Today my heart aches.
Not for me…not for my family.
But for someone else’s family.
Someone who doesn’t have the luxury like I do, of having her little girl under the same roof.
Not in her arms nor at arm’s length, arguing over what she wants for breakfast or which channel she doesn’t want to watch on the TV…she’s not even ‘just around the corner’ at a play date or at school for the day.
I say luxury but for the majority of us born in the western world, luxury is not a word we would normally associate with having a child, our own child living with us in our own home.
Caring for them as only a parent knows how, making sure there’s enough oil to keep the wheels spinning on the family home, day in, day out. It’s largely something we take for granted and all too often catch ourselves complaining about, passionately.
For some people, like my friend who’s also a Domestic Helper, Lara*, it’s simply not an option to have her little girl living with her, permanently. Continue reading
Posted in Expat Encounters, Mint Mocha Musings, Motherhood Moments
Tagged Bangladeshi maids, Domestic helpers, Filipino, Filipino Mums, Helpers, Hong Kong, Indonesian Maids, Maid Economy, Maids, motherhood, Philippines, Singapore a Maid Economy
For the last few months here in Hong Kong, if nothing else, my eyebrows have had a good workout, raising frenziedly with headlines like this leaping out at me from the pages of newspapers (local and international).
“Milk Smugglers Top Heroin Courier Arrests in Hong Kong”
“China’s Parents Crave Illegally Imported Baby Formula”
“Chinese moms risk prison if caught smuggling infant formula, but could they stay in Hong Kong?“
“Hong Kong is troublesome, says milk powder offender”
Did somebody say ‘milk powder offender?!’
Admittedly I was a little baffled as to how something so seemingly innocuous like baby food could be the cause of such scandalous headlines.
Then during my latest airport dalliance, a bit like the news headlines every 15 minutes, announcements boomed across the intercom – “Warning: All travellers to China are to take NO more than two tins of infant’s formula across the border!”
That’s two tins, OK!
Message received loud and clear – but just in case you didn’t get it, once through customs you’ll be greeted by this: Continue reading
Posted in Expat Encounters, Media Matters, Mint Mocha Musings, Motherhood Moments
Tagged Baby formula, breastfeeding, China milk scandal, Chinese babies, chinese mums, diseased pork, HK White House petition, Hong Kong milk restrictions, Melahttp://mintmochamusings.com/wp-admin/edit.php#inline-editmine, milk powder, Milk smuggling, pig meat scandal
Look what I found in my backyard……
Yes! Watch your step – this is a giant pile of p*#!!
Or perhaps better known as a ‘Complex Pile’ by Paul McCarthy (USA)
It’s 15 metres high and 33 metres long and it’s part of ’Mobile M+:Inflation’ – A (con)temporary sculpture park of inflatables.’
There are six inflatable pieces, including this giant pair of female legs next to a big black cockroach!
Or, artistically known as “Falling into the Mundane World” by Tam Wai Ping. (Hong Kong)
But wait there’s more… Continue reading
Posted in Asian Adventures, Expat Encounters, Mint Mocha Musings
Tagged art, giant cockroach, Hong Kong, Inflatable sculpture, Lotus flower, M+, Mobile M+:Inflation, pig, pile of poo, Rubber duck, Stonehenge, Yellow duck hong kong
“How did the interview go?”
It’s a question that peppers conversations daily across the island and beyond, here in The Kong.
You probably think I’m talking about a job interview – for a grown-up right?
Wrong! I’m talking about interviewing a two year old.
Yes – a very small person who can barely communicate (verbally anyway).
What’s the job? Well, it’s school! Pre-school even.
To make the cut, you’ve got to pass with flying colours and kids that means no tantrum throwing or displaying even the tiniest hint of separation anxiety!
Yep! Forget the days of choosing a school based on how close it is for the kids to walk and then popping into the classroom for a quick meet and greet with little Johnny’s teacher. The fact is, in Hong Kong, demand for an education outweighs supply. Significantly.
To read more, continue here:
Posted in Asian Adventures, Expat Encounters, Mint Mocha Musings, Motherhood Moments
Tagged Asian children, Asian schooling, chinese culture, Education, homework, Hong Kong schools, International schools, Pre-school, school debenture, school interviews, Schooling, Tiger Mums, tutors
Image Source: Reuters
Just up the road, China’s ducking for cover with a nasty dose of the flu.
Down south, Hong Kong’s going out of its way to avoid catching it.
The word on the street: “Don’t Panic!”
But make no mistake, precautionary measures are being put in place quickly and methodically in a steadfast effort to boost Hong Kong’s immune system.
In Mainland China, 129 people have been infected with a new strain of bird flu – H7N9 and 31 people have lost their lives.
Hong Kong’s government says with 30-thousand Mainlanders visiting the fragrant harbour city each day, it can’t rule out the possibility of an outbreak here. Continue reading
Posted in Asian Adventures, Expat Encounters, Mint Mocha Musings
Tagged Bird flu, bird virus, China, face masks, H5N1, H7N9, Hand Sanitiser, Hong Kong, KFC, pandemic, pigeons, poultry, SARS, shanghai, wet markets
When you’re living the ‘enviable’ expat life, it is for the most part, just that.
But looming amongst the five star shindigs, endless shopping extravaganzas and cultural enlightenment is the little unavoidable fact: you never quite know when it’s all going to end; when the phone’s going to ring with the next ‘tour of duty’.
Last week, we got one of those calls…
We’d been half-expecting it (if there is such a thing as half?) let’s just say it wasn’t a complete shock to the system. I didn’t run around the house yelling “We’ve been punked!” but to be honest, my heart did a triple somersault with a twist and leapt right out of my chest.
We’ve had many conversations about the next step. When we’ll be ready, where we think we’d like to go, where we think we’ll get to go. (For the record, the planets rarely align when it comes to the answers.)
This wasn’t a ‘do or die’ battle, we could say no and (hopefully) live to tell the tale, but when it’s all said and done, we like to think of ourselves as brave soldiers always up for a new adventure. (I’m sure soldiers don’t call their missions ‘adventures’) but you get the picture?
“Bring. It. On!” we chanted with all the nervous enthusiasm we could possibly muster.
Click here to continue over at Expat Focus>>
Posted in Asian Adventures, Expat Encounters, Hotel Confessions, Mint Mocha Musings
Tagged Air Pollution Index, China, China's economy, China's population, culture shock, Expat, Expat wife, Motherland, trailing spouse, Wuhan