Stuck Here

Breathtaking Spot

It’s been a little while since my last post. There was the typhoon completely ruined the originally planned family trip to Macau, then followed by a rainy week. A week later there was the exciting Olympic and couple sessions of photo taking to finalize a book project with an author. There was hardly any chance I could head back to the mountains. With so little going through my mind, I’m still preoccupied by all these emptiness thoughts. The feeling of despair, the feeling of lack behind. There’s not anybody to council with, not that I absolutely need to. Everyday is passing by without any real happenings, almost as if I’m withdrawn from this world. In short, I do not give a damn about anything.

Resting spot for the 930m hike

Maybe that has been a cure to my inner self when leaving the doorstep of my home.

//

The Legislative Council Election is around the corner. I care so little about it, not only because so much drama is happening in their legislative meetings and mixed up political environment. None of these people can solve problems I see the whole time near my living area. Things such as:

– lacking of dog parks (way too many pet owners, peeing everywhere in such populated area),
– poor ventilation in our world’s longest escalator system (it’s a tourist attraction without an attraction in mind, how about paint it little more colorful and decorate it more creatively? Install a few solar-powered electric fans?)

All I ask for as a citizen is to have someone to improve our common living places. I’d been questioning what if I could live in another district, a district that’s more attune to our family’s grassroot lifestyle. The fact is, I’m too grassroot to move anywhere now. We’re all stuck here.

//

No Politic in Mountain

*a handwritten sign says: Mountain has no politics, no graffiti please.

This Deep, Thus Far

Dashing

I was one of the few madmen gone far on this off-road hiking path in Tap Mun (Grass Island). The way to the highest point of the tallest mountain on the island required me ducking through the dense woods, bushes and tall grass. It’s one of those paths where I got no clear direction and hardly any distance guide with my line of sight. I would not know where I was heading until reaching the higher ground. In the end, It’s worth noting there was not much to see in terms of scenery.

In direction

The memorable part of it all was at the skirt of this mountain. It was a gloomy atmosphere, full of tree branches that were not easily bent. The ground was wet and muddy until I stepped into it while measuring a jump across the ponds of water. If it’s the Amazon, it’s exactly where the crocs find the feasts at. I’d not venture going across it. I wasted no time and got out of this swamp once I found what it seemed to be a way out, with sun beams penetrated through this dark swamp. That was my version of Man vs. Wild.

There was a price to pay and this time a bit more than the minor scratches on my arms. It’s my pair of sunglasses. I lost mine while busy figuring out my way.

Trees

//

The more I think about my work life, the more I feel of an urgency to go outdoor. I somehow found myself ended up in these mini adventures. I’m lucky and native. One thing I’m certain is, if i had a companion; i would not dare going as often, this deep, thus far. 

//

Getting a shade

Tap Mun was an island I wanted to explore since the beginning. The open grass land and long high cliffs along the shore remind me of the signature landscape in Ireland. That explains the other name it holds – Grass Island. Just like it sounds, it’s full of grass and plenty of cows. It’d be interesting to know how the cows ended up on this island.

Spider

My journey to Tap Mun was an expert coordination in timing, needed 2 hours to get there (which is plenty in Hong Kong). I got on a bus that runs only on Sundays/Public Holidays every 30 minutes, then a boat ride to the island that runs every hour. I later found out there were plenty of speed boats crossing between.

Me

There always have been rewards afterwards. I’d like to keep them simple – just to fulfill my stomach. A kimchi fried rice, a takeaway iced mocha and some quality sunset stroll by the waterfront in Sai Kung.

Hideaway

I wanted an escape. I wanted hide from what I don’t have. I’m partially compartmentalize myself.

Timer
Warm Up

There has been some changes in my day job over the past two months. The nature of my sidelined work got segregated due to an internal job relocation of another staff and I became part of a team reporting to two new bosses. Long story short, I got put in a difficult position to handle one of their ambitious projects which involves cold calling. That’s not utilizing my skills. I wish I have some true friends around to talk about it.

Set on stage
Battle

The week has been unrealistically moody to me. I wanted to slack some more and stay home happy over this weekend. Subsequently, on friday I received a SMS from a friend, said to support the East Asian Muay Thai Championship match of the boxer (Kenneth Yeung) i’ve met not long ago, in which he’s representing Hong Kong. Without any hesitation, I answered I’d come.

It was free (admission), I was free. So that left me no excuse to see what this sports/martial art was all about. I’ve seen once or twice of the professional level of Thai boxers on TV, but at the arena was my very first time. The helmet and gloves had enough protection just like we’d see in the Olympic games. Just when I thought it’d be fairly difficult to knockout the opponents with all these gear, it was actually possible and that’s what Kenneth precisely did in just over a minute and a half in the first round. As a supporter I was happy to see that, however that made his appearance so much shorter.

Out of all these East Asian countries, I realized Hong Kong is in the upper hand and so competitive in most men and women weight classes. It’s a sport not to be ignored. Let these mesmerizing battle tunes play!

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.