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6 Reasons To Teach In Hong Kong

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6 Sep 2018 | Veronica

1. East Meets West If you’re considering Asia for the first time, or if you’re a bit intimidated about culture shock, Hong Kong is the perfect place to live. Walk around neighbourhoods like Sheung Wan to see exactly how East meets West here as you pass a western coffee shop followed by a traditional Chinese medicine store side by side, hearing French, English, Mandarin, and Cantonese as you go.

2. Holidays, holidays, holidays! Speaking of East meets West… Thanks to recognizing both Eastern and Western festivals, there are 19 public holidays in Hong Kong. Teaching in a local school you can expect even more! Approximately 1.5 weeks off for Christmas, 2 weeks for Chinese New Year, and another 1.5 weeks for Easter. With this generous holiday time, you benefit from being able to take holidays longer than the average businessperson (making friends jealous and meaning you can book flights outside the worst of the peak travel times!).

3. Easy and affordable access …

Satirical Drag Horror Show (Exhibition review on "Art Me" (Michael Kvium) @Tang Contemporary Art

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8 November 2018 | Ashley

What drew me to this solo exhibition of Danish artist Michael Kvium, namely Art Me, at Tang Contemporary Art was the grotesque characters that he sculpted and painted.


Tang Contemporary Art, like most galleries, has their walls painted white, unlike Empty Gallery, which has everything in black. It was quite a big space I would say which housed, during the time of the exhibition, a circus of peculiar characters. What captured my attention at first gaze was inevitably the human-size sculpture called Contemporary Fools: Art, 2017. It is a middle-aged man wearing a chic red cap emerging above a yellow metal can of black liquid, and with his arms stretched wide to his sides with skeleton hands. This was already a crooked character that would fascinate anybody. The use of silicon for his body and face, as well as the detail of curly brown hair on his chest and underarm were so effective in bringing to life the texture of human skin and hair. I spent a lot of time (n…

An Underwater Kingdom (Exhibition review on "Gravitational Currents & The Life Magic" @Empty Gallery)

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7 Nov 2018 | Ashley

An Empty Gallery experience is bound to give you the thrill. This one was no exception. But what's special about this time is that you open the doors to a mysterious underwater world. Welcome to Gravitational Currents & The Life Magic, a current exhibition at the Empty Gallery!

Again, like always, there was an ongoing droning sound which captured me that instant I set foot in the reception. Artist Susanne Wintering has placed a multi-channel sound-installation commissioned by Empty Gallery at the centre of the art space, namely Planetary Opera in Three Acts, divided by the currents, 2018. It is a hydrophone recording of algae, green turtles hatching, crabs rubbing their claws together and other ecological marvels. All of that together inevitably gave me an intense sensory reaction, where at times, the track seemed to devour you and snatch you away as the volume increased and disappeared at its climax.


As I moved inwards towards the cooling breeze (I do not …

Learning Cantonese Part 3: Useful Apps and Resources for Learning and Practicing Cantonese

2 November 2018 | Veronica

If you haven’t yet, check out Part 1: 8 Reasons Why You Should Learn Cantonese and Part 2: Where to Learn Cantonese in Hong Kong!
Here are some Cantonese-specific tips, apps, and resources to help you learn Cantonese! For general language learning suggestions, I recommend you check out these commonmistakes language learners make and how to fix them.
1. Be prepared to jump between different Romanization systems Unfortunately the limited Cantonese resources out there don’t share a standard Romanization system, so in order to use it all you will need to jump between systems. The most common are Yale (i.e. Hēung Góngand Jyutping (i.e. hoeng1 gong2). Being comfortable in multiple systems will help you out – at least, until you learn to read Chinese!
2. Pleco Pleco is an amazing app that will allow you to customize the Romanization you want to use. The app has an excellent dictionary (can type in the sounds you hear in Cantonese), the option to make flashcard dec…

Learning Cantonese Part 2: Where to Learn Cantonese in Hong Kong

1 November 2018 | Veronica

Aren’t sure yet that you should learn Cantonese? Check out part 1 on 8 Reasons Why You Should Learn Cantonese!
Fast, Good, Cheap. Pick two.

When it comes to Cantonese classes in Hong Kong, you’ll end up compromising on something. I’ve written this guide based on personal experience and reviews from colleagues with the goal of helping you find the school that best matches your needs.

Do you want a crash course for short, daily interactions around the city within weeks? Or do you dream of being able to watch Wong Kar-Wai films without needing subtitles?

Read on to find the best Cantonese schools in Hong Kong!

*Note: This guide has been written for non-Chinese speakers. Check out the school pages directly for Cantonese courses for Chinese speakers!

Language Schools 1. VTC Recommended for: Quickly learning the basics with once a week classes. At the end you will be able to have short, daily interactions.

Hours: 20 hours, once/week

Class Size: Starts around 20 stu…

Learning Cantonese Part 1: 8 Reasons Why You Should Learn Cantonese!

31 October 2018 | Veronica

Thinking about studying Cantonese? Check out these 8 reasons why you should learn Cantonese. 1. Investing in a foreign language is always beneficial Have you ever heard someone say they regret learning a language? On the other hand, there are numerous benefits. Language skills open up connections and opportunities, save you from paying tourist prices, and set you apart when applying for a new job.
2. It's the local language. Although English is an official language in Hong Kong, and it is possible to survive with only English, your experience in the city will be entirely different and a whole lot friendlier with a bit of survival Cantonese.
While Mandarin is beneficial for business purposes, going into local neighborhoods and speaking Mandarin would be a bit like going to a Spanish-speaking country and speaking Portuguese. Don’t be that guy!
3. You’ll gain a deeper understanding of the culture Language shapes the way we interact with and make sense of …

Being Chinese and Female in Paris (Exhibition review on "Song of Spring: Pan Yu-lin in Paris")

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31 Oct 2018 | Ashley

From mid September to 6 Jan 2019, Asia Society is presenting an art exhibition called "Song of Spring: Pan Yu-lin in Paris" (《春之歌:潘玉良在巴黎》). If you are familiar with Greco-Roman paintings, you might recall seeing nymphs bathing under blossoming trees. This is what you will see in this exhibition, but with a twist of Asian implications, proudly presented by the Chinese female artist, Pan Yu-lin, through female models' facial features, hairstyles, dance poses, and her use of Chinese ink technique.

What interests me the most about her works is her tendency to intertwine Western and Asian characteristics. Being one of the earliest Chinese female artists staying in France to learn art, I imagine that she felt the need to establish her own definition of herself in a foreign country. From her works presented in the first chamber, we see portraits of people from different ethnic backgrounds, those who were generally considered less privileged in society. This…

A Madman's Magnificent Construction (Dollhouse - Tai Kwun review)

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15 Oct 2018 | Ashley

For say a person is in despair, does his desperation separate him from reality, thus constructs instead a detrimental world where hope is utterly absent? Dollhouse (身不由己), brought to us by Canadian choreographer and dance master, Bill Coleman, and sound artist Gordan Monahan, constructed a madman's world before us on 12 Oct, 2018 at Tai Kwun's JC Cube.

What stood out the most would be the ridiculousness and illogical progression of the show, from dangerous props such as glass and mouse traps, to unsettling sounds made from metal wires, boiling water, to flapping plant things. There was not a part in the performance where the audience knew exactly what was happening or what would happen next. I like to interpret this as the hallucination of a madman, because this performance was indeed a piece of madness, yet sadly not mad enough to be shocking, which explains why the piece was not as exciting as it might sound. If this was a piece intended to create discom…

These Shoes are NOT for Humans (Shoes: Pleasure and Pain exhibition review)

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15 Oct 2018 | Ashley

Shoes, shoes, shoes! Everybody loves shoes! Shoes are no longer commodities, but collectibles for some. They also preserve an important role throughout history in relations to power, status and seduction. Do not forget the fairytales with which we are all familiar where shoes play an essential role as well. For example, Cinderella and her glass slippers!

Situated at Pacific Place, Shoes: Pleasure and Pain is an ongoing exhibition from 28 Sept to 28 Oct, 2018. It is curated by Helen Persson and organized by the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, brought to us in Hong Kong for an inspirational journey where viewers are invited to ponder the meanings behind this collection of shoes from around the world.

Entering the dim exhibition area, I was immediately enticed by this breathtaking crystal shoe. It reflected in all directions colourful rays of light. It did not only stand out as a piece of artwork, but as a common reminder of childhood when the tale of Cinderella

What a Wonderful Hong Kong (One Fine Day - HKIBBF review)

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15 Oct 2018 | Ashley

I have spent most of my conscious time trying to accept my humanity, and I think I have achieved that. Being vulnerable is important. Being vulnerable in front of people is a therapeutic experience. It is indeed a pleasure to have an ear. Having someone feel safe before you and be completely naked is also a pleasure. I enjoy that kind of interaction the most, where we feel safe, vulnerable and simply, human.

Recently, Hong Kong Repertory Theatre (香港話劇團) and West Kowloon (西九文化區) co-operated on a festival named Hong Kong International Black Box Festival. Their aim is to bring daring productions from around the world to Hong Kong. On 11 Oct, 2018, I watched a show called One Fine Day (美好的一天), directed by Beijing-based director, Li Jianjun, at the HKRep Black Box. It was indeed a very avant-garde experiment which surprisingly grew emotionally intimate as the show progressed.

What was unusual when the audience first settled into the room was the request to follow a man…

Watching and Being Watched (Mr. Blank by CCDC - Performance Review)

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15 Oct 2018 | Ashley

The question of surveillance is prominent today under the climate of big data, smart technology, and secretive political dynamics. While we enjoy advanced technology and go about our lives, are we aware of the intrusive gaze imposed upon us?

A recent production by CCDC (City Contemporary Dance Company 城市當代舞蹈團) called Mr. Blank (茫然先生) put this question under the limelight. It is an innovative and out-of-the-box production collaborated by multiple artists, with Sang Jijia, acclaimed as "the most perfect dancer", as director and choreographer, Janice Poon for dramaturgy, Dickson Dee for original live music, Oliver Shing for video direction, and so on. As you can already tell, this production is a cross-disciplinary one where dance, drama, music and multimedia elements meticulously intertwined. From their sharing session, we know that this team, despite their differences in specialisation, worked at ease with one another, which I believe, is one of the great…