Old Hong Kong: Tai O Fishing Village

Catch a glimpse of the old fishing village with traditional stilt houses on the Western Side of Lantau Island, Hong Kong.

Before Hong Kong became a global financial hub, Tai O was famous fishing village which was well-loved for culture, seafood snacks and stilt-houses. Separated by a small river, Tai O is a quaint village situated North-Weste of Lantau Island, and reachable by a 50-minute bus ride from Tung Chung MTR.

Tai O is a rustic village is built on stilts over the water, decorated with salty fish and famous for its shrimp paste and all kinds of Chinese seafood products. It has plenty to keep you busy, especially if you love photography. Venture towards the river and you will find the best angle to capture this village from.

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[The Grown Up Child Actor] Hi

My name is Rachel. Born in Hong Kong, raised here as an actress.

I was maybe four years old when I first started acting, 24 when I finally walked away from it all. I was younger than most of my colleagues, but had the most experience at least in terms of years. For twelve months I worked as a Flight Attendant, bringing my tally of visited countries to 24. When I realized it wasn’t something I wanted to do for life, I looked for my first ‘proper’ job at age 25. Soon I joined a global recruitment firm as a consultant, where for the first time I was immersed in the corporate world of sales.

I didn’t stay at the job for very long. It drove me crazy and I tried to look for ‘my thing’, as I had for as long as I can remember.

I’m at a job right now that’s better than being a recruiter, but it feels like I never did figure out who I really am after I stopped acting. Maybe I’ll feel like a fish out of the water for as long as I’m not on set.

This is the life of a grown up child actor. Follow this space to read about the insecurities, eating disorder, identity struggles and all the things we pretend to know nothing about.

Nara, Japan

Nara is only about 40 minutes away from Osaka by train, and is definitely worth the trip.

Famous for their free-roaming deers, Nara Park is only about 10 minutes walk from the station. It is a straight shot and you know you’ve made it when you see the stalls selling deer crackers.

Nara Park is a very peaceful spot: grass, open air, and gentle deers; only ruined by annoying tourists just like myself. For some reason the deers bow so that you would give them the crackers, which I found a bit unsettling. While some say they were trained, I prefer to think that they’re just following the crackers in the humans’ hands as they bow. The deers are mostly very gentle, but they can get pretty aggressive, or impatient with people taking so long with the food. Two of them went for the crackers in my hand at the same time, and one even bit Jon’s coat to get him to hurry up.

On a nicer day, it would have been great to stroll through the park and maybe even have a picnic (not sure how doable that is with all the deers around, maybe it’s not even allowed), but with the rain getting heavier, we happily agreed to visit the nearby sake brewery to stay warm.

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Kaiyukan – Osaka Aquarium

Growing up in Hong Kong means that when I travel, aquariums rarely make it onto my to-do list. We have Ocean Park and we take these things for granted.

As a “been there done that” kind of traveler who sees a sight and does not know what to do with it, being in Osaka posed a small problem for us. We just did not quite know what to occupy ourselves with after each meal. We did some shopping, hit the arcades, visited the nearby Kyoto and Nara, and mostly spent our evenings at bars. On the last day of our trip in Osaka, we caved and headed out to Osaka-ko to see us some fishies.

Having spent a few days in the city, it was refreshing to go out there and be in the open space where we were greeted by the first snow… that we’ve seen in years. It was a strange moment of euphoria. I was so cold for so many days that I really felt I should at least see some snow; and snow I saw.

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MahaNaga / Gypsy Spell Bar – Bangkok

It has been a while since I last travelled for work, and it definitely reminded me of the good old crew life.

In Bangkok I stayed in Sukhumvit, a very international part of the city. So international in fact, that I actually struggled to find Thai food. Everything in the area seemed to be Japanese. I was told later that there are a lot of Japanese expats in Bangkok, and my office was also in the Japanese Village.

On my first night in Bangkok, I had to walk around a little and brave my way down the streets leading off the main road to find some Thai food (as my husband Jon text to assure me I’ll be able to find something while in Thailand). When I saw a small stand on the street corner saying “Modern Thai Cuisine”, I went for it. It didn’t really matter whether it was modern or traditional, as long as it wasn’t Japanese.

mahanaga

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Weekend Taipei Trip

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Sometimes (all the time) work just gets too crazy and you get really desperate to GTFO. Well I didn’t have the balls to actually walk away from my life so a friend and I went to Taipei for a weekend.

I left work 2 hours early on a Friday (with permission, thanks for checking), and caught an early evening flight to TPE. This is also where I realized I really do love airplanes. I was on an A340, and even though it was one of my least favorite aircrafts on the CX fleet, I had about a good hour of zen, just listening to the hum of the engines and the opening and closing of those aluminium compartments. It was the calmest I had been in ages.

Okay anyway.

I landed in TPE, went and got my sim card like a pro, and hopped on a bus to the city. I suck at the whole bus thing even in Hong Kong, so that was a major win. My friend had already shopped all afternoon and I was quite exhausted from the week so we just went to an all-you-can-eat hot pot place (馬辣 “Ma-La”, it’s a chain, just Google it) around the corner from our ‘hotel’ (more on that later), and drank lots of beer. It was da bomb.

Our hotel. We had good rates, HK$600 for a double bed room for 2 nights I think. It’s a business hotel. It’s in a building with clubs, bars, movie-themed… something, and our somewhat newly renovated business hotel. It’s dark and kind of modern, but really just looks like a karaoke joint; it even sounds like it because that’s what’s right below our floor. NO FRET, RACHEL TRAVELS WITH EAR PLUGS. MAJOR LIFE WIN.

The next day we got up and decided to check out this place called 貓空 “Maokong” (it literally translates into “cat space/empty”. I was so excited. We even had to take a cable car to get the the bloody mountain. Cable cars that had teeny tiny windows and were effectively glass ovens.

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Rachel’s Reviews – Frenchie: The world’s first speed wallet

YES ONE FOR ME PLEASE!

Back when I was still working in a corporate firm, my job involved meeting clients and other people every single day. I had a Muji business card holder which sounds savvy enough, but was actually just a matt-finish plastic box that I kept dropping and eventually started falling apart. My colleague decided it would be a stellar idea to tape it up with glittery washi tape, until I had to break it to her that it wasn’t working so well for the business side of things.

So I went online and got myself an awesome Charles & Keith card holder for about 75HKD. It’s got a nice print on it and even though it threatens to break whenever I put more than four cards in it, I still love it. I love it so much I started trading the limited spots for my Octopus card, credit card, bank card, and just one slot left for my business cards.

Then it dawned on me.

I don’t need my actual wallet anymore. Well, it turns out I do, but I’m covered as long as I have this little card holder of mine which fits in my pocket just fine.

This is now my life: I don’t really know where my cash is, although I know that I usually don’t have any on me, there are receipts everywhere, and in a nutshell – the beautifully organized wallet I once had is just a pretty but obviously abandoned wallet and my cash/cards situation is a mess.

In another nutshell – I would like this Frenchie thing.

 

“17” – the app. 


I was scrolling through my Instagram feed and saw a friend who posted a picture of his new account on “17”, saying that he’s checking it out after seeing so many people posting about it. Naturally I wanted to check it out and also did some research since it seemed the same as Instagram, and the old woman in me just doesn’t get why people need a new app when we also have a smooth-running one with all our friends on it (I have tried new apps that are similar and deleted it after a few hours when I accepted the fact that not enough – sometimes none – of my friends will ever use it).

So what is this “17” app? It’s pretty much an Instagram knock-off, yes, except for a live-streaming feature which helps drive traffic to your page/account, which in turn helps with earning royalties. Hold up, earn royalties? Turns out, there is some sort of an incentives program where users get a share of the profit from the ads that are on the app, since you helped drive traffic. However, from the few minutes I was actually on the app (although spent mostly browsing through the FAQ page), I wasn’t aware of any ads on the app. I guess the biggest question is whether this whole thing is a scam; and MY question is where is this profit actually coming from if there are no ads on the app, or even if there were, how come people are getting royalty shares just from receiving likes on their photos? I racked up about $0.009 from the few likes that I got but I’m also not sure how that really helped with the ads that are supposedly there. If I’m right, ads usually need to be clicked on for the host to make money, right?

To explain the incentives side more, you need to have accumulated a certain amount before you can redeem your royalties through PayPal. Apparently, no one gave any bank information at the beginning, probably thinking it might just be a scam, so the app guys (more about the founders later) set up the payout process using PayPal and supposedly users are now more confident and comfortable with the app’s incentive program. Huh.

Okay, the founder. Turns out “17” is founded by this Taiwanese celebrity Jeffrey Huang (@bigbrother on the app if you’re interested) who is doing all this to encourage people to manage and maintain their social media accounts well, again, hence the incentive program. This all sounds pretty cool, but then people started posting inappropriate contents and now the app developers need to actively seek these users out and are banning them permanently.

 

I know.

There’s more. I also realised that the App Store just experienced “its worst security breach ever” and people are saying that this “17” app is a big hack whatsit. Okay guys, firstly if it’s the App Store breach it’s not really like the developers made this app to hack your accounts or whatever, and secondly, there’s a huge list of apps that you need to worry about and it doesn’t look like “17” is on the list. Having said that, even though Instagram is not a great news source, an app called “17” is not the easiest thing to Google either. So it’s a bit hard to do your homework I supposed.

As for me, I’ve deleted the app and I’m tired of typing so here’s a list of reasons why:

  1. It’s not very well-developed; whereas Instagram is in comparison.
  2. It’s probably another hype app which doesn’t gain enough hype to convert enough of my friends for it to be worthwhile.
  3. There’s dodgy stuff there.
  4. Again, it’s not well-developed enough for me to feel like it’s worth my time considering making money off it. It’s also not going to make much money unless you have a massive following anyway; and I personally feel like there are more solid ways to make a living. This might change, ha!
  5. Honestly, this app seems to bring a pretty new concept but in reality nothing about it is authentic. It is pretty much exploiting people’s greed to make profit – no official information is found on the app regarding where the profit is really coming from, and how your royalty amount is derived. It’s pretty much saying, you use Instagram anyway, use our app which is the same except we’ll give you some money, and we use PayPal so you should trust us.

What about you? Have you used this app or even received your royalty shares? Leave a comment and let us know about your experience with “17”, or extra information about the hack!

Miley’s Hair.

I have a confession to make: every time I see Miley Cyrus’ hair I secretly wish I have hair like that. Not her hair, but like her hair.

Actually, I’m not a big fan of her hair; but there’s something about her attitude that makes me think: yeah, people think she’s gone too far or whatnot, but on some level, I wish we were all a little more like her. Despite how crazy she seems to have gotten – I mean, maybe she’s only doing it for attention, but assuming she’s not – she’s just being herself, and there’s something ballsy about expressing ourselves that a lot of us lack.

As a child actor, I can identify with her, or Radcliffe (as a non-HP actor, he just annoys me for some reason), or even Bieber (gees). You grow up as a certain person not only to the audience, but to those around you. You reach an age in your teens where you’re sick of being treated like a child at a workplace, and then you’re an adult and you’re almost still not being taken seriously as a walking, thinking individual. I admit, sometimes it’s not even how people treat you, it’s just a self-consciousness thing. Your on-screen character/personality is so … bland or even perfect as a child, that it becomes quite frustrating when you realize you have so much more personality and depth than how people or sometimes – even you perceive yourself. I remember being 21 and being asked by a colleague if I have ever dated before. Are you seriousNot that all my life experiences are based on relationships, but yes, I do have a personal life, and a professional life that began when you were only a toddler. 80% sure I’ve seen and experienced more crazy things than you have. Let’s face it, growing up in an environment like that is stresscrafulzy. It’s funny, because that’s also what gives us so much more to work off as actors.

Again, it’s not that they are intentionally minimizing your identity… You’ve just had your whole life somewhat on display but people only get the front of it.

And now my life has changed. I have a corporate job and I struggle to care that much about it. And I see Miley’s hair, and I want to openly have that I don’t give a fxxk attitude.

At least right now I’m not caring about starting my sentences with ‘and’ (did a quick Google search and it looks like I’m okay though).