One little hit of dopamine I experienced last year was winning a place in the 2020 Proverse Poetry Prize Anthology for my first bash at writing a poem! War of Voicesis my little rant on social media, populism and propaganda.The anthology, called Mingled Voices 5, will be published by ProverseandChinese University Pressas an ebook and in paperback THIS WEEK (April 22), but is already available for preorder onAmazon!
I’m also writing a humorous short story for theHong Kong Writer’s Circle‘s2021 anthology. This year’s theme isAfter The Storm. I seem to have been mentioned in the same sentence as ‘storm‘ quite a bit recently, which is either profoundly disturbing or deliciously serendipitous. If I don’t blow myself out, the anthology will be launched at theHK Lit Festand published in Nov!
The bipolar love story film I helped co-produce Transferencewas one of the films opening the 2021 Arizona International Film Festival, which kicked off April 14! Director and actorRaffaello Degruttolagave an interesting webinar discussing his inspirations behind the film on Zoom at 3pm PST on Saturday. If you missed it, please don’t cry! You can still catch it on the festival’s YouTube channel for at least another week.
Thanks to the festival for selectingTransference(originally for its 2020 film festival, which was cancelled because of COVID) and to theTuscon Weeklyfor mentioning our bipolar love story in their article about it!
Is it my bipolar mind playing tricks on me or are there now more awareness days than unawareness days? What about an Unawareness Awareness Day? Has anybody had the awareness or unawareness to think of that? If there is an Unawareness Awareness Day, I am unaware of it.
NoooooooOOOOOOO! I missed Bipolar Awareness Day March 30! But I wish you all a happy Bipolar Unawareness Day today. To mark the unoccasion, I did some digging and found my elusive, best ever screenshot of Bipolar Express in Dropbox. You don’t get much more educaitonal than THIS!
Sadly, it was swiftly amended by somebody who doesn’t enjoy an amusing typo quite as much as I do. I guess I just didn’t see the point of subscribing after that…
Of course EVERY day is Bipolar Awareness Day if you have bipolar or care for somebody who does. And you shouldn’t have to face it alone!
Bipolar Hong Kong 躁鬱香港 started out as my humble blog in a some might say losing battle to try and keep myself sane. Over the past 7 years it has evolved into a leaderless movement of likeminded souls searching for enlightenment, empowerment and a platform to connect.
The group offers free, monthly support groups in Central and (since 2020) on Zoom for Hongkongers affected by bipolar disorder, their friends and families, including peer mentoring, the odd socially distanced social, and access to creative opportunities via Mental ideas. If you’re looking for peer support, a chance to vent and share ideas, join us!
Series 2 of myMental Ideas Podcast(Oddcast??) will be back on the air @RTHK Radio 3in weekly episodes with a new twist, a live studio format and an electric mix of local and international guests!
The new series explores the impact of mental health on relationships in a humorously irreverent, offbeat, poignant & uplifting way. Stay tuned for news of S1’s release on other platforms and a sponsored TV spin-off! 🤞
Larry is bestselling author of some 15comic booksand children’s book seriesThe Fart Brothers, the latter of which he wrote under the pseudonym MD Whalen (until I outed him on air). Presumably, he feared it was a stinker.The Flower Boat Girlis his first historical fiction novel and the culmination of over a decade’s work. You can preorder the book onAmazonand read the first rave review of ithere! 🙌
I am flattered to be mentioned in a few of his rants after casting him, aged 53, as a 16 year old boy in Miss Adventure meets Motorhead, which was shown on Funny or Die. Thanks to Chicago radio hosts WC TurckandKerri Kendallfor reminding me of our madcap little escapade gatecrashing a Motorhead gig @ Madison Square Garden in their preamble to an interview with Dan about the book last week!
Dan has experienced international success as an actor and screenwriter. He was a recurring guest in the Trolls Anonymous & Death & The Frozen Tundra episodes of S1 of my Mental Ideas Podcast and will be back again in S2! His debut book is really quirky, funny and the first in a trilogy based on his Facebook rants from 2008 to the present day. Enjoy!
Thanks to SCMP photographerAntony Dicksonfor an hilarious impromptu photoshoot on my roof, where for no particular reason (other than the weather was nice) we decided to recreate classic scenes from two of my favorite movies with my new poo Mojo Hobo Kaye!
I put my foot in it LIVE onRTHK Radio 3‘s fantabulous123 Showin my firstSharp Pain of 2021! My latesthumor columnbroadcasted Jan 26 @2.30pm HKT!Sharp Painswill be back in the Year of The Ox! Here’s hoping it will be a lot more lucky and a lot less plaguey than its Ratty predecessor!
The Year of The Ox is upon us and to celebrateHome Kong Kitchenwill be baking and serving cream teas for refugees @Refugee Union in Sai Yin Pun THIS SATURDAY (Feb 13) from 2pm! Thanks to our collaborators @ Breadline for arranging this opportunity for us to mark the Lunar New Year in our own little way: the Cornish way!
Cream teas have been steeped in Chinese mythology and tradition ever since 400BC when Confucius tried one, overdid the clotted cream and sagely proclaimed “You are what you… think I’m gonna barf!!!” (His publicist later shortened the quote to “You are what you think.”) Here’s hoping the Year of The Ox will be a lot more creamy and a lot less plaguey than its Ratty predecessor!
If you would like to help me serve teas to refugees on Sat or wish to contribute baking or other gifts of cooking utensils, oils, pasta, rice, old clothes or laptops/ phones/ tablets capable of running the Zoom app (for refugee kids to do home learning), please fill in the form below! 💜
Kung Fat Hei Choi & Sun Tai Kin Hong! 🐂
Incidentally, I did consider serving cow pies instead of cream teas, but living in such close proximity to these feral beauties is enough to turn even the most un-woke meat-stinking Gen Xer vegan!
Also, I’ve got no idea how to bake cow pies. Is it flour, eggs, clotted cream, bananas?
I normally pride myself on my ability to give at least a minute’s notice before a radio broadcast. But this one aired TEN WEEKS AGO, which is a dismal new record. This one’s calledFlex & the City…
More pandemic black humor from the Hong Kong Government this week when we were advised to open all the windows (COVID-dispersing ventilation) and not to go outside (air pollution). But it’s not all doom and fumes! This means two new episodes of Sharp Pains have already aired!
Last month, Iannounced my pie in the sky intention of making, collecting and distributing 100Christmas Gift Socksto the homeless! Thanks to the amazing generosity and support of bighearted Homekongers, I can only ever find one sock and that target was nearly trebled!!!
Thanks to everyone who donated their time, energy, creativity and baking to Home Kong Kitchen in 2020! It’s because of you that HKK is collecting and delivering bread, bagels, muffins and other gifts to homeless people living in unlicensed shelters and refuges most days! We are also making weekly deliveries toImpact HKevery Friday!
There are many ways you can volunteer forHome Kong Kitchen: you can bake a difference as part of our community of home bakers, you can make a difference as a bread donator, or you can create a difference as an artist on our sustainable bread boxes!
My virtual awards date wasHobo-dog Kaye (RIP 😢 – though he did at least wait until the awards show was over to do it). My attire was my dressing gown. The time was 2am. I’d run out of wine 4 hours ago so I toastedThe AIBs 2020with a cup of FUEL high protein instant porridge. It was an intense two-part awards program presented with unwavering gravitas. The lightest moment was when theAIBuploaded a mugshot of my leering face dementedly side-eying the award. Even I was scared my photo might glitch to life and shatter the screen of my iPad in a spontaneous smash and grab!
You can watch the 2020 AIBs live TOMORROW (Fri Nov 13) and next Monday (Nov 16) in a 2-part virtual awards event webcast at 11pm HKT/ 3pm GMT on the AIB’s website and Facebook page! My cheeky little Mental Ideas Podcast for RTHK Radio 3 is a nominee in the Factual Podcast category. As rank outsiders go, we are the rankest. (The program booklet below certainly provides evidence of that!!!) But I am still giddy with nervous energy and bewildered awe just to be included as a nominee at all!
You may have caught me looking slightly guilty a few weeks ago in the SCMP‘s Post Magazine chatting to the hilarious Kylie Knott about my tasty little Home Kong Kitchen initiative: Baking A Difference (geddit?) for Hong Kong’s homeless!
BLOWN AWAY by the response to this article, solidarity and generosity of Hongkongers mobilizing support to help the most vulnerable! 2020 has been a difficult year but this project has rejuvenated my spirits and restored my faith in humanity, bringing me together with so many inspiring individuals and organizations that epitomize the spirit of Hong Kong!
Thanks to you, Home Kong Kitchen is collecting and delivering bread, bagels and muffins to unlicensed shelters, refuges and people on the streets most days. We’ve also delivered vast quantities of shop-bought bread donated to us to charities Impact HK and Feeding HK via Breadline.
HUGE thanks to Daisy Tam Diers for orchestrating our bread runs and bighearted artist Juliana Kungfor designing Home Kong Kitchen‘s emblem! It has everything I love: character, beauty and flying bagels! Actually, I think they’re meant to be orbs, but I saw bagels. I see bagels everywhere now. They’re plastered on every billboard, graffitied on every work of art. Mona Lisa’s smile? Bagels. Munch’s Scream? Bagels. Birth of Venus? Bagels. Map of the MTR? Bagels. The New Fragrance by Christian Dior? Bagels. Leonardo’s Last Supper? What else?? Bagels.
I’ve discovered every homemade bagel weighs the same as a brick and that lugging vast quantities of bread around has really paid off in honing my hump! (Sadly not the lovely lady lump kind; the Quasimodo kind…) If you’re interested in supporting Home Kong Kitchen, please fill in the form below! I’m especially keen to hear from volunteer drivers to assist with deliveries on a one-off or regular basis!
If you’re unsure how to pronounce my name correctly, this is it!! 💜💜💜
For the next few weeks, up until Christmas, I’ll be posting an interview with a different author from the Writer’s Circle each week! Each writer will read a short excerpt from their allegory. Don’t miss it!!!
Episode 1 of my new monthly humor column, Sharp Pains, broadcasted live on RTHK Radio 3‘s 123 Show Sept 29, 2020 at its new regular time of 2.50pm HKT! For those who missed it, you can download it as a podcast by clicking any of the links below! The first episode was called ‘Ghost‘
The Association for International Broadcastinghave just published their shortlistfor the 2020 AIB Awards– and I am blown away my quirky Mental Ideas Podcast is among the nominees in the Factual Podcast category! 🙏 The winners will be announced at a virtual event, streamed live by Al Jazeera Nov 13 & Nov 16. Oh 2020: what a rollercoaster of highs and lows (mainly lows) you have been! If I hadn’t started the year with bipolar disorder, I’d almost certainly have developed it by now… 🤣🤣🤣
In a daze to learn my first (and only) poem,War of Voices, has won a place in the 2020 Proverse Poetry Prizeand will be published inProverse Publishing‘s 2021 anthology next April! Which place (last place?) will be announced at a reception in Hong Kong Nov 19!
My late grandfather, a poet, who also dabbled in banking, would be proud! I’d love to say he was an inspiration but since his legacy is all in Welsh (and it’s a sin to translate Welsh poetry into English) it’s impossible for me to tell if he’s been much of an influence or not.
Thank you, Proverse! You have made a wannabe poet with more issues than Vogue very happy.
This summer I’ve been on a roll and making a lot of dough! Thanks to the amazing team effort of Ying, Moira, Chriz, Raquel, Mercy, Michelle, Emma and Amy, we were able to donate ALL THIS to Hong Kong charity Breadline! (And this was just Week 1…)
The food waste charity, founded by Daisy Tam Diers, does a cracking job of feeding the homeless, elderly, migrants and refugees living well below the breadline on the streets or in shelters. The charity usually relies on food waste donations from cafes and restaurants, but with most operating restricted hours at low capacity, Breadline and other food waste charities have been unable to keep up with demand at a time it has never been higher. So after reading an article in the HKFP, I rallied a few of the neighbors together to see if we could feasibly bake our own to help the charity continue its work during the pandemic.
For the past couple of months we have made this a weekly initiative and we’d love to have your support! If you’re based in Sai Kung/ Clearwater Bay/ Tseung Kwan O and would like to join our Baker’s Dirty Half Dozen, fill in the form below! We’re all novices so don’t let a trivial thing like experience put you off. My first loaf came out of the oven not just burnt, but on fire! It still tasted pretty good though, once I’d given it a good hose down with the fire extinguisher.
We were also able to donate at least 12 shop bought loaves to Feeding Hong Kong, who had received an anonymous tip off about my baking and decided their insurance policy didn’t cover it.
We are now exploring the possibility of setting up an online bakery, Home Kong Kitchen, where you can order home made breads, pastries, muffins and other yummy treats online and we deliver it to your home. We can’t promise it’ll be the best you’ve ever tasted but we can promise every cent we make will be donated to homeless charities. We are also collaborating with local artists to create sustainable bread boxes out of recycled waste with doodled designs and messages of solidarity to our homeless friends.
Crazy is a cheeky little fiesta of madness and the last episode of the first series of Mental IdeasPodcasts so DON’T MISS IT!!! The Mental Ideas Podcast will be back in 2021! You can download all the episodes from this series on RTHK‘s Podcast One platform. Stay tuned for news of spin-off Mental Monologues and the first series’ launch on BBC Sounds!
A HUGE thanks to all my mental guests: Mat Ricardo, Christina Yung, Larry Feign, Florence Wong, Ruben M, Josh Walters, Dan Davies, Kiki Wong, Jackie Chan, Philippe Joly, Eugenia Kim, Raffaello Degruttola, Ifat Hyndes, as well as to Nick Samuel for composing the mental music, Angie Mann – and especially to the legendary Noreen Mir for exec producing and all her endless encouragement, guidance and support!!!
Until then amigos, if you can’t stay sane, stay crazy!
On today’s episode – I coin a new catchphrase from an interview with wellness entrepreneur Ifat Hyndes and try it out on a taxi driver. Mat Ricardo talks about the power of acceptance. I say something that is unacceptable in a lunchtime slot on the radio. (Whoops!)
Join me LIVE on RTHK Radio 3 in about… oooh… NOW!!!
On this week’s episode Mat Ricardo reminisces about the time he was starting out as a street performer and a member of the public walked onto his pitch and took a dump. Left to raise the tone (uh-oh…) Trollywood actor Dan Davies gives a moving account of his own experiences with internet trolls. Only he has another word for them… and he uses it a lot…
Catch me LIVE on RTHK Radio 3 in about oooh 2 hours!!! You can now download all the podcasts in this series in one mental place! Check out my new page on the RTHK website by clicking HERE! I’ll be adding more links to this post after the show airs!
Brace yourselves for another “slightly strange” (yeah… thanks Noreen 🤣) episode of my Mental Ideas strand of RTHK‘s 123 Show! This week my guest is the inspirational Christina Yung! She banks. She cares for her Mum. She writes books and takes magical photographs of Hong Kong old shops. She’s in tears twice during the interview and has the most infectious raucous laugh I’ve ever had the pleasure of developing tinnitus from!
Bit of an emotional rollercoaster this week as we discuss dementia and the Hong Kong Protests among other topics. Obviously this was recorded way back in BC (Before Coronavirus), hence all the hugging. I’d be arrested (again) for all that Friends BS now.
On next week’s episode of Mental Ideas veterans Mat Ricardoand Dan Daviesreturn and recount their most memorable experiences with internet trolls in Trolls Anonymous. Only Dan has another word for them… and he uses it a lot…
Catch me LIVE on RTHK Radio 3 in about… oooh… TWO HOURS!!! You can now download all the podcasts in this series in one mental place! Check out my new page on the RTHK website by clicking HERE!
Virtual Reality dance-maker Eugenia Kim explains how her bipolar disorder has fueled her creativity and inspired her latest VR film! It’s called Lithium Hindsight 360. And yes, it IS better than Avatar…
Virtually Eugenia broadcasted on RTHK Radio 3 May 21 and explores the much-hyped relationship between bipolar disorder and creativity. Is there any truth in it? Or is it just a dangerous delusion of grandeur?
This week’s Mental Ideas Podcast is a real emotional rollercoaster as I’m joined by inspirational photographer, author and banker Christina Yung! Join me live on RTHK Radio 3‘s 123 Show Thurs May 28 @ 2.30 HKT!
All my quirky little podcasts from this series can now be located in one convenient mental place! Check out my new page on the RTHK website HERE!
Following a relatively smooth (considering the backdrop!) debut stint as a podcaster on RTHK Radio 3‘s fantabulous 123 Show, I am excited to have been invited to produce & present a brand new strand for the show!
Hong Kong Marriage Stories takes a refreshing, insightful and entertaining look at the institution of marriage and the complicated, often hilarious dynamics between two people. It may not be a fairytale (unless it’s the one where you kill an ogre with an axe and get pots of gold?) But it’s Love, Factually.
Whether you’re still in the honeymoon period or have been married for decades, whether your marriage is magic or tragic, whether you’re smugged out, bugged out or drugged out, whether social distancing has brought you closer together (ha!) or driven you to the brink of homicide, RTHK’s Miss Adventure wants your engaging and entertaining marriage stories!
Interested in taking part? Get in touch!!! You and your spouse can disagree on everything – except being interviewed by me once separately and once together. Throughout the series, listeners will have the opportunity to vote for their favorite marriage story (probably on the grounds of entertainment value, rather than durability). The winning couple will receive a ‘Hong KongMarriage Story of The Year‘ trophy, a certificate signed by the Pope (TBA) and a romantic date night of our choosing!!!
Psychopathic actor and entrepreneur Philippe Jolyattempts to explain why psychopaths make such great neighbors, CEOs and movie stars. But I’m laughing so much about fake noses, it’s almost impossible to hear him. He also has the GALL to bring up his experiences working with Jackie Chan. No, not the bipolar banker I interviewed in episode 2. The other one.
There was no Mental Ideas Podcastlast Thursday as it was Buddha’s birthday. (Happy Birdy Buddy!) But it’s back as a strand of RTHK Radio 3‘s fantabulous 123 Show THIS THURSDAY (May 7) @2.30 HKT with an arresting episode, The Criminal Sleepwalker.
One type of podcast guest that’s proved easy to secure in the midst of the COVID 19 pandemic is grounded airline cabin crew. Bipolar is a condition that’s often been associated with mad creative geniuses, like Van Gough, Beethoven, Mozart, Theresa May and Carrie Lam. But what if you work as a first class bathroom assistant for a living and don’t have a creative bone in your body? The Agitated Air Stewardess is a harrowing tale of triumph in the face of absurdity. Florence Wong ROCKS!!!
The Mental Ideas Podcast is back on RTHK Radio 3 this Thursday (April 23) @ 2.30 HKT, where I’m talking psychopaths in The Psychopathic Actor with French actor Philippe Joly who isn’t one (allegedly). Don’t miss it!!!
I am rewarded for all my bad work with the once-in-a-lifetime exclusive opportunity to interview a living legend LIVE on RTHK Radio 3! JACKIE CHAN is on the podcast!!! No, I am not making this up!!!! She works in banking and has bipolar disorder!!!!! Oh.
Depression. It’s no laughing matter. Or is it? Why are so many of our best loved comedians depressed? I trance in and out exploring this tragi-hilarious topic with award-winning cartoonist, depressed humorist and best-selling author, the irrepressible Larry Feign: creator of the iconic Lily Wongcomic strip published in the South China Morning Post. Larry was the first cartoonist to have a full-page spread in Time Magazine, worked in animationfor Walt Disney Studiosand is the international best-selling authorof 15 comic books and children’s book series The Fart Brothers, which he sensibly writes under the pen name M.D. Whalen because he doesn’t want to be too closely associated with flatulence.
WOW! Can’t believe it’s been an entire DECADE since I ran off to La La Land with one of my Prince’s Trust mentees, ‘Lucky’ Luke Tucker, to make this quirky little half-hour doc for Sky TV‘s H&C channel! Damn, I miss spontaneous air travel! These days the only flying by the seat of my pants that can be done is in the (un)professional work sense. The doc saw me accompany Luke as he trained as an apprentice horse whisperer at the Californian home of legendary horse whisperer Monty Roberts. Good times!
When the Government suddenly lowered the age range to offer free COVID vaccine jabs to anybody over 30 – which you’ll be surprised to learn I marginally surpassed – I felt like I’d just been handed a Golden Ticket for Willy Wonka’s Vaccine Factory! This was like chocolate, only better.
The process was amazingly slick. Smiling staff greeted me and walked me through each step of the journey. I got given free stickers, a pen, a keepsake souvenir brochure reminding me of my big day out and a lollypop for being particularly brave.
You can’t tell but I’m really smiling here!
But my little bubble of bliss barely lasted 20 seconds. As I walked out, the crowd had turned inexplicably angry. I asked a harassed security guard what the problem was and he informed me that the vaccine I had received seconds earlier had been “permanently suspended for safety reasons”.
My stomach lurched, my heartbeat quickened, my vaccinated arm felt like it belonged to somebody else. 5 seconds ago I’d been in WonkaLand, finally having a decent day out worthy of the portmanteau ‘staycation’. Now I was going to have to spend the evening sawing my own arm off to prevent the rancid vaccine from spreading.
I checked my phone for a reassuring explanation, but the only advice I could find online was a vague appeal for calm by Hong Kong’s Chief Medical Officer urging recently vaccinated people “not to panic overly”. I was panicking alright. But I could not tell if I was panicking overly, underly, or just right for the situation.
It wasn’t until I was speed-walking home that explanations about cracked vials, faulty packaging and vaccines being stored at the wrong air pressure emerged in an avalanche of news alerts sent to my phone. As I trawled through them, the slight discomfort in my vaccinated arm was suddenly cancelled out by the primal face ache caused by a nose cracking, as mine made impact with a rogue lamppost.
I’d like to say the lamppost came out of our tussle worse off than I did and ended up looking something like this …
… Unfortunately, this is just a diagram of my sinuses.
Anyway, it turns out the vac was only suspended through an abundance of caution. I received my second jab today. As she jammed the needle in my arm, the nurse asked if I’d experienced any unpleasant side-effects from the first jab. “Only a broken nose,” I nasally assured her.