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January 2018

They tried to make me go to rehab Overcoming addictions

Trekking in Nepal A bucket list worthy ascent

Healthy Eating Green & detox options

Get lean

for 2018 Interesting workouts to try


The really useful magazine January 2018



60 20





26 Tugo Cheng Winner of National Geographic Travel Photographer 2017

4 Snapped! Southside’s social life THE PLANNER 10 Happening in January What’s on MUST HAVE THIS MONTH 20 Living room makeover Jazz up your living space for the new year NEWS 22 What’s going on? In your backyard GIVEAWAYS 24 Free stuff Fab things to win

BOOK CLUB 24 Out this month Great reads for adults and kids LOCAL 28 Fishy business Endangered seafood at local wet market COVER STORY 30 Fit Hits The city’s most unique workouts EDUCATION 36 Broaden your mind Evening and part time courses for adults

ARTS & CULTURE 40 Thought-provoking exhibitions Broaden your horizons with these unique exhibitions DINING 46 Nutritious and delicious Places to grab a healthy bite across Hong Kong BIG DAY OUT 50 Deserted village walk Tara Smyth treks through villages forgotten in time BODY & SOUL 52 How much is too much? Two expats talk about struggles with drugs and alcohol

TRAVEL 54 Everest Base Camp Shreena Patel heads to Nepal on a classic “bucket list” adventure PETS 64 Ask Dr. Pauline Pet eccentricities and abnormalities explained ZIM CITY 66 Paul Zimmerman on… A win for country park enclaves MRS BACKFIRE 72 Who the hell wants to run 100ks? Mrs Backfire looks askance at Hong Kong’s ultra obsession


Find us on Facebook Southside Magazine




Gemma Shaw

Catharina Cheung

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

...has lived in Singapore, Beijing, London and Nottingha m, and recently chose to return to Hong Kong. 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.

Paul Zimmerman CEO of Designing Hong Kong, and District Councillor for Pok Fu La m. Paul is passionate about design and the green issues that affect our city. When he’s not tracking down flytippers or trawling beaches for medical waste, you can find him hiking, walking his dogs or paragliding.

Want to write for Southside Magazine? Contact



people Snaps from Southside


say cheese Snaps from Southside

Christmas Jumper Day at Woodlands


people Expat Parent Charity Christmas Lunch



people Expat Parent Charity Christmas Lunch

Share your event photos with us at Get snapping!




UNTIL JAN 1 42nd New Year Winter Swimming Lifesaving Championships

A refreshing start to the new year, this 600 metre race organised by Hong Kong Life Saving Society starts from Middle Bay Beach and finishes at Repulse Bay Jetty. Online enrolment closed in November but come along as a spectator. Race starts at 10:30am. More information at

UNTIL JAN 1 Winterfest

This annual event organised by the Hong Kong Tourism Board includes the sparkling Statue Square Christmas Tree, A Symphony of lights


and the Pulse 3D Light Show. As we countdown to the New Year Celebrations go off with a bang over Victoria Harbour with what is anticipated to be the city’s most spectacular firework show yet. Various locations.


Dragon & Lion Dance Extravaganza 2018 The 2018 route has been confirmed! The parade will run from 11:30am-1pm, beginning at the Hong Kong Cultural Centre in Tsim Sha Tsui and continuing towards Canton Road as in previous years. This will be followed by the International Dragon and Lion Dance Day Launching Ceremony from 1-2pm and the Variety Show and Dragon and Lion Dance Workshop from 2-5pm. Free to attend. More info at


planner UNTIL JAN 1

Ocean Park Christmas Sensation 2017 Glide through a rainforest canopy, dive into the ocean and come face to face with wild animals as you experience Hong Kong’s first ever VR rollercoaster. As night falls Waterfront plaza becomes a festive Christmas village which hosts a daily ‘Light up the Night’ ceremony and live choir performance around the 40-foot tall Christmas tree. Standard tickets $219 for children and $438 for adults. More information at

UNTIL JAN 1 Disneyland

No Christmas season is complete until you have experienced the nightly snowfall at Hong Kong Disneyland. Other festivities include the musical extravaganza Christmastime Ball, lighting of the 18-metre LED-wrapped Christmas tree and a visit to Santa Goofy at Christmas Post Office on Main Street - send limited edition Christmas postcards

to your friends and family. Standard tickets $419 for children and $589 for adults. For more information visit


Mandarin Immersion Winter Camp The Mulberry House Winter Camp 2018 World Tour uses language to explore 10 cities across five continents. Through activities including music melodies, dramatic storytelling, crafts, science experiments, cooking and collaborative projects children will learn about flags, people, food, landmarks and culture around the world. From January 2 onwards, children will explore Japan and China. Maximum of eight children per class. Sessions between 9am and 5.30pm. $600-$1,066 depending on age of child. Two locations: Central: Studio 2403, Universal Trade Center, 17-19 Caine Road. South Side: Studio 801-802, One Island South, 2 Heung Yip Road, Wong Chuk Hang. Reserve a place at


Damien Hirst: Visual Candy and Natural History 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 a glass tank containing biological specimens. Gagosian Gallery, 7/F, Pedder Building, 12 Pedder Street, Central. More information at



planner AIA The Great European Carnival


Pixar 30 Years of Animation Pixar invites Hong Kong fans to take an exclusive peek behind the scenes of some of its most popular movies. The special exhibition with the theme “friendship and family” is the first collaboration between Hong Kong Heritage Museum and Pixar since 2011. 10am-6pm weekdays, 10am-7pm weekends (closed Tuesdays). Tickets $20, more information at Photo courtesy of Hong Kong Heritage Museum

Merging elements of carnival and festival into a giant outdoor event. This year’s offering is filled with rides and roller coasters, game stands for all ages, plenty of food stalls, live music and performances, as well as the famous Gandey European Circus staged in a 1,200 seat big top circus tent. 11am-11pm. Central Harbourfront event space. Tickets $40-$130 online at or onsite.


Woody and Buzz Bob Pauley Toy Story 1995 Marker and pencil on paper ©Disney/Pixar


happening in January UNTIL MAR 26

Hong Kong International Poster Triennial 2017 Held every three years, this event features international poster designs by showcasing and collecting outstanding works from all over the world. 10am-6pm weekdays, 10am-7pm weekends (closed Tuesdays). Free admission. Hong Kong Heritage Museum. More information at

KidsFest 2018 The five-week festival of world class theatre for young people returns to Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts. The event encourages and promotes a wide variety of performance styles from across the world. This year features nine productions including The Gruffalo, Ugly Duckling and Erth’s Dinosaur Zoo. Tickets available at or call 3128 8288.

JAN 1 FEB 1 21


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

JAN 6 - FEB 11 CATS the Musical

Demand for the musical phenomenon has been so overwhelming that the producers have made a last minute extension of the season of the 2015 Olivier Award-nominated, Andrew Lloyd Weber production until February 11. Witness the Jellicle Cats’ annual gathering to decide which feline will ascend to the Heaviside Layer and a new


planner JAN 17-24

Alessandro Pinna John Brannoch (Rum Tum Tugger) in CATS

The 9th Hong Kong International Chamber Music Festival

life. Based on T.S. Eliot’s Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats, the show is alight with witty verse, stunning costumes and a fantastic score. Tickets range from $445 to $1,245; family packages and student discount also available. The Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts, Lyric Theatre. Tickets and information at

JAN 13

International Montessori School Open Day From 9am-12 noon, the International Montessori School (IMS) will be open to visitors for viewing. Find out if IMS is the right fit for your children and family by touring the campus and speaking to faculty members. Email for enquiries. Phase III, Ma Hang Estate, Stanley.

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

JAN 13

Ngong Ping Charity Walk 2018 Coming into it’s 12th year this fundraising event organised by Hong Kong Youth Hostels Association (HKYHA) raises money to support its causes which include providing affordable, quality hostel services and running youth programs. Walk starts at 9.30am. Start and finish point Citygate Outlet in Tung Chung. Registration for participation closed in December.


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. Performances from Anna Polonsky, Cheung Man-yui Kitty and Jerusalem Quartet, the event opens with “An Evening in Paris” and concludes with “Russian Farewell” which features a trio of performances by three iconic Russian composers. Tickets from $100. Concerts held at Hong Kong City Hall and other locations across the city, visit for specific concert locations and to buy tickets.

JAN 13

Yoga and Mindfulness for Children: A Workshop for Parents Children will learn valuable techniques for dealing with stress and other issues in this hands on workshop taught by Laura Mcegan, an experienced, registered Children’s Yoga Teacher. Techniques taught will be tailored around specific family needs. 9:30am-12:30pm. $650, Little Gems, Discovery Bay. To book contact

Discovery Bay Market

JAN 14

Artists, makers, designers and bakers offer their wares at the first Handmade Hong Kong Market of 2018. 11am-6pm, Discovery Bay Plaza, Discovery Bay, Lantau

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 events.

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

JAN 21

Standard Charter Hong Kong Marathon 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

happening in January JAN 31

One OK Rock Ambition Asia Tour 2018 Live in Hong Kong The well sought-after 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


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


The Hive CoFarm Open Day wheelchair race and a 3 kilometre wheelchair race. Races start at 6:10am, support the runners on either side of the harbour.

JAN 25- 28

Disney on Ice The show returns to Hong Kong to celebrate Walt Disney’s 100th birthday with “100 years of magic”. The program includes 50 memorable Disney characters and 30 great sing-along songs, including ‘Let It Go’, ‘Hakuna Matata’ and ‘You’ve Got A Friend In Me’. Ticket prices range from $300 to $780. Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, 1 Expo Drive, Wan Chai.

JAN 26-28

Global Game Jam

confirmed in Hong Kong. The key Hong Kong race will see the boats compete up and down Victoria Harbour on January 27 at 2pm. On January 28 at 11am the boats will take part in an exclusive to Hong Kong Round the Island Race. Watch in harbour racing from Victoria harbour. For other events throughout the Race Festival visit

Green Power Hike 2018

The Hive CoFarm opens its doors to the public, showcasing innovative Agritech, community gardens and permaculture. The open day will feature a farmer’s market with locally grown produce and urban farming workshops. 12-4pm. DD129 Lot 1290, New Territory, Yuen Long. For more information contact


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. Start point is The hike starts at Peak Road Garden and ends at Big Wave Bay. Funds raised will go to Green Power’s works in environmental education. Enrollment quota is already full, to join the waitlist email

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 Road. For more information and to register visit

JAN 17-31

Volvo Ocean Race Hong Kong 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 43-year history, a stopover has been




MAR 10

Longines Masters of Hong Kong

John Legend Darkness And Light Tour Live in Hong Kong Photo by Marcio Rodrigo Machado Courtesy of Power Sport Images

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

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 pre-event training sessions leading up to the event. Tickets from $290. Run starts at HK Science Park. More information and tickets at

Multi-platinum singer-songwriter and 10x Grammy Award winner, John Legend returns to Hong Kong for this much-anticipated tour following the release of his latest smash hit album Darkness And Light. 8pm Tickets from $480. AsiaWorld-Expo. Tickets and more information at

MAY 2-6

Saint Petersburg Theatre Russian Ballet Swan Lake The St Petersburg Ballet Theatre Company visit Hong Kong for the first time with Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake, often considered the world’s most famous love story. St Petersburg Ballet Theatre Company are sure to put on an impressive show featuring lavish costumes and stunning sets. Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts, Lyric Theatre. Tickets start at $445 from

Longines Masters of Hong Kong

Got an event? We can publish the details for free. Email



must have this month Geologic coffee table $83,300 from Timothy Oulton 2/F, Horizon Plaza, 2 Lee Wing St, Ap Lei Chau, 2789 8090

Calm chair grey $9,980 from Mirth Unit A 3/F Yally Industrial Building, No.6 Yip Fat Street, Wong Chuk Hang, Aberdeen, 2553 9811

LIVING ROOM MAKEOVER Jazz up your living space for the new year

Spiral acrylic - 7 layer nickel $17,390 from SONDER Living Horizon Plaza, 2F, 2 Lee Wing St, Ap Lei Chau, 2799 5878 Stay true - blacklist studio $1,450 from Mirth Unit A 3/F Yally Industrial Building, No.6 Yip Fat Street, Wong Chuk Hang, Aberdeen, 2553 9811

Soft cushion ochre $1,860 from Tom Dixon 52 Hollywood Road, Central, 2882 2068


Peacock 3 cabinet $17,905 from Organic Modernism Unit 803-804, Horizon Plaza, 2 Lee Wing St, Ap Lei Chau, 2556 9499

changing rooms Nesting tables $5,279 from Ashley Furniture Homestore Fashion Walk, Causeway Bay, 2570 0307

Solo Ladder - 7 Rungs $1,150 from TREE 28/f Horizon Plaza, Ap Lei Chau, 2870 1582

Black Edition by Jessica Zoob - passion 4 cushion $1,100 from Lane Crawford Various outlets across Hong Kong including TIMES SQUARE, 1 Matheson Street, Causeway Bay, 2118 2288

Storage coffee table $10,080 from Ashley Furniture Homestore Fashion Walk, Causeway Bay, 2570 0307

Melt pendant chrome $7,900 from Tom Dixon 52 Hollywood Road, Central, 2882 2068

Den sofa $54,500 from Timothy Oulton 2/F, Horizon Plaza, 2 Lee Wing St, Ap Lei Chau, 2789 8090



DISNEY SET FOR EXPANSION Disneyland Hong Kong has announced a six-year expansion programme starting this month. It will include a new attraction-a-year for the next six years. The first to open will be a Moana-themed entertainment venue in Adventureland later this year. Samuel Lau, executive vice president and managing director of Hong Kong Disneyland

resort, said there will be further first-of-a-kind attractions based on Marvel and Frozen. The Marvel Iron Man Experience is the park’s most popular attraction, so in plans or continued growth as Asia’s Marvel epicentre, there will be a dedicated Marvel area featuring Ant-Man, The Wasp and SHIELD. Beginning from this month, the park’s iconic castle will be completely reimagined to

pay tribute to all of the Disney princesses. It currently only features Sleeping Beauty. Once the castle is complete, the venue will showcase new daytime and nighttime entertainment. Due to the renovation work, the Disney In The Stars firework display will finish for the time being on January 1.

EXPAT PARENT CHARITY CHRISTMAS LUNCH We would like to extend our most heartfelt thank you to our guests, sponsors, and everyone else who supported Expat Parent Magazine’s first charity lunch on November 30. The event was a resounding success, with a total of 77 people attending the lunch. From the raffle sales, auctions, and your generous donations, we generated over $18,000 for our charity of choice, Box of Hope. A special mention goes out to Mindy and Jude from Events For Life who spectacularly put this lunch together. Thank you also to Nicholas, Nikki, and the team at Mr Wolf who carried the lunch through without a hitch. We’d love to see the photos you took, so please share them with us on social media using the hashtag #epminglejingle. Thank you once again for your incredible support and generosity, and see you again at our next event.


in your backyard


Gleneagles Hong Kong Hospital now offer their outpatient and emergency services 24 hours a day. Prior to December 2017, these services ceased daily at 11pm. The Outpatient and Emergency Department provides swift medical attention to critical and life threatening emergencies as well

as treatment for urgent medical problems. Gleneagles’ team of in-house surgeons and medical specialists can provide care in areas including, but not limited to, cardiology, neurology, obstetrics and gynaecology, paediatrics, ophthalmology, and general surgery.


After seven years being located in an old stool factory from the 1960s, Mirth has relocated as their abode at Yip Kan Street is slated for demolishment to make way for a brand new building. A Mirth representative disparagingly described the move as “yet another casualty of continued gentrification”, but the company refused to abandon its Wong Chuk Hang roots and has now


found a new home in the Yally Industrial Building, opposite Wong Chuk Hang MTR and close to One Island South. They now have a bright, airy 2,000 square feet space, large enough to also host community events and workshops. Check out Mirth’s new home at 3/F Yally Industrial Building, 6 Yip Fat Street, Wong Chuk Hang. 2553 9811,

Ocean Park has announced a nine per cent admission fee increase this year. Leo Kung Lin-cheng, Chairman of Ocean Park, explained that the new pricing scheme has been implemented to maintain the Southside attraction’s competitiveness and to ‘keep the park’s finances sustainable’. According to Ocean Park’s financial results for the fiscal year ending last year June 30, the park has generated a slight increase in revenue of $1,619.8 million, while narrowing its deficit to $234.4 million despite a marginal dip in park attendance to 5.8 million. Capitalising on the extension of the MTR to its doorstep, Ocean Park launched the Lakeside Chill al fresco dining area in January 2017 and inaugurated the evening entertainment event Chill Out @ The South last March. The park also has several new attractions in the pipeline, including two luxury hotels and an all-weather water theme park. The first hotel is expected to be completed by mid 2018 and the water park in 2019. Daytime admission tickets for adults and children will be increased from February 28 to $480 and $240 respectively, while prices for SmartFun annual passes will remain unchanged. Ocean Park is also extending its birthday discount for residents. From this year HKID holders can purchase up to four Ocean Park tickets at a 15 per cent discount off the published rates during their birthday month while they also enjoy complimentary admission on their birthday,


win at


enter to win!

$1,500 city’super voucher

TakeOut Comedy

Xtreme Lashes HK

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.

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 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-va-voom 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.

Aphrodite Freelance Hair and Makeup

information, visit 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.

Founded by Jacquiline Hamilton, full-time mom and seasoned hairdresser, Aphrodite Freelance Hair and Makeup provides on-demand makeup and hair services. Whether you’re looking to get a new haircut or getting your glam on for a big party - Jacquiline has got you covered. For more

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five minutes with


Tom Hilditch


Contributing Editor Carolynne Dear Managing Editor Eric Ho Editorial Assistant Catharina Cheung Media Trainee Gemma Shaw


Design Manager Cindy Suen Graphic Designer Anna Schulteisz


Digital Co-ordinator Cora Chan

Thanks to

Jennifer Deayton Katie Lam Paul Zimmerman Dr Pauline Taylor Rachel Harina Tara Smyth Yasmin Hingun

Published by

Hong Kong Living Ltd. Floor LG1, 222 Queens Road Central, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong Credit: Flex Studio for cover photo


Katie Lam speaks to the winner of the 2017 National Geographic Travel Photographer of the year I’m an architect by day job but photography is my biggest passion. Despite receiving no professional training, I am blessed to be given a few international photography awards and nominations including the 2017 National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year. My love for photography started from university. I only really got serious about photography when I bought a new camera to document my travels in detail. During my postgraduate studies at University of Cambridge, I went on an exchange to Beijing and began to photograph the unique landscapes of China.



A photo from Cheng’s Southside Story series

I visited an active volcano in Ethiopia where boiling lava splashed out next to me. I have also hiked through landslides in the gorges of Yunnan. At first, my parents did not like me being a photographer due to the remote and dangerous shooting locations.

I think good photography should consist of three elements. First, it should surprise people with new perspective and idea. Second, it should serve as an inspiration. Third, it should touch people’s hearts because photography is a form of art. I take top-down photos because I want to view the city as an architect. An architect draws the design of a building from above in 2D. I explored this notion in City Pattern, a photo series of Hong Kong taken with drones. The idea was to reveal hidden and long forgotten geometrics from a planner’s perspective and explore familiar places from unfamiliar angles. The most memorable moment in my photography journey was winning the first prize in 2015 National Geographic International Photo Contest. It was a complete surprise - I only entered because

none of the entries I had seen were from China. My latest photo series is Southside Story, a photographic journey along the coastline where you can see all kinds of lives. It is an extension of City Pattern. I created this series because I was intrigued by the mesmerizing landscapes on the Southside, which are rarely known by those inside and outside of Hong Kong. Everytime I cross Aberdeen Tunnel, I feel like I am in another country. My favorite photo from Southside Story series is the one of Deep Water Bay Drive. Greenery and winding roads are common in western countries yet outré in Hong Kong. That was why I also captured a red taxi in the photo to show people that this captivating landscape is in my hometown, Hong Kong.

book club


Still Me Before You

The English Wife

The Music Shop

Just Between Us

Jojo Moyes

Lauren Willig

Rachel Joyce

Rebecca Drake

Louisa Clark arrives in New York ready to start a new life, confident she can embrace this new adventure and keep her long-distance relationship with Ambulance Sam alive. Determined to get the most out of the city, she throws herself into her new job working for the super-rich Gopnik family. She’s soon hobnobbing with New York’s high society and meets Joshua Ryan, a man who brings with him a whisper of her past.

Annabelle and Bayard Van Duyvil live a charmed life. He is the scion of an old moneyed family and she grew up in a manor house in England. Following a whirlwind romance and the birth of beautiful twins, he recreates her family home on the banks of the Hudson. So far, so good. But three years later, on the evening of their Twelfth Night Ball, Bayard is found dead and Annabelle goes missing, presumed drowned.

In 1988 on a dead-end street stands a music shop. It’s small, brightly lit and jam-packed with records of every kind. Frank, the owner, has a way of connecting with his customers and finding just the right piece of music for each of them. Then one day, in steps Ilse Brauchmann who asks Frank to teach her about music. And so begins the story of a journey of two quirky characters trying to overcome their emotional baggage through the healing power of music and love.

A heart-stopping novel of suspense when four suburban mothers conspire to cover up a deadly crime. Alison, Julie, Sarah and Heather have steady jobs, beautiful homes and healthy kids. But each has a dirty secret hidden behind the veneer of their perfect lives. Things start to unravel when Alison spots a bruise on Heather’s wrist. As mysterious injuries mount, Heather can no longer deny the marital abuse but refuses to leave her husband.



Sales & Marketing Sales Director Hilda Chan

Sales & Marketing Executive Kiran Hiranandani Isamonia Chui Angel Law


Management Trainee Charles Lau


Apex Print Limited 11-13 Dai Kwai Street, Tai Po Industrial Estate, Tai Po, Hong Kong


Ap Lei Chau wetmarket

Are we unknowingly eating endangered sea species? Gemma Shaw reports @southsidemag

GIVE US A CALL! Admin: 3568 3722 Editorial: 2776 2773 Advertising: 2776 2772, 3563 9755 Southside 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. Southside 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.




ndangered sea species are being sold at local wet markets, including Ap Lei Chau market. Some fish and seafood have also been found to be mislabelled, often being incorrectly identified as a more expensive species. Hong Kong is the eighth largest per capita consumer of seafood in the world with the average person consuming 65.5 kilogram of seafood every year. Before the 1980’s almost all of Hong Kong’s live reef fish food was caught locally. Overfishing has resulted in Hong Kong importing almost 90 percent of its seafood. Over the the past four decades, local catches have produced increasingly smaller fish and fewer varieties. A study published in September 2017 by Choose Right Today, an initiative of ADM Capital Foundation, found 17 species listed as ‘threatened’ or ‘near threatened’ under the International Union for Conservation of Nature

17 species listed as threatened or near threatened... for sale

(IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species for sale at wet markets across Hong Kong. Stan Shea, Marine Conservation Project Director and Partner of Choose Right Today lead the Live Reef Food Fish (LRFF) Wet Market Report. Speaking at Ap Lei Chau wet market he says that the study’s findings are alarming. “Without sustainability in the trade, we will have to face the end of not only seafood and the livelihoods that it supports, but also a key element of our very own culture”. As he walks around the market, Stan points out

fish being sold that are classified as threatened or near threatened by IUCN. These fish include popular choices such as grouper, some are caught locally and some imported. “The lack of information available to consumers is a big part of the problem” says Shea. “We are given the illusion of plenty

Shea pointing out endangered fishes

- our tanks in seafood restaurants seem to be always full of fish and the reality is barely discussed”. The study reports findings of mislabeling of LRFF in local markets. “It is hard for consumers to know their options if they want to shop sustainability and they don’t tend to trust vendors”. Current government legislation only covers internationally traded marine fish. Stan greets many traders at Ap lei Chau wet market by name, he has been out on the fishing boat with those who still fish locally to support their sales. When asked about sustainability issues the traders declined to comment. However, Stan says that they are keen to work towards a solution. “Many generations before them have fished in the seas and traded in the same wet markets and they want to ensure they can pass the trade onto future generations”. A government report issued by the Environmental Protection Department in November 2017 states that “the AFCD will continue to assist the local fisheries industry in moving towards sustainable development”. This will include stepping up efforts to encourage the fisheries industry to make good use of the $500 million Sustainable Fisheries Development Fund. They say they will also continue their efforts to combat illegal fishing activities including trawling to help reserve fisheries resources. Choose Right Today are calling for urgent conservation action to promote sustainable fishing in local waters. They would also like to see adequate information at the point of purchase and restaurants and wet markets taking some responsibility to offer sustainable options.

Fishes for sale at Ap Lei Chau wetmarket

Consumer education is so important says Karishma Dalani of Communique who represents Choose Right Today. “It is hoped that by spreading information about the situation through the media, the public will become aware of what is happening”. Shea adds that “a greater range of sustainable options are needed and some key areas to work on are size or quota limits on fisheries as well as regulations on recreational fishing activities”. He understands the difficulties “it is not easy, the government also needs to keep in view the livelihoods of local fishermen”. Dr Allen To, Manager of Oceans Sustainability at WWF Hong Kong suggests that consumers use the WWF-HK Seafood Guide which puts popular seafood items into three categories, red, yellow and green. He adds, “our smartphone app contains sustainability details for each of the 70 plus seafood we’ve assessed, as well as a list of restaurants providing sustainable seafood”. Stan is hopeful that the situation can be improved, “Consumers can be a part of the solution by learning about the fish they eat”. His advice is to “look out for sustainable seafood labels and refer to a sustainable seafood guide to identify species that are threatened and avoid eating those, along with juveniles”. For more information visit and download the WWF Seafood Guide at


cover story


Jump start your fitness with the city’s most interesting workouts. By Catharina Cheung


reach those goals


cover story DANCETRINITY DANCETRINITY founder Alexandre Amorosso formally started his dance training at the Hampstead School of Latin Dance in 2001, and moved to Hong Kong in late 2007 to improve salsa dancing in the city. His dance company offers a very wide range of dances including Mambo, Argentine Tango, Ballet, Jazz, Hip Hop, Latin American Ballroom, Street Jazz, and Contemporary among others. There are also classes to train your body and technique such as Stretch & Relax, Spinning & Turn Technique, and Body Movement & Isolation.


ow many of you have ‘get fit’ as your new year resolution? After the excesses of Christmas time, January spawns a frenzy of fad diets, juice cleanses, and gym membership sign ups. Guiltinduced fitness aside, it’s always a good time to start making healthier choices. But we all know how slogging away on a treadmill is boring and monotonous work. Instead, stay motivated with a range of workouts which are also fun enough to keep your interest until you get hooked on the results.

Flex Studio Flex Studio focuses on sculpting, toning, strengthening, and stretching. Aside from pilates, yoga, and cardio conditioning, what makes Flex stand apart is their specialised Xtend Barre and AntiGravity Fitness regimes. Xtend Barre Practice dancer-inspired moves blended with the strength and sculpting of pilates. Xtend Barre seeks to improve your coordination, rhythm, and cardiovascular fitness––without the

need of prior dance experience. Who doesn’t want a lean physique and strength of a dancer? AntiGravity Fitness Flex has the widest range of aerial workouts including AG Aerial Yoga, AG Decompression Session, AG Cocooning, and the new AG AIRbarre. Beginners to inversions, flying, and suspended stretching can start with AG FUNdamentals. For the new year, Flex Studio is bringing us a new expanded studio and workout concept–– FLEXtreme. In response to the high demand for HIIT concepts, Flex will offer a strength-based program (power, sweat, and TRX) housed in its own full service studio in Central, but also in various classes throughout the week in One Island South. The programme is designed to complement their other classes and is suitable for all, even post-natal. Shops 308-310, One Island South, 2 Heung Yip Road, Wong Chuk Hang. 2813 2212,

Belly Dance This isn’t just wiggling your hips; belly dance comprises moves that focus mainly on the core muscles. Don’t let the low impact label fool you because this class actually works even the hard-to-target, deep transverse abdominals. DANCETRINITY offers Egyptian and Fusion belly dance classes. Pole Dance and Aerial Hoop Start with pole dancing and work your way up to the hoop. Great workouts for activating core muscles, toning glutes, and upper body strength whilst improving balance, coordination, and flexibility.

JAN 13-19 Start 2018 on a clean slate with Michelle Ricaille and Flex’s 7 Day Detox Program. This holistic detox incorporates clean food, supplements, yoga classes and nutrition lectures, with a focus on the body’s two most important detoxification organs, the digestive system and the liver. Also learn how to control the mind’s cravings and weaknesses through pranayama and meditation. The detox package includes: • Comprehensive detox manual • Herbal liver detox tonic • Probiotics • Homeopath/nutrition consultation • Daily lecture and yoga classes • Cooking class with nutritionist Denise Tam at Food for Life The week-long package costs $3,630.


Stiletto Heels Truly strut your stuff with instructor Milton as he runs you through posture, movements and catwalk styles. Work those heels and bring out your inner diva as you learn how to put lines and energy into your movements, and walk out of the studio feeling toned and confident. Suitable for all genders! 2018 sees newcomer Federica introducing a Dance Yoga class. This new yoga type combines the best dance forms into flow yoga to introduce rhythm and harmony. Feel the pulse of the beat as you transition from one form to the next using Vinyasa flow mixed with

reach those goals traditional, contemporary, and lyrical dance movements. DANCETRINITY offers drop-in classes with no registration necessary, five classes for $680, eight classes for $1,200 or $1,300, and unlimited pass for a month for $2,880. Under 21s get a 20 per cent discount for the winter season. 8/F Fung Woo Centre, 279-281 Des Voeux Road Central. 9634 9770,

Swish Club Swish Club can help you on your way to becoming a badass in 2018 with their Muay Thai programs. You will learn the authentic way to punch, kick, elbow, and knee with sandbags, as well as do padwork with their native Thai coaches. Muay Thai is said to use almost every muscle in the body––a perfect blend of cardio, strength, and endurance training. It’s also a mental workout requiring intense concentration to stay centred and balanced in anticipation of the opponent’s move. The space is split into two studios, each offering slightly different programs. Thai Boxing A good starting point for beginners looking for group Muay Thai training and effective fat burning. The class works on strength, conditioning, and cardio training, as well as gradual improvements in boxing technique and speed. Students will also have a five minute round of one-on-one padwork with their coach. Swish Arena Go for personalised and intensive Muay Thai group lessons for quicker improvement in boxing power and agility. There will be at least one coach to every three students, as well as three three-minute rounds of one-on-one padwork. Thai Boxing prices range from $200 for a single lesson to $1,480 for 50 sessions, and Swish Arena prices range from $280 for a single lesson to $6,380 for 50 sessions to be used up within nine months. The studio also offers female only training groups in Ladies MT and Slim Circuit. Kids Thai Boxing classes are catered to 6-12s of all levels, and personal training with a Muay Thai instructor of your choice. Swish Club are generously offering Southside readers a free taste of Thailand’s national sport; just bring in our magazine to claim your free trial. 2/F Progress Commercial Building, 9 Irving Street, Causeway Bay. 2834 6965,

TORQ TORQ allows you to set measurable goals and track your progression such as performance stats after each class. They offer three main modes of training with classes varying in length

and intensity under each category: TORQCYCLE, TORQ-SWITCH, and TORQ-RELEASE. CYCLE-SWITCH CYCLE comprises cycling sessions with instructors varying their goals and expectations in each class so your body and mind are continually challenged. SWITCH are their circuit classes using body weight, TRX, Kettlebells, free weights, sandbags and ViPR to get leaner, stronger, and more agile. CYCLE-SWITCH is then the perfect combination of both cardio and muscle toning workout, with 20 minutes of HIIT cycling and 25 minutes’ worth of high intensity circuit training.

TORQ offers packages with no membership fee or long term contracts, ranging from one trial class with a free session at $280, to three months’ unlimited classes at $6,900. During the month of January there will be a post holiday special package: unlimited classes for a month at $1,999. 3/F Abdoolally House, 20 Stanley Street, Central. 2677 8623,

RELEASE Decompress after all that hard work with a trigger point foam roller class. Most people neglect releasing and stretching due to ‘lack of time’, but with a dedicated session, there are no more excuses.


cover story In January, Turning Circles will be running a six week beginners course every Tuesday of the month from 7:30-8:30pm. The entire course will cost $960 and hoops will be provided. Email to sign up. The groups gather at TAMAR Park, Central, if the weather is nice out, or Central Pier No.10 if it threatens to rain. Apt. 42, 6/F Hing Ying Mansion, 40-42 Bonham Road, Mid-Levels. 5324 7473,

BounceLimit BounceLimit is Asia’s only rebounder training studio, with 32 individual mini trampolines and a range of functional and bodyweight exercises on the rebounders. These guys have brought the 80s back and made it better! These high intensity low impact workouts incorporate stability, core, and muscle toning; just 10 minutes on the rebounder is the calorific equivalent of half an hour on the treadmill. It also absorbs up to 85 per cent of the shock, thereby protecting your knee joints from strain. Anyone looking to lose weight, bulk up or tone would be able to benefit from rebounding (never thought you’d hear that, did you?). LED TabataBounce Jumping around with sweaty bodies along to thumping music and pulsing lights ––it’s like being in a club, but losing weight at the same time. This 50 minute class with Tabata training is sure to get your endorphins flowing. YinRelease Based on Yin Yoga, this program focuses on longer static holds, releasing tightness in muscles and clearing possible energy blockages. The yin of your connective tissues needs to work with the yang of your muscles to keep your joints healthy.


BouncePilates This class falls under the category of inner core strength training. Split into 50 per cent cardio and 50 per cent pilates exercises. BouncePilates is beneficial to your back and spine, especially recommended for those who regularly exercise. First timers can try it out at $400 for two trial classes. Rebounder sessions normally cost $300 per session, and $2,800 for 10 classes. BounceLimit are also bringing out a Rise and Shine promotional offer: for $1,000 you can attend five weekday morning classes before noon, valid for a month. 13/F The Pemberton, 22-26 Bonham Strand, Sheung Wan. 2441 0021,

Turning Circles Turning Circles brings the 852 hula hoop dancing as a fun way to get a good workout. The ‘tricks’ based classes where you learn to manipulate and move with the hoop are a great way to tone the core, shoulders and legs, as well as work on balance, stability, and focus.

Pure South Pure South, unlike other Pure Fitness or Pure Yoga centres, is a hybrid centre designed to give you the best of both worlds, including nood food and Pure Apparel under one roof. This centre also hosts classes which are hard-tofind in Southside such as aerial yoga, Spartan training, Tabata, and more. Yoga Wheel Combining traditional asanas with the yoga wheel, this class opens up areas that are typically tight as a result of modern day living. You’ll expand the chest and shoulders, stretch the hip flexors, and rejuvenate the spine.

reach those goals Hot Yoga Available in classes of increasing sets of postures as well as vinyasa, Hot Yoga is great for developing balance and flexibility. While you may or may not burn excess fat from the heated environment, you will sweat out toxins, and the heat will relieve tension. Suitable for beginners to advanced yogis. Wall Rope Yoga The Yoga Wall system uses ropes, pelvic swings, bars, and other props to help enhance traction and extension of the body. The body is opened more, and you can correct alignment issues and go deeper into postures than you’ve ever had before. Available as a new year’s special until February 28, Pure has brought out the POWER PACK, a gift pack that encompasses the exercise, nutritional, and lifestyle aspects of a happy balanced life. Each POWER PACK contains a one-month pass to all Pure Fitness and Pure Yoga locations, $200 worth of nood food vouchers, $200 worth of Pure Apparel vouchers, and two guest passes for friends. The pack is worth over $6,000 but can be purchased for just $1,388. Visit to buy online. L/1, The Pulse, 28 Beach Road, Repulse Bay. 8200 0908,

H-Kore H-Kore is the sole fitness studio in Hong Kong using the Lagree fitness method, which promises to strengthen, tighten, and tone the body quickly, getting the most out of you within 45 minutes. It combines high intensity training with low impact moves and constant muscle engagement; a total body conditioning workout.

H-Kore The full body workout to jump start your metabolism. You will be using the Megaformer machine, which is only available at H-Kore, to perform slow and controlled movements so that there is a constant tension in your muscles. The exercises are designed to work all four motor unit muscle types to failure. Sounds scary, but it is this progressive overloading that stimulates the biggest amount of muscle fibers and creates

the greatest metabolic response. Even while sporting an injury, instructors can tailor sessions to your needs so you can always workout. Once you’ve completed eight classes, you can step up your workout by trying a blended class. KettleKore Combining Kettlebell exercises with the traditional Lagree fitness technique guarantees an increased metabolic burn and an endorphin buzz. DJ Ignotus will be playing a live gig during January 18’s KettleKore class at 6:15pm. In January, H-Kore will launch their private training and nutrition packages. For $7,000 you will get eight Private Training sessions with a certified Lagree fitness trainer. These session include nutritional advice to complement your fitness training. Your trainer will work closely with you to create a bespoke training and nutrition programme. Additionally, H-Kore will be holding a free pre- and post-natal workshop on January 25 from 10am-noon. Mummies will learn how to support their bodies’ changing needs, and how to aid delivery and promote post natal recovery using appropriate exercises and modifications. The session will be conducted by trained graduates in Developmental Psychology and Physiotherapy from H-Kore and Joint Dynamics. Email to book your spot. 3/F Wincome Centre, 39 Des Voeux Road Central. 2441 9000,


Photo courtesy of The Open University of Hong Kong



The Open University Hong Kong

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

The Open University of Hong Kong (OUHK) 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,,

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 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,,

Photo by Wpcpey via Wikimedia Commons

Career changing

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,,

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

new year, new you with their free beginner’s coding class. 8F, 33 Des Voeux Road, Central,,

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 three weeks and Artificial Intelligence. The part-time courses are regularly held on Tuesdays and Thursdays between 7-9pm in Sheung Wan. Full time immersive courses are also available which teaches the skills to become a junior software developer. Part-time courses starts at $1,998. 16F, 40 Bonham Strand, Sheung Wan, 5598 7836,,

Online only Accelerated HK

Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) The International college for creative minds, SCAD has four campuses offering full-time, parttime and less-than part-time creative-industry related degrees. But for those who are unable to travel to the SCAD campus, you can also learn online. SCAD has been providing more than 15 e-learning courses for more than 12 years. 292 Tai Po Road, Sham Shui Po, 2253 8044,,

Insight School of Interior Design The only school in Hong Kong that specializes in interior design, Insight School of Interior Design 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,,



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 US$29-$99 per course. Online only at Online only at

Aberdeen Boat Club has Adult Beginner Sailing Courses that you can enjoy during the weekends. Learn how to operate the “Pico” oneperson dinghy and the “Laser 2000” two-person dinghy and sail from Aberdeen to Middle Island. You can sign up for the next sailing course in March next year; members $3,100 and nonmembers $4,650. 20 Shum Wan Road, Aberdeen, Hong Kong, 2552 8182,,

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

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 US$12 and provide unlimited access to over 18,000 classes. Still unsure? The first month is entirely free. Online only at

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.


education Pure

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

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 your old friends or meet some new ones and learn in their gallery-environment. Unit 621 One Island South, 2 Heung Yip Road, Wong Chuk Hang, 5238 8186,,

LUMP pottery studio is a community of potters and ceramic makes 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 classes. Available Thursday, Sunday or Tuesday. 11A, Gee Luen Hing Industrial Building, 2 Yip Fat Street, Wong Chuk Hang, 2116 0865,,

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,,

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


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 which includes a certificate upon completion. Classes are priced from $2,500. 787 Po Tung Road, Sai Kung, 2570 2006,,

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,,

Music International Academy (M.intAcademy) Cultivate your musical talent with 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,,

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,,

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.

new year, new you

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,,

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,,

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, ,

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,,


arts & culture

Wheels of Fire exhibition

3 EXHIBITIONS TO MAKE YOU THINK Broaden your horizons and learn something new with Catharina Cheung’s choice of exhibits


smart art Rhythms in Nature by Stephen King Not to be confused with the horror writer, Stephen King is a fine art and landscape photographer based in Hong Kong. Drawing inspiration from Chinese ink and modern painters such as Georgia O’Keefe, Mark Rothko, and Zao Wou-ki, King’s works are well-liked for their meticulously composed representations of the natural world; they strikingly depict the landscape’s capacity for both drama and serenity. In Rhythms in Nature, King seeks the harmonious interplay between nature’s patterns and nature’s light. Through his photography, he delights in uncovering the patterns that highlight the order and beauty of the natural world. Sometimes this is achieved through simplification, distillation, and elimination of visual distractions, at other times he juxtaposes unexpected elements, playing with foreground and background, subject and surroundings. Often, viewers think his works look more like paintings––this is deliberately emulated through meticulous composition and arrangement. Treating the world as his canvas, King’s travels have taken him everywhere from the skies above Iceland, the bamboo forests of Japan, the lava fields of Hawaii, to the ice pack in the Arctic Circle. Of the works in this exhibition, we particularly enjoyed River Delta 33: a glorious mess of sea-green and icy blue swirls wrapped around gold and ochre tones. It truly does look like a painting, with the soft strokes of ice juxtaposed against the hard immovability of rock, but it is in fact an image taken in Iceland earlier in 2017. Winter Wonderland, captured in the bleak beauty of winter in Niseko, Japan, won him the gold award for One Eyeland’s World’s Top Ten

Winter Wonderland

River Delta 33

Landscape Photographers Award 2017. Interestingly, King has had a long career in finance and investing, having been involved with banking, private equity, and hedge fund investing since graduating from Harvard College. Even today, concurrent with his art, he still manages a hedge fund and family office. He also serves as a Governor on the Board of Governors of the Chinese International School. There could be a chance of bumping into

him and having a chat during the exhibition’s opening reception on January 24, from 5:30-7:30pm. The exhibition will be open January 24 to March 10. Take in the incomprehensible beauty of our world presented through different perspectives and scales at Alisan Fine Arts, 21/F Lyndhurst Tower, 1 Lyndhurst Terrace, Central. 2526 1091,

Autumn Snow


arts & culture Wheels of Fire by Massimo Antonaci and Books of Wisdom Italian-born New York-based artist Massimo Antonaci received international acclaim for his use of tar and glass. His latest exhibition now showcases a new medium––papyrus. Antonaci handmakes the papyrus sheets, drying out papyri sap in air and sunlight, as a physical embodiment of matter that was, and the matter that remains. The sole motif throughout these works is the circle or the wheel, a shape replete with symbolism in various ancient cultures. Antonaci posits the shape as ‘one movement, one exhalation, one memory’; a manifold symbol transcending time and sensation. As the strokes and colours blend into each other, the viewer is reminded of the traces left behind by awareness. Think back on when you last tried to recall the details of a dream, when an unfathomable smell or an elusive glimpse stirs up forgotten memories.

One movement, one exhalation, one memory

The circle also brings to mind the religious concepts of the cycle of regeneration and the cosmic wheel, as well as ancient archetypes of the sacred feminine––from the enso in Zen Buddhism, the ouroboros in Ancient Egyptian iconography, to Tibetan Buddhism’s Yum Chenmo. This artistic choice is no doubt influenced by Antonaci’s vast research in religion and history. He has embarked on several pilgrimages throughout his career, focusing on a search for metaphysical meaning, where he used polaroids to capture ‘what the ego-less eye is able to see when in a state of physical and mental exhaustion’. Keep an eye out for our favourites: Cerchio – Fuoco ZB and Fuoco K. Wheels of Fire is exhibited at Rossi & Rossi alongside a selection of complete medieval Tibetan Buddhist manuscripts from the McCarthy collection––a rare opportunity to view these ancient manuscripts in their original form. Comprised of 11 canonical manuscripts dating from the 13th to 16th century, the folios in the Books of Wisdom exhibition venerate Prajñāpāramitā (the Perfection of Transcendent Wisdom) in Mahāyāna Buddhism, a perfected way of seeing the nature of reality, and the personification of the ‘Great Mother’


Bodhisattva. Even if the religious aspects are not of interest, the artifacts are worth viewing for the astonishing range of calligraphic style, designs and motifs which reflect the numerous influences on Tibetan art in the period. The ‘Sutra of the Auspicious Aeon (Bhadrakhalpikasutra)’ is particularly stunning: more than 500 folios of blue-black mulberry paper with golden script. This exhibition runs until January 28. Books of Wisdom does not necessarily have to be viewed in tandem with Wheels of Fire, but the exhibits are meant to complement each other. Contemplate the koan––the paradoxical riddle––of where the circle ends and how it ties in with ancient religious sutras at

Rossi & Rossi, 3C Yally Industrial Building, 6 Yip Fat Street, Wong Chuk Hang. 3575 9417,


arts & culture

Aberdeen (1963)

Browse a collection of vintage gelatin silver prints by the late photographer Yau Leung. These works document a rapidly changing Hong Kong spanning the colonial days in the 1960s to the year of the handover. His work has long since been treasured as an integral part of the visual and cultural memories of Hong Kong. Organised for the 20th anniversary of Yau’s death, this is also the first exhibition held for his vintage handprinted pieces. Despite his career as a photographer for Shaw Studios, shooting with glamour stars and actors, Yau has always had a love for the proletariat of Hong Kong, turning his lens towards the streets and those who inhabit and animate it––often the children and the working class. They are often the undervalued and underrepresented, conveniently left out of archival materials. As such, these vintage prints can be of immense historical value, documenting the living conditions of the common man and social transition from post-war hardship to the prosperity and glitz of the 80s and 90s. There is a tender timelessness in the prints, a universal pathos shared by a boy


Photographs by Yau Leung, courtesy of Blindspot Galley

Hong Kong Stories 1960s: original vintage prints by Yau Leung

Bruce Lee and Son, 1970s

reading at a street stall, a home-bound city dweller waiting out a typhoon, a pair of well dressed women in strolling down a bustling street. Yau has captured and preserved, with a touch of melancholy, scenes of a traditional Chinese city on the cusp of irreversible westernisation and modernisation. Glimpse the familiarity and nostalgia of a bygone era through Yau’s viewfinder until January 6 at Blindspot Gallery, 15/F, Po Chai Industrial Building, 28 Wong Chuk Hang Road. 2517 6238,

Two Women (Gloucester Road, 1961)



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 a 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,


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,

clean eating 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,

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,

nood 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

Get juiced Genie Juicery Juice cleanses have taken Hong Kong and the world by storm. Two ambitious and stunning ladies from down-under rode the wave and opened Genie Juicery back 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. The buzzword ‘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. Because there’s no heat created by the machine, it kills off the unwanted bacteria and chemicals and keeps the nutrients intact”, said Mcllroy. Genie Juicery stocks a selection of juices, 100 per cent of which is organic. Barnish and McIlroy 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. The duo thinks the best way to kickstart 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”, said Barnish.

When asked what detox trends they forsee in 2018, Barnish and Mcllroy said, “We believe cold pressed juices are part of a staple daily diet. 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.” 8 Finance Street, Central.

Joe & The Juice What makes this 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 and 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.

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 guiltfree salads and raw foods at fairly reasonable prices. Shop 303, L/3, Landmark Atrium, 15 Queen’s Road Central. 9317 7796,



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. Shop G115-116, The Repulse Bay Arcade, 109 Repulse Bay Road. 2677 9908,

based foods, dairy, drinks, fresh produce, 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 116, The Pulse, 28 Beach Road. 2812 0340,

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

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,

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 grains-


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,

bite-sized news

NIBBLES News from the dining scene

Butcher and delicatessen 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,

Komune opens in Wong Chuk Hang Komune opens its door in Ovolo Southside, the first remodelled industrial building turned boutique hotel in Hong Kong. The venue reinvents conventional understandings of shared spaces by cutting open a floor slab and creating a duplex locale with a sweeping garden terrace which can accommodate over 60 guests and boasts sweeping views of southside’s greenery and glimpses of the ocean. Ovolo Southside, 64 Wong Chuk Hang Road, 3460 8157

Guide Hong Kong and Macau. The fine-dining restaurant is the first in Southside to have received the prestige culinary honour. Chef Bellin, said, “I’m thrilled that The Ocean has received such a prestigious accolade. I would like to thank every dedicated member of the front house staff for their sincere services, and to the culinary team for presenting the best of Brittany for diners. We are committed to maintaining our already high standards and we strive to elevate The Ocean yet further.” For more information, visit The Ocean by Olivier Bellin, The Pulse, 303-304. 3/F, 28, Beach Rd, Repulse Bay, 2289 5939

First Michelin restaurant in Southside The Ocean by Olivier Bellin was awarded its first Michelin star in the 10th edition of Michelin


big day out

DESERTED VILLAGE WALK Tara Smyth rediscovers villages forgotten in time


his month’s “Big Day Out” is absolutely just that! Not a hike to squeeze in before lunchtime, one needs to put aside a full day for this epic adventure. Located within the Plover Cove Country Park, you will have a journey to get there in the first instance. This hike is of a very different nature to most of Hong Kong’s hill hikes but is spectacular for a whole host of diverse reasons. This 17 kilometre hike presents a way of Hong Kong life, not witnessed by most. You will pass through a plethora of old Hakka villages, some of which are still inhabited today. For those villages whose residents left long ago, nature has taken over and flora can be seen growing in and around windows and doorframes. Roofs have caved in offering views through the broken tiles and beams to the forests above, which surround these villages lost in time. Pieces of furniture and humble household items have been left where they were last used and vines now crawl around chair legs and bedposts, and ferns cling onto cracks in the walls amidst the peeling paint. The walk starts in Wu Kau Tang – there is a car park at the end of Wu Kau


Tang Road, off Bride’s Pool Road. Alternatively, catch minibus 20R. To begin the hike, you need to take the concrete path to the left of the pavilion where you will see a signboard and map. Across the bridge take the left hand path, signposted Sam A Tseun and Sam A Chung. You are in fact headed for Sam A Tseun, via Lai Tau Shek. You will first walk alongside a sizeable stream and pass fantastic bamboo grasses, rising up and over the path. When you reach some stone steps going up towards the left, take these and continue along for some time. After a small hill and some woodland paths, you will descend to sea level and find yourself amongst some very interesting flora growing in the swampy flatlands to your right. It is amongst these flatlands that you will eventually come to a few deserted houses and a small restaurant at the end – Yama Diner. The mama running the diner is extremely friendly and offers excellent, clean, fully-flushing ‘convenience’ facilities. Once you leave here, head to the crossroad junction on the path and take a left turn to Lai Chi Wo. You will Blue lion statue inside the temple

pass through San Ah, another semi-deserted village, with an interesting temple and some public toilets. Follow the signs to Lai Chi Wo and you can’t go wrong. Once you reach the coastline, Shenzhen Port will present itself in the distance. Continue skirting this Jurassic coastline, notable for its rich red-coloured sedimentary rock, for a few minutes more and you will reach Lai Chi Wo – literally meaning Lychee Nest – once famous for its lychee trees it grew for income.

Foxy Loxy happiest when on the trail

plover adventure

Abandoned villages falling apart

Lai Chi Wo is an excellent place to stop for a packed lunch as there is plenty of space to sit down and there is much to explore. Home to an interesting ‘walled’ village, you will find residents living out their years in a tranquil, chilled-out manner. Amongst the inhabited houses are further deserted dwellings with flora winding its way in and out of the windows and roofs. Residents are friendly and one man offered us some homemade hibiscus, coconut and chia seed ice-lollies with edible chrysanthemum flowers embedded in them. Absolutely delicious! After a proper nose around Lai Chi Wo, it’s time to continue on with the hike. From here, you need to head to the water, pass through the ornate arch and continue left along the waterfront. Now you should be following signs to So Lo Pun. Head uphill through the woods and here the path gets quite steep. The descent is equally

steep with crooked, slightly precarious, wooden steps taking you back down to sea-level. You will arrive in a valley with Shenzhen Port on your right and mangroves on your left. Continue along and take the left hand path at the end, again signposted to So Lo Pun. So Lo Pun is the piece de resistance of this hike. A derelict Hakka village, it is believed to be haunted and hikers have reported that compasses stop working when they enter the village. Here you can walk amongst the old houses and see entire trees winding their way up deserted buildings. Reminiscent of the Angkor region in Cambodia, one can really lose oneself in the ethereal surroundings and imagine what life was once like here, amongst this oasis of calm in the jungle. Continue along the path and you will come to some steps on your right, signposted Luk Keng. Go up this hill, back down over the other side and you will now have resplendent views of Shenzhen right in front of you. The walk continues along a concrete path, all the way to Luk Keng, passing more villages and interesting sights on the way. With the modernity of towering Shenzhen on your right and the dilapidation and decay of a bygone era on your left, the end of this walk offers striking contrasts that cannot be imagined. Once at Luk Keng, reward yourself with a cold drink at the dai pai dong and allow the kind proprietor to order you a taxi home. Tara Smyth runs photography company Nitty Gritty Image. For details, visit A cow basks in the sun with Shenzhen at the back


body & soul


Catharina Cheung speaks to expats on their struggles with drinks and drugs 52 | SOUTHSIDE.HK

fresh start

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, 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,


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. 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 Or drop by an AA meeting. There are several everyday in Hong Kong. Visit for more information.


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 only until they lose bodily functions that they seek for 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,



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


the high life



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



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


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 is a Sherpa market but any day of the week is

the high life 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

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 sun than on this trip—when it was high in the

Crossing the Hillary suspension bridge on the way to Namche

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 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



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!


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 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

A porter

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 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 A yak

the high life

Above the treeline

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 as we all bumped into each other at various stages of our respective journeys. Whether it

Whilst our surroundings were absolutely beautiful... life in the mountains is hard and unforgiving Arriving at base camp

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

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!






Ask a vet... Dr. Pauline Pets Central veterinarian Dr. Pauline Taylor answers your questions.

“Is it possible to toilet train a kitten?” In theory and usually in practice, toilet training a kitten is straightforward. Most kittens quickly learn to toilet in the appropriate place. By the time most are weaned (seven to eight weeks) and go to new homes they have already learnt toileting. The most important teacher is their mother. Provide a clean absorbent substrate, with a texture the kitten likes, that allows scratching and digging pre/post toileting. It should be scooped daily and changed weekly, and kept in an easily accessible place. Deny access to other similar substrates in the house like plant plant soil. If kittens consistently fail to use the litter box they should be checked out for a medical problem. “We got a second kitten but they don’t get along. Is there a way to get them to play with each other?” I suspect patience and time is required. It can take two to three weeks for recently introduced kittens to like each other. The ages of both kittens are important but most youngsters eventually get along just fine. Difficulties arise if you try and introduce a young kitten to a much older kitten or cat. Some cats simply want to be alone and live in their own solitary social group. Some kittens are fearful, others bossy and wild. The critical age for any introduction is before your resident cat is over 3 years old. Feeding stations, toilets, the environment, medical problems as well as play are involved in them getting along. Play usually happens in due course as kittens do love to play. If not, a vet check would be indicated. “Our dog keeps licking her paws, but there are no signs of wounds or parasites. What should I do?” Licking paws is part of normal grooming while over licking paws is a common problem among dogs with allergies and other medical problems. With over licking, the paw hairs tend to get stained by the dog’s saliva and can be noticed by red or brown tinges - especially on dogs with light colored coats. Allergies can be seasonal and linked to allergens in the air like flower pollen, house dust and pollutants. It can also be from contact with triggers on the ground such as plants and floor polish. Ingested foods can also cause this, though this is less likely. I suggest a chat with your vet.

Got a question for Dr. Pauline? Email 64 | SOUTHSIDE.HK


Small victory

zim city

The latest green issues affecting our city.

A small win in a long war for country park enclaves


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. 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 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. 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 ask for the Board to reconsider. They pointed out that the general planning intention for the Tai Ho area is to conserve the natural landscape and scientific and ecological values, such as the Tai Ho stream.


Hoi Ha’s safe for another day

Concerns were raised that the Small House demand figures were highly speculative and couldn’t 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 will 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. 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.


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Mrs Backfire


Opinions, rants and random outbursts. On the rocks, please

Who the hell wants to run 100ks?


tress fractures, runner’s knee, shin splints, Achilles’ tendinitis, blisters, chafing, asthma, allergies, heatstroke – or maybe, hypothermia - concussion! Sounds like fun, doesn’t it? I forgot to mention a little thing called EAC: Exercise-Associated Collapse. That crazy condition you’ve probably seen at finish lines, where the racer’s all wobbly, as off-balance as a drunk, and can’t stand or walk unaided. All this from too much exercise. Excuse me while I make a cup of tea and catch up on The Crown. Mrs. Backfire’s personal theory is that the Hong Kong equivalent of the midlife crisis is not a red Ferrari or a hot blonde, but a RacingThePlanet donation page. There’s something about the hours and hours of training, the testing of one’s self, the physio bills, the expensive gear and, of course, the competitive middle finger to aging and mortality that appeals to our crowd. Especially the over 40’s out there – I think you know who I’m talking about. We see it happening – the casual joggers morphing into lean, mean trail running machines - but can we explain it? Why do so many Hong Kong folks push themselves so far, so often? It used to be that Hong Kong’s outdoor enthusiasts had only the humble MacLehose to test themselves. Teams of four setting out in the early hours, full of camaraderie and good will, their support crews waiting patiently at checkpoints with sandwiches and hot coffee. Trailwalkers didn’t mind if the Gurkhas were the fastest across 100k’s, because those guys earned it. Being freakishly fit was a job requirement. Everyone else just tried their best, all for a good cause. Our local marathon isn’t bad either; not the most scenic 42k in the world, mind you, but a worthy goal nonetheless. These days, however, Hong Kong’s winter race calendar is filled with not two, not 10 but 18 races, both trail and road, that measure 50k’s or more. 18 ultra’s. Hong Kong, this is madness. I mean, we all


loved bubble tea and gourmet cupcakes once upon a time, but we didn’t need a shop on every corner. One of the wildest of these races is the Ultra Trail Tai Mo Shan (UTMT), held just recently. It regularly attracts over 1,000 runners, many of whom are ultra ‘specialists’ from around the world. This insane route starts and ends in Sha Tin, covers 162 kilometers and demands a cumulative altitude gain of 9,032 meters. Hills and stairs and more hills and stairs. Oh, and you get 42 hours max to complete the course. Now consider that 162 kilometres is the equivalent of running from Central to Kowloon Tong over ten times! Ugh. Who needs to go to the Antarctica, the Amazon or the Sahara to suffer from exposure, dehydration, sleep deprivation, hallucinations and sore muscles? We’ve got it all right here. Two friends of mine, Mountain Goat 1 and Mountain Goat 2, love the long distances. MG1 started running to combat postpartum depression, while MG2 came to the sport late in life and found she could go and go and go. The two of them have raced in cities and countrysides around the world and think nothing of going for a brisk jog along Dragon’s Back. My knees hurt just thinking about the up and down pounding. But to the mountain goats, marathons and ultra-trails are almost a necessity. Runners run. Writers write. Compulsion takes many forms. Yours truly prefers to fixate on activities that can be completed in one hour or less and don’t require a head torch! But in our extreme urban environment, where there’s no such thing as part-time or half-measures, maybe it’s worth taking a page from the ultra’s playbook. From the UTMT website, I’ve learned that 100 kilometers on two feet requires patience and meditation and brings you to a place where you can “see your mind”. MG2 says the longer distances are more relaxing. She can take her time, enjoy the views and daydream. So, don’t call it a crisis. But make sure you’ve got a good physio.


Southside Jan 2018  
Southside Jan 2018