Southside October 2019

Page 1


October 2019

Eat, Sleep, Spa, Repeat Luxury staycations this autumn

Bare Necessities

The faces behind Hong Kong’s natural beauty brands


The really useful magazine October 2019

4 PEOPLE Southsiders out and about.

Plus Pirate Carnival Pictures!

6 THE PLANNER What’s on in October 10 NEWS

What’s happening in our backyard


41 WHAT’S UP, DOC? ENT Specialist Dr SK Ng discusses

Alfresco dining essentials for cooler evenings

15 LOCAL A new family-friendly festival arrives in Lantau

17 5 MINS WITH… Lynn Yau, CEO of The Absolutely

salivary gland issues

42 PETS Dr Pauline answers your pet questions.

Plus walkies


The last pre-colonial village on Hong Kong Island

48 MRS BACKFIRE Our backpage columnist on what it takes


to be a “cool” mum



Fabulous Theatre Connection


These women are changing the face of natural beauty

22 BIG DAY OUT Extreme hiking with Rory Mackay 28 DINING Secret Theatre comes to town.

Plus nibbles


Explore Wycombe Abbey. Plus our autumn camps guide for half term

36 32

36 TRAVEL Take a break at one of these stylish staycations

40 ZIM CITY Cars first, pedestrians last



editor’s letter


his month I was shocked to discover that I’ve been using over 500 chemicals in my beauty routine, and I’m not alone. Our everyday products aren’t necessarily as good for us as they may appear, but we’re looking to change that.

Editorial Managing Editor Gemma Shaw, Editor Nicole Slater,

I had the pleasure of meeting three women who are changing the face of Hong Kong’s beauty industry by replacing chemicals with natural and organic products in a bid to protect the environment and our bodies. Hear what they had to say on page 18.

Contributing Editor Becky Love, Editorial Assistant Nicole Cooley, Charmaine Ng,

Design Graphic Designer Jeramy Lee, Alvin Cheng,

With a slight crisp in the air and no more mosquitos (hopefully), it’s the perfect time to hit the hills, Rory Mackay rounds up his favourite wild adventures to embark on this autumn on page 22.

Sales & Marketing Director of Content Hilda Chan,

October marks Breast Cancer Awareness Month, where events and activities are held to raise money and awareness for those battling the disease. Put on your best pink attire and head over to page 6 to see what’s going on.

Senior Partnership Manager Isamonia Chui, Partnership Manager Mathew Cheung, Elaine Li,

Operations And how could I forget the most spooktacular time of year, Happy Halloween Southsiders!

Management Trainee Isaac Ip,

Digital Digital Editor Apple Lee,

Publisher Tom Hilditch,


Thanks to Kimberley Chan, Paul Zimmerman, Denis Leung, Dr Pauline, Karin Bremer

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

Rory MacKay

Amelia Sewell

Karin Bremer

Avid hiker and thrill-seeker, Rory owns adventure company Wild Hong Kong. This month he reviews some of the Hong Kong’s wildest hikes. Explore more on page 22.

Our Education Editor ventures over to Aberdeen to check out Wycombe Abbey which opened just last month. Find out what the school has in store on page 32.

Dutch-Australian photographer Karin has called Hong Kong home for the past five years. This month, she ventured around Southside this month to snap some happy faces, have a peek on page 4.

Want to write for Southside Magazine? Contact 2 | SOUTHSIDE.HK

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


people Snaps from Southside


say cheese

Pirates Ahoy! Summer Kids Carnival

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OCT 26-27

Stan Group Hong Kong Beach Festival

A fun, family-friendly beach carnival with events including International Beach Water Polo Tournament, Sandcastle Fun Day and booth games. 10am6pm. Free. Repulse Bay Beach.


OCT 4 & 5

An immersive chiller rebus where the audience has the power to decide the evening’s outcome. 6pm for Aaharn pre-theatre dinner; show begins 7.30pm; Aaharn post-theatre dinner at 9.45pm. Early bird $788, dinner and show combination from $1,288. Tai Kwun, 10 Hollywood Road, Central.

Kevin Fraser fuses together music and comedy in his eagerly awaited show, “The White Guy From Africa”. 8-10pm. $185. Africa Coffee & Tea, 15/F, Suite 1501-1504, 41 Heung Yip Road, Wong Chuk Hang.

Secret Theatre

Kevin Fraser Live


Disney Halloween Time All your favourite villains return to Disney as part of their spook-tastic Halloween celebrations. Daily from 10.30am. From $639. Hong Kong Disneyland, Lantau.


Ocean Park Halloween Fest


Where is Peter Rabbit? Bring your kids to this magical puppet musical from ABA Productions. Dates and times vary. From $215. Drama Theatre, The Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts, Wan Chai.


Visit Ocean Park this Halloween for haunted houses, ghost invasions and immersive frightful fun! Dates vary, 5pm. From $498. Ocean Park, Wong Chuk Hang.


National Day A public holiday. This year marks the 70th anniversary of the People’s Republic of China.


Au Soleil Summer Pool Party Celebrate the very best of Hong Kong in a beautiful outdoor pool with chilled drinks in hand. 2-8pm. From $400. Le Meridien Cyberport, 100 Cyberport Road, Telegraph Bay.

what’s on event, formerly known as the Repulse Bay Triple. Each swimmer must complete all three races to get their total race time. 2-5pm. Repulse Bay Beach, Beach Road, Repulse Bay.


Jazz on the Beach Listen to international performances at the Jazz on the Beach Festival, celebrating the message “love wins” through music. 2-11pm. From $120. Treasure Island Beach Club, Pui O Beach, Lantau Island.

OCT 26

HK50 Trail Run & Hike


UK Subs Live in Hong Kong The punk legends play their first-ever show in Hong Kong as part of the Spirit of ‘77 live series. 8.30-11.30pm. From $390. MOM Livehouse, B39, Seven Seas Shopping Centre, 117-121 Kings Road, North Point.

OCT 13

A great introductory run of 24km or 50km from The Peak to Wong Nai Chung Gap, part of the HK50 series. 7am. From $540 for 24km and from $790 for 50km. Peak Galleria, The Peak.

Shawn Mendes: The Tour 2019 Jump across to Macau for an unforgettable show by Grammy-nominated Canadian star Shawn Mendes. 7pm. From $480. Cotai Arena, The Venetian, Macau.

OCT 17

Official England Rugby Dinner

OCT 7-12

Autumn Adventure Camps A week of kayaking, gorging, raft building, hiking and more around Pui O Beach on Lantau. Times vary, see website for prices. Treasure Island, Pui O Beach, Lantau Island.


Double Ninth Festival Enjoy the long weekend!

Hong Kong Rugby Union host Rugby World Cup champions Martin Johnson, Jason Leonard, Mike Tindall and Ben Kay at this celebration dinner. 7.30pm-12 midnight. Tables of 12 from $29,000, individual seats from $2,500. Conrad Hotel, One Pacific Place, 88 Queensway, Central.

OCT 17

Sports for Women and Girls: The Untapped Commercial Opportunity A panel discussion exploring the growing business case for investing in sports for women and girls. 6.30-9pm. Free. KPMG, 8th Floor, Prince’s Building, 10 Chater Road, Central.

OCT 19

Backstreet Boys DNA World Tour Prepare for some 90s nostalgia and head back to Macau to catch the Backstreet Boys on the road for their largest world tour in 18 years. 8pm. From $688. Cotai Arena, The Venetian, Macau.

OCT 10

Charity Bazaar

OCT 27

Pink Walk for Breast Health Hong Kong Breast Cancer Foundation is hosting a fundraising walk on the Peak to support International Breast Cancer Awareness month. Don’t forget to dress in pink and bring a reusable bottle! 8.15am-1pm. Participant fee from $350. Peak Road Garden, The Peak.

OCT 30-NOV 1

Thanksgiving Weekend at Treasure Island Celebrate Thanksgiving on the beach with extended opening times at the restaurant. Saturday 10am-10pm and Sunday 10am-8pm. Treasure Island, Pui O Beach, Lantau Island.

OCT 31-NOV 3

Hong Kong Wine & Dine Festival Calling all food and wine lovers, the 11th edition of Hong Kong’s premier gastronomic festival promises to be its best yet! Times vary. $30. Central Harbourfront, Central. hkwdf.

Get a head start on your Christmas shopping at this bazaar featuring over 50 stalls selling handmade crafts, jewellery, accessories and books. 9.30am-5.30pm. $10. The Helena May, 35 Garden Road, Central.

OCT 11-13

TITANIC The Musical Listen to the story of Jack and Rose alongside classic and original music. 3pm, 7.30pm and 8pm. From $385. The Hong Kong Academy of Performing Arts, Wan Chai.

OCT 26

Stan Group Triple Challenge 2019 Sheko Challenge hosts this unique swimming


book now


Treasure Island Hallowe’en Beach Party

$388. Take Out Comedy, 34 Elgin Street, Soho and Cyberport 3, 100 Cyberport Road.

Ghosts and Ghouls aplenty at this annual Halloween party on the beach, finishing with Lantau Locals Night and a DJ on the decks! Free. Treasure Island, Pui O Beach, Lantau Island.

NOV 1-2

Paul Ogata Returns Paul Ogata is back in Hong Kong with his edgy, often-improvised and always-hilarious show! Friday 9pm and Saturday 8pm. From


RUN Charity Race A unique charity race in Hong Kong supporting vulnerable refugees in the city. Races range from 19km to child-friendly distances of 1.5km. Tai Tam Country Park.


Women’s Five

ends in a 5km or 10km for women only. 8am. From $390. Tai Tam Country Park, Tai Tam.

NOV 15-17

Oxfam Trailwalker Sign up as a team of four and tackle the 100km MacLehose Trail within a 48-hour time limit – all for a good cause! 8am. Minimum sponsorship $7,600. MacLehose Trail.

A journey of fitness, health and inspiration that

Got an event? We can publish the details. Email




Trailing on Last month, Kong Sin Wan village trail in Pok Fu Lam was finally reopened for public use. The path runs from Victoria Road, close to the Sassoon Road roundabout, ending at Kong Sin Wan Road near The ISF Academy. Over the past decade, it had fallen into disrepair making it inaccessible to locals. Requests to repair the path by long-time residents were originally put to Southern District Councillor, Paul Zimmerman, back in 2010 with proposals for the works submitted in March 2011. However, due to bureaucratic hurdles, the works did not begin until March this year. Thankfully they were completed relatively quickly and the path is now open for all to enjoy.

Breakfast at Tiffany’s Dolphins on the decline In mid-September, the official count of Chinese White Dolphins, known for their pink colour, around Tai O was taken by the Hong Kong Dolphinwatch. Only 32 dolphins were spotted, a 50 percent drop from five years ago due to the threat of overfishing, water traffic, land reclamation, the construction of the Zhuhai Bridge, sewage and chemical pollution. Hong Kong Dolphinwatch aims to raise awareness of the plight of these dolphins and protect them via tours which generate revenue used towards research and eco-tourism. However, with reduced numbers in tourism, tours have been affected which in turn affects the support given to the dolphins. Tours are $370 per adult and run on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays.

September saw the opening of Tiffany & Co.’s largest flagship store in Asia at One Peking Road, while mid-October will see the soft opening of their infamous The Tiffany Blue Box Cafe. The cafe will be their second in the world, bringing a slice of the original New York venue to Asia for the first time. Guests will be able to make reservations through an online platform to experience the all-encompassing sensory experience of afternoon tea on crockery and utensils created by the famed jewellery house. One Peking, No.1 Peking Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon.

Pinkies up at Fortnum’s In early November, luxury British brand Fortnum & Mason will open their doors at K11 MUSEA. The 7,000 square foot space consists of a shop, dining room and bar offering sweeping views of the harbour. The shop will feature Fortnum’s most iconic products, from tea and biscuits to Champagne and hampers, whilst diners can enjoy lunch, dinner and Fortnum’s famous afternoon tea, which replicates the menu of the Diamond Jubilee Tea Salon in Fortnum’s Piccadilly. “For centuries, Fortnum’s has thrived on delivering a sense of pleasure for our customers and we are delighted to share that with a new audience in Hong Kong,” says Ewan Venters, CEO of Fortnum & Mason.


in your backyard

K11’s nature discovery Newly opened K11 MUSEA presents Hong Kong’s first urban biodiversity museum and sustainability-themed education park, Nature Discovery Park. Inspired by Adrian Cheng, Founder of the K11 Group, the park aims to raise awareness of Hong Kong’s rich biodiversity through workshops, tours and urban farming experiences, echoing the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Families can learn more about adopting eco-friendly

everyday habits, whilst wandering amongst tropical and native plants, an aquarium and butterflies. “At Nature Discovery Park, we want to encourage you to get closer to nature and “reconnect with what matters”, explains Ellie Tang, General Manager of Sustainability at K11 Concepts Limited and Head of Sustainability at New World Development Company Limited.

Southside gets spooky

The most spooktacular time of the year has come around again, with Ocean Park hosting their annual Halloween Fest from now until November 3. The theme park will be taken over by ghosts with six haunted zones and houses and a limited edition range of themed menu items. For guests not looking for such a fright, Ocean Park has paired up with LINE FRIENDS for a halloween candy adventure. The Halloween fest will take place on October 4, 11, 18-20, 24-27 and 31, between 5pm until 10.30pm.

Happy 10 years Sai Kung Magazine! Southside’s sister magazine turns 10 this month! Publisher Tom Hilditch founded Sai Kung and Clearwater Bay magazine in October 2009. Since then, the company has grown and Hong Kong Living has released three further monthly publications; Southside & the Peak in 2011, Expat Parent in 2014 and Mid-levels Magazine in 2016 as well as many annual guides and digital products including and hongkongdining. com. Managing Editor, Gemma Shaw is delighted to be with the company as they celebrate this milestone. “Each month we aim to create products that are useful, informative and above all, celebrate our readers and the

Lush goes naked

fantastic things they are doing in Hong Kong. We’re so grateful for our readers and we’re excited to see where the 10 years takes us!”

Not what it seems Major supermarkets have been accused by the Consumer Council of misleading shoppers into believing items are discounted. The council inspected the price of items such as rice, instant noodles and milk at multiple branches of ParknShop, Wellcome, Market Place by Jasons and Aeon. Supermarkets would show

two different prices for products, with the higher price crossed out – yet in most cases, the product had not been sold at that price previously. A similar study was conducted five years ago with near-identical results. Clearly, the situation has not improved.

Pioneers of the fizzing bath ball and solid shampoo bars, Lush opened their first plasticfree packaging shop in Asia this September. The new Naked shop pushes boundaries with innovative naked products and plastic packaging-free alternatives including brand new self-preserving vegan products exclusive to the Hong Kong store. The need for labels has also been reduced with the Lush Labs app which recognises individual products and displays information accordingly. “At a time when most people in Hong Kong have so much on their minds, we are delighted to invest in the city in an effort to relieve them of a little part of the worry caused by ocean plastics,” says Mark Constantine OBE, Lush Co-Founder and Managing Director of Lush. Lush Naked Shop, Great George Street, Causeway Bay.




Rotten Heads Nicole Cooley gets dancing at Lantau’s first family-friendly festival


hile Andrew Spires and Alan Chung sat in the park with their kids one weekend bemoaning the lack of family-friendly activities, they hatched a plan to create something themselves. The idea of a super local, familyoriented craft beer and music festival fell into place and now, a year and a half later, Rotten Head Festival has come to life. The name, Rotten Head, comes from the literal translation of Lantau Peak. Lan Tao means broken or rotten head. “We thought it had a good ring to it and also worked well with what we were trying to do; run a super local event with local bands, Lantau-focused stalls for the Handmade Hong Kong market and something that has never been done before - Hong Kong only craft breweries. We really want this event to be a celebration of the Lantau and Hong Kong people,” says Spires.

Between them, Spires and Chung have four kids ranging from six months to four-yearsold, so they understand what kids want from a day out. The festival will feature a kids’ dance tent and an impressive play zone. Adults can enjoy beers and ciders from Hong Kong’s best craft breweries including Gwei Lo and Young Master. There is also an Alternative Booze Tent with Prosecco and non-alcoholic drinks. Food on offer includes PizzaExpress and new delights such as Filipino street food. The pair were keen to design an eco-friendly festival, not an easy feat, but they have had the support of Plastic Free Seas’ Dana Winograd which has helped. “Recycling in Hong Kong is shockingly bad so we opted for alternatives, such as our reusable plastic cups. They are really expensive but being eco-friendly is our priority,” says Spires.

Festival founders, Alan and Andrew

Eleven bands will play throughout the day on a 6.5-metre high stage, with ARICLAN - ‘The Voice of Macau’ headlining. All other bands are Hong Kong favourites playing covers and original tracks, as well as three DJ’s battling it out in a silent disco from 6pm until 9pm. Looking ahead to the festival, Spires says, “We can’t wait to see people enjoying themselves. Really it’s just a big party and parties are designed to be fun. If we see lots of people smiling and dancing with their kids or partners, we know we’ve done a good job.” Got a local story? Have your say by emailing Date: October 26 Time: 12 noon-10pm Price: Tickets are $300 for adults including a drink, $120 for children aged 12-17 and under 12’s go free. Address: Tat Tung Road Park, Tung Chung, Lantau Island (next to Ngong Ping Cable Car Terminal)



five minutes with Standard academic achievements offer very linear achievement options. We assist with an alternative path which focuses on developing youth in Hong Kong through theatre and the arts. We are a charity organisation and have worked with over 200,000 students since 2008. We work with students aged 10 to 23 in schools and universities, as well as with individuals. We firmly believe in the power of the arts to change lives for the better. AFTEC also stands for ‘Arts For Transformative Educational Change’. We have been based at the Sai Wan Ho Civic Centre for 11 years. It is a real luxury to be able to work in a professional theatre environment year-round. We also take students abroad for workshops and performances in Taipei and London. The arts can have a transformative effect on the lives of young people. Over 65 percent of those we have worked with are from deprived backgrounds. Performing arts helps to develop new and fresh perspectives. Through working with people from different backgrounds, students are able to gain new and fresh insight. We are working on a number of arts projects currently; Bravo! HK Youth Theatre Awards, Sm-ART Youth, From Page to Stage and a village arts festival; Flow with AFTEC.

5 minutes with Lynn


Nicole Cooley speaks with the CEO of The Absolutely Fabulous Theatre Connection As a child I always wanted to be someone else. I didn’t have the confidence to be myself. I dabbled as an actor for many years in non-professional theatre. Growing up in Hong Kong, the arts played a big part in my life. Music and dance were my first love and then I found a love for theatre too.

Where words so often fail, music and dance help young people express themselves. The Absolutely Fabulous Theatre Connection (AFTEC) is a bilingual non-profit arts organisation which was founded 11 years ago to meet a need in our local education system for a more creative path to success.

Lynn Yau is CEO of AFTEC. For more information, or enroll your child on a course visit


cover story

Back to basics

Nicole Slater meets the faces behind Hong Kong’s natural beauty industry


id you know that the average woman comes into contact with over 500 chemicals a day through their beauty routine? Research conducted by natural deodorant company, Bionsen, revealed these statistics ten years ago, but how much has changed in the industry since? Here, Nicole Slater meets three women shaking up the natural beauty industry in Hong Kong.


Michelle Chen Founder of RARE SkinFuel Michelle Chen founded RARE SkinFuel in 2018 and has always had a passion for skincare products, preferring to use them over makeup. By using 100 percent Australian-made products that are manufactured in limited quantities, RARE SkinFuel is able to deliver a one-of-a-kind fuel for your skin. Share your skin tips at #rareskintips for a chance to win prizes. I started using skincare products when I was 13 years old, now at 37, I feel more confident revealing my skin instead of concealing it. My goal is to create products that are natural but powerful, gentle and suitable for all skin types.

natural beauty

Natural skin products contain no alcohol, synthetic chemicals or artificial ingredients. They are less likely to cause skin irritation and are also environmentally friendly. We are cruelty-free and use sustainable packaging to help promote a more natural and ecofriendly lifestyle for everything on this planet. Everyone deserves to feel confident and comfortable in their bare skin. I want to inspire and reassure women like me who have been through many stages in their life, that age is a mere number and makeup is just a cover up. True confidence is in natural beauty. By letting your skin breathe with the right skincare regime, over time your skin will develop its natural glow. Wearing skincare instead of makeup is the key to protecting your skin. To achieve glowing skin you need three things: antioxidants, hydration and sun protection. I apply SPF 30, 15 minutes before leaving the house and reapply as necessary. As long as you wear sunblock, reapply regularly and have sunglasses and a hat, you don’t need to use a higher SPF which can clog pores leading to blemishes and breakouts. I start by removing impurities with a cleanser. Then I spray activating mist to rehydrate my skin before minimising dark circles and puffiness with an eye and lip illuminating serum. I smear serum on my face and neck, followed by an age delaying cream on my cheeks and neck. I let the products sink in for about 5 minutes before adding a tinted moisturiser and lipstick.

Niki Schilling Director of Innovations and Sustainability at Rituals Cosmetics Netherlands-based natural beauty company, Rituals focus on creating Eastern-inspired products using natural and naturally-derived ingredients that are responsibly-sourced. The brand launched their first Asian store in Hong Kong just last month. Director of Innovations and Sustainability, Niki Schilling, is a yoga fanatic and life coach with a strong connection to the Rituals philosophy - to transform everyday routines into special moments.


cover story We determine if an ingredient is natural by whether it has come straight from the ground and from nature. Rituals is about well-being and beauty, inside and out. We formulate without harmful substances and our natural skincare range, The Ritual of Namaste, is something we are very proud of. I decided to take another path after 18 years working in international marketing for companies including Adidas and Nike. This led me to spirituality and mindfulness. I studied yoga for two years and became a life coach. Eventually, I found myself yearning for the fast-paced nature of work, but I wanted a balance - that’s how I found at Rituals, my life is a perfect combination of mindfulness and work. As a yogi, I was thrilled to find a brand with a philosophy rooted in living mindfully and rediscovering the magic of the everyday. We’re living on autopilot these days and due to our busy lives, we’ve forgotten to enjoy the little things.

Mary Burns Executive Vice President Global Brand & Product at John Masters Organics John Masters founded John Masters Organics in 1994 with the aim of combining his passion for natural living with his profession, as a hairstylist. The brand focuses on creating cleaner, healthier and more sustainable ways to care for hair, skin and body. Now the brand has over 70 stores around the world, they work to encourage people to lead a more natural and holistic lifestyle. Mary Burns is the Executive Vice President Global Brand in U.S.

Mary with her daughters

Many of the natural ingredients used in our products have been proven throughout centuries, for example, ingredients such as lavender, rosemary, pomegranate and rose. Organic is the purest and most potent form of any ingredient. All of our products are composed of at least 70 percent or more organic content, excluding water and salt. This is a commitment we’ve adhered to since the beginning and is the baseline for all of our product development. The term “organic” includes nature-based ingredients grown or harvested without the use of conventional or synthetic pesticides or fertilisers. We consider Damascan rose to be one of our hero ingredients. As it grows, it soaks up vital nutrients from the soil (as opposed to pesticides and chemicals found in conventional growing methods) and we are able to deliver these in their purest and highest concentration in our products. I always brush my hair before shampooing. It’s important to use the right shampoo and conditioner for your hair type. I have dry and damaged hair from colouring, so I use our Repair Shampoo and Conditioner with honey and hibiscus. I apply hair milk to my towel-dried hair daily before styling for additional moisture and protection, and I use a repair hair mask for damaged hair every week for enhanced nourishment.

Other natural brands to try Coconut Matter


A Hong Kong-based eco-friendly, healthconscious organic beauty brand which uses natural ingredients including coconut oil sourced from a community of farmers in the Solomon Islands. The brand is well-known for their natural deodorant collection and biodegradable packaging.

This popular Australian skincare brand has over 20 years experience in the spa and skin care industry and arrived in Hong Kong this summer. The company is famous for their natural and cruelty-free products which include body cleansers, oils and rejuvenating kits. Available at




big day out

Walk on the wild side

Rory Mackay suggests seven adventurous hikes to embark on as autumn approaches


here is a bountiful array of wild places to explore in Hong Kong, some are more remote and others easily accessible. This list combines the best of both so whether you fancy a strenuous hike close to Central or an adventurous climb in the depths of Lantau, read on and find an adventure to suit you.

which to mount an expedition. As you approach, the drive around the azure waters of High Island Reservoir makes for a scenic introduction. Upon arrival at the East Dam, one can venture in a couple of directions; either head down the slope to the dam wall and Geopark beyond, or follow the Maclehose trail northwards.


The Geopark is rugged and truly wild. Littered with islands, caves and hexagonal rock formations, there are many opportunities for the more intrepid of folk to enjoy some fishing, climbing and cliff jumping. Following the Maclehose Trail in the opposite direction, one can explore arguably the most idyllic beach Hong Kong has to offer in Long Ke Wan and some extraordinary hiking routes over to Sai Wan and beyond.

East Dam & Long Ke Wan (East Sai Kung Country Park) Best for: beaches, cliff jumping, hiking, kayaking and rock climbing Venturing into the wilds of Sai Kung, the plethora of options open to adventurers is astounding. The East Dam is a great launch pad from


get wild

View from Long Ke Wan

How to get there: From Sai Kung, grab a cab out to the East Dam of High Island Reservoir (around $120). Returning from the East Dam, a taxi is again the best option. If you are returning from Sai Wan, hike up to the road or take a boat back to Sai Kung Pier. If hiking back remember to check the 29R bus timetable or call for a taxi in advance, as mobile reception in that area can be fickle.

Trail south. Additionally, if hiking 15-17 kilometres sounds like biting off more than you can chew, there is always the option to hike either end of the trail as a shorter return from Shek Pik or Tai O to Fan Lau and Man Cheung Po/Yi O respectively.

WILD FACTOR ★★★★☆ Fan Lau (Lantau South Country Park) Best for: beaches and history There are many spots in Hong Kong that can feel far removed from the city, but are in fact, just round the corner or over the hill from town. Then, there are those rare confines that are genuinely far removed from civilisation. The Southern tip of Lantau Island is such a place. Take the time to venture to this enclave and you will be rewarded with a trip back in time. An untarnished landscape bursting with deserted beaches, fertile valleys and lush jungles lie in wait. How to get there: Catch the number 11 bus from Tung Chung, or number 1 bus from Mui Wo to Tai O. Keep an eye out for Shek Pik Reservoir and disembark at the first bus stop immediately after crossing the dam wall. Take in the beautiful sights of Shek Pik Reservoir and Lantau Peak behind you before turning away and following the Lantau

WILD FACTOR ★★★★★ Ping Nam Stream (Pat Sin Leng Country Park) Best for: cliff jumping, river walks and waterfalls If you fancy exploring a natural world within Hong Kong that most folk don’t know about, then a day trip out to Luk Keng could be in order. Located within the innermost depths of Pat Sin Leng Country Park, it is a region that is as much unknown as it is remote. However, the area is easily accessible via public transport and totally worth the effort. Nestled amongst rolling hills and the gateway to the northern parts of Pat Sin Leng Country Park, Luk Keng is truly rural. Life moves at a different pace here, the locals are as relaxed as they come in Hong Kong. It rubs off quickly and once there, you certainly won’t be in a rush to leave. From there one can venture towards the higher peaks of Pat Sin Leng and discover hidden gems that lie within, namely the Ping Nam Stream. This is a challenging route upstream with many dramatic cascades and pools along the way. However, beware of slippery rocks; the use of a guide would be strongly recommended.


big day out How to get there: Make your way to Fanling MTR Station, take Exit A and hop on the KMB 78K bus. After 20-25 minutes or so, hop off at Nam Chung and cross the main road looking for Luk Keng Road. A further 20 minutes walk and you will reach a small village. Turn right here onto South Bay Road and keep going until you meet a dam wall of a small reservoir. Find the goat track on the right hand side, which will bypass the dam and lead you to Ping Nam Stream. On the way back, keep an eye out for a 56K minibus. Catch this back to the MTR if the opportunity arises.

WILD FACTOR ★★★★☆ Sharp Peak & Ham Tin (East Sai Kung Country Park) Best for: beaches and mountain climbing I think this could be regarded as Hong Kong’s most remote mountain and the surrounding areas are simply stunning. Although Sharp Peak isn’t massively high at 468 metres, it is a very prominent hill and easy on the eye. The unspoilt views from the summit are among the finest in the land. It is a steep and dramatic final ascent to the summit, but well worth the effort on a fine day. It is a top draw route deserved of top draw conditions, so save this one for the best weather available (clear skies, high visibility). Get up there for sunrise or sunset if you can and be warned, this is a tough route in the warmer summer months. How to get there: From Sai Kung town, take the 29R village bus or a taxi to Sai Wan Pavilion (around $100). Walk for an hour to reach Sai Wan and then a further hour in a northerly direction along the beaches of eastern Sai Kung Country Park. Dominating the landscape, Sharp Peak will often be in view. The simplest way to ascend is to take the direct route up the mountain ridge from the northern end of Tai Long Beach. Heading down, there are a few route options, either return via Sai Wan or follow the Maclehose Trail section two towards Wong Shek Pier and catch a bus from Pak Tam Road. This route can be done in either direction.


WILD FACTOR ★★★★★ Yellow Dragon Gorge (Lantau North Country Park) Best for: river walks and waterfalls Hidden away within the depths of Lantau Island is the Yellow Dragon Gorge, a secluded oasis away from all the hustle and bustle. Boulder by

Ham Tin Beach



get wild

City lights from Lion Rock

boulder, one ventures upstream into a vertical landscape. Surrounded by cliffs and waterfalls, you would not believe that you are in Hong Kong. The adventure culminates at the end of the gorge where three massive cascades fall down onto you from high above! Be aware that this route is of a technical nature, requiring jumping between stones on the river and bouldering in places to reach the upper waterfalls. The use of a guide would be strongly recommended. How to get there: Make your way to Tung Chung MTR station and from there, walk through the estates of Tung Chung Town to Wong Lung Hang Road. Follow the paved road all the way to the end and find the river on your left. Venture as far upstream as you dare.

walk should take three to five hours, so bring some light snacks and plenty of water. How to get there: The best way to reach Ng Tung Chai from Central is by MTR to Tai Wo Station. From there, take a taxi or bus from underneath the station to Ng Tung Chai Village. The 64K bus runs every 15-20 minutes during the day, you can catch this to Ng Tung Chai and follow the sealed side road up the hill. However, I recommend hopping in a taxi on the way there as it enables you to whizz right up through the village and be deposited at the trailhead. A taxi ride will only set you back around $50.

WILD FACTOR ★★☆☆☆ Lion Rock (Lion Rock Country Park) Best for: wildlife and city views

WILD FACTOR ★★★★☆ Ng Tung Chai (Tai Mo Shan Country Park) Best for: waterfalls Only a stone throw away from Tai Po, Ng Tung Chai waterfalls are one of Hong Kong’s best-hidden treasures. Climb into another world, a steep sided world enveloped in dense rainforest and peppered with everflowing cascades. Despite the areas accessibility, you’re likely to beat the worst of any weekend crowds coming here and on a weekday, this tropical wonderland is often solely yours to explore! Delve into an idyllic chasm entangled in vines and ferns, all clambering for a position on the rocks to soak up the ample moisture. The sunlight that manages to squeeze through the thick canopy does so in ethereal beams of radiance. It feels more like a remote corner of Borneo than Hong Kong. The whole

For those who thought The Peak was the most dramatic summit looming over Victoria Harbour, think again. There is a roaring lion to the north. It may not be as well known, but the Lion Rock is right up there in terms of grandeur. Conquer this rugged ridge and one will witness some of Hong Kong’s finest views. Feel the intense sprawl of Kowloon and enjoy the iconic backdrop of the Island behind. Meanwhile, a gaze round the other side reveals Sha Tin Valley and the expansive hills of the New Territories. Not only is being at the top incredible, but the walking to be had either side is most enjoyable. Keep an eye out for wildlife along the way, in particular monkeys! The path will undulate for an hour until arriving at the foot of Lion Rock. Upon reaching the summit at 495 metres above sea level, the footpath emerges from the undergrowth to reveal unrivaled panoramas of Kowloon and its surroundings. How to get there: The route up is easily accessed from Wong Tai Sin MTR Station. Head out of Exit E and climb up Sha Tin Pass Road, stay on Sha Tin Pass Road and you shall gradually rise above the tower blocks of Kowloon. After 45 minutes of walking, you’ll intercept the MacLehose Trail and signage for the Lion Rock Country Park on your left hand side. The return route down is fairly simple. Keep turning left at all junctions in the hiking trail and you’ll be back to civilisation in around an hour. The simplest way to the MTR is to turn left once reaching Lung Cheung Road and follow the highway into Wong Tai Sin. Alternatively, you can cross Lung Cheung Road and head into either Lok Fu or Kowloon Tong. Wild HK offers customised tours to all locations in the article. Visit for more details.



Secret Theatre descends on Tai Kwun this month. Nicole Cooley meets Founder and Artistic Director, Richard Crawford


he global theatrical production, Secret Theatre has returned to Hong Kong for the fourth time. Beginning in 2008 with a production of Edward Scissorhands set in an abandoned factory in New York, Secret Theatre has travelled the world showing SE7EN Deadly Sins in London and Project Mayhem in Hong Kong. This year’s immersive thriller will be held in Tai Kwun, the former Central Police Station, where interactive art will come to life and the audience will play a part in choosing the outcome. Here, we speak with founder Richard Crawford ahead of the opening night.

What is the background behind Secret Theatre? I was living in New York as a penniless artist. I found that Broadway was an expensive thing primarily aimed at tourists. If you speak to people who live in New York or London, they don’t always go to the West End shows, they’ll miss a lot because they’re busy working, hustling their life. So we wondered if we could do something a bit underground to market to people who aren’t tourists but want to do something in their city. Of course, New York was a good place to start. Our audience is the people that make up the fabric of the city.

What brings Secret Theatre to Hong Kong? This is our fourth show in Hong Kong. I wanted to come back and do a show that could be universally enjoyed and comfortable, which the last show wasn’t. There wasn’t a lot of comfort, food options, well zero food options. We’ve done this show in London and it was a success so when I was here looking for venues


and Tai Kwun came up, it was fantastic perfect for this show!

Did you encounter any challenges in moving the production from London? It’s difficult but I designed this show in London to be moved anywhere, as I’ve always done. Since living in New York I love to travel so I make shows that can be transported. Now I regret it, because I’m old and it’s exhausting! But I’ve got a big team now in Hong Kong and they’re all really helpful.

Secret Theatre Hong Kong Dates: Runs until November 10 Time: 6pm for pre-dinner; 7.30-9.45pm for show, 9.45pm for post-show dinner Location: Show at a secret location in Tai Kwun & dinner at Aaharn, both located in Tai Kwun, 10 Hollywood Road, Central Tickets: From $788 for early bird, from $1,288 for dinner and show, $1,788 for VIP experience ticket

secret theatre Has the show been adapted for a Hong Kong audience?

than food and theatre? In London, we had a restaurant onsite and people would have a sit-down after the show to discuss what had happened. As Hong Kong is a foodie town, it was important to think, can I offer food? I like the idea that the audience can have an amazing dinner before or after the show. We’re also utilising what Tai Kwun has.

All my shows have been set in the city in which they’re happening. This show is set in Tai Kwun, not in London and that’s reflected in the cast, the team and the dialogue. There were changes that needed to be made - for example, the cops work for Interpol not Her Majesty’s police service.

What’s the inspiration behind the dishes and in particular, choosing Thai food?

What can theatre-goers expect from this show? We’re partnering with Aaharn for food, so the audience can experience unreal food in a really comfortable and cool environment, and then be taken on a journey into a TV show thriller courtroom environment. I want it to be fun and thrilling, but comfortable. Even if it pushes buttons! And at some point, we’ll give the audience unbelievable amounts of responsibility!

How do you rehearse for multiple endings? Well in this show, the audience decide whether the suspect is guilty or innocent. In London, loads of lawyers came to the show and would say err this isn’t what a lawyer does, so the next thing they know, they’ve got a seat in front of the audience and they are putting their money where their mouth is. The audience can

Dinner at Aaharn

physically do things in the show. It’s controlled to a certain degree but there are different outcomes so we rehearse and prepare for all of them.

Why combine food and theatre? Are there any two better things in the world

I love Thai food. I also got engaged in Thailand - it’s one of my favourite places in the world. The restauranter of Aaharn, David Thompson opened his first Thai restaurant in London and for me, it was better than any restaurant in Thailand. He now has restaurants in Thailand and a TV series, so you know you’re going to get good quality food and something a little different. If I could design an evening in Hong Kong that would blow me away, then this restaurant and show would be it!

Will you add in extra thriller elements during Halloween? Absolutely, yes. Our show is set in real time. A courtroom thriller, a guy that looks like Hannibal Lector and we’ll bring Halloween into every element with the restaurant too. As a Halloween night out - this will be amazing!

Founder and Artistic Director, Richard Crawford



Southside gets dishy Te Quiero Mucho heads to Southside The ever-so-popular casual Mexican eatery officially opened their second location at Ovolo Southside in late September. The restaurant will serve up a range of authentic Mexican bites including tacos, burritos and tortas as well as Mexican-inspired drinks and imported craft beers. Their flagship restaurant in Central is well known for its relaxed and social atmosphere. We’re excited for this Mexcellent new addition to the Southside! 64 Wong Chuk Hang Road. hk/ovolosouthside

Island Shangri-La In support of the Hong Kong Hereditary Breast Cancer Family Registry, Island Shangri-La will host a pink-themed afternoon tea until October 31. The set will include Norwegian smoked salmon and pink cream cheese on spinach bread; raspberry mint tart; berry compote and tiramisu mousse and raspberry rose flavoured scones. The set is priced at $558 for two with a percentage of the proceeds donated to the charity. Lobby Lounge, Pacific Place, Supreme Court Road, Central.

Parisian Aude Camus swapped baguettes for dumplings and moved to Hong Kong in 2015. Here are her French dishes to try this autumn.

Le Jarret De Veau at L’Atelier De Joel Robuchon

Wolfgang Puck’s first Hong Kong restaurant touches down at the airport Frequently credited as the chef that refined modern Californian cuisine, Wolfgang Puck opened his first restaurant in Hong Kong at the arrivals hall of Hong Kong International Airport last month. Wolfgang Puck Kitchen is a fast-casual dining concept that serves LA-inspired comfort fare for busy travellers on the go. The restaurant has soft-opened at the Hong Kong International Airport, with its grand opening scheduled for October 9. Shop 5T 150, Level 5, Terminal 1, Arrivals Hall, Hong Kong International Airport.

This homemade crispy veal sausage is oh-so French. Chef de cuisine Adriano Catteano has recently been appointed executive chef of the restaurant after the departure of chef David Alves. $320. Shop 401, Landmark, 15 Queen’s Road Central.

L’Oeuf Fumé at Louise Newly opened restaurant Louise serves up L’Oeuf Fumé, a perfectly cooked organic egg in the most comforting yet ever so airy potato foam with a spicy twist of diced chorizo. $160. 35 Aberdeen Street, Central.

French Spring Chicken at Roots Served in a cocotte, this super tender and flavourful chicken comes with a tasty glutinous rice stuffing. An east-meets-west dish that is creatively executed. $308. 7 Sun Street, Wan Chai.

Moules Marinières at La Crêperie Mussel season has arrived and I couldn’t wait to get my fix of fresh Brittany mussels, served the Breton way in white wine sauce. G/F, 69 Jervois Street, Sheung Wan. Facebook: La Crêperie

Mama Royer at Louise

Snuffling for truffles Truffle season is upon us! Zuma Hong Kong have been foraging for some of the best and rare white truffle, found exclusively in the Piedmont region of Italy around the town of Alba, where pigs or dogs are used to snuffle out the truffle. Prices will depend on the quality of the year’s harvest but customers will be able to request additional servings of the truffle by the gram. The a la carte menu will feature six different dishes including aonori toast with sea urchin and white truffle and black angus rib eye steak with black pepper and soy white truffle as well as desserts including white truffle and cheese pancake soufflé. Dishes will be available from October 11. Level 5&6 Landmark Atrium, 15 Queen’s Road Central, Central.


Ooh la la

Simple and yet so tasty, this lemon yogurt cake is the perfect balance between sweet and sour. It’s so good that I’d also have it for breakfast if I could. C’est si bon. $118. 35 Aberdeen Street, Central.

Aude Camus runs food and lifestyle website Hong Kong Madame.



Wycombe Abbey Hong Kong The much-anticipated British school opened in Hong Kong last month. Amelia Sewell takes a look


ycombe Abbey School Hong Kong has landed!

Bright, fresh and in record time, the doors opened in September, welcoming students into Years 1 to 5. The latest in a list of famous British names to launch in Hong Kong, this is a school that is certain to garner huge amounts of interest.

Ready, set, go Though most of us took a rest over July and August, it was a busy but fruitful summer for those involved in the launch of WASHK, and for no one more so than Howard Tuckett, the founding headmaster. After a whirlwind arrival into the city, in September he welcomed the first sixty pupils and is seeing more enrolling each week. Other than a few pieces


Story time

means that they follow the same curriculum as UK prep schools, which ultimately prepare students for the 11+ and 13+ Common Entrance exams into private senior schools.

The USP With every new school that opens, parents want to know what sets it apart from others.

of furniture which at the time of print were crossing some of the seven seas, everything is in place and the school is in full swing. Tuckett has ensured that the school is able to deal with the rising student numbers as weekby-week more places are snapped up. Initially the school anticipated that they would open with Years 1 to 3 but the level of early interest surpassed their expectations and as such, the school has opened through to Year 5 with two classes in Year 1. Class sizes will eventually be a maximum of 24 students in each and the staff numbers are already sufficient to see the school to capacity. Based in Aberdeen, by international terms, WASHK is a specialist primary school. By British terms, this is a prep school. This

Hula hooping fun

wycombe abbey PRINCIPAL’S OFFICE Howard Tuckett - Founding Headmaster of Wycombe Abbey School Hong Kong What will Wycombe Abbey School Hong Kong (WASHK) bring to the Hong Kong education offering? WASHK is a dedicated independent primary school for all children in Hong Kong. We are not an international school so we are not limited in our admission of pupils by any quota system. We are introducing an outstanding primary school which is academically rigorous, drawing on a specifically designed curriculum that aims to enable our pupils to prepare for entry to the finest independent secondary schools across the world. Can you tell us a little about the curriculum? I have collated the curriculum myself, across fourteen subjects, merging the very best combination of the guidance and advice offered by ISEB, the British National Curriculum (Key Stages 1&2) and Hong Kong Primary Curriculum as advised in the various Hong Kong Curriculum Development Council (CDC) subject documents. I’ve enriched the advice derived from these core curricula further by investigating and drawing on other curriculum documents from around the world, including Ireland and Malta.

obvious evidence of our dedication to technology. That said, I will always retain my view that technology can only support effective learning and great teaching. Technology cannot do the teaching and learning for us. As such, it is not the only tool we have in our box. For example, I have had great fun buying a brand-new library with a starting stock of 22,000 books! Can you tell us about the relationship with Wycombe Abbey in the UK? At the school governance level, there is a firm link with Wycombe Abbey UK. However, being a pupil at Wycombe Abbey School Hong Kong does not secure a student departing our school a guaranteed place at Wycombe Abbey UK, although it is our aim that through the excellence of our primary provision, our departing students will be extremely well prepared to compete for a place at such a prestigious school, if they should choose to do so.

What role will technology play in the curriculum? Technology is a given part of the infrastructure of any serious academic environment. School-wide interactive screen technology together with pupil laptop and tablet provision form the most immediately

Tell us about your teaching background I trained for five years specifically as a primary school teacher at a South African teachers’ training college - Edgewood College, University of Natal. I later completed my MA in Education in England. My MA studies were based around how a child’s ability to reason and learn develops during the primary age years. During my career I have taught at many schools, mostly independent, in South Africa and England. In my earlier career I held posts at various schools as a boarding housemaster, as head of PE, head of mathematics and as a deputy head. I have been a headmaster at two highly regarded independent prep schools in England for the last twenty years.

Sometimes this can be difficult to pinpoint but that is not the case with Wycombe Abbey: because not only is it offering a first class education, but it is also able to prepare pupils who have their sights on attending school in the UK, whether they be expats returning home or international students.

knowledge of the curriculum, exam system and destination schools and are therefore able to guide parents without the need for external support. With the arrival of WASHK, it is now possible to receive the same level of support from a Hong Kong school, all on top of the normal day-to-day education.

This is significant. Most Hong Kong families wanting to send their children to a British senior school either have to navigate the confusing system alone or pay an independent consultant to advise them. By contrast, at a British prep school, it is the headmaster or headmistress’s sole responsibility to oversee this important process. These heads have an in depth

What do you feel are the benefits of an education in Hong Kong? Hong Kong is one of the most vibrant and exciting cities in the world. Any child who has had the fortune to spend their childhood here is geared for success as an adult in the international world of business, statesmanship, medicine or any of the other career options available to them. The opportunity for us at Wycombe Abbey School Hong Kong is to provide the very best of primary learning and teaching, in order to further enhance the life opportunities offered to the children of Hong Kong, it’s both a great opportunity and an honour. What do you enjoy doing when you’re not working? Until recently, I have been very involved in school and club lacrosse umpiring across England. Since that part of my life has quietened down, I have become quite a keen runner. I am also a wholly undisciplined collector of books, coins, stamps and old cameras. My other real love is reading. I generally have several books on the go at any one time, across a very wide range of genres.

Howard Tuckett has a long and distinguished prep school career. He has been a boarding housemaster, a deputy head and headmaster, a maths teacher, rugby coach and - crucially – an inspector for the Independent Schools Inspectorate (ISI). This means he is perfectly placed to know exactly what a school needs. And after so many years as a prep school head, he also comes with a little black book of senior school contacts.

A tailor-made curriculum For those families not interested in transitioning to UK schools, there is still a first rate education to be had at WASHK; the advisory service is purely an optional element to an all-round, international education.



Colourful activities

Tuckett devised the curriculum himself and he points out that whilst the style of it is predominantly British, he has drawn on elements from other curricula that has proved particularly successful – “a unique model, combining the best of East and West,’’ he says. A nod to the East, for example, is seen in the Maths teaching for the early years, which will utilise the Chinese approach to the subject. While a nod to the West is seen in the form of the staff who, aside for the Mandarin teachers, are all British trained.

school, the long-term plan is to add to this by offering a senior school on a different site. Though this is very much in the planning stages, Tuckett says that it would offer GCSEs and A Levels rather than MYP and IB and is currently mooted to open in 2022. Once this plan is brought to fruition, WASHK will be able to offer a through train system for pupils wanting to see senior school education through on Hong Kong shores. Although Tuckett is keen to point out that even once a secondary site is found, the newly opened primary school will remain where it is. The school very much plans to bed in for the long term.

The start to any school year is busy but one has really got to admire Wycombe Abbey School Hong Kong. They clearly relish a challenge. With little fanfare, over the last few months they have beavered away to get a fully functioning school up and running. Now that they’re open though, they’re happy for the fanfare to commence. The message from Wycombe Abbey School Hong Kong is loud and clear. The doors are open; there are spaces available; and they look forward to showing Hong Kong what they’re all about.

The content of the curriculum is certainly very conscious of its Asian surroundings. The Mandarin offering is equally weighted with English, giving pupils equivalent time in both subjects each week. Chinese classes are divided into native and non-native and the afternoon provides further opportunities to practise with the extra curricular programme. Classes will primarily focus on simplified characters while exposure to traditional characters will seep in through calligraphy and the after school sessions. WASHK is clearly working hard to make sure that they honour their status as a British school in Asia.

The long-term plan Whilst the school has opened with a primary


Classroom learning



Eat, Sleep, Spa, Repeat

Charmaine Ng and Nicole Cooley scope out Hong Kong’s most luxurious staycations The Peninsula

St. Regis St. Regis Hong Kong opened its doors this April to wide anticipation and stands as one of the city’s most luxurious hotels today. The St. Regis brand was founded more than a century ago by John Jacob Astor IV, since then it has become a symbol of refinement and bespoke service. Located on the Hong Kong waterfront in Wan Chai, the hotel was designed and curated by award-winning architect André Fu, who was inspired by the first St. Regis hotel built in New York by John Jacob Astor IV in 1904. The 27-storey tower fuses together the grandeur of New York City with the culture of historic Hong Kong. For an ultra-luxe escape from everyday life, St. Regis offers 129 guest rooms and suites, each featuring warm, inviting touches for guests to experience the signature St. Regis style living. The brand’s famous Butler Service, for example, is a roundthe-clock service which allows guest’s stay to be customised according to their personal preferences – think private inroom check-in, packing and unpacking, complimentary hot beverage service and even garment pressing. Guests who are planning for special occasions are encouraged to inform their dedicated butler, who will then take care of all the details to ensure a momentous celebration.


Lastly, St. Regis offers a variety of dining options. L’Envol, led by highly-acclaimed chef Olivier Elzer, presents a creative take on French haute cuisine using seasonal produce from France and Asia. Rùn, the signature Cantonese restaurant of the hotel, is led by chef Hung Chi-Kwong and offers modern interpretations of Cantonese cuisine. The Drawing Room serves up a reimagined afternoon tea experience and The St. Regis Bar is the dedicated venue for an after-hours digestif. From now until the end of the month, St.

Regis is offering guests a chance to pamper themselves with an exquisite weekend stay from $4,000 per room per night, with an additional $1,000 hotel credit to indulge in culinary delights at the hotel’s restaurants or unwind with spa treatments by 001 Skincare London and 3LAB. St. Regis currently offers one package: the Weekend Retreat is available until October 31. St. Regis Hong Kong, 1 Harbour Drive, Wan Chai.

shenzhen staycations sling

The Upper House The Upper House Hong Kong needs no introduction. Now in its tenth year of operation, the highly individualised luxury hotel remains one of the city’s best. Award-winning architect and interior designer André Fu took on the design of The Upper House, transforming the space and redefining the concept of modern luxury. Since then, he has gone on to create a series of internationally recognised projects of all scales around the world. The hotel is currently running three promotions. First up is this month’s exclusive October Delight package. Guests can book their stay for a special rate of $4,100 per room per night, which comes with complimentary breakfast for two in Café Gray Deluxe and $500 house credit. Bookings from Friday through Sunday can enjoy two room category upgrades with early check-in from 12pm and late check-out until 6pm. For those who won’t be able to make it this October, there’s no need to fret – The Upper House has two more packages to enjoy. To celebrate their tenth anniversary, the luxury hotel is running the #OUR10YEARJOURNEY room package until the end of the year. Guests can choose from a selection

of curated excursions led by a highly experienced in-house team who will show you around Hong Kong highlighting the sights, sounds and smells our city has to offer. To top it off, The Upper House is also offering a special Wellness Retreat promotion. In need of a spa or a good ol’ massage? You can now rejuvenate body and mind with an array of pampering experiences and exclusive amenities from British wellness brand,

Bamford. The package is available for those who stay for two consecutive nights or more. The Upper House currently offers three packages: October Delight is available until October 31, #OUR10YEARJOURNEY and Wellness Retreat with Bamford are available until December 31. The Upper House, Pacific Place, 88 Queensway, Admiralty.

Palm Court serves the signature Langham Afternoon Tea with Wedgwood in tribute to its namesake at The Langham, London where afternoon teas were first served in 1865. For guests booking a suite, access to The Langham club lounge is complementary as is a kids’ room set up for any little ones in tow. The exclusive club lounge gives way to indulgence through continental and hot breakfasts, afternoon tea, evening cocktails and canapés as well as beverages throughout the day.

The Langham Located in the heart of Tsim Sha Tsui, The Langham Hong Kong does not disappoint. Honoured with the Forbes Five-Star Award, this European-style sanctuary, surrounded by iconic attractions and designer boutiques, exudes charm and elegance. Boasting 498 rooms and suites, The Langham’s spacious bedrooms overlook the

city and are complete with luxurious marble bathrooms and soft Langham robes. Guests can escape to the rooftop for a workout and a refreshing dip in the heated swimming pool or wind down and restore balance at the Chuan Body + Soul wellness sanctuary. Mouthwatering dining options include three Michelin starred Cantonese restaurant T’ang Court, modern steakhouse Bostonian Seafood & Grill and New York style Main St. Deli.

Hong Kong residents can enjoy an exclusive room offer this month that includes buffet breakfast for two, early check-in and late check-out, a complimentary Langham Octopus Card and complimentary access to the rooftop wellness sanctuary, pool and fitness centre. The Langham currently offers one package: the Hong Kong Residents Exclusive Room Offer is available for stays until October 31 when reserved by October 15. The Langham, 8 Peking Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon.



The Peninsula For something special this autumn and winter, head over to The Peninsula Hong Kong for a one-of-a-kind experience featuring a unique partnership between the city’s Grande Dame and longbeloved Sanrio character, Hello Kitty. The collaboration celebrates Hello Kitty’s newfound friendship with The Peninsula’s iconic mascot, Pen Bear, presenting guests the opportunity to immerse themselves in the character’s charming world, at the

same time enjoying the elegance and luxury for which the hotel is known. The luxury stay offer includes limitededition Hello Kitty and Pen Bear plush toys, as well as a specially themed amenity set that includes bathrobes and slippers for families and collectors to take home. Hello Kitty and Pen Bear will also appear during the designated promotion period, showering guests with gifts and Instagram-worthy photo opportunities.

Additionally, to commemorate their 90th birthday in December, The Peninsula is offering a special birthday package where guests who will celebrate their birthdays from now until December 11 can enjoy a Deluxe Room at an exceptional rate of $1,928 per night. Benefits include welcome birthday amenities and late check-out time at 4pm. The Peninsula currently offers two packages: Our Birthday – Your Birthday is available until December 11 and Hello Kitty – Limited Edition Luxury Stay Offer is available until December 22. The Peninsula Hong Kong, Salisbury Road, Tsim Sha Tsui.



Grand Hyatt Sitting front and centre of Victoria Harbour, Grand Hyatt Hong Kong has assumed pride of place at this stunning harbourfront location since opening in 1989. The five-star hotel offers 542 modern guests rooms and suites and is home to one of Hong Kong’s largest rooftop pools. At 50-metres long the pool sits on the 11th floor alongside alfresco restaurant, The Grill and The Waterfall Bar. When it comes to dining, Grand Hyatt spoils its guests, with 10 uniquely designed restaurants and bars which serve up a range of cuisines. From an authentic Italian experience at the

recently reopened Grissini, to a traditional Japanese experience at Kaetsu. The Grand Hyatt is offering an Escape 24 package to Hong Kong residents until December 29. The package includes one night in a luxury harbour view room for $2,680+10% with selection of two additional

extras including; $1,000 dining credit, buffet breakfast for two at Grand CafĂŠ, buyone-get-one Plateau Spa treatments and champagne and fresh strawberries on arrival. Grand Hyatt Hong Kong, 1 Harbour Road, Wan Chai.


zim city

Cars first, pedestrians last

Pok Fu Lam crossing

Paul Zimmerman on the dangers of Hong Kong’s crossings


he was 21 years old. The girl killed at a crossing in Pok Fu Lam. The message came across my screen while in a meeting. I recognised the crossing instantly. I knew that crossing. We had asked for changes here several times. People cross Pok Fu Lam Road to catch the bus or to go hiking or to ride horses at the riding school along Pok Fu Lam Reservoir Road. Traffic moves fast here. Two lanes north, two lanes south. It is on top of the knoll and bends in both directions limiting sightlines. It was said that the minibus driver in the near lane waited for her to cross. The franchise bus which overtook the minibus could not see the girl crossing. Hit hard she passed away in the hospital soon after. My heart goes out to her family, and the two bus drivers. Not so to the Transport Department. Our latest attempt to improve that junction was just seven months earlier. A letter urging for push button traffic lights and speed cameras here. The Transport Department had replied that they are worried that it may impact traffic flow. Yes, that is exactly the purpose. We want traffic to stop when people need to cross.


Hong Kong is strangely different from every other city in developed countries. We have hardly any zebra crossings. Because more people would get killed. At HKU I walked behind a professor who was nearly swept off his feet while on a zebra crossing. His small case hit the car though. The driver jumped out and an angry exchange started with the driver claiming that there were no lights so he had the right of way. Another time I stopped at a cautionary crossing – the ones with ‘look left’ and ‘look right’ marked on the road. However, the driver behind me did not and nearly hit a female pedestrian at the crossing. Admittedly, it was my fault for leaving enough room for the vehicle to overtake me. It was, after all, not the first time. It was a comical moment years earlier when I drove out of a car park and politely stopped and tried to wave the pedestrians on the pavement through. They refused. I urged again. They refused. Cars and their drivers are not to be trusted. In other countries people stop for pedestrians who arrive at a crossing. They certainly do when you have a foot on the road. ‘Cars first, pedestrians last’

is the general mentality in Hong Kong. To be safe, never trust drivers until we find a way to shift this paradigm.

Paul Zimmerman is the CEO of Designing Hong Kong, a Southern District Councillor and the coconvenor of Save Our Country Parks alliance.

what’s up, doc?

Hard to swallow ENT Specialist Dr SK Ng focuses on the salivary glands


any would be surprised to learn that we produce 0.5 to 1.5 liters of saliva every day. The saliva produced by the salivary glands flows along the salivary duct and reaches the oral cavity. Saliva is important in a number of ways. It moistens and lubricates food to allow smooth swallowing. Saliva also contains an enzyme which is vital to the digestive process. In addition, it has a mild antiseptic function that is very important in maintaining oral hygiene. Equally important, saliva keeps the mouth continuously moist which is imperative for comfort and speech.

Saliva production Saliva is mainly produced by three major pairs of salivary glands; the parotid glands, located behind the jaw, the submandibular glands which are found under the jaw and the sublingual glands, located under the tongue. In addition, hundreds of tiny salivary glands are located within the mucous membrane of the mouth, nose and throat and contribute to a small portion of salivary production.

Associated diseases Salivary gland diseases include functional disturbance, tumors and obstructive ductal

1. Stone within the salivary duct

diseases. Salivary hypofunction causes a dry mouth and dental problems and is usually a result of systemic problems that will affect all of the salivary glands. Common causes include, dehydration, adverse effects of drugs and radiotherapy treatment for head and neck cancer. Another less-common disease is Sjogren syndrome, whereby the body mistakenly produces antibodies against its own salivary and lacrimal tissue. Tumors can also affect the salivary glands, while the majority of these are benign, some are cancerous. Most require surgical excision for definitive diagnosis. Obstructive ductal problems are mainly caused by salivary ductal stones and narrowing. At times, the salivary flow at the duct is blocked which causes a backflow of saliva to the glands. Symptoms include recurrent painful salivary gland swelling associated with eating. We are not entirely sure what causes the formation of stones, but they appear to be associated with dehydration and factors such as drugs which reduce salivary flow. Treatment for this can be minimally invasive, often open surgery can be avoided. With the advancement of technology, we are better equipped to deal with the variety of diseases than ever before.

2. Stone captured by a basket

Dr Siu-Kwan NG (吳少君醫生) is a Hong Kong-based ENT Specialist

Nowadays... patients can be treated in a minimally invasive manner.

3. Stone taken out



Ask a vet... Dr. Pauline Pets Central veterinarian Dr. Pauline Taylor answers your questions. My cat is on a diet but she constantly wants food, how can I get her out of the habit of eating? Honestly you do not want to get your cat out of the habit of eating. However, what your describing could be a condition called ‘polyphagia’ “always eating but still always hungry”. There are medical causes that include diabetes mellitus, hormonal imbalances like hyperthyroidism, parasites, and behavior problems leading to stress and anxiety that cause compulsive “over the top” eating disorders. Alternatively, it could be quite simply due to having the wrong type of diet food or inadequate amounts of it for your cat at her stage in life. I wouldn’t rush to change this habit but advise you to monitor her weight, get her checked out and, with veterinary advice, work out the reason for her over-indulgence and then tackle or treat the cause. Good luck! Should I be worried about tear gas around my pets and how can I help them? Tear gas irritates the mucous membranes and the lungs. It is something to be worried about and best to keep your pets well away from. Signs of contact include rubbing, runny eyes, coughing, difficulty breathing and if severe, retching or vomiting. Should this happen, carefully handle your pet, using a wrap or gloves to avoid contact with the gas yourself. If you are at home, reduce the impact of the gas by closing all windows, turning off air blowing fans and turn on extraction fans and AC units to circulate air and keep your pet cool. Immediately wash your pet with water and take special care to flush eyes. If your pet shows severe signs-like open mouth breathing seek veterinary help. Try to stay calm, this will help your pet to stay calm too. The Hong Kong Veterinary Association have released some guidelines: With the festive season coming up there’s lots of treats for pets. How healthy are they? What you feed your pets and ‘common sense’ must prevail every festive season. I have seen many animals with upset tummies, vomiting, diarrhoea, chocolate poisoning, foreign bodies, and fat overload during the festive season. Usually the problem lies with the pet parents overfeeding their pets. Sometimes, it can be sneaky pets stealing food that they really shouldn’t eat. Use your common sense and do not feed treats that are likely to make your pets ill, no matter how much they like them, or advertising promotions recommend that they do. I designed my own pets’ mooncake recipe many years ago but I’m lucky that my own dog loves lettuce and blueberries!

Got a question for Dr. Pauline? Email 42 | SOUTHSIDE.HK


Walkies Rex the dog explores the Lamma Island Family Trail Treat your dog to their own big day out with a trip to Lamma Island. The Lamma Island Family Trail offers a tour around the

island complete with serene views and plenty of rest stops for you and your furry friend. Start from Sok Kwu Wan and follow

the signs for the trail, where you’ll hike across the mountains and end up at Hung Shing Ye Beach. The trail takes around 45 minutes and can also be done in the opposite direction depending on which ferry you take. If a day trip is not quite long enough, you and your pooch can stay overnight at the dog-friendly Concerto Inn. Dogs are allowed aboard ordinary class of First Ferries at an extra cost, as long as they have a leash and muzzle. How to get there: Take a ferry from Central Pier 4 to either Sok Kwu Wan or Yung Shue Wan. The journey takes around 45 minutes.


southside secrets

Pok Fu Lam Village Kimberely Chan visits the last standing pre-colonial village on Hong Kong Island


f you’ve ever driven or walked past Pok Fu Lam Road, way past the Christian cemetery and slightly farther of BÊthanie, you can easily see the big cluster of shacks with tiled ceilings and telephone wires spread across the roofs like intricate spider-webs. In passing, none of us would probably pay much attention to these slumlike looking houses. But Pok Fu Lam Village offers more than meets the eye. The first written account of Pok Fu Lam village was in 1819, decades before the British settlers arrived. The village was one of the only two villages on Hong Kong Island, the other being Aberdeen village further south. Today, it is the only village left on the island. Loose accounts trace back to the 1670s, when several clans fled from China and settled in Hong Kong after a revolt against the ruling emperor of the Qing Dynasty. The original settlers formed a tight-knit community. Unlike the clumps of houses we see now - the village then occupied


much more territory, from Waterfall Bay (near Cyberport today) to the White Tiger Mountain. Villages were blessed by Hong Kong’s pre-urbanisation landscape and abundant natural resources. Streams that flowed into the bay allowed the villagers to cultivate rice and other vegetables, supporting their idyllic and self-sufficient life. The village faced its first mass transformation when British Settlers arrived. Around the area, churches, reservoirs and mansions were built and mountains were renamed into anglophile-friendly alterations. The biggest change was without doubt in the late 19th century, when a dairy farm was established next to the village. The land became a huge farm which feed herds of cows. But this was a change for the better as the dairy farm, became a kingpin in the area and employed half of the villagers. Post-war, the village slowly turned into what we see today. With rapid urban developments around Hong Kong Island, the village map shrunk dramatically and

nowadays Pok Fu Lam struggles to live up to its former glory. Government notices for redevelopment were breathing down villagers necks. The houses and structures of the village are hazardously under-maintained and deeply-unappealing in juxtaposition with modern estates nearby. Studies conducted by journalists and developers reveal that the village faces serious risk of demolition. There were concerns that this valuable piece of history will be shamefully wiped out. However, in 2014, the village earned a place on the World Monument Fund WatchList and since then, programmes have been launched to restore old houses and upgrade the village community. Watch this space to see how Pok Fu Lam village develops over the coming years.

Want to visit this historic village in person? Take bus 40M, 37A from Central and get off at Pok Fu Lam village.

southside secrets




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September 2018

Reach for the stars Stargazing in Sai Kung

Glow up Your guide to the Mid-Autumn Festival

Exploring Finland





To Be or Not To Be, Cool Mrs Backfire on the many mums you’ll find in Hong Kong


ecently, I’ve felt the need to stop and survey my life. I’ve looked closely and mindfully at my family, my work, my wardrobe, my wrinkles and roots1. I’ve reviewed my latest social media posts and, you know, I might have even googled myself (just quickly, mind you, in a surreptitious, no-biggie way). And yet, the conclusion I’ve had to face— after all that soul and surface searching—the inevitable answer to my self-absorbed questing was this: I am not a Cool Mum. Cool Mums, you see, have platforms that you build and platform (shoes) that you buy, both online. I, however, wasn’t born with the high heel or accessorising gene. And to me, hustle is what I ask my kids to do when we’re late for family dinner, not a full-time occupation to raise one’s profile and multiply those eyeballs. Cool Mums have podcasts—where they’re ‘cool mums’ not God forbid regular mums. Cool mums with podcasts talk to other cool mums who ‘make their passions a priority’. Something tells me they’re not discussing meal planning and permission slips. Sadly, no one’s asking me to come on their shows to discuss my passions, namely breakfast cereal, Words With Friends and sleeping late. Cool Mums are on Instagram, where they post beautifully lit photos of organic linen, avocado smoothies, all-white interiors and inspirational quotes from Michelle Obama. And while I love and respect the former First Lady, posting about her would really detract from my usual social media topics: political rants, ‘90s music, my pets and B-list but fabulous television actresses who are super underrated! Also, sorry Insta, I know you’re where the cool mums hang, but I have room on my dance card for no more than two, maybe three time-sucks in a day. Cool Mums have incredibly adorable and well-dressed kids. Sometimes huge broods, sometimes just that solo super-cute one. All with names like Pip and Carter and Addie and all completely fine with getting photographed 24-7. My kiddos, who are also adorable and better dressed than me, have got rights contracts and non-disclosure agreements at the ready, should I ask to share a snap. Privacy might be a quaint 20th century concept, but embarrassment will


never, ever go out of style. The last thing Cool Mums have is a really cool job title. If they’re not launching ‘ethereal women’s lifestyle clothing lines’ then they’re working as photographers, party planners, visual artists, healers, or proprietors of businesses that can only be described as scrumptious or bohochic or bespoke. Just once I want to hear about Cool Mum Deputy Head or Cool Mum Insurance Agent. She must exist, somewhere, out there beyond surf yoga, homemade marshmallows and an Ed Sheeran concert. I won’t let myself get down about not being a Cool Mum, because I’ve found out that, good news, I have options!

for Miranda Mum, Hong Kong has plenty of Andy’s, what I call Time-Rich Mums: generous, eager-to-please sorts who are always available with a suggestion and bit of advice. Time-Rich Mums are the indefatigable, uncool Cool Mums of Hong Kong. We may wonder what they do with themselves all day (aside from a lot of FB posting), but we sure do appreciate their personal experience and knowledge. Maybe someone should give them a podcast. Footnote 1

note to self: call the hairdresser, stat!


Too Much Information

The world, dear reader, is not just for Cool Mums. A whole range of motherly personas exist, each with their own Insta-feeds, support groups and, yes, even podcasts. So many to choose from: Courageous Mum, Positive Mum, Depressed Mum, Crunchy Mum, Bitter Mum, Adventurous Mum, Raw Mum and good ol’ Regular Mum (whose podcast may or may not be devoted to discussing dietary fibre—let me check on that). The list goes on and on, an image-goal for every Mum. Here in Hong Kong, we usually classify our Mums by geography: Southside, British, DB, French, South Horizons, etc. Our Mums find their full expression in chat groups where they’re not building platforms but finding solidarity and support—asking for and sharing information and advice. Even so, a few key Mum types tend to make appearances. My personal favourite is Judge-y Mum who’s never met an opinion, about other people, she didn’t want to share. Judge-y Mum, cousin to Bitter Mum, looooves TMI2 (subset of Raw) Mum because no topic is off limits. Weird rash? Go ahead and describe it. Husband’s cheating? Let’s talk! (Online! To thousands!) Judge-y Mum and TMI Mum have no filters and are way more entertaining than Cool Mum posting about her favourite brunch recipes. There’s also Miranda Mum, as in The Devil Wears Prada, also known as PA Mum, who views the group as her personal assistant and will only post when she can’t be bothered to search out information for herself. Luckily

Mrs Backfire is - in the words of John Hughes - a brain, an athlete, a basket case, a princess and a criminal (well, just that one time and I do regret it). You can see me as you want to see me ;)