Friday, 7 May 2021

Mama Mia! My feature (and shoot!) is up at The New Moon

Felt back in form working on this shoot and feature - out now in its entirety at The New Moon - read up here.

I wanna give a shout out to Kaye Dong for creating The New Moon; which has been embraced by so many. When I started the pitch to these ladies, I sent them a link to the page and everyone said yes immediately after seeing it. Most people are suspicious of yet another online magazine but there definitely is an aura and... vibe and flavour to this enterprise that is so vastly appealing. 

Planned and plotted with my most frequent collaborator this year - photographer Ruby Law - as my previous editor Christina Ko  (an eternal fav - no one tell her) commissioned me (yay) to write this feature and pull together this shoot. 

Originally we were going to shoot near Blend & Grind in Wan Chai but of course HK weather being what it is, it poured. 

The fine folks at The Upper House provided gorgeous venue and it was smooth sailin' then on. 

It was great to see some familiar faces and meet new ones. Check out the feature at The New Moon - subscribe. Tots worth it. 

Thursday, 6 May 2021

Hong Kong designer William Tang's Facebook account hacked: Cyber crime in 2021: The Pisstake


William Tang, a fine, talented fashion designer from Hong Kong, has been making online ripples - unbeknownst to him. His Facebook account was hacked a few weeks ago and the hackers have been sending out cryptic messages to his friend's circle - a veritable list of who's who (and a good dose of who-the-fk-is-that?!), promising them all cash rewards, opportunities to pick up great gifts and the like. Inevitably numbers, bank account details are inquired and unsuspecting people disclose far too much information - much to their own  inevitable detriment. 

This scam has been going along swimmingly for a while until a few alarm bells were raised earlier this week. This entire biz came into my peripheral vision as, of all people to hit up for cash (wait for it), it came to littl' ol' me! Ha.  

I cannot highlight this enough, - the gentleman Tang has NOTHING to do with this smoke and mirror show - and as I write this, is going on in full steam. 

Having interviewed the media-friendly designer in the past (for South China Morning Post, Style and other magazines), our conversations have not gone beyond the usual Hellos and How-do-you-dos at the dos we often find each other. 

Imagine my surprise that after years of near-silence and polite nods, I get a message that he's got an invite for me. Fair game, as I've been in the media for the past 16 years, this is far from an unusual activity. A slight aberration from norm, he wanted my phone number to send a code. 

This being 2021, season two of hellish COVID 19 - invitations are no longer tactile cards and  personal handouts/invites but zoom codes, links and a verifiable password via WhatsApp. No biggie - I sent him my WhatsApp number. 

Within seconds, I got a message and code number on my screen - with the words Kodu paylasmayin - which is Turkish (thanks Google translate!) for  'Do not share the code.'

In my infinite wisdom, what do I do? Share the code back to the account obviously. Almost seconds after that, I got the 'You've won HK$1,150 from Fortress! Then: this happened. 

I mean, when you think investigative journalism and reportage, I know you think of me... 😉

However, having been blocked by... whoever that is, so ends my yellow brick road to... 60 minutes. 

PS: I messaged the official Instagram account of Tang to let him know his Facebook has been hacked and all this razzle-dazzle is going on.

Sunday, 25 April 2021

Eight Oscars for India: The largest film industry in the world is most (and mostly) overlooked

This Monday morning, like most of the world I will not be watching the live telecast of the annual Academy Awards. Viewing (and simultaneously judging) the red carpet shenanigans of overpaid and overindulged, entitled white people had its glory days in the '90s (1998, the year Titanic swept nominations and was a global ratings bonanza - viewership has been spiraling down and circling the drain ever since). 

In the wake of the pandemic, it seems wrong to spend Monday morning (Hong Kong time) in pajamas, munching leftovers and watching television when there's deadline afoot. 

I've written about the Oscars and India before (monetising my guilty viewing pleasures? Yes please!), but this morning was thinking of the largest film industry in the world... and its shocking lack of gold-plated over-hyped bowling ball trophies. With hundreds of films released and seen annually in the subcontinent, Bollywood is not an industry that relies or thrives on the tacit approval of western critics - who often cannot stomach musicals nor have the bladder control to sit through three-hour-yarns. Pfft. Weak. 

At an editorial meeting the other day (or was it year?), someone asked me point blank, how many Oscars has India won?  Er... 

Why think, when you can Google?

Only eight Indians have won the coveted award in the 90 year history of Indian cinema, namely;

Bhanu Athaiya
, the first Indian to win an Academy Award, for costume design for Gandhi in 1982.

Satyajit Ray received an Honorary Oscar in 1992, a Lifetime Achievement award presented by (the truly divine) Audrey Hepburn no less. Tragically, the great film maker was on his death-bed and wasn't able to attend the ceremony. He passed away a month after the show at age 70.    

A.R. Rehman, a double win for the 'Mozart of Madras', for Jai Ho, Best Original Song, Slumdog Millionaire (2009) and Best original score for the same film. 

Gulzar, the noted writer, poet and lyricist, and AR Rahman won an Oscar for Best Original Song for  Jai Ho at the 81st Academy Awards. Gulzar wrote the lyrics - unfortunately, he did not attend the awards function and missed the media maelstrom that got festooned upon Rahman instead. 

Resul Pookutty, won for Best Sound Mixing, along with Richard Pryke and Ian Tapp, for Slumdog Millionaire. 

Rahul Thakkar and Cottalango Leon are Indian-Americans who were two of the 33 recipients of Academy Award for scientific and technical achievement in 2016. 

Vikas Sathaye won an Academy Award in 2018 for Technical Achievement, an honour he shared with John Coyle, Brad Hurndell and Shane Buckham. 

Doesn't look like there'll be another name on the roster for quite some time - in 2020, India's entry to the Oscars was the Malayalam film Jallikattu, directed by Lijo Jose Pellissery, in the Best International Feature Film category. Unfortunately, on February 10 earlier this year, it was announced that the film didn’t make the cut.

As the pandemic rages on in the region, with cinemas closed, large film productions halted, with Indian stars of all stripes struck down with covid - there are other more pressing worries and causes for concern than the momentary tension of "And the winner is..."

Thursday, 15 April 2021

Yana and Reve: Photographer and Makeup Artist: HK dream team


My gorgeous friend (is there another kind?!) Yana (L), who is a an exceptional photographer with a fantastic eye. And Reve (R), makeup artist. And general funny man. 

They are a dream team to work with. Miss them terribly - and can't wait to do it all again. Soon. 

Wednesday, 14 April 2021

Outfit for all my shoots: Hong Kong opening up slowly as things return to the new "normal"

Post vaccination, as the number of new cases spiral down in the 852 (God in heaven, finally!), shoots are happening again, brands are doing events again with great caution and precaution. I've been approached again with plans for events post-June to do invites and mini events. Hmm. Interesting times ahead. 

Will we - as humanity, not just Hong Kongers, learn anything from what's just happened in a post-pandemic world? 


But here's hoping...

April, 2021

Thursday, 8 April 2021

TBT: Photographer Sabrina Sikora's throwback to a feature shoot with Aliya Zaidi

This throwback made me smile. Photographer Sabrina Sikora posted on his social media - reminding me nearly a decade ago we did this glamorous feature and shoot for SCMP. 

Good times, great memories. 

Wednesday, 7 April 2021

Young at Heart: Interview with Douglas Young


Douglas Young, founder of Hong Kong design brand G.O.D. has been inspired and in turn inspires the next generation of proud Hong Kongers. 

受前人啟發,香港品牌 G.O.D. 創造者楊志超又將靈感啟蒙 新生代自傲的香港人,拉瑪克里斯納訪談中如是說。