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Hong Kong minute

And just like that, almost 3 years had passed. One minute, I was giving birth to Little Miss Ha Gaau; the next, I was looking for a kindergarten for her for next school year.

Mr. Diplomat moved on from handling cultural affairs to assisting our nationals and monitoring political and economic concerns. This means he is still busy attending events after office hours but not so much anymore for me to accompany him with (a very much welcome break if you ask me).

I got my certificates for finishing the Cantonese language programme — basic, intermediate and advanced — of the International Social Service. I can construct sentences in Cantonese…with a prayer that the Hong Konger before me answers back in English (haha). I did volunteer work, had a short stint as an English translator, and found more accompanying spouses to enjoy afternoon teas with.

Our private lives as just Daddy and Mommy are completely out of the window. Most of our nationals know and greet us. We talk to all of them, of course, but honestly remember previously meeting only a good half.

Little Miss Siu Baau finished K1 and K2 with best performance awards. Our lady is now in K3 and recently received confirmation from both primary schools we applied for (Thank God!). She had two milk teeth exfoliated and is ready to trade the next one with the Tooth Fairy for HKD10!

We have a new private staff. Don’t ask why.

The days in Hong Kong truly pass by as quickly as their trains in the Island Line. It was not too long ago when I was bound for Hong Kong thinking What am I going to do there for that long? Yet, here we are on the final leg of our tour of duty. Nothing sits still in this city; everything is dynamic.

Meanwhile, the Hong Kongers still dress up according to the month and not the temperature, bringing out their boots as soon as it is Mid-Autumn Festival at 27°C. Some things never change after all.

Amazing baby race

I have been scouring the city for things for Little Miss Ha Gaau. Being in the final league of my pregnancy, I found my self wishing I was back home, where huge malls serve as one-stop shops for everything I need. The closest thing I got here is the Kid’s Wear and Maternity section in Harbour City. If you are into Armani Junior, Baby Dior, Burberry Kids, DKNY Kids, Fendi Kids, Gucci Kids, Ralph Lauren Childrenswear and Tommy Hilfiger Childrenswear, then you will definitely find everything here. I specifically go here for 0/3 baby and Babies R Us for Peg Perego and Graco products, respectively. For most other items, I have been dragging Mr. Diplomat to each of the following shops for the past couple of Fridays. Each shop is located in a different building or district, a fact of life we have come to accept in Hong Kong.

305-307 Prince’s Building
For bath mats, cotton balls, cotton buds, Moses baskets, and reasonably priced Avent bottles, bottle brushes, bottle warmers, cardigans, hats, maternity pads, mittens, nursing bras, pajamas, sleep suits and washable breast pads
Bumps to Babes
5/F Pedder Building
12 Pedder Street
For Medela and Mustela products and reasonably priced sleep suits, Dr. Brown’s bottles and breast-feeding pillows
UB Parklane Hotel Basement
Causeway Bay
For hangers and cheap bath mats, cots, sleeping bags and swaddling blankets
Kids & Kids
19/F Li Dong Building
9 Li Yuen Street East
For cheap Baby Gap pajamas, clothes, costumes and shoes
1/F 7 On Lan Street
For bottle warmers and reasonably priced sterilizers
3/F The Landmark
For reasonably priced Earth’s Best chlorine-free diapers and Seventh Generation natural liquid detergent
68 Queen’s Road Central
For pajamas and reasonably priced sleep suits
Eugene Club Centre
4/F Lane Crawford House
70 Queen’s Road
For abdominal binders and cheap Moses baskets

We have also been checking the following online shops for some hard-to-find items.

Rainbow Care Centre
Room C 3/F Right Time Building
21-27 Playfield Road
Mong Kok
For Hong Kong-sized cots and cheap Baby Bjorn carriers
13/F BOC Yuen Long Commercial Centre
102-108 Castle Peak Road
Yuen Long
For Bummis cloth diapers and reasonably priced Medela products
Health Essential
8/F Hung Tak Building
106-108 Des Voeux Road
For Country Save biodegradable detergent and Fenugreek capsules
17/F Hoi Fu Garden
91 Estrada de Cacilhas
For bumGenius cloth diapers

A few more items and I am all set for the big day on Tuesday. Wish me luck!

Tales from the Diplokitchen: Pussy Foot

I would not have survived an alcohol-free pregnancy without this mocktail. Get this: even Mr. Diplomat orders it!


1/2 ounce grenadine syrup
2 ounces pineapple juice
2 ounces orange juice
2 ounces grapefruit juice


Mix all ingredients in a cocktail shaker/stirrer and pour into an unusually shaped glass. Add crushed ice and decorations to create a great speciality drink from an easy to make recipe!

Fatherhood, twice over

Little Miss Ha Gaau

Our eldest daughter will turn 3 years old this March. After the first few sleepless months of making her milk in the middle of the night and cleaning after her poop, wee-wee and barf, things have finally settled down.

We have been blessed with an inquisitive and precocious child. I have been pleasantly surprised numerous times regarding the fantastic progress that she has made. At babycenter, she has consistently surpassed the milestones appropriate for her age, except for her supposedly being fully toilet trained by now (ooops!). As I am typing this now, she is beside me playing a memory game on the iPhone, a device that she learned to navigate on her own. She can already read letters and numbers, and can converse in complete sentences.

When we were young, a child was already considered gifted if he or she could read by the age of 3 years. I am guessing that, with the advent of information technology, the way of thinking of the next generation will also be wired differently. It’s a totally different world right now, full of opportunities as well as uncertainties. As parents, we can only hope that we can be able to balance guiding our children with the values that we believe in but at the same time giving them enough leeway to discover things on their own.

And now, the cycle will start all over again. In a few days, Mrs. Diplomat will be giving birth to Little Miss Ha Gaau. For the past few months, we have already been training our Little Miss Siu Baau to take care of her baby sister when she finally comes out. Before she turns in for the night, we do the princess dance to Beauty and the Beast, she kisses us good night, including her baby sister in Mrs. Diplomat’s tummy, then we have our group hug and say our family cheer.

It has been a blessed year indeed, and with the impending arrival of Little Miss Ha Gaau, 2012 can only get better. Happy New Year!

Mr. Diplomat