Posted in Love, Self

Captive

Photo by Ye Jinghan on Unsplash

When you are on the other side

we are both behind bars.

Cuff me.


In response to Kristin Doherty’s one line poem prompt.Our secrets make us human
Chalkboard one line poem prompt for March 20, 2019 on Medium

Connect with me on Medium @barneydinosaur

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Posted in Love

Sunburn

Photo by Jake Givens on Unsplash

Your voice gleaming

your smile radiating

our memories flickering

No my darling

I’m not blushing

Posted in Uncategorized

The Admin Cove’s 10 Ways To Successfully Leave Your 9-5 Job…

Came across Dr Shelly’s article on leaving a 9-5 job while working the 9-6 job (even worse) that I’m considering leaving. Great article and I wish more people can benefit from it x

Success Strategies

Start doing what is necessary. Then do what’s possible. Then suddenly you’re doing the impossible. ~St. Francis of Assisi

Many are the dreams of entrepreneurs. Those new who are brave enough to start and those who are still dreaming keep the momentum going through 101+ Empowering Quotes For New Entrepreneurs. If you are among those who wish to make the move, the Admin Cove shared 10-ways to safely and Successfully leave your 9-5 Job. Here I share their tips:

1]. Start with a goal and make a decision. This can be a goal of when you want your last day to be or what you would like to do. Written goals are more likely to be accomplished than non-written goals.

2]. Redesign your life. Begin to become conscious of your budget, your spending habits, and put together a plan of where you can cut corners in the meantime.

3]. Pick…

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Posted in Travel

EIU Cost Of Living 2019 — How Is It Like To Live In 2 Top 10 Cities

The Economist Intelligence Unit has just released their report on Worldwide Cost of Living 2019 and I happened to have spent time living in 2 of the top 10 cities in 2018 — Hong Kong, China and Tel Aviv, Israel. Here’s how it was like.

Source: Worldwide Cost of Living 2019 by The Economist Intelligence Unit

Some background information. I lived in Hong Kong for 9 months and Israel (Tel Aviv mainly but other cities also) for 3 months. For work I had weekly visits to Copenhagen for 2 months but I will leave this part out of discussion since I didn’t ‘live’ there exactly (although I can tell you that city is EXPENSIVE).

Now let’s get to it. How is it like to be living in the top 10 most expensive cities?

Photo by Ali Inay on Unsplash

You (almost) feel posh being a foodie

Foodie is how you call someone who goes out frequently to try out different food and perhaps gives comments/ reviews. Well, in Hong Kong, the definition has to be changed to ‘someone who WANTS TO go out frequently to try out different food’ because obviously, dining out is too expensive.

The Big Mac index doesn’t really show how expensive it is for the food in Hong Kong (USD2.55, ranked 43th) and Tel Aviv (USD4.58, ranked 8th). But just to give you and idea, going for a casual dinner in Hong Kong and Tel Aviv would be around USD20 and USD 30 per person respectively, which do not sound too bad, yet.

Since we are talking about COL, rather than cost of going out when you are on vacation in another city, we have to consider other factors of living, such as income and other expenses.

Photo by Fabian Blank on Unsplash

Your paycheck looks okay but your bank account doesn’t

To be honest, the salary level in Hong Kong and Tel Aviv are actually quite good. The average monthly income (calculated by dividing all annual incomes and profits by the amount of the countries’ population, more on the calculation here) are USD3,859 and USD3,106, ranked 15th and 27th in the world.

Another simple figure I could offer is that according to my personal knowledge, for an university fresh graduate with a non-professional bachelor degree, the average starting salary would be around USD1,800 for both cities.

So your bank account has to look fine! That must be what you are thinking. Well, that is because I haven’t told you about the transport and housing yet.

Photo by Todd Quackenbush on Unsplash

You pay a ridiculous amount of money to live in a shoe box

‘Hong Kong’s tiniest flats start at 123 sq ft — less than the size of a parking space’ according to a recent news article. Not sure if you are aware but Hong Kong is literally a dot on the map. And considering the scale the city is actually smaller than the space a dot occupies — that is how incredibly small it is, not to mention around half of the land is taken up by mountains.

Oh, and that 123 sq ft shoebox can cause up to USD1,000 per month, without utilities. Yeah, I know.

In Tel Aviv it is a bit less crazy, considering the size of Israel as opposed to the size of Hong Kong. Based on my personal knowledge, USD1,000 can get you something like 400 sq ft for a month. It is not a shoe box but hey, the monthly income of an university fresh graduate (around 21 years old) is just around USD1,800.

Photo by Connor Wang on Unsplash

You hate yourself for being outgoing (literally going out of your house)

You have no idea how expensive cars and parking are in these two cities. When people’s ‘apartments’ are as small as a parking space, you know how pricey it is to park a car. So in Hong Kong most people take public transportation, subway and buses mainly. A 30-minute ride can cause you a Big Mac.

In Israel I would say most people drive. Parking usually cause you an Israeli Big Mac, given your income/ savings allows you to afford the car and the gas.

Putting it all together

Now let’s do the math. Suppose you are 22, have one year of work experience after graduating from a non-professional university bachelor degree, and have a monthly income of USD1,800.

22 is the age (if not before that) to be independent and to support at least your own living. So you moved out from your parents’ and are now living in Hong Kong in a shoe box of 200 sq ft (let’s say you found this ‘bargain’) for USD1,000.

You take the subway to and from work and that costs USD3 per ride. You spend USD15 for food per meal (let’s say you cook sometimes and go for cheaper options when eating out).

USD1,800–1,000–3×22–15x3x30 = USD616 plus utilities, entertainment, shopping, family etc.

Conclusion

Without a doubt living in such expensive cities is not easy. You think really carefully before making any money-related decisions (you better do). It is almost like whatever you think about involves money —whether to meet a friend, to get the burger you have been craving for, to buy a little something for your family and so on.

Sometimes you focus too much on money and life isn’t about money, in my personal opinion. Life is about me. But when I try to be a better person for example to be independent and live by myself, money is the main hurdle in front of me.

Don’t get me wrong. Hong Kong and Tel Aviv are both amazing cities. Really gorgeous, advanced, nice people, incredible food — if you haven’t been, you should put them on your list because you will absolutely love them. Just that the cost of living is really high in these cities and it is making local people struggle for their lives.

What is important is that although the money issue is unavoidable, keep in mind that it is not the only factor contributing to the standard of living. Spending more time with your loved ones, doing more sports, read more, all these make your life better, even spiritually. So I’m going to end this article with a cliche — money can’t buy happiness.

Photo by Senjuti Kundu on Unsplash

Tip Jar — Just like when you go to a restaurant and enjoyed the souffle (my fav dessert), you can leave a tip to show your appreciation. If you enjoyed my work, here’s a link to encourage me to keep pursuing the writing path. This is 100% your decision and if you don’t feel like it, leaving me a message below will work just as well:) Thank you.

Posted in Travel

How To Travel Smart In Hong Kong

Hacks from a local dinosaur to her foreign friends. Also published on Medium.

The famous night view of Hong Kong’s breathtaking skyline. Photo by Peter Y. Chuang on Unsplash

As you may already know, Hong Kong is a city of mixed culture. I totally understand how it could be intimidating/ scary for a foreigner. I am born and raised in Hong Kong and have been studying and working internationally with people from different backgrounds. I love my city and truly hope that I can be a bit of a help to maximize your experience here.

Do you really know the city?

Before I move on to the Smart Travelling Tips, I have to make sure you know what you are getting into. First of all, Hong Kong is a Special Administrative Region of China. What does it mean? It means that we have our own government, law, police and even currency (Hong Kong Dollar). Talking about the currency, we have an official linked exchange system with USD at the rate of USD1=HKD7.8.

Being a former British colony, we (for the recent decades) start learning English in kindergarten. All road signs, transportation systems and some restaurants are in both Chinese and English. Proudly named the ‘Food Paradise’, we offer cuisines from literally every part of the world. From Michelin-starred restaurants to local street food, there must be a dining experience that speaks to your stomach.

Having returned to China in 1997, more Chinese culture is poured to the mix. For a local, it means more Mandarin (the language spoken in China and yes, we speak a different dialect/ language — Cantonese in Hong Kong) education and more Chinese tourist. For a tourist, it means we have more waiting for you to explore!

Smart Travelling Tips

  1. Go to local chain restaurants. So you can read the menu and enjoy local food.

Restaurants in Hong Kong can be really local, sometimes even too local for a local (they speak so fast that I can’t comprehend my native language). They have great food but English menu? Not a chance. Don’t worry. We got you covered. Just go to our chain restaurants and most of them (if not all) offer English menu.

Some recommendations will be Tam Jai (a rice noodle place that even locals can’t get enough of ), Cafe de Coral (it is DEFINITELY not a cafe. It offers a variety of local food and some western dishes as well), Tao Heung (a tea house that offers so much more than tea — hot pot, dim sum, local dishes, you name it). Here are some photos to make your mouth water.

A bowl of noodles looks simple but you’ll be amazed by the rich flavors
One of the most popular dim sum — siu lung bao (dumplings that you dip them in vinegar with ginger)
Hot pot, you put your food in the pot with a soup base of your choice and cook it by yourself. Great for group gatherings.

2. Take the MTR and if you have a local friend, ask him/ her to take you on a minibus ride.

MTR, Mass Transit Railway, is a major public transport network in Hong Kong. It is fast, easy to ride and always have English signs everywhere. The only down side is that during rush hours it can get REALLY crowded. I’ve been to NYC and it is not even close to the crowded-ness in Hong Kong.

Imagine this, even if the ground level rotates by 90 degrees, you are not going to fall because you have that many people around you that you won’t even move an inch. It’s crazy I know. So take my advice and avoid rush hours (most people work from 9 to 6 and they commute 1 to 2 hours before and after) if you can.

Minibus, on the other hand, is a bit crazier. Some of them don’t even have fixed stops, meaning even a local wouldn’t know where to get off if he hadn’t took that route before. Some minibuses do not have a bell to ring for a stop. You have to literally shout out to the driver.

Minibuses are commonly took by local people who live in a specific neighborhood. Many of my foreign friends asked me to take them on a minibus ride but as much as I would love to, I could only take them to my neighborhood which is quite far from city center. Suggestion — make more local friends so at least one of them can take you on a minibus ride near city center.

If you avoid the rush hours MTR is a very pleasant mode of transport.
A minibus in a local neighborhood.

3. Watch the FREE night show available every night at 8PM.

The Symphony of Lights is a multimedia light show participated by iconic buildings on both sides of the Victoria Harbour to project a myriad of searchlights, lasers, LED screens and lighting that transforms the skyline into an outdoor audiovisual feast.

You can watch the show at the harbourfront areas near Hong Kong Cultural Center, near Golden Bauhinia Square, but my top recommendation will be to watch it on the Star Ferry. It costs less than 1USD and you get a peaceful ferry ride while enjoying the fantastic light show.

Our tourism board even have an app for you to tune in to the music if you are watching from a rather far spot. Click here for more information cause obviously they do a better job at introducing the show to you.

Star Ferry

4. Go hiking.

Hong Kong is known as a concrete jungle where 7.4 million of us live in 1,100 sq km of land (just to give you an idea, we are about 110 times smaller than New York, which is approximately 122,000 sq km). That’s why hiking is a great getaway here.

Renowned the best urban hikes, Dragon’s Back is a sightseeing platform that provides truly spectacular views of southern Hong Kong Island and its shoreline.

The Peak Circle Walk is a beginner level hike that offers the best view of the Hong Kong skyline. You can take your time and stop for as many photos as you wish. You’ll find people jogging, walking dogs and even taking pre-wedding photos. Enjoy a cup of coffee or some shopping at the Peak Galleria, a shopping mall that has everything to offer.

For more hiking routes information, please click here.

5. Go to Lan Kwai Fong for a crazy night out.

LKF is a small square of streets in the heart of Hong Kong that both local and expats go for drinking, dining and clubbing. We have bars, pubs and clubs that oversee the harbour, have a pool available for you and other cool stuff that I’ll leave it for you to find out.

The coolest thing is, if you are down to your last pennies late in the night, there is even a 7–11 in LKF that you can get another beer for USD5 and go to the street and join the crowd there (don’t worry, there are many like you).

Last but not least, have an open mind! Hong Kong/ Asian culture is very different from the West or basically any other part of the world. Please make sure you are up for new experiences and ideas because this is the only way that I personally think you can really take in the local breeze and maximize your experience. Don’t force yourself but when you feel ‘comfortable’, stepping out of your comfort zone can result in a great travel.

If you need any other tips or have questions for a local Hong Konger, or have more tips to add on, please leave me a message below! Bon voyage!

Tip Jar — Just like when you go to a restaurant and enjoyed the souffle (my fav dessert), you can leave a tip to show your appreciation. If you enjoyed my work, here’s a link to encourage me to keep pursuing the writing path. This is 100% your decision and if you don’t feel like it, leaving me a message below will work just as well:) Thank you.

Posted in Love

My Ex Wanted To Buy Me A Boob Job

check out my other posts on Medium.

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Yes — my ex boyfriend wanted me to get my boobs done. He said they are too small and too unaesthetic. He said it’s popular nowadays and there’s no shame to it. He said he would choose the ‘best type’ of boob job for me and would even pay the bill. I just have to show up. He said after I get them done, I’d be perfect.

Yes, I loved him a lot. And I still do. One of the reasons why I love him so much is because of his honesty/ directness. He is the most trust-worthy guy I’ve ever met (besides my dad) and I never had to worry/ rethink what he said because he speaks his mind. It may sound very blunt to you but I’m actually the same kind of people, only more empathetic while being ‘blunt’. 

‘Love the way you are’

That said, I actually understand why he said it to me. No matter how much you love your partner and how great he/ she is, there must be something about him/ her that you wish he/ she could change. It could be a habit, a pet phrase, or something about his/ her appearance. Of course, if someone truly loves you, he/ she should ‘love the way you are’. But that doesn’t mean he doesn’t want you to be better. Most people I know of want a handsome boyfriend/ a pretty girlfriend. And that is not a sin.

So when he asked if I wanted to do it, I was surprised, yes. But maybe because I know him well/ I’m also very ‘blunt’, I wasn’t pissed/ offended. I gave it a minute to ensure what I was about to say was what I wanted. Then I replied. I know my boobs aren’t big/ pretty. But I’m fine with them. Between going through all the procedures and pain, taking the risks and having to worry for a lifetime (I know the risks are really not that major nowadays), and not having pretty boobs and neither of the above, I choose the latter.

And then he kept trying to convince me by telling me different types of operations, how the type he liked is the ‘best’, how pretty/ perfect I’d be if I agreed and whatever he said next. I can’t remember anymore.

‘Who wants a rose must respect the thorn.’

Then the topic went quiet for a few days. 

Then he asked me again.

This time, I was pissed plus offended. Reason being, I had already made my stance clear and explained my reasons. If you respect me, you respect my decision and my choice, if not right, to do what I want. We had a small argument and then didn’t talk about it for a few other days.

THEN HE BROUGHT IT UP AGAIN.

And this time I told him, as long as there’s still any level of risks and pain, my stance is the same. If this is really something that bothers you, please look for that somewhere else as early as possible because I do not want to waste our time. 

And finally we never had to talk about it anymore.

I’m sure anyone who reads this story is gonna be pissed, just like all of my friends. And me. I was pissed. Now that we’ve broken up, I don’t really care anymore. My friends say he tried to change me. Yes, he did. But besides the outside, he was constantly giving me useful advice to improve my inside. Little by little I did improved. 

This topic is not the reason why we broke up. But it might be one of the reasons. Not because of the topic ‘plastic surgery’, but because he couldn’t give me the respect I want from the one person I’m the closest to and trust the most.

‘The easiest way to teach someone how to treat you is to refuse to give them more opportunities to hurt you’

My friends are glad that I ‘ditched’ a ‘bad guy’. But that’s not how I see it. 

Everyone has the right to want what he/ she wants and to pursue whatever that is. In a relationship, even when your partner didn’t cheat on you and nothing major happened, if you feel like this is not what you want, you totally have the right to leave. Leaving might be cruel. But forcing yourself to stay would be even crueler and disrespectful to both of you plus the relationship itself. 

It could hurt, both of you. You should however think about the long run. Do you see yourself being with this person for the rest of your life, or at least the coming 10/ 20 years and both of you being happy? If the answer is no, you know which way to go.

I’m thankful for all the memories we created together, and for everything he did for me. I also need to thank my bravery for leaving an unhealthy relationship. I am working to be a better person and I want the best for him, and all of you reading this article. 

I’d love to hear what you think! What is the craziest love story you have heard? Leave a comment below or reach me at barneyspaws@gmail.com

Tip Jar – Just like when you go to a restaurant and enjoyed the souffle (my fav dessert), you can leave a tip to show your appreciation. If you enjoyed my work, here’s a link to encourage me to keep pursuing the writing path. This is 100% your decision and if you don’t feel like it, leaving a message below will work just as well:) Thank you.

Posted in Self

25 Perspectives On Money at 25

also published on Medium.

Photo from Unsplash
  1. There’s a saying in Hong Kong that goes like this — ‘money can’t do everything (for you), but without money you can’t do anything’. When I was younger I thought this was too materialistic to say but now it starts to make sense to me.
  2. People’s perspectives on money tell you a lot about them.
  3. Be generous, in whichever way you can.
  4. Money is not a measurement of success.
  5. Money can be a measurement of progress. 
  6. ALWAYS have some savings, for you and your loved ones.
  7. When you feel lost in the present, using money as a motivation not only helps push you forward, but also helps to achieve your goal in the future.
  8. Money can equal happiness, but in the short term at maximum.
  9. Money equals happiness when you spend it (reasonably) on loved ones.
  10. Use money to make yourself a better person, not the opposite.
  11. The best investment is to invest on yourself. Keep learning.
  12. Be very careful when you make important decisions on money, even when a trusted person tells you to just go for it.
  13. Review your money movement on a regular basis. I do it monthly.
  14. Choosing money over passion is okay, but not in the long run.
  15. The way other people succeed in making money may not work for you.
  16. Every problem has a solution, including financial problems. You just have to find it.
  17. Money can’t buy health. Don’t neglect your health while making money.
  18. Believe in yourself. That’s the prerequisite of all success.
  19. Take risks, but always have a plan B in your pocket.
  20. Even if you fail, you earn because you learn.
  21. Life is about the process, not an ending balance on your bank account.
  22. If spending a little money rationally can help you recover from an emotional event, go spoil yourself. But promise not to fall down at the same place.
  23. If comparing yourself with others financially only makes you feel less, then don’t.
  24. Don’t let your paycheque be your price tag.
  25. Why work for other people’s dreams when you can live your own? 

What are your thoughts on money? I’d love to hear from you! Leave me a comment below.

Tip Jar – Just like when you go to a restaurant and enjoyed the souffle (my fav dessert), you can leave a tip to show your appreciation. If you enjoyed my work, here’s a link to encourage me to keep pursuing the writing path. This is 100% your decision and if you don’t feel like it, leaving a message below will work just as well:) Thank you.