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February 2018 Have a pawsperous new year!

Whisk your love away Our favourite honeymoon destinations

Operation renovation Two year Stanley home project

School visit to… HKCA Po Leung Kuk Primary School

Kung Hei Fat Choi Top things to do this Chinese New Year


The really useful magazine February 2018

49 46




22 Tso Shun Kam Veteran nurse and winner of the Outstanding Staff Award

4 Snapped! Southside’s social life THE PLANNER


6 Happening in February What’s on

23 Out this month Books to read in February

MUST HAVE THIS MONTH 16 Valentine’s for him and her A gift guide for the season of love NEWS 18 What’s going on? In your backyard GIVEAWAYS 20 Free stuff Fab things to win


LOCAL 24 Instagram Pier redevelopment Public push to protect Instagram pier COVER STORY 26 Top things to do this Chinese New Year Events and festivities. Plus 2018 Chinese horoscopes

4 READERS’ CHOICE AWARDS 32 Vote to win Have your say in our annual Southside awards EDUCATION 34 New horizons School visit to HKCA Po Leung Kuk primary DINING 38 Valentine’s dining Romantic restaurants. Plus Nibbles HOME & LIVING 42 Same home, new look Stanley home: two years in the making

TRAVEL 48 Honeymoon destinations Whisk your love away PETS 56 Ask Dr. Pauline Pet eccentricities and abnormalities explained. NEWS FROM THE GREENS 58 Walk the talk Jennifer Frisinger discusses a carfree Des Voeux Road MRS BACKFIRE 64 Parents just don’t understand Mrs Backfire bemoans the overinvested parent

BODY & SOUL 46 Dolling up for Valentine’s Look and feel your best self this Valentine’s day



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Dr. Pauline Taylor ...graduated as a vet in Scotland. After ten years of practice in New Z ealand, she moved to Hong Kong. Passionate about animal welfare and presently studying acupuncture, in Dr. Pauline’s free time, you’ ll find her swimming, watching a movie or keeping up to date with global affairs.

Robyn Or

Yasmin Hingun

...is a story collector who believes she can notice the uniqueness of every single person on earth. Robyn has worked as a reporter, a flight attendant, a copywriter and now makes a living as a freelance photographer and writer. She does whatever makes her happy.

…moved to Hong Kong from Darjeeling when she was exactly two months old. She loves asking lots of questions, being silly, drinking tea a nd re-reading The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Y asmin is very culturally confused a nd descends into pa nic whenever she is asked “Where are you from?”

Want to write for Southside Magazine? Contact editorial@hongkongliving.com



people Snaps from Southside


say cheese Snaps from Southside

New Year Winter Swimming Lifesaving Championships

Share your event photos with us at photo@hongkongliving.com. Get snapping!



FEB 10

ATOM Academy CNY Camp

Wong Chuk Hang based children’s learning centre ATOM Academy will be running camps during Chinese New Year for children aged from 2 to 8. There will be a broad array of activities to choose from, including gymnastics, taekwondo, art & design, jazz, Chinese dance and more. Each session lasts two days. Fees are $900 per session for the 2.5-3.5 age group and $1,260 for 3.5 to 8 year olds. For more information or to enroll call 2295 6066 or email them at knock@atomacademy.com.hk


StartMeUp Week Last year, Elon Musk set the city abuzz as the show stopping speaker for Hong Kong’s first startup week. Back for its second year, StartMeUp Week brings together entrepreneurs, innovators and investors from locally and around the world. The festival has lined up a fintech convention, a healthtech summit, an IoT summit and more. Most events take place at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, 1 Expo Drive, Wan Chai. Learn more on startmeup.hk


Mademoiselle Privé Chanel is hosting a four week exhibition in PMQ. Classic Chanel pieces will be on display including Karl Lagerfeld’s Haute Couture, the Chanel No. 5 fragrance and a re-edition of Gabrielle Chanel’s 1932 Bijoux de


Free Fitness Fun


The November Project is a fitness movement born in Boston, the idea is to provide free, regular workout meetups. On Mondays at 6:30am, participants meet at the fountain in Sun Yat Sun Memorial Park for a six kilometre run. On Wednesdays, at 7am at the same venue, the group leads a full body workout. Fridays offer a 7am stair workout on Tai Ping Shan Street. Their Facebook group November Project Hong Kong has gained over 1,200 members. For more information visit facebook.com/NovemberProjectHongKong


planner FEB 2

Let the Children Bloom Charity Concert Pour un Sourire d’Enfant (PSE) and Mayaa Hong Kong, two child-focused organisations, are joining hands to produce a charity concert, following the success of their first show last year. PSE works to provide healthcare, education and vocational training for Cambodian children. Similarly, Mayaa Hong Kong sponsors students in Nepal, and sets up monthly health camps in deprived Kathmandu districts. Let the Children Bloom will feature choral music as well as instrumental duos. Doors open at 7pm. St. Margaret’s Concert Hall, 2A Broadwood Road, Leighton Hill, Happy Valley. Tickets are priced at $280 on ticketflap.com

Diamants jewellery collection. The exhibition will showcase the history of Chanel with a technological twist, incorporating tube lights, glowing lettering and futuristic display cases. Free admission. PMQ, 35 Aberdeen Street, Central.

UNTIL FEB 11 KidsFest 2018

This kids extravaganza continues into its final month for this year. February offers the prehistoric spectacle Erth’s Dinosaur Zoo, the heartwarming Lost and Found, upbeat and colourful What the Ladybird Heard and Michael Morpurgo’s I Believe in Unicorns. The festival’s productions mainly feature energetic casts from the UK, and also involve an Australian cast and crew. Tickets cost from $195 to $435, shows are held at the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts. Available at hkticketing. com or call 3128 8288.


MOViE MOViE Life is Art Festival Hong Kong’s one and only international art house movie channel is hosting its third ‘Life is Art’ film festival. During the month, MOViE MOViE will be screening 12 films focusing on


those who have devoted their lives to the arts. Films include ballet prodigy Sergei Polunin in Dancer, urban planning activist Jane Jacobs in Citizen Jane and a screening of the Royal Shakespeare Company’s modern day revival of Titus Andronicus. Tickets $95, Cityplaza, 5/F, 18 Taikoo Shing Road, Taikoo Shing. To purchase and for more information visit moviemovie.com.hk

René Magritte: The Revealing Image


For the first time, the work of famed 20th century surrealist René Magritte will be exhibited in Hong Kong. The collection of 132 photographs and eight films shows the behind-the-scenes footage of Magritte’s method and also includes his own photography which were the inspiration for many of his paintings. 10am-8pm. Free admission. New ArtisTree, 1/F Cambridge House, Taikoo Place, 979 King’s Road, Quarry Bay. More information at taikooplace.com


planner FEB 2-4

Ballet Classics for Children: Swan Lake This rendition of the ballet classic was specially re-created just for children and lasts for just an hour. The Hong Kong Ballet will dance out and narrate this famous love story, while also introducing basic ballet concepts to the audience to maximise its educational value. Shows are narrated in either English or Chinese so be sure to choose a showtime in your preferred language. Suitable for children aged 5 years and over. Tickets are priced at $200 or $300. Hong Kong Cultural Centre Studio Theatre, 10 Salisbury Road, Tsim Sha Tsui East. For more info or to buy tickets visit hkballet.com


Malvern College Pre-School Hong Kong Open House

FEB 2-9

India by the Bay

Cold Half Swim

FEB 10

The 15 kilometre winter marathon charity swim returns to Hong Kong. Participants will start at Stanley Main Beach and swim over to Deep Water Bay Beach. This is a solo or two-person relay race with two categories - with wetsuit and buoyant, and no wetsuit. Registrations have now closed but head down to cheer on the brave and daring swimmers. Stick around after the race for a barbecue and awards presentation at Victoria Recreation Club in Deep Water Bay. For more information visit openwaterasia.com

Photo by Carlos Leung and courtesy of The ColdHalf

For one week, India’s rich, diverse culture will be shared with the public. Events include a talk with Victoria and Abdul author Shrabani Basu, a Parsi wedding dinner paired with a history talk on the community’s legacy in Hong Kong, and a “Family Day” event aimed at parents and children. Music, art and theatre are on offer at this vibrant week-long event. Most activities held at Asia Society, 9 Justice Drive, Admiralty. For bookings and more info visit indiabythebay.com

This recently opened pre-school in South West Kowloon is the latest campus of what was originally British Malvern College. This preschool provides different curriculums for children aged from 2 to 5 years and follows

the Reggio Emilia educational method, which focuses on giving autonomy to children during the learning process. During the open day prospective parents are invited to meet with the founding principal, Jacqueline McNalty. Registration is based on a first-come, firstserve basis. RSVP at malvernpreschool.hk/open-house



planner FEB 8-11

A Midsummer Night’s Dream performance

Photo by Ines Laimins

Faust International is presenting one of Shakespeare’s finest comedies. Follow the adventures of four lovers in a forest chase, two fairy royals in a battle of wills, and one playful sprite up to no good. 7:30pm from Thursday

FEB 9-11 to Saturday, matinee showings at 2:30pm on Saturday, 11am and 2:30pm on Sunday. $275 for standard tickets, $225 for students. Tickets are available for purchase on urbtix.hk. Shouson Theatre, Hong Kong Arts Centre, 2 Harbour Road, Wan Chai. faustworld.com


Longines Masters of Hong Kong The world’s “Grand slam indoor of showjumping” returns for its sixth year bringing the best and brightest in the equestrian world to Hong Kong. Asia World Expo is the second stop in this three-part masters series, after Paris and before New York. Standard seats from $250, or enhance the experience by purchasing New York Lounge or Paris Suite tickets which include free flow champagne, a three course dinner buffet and a premium viewing experience. Asia World Expo. Tickets available at venue.cityline.com

Forest therapy walk for resilience and trust

FEB 10

Take a break from urban living and try out forest therapy. The practice, which originated in Japan, can have positive effects on both mental and physical health. Kembali organises therapy walks once or twice a month. This month, the walk places emphasis on trust-building and will finish with a tea ceremony, complete with tea picked straight from the wild. 8:30am-12pm. Tickets priced at $364. The meeting point is at Wong Chuk Hang MTR Station Exit A1 (Next to Circle K). Purchase tickets at eventbrite.hk

happening in February FEB 10

South Island Art Discovery Walk Hong Kong has a surprising amount of art to offer, and if you have no idea where to find it, this tour might be a good place to start. This two and a half hour walk, led by Accidental Art, centres around Wong Chuk Hang and takes place on a monthly basis. Visitors are taken to art galleries, artist studios and sites of notable street art. Note that there are two time slots every month; the 2pm session is usually in English. Discovery Walk tickets priced at $400. To learn more visit accidentalart.co or book at eventbrite.hk


planner FEB 12-MAR 1

​​Mulberry House CNY Camp The Mulberry House is hosting a Chinese New Year camp, which will get children engaged in the festivities while learning Mandarin. Based in One Island South and Central, Mulberry House’s experienced preschool teachers will guide your children through a Chinese-themed journey in exploring traditional arts and crafts, calligraphy, music and dance, dumpling cooking and storytelling. Suitable for ages 2-8. Studio 801-802, One Island South, 2 Heung Yip Road, Wong Chuk Hang. Visit mulberryhouseasia.com or call 5589 0509.

FEB 14

Valentine’s Day Looking for romantic restaurants? See page 28, or check out our favourite Valentine’s Day gifts, page 16.

Concubine. As usual, the festival calendar is brimming with exciting performances from all around the world. Tickets priced from $140. Held at various locations including Hong Kong City Hall and Hong Kong Cultural Hall. Browse through the eclectic mix of events at hk.artsfestival.org

FEB 24

15 Minute Fat Pig Challenge Pork lovers’ eatery The Salted Pig is promoting its brunch menu with quite the challenge - any guest who can wolf down their signature ‘Fat Pig Breakfast for 2’ within fifteen minutes gets the meal, usually priced at $298, for free. If you try but fail, no worries: you’ll still get a $50 cash coupon for your bravery. The breakfast set comes with 12 items including bone marrow, pork belly, bacon and black pudding. Give it a go if you dare at Soho East G/F, 45 Tai Hong Street, Lei King Wan or G/F No.1 Knutsford Terrace, Tsim Sha Tsui.


Run for Survival

FEB 16

Chinese New Year Public holiday.

FEB 19

Third Day of Chinese New Year Public Holiday.

FEB 20-25

Hong Kong Race Week Get ready for a week of high-octane sailing organised by the Hong Kong Sailing Federation and the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club. Sailors of all ages, from Hong Kong and abroad, will be racing around Deep Water Bay, Repulse Bay, Stanley Bay and Tai Tam Bay. The event is currently looking for volunteers, so if you have a passion for water sports and you’re interested in helping out, fill out the registration form at hongkongraceweek.com


The 46th HK Arts Festival This year’s Arts Festival features 1,700 local and international artists from the worlds of dance, opera, theatre, music and more. Highlights include the National Theatre of Great Britain’s performance of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, Ballet Zürich’s Anna Karenina and the famous Cantonese opera piece Farewell My


This fun marathon aims to raise funds for Asian wildlife conservation while also educating participants on ocean-friendly behaviour. The event offers a 10km Time Challenge and the more family-friendly 3km Fun Run. During the run, participants must also complete

educational tasks presented to them at obstacle checkpoints. The routes loop around Hong Kong Science Park and Tai Po Waterfront by Tolo Harbour. 9am-2pm. Race starts at Hong Kong Science Park and Pak Shek Kok Promenade Sha Tin. Visit fringebacker.com to confirm prices and register or call. More information at opcf.org.hk

happening in February


APR 24

MAY 11 - JUN 3

Sónar, a major electronic music and technology festival originating in Barcelona, launched a Hong Kong edition of the event last year. Sónar Hong Kong is back for its second year, bringing with it a lineup of DJs and bands ranging from dance friendly genres to experimental work. The tech side of the festival is Sónar+D which incorporates workshops, talks and an expo. Tickets from $180. Workshop participation may be subject to additional fees. Hong Kong Science Park, Sha Tin. More information at sonarhongkong.com

Soft rock trio The Script will be returning to Hong Kong for the first time since 2011 with the release of their album Freedom Child. Known for hits such as Hall of Fame, Breakeven and The Man Who Can’t Be Moved, the Irish band reached the top of the UK charts with three of multi-platinum albums. The first single from Freedom Child, Rain has nearly 30 million views, suggesting that The Script has lots of new material for fans to enjoy this year. Catch them in KITEC Star Hall at 8pm. Tickets range from $580-$1,280 on hkticketing.com.hk

CATS may be ending its run this month, but luckily for musical lovers, another Andrew Lloyd Webber classic is coming this summer. Evita tells the tale of Argentina’s iconic first lady, Eva Perón, starting from her roots as the child of an impoverished family, to her rise to power as Argentina’s nationally adored first lady. The show includes all-time favourite Don’t Cry For Me Argentina and is performed by a talented touring cast. Lyric Theatre, Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts. Tickets from $445-$1,045 on hkticketing.com.hk

Sónar Festival

The Script Live


Got an event? We can publish the details for free. Email editorial@hongkongliving.com.


must have this month

VALENTINE’S DAY GIFT GUIDE FOR… HIM Moroccan neroli shaving duet $579 from Aesop 22-47 Paterson Street, Causeway Bay, 2890 8234 aesop.com

Trench leather card case $1,800 from Burberry 38 Russell Street, Causeway Bay, 2970 2018 hk.burberry.com

QuietComfort 35 wireless headphones II $2,888 from BOSE IFC Mall Central, 8 Finance Street, 3100 0080 bose.hk

Secrid Dutch Martin slim wallet $938 from Island Wake The Pulse, 28 Beach Road, Repulse Bay, 2874 3883 islandwake.com

Spark mini drone $3,899 from DJI 535, Jaffe Road, Causeway Bay, 2639 3122 store.dji.com

Shaving brush $415 from Aesop 22-47 Paterson Street, Causeway Bay, 2890 8234 aesop.com


Square Cufflinks $899 from Suitsupply 10 Ice House Street, New Henry House, Central, 5808 9488 apac.suitsupply.com

gorgeous gifts


Amour flower bouquet $1,200 from van der Bloom 61 Hollywood Road, Central, 5505 1661 vanderbloom.com.hk

Ambi Climate AI $999 from Ambi Labs Buy online at ambiclimate.com and many other online retailers.

Crown ring From $22,000 from Annoushka Mandarin Oriental Hotel, Central, 2388 9925 global.annoushka.com

Classic check cashmere scarf (ash rose) (add initials for free) $3,900 from Burberry Alexandra Shopping Arcade, 38 Russell Street, Causeway Bay, 2970 2018 hk.burberry.com

Valentine’s Day assorted chocolate heart gift box (11 pieces) $455 from GODIVA 248 Queen's Road East, Wan Chai, 2285 9628 godiva.com.hk

Fleur of England margaux silk robe $4,250 from Sheer The Landmark, 15 Queen's Road Central, Central, 2388 2876 sheer.com.hk

Lucky red box of eight assorted macarons $280 from Maison Pierre HermĂŠ Paris IFC Mall, 8 Finance Street, Central, 2833 5700 pierreherme.com

Dreamy night hamper $1,699 from Gift Hampers Order online or call 2730 0885 gifthampers.com.hk

Radiant hearts charm PANDORA Rose $999 from PANDORA IFC Mall, 8 Finance Street, Central, 2321 9831

Bath Macaron (4 Pieces) $168 from Blooming Blooms Japan 127-131 Des Voeux Road, Central, 2989 6011 bbj-japan.com

Amour whole cake $268 from Crostini Hong Kong Station, Central, 2530 0081 crostini.com.hk



HK TEAM TRIUMPHANT IN VOLVO OCEAN RACE STOPOVER • Hong Kong team wins fourth leg of roundthe-world sailing race on January 20 Team Hong Kong won an unexpected victory on the fourth leg of the Volvo Ocean Race. Seven competing teams sped to the Victoria Harbour finish line after a 5,600 nautical mile journey from Melbourne. The round-the-world sailing championship is stopping over in Hong Kong for the first time, making the Hong Kong team’s win on January 20 even more exciting for the city’s sailing fans. The team, named Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag is headed by locally based but originally Australian David Witt. After a seventh place finish in the qualifiers, followed by coming fifth and sixth in the first few legs, Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag were unprecedented victors. The racers are off again at 2pm on February 7, starting from Victoria Harbour. The next stop is New Zealand via a 6,100 nautical mile route, where teams will have to zig zag through the Polynesian islands scattered along the way. From there, it’s another three continents, 18,600 nautical miles and about half a year of racing to go before the grand finish line at The Hague this summer. Read more on the race at volvooceanrace.hk.


• New site can detect ozone particles and their origins in real time • Fresh data may help combat pollution • Hong Kong saw pollution five times Beijing’s level in late January A new station on the southeast of Hong Kong island will be able to detect ozone pollution levels in real time. The monitoring site at Cape D’Aguilar tracks changes of hazardous particles that can cause headaches, nausea and liver


and kidney damage. Ozone pollution includes smaller airborne particles such as volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and PM1. Limited data has been collected on these pollutants, but that knowledge gap is set to be remedied by the new station. The site will help uncover how much of the pollution is originating locally or from the mainland. Data collection will take around one year and preliminary sampling tests are currently being undertaken. Researchers

believe that finding out the particles’ origins will help in combating the city’s pollution problem. The later half of last month saw unhealthily high levels of pollution, with air quality purportedly quintupling that of Beijing on January 22. Posts on social media noted the “choking” “toxic” air, with one netizen wryly remarking “if it’s not mist, then it’s air pollution.” Others called for the government to enforce stricter regulations on vehicular emissions.

in your backyard



• Three cases of food poisoning after eating raw oysters from Huitres Geay • All affected oysters have been recalled • Ban on poultry meat and eggs from Landes due to outbreak of bird flu in the area

• First co-living “homstel” in Hong Kong opens at Aberdeen Harbour • Mojo Nomad residents enjoy a communitydriven lifestyle Hong Kong’s first co-living “homstel”, named Mojo Nomad, was launched by Ovolo Hotels Group at the start of this year. Mojo Nomad is based in Aberdeen and generally targets single, entrepreneurially minded professionals - as well as travellers, remote workers or anyone looking for a novel, modern lifestyle. The concept of co-living emphasises a community-oriented way of life through the use of shared spaces and events. Indeed Mojo

Nomad offers common rooms and shared kitchens designed to encourage interaction between residents. To enhance the community feeling, events such as painting classes, film nights and speaker series will be available. Residents can opt for varying numbers of roommates or a single room (dubbed the “Fortress of Solitude”, which comes with a queen-sized bed). Mojo Nomad is opening in time for Chinese New Year, hoping to capture its first major wave of travellers, remote workers and professionals looking for a new take on city living. Find out more or make a booking on mojonomad.com

Around the turn of the year, the Center for Food Safety suspended the import and sales of raw oysters by the french company Huitres Geay. This was after three cases of food poisoning relating to the consumption of the raw oysters were brought to light from investigations. The products have now been recalled. Not long into 2018, the import of poultry meat and egg from Landes, France has been banned on grounds of an outbreak of H5N2 or bird flu in the area. For more information visit cfs.gov.hk



• Secretary for Justice found to have purchased apartment with illegal structures • Second time in under a month she has been found to own such a property

• Architecture firm designs new bus stop • Partnership with Southern District councilors Paul Zimmerman and Kevin Tsui Yuen-wa • Construction and material cost ranges between $25-$50 million

Newly appointed Secretary for Justice Teresa Cheng admitted towards the end of January that her Repulse Bay flat bears three illegal structures. This statement comes weeks after Cheng was exposed for building illegal structures on another property in Tuen Mun. The apartment in question is on the third floor of Sea Cliff Mansions of 19C Repulse Bay Road. The apartment’s balcony railings, which are supposed to be straight, have been rebuilt to protrude out of the building. The two other illegal structures are yet to be revealed or disclosed. Cheng is a chartered engineer, a longstanding barrister and the author of several publications including one titled Construction Law and Practice in Hong Kong, calling to question her ignorance about the existence of illegal structures on her Repulse Bay property.

HOK, an international design and architecture firm, has proposed a new bus stop shelter next to Wong Chuk Hang MTR station. The designs feature a glass canopy which provides basic shelter, seating and rest for commuters. The area around Wong Chuk Hang has been gaining popularity after its gentrification and travel options for commuters, other than the MTR, is becoming vital. Southern District councilor Paul Zimmerman presented the models to a local government committee meeting in late 2017 where the

response was positive. It was recommended for further review from the Highways Department and MTR. As with any project, budget is a consideration, and HOK hopes to work with Zimmerman to refine the design in line with available funds. Local residents and artists are helping to shape the final design – particularly those that address issues of sustainability and adaptive reuse of old industrial materials were encouraged.


win at hongkongliving.com


enter to win!


Madeleine Bettridge

Made with New Zealand wool, little.P creates high quality rugs and textiles that are beautiful and functional. The soft, durable and hypo-allergenic fabric is environmentally friendly and great for children. A wool rug is perfect all year round - keeping you warm in winter and balancing the humidity of Hong Kong Summers. Custom and bespoke designs are also available at little P & The Palmer Studio, visit little-p.com for more information. We are happy to give away a lovely cloud rug, valued at $3,500.

Madeleine Bettridge is a British artist based in Hong Kong who creates unique, affordable artwork that brings to life the colours, sights and scenes of the city. ‘Wet Market’ is from her ‘Only in Hong Kong’ limited edition of signed prints featuring quintessential urban scenes using original photography, painting and collage. Find out more about Madeleine Bettridge and her artwork at madeleinebettridge.com. We’re giving away a signed, limited edition 24x34 inch print of “Wet Market”, valued at $1,500.


Russell Peters Deported World Tour

van der Bloom

Want fuller and healthier eyebrows and eyelashes? Sparadise’s Magic Eyelash & Eyebrow Boost Treatment might just be the answer. Using a trio of Le Mont Botanique’s purest botanical skin care products, the treatment is designed to help restore our eyebrows and eyelashes naturally. Visit sparadise.com to find out more about their wide selection of treatments. We have five treatments to give away, worth $1,400 in total.

After two sold out tours around Asia in 2015 and 2016, Russell Peters is back with The Deported World Tour on March 13. Even if you haven’t been to one of his shows, you may recognise the Canadian comedian from his stand-ups specials on Netflix . Featuring all new material, get ready for a night of Peters’ signature audience interaction and unique blend of humour. Tickets are available at hkticketing.com. We are giving away two pairs of tickets, valued at $1,920 in total.

Founded in 2017, van der Bloom has a comprehensive one-stop ordering website and next-day delivery service, making the purchase process simple and fuss-free. The Mid-levels flower boutique also has a flower subscription service designed to suit your hectic schedule. With a click of the button, you’ll have fresh flowers delivered to your office or apartment at your desired time. We will be giving away one small size flower subscription, valued at $1,500. The subscription comes with three deliveries of fresh blooms to your office or home.

Subscribe to our e-newsletter to get all our giveaways delivered straight to your inbox: southside.hk/subscribe



five minutes with


Contributing Editor Carolynne Dear carolynne@hongkongliving.com Rebecca Simpson rebecca@hongkongliving.com Managing Editor Eric Ho eric@hongkongliving.com Media Trainee Gemma Shaw gemma@hongkongliving.com


Design Manager Cindy Suen cindy@hongkongliving.com Graphic Designer Anna Schulteisz anna@hongkongliving.com


Digital Co-ordinator Cora Chan cora@hongkongliving.com

Thanks to

Catharina Cheung Jennifer Deayton Jennifer Frisinger Miranda Sheppard Dr Pauline Taylor Rachel Harina


Tom Hilditch tom@hongkongliving.com

Published by

Hong Kong Living Ltd. Floor LG1, 222 Queens Road Central, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong


Veteran nurse wins the Outstanding Staff Award and shares her passion in child caring. Robyn Or finds out more Aged 23, I joined The Duchess of Kent Children’s Hospital at Sandy Bay. This was in July 1976 when it was still managed by a group of sisters from a Irish Catholic religious order. I started working as a ward nurse for two and a half years and then transferred to the surgery department, where I’ve worked up until now. The hospital functioned like a temporary home for the children. There was a classroom, playground and garden for them to use. Teachers from The Red Cross taught at the hospital to keep the children learning.

HONG KONG hongkongliving.com


In the 70s we caught unlicensed taxis to work for $0.5. Back then, Sandy Bay was a disconnected sub-urban area so we had no choice. Due to the inconvenience of transportation, I usually slept in the dormitory if I finished late and had to start early the next day.

The child patients and nurses were like a family. Sometimes I sneaked into the ward to chat and read them stories when they couldn’t sleep. 20 years later, when they came back to visit as adults, I can still remember their names.

sense of mission. I am the big sister among my six siblings so I learnt to take care of people from a young age. The ability of changing someone’s life with care and medical knowledge made me feel alive and proud.

There are many unforgettable moments during my service at the hospital. One in particular was the charity trip to Disneyland in Florida. Four recovered kids from our hospital were selected to join another 188 kids from all over the world for this “holiday of a lifetime” trip.

I’ve worked here for 42 years and this is the only job I’ve had in my life. For my generation, most of us work as long as we can on one particular job as we rely on stability and relationship building in the company.

I live by the motto from the sayings of Confucius. “The wise man has no perplexity. The benevolent man has no worries. The brave man has no fears.” I was awarded with the Outstanding Staff Award. I became a nurse because of a

To keep myself healthy, I walk from Sandy Bay to Kennedy Town. My retirement comes next year. I am looking forward to the next stage of my life where I can finally take a break and do whatever I want, such as learning how to swim and reading as much as I can in Central Library. Volunteering in the hospital is also part of my retirement plan.

book club


The Widows of Malabar Sujata Massey Rewind to 1920s India and Perveen Mistry, Bombay’s first female lawyer, is investigating a suspicious will on behalf of three Muslim widows. Mistry smells a rat when she discovers all three women have signed their inheritance over to a charity - when tensions escalate to murder she realises her suspicions that the women are being taken advantage of by an unscrupulous guardian could be correct.

Vogue Knitting The Ultimate Knitting Book

10 Things Every Parent Needs to Know

The editors of Vogue Knitting Magazine

Parenting expert Dr Justin Coulson shares the ten things every parent needs to know to raise their children positively and to make parenting easier. It provides simple and effective strategies for the main issues faced by parents of two to 12 year olds in everyday family life. There are tips on how to manage sibling conflict, chores and screen-time in a positive way. If you’re feeling overwhelmed or just need a bit of guidance, 10 Things Every Parent Needs to Know is a must-read.

Get those needles clacking with the ultimate knitting reference. This year it gets an update with revised features, fresh material, 65 additional pages and more than 1,600 photos of hand-drawn, step-by-step illustrations. There are comprehensive chapters on lace and cabling, information on knitters’ tools, garment care and more. Perfect for hand-crafters everywhere.

Dr Justin Coulson

365 Days of Art Lorna Scobie An inspiring journal designed with arty tasks and activities for every day of the year. These include simple tasks like drawing shapes and lines, to more mindful exercises like coloringin, painting with primary colors and drawing what you see. With beautiful, vibrant hand-lettering and watercolor illustrations, the book pairs inspiring quotes with supportive prompts and exercises to spark reflection through your drawing, writing and painting.



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PUBLIC PUSH TO PROTECT INSTAGRAM PIER Yasmin Hingun updates us on the fight for Instagram Pier


he government’s plan to build a community garden on Sai Wan’s beloved ‘Instagram Pier’ took a turn in early January, after the District Council significantly downscaled the proposed area. But residents remain opposed to the plan due to perceived lack of consultation and transparency. Instagram Pier runs along and juts out of the Island’s northwestern edge. Joggers, dog walkers and photographers frequent the pier and its adjacent berth area for its unfettered views of Victoria Harbour and Belcher Bay. “[When] we visited the pier, we were taken aback by how gorgeous the sunset looked,” recalls photographer and resident Gabrielle Salonga. The government’s policy address in October would have

After all, who thinks about planting vegetables on a pier?

portioned off 7,500 square metres of the berth area to be run by an NGO, with a section converted into a community garden. “This would limit the access for the majority of the public,” notes District and Legislative Councillor Ted Hui. “Instagram Pier offers a huge space and this should be enjoyed by most of the community rather than just a handful.” The plans caused widespread criticism, including a protest

outside a District Council meeting in December, due to concerns over privatisation and the possibility of the space being fenced off. Public sentiment was not aided when part of the pier was closed off to host a month-long Taoist Festival in November without adequate consultation. “The festival also created trash issues,” says Hui. “This could be one bad example of how some NGOs could mismanage the area.” In response to the public backlash, the District Council issued a new statement in January cutting down the NGO-owned space and garden to 2,000 square metres. “Although the remaining open space seems to be larger than the original proposal, it is unclear what restrictions will be placed to change the ways [the public] use the site.” says Cherry Wong, convenor of the

Protect Kennedy Town Alliance. In a joint reply, the Development Bureau (DEVB) and the Leisure and Cultural Services Department (LCSD) explain that their second proposal places the remaining 5,500 square metres from the original plan under governmental maintenance. Extra facilities such as railings, lighting and seating are to be added to ensure a safer harbourfront environment. Critics of the plan are not entirely opposed to some minor improvements to the pier but do not see the rationale for involving a third party for the garden. “We believe the government can manage the site and should not shirk their responsibility to do so,” states Wong. Furthermore, many question the nature of a harbourfront garden. “Surely they can find a better area,” points out Salonga. “After all, who thinks about planting vegetables on a pier?” The DEVB and LCSD contend that they are seeking to meet the area’s needs, referring to Sun Yat Sen Memorial Park. “Since its establishment, the garden has always been oversubscribed. Hence, we believe that [Sai Wan Pier] could respond to demand for similar activities, while bringing in a new form of leisure use to the harbourfront.” “Strong winds, salinity, and sea waves make it difficult for a community garden to be located at the harbourfront,” counters Wong. She states that local concern groups have identified possible more suitable sites further inland, for example on Ui On Lane, next to Ladder Street and in Sai Wan Estate. “It is good that the government listened to the concern groups by scaling down the area for the proposed community garden,” adds Hui. “Although the fundamental question still remains: why should there be a community garden on Instagram Pier?”

Got a local story? Have your say by emailing editorial@hongkongliving.com SOUTHSIDE.HK | 25

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Spring cleaning

Roll up your sleeves and clean your house before Chinese New Year arrives. The act of cleaning during this period symbolises sweeping all the bad luck away. Start by sweeping dust into the middle of the room and then carry it out the door to complete the ritual. Many locals will also repaint their door frames and windows and hang Chinese New Year decorations as it is said to welcome good luck into the year. However, it is considered back to luck to clean during New Year week (starting February 16), as you may sweep away the good fortune.



Flower Markets

Temporary flower markets spring up all over Hong Kong at this time of year. The markets are great places to buy fresh flowers and plants to decorate your home or just to enjoy the buzzing festive spirit. Victoria Park hosts an annual Chinese New Year Flower Market and is the biggest of them all. There you will find a huge variety of plants, decorations, a fair full of toys, knick knacks and food. Bargain hunters can jostle with the crowds on the last day of the market to pick up bargains when items go on sale.


Dinner at Jumbo Kingdom

With its ancient imperial styled roofs, humongous neon signs and palatial girth, visiting Jumbo Kingdom is an event in itself. Aberdeen’s famed floating restaurant has operated since 1976 and welcomed the likes of the Queen. Diners can take the free ferry shuttles from Aberdeen Promenade or Shum Wan Pier out to where the restaurant “floats”. There are six jawdroppingly ostentatious dining halls and two menus - Jumbo Kingdom’s main menu and that of the fine dining venue Dragon Court. Try Jumbo Kingdom’s braised goose web with black mushroom or suckling pig with spiced meat, both priced at $270. At Dragon Court, share the pork belly with black moss costing $300, or Imperial Fried Rice, priced at $888. Call 2553 9111 for enquiries or reservations.

kung hei fat choi





Said to be bigger and better than the countdown fireworks last month, the Lunar New Year Fireworks is one event not to be missed. Fireworks and firecrackers are traditionally believed to scare away evil spirits, so expect a spectacular display. The fireworks will start at 8pm and illuminate Victoria Harbour for 23 minutes, twice as long as the ones which rang in 2018. Head down to Victoria Harbour to get up close to the action, though do expect large crowds on the night.


Give lai see

A slightly confusing social necessity during Chinese New Year. Here’s our guide on how much to give: $20 for an acquaintance you see regularly but don’t know well, such as a doorman. $40 for somebody close to you such as friends’ children or your hairdresser. $100 as a generous gift to someone you care about and is generally the minimum a boss gives an employee. $500-plus – this is not unheard of, but it is usually given with a good motive or during birthdays or weddings. DO SAY: “Gung hei faat choy” - have a prosperous new year “Sun tai kin hong” - wishes of good health “Sun nin fai lok” - have a happy new year The 15-day grace period Chinese New Year is a 15 day celebration and lai see is given out during this entire period - not before or after. This year, the dates are February 16 to March 2.


Visit the wishing tree

Visit the wishing trees in Lam Tsuen for a bid at good luck. Previously, visitors would write their wishes for the new year on joss paper attached to a mandarin, then fling it onto the tree. If it hooks on and stays put, local folklore has it your wishes will come true. In recent years the traditional magic has dimmed slightly with the use of plastic ornaments and the addition of wishing lanterns, due to real trees undergoing a period of recovery, but it’s still as popular as ever. Bus 64K or 64P from Tai Po Market will take you to Fang Ma Po where the trees are located.


Chinese New Year Race Day

Try your luck on the first races of the year at Sha Tin Racecourse. The Chinese New Year Race Day will stage a variety show with a traditional lion dance and singing performances. Day celebrations will start at noon and run till 6pm. Every attendee will receive a ‘Lucky Pen’ before Race 6 (while stocks last) and an instant win card for a chance to win a 24K gold foil ornament. For more information visit hkjc.com


Chinese New Year Night Parade

The Cathay Pacific February International Chinese New Year Night Parade is the highlight for many Hongkongers during the festive period. It has been running for over 20 years and features illuminated floats and international and local performers such as lion dancers, marching bands and cheerleaders who will make their way around the streets of Tsim Sha Tsui. The main parade officially starts at 8pm but a variety of street performers will be warming up the event route from 6pm. Although free to watch, there are tickets available for the spectator seats. Prices range from $300 to $480 per person; tickets can be bought from the Hong Kong Tourism Board Visitor Centre at Star Ferry Concourse and are first-come-first-served. Arrive early to find a good spot as tens of thousands of spectators are expected on the night. From February 17 to March 14, the floats will be displayed with occasional stage performances at Lam Tsuen, Tai Po.



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CHINESE NEW YEAR HOROSCOPE See what the Year of the Dog has in store for you

Year: 1960, 1972, 1984, 1996, 2008

Year: 1961, 1973, 1985, 1997, 2009

Year: 1962, 1974, 1986, 1998, 2010

Your lucky stars are gathering in the skies and 2018 will prove to be a lucky and fruitful year for you. Seize your opportunities and you should be able to rise above others both in terms of accomplishments and finances. Avoid procrastinating or being indecisive.

A conflict with your sign and the cosmic energies heralds a tougher year than the last, redeemed only by the presence of two auspicious stars. Avoid offending people, be open to learning new ideas, and don’t arrogantly expect to suddenly rise up above others.

Inauspicious stars unfortunately overpower your lucky ones this year, so you’re more likely to encounter obstacles or confusing circumstances. You might get sluggish and unmotivated, but you will also meet a major helping hand. Focus on self-improvement and increasing your self-confidence.

Year: 1963, 1975, 1987, 1999, 2011

Year: 1964, 1976, 1988, 2000, 2012

Year: 1965, 1977, 1989, 2001, 2013

Four lucky stars are shining upon you this year. You will meet helping hands along your journey, and as long as you maintain a positive outlook and willingness to learn, success is yours. However, another congregation of stars signals misfortune, so watch out for gossiping and people trying to pull the wool over your eyes. Depend on your own decision making instead of following other’s opinions.

A clash of your lucky stars with inauspicious ones, compounded with a conflict in your sign with the cosmic forces, means an optimistic year in unfavourable circumstances. Don’t make any major life changes, and just go with the general flow. This will also be a suitable year to be active rather than static, otherwise there will be a build up of negative energy.

A year of changes is threatened by unlucky stars gathering, but thankfully they are held at bay by three auspicious stars. With perseverance, you are likely to make major breakthroughs. Get out more as you are likely to meet helping hands for various walks of life while outdoors. Keep on target and avoid the tendency to be lazy, lest you miss useful opportunities.



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Year: 1966, 1978, 1990, 2002, 2014

Year: 1967, 1979, 1991, 2003, 2015

Year: 1968, 1980, 1992, 2004, 2016

Negative cosmic energy is contrasted by two auspicious stars, so this year shouldn’t present very many highs and lows. You will be more likely to encounter arguments and complaints, but you should aim to face these without ego and with a willingness to improve yourself. ‘Aiming for the new and changing for the better’ should be your personal mantra this year.

Groups of auspicious and inauspicious stars are clashing, so beware of nasty surprises in what may first appear to be a good situation. This isn’t a suitable year for major changes or big investments. Approach decisions with caution, and don’t give in to the urge to be lazy or hasty. This is also a year more suited for being active, so get outside as much as possible regardless of whether it’s for work or leisure. Moving houses or workspaces could also change your luck for the better.

Your lucky stars this year are unfortunately not strong enough to overpower the inauspicious ones, so you are likely to encounter unexpected difficulties. During this unstable time, it would be greedy to aim too high; simply making it across hurdles safely should already be good enough. You are also more likely to go through down periods physically and mentally, but you can prepare by training yourself to see the positive sides of situations.

Year: 1969, 1981, 1993, 2005, 2017

Year: 1958, 1970, 1982, 1994, 2006

Year: 1959, 1971, 1983, 1995, 2007

A gathering of auspicious stars spells a fairly good fortune for this year, unfortunately unlucky stars will also bring about an influx of sneaky saboteurs. Don’t get taken in by the urge to earn quick bucks, and be decisive in your actions.

There is a cosmic conflict as it is ‘your year’, spelling a generally unstable year. However, the presence of three auspicious stars also means you won’t encounter anything disastrous, and there is a sense of renewal amongst the changes happening. Combat the negative aspects by curbing greed, accumulating good karma, and not being overly intimidated or affected by the cosmic conflict.

There are several lucky stars shining on you this year, including the God of Food, which means you’ll have no lack of culinary delicacies. However, inauspicious stars also mean you are more likely to lack confidence and be lazy, getting in the way of your success. This is a year of changing fortunes and starting anew, so don’t be afraid to seize new opportunities and strengthen your interpersonal relations with people from all walks of life.



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Rebecca Simpson heads to Causeway Bay to find out how HKCA Po Leung Kuk primary is marrying an international education with a local outlook


remember when I first dipped my toe into the abyss of information about school choices in Hong Kong. It was right after a slightly panic-inducing conversation with my new mum friends who, in all honesty, knew a lot more about this parenting gig than I did. They were organised and had read books by Annabel Karmel, and brought breast pumps before their babies arrived, and those babies had routines, and the mums remembered their lip gloss and keys all the time. So I knew I should pay attention when they started to talk about schools. Education is important. Significantly more important than breast pumps or keys or even lipstick. I knew I needed to get this part right. Down the rabbit hole I went. I googled “Hong Kong School Options” and life, quite frankly, hasn’t been the same since. Innocence lost. Like most new (to Hong Kong) parents,


I drowned in information about the various curriculums on offer, debentures, and tried to understand more about the local Hong Kong school system. At times I felt like I needed a formal qualification to make the right choice.

And here’s the best bit – there’s no capital levy, no debenture, and fees are competitive

One consideration set that seemed to be missing was an international curriculum in a Hong Kong setting. There was either the

local system or an “international” school. This apparent dichotomy presented a tough choice. For a lot of expats, living in Hong Kong feels like a once-in-lifetime cultural opportunity and many of us want to capitalise on that opportunity for our children. However, the local system is a challenge some parents are unwilling to expose their families to. Stricter teaching methods and significant homework loads are practical considerations parents often choose not to engage with. Many do, and see great success, but for others it’s too much to take on. Every family is different. So I asked myself, where are all the hybrid schools with an international, progressive curriculum like the IB, but executed in a way an expat family can be part of their local community, instead of being schooled primarily with other expats? What I think I was

best of both

looking for was an international curriculum delivered with a Hong Kong experience. So I was happily surprised (albeit with a pang of jealousy now my kids are settled into schools) when I visited HKCA Po Leung Kuk Primary School and uncovered just that – an IB school run by a Hong Kong organisation for Hong Kong and expat families. Bingo! And here’s the best bit – there’s no capital levy, no debenture, and fees are competitive. Po Leung Kuk is a charity organisation that was established 120 years ago with a mission to take care of women and children who had been thrown out of society. Today, the organisation is still running care centers and orphanages here in Hong Kong but it’s also an organisation strongly associated with education in the city, with 113 registered schools and more than 50,000 students within its network. This is a local organisation with Hong Kong roots that go wide and deep. While HKCA Po Leung Kuk Primary School is the first of its schools to offer the PYP (IB primary years program), this international approach is not an entirely new concept within the network. Po Leung Kuk’s Choi Kai Yau School already offers senior students the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma

Many international schools are very British in their ethos - ours is much more of a community school

program in the final two years of school. HKCA Po Leung Kuk Primary School’s international offering is definitely a new proposition for the network, but not without some grounding. HKCA Po Leung Kuk Primary School will offer the International Baccalaureate (IB) Primary Years Program (PYP) which is an English language, inquiry-led framework for children 3-12 years old. Parents researching online will see the school is yet to be accredited as an IB school. It’s important to clarify that children are currently being taught the PYP program, by PYP-experienced teachers, but as a brand new school this formal accreditation has not yet been awarded.

Founding principal David Priest is clear that recruitment for the school’s teaching body has purposefully involved hiring teachers with PYP experience. “This means we can authentically operate using the PYP framework” he says. He is passionate about building an international community. “As an international school, you should have an international faculty. If the majority of the teachers are from one country than that country’s ethos and educational pedagogy tends to dominate.” The experience for students is multicultural, with a Hong Kong skew. According to Priest, the playground language is mostly English, but he also hears Cantonese and Mandarin – reflecting the student mix. “It’s typical, in an international mix of children, that the language they are being taught in the classroom tends to come out into the playground, quite naturally (English is the language of instruction at the school). Of course, there are times when they’ll switch to Chinese. I support that because a lot of research has shown it’s very important for children to have a first language, to learn a second language. Conceptually their mother tongue is their strongest language and we



School Report

Established: August 2017 Number of students: 94 Class size: Currently 14-22, but maximum is 30 Curriculum: PYP Fees 2017/2018: HK$89,800 Non refundable capital levy: None Address: 62 Tin Hau Temple Road, Hong Kong Tel: 2807 1770

need to support and respect that.” What will make this school most appealing for some parents is its ability to offer families the chance to be part of a predominantly Hong Kong community, not a predominantly expat community. Upon opening, the school has attracted local families with international experience, rather than international families having a Hong Kong experience. For parents who enjoy Hong Kong historical trivia, you’ll be interested to know the school’s campus was originally built in the 1950s as the Building Contractors’ Association Primary School and Kindy. It was built during Hong Kong’s construction boom to educate the children of Hong Kong’s many construction workers and the union ran the school for 50 years or so. In 2017, the campus has been given a new lease of life by Po Leung Kuk’s latest venture, HKCA Po Leung Kuk Primary School. I visited the school late last year when construction on part of the campus was still underway. Priest was hopeful construction would be completed around May 2018. Using my imagination, HKCA Po Leung Kuk Primary School looks like it will offer a lovely learning environment, nestled into a green space a short walk from Causeway Bay. It’s not a large or spacious campus but it does offer an outdoor space to play sport and run amok during recess and lunch. It also has a lofty new hall for communal gatherings and rainy day sport that’s just perfect for Hong


Kong summers. The classrooms are bright, airy and were full of giggles during our tour. It’s a happy campus that offers a great space for little learners.

A lovely learning environment, nestled into a green space

Right now the school offers Grade 1, 2, and 3. For 2018-2019 the school will have Grades 1 to 4 and in 2019 there will be a Grade 5 class. There are even plans for a kindergarten. Parents can head to their website to see how these grades/classes correspond to other international schools. For parents with older children you’ll immediately ask, what about the remaining years of high school? “That’s something a lot of parents are already concerned about. We only go to P5, which is Year 6 (in other school systems). We’ve made it very clear to Hong Kong parents that it’s almost impossible to transition back into the local system because P6 is heavily focused on the examination to get into secondary schools in Hong Kong.

“Transitioning to other international schools will be the main option. And so, that’s something that we have already started to make inroads into, trying to find schools that are possible connections. Fortunately there are more spaces available in secondary schools, within the international school system. We are looking at other schools on Hong Kong Island and on the other side of the harbour that share a similar inquiry-based approach.” “There are plenty of opportunities with really nice secondary schools – that’s not going to be an issue at all. Parents panic, they do,” says Ruth Benny, head girl at Top Schools and an expert in school placements in Hong Kong. Benny believes the idea of a standalone primary school is increasingly gaining traction in Hong Kong and children at these primary schools tend to transition well. When asked what makes his school an appealing choice for expat parents, Mr Priest responds, “We have space! And the location here on Hong Kong Island, it’s a short walk from Causeway Bay. The children don’t have to spend lots of time on school buses and they can use public transportation to get to school. It’s also a great residential area. “Many other international schools are very British in their ethos. Our school is much more of a local community school.” For families coming from overseas who want more of a Hong Kong experience with the IB curriculum, HKCA Po Leung Kuk Primary School is worth checking out.

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Inspirational learning spaces at schools By Anne Murphy, Director, ITS Education Asia (School Advisory Services) International schools in Hong Kong are setting new standards for their architectural designs, focusing on the best learning environments for students. Some schools now have spaces that promote cooperation and inspire students to become more engaged in particular subjects. For example, Harbour School have a Marine Wet Lab complete with a touch tank for younger students to interact with marine animals. This allows students to create or participate in scientific experiments related to the ocean. “By taking the learning experience out of the classroom, we encourage students to think differently, take risks, persevere through a problem and work with others in ways that create lasting memories and love for learning”, says, Jadis Blurton, Director at The Harbour School. At Yew Chung International School, the recent campus renovation incorporates flexible and collaborative learning. The open-air podium space offers non-classroom environment and an openness to inspire. These areas lend support to multiple types of learning: observational, information-based, project-based, spontaneous, peer and individual. With a range of seating and

gathering options, students have the ability to select the most optimum and beneficial way for themselves. Karrie Dietz, Head of Stamford American School, says, “Inspiring students to be innovative, collaborate and develop a love for learning is important. We believe the learning environment plays an important role towards this inspiration and therefore we have been purposeful in the design of our new learning spaces. We also believe it is important to provide easy access to innovative resources to promote exploration, therefore technology tools are available in our well-resourced STEMInn lab and also in classrooms.” The Chinese Cultural Centre (CCC) at Canadian International School of Hong Kong (CDNIS) includes a Chinese library, a large multi-functional open area for performances and four classrooms named after Chinese dynasties. The space features Chinese lattice windows and bright red pillars, but also cutting-edge technology such as interactive smart projectors. Considered a “smart centre”, the CCC features moveable walls, allowing the space to be opened up for collaborative teaching and learning or larger scale events.

An adaptable environment to suit different learning scenarios is at the heart of the new Shrewsbury International School interior space. Principal, Ben Keeling, explained: “Careful consideration of communal spaces will encourage discussion and provide staff with the opportunity to build interconnected learning communities.” Classrooms will be equipped with the latest technology to further enhance collaborative opportunities. From observing the majority of international schools, students are learning in student-centered environments—where learning is individualised and personalised to suit the needs of a child. When students are engaged in their activity and they feel comfortable in their space, that is when deeper learning happens. ITS Education Asia provides an education consulting service that works with families and employers to find the right schools for individual children in Hong Kong, from nursery to secondary schools. ITS also offers research, policy and advisory services for corporations. For more details, contact es@itseducation.asia, 3188 3940 or itseducation.asia.



VALENTINE’S DINING The right food and good mood for the most romantic time of the year. By Yasmin Hingun Cull ’N Pistol Located on the shore of Sai Wan Ho, the seafood restaurant Cull ‘N Pistol is offering a Valentine’s Day exclusive four course dinner. Begin by sipping their champagne and nibbling tempura battered oysters with caviar. Next, the starter gives you the choice of seared scallops with king crab or creamy lobster chowder. Pick

a main of either roast haddock and sea urchin, or braised Wagyu beef cheeks. End the evening on a high note with a dessert platter to share with your loved one. The Valentine’s special costs $998 per couple. Opening hours on Monday to Friday are noon-1am and 11-1am on weekends. G/F, Site A, 55 Tai Hong Street, Lei King Wan, 2513 0199, cullnpistol.com.hk

Umami Swap out the typically European cuisine for Japanese fare at Umami. Le Meridien’s sushi bar is offering its unique Valentine’s set dinner in eight meaty courses. Expect Japanese favourites such as sashimi and tempura - but also a grilled Angus ribeye dish, the Valentine’s meal hallmark for any meat lover. The set dinner comes with a choice of three beverage options: champagne, sake or cocktails. With relaxing interiors and wide floor to ceiling windows that look out onto a gardened terrace, Umami is a good bet for your Valentine’s meal. Book before February 11 to snag 20 per cent off the original price ($1,288 per couple). 4/F, Le Meridien Cyberport, 100 Cyberport Road, Pok Fu Lam, 2980 7406, lemeridiencyberport.com

The Ocean This elegant Michelin starred French restaurant has drawn up a voyage themed Valentine’s menu which takes you from “The Shore” and back to “the Bay”. Chef Olivier Bellin and his team cook up eight dishes with thematic titles such as “Set Sail” and “Deep Sea”. They’ll whisk you off on a culinary trip, which includes


eat your heart out An anti-Valentine’s affair Ophelia: The Trouble with Paradise This outrageously decadent cocktail cum live entertainment bar is throwing its second Anti-Valentine’s Day celebration. Get yourself a cocktail or three before watching the dazzling performers who will be roaming the area from 9pm onwards. 1/F, The Avenue, Lee Tung Avenue, 200 Queen’s Rd East, Wan Chaim, 2520 1117. RSVP for complimentary admission on eventbrite.hk.

Wahtiki’s Anti-Valentine’s Day Party French staples like pâté, foie gras, and brie with black truffle, along with the highlight “Blue Lagoon”: lightly cooked blue lobster with brioche and pork head. The meal takes you safely towards shore with its sweet final course, and brings you “Back to the Bay” with mignardises. Dine while soaking in the aptly breathtaking vista of Repulse Bay, as a massive window facing the water spans the length of the premises. Priced at $1,688 per person. Shop 216, The Pulse, Beach Road 28, Repulse Bay. Call 2889 5939 or visit lecomptoir.hk.

Invisible Kitchen’s Tickled Pink Hamper For a fun, original yet classy lunch with your sweetheart, consider Invisible Kitchen’s Tickled Pink Hamper. Among the assortment of delicately prepared bites are asparagus neatly wrapped in ham, artisan cheese with bread and two different salads. The hamper sticks very much to its romantic theme, with its heart shaped Croque monsieurs and watermelon pieces. Two mini bottles of chilled Rosé Flamingo Champagne accompany the contents of the charming wicker basket. Remember to order your hamper, priced at $1,150 (excluding delivery fees) at least seven days before your lunch date. Visit invisiblekitchen.com or call 2711 5788

For a lively singles’ mingling session head to Wahtiki Island Lounge’s Anti-Valentine’s bash. This bright, bamboo-fitted tiki bar will be providing a free-flow buffet. Wash the food and your social inhibitions down with three cocktails and rub shoulders with singletons from 6:30pm until late. Party admission is $500, all inclusive. To book call 2793 0308 or email enquiries@wahtiki.com. 3/F, Seabird House, 22-28 Wyndham Street, Central.

Natural F&B’s Anti-Valentine’s Day Party French organic wine importer Natural Food & Beverages is hosting an Anti-Valentine’s Day social at their private yet homey space near Staunton Street. Tucked away in this secretive nook, you can sip on wine and cocktails while relaxing on the rooftop with other singles. Admission is $200 for three glasses of wine or cocktail, but if you’d like to take your night up a notch, opt for free flow priced at $600. To book, email juliette@naturefnb.com or Whatsapp them at 6500 0153. Alternatively, pay a visit in person at 8 Wa In Fong East, Central.


dining Motorino Heart shaped pizzas for Valentine’s day? Count us in. Neapolitan pizzeria Motorino will be adding heart shaped pizzas to their menu for the entire month of February. Get in on the fun by joining Motorino’s pizza making party on February 17, where wine, beer and antipasti will also be served. The party costs $248 (plus a 10% service charge) to attend. If you are set on having a cosy night in, opt for their Date Night Special home delivery for two. This includes a pizza, homemade tiramisu and a choice between a bottle of Gragnano or two antipasti, all priced at $388. 14 Shelley Street, Soho. For more info call 2801 6881 or visit motorinopizza.com

Shore Soak in an urban nightscape at Shore’s rooftop terrace - or their sleek indoor area - while treating yourselves to a five course Valentine’s meal. Begin with oysters and foie gras terrine, followed by a velvety mushroom soup. Shore slows down the pace by next serving strawberry sorbet garnished with apple blossom flowers. You can then decide between roast cod or char-grilled Angus filet for your main course, before ending your meal on a sweet note with peanut butter mousse and strawberry salsa. Priced at $998 for two. 3/F & 4/F, the L. place, 139 Queen’s Road Central. Book a table by calling 2915 1638 or visit shore.com.hk

NIBBLES News from the dining scene

Cafe Whale opens in Aberdeen

will be running the three month special, finishing on March 31.

Cafe Whale had its soft opening before the end of the year. Located right on the Aberdeen Pier, this humble restaurant offers a range of seafood, from crispy deep fried abalone to baked squid. Their official menu also includes a bamboo charcoal Wagyu Japanese beef burger for meat lovers. Open from noon till 9pm, Cafe Whale serves lunch and dinner, with reasonably priced menu for tea time.

For more information visit divinogroup.com

Shop 28B, G/F, ABBA Shopping Mall, 223 Aberdeen Main Road, Aberdeen, 9784 2062

Black truffle season with DiVino Black truffle season is upon us and DiVino is taking full advantage of this prized ingredient. With no menu, no rules and no limitations, the restaurant will be surprising their guests with three a la carte dishes. Tuck into their creations which will be topped with generous shavings of winter black truffle. All four DiVino restaurants


CNY at The Repulse Bay The Repulse Bay will be celebrating Chinese New Year with a Lo-hei yu sheng demonstration. This traditional Chinese New Year dish includes many ingredients that symbolises different auspicious phrases. Demonstrations will be held at Spices, February 16, and The Verandah, February 18, during lunch period. The Verandah’s signature semi-buffet brunch will also be open during the Chinese New Year period. Guests can choose a main course from the menu, while appetizers such as freshly shucked oyster and Asian salads are served on the buffet tables. Price per adult starts at $658 but guests can opt for the free-flow house champagne (additional $208) or upgrade to Moët Rosé champagne (additional $258). The Repulse Bay, 109 Repulse Bay Road, Hong Kong. For reservations call 2292 2822 or visit therepulsebay.com


home & living

SAME HOME, NEW LOOK A two year renovation transforms a private residence into a completely new home. By Eric Ho


espite loving their family home for the last 10 years, the owners of this Stanley property felt it was time for a change. Charlemagne B. Navarro, Founder of design company CAD, was commissioned to work on this project after the owners saw a renovation he had completed for another apartment in The Legend, Jardine’s Lookout. In Navarro’s own words, his signature style is “modern, understated and opulent.” Although there are similarities between Navarro’s two project, the latest was on a much larger scale. “This home is around 10,000-square-foot, split into three levels


Modern, understated and opulent.

and a panoramic roof lounge,” said Navarro. “We had to strip everything out and start from scratch. The entire property went through a complete removation from having new electricals and mechanicals installed to hard and soft finishes. It was worth the effort and time to ensure the desired comfort and luxury were attained.” The entire renovation took two Charlemagne B. Navarro

modern opulence

years to complete but Navarro believes it will be much longer before another refresh is needed. “I wanted the renovation to be timeless that could last at least a generation. Most of the walls are paint finished with ‘nude’ colours - which I recommend in most of my work. It’s not that I don’t like wallpaper, you can get some with beautiful patterns and designs. But wallpaper is like fashion, every week new designs come in which look even more beautiful,” said Navarro. It’s not just the walls where Navarro hopes to achieve a lasting design. Bleached travertine stones has been chosen for flooring at the main entrance and dining area, “These are high traffic areas so I chose stone which can handle the beating,” explains Navarro. Light coloured engineered wood flooring is

Wallpaper is like fashion

used in areas where walking in slippers or barefoot is likely to give a softness to the floor. When asked what challenges he met during this project, he said, “There were no challenges. My clients were very trusting so I had all the opportunities I wanted. In the end, my excitement overshadowed all the

possible challenges”. Navarro even had the opportunity to fly over to London to find and purchase over 100 new pieces of furniture for the property. In the end, 90 per cent of furniture installed is new, the remainders were pieces and heirlooms the clients treasured. “An example of something we kept was the traditional Chinese accent chair in the living room. We coupled this with a French provincial sofa which surprised the clients by how well the combination worked. I also left one accent wall with its original wallpaper. By keeping it, we allow the one oriental chair to talk to the orientally styled wallpaper. Much of the furniture Navarro purchased is made of glass. He believes that every home needs not only the space to breath physically but also visually. “A house can fill up very


home & living


modern opulence

quickly, especially once the family moves in. By taking advantage of the transparency of glass, it gives more breathing space to the adjacent furniture and decorative accessories.� Finally I asked Navarro which room he was most proud of, without hesitation he said, “The living room. This is where both the owners and guests can have the pleasure of comfort, entertainment and the feeling of being welcomed. My core values in design is for my clients to be able to experience, to live and to treasure their ultimate desired lifestyle in their home.�


body & soul


Look and feel like your most beautiful self this Valentine’s season, by Catharina Cheung Hair and nails


Capelli Hair Salon has all teh services your hair needs this Valentine’s Day. Services they offer include KeraStraight treatments, expert cutting, blowdry, highlights, colour corrections, perming and up-dos. For dry or damaged hair, try its hairspa treatments to nourish your mane back to a shiny, healthy glow. Compelete the look with Capelli’s Red Carpet Glamour make up service ($490-$650) to really impress your date. The hair salon was revamped last May after it won “Best Hair Salon “in Southside Magazine’s 2017 Reader’s Choice Awards. The Repulse Bay Arcade, 109 Repulse Bay Road, 2592 9559, senseoftouch.com.hk

Anything that simplifies our beauty rituals is welcome, and Xtreme Lashes’ latest offering, Faux Mink X-Wrap Lashes, fits the bill. With technology and design hailing from Japan, the interlocking X-shape lashes adhere better to maximise volume, while remaining lightweight and unburdensome on delicate eye areas. Trained stylists will sit down with you over a cup of fruit tea to discuss your expectations and options. Each customer’s natural eye shape and eyelashes are analysed, and your beauty routine examined to determine which type of extensions suits you best. We particularly liked the cat-eye effect of Rose paired with the eye-enlarging Iris. Single strands of synthetic lashes are meticulously applied to your own lashes


a millimeter or two from the base, totaling approximately 70 to 120 extensions per eye. Because the adhesive isn’t applied directly to your lids, the occasional discomforts attributed to strong industrial lash glues are virtually nonexistent. The whole procedure takes about 90 minutes. The classic lash service costs $1,488 for one session and $6,000 for a package of six sessions, and the volumation lash service costs $2,388 for one session and $11,328 for a package of six. 3/F, V-Plus, 68-70 Wellington Street, Central. 3708 8961, xtremelashes.com.hk

Makeup Enhancing your natural features, as opposed to over-the-top make up, has been the beauty trend for a while now, and we think it’s here to stay. Following the success of cult favourite POREfessional face primer, Benefit Cosmetics has just released the POREfessional: Pearl Primer. This primer promises the pore minimising and shine fighting properties of the original product, combined with a pearly glow that combats skin dullness as well. Smooth this on after your skincare and before your makeup to make your look last. Pat on directly over your makeup as needed throughout the day for touch-ups.

dolled up A soft matte look that doesn’t make your face appear two dimensional? We’re sold already. The POREfessional: Pearl Primer retails for $305. Shop 201, 2/F, Stanley Plaza, Stanley. 3621 0909, benefitcosmetics.com/hk

Skin Use this Valentine’s Day to relax and unwind with your significant other by indulging in a romantic retreat in Sense of Touch’s deluxe couple’s suites. The Couple’s Relaxing Romance for Two package includes a steam shower and soothing milk bath to soften the skin, followed by a body exfoliation to polish and leave your skin baby smooth. A deep relax massage releases built-up tension from overworked muscles, and finally, a moisturising facial will revive skin suffering from the recent colder weather. Two glasses of bubbly and an afternoon tea set or box of chocolates to share perfectly rounds up this unique Valentine’s date. The special couple’s package costs $3,480 for two people. Alternatively, make sure your glow absolutely stuns your partner when you turn up to Valentine’s dinner. HydraFacial is Sense of Touch’s most advanced multistep resurfacing treatment. It removes dead skin cells and extract impurities while simultaneously renewing the skin using hydrating and

moisturising serums. There is also an optional collagen boosting TNS serum available to reduce fine lines and improve elasticity. Skin texture refining, discolouration lightening, inflammation reduction, and cellular repair are just some of the benefits to this treatment. $1,380 per 60 minute session, receive one complimentary treatment when you sign up for a series of six. G211, 1/F, The Repulse Bay Arcade, 109 Repulse Bay Road. 2592 9668, senseoftouch.com.hk

trio of TCM-inspired elements – a 30-minute ginseng body scrub, 60-minute Chinese meridian acupressure-point massage, and 30-minute cupping session (the traditional Asian therapy where circular glass jars are suctioned to various parts of your body) – all designed to enhance and invigorate your body’s qi energy flow. Remember to arrive an hour early to maximise your pampering time at the spa’s luxurious heat and water facilities too. $2,300 Monday-Thursday, $2,600 FridaySunday and Public Holidays (plus 10 per cent service charge), The Oriental Spa, Landmark Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong, 15 Queen’s Road Central, 2132 0011, mandarinoriental.com

Body Did someone say spa day? The Landmark Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong’s Oriental Spa has just launched a fantastic new Sense of Balance treatment, which combines a powerful



HONEYMOON DESTINATIONS Whisk your love away to some of the world’s most romantic honeymoon destinations. By Eric Ho and Julianne Dionisio


sweet escapes MALDIVES The Maldives is arguably the world’s top honeymoon destination. The romantic island nation is located in the middle of the Indian Ocean and enjoys almost perfect temperatures all year round. Couple this with some of the world’s clearest waters, pristine white beaches and beautiful overwater resorts and it’s easy to see why Maldives is at the top of most honeymoon lists.

Where to stay? Club Med Finolhu According to the local tourism board, there are around 1,190 islands that make up the nation. With such an abundance, Maldivian resorts take over entire islands. If you’re looking to get away from the crowds and find your own private love nest, opt for Club Med Finolhu located on the beautifully preserved Gasfinolhu island. The Finolhu Villas exceed all expectations of a luxury resort. A haven of modern sophistication and an elegant retreat for Maldives honeymooners seeking the finest amenities and services. All 52 private villas rests on stilts or on the beach and has its own terrace and private pool to enjoy. Much like other Club Meds around the world, the Finolhu Villas Maldives are all-inclusive resorts and guests can enjoy the gourmet restaurant, poolside bar, as well as tennis courts, a fitness room, Club Med Spa by ILA, and a pontoon for leisure and water sports. If this isn’t enough, it only takes five minutes by speedboat to reach their other resort, Kani, for more water sports and activities. Club Med also offer an exclusive honeymoon package ($2,768 per couple) which includes a 50 minute couple spa treatment, romantic dinner, bottle of champagne, couple portrait session and more. clubmed.com.hk, 3111 9388



SUMBA While Bali has been getting all the attention in recent years, it’s the island of Sumba which gets our vote for most romantic honeymoon destination in Indonesia. Sumba Island is about an hour’s plane ride from Bali and is largely untouched with stunning coastal mountain tops, vast stretches of completely unspoilt beaches and a 567 acre nature reserve that incorporates several local villages with tribes who still follow ancient rituals.

Where to stay? Nihi Sumba Island Why settle for anything less than the best? Nihi Sumba Island (formerly known as Nihiwatu) has won Travel + Leisure’s award for Best Hotel in the World two years in a row. The resort’s 32 luxury villas sit “on the edge of wilderness”, all with stunning views and absolute privacy. Daytime activities include swimming, snorkeling, scuba diving, surfing, paddle boarding, horse-riding and visiting local villages. More recently, the resort has added a Chocolate Factory where guests learn how to make a variety of candy bars with locally sourced cocoa


beans and a curated selection of wellness retreats with world-class gurus that combine the physical benefits of yoga with meditation, movement, and flexibility. Don’t forget to check out Lake Weekuri, a natural saltwater pool separated from the ocean by a rugged cliff, during your stay. Bookings made on or before March 20 can take advantage of their special promotion and stay seven nights but pay for just five. nihi.com

KOH SAMUI The tropical haven of Koh Samui is located in the Gulf of Thailand just three hours away from

Hong Kong. The sun-splashed island of Surat Thani region offers both deserted beaches and buzzing nightly parties. A romantic getaway here can easily be filled with diverse experiences, from hopping on a local boat to Ang Thong Marine National Park to discovering wellness with yoga classes. Koh Samui is the most iconic honeymoon destination.

Where to stay? Outrigger Koh Samui Beach Resort Outrigger Koh Samui Beach Resort is located on Hanuman Bay. This lush beachside paradise has 52 villas and suites on its property each with a private cool plunge pool and sun deck.


travel This personal refuge awaits you with a romantic in-room set up of candles, scents, flower arrangement. Guests can enjoy numerous cultural experiences from picking your own fresh herbs for a culinary lesson to sampling spicy curry at the markets in Chaweng. Traditional art of leather carving is also taught at the resort grounds on a weekly basis. After a long day, couples can soothe their senses with a 60-minute couples spa treatment available at the serene Navasana spa. A romantic dinner at their Oceanfront dining serves international cuisine and traditional Thai signature dishes with the view of Hanuman Bay. Outrigger Koh Samui Beach Resort is just 10 minutes by car from Samui International Airport (USM) outrigger.com

LANG CO The scooter-filled streets of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh don’t exactly spring to mind when thinking of relaxing honeymoon getaway. But Lang Co, a stretch along the tranquil south-central coast of Vietnam, is an idyllic destination to spend time with your loved one. Culture aficionados will be pleased to hear that Lang Co lies within a two-hour drive of three UNESCO World Heritage Sites - the imperial city of Hué, the ancient port town of Hoi An and the architectural ensemble that is My Son Sanctuary.

Where to stay? Banyan Tree Lang Co Lang Co has many luxury resorts to choose from. However, we recommend Banyan Tree Lang Co which is located 30 kilometres further north in Laguna Lang Co. This part of the country is uniquely beautiful and secluded and was traditionally a retreat favoured by Vietnamese royalty. The resort has 49 private detached villas, modelled on the traditional houses found in Hué, each with its own infinity pool. There are many activities on offer around Laguna Lang Co, from coffee making, yoga and lantern marking. Guests are free to migrate between Banyan Tree and Angsana, their sister hotel located next door. We recommend taking advantage of the free bicycle rental to get around the resort or opt for the small boat which operates between the two. Take advantange of Banyan Tree’s honeymoon package (US$1,800) which includes a two-night stay, unlimited spa treatments, romantic dinner for two, private car service and more. banyantree.com






Ask a vet... Dr. Pauline Pets Central veterinarian Dr. Pauline Taylor answers your questions. “How can you tell your dog is constipated?” Constipation is the infrequent or difficult passing of faeces which tend to be dry and hard when eventually passed. The most common sign of constipation is straining to pass faeces, but vomiting, depression, not eating and discomfort can occur to varying degrees. Dogs may be misdiagnosed with diarrhoea as liquid faeces can slip by solid faecal clumps in the rectum and be passed out. There are many causes of constipation both in and out of the intestine. These include problems with the nervous system, pain and dehydration leading to blockages and a multitude of medical conditions. If your dog is constipated my advice is to seek veterinary assistance without delay. “My dog is very lethargic today, is he sick?” If you can, what I suggest you do is take your dog’s temperature and monitor him carefully for a few days. Your dog’s behaviour is a very important indicator of whether your companion is feeling normal. Dogs generally live for a few really important things namely food, water, shelter, exercise and walks, play, mental stimulation and their owner’s attention and approval of what they do. Dogs naturally sleep a lot and depending on their age it can be up to 14 hours per day. So if you feel your dog isn’t as active as normal I’d certainly be concerned something has upset your dog. That doesn’t mean your dog is sick as defined by a medical condition needing treatment. It could be that your dog is disturbed or distressed, or scared and anxious as many dogs in these situations go quiet, prefer to hide and are unwilling to do normal activities. “Will my dogs become lazy if I start using a doggie pram?” Are you serious? There is no place for a doggy pram unless you have a disabled or elderly dog that cannot or will not walk on its own feet. Dogs love to walk and get immense stimulation from their surroundings. By subjecting your dog to a doggy pram you are depriving your dog of so much including exercise, smells, social interaction with other animals, and leaving their own messages along the way for other dogs to pick up. I cannot recommend a pram for a dog unless it is unable to walk by itself. Doggie prams are gimmicks and unnecessary as far as I am concerned in day to day normal doggie life. In addition they promote obesity, isolation from other dogs and may even cause fear in some dogs who develop behaviour problems as a result.

Got a question for Dr. Pauline? Email editorial@hongkongliving.com 56 | SOUTHSIDE.HK




Photo by Ceeseven via Wikimedia Commons

Jennifer Frisinger discusses a car-free Des Voeux Road


century ago, Des Voeux Road Central was Hong Kong’s face to the world: the first scenes that greeted newcomers as they stepped off steamers at Blake Pier or Jubilee Street. Known then simply as “the Praya”, this waterfront promenade linking the colonial heart of Victoria City and the “native quarter” of Sheung Wan was where east truly did meet west. Before the dawn of the motorcar, trams alone trundled past the medley of local and foreign businesses that lined the pavement, from fabric stalls and pawn shops to Shanghainese barbers and White Russian fur traders. Many of these historic businesses—and the trams—remain, but the road itself, moored well inland by reclamation, has become one of the most polluted and least people-friendly thoroughfares in the city. Walk DVRC, a Hong Kong-based NGO, wants to give this 1.4-kilometre stretch between Pedder Street and Western Market, once culturally rich and now choked with traffic, back to the people by closing it to most vehicles. The idea of a pedestrianised Des Voeux Road Central is neither a new nor a fanciful one—since


Des Voeux Road Central

2000, architects, planners and urbanists have recognised it as a desirable as well as achievable goal. In 2016, a one-day trial proved that the closure of the road to most traffic can be successfully accomplished, and an enthusiastic reception from the public showed the contribution it can make to optimising human enjoyment of Central. Going car-free has also won support from many neighbourhood shops, which stand to benefit from doing business somewhere that is a destination rather than just a place that commuters wish to pass through—and pass through as quickly as possible, our research suggests. In a survey conducted by Walk DVRC earlier this year, pedestrians gave the road failing grades for both interest and comfort. A walkable Des Voeux Road Central offers benefits to out-of-town visitors as well, linking the downtown core to numerous nearby tourist destinations such as the Mid-Levels escalators, Tai Kwun and PMQ arts centres and historic Man Mo Temple. Creating a walkable and livable Central Business District begins with revitalizing Des Voeux Road Central and turning it into a public realm worthy of a city of Hong Kong’s international image and status.

Hong Kong’s leaders recognise that poor air quality discourages foreign talent from settling here, and have stated their commitment to the laudable goal of making Hong Kong a “smarter” city by utilising big data and emerging digital technologies. But smart cities are more than just about technologies and improved services; they can help make people live more comfortably and increase their sense of belonging to the community. The government should take a more strategic view and explore how it can play an active role in ensuring that residents and visitors to Hong Kong benefit more from a liveable city and a vibrant Central Business District. As his tenure as Governor of Hong Kong drew to a close in 1891, Des Voeux Road Central’s namesake Sir William Des Voeux left enraptured with Hong Kong, doubting whether any other spot on earth was “more likely to excite, or more fully justify, pride in the name of Englishman.” In a similar vein, we hope that Des Voeux Road Central will soon be free to achieve its full potential, and excite and justify the pride of Hongkongers as it ought to. Jennifer Frisinger is the CEO of Walk DVRC Project



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mrs backfire

YOU CAN’T PREDICT YOUR KID’S FUTURE. DEAL WITH IT Opinions, rants and random outbursts. By Mrs Backfire


here’s always that one parent. Usually a Dad.* At the IGCSE parent forum/IB info presentation/University assembly night. He sits patiently, as we all do, during the deputy head’s PowerPoint presentation. Listening to a calm, warm voice of authority in sensible shoes, possibly a knit tie or slightly bohemian skirt, explaining all the academic choices our sons and daughters must prepare for and decide on as they progress on their learning journeys. Prior to finding an uncomfortable fold-up seat in the auditorium, our Dad – let’s call him Fred – was stress-eating complementary digestive biscuits and checking his phone for market updates or those revised schematics. His offspring stood nearby, adopting a nothingto-see-here smile and hoping Fred wouldn’t ask about the week’s Chinese test. Because he’s a good Dad, Fred silences his phone and ignores any alert vibrations during the school’s presentation. He listens carefully, if mildly impatiently, to the talk because after all this is about his kid’s future. But then comes the Question and Answer session. And Fred can’t help himself.

You and your child are already standing at the very top of the pyramid of resources.

Fred: Regarding the GCSE options, what are the most appropriate subjects for the child going forward? School: We encourage students to choose subjects they’re interested in Fred: But the best choices School: Are usually topics they will enjoy exploring in more depth. Fred: (blinks) Enjoy? Fred: When you’re calculating the predictive IB grades, what if, let’s say your son’s – your son’s - dream is to go to Oxford.


Is this about my child or is it about me?

School: (must not roll eyes, must NOT roll eyes) Fred: However, maybe he didn’t work so hard in the first IB year, but is perfectly capable of getting a 45. Would you factor that in to your assessment? School: There’s a lot to consider, of course, when applying to universities but as you know, we conduct constant evaluations of our students, at every step of the way, and we feel strongly that we would be doing them a disservice by considering an (clears throat) overly optimistic predictive score. Fred: (blinks) Define overly. Meanwhile, Fred’s child is slinking out the back exit to the gym where the gang’s kicking around the football. As the forum concludes and parents start to disperse, Fred takes one last digestive and wonders what he’s paying for. Guarantees! Isn’t that what the huge fees and the debenture payment and the exam prep and the tutor budget are for? I pay everyone a shed load of money and they in turn ensure my junior a blue-ribbon future. A + B = C for Cambridge. But wait a minute, Fred. Take a look around. Look above you and then look down. You and your child are already standing at the very top of the pyramid of resources. Above families who can’t afford private schools and extra tutoring, above children caught in conflict zones or broken homes, and far, far above young people with little access to education, let alone clean water, basic sanitation and proper food and healthcare. How much further can you climb? Nonsense! Fred responds. Mrs. Backfire, you’re talking complete bleeding-heart rubbish. Life is competitive. And relative. Like must compare

to like: the over-achieving white-collar family to the other over-achieving white-collar family, not some poor villager with a dirty well and a five kilometer walk to school. Besides, Fred asks, what’s wrong with having high expectations for my child? It shows I trust in his abilities. I believe in him. Well, I can’t argue with the research about parental expectations and academic achievement. Many studies have shown clear, positive links between the two. But just once, at the next parent info night, before you raise your hand during the Q&A, I’d like you to ask yourself: Is this about my child or is it about me? Let me know when you have an answer, Fred. *a purely anecdotal, observational note with no scientific basis in fact, to be clear dear readers and fathers who might be reading this and wondering if they’ve bent Mrs. Backfire’s ear at a cocktail party after too many Tsing Tao’s.


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