Physique

“Another pair of jeans in skinny fit I found today fitted like a glove.”

Shading the city

The number one question I get most of the time is, how can you be so skinny? There’re several meanings to this question.

How do you stay in shape?
Do you ever get fat?
Are you stressed?
Is there anything wrong with your body?
You look terrible.
I’m jealous.

Rocky beach

When I look at my diet and regularity of exercise, I understood this is my shape. I try to avoid junk food, spam, greasy deep fried/stir fried. Soda is a big no for me. I might be eating slightly less when food is average. On any given day, I just spend time walking with elevation. There used to be an older gentleman we used to see each other every other week when I was in a college gym. He said ‘Everybody has a different physique. It came from your parent’s genes’. I found it so true and I since then not seeking after a particular body. But one thing that has not even stopped was to train my core body. I may not look like I’m only wrapped with skin, but I’m actually a lot more agile than I look.

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Island by an island

Today was the first real day off after a hectic week. I returned to my go-to Thai restaurant in North Point and also picked up something new. An old-fashioned thousand year egg pastry which was special, considering myself not a fan of the thousand year eggs. It was surprisingly good when mixed with lotus paste. I almost thought I got a cold while I was reading a few pages of local monthly journal in a park. I was sneezing throughout the day. I then realized it must had been the PM2.5 I’ve inhaled in the open area, as news was reporting all week. I feel totally fine now at home.

I cannot imagine what it’s like in some other cities plagued by smog. Some of us people just forgot what a clear sky was.

Common Ground

Little Thai Paradise

The real definition of old town is more than what underlies it. You see, you feel, you touch, you smell, you interpret all the mysteries in a way no one can show you. You do not need to know the history well enough to be able to understand the old district. The people there, how they live, eat, chill would just guide your way through an unspoken language.

Old body with an transplanted soul is no longer the same entity. Some takes it as an upgrade rather than a transplant; whichever way it is, the community is just not the same.

Temple

What, you a dinosaur? Perhaps I’m. Others tell you to adapt and you think there’s always room to not.

When was your last time visiting a shop that’s at least 20 year-old in the city or even a family-run business that has passed down from at least 2 generations? I’m not here to convince you to go support these businesses. I want to know to the point where we have lost it all and bury all these common memories in the museums. Do not we have any regret? When it’s gone, it’s all gone.

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Last month I had explored a few locations in the city because of the crave of good food. The things that reminded me of those old memories; were the few really old temples which I never bother to enter, the toy speedboat at a park and the names of the road. The roads are the same but the rest are very much like a movie set. You can erase them over and over again.

Speedboating

The subway is too convenient and we all are forgetting what’s traveling from district to district is like. I remember when I was little, I used to take a long bus ride with my family to tea house at the pier every other weekend. That’s 13 subway stations away.

Our generation is on the verge of loving the new urban city development for chic hangout places as well as convenience for all, and the urgency to halt all the removal that’s from a longer past. The common ground is not negotiable, and sometimes miraculously ignored by the residents nearby. There’re just too many people, too many people’s rights to say yes and no. Everywhere in the world is more or less the same, except we are just so populated.

Jump high

Kwun Tong is a district I grew up before I attended my secondary school, it’s currently undergoing this transformation. One of the longest running McDonald’s branch in HK was closed last month in Kwun Tong. It was opened in 1981.

Impulse

Horse back

The air is fresher, the sun gives you tan, the wind gently brushes through your skin, the feeling of alive, the guaranteed front row seat of every spectacular views, the boosted energy and metabolism for the rest of the week. I remember how good it was when I spent most of my life in an office during the week and was only to able see the nature in my day offs. Maybe I just wanted to find peace, I wanted to escape, I wanted that serendipity. Now when I’m as free as I want to be, I found myself not as mentally motivated as I used to be. I have not seen this coming.

Family

My reaction to the early wake-up alarm, the actual morning breakfast (hardly any now) are among those sideline routines I miss the most. Do I still long for these outdoor journeys?

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Blue Heart

It’s the coolest thing to buy what’s hip, what’s stylish. Headphones, clothes, cellphones, watches, shoes, bags, jewelries, travel package, I’m guilty as charge on a few items just listed. My longtime chat friend told me recently, he said ‘do not live beyond your means’. It was a bit of a wake up call to myself after shopping here and there for the past 2 months.

Heaven

It’s such an irony when I look at some of my self-portrait, I discovered I’d been wearing the same hike ‘uniform’ for more than a year now. Even my shoes have shown serious wear on the sole. This is what needed to be replaced soon rather than a couple other new shirts which they would likely be hung than worn (mostly because of the warm weather here). A very typical of me.

While I Can

Me at the abandoned school

I wish to find more ways to represent myself in the city. It’s always in my mind that when I get to the prime of my career or be important, I can live like a real person so full of confidence. It’s the golden age of everyone’s life during the 30s. I’m already a true display of the generation. And that had led me to think, I must dress well, look better while I still can.

Fashion has always been on the loop to me. I never try anything complicated and the nature of casual wear which I love should never be that complicated. It all derives from denim (my jeans). Thanks to my teenage grunge rock influence and a popular Japanese reality show (電波少年) back then. Who’d have thought someone with a broken pants can be on the stage rocking in front of thousands, right? It’s so much joy to see all the little details (stitching, buttons, rivets…) vary from brand to brand. I had invested my favorite and probably the most expensive pair so far to a Dutch brand 2 years ago. The Dutch designers just know denim!

Inevitably, fashion comes with a price…

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Golden moment

It was interestingly enough that I did my first ever visit to the Art Basel HK this year. As I’d imagine, the exhibits were everywhere. However, none of them makes any sense to me. I did know know what the artists’ intentions were, what messages they tried to convey. On the other hand, I carefully observed the visitors in front of each art. Almost all of them were snapping pictures, selfies. Everybody care less about which master did it anyway. This type of fair is less than ideal to appreciate art. The fair and gallery curators had assumed the public already knows about the artists they represent. I’m sure their job is just to sell as much as they can.

It’s just very odd. This reminds me of the wine trade shows for trade visitors only, but they somehow let the public visitors in. One thing that I’m certain, neither of us has earned any art knowledge, nor raised our art awareness.

$3

choices

I was somewhere in a Hong Kong (MTR) subway station waiting for my friends to arrive. I was thirsty and it was sensible to get a bottle of water when the restaurant we were about to head to might not accommodate. The convenient store nearby at the station was selling HKD $8 per bottle for the 250ml distilled water that’s made locally. I’d normally get it when I travel and work. But this time around at possible one of the poorest districts, I thought this was totally wrong to make that $8 purchase.

I went up to the ground and tried to look for a place that sells in a more reasonable price. I was unable to find a shop that sells refreshments in a block distance other than another convenient store that sells at the same price.

This got me thinking how much we got sold to believe the prices are optimal for consumers. It was absurd and I wanted to use it as an experiment to see what I could find in this district. After meeting up with my friends, we headed to the restaurant and on our way there’s a non-franchise convenient store/pharmacy. They had the 750ml bottle from the same brand earlier. It only costed $3.

This tied to some of my recent observations. You could be an idiot the first time and second time if you can’t find the alternative yet. But if you settle for the third time and on, then this is just a wrong cycle for a business that do not deserve. You may argue for a person’s acceptance level. That rule does not change however. I’m only worry that the majority of people settle below the acceptance level, because they all think everything’s fine this way. The acceptance level keeps pushing lower and lower until nobody knows where the initial level was.

Night/Day

I’m a night person. I’m most awaked when in the evening. I don’t sleep until midnight or some say almost the early morning. It gets worse when I’m working flexible hours. Half of my daytime can be my bedtime. The night is when I think I begin seriously working on jobs and projects. I often think I should do the best out of the day (before sun down), so instead of working, I head out just to do whatever I want to.

Over the years, it’s just depressing to sit at a desk in front of office. Unnecessary meetings and gossips had consumed all the mental resources of a good man.

The Day

Before the Night

When the real day begins

I remember a walk in the near by the promenade after lunch was a usual habit to balance out my confused thoughts. It’s still my routine to have this stroll even now and then when possible.

I always had this thought, I should get a taste of how things would be out of the standard 9-6. Precisely, I want to stay out of all the busyness during the peak hours where everything becomes a chaos. Ironically, I’m exactly at it.

Others are thinking how are you going to live with THAT income. It’s simple, as much as it sounds irresponsible, I’m really not. Maybe it’s not about a career switching or how doubtful with my path. I just think it’s a good time, a good opportunity to experiment life with my own provision.

I do believe everyone needs to work hard to get to where you want to be. But an effective way to work hard is far greater than its alone. I want to be able to collaborate and contribute instead of because someone is a boss. Not the ramification I’m referring, it’s the inherited social class from their family that leads to a disconnection with their staff. How they think they’re different and superior had already set a clear boundary for all. It can be intimidating as much as a stranger taking hold of all the activities.

Years Gone By

After all those years in the States, I had friends. Most were students, some were ex-colleagues. Some remained in touch, some just disappeared (back then Facebook was still so new) no matter how hard I try looking them up. There’re always something I have in mind want to say to them as time gone by. They’re part of who I’m now, whether it’s the time we spent in school, hangout, workspace. There were all there for a reason.

If somebody still remembers you, you just have to be thankful you are part of their life as well. You might be just a tiny role under his/her long list of friends. At very least, you are bounded by care and aware of the past in a very similar like way you do.

The Bride

The Groom

This friend of mine used to worked in the same office with me while in the States. He’s not the most talkative in front of me, but in and out of the office he had taught me a few things. He’s always calm on the outside and inside is like a super computer working a formula to solve an equation. Yes, he was in the I.T./computer science territory. In order to readapt life in Hong Kong and he refigured his formula – his career. He’s a role model.

His wedding last year was his milestone, a beginning to a new life. He specially asked me to take down two dozens of photographs in positive film. I could not be happier to capture these moments in a (analogue) way no other would understand. Perhaps results did not come the way I wanted because of all the restrictions in church and their own hired photographers/videographers. These two keepers may not even be in perfect exposure, to me there’s enough room (hopefully him too) to reimagine the entire day as part of the memory. A bride whom I did not know and my friend looking down the aisle.

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These came from my backup camera for the day. I love the documentary part of my first unofficial attempt on a wedding shoot. And I also love the fact that, “do not expect me to give you results you’d expect from a traditional wedding photographer, but I’m going to show you something else”.