Tag Archives: funny

Food love – Mochachocolatarita’s cute Valentine’s foodie illustrations

hong kong valentine's xiao long bao

I’m not one for Valentine’s Day AT ALL… but when I saw these cute and fun V-Day foodie illustrations by my fabulous blogger friend, Mochachocolatarita (try saying that when you’ve had a few!), I knew I just had to share!

hong kong valentine's boloh bao

Rita has taken some much-loved matches-made-in-HK-food-heaven and turned them into very sweet, loved-up illustrations for Valentine’s Day. Forget cheesy giant teddy bears and half-dead bouquets of flowers… these pictures are much more fun!

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Oh, I say! Penhaligon’s guides to life…

penhaligon's guide to gentlemanly behaviour

I swear I’m not obsessed with them… OK, OK, maybe I am… but I am loving these cute postcards from British fragrance brand, Penhaligon’s!

Their Guides to Gentlemanly Behaviour and British Tea Drinking Etiquette are quirky, witty and fun; I’m a sucker for anything done in this vintage-style, which totally fits the heritage of their brand (over 100 years and counting, baby!).

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Hong Kong Banksy?

If you’ve been in Hong Kong longer than oooh… twelve hours (and that’s a conservative estimate), the sign on the right will be very familiar.

A symbol of Hong Kong’s ceaseless quest for construction, the apologetic workman usually appears overnight on a sign next to a hole in your road. Apparently the touching of helmet is a gesture of apology for the fact that real-life workmen will be ruining your daily bus journeys and attempts at lie-ins for the foreseeable future.

The piece on the left appears to be a clever riff on the sign, in one of Hong Kong’s few examples of graffiti. Adorned with a pair of devil horns and the slogan ‘Sorry we come again’, plus Hong Kong’s international dialling code (the cool kids’ slang for HK itself i.e. ‘Holla! I’m back in the 852!’), it’s hopefully intended as a witty and searing critique on HK’s interminable schedule of building work. Or something like that. What with the stylised stencil-look of the piece, could we have a Hong Kong Banksy on our hands?

If we do, it’s safe to say he ain’t responsible for the “artistry” displayed below.

Pity the poor tourist who asks his taxi driver to pick him up from ‘Stoned Nuttah Lane’ (it should read ‘Stone Nullah’ but they’ve done a quite convincing job). What’s the reckoning this was done by some oh-so-hilarious international school kid en route home from a wild night at Carnegies?

I think I know which type of graffiti I’d prefer.

Update: I think this is the work of Hong Kong street art collective Start From Zero!

Elementary, my dear Watsons: my epic quest for Gosh Cosmetics

If you have been following my blog since its infancy (…poor you!), then you’ll be familiar with the term ‘Treg’s Luck’, introduced in my early post about the beautiful Waterfall Bay and the numerous misfortunes that occurred as we looked for it. Check out the post itself for a more detailed explanation (and some lovely photos), but it basically boils down to Sod’s Law – anything that can go wrong for me, generally will. Especially if until now, everything had previously been ticking along far too well.

My quest to find a certain shade of Gosh nail polish is a case in point. By now, you’re all well aware how my indifference to nail varnish has bubbled up into a full-on obsession, helped along by the multitude of nail blogs sprawled across the Interwebz. Having spotted a particularly lovely Gosh lacquer on such a blog, I remembered seeing the brand sold in Watsons (think Superdrug, but not as good) so set out to claim a pot of glittery goodness for my own. Alas, none of the colours in the Tin Hau branch took my fancy.

Having stopped off at every Watsons on the way back home from Tin Hau, it transpired that Gosh Cosmetics were only sold at selected Watsons stores. Specifically, absolutely none near me. Most people would shrug, sigh and move on to bigger and better things. Unfortunately, I decided that the most important thing in my life from that moment was getting hold of Gosh nail varnish.

So my quest got more professional. I found their Facebook Page, which helpfully listed all the Watsons stores that stocked their cosmetics line. In Chinese.

I can’t read Canto. God bless those Gosh folk, they’d tackled their task with gusto, listing at least one hundred stores and my auntie would probably have a breakdown if I presented her with such an essay to translate. But things were looking up – my boyfriend understands certain characters and was able to pinpoint the section sub-titled ‘Hong Kong Island’ i.e. area where I live (and obvious best area in HK, fyi). Once he’d gone to sleep and was oblivious to my raging obsession being put in action, I painstakingly copied and pasted each string of characters of around twenty locations into Google, who showed a map of each possible destination.

‘The ones with the star next to them’

I was thus able to narrow my quest down to Wan Chai, in order to disguise my mania with a trip to Marks & Spencers Food. Wanting to double-check the exact locations of the stores, I presented my auntie with this small section of Wan Chai stores, asking her to translate ‘the ones with the star next to them’ (the asterisk denoted Gosh Cosmetics were sold there, as opposed to Skincare). I even pointed for good measure. My auntie confidently told me one was at some China Insurance Centre that I couldn’t figure out her directions for, the other the Hopewell Centre.

First, to M&S, which, true to form, had barely any of the items I wanted to buy (I should have spotted the Treg’s Luck warning signs from here). We then plodded from Gloucester Road all the way to Hopewell Centre on Queen’s Road East, where pots of glittery goodness would be waiting to be snapped up by yours truly. On arrival… no sign of Gosh Comsetics. Argh.

My boyfriend has 3G on his iPhone so I brought up the Facebook Page to show him. Even his limited grasp of Canto was enough to tell me that my auntie, in her infinite wisdom, had wonderfully managed to translate every location listed UNDER each asterisk. ARGH!

Not wanting a wasted trip, I picked up some other toiletries at Hopewell instead. On reaching the check-out, I was presented with a plastic bag bulging with random stuff as a free gift. Normally, people use the word random when they mean anything but. No really, this bag was random. I presume it was a clear-out of Christmas stock they couldn’t flog anymore. Then the saleslady decided my bag of free crap wasn’t quite complete… she wanted to include some cereal bars too. Alas, this involved authorisation from the manager, eating up a further five minutes. I eventually emerged from Hopewell Centre with: three packs of my pill (sadly, not free), box of yoghurt berry flavour CelebritySlim snack bars (impressively not even past their sell-by date), mini bottle of Listerine, red Garnier mobile phone case/purse, Olay sample, overnight CracKare moisturising patch (no… me neither), strange but cute fruit/alien shaped shower pouff and masses of pent-up annoyance at auntie.

Initially, my plan had been to catch a bus home from outside Hopewell. But now my determination to get Gosh nail polish had intensified further. Another location was Johnston Road, merely a street away. Off we went.

Bizarrely, the folk at Gosh aren’t too keen on divulging actual shop numbers on their list. Luckily, I used to work in Wan Chai so had some vague recollection of which Watsons they meant, or else we could have trotted down the wrong side of Johnston for who knows how long. On arrival at Johnston Road Watsons… a Gosh concession! Hurrah!

By now I wasn’t even bothered about the original colour I’d set out for and just wanted any nice nail polish to show for my efforts. I had a few back-up choices courtesy of those damned nail blogs… my boyfriend immediately noted that the space labelled with shade number ‘541’ was empty. I felt a familiar sinking feeling in my stomach as I used his 3G to Google it… yes, 541 was the very number of my next best back-up choice, Gasoline. Treg’s Luck strikes again.

I was weary, frustrated and all tregged-out, ready to admit defeat and head home. But my boyfriend knew that if we left now, I’d no doubt be horrifically annoying for hours/days/weeks on end, wondering if the other location (Hennessy Road) had my shades in stock. So on we marched, continuing to walk further back on ourselves and our ill-fated trip to Hopewell, including passing where we had started off in the first place.

This time, Gosh had given us a shop number: 205-207. Do I need to tell you that we found ourselves at the single-digit end of Hennessy?! We plodded on and got to the place we really should have gone to in the first place, where an amply-stocked display of Gosh Cosmetics awaited us… and, what’s this, plastered in red stickers offering 25% off!

Gasoline was there… so was Golden Dragon (another back-up favourite)… so I grabbed my booty. Horrors! A sales assistant starting removed the 25% off signs but, after some badgering, she reassured me I’d still receive my discount. By now, I was fielding calls from my auntie asking when I’d be home since some friends had arrived and would like to see me. So, of course, it was destined that I’d be served by an assistant who looked like Tubbs from The League Of Gentlemen and was mystified by the workings of her till and how to do 25% discounts. Fifteen minutes and three failed attempts later, I’d finally paid for my haul (receiving some no doubt erroneous further discounts along the way) and my lip-biting, hand-quivering mania was quelled. By now, I was so exhausted, flustered and late that I cancelled out all savings made by hailing a taxi home.

My hard-fought Gosh haul is pictured above and thank God, they are worth it (even more so at discount, reviews to follow). My auntie is using the phone case, I managed a fleeting hello to the friends as they left and Tubbs learnt how to use the till. Needless to say, I have since discovered that the original shade of polish I wanted has been discontinued and was probably never available in Hong Kong anyway. Treg’s Luck strikes again!

[Banner photo: Tim Ellis’ Flickr]

The Switch (sort of) film review

This is exciting as it gets

As far as romcom premises go, the one for The Switch isn’t bad. Man swaps sperm donor sample for his own, chaos ensues etc. However, there was so much wrong with it that I’ve decided to list eight examples for posterity below:

  • No chaos ensues. You’d expect all kinds of zany shenanigans to be going on, instead you just get a child who collects empty photo frames. I am not joking.
  • When did Jennifer Aniston get SO old?! I love Jen, really I do, but really… WHEN?!
  • Who thought that Jason Bateman was a great choice for romcom leading man? I love Jason, really I do (Arrested Development 4eva, etc) and smug sardonic sidekick perhaps, but really… WHO?!

    Would you let this man be your romantic lead?!

  • Jen and Jase have zero chemistry. Nothing. Nada. Zilch. In fact, Jason Bateman has more chemistry with the magazine cover of Diane Sawyer that he wanks over to create the sperm in the first place.
  • When did wild child Juliette Lewis, who even has her own rock band for crying out loud, become rom-com bit part material? As the supportive girlie best friend of all things! In other news, she’s aging into Stockard Channing.
  • Why hire Jeff Goldblum, a bit of a minor movie legend, if you’re gonna give him literally nothing to do? I don’t think he had lines any more riveting than ‘Good morning’.
  • Possibly the funniest moment of the whole 100-minute film comes two minutes in, courtesy of that comedy staple, a man with some kind of Tourettes. Not an auspicious start.
  • The timeline and relationships don’t ring true. We start seven years ago, at the time of ‘the switch’. We then head to ‘the present’ (i.e. seven years from the start of the film), where Jen and Jase’s characters are such believable best friends forever that they’ve not had any proper contact since she left New York to raise the child. Suddenly, they’re back to being BFFs, except Jen feels ‘an energy’ between them (shame no-one felt to let the audience in on this energy too), despite the fact that in the intervening seven years, she doesn’t seem to have dated anyone. Next thing you know, she’s dating the person who she thinks is the father of the child and is considering moving in with him after what seems like one date… and if you thought that was fast, the father of the child (who isn’t the real father, keep up) is planning on proposing after the same length of time. Amongst all this, Jason Bateman *only just* remembers swapping the sperm whilst deciding he can’t live without the kid he’s only just worked out is his.
    Jennifer Aniston seems less of a mother than a benevolent pretty aunt on a sleepover with the child, her decade-long friendship with Bateman is unconvincingly founded on two dodgy dates aeons ago and when they do finally get together, she looks as happy about it as she did when she first saw the box office receipts for the film (hint: not good) whilst their first kiss, generally the crescendo of any good romcom, is so gingerly geriatric that the cameraman may have fallen asleep during filming, no doubt getting more excited about the prospect of grabbing a Subway for lunch later.

Hey look, we're still walking! Still more exciting than us kissing though

That being said, The Switch isn’t terrible. There are some nice quirky moments with Bateman and child, played with a natural ease by Thomas Robinson (so expect Nicholas Hoult style reinvention to cool hot teen in ten years from now). But being neither funny, nor romantic and a terrible waste of potential on all sides, it’s just a bit of a damp squib. An unloved wet patch on the mattress of noughties romcoms, which probably should never have been marketed as romcoms in the first place. Still… Jennifer Aniston’s hair looks nice.


A Tamagotchi is for life, not just for Christmas

Remember the Tamagotchi craze that swept schools in the late 90s? Back in the day, there was barely a rucksack that wasn’t making beeping noises as some cyber-pet demanded having its poo swept up. Like all good fads, it died out as soon as I’d actually managed to get my hands on one (… or seven), elbowed out by another set of strange Japanese creatures (Pikaaaaaaa-chu!) but now in Hong Kong, it seems to be undergoing a bit of a revival and lots of my kindergarten kids had them.

Admittedly, we’re now on something like Version 629 of the Tamagotchi and in an effort to keep up with the kids, it’s evolved a bit since the simple days of my childhood version. I seem to remember an endless routine of feeding, playing, cleaning up poo and occasional beatings, whilst the paltry reward for your efforts was seeing the creature run off once it had grown-up. Ah, the joys of being a parent! But these days, it seems looking after your cyber-offspring is a lot more challenging.

I spotted a half-price Version 452 in my local Ella (home of novelty tweezers and windmill pens) and in a mixture of impulse and nostalgia, snapped it up. I told my boyfriend it would be like one of those projects they get feckless teens to do at school, where they make couples look after toy babies to show them the realities of parenthood (and given the amount of Coca-Cola my boyfriend drinks, there’s all likelihood of his baby looking just as alien as a Tamagotchi). So we got home, unwrapped the Tama and yes… things have definitely changed since my day.

Here are the instructions. Reminder: it has three buttons.

Nowadays, Tamagotchi has to go through intensive schooling, with different stages of kindergarten, school and finally, job interviews leading to actual employment (already one up on me then). You have to keep the little sod entertained with five different types of game, all as boring as each other. There’s a shop, where you can buy overpriced pencils, balls and building blocks that Tamagotchi just stares at nonplussed until you offer to play one of the boring games with it instead. He’s a sophisticated soul, eating sushi, checking his mailbox, going on holiday and even sending a postcard along the way. But it’s not all wine and roses in Tama-Town (and yes, there is a Tama-Town, more of which later) – there are thieves, someone sends you poo in the mail (!), he can get ill, lonely and fat and yes, he still defecates an awful lot as well.

These days, infra-red technology means you can connect with other Tamagotchis and make them your friends but alas, I didn’t know any other twentysomethings attempting to relive their youth in the silliest way possible. Chinese culture being what it is, I was soon being pestered by some old crone who didn’t want my Tama being left on the shelf, desperate to match-make her with some other Billy No Mates. Refuse too often and your Tamagotchi dies of old age (insinuation: sad lonely spinster); allow the match and your baby will soon have a baby of its own! Which, showing a bit less responsibility than you’d hoped you’d instilled in its upbringing, it abandons after a day for you to begin a new cycle of feeding, playing and poo-sweeping. It’s the circle of life and it moves us all!

The most amazing thing about Version 391 is that you take your pet to visit Tama-Town online. This is a place that looks more happening than my hometown – you can buy stuff, play at the arcade, go visit your old school and family (i.e. your original pet that ran off once it found love) and pay your respects to the King. In a feat of technology that I haven’t quite worked out but that Japanese children probably master before learning their times table, the website knows what creature your Tamagotchi has evolved into it and even has a record of its name. Spooky stuff.

Anyway, I named our first offspring Juicy – a bit porn-star but the boyfriend’s best suggestion was something involving Coke and I’m working with a 5-character limit, people! – and so the cycle of feeding, sleeping and pooing began. So exhausting was the level of care and attention I lavished on our newborn that I fell asleep; upon waking, my boyfriend told me it had been beeping. ‘Did you see to it?’ *Shrug* When my boyfriend eventually left, I tried to persuade him to take the Tamagotchi with him. How was I supposed to look after it at work? *Shrug* Hmmm… I see a pattern forming…

My colleagues were slightly bemused with my new toy and I had to keep sneakily feeding and poo-cleaning during my working day, but eventually Juicy grew up to be one of the prettiest Tamagotchis in the manual. ‘Is it a cat?!’ my colleague asked, squinting at the strange alien that seemed to have flowers for ears. But eventually, the old crone matchmaker practically set up shop on the postage-stamp sized screen, so I gave in and married her off.

Like mother, like daughter?

By the time she’d given birth, the novelty had worn off, even if this was Version 897. Looking after the new baby was a hassle, I’d named it in a hurry at work meaning it went by the delightful nom de plume of ‘ZZZXY’ and, as all those who didn’t take good care of a Tamagotchi well remember, it consequently evolved into an ugly little brute. This one was so ugly, it actually wore a mask over its face. It looked like Jason Voorhes from Friday the 13th for God’s sake! When it was happy, it bared its gleaming teeth in a freakishly bloodthirsty manner so it was frankly a relief when it died. And the infamous image of a floating halo and angel wings has remained bobbing on the increasingly dusty screen ever since.

So what have we learnt? That’s it’s alarming what can be achieved with three buttons (TV remote control designers, take note). That 90s toy crazes are best left in the 90s for those that actually experienced them first time round. And that I won’t be having babies, alien or otherwise, anytime soon!

Tamagotchi Version 4, $98, Ella

Geography crash course, Eurovision style

Eurovision doesn’t just entertain, it informs. So for Oslo 2010, an impromptu geography lesson from the snazzy graphics designers:

That’s Armenia, Azerbijan, Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia & Herzegovina and France. Whaddya mean you can’t tell the difference?! Well, now you’re into the swing of things, how about these…

Not these either?! Oh well… (They’re Germany, Moldova, Romania, Spain, Turkey and Ukraine btw).

Remember the days when you hadn’t learnt to resize pictures at the diagonals but by squashing, stretching and hoping for the best? *cough cough*

Anyway, apart from the countries morphed into identikit-ness, the other moment of note came from a crowd invader who managed to pick a performance so bizarre, he actually blended in. Nice work.

Tongue in cheek?

This item neatly encompasses many HK things – strange food flavouring, being in thrall to all things Japanese and an intriguing use of English.

With a craving for Roast Beef Monster Munch and Chargrilled Steak crisps, this was the best I could find: Yamayoshi’s Beef Tongue Salt.

Were these crisps? Were they dried pieces of cow tongue? Was it made from salt derived from beef tongue? And if so, what is salt derived from beef tongue? Presumably it’s a bit of a specialty if it’s been going since 2002.

Looking at the ingredients list left me none the wiser, other than telling me that ‘crustacean’ may be involved in the action too. Which was reassuring.

The cartoon cow looks frankly over all this nonsense.

P.S. They weren’t even that nice. (From Log-On)