Monday, 11 December 2017

Getting Crafty

My completed floral creation all lit up!
Periodically my company arranges activities for us to do and with Christmas coming up, there was a class on how to make flower arrangements in a bottle.

I enjoy crafty things -- it's a nice way to not think about work for a period of time and focus on doing something fun and creative.

We invited a small company in Tsim Sha Tsui to show us how to make flower arrangements in a light bulb-shaped container.

Four of us lined up our arrangements together
First we had to pick from a series of small boxes which colour scheme we'd like that consisted of dried flowers. Some were pink, purple, turquoise and white.

From there we were each given this light bulb-shaped glass that was flat on the bottom. Water isn't used to make the flowers float in the container, but an oily, colourless liquid. We were instructed to squirt some in before taking a bit of moss and after making sure it was clean, we put it in the container.

Bit by bit we added dried flowers, small leaves, petals and so on, also adding more of the liquid in there. The instructor said some people may like to have fewer items in there, others more, but he warned too much wasn't a good idea, making it too busy.

Mine was purple, with some pink in it. I added some white flowers and some pink moss to make it more interesting. When the instructor came by, he suggested that I add a few more flowers at the top, otherwise there was nothing to see except the clear liquid.

Here are all 30 of them! Mine is the purple one on the far left
After we were all done, we filled more liquid almost to the top and added a plastic kind of cork before the instructor came by to clean the outside of each light bulb before we added a foil topping over the cork to seal it and then screw a light bulb screw at the top.

All 30 of us were done in an hour, even though an hour and a half was budgeted for the class. The best part was being given a small wooden platform with a small light emanating from the middle. We placed our creations on top and the turned off the lights so that our light bulbs glowed with the floral presentation inside.

Everyone's light bulb arrangement was different and when we put them together for a group photo, he joked that we should be able to recognize our "baby".

Before we left, we were warned not to place the arrangement near the window because it would make the flowers fade easily and that it would last for about a year. Nevertheless we all enjoyed making something beautiful for everyone to admire.


Sunday, 10 December 2017

Alternative Swimming

The stands in the pool make you feel like you're a competitive swimmer!
Last night I went to the Kennedy Town Swimming Pool looking forward to doing a few laps when a woman at the door explained the pool was closed.

There was a note that said "an unidentified object" was found in the pool in the afternoon and they had to disinfect it so it was closed until further notice.

I asked if the pool would be open tomorrow and she said it would.

So I came back this morning just before lunchtime and there was a large line of families waiting to get in. This time a man told me the pool was still closed and I asked what time it would open and he said for sure in the afternoon.

Located in Sai Ying Pun, the pool here is only indoors
He suggested if I wanted to swim I should go to the Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Park Swimming Pool. Sounded like a good idea. I hadn't been to the pool in Sai Ying Pun for a long time, but worried there would be an overflow of people from Kennedy Town.

However, when I got there, I was surprised to see there wasn't just one, but two swimming lanes. It didn't say which one was the fast or slow lane, but I seemed to pick the right one as the men -- yes the men! were slow enough that I passed them when I reached the other side or they stopped for a break so that I could pass them.

That and also the fact that I only had 40 minutes to finish my target of 30 laps motivated me to keep going, which also helped train my endurance in the 50-metre pool. In the end I managed to get 32 laps done before a lifeguard instructed me to get out of the pool for the 12pm break.

What unidentified object was found in the Kennedy Town pool? Or maybe it's best I don't know...

Saturday, 9 December 2017

Picture of the Day: Trump Gummy Candy

It didn't take long for someone to come up with this...

If yet another piece of news about US President Donald Trump wants to make you fume with frustration, you can now do something about it -- eat him.

A colleague recently visited Los Angeles and brought back this pack of gummy candies in the likeness of the bombastic leader of the free world. They look similar to The Donald, complete with the big head, big hair, suit and tie.

Interestingly they're all orange... was that intentional?

We love the packaging that screams, "Make America sweet again", with a caricature of Trump with the speech bubble: "Eat me!"

It even adds the candies were made in China, and at the bottom, "May leave a bad taste in your mouth".

So the next time Trump's off-the-cuff comments on Twitter or in the Oval Office has you fuming, get out the pack of gummy candies and bite his head off. Again and again.

That sugar rush is a good (albeit temporary) feeling.

Friday, 8 December 2017

Will #MeToo Take Off in China?

A handful of women in China who have spoken out about their experiences
The #metoo movement may be gaining momentum in North America with women speaking out about experiences of being sexually harassed by men, but in China it's barely on the radar.

However, journalist Huang Xueqin wants to do something about that.

She was working for a state-owned news agency when her boss tried to force himself on her in a hotel room. She quit and last year went public with the story, making her one of the first in China to speak out about her unwanted encounter.

Huang is now conducting an online survey of women journalists on the mainland to find out the extent of sexual harassment in the country. Of the more than 250 women polled, 80 percent reported being sexually harassed.

Huang Xueqin is trying to document cases in the media field
Most of the victims suffered in silence, 3.3 percent resigned and less than 1 percent filed a complaint with the police.

"I know I've opened a floodgate," Huang said. "Journalists are supposed to be more resourceful and skilful advocates than others. If they don't know how to speak out for themselves, what about the rest of the women in this country?"

She has set up a social media platform called Anti Sexual Harassment, to show women how to protect themselves, gather evidence and confront perpetrators.

I really hope she is able to help other women in the future. I immediately thought of my friend in Beijing who committed suicide three years ago because she was sexually harassed by her boss, also in state media.

If only she knew this movement existed now and that women are now trying to say Stop!

Cultural attitudes need to change around sexual harassment
She would probably be pleased to know that Huang was trying to get more information from other journalists and probably would have participated in the survey.

It will be interesting to find out how many cases Huang is able to collect so that we know the extent of the situation. I'm sure the number is very high.

But attitudes need to change -- there is still a lot of blaming the victim, claiming they were asking for it because of their clothes or attitude, or the woman is too embarrassed to come forward, or there are no laws to convict perpetrators so victims suffer in silence.

The central government needs to know this is happening not just to female journalists, but to women in all kinds of work. And the authorities need to take these cases seriously.

This horrific treatment of women is unacceptable in any society and the more these incidents are reported, the strong their voices will be.