Monday, November 29, 2010

DETOUR 2010: Victoria Prison Open to Public

Was walking around Soho with Candy looking for art galleries today, when we walked by Victoria Prison in Old Bailey Street and noticed it was open to public visits.  So we walked in.

It was Detour 2010 - Victoria Prison open day with art exhibition, creative workshops, and art fair.  The event runs from Nov 26 to Dec 12, 2010.  For details, please visit

It was an interesting tour around this historical, colonial building.  While it was certainly exciting in a very eerie way checking out the prison house, the various modern art exhibits were visually stimulating and creative.  There was also an interactive painting workshop allowing anyone to pick up a pot of paint and a paintbrush to help complete the project.  It was my first time in 20 years picking up a paintbrush and I certainly enjoyed the fun.

With more and more art & heritage events happening in town, there's no longer excuses for anyone to stay home on weekends and complain that Hong Kong is boring.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Open Letter to Facebook: Erase My History!

Dear Facebook,

I went to watch The Social Network and as much as I understand some parts are fictional, and other parts dramatized, I liked it very much.

It has been great having an open platform to share information with other "friends" however close or distant, since the day I became a member in 2007.  While I haven't been the most supportive when it comes to playing your game application partners' games like Farmville, Mafia Wars, etc. - I have blocked these applications and sometimes along with the "friends" who sent me those annoying requests - I have been a very active and supportive member of facebook in terms of updating status, checking newsfeed, making comments, updating my relationship status, and of course uploading thousands of pictures of mine.

Yet, the more information I have accumulated on FB, the more difficult it is to manage accessibility of such information by my new "friends" - especially potential suitors.  My very "rich" dating history has always been transparent to older "friends" but certainly my new "friends" don't always need to know so much about my past - one can map out my dating timeline with key names & faces & significant events.  (Now this is an idea for a fab app if it's not already available).  

I would certainly appreciate one of the below functions to avoid such future embarrassment:
(1) A simple function to search one's all past interactions with a "friend", from pictures tagged together, to wall messages exchanged, to comments on pictures, pictures of that "friend" posted by  and vice versa - and SELECTIVELY REMOVE SUCH HISTORY from he/her FB page.
(2) To keep all such history but either
a. Block one's history with a certain "friend" from a new "friend".
b. Block one's new "friend" from seeing any of his/her past information/ postings/ tags before a certain date in his/her life.  (E.g. before the day she broke up with an ex.)

If your platform is so successful in allowing people to share information easily anytime, anywhere, please also enable comparable ease of removing/blocking/hiding information we don't wish to share with everyone.

Your consideration is much appreciated.

PS: I believe dictionaries should give "friend" a new official definition - Facebook has redefined the meaning of friend to any contact one establishes as a connection on Facebook.

Tea Yee

The Deceased - Friendship in Relationship Rarely Lasts

A friend of mine debated with me a few months ago whether ex's could remain friends.  I argued that they could.  A few months later, I realized what a freak my boyfriend from a few years ago was - the one who sneakily threw my phone onto the floor when I caught him checking my phone.  Now I realize even my 2-year ex is not my friend.

It really sucks to realize that I spent 2 years with someone, treating him like family, like the most precious thing to me, he is afterall "the deceased" - in Brazilian portuguese, they call ex's who are no longer somebody "the deceased".  For months I thought he was still a great friend deep down and we cared about each other as friends.  Then he came over this morning, broke some news to me, made me cry (which I didn't and don't blame him for) - and to top it off he once again said that he hadn't done anything wrong but I made him feel bad about it.  Yes, it was apparently evil of me to feel hurt, because it appeared to him a passive-aggressive way to make him feel guilty.

It was after that I realized that he was never a true friend to me.  All that time I was with him, he did so many unintentional but extremely hurtful things to me - and when he felt bad about it he accused me of making him feel bad.  If he had been a true friend, he wouldn't have hurt me the way he had in the first place.  He would have avoided it.  He would have thought about consequences of his words before saying things like,"my parents were right about you!"

I only truly realize now that friendship in relationships rarely means anything after the relationships die.  I have also become "the deceased" to them.  My feelings don't matter at all.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Things which make me happy - Quality Time with Family

I didn't write about this earlier, because it hasn't really hit me yet.  Some of you know about my family relationship, that I had a rather unpleasant childhood, witnessing a loveless marriage, brother was rebellious, mom depressed, etc.  For years my dad felt that we were his burden.

I think last year I went to see an Australian psychic, who told my entire childhood story as if he had witnessed everything, and said it was time for me to bring my family back together.  Back then I was going through a very emotional period with my then boyfriend, and for the first time I shared that with my family.  Since then I became closer to my brother.

A few months ago, I thought of an idea and encouraged my brother to come back to HK for a visit, so that the whole family could spend time together - 6 years after his last visit.  On Saturday, when I was meeting up with my parents - something we do only once very few months - I messaged my brother and told him we were having dim sum, so that he could feel part of it.  That evening, I also posted a collage of the day, which moved my brother and led him to write a very very long and emotional email to us, explaining to us why he'd been quiet lately, and apologizing for causing so much sadness in the family for years when he was growing up.  I didn't reply to that email at first, because it was too heavy to once again bring back memories of my childhood.  Yet, to my surprise, my dad replied.  My dad - a very stubborn character who could not take any criticisms.  He actually replied and accepted responsibility for not properly treating my brother's ADHD (hyperactive disorder) when he was young because my brother as a kid didn't want to see the child psychologist after just one session.  I read the email and closed it, without really allowing myself to react to it.  I think my mind was trying to block out my emotions to protect me or something.  One day later, just an hour ago when I read my friend's facebook note about her visiting her grandmother anonymously since she had run away from home years ago, I wrote her an email trying to show her my support - which then turned into me sharing with her my experience with my family lately, the email and all that.  When writing about it, I started crying.  And I am crying again now as I write.  It is very emotional for me to write or think about my family because while each one of us is actually quite passionate and emotional as a person, all our lives we shared so little emotions towards our own family.  We were very reserved when it came to showing love for each other.  We cared a lot about each other but we showed it either through nagging or annoyance when the person wouldn't listen.  I think among the four of us, my mom was already the more expressive one - but she only became expressive when my brother and I became grown-ups and she was no longer depressed.  In my childhood, my mom was full of anger and sadness.

So here's a picture of me and my parents spending an afternoon together:
I took them to a quiet dim sum restaurant, then to Times Square to look for a duffel bag with heels for my dad to drag his clothes and tennis racquet to the tennis court (we couldn't find one) and ended up getting Mom a white, light, soft fleece jacket from North Face, and a cool looking fleece hoodie for Dad from Marks & Spencer.  We then shopped for some cookies and candies in Marks & Spencer, bought some ryebread for Mom in a Japanese bakery (my parents love bread), and finally I dragged (we were all tired from all the walking) them to Central to have a Holly Brown coffee.  My mom loves coffee.

It was a rare happy day we had together as a family, actually doing stuff we all enjoyed.  Normally it would be me going to their place for dinner and leaving after two hours to catch the shuttle bus back home (they live almost 2 hours away from me).

Perhaps we are all getting old.  We know that there won't be a lot of time left to spend together.  My dad is 77, my mom around 67.  It's about time to forget the unhappy past, and focus on spending happier times together in the present and near future.  And, showing our love and care.

My Bittersweet Journey

I haven't been updating my blog as often as before, partly because I haven't been using my laptop much these days (thanks to quick internet surfing on iPhone4), and partly because I have been going through some emotional ups and downs lately - not extreme lows, just occasional blues especially at the thought of Christmas and New Year's Eve.

I've been thinking a lot about the feeling of loneliness, friends drifting apart, love lost and forgotten, uncertainty about where life would be leading me, and so on and so forth.  Never in my life I felt so insecure about the present and the future.  I've always had faith in finding someone special to walk with me into the unknown future eventually, and that faith was reassuring.  Then January came.....whatever happened happened.... I still hope that person exists in my future, but it's merely a hope, or even a dream, instead of an expectation.  I never experienced true loneliness, as for years I had single friends to stick around as a support group for one another.  Then friends moved on, having their own family lives, or new exciting circles.  These days, even if I try to arrange some gatherings, I may not even have anyone turn up.

Though, thanks to my special friend who offered me company and even her guest bedroom should I need to crash her place during these festive days as a third wheel.  It was very touching for her to offer that.  I truly appreciate that.  Thanks for truly caring, and actually trying to help me feel better.

Work hasn't been too hectic, but not extremely rewarding either.  It used to be better when I had my mentor around for some support.  Now I turn to my peers (a few trusted ones) to moan - not advisable but there's no one else I can talk to about work.  So, yes, for a while I've been feeling pretty lonely at work.

Despite feeling lonely and all that, this year has been an amazing one for me to get out of my little shell to connect with people, share my thoughts and hear others' stories.  I've been actively meeting friends and trying to get to a selected few better and vice versa.  These aren't just random people who are weird and all that, but interesting, intelligent people I could have a good time with.  I don't remember myself being so open about meeting new friends before.  For many years my core group of friends had stayed the same - until they started drifting apart that is.  Perhaps this really is a transformation year for me, to reach out and connect with people outside of my own small circle, share with people my thoughts on happiness.  Each time I receive a new "like" for my "Things that make me happy" album from some acquaintance who hardly ever talks to me on facebook or in person, it still brings a smile to my face because I know I successfully touched one more person around me.  The personal project of mine to make it bigger is still on.  I am exploring possibility of turning it into an ebook, and expanding the scope of the exploration/ research of happiness.

Thursday, November 4, 2010


哎呀, 好煩! 我真係好怕煩嘅女人! 咿咿哦哦!  又話出o黎,又話唔出,又話早, 又話晏! 好煩!!!! 咁煩嘅女人點搵男友?! 
Please, 做人話一就一, 二就二! 諗三諗四, 又想睇下有無better alternatives先決定, 當我係妾士咩?!  做朋友做到o禁, 都幾心淡!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

I Deserve It!

Today I got a voice message: Hello Ms Tang.  This is One2Free (mobile operator) calling.  I am Miss Wong and I am sorry that I am late in calling you back regarding your request to have your membership tier upgraded.  I have checked and you have become our Diamond member.  If you have questions you can call us back.

I smiled to myself after listening to this voice message - I had called up this mobile operator more than a month ago explaining that considering my high mobile phone usage (in some months when I travelled a lot for business, my monthly bill could be as high as HKD 10K), I deserved to be upgraded to a higher membership tier by default (which would entitle me to much shorter waiting time for customer hotline).  I felt a bit annoyed and lame when I had to call up the hotline (and being put on hold for half an hour) and request for what I "deserved"; call back twice after a few weeks to ask why they hadn't called me back to update me on the result.  Now I am very glad I did it, and I got what I deserved. 

I was thinking about this as I was taking a quiet stroll back home from Causeway Bay.  Whether at work, in relationship, or in everyday life, we need to know our worth and let others know how we deserve to be treated.  We cannot force others to treat us well, but the least we could do for ourselves is calmly remind others what we are worth and how we should be treated.  If they ignore it and mistreat us, we have the right to walk away.....

I don't consciously think about this, but I am indeed a person with principles and I do stand by my principles unless someone gives me a good reason for violating them - in which case I would accept.  A few months ago, when having a chat with a male friend who is very opinionated and generally very intelligent, we were debating about a certain topic, and after listening to his argument, I said he had a fair point and I agreed with him.  He said to me, wow I am surprised!  For someone who has such a strong character, you actually do listen to others' opinion and can accept it.  I said, why not?  I may have an opinion about a lot of things but I certainly can't be right about everything.  If you have a better logic and explanation of things, why wouldn't I listen?  I find it hard to deal with this in a relationship though.  Not every guy is open minded about discussing things and when I try to bring up a point - especially related to how I feel I should be treated - it could really make him defensive instead of calmly explaining his logic and allowing us both to peacefully understand each other and find common ground.  It sucks having to request for something I feel reasonable (Please can we not go on holiday with your cousin's family?), yet being rejected flatly and accused of being unreasonable (Why can't I go on holiday with my cousin's family?  Why don't you like my family?!).  It sucks even more if I just do as I'm told, be quiet about it, yet the person doesn't even realize the sacrifice I am making because I love him.

Lately, I've been recalling a lot of the things Kev and I had done for each other.  At the same time I also recalled how 委屈 I had felt, not being able to talk about anything in a civilized, understanding, loving manner despite how much we loved each other.  I wish I could turn back time and bravely tell him, Kev I hope you could do this for me because I deserve it.  Because I unfailingly loved you all this time, I deserve it.

We deserved a happy life together.  Unfortunately, as I said earlier, we can request for what we deserve,  but we don't always get what we deserve.  Still, we owe it to ourselves to ask for what we feel we deserve.

Monday, November 1, 2010

么鳳: Triggering Memories of Mom and Aunt

Today on my way back home from work, I walked by 么鳳, a very traditional Chinese dried snack shop in Causeway Bay, which suddenly reminded me of my aunt (whom I grew up calling "姨媽媽") and my mom who loved taking me to this shop when I was very little.  The thought of them made me emotional and miss them very much.
I called my mom at once, trying once again to persuade her to come to town and visit me.  She then told me about my aunt (in her late 60's) having hurt her foot some weeks ago and had been having trouble walking even around the flat - but she refused to see a doctor.
I spent a long time trying to explain to my mom how she needed to keep pushing Aunt to have her foot checked out, as it could be serious.  My mom kept telling me how difficult it was to persuade my aunt.....  how my aunt said that she couldn't walk across the street to take a taxi..... how taxis couldn't stop right outside her building's entrance.....  (My aunt's son is mentally handicapped so naturally he can't help her.  Her husband, for some bizarre reason, also has not taken her to the hospital.  Neither has she called the ambulance, for fear of embarrassment.)  I called back and taught my mom what counter arguments she could give, how she could called an ambulance for her if she really couldn't walk, etc.
It makes me very sad sometimes trying to care for someone who keeps refusing my help or giving me reasons why he/she doesn't need help.  It really pains me, makes me 心痛.  Like for so long I tried to convince my parents to move back to the city, to be closer to me, so I can visit them and take care of them.  They keep saying no, and yet they aren't really taking good care of each other.  
I understand that sometimes we hope to save the whole world but we can't.  I don't intend to save the whole world, I only hope I can at least help those I love and care about.  I wish I could do more, if only they would let me.