Jazz World Live Series, Hong Kong

That time of the year again, when HK’s Jazz World presents its Live Series and I go raid the coffers.



In other news, the Los Romeros Guitar Quartet will be holding a concert in October, and the Sundance Film Festival is expanding in Hong Kong.


Spaces for Speculative Fiction in Hong Kong

eyebarToday I’m guestblogging at SF Signal to talk about Hong Kong and what makes it conducive to science fiction and magic realism. My article is now live: Spaces for Speculative Fiction in Hong Kong. Thanks so much to Lavie Tidhar for suggesting it and helping me to a spot at SF Signal (thank you, John DeNardo!) as part of the launch of The Apex Book of World SF 3.

Here’s an excerpt:

It’s not just because of the neon. Hong Kong transformed itself from a cluster of tiny, unassuming fishing villages on a barren rock into an international financial powerhouse in roughly just a hundred and fifty years. That piece of history is already the heart of science fiction: anything is possible, especially transformation. China Miéville wrote about “possibility mining” in The Scar, where a dimensional fracture in the surface of Bas-Lag called the Scar leaked existential possibilities which could then be harvested and made real by possibility machines. The same dynamism exists in Hong Kong, propped up by infrastructure and automation, a booming economy, and a bottomless well of ambition. Go to the computer centers in Wan Chai or Sham Shui Po: piracy’s been in decline (or has been redefined) for the last few years and shops have gone legit but the same atmosphere remains – if they can’t find whatever it is you want to get, they’ll find someone who can. Entrepreneur spaces and networking events swarm along Victoria Harbor and go deep into the heartland of Kowloon. Seemingly abandoned industrial warehouse rooms in Kwai Chung or Fotan light up at night because someone is rehearsing their play, putting together an art installation, or burning the midnight oil for their startup. Money moves like light and you have to keep in step.

Whether you can keep in step, though, or even if it’s worth it, is an entirely different story. This is the other core (if not the more important) aspect of sci-fi: the ramifications of change and multiplicity.

Read the rest here.

First Place in the 2013 Hong Kong Top Story Competition!


Certificate, Cathay Pacific tickets to Tokyo, and 15 books from Pan Macmillan as awards

I think the nuttiest part of the whole thing is how much I didn’t expect it to happen. We weren’t told which place we had won – it was kept secret until the actual ceremony – so when the MC said I had won first place and she began reading the judges’ comments about my piece, I was in so much shock I really can’t recall much now of what she said. (I remember the word “odd” though, so that’s just about right.)

So yeah. I won the First Place in the Adult category of the 2013 Hong Kong Top Story Competition! 😀

From the SCMP (Dec 19, 2013)

From the City section of SCMP (Dec 19, 2013)

The following is a run-down of my SOMANYFEELINGS! during the award ceremony on December 18 in RTHK’s Broadcast House:

  • Reception – WHERE IS THE TOILET.
  • Opening Remarks – NERVES. AM I BREATHING TOO HARD?
  • Junior Category Winners – OK I’M GOING TO TRY TO RELAX ooh I like Second Place’s plaid shirt.
  • Jonathan Douglas’ reading of Bianca Chan’s (Junior Category’s First Place) piece – Hey, feels like a mix of The Giver and Hunger Games.
  • Adult Category Most Creative Award – OK THAT’S NOT MY NAME.
  • Adult Category Third Place –  THAT’S NOT MY NAME EITHER.
  • Adult Category Second Place – NOPE. Hey wait a minute.
  • Adult Category First Place – WHAT.
  • Jonathan Douglas’ reading of my piece – TOTAL BLISS.

I’ll put up the pictures of the December 18 award ceremony my brother took with his big fancy DSLR when he’s back from his holiday in Japan. In the meantime, it’s just been sea to shining sea of excitement, and somewhere in it I seem to have lost my capability to talk about this in fully formed sentences, so please let me direct you to all the linkable stuff so far:

And I’m totally looking forward to that consultation with a fiction editor from Pan Macmillan. 🙂

I Just Won a Thing! + Shanghai Steam Mentioned in Orson Scott Card’s Book


So every year, the South China Morning Post and Radio Television Hong Kong host the Hong Kong Top Story Competition. I decided to join, and this year the theme is Celebration, 1.5k to 2k words short story. I pulled up a story I was working on before and had already sort of given up on, worked on it…and ended up deviating quite a bit from the theme (to me anyway) that I thought, This isn’t really going to get me anywhere far. Then I sent it out anyway.

Anyway, I got a call the past Thursday evening from RTHK 3…and apparently I’m one of the winners! They said they’d tell me which place I got on the award ceremony (there’s your usual 1st, 3nd, 3rd, and a Most Creative Award); I’m just glad I made it to the awards list of the most visible and regular English writing competition in Hong Kong. UPDATE: I won First Place!!

The award ceremony will be on December 18, 2013, 6-7pm, at Studio 1, RTHK Broadcasting House, 30 Broadcast Drive, Kowloon Tong.

Yay for going with your gut and somewhat deviating from the theme if you have to and sending it anyway!

fsfThe other thing!

Is that Shanghai Steam, the book that my story “The Master and the Guest” has appeared in, has been mentioned in the revised and updated version of Orson Scott Card’s Writing Fantasy and Science Fiction, which includes added sections by Philip Athans and Jay Lake.

From page 146 of “Critical Reactions to Steampunk”:

A handful of editors and writers are tackling the issues of classism, racism, and imperialism head on, including independent Hades Publishing anthology Shanghai Steam (2012), which offers a Chinese view of the steam-punk world.

We’re also listed on page 150 in “Recommended Steampunk Reading” under the heading “Anthologies, Short Fiction and Miscellaneous.”

Lotta thanks to editors Ace, Calvin, and Renee for making all this possible and keeping us updated!

Just Your Friendly, Massive Update (Late as Usual)

1. I’m collaborating with Gabe Ostley right now for an 8-page submission to a steampunk comic anthology; I’m writing the script, he’s doing the illustrating and the colors. Fingers crossed that we’ll get in and that the exposure there will get us somewhere. We’re working on a character concept we had shelved earlier this year and reviving it now for this one.

2. The TOC for Volume will be out soon! It’s great to see old comrades like Eliza Victoria, Tin Lao, and Kate Osias in the lineup as well. The book cover will be designed by Carina Santos, the granddaughter of Malang; can’t wait to see how it’s going to turn out!

3. I helped out at a fundraiser for Typhoon Yolanda / Haiyan last week at Fill In the Blank in Wan Chai doing door duty / name tags / money bags  / karaoke nuisance and monopolizer. Given the short notice (one weekend), we got a pretty good turnout of 65 people on a Monday night, and raised 12,450 HKD, minus 4,400 HKD for the venue, for a total of 8,050 HKD.

With my buddies – L to R: Mel, Franz, Jae, Neil

With the organizers, a mix of people from the UP and La Salle alumni associations in HK

With the organizers, a mix of people from the UP and La Salle alumni associations in HK

4. A week before that, I performed with Cyrus and Candice at Java Java in Sheung Wan for a 45 minute set. Good, relaxed crowd, had drinks later at Club 11 in Central.

I thought my friend was taking pictures of the whole band but the photos she took were very...loyal

I thought my friend was taking pictures of the whole band but the photos she took were very…loyal

5. I’ve been to a lot of farewell parties but this was by far the best one I’ve ever been. My friend Boon has gone back to New York, but a couple of days before he did that, his sister Dee threw a farewell party for him at the outdoor terrace of Pier 7 (above the Star Ferry) in Central. The fantastic part is that Dee, who plays the cello, and Allison, on violin, arranged around 30 pop songs for us to sing with them while they played right under the Central skyline. The terrace is public space and we had strangers coming over to see what’s going on and to join us.

Dee and Allison

Dee and Allison

Everyone gathered around the cello and violin

Everyone gathered around the cello and violin


Right under the Bank of China!

I’ve been in Hong Kong for around six years but I like to behave like I’m still on my first. :p

So this is what my friends got me. On a whim.

Friday I was talking to some friends about building a sound system in my flat. Sunday after church I go with them to one of my friend’s flat to check out his Houston Mini 1998 tube amplifier and I see these two tall wood-paneled TEAC speakers. Then they tell me they’re mine.


I’m like, haha yeah they’re mine after I go over-budget. They’re like, no, they’re yours. We got them for you secondhand from someone in Kwai Hing who wanted to give them away yesterday. We piled them up in the car and brought them here. Don’t cost you a cent. Now all you need is an amplifier and you’re good to go. When do you want us to set them up in your flat?


Hours later they’d still be laughing about the look on my face. God bless them all.


New acceptance + new EP + launch gig

First off, it is always, always a good thing to get an email from Dean Alfar and Sarge Lacuesta that starts like this:

Dear Crystal,

I am pleased to inform you that your story, “Little Places”, has been accepted for publication in VOLUME One.

The publication is for VOLUME: An Anthology of Contemporary Fiction. I am totally psyched. Launch will be on September 2013!

Second, the EP of the band I’ve been playing regularly with for some time now (Cyrus Chow), is out! Fresh from the mixing studio in Sheung Wan and the record manufacturer in Kwun Tong is Rise. I was only a guest guitarist back then during recording so I only feature in one song, but the feeling of seeing your name in a CD jacket is still pretty amazing!



The band will be selling it for 60 HKD a pop; I’m not sure how the distribution is yet but there’ll be more info coming from here, I’m guessing.

We’ll be playing for the launch gig tomorrow at Backstage in Central at 8pm. Our set will be about 40 minutes long and we’re sharing the event with Ping Loong, another musician who contributed to Rise and is launching his own album as well. I have a sizable group of friends coming over to watch and celebrate with me so I’m going to be sufficiently tired by the end of the night. 🙂


…of a lot of things! Moved flats, played guitar at a music festival and the party after, filed my taxes, the end of semester. Two things in particular!

Day 3 of Handover Hallelujah, The Wanch, 30 June 2013

I blogged about performing with Cyrus Chow at this music festival before! Sunday came around, my friends came over to watch. Pictures were taken, got my free Handover Hallelujah 2013 T-shirt, got to talk to John Prymmer, the owner of The Wanch (who said he liked my playing and the possibility of me playing more regularly there, AWRIGHT), and a great party was had with me and my friends afterwards!



Launch of Philippine Speculative Fiction 8

Woot! I’m in this year’s volume as well for my story “The Mayorga Collection” and the launch is on July 27, 2-4:30PM, at The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf of EDSA Shangri-La Plaza in Manila. I can’t come this year either because I still have things to do in HK around that time, but it really is one of the most fun book launches there is, so drop by if you can!


Aaaaand I need to get some rest.

I’m playing at The Wanch for Handover Hallelujah 2013!!

Haven’t posted a lot because I’ve been moving flats and marking exams / hell week at work and the the two have combined to create an energy vampire.

But! NEWS! June 30, I’m playing with my friend Cyrus Chow at the The Wanch, one of the most popular live music venues in HK!


Image from TheWanch.hk

And as if that wasn’t news enough, we’re playing as part of the lineup of this year’s Handover Hallelujah!! HH is an annual music festival The Wanch hosts that coincides with the July 1 public holiday (HKSAR Establishment Day) commemorating the 1997 handover of HK from the UK to China. HH has been mentioned before in CNN Travel and Time Out HK and it is going to be crowded the way HK knows how to crowd (i.e. very).

50+ bands for 4 days. And we’re one of them. I cannot emphasize enough how AMAZEBALLS this is going to be. Details soon!