23 February 2015

The Unexpected Virtue of the Oscars 奧斯卡的意外美德

Back when I was living in New York, the Oscars were a big annual event that brought together friends and coworkers. Year after year, I was the designated organizer for the office Oscar pool, and I would spent that one Sunday night at home watching the ceremony while scoring the ballot sheets. I would announce the results in the pantry the following morning, and the lucky winner would use part of his or her winnings to buy coffee for everybody.

A big social event every February

Luck plays a big role in Oscar pools because few people have the time or care to watch all the nominated films. Besides, doing so doesn’t necessarily increase – and can sometimes even lower – one’s chance of winning. As former Pool Master and now a movie reviewer, however, I feel duty-bound to do my due diligence and watch at least every Best Picture nominee before Oscar night. But it is no easy feat, as the number of nominees has nearly doubled from five in the pre-2009 era to nearly 10 ever since. What’s more, Hollywood studios are known to withhold critically acclaimed films until just a few weeks before the awards night to keep them fresh on the judges’ minds, resulting in a last minute rush of new releases in late January and early February.

Doing Oscar due diligence is even more challenging after I left New York. Here in Hong Kong, cinemas are dominated by the likes of Spider-man 2 and Hangover 3 during the Oscar season (which coincides with Chinese New Year), and artsy films invariably get pushed back to March and April. Many low-budget independent films do not get screened at all. I did manage to watch all eight Best Picture nominees this year, but not without a struggle. For instance, The Imitation Game opens in Hong Kong only this coming Thursday and Selma isn’t released until mid-March. I had to catch both of them in Europe during my Chinese New Year break.

Ready-to-use Oscar Pool sheet

And I’m glad I did, as this year’s line-up is one of the strongest in recent years. The eight contenders in the Best Picture category are as well-made as they are diverse. They run the gamut of war drama (American Sniper), biopics (The Imitation Game and The Theory of Everything), bildungsroman (Boyhood) and comedy-thriller (The Grand Budapest Hotel). My top pick was Boyhood, a critical look at the American life mired in existential crises. The camera followed the cast for 12 years, telling the coming-of-age story of a boy as he quite literally ages in front of the audience. The film deserves a win for both its depth and innovative storytelling. In the end, the Best Picture went to Birdman (or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance), a meta-narrative about the entertainment industry written and directed by Mexican filmmaker Alejandro González Iñárritu.

That means I probably would have lost this year’s Oscar pool if I had organized one. Indeed, the Academy Awards are known for their unpredictability. Over the years, the red carpet has been littered with terrible wins and surprising snubs. Shakespeare in Love and Crash are two of the weakest Best Picture winners in history, as are Russell Crowe’s back-to-back duds: The Gladiator and A Beautiful Mind. Then there were egregious misses like Citizen Kane, The Graduate and Pulp Fiction. Much of it has to do with the non-transparent and decidedly undemocratic voting process. Winners are handpicked by a 5,800-member committee in a “small circle election” not unlike the one that elects our chief executives. No one outside the Academy knows who these members are or how they are selected. What we do know is that they are industry insiders who tend to be swayed more by Hollywood politics than the merit of individual films or performances, and that they have a soft spot for historical melodramas and actors portraying serial killers, deranged psychos and the terminally ill. 

Patricia Arquette accepting an Oscar for Boyhood

I also have a bone to pick with some of the award categories. For starters, I never understand the distinction between Best Picture and Best Director – I would think one should always go with the other. But because they are two separate awards, the latter has become a silver medal of sorts. For instance, when Brokeback Mountain lost to Crash in 2005, Ang Lee was given a golden statuette for his directing as a consolation prize. Perhaps even more arbitrary is the distinction between men and women for the lead and supporting roles. Why draw a line between genders but not across races or religions? Separating actors from actresses is to suggest that the two groups cannot or should not compete together, like male and female athletes who must play in their own leagues.

One of the worst Best Pictures

They say the Oscars are a load of self-congratulatory kitsch, a night in which overpaid celebrities in tuxedos and designer gowns give each other high-fives for being famous and fabulous. The ceremony can run well over four hours, strung together by lame jokes, tedious monologues and acceptance speeches that are far too long and peppered with names known only to the people uttering them. Perhaps that’s why viewership has been on the decline, until the likeable Ellen DeGeneres brought it back to life last year.

At a time when award shows are falling out of favor, the Oscars are coming under increasing pressure to reinvent itself or risk losing its relevance and going the way of beauty pageants and variety shows. But every once in a while, when we least suspect it, someone will walk up the stage and take our breath away – such as when rapper Common and singer/songwriter John Legend gave a shout out to Hong Kong in their acceptance speech at this year’s Oscars. The winners of Best Original Song declared that the spirit of the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama – the site for one of the defining chapters in the Civil Rights Movement – now connects inner-city children in America to the Charlie Hebdo victims, and to the student protestors in our very own Umbrella Movement. Those simple yet powerful words touched millions of viewers in this part of the world, and in so doing, made the Academy Awards just a little more relevant.

Common and John Legend won our hearts

17 January 2015

Choosing to Use 企硬剔嘢

Among the constellation of urban vice in Hong Kong – prostitution, illegal gambling and organized crime – drug abuse is perhaps the most widespread and fastest growing. It is a guilty pleasure that transcends socioeconomic class and ethnic backgrounds, fuelled by the influx of cheap drugs from Mainland China and other emerging markets in Asia. And the upcoming murder trial of Rurik Jutting, a Cambridge-educated Hong Kong-based investment banker known for his “regular weekend drug binges”, is expected to thrust the well-known but little mentioned subject of illegal drug use, especially among high-rolling banking professionals, back into newspaper headlines and public discourse.

To take or not to take

The Jutting story has prompted me to send out a few text messages scouting for people in the know for a dose of inside scoop. It didn’t take me long to zero in on JD*, a self-proclaimed drug enthusiast who happens to be a derivatives trader for a bulge-bracket investment bank. The 26-year-old Chinese Canadian moved to Hong Kong from Toronto two years ago. He and his girlfriend Claire* share an apartment on Wanchai’s Star Street, one of the city’s upscale expat enclaves. The couple, together with their like-minded friends, use drugs recreationally and regularly.

Like other young bankers, JD is smart and assertive. And like other derivatives traders, he is accustomed to taking calculated risks for himself and his clients. JD applies his professional skills to his pharmacological pursuits, and manages his exposure by doing extensive research on the garden variety of drugs available in Hong Kong. Out of everything he and Claire have sampled over the years, MDMA and cocaine are their substances of choice. MDMA, which stands for 3,4-methylenedioxy-methamphetamine, is a psychoactive drug made from safrole oil. In tablet form, it is commonly known as ecstasy or its street name E. But JD is a purist and prefers to ingest MDMA in its crystalline form.

“MDMA is a great party drug because it enhances my perception of colors and sounds,” JD enthused. “It also makes me feel empathetic toward my friends. I take it twice a month when I go clubbing.”

MDMA in an ingestible crystalline form

“Coke does something entirely different,” he continued, “It gives you a confidence boost and a sense of accomplishment – the same feeling you get after closing a multimillion-dollar deal. Unlike MDMA, there is no hangover the following day. I can do a few lines on a Sunday night and go to work Monday morning.”

“How about heroin and methamphetamine?” I asked. “They’re very popular among Hong Kong Chinese.” Meth is also called “ice” in the local vernacular.

JD cringed when he heard those words. “We call heroin and ice ‘trashy drugs.’ They’re highly addictive and shooting up heroin leaves needle holes on your arms. Low-income folks take them because they are cheap. Bankers, especially the expats, don’t really touch that stuff.”

Trashy drug

“Do you smoke pot too?” I asked, conscious of the fact that marijuana has recently been legalized in four U.S. states.

“Pot is cool,” he beamed. “Claire prefers using a glass bong. We smoke in the living room while watching television. Marijuana contains less tar than tobacco and so the smell doesn’t stick to the furniture.”

“How about ketamine or LSD?” I pressed, determined to cover all the bases.

“Not as much. Ketamine is called K-jai here. It makes you hallucinate and gives you an out of body sensation. When you move your arms, for instance, it feels like you’re moving somebody else’s body part. Claire and I took some before we went hiking on Lantau Island yesterday. As for LSD, it’s very difficult to get it in Hong Kong, and so we don’t do much of it. No supply, no demand.”

Ketamine's out of body experience

Our conversation segued naturally into sources and pricing. My insider proceeded to walk me through where he gets his goods and how much he pays for them. 

“Say, if I want some coke – which comes in one-eighth ounce packages – I’ll phone up one of my guys who will either come to my apartment or meet me in his car or a taxi. He’ll take my cash, hand me the stuff and drop me off a block away.”

“Who exactly are these guys of yours?”

“There’re a few dozen dealers in the city. They’re local men in their 30s – decent guys who want to make a few bucks. It’s all business: efficient and uneventful.”

I asked JD whether these men were connected with the triads – the local mafia.

“I suppose someone somewhere up the food chain is. But the guys I deal with are low level distributors. There’re no dragon tattoos or missing fingers. They wear polo shirts and khakis just like you and me.”.

Drugs and money change hands anywhere in the city

“Alright, let's talk money. How much is a gram of coke these days?”  I probed.

“I pay about HK$800 (US$103) for a gram, which will last me and Claire all night. It’s cheaper than buying booze, and that’s partly why cocaine is popular.”

“And the others?”

“Marijuana comes in dried flower buds. A pack costs roughly HK$600 and is good for eight joints. E, on the other hand, is overpriced in Hong Kong. It costs HK$300 a pill, compared to less than HK$100 in the U.S. But prices for E have started to come down since the mainland Chinese started making synthetic safrole oil.”

Dried flower buds

Once money and drugs change hands, it is all good. JD and his friends consume what they buy at home to avoid having to carry it or pass it around in public – except for coke, which he usually has a second helping in the club’s bathroom. It is called a “key bump” because the small amount is snorted from a household key.

“Have drugs become a big part of your life?” I asked, out of genuine concern.

“Not as much as it sounds,” JD defended. “It’s a hobby, not a habit. I’m aware of the dangers, not only the legal risks but also the health effects. The main worry is that your body may build up a tolerance over time, and that you have to take more and more to get the same high. That’s why Claire and I space out our uses. Drugs are just like alcohol or fatty food, you have to know your limits.”

JD is not just an enthusiast; he is also an advocate. “Drugs have been demonized because people fear what they don’t understand,” he argued. “They can be a useful tool if we learn to use them responsibly. Psychedelic substances allow you to explore your deeper emotions and confront your demons, whatever they are. They’ve helped Claire and me work through our relationship problems.”

JD has a point. In the U.S., clinical trials are being conducted to use MDMA, ketamine and magic mushrooms to treat depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

One potential application of MDMA

In recent months, JD has been ordering drugs in larger quantities and selling some of them to his friends for a profit. To do that, he has not only moved up the local supply chain but also started importing from overseas. He even has test kits at home to verify the chemical contents of his purchases. For his own protection, he would not disclose how he manages to evade Hong Kong Customs when shipping banned substances into the city.

But the stakes can be high. The maximum penalty for drug trafficking in Hong Kong is HK$5,000,000 in fines and life imprisonment. A disgruntled customer or a careless friend is all it takes to get JD into serious trouble. For now, he is taking it all in stride. He insisted that he knew what he was doing.

“I import in very small quantities,” JD stressed. “It makes sense because if I’m buying for myself anyway, I may as well order a bit more for my close friends. By the way, text me if you want some for yourself. I sell better stuff than the junk on the street.

*Their real names have been concealed to protect their anonymity.

This article previously appeared in the January/February 2015 issue of MANIFESTO magazine under Jason Y. Ng's column The Urban Confessional.

As printed in MANIFESTO

16 January 2015

About the Author 關於作者

Born in Hong Kong, Jason Y. Ng is a globe-trotter who spent his entire adult life in Italy, the United States and Canada before returning to his birthplace to rediscover his roots. He is a full-time lawyer, a published author, a magazine columnist, a reviewer for TimeOut and a resident blogger for the South China Morning Post (SCMP). His social commentary blog As I See It and leisure review site The Real Deal have attracted a cult following.

Jason is the bestselling author of HONG KONG State of Mind (2010) and No City for Slow Men (2013). His short stories have appeared in various anthologies. He is a member of the Foreign Correspondents' Club and the Hong Kong Writers' Circle.

Jason has been featured at the Hong Kong Book Fair and the Hong Kong International Literary Festival. He has been profiled in The Apple Daily, City Magazine, TimeOut, the SCMP, various other publications and numerous overseas blogs. Jason speaks frequently on radio and at universities and cultural events.

In addition to being a writer, Jason is an English teacher, classical singer and amateur photographer. His other interests include alpine skiing, mountain climbing and classical music. 

Jason is also a social activist. He is an ambassador for Shark Savers and an outspoken supporter of foreign domestic helpers, new immigrants and other minority groups in Hong Kong. 

Jason’s day job and personal interests make him a frequent traveler. Over the years, he has visited over 100 cities in more than 35 countries.  He speaks English, Cantonese and Mandarin and has working knowledge of Italian and French.

In 2011, Jason was bestowed the title Man of the Year by Elle Men magazine for his diverse interests and balanced lifestyle. In 2013, Jason was the keynote speaker at the Harvard Club Book Prize award ceremony.

Jason earned his double degree in finance and engineering from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He holds a Juris Doctor and M.B.A. from the University of Toronto. He is admitted to the New York and the Massachusetts State Bar. He will be teaching as an adjunct lecturer at the Faculty of Law of the University of Hong Kong beginning Spring 2015.

Jason lives in Hong Kong and can be contacted at info@jasonyng.com. For more, visit www.jasonyng.com.

*                            *                               *

Jason makes frequent appearances on the literary circuit and university campuses. If you would like him to speak at your school or organization, please contact him by email.

15 January 2015

Media Attention + Upcoming Events 媒體關注 + 最新動向

Speaking at Harvard Club Book Prize 2013

Speaker at Opening Ceremony of Wimler Foundation's Leadership and Social Entrepreneurship Program
Date: 1 March 2015
Time: 9:30 - 10:30am
Venue: Migrant Empowerment Resource Center, Euro Trade Centre, Central

Topic: Writing and Journalism
Date: 3 March 2015
Time: 1:00 - 2:00pm
Venue: VSA, Wong Chuk Hang

Guest Speaker/Opinion Leader at John Hardy x MANIFESTO Spring 2015 Event
Date: 5 March 2015
Time: 7:00pm
Venue: John Hardy, The Landmark, Central

Date: 21-22 March 2015
Venue: Beijing, China

Adjunct Lecturer at Faculty of Law of Hong Kong University, LLM Program
Course: International Securities Law
First Class: 28 March 2015
Venue: HKU Cetennial Campus, Pokfulam

Feature Speaker at Raising the Bar HK
Topic: Hong Kong Food Culture in the Shadow of Gentrification
Date: 31 March 2015
Time: 7:30pm
Venue: Little Lab, SoHo

No City for Slow Men Selected by German-Swiss Int'l School Mother's Book Club/Guest Speaker at Book Club Meeting
Venue: TBD
Date: 18 April 2015

Feature Author at Polytechnic University's Writing Roundtable 2015
Topic: TBD
Date: 15 May 2015
Time: 12:30 - 1:30pm
Venue: PolyU English Language Centre, Hung Hom

If you would like Jason Y. Ng, author of No City for Slow Men and HONG KONG State of Mind, to speak at your school or organization, please contact him at info@jasonyng.com.

*                              *                          *


2015 (to date)

Lunch with Pen America to Discuss Speech Freedom in Hong Kong
Venue: Foreign Correspondents' Club, Central
Date: 16 January 2015

Endorsed Peter Gregoire's New Novel The Devil You Know
Date: January 2015


Guest Speaker at 2014 Hong Kong's Top Story Awards
Venue: Hong Kong Central Public Library, Causeway Bay
Date: 20 December 2014

Appearance on D100 Radio
Show: "Running the Race" with presenter Edward Chin
Topic: What's Next for the Umbrella Movement
Date: 7 December 2014

Book Launch Party for Queen of Statue Square, a New Anthology of Short Stories
Venue: Orange Peel, Lan Kwai Fong
Date: 6 December 2014

Author-Panelist at Hong Kong International Literary Festival 2014
Title: Hong Kong Stories
Venue: Room202, Duke of Windsor Building, Wanchai
Date: 9 November 2014
Time: 10:00am

Featured in the Apple Daily
Date: 9 November 2014

Guest Lecturer at Department of Politics, New York University
Title: "The Umbrella Revolution"
Venue: NYU Library Building
Moderator: Professor Shinasi Rama
Date: 6 November 2014
Time: 4:00-5:30pm

Guest Lecturer at School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA), Columbia University
Title: "The Umbrella Revolution"
Venue: Room 918, International Affairs Building
Moderator: Professor Stéphanie Balme
Date: 6 November 2014
Time: 12:00-1:30pm

Featured in City Magazine
Title: "Connecting People, Sharing Lives"
Issue: November 2014

Guest Lecturer at Faculty of Law, University of Toronto
Title: "The Umbrella Revolution"
Venue: Room 3, Falconer Hall
Date: 29 October 2014
Time: 12:30-2:00pm

Guest Lecturer at Osgoode Hall Law School, York University
Title: "The Umbrella Revolution"
Venue: Room 1001, Ignat Kaneff Building
Date: 31 October 2014
Time: 12:30-2:30pm

Featured in Dutch Newspaper De Volkrant
Title: "I will not miss the champagne in Hong Kong"
Issue: 15 October 2014

Featured in the Apple Daily

Featured Author and Guest Speaker at Chinese University Morningside College Writers' Series
Venue: Morningside College, CUHK, Shatin
Date: 10 October 2014

Featured in the Apple Daily
Date: 8 October 2014

No City for Slow Men Selected by German-Swiss Int'l School Book Club/Guest Speaker at Book Club Meeting
Venue: Highcliff, Stubbs Road
Date: 7 October 2014

Featured in Media Research Company Cision
Date: 7 October 2014

Featured in Voice of America 
Date: 6 October 2014

Appearance on Voice of America
Show: "Daily Download" with presenter Doug Bernard
Topic: Update on the Umbrella Revolution
Date: 6 October 2014

Article "My Six Hours in Admiralty" Appeared in Dutch Newspaper De Volkrant
Date: 4 October 2014

Appearance on RTHK Radio3
Show: "1 2 3 Show" with presenter Noreen Mir
Topic: Tutoring students at Admiralty protest site
Date: 3 October 2014

Featured in Dutch Newspaper De Volkrant
Title: "With trembling hands I wiped my tears away"
Issue: 3 October 2014

Featured in the Apple Daily
Date: 30 September 2014

Date: 29 September 2014

Appearance on Malaysia's BFM Business Radio
Show: "Current Affairs" with presenter Sharaad Kuttan
Date: 29 September 2014

Judge at Leadership & Social Entrepreneurship Program Co-organized by Wimler Foundation and Aeteno University
Venue: Migrants Empowerment Resource Center MERC, Central
Dates: 24 August & 21 September 2014

Release of Queen of Statue Square, a New Anthology of Short Stories
(with short story "Neville's Painting" by Jason Y. Ng)
Date: 13 September 2014

Adjunct Lecturer at Faculty of Law of Hong Kong University
Date: September 2014
First Class: Spring 2015
Venue: HKU Cetennial Campus, Pokfulam

Endorsed Starr Lam's New Book The Starr College Guide
Date: September 2014

Featured in the China Daily
Date: 1 August 2014

Featured in the Apple Daily
Date: 10 July 2014

Appearance on RTHK Radio3
Show: "HK Heritage" with presenter Annemarie Evans
Date: 5 July 2014

Appearance on Malaysia's BFM Business Radio
Show: "Current Affairs" with presenter Sharaad Kuttan
Date: 1 July 2014

Author Panelist at 2014 Cooler Lumpur Festival Hosted by the British Council
Date: 20 - 22 June 2014
Venue: Kuala Lumpar, Malaysia

Second Printing of No City for Slow Men
Date: 1 June 2014

Featured in the Apple Daily
Date: 29 May 2014

Speaker at Inaugural Thought Leadership Luncheon Hosted by Latham & Watkins
Date: 22 May 2014
Venue: 18/F, One Exchange Square

Became Music Critic for TimeOut Magazine
Inaugural review: Gounod's Faust by Opera Hong Kong
Date: 12 May 2014

Meeting with Pathfinders HK, an Organization Serving the Migrant Women Community 
Date: 14 May 2014
Venue: Tai Kok Tsui, Kowloon

Appearance on RTHK Radio3
Show: "Something for the Weekend" with presenter Tim Littlechild
Date: 11 May 2014

Moderator at 2014 Intellectual Property Conference at Hong Kong University Faculty of Law
Topic: Charting the New Frontiers of Intellectual Property: Protection of Fashion Brands
Date: 10 May 2014
Venue: HKU, Pokfulam

Guest Presenter and Book Signing at Harvard Club Book Award 2014
Date: 9 May 2014
Venue: Diocesan Boys' School Auditorium

No City for Slow Men Selected as Book Prize for Harvard Club Book Award 2014
Date: 28 April 2014

Guest Speaker at Li Po Chun United World College
Venue: LPCUWC, Shatin
Date: 15 April 2014 

Official Book Launch of No City for Slow Men
Venue: Bookazine, Lynhurst Terrace
Date: 12 April 2014

Guest Speaker at Author Event at Yew Chung Community College
Venue: YCCC, Kowloon Bay
Date: 10 April 2014

New Book Featured in Shenzhen Daily
Title: "Hong Kong - No City for Slow Men"
Date: 25 March 2014

Local Personality to Promote Hong Kong at the HK Tourism Board Public Relations Summit 2014

Venue: Soho
Date: 4 March 2014

Featured in The Sun
Title: "Defender of Migrant Workers' Rights"
Issue: 1 March 2014

Guest Speaker at Hong Kong University Faculty of Arts
Title: "From Blog to Book"
Date: 18 February 2014
Time: 6:00 pm
Venue: HKU, Pokfulam

Second Appearance on RTHK Radio3 to Discuss New Book
Show: "Asian Threads" with presenter Reenita Malhotra Hora
Date: 1 February 2014

Appearance on RTHK Radio3 to Discuss New Book
Show: "Around Town" with presenter Andrew Dembina
Date: 28 January 2014

Short Stories Going North and Going South Featured in Beijing-based Writers' Forum The Anthill
Date: 24-25 January 2014

Featured in TimeOut Magazine
Title: "Pick Up the Pace"
Issue: 22 January 2014

"Maid in Hong Kong - Part 3" Featured in Philippine Newspaper The Sun
Issue: 16 January 2014

Featured in Cover Story in the SCMP's Young Post
Title: "Mr. Do-It-All"
Date: 16 January 2014


Featured Author at "Meet the Authors on a Tram" Event by DETOUR Classroom
Venue: Repurposed tram departing from North Point
Date: 7 December 2013

Roll-out of Endorsement of "I'm FINished with FINS" Campaign
Date: 28 November 2013

Book Signing Event at Bookazine
Venue: Bookazine, 3/F, Prince's Building
Date: 28 November 2013

Author-Panelist at Hong Kong International Literary Festival 2013
Venue: City University, Run Run Shaw Creative Media Centre
Date: 10 November 2013

Spokesperson for "I'm FINished with FINS" Campaign
Date: October 2013

MANIFESTO  and Jason's Column "The Urban Confessional" Gone Global
News: Hong Kong's only unisex lifestyle magazine is being stocked in bookstores around the world, including the U.S., Europe, Latin America and Australia
Date: September 2013

Media launch for Hong Kong International Literary Festival 2013
Venue: Fringe Club
Date: 24 September 2013

Guest Speaker/Tastemaker at Hogan x MANIFESTO Fall 2013 Event
Venue: Pacific Place/Elements
Date: 12-13 September 2013

Featured in AGI China of Leading Italian News Agency Agenzia Giornalistica Italia
Date: August 2013

Guest Writer at British Council's Writer's Brunch
Venue: Chez Patrick, Wanchai
Date: 21 July 2013

Quoted in Influential Italian Literary Magazine Nuovo Argomenti
Title: Bruce Lee Blues
Date: 20 July 2013

"Maid in Hong Kong - Part 2" Featured in Philippine Newspaper The Sun
Issue: 16 July 2013

Guest Speaker at Hong Kong Book Fair 2013 Forum on HK Culture
Topic: Three Views on Documenting Hong Kong in English
Venue: HK Convention & Exhibition Centre, Wanchai
Date: 18 July 2013

Featured in Ming Pao Weekly 明報周刊

Topic: Anglophone literature and its impact on HK identity
Date: 13 July 2013

Featured in HKTDC's Online Weekly HK Trader
Title: In Focus: Literary Hong Kong
Date: 10 July 2013

Guest Speaker at Hong Kong's First "Asia on the Edge" Conference
Topic: Dialogue on Vision and Challenges with Publishers, Editors and Authors
Venue: The Fringe Club Ice Vault, Lower Albert Road
Date: 6 July 2013

Guest Speaker at HKTDC "Cultural July" Seminar
Topic: How to become a blogger/writer in Hong Kong
Venue: Pacific Coffee Emporium, Causeway Bay
Date: 3 July 2013

"Maid in Hong Kong - Part 1" Featured in Philippine Newspaper The Sun
Issue: 1 July 2013

Guest Speaker at HKTDC "Cultural July" Seminar
Topic: How to become a blogger/writer in Hong Kong
Venue: Kowloon Public Library, Ho Man Tin
Date: 30 June 2013

As I See It and The Real Deal Featured in the June Issue of Gafencu
Title: Online and On Topic
Date: June 2013

Venue: The FCC, Lower Albert Road
Date: 4 June 2013

Panel Speaker at "Transforming the Parasite"
Topic: Maid in Hong Kong, the social and cultural impact of the importation of domestic helpers on both the host and the migrant
Venue: Baptist University, Kowloon Tong
Date: 3 June 2013

Featured in The Clickbook by Filipino Blogger/Activist RJ Barrete
Title: How you do it
Venue: Four Seasons, Central
Date: 1 June 2013

Keynote Speaker at Harvard Club Book Award 2013

Topic: How to live a purposeful life
Venue: Education Bureau, Kowloon Tong
Date: 10 May 2013

Third Printing of HONG KONG State of Mind
Date: 25 April 2013

Guest Speaker at the Ladies' Recreation Club
Topic: book club discussion of HONG KONG State of Mind
Venue: The Ladies Recreation Club, Old Peak Road
Date: 18 April 2013

HONG KONG State of Mind Selected as Book Prize for Harvard Club Book Award 2013
Date: April 2013

Featured in The SCMP Education Post
Title: Balancing work and outside interests
Venue: Four Seasons, Central
Date: 20 March 2013

Featured in German blog "Lehrzeit"
Title: Hong Kong's education system and intellectual lethargy
Date: 8 February 2013


Book Signing at Blacksmith Book Booksigning Extravaganza
Venue: Bookazine, Prince's Building, Central
Date: 26 November 2012 

Became Resident Blogger at SCMP.com
Start date: September 2012

Endorsed Matthew Harrison's New Novel Benjamin Bunce
Date: August 2012

Became Contributing Writer for The SCMP Encounters travel magazine and LifeSTYLE/Getaways supplements
Start date: June 2012

Guest Speaker at Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD)
Topic: HONG KONG State of Mind
Venue: SCAD, Cheung Sha Wan
Date: 24 May 2012

Interviewed by Finnish Radio Station GB Times
Venue: Four Seasons, Central
Date: 23 May 2012

Guest Speaker at Savannah College of Art and Design
Topic: HONG KONG State of Mind
Venue: SCAD, Cheung Sha Wan
Date: 8 March 2012

Launched Second Blog The Real Deal
Date: 25 February 2012

Release of As We See It, the 2012 Anthology by the HKWC
(with two short stories, "Going North" and "Going South," by Jason Y. Ng)
Venue: The Globe, Soho
Date: 12 March 2012


Launched Official Website
Date: 31 December 2011

Featured in the December issue of The SCMP Post Magazine
Title: Wanderlust
Date: 2 December 2011

Launched Column "The Urban Confessional" in MANIFESTO magazine
Date: September 2011

Second Printing of HONG KONG State of Mind
Date: 20 August 2011

Named "Man of the Year" by Elle Men magazine
Date: May 2011

Featured in White & Case Alumni Newsletter
Title: Alumni spotlight on Jason Y. Ng
Date: April 2011

Official Book Launch of HONG KONG State of Mind
Venue: Bookazine, IFC Mall, Central
Date: 5 March 2011

Interviewed by RTHK Radio 3's Sarah Passmore on "Naked Lunch"
Venue: RTHK, Kowloon Tong
Date: 18 January 2011


Release of HONG KONG State of Mind
Date: 25 December 2010

Became Contributing Writer for Men's Folio magazine
Start date: May 2010


Launched First Blog As I See It
Date: 4 November 2008