Is the world so horrible?

It hardly seems that I can turn on any form of media these days without learning of tragedy and horror and political extremism and naturally one forms a view – not always balanced. But just for a moment I am taking a breather and soaking up the happiness of diversity in a community in which I live. Its a multi racial, international, religiously varied vegetable patch of tastes and temperatures, and for some its a hot bed of complaint or compassion.

Recently my small community (Lantau where I live) social media Facebook page has been a venting opportunity for anti religious, racist comments and more than a few accusations even backed up with shaming photos. But having been fairly disgusted by some of the comments shared I have refrained from comment. Others have been less restrained. Tempers have flared.

Slowly, I have begun to witness a turn of the tide. People seem to be fed up with a diet of racism and divide and they are fighting back with love. The people I live near are reaching out to each other and showing support to anyone who dares to stand up to a deeply troubling undercurrent of hatred. Bigotry and bullying are being banished!!

The moderators of our social media site have been admonished for not moderating. People have been thrown out and the community has reasserted itself as a safe and loving place.

How long will it be before the world rejects hatred and distrust?
So grateful to live in Hong Kong – feeling safe, being able to bring up my family with values of self awareness and respect, and knowing my community has my back, regardless of colour or creed. And if they don’t – they are learning. Progress not perfection.

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Days of Sorrow in Paris and Beirut

During these days of sorrow I am reminded yet again of how lucky I am to live in a peaceful, open minded and safe country. Hong Kong has never had violence of the nature of the current international events, and we walk side by side on our busy streets with peoples of all nations, religions, colours and languages. One has only to wander Nathan Road around Peking and past the Mosque to feel the solidarity of French speaking Muslims with Afghans and Pakistanis and Mandarin speaking Chinese. This small melting pot of Hong Kong is my home. I’m not in denial that we may have some serious issues looming, but just for today I can’ find a Cambodian Restaurant and enjoy a meal, or go to a sports game or a concert with my family, and know that our lives and our future is safe here. For that I am thankful. My heart goes out to refugees of Syria, victims in France and Beirut and all nationals anywhere in the world who just want to feel safe tonight.

1st October National Birth and Child Birth

084EYE Bar view

There’s no question about this – I’m fiercely patriotic about Hong Kong ( I think I am anyway for a Gweilo ) except I can’t speak Chinese, I can’t sing the anthem and I can’t vote, BUT I remember National Day 1st October 2000 like it was yesterday – not because of the birth of my nation state, but because it was the last time I went to the FIREWORKS on the old Helicopter Landing pad on the HK waterfront right where there is now a motorway, an underpass and the barracks of the PLA have been driven inland by reclaimation. The Fireworks are a clearly spectacular display of Motherland Maternal splendour and we all love going – from time to time. http://www.hong-kong-traveller.com/hong-kong-national-day.html#.Vgtpj_mqpBc

I remember it also because at the time I was 36 weeks pregnant with twins and the roads had been closed and the police made me climb a barrier to get into the closed off areas we were lucky enough to have access to.

I remember it well because my discomfort mounted until a full crescendo of psychedelic dynamite signalled the start of the birth of my flame haired identical twin daughters who arrived 4 weeks prematurely in the public hospital of Prince of Wales on a public holiday a few hours later.

Fireworks

I remember it also because I had chosen to go ‘public’ for a safe delivery of my babies, partly economics and partly because Hong Kong has one of the highest standards of Obstetric and Neo-natal care in the world, and several teaching hospitals exist to feed a growing population of Tiger Mothers spawning. 2000 was a year to give birth to Golden Dragons and the line was long in the public hospitals. Prior to and during the birth of my children –  I was carried along on a flying carpet of consideration and professional competence hitherto scoffed at by my well insured friends who gave birth at the Mathilda Hosptial on the Peak.  As they dined on a post-partum feast of strawberries and sipped champagne regaling stories of their birth rooms being dimly lit and music piped in etc etc I provided a lesson in birthing twins in a teaching unit where 20 trainees need to be taught and one mother gives a demonstration The sterile sense of humour of the intensive care staff over a period of several harrowing weeks was perfunctory but in the end very caring – and my babies received everything they needed. Rather than being escorted to the Peak Cafe leaving bugs in baskets in the nursery cared for by competent but hideously expensive midwives, I was unceremoniously ejected from the hospital minus my babes who remained in situ for some time. But all in all the public hospital delivery was faultless to a professional tee and one hundredth the cost of my friends deliveries. My team of professionals may have changed hourly but I never lacked for a caring person to ask advice and to help me get my babies well enough to go home. Total cost HK$998

Now I remember all of this because my $998 birth experience ( Two for the price of one including weeks of intensive care ) compared to the HUNDREDS of thousands of dollars forked out by friends for normal deliveries, comes to mind on 2nd October every year when I celebrate my daughters’ birthday – The ‘about to be FIFTEEN’ year olds are growing up and tastes are becoming defined. The request – A more adult experience, a terrace bar with a view, dinner on a terrace somewhere outside, and it must serve VEGAN – off we go to find  a birthday meal . ONE MEAL that will cost the equivalent of a birth experience EACH and we shall laugh and rejoice and love them for the amazing young women they are … and pray we get to sixteen in one piece and with our wallets intact.

Brick Lane is the destination preceded by EYE BAR

They want a view – lets give them a spectacular view!

 

Thats all … they deserve it.

Missing Mum’s Meals

When this afternoon a link appeared in my email box saying a Tai Tai Pie place was following me on Twitter, I was mildly irritated. It’s FRIDAY for heavens sake and I’m busy and I’m hungry because lunch was not on my menu and I’m HOME SICK, I realise, for a taste of my Mum’s home cooking.

WHY?
My Mum

Tomorrow (19th September)  is my Mums birthday in NZ ( well its her birthday in Hong Kong too but I’m here and she is there) – Happy Birthday Loeta – not a bad looking 82 year old I must say. Inherited my genes for stamina from this woman!!!
The link for Tai Tai Pies ( so Hong Kong)  is fairly golden in tones as is my memory now of my Mum’s pies. Of course I recall the late summer rhubarb with the lattice pastry and sour and sweet undercurrent, and then there is the Fish Pie made with real trout and mashed potato. The real deal is the one that I have never been able to replicate – Steak and Kidney with a gravy that just bites hard into your buds and turns into comfort food before you realised you needed comforting!!

Now in Hong Kong I have managed a couple of decades of relatively Pie Free diet but I wanted to share a few places, that if you happen to have a Mum turning 82 back home somewhere, and you can’t get to spend it with her, you CAN go and re live a bit of Mum cooking.

Firstly if you have any friends who are members, go to the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club for Lambs FRY. Before you hook up your friend to order you the offal do observe the RULES of dress…
Ladies
– May not wear baseball, sailing or sports caps.

Gentlemen
– May not wear headwear unless it constitutes national dress or is for religious reasons.
– May not wear shorts unless accompanied by knee length socks.
– May not wear singlets or sleeveless vests.
– May not wear shirts without collars.
– May not wear open-toed footwear other than for medical reasons.

Ladies and Gentlemen
– No dirty, soiled or wet clothing.
– No clothing which has recently been used for sports action.

( Now what ever it is that constitutes SPORTS ACTION … well its British and Royal and I love that – see previous Brit post)

Back to the Menu…

PIES – The HYATT REGENCY Sha Tin has delicious PIES particularly Apple and they come in an expensive take away box -well the pie is expensive but the box makes it look like its worth it.

My Mum made a Scone that I can only find at the Helena May and they serve several with the cream and jam.. again you need a member to take you but well worth finding one as the squishy cushions, magazine selection and the scones are superlative.

Then there is the Fish and Chips option – my  Mum never made fish and chips but we would go for cold beach excursions to Maketu ( that famous Bay of Plenty fish and chip mecca) and find the best F&C and eat them from Newspaper wrappers with vinegar or my Dad would go to the Kawaha Chippy and get a load on a sunday night for a treat. So when it comes to a walk down memory lane a Fish and Chip experience can work wonders for me. HOOKED is a NZ owned and run Chippy and they even serve L&P and Kumara Chips!! OH YES I’M ALMOST HOME Mum…

What am I SAYING ???
Hong Kong IS HOME.. and has been for 22 years and YES I DO LOVE IT.

I do not have to go back to NZ to experience the taste of my MUM’s cooking, but I do miss her hugs and maybe her Steak and Kidney but WAIT… Hooked does a Steak and Kidney PIE
I AM HOME Really truly home…
IN HONG KONG!!

Happy Birthday Mum

xxxxx Love from your daughter in Hong Kong on her way to get an L&P and S&K to celebrate your BD. hope to share many more with you.

Real is the New Fake

Ever seen a lime green Maybach? A hot pink Chanel snakeskin bag or a woman with her nails ‘sculpted’ with bunches of plastic flowers? Well in Hong Kong our people do expensive with lack of style. I shouldn’t say this because I’m not a style icon myself but I know a pair of English velvet, gold monogrammed slippers when I see them – and seeing them walking down Stanley Street in the direction of the Graham Street Halal Meat Market seems a little out of place. The problem being they are likely to be REAL.
Being fake is so out of date – we all know a fake Prada bag used to be de-rigeur but these days, when Canton Road has buried its lurid past under a Dolce and Gabbana banner, and Christmas trees are covered from head to foot in Swarovski crystals,  I don’t think fake cuts it any more.
REAL is REALLY not so hard to accomplish in Hong Kong any more. Fake is really, really hard to find.

In my business more housing estates are putting in distressed leather, distressed wallpaper SMOKING lounges for the hard worked bloke to relax between mistresses. ( Queens Garden being my favorite – I could write a novel in that room) More shops like DUNHILL have coffee shops ( like ALFIES) hidden up around behind the suits, and you can take a bag of crafted MACAROONS to a dinner or an afternoon tryst and not feel you under spent ( Trust me you won’t have)

But real comes at a price and with a little history – after all the New Rich Chinese didn’t INVENT real, they bought it. REAL appears in the current atmosphere to encompass anything quintessentially BRITISH which strikes me as ironic given Hong Kong’s past. But there we have it… what goes around comes around and we are back to being Anglophiles again. I had afternoon tea at Alphies yesterday ( there goes the diet ) and it was so nice to slide onto those plumpy leather seats I just might feel a dose of English flu coming on and head in there more often as a respite from the heat and dust of shopping…. in Dunhill for velvet slippers.

I love the real of Hong Kong – its taken away the pressure to head to Shenzhen to find fake.
I love being real and this is what keeps me in Hong Kong because being real means being myself. I have taken 22 years to find myself in Hong Kong and I sure am not leaving now that I have found the perfect relationship.

If you need a little help with the Gentlemans digest – https://anaspiringgent.wordpress.com/tag/when-to-wear-smoking-jacket/

alfies

Alfie’s by KEE

address: M/F, Prince’s Building 10 Chater Road, Central, Hong Kong
telephone: 2530 4422