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Unbeaten by Rain: An Art Exhibit (HK)

Here’s the complete photo of Haruka’s painting that I had previously talked about here (and where you can see photos of it when it was in the middle of being painted). The piece is titled Mother and Child. I’d really recommend clicking on the picture to see it in full size so you get an idea of the textures.


Her solo exhibit runs from 22 February 2013 to 22 March 2013 in the art gallery in Yew Chung International School – Secondary (3 To Fuk Road) in Kowloon Tong. Opening hours are from 3:30PM to 7PM. I’ll be going to the opening reception!


The HK International Literary Festival 2012: Part 2

October 14 – The Writers Symposium: Part 3 of 3

Convocation Room, University of Hong Kong

This particular symposium was divided into 2 sessions. The first was The Writer’s Desk: Vision, Revision, and Circulation, which focused on revising and editing a work before sending it in. Panelists were Paige Richards, Michelle Sterling, Jennifer Wong, and Paul French, who read before and after excerpts from their work. Again, can’t say I heard anything I’d never heard before. I’m really of the opinion that when it comes to the writing process, there are so many ways of doing it right that if you’ve been doing it for a while, someone endorsing a particular way of doing it wouldn’t necessarily stick in your head.

The second session was The Writer in Hong Kong – Getting Published. Now this is the sort of thing that does tend to stick – brass tacks of the business. It was chaired by Christopher Munn from Hong Kong University Press, who was joined by Kelly Falconer from the Asia Literary Review, copyright lawyer Andrew Cobden, and Martin Merz, a translator. I’ll list here the salient points:

  • Don’t cold call editors.
  • You don’t necessarily need an agent for your novel but you should get one anyway if you can. Agent’s fee is usually at 15%.
  • There’s no such thing as a standard contract. Or a standard print run. Everything is always negotiable.
  • Do simultaneous submissions.
  • Don’t turn up your nose at small publishing houses. Don’t limit yourself or second-guess your demographic. A publication is a publication is a publication.
  • Copyright is assigned. An author’s moral rights over a publication are waived or not waived. Most of the time, publishers will try to get you to waive your moral rights.

After the session, I talked a bit with Kelly Falconer and Martin Merz and his wife Jane. And was enjoying myself so much that I found myself sharing a cab with them all the way to…

October 14: Closing Party: The Last Course

Mariners’ Rest, Hullett House

…where I Guinnessed up and took in the scene of the festival panelists all in one room. (Small room though.) Chatted with Sudhir Vadaketh, from The Economist, and his wife, as well as Gioia Guerzoni, a translator from Italy who was here on the way to a translator’s conference in Bangkok. Had a good time with Martin, Jane, and Gioia, and eventually we left Hullett and crossed the harbor to the Foreign Correspondents’ Club in Central, which Martin is a member of (and apparently of the board as well that gets to decide what gets to be in the menu). Food was great and we also met Alberto, Gioia’s friend, who works as an architect here.

I had to leave early because I had class the next day but that was a great Sunday spent. Love all the business cards you get at the end of these things.

(Part 1 here.)

The HK International Literary Festival 2012: Part 1

October 11 – Dr. Hari Harilela Lecture Theatre, Shaw Campus, Hong Kong Baptist University

Between Europe and China: Fostering Cultural Creativity and Inter-cultural Dialogue: A Roundtable Discussion on Hong Kong-European Dialogues in Literature and Culture

Yeah, that’s a mouthful. Bit of context here, “intercultural” is a big buzzword in Hong Kong and “exchanges” and “dialogues” abound. Personally, judging from the ones I’ve attended, these events tend to feel like marketing stunts to me. The questions are just some sort of variation of these: 1. What it feels like to be (or whatever more specific verb here) in Hong Kong, and 2. How is it different from your home country. It’s not typical to progress far from that, so let’s just say I normally don’t set the bar very high.

The panel was chaired by Angela Mackay from the Financial Times and the panel members were the following: poet Jennifer Wong (Daisy’s friend, actually, who was raised in HK and is now based in London, had dinner with her before), UK poet and novelist Simon Armitage, Irish novelist John Boyne (he wrote The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas – I only watched the movie though) Prof. K.L. Chua from Hong Kong University, and Prof. Hans Ladegaard and Prof. Lo Kwai Cheung from Hong Kong Baptist University, where I work.

Most of the discussion was about how the writers’ respective countries encourage creativity VS how HK does it (or how it should anyway. Let’s not forget HK is still incredibly neo-colonial and has a huge insecurity complex when it’s being compared to Europe). It was largely very PC and there was really nothing you haven’t heard before, until John Boyne mentioned, hey, but what about the big elephant in the room when it comes to HK arts and culture? Money?

And I thought, that’s a good attempt, Mr. Boyne, there is an elephant in the room, but it’s not money that’s the biggest one. It’s race and class. Because when I hear white expats complaining about how there seems to be such a dearth of cultural events in Hong Kong, more often than not, they’re talking about the dearth of white cultural events in Hong Kong. I know because I used to think that way too and hung around similarly-minded expats, until I started to make friends with local artists. Then I went to their events (not to mention worked with them for the stage performance of my play) and realized that hey, there is actually a lot of local culture in HK. Most white people just tend not to go to these events and just assume they don’t exist. The money being poured by wealthy, commercial companies into cultural events and which people complain is against the spirit of art? Tend to be white cultural events.

And as my friend T would say, I told you three times but only in my head. Then at one point, Prof. Lo Kwai Cheung, in a burst of frustration, said that the things they were talking about in this panel were all from the white person’s point of view, who either aren’t living in HK or who live in their little expat bubble here and have no idea what it’s like otherwise. Even this literary festival, he said, isn’t this pretty much catered to white people in the first place?

That was the highlight of the evening for me. Someone applauded from the back of the room. The next time I bump into Prof. Lo on campus, I’m going to tell him that.

Next post! The Writers Symposium at HKU and the afterparty at Hullett House.

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.

Sendong / Washi Relief: How You Can Help Locally and Overseas

My friend Nell dug this up for me from Facebook. What follows is a very comprehensive list of contacts and ways to help out those in Cagayan de Oro and Iligan locally and overseas, compiled from Twitter and Facebook by Anne Elicaño.

Flash floods claim more than 500 lives in the Philippines one week before Christmas; This is how you can help

by Anne Elicaño on Sunday, December 18, 2011 at 12:30pm

(Last updated: December 19, 3.31pm)

Quick facts about Typhoon Sendong:

  • At least 500 people are dead in Northern Mindanao, mostly from Cagayan de Oro and in nearby Iligan City. Strong tropical typhoons rarely hit the area so people were caught unaware when Typhoon Sendong swept through. Flash floods swept hundreds of houses into the sea in the middle of the night.
  • An estimated 100,000 people were displaced which is the worst storm in the history of the region.
  • Cagayan de Oro and Iligan contain many of the most fertile agricultural lands in the Philippines. The local economy will suffer a blow because of the flash flood.
  • In Iligan City, food, water, clothing, blankets, lights and mosquito nets are urgently needed, according to reports by the Philippine Red Cross.


I’ve started compiling information from Twitter and Facebook. Here’s how you can help:


  • Donate to the Philippine Red Cross through online transfer-
  • LBC is accepting donations WORLDWIDE. They will directly send to LBC Foundation Philippines whose NGO partner in Cagayan de Oro is Red Cross.
  1.  KSA – Store 14-16 Abi Alabass co. Murshdi Sts. Al Batha District Riyadh, KSA
  2.  UAE –  Mubarak Khalifa Bldg 75 Shop 4 10D St Al Karama, Dubai, UAE
  3. Singapore – LBC Aircargo 2/F Lucky Plaza 304 Orchard Road Singapore
  4. HK – Worldwide 1, 2 & 33/F Worldwide House 19 Des Veoux Road Central HK
  5. HK – Tsuen Wan Branch 2/F Liksang Plaza 269 Castle Peak Road Tsuen Wan, New Territory
  6. HK -Hung Hom Branch G/F Planet Square 1-15 Takman St Hunghom, Kowloon
  7. HK – Northpoint Branch G/F Blk 7-14 Garden 233 Electric Road
  8. HK – To Kwa Wan Warehouse 2/F On Lok Factory Bldg. Blk C.  88-90 Kawloon City Road Tokwawan, Kowloon
  9. HK – Kennedy Warehouse 20/F Hongkong Industrial Bldg 444-456 Des Veoux Road, West HK
  10. Brunei – G-06 Badiah Complex Jalan Tutong, BSB
  11. Malaysia – G/F Kota Raya Complex Lot G.13 Jalan Tun Tan Cheng Lock, KL
  12. Malaysia  – B11 4.08 Complex Tun Abdul Razak Georgetown, Pulau Penang
  13. Taiwan –  No. 27-1 Chung Shan North Road, Sec. 3 Chung Shan District, Taipei City
  14. Taiwan – No. 360-5 Demin Rd. Nantzu District, Kaohsuing
  15. Taiwan – No. 34 Lane 62, Chung Cheng Road Taoyuan
  16. United Kingdom –   Unit 9, Victoria Industrial Estate, Victoria Road, Acton, W3 6UU
  17. Spain – Calle Doctor Cirajas # 12 Planta Calle 28017 Madrid Spain
  18. Spain – C/Roure 2-4 Poligono Mas Mateu El Prat De Llobregat, 08829, Barcelona
  19. Italy – Via Calatafimi 20, 00185 Rome, Italy
  20. Italy – Privata Turro #8, Milan, 20127 Italy


1. Donate to Gawad Kalinga U.S.A branch and more

2. Donate to PhiDev through online transfer-


It’s time to display the magnificent show of bayanihan that we all saw during Typhoon Ondoy.

  • Cash donations to Ateneo de Cagayan/ Xavier University

Account Name: Xavier University

Account Number: 9331-0133-63

Bank: Bank of the Philippine Islands, Cagayan de Oro – Divisoria Branch

Those who wish to receive receipts for their donations, may email with the details of their donation (donor’s name, receiving branch, date, amount) for proper acknowledgment.)

  • Cash donations to La Salle Academy Iligan

(via @DLSUManila) “We would like to request for your assistance in helping our Lasallian brothers and sisters in Iligan who were affected by typhoon “Sendong”. Cash donations may be deposited to La Salle Academy Iligan via Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) Account No. 0820-016221-030. Kindly inform Lourdes Melegrito of DLSU COSCA the details of your donation at email, Tel. No. 524-4611 local 147, or telefax 523-4143. Thank you very much.”

  • La Salle Greenhills High School – Bring your donations of used clothes, medicine, food, etc to Gate 2
  • ABS-CBN’s Sagip Kapamilya accepts donations in-kind. Drop off for Manila is at Sagip Kapamilya ABS-CBN Foundation. Mother Ignacia cor. Eugenio Lopez, Quezon City. For other cities, more info here:
  • SMART telecom subscribers: Smart Money users can instantly transfer funds through their mobile phones to the official Baha Fund account number 5577 5130 6822 1104.
  • Globe Telecom subscribers: Through GCASH, text DONATE and send to 2882.
  • Volunteer to repack goods- Volunteers needed to repack goods starting Dec 18 at NROC Chapel Rd, Pasay City, at the back of Air Transportation Office. ( Via @dinkysunflower).


  • Contact Binsoi Rivera : 09175007092

Silliman University, Dumaguete City

  • Drop off donations at St . Scholastica Academy Gym, La Salle Avenue, Bacolod.


  • Send donations to Corpus Christi School, Tomasaco Street, Cagayan de Oro

Contact Harvey Maraguinot : 0917-8888427

  • Volunteers are needed at DSWD (Cagayan De Oro). Call 09066150095.
  • Send donations to Gawad Kalinga Iligan- GK Missionville, Purok 3, Canaway, Tibanga, Iligan City

Contact Judi Bentoy : 09178888745

  • Pass on info about medical assistance:
  1. Polymedic Medical Plaza – Free outpatient consultation and tetanus shots at or flood-related injuries. Doc Farina will be there everyday except Dec 20.
  2. Macasanding Evacuation Center – Wound dressing on December 19, 2011 ( please get in touch with Bert @ 09264631441)
  3. For breastfeeding please contact  Dr. Jessamine Mae C. Sareno  09175014155
  4. West City Central School – Free clinic (free medicines and relief goods will be given away. Please contact Dr. Fahad Macadato on Facebook:
  • Pass on info about Evacuation Centers in Cagayan de Oro City
    1. City Central School in Yacapin-Velez Streets
    2. West City Central School in Vamenta Blvd, Carmen
    3. Macasandig Gym
    4. Bulua Gymnasium
    5. Xavier University
  • Pass on info about free water points in Cagayan de Oro (repost from @cukiebangs) 

1) balulang booster station 

2) production well 3a near Macasandig;

3) COWD Kauswagan Office;

4) Faucet near MUST;

5) some fire hydrants near GSIS Carmen and other areas with BFP coordination

6.) Rainsoft in NHA highway (beside Mazda) is giving free nawasa water.

If you have information on how to help, please message me, I will continue to update this list. Please also feel free to share this on your walls or copy/paste the vital stuff  so we reach more people who can help.

Twitter accounts with on-ground info on what’s needed and how to help: @RockEdIligan, @Mindanaoan

Couple of Things

Tonight’s soundtrack is Herbie Hancock’s Takin’ Off (Grooveshark is awesome if you want to have a listen), served with a small dollop of plum wine drowned in water because tomorrow’s a work day.

My short story “The Likeness of God” has been accepted for publication in Philippine Speculative Fiction 7! A snippet from the email from Kate Osias, who’s editing the anthology with her husband Alex:

There is something brutal and honest in this piece of work; it made Alex and I uncomfortable, at times disgusted. But it is because you were able to make us feel this way that the story succeeds.  Not all stories could be about love, or longing, or bitterness. Yours was a different journey, and all the unpleasant emotions we felt along the way led us to think about our humanity.

Thanks, Kate! This year’s PSF will be published digitally for the first time to reach a wider audience.

I’ve also gotten an account in LinkedIn: Because it seems to be the professional-looking thing to do. And you can look up old acquaintances without the politics of Facebook.

I’ve also signed up with InterNations, the biggest networking site for expats from all over le world, where you can find info and advice about your city and connect with others expats. Membership is invitation-only and its founder, Philipp von Plato, emailed me an invitation after he bumped into my blog while looking for information about Hong Kong. They have around 5000 members of 89 nationalities in the HK community alone,  which is pretty sizable. I’ve still to fully check out all its functions but it’s been looking really interesting so far.

Adventures and Then Some

Got to keep a record of these things before I forget.

August 18, 2007 – Kowloon Walled City

September 15, 2007 – Doulos

September 16, 2007 – Interviewing Filipinos at Worldwide Mall

September 22, 2007 – Lion Rock Park, Lion Rock Hill

Bus from Junction Road to Lion Rock Park.

September 25, 2007 – Shek O Beach

MTR to Shau Kei Wan. Bus 9 to Shek O.

September 26, 2007 – CUHK

September 29, 2007 – Protestant Chinese Cemetery

Inverness Road.

October 1, 2007 – Kadoorie Farm and Botanical Gardens, Tai Po

KCR to Tai Po Market, Bus Terminal, Bus 72 (or 3??) to Kadoorie.

October 7, 2007 – HK Botanical Garden and Zoo

October 16, 2007 – Sha Lo Tung Village, Tai Po; Hok Tau Reservoir

KCR to Tai Po, Bus Terminal, Bus 275 to Fung Yuen Road, walk to Kowloon Hang Hill, go left after hill till car park, cross stream, hike to overgrown fields, turn left before path’s dead end, hike till Cheung Uk farmhouses, turn right near buildings to tiny signpost, HOK TAU or PING SHAN CHAI, Hok Tau, hike to Pat Sin Leng Range, walk down to Hok Tau Reservoir, turn left at reservoir, follow down Hok Tau Road, left at Hok Tau Wai, wait for Minibus 52B in front of houses, take minibus to terminus Fanling East KCR.

October 17, 2007 – Macau

Ferry to Macau. Cross to New Yaohan Mall, Bus 17 to Luis Camoes Garden, historical walk down to Largo de Senado, lunch at Platao (Travessa de Sao Domingo, tiny street at Senado), Bus 3 or 3A to Grand Prix Museum, walk to Sands Casino to take shuttle bus to The Venetian, take Bus 26(A) to Karting Track, back to The Venetian, shuttle bus to Macau Ferry.

October 21, 2007 – The Italian Feast

Hong Kong Cultural Centre.

October 27, 2007 – Arlecchino

At Shatin Town Hall. Bus ? from Junction Road all the way to Newtown Plaza, walk to Shatin Town Hall.

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