Hong Kong Living July 2021

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Making a difference Meet the teachers adapting to the new world of education

JULY 2021

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CONTENT S — 0 7 / 2 1


Celebrate the winners of the Hong Kong Education Awards


Meet the team


Out and about in Central


What’s on in July


What’s happening in our backyard


Central gets a makeover







Jacob Dimech, CEO of BMW Financial Services Hong Kong

New restaurant openings around town this summer

Explore the remote island of Po Toi

Matchy Ma, founder of Talent Academy

Here’s what’s written in the stars for you this month


Everything you need for the ultimate pool party


Dr Pauline Taylor answers you pet questions


An exclusive look around Wycombe Abbey


How to handle infidelity


Nury Vittachi on inspirational quotes






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“The cure for boredom is curiosity. There is no cure for curiosity” ~ Dorothy Parker

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EDITOR’S LETTER About six months ago we kicked off a project to celebrate the people and institutions driving education in Hong Kong into new and exciting territory. No small undertaking. Innovation in the education sector is typically a marathon, not a sprint, but after more than 18 months of widespread disruptions, educators were forced into a rapid rethink. Closed schools, remote learning, digital disruption and phased returns were just a few of the obstacles to overcome. What we’ve seen emerge is a way of teaching and learning that is more adaptable, flexible, understanding, digitally-driven and ultimately more open to new ways of thinking. Some of the city’s biggest and most respected institutions from Malvern College to Shrewsbury, Harrow, Hong Kong International School, Stamford American, French International and right down the independent operators like Mulberry House, Hong Kong Academy, The Harbour School, Kids Connect and Mini Mandarins have embraced and innovated at a rate we don’t typically see in the education sector. So, this month we celebrate the winners of the very first Hong Kong Education Awards - from kindergartens to language centres, those who have embraced new ideas and more importantly the teachers, principals and support staff who continue to push the boundaries of learning in all its forms.

Editorial Editor-in-chief Nicole Slater, nicole@hongkongliving.com Features Editor Cheyelene Fontanilla, cheyelene@hongkongliving.com Senior Writer Charmaine Ng, charmaine@hongkongliving.com Dining Editor Amber Lai, amber@hongkongliving.com

Design Senior Graphic Designer Vicky Lam, vicky@hongkongliving.com

Sales & Marketing Director of Content Hilda Chan, hilda@hongkongliving.com Partnership Manager Debbie Ky, debbie@hongkongliving.com Elaine Li, elaine@hongkongliving.com

I hope you enjoy the issue and even learn a few things along the way. Until next time.

Events Manager Pranali Gupta, pranali@hongkongliving.com

Publisher Matt Eaton, matt@hongkongliving.com

Founding Director

Things we love

Tom Hilditch, tom@hongkongliving.com

Contact us 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

hongkongliving.com talk@hongkongliving.com

Reusing and reducing

After years of construction, Lung Mei Beach in Tai Po is open for business. The artificial beach has had its fair share of criticism from local residents, but the final product is quite impressive. Located just a stone’s throw away from Tai Mei Tuk, the 200 meter long beach opens with facilities, lifeguards and is cycling friendly with some 96 bike racks.

For most of 2021 I’ve been on a mission to reduce and eventually cut my use of plastic. It’s not easy, but one small and effective tweak has been to simply refill bottles of shampoo, laundry liquids and washing detergents. Shops like Slowood and Live Zero Bulk Foods are popping up all over the city, making it easy to reduce your reliance on plastic.

Covid-19 update

As Hong Kong Living goes to print we have done our best to keep our content as accurate and up-to-date as possible, but life under Covid-19 regulations means things tend to change, often from day-to-day. Please check with local businesses for operation hours and services available and remember, stay safe.

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@hongkongliving @hongkongliving852

HONG KONG hongkongliving.com Hong Kong Living 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. Hong Kong Living Ltd 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 in any way, part or format without written permission from the publisher.

Photo: Simon J Nicol

Lung Mei Beach

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Simon J Nicol

Nury Vittachi

This month’s cover shoot comes courtesy of Hong Kong-based Australian photographer and filmmaker Simon J Nicol. His works include commercial, corporate and editorial projects across the luxury, lifestyle, arts, architecture and design industries. simonjnicol.com

Our monthly backpage columnist Nury Vittachi is a Hong Kongbased author of more than 40 books. His journalism has appeared in more than a dozen publications. He is now editor of Friday magazine at fridayeveryday.com

Valentina Tudose Certified relationship coach and clinical hypnotherapist Valentina Tudose, shares her advice on overcoming infidelity in our monthly dating column.

Howard Tuckett As the headmaster at Wycombe Abbey School Hong Kong, Howard Tuckett is responsible for connecting students with some of England’s best educational institutions. We took an exclusive look around the school in this month’s education section.

Matchy Ma Whey Located on Wellington Street, Whey provided the perfect backdrop for our cover photoshoot this month. The newly-opened restaurant merges modern European cooking techniques with Singaporean flavours. whey.hk

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As a registered industrial and organisational psychologist, Matchy Ma has over 18 years of experience working in MNCs and specialises in transforming individual and team performance for people from all walks of life. Find out more in our five minutes with interview.

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Out and about in Central

Self Love Happy Hour at Metropolitain 6 | hongkongliving.com


Education Awards ceremony at LUOXO

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Mark your calendars for these July events


SummerFest Jam-packed with summer events, SummerFest returns to the Central Harbourfront Event Space to provide Hongkongers with a wide range of largescale outdoor recreational activities including A series of 3D summer smileys, light/shadow Maze and handicraft workshops. Free. 9 Lung Wo Road, Central, Hong Kong. summerfest-centralharbourfront.hk

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Interweaving Poetic Code This year’s exhibition by the Centre for Heritage, Arts & Textiles explores the coding system in textiles and how people can take better care of their clothing. Free. The Hall, The Mills, 45 Pak Tin Par Street, Tsuen Wan. mill6chat.org

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The Jockey Club Heritage Education Programme An exhibition featuring over 500 artworks by master trainers and students. Workshops and guided tours are available upon request. 10am10pm, Free. Art Space, K11 Art Mall, 18 Hanoi Road, Tsim Sha Tsui. ichplus.org.hk

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Boundless Tempo outdoor yoga Enjoy a complimentary outdoor yoga experience in Stanley when you spend $500 or above at

Stanley Plaza and Murray House. 10.30-11.30am or 3-4pm. Free. G/F Amphitheatre, Stanley Plaza. linkhk.com


Midsummer Race After a one-year hiatus the Midsummer Race is

WHAT’S ON back. Race the clock across Shing Mun Reservoir in a range of age categories from junior to veteran Plus. Top 3 winners in each category receive a trophy and prize. 3pm. $220. Shing Mun Reservoir Main Dam, Lower Shing Mun Road, Kam Shan. xterace.com


4th of July Show A night of laughs with eight of the city’s funniest American comics including Bryan Bentley, Chris Musni and Garron Chiu. 8pm. $250. The Hub, 1/F Fortune building, Wan Chai. thebackstagehk.com


Kayak n Run Explore Tai Tam Bay like never before, kayaking

along the coastline to Hobie Cat Beach and running over Dragons Back in an attempt to make it to the top three. Family and adult races available. 8am. Family race $450, adult race $900. Tai Tam Tuk, Tai Tam Bay, Hong Kong Island. actionasiaevents.com


Sustainable Australian Wines & Spirits Tasting Witness how cocktails are made from food waste and taste it along with a selection of sustainable Australian wines. Members $200, non-members $250. 6.30-9pm. The Hive, 33-35 Hillier Street, Sheung Wan. thehivesheungwan.com.hk

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Discovery Bay Sunday Market Head down to DB for its monthly market, held by Handmade Hong Kong. Free. 11am-6pm. Discovery Bay Main Plaza, Discovery Bay. handmadehongkong.com

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Hong Kong Book Fair Enjoy book shopping, literary workshops and seminars in the annual week-long fair. 10am- 10pm. Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, 1 Harbour Road, Wan Chai. hkbookfair.hktdc.com

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HONG KONG’S COURT GRANTS PARENTAL RIGHTS FOR SAME-SEX PARTNERS The Court of First Instance ruled in favour of same-sex partners last month, granting them equal parental rights over their children. The ruling states that a non-biological mother should be granted joint custody of her children with her expartner, who is the biological mother. This ruling comes at a time when the government’s support for the LGBT+ community has been questioned after Junius Ho’s comments last month. While same-sex unions and civil partnerships are not recognised in Hong Kong at the moment, it is a step in a more inclusive direction for the city.

WIN BIG IN THE HONG KONG VACCINE LUCKY DRAW The Hong Kong government has come up with an entire list of prizes and incentives for residents to get vaccinated. From a $10.8 million flat in Kwun Tong, actual pieces of gold and $100,000 in spending credit and

CENTRAL HARBOURFRONT SITE VALUED AT $55 BILLION A Central harbourfront site has set a record as the most expensive plot in the city’s history. Last month, the plot on Yiu Sing Street was valued between $37 billion to $55 billion. The tender for the 516,316 square-foot commercial site closed on June 18. “Considering the plot’s strategic value, serious bidders will submit high prices as well as innovative designs, as it is the last commercial site along the waterfront in Central,” said Vincent Cheung, managing director of Vincorn Consulting and Appraisal.

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shopping vouchers, to luxury liquor, business class flights and much more. Permanent residents who get vaccinated before September 1 can sign up to the lucky draw at register.vaccinationluckydraw.hk



AC HOME INTRODUCES NEW CLEANING AMENITIES AC Home, a heating, ventilating and air conditioning service, has introduced industrial grade steam and high-pressure hydro cleaning into its household cleaning services, free of any chemical or corrosive cleaning products. Its services are child and pet friendly, appropriate for customers with skin and respiratory allergies, elders and those who care for the environment. For extra protection in the era of Covid-19, it will also wrap up its cleaning services by applying an airDefender anti-mold, bacteria and virus coating onto its clients’ air conditioners. achomehk.com

Global sports brand Nike has built its first local Nike Grind Court using 20,000 pairs of used sneakers. Located in Shek Lei, the court hopes

to provide an easily accessible space for less privileged kids to enjoy healthy sports and leisure in an extremely dense neighbourhood.

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Central gets a makeover

The business district is welcoming a few new faces this summer. By Charmaine Ng

The bustling streets of Central are ever-changing and this season is no different. we round up all the new openings you need to know.

American Eagle and Aerie On Queen’s Road Central, US retailer American Eagle will be opening its flagship store, taking over the space previously occupied by Gap in LHT Tower. Spanning four storeys and amounting to over 7,000 square feet, the new store will house two brands: the tenth branch of American Eagle and the first branch of its subsidiary Aerie. Known for its mid-range clothing and accessories, American Eagle entered the Hong Kong market in 2011 with its first location in Tsim Sha Tsui’s Harbour City. It currently has nine brick-and-mortar stores in the city, with locations in Causeway Bay, Kwun Tong and Sha Tin. Meanwhile, Aerie is an intimate apparel, lifestyle retailer and sub-brand owned by American Eagle. It will be making its debut in the city in the new Central store. Word on the street is that American Eagle is paying close to $1 million a month for its prime Central location.

TamJai SamGor Over in Lan Kwai Fong, a new vendor is finally taking over the space that was deserted by Tsui Wah over a year ago. The vendor has pretty big shoes to fill, considering Tsui Wah’s 24-hour location was an institute amongst late-night partiers. However, Hongkongers won’t be disappointed – because the new kid on the block is none other than beloved noodle restaurant TamJai SamGor. Now that bars and clubs have reopened, LKFers can indulge in the chain restaurant’s signature Yunnan-style rice vermicelli after a night out. Rumour has it that TamJai SamGor’s new space on the ground level and basement of 15-19 Wellington Street costs $450,000 per month.

Central Market Central Market, Hong Kong’s first wet market completed in 1842, is currently undergoing a $740 million makeover. Unlike American Eagle and TamJai SamGor, however, it won’t be opening its

doors this summer. We’ll have to wait until 2022 to see the new look. But we thought we’ve include it in this article, as the market is a key part of the neighbourhood. Located between Des Voeux Road and Queen’s Road Central, it was once a bustling scene with fresh produce, flower shops and catches of the day. In 1996, it was even listed as a Grade 3 Historic Building by the Hong Kong Antiquities and Monuments Office (AMO). But all good things must come to an end. In 2003, operations at the market ceased. It sat vacant until 2017, when the Urban Renewal Authority (URA) was cleared to revitalise the site into a leisure landmark with shops and eateries. It is currently under construction, with concrete repair works completed in 2019. In the future, the completed Central Market will boast a new facade design in fritted and clear glass; 1000 square metres of public open space encompassing an atrium and entrance plaza; and of course, market stalls.

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Five minutes with Matchy Ma

Charmaine Ng meets the founder of Talent Academy

As a Registered Industrial & Organisational Psychologist, Corporate Trainer and Director at his own consultancy Talent Academy, Matchy Ma wears many hats. With over 20 years experience working in multinational corporations, he specialises in transforming individual and team performance people from all walks of life, by applying practitioner skills backed by researchbased psychological principles. It sounds complicated, but essentially what

Ma does, as an Industrial & Organisational Psychologist and Corporate Trainer, is supporting organisations to create engaging employee experiences. This includes helping them hire the right employees; developing these employees’ capabilities and their career development; and creating engaging onboarding experiences. Meanwhile, as the director of his own firm Talent Academy, Ma’s job encompasses leading a team of professional consultants (psychologists,

corporate trainers, coaches) who, like himself, bring client-centric solutions to organisations. “As a metaphor, I am an orchestra conductor who leads a team of excellent musicians to create a wonderful show for the audience,” explains Ma. Before he found his calling and started a consultancy of his own, Ma dipped his toes in research and gained experience in different corporate organisations. “I started my career as a Market Researcher in ACNielsen, working both in Hong Kong and China for about three years,” he says. “After some reflection, though, I decided that the research industry was not for me. So, I resigned and joined a training consultancy company.” It went upwards from there. After his stint at the company, Ma acquired a Master Degree in Industrial & Organisational Psychology from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. The new qualification opened the door to job opportunities in large multinational corporations. He found himself at HSBC, Personnel Decisions International and Walmart Global Procurement as an Organisational Psychologist, leading different leadership development projects. Now, as the boss of his own business, Ma’s schedule is packed to the brim. On a typical day, there will be client calls, proposal writing, training/ coaching preparation, meetings with consultants to brainstorm and more. “Time management is key – planning, prioritising and focusing,” he says, explaining how he organises his time. “I conduct reviews on a quarterly, monthly, weekly and daily basis. This allows me to stay focused on what matters most and adjust my strategy along the way.” Aside from starting his own firm and designing signature training programmes for key clients, the most memorable moment in Ma’s career is giving back and starting a yearly internship programme. Talent Academy’s internship programme, now in its 10th year, helps fund Psychology students in local and overseas universities. “Our programme aims at supporting Psychology students to experience and learn about the application of Industrial & Organisational Psychology in the workplace. In the past 10 years, we have provided opportunities for over 20 students from the Chinese University of Hong Kong, The City University of Hong Kong and the University of Birmingham.” Going forward, Ma aspires to build up a bigger regional team, to provide face-to-face and virtual training for clients in the Asia Pacific. He hopes to continue his vision to empower the workforce with the positivity and skills to flourish.

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Learning curves In a year that saw education challenged like never before, Matt Eaton takes an indepth look at the winners of the 2021 Hong Kong Education Awards. Photography by Simon J Nicol. There’s no denying 2020 was an extraordinary year for international schools in Hong Kong. Facing long term closures, many were forced to re-evaluate how they engaged students, staff, parents, government and the wider academic community. But in many ways, the industry has come out of 2020 prepared for the future like never before.

Out of sheer necessity, technology became a central pillar of education, as did the value and importance of understanding students’ wellbeing. For us here at Hong Kong Living, we believe it is now time to recognise this immense change. For the past six months, we have worked with teachers, consultants and education experts to put together a comprehensive awards programme

that reflects the changing nature of education and its importance in the community. From international schools with a strong socially-responsible charter, to those with an outstanding technology programme and outstanding long-term strategic plans, the awards will culminate with the prestigious Hong Kong International School of the Year.

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Meet the judges

Darren Bryant Darren Bryant is Associate Professor and Head of the Department of Education Policy and Leadership; and Associate Director of the Asia Pacific Centre for Leadership and Change at the Education University of Hong Kong. His research in school leadership examines middle leadership, leader development, leadership in international schools and international schooling. Bryant has collaborated in developing and leading innovative programmes such as the Executive Master of Arts in International Educational Leadership and Change and an undergraduate programme on teaching and learning in international schools that are also IB recognised. His work follows a 12-year career in the international school sector as a teacher and K-12 Curriculum Coordinator.

Jessie Wong Jessie Wong, assistant professor at The Open University of Hong Kong, brings some solid experience to the jury panel. Prior to her current post, she was general secretary of the World Organisation for Early Childhood Education, where she advocated the rights of children through research on the policies of early childhood development and education. In addition to being a registered social worker in Hong Kong, Wong is the recipient of a competitive research grant from the Faculty Development Scheme of Hong Kong Research Grant Council and has published a number of top-ranked academic journal articles.

Divya Samtani

Matt Harris

Divya Samtani is co-founder and CEO of Savvy Sapiens, an organisation dedicated to helping students prepare for a future that no one can predict. Through in-school workshops and online programmes, she helps equip young adults with entrepreneurship, leadership and communication skills they need to succeed in today’s fast-changing global landscape. Her aim is to help the next generation discover more about themselves and understand how to navigate the 21st Century workplace, so that they feel confident and prepared to face any challenge that comes their way.

Dr Matt Harris is co-founder and CEO of ChildSafeguarding.com. His work and expertise lie at the nexus of technology, schools and the global education landscape. Harris has helped schools, districts and educational technology companies with strategic planning, growth, systems design and training around educational technology. His company, ChildSafeguarding.com, offers child abuse prevention education to support staff and parent volunteers in all schools around the world.

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Anne-Maree Soon As founder and managing director of executive search and education recruitment specialist Oxford Partnership, Anne Maree Soon brings some seven years of experience in education recruitment. Soon’s speciality is recruiting for mid-to-senior appointments for the international education sector, covering academic and non-academic positions for international schools, higher education providers and education consultancies. Her talent pool covers candidates in Asia, Australia, UK, the USA and Canada.

Natasha Jain Natasha Jain is a British-born actor in Hong Kong, working across theatre, film, TV and radio. Jain is responsible for creating curriculum content for several ‘Theatre in Education’ organisations. Jain teaches and supports young people through theatre and acting from primary to university level. In her current role at Baptist University, Jain is teaching a module on acting for the global screen.

Elke Van dermijnsbrugge A lecturer and programme leader at the Education University of Hong Kong, Elke Van dermijnsbrugge brings a unique perspective to the jury panel. At the Education University of Hong Kong, Elke oversees a teacher training programme that paves the way for students to pursue careers at international schools in Hong Kong and abroad. Her key research interests focus on curriculum studies, philosophy of education and alternative education. Elke is also exploring and developing the concept of “punk ethnography”.

Crystal Wong A registered English teacher, Crystal Wong is currently working towards a Doctorate of Education on educational management and policy research. Her fields of expertise includes school management and leadership, plus teaching and learning with meaningful content.

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Hong Kong International School of The Year The Harbour School

Primary School of the Year Japanese International School Nestled next to Tai Po Kau Country Park, Japanese International School is known as the ‘friendly school’, as it has a strong emphasis on relationships and community involvement alongside a powerful commitment to environmental education and academic excellence. Creativity is at the core of the curriculum offered to the students. Learning at this school is meant to be fun, dynamic and purposeful. As a fully authorised I.B. PYP World School, the school is regularly assessed by International Baccalaureate staff to very high acclaim.

As a self-described “teeny tiny school”, The Harbour School is certainly punching above its weight. A big winner in this year’s Education Awards, The Harbour School scooped up a total of three big categories, including Best School Humanities & Social Sciences, Best Technology Program and the overall award for Hong Kong International School of the Year. The awards cap a period of exciting change for The Harbour School, which has seen inclusiveness, innovation and creativity placed at the core of its education philosophy. Jadis Blurton, Head of School at The Harbour School, says the awards were recognition of its vision and its approach to education. “We are very honored,” she says. “It’s a really great thing to have this support for our vision for education and that there are people around us who believe in this vision.” Blurton added that education was going through a period of extreme change and that The Harbour School was at the forefront of this change.

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“Our school motto is unlocking the best and unlocking the best means finding and helping individuals to find the missing parts and strengths that are going to carry them forward.” And as Covid disrupted many of its traditional ways of working, The Harbour School sought to adapt and adapt fast. “It was very important for us to maintain as normal an atmosphere as possible,” Blurton says. A big part of that plan was the launch of its Virtual Classrooms at THS program. But the program had to do more than just deliver content, Blurton says. “Virtual Classrooms had to connect to people, it had to connect students and teachers and connect the administration. Not only did it have to deliver, it also had to stand up to its motto of developing students as individuals. “We believe that every single person is different and people come with different strengths, weaknesses and interests, history and personality. “If you expect everybody to be the same, you are missing all of their gifts.”

Best School – STEM Stamford American School Hong Kong Calling Hong Kong home for the past four years, Stamford American School’s STEMinn programme combines STEM teaching principles with a focus on innovation to create hands-on learning opportunities both inside classrooms and beyond. The programme is taught to students from the age five and follows them through elementary, middle and high school, with integration opportunities throughout. With state of the art science laboratories and weekly challenges including, World Space Week it’s no surprise our Stamford American School Hong Kong took home the award for Best School - STEM.


Secondary School of Principal of The Year the Year Dr Robin Lister, Founding Headmaster at ESF Island School

When the pandemic forced schools to distance learning arrangement, many teachers had to rewrite their syllabuses almost overnight. For Stephen Loggie, ESF Island School Principal, it was more than simply offering online classes. “We quickly realised we had to do more to support students’ wellbeing,” he says. “The senior heads of house and form tutors developed ways to structure conversations with students to find out what they were struggling with - be it social isolation or finding a quiet place to work. “Teachers reassured students and together they developed solutions.” It’s these types of solutions that helped ESF Island School take home the Secondary School of the Year in this year’s Education Awards. “I see this acknowledgement as a timely reminder of all the tremendous work that is being done at Island School,” Loggie says. “This recognition from the education sector endorses all the initiatives we have in place - from our unique curriculum and academic improvement pathways to our heavy focus on supporting communities, locally and globally. I couldn’t be more proud.” As changes started to take place, one reassuring aspect for ESF Island School was its existing infrastructure held up under pressure. Having the digital learning resources already in place meant that teachers could spend more time working with students individually, Loggie added. “Many departments had structures in place that meant the transfer to distance learning wasn’t an impossible shift.” In less than 12 months ESF Island School will move into its new state-of-the-art campus on Borrett Road.

Malvern College Hong Kong

For Dr Robin Lister, Founding Headmaster at Malvern College Hong Kong, surviving the past year has been about enabling every Malvern pupil to maximise their academic potential. But at the heart of it is solid and cohesive teamwork. “As anyone who runs a school knows, it all comes down to teamwork. The last year has been phenomenally challenging, but to receive some recognition like this award is terribly satisfying.” As winner of Principal of the Year – Allthrough, Lister says more than ever a focus on holistic learning and pupil well-being has been key to surviving the changes that have had to take place. “I can honestly say that all schools had to go through a period of rapid learning; the jump from face-to-face to online lessons was indeed challenging and we didn’t get everything right immediately,” he says. “What have we learned? In the first place, we have learned to provide children and young people with an educationally worthwhile, stretching and successful online experience.

“But, like parents, we have also had to learn the need to balance educational provision with personal support and significant time focussed on pupil well-being.” Put simply, he stressed the need for balance between screen time, personal work, exercise, social interaction - and time to reflect. “And this goes for teachers and parents as well as pupils. Our expansion has been rapid, but what keeps us all going is seeing the children back in school and hearing them participating in their lessons.” While there is still a lot of work to be done before a sense of normality returns, Lister remains positive. “As far as the school is concerned, we are particularly looking forward to the completion of a new Design Studio and Black Box Theatre - two further additions to the school’s already pretty impressive level of facilities,” he says. “Exchange programmes with other Malvern schools are also on the horizon and are definitely something to look forward to.”

Surrounded by mountains and with a spectacular view of the Victoria Harbour, the project architects, Schmidt Hammer Lassen and Thomas Chow have made use of the distinctive geographical location of the campus, as they construct the building. “The completion of the redevelopment brings with it not just a new building but a

chance for generations of Islanders to come together and celebrate this significant moment in the school’s history,” Loggie says. “The equipment and teaching resources that will be available to students will go beyond expectation, transforming the learning experience for decades to come.”

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Best After School Programme Wycombe Abbey School Hong Kong Wycombe Abbey School Hong Kong is a private British preparatory school located in Aberdeen. Wycombe Abbey’s Hong Kong arm arrived in the city in August 2019. If the name seems familiar, it’s because Wycombe Abbey is one of the most famous girls’ schools in the UK, known principally for its impressive academic results. The school offers a total of 42 extra curricular programs that were all designed as part of the curriculum. Options include Cantonese theatre and opera, as well as calligraphy for traditional characters to support their Chinese teaching. There is also music, drama, rock climbing, fencing and the school has plans to add European languages to the list, including French, Spanish, Italian and Latin.

All-Through School of the Year French International School of Hong Kong Founded in 1963, French International School has a proven legacy spanning over half a century. It became the first authorised IB school in Hong Kong in 1988. Today, FIS has over 2700 students on four campuses. The school follows both the French and English National Curriculum, offering students from three to 18 a consistent campus environment to follow them through their school years. The school puts a strong emphasis on working towards students passions and goals, whether that be an Ivy League school or a career as an airline pilot.

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Best Student-Centered School & Kindergarten of the Year

Readers Choice

The International Montessori School In 2001, a group of parents and professionals began a journey to provide an authentic, Montessori dual-language school where children could own their learning journey and realise their full potential. Almost 20 years on and that vision to build a diverse international school community in Hong Kong is in full swing. Winning Best Student-Centered School and Kindergarten of the Year in this year’s Readers Choice category is a feather in the cap for school founder Ann Sawyer. “We have been overwhelmingly successful in fulfilling our vision,” she says. “Over the past two years we have been amazed by the efforts of the IMS team to keep children at the center of all we do; continuing to provide the very best in individualised learning the Montessori system makes possible - even online.” Sawyer says IMS has been able to navigate through these challenging times because of the unique creativity and resilience of the IMS community. “The beauty of the Montessori education approach to learning is that the teacher’s responsive, individual child-centered guidance has allowed learning to pivot in new directions quickly and naturally as we have

gone back and forth between home learning and classroom learning during the past two academic years.” Sawyer added that IMS was incredibly proud of the online Montessori platforms and how parents implemented the Montessori approach at home. “The calm, ‘working as usual’ approach we have seen in the children is a testament to the way a Montessori community works - in good times and in challenging ones. “Of course, we credit our success to Dr. Maria Montessori, a woman far ahead of her time, who developed this incredible, science based, child-directed education system all those years ago.” With a 20th anniversary to celebrate in 2022, there’s certainly a lot to celebrate. “We are excited to see how our children grow and transform in the Montessori environment. As we watch our graduates discuss what they have experienced and learned at IMS, we are so proud to have been able to join them in their unique education journey.” “We are looking forward to our next 20 years and will continue to provide a muchneeded educational approach to our future students of Hong Kong.”


Best Student-Centered School Hong Kong International School

Boarding School of the Year Harrow International School Hong Kong Taking home the Judges’ Category award for Boarding School of the Year is Harrow International School Hong Kong. The school opened in 2012 as part of the larger group of Harrow international schools, integrating elements of educational philosophy, practice and traditions from Harrow School in England into the diverse international community here to provide a highly distinctive education. The school is on an enormous 400,000 square feet purpose-built campus in Gold Coast. Harrow Hong Kong prioritises the quality of relationships and community life of its students. The personal formation of character is fundamental at this school. Harrow Hong Kong is the only international school in Hong Kong that provides the opportunity of a boarding education.

When campuses abruptly closed in February 2020 because of Covid-19, Hong Kong International School took just one day to change from its regular schooling to a fully online school. “It was astonishing how quickly we did that,” says Hong Kong International School High School Principal Dr. David Lovelin. “We’re extremely proud of our faculty and administrators for adapting so quickly and keeping students’ interests at the center of everything.” Lovelin says winning Best Student-Centered School was validation of its belief as a school. “We need to take care of all parts of a student’s life,” he added. “We’re grateful that we were able to maintain this throughout the challenges of the last two years, adapting to off-

campus learning and support, keeping the lines of communication open and making sure that our students continued to feel supported and connected to the school and each other.” Lovelin also said that there are certain aspects of the year that forced HKIS leadership team to look at what is essential to students and its own mission. “Eighteen months in, we have some perspective and can see that some of the changes we made because of the circumstances actually have improved the student experience. “In the High School for example, we have introduced a new timetable which means that students have a dedicated day to explore their interests and come together as a community. Within all of this change, he said the key has

been to communicate the vision and the steps on how to get there. “When people understand where we’re going and how it will help students, they become supporters and advocates. “Excellence is at the center of who we are, ever since our founding in 1966. That’s not only excellence in academics, but excellence in creating a caring community that supports students and their specific interests. “This will always be true for us. In addition, across all grade levels, we want to provide more choices to our students and give them different opportunities to bring learning from different subjects together in different environments. As for the years ahead, he said there are some very exciting developments coming that will allow students to do just this.

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Kindergarten of The Year Small World Christian Kindergarten Small World began in 1986 with just eight students. Today it counts a student and alumni family in the thousands.”We are a community of lifelong learners and over the past 35 years we have continually looked to improve and refine what we do,” says Tess Baguio, Principal at Small World. As winner of Kindergarten of the Year Baguio says the award is an affirmation that what we are doing has connected with our community in Hong Kong and contributed something positive to our city. “It’s a great honour to be acknowledged alongside so many wonderful schools in Hong Kong,” she says. “Throughout this period of uncertainty and change, Small World has sought to create a loving environment where our children and their families can approach the present times that we are living

in with adaptability, resilience and even joy. While the rapid shift to home learning in the early part of 2020 was challenging, Baguio says it was critical to make sure Small World was delivering a comprehensive home learning programme. “We had to equip our teachers with the structure and resources that they needed so that they could focus on connecting with the students and drawing them into the wonderful world of learning.” The online programme has also futureproofed Small World to adapt to any developments. “We are very happy to be back on campus again, but we are also glad to have the confidence that we have the ability to switch to our home learning programme immediately if campus closures are mandated again in the future.”

Primary School of the Year Reader’s choice Nord Anglia International School Hong Kong Taking home the Reader’s Choice award for Primary School of the Year, Nord Anglia International School Hong Kong (NAIS) is well-known for its specialist teachers and engaging environments for children. Their primary and secondary campus in Lam Tin offers students a spacious environment to learn and grow. Following the English National Curriculum, NAIS takes the best aspects of curriculum and adapts it to ensure their primary school curriculum is relevant for children growing up in Hong Kong, while placing a strong emphasis on educating global citizens.

Education Consultancy of the Year Ampla Education With an experienced team composed of Oxbridge, MIT and Yale graduates, Ampla Education offers tuition for a vast range of exams, including GCSEs, A-Levels, IB and Pre-U, as well as bespoke programmes for tests such as UKiset and SAT. It also has admissions preparation courses and comprehensive consulting services for those who are considering boarding schools and universities abroad. With such a vast amount of services, it truly deserves the title of Education Consultancy of the Year.

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Primary School Principal of The Year Mina Dunstan, Principal at ESF Quarry Bay School

Special Education School of the Year Kids Connect Established in Hong Kong in 2014, Kids Connect is a learning centre dedicated to children with special learning profiles. With a cosy team made up of 11 highly trained teachers, Kids Connect combines scientific rigorousness with a personal touch of humanity in all its programmes. Its personalised approach to learning is one of the many reasons why it receives the title of Special Education School of the Year.

If there were two guiding principles which helped ESF Quarry Bay School through some of the most challenging times ever - it was flexibility and creativity. That strategy has paid off for Principal Mina Dunstan, who won Principal of the Year Primary after what she described as two very challenging years. “Without a doubt the last two years have been the most challenging in my career,” Dunstan says. “I am grateful, humbled and privileged to have been recognised as Principal of the Year after such an unprecedented period of disruption and uncertainty. “During this period of time my focus on the students has been unwavering. Dunstan says however the award is

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affirmation for the extraordinary effort by the Quarry Bay School staff and students too. “Quarry Bay School is a fantastic community and this recognition for everyone is exceptionally positive. I am incredibly proud of the Quarry Bay School community’s grit and determination. During the lockdowns and the repeated moves to online learning, the school was challenged to rapidly upskill. Dunstan says everyone, from staff to students and teachers, needed to adapt to a range of apps, devices and new platforms to maintain learning collaboration. “At times, this challenged all stakeholders - students, teachers and parents. Yet the adaptability, resilience and confidence to keep moving ahead was continuously evident from all stakeholders.

One key observation teachers identified as key takeaways from this experience was the importance of building flexibility, creativity and agency into learning tasks for students. “Perhaps pre-Covid, our definition of what encompassed technology was different too. Broadening the definition of technology is crucial in schools as we emerge from the extended period of online learning.” Dunstan says this includes offering primary age learners a wider range of experiences in the use of technologies is a priority. Increasing the range of learning experiences from robotics, to animation, podcasting or stop motion movie making. “These are the skills which will support young learners moving into the future with confidence and creativity.” With face-to-face classes slowly returning, Dunstan said ESF Quarry Bay School will maintain an open mind and positive outlook. “I am excited to lead the Quarry Bay School community into the future as there has never been a more important time for learners to be given opportunities to solve authentic problems in creative ways. “Future proofing our young people to be resilient, confident, collaborative and to show grit when things are challenging will be important priorities in our school community.”


Best School for the Arts Faust International Youth Theatre Faust, the winner of Best School for the Arts, runs drama, creative writing and musical theatre workshops for children aged three to 18 at venues across Hong Kong. In fun, lively sessions, the youth theatre introduces children to the world of theatre and creativity, developing performance skills, theatre knowledge, teamwork, individual expression and confidence. It also organises productions at many Hong Kong theatres throughout the year.

International School of The Year

Readers Choice

Hong Kong Academy There’s no denying the popularity of Hong Kong Academy. A big winner in this year’s award, Hong Kong Academy took home a total of four awards, including Hong Kong International School of the Year in the Reader’s Choice category. The school was particularly popular with readers, scooping up All-Through School of the Year and Most Socially Responsible School in the Reader’s Choice categories. It also won the judges’ approval for Best School Strategic Plan. Stephen Dare, Head of School at Hong Kong Academy, said he was thrilled to accept this recognition on behalf of HKA. “These awards are a testament to our strength as a community and are a source of pride as we wrap up our 20th anniversary year,” he says. “The pandemic has required a lot of work in the moment and to be awarded Best School Strategic Plan by the judges is great recognition of the forward thinking focus that we have been able to maintain throughout the school. “The strategy is a living document which helps us set annual goals and priorities in every department and ensures that we continuously move our mission forward.”

The scale of the disruption over the past 18 months has meant that HKA had to move beyond traditional ways of thinking and operating. Making time to make sure that students, staff and families felt supported and engaged was crucial says Dare. “In the broader sense, I believe that the pandemic has accelerated a shift in education which was already underway. Universities and employers are recalibrating what they are looking for in applicants, moving away from measuring performance in an exam based model and towards how these individuals are impacting the world by incorporating their passions and interests to serve others around them - it’s really exciting to be part of this.” With its 20th anniversary celebrations wrapping up, Dare is now asking what the next 20 years will bring. Technology, diversity, equity, inclusion and social justice are front and centre of his thinking. “We’ll continue to evaluate our use of technology for good and how it can be used to enhance face-to-face learning,” he says. “We want to further develop our identity as an international school that supports global citizenship and expand how each of us can take action to support communities.”

Best Language Centre Mini Mandarins Taking home the title of Best Language Centre is Mini Mandarins. Since 2014, it has revolutionised Mandarin learning with its unique and innovative curriculum. Featuring a thematic real-life simulated “mini metro” classroom, children are fully immersed to develop their love in Chinese across the continuum of conversing, reading and creative writing. To date, it has helped over 5,000 students across Hong Kong, aiding them to develop their passion for learning Chinese in real-life settings.

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Life’s Journeys Matt Eaton meets Jacob Dimech, CEO of BMW Financial Services Hong Kong. Photography by Simon J Nicol.

Jacob Dimech at the BMW Wan Chai Showroom

Speak to Jacob Dimech for any length of time and you get a sense of how much he loves a challenge, not to mention an adventure. The father of three has spent the better part of the last decade travelling the world with his young family, heading up some exciting business ventures with BMW and learning first hand what it takes to lead a team in unique work cultures. But it was back in 1999 when the travel bug first took hold. Dimech had a secure job with BMW and life in Melbourne was good, but something bigger was calling. “I left a perfectly good job,” he says with nostalgia. I was on the career path. But there was something really deep inside me saying ‘come on, step outside your comfort zone’. “My resignation to my boss was a one way ticket to Berlin.” Looking back, it’s something that was very of its time - the early days of the internet, pre-social media, a bit of cash and a one way ticket - the perfect storm for someone itching for adventure.

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His journey started in Germany, a place he would circle back to many years later. “I’ll never forget my first night, finding my way to the hostel, closing the door and sitting on my bed thinking, what the hell am I doing? “But then you smack yourself in the face and straighten up and say, okay, let’s explore.” After 12 months of backpacking around Europe, Dimech forged a path to London something travelling Australians will be familiar with. It was here he decided to hunker down, rebuild his savings and explore the region in style. Weekend trips to Rome and France were made that much easier after he landed a role with online booking site lastminute.com. “That was my first taste of online commerce, they had the market wrapped up. All of a sudden people were like yeah I want to go away on a Friday night. We were making that possible.” Six months into his London stay he met a girl, a fellow Australian, and things quickly got serious. “A holiday romance was fast becoming a life commitment,” he says. “It’s amazing how you go

overseas only to meet another Australian.” But life in London had its limits. “London was always a period in our life, it was a chapter. It wasn’t the end game.” When this chapter did finally come to an end, the travel bug once again took hold. This time, however, it was to be a true test of their relationship. “We said let’s go to India and really try to stuff this up. If we survive India as a couple, then we can survive anything.” And survive they did. “We found out a lot about each other. Leanne certainly found out who I was. We really felt like India made us.” They eventually headed back to Australia and Dimech back to BMW, but something was not quite right. “They knew that I needed money and a job and they called me back, but I lasted one year at BMW. I didn’t fit in, it didn’t feel right. Even though it was an easy option, it wasn’t the right option and BMW understood that.” So once again he parted ways with the auto

CEO PROFILE industry for a stint in pharmaceuticals. “I need to learn something different. I needed to grow as a person as well and get out of that comfort zone because it just felt too easy. I did three years in pharmaceuticals, but I always kept in touch with BMW.” Maintaining that relationship with BMW has been a consistent factor throughout his career. It’s also a big part of how Dimech and his family have travelled the globe. After three years in the pharmaceutical industry, a call from his former employer came once more with an offer to run a client retention programme with dealerships across Australia. One he quickly accepted. “During this time I really grew as an individual. There were a lot of people I had to engage with. I wasn’t their boss, I wasn’t their manager, but this programme had impact Australia wide.” The program hit a pulse with BMW and allowed him to expand the learnings internationally, which took him and his then two kids to Munich. “That was a big move because we were definitely in a comfort zone. I mean, how great is my wife, because she had a career too and was willing to put everything on hold and leave. “I got the best of both worlds in Munich, working with all these different countries and cultures from Korea to Thailand, China, New Zealand and Japan. “Discovering local cultures, work culture and picking the right people to steer various projects. It was a huge challenge.” After what he described as a “fairytale” four yeas in Munich, an opportunity to head up sales and marketing with BMW Malaysia came and again, the opportunity for new challenges was there. “Munich was a special period of my life and I think the four years we spent there were probably the closest I’ve been with Leanne and the girls. “We were really happy, but we also thought we could do more. So we decided to take that next step, go to Malaysia and experience a completely

different world.” Similar to moving to Munich, the priority in Malaysia was to settle in and become part of the international community. That meant finding the right school, being part of the community and making sure that life outside of work was on track. “That’s the key to success. The primary focus was getting the girls in the right school, making sure our living situation was right. If you don’t get those two things right, then your work becomes much harder.” After several years in Malaysia, an opportunity to run the business in Hong Kong came about - an opportunity he said was too good to turn down. “We couldn’t refuse. Even though the kids were really happy, Leanne was very comfortable in her life in Malaysia. Hong Kong was still a no-brainer.” The decision to move once again was made that much easier after a discovery trip to find a school and a place to live. Enter Sai Kung and Hong Kong Academy. “Sai Kung had a proper community feel about it, not to mention the mountains, the hiking and the stunning beaches. “We also wanted something a bit different for our girls and Hong Kong Academy ticked all the boxes. Their diversity, the way they teach learning via a focus on the journey of problem solving - having a purpose, that really attracted us. It’s more than just academic performance.” After Hong Kong Academy accepted all three of his kids, the decision was made. “Everything just fell into place and we found a beautiful home in Silverstrand.” Living in Sai Kung has allowed him to dive deeper into the local community, even joining his girl’s netball coaching team with Sai Kung Stingrays. It has also seen him embrace hiking with enthusiasm, especially with his dog Banjo. With school and home life settled, it has allowed work to flourish and bring together all of his years of experience with people and culture.

People and culture are the core of BMW’s principles

And Hong Kong, he says, is ripe for growth. “Hong Kong is full of potential, there’s so much untapped talent here,” he says. “The more we can tap into that and unlock potential, I think that can have a really positive impact on Hong Kong communities and families. Seeing our brand grow locally, particularly drawing in new customers through BMW’s financing products, have been rewarding. For many people buying a BMW is a huge moment in their life. “We can get customers into a 1 Series for as low as $2,388 or an X5, my favourite model, for $8,888 a month. I don’t think people realise that.” He says new financing products, like BMW CIRCLE allow people to become part of the BMW family from the start of their car ownership cycle. “People are realising the freedom it gives you. You can pay out your contract, you can go back to the dealer and trade up later on. We can extend the loan, even lower the payments. There’s this freedom of choice to do what you want.” But it’s the big question we leave for last, namely how deep is his love for all things automotive? The answer may come as a surprise. “Hopefully this doesn’t get me into trouble, but I wouldn’t say I’m a guy that wants to get into a car and drive 100 meters in three seconds,” he admits. “For a lot of people it’s all about the motor and torque. But my torque is about being around a great brand that has purpose. Being in a market that wants growth and growing people, that’s my passion. “That’s where my enthusiasm is and that’s what I want in Hong Kong.”

Family time at Ham Tin Beach and Jacob on Maclehose Trail Section 4

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Photo: MARGO



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What’s hot on the dining scene Amber Lai rounds up the best restaurant openings and pop-ups this summer Boticario opens in TST East Inspired by the hustle and bustle of Buenos Aires in the 1920s, Boticario finally opened its doors last month after social distancing restrictions were lifted. The bar features a creative range of cocktails including the very Instagrammable smoke bomb, a pineapple and rum cocktail is topped with a smoked bubble for each guest to burst. sandshospitality.com

Mother of Pearl pop-up Running until August 31, The Upper House has welcomed Mother of Pearl as its latest pop-up. The pioneer for dairy-free and healthy bubble

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tea, offers drinks using their own plant-based ‘mylk’. New vegan bakes and drinks including an affogato with vegan ice cream will be exclusively available at the summer pop-up. motherpearl.world

German classics in Hong Kong The chic European eatery recreates German classics with a modern take from chef Mario Paecke, previously known for his work at Amber in Landmark Mandarin Oriental. The elegant brasserie-style restaurant will serve novelty dishes including currywurst and königsberger klopse, iconic German meatballs.


work at The Diplomat and will offer a range of colonial-inspired cocktails.

Midway Beef Dogs at Belowground Perfecting the single Chicago-style classic, Midway Beef Dogs serves up all-beef sausages in a poppy seed bun with a range of toppings including mustard, relish, minced onion and its secret, celery salt. Get your hands on a bun at Belowground throughout the summer. landmark.hk

New venue and menu for Pret

Hidden speakeasy As part of MARGO’s grand opening, the restaurant will feature a speakeasy, Kyle & Bain, celebrating the art of the American martini. The bar will be run by John Nugent, known for his

A popular choice for on the go workers, Pret has just opened its 21st location in Kowloon Bay. Along with a new location, the coffee shop has also introduced a new summer menu featuring international flavours including duck banh mi, teriyaki chicken sandwiches and a Moroccan couscous pot. pret.hk

rolls to Hong Kong’s dining scene. Each portion is steamed to order and features a creative fusion of flavours including char siu, katsu chicken curry and swiss Italian cheese.

Momoz comes to town

La Vache! opens in Pacific Place

Opening two locations in TST and LKF, Momoz is bringing handcrafted Nepalese dumplings and

Parisian brasserie, La Vache! has opened its third location in Pacific Place. With just one main on the menu, the restaurant’s signature dish, pan-seared 10oz USDA prime ribeye steak and unlimited French fries is the perfect way to start or end any cinema date. lavache.com.hk

Bengal Brothers Opening on July 6, Bengal Brothers is bringing a new street snack to the city. Wrapping various char grilled meats or vegetables in house-made paratha flatbreads, these grab and go meals are a flavourful new dish to try. bengal-brothers.com

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BOOK FAIR VISIT BOOTH: 1C-E20 HKCEC July 14-22, 2021

Backspin is the latest entry in Peter de Krassel’s Custom Maid book series. It deals with topics affecting you: Fake News, Climate Change and even housing equality. equalit Visit custommaidbooks.com to learn how you can take Peter’s Rent Subsidy Survey and participate in helping solve the world’s housing crisis. Buy Custom Maid Spin and get Backspin free!

All book sale proceeds from July 13th - Dec 31 2021 will support PCAWF

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Dining news

Fruity treats at The Cakery Taking inspiration from summer fruits including mango, Japanese white peach and strawberries, The Cakery has launched a new colourful collection. The decadent but light collection consists of three mille-feuille, fruit tarts, a tutti frutti cotton cake and refreshing beverages. thecakery.com

Black Sheep summer series The popular restaurant group, Black Sheep Restaurants has introduced a new dining series this summer. Taking place every Monday and

Tuesday until August 31, the PLATED series lets diners enjoy rotating menus, created by chefs to showcase their creativity and seasonal produce. blacksheeprestaurants.com

More sweet treats from Butter Enjoy an extra sweet summer with Butter Cake Shop’s new cake selection. The summer range includes a watermelon cake made from sorbet and chocolate chips and a s’mores cake, complete with toasted marshmallow, chocolate and graham crackers. butterbutterbutter.com.hk

Tindle comes to town New offerings at BaseHall BaseHall has refreshed its food offerings this summer with three new culinary venues. Wan Chai favourite, Francis, has adapted its mezze and Middle Eastern menu to suit the

food hall with an exclusive three-course set. Gastropub classics are now available from Grub 1842 including mac and cheese and beers on tap whilst wine lovers can get their fill at WineHouse. basehall.hk

Hong Kong is home to a new plant-based alternative, debuting in over 15 restaurants this summer including Poem and Uma Nota. Made only from nine ingredients, Tindle is a chicken-like plant-powered option that contains no antibiotics or hormones. tindle.com

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A southern gem Rory Mackay explores the remote island of Po Toi

A rugged and windswept isle, Po Toi is fondly known by some locals as the ‘South Pole of Hong Kong’. It is a well frequented location for folk residing on the southside of Hong Kong Island, but for others that live further north, Po Toi is a relatively unknown quantity. Littered with sculpted granite outcrops and sparse tree cover to obscure the horizon, hiking here is never dull with near constant ocean vistas to stimulate the senses. However, be warned; as with many scenic places in Hong Kong, if you have the opportunity to visit on a weekday then this is my absolute recommendation. On a weekday you will pretty much have the island to yourself, whereas on weekends be prepared to contend with queues for busy boats, trails and cafes. Reaching Po Toi is a fairly straightforward proposition with daily ferries running from two locations throughout the week. From Aberdeen Pier, there is a return kaito service which operates

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is the best zone to pitch a tent, welcoming in sunsets, sunrises and the best of what breeze might be on offer. In summary, Po Toi is a fantastic spot for a relaxing day trip or cute camping option. It’s charming fishing village and stunning headland walks will live long in the memory for those who make the voyage south.

on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays and takes approximately one hour each way. Alternatively, on weekends and public holidays there is a shorter kaito service from the Stanley Blake Pier. The ferry trip flies by and in no time Po Toi comes into view. The kaito alights at a small pier next to the islands’ only village. It’s important to know that here lie the only amenities, so load up on food and drink before venturing elsewhere and there is no harm in taking a short stroll across to the beautifully situated Tin Hau temple nearby too. For day trippers there are essentially two options when it comes to exploring the island’s footpaths; up over the hills, looping back along the coast or the more conservative option of making a return route following the shoreline. In the summer months, think carefully before hiking over the hills as the route has little to zero shade. The overland trail climbs one main hill then drops back down to the coast, taking an hour

or two to negotiate. No matter which of the two routes is taken, one will arrive at Po Toi’s southern promontory where Po Toi Lighthouse is located. For me this is easily one of the most scenic places in Hong Kong, with views across the Pacific, dotted with various Chinese Islands forming the Wanshan archipelago. This lighthouse trail makes a short loop before rejoining the main coastal route. Back in the village having worked up an appetite, Ming Kee Seafood on the main beach is the primary port of call to grab a feast. Although a handful of smaller restaurants further back into the village are also worth checking out. Be sure to catch the final boat returning to Hong Kong Island, unless an overnight camp (double overnighter on weekdays) is the plan. If camping, the headland near Po Toi lighthouse

Rory Mackay runs adventure company Wild Hong Kong. For more details visit wildhongkong.com

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Active pink sunscreen


$129 from Cancer Council Australia cancercouncilshop.org.au

Mermaid beach ball $110 from Escapade Sports escapade.com.hk

Flamingo sunsuit $380 from Ozzie Cozzie Co. ozziecozzieco.com

Intex advanced swimming series $199 from ToysRus toysrus.com.hk

Make a splash Kids pool party essentialss

Inflatable buoy $59 from Decathlon decathlon.com.hk

Beverage holder $49.90 from ToysRus toysrus.com.hk

Qu lantern $1,990 from Everything Under The Sun everythingunderthesun.com.hk

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POOL PARTY Hydro body surfer


$289 from Surfdome surfdome.com

$200 from Coconut Matter coconutmatter.com

Boys’ swimming boxer $54 from Decathlon decathlon.com.hk

Fast set inflatable pool $690 from Hong Kong Hot Tubs hkhottubs.com

Fitbit Ace 3 Minions $598 from Fitbit fitbit.com

Trunki extras dive sticks $99 from Baby Central babycentral.com.hk

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Wycombe Abbey School Hong Kong An exclusive look inside the private British prep school. By Cheyelene Fontanilla Howard Tuckett is the Headmaster at Wycombe Abbey School Hong Kong, a private British preparatory school located in Aberdeen. If the name Wycombe Abbey sounds familiar, it’s because the original institution, founded on the day of Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee in 1896, is a leading independent boarding school in the United Kingdom. It is consistently ranked number one for academic results at A-Level. For this month’s Education edition, we spoke to Tuckett to get a full picture of the school here in Hong Kong and how it helps students transition to top secondary and boarding schools in the UK and worldwide.

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As the Headmaster of Wycombe Abbey School Hong Kong, Tuckett is responsible for connecting students with some of England’s best educational institutions - and thank goodness for that. With more than 20 years of experience as the head of various British prep schools, Tuckett is in the best possible position to set his students up for success. “For a few years, I was a deputy head and for the last 22 years now, I’ve been a head of a British prep school. This is now my third prep school and in and amongst all that, I’ve also been an inspector with the Independent Schools Inspectorate.”

SCHOOL VISIT During that time, Tuckett has amassed a great network amongst the top schools in the UK, having trained head teachers and worked as a coordinator for 14 different prep schools. When he was appointed Headmaster of Wycombe Abbey School Hong Kong, he was essentially given the opportunity to build the school from the ground up. “We determined there was a need for a British model of school, private schooling for anyone in Hong Kong,” says Tuckett. This means the campus, curriculum and extra-curricular activities were all thought out and planned as equally important, functioning parts of a well-oiled machine. The school uses the British National Curriculum, enriched by the Common Entrance curriculum, which has 14 subjects. This includes English, a second language (Chinese), mathematics, science, geography, art, music, drama and so forth. The school provides an educational experience that would be of the exact same quality of top British prep schools in the UK. “What we’ve done, in fact, is pick up a British prep school in its entirety, with a curriculum, teachers and everything that the British prep school is doing in Britain and put it here for Hong Kong to benefit from,” explains Tuckett. “Because our curriculum is geared that way, every child has been prepared as if they’re going whether they choose to or not,” he says. Tuckett works closely with parents and multiple educational institutions to make the process of transferring as seamless as possible. While all of its teachers are British-trained and credentialed and the school uses a British curriculum, Chinese is taught for an equal number of periods as English. “We take the view that our pupils are being prepared for life as Hong Kongers,” says Tuckett. “Even though they choose to enjoy the benefits of a British-style private education, they shouldn’t feel that they’re necessarily tied into having to go to British boarding school. It’s an option experts are preparing for, right down to me finding registrars, their missions and helping

parents select schools. We do all of that as part of the school fees.” Wycombe Abbey School Hong Kong also took home the Hong Kong Education Award for Best After School Program last month. When asked what the award meant to the school and its students, Tuckett responded with a proud smile. “Well, it’s always great to win an award. Our extracurricular activity programme was written into the school day as part of the curriculum design. These are not things we do as an afterthought. The extracurricular activity program is a fundamental part of the school. Its philosophy, the thought behind it, the reasons behind it, were all written into the original mandate.” The school offers Cantonese theatre and opera, as well as calligraphy for traditional characters to support their Chinese teaching. There is also music, drama, rock climbing, fencing among the 42 extracurricular programs available. “We’re also looking to bring in European languages such as French, Spanish, Italian and Latin.” As our conversation with Tuckett came to a close, we discussed the role that school plays in preparing students for life beyond graduation–particularly when they’ve grown up in an environment that’s known to challenge its students in order to achieve excellence. Tuckett’s response only further revealed the exemplary thought he puts into taking care of the pupils at Wycombe Abbey. “What we’ve got to think about is, can they

roll with life as it happens? Nobody’s ever going to be good at everything. You’re never going to be the best and brightest in every aspect of life. Children who are agitated, unhappy, disturbed in their own self and psyche are going to struggle.” Assessment has a lot to do with accurately determining what students’ cognitive abilities are and what they can reasonably expect from a child, and then challenging that child to achieve academically. “Just a bit above that so they are challenged, but not ridiculously so,” Tuckett says. “We’re a kindly caring environment and we’re looking to produce kindly caring adults who are going to get on well with other people when they grow up. Because schooling is only a phase. It’s not the end of the world. It’s just the beginning of life.”

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Written in the stars Letao Wang, The Kingdom Healer shares his insights on what the stars hold for you this month AQUARIUS Don’t be surprised if you feel more anxious than usual. The planetary configuration will increase your impatience and nervous tension. However, try not to let these feelings turn into aggressiveness towards other people. Respect yourself and others.

TAURUS Your sincerity and analytical skills will bring you good job opportunities. You will perform your tasks functionally and gain the trust of your colleagues. However, be careful of overanalyzing your feelings and being overly critical with other people.

LEO The planetary alignment will encourage you to become aware of your personal power. Your extroversion will be highlighted and people will admire your performance talents. Trust your heart and not the opinions of third parties, Leo. Separate yourself from others and set out on your own path.

SCORPIO Your professional life will seem demanding, Scorpio, but you will be happy to do your job. You will be very productive and have a knack for solving problems. However, you may find it difficult to make quick decisions and delegate functions. Remember that control is an illusion, you need help from others to achieve your goals.

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PISCES Don’t be tempted to think you have the ultimate truth, Pisces. During this time, your ideas may be very rigid, so try to become more flexible. Question the groups you are a part of and the truths you identify with. It is probably time for a change in your outlook on life.

GEMINI You are not usually competitive, Gemini. However during this time you will feel the urge to defend your territory. Be careful, as this attitude may be disguising a hidden resentment towards people around you. So, try to regain confidence in your ideas and projects.

VIRGO You should pay attention to your personal life, Virgo. You have been very focused on your work and have been neglecting your own emotions. Try to do your best to rest and take care of yourself during this period. Spending time with your loved ones will be more than welcome.

SAGITTARIUS This is not a propitious time for social relationships, Sagittarius. Your philosophy of life is dogmatic and overbearing, which causes other people to distance themselves from you. Take time to reflect. This will help you change the way you project yourself into the future.


ARIES The emotions you have stored up can bring you unfavourable consequences. Try to release negative feelings. It’s time to check your inner self and stop self-destructive behaviour. Being vulnerable is not a sign of weakness, Aries. Try to accept your feelings without judging yourself.

CANCER Your emotional intelligence and intuition will help you make proper decisions and inspire you to create beautiful works of art. Be careful with excessive attachment to the past, Cancer. It is time to conquer your personal goals and focus on the future.

LIBRA You will need to put order in all aspects of your life, Libra. Take the time to repair the damage that has occurred in your relationships and clear up misunderstandings. After this period you will feel renewed to begin a new stage in your life.

CAPRICORN You have worked hard to achieve your goals, Capricorn and the time has come to reach the peak. A sense of freedom will take over your life, as it’s time to enjoy the rewards you’ve earned. Social activities and a reunion with old friends will bring much joy to your soul.



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Ask a vet...

Dr Pauline Taylor answers your pet questions Is it bad for animals to drink swimming pool water? I’m not an expert in swimming pool water but common sense tells me it’s not good for your animals to drink water laden with various chemicals to keep the pool water ‘swimming’ clean. I suggest you get a suitable container and fill it daily with fresh tap water for your animals to drink and do not allow them access to drink from your pool. How do I introduce a new animal to my current pet? Without knowing more about your current and potential new animal it’s difficult for me to give you good specific advice. Simple answer for any introduction is to proceed carefully, slowly and with supervision at all times. Expect on average at least two weeks of anxiety from your current pet to welcome a newcomer into their domain. Why is my cat moulting so much? Creatures throughout the animal kingdom undergo the process of moulting – the replacement of

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their horns, hair, skin or feathers. Most mammals shed their hair in autumn to grow a thicker layer of protection for the winter, and vice versa for the summer. Living in hot and humid Hong Kong, most cats do not require a thick coat so shed it more often.

itchiness, and even sunburn, friction burns, thermal burns (from water in hose pipes left in the sun), hot spots (moist bacterial areas on the skin), increase in parasitic diseases especially fleas and ticks that bite, irritate and spread disease, blocked sweat glands, precancerous dry skin patches called actinic keratosis or worse fully blown skin cancers.

Can my turtle overheat? Yes it can, and it can die in a ‘too hot’ environment. However, often referred to as “cold-blooded”, turtles like other reptiles, generally maintain a body temperature comparable to their surrounding environment. They cannot internally regulate their body temperature like most mammals, instead they use an adipose tissue based specialized system which in some species of turtle can amazingly control their core temperatures to +/- 18C of the environmental temperature. What are common skin conditions for animals in the heat? Actually they are much the same as humans. Overheating leads to dehydration and general

Dr Pauline, Pets Central veterinarian


The other side of infidelity Valentina Tudose finds a positive outlook for those who have been cheated on yourself what would you want more of that is currently missing. 2. Who do I want to be and what parts of myself are waiting to be noticed? Just because it is not you who took the first step outside the norm, it doesn’t mean there is no lesson here. Your confident, self-reliant, independent, decisive selves are waiting to be allowed to shine. Embrace them and become the best version of yourself and make it possible to create the relationship of your dreams. 3. Is this really about me or am I making it about myself, because I am not sure who I am without my partner’s validation? Love is often just like the magic mirror in fairytales: no matter how beautiful the queen was, there was always doubt, always someone better. But the mirror only tells the truth if you ask her the right question. What if you already knew the answer? You are beautiful, you are worthy, you are exactly who you need to be. Ultimately, what matters the most is what you make of it. Do you choose to play the victim and say ‘well I was never good enough anyway so I’ll just feel sorry for myself and blame the others?’ Or do you become the hero who wins, grows, makes it all happen against all odds. It may not sound like much, but these two stories are worlds apart and only the hero can really experience true love and healing. Make this choice today. Despite being one of the most common events in human relationships, infidelity is one of the biggest betrayals we ever experience. We’ve all grown up with the myth of ‘happily ever after’ and these romantic ideas position our partner being attracted to another person as a full-blown attack to our sense of identity. We make it to mean that we are not good enough, that there is something wrong with us and our relationship. That we failed. But if it wasn’t all about that? In Esther Perel’s book, The State of Affairs, the world leading relationship expert says that when we cheat it’s not always because we want to be with someone else, but because we want to be or to become someone else – to discover a new version of ourselves that is hidden from us within the rather rigid frameworks of traditional relationships. An affair is a make it or break it event for a relationship. Sometimes it’s just the beginning of the end of a relationship that has run its

course. A tragic finale to a series of losses and little betrayals that lead to the inevitable breakdown of everything the partners once held dear. But with each challenge comes a real opportunity to take your story to the next level and to discover aspects of love that are not part of the popular myths we grow up with. Seen from another angle, infidelity is nothing but a wake-up call, a sign that you’ve not been paying attention. Not to your partner – although that is often one of the main triggers – but to yourself. To those parts of yourself that you have rejected, ignored or failed to recognise. If you have been the victim of infidelity, ask yourself these three questions: 1. What is this experience trying to teach me? Nothing happens without a reason so take this as a sign it is time for a change. Even if you may not be able to see it, this experience is a gift. Take responsibility for your contribution and ask

Valentina Tudose is a relationship coach and founder of Happy Ever After and ambassador for YVEREST. For more information visit happyeverafter.asia

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Revenge is a dish best stolen from Confucius Nury Vittachi on where quotable quotes come from In ancient times, when it was legal to leave Hong Kong, I found myself sitting next to a smartseeming guy at a lunch in Singapore who came out with a bit of wisdom. “I used to have an incredibly intelligent teacher,” he said. “He said: ‘In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king’.” Huh? Okay, that was a quotable quote—but it surely wasn’t from this guy’s teacher. “Your teacher didn’t say that,” I replied. “He nicked the quote from…. well, one of those dudes whose job it is to spout quotes.” Fact: everything wise or witty ever said, came out of the mouths of one of four people: Oscar Wilde, Mark Twain, Confucius and Winston Churchill. (According to the internet.) You can add their names to any phrase or statement and it sounds right. I use this all the time. Just try it. Tomorrow, say to your spouse: “Morning! As Oscar Wilde used to say.” Doing this makes you sound incredibly erudite, or, as my wife prefers to say, “a total dork”. I Googled the “one-eyed man” quote. Wikipedia said it was Desiderus Erasmus, whom I had never heard of and who I suppose could have been that guy’s teacher, although it doesn’t sound very Singaporean, since I believe the law requires everyone in that city to be surnamed Tan. That afternoon, someone made a speech at the conference that several other Hongkongers and I were attending: “With great power comes great responsibility, as Spider-Man teaches us.” As Spider-Man teaches us? I can remember that or very similar phrases being used by grandiose newspaper owners in London’s Fleet Street long before Spider-Man movies. When it was my turn to hold the microphone, I decided to see what the crowd in front of me thought was the origin of what is probably the most misattributed quote in history: “Revenge is a dish best served cold.” The crowd, just like the internet, attributed it to everyone from Mel Gibson to Hello Kitty—and she doesn’t even have a mouth! As for hard-drinking Mel, I think “give ush anuvver beer” is closer to his idea of a deep philosophical statement. A narrow majority of people thought the phrase was a Klingon saying from a Star Trek movie. It appears in the opening sequence of the movie Kill Bill, identified as an “Old Klingon Proverb”. A few intellectuals in the audience were quite sure it came from Hamlet. It doesn’t, but sounds like it should. Shakespeare is no doubt spinning in his

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grave thinking, “Forsooth, dammit, why didst I not thinketh of that?” Actually, the phrase first appeared in the UK in the late 1800s. (The French claim it comes from the 1782 French novel Les Liaisons Dangereuse, but this argument can be dismissed, because it doesn’t. The French clearly haven’t read it.) Historians in Britain discussed this precise phrase – “revenge is a dish best served cold” - in various books without specifying who said it first, so we can assume it popped up in London’s parliament around 1880, long before the Klingon days. I once found myself pleasantly stuck in a hotel in Shanghai with Matt Groening, creator of The Simpsons. For amusement, we looked up “Matt Groening quotes” on the internet and found vast numbers of one-liners that came from his character Homer. Matt didn’t even write them: they were penned by TV scriptwriters. But going back to fake quotes, I was sorry to hear that one of the most famous Asian quotes (and there are not many from this side of the world in quotation books) is also fictional. Former Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping never said: “To get rich is glorious.” In fact, the experts say no one said it. In which case, I’ll say it. AND I’ll improve it: “To get rich is glorious so how about a pay rise, boss?” As Oscar Wilde used to say. Or Spider-Man. Or Confucius.

Nury Vittachi is an award-winning author and journalist based in Hong Kong. He is best known for his comedy-crime novel series, The Feng Shui Detective. Contact him via nury@vittachi.com or through his public Facebook page.

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