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LIFESTYLE & CULTURE

5 Things to do in Cheung Chau, Hong Kong

In Cheung Chau in Hong Kong, here are five things you can (also) do there (and in HK for that matter), aside from just shopping, shopping, shopping.

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Yes, I (partly) live in Hong Kong – my other Daddy lives there, so I’m almost always there, too. HK is cool – sometimes, I think, more than people actually think it to be. I think this is because – while many people only see “shopping, shopping, shopping” when coming here – there is more to HK than (just how they say it) meets the eye.

And here, I personally think this island (that’s still part of HK) called Cheung Chau best shows why.

So me and my two Daddies went there one time, and I found out how… good “rustic” living can be. My other Daddy (the one who isn’t based in HK) uses this word (“rustic”) when he refers to something provincial; but I don’t think he only refers to living in a “small provincial town” (Belle said it first, HA HA!). I think it also means being… part of “simple living”, of a life that is not as “touched” by everything “modern”.

This is not to say there’s nothing to do in “rustic” places. Because after changing of ways of seeing, there’s just as much to do here, too.

And in the case of Cheung Chau, and here are five things I discovered you can (also) do there (and in HK for that matter, aside from just shopping, shopping, shopping).

  1. Eat.

As an island with a fishing village, everything seafood-y here is good… and cheap. So this is the usual – first – lure of Cheung Chau. You come here to eat, eat, eat.

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There’s a lot to choose from, and I recommend “avoiding” the usual meaty stuff. Instead, try everything with seafood here – from the fried rice (with seafood), to the veggies (with seafood), to the fish soup (yes, that’s seafood), and so on.

(p.s. I ate my veggies, and HK Dad was happy!)

Beyond the meals, try the sweets. I personally liked the mango puff balls (available from this vendor by the bay). It’s like eating mango ice cream coated in soft dough; it melts in your mouth. HK Dad said for me to say “You heard it from me first” when recommending this to others (!). The sugar-coated fruits weren’t bad, too. I can eat more, more, more. But of course HK Dad had to tell me “No”.

  1. Go rustic.

Forget living the “high life” as you may in downtown HK (where everyone seems to be rushing, everyone’s lost in their gadgets while walking, everyone’s lost in their own world). Instead, here, live “simply”. Yes, the gadgets are all still there; but so does living easy – like doing lazy walks to go from one place to another, bicycling by the bay, fishing, and so on…

If this is “rustic”, then it doesn’t seem so bad…

  1. Shop.

Of course, considering this is HK, shopping still happens. But here, not everything that can be bought are too “commercial”. HK Dad said many goods are “local”; and I had to agree. After all, how local can you get when – after catching some starfish from the waters, and then drying them by the bay – they are immediately sold as goods for whoever wants to buy them?

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  1. Bay-walking.

Of course in HK you can walk along the Boulevard of the Stars in Tsim Sha Tsui, but there, you’d be surrounded by tourists (non-HK Dad said it’s a “tourist trap”, but I told him I can’t find the “traps” he’s talking about, which made him laugh) and… the water isn’t clean. But here in Cheung Chau, the overall feel is different. Thanks to less tourists, the cleaner environment, the locals going about their business, and so on.

Aside from shopping/keeping or eating what you end up buying while walking, be sure to also check the hidden “treasures” in the waters. I saw lots of bicycles under water… and some trinkets, too. I think Ariel would have been happy dropping by.

  1. Engage.

Non-HK Dad said it’s called “immersion”, and that I’d understand what it means soon enough. I think he really only means engagement with everything local. He uses big words sometimes, but I still get what he means. So for me, if it means… 1,2,3 and 4, then it’s all very good for me.

So yes, when in HK, avoid the “usual” spots. Discover newer “faces” of this place. And Cheung Chau doesn’t seem like such a bad place to do that.

HOW TO GET TO CHEUNG CHAU

The New World First Ferry company has a regular ferry service from the Central Pier #5 on Hong Kong Island to Cheung Chau. You can reach the pier by taking the MTR to Central Station or Hong Kong Station, and then walking towards the sea using the elevated walkway system. Look for pier #5 when there.

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The trip can take from 35-55 minutes, with ferries running about every half an hour, alternating between fast and slow ferries.

Yes, there are other “options” available – like taking the inter-island ferry route that takes in Mui Wo on Lantau, Peng Chau, and Cheung Chau. From the Po Lin Monastery take Lantau Bus No. 2 that goes to the bus stop in Mui Wo , which is right beside the Mui Wo ferry pier where you take the inter-island ferry to Cheung Chau.

My name is Dom - that's short for DominiK... or Dominique, depending on which parent you're speaking with. One of my Dads, Michael, says it should be the former; but my other Dad, also named Michael, said it should be the latter. It must be because they have the same names, so they get confused about me, too (!). But no matter, I'm here - all peachy and fluffy. About me: I'm almost peach in color (not brown, ARGH!); have striped ears (white and red), black eyes (and toes), and brown nose. No, my nickname is NOT "Fluffy"! I'm only four (or five - again, depending on which Dad you ask); but that's a gazillion years in Teddy-time (if you must know). So I feel... experienced. I move a lot, too, with my Dads, and I'm here to share everything as I move around. So come join me...

LIFESTYLE & CULTURE

7 Life changes that will improve your mental health for good

No matter how major or minor the problem may be, there will be somebody close by who can help you to heal. Never keep your problems bottled up inside you; stay positive and be open with your friends and family.

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The ongoing topic of mental health has been in the public eye for a number of years now; the importance of maintaining a well-balanced life that helps to keep your ongoing state of mind healthy is ever growing. Mental health should be taken just as seriously as physical health so it is fundamental that people learn how to change their lifestyle to improve their overall mindset.

Whether you have been through a traumatic incident over the recent months or you need to remove toxic people from your life, there are several ways to conquer ongoing mental health battles. Even if you don’t think you are suffering from any major mental health traumas, all of the ideas mentioned below will help you to maintain a healthy state of mind.

If you have a history of mental illness in the family or you are worried that your past experiences will cause you to suffer, you might want to start incorporating some of these methods into your day to day lifestyle. The most important thing to remember is to stay positive and look for the best in every situation. If you can stay humble and grateful for the amazing things you do have in your life, you will find it so much easier to maintain a happy and health state of mind throughout your entire life.

1. Removing Toxicity

Getting rid of negativity in your life will help you to move on and become much more positive in your mindset. Whether you have a family member that keeps putting you down or you are with a partner who has domestic violence charges against them, when you feel unsafe in an environment it can begin to take its toll on your mental health. Make sure you find a way to get rid of the toxic elements that are holding you back from being happy. Talk to somebody you trust and there will be a way out of your current situation.

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2. Getting a Good Night’s Sleep

Lack of sleep can take a huge toll on your overall mental health, so if you aren’t getting enough sleep at night you need to make this a priority. Think about how you can set a calming atmosphere in your bedroom so that you can drift off peacefully. Operate a no phone policy in your bedroom when you are ready to go to sleep; the blue light from electronic devices can prevent you from switching off completely. Read a book, drink a caffeine free hot drink or take a long hot bubble bath to help you relax as a bedtime routine.

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3. Writing Down Your Feelings

Sometimes you can overthink certain situations in your head, which can lead to a lot of ongoing anxiety and troubled mental health. Grabbing a pen and paper and writing down exactly how you are feeling in that moment can really help you to lighten your load. You might come to a conclusion that you were overthinking silly situations in your mind and you will then be able to move on quickly. Even if you aren’t particularly creative, writing is the perfect outlet to let go of pent up feelings.

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4. Turning Things into a Positive

When something goes astray in your life or it doesn’t quite go to plan, it is very easy for this to become a negative in your mind. Perhaps you didn’t land the dream job you wanted or you haven’t managed to find the perfect house to live in yet. Whatever goes wrong in your day to day life, there will be a reason, so turn it into a positive. Perhaps a better job is round the corner or a better value house is just ready to be snapped up. Every cloud has a silver lining so always look on the bright side when you can.

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5. Changing Your Eating Habits

The food that you put into your body can have a huge knock on effect to your overall mood. If you are feeding yourself junk food that is full of saturated fat and refined sugar you are going to go through highs and lows, whilst feeling sluggish. Nourish your body and mind with delicious food and plenty of water every day and you will have a much better chance of standing up to those mental health demons. You will feel more energized and ready to tackle anything that comes your way.

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6. Exercising Regularly

The endorphins that are released when you undertake exercise are renowned for making people feel happy and uplifting their mood. No matter what type of exercise you enjoy, you can instantly put a smile on your face if you get your blood pumping. It’s even better if you can enjoy exercise with a friend.

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7. Practicing Mindfulness

Whether you meditate for ten minutes each morning or really focus on the foods you are eating, mindfulness is an amazing tool for mental health. It can help you appreciate the beautiful world around you so you aren’t taking anything for granted. Write down all of the positive things you have going on in your life and you will soon find a reason to smile every single day.

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Sometimes it is easier said than done when it comes to keeping your mental health in check. More and more people are being diagnosed with mental health issues each day, so it is very important that you take these things seriously. Small and subtle changes to your lifestyle will help you to live a happier and healthier life overall, which will then have a positive impact on your overall state of mind. When you become anxious or worried about something, you should always try and talk to somebody who can help you through.

No matter how major or minor the problem may be, there will be somebody close by who can help you to heal. Never keep your problems bottled up inside you; stay positive and be open with your friends and family. There might be a sufferer just like you sat close by, so look around and believe that everybody is around to help you through.

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LIFESTYLE & CULTURE

Art to push the curious to explore

Check out Copenhagen-based artist Spurv, whose erotic art pieces reached/touched others, particularly those “like me (who) have the curiosity to explore, and the people who are afraid to dare.”

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Sometime in 2015, Copenhagen-based artist Spurv started making erotic art pieces. It was, he said to Outrage Magazine, “somehow my personal journey through sex life where I explore my hidden sides, curiosities, fetishes, desires, limits, et cetera.

And so – in not so many words – Spurv said that without wanting to sound self-centered, he was “inspired by life itself – my life.”

Here’s the thing, though: although his artworks are “my story”, Spurv’s work eventually reached/touched other people, particularly those “like me (who) have the curiosity to explore, and the people who are afraid to dare.”

Spurv uses the old technique of gravure, this time on linoleum to create linocuts (block prints).

Linocut, a printmaking technique that is a variant of woodcut where a sheet of linoleum is used for a relief surface; the design is cut into the linoleum surface with a knife and the raised/uncarved areas represent a reversal/mirror image of the parts to show printed. The linoleum sheet is then inked with a roller, and then impressed onto paper or fabric.

“I chose (this technique) because I find very appealing (in creating) the contrast between this technique and the depicted topic of gay fetish,” Spurv said.

His subjects are actually reminiscent of Tom of Finland, Hal Fischer, Jim Wigler, Rinaldo Hopf and Etienne (among others), adapting the same raw approach to (male-to-male) sex/sexuality. And yes, as he noted, the use of linocut – instead of sketching/drawing/painting/photography – differentiates Spurv’s works.

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Obviously, Spurv is cognizant of how – even if erotic art is now very pervasive – it continues to be frowned upon. But not wanting to go deeper into this topic, he said that appreciating this necessitates going deeper to see beyond the superficial perspectives/POVs/analyses.

With art, Spurv said that there is no need to compare oneself with others, particularly since “every artist depicts his own universe in his own way. This is not a competition.”

For up-and-coming artists, “I would always encourage people to know and then express themselves (since being able to) express themselves in an artistic way is a blessing,” Spurv said. So, just like the many males in his artworks, going about discovering their sexuality, “fear is not an option.”

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Health & Wellness

LGBT adolescents more likely than other kids their age to try to kill themselves

A study found that sexual minority youth were 3.5 times as likely to attempt suicide as their heterosexual peers. Meanwhile, transgender adolescents were 5.87 times more likely, gay and lesbian adolescents were 3.71 times more likely and bisexual youth were 3.69 times more likely than heterosexual peers to attempt suicide.

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LGBT youth have higher risk for suicide attempts.

This is according to “Estimating the Risk of Attempted Suicide Among Sexual Minority Youths: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis”, a study done by Ester di Giacomo, MD; Micheal Krausz, PhD; Fabrizia Colmegna, MD; Flora Aspesi, MD; and Massimo Clerici, PhD and which was published in JAMA Pediatrics.

For this study, the researchers pooled data from 35 earlier studies to show that sexual minority youth were more than three times as likely to attempt suicide as heterosexual peers. Transsexual youth were at highest risk, nearly six times as likely to attempt suicide as heterosexual peers, researchers reported.

“Adolescents facing ‘non-conventional’ sexual identity are at risk of higher self-threatening behaviors, independent of bullying and other risk factors,” Dr.di Giacomo, the study’s lead author, was quoted as saying by Reuters Health. “I think that a difficulty in self-acceptance and social stigmatization might be keys for understanding such elevation in the risk of self-threatening behaviors.”

This may be because many LGBT youth have trouble accepting who they are because of the way they are seen by others, di Giacomo added.

The study noted that “suicide is the second-leading cause of death among adolescents” and that “sexual minority individuals are at a higher risk of suicide and attempted suicide.”

Thirty-five studies reported in 22 articles that involved a total of 2 ,378,987 heterosexual and 113, 468 sexual minority adolescents (age range: 12-20 years) were included in the analysis. The study found that sexual minority youth were 3.5 times as likely to attempt suicide as their heterosexual peers. Meanwhile, transgender adolescents were 5.87 times more likely, gay and lesbian adolescents were 3.71 times more likely and bisexual youth were 3.69 times more likely than heterosexual peers to attempt suicide.

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Since the findings suggest that youths with non-heterosexual identity have a significantly higher risk of life-threatening behavior compared with their heterosexual peers, the researchers stressed that “public awareness is important, and a careful evaluation of supportive strategies (e.g. support programs, counseling, and de-stigmatizing efforts)… be part of education and public health planning.”

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LIFESTYLE & CULTURE

Why it really is important to save up

Remember that even if you’re living it up right now and constantly have money pumping into your account – things change, and you may find yourself in completely different circumstances within the blink of an eye, all because you weren’t careful.

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We often hear so many things about the importance of saving money, and yet there is never an explanation as to why. So many people – especially in the modern world we now live in – want to live in the moment, and in doing so, means being a little impulsive at times and buying what they want, when they want, because they can. This is a freeing way to live because it banishes responsibility and stress and pressure, as there are no longer any rules to abide by. While this may sound rather nice, there is a reason that people make rules regarding their finances.

It’s easy to be blasé about it when you have a nice figure looking at you in your account, but when you don’t have that luxury and instead end up having to worry about scraping by until next month – everything changes. So remember that even if you’re living it up right now and constantly have money pumping into your account – things change, and you may find yourself in completely different circumstances within the blink of an eye, all because you weren’t careful.

Here are a couple of other reasons why you need to think about saving up, and how.

Your health

You never know what kind of situation you may end up in. You might be a fit and healthy young adult, and wake up one day and get involved in a car accident, or get diagnosed with an illness you never imagined you’d have. And while this is awful, you need to think about how you’re going to get the treatment you need without ending up in major debt that you’re having to pay off for the rest of your life. But this is where the Health Savings Account Guide comes into play. You are able to safely put your money away in the event of an unexpected emergency, but not only can the money be used to cover health care expenses, but it can be used in retirement too on a completely tax-free basis.

By saving up the money you have coming in now, you won’t have to worry about the risk of not being able to pay your way through schooling or college, because you have your future education funds that have been accumulating over time, giving you the freedom to learn whatever you want to learn, and build a career from the ground up.
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Your education

While you may not have any big career dreams right now, that could always change in the next few months or years, and you want to be able to have the opportunity to pursue whatever you like, without there being any money issues that are holding you back from following a certain path. So by saving up the money you have coming in now, you won’t have to worry about the risk of not being able to pay your way through schooling or college, because you have your future education funds that have been accumulating over time, giving you the freedom to learn whatever you want to learn, and build a career from the ground up.

Now that you have a couple of examples, you can understand why it’s important to be wise with your money and think about the potential of your future. Regardless of whether you have a plan right now or not – things change all the time, and something may arise where you’re so glad you had some savings to tap into.

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Health & Wellness

4 Reasons why people put off doctor visits (But you really shouldn’t)

Whether it be for an annual checkup or because you know that you’re sick, everyone needs to visit the doctor now and then. That being said, chances are, you don’t go as often as you should.

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Whether it be for an annual checkup or because you know that you’re sick, everyone needs to visit the doctor now and then. That being said, chances are, you don’t go as often as you should. This certainly isn’t the most enjoyable activity, but it’s one that is necessary for optimal physical and mental health. Despite this, more and more people choose to skip instead, with the biggest culprits being millennials. This is a risky decision that could put your whole life at risk.

Here are four reasons people why put off doctor visits, but you really shouldn’t.

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1. “There Is Never Enough Time”

Everyone in the world has better things to do than visit the doctor, but, you’re kidding yourself if you think that you can’t spare enough time for an appointment. Annual checkups usually last no longer than half an hour, with more specific issues often taking up even less time. There’s no use in putting off or canceling these trips to do one thing or another, because, if you were to get sick or worse, you wouldn’t be able to do them anyway. Your health should always be the priority.

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2. “I Am Probably Healthy Anyway”

Unless you’re showing signs of being sick, you probably are okay, but that doesn’t mean that you should take this chance. There are lots of incredibly serious conditions that have very few or no symptoms or don’t start showing these until it’s far too late. Finding illness early gives you a much better chance of getting better, which is why you should never skip your annual checkups. You’re not a doctor, so don’t assume that there isn’t an issue until you’ve actually spoken to one.

3. “It Is Better Not Knowing”

Even if your doctor tells you some bad news, it’s never better not to hear it. After all, there is usually something that can be done to help. If you went your audiologist for poor hearing, for example, they would be able to tell you all about hearing aid benefits and their success rates. You can’t get treated if you bury your head in the sand, regardless of what the issue is. You might not even be sick, but, if you are, you should give yourself the opportunity to get better.

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4. “My Partner Won’t Stop Nagging”

You and your partner can argue about almost anything, from the washing up to the weather, but the one thing that you shouldn’t disagree on is the importance of your health. Even if your significant other tends to nag about anything and everything, you should listen to them when they tell you to go to the doctor. After all, if they didn’t believe that it was necessary, then they wouldn’t try to convince you. Listening to your loved one is not defeat, but a chance to be together longer.

When push comes to shove, there is never a good reason not to go to the doctor. Instead of coming up with excuses, you should book an appointment and get it over with.

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LIFESTYLE & CULTURE

What’s up, Doc? How to choose the right physician

As your body deteriorates, you need someone with an eagle eye who can spot the signs. And, it might as well be someone you like if you’re going to see them once a week. These are the things to consider.

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It’s always important to have a crack doctor on your speed dial rather than a quack. The body can do strange things and you need someone to give a second opinion as you don’t have a doctorate in medicine. As you age, it’s as important as ever to make sure the man or woman with the stethoscope is on point. The logic is simple: you’re going to visit them often.

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As your body deteriorates, you need someone with an eagle eye who can spot the signs. And, it might as well be someone you like if you’re going to see them once a week. These are the things to consider.

Location

Medicine isn’t like real estate, so the location isn’t everything. Yes, it’s easier if the surgery or clinic is a ten-minute drive away for obvious reasons. However, just because it’s a thirty-minute ride into the center of town shouldn’t put you off either. A whopping 60% of patients choose their doc based on location, which is dangerous because it puts health at risk. First and foremost, the physician should be a qualified and skilled practitioner who puts your well being first. After that, then things such as location and cost can come into play.

Cost

Although, let’s not pretend that money isn’t a factor. Healthcare might be free but Medicare in this country covers not everything. For example, dental and prescription drugs are privatized and require an upfront payment. Considering the pill-popping culture in North America, the odds are you’ll need some medication in the future. It’s much better to get some form of care than none whatsoever in this scenario as certain pills are powerful and can improve your quality of life. Always research the prices beforehand to make sure you can afford treatment which isn’t covered by the government.

Patient History

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Everyone makes mistakes, but you can’t afford a doctor who does it regularly or makes huge errors. It’s your health and one slip-up might be fatal. That’s why some people seek out a lawyer: to dig a little deeper. A physician’s record won’t be public so you will need to hit the books to find out more. Even though it isn’t comprehensive, it’s always a good idea to use referrals from friends. Because they’re unbiased, their recommendation isn’t tainted. Another option is to check the Web for surgeries with excellent patient histories.

Bedside Manner

You (hopefully) won’t need anything more than a checkup yet it’s still good to take their bedside manner into account. For one thing, going to visit a doctor is a grind because of the stress of the unknown. At least with someone who is warm and can make your life, you won’t feel as much pressure. Plus, hating your doctor is likely to encourage you not to see them when you are ill. You’ll think “oh it’s nothing and I can’t be bothered with X anyway.” Plenty of people have suffered because they didn’t want to bother their practitioner.

In general, it’s all about their level of care whether it’s medical or customer-based.

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