5 comments 10.12.10

BOO to BO Innovation

Posted by Miss Fong - Filed under , ,
Thanks to my new job, I had the (dis)pleasure of dining at BO Innovation recently, and even though it is now weeks ago, the experience is definitely one that hasn't faded away quickly. Foodies in Hong Kong have surely heard of BO but for those who haven't, BO is hailed by many to be one of the best restaurants in the world due to owner and "Demon Chef" Alvin Leung's wildly creative and experimental style of cooking. And experimental it was.

The meal began with Pat Chun, a combination of mousse-like cream, pomelo, pineapple, tomato and vinegar, which I managed to swallow like I would take medicine (quick and without tasting it). 

Next was the Molecular Xiao Long Bao, which was a little jelly sphere filled with pork broth meant to pop in your mouth, giving you all the flavors of a xiao long bao without you having to chew or bite anything. But what is this - made for people without teeth? The little sphere did in fact pop like a ripe pimple inside my mouth, and while the juices spilled out I once again had to swallow it quickly to just get rid of it.

At this point, I knew that this super high-end molecular meal was definitely not for me, but I had no choice but to stay as it was a full-on media lunch. So, a few (somewhat) normal dishes later, we were served the Nitro dish, which was essentially a big lump of ginger tea 'cooked' in liquid nitrogen. While I watched the waiter tossing the lumps in a steaming bowl of chemicals, I really wanted to skip this course but again, peer pressure prevailed and I was given a huge shit-shaped lump to put into my mouth.

The experience was like sticking my tongue on a frozen chair-lift, except it was totally inverted and instead of only my tongue being stuck to ice, it was my entire mouth. While all eyes were on me, spitting it out was not an option and by the time I managed to break it down and swallow it my mouth felt all scratched up.

Finally, it was time for dessert and I still had a glimmer of hope that it'd be good, seeing that it had almond as a main ingredient. Instead, we were given the Sandalwood, which was a pot of tofu-like substance with hawthorn and actual smoke that smelled like incense from a Chinese temple. We were told to inhale the smoke first, and then dig into the contents of the pot, but after smelling the burnt incense smell, it felt like I was eating incense ash ice cream.

Unfortunately, Alvin Leung himself was sitting next to me at this point so I managed to get a few (small) spoonfuls in, but I quickly covered up my pot to avoid having any more of the disgusting dessert.

Overall, I can appreciate Alvin's creativity given that there's definitely not enough of it in Hong Kong, but the entire dining experience felt more like a lab experiment to me than anything else. It reminded me of when I was a kid and used to mix all the leftovers from the dimsum table together for fun, like fish eyeballs, chicken feet bones, pork fat, pepper and a slosh of jasmine tea. The difference is, I never forced anyone to eat it...

Of course, there are many people out there who absolutely adore BO Innovation, for whatever reasons I as a simpletongue won't understand. For another perspective, check out the review by Luxeat (who took all the pictures above).
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4 comments 29.11.10

Mong Kok Tree Trunk Stumps Beggar

Posted by Miss Fong - Filed under
Today I came across a beggar at one of the busiest pedestrian crossings in Hong Kong: Argyle Street X Sai Yeung Choi Street. At first, I wasn't sure how I noticed him given the crazy amount of people everywhere, but on second thought, I must have been watching my footing while crossing the road, which is how I came to notice a gingerbread skin-toned person lying face down on the ground.

This beggar, whom I refer to as the Mong Kok Tree Trunk Stumps Beggar, lay perfectly still amidst all the human traffic around him, and never once looked up to cast a pitiful stare. Instead, he let his legs stumps do the talking, which were surprisingly thick and meaty. If I were to guess, I'd think he was some sort of runner or athlete before he was kidnapped and/or forced into begging. He must be extra upset for losing his (probably) muscular legs, which might be why he keeps his head down at all times.  :(

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4 comments 2.11.10

The thin line between friend and foe

Posted by Miss Fong -
It's a funny feeling to be leaving a company. Having spent a good amount of time there, you think you'd have developed all sorts of comrades who would feel the same way as you about stuff. I mean, we've all been through the same shits. Ate all the same crap in the neighborhood. Got harassed by the same tea ladies, etc.

Some of them, you know you're gonna stay in touch with. These are the ones you would consider calling your "friends", if only you were more sure that they also considered you one and not just a 'colleague'. Some of them were simply lunch buddies, people you never would go to lunch with unless it was in a group. And some of them, you just couldn't wait to forget about one day (can't old age come any faster??)

The thing is, all of us go through phases when we enter a company. It may be excitement when you first start, getting familiarized with everything in your first months, and eventually becoming good at your job and proud of the company you work for (god knows how much money the company spends on making that happen)! 

But there comes a day when you will get jaded, tired of the way things work, bored and unchallenged, and there is no other choice but to leave, and you realize that you cannot be friends with anyone who is still riding the wave of fun and excitement at the company. For they do not see the faults of the company as you do, and they will defend the company as if it's their own, and start to see you as the enemy who's trying to tell them that Santa Claus is not real. That is when you know you've become their FOE.

Nothing you say can be trusted. Everything about you is negative. You are a poison to the company. The happy workers don't want to associate with you anymore. And you know what? I'm fine with that. Go ahead and ride that happy train into the company. I hope you enjoy your ride. But perhaps one day, when that ride ends, we can talk again, and I'll be here with my big ears to hear ya bitch.
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13 comments 26.10.10

Hello Kitty Toes

Posted by Miss Fong - Filed under
With HK's "winter" approaching and no shortage of 8 year old girls around (physically or mentally), REEBOK has created an ultra kawaii, super soft and snuggly Hello Kitty sneaker.

Now, I'm no Hello Kitty fan but the REEBOK X HELLO KITTY PT-20 has got the prepubescent me squealing with delight! It's almost too cute to resist, but I will anyway, given that we're in HK where the streets are littered with curry fishballs, bubble tea pearls, cockroaches galore and cigarette butts. Kudos to whoever manages to pull them off though!
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6 comments 19.10.10

Drug overdose!

Posted by Miss Fong - Filed under , , ,
I don't get sick often, but when I do, I try to avoid seeing the doctor as much as possible, especially in Hong Kong. Why is this?

First of all, it's a hassle to expense the bill (yea, I'm that lazy). Second, I still don't have a doctor to call my own, so it's always some random wo/man. And third, I have a feeling the doctors here don't really care about their patients, nor do they really know (or want to know) what the problem is.

What happens then is after your brief consultation, the doctor prescribes a truckload of medications for you to take, each one apparently canceling out the others' effect. For instance, if you have a rash, you'd probably get:
  • 1 small tub of cream
  • 6 antihistamines for the itchiness
  • 8 slow-release painkillers
  • 16 stomach neutralizers so the painkillers don't give you stomach ulcers
  • 24 antibiotic pills to kill the germs
  • 9 pills to lift your mood (cuz having a rash probably made you clinically depressed)
  • and maybe even a few panadols in case you suddenly develop some sort of fever. 
It's like the doctor's saying, "I don't REALLY know what you've got, but here's a bit of everything so we hit all birds with (way more than) one stone." I mean, I've never lived in a place where the doctors give you so many pills to take! Back in Holland, going to the doctor was completely useless, since s/he'd just tell you to go home and rest, leaving you weak, empty-handed and helpless to develop whatever you had into its full-blown state (hello, bronchitis!). In Hong Kong though, they do the complete opposite and over-medicate.

I heard though that it's not just the doctors' fault. Since patients need to pay a fee each time they see the doctor (around HK$200), they expect to get their money's worth (read: medicine). So, regardless of whether they have the right pills or not for their symptoms, they take their pills obediently. For me though, the occasional visit to the doctor is not a way to get meds, it's a way to get peace of mind. As long as I know I'm not dying from some life-threatening disease, I usually take those pills (you get them automatically from the doctor's office) and throw them out once I get home.

Anyone with me, or do you usually take all the pills your doctor gives you?
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1 comments 30.9.10

More gadget drool

Posted by Miss Fong - Filed under
Lately, my mind's been as dry as an old Chinese prune, hence the lack of updates on the site. But, there's hope for me, and it comes in the form of Sony's Vaio P (2nd Gen) Netbook Lifestyle PC!

I mean, how can one resist this gorgeous candy-coloured typing machine? Just one look has got my fingers twitching and my mind stirring up all sorts of potentially awesome texts (which will no doubt flow out of me once I touch the keyboard, of course)!

*gaaarrhhhhhh* Yes, that's the sound of me drooling over these beauties. I'd been thinking of getting a netbook for a while, just for simple writing on-the-go, but most netbooks have a pretty boring design that would surely stifle my creative side even more.

I got to play with a few P's in person when I was in Tokyo last weekend, and I honestly can't stop thinking about them. Their only downside is that they're so goddamn bloody expensive!! (Anyone out there feeling generous? ;) Sony!? I might very well be your last loyal customer!!) Haha...
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3 comments 8.9.10

Fruit Fail

Posted by Miss Fong - Filed under , ,
Each week, my company hands fruit out to us in the form of a couple of bananas, tasteless water pears, crater-faced oranges, battle-scarred plums and the like. Even though I don't usually enjoy being treated like a caged zoo animal, I've learned to start looking forward to the arrival of the mystery fruit each week on my desk.

Today was one of those days. I could hear the thunderous wheels of the trolley coming down the hall. My mouth started to salivate at the thought of sinking my teeth into a juicy apple, plum or pear. This time, it didn't matter as my stomach had been growling all morning. I watched in eager anticipation as the tea lady bent over the cardboard box, picked up a piece of fruit and walked over to my desk.

This is what she gave me (with a hearty cackle on the side):

I'm a fruit, eat me!

At first, I was slightly amused. It seemed to be some kind of Asian pear / orange wrapped up in a netted foam jacket. But then I proceeded to hold and touch the thing and it turned out to be a stupid-useless-waste of trees-post-it note-THING in the shape of an orange!!

Surely, this was a joke right? What happened to the fruit? Does the company think this is funny? Srsly? And do we really need another stack of useless post-it notes (no matter how cute)?! The more I looked at it, the more I craved fruit, whether it was a sweet juicy orange or dried up plum. Sadly though, this was no joke, and the tea ladies cackled their way out of our office, on their way to disappoint (or delight?) the rest of the floor.
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7 comments 2.9.10

How to lose a customer in 20 seconds

Posted by Miss Fong -
So the other day, I came across this fantastic little joint in Wanchai where they actually served healthy lunch options, like fresh salads, soups and made-to-order sandwiches. The best part was, even if it was close to 1PM and the sidewalks were completely packed with hungry office workers from around the area, there was never a lineup for this place.

I started going there regularly for lunch, and even took a few of my colleagues there to try it out. Not because the food was spectacular or anything, but what do you expect from a so-called 'healthy' place, right? Anyway, it didn't take long for me to realize why the place was usually empty, and to quickly boycott it from my future lunches.

What happened, you ask? Well here's how one sandwich shop pissed off a once-loyal, happy word of mouth customer:
  1. The local boss lady bitch (BLB) who took our orders always replied in English even if we were speaking Cantonese to her
  2. BLB hid the fact that drinks are not included in the set lunch and only told us after we drank them
  3. When I tried to order delivery, BLB told me that there's a minimum order of $50, which is fine. Lunch sets are approximately $35 so I would have just added a drink or whatevs. Instead of letting me switch the rice for more veg, she secretly adds veggies to my meal as ANOTHER lunch set, totaling my bill to over $100! Of course, she does all this in a flat, monotone voice, and even asks me if I want to add soup or more salad to the order. WTF, woman!!! Of course, by now I was shouting, "HOW MUCH IS IT NOW? TELL ME HOW MUCH IT IS!!" before I finally said, 'FORGET IT!' and slammed down the phone.
And THAT, ladies and gentleman, is how you lose a customer in 20 seconds.
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4 comments 28.8.10

I can see!!

Posted by Miss Fong - Filed under , ,
Ladies and gentleman, it's true, Miss Fong is no longer blind as a bat! And contrary to what many nay-sayers people around me had thought would happen, I did not a) go blind, b) have my eyes/lids burned off and/or c) suffer any life threatening complications (as of yet, knock on wood!).

So here's my update: So far, so good! I could see pretty much immediately after sitting up from my surgery, but I'm still being extra careful like typing with my eyes closed so that I won't strain them too much with the computer screen.

Lasik really is a modern day miracle. Like most people, I had been thinking about doing it for a long long time, but hadn't really taken the next step of doing the background research or finding out whether I was even eligible for the surgery. I was a bit afraid to do it, because I had heard horror stories from friends about Lasik gone wrong, but I never really knew what exactly had gone wrong.

I guess it's human nature to be afraid of the unknown. A classic example of this happened at the office a few days before my surgery. Upon hearing that I was about to do Lasik, one of my colleagues dropped his jaw at me and said, "OMG, that's sooo dangerous," and gave me a disapproving look. He went on to say that although his mother had done it without any complications, his mom's friend who had Lasik needed to be hospitalized afterwards and undergo further surgery. "Are you sure you want to do it? It's dangerous," he repeated with a know-it-all attitude.

A little annoyed, I fired back, "What was the nature of her complication? Thin cornea? Bad doctor? Eye movement? Blade vs. Intralase? Retina issues?" to which he replied, "Err...I don't know..." 

Moral of the story? Do your research. Obviously, whether you do Lasik or not, it's always good to know what you're afraid of and why. Perhaps you won't be so scared of it once you find out all the facts, which is why I eventually went ahead and did it. Maybe some people don't think it's worth the risks, and that's perfectly fine. But what I don't like is when people go around spreading the fear of what they just don't know.

Having said that, I must admit that the surgery itself scared the sh*t out of me! I mean, maybe it was subzero temperature of the operation room, but once I laid down I couldn't stop shaking like a leaf. Even though I had watched numerous YouTube videos of Lasik operations (OK, that was stupid), it's just not the same when you're about to have your very own eyes sliced open in a dark room full of fuzzy outlines of people and a loud laser machine going "ZAAP-ZAAP-ZAAP!" repeatedly. Luckily, it didn't take too long because I'm sure I would have bounced off the surgical table and out the door from all my shaking.
Hmm, I hope I haven't scared anyone off now, because it really isn't that bad... In fact, going to the dentist is actually much more painful and miserable, if you think of the giant needles they stick into your gums, the drill tools they use to excavate your teeth (which is actually your skull!) and that wretched uncomfortable rubber dam they use to pry your mouth open. In summary, Lasik is a lifechanging, painless procedure that is EXTREMELY worth it for (previously) blind people like me. So, do it already!! :)
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1 comments 26.8.10

Memoirs of a Four-Eyes

Posted by Miss Fong - Filed under ,
On the eve of my Lasik surgery, I thought I'd reflect a little on my 20+ years as a four-eyes. I know it might not be that special since about 70-90% of Asians are near-sighted, so perhaps my bespectacled memories are shared by many others out there, including:
  • Getting hit in the face with various balls (basketballs, American footballs, tennis balls, etc.) and having my glasses knocked off
  • Waking up and patting the side of the bed for my glasses, getting increasingly pissed (Good f##king Morning, eh?!), giving up about 10 frustrating minutes later and not actually finding those damned things until 2-3 days later in some remote wall/mattress/ass crack
  • Mistaking my cat(s) as cushions and/or pillows, or not seeing them at all (*miao!!*)
  • Feeling a tad fearful of getting mugged/robbed/raped or worse if anyone ever were to steal my glasses (yes I'm that blind)
  • Seeing my eyes shrink 40% once they are behind prescripted lenses (a la Milhouse)
  • Being reminded that I don't really have a nose, as indicated by my glasses perpetually sliding to the bottom of my small stump
I've now been wearing glasses for 2 weeks straight (after years of only wearing contacts daily), and I actually don't think they are that bad after all...but I'm still super excited/nervous about tomorrow. I'll try to post an update once it's done (just not immediately of course, haha). Wish me luck! :)
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7 comments 27.7.10

how to dance funky

Posted by Miss Fong - Filed under , , ,
When I first moved to Hong Kong, I was eager to find a place to continue my dance lessons, which I had taken regularly in NL with the one and only, amazing Eszteca! Unfortunately, I quickly found out that Hong Kong had taken dance lessons and packaged them as yet another weight-loss fad, just like they had done with yoga (grrrr!).

Take a look at the Hong Kong Funky Dance Centre, founded by a lady who proudly advertises that she lost 25 lbs of baby weight in 8 weeks by simply bustin' a (funky) move.  The centre strongly emphasizes the fat-burning power of funky dance, using extreme success stories complete with graphic imagery here and here (nice pose, eh?).

You might be wondering, what is 'Funky Dance' anyway? I'd never heard of it before coming to HK, as it certainly wasn't a type of dance that Eszteca taught... In my mind, the term made me think of a bunch of nerds doing the Funky Chicken dance... but thanks to YouTube, I now know that funky dance is done by gay men (and women who want to dance like gay men) dressed in bright, neon colours who bounce around doing group aerobics with giddy smiles plastered on their faces, thinking that they're actually dancing.

Exhibit 1:

Uh...yea. That is definitely not my style. (To see what real dancing looks like, watch THIS - 2:30~3:45 is absolutely dope!!)

Anyway, during my search, I also came across Dancing Fit, another one of these dance-for-weight-loss centres. Here's a look at some of their class names and descriptions (thank you Google Translate):

Hip Hop with YIP  (-Pio and Yippy Yay)
The use of heavy beats of Hip Hop music, out of street style. Focused abdominal movements (ABS), focus on abdominal and thigh fat burning, increase exercise capability, and wishing to tighten the abdominal line, the effect is particularly noticeable. YO YO YO, Let's Come!

Latino Jam with TAKKO (and his sidekicks Nacho & Burrito)
Mainly through a variety of Latin dance steps, in a warm and relaxed rhythm of Latin music, freely swinging the body, strengthen the confidence and training of memory.

Slim Punking with MING (cuz punks can't be fat)
It is vibrant and a dynamic rhythm-based dancing, focuses on the waist and hand movements, Kawaii style, it is time to say "bye bye meat"!!!!

House Sweating with SOYA (purse egg is optional)
Interesting, lively and light, the use of disco beat dance music, with foot-based action, may tighten the buttocks and leg lines, the high amount of exercise to help quickly sweat, heart and lung function. You will find that he had never been so light.

Boy, do I miss taking real dance classes... *sigh*
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2 comments 23.7.10

Spiderman is from Sichuan?!

Posted by Miss Fong - Filed under , ,
Last October, I had the privilege of seeing what I now proudly refer to as "the greatest and most amazing show I have ever seen!!" What could this be, you ask? A Lady Gaga concert? Too simple. A David Copperfield magic show? How amateur! What I'm talking about is the Sichuan Opera!

Now before you grunt and groan at the thought of all the dok-dok-chaaaaang's and high-pitched, stretched out wailing, hear me out. The Sichuan Opera is different. Instead of simply being an on-stage ear-lashing musical, a typical Sichuan opera show features a variety of captivating performances, including a stick puppet show, hand shadow show, comedic skit, fire-spitting and last but not least, the totally awesome and mind-boggling art of face changing!

To be honest, I have never in my life seen anything more amazing, majestic, awesome and thrilling. Watching the performers in their elaborate costumes strut on-stage, strike dramatic poses with piercing, taunting eye stares, wave their flags (swoosh-swoosh) like ancient warriors and blow firey flames into the crowd...I was mesmerized! In fact, I don't think I've stopped raving about this show since I saw it, and you can take a wild guess what I was for Halloween last year:

 (Too bad no one knew what I was, lol!)

So, it was with this rabid enthusiasm and love for Sichuan face changing that I persuaded my friends to join me at Yun Yan Sichuan Restaurant last night, mainly (if not only) because they had a free performance starting at 8pm every Thursday evening.

"Don't be late or you'll miss the performance!" I had warned them repeatedly. But now, I really wish they had all turned up late so they didn't have to see the absolutely ridiculous and downright sh*tty performance it turned out to be!

First of all, with the modern yet drab interior of the restaurant, it was slightly odd to see a pudgy, costumed man in a cheap golden cape enter the room cued by what was apparently the Star Wars theme. The music quickly escalated into a cheesy Chinese song with the lyrics "bian lian" repeated a bajillion times (translation: "Change Face! Change Face! Change Face!" while the guy crept slowly around the dining tables in flat, dirty white boots (what happened to the platforms, man!?).

The face changing was actually yawn-inducing and our whole table seemed to be laughing AT how bad he was, especially when he stuck one leg up in the air, glared at us and shook like a leaf. And just when I thought it couldn't get any worse, the poser suddenly flicked on a Spiderman(!) mask, followed by a Jack O' Lantern(!!) mask! WTF, right!? In conclusion, please do NOT see the face changing show at this restaurant and get the real thing in Chengdu instead!
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6 comments 19.7.10

Wanchai Parma Ham Leg Beggar

Posted by Miss Fong - Filed under , ,
This beggar has got to be one of the most graphic, gruesome and gag-inducing guys in Hong Kong. Usually seen on the bridge going towards the Immigration Tower from the Wanchai MTR Exit A5, I had almost forgot about him since I hadn't seen him in a long time. However, one look was all it took to get his image emblazened into my head again.

You see, the Wanchai Parma Ham Leg Beggar is aptly named because he has a huge, rectangular raw flesh wound on one of his legs, which he displays proudly by extending it into rush hour human traffic. One just can't help but stare at how deep, red, wet and fleshy it looks (not to mention painful)! Apparently, he (or his pimp) makes a new cut every morning so that the wound is fresh and bloody. Today, the wound is around 1-1.5 inches deep and sometimes, it even looks like he's been cut to the bone.

At times, the Wanchai Parma Ham Leg Beggar can be seen with a piece of old cloth hanging near him on a makeshift clothesline, which has been stained multiple times by his bleeding wound.

To be honest, with the wide range of beggars in Hong Kong, it's really a shame that this guy has to endure so much physical pain just for a few bucks. I mean, I don't think he makes any more money  than the old lady down the street who's only kneeling down and pretending to be homeless. If I were him, I'd stop the painful cutting, but of course, it's probably not his decision to make.

Anyway, do pay our latest beggar a visit and see whether you still have your HK-sized appetite afterwards. I, for one, have lost all my cravings for parma ham...
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4 comments 15.7.10

Picking your battles

Posted by Miss Fong - Filed under , , , ,
A couple days ago, an innocent HK lady was attacked on the MTR by a psychotic Mainland woman. After making eye contact, the Mainland woman thought she heard the HK lady cursing her, so she walked up to her, took out her knife (which she normally used for self defense, she said) and started slashing. Even after the knife broke in two, she picked up the blade with her bare hands to continue her attack!

But enough with my boring commentary. Watch this action-packed video (courtesy of Apple Daily) to see how it all went down! This has gotta be one of my favourite things about Hong Kong: serious events (usually gory and violent) turned comical thanks to silly comic strips and in-house animations. I mean, imagine the delight of the team who had to make these visuals overnight!

"OK, who wants to draw the crazy lady?"
"Me me me me meee!"
"Who wants to do the voiceover of the girl getting attacked?"
"Ooo, me me me! I've got an amazing shriek!"

The soundtrack to the video is just awesome and I love all the irrelevant details. I mean, maybe I'm missing something but why did they mention that the guy who picked up the knife in the end had just bought a cake (is it an attempt at irony, or simply an ad for Maxim's!?)?

Anyway, this incident has made me rethink all the battles I usually pick in the MTR. From staring competitions to the ol' push and shove (and occasional kick), I wonder if it's just best to put on your coldest stone face and act like no one around you really exists. Hmm...sound familiar? So if you're still wondering why HK people never make eye contact, you now have your answer!
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3 comments 8.7.10

Holy moley

Posted by Miss Fong - Filed under , ,
It's gotta be one of the most commonly asked questions in Hong Kong: "Why do Chinese people have such huge (and hairy) moles?" Is it the pollution? Or what they eat? Are we all destined to suddenly grow a big-ass intrusive mole (or 10) somewhere on our bodies? Why don't people get them removed, or at least trim those long and wiry hairs off?

Have no fear, Miss Fong is here to answer all your questions about Chinese peoples' big, black and hairy moles.

When I was young, my Grandma used to tell me I had moles because flies were taking dumps on my face. If only I would wash my face, I wouldn't be so speckled, she'd say. Another one of her theories was that I was eating too much chocolate, which was turning me into a black person one dot at a time. Although it was a cool idea, the closest it got me to being black was giving me a big ol' booty.

In Hong Kong, I'm reminded every week by my facial beauticians that my once charming beauty marks are now absolutely hideous, and that I've got to get rid of them ASAP (for the 'affordable' price of HK$200 per mole!). Counting them aloud in an ewwwy voice, they tell me how big and ugly they're going to get, threatening me with scary phrases such as '3rd eye' and 'clumpy lumps'. 'What a waste it would be for someone as pretty as you to become so ugly', they'd say.  

I've used a variety of comebacks on them but my personal all-time favourite is "I don't care about being beautiful anyway!" which caused all of them to widen their eyes into a 'Are you out of your mind!?!' expression. It's really no use to argue with them, but now I have another reason to turn down their aggressive mole-removal sales pitches:  MOLEOSOPHY (the study of moles)!! 

You see, in Chinese culture, every mole has a meaning. Moles can be lucky or unlucky depending on where they are located, what colour they are, and how large they appear in proportion to our body. Some even say that the moles on our bodies are in reality secret imprints carried over from our previous lives...perhaps a way for a lover from your past life to find you again!

As superstitious as they are, the Chinese have developed a detailed map of moles for your body and face, so you can look up exactly what your moles (or your lover's) mean. In general:
  • Moles on your back represent some kind of burden (cut 'em!), where as moles on your front attract success and good luck (keep 'em!)
  • A shiny, smooth and bright-looking mole is considered a good mole
  • A mole with hair indicates the mole is alive, which is also a sign of good mole. Males should keep the hair, while a female can trim it.
  • A mole on the right breast indicates laziness, whereas a mole on the left breast belongs to active and energetic people who generally get what they want in life.
  • People who have a mole on their buttocks are un-ambitious and content with any mode of living (read: bum).
  • Moles on genitals lead to sexual addiction (good or bad, you decide).
So, according to the facial mole map, I tend to have problems related to diet or food and need to prevent unwanted sexual advances. Hmm...interesting...~_^
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1 comments 22.6.10

Grooming: Not just for dogs

Posted by Miss Fong - Filed under ,
For all the guys out there who have the same views as Ma Fan Jai about bushy ladies, this may come as good news to you!

I was browsing through HKU's School of Professional and Continuing Education when I came across a rather peculiar course called "Grooming for the Female Executive".

The course costs HK$2,200 and includes six 3-hour sessions where HK ladies learn about Interview & Presentation Skills, Health & Skin Care and Colour and Professional Image.

Here is the detailed breakdown of what the course covers:

1) The importance of first impressions

Look cute, don't say a word, but giggle often.

2) Understanding personal style and developing your own professional image

Always, ALWAYS carry a luxury bag to appear posh and stylish.

3) Achieving credibility through a polished appearance and effective style strategies

Make sure your nails are nicely manicured (preferably gel nails with gemstones) and wear as much lace and bows possible.

4) Professional dressing guidelines by using colours

Wear mostly black, it will make you look slimmer.

5) Creating professional image by using the right “make-up” tips

Use eyelid tape to create double eyelids (because nobody likes ugly single eyelids) and always attach false lashes to make your eyes look bigger.

6)“Healthy Choices” for healthy body

Do not eat more than 300 calories a day, or you'll be labeled a pork chop!

7) Taking care of your skin and establishing a good skin care regime

Invest in the most expensive laser facial treatment plan you can find that makes you as white as Michael Jackson.

8) The business of good etiquette and manners -doing the right thing

Chew with your mouth wide open and focus on watching that TVB show instead of conversing over dinner.

9) Do’s and don’ts of Western dining

Don't bother waiting for other peoples' plates to arrive before digging in yourself, or your food will get cold!

10) How to make “small talk” matter.

Bring up Hello Kitty anytime, anywhere! It's the perfect conversation starter!

Now, whether or not the course covers actual 'grooming' (ie. armpits, legs, etc.), I'm not sure, but isn't it nice to know that clueless female executives in HK have somewhere to go when they need some help? ;p

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4 comments 15.6.10

Fashion is fake

Posted by Miss Fong - Filed under , , ,
A friend of mine was visiting HK a couple months ago when he noticed some locals wearing thick plastic framed glasses without any lenses. Over a bubbling pot of pork bone soup, he asked me, "What's the point of wearing glasses with no lenses?!" At the time, I thought it was pretty redonkulous too, but now that I’ve had a few months to think about it, I have to say that there's absolutely nothing wrong with it!

See, the trend of wearing nerdy glasses came to Hong Kong via our lovely neighbors Japan and Korea, where cute girls would strike unbearably cute wide-eyed poses with oversized glasses to become (if possible) even cuter. Soon, many HK girls were seen wearing these glasses all over town, first with fake plastic lenses, but soon without any lenses since they were fake and useless anyway.

At first, I thought it was kind of shallow to wear glasses without real lenses or any at all, and even though I did end up buying a pair with clear lenses (yea so what!?!), I always told people that they were prescripted. For whatever reason, I was embarrassed to admit that I was only wearing them for fashion, to look smarter or simply look a bit different that day.

It turns out that the 'glasses with no lenses' discussion is quite a heated one, where REAL glasses wearers lash out at so-called posers with comments like:
  • Stupid, fake, tacky, totally ridiculous!
  • It's like we 'REAL' glasses wearers are being mocked
  • At least buy glasses with lenses so you can pretend better!
  • I think this is the one fashion trend that serves pretty much no purpose.
  • They’re about as useful as suspenders that aren’t legitimately holding your pants up, or a belt around a dress!
But let me ask you this, is there really a point to ANY fashion trend? That isn’t fake or pretending to be something else? Like, when someone starts wearing a leather biker jacket, do the people who have been wearing leather biker jackets for years say, “OMG, those other people wearing leather now are SO fake! They don’t even ride bikes! They should go back to denim and stop mocking us!”

And what about wearing accessories like earrings, belts or headbands? Do people ever say, “Why are you wearing earrings? They serve no purpose at all! How vain can you get!?!" If everyone thought like that, we'd probably all be 'too embarrassed' to decorate ourselves with anything more than plain t-shirts and jeans.

The fact is, everything we wear these days, whether it’s a Nike t-shirt (why not Adidas or Puma?!) or sparkly sequined top (are you trying to blind me?!) serves no real purpose other than fashion. The only difference is that in Hong Kong, there seems to be less rules on what can become a fashion statement (just look at these cast-inspired sandals)! So, to get back to the glasses… please fake yourselves out!!
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6 comments 17.5.10

Awkward moments with my foot masseuse

Posted by Miss Fong - Filed under ,
After a long day of hiking/walking/shopping (or just plain sitting, hehe), there's nothing better than getting a good ol' Chinese foot massage. Newbies may feel some pain at first, but I personally *love* getting my toes cracked! ;) By the time you get off your plush leather sofa and walk out the door, your feet will feel brand new and ready to take on another 8 hours of stomping round HK.

Since moving here, I've indulged in my share of foot massages, giving rise to some pretty awkward conversations. Here are some highlights:

Masseuse: You don't exercise much, do you? Your calves are so tight.
Me: What? I work out regularly! Around 2-3x a week! What about you...do you like to exercise?
Masseuse: This IS my exercise...(heaves a bit harder as he rubs my calves)
Me: Oh...

Masseuse: What do you do here in HK?
Me: I write stuff (I say 寫工 - not knowing that I just said I'm a social worker 社工)
Masseuse: Oh woooww...you must be able to handle a lot of stress...what kind of people do you work with?
Me: Huh...? What? Err...(oh sh*t)...usually...old people?
Masseuse: Wooowww... Social workers earn a lot, don't they?
Me: Um...sure... :\

Me: Please try to avoid touching my right knee, I fell during soccer a few weeks ago and I still have a scab there...
Masseuse: You mean this? (smiles triumphantly as he holds up my scab)
Me: :-o
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4 comments 22.4.10

An oven for your stool sample

Posted by Miss Fong - Filed under , ,
One of the things I love about Hong Kong is the amount of freebies that get thrown around, some of which seem just a tad random. Take for example the recent campaign by ESDlife, where you can choose from a free toaster oven, massage machine or hair dryer depending on the type of Body Check you purchase. For those who don't have a need for the three gift items above, there's always the easy, no-fail option of taking HK$150 worth of Park n' Shop coupons instead.

I never knew that so many varieties of Body Checks existed, nor had I ever imagined that companies would need to throw in freebies to attract customers. Silly me thought that Body Checks were just something people had to do once a year no matter what, gift or no gift.

Here in Hong Kong though, choosing a Body Check is more confusing than ordering an 8-course banquet dinner. First, there seem to be a myriad of tests that are identical to each other (plus or minus a few tests), so you really have to choose the specific body parts that you'd like to have checked. Next, certain services are treated as add-ons instead of the 'main course', such as a pelvic ultrasound, liver tumor or breast tumor markers.

So, if you decide to have your breasts checked (which is kind of important, wouldn't you say) you'd have to forgo the Cervix Test (aka Pap Smear), which is also pretty fundamental! In comes the ideal option - buy the comprehensive Body Check and add one Breast Check on the side for "ONLY HK$490 more!!"

I have to admit that their marketing is pretty darned extensive, offering special deals for "Two People Together (二人同行)", "Urban Diseases Health Check (都市病健康檢查)" (a MUST for HK dwellers I'm sure :P) and "Buy more save more" percentage discounts (spend over $2,500 and get 5% off, etc.)

However, what worries me is their disclaimer at the bottom of each test description page that says: "*All tests are not for the purpose of medical diagnosis or treatment." So, what the f@#$k are they for then?!
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2 comments 19.4.10

LKF Stump Fisted Beggar

Posted by Miss Fong - Filed under ,
Our latest beggar is the LKF Stump Fisted Beggar, commonly seen on stairways in and around Lan Kwai Fong. This includes the stairs leading up to the LKF Tower, the stairs going down from Yumla to Baby Buddha, and of course the stairs around the LKF public toilets.

As his name suggests, this beggar has no thumbs or fingers and usually looks gloomy and sad. He has a plastic cup pressed between his stumps for collecting spare change, and he's also known for shaking his stump fist at you while you walk by. Once, he even used it to prod @mystifize, immediately putting her into turbo mode as she raced down the steps.

It's unknown how much the LKF Stump Fisted Beggar manages to make each night, as I've never seen his cup even half full. Perhaps he would make more money by putting his stump fists into good use, such as becoming a masseuse, bread kneader or African drummer...
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3 comments 15.4.10

seeing stars

Posted by Miss Fong - Filed under ,
The other day, I was boarding a plane back to HK from China when I suddenly saw a familiar face in business class. His eyes were sharp, hair combed, skin tanned and firm (but a tad lumpy) and he was wearing a posh-looking satiny suit. Next to him sat a lady in a fur-trimmed jacket. During that split second when our eyes locked, I just couldn't place him and even after I found my seat I was still wondering, "Who the heck was that??"

It wasn't until I awoke suddenly from a short nap that I blurted out, "Cheng Siu Chow!" (veteran TVB actor and ex-husband of Lydia 'Fei Fei' Shum).

Now as a non-fan, I wasn't really inclined to do anything in particular, but I knew that anyone I told about this would probably ask for proof, so I decided that I should at least TRY to get a picture with this aging star...!

It was easier than I thought, because right after I went through the HKID e-Channel, Mr. Cheng just happened to be out before me and was waiting alone in the baggage collection area, so I went up to him quickly and asked for a picture.

A minute of awkward silence ensued while my colleague took multiple photos of me smiling stupidly and Mr. Cheng standing stiffly. What's weird too is that he kept saying 'hello' during the photo-taking in a soft yet high-pitched voice. Once we were finished, I mumbled thanks and ran off, feeling silly and a little bit rude.

I couldn't help thinking how it must suck to be a celebrity when all people want from you is a picture. You might as well be a freaking Madame Tussauds wax statue, right? No one ever asks,  "How are you?" or "What's new?" and you gotta just stand there awkwardly with total strangers who treat you as nothing more than an object.

The fact is, I don't know him, I don't wanna know him, I don't want to know how he's doing or what he's been working on. I just wanted simple proof that I'd seen him. How stupid is that??
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8 comments 29.3.10

My take on the 7s

Posted by Miss Fong -
Was it just me, or did anyone else feel absolutely *nothing* about the Hong Kong Rugby Sevens? I know to many it's the perfect excuse to (cross)dress in crazy outfits and get absolutely sh*t-faced in public, but there's something about it that feels a bit...iunno...removed?

See, I've been to other sporting events like the European Cup '08 and the 2010 Olympics where people dress up just as crazily but for something that they are actually passionate about (GO CANADA GO!!! :)).

In HK however, the people who go to the 7s seem to have a) no concept/love of rugby and/or b) no particular fanship to any team. Costumes are thus totally random instead of representing any one country and the point of going seems to be more about getting wasted than cheering on your team.

Don't get me wrong, I too LOVE dressing up but paying big bucks to drink with a bunch of other peeps in costume to (not) watch rugby live just doesn't make any sense to me... ~_^
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3 comments 24.3.10

Smog, schmog

Posted by Miss Fong - Filed under ,
Everyone's been going nuts about the super-high levels of pollution lately. True, Hong Kong's never seen this amount of smog before, what with the air pollution index (API) going off the charts in most of HK. But let's be honest here, when has HK air ever been fresh?

I remember when I was littler, I used to tell my friends, "You know you're in Hong Kong when your boogers turn black!" TMI maybe, but you know it's true. It's no different now and it's not necessarily a bad thing. Before the API existed, I'm sure this is how most HKers judged the quality of the air, among other things:

I can't say that I've noticed people doing anything differently ever since the pollution levels went up. You'd think they would all strap on a gas mask (or at least some sars/swine flu masks or something!?) given that a gazillion umbrellas pop open at the slightest hint of rain. Perhaps it's because nobody really knows know what extreme pollution does to us besides give us black boogers...
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3 comments 8.3.10

Support the seniors!

Posted by Miss Fong - Filed under , , ,
We're used to seeing them bulldoze through crowds and hobble around MTR exits in hopes of collecting your free used newspapers, but there's a new kind of senior that's been spotted around several MTR stations (including CWB).

This time, they're the shaky, near-death seniors with goggley glasses, spotted skin, missing teeth and a bright red bag of boxed cookies slung over their sloped shoulders.

"Please buy my cookies," they repeat, one after another in toad-like croaks. Although I'm usually immune to their tactics, I just couldn't walk away this time from one severely hunchbacked granny.

It took me a few cries of 'por por' before she noticed me, but she eventually (read: in slow motion) turned around and extended a box of cookies towards me. Turns out that they were raising money for the Helping Hand society, which runs several old folks home here in HK. Seeing not only that was she old, tired but missing her right thumb as well (sob!), I decided to buy a box for 35 dollars and wished her a good rest of her life.

When I got home, I did some research on what kind of organization would put these frail, old seniors (that they had vowed to protect) in the middle of rush hour traffic only to feel the harsh sting of rejection 100x over. I discovered that I'm probably not the only one who felt that this was 'cruelty to seniors' because Helping Hand themselves had already posted several videos of their star cookie sellers, including:
I was surprised to see that many of them actually seemed quite happy to be out there selling cookies (that or Helping Hand neglected to post any footage of the bitter and resentful seniors). Watching these videos made me smile, and I'm so proud of all the seniors who are brave enough to get out there and sell those cookies with no fear of being rejected, knocked over (or even killed, shhh!). You go, Grandma/pa! :D
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2 comments 5.3.10

Being si-man

Posted by Miss Fong - Filed under ,
Something I tend to get called a lot in Hong Kong is '斯文' (si1 man4), and up till now I still can't figure out whether that's a good thing or not.

At first, I took it as a compliment, since it means 'cultured, refined, elegant and genteel' (bwahaha, genteel!!).

For instance, someone once said to me, "You're so 斯文, seeing you brings a smile to my face," (no joke) and I have also once heard, "You're so 斯文, you must not be from around here."

Today though, someone said it to me with a somewhat negative connotation, as if my si-man-ness was a bad thing. That got me thinking, what is it that makes me so damn 斯文??
  • Is it because I don't talk at 100 decibels when I'm on the phone?
  • Sit and slouch with my legs wide open?
  • Let out loud croaky burps whenever I feel like it?
  • Push people around in the MTR like human bumper cars?
 If so, I'd happily take 斯文 as a compliment, thankuverymuch!
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4 comments 6.2.10

Gadget Love

Posted by Miss Fong - Filed under
Hi...my name is Miss Fong and I'm addicted to gadgets... Since moving to HK, I've bought 4 mobile phones, 3 iPods, 2 digital cameras, 1 video camera and 1 macbook, but my eyes can't help checkin' out the latest and greatest tech toys that are coming out each day, week and/or month!

My latest temptation is the brushed metallic pink SE W995 that was recently released for Valentine's Day. It's nothing new, but the fact that it's now in pink metal, not plastic, has set my heart ablaze! Seriously, I nearly caved when I saw it, and if it hadn't been for my peeps restraining me from buying it there and then, I'd be kissing this phone right now =D

The reason I didn't buy it is because I've been waiting (way too many months) for the SE X10 to come out. Even though it was announced in November 2009, it still hasn't been launched anywhere yet! Not only has it missed the Christmas shopping season, it's also missing V-day and CNY! Damn you Sony Ericsson and your 'make 'em wait' strategies, no wonder you're losing sh*tloads of money every day! Sigh...as a loyal SE fan, I'm going to keep waiting, but I just hope it's actually worth it...

On another note,  I came across this the other day and thought, "WOWEEE!!!!!!" This just has my name written all over it, dontcha think?! ;)

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0 comments 1.2.10

read, write and sing Chinese

Posted by Miss Fong - Filed under
I recently came across some fabulous Chinese learning tools so I thought I'd share them with you all (noo, I'm not out of blog post ideas...not at all ;)

1) DianHua

My colleague introduced me to this awesome (free) app for iPhones and iPod Touch that is not only an English-Chinese dictionary, it also has a built-in flashcard studying tool and (pretty damn difficult) writing test. I know, I know, there are plenty of dictionaries out there but this one's my fave cuz:
  • when you're writing Chinese characters into it, you can go as slow as you want instead of having it deciphering your half-written chicken scratches before you were even finished
  • you can search in English, Pinyin, Simplified and Traditional characters
  • you can create different folders to save words that you looked up
  • you can trace characters to learn how to write
  • you can sync everything to dianhuadictionary.com !

There's also an audio module that can pronounce the words for you, but too bad it's only in Mandarin.

2) KKBox

I won't deny it, I'm a huge fan of karaoke. It's no wonder then that KKBox is one of my favourite apps, ever! Basically, it's a music streaming app for iPhones, iPod Touch and Android devices, where you can listen to all the latest songs from HK/Taiwan/Japan/Korea/US/Europe for cheap, and the best part is, there's a 'karaoke' function where the lyrics are shown as the song is playing! I swear it's the fastest way to learn to read.

Yes, I also know there are other lyrics apps out there, but this is really an all-in-one tool for lazy people like me who don't wanna go and download buy all the latest songs and import them into my iPod. Plus, I never know what songs are good, so KKBox does all the selection for me already, much like a radio, without all the annoying and meaningless banter. Aaannd, every song you stream stays in your cache so you can listen to them offline too.

You can download the app for free and get a 7-day trial, then after that it's just HK$49/month. Enjoy! :)
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4 comments 19.1.10

Squattie potties

Posted by Miss Fong - Filed under
I just got back from a biz trip in China and I can still smell the strong stench of urine from the women's toilets...peeeuuuw! Yes, I've complained about my company's toilets before, but I'm so glad that at least in HK we have seated toilets that do (sometimes) flush.

I know the argument for squattie potties and how they are supposed to be more hygienic, but c'mon! There's a reason why Chinese toilets smell so freakin bad, thanks to a) all the splatter and b) the baskets full of used (ugh) TP. It's a nightmare just to have to go to the toilet!

I remember the first time I needed to use a squatter and asking my friend how exactly to do it (you know, cuz it's pretty vital information). But, have you ever thought about how backwards that is - to have to ask how to squat to go to the toilet? I'm sure that just as kittens know how to use the litter box by instinct, squatting must have been the most natural thing for humans to do when they needed to go to the toilet. But you know, we in the West need to learn how to do this all over again.

Anyway, just when I thought I had it mastered, I saw this sign in a Chinese washroom:

Now I'm all confused again... which way are we supposed to face!? :(
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5 comments 5.1.10

Pure Conspiracy

Posted by Miss Fong - Filed under
When I first joined PURE Fitness in HK, I vowed never to wear the free workout clothes that they offered to all their members. I mean, when you think about how many times those faded black t-shirts and shorts have been drenched in other people's sweat, it's no wonder (yeeeeuck!).

However, it didn't take long before I succumbed to wearing the PURE uniform more and more due to pure laziness. For one, I didn't have to plan/bring what to wear at the gym anymore, and it totally saved me from doing any more laundry than I already had to. :D 

BUT! Has anyone else noticed how deliberately unfashionable their outfits are?! Don't get me wrong, I love my gym, but why is it that the more I go, the more I feel like a big fat blob? After some serious thinking, I've finally figured it out:

PURE wants us to feel fat(!!)

The over-sized, faded black t-shirts that drape over our bodies...the super high-cut, white sport socks that make any leg look chunkier...the nylon shorts with a tiny elastic waistband made to squeeze all your stomach fat into the bubbliest muffin top there ever existed...and the built-in underwear that's just thin enough to turn into a built-in thong once you break into a jog.

Of course, I could just start bringing my own workout tops and shorts...but when it comes down to muffin top vs. extra laundry...pass the muffins please! :)
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