Sunday, 25 May 2014

Take a Leap of Works.

You can't have everything in life

I'm back with a few thoughts and this time, it's rugby and flat hunting as well as Hong Kong mannerisms. Stay tuned. 

So let's start with the perils of flat hunting. It's a task, I'll be honest with you. It ain't easy. And it's certainly ain't easy when you're dealing with a potential flat mate with Ichthyosis. You as a civilised human being might possibly be dealing with blocked drains full of God only knows, oily and creamy furniture, prolonged periods in the bathroom, shedding skin despite ones best attempts. And that's before the tics and habits of the other person! That's exactly why my parents have suggested I share with a mate or even on my own in an airing cupboard. I know that my time will come soon when I will find the place that works for me and my situation. It'll also take a lot of patience and love as a team effort for this to work. But I know it'll happen one day. Be that now in a week or in a month. But I know that for one thing, announcing my intention to move out of home on Facebook was absolutely not one of my finest moments. For anyone concerned. 

Next up, rugby in Hong Kong. Now let me tell you, and I know I'll sound like a stuck up arse but Hong Kong is doing good things in the world of international rugby. Women's came 2nd overall in the recent Asian 4 nations while Men have just lost against japan in the Rugby World Cup Asian Qualifier. But they'll go on to play Uruguay later in the summer. (Did I ever tell you that HK summers are a fuxking nightmare?!) anyhow. As you all might know, in a member of the Hong Kong Society of Rugby Football Union Referees. Basically we kick the muddy backsides of muddy wingers, fullbacks and scrumhalfs. And we are pretty damn proud and I am so lucky to be a part of this all because you know what, it takes balls to sign up as a match official and get everything under the sun (rhetorically) chucked your way. But since contact rugby isn't an option for me, this certainly is. And I've not met another community as chaotic, mad, rambunctious as the Hong Kong Rugby Football Union. Apparently I'm the talk of the convo amongst my family in the uk...can you imagine (our Mui, a rugby referee, she'll be the next Nigel Owens!). I somehow doubt the eloquance of that but there's a thought!  

There's been a load of stuff in the news regarding hk vs the mainland and quote frankly, it's getting boring. It isn't fair to assume that those up north are less civilised than us HKers. Well guess what folks, Hong Kong seem to think that anyone who thinks differently is a loser. Well, anyone who isn't from Hong Kong! Look, I was born and raised in Hong Kong and I reckon it would be fair to say that I've adopted a fusion way of life. While I eat like a pro local (think chopsticks and the very strangest of food and eating habits), I live and breathe like a pro "gweilo"(white female ghost). So I think I have the advantage of seeing things both ways. And yes, I will admit I have a fear of meeting people from mainland China, but that's a whole different post.

I leave you with the lyrics of Kutless, What Faith Can Do. Listen to it on YouTube, it's a beauty and truly exemplifies life and it's challenges.

"What Faith Can Do"

Everybody falls sometimes
Gotta find the strength to rise
From the ashes
And make a new beginning

Anyone can feel the ache
You think it's more than you can take
But you're stronger
Stronger than you know

Don't you give up now
The sun will soon be shining
You gotta face the clouds
To find the silver lining

I've seen dreams that move the mountains
Hope that doesn't ever end
Even when the sky is falling
I've seen miracles just happen
Silent prayers get answered
Broken hearts become brand new
That's what faith can do

It doesn't matter what you've heard
Impossible is not a word
It's just a reason
For someone not to try

Everybody's scared to death
When they decide to take that step
Out on the water
It'll be alright

Life is so much more
Than what your eyes are seeing
You will find your way
If you keep believing

I've seen dreams that move the mountains
Hope that doesn't ever end
Even when the sky is falling
I've seen miracles just happen
Silent prayers get answered
Broken hearts become brand new
That's what faith can do

Overcome the odds
You don't have a chance
(That's what faith can do)
When the world says you can't
It'll tell you that you can

I've seen dreams that move the mountains
Hope that doesn't ever end
Even when the sky is falling
And I've seen miracles just happen
Silent prayers get answered
Broken hearts become brand new
That's what faith can do
That's what faith can do

Even if you fall sometimes
You will have the strength to rise

Okay, it's late and I'm working soon!


Friday, 9 May 2014

Life Is What You Make It (not the Hannah Montana song)

21 years does not mean you've lived your life. I know that much because my parents have taught me that.

Here's a mash up script of a speech I presented to the Royal Commonwealth Society back a few years ago.

My Plan

An ideal way to introduce myself

Welcome everyone, thanks so much for having me here today. Risks. What are they? They are what make up everyday life. I’d like to share a poem, a great friend gave me on Valentines Day of 2012. The poem is by an anonymous author but it is one very powerful one:
To laugh is to risk appearing the fool.
To weep is to risk appearing sentimental.
To reach out to others is to risk involvement.
To expose feelings is to risk exposing your true self.
To place your ideas, your dreams before a crowd is to risk their loss.
To love is to risk not being loved in return.
To live is to risk dying.
To hope is to risk despair.

To try is to risk failure.
But risks must be taken,
because the greatest hazard in life is to do nothing.
The person who risks nothing,
does nothing, has nothing, and is nothing.
They may avoid suffering and sorrow,
but they cannot learn, feel, change, grow, love, live.
Chained by their attitudes, they are a slave,
they forfeited their freedom.
Only the person who risks can be free

We have to take a risk everyday. I have to take a risk. My risk is stepping out of the house each day ready to face the day. Its not easy when you have the constant fear that people are going to at some point stare and make cruel remarks towards me or really, towards anyone who doesn’t conform to a certain society. I, like the rest of you, live in Hong Kong. Hong Kong is a great place to live in, but also incredibly judgemental. You take a big risk when you tell someone what you do for a living. I happen to know that’s pretty much the same if you are an actor. As Richard E Grant mentioned in a few interviews, if one is unknown and unemployed in LA, you might as well walk around with a plaque stuck to your front saying “I’m a leper”. Whereas if you are unemployed in London, you’d fit in much easier because you’re not making a big deal out of it. I’m sad to say, I could liken Hong Kong to LA. Despite the fact that life is like an 8 ball for me, I refuse to allow difficulties hinder my life.
So many people tell me that they cannot believe that I can just walk out of the house with a happy smile plastered on my face. Let me tell you, it’s not easy and I would like to relegate that by delving into my past. Are you ready? It’s going to be a white knuckle ride!
I made my entrance into the world 22nd December 1992. I was not a normal baby. I was born with thick leathery scales of skin, resembling something like a person in a Harlequin costume, hence where the name of my condition comes from. basically, I have Harlequin Ichthyosis. It truly is a blessing that I am here talking to you because doctors originally beloved that due to the severity of my condition, I was not expected to live past the age of five. For those of you who don’t know what ichthyosis is, it is a group of genetic skin conditions which range in severity and put simply, Harlequin Ichthyosis is effectively the rarest of the lot and unfortunately, there is no cure. I am assuming that this was a main factor of me being given up for adoption after birth. But fast forward a few years and I was taken in and adopted by my parents, Tina and Rog, who I hope are somewhere in this room. My birth parents gave me up as I presume they just weren’t equipt to deal with a baby who wasn’t normal in their eyes. But I keep thinking to myself, if i was not adopted, I wouldnt be here talking to you now.
They took a risk in adopting me because when you are born effectively parentless and disabled, you might as well be forgotten by the government and placed at the very bottom of a pile of potential adoptions. Against the better judgment of so many, my parents ploughed on with the adoption despite warnings that I wouldn’t survive and quite honestly, they must have done something right because look where I am today, I’m in front of you, not cremated or six feet under the ground.
Yes, my early years were ploughed with problems, both health wise and socially. I faced and still do face discrimination, constant worries about my health and the like but the funny thing is, despite all this, my parents have never hidden me away or mollycoddled me. It really was a matter of do you want to have a happy day or a sad day?
I can still remember many many years ago, when I must have been about five or so, I would be lying on the floor with my dad all upset because I faced some kind of hardship during the day and in the way that you’d talk to such a young child, my dad somehow made it sound like it was going to be okay. As young as I was then, I was also relatively mature for my age because you kind of need to be when you face a daily battle against your will.
I will admit that I was not the easiest to handle because I could never accept that the true issue was that I could not accept that I was never going to be normal. But I believe that slowly, that is starting to change. I suppose I could like to an eating disorder; you may get over it, but it is always going to be there. Meaning that I might accept that I am not normal, but that insecurity will always be somewhere nearby.
Today, I would like to hopefully help you think of things differently whenever you encounter difficulties in your life. I’m not out to solve everything, but I’m sure that some of you are facing hardship or maybe you feel like the world is against you? I assure you, I feel that way all the time, just not now.
In all honesty, I don’t know how I “do it”. When I go about my business each day, I just go about things in an ordinary way. For example, I can happily ride the MTR, I can direct a taxi driver, everything. In fact what some people don’t realise is that I’m really just like the rest of you guys, I just happen to look different. Because of the constant desire to fit in, I tend to just ignore people who think they have a herbal remedy to heal me. This is a hard topic because it’s a daily reminder that I cannot have the same skin as anyone else. I possess the appearance of a burns victim and I reckon that is why people feel the need to tell me about chinese medicine. It’s hard accepting it, but I simply politely decline any offers because only I know that I will never look like you.
I try to move on in life by having a dry sense of humour. I also have the ability to be the little person with a personality of a lion. People who know me know that because I’ve never really been wrapped in cotton wool, I am a blunt person, I say things like I think they are. I think I’m just blunt because of the way people have tried to shield me from the truth which really irritates me. To people I meet, I try to command honesty and bluntness. I don’t care if the truth hurts, just tell the truth, it may offend, but you cannot always play mr nice guy. The truth has to come out at some point. It makes my friends and I laugh sometimes because let’s face it, when you see someone with a disfigurement or physical ailment, you might assume they might be a little challenged too? Some are amazed at some of the comments I come out with, few are out of the blue but that’s part of the fun.
I suppose you’ve heard of Nick Vujicic? The man behind Life without Limbs? I don’t know about you, but that guy inspires me enormously. Now I simply do not have the ability to sit and read a book. I’m not sure why, maybe I get distracted easily or I have to be seriously stimulated but instead of reading his book, Life without Limits, I’ve downloaded lots of his interviews onto my iPod to watch on the go and to me, that’s amazing because I’ve also met him in person.

Sunday, 4 May 2014

A New Beginning

I've always wanted to set up something in the Interwebs to document my daily thoughts and feelings about everyday life. More so, everyday life as someone in Hong Kong with Ichthyosis, which let's face it, is a rather marvellous occurrence...

Join me as I continue to document my thoughts and feelings on a range of topics spreading from my quality of rugby refereeing, people staring at the wonders of my beauty amongst many other things which may pop into my mind.