wanderlust

Hong Kong — An Adventure

The chitter chatter of the crowd

engulfs me, a lonesome child

Wandering around finding a place to spend

two solitary hours without a Friend


Time seems to hurry by

When you’re preoccupied with anxiety

and some decent wifi

After an episode of planet earth and some idle time burnt,

i boarded the plane with an unsatisfied thirst


After 4 excruciating hours in the air

where sleep was an impossible affair

i landed and was reminded of who to meet

and hurried on as quickly as my legs could take me


Outside the gates

I scanned around

hoping that someone i know

would make a sound

Alas! a silhouette, a familiar sight

the boy who had waited an entire night


We exchanged greetings as if we haven’t met before

I thought to myself, “this is awkward, oh god”

We then scrambled around for some online discount

for a train ride that will take us to our hostel in town


Famished, we trudged down old Hanoi road

And gobbled up some good ol’ dumpling noodle

”Let’s stick to the plan” he and I made an oath

an oath we later came to loathe

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HKD40 Prawn dumpling noodle along Mody Road, Tsim Sha Tsui.


During our unending ascent up a narrow path

the day quickly surrendered to the dark

Alone and afraid, we walked on with caution

And finally saw what we’ve been after

there between the tree branches and vines

Our eyes laid upon a lovely sight

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View from Lion’s Rock. Not actually the peak but we climbed as high as we could given the spooky darkness and weak legs.

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To conclude the night of an exhausting hike

We slurped down some delicious mango shaved ice

then proceeded to wander the streets at night

and feast our eyes on more Christmas lights

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Mango shaved ice @ Hui Lau Shan, Tsim Sha Tsui.

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Basking in the Christmas cheer at the 1881 shopping arcade.

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Day two, we spent a full day in town

Mostly climbing up and down stairs

And looking around


First stop, we combed the streets for some dim sum,

Hong Kong’s specialty, trust me

they’re second to none

After some truffle siew mai and a platter for two

we were ready to conquer the afternoon

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Truffle Siew Mai @ Ding Dim 1968, Peel Street.

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HKD85 for a platter for two!

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Small but cosy and traditional interior.


Took some photos in front of murals,

street corners and interesting pillars

Then visited the boutiques at PMQ

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Murals along Hollywood Road.

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The Old Townhouses mural opposite Hollywood Road. It’s an insanely popular tourist and photo taking spot. Patience is needed to get a good spot and shot.

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Nothing screams Hong Kong louder than a good ol’ground-up shot of the residential blocks.


Central is a labyrinth, easy to get lost in, difficult to leave. It meanders round corners, climbs and then steeply declines. Paths magically appear, diverge, and come to an abrupt dead end. Every corner, every street is scene from the canvas of Hong Kong’s urban life: The visually stimulating riot of colours on the walls along Hollywood Road; the aroma of braised duck rice and pork buns along Peel Street tantalising the olfactory; the heartbreaking sight of the wizened and silver-haired ambling amongst an unsympathetic crowd.

I’ve learnt that sometimes not having a plan is better than having one, because central is a place of the unplanned. Of surprises and spontaneous discoveries, where part of the fun is charting one’s way through the maze, going where one’s heart leads to.


The third day rolls around

and we were awaken by the sounds

of impatient honking, footsteps shuffling

and incessant but distant drilling of the ground


Tsim Sha Tsui Cultural Centre was first on our list

we have gone there for neither Shakespeare nor Listz

But to frolick around in the building’s sharp corners

and be smothered all over by the morning breeze

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Tsim Sha Tsui Cultural Centre is a popular spot among photographers because of its distinct angles. The way its architecture filters light also creates an interesting effect that makes it well-loved by photography enthusiasts.

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The pier just beside Tsim Sha Tsui Cultural Centre.

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The winds were cold and strong but made bearable by the warm sun.

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A cup of hot chocolate later and we’re on our way

to see one of the city’s universities and what it has on display

Rising out of a landscape of red-bricked buildings, stands

a behemoth of a structure, a futuristic-looking titan

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Striking and extraordinary in appearance in relation to the dull bricked buildings, is Hong Kong Polytechnic University School of Design.

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The interior of the School of Design is another favourite spot for photographers due to the limitless possibilities that can be explored with the lines and angles.

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Found an empty and quiet spot behind the building where it is stripped bare of its gloss and paint, leaving only naked concrete.

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Next on our list is a place close to home

a couple of stops not far from Hung Hom

it is quite simply a tesselation of colours and blocks

Overseeing a couple of basketball courts

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Choi Hung Estate. (Choi Hung is Mandarin for rainbow).

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We had enough of tall buildings

neon lights and LCD screens

so we took off on a boat from star ferry pier

and found ourselves on Hong Kong’s outer tier

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One of Hong Kong’s outer islands — Cheung Chau Island.

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Having a trusty Hong Kong local bring us around 😀

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Cheung Chau island is neither here nor there

It’s not as dense as what one would call a city

but it’s also not rurally bare

We had fresh mango mochis

Saw toys we had since fourth grade

took one too many photos at boat quay

and inquired about our soulmates

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Fresh mango mochi. It’s easily found in one of those street shops. There are plenty of other flavours like peanut and sesame but mango is always best!

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It’s us against the wind.

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Trying to avoid temple aunty’s stare.

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An alley shot for good measure.


The following day we made our way

after a morning of shopping, to Quarry Bay

Inside the courtyard, looking up and around

We couldn’t believe the density of this compound

Rigid and enduring, though visually alluring,

we reckon the space here must be unbearably inhibiting

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The streets of Mong Kok.

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At Argyle Street looking for some pet shops.

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Mong Kok from the mid-levels. This here is Fat Yuen Market, selling anything from clothes and bags to electronic gadgets and soft toys.

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When in Goldfish Street, expect to see FISHIES.

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Quarry Bay. FYI Quarry Bay is the shooting location for music videos and movies like Ghost in the Shell.

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My attempt at being gangsta 😛

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Later that night back to central we went

for egg tarts and porridge

Some drinks over conversation

All before happy hour ends

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A must-try in Hong Kong. It can be found along Hongwood Road, Central.

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Had delicious porridge for dinner at a pretty decent price.

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When at Central, definitely check out Lan Kwai Fong, a place strewn with bars and pubs.

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Joyce and her Raspberyy Craft Beer!


Got up early the next day to cross the border

into Shenzhen, Hong Kong’s long lost brother

Things that day didn’t pan out well

all that we remembered was being pissed as hell

So we returned to Hong Kong

comforted ourselves with street food

then revisit Tsim Sha Tsui pier

to admire the moon

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Waiting for the train to Shenzhen.

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Street food to salvage a day of disappointment.

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On the penultimate day, we were supposed to go

to Hong Kong Disneyland but we only got close

We thought we had a chance but stopped at the entrance

because there were just too many kids and their parents

So we quickly came up with an alternative plan

with some movie and shopping and a little romance

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The final day rolled around

it was time to say goodbye

to this wonderful city

with a reluctant sigh

For our last meal in Hong Kong

we had pancakes and ham

then we walked all over Tsim Sha Tsui

for some fine instagrams

visited places we’ve missed on our itinerary

and revisited those that brought us more jolly

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Macs for breakfast just for the juicer pork sausage because we don’t have pork sausages in Singaporean Macs ):

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Found Tumblr cat somewhere along Cameron Road.

FIN.

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dear diary...

Just A Little More…

Why is it that all things have to be rushed?

The voices around us relentlessly indoctrinate and perpetuate:

Time is of the essence.

Time is our only non-renewable resource.

Time is a scarcity, unfortunately, that will only run out.

But some things, only time can tell;

some things require precisely the growth and maturation

that can only take place through time,

like wine,

and feelings fermenting.


Why is it that everything that has happened between us

is all but a means to an end?

Why is it that even if the shot has missed the bullseye

by just an inch,

the bow has to be broken, shattered, abandoned

and never to be picked up ever again?


Why is it that we could have climbed a million steps

to get to where we are today,

but a slip,

an innocent stumble

has the magnitude of an earthquake

revealing the vast chasm between us

crumbling the very delicate road we once tread?


Perhaps all is needed is

a little more time,

a little more patience,

a little more understanding,

a little more forgiveness.

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dear diary...

Dearest Papa,

Dearest Papa,

Happy 52nd Birthday! Today, I had my virgin experience of social art jamming, with the intention of painting something that could be gifted to you as your birthday present. Well, art alone without meaning is but a symphony of colours harmonised and mingled together with brushstrokes bold and fine. So here is a list of things that went through my head as I embarked on a 3-hour long artistic voyage on a Tuesday afternoon without even pausing to drink or eat:

  1. Just like how I am your very first child, your maiden voyage into this big, uncertain, sometimes scary world of fatherhood, this piece of art is my first jab at creating something somewhat aesthetically pleasing.
  2. First attempts are never perfect. The artwork is definitely not perfect. And neither am I. If you asked me, I could go on and on about all the regrets I have about this painting and the mistakes that I had foolishly made precisely because of my inexperience. I screwed up, made mistakes, cursed myself, panicked, found solutions, asked for help, prayed for things to get better and go my way. I sketched and erased, tested the waters, debated between purple and grey. But still, the background is too patchy, and the branches look too flat. The petals of some of the flowers are warped and slightly deformed. Yet, despite all these blemishes and imperfections, they are unmistakably mine and I own them like how you have owned me in the twenty years that you’ve raised me — proud and with the most unshakable conviction of a creator, a father. And I salute you for that.
  3. Being a father, whether it’s your first time or 5th time, is always stressful. I can’t claim to have carried the kind of weight you’ve been carrying, but painting under a time limit is pressurising period. Not to mention painting outside the comfort and private confines or your own home. Every stroke, every move is made under public scrutiny. Constantly, your ears are helplessly deluged with cacophony of opinions, peoples’ ruthless judgments, comments and criticisms. You try not to buckle, take a deep breath, calm your nerves and continue your hustle. Thank you for raising me in your own way, even when the voices that tempt and mislead echo ever so loudly and persistently.
  4. Cherry Blossoms. Why Cherry Blossoms, you may ask. You have always wanted to go to some place like Japan in the summer during the Cherry Blossom season, but have been unable to because of your busy schedule and us. This painting is for you and all the opportunities that you have missed because of me, Bin and Kai, while we await that one summer when we can finally catch the flowers together as a family. Aside, the Cherry Blossom is perhaps the most fitting embodiment of life and all it’s beauty, ephemerality and fragility. This is a reminder to cherish every second spent with loved ones and every moment, no matter how upset or angry or disappointed you may be, because it is precisely these emotions that lift the highs of life even higher.

 

Infinitely, with love

Your daughter, Ning ❤

 

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dear diary...

Leave.

Stop knocking on my door when I clearly don’t intend to open it up for you any time soon. Repeatedly, incessantly beating it, over and over and over again, it doesn’t increase the chances of me opening up and receiving you like before. This amounts to harassment, the kind of violence it inflicts upon my mind and that swirling vortex of negativity inside me, waiting to be let out, waiting to lash out and spit curses in your face. So, stop. Can’t you see that it’s enough, that it will never be enough, that it’s not working, that the person you’ve been terrorising all night long desperately craves silence and space and an end to all the madness? When it’s time, my doors will reopen. But there’s a storm outside and the pillars of this shipwreck of a house no stronger than the backbones of emaciated men. Don’t you understand? This is all so I can protect you.

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