April-May 2019


Health, habits, fashion, study, skin, teeth & more

The rise of flexitarianism

Prestige Fairs Wedding Days

Climbing Kilimanjaro ailing the Philippines Vietnam Getaway



Are you feeling more creative? I hope Art Month filled your creative cup and you joined some of the amazing events around town. Here at EL , we got inspired by Sian O’Brien, an artist and interior designer who let us into her creative Mid-Levels home. It’s a space that’s full of creativity in a myriad of forms – from traditional artworks to smart Ikea hacks. Check it out on page 18. This month, I also learned a lot about teens. (As a parent of two young girls, even the word “teenager” makes me a little nervous!) I’m glad we dedicated this edition’s Body & Mind section to the 13-to-19-year-olds – they’re a sometimes-forgotten demographic in our city. Teenage years can present tough times for both parents and teenagers, so I hope our findings will be helpful to your family or friends. One of my favourite stories for this edition covers the rise of flexitarianism. If you just muttered “The rise of what ?!” check out the feature from page 80 to learn more about how Hong Kong is eating less meat and more veggies, and how our foodie scene is changing to reflect our green desires. Come on, join the revolution! (You can still have a steak every now and then...) Finally, if you have an interesting Hong Kong story to share, please do get in touch.


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Cover: Sian O’Brien’s Mid-Levels home




Bridal gowns and accessories 46

UPFRONT 8 Calendar of Upcoming Events 10 Follow Us Online 12 EL Readers’ Choice Awards: We announce the winners! HOME & PROPERTY 16 News 18 * Showcase: Check out this gifted gal’s Mid-Levels home 24 Buying Guide: Rug recommendations 26 Expert Advice: Caring for your carpet 28 At Home With: Aussie fitness fanatic Justin Faulkner 32 Street Talk: Living in Sai Ying Pun 34 On the Market: Properties for sale and lease

Fab furniture ideas for the living room 28

LIFE & FAMILY 40 News 41 Five Things:

... I wish I knew before moving to HK

Jewellery that captures the spark 49

42 Money Matters: Smart investing 44 On the Page:

Our previews of the latest great reads

46 Best of Bridal:

Wedding dresses and accessories

49 Making Memories:

A jeweller who captures moments

50 Summer Shopping:

Top picks from this upcoming fair

52 Kids’ Corner: Becoming bilingual 53 Career Talk: What is UX Design? 80 People Profile: Life as a refugee

Floor candy we love 24

Showcase Features: Each issue, our home showcase features provide a through-the-keyhole look into some of our readers’ lifestyles and their interior design decisions. If you’d like us to profile your own home – whether it’s beautiful, quirky, historic or modern – and you’re willing to be interviewed and photographed, drop us a line at info@expatliving.hk.



BODY & MIND 60 News 62 Mental Wellbeing: The positive impact of exercise

64 Heart Health: The unexpected killer


SPECIAL FOCUS: TEEN TALK Our in-depth look at teenagers and the things that affect their lives, from exam stress to skin issues and more

WINE & DINE 78 News 79 Taste Master: The man adding punch to your beverages 80 Meatless Movement: We look at the role Hong Kong is playing 86 Taste Test: Our review of flexi-friendly places 88 Recipe Corner: Fail-safe favourites for your repertoire


The latest in eats and drinks 87

Standout summer destinatio

Some of the city’s best meaty menus 86

TRAVEL 92 News 94 Summer Spots:

Top destinations around the world

96 Adventure Awaits:

Exciting ideas for your next holiday

98 Climbing for a Cause:

A mother-daughter duo tackles Kilimanjaro

102 Off the Beaten Track: Sea voyage in the Philippines 104 Vietnam Weekender:

Exploring HCMC and a luxe beach break

REGULARS 110 Important Numbers 111 Our Advertisers 112 Parting Shot: Leaving home

7 FEB-MAR2019


Cheung Chau Bun Festival (9-13 MAY)

Ching Ming Festival (Tomb Sweeping Day) (5 APR) This is a day for worshipping ancestors. People right across Hong Kong will travel to the city’s cemeteries to pay respect to the deceased by bringing incense sticks and gifts, including paper offerings that are burned. Songkran Hong Kong (12-17 APR) If you’ve ever lived in Thailand, or visited during Songkran, you’ll know why this festival is so beloved. It’s also celebrated here in Hong Kong by the city’s Thai community. Head to Li Chi Kok to join in the fun. Easter (19-22 APR) Hooray for another long weekend! Make sure you go to bed early on Easter Saturday so the Easter bunny will visit. Tin Hau’s Birthday (27 APR) Head to your local temple to Tin Hau, goddess of the sea, and enjoy the festivities. Seaside villages and destinations will provide a more lively experience – try places like Yuen Long, Stanley, Lamma and Peng Chau. Le French May (1 MAY – 30 JUNE) Le French May is really “Le French May and June”! It’s an entire festival the covers weeks of activities throughout the city. With our thriving French expat community, the festival gets better and better each year. Check out the full programme online frenchmay.com .

This is one of Hong Kong’s quirkiest local festivals. Head to Cheung Chau for the Bun Festival and watch the bun scrambling competition. It’s a busy day but a great Hong Kong experience. discoverhongkong.com

War Horse (10-26 MAY)

Based on the beloved novel by Michael Morpurgo, the National Theatre of Great Britain’s Tony Award-winning production of War Horse is coming to Hong Kong. The show stars life-sized puppets that bring the story to life. hkticketing.com


Gwen Stefani

Ed Sheeran

Gwen Stefani (5 APR) Gwen Stefani kicks off a big few weeks of international artists in Hong Kong. She will perform a one-off show on the Friday of the Sevens weekend. Get yourself down to Central Harbourfront to join the 2019 Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens Festival. hksevens.com This month, it’s Hong Kong’s turn to experience an art exhibition like no other: Van Gogh Alive. Head to FTLife Tower in Kowloon Bay and walk through this multi-sensory exhibition set to a classical music score that shows over 3,000 inspirational images on walls, column, ceilings and floors. vangoghalive.hk Van Gogh Alive (6 APR – 7 JUL)

War Horse





Hong Kong Sevens 2019 (5-7 APR)

Hong Kong Sevens is such an internationally renowned event, it almost needs no explanation. For anyone new to Hong Kong and uninitiated, make sure you get your hands on some tickets and experience your first Sevens. It’s a huge weekend of partying and rugby. hksevens.com

Hong Kong Sevens

Van Gogh Alive

Sónar Hong Kong (13-14 APR)

This music and technology festival is only in its third year but already has a strong reputation in the city. This year, International superstars MØ and Thundercat top the bill at SonarVillage . In total, the 15-hour festival will see more than 35 diverse electronic acts perform across five indoor and outdoor stages at the futuristic Hong Kong Science Park. sonarhongkong.com John Mayer (18 APR) The American singer-songwriter is bringing his world tour to Asia, and he’s stopping in Hong Kong! “An Evening with John Mayer” is his debut show here, and fans will have him all to themselves at HKCEC, as there’ll be no opening act. livenation.hk/artist/john-mayer-tickets

Women’s Five Run and Fitness Programme (13 APR) Hong Kong’s best women’s 5K/10K run and fitness programme returns to Aberdeen Country Park this April. More than just a run, the Women’s Five event hopes to become an agent of change that will help you achieve your goals, whatever they may be. Join the tribe! Individual and team-of-two categories are available. womensfive.com

Lamma International Dragon Boat Festival

Ed Sheeran (17-18 APR)

In more music news, superstar Ed Sheeran will also visit the city in April. The man behind “Shape of You” will be here for two nights. In a perfect placement for the sweet crooner, he’ll be performing at Hong Kong Disneyland (the Fantasy Road Outdoor Venue). edsheeran.com

Lamma International Dragon Boat Festival (14 APR) Head to Lamma’s Tai Wan To Beach and watch this fun Dragon Boat race. You can even stay for the after-party. Get there by catching the ferry from Central. lamma500.com Champions Day (28 APR) If you love the race track, head out to Sha Tin Racecourse for Champions Day, one of Hong Kong’s racing community’s most anticipated occasions. HK$70 million is on offer across 10 races, making it a super- charged day at the races. hkjc.com

Sónar Hong Kong

9 APR-MAY2019

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11 APR-MAY2019

Home Décor Best Interior Designer or Home Stylist 1 ST PLACE ISTYLE HK Best Bedroom Furniture 1 ST PLACE TREE Best Outdoor Furniture Store 1 ST PLACE EVERYTHING UNDER THE SUN Best Antique & Asian Furniture 1 ST PLACE ORIENTAL HOME Best Carpets & Rugs 1 ST PLACE CARPET BUYER Best Kids’ Furniture 1 ST PLACE INDIGO LIVING

Votes are in and we’re delighted to announce the winners of the 2019 Readers’ Choice Awards . Do look out for the award seal on the windows or websites of these businesses to spot your favourites. ABIGthank you toall thosewhovoted this year and to our partners, Jean- Michel Cousteau Resort Fiji, Sheraton Grand Danang Resort, BRG Da Nang Golf Resort andGREENof Hotel ICON for contributing amazing prizes. Congratulations!


expatliving.hk/ readerschoice Here are some of the winners. For the full list of readers’ votes, visit

For the full list of winners and runners-up, visit expatliving.hk/readerschoice

Health & Fitness Best Gym / Fitness Studio 1 ST PLACE PURE FITNESS Best Pilates Studio 1 ST PLACE FLEX STUDIO Best GP & Family Doctor 1 ST PLACE THE LONDON MEDICAL CLINIC Best Dentist & Orthodontist 1 ST PLACE CENTRAL SMILE Beauty Best Hair Colouring & Styling 1 ST PLACE PAUL GERRARD Best Facial 1 ST PLACE GLOW SPA Best Massage & Spa Treatments 1 ST PLACE EMMANUEL F Best Aesthetic Treatments 1 ST PLACE SENSE OF TOUCH

Groceries Best Supermarket 1 ST PLACE MARKET PLACE BY JASON’S Best Online Grocer 1 ST PLACE HONESTBEE Best Butcher 1 ST PLACE FEATHER & BONE Best Gourmet & International Food 1 ST PLACE CITY SUPER Wine & Dine Best Romantic Dining 1 ST PLACE JOHN ANTHONY Best Family-friendly Restaurant 1 ST PLACE LIME WOOD Best Weekend Brunch 1 ST PLACE BLUE BUTCHER Best Wine Bar 1 ST PLACE MERCEDES ME

Travel Best Travel Agent 1 ST PLACE FLIGHT CENTRE Best Airline 1 ST PLACE CATHAY PACIFIC Best Spa & Resort Hotel

Retail & Fashion Best Men’s Tailor 1 ST PLACE SAM’S TAILOR Best Independent Fashion Outlet

1 ST PLACE LOVE IT Best Jewellery Store


1 ST PLACE TIFFANY & CO. Best Swimwear & Resortwear 1 ST PLACE OZZIE COZZIE


34 On the Market: Hot properties in Hong Kong

Waterfront Suites

18 Mid-Levels Showcase: A home tour and design tips to boot

24 Magic Carpet: What to buy and how to look after it

28 Smart Moves: A physio reflects on HK past and present



New Creations If you love indulging in scented candles, you’ll be happy to hear that Diptyque has added two new creations to its repertoire: Lily and Narguile. These beauties are each very different and arrive with a twist – they can be enjoyed as a duo or separately. Lily recalls a huge bouquet of fresh-cut lilies, while Narguile combines hints of honey, tobacco leaves and spices. Grab them at Diptyque boutiques (IFC and Harbour City). diptyqueparis.com

Bamboo Bedding Well-known for its organic latex mattresses, Okooko by European Bedding has introduced bamboo bedsheets to its all-natural range. The Heveya sheets are made of 100 percent natural biodegradable bamboo fibre, an excellent eco-friendly choice. They’re also incredibly soft and luxurious, and the fibre wicks away moisture to keep you dry, cool and comfortable. Special offer: EL readers can get a free set of bamboo sheets with the purchase of a Heveya natural organic latex mattress; just show this article to redeem. Valid April and May 2019. 13/F, The Plaza LKF, 21 D’Aguilar Street, Central. 2870 1132 | europeanbedding.hk

Artisanal Trends Tactile, woven pieces will continue to trend in home décor this year. Stay away from mass-produced items and head to TREE for its beautiful selection of handwoven baskets and trays that will add character and authenticity to any room. TREE tip: Opt for handwoven décor in natural fibres like rattan, jute or abaca – grounding elements that connect your home with nature, and give it a beautifully tactile and layered finish. tree.com.hk

Flooring with Flourish Luxury carpet maker Tai Ping has launched a new range called Flourish. Each piece utilises hand- knotted construction techniques complemented by vibrant colour tones and expressive compositions. Created by master artisans in Nepal, these made-to-order rugs are striking and use only the finest natural materials, primarily Tibetan wool and Chinese silk. houseoftaiping.com



We’re welcomed into the polished Mid-Levels home of Sian O’Brien, who shares some smart home-design tips with us.


S ian O’Brien has an infectious energy and an amazing ability to reinvent spaces with up-scaled furniture. She also has two of the cutest dogs in the Mid-Levels and a son who is equally photogenic. This is a home full of visual delights – some Sian has made herself and some she’s acquired with purpose. British-born Sian moved to Hong Kong at nine years of age, and, like so many third culture kids, floated between the UK and Hong Kong throughout her school years. She finally settled here full-time when she graduated from university. “This has always felt like my home and it’s where I went on to meet my husband and start my own family,” she shares.

Bedroom Being an artist and an interior designer means that Sian does have an edge when it comes to designing her own home. What sets this home apart are all the clever design hacks and upcycled pieces sprinkled across each room. We can all learn a thing or two from her about reusing what we have, without compromising on aesthetics. Her son’s bedroom is a great place to start. This bat cave, complete with vinyl wall decals, offers some smart storage solutions that mean less clutter and more space to play. In fact, the whole apartment is free from toddler clutter – not just for our shoot, but even in “everyday” mode.




It’s easy to see why this family prefers lazy Sundays at home to being out and about!

19 APR-MAY2019

Sian has taken inspiration from the Montessori method and uses felt boxes and lidded containers to store play equipment in themed clusters. This allows her son to pull out his container of cars, paints or Lego to play, but everything has its place and is returned to a contained storage solution at the end of the session. He even has an upcycled Ikea kitchen, now complete with “marble” benchtops (created through contact) and chalk paint detailing. Batman’s wardrobe has been created by splicing together Ikea Plasta units, and up-scaled with black leather handles, sourced from Taobao. These look great, add durability and are easy for little bat-hands to grasp! The mounted storage bins are from Crate and Barrel (online), while a Lorena Canals machine-washable rug means toddler and puppy messes are easily dealt with.

Kitchen & Living Rooms Crate and Barrel handles also have a starring role in the renovated kitchen, this time in a copper tone to match the UK-sourced taps and plug sockets. The kitchen has been given a facelift to be light and spacious, with new cabinet fronts pre-fabricated in China and a quartz worktop sourced locally in Wan Chai. The hexagonal tiling brings an immediate wow factor to the space, which has been opened right up by removing the wall between the kitchen and the helper accommodation. The metallic detail is reflected out in the living areas, with an intriguing custom-made brass starburst chandelier. It’s mesmerising, and throws an incredible halo of light that showcases the material’s versatility and colour; you can get lost exploring it. The chandelier was sourced through InscapesDesigns on Etsy, and arrived in Hong Kong in parts – Sian put it together. “I commissioned a small brass factory in England to custom-make it, and I couldn’t be happier with how it turned out. The colour light halo it emits is simply perfect.”




Art The neighbouring wall is covered in some of the family’s favourite artworks, “The wall is a handful of my favourite artists I follow on Instagram, and the Bowie piece is a limited edition I’ve had for years,” Sian explains. There’s also an original Banksy print thrown in the mix. The presence of work by Serbian artist Ivana Besevic is a nod to Sian’s husband’s family heritage. Artwork is central to this household; Sian is an artist and her son is a budding creative, too. Both of them have artworks featured on the walls. They’re in great company alongside Banksy and Gabriel Moreno. “I coveted that Moreno print for a long time and my lovely hubby gifted it to me,” she says with a smile. If you’re not an artist, Sian’s tip for finding the right piece for a wall is to identify a frame that

works on the wall first, and then find the right piece on a website like Society6. The Moreno print sits above possibly the most comfortable chair on Stubbs Road, the Womb Chair. It’s a seat and a cuddle all in one, and it marks the beginning of a living room that extends right into a lovely view of the Valley. The lounge has been given a second life with bespoke covers created by a tailor in Shenzhen. And throw cushions by Australian designer Kerrie Brown lift the blue to ensure it’s not too dark in the space. Two of the cutest family dogs are kennelled in the corner, snuggled into wooden kennels from Overstock that give rise to more art. It’s easy to see why this family prefers lazy Sundays at home to being out and about!

The Bat Cave

The Womb Chair

21 APR-MAY2019

Main Bedroom In the main bedroom, custom fabric covers have also played a role in reinventing the space. “The headboard is a custom-made slip cover to change up the look without having to alter the bed,” says Sian. This room features another two Ikea hacks – two Besta units are stacked together to create a set of draws. Prettypegs legs have been added

to lift the unit from the floor and add some style. The bedside tables have also been given a facelift, with more handles from Crate and Barrel providing a bespoke look. The final Ikea hack is another Besta unit, this time in the dining area. This was customised with self-adhesive fronts by Prettypegs, painted with ultra-dark charcoal chalk paint (ordered specifically), and Sian had side panels created by a local builder’s merchant in Wan Chai. Handles by? You guessed it, Crate and Barrel. This is a beautiful, accessible, functional home that is a perfect example of an important modern-day design mantra we should all be embracing: reduce, reuse, recycle.




Mid-Levels musing... My parents were based on Stubbs Road for many years before they moved out to Sai Kung, at which point I left the nest. But I never ventured far, and have always lived either in Happy Valley or on Stubbs Road where we are now. I love the area – it’s close enough to everything but is still a quiet oasis that feels very out of the hustle and bustle up in our steep terrace over- looking the Valley. The decision to redesign… I have a unique agreement with our landlord, I don’t bother him with maintenance and in return he has given me carte blanche to make the place our own. The unit was tired and hadn’t seen any updates in decades, so redesigning was simply necessary. It also meant I could have what our family needed and wanted, and make changes to suit our personal specifications. Designing a stylish Tardis… Like everywhere in Hong Kong, the challenge is space. We’re all trying to create a stylish Tardis! Children add to that challenge – having a toddler and a decluttered living space is near impossible. It’s about hiding all that kid paraphernalia in clever, attractive storage! Sourcing materials… Sourcing materials can be a challenge in Hong Kong because so many of these fabulous European suppliers simply won’t ship outside the EU. My tip: if in doubt, there’s always Taobao!

23 APR-MAY2019

When you’re renting a home, carpets are one of the easiest ways to make it feel a bit more like your own. Whether you’re looking for something nice and soft to step on when you get out of bed, or you need to liven up the living room (or hide some ugly tiles!), here are just a few samples from the fantastic range of carpets at these Hong Kong stores.

Canvas art series, price on request, CarpetBuyer Kelim Pop carpet in 100 percent Tequila Kola Bamboo silk rug, price on request, CarpetBuyer Abstract Blue carpet, $6,980, Tequila Kola cotton, $6,980,

Fine Persian carpet, price on request, CarpetBuyer Antique Tibetan rug,

$17,000, Altfield Interiors Tribal rug,

Fashionistas carpet, $13,980, Tequila Kola Face Pop Art carpet, $12,980, Tequila Kola

price on request, CarpetBuyer




Antique Chinese and Tibetan rugs,

$17,000, Altfield Interiors


Altfield altfield.com.hk

Tequila Kola tequilakola.com

CarpetBuyer carpetbuyer.com

25 APR-MAY2019

CARPET Care 101 Can rugs survive “Mouldy March”? This time of year is riddled with heartbreak. Listen closely and you can hear the sound of women across Hong Kong weeping, clutching ruined leather shoes and handbags to their to chest. Mouldy March strikes again! Understandably, many of us have asked: “Is my favourite rug okay?” The short answer is yes, our beautiful rugs should be fine. But it does leave one question: how should we care for our beloved carpets and rugs in Hong Kong’s sticky climate? CLEANING REGIMES When it comes to cleaning carpets and rugs, vacuuming them is normally enough. “Hand washing your rugs is only necessary every four to five years,” says expert HEENA MIR from CarpetBuyer . HELP! WE’VE STAINED THE RUG… It happens to the best of us. For stains, Heena recommends swift action. “Immediately when the stain happens, use club soda and dab it off. The bubbles from the soda water stop it from staining.”

HUMIDITY… DOES IT MATTER? Heena reassures us, “Don’t be too concerned. We all have air-cons in the summer and we also use dehumidifiers.” It often comes down to the quality of carpet you’ve invested in. “Buying a pure wool or silk carpet means you’ll be okay. It’s not like leather; carpets are resilient.” SOLO OVER SUMMER We also asked Heena about going home over summer – will our rugs be okay in an empty house for a few weeks? “Don’t worry about going home. I do suggest rolling up your carpet and placing it on top of something, like a dining table. This will help leave it in a safer position and save it from damage if there’s a typhoon or another incident while you’re away.” SUN FADING Did you know that carpets fade because of the sun, rather than due to wear and tear? Protecting carpets from Hong Kong’s harsh sun is important if you want colours and tones to maintain their integrity and remain true to the original design. Heena suggests, “Be careful if you have direct sun on your carpets during the day. Direct sunlight will affect the colour, so close the blinds to protect your carpets from the fade.” To benefit fromHeena’s incredible knowledge of rugs and their role in the design of a home, visit the store at Unit 2604-07, 26/F, Horizon Plaza 2 Lee Wing Street, Ap Lei Chau. 2850 5508 | carpetbuyer.com


26 APR-MAY2019


Then&Now BY TARA JENKINS Taking a break from a crazy schedule of marathon running, physiotherapist JUSTIN FAULKNER discusses the Hong Kong of his teenage years and the favourite things in his flat.

I’m Australian by birth, but have lived in Hong Kong since the age of 14. My father ran a construction company and worked on a number of projects, including the building of Route 3 out to the airport. I went to South Island School. As teenagers, we were lucky to be allowed quite a bit of freedom, because it was so safe; we hung out at the classic old bars in Lan Kwai Fong, like Scotties! My father didn’t want to holiday back in Australia, so we travelled widely around Asia; I remember visiting India at four, and Japan at nine. At 18, my father bought me my first car, a little red 1969 MGB, but he wouldn’t let me drive it until I’d taken it apart and put it back together again! My 50kg German Shepherd, Billy, used to sit in the front seat, and together we’d cruise around Hong Kong. There was definitely no space for anyone else! The tallest building in Central was Jardine House when I was a teenager, so the city looks rather different now. Rents were $8 a square foot in the Centrium when we set up the physiotherapy practice in 2003, but you wouldn’t pay anywhere near that today! The pollution has improved over the last few years, though, especially since so many factories closed in the Shenzhen area after the economic downturn. It’s not good, but it’s better: we don’t get so many of those days when you can’t see across the harbour. I love the clean air, wide-open spaces and beaches in Australia and visit several times a year, but we’re not trying to save money so we can go back and buy our dream house. This is my home, and the best thing about this city for me will always be its safety and convenience. I run outdoors most days, and can be in Pok Fu Lam Reservoir or the trails behind Queen Mary Hospital in 15 minutes from my front door; there isn’t another city in the world where you can do that.

After leaving South Island School, I went to study physiotherapy at UCL in England. We had a family house in central London, which was a luxury for a student – I was a rare breed in my street! My ambition was always to be a sports physio, so I contracted to the NHS for a while, and then went to work for the West Ham youth soccer team. Rio Ferdinand, Joe Cole and Frank Lampard were all part of the team, but they weren’t superstars then! While back in Hong Kong on a trip, a physiotherapy practice offered me a job, and I was lucky enough to end up working on the Hong Kong Sevens on my first day. I’ve been to 31 Hong Kong Sevens in

a row, and worked for the Rugby Union on and off for 18 years. I was physio for the national 7s team for 10 years, running onto the pitch with water, or to deliver instructions from the coach. There have been a lot of sprains, bumps and cuts, but I’ve been lucky as far as rugby injuries are concerned – in my whole career, I’ve never had to put anyone in a neck brace and stretcher them off the park. We still look after the Valley RFC and Hong Kong Scottish teams at PhysioCentral, and we treat a lot of sports people coming through Hong Kong, especially tennis players. My favourite was Steffi Graf; she was terrific, really relaxed, and so interesting to chat to.




I’ve just run 62 marathons in 100 days with one of our clients, Mina Guli. She set out to run 100 in 100 days and is committed to raising awareness of water shortages around the world through her charity, Thirst – previously she ran seven continents in seven weeks, and 40 marathons in 40 days! This time we started at the New York Marathon, and then ran 42.2k every day in cities including London, Paris, Rome, Delhi, Hong Kong, Dubai, Cape Town, Melbourne, Lima and Mexico City. Six or eight hours running every day is a long time to be talking to yourself, so Mina likes me to run alongside her. But this time I had to tie myself to her so she didn’t injure herself – she gets excited, and runs faster than she should! She did amazingly well.

29 APR-MAY2019

My favourite pieces at home are my custom-made chairs from Timothy Oulton. When we moved, we got The Home Stylist to show us how to move things around to make them sit a little better, but the chairs were definitely my choice. I love the Art Deco feel and the fact they share the same metal trimmings. Otherwise, it would have to be my collection of framed jerseys. My most treasured one is probably from the Wallabies, signed by the 1999 World Cup winning front row, but I also have one from the Asian Games, when Hong Kong was just pipped by Japan to the silver medal. It was Hong Kong’s first ever team medal, and I was proud to be the physio. The quirkiest thing in our flat is probably the huge orchid in our garden. It’s 20 years old and our lease specifies we have to look after it and keep it alive! I was seriously worried it would get damaged by Typhoon Mangkhut, but it withstood the winds, and it flowers every single month.

SHOPPING Timothy Oulton 17 Gough Street, Central 2161 1742 | timothyoulton.com Bowerbird Horizon Plaza, 2 Lee Wing Street, Ap Lei Chau 2552 2727 | bowerbird-home.com JUSTIN’S RECOMMENDATIONS

Saatchi Art saatchiart.com

RESTAURANTS Grissini Grand Hyatt Hong Kong, 1 Harbour Road 2588 1234 Tsukiji 46 Gage Street, Central 2542 3802

Comptoir 42 Forbes Street, Kennedy Town 2453 9873



KARLING H From: Australia

Occupation: Digital Product Manager & Photographer


I especially love early mornings in the neighbourhood when the trolleys are hustling around the wet markets, listening to the locals call out to each other and have a laugh as they go about their work, shop cats stretching in the early light and bamboo steamers filling the air with a delicious scent making tummies rumble, locals doing tai chi in the park or joining my son on the basketball court (where, despite their age, they often outrun him – language differences being no barrier to fun!). The proximity of green space and the basketball courts in particular were a key decision to move into our particular building. The cultivation of a thriving community has not been diluted by the expansion of the neighbourhood, and that’s my favourite thing about the area. What transport do you use to get to and from your work? I get the MTR – very handy! However, trams and buses service the area and, if I’m in Central for work for the day, I love the short walk to work.

Where do you live? Border of Sai Ying Pun and Sheung Wan. How long have you lived here? Two months – since Christmas! Why here? I l ove t he s t rong s ens e o f community, green spaces, café culture and arty vibe of this neighbourhood. Craftsmen have long lived and built businesses in SYP, and that spirit can still be felt in the neighbourhood today: the only surviving wood factory in HK is on Queen’s Road West; a family- run bamboo steamer business from the 1950s still thrives; glass blowers and ceramicists can be found on First and Third Streets; sauce brewers make legendary chilli and soy sauce at Yu Kwen Yick; one of the few remaining traditional printing shops is on High street ... I could keep going!




Your hands-down favourite neighbourhood joint is:

Winstons for a coffee on the run, Detour for a laidback coffee, great avo toast and good tunes, and Locofama on a Sunday afternoon. You won’t find better local food than at: Eng Kee Noodle Shop for the best char siu noodles and beef brisket noodles ( soooo good!), Kwan Kee for claypot rice, and Yuen Kee for Chinese-style dessert! The strangest thing you’ve ever seen in this area is: Older locals taking their caged birds out for early morning jogs around King George Park. Takeaway dim-sum dishes from the “bao lady” at Bao Dim Gui Yan on Centre Street, bamboo steamers and wares fromTak Chong Sum Kee Bamboo Steamer Company, made by hand since the 1950s, and the local electrical stores on Queen’s Road West. The guiltiest pleasure in your area is: Afternoons at Premier Cru sharing a bottle of wine in the little courtyard out the back. My children would say FTea – their favourite bubble tea place – or Sweeties Dessert. One thing you’d never change is: The community! As I mentioned, I love that when my son plays basketball in the local park, people always join in. I would also never change the colourful walk-up tenement buildings ( tong lau ), the little local eateries, the enormous trees, the incredible street art and the wet markets. The city gives you $5 million to soup up your area. You use it to: Preserve the old tong lau and bring more greenery into the streets. The best bargains in your neighbourhood are:

When you walk out of your place, what’s the first thing you see? The rice man’s cat, cafes, mechanics, a laundry store. The closest store to your front door is? Detour café, the rice man Sing Tak Lung, and the laundry lady. The unofficial uniform of your area is? Anything goes! Lucy Liu – an artist in her own right, and someone who I feel appreciates artisanship, and is curious and community-minded. When you’re in need of a dose of culture, you: Step outside my front door! Culture is all around, be it the people in the street, the street art everywhere, the art work at the MTR or down Art Lane, or the art gallery called Above Second. If a celebrity moves in, it will most likely be:

A mandatory stop for taking out-of-town guests is: Art Lane. A common myth about your area is: I’ve heard people say, “Oh, you live in such an expat area”, however I find there are loads of locals here, including many local eateries. If you’re ever woken up at night it’s almost always due to: The person who lives in the flat above me who likes to practice piano in the dead of the night – that, or the clanking of the boats in the harbour; it’s amazing how high up and how far noise carries across water. A massive late-night rager in SYP is likely to involve: Gin at Ping Pong Gintonería, a late-night set at Potatohead’s music room, then yakitori skewers at BBQ on Third Street … it’s a fairly quiet neighbourhood, which I love.

DO YOU LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOURHOOD? Share it with others – just email us at info@expatliving.hk with “Street Talk” in the subject line. Include your name and street, and we’ll be in touch.

33 APR-MAY2019



H aving experienced a seasonal slow-down over the Christmas and Chinese New Year periods, the rental market in Hong Kong appears to be slowly picking up pace in Q1 2019. It remains to be seen whether uncertainties such as the US- China trade war and Brexit, or financial pressures such as interest rate hikes and the implementation of the proposed vacancy tax in Hong Kong will have any major effect on the city’s leasing market this year. There are signs that companies are tightening their belts and cautiously waiting to see the impact of these factors, before making final decisions on global staff mobility. Capital values in the mass residential market have retreated by 5.2 percent since peaking at the end of August 2018, ending 27 months of consecutive growth. The luxury segment, however, has been more resilient, with capital values remaining largely flat. 2019 brings with it some interesting question marks ahead for the property market in Hong Kong. What the answers will be still remain a little ambiguous and we expect to have more resolution when the outcome of Brexit, the trade war and other events that will affect the financial markets become clearer.

Laurie Lankester Director, Residential Leasing and Relocation Services Jones Lang LaSalle Limited (JLL)

VIEWS FROM THE TOP Area: The Peak Rent: $85,000 incl. per month Size: 1,509 sq. ft

Bedrooms: 2 Bathrooms: 2

The prestige location of this apartment at the Peak means it has spectacular sea and mountain views. The modern, designer-style space is ready to move into, and features ensuite bedrooms with brand new bathrooms and a powder room adjacent to the living area.





Spacious, bright and modern, this free-standing low-rise house has three ensuite bedrooms, a fully equipped kitchen, expansive garden and outdoor areas with ample car parking. It’s a rare opportunity finding a property like this to lease.

Area: Clear Water Bay Rent: $130,000 incl. Size: 1,850 sq. ft

Bedrooms: 3 Bathrooms: 3


T h e s e b r a n d n e w furnished apartments are sleekly designed and offer panoramic sea views. The location is handy too – just a five-minute walk from Sai Wan Ho MTR Station.

Area: Shau Kei Wan Rent: From $28,000 incl. Size: 345 to 1,362 sq. ft Bedrooms: Studio to 3 Bathrooms: 1 to 2

35 APR-MAY2019



Located on the top of the Peak, enjoying splendid panoramic harbour views and proximity to the shops and restaurants at Peak Tower and Galleria, this stunning duplex apartment includes an internal staircase to a large rooftop terrace.

Area: The Peak Rent: $290,000 incl.

Size: 2,862 sq. ft (plus 947 roof) Bedrooms: 4 (2 ensuite) Bathrooms: 3


This is a bright and spacious two-bedroom apartment with modern finishes. It’s in a convenient location, within walking distance to Central and various transportation links.

Area: Mid-Levels West Rent: $41,000 incl. Size: 746 sq. ft

Bedrooms: 2 Bathrooms: 2

For more detail on these properties or to see more options, go to jllresidential.com/hk/




46 Wedding Belles: Dresses and more for the big day

Rania Hatoum Bridal

42 Money Matters: The hidden costs of investing money

44 On The Page: Book previews and recommendations

50 Summer Shopping: Six picks from the Conrad Fair



After kicking off in the UK in February, and being seen by 175,000 people already, Professor Brian Cox’s Universal World Tour 2019 lands in Hong Kong on 5 June, at Star Hall, KITEC. Using state-of-the-art graphics and imagery from ground-based telescopes and space probes, Brian will explore planetary missions, the Big Bang, black holes and the origin and fate of life and intelligence in the universe. Tickets via HK Ticketing (with 10 percent off until 2 April). lateralevents.com/public-events/professor-brian-cox-live-2019-asia SUPER SCIENCE

Puppy Spas & Good Vibes

Whiskers N Paws in Ap Lei Chau has opened a self-dog-wash station. It’s fully equipped with all the bathing essentials you need to get your pup smelling just right. Bathing your dog is a great way to create a beautiful bond, plus all proceeds from the dog wash go to help animal organisations like Animals Asia. Whiskers N Paws also offer professional grooming services for busy pawrents. wnp.com.hk

After a successful launch in Singapore, School Notices Hong Kong has arrived here, offering free online membership for parents, staff and alumni at international schools. Members can connect to buy and sell pre-loved and new items; look for vacation homes and apartment rentals; find jobs, internships and volunteering roles; and more. Unlike other listing sites, School Notices Hong Kong also supports school and parent association fundraising; member schools enjoy 25 percent of all paid business advertising. Join now and enjoy free access to noticeboards and offers you won’t find anywhere else. schoolnoticeshk.com

Clean Air, Please! Air pollution is a huge issue for all of us living here; in fact, it was recently attributed to a drop in Hong Kong’s status as a liveable city. Anyone who is

here long-term will likely look to invest in an air purifier for the home. Olfinity is the new kid on the block, bringing together three elements in one – an air monitor, an essential oil diffuser and an air purifier – all managed through an app. olfinity.com




FIVE THINGS ... I wish I’d known when I arrived in Hong Kong BY TARA JENKINS

#1 Opportunities are endless I’m originally from New Zealand, but gave up my Kiwi and British passports in favour of Hong Kong, so I could play rugby at the Asian Games. It made sense at the time, but having a Hong Kong passport now is opening up even more exciting opportunities. This year, the Hong Kong rugby team has a chance to qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. That would definitely be the crowning achievement of my career! #2 Prioritise the important stuff When I arrived in Hong Kong, I was working full-time and playing rugby at the weekend, so Saturday nights were definitely a celebration, and there’s always someone happy to join in the fun! But once you turn professional you realise that if you go overboard on a regular basis, you can’t train and perform at the expected level. My absolute priority now is rugby. The training is pretty intense: running, exercises and gym work four or five times a week. It’s also true that as you get older, it takes much longer to recover from those late nights!

Visit expatliving.hk for more on starting a business in Hong Kong, networking, schools and the great outdoors, plus other ways to make the most out of life here. experience everything this amazing city has to offer, so I think it’s important not to timeline your stay. When I first arrived in 2009, I didn’t even realise there were beaches or open spaces! A bus, taxi or junk can get you to a beach in less than 20 minutes from Central, and there’s some beautiful nature and so many outdoor activities going on outside the city. I’m not sure how long I’ll be here – but I’ve got no plans to leave! #3 Don’t take no for an answer “Cannot” is a commonly used expression in Hong Kong: for some people, if it doesn’t feature in their prescribed rule book, it can’t be done… even if it makes complete sense to you! I’ve been told to stop practicing on empty rugby pitches, for example, because I haven’t booked them in advance! It can be frustrating but there’s generally a comic side – and with a little gentle negotiation, you can usually find your way to a mutually agreeable solution. #4 A change is as good as a rest Hong Kong can start to feel small if you’re here all the time, so it’s lucky that travelling within Asia is easy and relatively cheap. Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Bali and Japan are all easy hops from Hong Kong, and I’ve also been fortunate to travel as part of the rugby team to South America, North America and Europe. Next stop: hopefully Tokyo 2020! #5 Give it a fair crack A lot of people leave Hong Kong before they properly

Benjamin Rimene Hong Kong

Rugby Player

41 APR-MAY2019



SIMON PARFITT of Pyrmont Wealth Management answers your burning questions on finance.

“What costs should I be aware of when investing my money?”

When it comes to investing, the underlying costs of your investment have a huge impact on how well your money will grow. It’s a bit like handling a bar of soap; the more it’s touched, the less there will be! These fees can often be difficult to fully understand and can be charged at both the product (or account) level and at a fund level inside the product/account. Here are a few of the main costs to look out for: • Reduction in Yield. If you’re buying an insurance-linked investment product (these are still very popular with local insurance agents, often under the guise of saving plans), you should ask what the “Reduction in Yield” figure is. This figure shows the effect of the total charges applied to a policy and it’s not uncommon for that to be more than three percent per year. Such a high cost will likely make it very difficult for your money to grow and will not likely be indicated unless you ask. • Initial Fees. A lot of investment funds, especially those sold by the banks, have an initial fee of up to five percent. In essence, this is a commission or “marketing fee” and should be avoided, or substantially reduced, where possible. Ideally, use an advisor who can offer zero-entry-fee funds. • Exit Fees. An exit (or redemption) fee only normally exists so that a product provider can recuperate any commissions that have been paid if the investment is sold within a specified period. If you’re told that your fund has an exit fee, question it. • Annual Management Fees. All funds have management fees, but many will have annual management fees of up to, and in some cases exceeding, two percent per year. The investment return must exceed these fees before you can start to see any growth. It goes without saying that you should try to invest in funds that have as low a fee as possible. • Investment Management Fee. Of course, there is a cost to receiving investment advice; a typical ongoing investment management charge, depending on the account value, will vary from 0.75 and 1.25 percent.

Unfortunately, it’s very easy and all too common to end up with an investment that has many of these levels of fees. If you’re worried that that might be the case for your own investments, then you might wish to seek a second opinion to see if the investments can be appropriately restructured to reduce the costs. Investing should be kept as simple and transparent as possible, and one thing we learnt from the Global Financial Crisis is that complex and opaque investments often spell trouble. If you have a simple investment structure, with clean (low cost) funds and a sensible investment strategy, you’ll likely give yourself a better chance of success. Always deal with an advisor who’ll discuss and make you aware of all the fees and costs involved. Importantly, make sure the firm is properly qualified and holds an SFC license.

Simon is regulated by both the HK Confederation of Insurance Brokers (011833) and the Securities and Futures Commission (BGY807). 6017 4140 simonparfitt@pyrmontwm.com pyrmontwm.com



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