930m

They say the best way to deal with fear is to face the fear. The highest mountain is always there for any challengers who wish to conquer. Tai Mo Shan is the highest mountain in Hong Kong. And the first time when I passed by the bottom of this mountain, I was thinking how tall it is. I kept thinking another time, another day, just not the coming week for this. It was always a wishful thinking to encourage myself get ready and learn more from my experiences before the ultimate hike.

I thought it was the wildest idea to hike anywhere on the hottest day of the summer. It turned out It was not just doable, it was a good way to sweat, to train, to explore all at once. There’s no point in waiting until the next winter and spring.

On this hike to Tai Mo Shan, I picked this route on the last minute right before going to bed. I knew this day would come, just not this soon, not after that good night sleep. Unlike most seasoned hikers prefer begin early in the morning, I prefer in the afternoon and finish by dusk.

The highlight of this route i took was the waterfall. It’s the longest waterfall in Hong Kong and it’s broken down into at least 3 main sections. I spent altogether 30 minutes just to appreciate our nature. You can travel around the world and take a transportation to sightsee the biggest, widest waterfalls, but you can never get this feeling of exploration on foot. It was the first time I felt like playing a real-life video game. There was a little climbing required, some narrow passes were by cliffs, allow 1 person at a time. No wonder there were so few hikers I found on the way.

Mountain Top
Bull

It takes some courage to finish this rocky section before reaching the next stage at around altitude of 700m. Not only it was long, it was steep. The last stage was a tarmac road path and that’s when I met a bull munching on the grass in distance quietly. The thin haze and the gentle mountain slopes at the back completes the beautiful scenery and there I was sitting on a rock overseeing the entire real life picture. I’d been really fortunate camping at the right direction where cows walk right by my side.

water
Waterfalling on a boy

There was not much to see then from there on, except the gigantic globe at the observatory station. It was so foggy even on a clear day like this. That’s why Tai Mo Shan 大帽山 (phase meaning: Big Hat Mountain) is often called as ‘The Foggy Mountain 大霧山’ which it sounds exactly the same as the original name in Cantonese.

peek
hangout

It’s noticeably not as hot as it was in the lower altitudes. The downhill path was all tarmac road path. Motorists can easily drive up to 700m in the country park through this path. I suddenly felt like an idiot when there’s a much easier way to get to the peak. I immediately realize the cruelty in my life. The things I do in life are never the shortcuts, never the easy way, never equipped to be one of the best or at least above the average. I wish to live a life without worrying on career and income, is there such way?

leaves
On a rock

I still do not get it, do I?

Lost and Found

The Champ

Muay Thai was originated from the tribes near the Thai/Chinese border since the ancient times. It has one of the most effective and complete attack and defense systems for the real world scenario. The use of elbows and knees can be a devasting blow to the opponents. I’ve learned from a TV program that some of the not-often-taught moves are even lethal.

Sandbag
Winning Gloves

It was a referral from a friend knowing this Muay Thai boxer (Kenneth) in Hong Kong. He was born, raised, trained in Hong Kong. My friend has been his long time supporter since the early days. He was very lost in life after graduation until he found this sport. He may look skinny but he has been a HK champ in his class for a few years now. He’s representing Hong Kong for the East Asian Muay Thai Championships this year.

Battle
Weights

This little gym he usually practices/also works in located in an old residential (now converted) building. It was so old that he has no elevator. The 6-story ‘merry-go-around’ staircase on a summer day is a bit of a workout for most people. I can imagine when there’re training going on, it can be very blood pumping.

The Gym
The Elbow

He found himself. He found his identity.
Read the full complete story: The Loop – HK Homies

The Kick

Nature and Us

Nature as one

Classrooms, labs and museums are some of the most common medium to learn out of the world and all things science. Biology has been the most interesting subject under that umbrella. Knowledge-wise in the basic level has the least amount of formula and calculation required for understanding. Many of these ideas are just pure fact which makes it relatively easy for common folks to acknowledge. Tigers are in the cat species, Bats are mammals, so on and so forth.

Wanderer

Another subject I used to like the most was Geography. Similar to Biology, they both have close relation to our nature. Perhaps I may not remember a thing after so long, when I come across the geological formations, natural phenomenons, occurrences; it kept me curious enough to read about it.

Sand
Beach

Science field trips only granted to those who have shown interests and maybe throw in some good grades in order to persuade the superiors you’re one curious individual. These trips are easily to manage for the instructors and professors in labs and museums. Ironically as a grown up kid when I begin appreciate as a living being, I found learning out of classrooms or simply just be there in the nature would give a vivid and immersive experience. I see live animals communicate without our word based language. I see trees stay as strong as they can without our civilized supports. I see all these animals fulfilling their roles to balance the nature. They all have a purpose to maintain their homes without dominating. And what are our roles? Are we the keepers to maintain the cycles of nature? Or are we creating another cycle of nature to better our own kind?

Buff Buffalo
Playful Monkeys

Our society becomes our own jungle. Many of us were born equal, but the our later life statuses and classes determines the societal layer we reside in for at least half of our lives. This hierarchy keeps our society running. It’s often seen in the less competitive countries, the way of life is not as fierce and people are content. What good does it do (to us) when the city uses its resources to maintain the top of its game (economically), while sacrificing the city peoples common love and happiness. Are we creating a new nature where most of us not habitable?

Wanderer
Wanderer's gaze

The Blanks

There were so many years I wished I had one or two memorable photos of myself. I wished I had a few snaps on sports that I was active in. Those were some of the good times i would not forget. I could only describe them in words the best i can, to express that joy.

Ethereal
Dude is me

I’ve participated, listened and spoken to many interviewees which i had to photograph for on article interviews. They all have talents, passions, vision, unique backgrounds, memorable encounters. I tried to relate with my own stories. That is, I try to flip the roles. I want to see my own story as a second or third person point of view. It’s true everybody has their own version of story regardless of interestingness. I found mine isn’t there yet. Or I should not expect mine too extraordinary as an ordinary person.

Intervals
Shadowwalker

I realize my blog has been my person log for this long already. Some of the writings may become stories to readers. The images I’ve presented have all been through my eyes. That’s the thing about an unknown photographer. I’d never get photographed properly. I wonder what if I direct my own shoot and be my own photographer. That way I can have a few keepers of this point in life.

35ºC
By the Rocks

Initially I was just finishing the film roll, I found that it was not a bad idea to photograph myself. Without a doubt there were errors. But then the better ones turned out so well with the environments I were in. I proudly used them as my social media profile pictures. It was so similar to those interviews where I needed to scout for the shoot on the spot. Naturally there are always some good views around when I hike and whichever my mood brings me; I’d try making my own photo just to remember.

想像古代

There has a TV drama i recently got hooked to. It was originally filmed for the Chinese market and it’d received so much positive feedbacks from oversea syndications. Places like South Korea, Taiwan were among the countries that had shown admiration. Hong Kong is a very different story, although the localized Cantonese voiceovers are holding its standard, Hong Kong people do not have patience for this type of elaborated multi-storylined drama. They wanted something more like a lettuce or tofu without much chewing. The drama I’m referring is called ‘Nirvana in Fire‘. A fictional revenge story based on a novel with a historic setting which dates back to the Liang Dynasty.

Through that Door
Monastery

The protagonist portrays as a (survivor) brainchild after a genocide/skirmish ordered by the emperor. If you’d imagine, all his decision making is like a chess game. Either you see where his plan is going or you’d be surprised by the results that would turned out. All the costumes and sets were beautifully designed and filmed. Dialogues of each character flows and interchanged just fine, not to a point i got super confused.

What I found interesting about this drama is the fundamental lives of human being back then. I enjoy seeing how they get their messages across, there’s often horses riding; versus our modern days’ SMSs and automobiles. You see why horse riding is still available in our times.

Lotus
Gods and Heroes

There’s also another thing i found, where they routinely emphasize on the Chinese tea whenever there’re guests visiting. How smartly and casually the choreographer has incorporated this neat detail to make the characters more vivid, human like. It makes me appreciate our culture, our tea just a little more.

Cleansing Pool
Avalokitesvara

Recently I joined a guided tour to the Tze Shan Monastery funded by the richest man in Hong Kong. It only offers private tour upon registration. The gigantic statue by the mountain had caught my attention earlier this year while I was passing by the location. I think I’ve achieve so much in this district I normally do not go to, from making a new friend to hiked one of the most exhausting routes, to my recent biking with old schoolmates and now the Monastery.

Paved and Shades
Respect to the past

The Monastery reminds me of the scenes i see in the ‘Nirvana in Fire’ drama, so clean, simple, quiet, remote. There’s hardly any skyscraper in sight, with just green mountains, blue sky, white clouds and it. And turn around just behind you is the calm sea bay. A true place for monks and believers to practice Buddhism.

The First Contact

I’ve always fond of animals. Besides the wildlife documentaries often shown on our TV, zoo has always been the go-to place to get to see them. There’s not a dedicated zoo in Hong Kong if we exclude our theme park (Ocean Park – more of an aquarium) and the super outdated Botanical Garden with a mini zoo. It’s nothing like the St. Louis Zoo (USA) and ChimeLong Safari Park (China) I’ve been to.

While a zoo can never be as entertaining as the one in the Jurassic Park movie, it still has its place. It’s a ‘no-brainer’ activity. If you’re really bored, you can stare at a bird or taunt a monkey for as long as you want. All that happen in a perfectly safe setting. Have you ever imagine where there’s nothing between you and them?

Military Facility
Popsticle

when I first started hiking beginning of this year, there were two girls looking into the woods across by the simple barrier. As soon as they left, I wanted to see what they saw. That’s when I came across a live wild bore the first time. It was just 10 meters away. They normally won’t attack human unless their lives are being threatened. I’ve never heard any got injured when they see one. Most of the news were them getting lost in the city.

One of the most common wild animals are cows. It was a unsettling feeling when I came across a group of them. They were huge, I was alone still on a mountain late at dusk and completely blocked my way through. When I think of cows, I think of the Spanish bullfighting. The fact was, those cows near me had got horns. It turned out they were calmer than the tamed dogs in my neighborhood.

Butterflies
Quality Time

Another wild animal that is also common are monkeys. I learned from TV that they steal hikers’ food and beverages when not properly kept. They do hold a very steady population, so our ‘Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department’ had done sterilization on some of them. Again, I got influences from movies and programs; made me think of ebola, rabies and all kind of hard to cure virus/diseases. I came across a huge gang of them recently. At first, one of them was just there chilling with a popsicle and another pair enjoying quality time by the water. All these happened before it rained. I was making my way back and I came across them again. This time they were moving in groups by the side of a steep ramp. One of the smaller ones got slid and fell down from that ramp. That’s when their leaders unhappy about my proximity. The angry growl was a clear signal i got to move away. I eventually got pounced on the leg by their leader.

Mirror
Moving in groups

There’s no negotiation between you and the wild animals. They do not care who you are, what you have. No wonder we often refer them as the beasts.

Taken Away

There were plenty of closing down restaurants and some even had a long family history background. They often made it to the news headline just because it’s worth noting that they had been around for decades, or even sometimes more than half a century. Their roots have grown so deep in the community that it’s so earthshaking when they disappear. We like commemorating things that are on the verge extinction.

I appreciate these old masters that has been contributing so much to the Hong Kong local dining scene. Without them, Hong Kong would not be the same Hong Kong we’re living in right now. It’s what precisely makes Hong Kong unique. On a recent event, I met young American chef with a tattoo of our symbolic ‘Bank of China’ Tower (Hong Kong). He said he visited Hong Kong a while ago and fell in love with it. He knew he had to come back.

I’ve been working at the same location for more than 5 years now. I would not say I know the district well enough as a guide. One thing that I know particular well is the places I usually get my lunch at. There’s always that Cantonese Diner (Cha Chaan Tang) nearby where I feel comfortable with. The staff recognize some of the regulars with their faces. They would be asking for order in a lot nicer manner than the unfamiliar ones. The diners in Hong Kong are notorious for their average service.

One of the first few impressions I got from this diner was, the staffs’ conversations. They do talk a lot while working, some of them swear a lot, some of them talk silly, and they all know each other so well. They have been serving in this diner for long period of time. As a matter of fact, it has been around for nearly 15 years already.

This diner belongs to a franchise, however operates independently. Other branches were all different in what they serve, standard varies as well.

It’s such a shock when they posted on their shop window recently that they have to close down (without relocation) due to the increased in rent by the landlord. It’s not that I’d drop dead immediately. It feels like a piece of my personal space has been taken away forever.

Barred
Gap
American Chef
Liberty