Category Archives: Friends

This Is What It Looks Like

This is what it looks like when your Filipino friends in HK get together for Chickenjoy and Magic Mic karaoke!




An Amazing Thing

My friend Haruka is a fine artist in terms of being 1) an actress, 2) a painter, and 3) as someone I can talk to well beyond midnight about art and the importance of interpretation.  One of the things I most appreciate about dropping by her and her husband Gabe’s house is seeing her canvasses lined up against the walls.  She’s always working on something new and always asking me what I think and what I see. (I own one of her paintings too. It’s of Mont Saint-Michel and I hang it above my desk at work. I’ve gotten quite a number of good comments about it from my colleagues).

She’s having a solo exhibit here in Hong Kong on February. It’ll be named unbeaten by rain after the poem by Kenji Miyazawa. (I helped her come up with that title in English so she can have a line that scans well. There, I just had to say that.) The centerpiece will be a big painting that has fantastic color and presence. It’s her best work to date. I was so impressed by it I asked for the photos she had taken of her progress during the mere few weeks it took her to complete the painting.














I have photos of the completed painting but she doesn’t want them public just yet. (She wants a proper photo of it to show; these were taken on an iPhone.) I’ll put the proper photos up once she sends them to me and when it’s closer to the exhibit date. UPDATE: You can see the completed painting here. In the meantime, I want to try to understand how something like the second picture could turn into something like the second to the last. There’s a freedom and trust in the process that I try to have more of in my own writing.

And also: I’m fricking proud of my friend.

Wedding Pics! (In which everyone is gorgeous!)

Two months late but it always takes a while for the pictures to come in.

May 6, 2012! Stan and Daisy at the Hebe Yacht Club near Sai Kung! The gang and I were sort of the errands people for the event!

Manning the reception table. Is it hot in here? YOU BET IT IS.
Photo by T

Staking seats before most of the guests arrived. Took me 12 hours to get that red packet to Daisy.
Photo by Anna Yeung

Mid-reception but not half as boozed up yet! L to R: T, Dickson, Annie, me!
Photo by Anna Yeung

We realized only later that we never got proper photos with Stan and Daisy; too much running around!
Photo by Anna Yeung

Daisy’s dress is AMAZING. As much as that ventilation duct is not.
Photo by Anna Yeung

Didn’t get the memo this was supposed to be pucker-up shot, sorry!

T and I playing bodyguards to Annie’s playboy bunny.
By the way, that whip is still in our office cubicle.

8 Birthday Lessons

Lesson 1: The most comfortable way of turning a year older is to stretch your birthday parties into a month-long celebration. You may be constantly reminded that YOU’RE3YEARSAWAYFROM30!! but because it’s so frequent, you take it for granted, and it never really quite sinks in, thank God.


When: 3 April 2012

Where: Ruby Tuesday, Newtown Plaza, Sha Tin

Who: The Ostleys

No picture because we were too busy shushing the baby

Lesson 2: One of the best moments there is is when you sit down with your oldest friends here, the ones who call you part of their family, drinking tea in the quiet of their house, taking turns to hold the baby, looking back and seeing how you’ve changed and they’ve changed and how you will still all change, and realizing, as you do every year with them in April without fail, how lucky in life you’ve been so far.


When: 5 April 2012

Where: Al Pasha, K11, TST

Who: The work gang Friends who just happen to work together

Lesson 3: Seriously, I had no idea there’s so much you can do with birthday whistles! (Don’t read too much into that.)


When: 9 April 2012

Where: Lawry’s: The Prime Rib, Lee Gardens, Causeway Bay

Who: The parental units, in for a visit

No picture because we were just too stunned with the prime rib.

Lesson 4: Your parents will love you forever and ever.

Lesson 5: PRIME RIB.


When: 13 April 2012

Where: Full / Half, The One, TST

Who: The church gang

Lesson 6: If you can remember how old you were when you first saw Titanic in the cinemas, you aren’t old at all.


When: 20 April 2012

Where: Red Chimneys, Prudential Hotel, Jordan

Afterparty: Ozone, The Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong, on the 118th floor of the ICC, West Kowloon

Who: The girls

No picture because come on: 1. I am there 2. Makiko is there 3. It’s a buffet.

Lesson 7: Some of the coolest and classiest friends you have are the older ones.


Lost in Tai Long Wan

So I was wrong in thinking that my last misadventure in hiking (i.e. lost in the dark with no flashlight, no food, hills away from the nearest road) would be the one that had involved Nell and Lion Rock and all-around silliness five years ago.

Tai Long Wan feeds into the MacLehose Trail, from which people get airlifted out all the time, as we found out much too late afterwards. (25/03/2012)

The best beach in Hong Kong, Tai Long Wan. Inaccessible by road.

If you're ever going to be lost hiking, let it be with these people and the one holding the camera. It's that kind of smiling that leads to silliness.

Because when it gets dark and ABSOLUTELY NO ONE HAS A FLASHLIGHT, you want to be with people who don't get cranky when they're cold, hungry, and HOLDMEI'MABOUTTOPASSOUT tired. I'm still impressed by the fact that no one hit someone else with a rock.

Bowling With the Girls

Half of the girls anyway. Theresa was working on her PhD dissertation and Patti was spending time with her husband Tai before he flies off again for his job with Cathay Pacific. I’ve nearly lost my voice to all the laughing we did tonight (well, last night now at this posting). No wonder we’ve been mistaken as family three times already by strangers. Photos courtesy of Annie!

Daisy and me with an onion ring in mid-bite.

Me, Daisy, and Annie. Stan (Daisy’s fiance) took the picture.

All Things New

SHELVES! After a year of searching, I finally found plastic shelves for my books! And they’re stackable too. Found them at the PriceRite in Whampoa when Joy and I were waiting around for a meeting with Haruka; I bought three racks. Am very pleased.

TWITTER. See RSS feed in the sidebar. I’ve succumbed to the prospect of posting little, self-centered updates about what I’m doing at that moment.

Joy left for Taiwan this morning. It’s been a very fun, hectic 5 days. ^_^  Thursday, I brought her for dinner in Langham Place in Mongkok. Friday, I went to work and she went to Mongkok to do some shopping and we met up in the evening for dinner at the Pink Salmon in Jordan. I took her to Temple Street afterwards and we rounded up the night with drinks at a bar in Lan Kwai Fong. Saturday, I brought her around downtown Central then to Repulse Bay and Stanley Market, dinner at Singaporean Restaurant in Ashley Road at TST. Sunday, we went to church and we had lunch with Nell at the usual dimsum place down Nathan Road, then I brought her to Kowloon Walled City Park. We had dinner at a streetside stall in Kowloon City before going to Whampoa to meet with Haruka. Monday, I went to work, she went to Mongkok again XD, and we met with Ron and Yvonne for dinner at Times Square.  Tuesday, I was predictably working again and Joy spent a lazy day in my flat. When I came back that evening, she had cooked dinner, and we spent the rest of the night karaoke-ing with YouTube and watching Wall-E on her laptop while I finished off a small tub of Dreyer’s ice cream that had half-melted in my fridge (Joy had half of it).

A Highlight: Joy and I wanted a picture of us in the Walled City Park and I asked a teenager if he could take the picture. A kind of terror spread through his face and he mumbled “I don’t know” in Cantonese…then he picked up his bag and dashed off! Practically ran away from us. I turned around to Joy with a look of complete befuddlement on my face and she had already doubled up with laughter. I explained to her that he was waiting for his girlfriend and didn’t want to be caught with me and my striking good looks, obviously. XDD

It was very pleasant to come back home to someone after a long day at work. ^_^

Joy is here

Joy alert.

Joy got here two days ago, and promptly got on the wrong train.

Joy’s halter-top was commented upon by the owner of a bar in Lan Kwai Fong, of all places. For a moment, I thought he wanted to ask how old she was. (His comment: Aren’t you cold?)

Joy discovered that she is in fact an old granny as she is dreadfully lacking in stamina.

More details to follow.


Well, that’s settled.

I’m flying off to Hong Kong this August to work as an English teacher in an international school in Kowloon Tong. Right now I’m just looking for flats; I found these really cheap flats both in Kowloon Tong and Causeway Bay (both rather posh places, and usually very expensive), and I’m just waiting to here from the in Kowloon Tong. The school’s just a minibus away, if I get that flat. I also found some places in Tsuen Wan and Tuen Mun in the New Territories – huge flats, beautiful views, very very cheap, but too far from everything. It would take me nearly an hour to get to school everyday. From Tsuen Wan, that’s a minibus ride then the MTR and a change of trains. From Tuen Mun, that’s a minibus, the KCR Light Rail, then the KCR Railway, then the MTR, one change (I think I’ll be able to see Shenzhen already from Tuen Mun). So I’m really gunning for the Kowloon Tong one (the Causeway Bay is two changes in the MTR).

This also means I can’t do the seminar in ICA (so sorry, Kenneth!).

I’m working on a story I’ll be submitting to Phil. Spec. Fic. 3 on September. It’s going pretty okay. It’s one of those rare moments when I’m actually having trouble keeping it under 5,000 words. Most of the time, with short stories, I hit about 2,000 in a flare of inspiration, then the muck hits me and I have nothing else say, then I have to torture some logical storyline out of the whole thing. For this one, I can see where it’s going; it’s just the presentation that’s giving me a bit of trouble.

Other than that, just keeping up with a few books and movies. One of them I had left behind here in Manila and had been wanting to read is a brick of a book called Ideas: A History: from Fire to Freud, by Peter Watson. A very stimulating read; I’m still at the Prologue.

Another is Harold Gardiner’s Nine Twentieth-century Essayists, which I got from a booksale in UNSW (I think it might be out of print now). G.K. Chesterton was a rollicking read, but I hit a bit of a wall with Hilaire Belloc. He was talking about preserving the purity of the English language, and I just couldn’t swallow it. I think it still had the aftertaste of the Victorian British pride (and jingoism).

I’ve also got the trilogy of David Lodge’s Changing Place, Small World, and Nice Work from the booksale. And the friggin’ title page has David Lodge’s friggin’ autograph! Apparently he had given the book as a gift to a friend (and someone sold it to the booksale).

And to move to something comparably different…I’ve been catching up with some old friends from Beijing and backwards, high school and primary school, from those whom I message with regularly and to those who I only hear from once in a blue moon. I am just amazed at where all of us are now, given whatever period of time we hadn’t seen each other. It’s nearly surreal, how we all changed and relationships changed and what our plans for the future has become. People fall out, get back together, go someplace else. I don’t think any of us really saw us going to where we are now, and looking back is always an unsettling reminder of how little of life is really in our hands.

What is, however, relatively in our hands, is me meeting up with a few sets of close friends before I leave for Hong Kong. Just to make sure everyone is in agreement:

July 28 – Ressie & Co.

July 29 – Tin &…well, Tin

August 3 – Karen & Co.

August 4 – Jo & Co.

Last Night was Band Night

We rocked.


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