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LIFESTYLE & CULTURE

Finding beauty in dilapidated HK

Getting lost in Hong Kong for DominiK/Dominique means avoiding the tourist traps to find beauty in the off-the-beaten tracks of the city/state, from the wet markets to the ‘eskinitas’ to the hole-in-the-wall eateries.

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I have been to Hong Kong more times than I care to count. One of my Daddies live there, see, so – while I still don’t consider myself a local Hong Konger – I hold the place close to my heart.

And like so many, I once saw Hong Kong’s appeal solely on its “glitter”, which may be best seen in its being a commercial center in these parts of the world. After all, this city/state has long been considered as the shopping capital of Asia. Yes, there may be some who would argue against this claim – what with Singapore offering just as many shopping opportunities; not to mention the emergence of, say, Bangkok, and even Metro Manila’s Divisoria or Baclaran (for the low end) and Greenbelt 5 (for the high end) – but with this special administrative region’s (SAR) closeness to mainland China (where everything is C-H-E-A-P) even while it offers Western conveniences (as remnants of the British rule), this place continues to be a must-check for shopping in these parts of the world. With the bling comes the glitters.

Now, commercially-inclined so many of the members of the LGBT community are, this makes this place… ideal. Think shopping, beautifying, overspending… all long associated with the pink currency. You can do that, and more, in Hong Kong.

But here’s the thing: For me, with all the glam that this place has to offer (e.g. think of the high rises like IFC, new constructions that redefine the character of the city/state’s locales like those in Lan Kwai Fong, and malls housing brands that fail in Western countries but thrive in Asia and the Pacific), I actually find more beauty in “old” Hong Kong.

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I can’t, for the life of me, find “life” in everything glittering. Walking in the streets of Tsim Sha Tsui, for instance, and seeing throngs of people queue (as if they’re about to watch the concert of some well-known celebrity) in front of the likes of Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Emporio Armani, Salvatore Ferragamo, Chariol, COACH, et cetera, I felt… empty. This is blatant commercialization – not too separate from the oft-repeated critique of the West, said to often link “democracy” with the blatant presence of commercialization.

So for me, I’d rather see the “old”, the dilapidated aspects of Hong Kong, whose very characters remind me that many may have changed through the years, but the place isn’t necessarily swallowed by “normalcy” (e.g. the uniform brands, uniform buildings without characters, people in similar staid uniforms, et cetera).

There’s just too much poeticism here.

In Central, for instance, take a walk along Queen’s Road and choose to veer away from the main road. Plying their wares are enterprising locals, selling “Made in China” goods, from paper lanterns to plastic masks to dragon costumes. In Central, too, take a walk along D’aguilar Street in Lan Kwai Fong, then – instead of going uphill – deviate to the right, into one of the streets intersecting D’aguilar Street. Numerous hole-in-the-wall eateries are there, offering freshly prepared dumplings (usually HK$40ish per 10 pieces) to congees (less than HK$18) to homemade noodles (from HK$30).

In Tsim Sha Tsui, get off Nathan Road, and find some surprises in the smaller streets intersecting it. Yes, the big brands are there; but they aren’t necessarily the focus. Also there are the custom suit makers, with their shops right beside crab sellers, or restaurants about to make soup out of that turtle on display in the container in front, right on the sidewalk.

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Jordan may be known for its night market, but… that’s the beaten track. Get “lost” and discover, instead, the local wet market. There, be filled with wonder as you stare at dried, salted whole ducks; pulverized leeches; fetus-looking roots in bottles… How much more “local” can you get?

In Mong kok – as it is in Kowloon, Yau Ma Tei, et cetera – there are eskinitas (alleys/small streets) that bring to mind Blade Runner. These look… dirty, dilapidated, and like people lived on them. There’s more character there; more story to be told.

So I tell you to get lost when you find yourself here.

Avoid the tourist traps (I’m thinking of you Disneyland, Ocean Park, Giant Buddha…).

Find beauty in what may well be ugly.

Because in the future, we may just end up all wearing Prada or Chanel or Lacoste or whatever because they’re hip; but these dilapidated wonders won’t be here anymore. And when that happens, we may shed tears for losing something that’s not necessarily pretty, but connected us to a different time/world.  A world where the dilapidated can be… beautiful.

Hong Kong isn’t all glam – but for this writer, this is why there’s beauty in this place.
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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...

Health & Wellness

Gender identity conversion efforts associated with adverse mental health outcomes

Reported exposure to conversion efforts before the age of 10 also was associated with greater lifetime odds of suicide attempts.

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Photo by Fernando @dearferdo from Unsplash.com

Gender identity conversion efforts to try to change a person’s gender identity to match their sex assigned at birth were associated with increased likelihood of adverse mental health outcomes, including suicide attempts.

This is according to a study helmed by Jack L. Turban, M.D., M.H.S., of the Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston.

The study, tiled “Association Between Recalled Exposure to Gender Identity Conversion Efforts and Psychological Distress and Suicide Attempts Among Transgender Adults”, and which appeared in JAMA Psychiatry, involved nearly 28,000 transgender adults from across the US. This observational study is based on the results of a survey distributed through community outreach to transgender adults in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, some territories and overseas U.S. military bases.

Of 27,715 transgender adults who responded, 19,741 (71.3%) reported having spoken to a secular or religious professional about their gender identity and of these 3,869 (19.6%) reported exposure to gender identity conversion efforts.

That exposure was associated with severe psychological distress during the previous month and prior suicide attempts during their lifetime compared with transgender adults who reported talking about their gender identity with a professional but weren’t exposed to conversion efforts.

Reported exposure to conversion efforts before the age of 10 also was associated with greater lifetime odds of suicide attempts.

Limitations of the study include its inability to determine causation; it didn’t capture conversion efforts by others such as family members; and it’s possible that some adults with worse mental health might have sought conversion therapy.

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The study findings support that gender identity conversion efforts should be avoided in children and adults. Professional organizations, including the American Psychiatric Association, have called conversion therapy for gender identity unethical and ineffective, and some countries have already outlawed the practice.

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LIFESTYLE & CULTURE

Running safety tips that are rarely spoken of

When looking online to consider the mainline (and yet completely coherent) running safety advice, it’s all the same. Find the right shoes, keep your form up, listen to your body, breathe well, stay hydrated, look around your environment. All of this is important. Yet the following running advice is rarely given to keep people safe.

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Running is a beautiful sport of course, but it’s much deeper than that. Humans once survived by endurance hunting, that is running so far and long that animals simply became exhausted trying to get away, leading us to secure dinner for that evening.

It is your right to run where you can, on pavements, through public woods, and on public footpaths.
Photo from Pixabay; used by CC0 License

Running is in our DNA, our bloodstream, and our bodies are remarkably well adapted for it. Running is completely free, and one of the most popular methods of cardiovascular exercise. Running is a representation of life, hard at first, but quickly adapting to grow as something in your control, and you get out of it exactly what you put into it.

However, running safety is never something you should ignore, no matter how natural the activity is. Yet when looking online to consider the mainline (and yet completely coherent) running safety advice, it’s all the same. Find the right shoes, keep your form up, listen to your body, breathe well, stay hydrated, look around your environment. All of this is important. Yet the following running advice is rarely given to keep people safe. We hope to break that trend now.

Keep Valuables Hidden

It’s not uncommon for many to listen to music while they are running, or to keep other worthwhile equipment on them. If wearing top of the line running gear, excellent running shoes and perhaps even nice running shades, you can often stand out as someone with a little wealth. This can lead someone with bad intentions to take note of you, and if you are tired at the last leg of your run, you might find yourself less equip to run off or fend them off.

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This is why keeping your smartphone hidden through zipped pockets, ensuring that wireless headphones are only used in relatively public areas or that you keep an eye on your environment as much as you can will make the most difference. 

Understand Your Rights

It is your right to run where you can, on pavements, through public woods, and on public footpaths. However, it can sometimes be that when construction work is taking place, or other unclear diversions between the road and the pavement are causing you confusion, that you are impeded or even hurt by motor vehicles or those who haven’t a runner’s best interests in mind.

This is where understanding where to find the legal representation you need and deserve can make the most difference over time. Understanding your rights to this end might just help you seek the compensation you deserve.

Consider Your Eating Habits

Running fasted or running with a light breakfast is often the preferential option for many morning runners, but it is essential that they build up to these habits and keep them consistent rather than letting them fade every weekend, or jumping into a hard fast immediately. When you find what’s right for your body and give yourself enough time to digest food, you are in the best possible position. But you certainly need to be careful.

With this advice, we hope your running habit can become even safer than it is now.

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LIFESTYLE & CULTURE

How to ensure you reach your potential at the gym

Getting into the best possible shape isn’t just a case of turning up, getting a sweat on, and going home.

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Photo by Daniel Apodaca from Unsplash.com

Your entire reason for heading to a gym is to get into much better shape than before. Each week you want to be better than the last. You may not manage to hit that particular level of consistent growth, but you’ll try anyway. Your goal is to become the best version of yourself when you enter that gymnasium, and you’ll try all kinds of things to tick that big box. 

Getting into the best possible shape isn’t just a case of turning up, getting a sweat on, and going home, though. It helps a lot, but it’s not the be-all and end-all, unfortunately. There are a multitude of other factors that go into it. They’re not difficult or complicated, so you’ll be able to wrap your head around them pretty quickly.

Here are four things you should probably do if you want to become the person you’re always picturing in your head.

Form Over Everything!

If you’re lifting weights or doing a particular movement, then you need to get it spot on. It can be very easy in this judgmental society to opt for what looks the best, but you’ll want to avoid what’s perceived as good and do what actually is good. By this, we mean you should focus less on doing heavy weights in order to impress people. Lower that sucker and do it properly. You’ll want your overall fitness and performance to be a lot better than the five-second glance someone sees of you. If you lower the weight and do it slower, then you’ll get WAY better results. Fact. 

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Hit Each Muscle Group 

Back day is boring for some. Legs are skipped all the time. Triceps? Some people won’t do much of that. If that’s your attitude, then you need to leave that way of thinking at the door and conjure up a better work ethic. In order to become more adept overall and be in better shape, you need to focus on your entire body. You’ll become better at the lifts you DO likes if you build up the other ‘boring’ areas. 

Once you get into the groove, you might start to become somewhat addicted to training.
Photo by Danielle Cerullo from Unsplash.com

Eat The Good Stuff!

If you want to put on weight and muscle; you’ve got to have a good calorie surplus. Just eat more than you already are – and make sure the foods are super good for you. Are you trying to shift a few pounds? Well, you need a calorie deficit. Don’t starve yourself. Just eat a LITTLE less. You can still enjoy the foods you already eat; just don’t completely devour them. Stopping when you’re full is a good start – a lot of people tend not to do this. A lot! 

Don’t Train If You Don’t Have To!

Once you get into the groove, you might start to become somewhat addicted to training. You may not have a physical addiction, but if you don’t go, then your mind might start playing tricks on you. You might start to feel down because you missed out. You might even make yourself feel a little guilty. 

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Don’t worry about not training. You SHOULD have days off in order to recover. You should especially stay away if you’re feeling a little too sore or ill. A few aches and pains in the back should be enough of a warning sign not to do any deadlifts or squats. Don’t overdo it: you may drive yourself crazy.

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LIFESTYLE & CULTURE

4 Ways to counteract overthinking and catastrophizing

If you overthink heavily for, say, an entire year, that’s a lot of time thrown away as you would have accumulated a lot of time in your own head instead of doing productive things. There are things we can do in order to cut down on the overthinking, though.

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Ah, yes, overthinking! One of the worst things a human being can do to his or herself. You’ve definitely done it before, so you know exactly what is and how it can absolutely destroy you. There are people out there that spend the whole day doing it. Crazy, right? It’s so easy for a person to fall into this trap. It becomes almost like an addiction. They begin thinking about something, but they then need to dig a little deeper in order to convince themselves that it’s okay – it never works out, though, as the thoughts become even worse and more negative.

Do something. Do anything. This is probably the best piece of advice you can possibly receive.
Photo by Nathan Dumlao from Unsplash.com

If you overthink heavily for, say, an entire year, that’s a lot of time thrown away as you would have accumulated a lot of time in your own head instead of doing productive things. There are things we can do in order to cut down on the overthinking, though. It can be beaten. It will always be with us because our brains are amazing and are constantly picking up patterns and memories, but we can lower its intensity in this regard.

Here are a few ways of doing so:

Recognize That It’s Never, Ever, Ever As Bad As What You Think

The first idea we’ll talk about is through the act of doing a little more thinking! It’s a little counterintuitive, but it’ll help. You need to realize that what you’re picturing in your head is absolutely not going to happen. Something along those lines may occur, but your catastrophic thoughts are not going to come to fruition – at all. You’re creating a storm in a teacup for absolutely no reason. Get out of that little imaginary instance!

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Don’t Stare At Social Media As Much (Or At All!) 

Social media has done a lot of good in terms of bringing people together, teaching people, and making businesses more prosperous. It has its drawbacks, though, and those drawbacks are pretty heavy. When you get a little too deep into the world of social media, you can find yourself caring too much about the littlest thing that’s on there. You might start developing relationships that don’t actually exist. You might view someone else’s fictional life as something that you want – no matter how realistic it actually is (which, a lot of the time, it’s not). Social media has a great way of making you feel worthless if you go down that rabbit hole too deeply.  

Try A Little CBD And Similar Products  

CBD Oil has become very, very popular over the past couple of years due to its ability to help with the likes of anxiety and depression. It doesn’t fix a person straight away, but it can soothe their minds. It works with a lot of people, so even if it’s a placebo, it might be worth considering! It contains traces of the cannabis plant, so it’s still quite a taboo oil at this stage, but it’s not like heading to a marijuana store and getting some sweetleaf concentrates every few days. The psychoactive and addictive elements are removed, leaving the traits that are best for mental recovery and relaxation.                                               

Don’t Idle

Do something. Do anything. This is probably the best piece of advice you can possibly receive. When your mind is on something, you don’t have the mental capacity to worry about stuff like you were before. You’re too busy focusing on the task at hand. Obviously, you’re only putting the worrisome thoughts to the side for a bit, so they won’t vanish forever, but if you can get into the habit of placing them aside, then that’s a great first step.

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LIFESTYLE & CULTURE

Easy ways to improve your small business efficiency

By automating any monotonous tasks, you can then save your team time and you can also give them the chance to be far more productive with the tasks that have been assigned to them.

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Photo by Tim Mossholder from Unsplash.com

The best way for you to make more money for your small business would be for you to focus on efficiency while also making sure that every one of your processes are streamlined.

Take a look below to find out more.

Automate what you Can

It doesn’t matter whether you automate your payment process or whether you invest in an automatic route software for your fleet because you need to make sure that you focus on efficiency as much as possible. By automating any monotonous tasks, you can then save your team time and you can also give them the chance to be far more productive with the tasks that have been assigned to them.

Encourage your Team to Talk Face to Face

Sure, sending a quick email to a co-worker may seem like an efficient way of communicating but sometimes it can hinder your efficiency. All the back and forth can easily take up way more time and you may even find that there are mix-ups too. This can really make it difficult for you to get something done, and the best way for you to avoid this would be for you to try and encourage face-to-face communication as much as possible. This will keep everything moving forward and it will also encourage your employees to work better with one another too.

Limit Interruptions

If your team are having a hard time completing tasks efficiently then this could be because they are having constant interruptions. One way for you to help yourself here would be for you to try and schedule all of your meetings for the same day rather than having them throughout the week. This will help your team to get everything they need clarified on the first day so that they can spend the rest of the working week getting everything done. If you want to take things to that next level then try and limit pop-ups, email alerts and notifications from your project management software.

All the back and forth can easily take up way more time and you may even find that there are mix-ups too. This can really make it difficult for you to get something done, and the best way for you to avoid this would be for you to try and encourage face-to-face communication as much as possible.
IMAGE SOURCE: Pexels (CC0 License)

Vehicle Management

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If you have a fleet of vehicles, it may be worth hiring a fleet management company. When you do, you can then spend more time focusing on the core aspects of your business. Little things like this can make a huge difference and you would be surprised at what an impact it can have on your team morale too.

Task Management

Task management software really is worth having and it can also help your team to stay focused throughout various projects. Another benefit of having it is that it will show you what needs to be done and when, so you can easily tell your team the tasks for the day. Some types of software even show you what your other team members are working on too, and this can really work wonders for your level of communication. If you want to take things to that next level, then consider creating a custom software. This will help you to really stay on top of everything and it will also make it way easier for you to manage your company.


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LIFESTYLE & CULTURE

Marketing your small business as effectively as possible

If you want to make a serious profit, you’re going to have to make your products obvious to the market and encourage people to buy them.

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Photo by Campaign Creators from Unsplash.com

Running a small business is an extremely complex task. You’re going to have to find and create a product or service that stands out from the crowd and can sell. You’re going to have to run market research to ensure that it’s something your target audience is interested in and will buy. You’ll have to manufacture physical products, run tests and ensure they’re safe or you’ll have to train in your craft if you’re selling a service to make sure you’re the top of your game. But once you have what you’re going to sell, your journey isn’t over.

The marketplace is increasingly saturated and you’re going to have to fight to stand out from the crowd. Sure, you might get a few organic sales where people come across your products or services of their own accord. But if you want to make a serious profit, you’re going to have to make your products obvious to the market and encourage people to buy them.

This process is known as “marketing” and you’re going to have to spend a whole lot of time and effort on it. There are various forms of marketing out there, varying from online marketing to physical marketing. For now, let’s focus on physical marketing.

The custom pop up banners infographic 2019 edition below will show you everything you need to know about pop up banners in particular.

Infographic Design By custom pop up banners infographic 2019 edition

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