A Singaporean in Hong Kong: a tiny tale of two sister cities

Growing up, I always loved the sound of Cantonese. To my ears, it sounded like people arguing in style. I admired the direct and no nonsense attitude that Cantonese speakers seem to have. Mess with me and I’ll scold you affectionately. Although Mandarin is the most widely spoken Chinese language in Singapore, those from the older generation still speak dialects like Hokkein and Cantonese. My Mandarin is passable, but I can’t understand a word of the multitude of Chinese dialects that are spoken by Singapore’s largest ethnic group.

Ba Yi Restaurant: Xinjiang Cuisine in Hong Kong

Everyone who knows me knows I love food – but Xinjiang cuisine has a super special place in my heart. The food is SPICY, intense and packed with all kinds of indescribable flavours. And so I asked my trusty temporary housemate Fang if there’s a restaurant in Hong Kong that serves Xinjiang Cuisine… and… ding ding ding… she told me about Ba Yi. It’s one of those famous places where you have to book a time slot in advance. And yes – they will kick you out when your time is up. And no – they don’t care if you haven’t finished your meal. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Singapore Holic Laksa: authentic-ish hawker fare in Harajuku

I was honestly astonished at how delicious, delectable and authentic the whole experience was. If it wasn’t for the strange decor and the hefty price tag, I would have felt like I was back in Singapore. And BTW – the super hot is actually super hot… Truth be told, it was a little too hot for my palate. I should have prudently chosen a less spicy soup – but hey. 

The Dysfunctional Senpai Kohai Relationship: when the hierarchy fails

Navigating the complexity of the Senpai Kohai relationship is one of the stepping stones of working in Japan. Senpai = senior. Kohai = junior. In theory, this is a two-way street that has its roots in Confucianism. The elders pass on their knowledge and experience to the younger ones. Seems fair, doesn’t it? Those with more experience and knowledge lead the way for those with less experience and knowledge. Unfortunately, I’ve noticed that these things are often determined by age and rank – not by ability, intelligence and capability.