST HAVE THIS MONTH Live the dream with our beautiful living room picks

Paul Zimmerman on the latest green issues affecting the city


Night courses to inspire a new you



Good vibes and good food at Locofama

We delve into Eleanor Doughty’s work



Revitalise the soul with a trek through Nepal

Keep it healthy with tasty takeaway



Get inspired by this mid-century rental revamp

Alex de Fina from Pherform on the power of positive influence

26 MONEY & INVESTMENT How the internationally-minded are using cryptocurrency



Photo by Matt Knighton/Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing courtesy of Volvo Ocean Race




A round-up of happenings in January







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editor’s letter



018 is going to be a strong year. I can feel it. Here at Mid-Levels Magazine, we’ve started afresh with a new Editor, me. We’re busy revitalising the magazine to make it more useful; bringing you inspiring homes, the latest in the Mid-Levels’ wellness and foodie scenes, the region’s best travel adventures, and some intriguing personalities. The Mid-Levels is a very special place. In the Hong Kong stories of expats the world over, it plays a charming, often intense character that we can’t help but fall in love with. We’ll be celebrating that character in all its incarnations this year. Sometimes it’s beautiful (page 18) , sometimes it’s brutal (page 28). This month, I’ll be slowing down at Locofama’s Sunday block party getting my fix of puppies and organic wine (page 12). I’m also looking forward to the festivities around the Volvo Ocean Race visiting Hong Kong for the first time (page 5). If you have a story to share or one you’d like us to explore, drop me a line.



Tom Hilditch, tom@hongkongliving.com


Managing editor Eric Ho, eric@hongkongliving.com Editor Rebecca Simpson, rebecca@hongkongliving.com Contributing editor Carolynne Dear, carolynne@hongkongliving.com Editorial assistant Catharina Cheung, catharina@hongkongliving.com Media trainee Gemma Shaw, gemma@hongkongliving.com


Design manager Cindy Suen, cindy@hongkongliving.com Graphic designer Anna Schulteisz, anna@hongkongliving.com

Sales & Marketing

Sales director Hilda Chan, hilda@hongkongliving.com

A big thank you to the team at Hong Kong Living who guided me through this first edition.

Sales & Marketing executive Kiran Hiranandani, kiran@hongkongliving.com Isamonia Chui, isamonia@hongkongliving.com Project co-ordinator Angel Law, angel@hongkongliving.com



Management trainee Charles Lau, charles@hongkongliving.com


Digital co-ordinator Cora Chan, cora@hongkongliving.com

Contact us Admin: 3568 3722 | Editorial: 2776 2773 | Advertising: 2776 2772

Catharina Cheung

Gemma Shaw

Cindy Suen

...has chosen to return to Hong Kong after spending most her life away. She is an aspiring polyglot, a firm advocate for feminism and LGBTQ issues, and a big lover of animals. You will most likely find her belting out show tunes at karaoke, or in stationery stores scribbling cryptic messages on pen tester pads.

... moved to Hong Kong 6 months ago after living in Vietnam and Singapore. Originally from the UK, outside of writing Gemma is also a fully qualified yoga teacher, and studies lingerie design. She loves the latest health trend as well as the occasional glass of Champagne and cooking for friends at home.

...is our Design Manager. Cindy’s passion in life is food - she’s an adventurous eater who will try any food at least once. In her free time, you’ll find her hand making her latest designs. She works with leather and clay to create bags, jewellery and home wares.

Want to write for Mid-levels Magazine? Contact editorial@hongkongliving.com 2 | hongkongliving.com

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 hongkongliving.com Mid-levels Magazine 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. Mid-levels Magazine 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 pubishers. No part of this magazine may be reproduced without written permission from the publisher.

hongkongliving.com | 3

Photo by Matt Knighton/Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing Courtesy of Volvo Ocean Race

what's on

Diary dates

JAN 17-31

Volvo Ocean Race Festival comes to Hong Kong for the first time volvooceanracehk.com

hongkongliving.com MID-LEVELS.CO | 5

what's on Damien Hirst: Visual Candy and Natural History


Photo by Prudence Cuming Associates © Damien Hirst and Science Ltd. All rights reserved, DACS 2017

Paintings and sculptures by controversial, British artist, Damien Hirst will be on display at Gagosian Gallery. The exhibition showcases Hirst’s work from early-mid 1990’s which, amongst other things, includes his famed formaldehyde specimens. Gagosian Gallery, 7/F, Pedder Building, 12 Pedder Street, Central. More information at gagosian.com

JAN 17-24

The 9th Hong Kong International Chamber Music Festival


Arts, Lyric Theatre. Tickets and information at hongkongticketing.com

Indulge In BALLS-y Comfort Food 100 days devoted to big, juicy, tasty balls. Oh my! That’s the deal at pop-up restaurant on Star Street - BALLS. Stave off the winter weather with some comfort food including Italian meatballs, Spanish seafood balls, spicy tagliatelle meatballs, Nikkei-inspired balls and the not so traditional MEATSballs from MEATS. Open from Tuesday to Sunday. No reservations and no service charge. Get BALLS-y until 8 February 2018. piratagroup.hk/balls/

JAN 6 - FEB 11 CATS the Musical

Photo by Alessandro Pinna John Brannoch

Andrew Lloyd Weber’s CATS the Musical is a broadway classic, and one of the longest running broadway shows of all time. Demand for the musical phenomenon has been so overwhelming that the producers have made a last minute extension of the Hong Kong season until February 11. Tickets range from $445 to $1,245; family packages and student discount also available. The Hong Kong Academy for Performing

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jewellery lovers, and anyone who has ever shopped on Etsy. Make a day of it and go for a long lunch by the water just off the ferry. 11am-6pm, Discovery Bay Plaza, Discovery Bay, Lantau

JAN 12-FEB 11 KidsFest 2018

If you don’t have children, borrow someone’s and take them to see one of the shows at this five-week festival of world class theatre for young people. It’s a great time of year for kids of all ages – really really big kids included. This year features nine productions including The Gruffalo, Ugly Duckling and Erth’s Dinosaur Zoo. Tickets available at hkticketing. com or call 3128 8288.

A cultural landmark in Hong Kong, Cho-Liang Lin returns to direct the week-long music event featuring workshops, concerts and talks from 16 international artists and six local artists. Tickets from $100. Concerts held at Hong Kong City Hall and other locations across the city, visit pphk.org for specific concert locations and to buy tickets.

JAN 13

Imagine Dragons Evolve World Tour Live in Hong Kong The grammy-award winning American rockers are performing for one night only in Hong Kong to promote their third album, Evolve. AsiaWorld-Expo. 8pm. Ticket $388 to $888 from hongkongticketing.com

JAN 14

Discovery Bay Market Pack your bags for a day adventure and head over to DB for the first Handmade Hong Kong Market of 2018. This is a great market for foodies,

JAN 20

Lantau Base Camp Ladies Race The Lantau Base Camp Ladies Race returns following its success being Hong Kong’s first women-only trail race last year. Female runners take in breathtaking views of Chi Ma Wan as they race across Mui Wo to raise money for Hong Kong Cancer Fund. Race starts at China Bear Bar and Restaurant in Mui Wo at 9am. Entry fee is $360 for the 12 kilometre and $400 for the 20 kilometre. For more information visit lantaubasecamp.com/

what's on

Editor's pick

JAN 17-31

Volvo Ocean Race Festival

Held every three years, The Volvo Ocean Race is considered one of the toughest sport competitions in the world covering roughly 40,000 nautical miles and taking around nine months to complete. For the first time in the race’s 43year history, a stopover has been confirmed in Hong Kong. The race is bringing a 15-day festival to Kai Tak Runway Park. There’s lots to do and see during the festival. For details on the events throughout the Race Festival visit volvooceanracehk.com

Road. For more information and to register visit ggjhongkong.blogspot.hk/

JAN 28

Gammon China Coast Marathon and half Marathon 2018 Not for the faint hearted, this challenging marathon attracts some of Hong Kong’s hardiest runners. The route starts and ends at High Island Reservoir in Pak Tam Chung. $500 registration fee, deadline for registration is January 8, or earlier if quota is filled. For more information visit avohk.org or email chinacoast@avohk.org

Photo by Oskar Kihlborg Courtesy of Volvo Ocean Race

JAN 28

JAN 21

JAN 26-28

Starting on Nathan Road, Tsim Sha Tsui and finishing in Victoria Park, this 42 kilometre international annual marathon attracts over 70,000 participants. Events include a half Marathon, a 10 kilometre race, a half marathon wheelchair race and a 3 kilometre wheelchair race. Races start at 6:10am, support the runners on either side of the harbour.

Throughout this 48-hour event participants work with developers around the world to create a game based around a centralised theme. Global Game Jam (GGJ) encourages designers, developers, artists and those with no previous coding experience to take part. Many of the games developed in previous years have become fully realised games. Training Room 1-3, Level 3, Core F, Cyberport 3, Cyberport, 100 Cyberport

Standard Charter Hong Kong Marathon

JAN 21

LOL with Kanan Gill Live in Hong Kong The famous Indian stand-up comedian and YouTuber will perform live for the first time in Hong Kong. A software engineer by profession, Gill acquired YouTube fame with ‘Pretentious Movie Reviews’, a series in which he presented hilarious reviews of nostalgic Bollywood movies. 7:30pm. Hong Kong Jockey Club Amphitheatre. Tickets $288-$488 from hkticketing.com

Global Game Jam

SPCA Dogathon 2018 Join the SPCA at their annual charity dog walk party for dogs and owners. Over a thousand dogs will be participating at this event to help raise funds for animals in need. There is no enrolment fee but there is a minimum donation of $499 in order to participate. Deadline for enrollment is Jan 17. 8am-3pm. The 5km walk starts and finishes at Hong Kong Disneyland Coach Park where there will also be a carnival after the walk. More information at main.spca.org.hk

JAN 31

One OK Rock Ambition Asia Tour 2018 Live in Hong Kong This Japanese rock band will be making their debut in Hong Kong at Asiaworld Expo Arena following an impressive show in Taipei in which tickets sold out in 15 minutes. 8pm. Asia World-Expo Arena. Tickets $580-$1,080 from hkticketing.com

AIA The Great European Carnival


It’s back! Step right up to Central Harbourfront for this years’ giant outdoor festival: AIA The Great European Carnival. Channel your inner kid and go crazy on the rides, roller coasters, and old-school carnival games. There’s food, live shows and even a circus staged in a 1,200 seat big top tent. 11am-11pm. Central Harbourfront event space. Tickets $40-$130 online at tgec.asia or onsite.

JAN 26-27

11th Anniversary Month with Gina Yashere This British Comedian has appeared on popular comedy shows in the UK including Live At The Apollo, Mock The Week and The Lenny Henry Show. A highly sought after comedian who performs to sell out audiences across Asia. 9pm. Tickets $350. Basement, 34 Elgin Street, Soho. 6220 4436. Contact jami@takeoutcomedy.com for more information or to book.

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what's on


Your Mum presents: The xx Live in Hong Kong Following the release of their third LP ‘I See You’ earlier this year, The xx return to Hong Kong as part of their biggest Asian tour to date. In 2013 they played to a sell-out audience in Hong Kong. The xx are considered to be at the top of their game following the release of two further albums. 7:30-10pm. AsiaWorld-Expo. Tickets are all standing. $730 including booking fee from ticketflap.com


Power’s works in environmental education. Enrollment quota is already full, to join the waitlist email hike@greenpower.org.hk

FEB 9-11

Longines Masters of Hong Kong Now in its sixth edition, this international highlevel competition brings some of the best riders and horses in the world to Hong Kong. The competition visits Hong Kong, after Paris and before New York. Spectator tickets are $250 per session. AsiaWorld-Expo. Tickets available at venue.cityline.com Photo by Marcio Rodrigo Machado Courtesy of Power Sport Images

Green Power Hike 2018 This large-scale annual hike attracts over 3,000 participants. Organised with the aim to appreciate Hong Kong’s natural beauty, participants are encouraged to take part in green practices including ‘Take Your Litter Home’, waste separation and recycling. The hike starts at Peak Road Garden and ends at Big Wave Bay. Funds raised will go to Green

FEB 11

Run Date 5K Run Just in time for Valentine’s Day, this is the largest Speed Dating Running Event in Asia. This year the event is co-organised by popular dating app, Coffee Meets Bagel. Runners will be able to form meaningful connections at preevent training sessions leading up to the event. Tickets from $290. Run starts at HK Science Park. More information and tickets at ticketflap. com/rundatefestival


Glitter, Glitz and Glamour Known as the godfather of Hong Kong movie posters, local illustrator Yuen Tai-yung showcases 24 signature celebrity caricatures including those of Bruce Lee, Anita Mui and Leslie Cheung. Free to attend. Avenue of Stars, Waterfront Podium Garden, Tsim Sha Tsui

Want to share your event with our readers? Email editorial@hongkongliving.com.


win at hongkongliving.com

$1,500 city’super voucher

Aphrodite Freelance Hair and Makeup

Rubison Marketing Solutions is an independent agency that aims to provide integrated marketing solutions to a variety of clients. From branding, media strategies and events to public relations, digital Marketing and more, Rubison is the go-to company to help you reach your target audience. Courtesy of Rubison, we have one city’super voucher to giveaway, valued at $1,500. The voucher is redeemable at any city’super, LOG-ON and cookedDeli by city’super location.

Founded by Jacquiline Hamilton, full-time mom and seasoned hairdresser, Aphrodite Freelance Hair and Makeup provides on-demand makeup and hair services in the comfort of your own home or office. Whether you’re looking to transform your style with a new haircut or getting your glam on for a big party - Jacquiline has got you covered. For more information, visit facebook.com/ aphroditehairandmakeup We have a $1,200 gift voucher to give away. The voucher can be redeemed at the Peninsula Salon in Sai Kung and can be used for a haircut, blowdry, 1/2 head highlights or root touch-up.

TakeOut Comedy

Xtreme Lashes HK

Time to laugh out loud! TakeOut Comedy, a long-time Soho establishment, is the first full-time comedy club in Asia. The club has shows lined up every week featuring international acts and local talents. They are also the force behind the annual Hong Kong International Comedy Festival, which will be returning for the 12th time in 2018. Visit takeoutcomedy.com for more. We’re giving away a pair of TakeOut Comedy gift certificates, worth $1,200 in total.

As the saying goes, eyes are the window to the soul. So, why not keep your peepers picture perfect, with a treatment that frames them beautifully? Xtreme Lashes have mastered the art of eyelash extensions. Offering a range of looks, from va-vavoom to something more chic and subtle, the lashes are safe, hygienic and comfortable to wear—and applied individually by certified stylists. Lasting between six to eight weeks, they’re sure to be your new favourite accessory. We are giving away four eyelash extension passes, valued at $2,388 each.

Subscribe to our e-newsletter to get all our giveaways delivered straight to your inbox: hongkongliving.com 8 | hongkongliving.com

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lust have this month

Silver ice embroidery cushion $627 from Chinese Whispers Buy online chinesewhisper.se or call 6711 5740 info@chinesewhisper.se

MERLOT cushion cover $290 from Franc Franc Various outlets across Hong Kong Shop 3-7, level 1, Nan Fung Place, 173 Des Voeux Road Central, 3425 4728 francfranc.com.hk

lack Edition by Jessica Zoob B passion 4 cushion $1,100 from Lane Crawford IFC Mall, 8 Finance Street, Central, 2118 2288 lanecrawford.com.hk sonderliving.com

Soft cushion blue $1,860 from Tom Dixon 52 Hollywood Road, Central tomdixon.net

Live the dream with these living room beauties Note the beauty in imperfection as you embrace natural materials and rich, velvety textures in 2018. Solo Ladder - 7 Rungs $1,150 from TREE 28/f Horizon Plaza, Ap Lei Chau, 2870 1582 tree.com.hk Flower wreath rose $300 from Franc Franc Shop 3-7, level 1, Nan Fung Place, 173 Des Voeux Road Central, 3425 4728 francfranc.com.hk

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Siena 3 cabinet $13,995 from Organic Modernism Unit 803-804, Horizon Plaza, 2 Lee Wing St, Ap Lei Chau, 2556 9499 organicmodernism.com

Peking-B dining chair $4,645 from Organic Modernism Unit 803-804, Horizon Plaza, 2 Lee Wing St, Ap Lei Chau, 2556 9499 organicmodernism.com

lust have this month

Dallas coffee table $20,320 from Organic Modernism Unit 803-804, Horizon Plaza, 2 Lee Wing St, Ap Lei Chau, 2556 9499 organicmodernism.com

Nesting tables $5,279 from Ashley Furniture Homestore Fashion Walk, Causeway Bay, 2570 0307 ashleyhk.business.site

Rug natural wool $1,100 from Mirth Unit A 3/F Yally Industrial Building, No.6 Yip Fat Street, Wong Chuk Hang, Aberdeen, 2553 9811 mirthhome.com

Raffia basket white $480 from Mirth Unit A 3/F Yally Industrial Building, No.6 Yip Fat Street, Wong Chuk Hang, Aberdeen, 2553 9811 mirthhome.com

Den sofa $54,500 from Timothy Oulton G/F, 17 Gough Street, Central, 2161 1742 timothyoulton.com

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When good vibes meet good food

Locofama are helping create a healthier and happier Mid-Levels. By Rebecca Simpson


orried about food integrity and looking for a local connection? Trust us, you’re not alone. We sat down with Larry Tang, the gentle-souled founder of Locofama and Sohofama, two Mid-Levels restaurants that work double time as a hub for those seeking a healthier and happier life in Hong Kong. Join them in Sai Ying Pun on Sundays and find some like-minded new (human and fourlegged) friends.

therapy for human and pets. A lot of neighbours also bring their dogs here to enjoy the outdoor atmosphere of Fuk Sau Lane.

We host a mini farmers market with a block party vibe every Sunday from 12-6PM at Fuk Sau Lane.

The philosophy behind Locofama We’re on a mission to nurture our community to a healthier and happier place by sharing our knowledge and making organic and locally grown products accessible, affordable, and convenient. More and more people are becoming aware of where their food source is coming from, how it’s made, and the non-sustainable implications it has on our environment.

The Locofama experience We’ve got a relaxed and laid back outdoor vibe happening here in Fuk Sau Lane, Sai Ying Pun. Having our restaurant and retail space in the same street creates a great sense of community and allows us to offer a lot to our

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neighbourhood. Right now, Locofama is collaborating with Bamboo Scenes to feature affordable art pieces by local photographers. We recently relaunched our SLOW (Sustainable Lifestyle of Organic & Wellness) lifestyle store right next to our restaurant. Our liquor section carries limited edition natural, organic & biodynamic wines from all over the world. Soon, we’ll be adding a zero waste section for cooking ingredients. At our pop up shop across the street, we’ve partnered up with a Naturopathy doctor to offer health tests, nutrition planning and wellness coaching, as well as bioresonance

On the menu In order to promote long-term sustainable diet change, we believe healthy food must be delicious, affordable and convenient. Our menu features mainly organic or local ingredients. It includes not only vegetarian dishes, but also seafood and meat. We’ve created many healthier versions of Asian classic dishes, and absolutely no MSG or chicken powder.

Community initiatives in January We are launching a co-buy service to group buy selected weekly grocery needs. The aim is to help our neighbours source premium products at wholesale prices. Those who are interested will be able to self pickup or we will deliver to their buildings for a small delivery fee. Come on down and talk to us about it.

The grand plan for the future We have a vision of how our food ecosystem should transform and we are discussing with various partners on how to turn our dream into reality by 2030.

local 2018 is full of exciting projects: We have an exclusive partnership with a clinic to develop menus for chronic disease patients. We are working with various gyms and personal trainers for fitness menus. We are also working with Urban Grow for hydroponics farming. Our group is one of the key partners for Deliveroo Editions, which is delivering our food to new areas around Hong Kong. Also, we’re in the process of converting our kitchen on Bonham Rd into a retail space that offers organic eggs and other premium cooking ingredients we use at our restaurants. This type of quality produce isn’t available in chain supermarkets.

When you’re not at Locofama or Sohofama, where’s your favourite place to hang in the Mid-Levels? I eat 70% of my meals at either Locofama or Sohofama. Occasionally I have dinner at Blacksalt, Potato Head and Fish School. Ping Pong is also just down the road from Fuk Sau Lane so I go there for their gin cocktails. Little Bao on Staunton Street is also one of my favourites. We’ve recently partnered up with Soho Fitness on Wa In Fong, just a few steps up from Sohofama. They offer a lot of fun MMA and circuit training classes, so I will be hanging out there a lot. M

Join Sunday’s Community Vibe Locofama host a mini farmers market with a block party vibe every Sunday from 12-6PM at Fuk Sau Lane, Sai Ying Pun. Their animal rescue partners such as Lap & Animal Friends bring puppies and kittens between 2-5PM. Volunteers also help raise funds by selling dog care products and BBQ food. The team at Locofama have helped home over 100 dogs in the past couple of years. There is never a shortage of puppies looking for foster care or permanent homes. So, even if you’re not looking to bring a pet home, just heading down and giving these animals some TLC helps create an environment where these dogs can show their true personalities to potential adoption families. If you’re new to owning a dog, this is a great afternoon to join. The team also offer advice and can demonstrate techniques that teach how people can walk with their dogs peacefully and calmly.

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Nutritious and delicious Eric Ho and Angel Law find the best places to grab a healthy bite

Dine in Mana! With a number of locations around Central, MANA! is popular with health-conscious office workers. The MANA! Fast Slow Food location on Wellington Street is great for nourishing and filling salads and smoothies. For something more substantial, choose one of the baked and rolled signature flatbreads seasoned using a mixture of Lebanese herbs. Putting its money where its mouth is, the restaurant also operates under a zero-food-waste and free water mentality. All packaging used is either compostable or biodegradable. For those that want to dine in, there is limited but adequate seating with the back terrace being particularly lovely on a sunny day. Don’t forget to check out their raw food-only outlet and their cafe. A number of locations including 92 Wellington St, Central, 2851 1611, mana.hk

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Grassroots Pantry Founded back in 2012, owner and chef Peggy Chan has built a strong following of supporters with her plant-based cuisine using sustainable, organic and locally-sourced ingredients. Great options from the menu include raw spicy “tuna” hand roll made from

sprouted seed ($115) and kelp noodle pancit bihon ($145). Finish up your meal with a serving of mango chia seed pudding ($80) before washing it all down with one of their certified organic grassroots cocktails. 108 Hollywood Road, Sheung Wan, 2873 3353, grassrootspantry.com

dining HAWKR HAWKR is the newest healthy takeaway spot to hit the city. While its name is inspired by Southeast Asia-style food courts (known as hawker centres), its offerings are much healthier. HAWKR’s MO is fresh and healthy grab-and-go street food style dishes with an Asian twist. For wraps, there are meatball and salmon fish cake options; both are generously stuffed with fresh and pickled vegetables. Heartier options include a healthier twist on Thai green chicken curry and Javanese beef rendang. Those looking for just a snack may want to try one of the yogurt pots, kueh, or fresh baked goods. 36 Hoi Kwong St, Quarry Bay, 9222 8583, info@hawkrhk.com

Cook at home Just Green Just Green’s health-oriented products have all been carefully selected to minimize the environmental impact of both production and distribution. Just Green stock over 10,000 healthy foods, beverages, snacks, supplements, groceries and more. 52 Graham Street, Soho, Central. 2801 5611, justgreen.com.hk



For a balanced meal at a healthy price, Supafood has you covered. This superherothemed takeaway spot offers savoury items like salads, wraps, coconut brown rice boxes, and oolong tea soba noodle boxes. Meat and fish options are available, such as halibut with honey Sriracha and a grass fed beef bolognese. However, the vegetarian options like baked tofu with sweet miso and baked eggplant with balsamic are just as satisfying. Supafood also has you covered when the mid-afternoon munchies hit. For slow burning fuel, try the coconut chia pudding, carrot cake supaball or one of the smoothies. 1 Jervois St, Sheung Wan, 2812 6088, supafood.co

In a hurry but want to keep it healthy? Nood Food is a great option with its grab-and-go offering of salads, soups, wraps, sandwiches, cold-pressed juices and superfood smoothies. Most of their stores are located within or close to Pure Fitness or Yoga studios. 32 Hollywood Road, Central, 8199 8189

meats, condiments, and baby food. Market Place also stock a range of Sainsbury’s products, including their organic range–– comforting if you’re missing a taste of home. Shop A, G/F, Central House, 270-276 Queen’s Road Central. 2850 8349, marketplacebyjasons.com

easy as pie, and they also do next day delivery for weekday orders placed before noon. 9556 0070, farmersmarket.com.hk

Green Concept A wide variety of health and green products to champion a healthy lifestyle. Offerings include foodstuff, organic sprouting seeds, green drinks, organic coffee and substitutes, and healthy snacks. Aside from stuff for your weekly shop, they’ve also got gluten free options, supplements, natural body care products, and homeopathic medicinal remedies. Shop online or pop instore. 2/F Prosperous Commercial Building, 54-58 Jardine’s Bazaar, Causeway Bay. 2882 4848, online.healthshop.com.hk

South Stream Seafoods Farmer’s Market Market Place By Jasons This popular lifestyle supermarket surely needs no introduction. They have a large range of organic products, including rice and grainsbased foods, dairy, drinks, fresh produce,

Haggling in a wet market isn’t for everyone, so Farmer’s Market has taken out the hassle in buying meat from traceable and sustainable sources. They guarantee 100 per cent plantbased beef free of antibiotics and hormones, rich in omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin B6 and with less calories. Ordering from their website is

Despite its name, South Stream doesn’t just deal in seafood. They’ve got pretty much everything you need to whip up a healthy home-cooked meal, products like gluten-free spaghetti, organic ribeye steaks to organic mushroom broth. South Stream sources their meat from Australia and New Zealand, and you can get it cut to your liking. New customers can enjoy a 10 per cent discount by entering reference code HKLDEC10 during checkout. 2555 6200, south-stream-seafoods.com

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Get juiced! Genie Juicery Juice cleanses have taken the world by storm. When city dwellers in Hong Kong were slowly jumping on the detox bandwagon, two ambitious and stunning ladies from downunder grasped the opportunity and opened Genie Juicery in 2011. Having both worked in fashion, certified health coach Melanie Barnish and model Cara McIlroy understand how hectic city lifestyles can take a toll on our health, so they came together to create Hong Kong’s cleansing craze. Juicing may strike a chord with those who know a thing or two about cleansing, but what exactly is cold pressed juice? “We use a hydraulic press to fully extract the freshest juice by crushing the fruits and vegetables, and because there’s no heat created by the machine, it kills off the unwanted bacteria and chemicals and keeps the nutrients intact.” Genie Juicery stocks a whopping selection of 100 per cent organic juices containing spinach, raw fruits and coconut. Melanie and Cara are firm believers that vegetables contain the most nutrients and are touted to prevent chronic illness, hence why their products have the greatest amount of fresh vegetables. Amidst the cleansing craze, it could be difficult to choose which path to start with. These two think the best way to kickstart

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your healthy lifestyle is to drink cold pressed juices regularly and integrate healthy habits into daily living. “Our inspiration comes from our upbringing in Australia. The lifestyle there is very health-focused and fresh produce is readily available. We grew up eating well and know how good it makes you feel.” When asked what they think will be the detox trend in 2018, Melanie and Cara said, “We believe that cold pressed juices as a part of a staple daily diet are an ongoing trend. We prefer not to use the word trend as the health benefits for us are established. We hope to see more people be aware of what they are putting into their bodies and looking after themselves.”

endurance and speed up recovery. Aside from juices, nood food also serves steaming hot items to keep your belly warm. In line with their health and fitness-based clientele, nood uses ingredients that are all chemical-free. 16/F The Centrium, 60 Wyndham Street, Central. 2971 0055, allnood.com

Joe & The Juice What makes this danish coffee and juice chain stand out from the crowd is its music, hip juicers showing off their juggling skill with fruit and its overall upbeat vibe. Joe & the Juice also have a penchant for experimentation, for instance infusing ingredients like chilli into their vegan friendly juices, serving a healthy diet without compromising on taste. Heads up: their spicy tuna sandwich is one of our absolute favs. L/4, Times Square, 1 Matheson Street, Causeway Bay. joejuice.com

nood Grab your post-workout drinks from nood to rejuvenate your energy level. Loaded with nutrients, nood’s juice cleansing helps boost

Catch Juicery There’s no better way to kickstart the year than to flush out all the holiday toxins. Concocted by acclaimed Hollywood nutritionist, Lisa Defazio, Catch Juicery provides a wide range of cold pressed juices, organic smoothies and juice shots for health conscious individuals. They also have guilt-free salads and raw foods at fairly reasonable prices. Shop 303, L/3, Landmark Atrium, 15 Queen’s Road Central. 9317 7796, catchjuicery.com



News from the dining scene

Butcher and delicatessen

Say goodbye to RED!

Family friendly PAPI reopens

Feather & Bone has opened a new branch in Sai Ying Pun. As ever, there will be quality fresh produce and pantry staples, as well as premium meats and fish from their deli counter. Customers can also opt to have their selected cuts cooked straight at the restaurant. Over 60 seats will be available for dining in, with the restaurant serving breakfast, lunch and dinner from 7am till late. New to the Feather & Bone experience is a neat bar with five signature cocktails created by general manager Mark Chan in the works. G/F Bohemian House, 321 Des Voeux Road West, Sai Ying Pun. 3705 0280, featherandbone.com.hk

After 13 years of serving up food and drinks with a side of panoramic harbour views, RED Bar + Restaurant has concluded its business at the top of IFC. The last opening day for the restaurant was December 9, while the bar was stayed open for New Years celebrations and closed from January 1. Prior to its closure, the restaurant brought out a slew of deals for their dedicated clientele, such as a free pizza with the purchase of six beers, and buy-one-get-one-free standard drinks.

PAPI reopens its doors in Fashion Walk, Causeway Bay having closed down its original Elements premises. Veteran restaurateur Benjamin Lung is leaping back into the dining scene with the return of this homey yet high quality Italian restaurant. Expect classic dishes such as handmade tagliolini, or florentina with stewed beef tripe, as well as delectable starters including black truffle parma ham sandwiches. If you were a fan of PAPI or you frequent any of Benjamin’s other ventures (think Isola or Gaia Ristorante), you’ll be pleased to hear that many familiar chefs and restaurant staff have returned along with the eatery’s reopening. Tuck into a hearty meal with the family at G/F, 8 Cleveland, Fashion Walk, Causeway Bay or make a reservation at 2808 0820. papi-hk.com

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home & living

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home & living

Mid-Century Musings Rebecca Simpson catches up with in-demand designer, Amrita Khanna

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home & living


t’s the brief any Mid-Levels resident immediately relates to: A home that creates an instantly calm environment, with rooms that provide volume when alone and transform to be functional, ample spaces when family and friends come to stay. Don’t all Mid-Level revellers yearn for a beautiful space to live in? One that allows us the luxury of a personal arena one minute and the next, a smart space to host those inevitable visitors with a degree of ease. Amrita Khanna, of ZipCode888 fame, is

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the woman trusted to answer this brief. She’s driving the design transformations of quite a few stylish homes on Hong Kong Island. What’s different about Khanna is that she’s fast becoming a favourite for expat renters looking to personalise their home-away-fromhome while they live in the city. As she talks through the Mid-Century Modern-inspired makeover of a 1,100 squarefoot Hong Kong Parkview apartment, it’s clear this is a designer whose success can be credited equally to her ears as her

eyes. Khanna is a keen listener, who recalls the story of her design through the lens of her client – an expat relocating to Hong Kong.

Rental Renovation With A Twist It’s a common relocation narrative but this brief came with a slight timing twist. Khanna’s client, an artist, engaged her services to create a ready-made home from her Hong Kong rental – one that would work double time as a calming sanctuary from our bustling

home & living

city and a hospitable place to host her visiting friends and family. This sanctuary-to-be came in the form of an unfurnished two-bedroom apartment. The space immediately presented a challenge: a lack of natural light. The sightly dull apartment was a blank slate when Khanna was brought on board. She worked remotely with her client to create a home she could immediately move into. The artist would head straight from the airport to settle in her new home, only seeing

the final design for the first time when she landed in the city. It’s a concept that’s equally unnerving and brilliant for those of us who have lived through an international relocation. It’s a steep ask, to land in a new country and move directly into a new apartment, but it’s doable for a designer with a keen ear. “Because she moved in after the house was ready, the entire process was done remotely,” shares Khanna. The brief was simple: create a very calm, very cool home. Busy colours and patterns were out of consideration, with

the artist aiming to feel relaxed in her new space.

Mid-Century Look And A Modern Approach Khanna and her client agreed on a MidCentury look with a caveat that it must be modernised. “She did want the Mid-Century look but she wanted a modern approach.” Explained Khanna, “So we added the metallics and we mixed and matched.” The result: an effortlessly chic apartment

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home & living

that evokes an instant connection. I often wonder if the Mid-Century trend delivers this connection through a silent nod to the houses of our grandparents. There’s something inherently familiar in the lines of a mid-century coffee table or the arm of a chair – it’s an emotional deja vu.

Creating Space Through Proportion This flat presents with the illusion of a more generous liveable square footage than one would expect from 1,100 squarefoot. Khanna agrees and explains, “The pieces we chose were quite small in proportion which gives the illusion of being larger than it really is.” This approach, coupled with the relatively open space, delivers a clean, uncluttered, and deliberately homey design. Prior to relocation, the artist already knew she would be hosting regular visitors, with family and friends already planning to visit. “She was living alone, but she does have a big family who would come to visit and stay at the apartment. (We needed to create) a space she was happy to live in alone but at the same time would accommodate everyone when they would come to visit her. It had to be quite an open space.”

A Multi-Purpose Second Bedroom To cater for visitors, Khanna created a multipurpose room from the second bedroom. “(In) the second bedroom we created a TV

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area or den-like space with the dark curtains.” Khanna further explains, “She can enjoy this space for watching TV when she’s by herself but it also has a very comfortable queen bed sofa (for guests).” This room also lends from the trick of smaller proportioned furniture to ensure space is maximised both practically and visually, “The furniture in front is all very small, it makes it easier for her to push aside and open up the bed. There’s not too much in front of it.” She states.

Brightening With Mirrors Back out in the main living area, Khanna explains how she tackled the lack of natural light with a classic gold edged mirror, “We used a little bit of bling with the gold framed mirror. It beautifully reflected light, this is not an East-facing apartment but she wanted it to be bright. It was placed right across from the window on a huge wall.” Even on Hong Kong’s gloomiest day (the day this property was photographed was quite dark) the apartment can appear full of light “It does reflect the light very nicely” says Khanna proudly. This living area is Khanna’s favourite space in the flat and, since moving in, evolved to be her clients go-to room for winding down. The Establo Chair is a comfy destination for tuning out of Hong Kong’s high intensity life and winding down with a good book. The wood and natural elements present in the living room also help to create calm.

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home & living

Hong Kong Purchases Khanna sourced all furniture and homewares from Hong Kong, “I did a lot of mix and match. The most expensive pieces were from Natuzzi – the couch and the rug.” She also sourced from some of Hong Kong’s go-to furniture stores, “We bought from Ovo, we bought from Indigo. And we did a few pieces from Decorate.” The artist was focused on purchasing good quality key pieces including her bed, mattress, and couch.

There’s so much rental in Hong Kong, but not everyone wants it to look like a rental

things or just do one room.’” They want nice lighting and custom styling they can take with them.” It’s an offering that’s working well for her, at times being engaged by clients to simply work on one room and then continue the job, she smiles, “They start trusting you and that’s what I enjoy.”

Designer Recommends Altfield Interiors “Altfield is a designers paradise, a platform for creativity, they have the most exquisite selection of wall coverings, fabrics and trims to inspire.” 1101, Nine Queens Road, Central, Hong Kong altfield.com.hk/web/index.php

Organic Modernism “Packed with marvelous pieces with special details, which are well priced and feel individually made to complete a home” Unit 803-804, 8/F, Horizon Plaza, 2 Lee Wing Street, Hong Kong facebook.com/organicmodernismhk

Sonder Living Reflecting on the process, Khanna believes she’s found a gap in the market for interior design in Hong Kong. Often, designers want a full open-ended design opportunity where they get to breakdown the apartment, furnish and style. She’s found herself a niche in being able to offer a service that stops short of this full redesign. “I felt like there was a gap in the market for a designer who would offer affordable interior design. It’s difficult to find someone who would step in and say, ‘let me show you where you can get certain

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“A great resource, one stop shop for varied looks in furniture and lighting” 2/F, Horizon Plaza, 2 Lee Wing Street, Ap Lei Chau, sonderliving.com

TREE “One of my top favorites for timeless sustainable wooden furniture, marrying both great design sensibility and functionality” 28/f Horizon Plaza, Ap Lei Chau tree.com.hk

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money & investment


Rebecca Simpson looks at how the internationally-minded are using cryptocurrency


ate 2017 saw a run on Cryptocurrencies that had many of us cheering, while others simply scratched their heads. Internationally minded folk seem interested in cryptocurrency. Some claim it’s about more than speculation, it’s about a new way of transacting across borders. Here’s how some are putting their crypto-coins to work.

Settling international peer-to-peer debts For those with family scattered across the globe, traditional money transfer can be a hassle. Some expats are settling debts with friends and family in a new way – via purchasing cryptocurrency for each other

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instead of wading through a traditional (and costly) money transfer.

Paying bills back home You can use your cryptocurrency to pay foreign bills, and even your credit card, via websites like livingroomofsatoshi.com in Australia. It’s a handy service for those supporting family members back home or trying to remotely manage properties.

Travelling with ease Global travellers are booking travel and holidays that include cars, hotels, flights, and cruises through online travel agent cheapair. com and paying via Bitcoin. Even Expedia take Bitcoins.

Purchasing online With the run on Bitcoin at the end of 2017, those deeply invested were in a great position to splurge. And splurge they could with online retailers and discount sites like overstock.com taking cryptocurrency as payment.

Christmas Gifting In 2017, Christmas gifting was sorted with sites like eGifter accepting Bitcoin payments for gift cards at hundreds of stores including the likes of Target, Macy and even Dunkin’ Donuts. M

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body & soul


Catharina Cheung speaks to expats on their struggles with drinks and drugs 28 | hongkongliving.com

body & soul

60 seconds with Dr Seamus Mac Auley, Head Counsellor at The Cabin How does one tell if someone is addicted? If there is evidence of loss of control. By losing control I mean if things happen to you while indulging that you don’t want, anticipate, or expect. The second thing to take note of is, when you do attempt to control––that is, to cut down, quit, or moderate––if you can’t or it’s extremely uncomfortable. If you qualify in meeting those two criteria, you’ve most probably crossed the addiction threshold.

English expat in his thirties working in recruiting, shares his addiction experience I was addicted to cocaine and sex. My ex-girlfriend often told me I had a problem, but we had a very unhealthy relationship. We would binge on cocaine together and have threesomes with escorts. I was always the driver of the problem, the one with the more serious issues. She connected me to Dr Seamus over a year ago when she realised I was getting out of control, fast. I was sober for five months but relapsed in April. My ex and I were set to get married, but I knew I wasn’t in the right frame of mind to commit to anything. We broke up and my life unravelled with my dangerous use of cocaine and unsafe sex with escorts. Once more, my best friend became cocaine. I hit rock bottom over a weekend with about 20 grams of cocaine in my system. I was a

hair’s breadth away from a heart attack. Just stumbling down a street was too much effort. I was told in no uncertain terms I was going to die. I quit my job and checked in to primary care. Simply getting on my flight to Chiang Mai was a massive deal. The Cabin shielded me from my triggers. Addictions are often multi-faceted, and we also worked out my problematic behaviour with sex as part of the root cause. Aftercare was excellent, especially helpful when you’re back in the real world surrounded by your triggers again. I knew I was in good hands with Seamus guiding me through the recovery process. Seek help even with the slightest doubts or concerns. These progressive illnesses just get worse, and if you catch it earlier on hopefully you can get treated via outpatient clinics instead of primary care.

What are the challenges and pitfalls to look out for during recovery? If you cross the addiction threshold, you’re never cured but you can recover. Recovery is about changing your identity, and that’s a process requiring constant work. It’s not like you come to The Cabin for three months and you’re cured. We can only escort you to the gates and show you the way for you to stay recovered. The problem is not quitting, the problem is staying quit. It’s crucial that people who have the illness get support from people who are attempting sobriety. Addiction is a very secretive condition, and once you start hiding it and don’t ask for help, you’re on a slippery slope. There is so much help available and you don’t have to fight it on your own. Look out for warning signs: if there are conflicts in your life around relationships specifically, and if whatever you’re doing has negative consequences but you have difficulty resisting it, then the hook’s probably already in you, and you should seek help and support.

Need Help? The Cabin chiefly serves professionals struggling with substance abuse, process addictions or compulsive behaviours. Unit C, 12/F On Hing Building, 1-9 On Hing Terrace, Central. 5808 0667, thecabinhongkong.com.hk

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body & soul

60 seconds with

Angelique Tam, Executive Director of The Society for the Aid and Rehabilitation of Drug Abusers

Recovered alcoholic mum from Alcoholics Anonymous I’m an expat mum and an alcoholic. From the outside, it looked like I had it all. But inside I was empty. I came to Hong Kong as a trailing spouse. I’d had a great career, but when my husband got a job in Hong Kong I quit and came with him, and we started to raise a family. My life seemed idyllic: big house, domestic helpers, driver, long lunches with other mums, afternoons at the pool. But without a career to define who I was, I was struggling. No one knew I was alcoholic. I didn’t know I was an alcoholic. My drinking wasn’t out of control, but it got very, very frequent. I gravitated towards other women who were like me. It was civilized. We didn’t go to Lan Kwai Fong. It was more afternoons in private clubs nice wines, the long lunch scene. It was like someone pulling a string really, really slowly. My life was starting to unravel. I wasn’t the person I used to be. I found it hard to make decisions. I procrastinated, lost confidence, became more self conscious. The ability to experience joy and happiness was leaving me.

There was no disaster moment. It was the small subtle things. The number of hours in the day when I was effective––when I was not drunk or hungover––got shorter. I started to miss important events, and let my children down. My doctor told me to quit drinking for 30 days. I changed doctors. Finally going to an AA meeting was a revelation. The women told me what it was like for them and I identified with their stories. It was the first time in my life that I was with a group that felt the same way I did. I had expected a bunch of hopeless drunks. But these women were successful, high achievers. They were happy and connected to the world. I saw everything I wanted to be in these women. I wanted what they had. I was really cynical. I expected that I would have to give some sort of commitment or contract. But it wasn’t like that at all. It was just “don’t drink today”. They all gave me their phone numbers. I instantly had a support network of women around me. I now sponsor women. Women selflessly showed me their program of recovery. Now, when a woman comes into the room I can show her how I got sober. M If you are concerned you may have a drinking problem, wish to learn more about Alcoholics Anonymous, or want to find AA near you, call Hong Kong AA’s telephone hotline on 9073 6922 or email aahelp@aa-hk.org. Or drop by an AA meeting. There are several everyday in Hong Kong. Visit aa-hk.org for more information.

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Is there anything we should look out for in recent drug trends? Most of my clients who come to seek help have at least 10 years of drug history––it’s very worrying. People will usually carry on until it’s a big problem to their own health, or they get so addicted that they cannot lead a normal life any more. New synthetic drugs called psychotropic drugs don’t have obvious bodily symptoms in the beginning; they attack the brain cells and internal organs, so problems don’t manifest quickly. It’s not until they lose bodily functions that they seek help, but often by then it’s too late. Sometimes certain physical aspects are irrecoverable. Early identification is key. What is Hong Kong’s overall acceptance towards hiring ex-addicts? The social stigma around hiring ex-addicts is slowly improving; people are more aware of their social responsibilities, and with the rise of soft drugs, people are more receptive and think more lightly of addiction as something they can overcome and bounce back from. There’s still a long way to go though, addiction is still largely swept under the carpet. During our 12 month aftercare services, we can arrange for shadowing placements at potential employers. We also provide additional vocational training in sales, customer service, languages and interview skills, to increase clients’ chances of reentering the workforce when they leave us. The Society for the Aid and Rehabilitation of Drug Abusers (SARDA) is Hong Kong’s largest provider of voluntary drug treatment. SARDA aims to provide treatment and rehab services to all, regardless of age, sex, religion or race. 2574 3300, sarda.org.hk

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zim city

Small victory

Hoi Ha’s safe for another day

A small win in a long war for country park encalves. By Paul Zimmerman


he Judge ruled in favour of the environmental activist Chan Ka Lam regarding the Board’s 2014 decision to reserve land for small houses in three country park enclaves: Hoi Ha, Pak Lap and So Lo Pun. He ruled that when the decision was made to set aside land for village type developments the Board (and Government) should consider justified genuine needs of indigenous villagers for development by indigenous villagers. It was shown that the Board had relied on information provided by the village representative regarding the potential number of male descendants who might apply for building Small Houses. The Judge decided that this information is not verified or verifiable and can’t be relied on as proof of genuine needs of indigenous villagers. Government should welcome this decision. It will strengthen its case against the ferocious appetite for ever more land for small house development – a highly inefficient and destructive form of development, and threat to our remaining natural areas. This Court Ruling will have wide implications for the Lands and Planning Departments. It has long been obvious to everyone in Hong Kong that small house

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development is mostly for sale to the market. The Lands Department condoned this by hiding behind the Small House Policy and guidelines set for them. They kept their eyes, ears and mouth shut to the reality. But no longer. In the future they will need to make serious inquiries and check information provided by the village leaders. The question now is whether zones for village house developments in other country park enclaves can be reduced. The test case is the Outline Zoning Plan for Tai Ho in Lantau. The plan for this last enclave to be zoned was ready to be submitted to the Chief Executive for (final) approval. But green groups quickly sent a letter after the judgment and asked for the Board to reconsider. They pointed out that as with Hoi Ha, Pak Lap and So Lo Pun, the general planning intention for the Tai Ho area is to conserve the outstanding natural landscape and unique scientific and ecological values, such as the Tai Ho stream, a Site of Special Scientific Interest. As with the other enclaves, concerns were raised that the Small House demand figures were highly speculative and could not prove or show the genuine needs of the indigenous villagers. This was particularly

so as the number of past or pending applications had been nil or very small, and almost all land had been sold to developers. The green groups asked the Board to clarify how “the current extent of ‘V’ zones has struck a balance between natural conservation and respecting the rights of indigenous villagers for development”. After all, how can it come to such conclusion without a thorough analyses of the genuine need for small house development for and by the indigenous villagers? Right after the letter was sent, the Board rescheduled the submission of the Draft Tai Ho Outline Zoning Plan. We now have to see whether the Board will review the boundaries of areas reserved for village houses, and move them away from the streams and tributaries, given the deep concerns over the risks the developments pose to the conservation of the ecologically and environmentally sensitive areas, such as Tai Ho Stream. A small battle won in a long war. Paul Zimmerman is the CEO of Designing Hong Kong, a Southern District Councillor and the co-convenor of Save Our Country Parks alliance.


Photo courtesy of The Open University of Hong Kong


The Open University Hong Kong

Broaden your mind

Rachel Harina rounds up the best part-time and evening courses for adults

OUHK provides more than 230 part-time on campus programs as well as online courses in a wide range of subjects from Business & Administration, Education & Languages, Science & Technology, to Art & Social Sciences. From postgraduates degrees to sub degree certifications courses, they have four campuses around Kowloon with the main campus located in Ho Man Tin. 30 Good Shepherd Street, Ho Man Tin, 2768 6601, info@ouhk.edu.hk, ouhk.edu.hk

Hong Kong Design Institute (HKDI) A member of the VTC group, Hong Kong Design Institute focuses on design programmes offering professional diplomas and certification in design related courses including fashion, multimedia, interior, architecture, digital marketing, jewellery, product design and more. They regularly

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showcase their work in their public design gallery in Tiu Keng Leng and various competitions. 3 King Ling Road, Tiu Keng Leng, Tseung Kwan O, 3928 2000, hkdi.edu.hk, hkdi@vtc.edu.hk

Photo by Wpcpey via Wikimedia Commons

The Open University of Hong Kong (OUHK)

Vocational Training Council (VTC) Ideal for someone looking to gain a diploma, VTC is well-reputed in Hong Kong with their part-time evening programmes focusing on Engineering and Information Technology diplomas. Classes are held across many campuses all over Hong Kong from 6:30-9:30pm or 7:00-10:00pm. Some programmes have classes scheduled on Saturdays, Sundays or during Summer Semester. If you are not available during the evening, VTC have plenty of part-time day programmes as well. 2836 1000, admission@vtc.edu.hk, vtc.edu.hk

General Assembly Providing both full-time and part-time courses for those looking for a change in career. Subjects include coding, design, marketing and business. General Assembly provides flexibility to suit most student needs with both online and on-campus classes during evenings and weekends. Try it out

education with their free beginner’s coding class. 8F, 33 Des Voeux Road, Central, generalassemb.ly, hk@generalassemb.ly

Accelerated HK

Photo courtesy of Aberdeen Boat Club

Interested in computer programming? Then you just might want to check out the world of emerging technology with Accelerated HK. They offer courses including python coding in 3 weeks and Artificial Intelligence. The part-time courses are regularly held on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 7-9pm in Sheung Wan. Full time immersive courses are also available including a junior software developer course. Part-time courses from $1,998. 16F, 40 Bonham Strand, Sheung Wan, 5598 7836, acceleratedhk.com, admin@acceleratedhk.com

Online only Accelerated HK

Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) The International college for creative minds, SCAD has four campuses offering full-time, part-time and less-than part-time creativeindustry related degrees. But for those unable to gain access to a SCAD campus you can also go online. SCAD has been providing online, e-learning courses for more than 12 years. 292 Tai Po Road, Sham Shui Po, 2253 8044, admission@scad.edu.hk, scad.edu

Insight School of Interior Design The only school in Hong Kong that specializes in interior design, Insight offers over 20 short courses introducing the tools of the trade. Part-time interior design certification courses are available as well as year-long professional diplomas. The school’s strong ties to international and local industries will give students the contacts and confidence to get started in the design industry. Meet contractors, clients and practitioners of the industry. Short courses are priced from $2,600. 24/F, Federal Centre, 77 Sheung On Street, Chai Wan, 2114 2021, info@insightschoolhk.com, insightschoolhk.com



Aberdeen Boat Club

Originally founded by Stanford professors, Coursera has grown to more than 28 million users worldwide. At Coursera you can pick up a new skill and earn a course certificate within four to six weeks. Prices vary but expect around $29$99 per course. Online only at Online only at coursera.org

Aberdeen Boat club has Adult Beginner Sailing Courses that you can enjoy during the weekends. Learn how to operate the “Pico” one-person dinghy and the “Laser 2000” twoperson dinghy and sail from Aberdeen to Middle Island. The next sailing course starts in March. Members $3,100 and non-Members $4,650. 20 Shum Wan Road, Aberdeen, Hong Kong, 2552 8182, sailingsecretary@abclubhk.com, abclubhk.com

EdX Created by The Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University with the mission to increase global access to quality education, EdX gives students access to courses from the best universities and institutions from around the world including Hong Kong University. All courses are completed online with certifications. Students will learn through online media content and can communicate using the discussion forums to get their question quickly answered by teaching assistants or their fellow students. Some classes free, others charged. Online only at edx.org

Skillshare Learn a new skill or improve an old one. Join over 3 million other students in classes taught by real world practitioners. Premium memberships cost $12USD and provide unlimited access to over 18,000 classes. Still unsure? The first month is entirely free. Online only at Skillshare.com

Hong Kong Island Stingray Swim Club Hong Kong Island Stingray Swim Club provides a year round comprehensive swim program open to all swimmers with lessons taught at the Hong Kong International School in Tai Tam. The Stingrays currently offer a Masters Competitive and Adult Stroke Development program. The prior is aimed at adult swimmers who want to develop their strokes and racing techniques to compete in swimming competitions, triathlons and open water races. While the Adult Stroke Development program is targeted at adult swimmers who are interested in fitness swimming and refining all four strokes. Prices for Spring 2018 term (six months) are: $6,900 for Masters Competitive and $4,600 for Adult Stroke Development. Hkstingrays.com

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education Pure

than eight students. Classes last three to four hours. Private lessons and courses for photo editing are also available. From $800. Unit 602, 15 Queen Victoria Street, Central, Hong Kong, 9172 9101, info@hkphotoworkshop.com, hkphotoworkshop.com

Art Loop

LÚMP Studio

Art Loop has something for all aspiring artists, from beginners to those who want to become art teachers. They have a variety of adult art courses including drawing, painting, mixed media, sculpture and art history. Come with friends or meet some new people and learn in their galleryenvironment. Unit 621 One Island South, 2 Heung Yip Road, Wong Chuk Hang, 5238 8186, info@artloop.hk, artloop.hk

LUMP pottery studio is a community of potters and ceramic makers of all levels. Inside their big and bright workshop you will find dedicated areas and special equipment for pottery and stocks of different clays, glazes, oxides and slips. Beginners are recommended to try Clay class, priced at $1,250 for four sessions. Classes Thursday, Sunday or Tuesday. 11A, Gee Luen Hing Industrial Building, 2 Yip Fat Street, Wong Chuk Hang, 2116 0865, info@lumpstudio.com.hk, lumpstudio.com.hk

Complete Deelite For the sweet tooths, Complete Deelite has many courses and workshops so you can show off your baking and decorating skills next time your friends come around. There is a huge selection of classes to choose from including decorating basics, seasonal workshops and even allergy friendly courses. Workshops start at $650 for non-members. 2/F, On Lan Centre, 11-15 On Lan Street, Central, 3167-7022, info@completedeelite.com, completedeelite.com

Hong Kong Photography Workshop Grab your camera and get ready to shoot some great photos. With classes like Photography 101, Street photography and Night photography, photographers of all skill levels can explore and see Hong Kong in a new light under the guidance of professional photographers. Class sizes are guaranteed to be small with no more

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Performing arts Russian Ballet School Russian Ballet School is the first of its kind in Hong Kong and the first to exclusively use the Vaganova Syllabus, designed to avoid injuries but still be highly disciplined. They provide intensive five day courses for adult beginners including a certificate upon completion. Classes are priced from $2,500. 787 Po Tung Road, Sai Kung, 2570 2006, rbshkisland@gmail.com, russianballetschool-hk.com

HK Theatre Association Have what it takes to shine on stage? The HK Theatre Association offers 10 week courses throughout the year. With professional acting coaches covering body exploration, voice work, teamwork and character building, they will bring

out the inner talent in each individual. Courses are taught in English and French. Sheung Wan, Hong Kong, 2851 0091, info@hkta.org.hk, hkta.org.hk

Music International Academy (M.intAcademy) Cultivate your musical talent with M.int Academy, which provides private and group musical instrumental classes for adults including flute, piano and saxophone. Learn the basics with their Music in a Minim class or try out the adult’s choir or acapella group. Don’t worry, no auditions required. Group classes from $270 per class when you book a session of 12. Private classes can be booked from $400. Casey Aberdeen House, 38 Heung Yip Road, Wong Chuk Hang, 3596 7094, info@mintacademyhk.com, mintacademyhk.com

Twinkle Dance Company Twinkle Dance Company offer adult dance programs in both Contemporary and Ballet. Experienced dance teachers will patiently and carefully instruct each movement, so you won’t feel overwhelmed, perfect for those who have a little or no dance experience. Twinkle Dance Company hold both Contemporary and Ballet classes for adults twice a week. 9/F Capital Commercial Building, 26 Leighton Road, 6608 1699, info@twinkledance.com, twinkledance.com

Photo by @Dragoneye Photography

Arts, craf ts and baking

Photo courtesy of Hong Kong Photography Workshop

Pure offers teacher training courses for yoga enthusiasts. Aimed at those wishing to explore the deeper dimensions of yoga. After the course, participants will be eligible to become a RYT (Registered Yoga Teacher) with Yoga Alliance. 200 hour teacher training priced around $35,200. Locations across Hong Kong visit the website for specific contact details. hk.pure-yoga.com


Languages GAIA Language Learn Chinese, English, Spanish or Latin in 2018 with one of GAIA’s adult classes. Located on Caine Road in Central, GAIA features five classrooms, a waiting and reading area with a library ambience. Courses for both individual and groups are available for adults. Prices start from $400 per hour. G/F, 25B Caine Road, Central, 2530 9888, info@gaialanguage.com, gaialanguage.com

Spanish World Spanish World provides a range of adult courses suitable for beginners, advance speakers and everyone in between. Courses are conducted in groups with examinations at the end of every module. Prices start from $4,900 for 12 lessons, lasting two hours each. Room 404 4/F, Lap Fai Building, 6-8 Pottinger Street, Central, 2526 9927, info@spanishworldhk.com, spanishworldhk.com

Hong Kong Institute of Languages Not sure which language to learn? Hong Kong Institute of Languages offers courses in seven

different languages including English, French, German, Spanish, Mandarin, Cantonese and Japanese. Crash courses are also available for those looking to top up their skills. Prices from around $6,000 for a 15 week course. 6/F Wellington Plaza, 56-58 Wellington Street, Central, Hong Kong 2877 6160, info@hklanguages.com , hklanguages.com

New Concept Mandarin New Concept Mandarin offers Mandarin courses

for people from all walks of life. Their classes are held at their Central or in the client’s home. They offer flexible options such as online learning, private or group classes and even immersion and intensive courses. But why not start off with their free trial lesson? Private course prices range from $360 to $560 per hour. 13/F, Fortune House, 61 Connaught Road Central, Hong Kong, 2850 4332, hongkong@newconceptmandarin.com, newconceptmandarin.com

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picture this

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picture this

Painting of the month: “SHEUNG WAN” by Eleanor Doughty

60 seconds with the artist Tell me about yourself. I’m a young creative freelancing as an illustrator and sometimes a visual merchandiser. For most of my life, art has been the thing I’m best at and I’m thrilled to have made a life where I can do something that I love. I also love travelling, hiking, plants, amateur carpentry projects, riding my bike around the city, and doughnuts (I am a doughnut connoisseur and I have strong opinions about them). I want to spend my life living all over the world, and plan to leave the USA when I’m 30 to work as a “digital nomad”, although moving cross-country recently demonstrated part of how challenging that lifestyle can be.

Where do you live? I live in an apartment next to a lake with my significant other and a few dozen houseplants. I moved to Seattle, Washington at the end of the summer. Before that I lived in Brooklyn, New York City for three years. So far the natural beauty of my new city has been inspiring and rejuvenating. And being able to see two different mountain ranges on clear days is amazing.

How long have you been painting? I’ve been drawing since I was about 12. I had an affinity for it and, encouraged by my teachers and peers, I kept at it. Around that time, my friends and I were big fans of some popular kids’ anime, so I drew a lot of original characters and fan art. I think I still have some of these sketches in my parents’ house, but hopefully no one will ever see them.Years later, while working on my art degree, I spent a summer studying in Vienna, Austria, sketching the city scenes around me. Since then, my favourite thing to do is travel and draw. Going to new countries has been amazing, but even taking a walk around the neighbourhood and sketching something ordinary and familiar can make you see things in a new way.

How would you describe your style? I’m not interested in plain realism (works that are supposed to perfectly mirror the real world); I’d much rather feel something about the artist through their work. I want to see the hand, someone else’s version of reality. Confidence based in observation is much more interesting than things that just look “real”. These are things I

think about when I’m drawing. My drawing style is pretty loose, which comes from a lot of practice. Through my work, I want to channel things I feel when I’m in a space, like the feeling of being small compared to a landscape or a skyscraper or the open sky. I also tend to draw scenes that are layered—like buildings behind trees behind people. It’s all about relativity and perspective.

What’s the story behind this picture? I drew this on my last full day in Asia, at the end a month long trek through Hong Kong, Vietnam, and Thailand. I met up with an internet friend and fellow urban sketcher who lives in Hong Kong. One morning, we walked up the stairs, away from the crowds, where she showed me one of her favourite cafes. We spent some time drawing this view from a landing on the staircase, watching locals walk up and down. It was my last chance to finish all the pages of my sketchbook, so I was trying to be really fast and loose while still efficiently capturing the layers of the city.

What are you trying to show? I like how in the Mid-Levels and Sheung Wan areas, you are nearly above some skyscrapers lower down on the hill, while you’re completely dwarfed by others above you. It really gives a

feeling of place, and is also fun to draw. After drawing this piece on site, I coloured it digitally. I wanted to portray an atmosphere like you would have soon after dawn, when people are heading out for a new day.

Where would you like to paint next in Hong Kong? I’d love to explore some of the older parts, like the fishing villages I’ve heard about. I know development is making some of those places disappear so it would be significant to capture them in sketches. There are also so many places I didn’t have a chance to see. Readers are welcome to send me their suggestions!

Where can we find more of your work? My website is edoughty.com and my online store is handtopaper.etsy.com You can follow my Instagram: @herbcoil or see more sketches at equivocations.tumblr.com

Is there anything you’d like to add? I’m seeking opportunities to come back to Hong Kong, preferably for a stay of at least a few months. You might see me sketching on a street corner someday in the future, or sooner if someone is generous enough to sponsor a young, emerging artist. M

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Everest Base Camp Shreena Patel heads to Nepal on a classic “bucket list� adventure

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wouldn’t describe myself as a trekking enthusiast—the last time I slept in a tent was over a decade ago. But I do enjoy the outdoors, and more to the point I find it hard to back down from a challenge. So when, as a final parting gesture from Asia, my boyfriend suggested we trek to Everest Base Camp, I was all in. Looking back, my ignorance was bliss, but I have no regrets. The romance attached to the highest mountain in the world quickly swept us away and before we knew it we were boarding the 7pm Wednesday flight to Kathmandu. Five hours later, we’d got our visas on arrival and were being whisked away to our hotel in Thamel for a quick briefing and a few hours sleep. The adventure began earlier than I anticipated, at 6.30am the next morning to be exact, on the flight to Lukla, a small mountain village from which most treks to Everest Base Camp begin. Lukla’s Tenzing-Hillary Airport was built in 1964 under the supervision of Sir Edmund Hillary, who in 1953 together with Sherpa Tenzing Norgay led the first successful expedition to the summit of Mount Everest. It is widely considered one of the world’s most dangerous airports, thanks to its mountainous surroundings—there is high terrain immediately beyond one end of the runway and a steep drop at the other into the valley below—and extremely short runway. The plane was the smallest and nimblest I’ve ever been on—no more than 10 passengers boarded via a tiny staircase and the stewardess passed out boiled sweets and cotton wool to stuff in our ears before take off. While in the air, we enjoyed fantastic views of the mountains and around 30 minutes later we landed in Lukla, where we were met by our guide Narayan and porter Jhangi. After a quick breakfast of paratha and masala chai at a nearby teahouse we set off on our trek. The route from Lukla to Everest Base Camp spans 65 kilometres and follows the milky blue Dudh Kosi River (dudh means milk) north through the Khumbu—a collection of valleys comprising the heart of Sherpa country. The river is fed by the meltwater from the Khumbu Glacier, which first flows into the Lobuche River and then southward as the Imja River to meet the Dudh Kosi River just below Tengboche. It’s possible for strong walkers who are pre-acclimatized to the altitude to cover the distance to base camp in a few days, but most people need longer to adapt to the thinning air. We had eight days to go up and three to come down, walking five to seven hours per day. With the late morning sun on our backs, excitement in our hearts, and our last shower just a few hours earlier we were feeling positive. We passed through the souvenir shops and houses of Lukla, over small streams, past prayer wheels, chorten (religious monuments similar

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Did you knobyw? the Mount Everest is known Sherpa as Sagamartha “Head of the Sky“ and the Tibetans as Chomolungma “Mother Goddess of the Universe“.

in structure to pagodas) and mani walls (long low walls made of stone plates inscribed in Sanskrit with the mantra Om Mani Padme Hum; according to Buddhist tradition, travelers should always pass mani walls on the left). Before long we had arrived at our first overnight stop, the small village of Phakding. Not much happens in Phakding, but it is beautifully set by the river and green forest. A couple of bars offer free pool or snooker—a popular pastime—and the odd film screening of Everest. The film covers the route to base camp in a video montage that lasts barely 30 seconds. It’s hard to believe that for some people the trek to base camp is only the beginning of a treacherous two-month expedition. Over dinner in the teahouse we met a trekker from Belgium who had already been

in the Khumbu for three weeks and was exhibiting symptoms of what he referred to as the “Khumbu cough”, a terrible sounding hack caused by the low humidity and sub-zero temperatures experienced at high altitude. Nearly everyone develops it to some degree, as we would later find out for ourselves. The next day’s ascent to Namche Bazaar, the main trading and social hub of the Khumbu, proved much more challenging, not least because whilst taking a picture I narrowly escaped being knocked into the river by a porter carrying several doors on his back. After entering into Sagarmatha National Park and crossing the impressive Hillary suspension bridge we began a long steep climb to Namche, leaving the banks of the river and zigzagging up through the trees. My pace slowed, my head began to

The Dudh Kosi River

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Once the sun went in, temperatures dropped almost instantly

ache and I found myself becoming breathless quickly, but as I stopped to rest and watched passing yaks and donkeys laden with kerosene fuel canisters and sacks of rice, and Sherpas in flip flops hauling their own body weight in firewood, building materials or even beer up the trail, I thought it better to keep my complaints to myself. In fact, most of the said “yaks” are actually dzom and dzopkyo (female and male crossbreeds of yaks and cattle, respectively); yaks are much woolier and Narayan explained that they aren’t really seen below Namche. Half way up to Namche, we got our first glimpse of Everest through a gap in the trees, the summit just peeking out behind a mountain ridge. It was surreal to see it with my own eyes. Looking back over the valley below, the scene was magnificent, almost as if we had stepped out of real life and into a painting. We arrived in Namche in the early afternoon, our bags already there—thanks to Jhangi—as if by magic. From above, Namche looks like a big bowl, filled with narrow streets, shops, teahouses, cafes and bars. Every Saturday there

travel ITINERARY (with elevations) - Day 1 (start of trek): ​Kathmandu (1,400m) – Lukla (2,800m) – Phakding (2,652m) - Day 2: ​Phakding – Namche (3,440m) - Day 3: ​Acclimatisation - Day 4: ​Namche – Deboche (3,820m) - Day 5: ​Deboche – Dingboche (4,360m) - Day 6: ​Acclimatisation day - Day 7: ​Dingboche – Lobuche (4,940m) - Day 8: ​Lobuche – Gorak Shep (5,170m) - Everest Base Camp (5,367m) - Gorakshep - Day 9: ​Gorak Shep – Pangboche (3,967m) - Day 10: ​Pangboche – Namche - Day 11 (last day of trek): ​Namche – Lukla - Day 12: ​Lukla – Kathmandu

Above: Walking across the moraine Right: Namche Bazaar

is a Sherpa market but any day of the week is filled with trekkers stocking up on gear, toiletries and souvenirs, swigging hot chocolates and taking advantage of the free wifi and charging points offered by cafes. Having not showered in two days, I eagerly paid the 500 rupees for a hot shower at our teahouse. It was money well spent (it would be a while until the next). Never was I so aware of the impact of the

Crossing the Hillary suspension bridge on the way to Namche

sun than on this trip—when it was high in the sky it was warm enough to work up a sweat while walking, dry wet hair and even strip down to a single layer, but once it went down, temperatures dropped almost instantly. Thankfully, all teahouses in which we stayed had chimneys which were heated for a couple of glorious hours every evening at about 5pm (even earlier sometimes with a bit of coaxing) using a combination of wood and yak dung—the latter which appeared to be in plentiful supply along the trail. As usual, after dinner Narayan briefed us on the next day’s trek. He also used a little machine, called a pulse oximeter, to read our oxygen levels. Readings in normal conditions usually range from 95–100. Mine registered at 81. We were told to drink much more water—at least four litres a day—to get our oxygen levels up, a challenge for someone who barely manages six glasses a day. After hurriedly gulping down another half-litre each, we headed to bed at 7:30pm, the earliest in a long time. The following day was listed on the itinerary as an acclimatisation day. Note to self, acclimatisation does not mean rest. In this case, it meant a three- to four-hour morning hike which took us up to small museum and an Everest viewpoint for our second glimpse of the beast. This was followed by a steep ascent towards the Hotel Everest View (awarded the

title of Highest Placed Hotel in the World by the 1999 Guinness Book of Records). From here, we enjoyed spectacular panoramic views of the mountains, most of which I would struggle to name correctly now, aside from the strikingly beautiful Ama Dablam, its recognisable spike piercing the crisp, blue winter sky. The acclimatisation hike helped me immensely—some people chose not to take part but I would highly recommend doing it to help your body adjust faster to the altitude. That night my oxygen reading was 87, I had my best night’s sleep of the entire trek and walking the next day was much easier. From Namche we ventured onto the tiny town of Deboche (the closest I ever hope to get to sleeping in an actual freezer) via the historic Tengboche monastery. The next morning, wrapped up in at least five layers each and a hat, we encountered marathon runners on their way down from base camp to Namche wearing just vests and shorts. I couldn’t think of anything I’d rather do less but at the same time I envied them—they were on their descent. We continued on above the treeline, leaving the last of the greenery behind us, to Dingboche—a collection of teahouses and potato fields lying in the shadow of the magnificent Ama Dablam. Here, we spent our second and last acclimatisation day, climbing up onto a nearby ridge for sensational views of the Imja Valley, Ama Dablam and the south face of Mount Lhotse. The next day, we headed towards Lobuche and the foot of the highest glacier in the world, the Khumbu Glacier—a 12 kilometre stretch of solid ice that flows from Everest. The path through the valley was like walking on another planet, amongst huge lone boulders, mountainsides covered in what looked

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Prayer flags are hung in the highest and windiest places to carry their message of peace across the world

Did you know?

Garlic soup is recommended to alleviate headaches.

Crossing the river before the climb to Tukla

At the Everest viewpoint in Namche, pointing to the beast!

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like rivers of black rock and dry, wide open terrain. After stopping for a quick lunch at Tukla, we weaved our way up through the boulders of the glacier’s terminal moraine. At the top lay a number of stone cairns built as memorials to fallen climbers, particularly eerie in the late morning mist. From here, the path continued through the barren and bitterly cold, rocky wilderness to reach the small cluster of teahouses at the bleak-looking Lobuche—my least favourite place of the trip, though much improved from the grim conditions described in Jon Krakauer’s Into Thin Air. The next morning couldn’t come quickly enough. Finally, it was “goal day”—after meandering for three hours up and down the loose rock of the lateral moraine we reached the last pitstop of Gorak Shep where we stopped for lunch and would later return to sleep. It was another three hours to base camp, across the moraine and then finally onto the glacier itself. Base camp is located at the foot of the perilous Khumbu Icefall, a passage of constantly falling blocks of ice—some the size of buildings— from the head of the Khumbu Glacier, at the point where the ice begins to melt. As the ice melts, the glacier moves (at an estimated between three

A porter

to four feet per day) which can create sudden crevasses and collapsing ice towers, making the icefall possibly the most dangerous part of the climb up the South Col route to the summit of Everest. If you stand still and listen you can hear the ice cracking at base camp. As I dragged my feet, which by this point felt like lead weights, to the small mass of flags and signs that signified the end of our ascent, and slowly reached my hand out to touch the ice podium, I felt an overwhelming sense of relief coupled with an intense desire to sit down. The view was incredible, simultaneously awesome and terrifying: the solid ice of the glacier beneath our feet gleamed like polished white jade; the summit of Everest itself stood, silently intimidating, before our eyes; and the treacherous icefall bared its jagged white teeth in between the two. It sent shivers down my spine. After the customary photos and a few minutes to bask in the A yak


Above the treeline

glory of our achievement, we headed back to Gorak Shep. I felt a second wind of energy as we began our descent which I attribute to a mixture of acclimatisation, joy and eager anticipation of the impending luxuries of sea level life. On the way down, we covered considerably more distance each day. One afternoon we passed a teahouse that had burnt to the ground two days before (nobody was hurt), not as rare an occurrence as you might think thanks to the combination of chimneys, entirely wooden interiors and a lack of emergency services and transport infrastructure. Over the course of the trip, I’d not seen or heard much of the earthquake two years ago which killed 9,000 and injured or made homeless many more. The fate of the teahouse was a reminder that while our surroundings were absolutely beautiful—and despite some modern conveniences such as limited hydroelectric power, phones and wifi—life in the mountains is hard and unforgiving. Would I recommend this trip? Absolutely, but it’s important to know what you’re getting into. This is not your average holiday. It’s not cheap, it’s hard and not everyone makes it to base camp. It’s very difficult to predict who might be affected by acute altitude sickness, it can affect anyone regardless of physical fitness. For me, it was an unforgettable experience of highs and lows. The lows were largely due to altitude related symptoms such as headaches, breathlessness and lack of sleep, but also lack of access to things I took for granted: hot running water, showers, flushing toilets, heating, even food. On the other hand, the absence of any motorised transport en route (excluding low flying helicopters either carrying cargo or rescuing trekkers) and almost total lack of digital communication meant there was a rare purity to the journey—if you want to see these views, you must walk. We went late in the season, which meant we avoided the crowds, and we were very lucky to enjoy clear skies throughout and no precipitation. One of the other great things about the trek was the camaraderie within and across groups

Whilst our surroundings were absolutely beautiful... life in the mountains is hard and unforgiving

as we all bumped into each other at various stages of our respective journeys. Whether it was to bemoan the number of loo visits that results from drinking four litres of water a day, bolster each other on to the next stop or discuss rumours of a wild mongoose running about the teahouse the previous night, there was always plenty to chat about. I was surprised by the range of people who all found themselves on this trip, from teenagers to grandparents, mother-and-daughter duos to sole trekkers, a doctor recently diagnosed with arthritis in her knees to a group of university students from Australia. When asked why they’d chosen to do the trek, most people responded with some reference to their “bucket list”; some were serial trekkers; others were on gap year type holidays; a few had been inspired by what they’d read and seen in films. We booked our trek through Himalayan Wonders, thanks in large part to the responsiveness and honesty of our main point of contact, Dr. David Urmann. The company was able to provide us with comprehensive packing lists, practical advice on everything from visas to water, down jackets and sleeping bags (absolute lifesavers) and all the transfers and pick ups. Our guide and porter were knowledgeable, positive and focused throughout the journey on getting us safely to base camp. The company organised excellent accomodation in Kathmandu and a very enjoyable farewell dinner with fellow trekkers before our flight home. I would highly recommend it to others. Get in touch at himalayanwonders.com

Arriving at base camp

Pointers - Nepal visas are available on arrival. - Make sure you have rupees with you before heading into the mountain. You can change at Namche but it will be more expensive. - Peak season is from around March to mid-May and early September to midNovember. Consider weather, average temperatures and crowds when making your decision. - Delays and cancellations to and from Lukla are frequent (due to weather conditions) so always factor in buffer days when booking your flights back home. - Aside from potatoes and barley, pretty much everything you eat is carried up the mountain. That means the higher the altitude, the longer it takes to get there, so its not advisable to eat meat or much dairy. The staple dish is daal bhat. - It is possible to carry your own trekking equipment but with Himalayan Wonders we were each able to pack up to 15kg into a duffle bag to be carried by a porter - Stay positive, keep hydrated and protect your head—wear a wooly hat in cold winds to prevent headaches. - “English flat” = flat. “Nepali flat” = up and down. - Always carry loo roll!

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To advertise, email talk@hongkongliving.com or call 2776 2772.

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To advertise, email talk@hongkongliving.com or call 2776 2772


To advertise, email talk@hongkongliving.com or call 2776 2772

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feel good philosophy

The power of positive influence

Alexander de Fina. Founder & Owner of Pherform, a female-only fitness concept based in LKF shares his Feel Good Philosophy.

My Feel Good Philosophy We believe exercise should be about optimising your quality of life, not detracting from it. Our mantra is “Becoming fitter, stronger, healthier & happier”. This idea underpins every element of the studio. Working Out At Pherform In our system, PherformFST (FemaleSpecific Training), each class is customised to work with the hormonal differences between women and men. Our classes are built around four key pillars: strength, hypertrophy, metabolic conditioning, and corrective exercise. We made the environment feel like home, where the stresses of “Hong Kong life” fade away. You can’t really walk around singing in the mirror (well, singing is fine) but the well-designed, curated space makes members feel welcome.

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How Rookies Pherform I’ve never encountered anyone too inexperienced or unfit to be integrated into our community. We certainly train hard, and make no reservations about it. We are resultsdriven and understand our role in giving members a tangible improvement. For those looking for a tranquil training space with a handsome trainer who spends the session talking about relationship issues - we can direct them to other places more suited to that. Where Women Go Wrong Extremism. Any cataclysmic shift in training and lifestyle almost always perpetuates a “yo-yo” approach. Through education and investing heavily in building interpersonal relationships we help our members avoid this. People, by nature, tend to want a unicorn result and avoid the bulletproof system of “hard work, consistency and some discipline”. There are so many fads and gimmicks promoted in the industry. The media and nefarious businesses promising results to hook people emotionally perpetuate this “overnight success” epidemic. It’s gross. The key is lifestyle overhaul - making small, long-term, maintainable changes.

Fuelling Up Nutrition plays a huge role in feeling good. Whether it’s about health, performance, or body composition exercise is simply one component of the equation. We teach our members that health optimisation comes first, by simply removing convenience foods. Lots of women are surprised that their “healthy snack” is actually a sugar-bomb engineered by Satan. 2018 Inspiration “Be the change you want to see in the world”. When someone is fit, active, healthy and confident - they tend to be more of a positive influence on those around them. The entire team at Pherform shares this belief. We focus on the “ripple effect” - if you want people around you taking affirmative action and living their dream life - lead by example. Mid-Levels’ Best Guilty Pleasure Midnight foot massage. I have about half a dozen places along Caine Road that I’ll visit. Truth be known, I often fall asleep so I can’t review the quality for all I know they may have left me there!

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