Year of the #selfie

So it’s been a whirlwind 2013. How better way to commemorate the year but through pictures of my adventures. Been travelling extensively through both Europe and Asia but keeping up with my love of hiking. Always great to be in the hills, especially this new years, when we spent it hiking through the hills of Yunnan. Beautiful and peaceful, China. Happy New Year one and all….




x  harbin12



It’s blazing hot this summer! As I go through drafts and drafts of manuscripts, I have one beacon of hope: ice tea in a box.

Here are some pictures of what’s happening these days….


Coming to the end of a three year project. Can’t wait to see the final book published…. Tamar; the Art of Construction by me!

Canto Slang — Chok, Q and many more!


Local canto guru, Cecilie Gamst Berg recently wrote an entertaining piece in the South China Morning Post weekend mag about Canto slang – you know, the sort of stuff which is frowned upon in the office!

A highly entertaining piece about the language and more so, the cutlure. How many foreigners (white) do you know who speak it fairly proficently? Personally, I know a handfull of caucasions who speak Cantonese – and most have facinating stories as to how they got into their groove. As a “chok-san” overseas born Chinese, I am a child of two worlds and often learn from my friends (and awesome HK action movies) which keeps me up to date with the latest lingo. Everyday I continue to learn. But what about the thousands upon thousands trying at this very moment? Why is there, historically, such low retention rate?

Cecilie, who is a teacher and moonlights on RTHK’s Naked Cantonese programme, devels into this mystery with a lot of enthusiasm and hysterical humour while refuting many cultural ‘norms’ of the city. What makes this story special is the voice, the Hong Kong feel of the prose – fast pace and no nonense! Cecilie’s provocative and hillarious take on Cantonese seals the deal for learners and native speakers alike. It is a language which continues to bring new surprises. Her story shines a light onto a language which is not only proud of its roots, but also a language which continues to evolve. A must read for all Hong Kongers….


British – American Dictionary

Happy Thursday, everyone. Here is a bit of a giggle…. How many of you work in an international office? How many times have there been ‘miscommunication’ mishap on your team? This chart really gets to the bottom of “English” which can, at times, be like a duck talking to a chicken for us Americans and Brits!

Have caught myself saying: “By the way” and “I would suggest” with my American accent. 😉 Life is all about mixing things up!


Frighteningly accurate…. lamination, here we come!

Margaret Thatcher (1925-2013)

Today, we learn that Baroness Margaret Thatcher has died at the age of 87 following a stroke. As the press around the world hail the newsprint with accolades and tributes, the controversy which followed her during her influential rein in British politics still rings true today. Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1979 – 1990, Thatcher was the longest serving British Prime Minister in the 20th Century who, according to Time Magazine, “ended up on the wrong side of history” when it came to foreign policy. Here are some links which might bring some more insight into the life of a woman who helped shape who we are today.

  • The obituary, written by BBC is quite poignant
  • Independant’s story by Robert Cottrell pertains more closely to Hong Kong: How Mrs Thatcher Lost Hong Kong.
  • Best in show: “Hong Kong Wrong” for writing a well researched piece which features a gallery of nostalgic pictures of Old Hong Kong.
  • Biography: Have a look at Charles Moore’s authorized biography of the Iron Lady, long considered one of the most influential leaders in the postwar era.

“Deng Xiaoping meets with British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in Dec. 1984. The two governments signed The Joint Declaration on the Question of Hong Kong, which ushered in a period of sound development in Sino-British relations.” Credit: Xinhua

Harbin – Land of Ice and Wonder!

 There are no words to aptly describe this journey through the mystical northeastern province of Heilongjiang so I shall let the pictures tell the story. We were lucky to go the first week the Harbin Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival opened – so the sculptures were relatively untouched and the people, mighty hospitable.

 Huge kudos to the city for hosting us and grand applause to the artists for all their hard work…. Ice, beer and dumplings galore!


On the vodka express from Beijing with good friends, Marc & John. Sadly, we forgot the vodka but enjoyed the holographic art on the train….


Good morning, Harbin!…. Was fascinated by the book, Red Star Over China and it was great fun taking this picture with John Foley!



Night One — the ice park all lite up for us! 🙂


The world’s most amazing slide…. with about 200 people queuing up. We left to go to the Tsing Tao ice bar….


Day Two — the snow park! Four to five stories, all built on a lake. We tobogganed down the amazing slide – best 30RMB ever spent!


Local dumplings together with the local sausage. Amazing influences of both Russia and China together in this little ‘house’ set up to show how locals lived 30 years ago.


Looking into the bright future of China! 🙂

I’m… Dreaming of a White, Christmas!

Christmas season is upon us and the massive numbers of parties and events have been filling my calendar with much cheer! Here are a few festive pictures to get everyone into the ‘mood’….

Or I would suggest listening to Christmas music 24/7 as I have been for the last six weeks. Waking up to Elvis crooning Christmas carols is a great way to start the day!



Living the dream at the Four Seasons…. Fois Gras with bubbly. Not too shabby of a night….


I only have eyes, for you, my dear Oysters! The Langham Hong Kong know how to throw a classy event! Loved the ‘safari’ theme!


What life is like at home – stollen, german cookies, mandarin oranges, and little cute boxes with home made cookies and candy canes! Merry Christmas!


Boxing day, celebration still on-going. Hong Kong-style, on the water with great mates!