Columnist

Anita Anandarajah

Anita Anandarajah is a stay-at-home-mum who lives in Hong Kong. She longs for the grassy playgrounds of her childhood.

Ferry tragedy hits close to home

Oct 7  — This year’s National Day will forever be etched in the memories of Hong Kongers. As revellers watched the annual fireworks display at... READ MORE

TV time with the kids — then and now

SEPT 30 — My son watches a LOT of TV. He gets it from me. I grew up on a steady diet of cartoons and family sitcoms. Only back then we were limited... READ MORE

It takes a village

SEPT 23 — I’ll begin with a cliché, forgive me. Lately the saying “It takes a village to raise a child” has begun to ring louder in my... READ MORE

Standing up to national education

SEPT 9 — My friend pumped her arm up and down and grimaced when I asked her what she thought of the latest subject to be introduced with the start... READ MORE

Rediscovering children’s books

AUG 26 — Ballooning up two dress sizes and having to wear my eight-month-old in a carrier everywhere I go, clothes shopping has lost its shine for... READ MORE

Chicken soup for this mama’s soul

AUG 19 — Motherhood has bestowed me with superpowers. Passengers give up their seats for me when I board the bus (my super power does not grant... READ MORE

Hong Kong’s disappearing treasures

AUG 12 — Friday morning saw me wandering around Tin Wan, a local neighbourhood west of Aberdeen on Hong Kong Island. I thought I’d lull my... READ MORE

The Fog and the Princes

AUG 5 — “Are you sure you want to go up today, Madam?” asked the smiling lady, looking just a touch concerned. I was at the Sky100 ticketing... READ MORE

Vicente the vicious visits HK

JULY 29 — Two years ago I wrote, albeit flippantly, about my disappointment that what was to be super typhoon Megi did not come to fruition.  This... READ MORE

Justifying pricey holiday activities

JULY 22 — Are parents getting lazy? We seem to be fobbing off our children to overpriced childminders with alarming regularity these days. A news... READ MORE

So how about a room where mums can breastfeed babies?

JULY 15 — These days where I shop is dictated by where the nearest nursing room is located. And lucky me, there seems to be a boom in baby-friendly... READ MORE

Skipping aunty and fat children

JULY 1 — Children in Hong Kong are in trouble. Fat trouble. So dire is the situation that skipping classes are on the drawing board to coax the... READ MORE

Summer social scene

JUNE 24 — Lately, when I walk up to any mummy friend in the evening, the first question out of their mouths is more often than not, “What summer... READ MORE

Nanny-ing dad this Father’s Day

JUNE 17 — The race is on to find the perfect Father’s Day gift.  Everywhere I turn there are ads enticing us to “show Dad you love him” by... READ MORE

Living with the music

JUNE 3 — Hong Kong’s iconic skyline is usually the view of the Peak towering over the financial hub marked by skyscrapers the likes of the... READ MORE

I heart farmers’ market

MAY 27 — Don’t laugh. I buy organic vegetables grown in Cameron Highlands. It goes without saying — but I will say so — that I pay multiple times... READ MORE

The Hong Kong tai tai

MAY 20 — A Youtube video featuring the life of a Hong Kong tai tai made its rounds this week on Facebook and an online expat forum to much loathing... READ MORE

From one mother to another

MAY 13 — “Wait until you become a mother. Then you (will) know.” I don’t know how many times I’ve heard that line. It was my mother who would say... READ MORE

Mainland women banned from giving birth at private hospitals

MAY 6 — What’s a Chinese woman to do these days in order to give birth? Corralled away from public hospitals and now banned from private ones, it’s... READ MORE

Bersih 3.0 in Hong Kong

APRIL 29 — Tagged “Hong Kong 3.0 Edition”, the Bersih rally here was an exercise in contrasts. I would not have dared to venture anywhere near... READ MORE

15 things you should never say to a new mum

JAN 1 — Last week I wrote about the the behind-the-scenes stuff related to giving birth that I never knew about, like the space-age sounding term,... READ MORE

What my mum didn’t tell me

DEC 25 — There are some things a woman should be told before she gives birth. It was not my first time out. I’d already undergone one very long... READ MORE

The nowhere kids: Shortage of school places, expats reject HK

DEC 11 — I met a lovely eight-year-old boy last weekend at a friend’s home. Bright, friendly and able to speak three languages, the Dutch native... READ MORE

Detour 2011: Use-less or useless

DEC 4 — I spent Friday afternoon skulking along the corridors of the Police Married Quarters (PMQ) in Hollywood Road.  My friend enquired by text... READ MORE

Scent of a city

NOV 27 — Are you one of those people who link a smell to a particular place? Strange as this may sound, Europe has always had a “smell” to me, like... READ MORE

The poo phenomena (sung to ‘The Funk Phenomena’)

NOV 20 — One in every eight children in Hong Kong is constipated. This is not a pretty topic served up as dinner conversation but recent findings... READ MORE

Swelling with pride… or just plain swelling?

NOV 13 — Is the husband swelling with pride or is he just plain swelling? I can truly say that I’ve had a partner during my pregnancy. One who... READ MORE

Highrise Halloween fun

NOV 6 — Halloween was practically non-existent when I was growing up. Which was, er ... in the 1980s. I don’t recall costume parties at friends’... READ MORE

What I want to be

OCT 30 — I have a clear memory of writing about wanting to be a teacher when I grew up. This was when I was about 10 and again several more times... READ MORE

The Gambler and the Queen

OCT 23 — In the past week, I’ve had the pleasure of spending one night each in two esteemed establishments. Here is how they racked up, should you... READ MORE

The art of window cleaning 25 storeys above ground

OCT 16 — These days my outside world is somewhat cloudy. Dirt-stained, in fact. I wake up in the morning unsure if it is hazy out or whether I’d... READ MORE

Would you want the right to live in HK? Nope!

OCT 9 — There was a lot of squawking last Friday when a judge granted foreign domestic helpers the right of abode in Hong Kong. Residents feared... READ MORE

Farewell to fags?

OCT 2 — It sounds too good to be true but Hong Kong could be on its way to becoming the developed world's first smoke-free city. The findings from... READ MORE

Going cold turkey/suckling pig: My child’s learning Mandarin

SEPT 25 — So we finally bit the bullet and placed Ishan in a bilingual local kindergarten in August. We pulled him out of his mostly... READ MORE

Revamping Wong Chuk Hang

SEPT 18 — When people think of shopping districts in Hong Kong, Mongkok and Tsim Sha Tsui in Kowloon and Causeway Bay on Hong Kong Island spring to... READ MORE

Can the bicycle survive HK?

SEPT 11 — I can’t cycle. Somehow I missed out on the how-to-ride-a-bike seminar that every other six-year-old must have attended. Must have had my... READ MORE

First day of school

SEPT 4 — My son has been excited about starting at his new school. To distract him from missing his friends at his previous school, I psyched him... READ MORE

Taxi!

AUG 28 — When I first arrived in Hong Kong, riding the taxi was a luxury. I was amazed that there were people who took the taxi to and from work... READ MORE

Going back to baby school

AUG 21 — I’ve gone back to school for a subject I thought I was already familiar with. I’ve been learning about becoming a mother all over again... READ MORE

Off the beaten track retail therapy

AUG 7 — When you’ve tired of traipsing round shopping malls, there are some pretty cool Hong Kong originals to be had. Here are some on my hot... READ MORE

Mountain cat hits Hong Kong!

JULY 31 — I had a shock when I spotted the price of the durian at the supermarket the other day. I checked the placement of the decimal point and... READ MORE

Book fair fiesta in Hong Kong

JULY 24 — I had promised myself to save up for an armchair and a wall clock. Yes, so I can sit comfortably and watch time go by.  We’ve lived in... READ MORE

Planking or ‘pok kai’ in Hong Kong

JULY 17 — So it seems planking has caught on in Hong Kong. Making like a plank of wood, practitioners like to shock their audiences by remaining... READ MORE

Sacrificing for the future

JULY 10 — I had joked with a friend that I would only write about Bersih if the multitude of roadblocks ruined my son’s play date. Having just... READ MORE

Oh, for a bed!

JULY 3 — You have eaten all the nutritious food you can afford, exercised to keep healthy and chosen a reputable hospital to ensure a safe delivery... READ MORE

Dads R Cool

JUNE 26 — Our son’s Father’s Day celebration at school hung in limbo until the very last hour. You see, last year, my husband and I forgot that he... READ MORE

Music made the monster mum

JUNE 19 — I wrote about the Tiger Mum phenomenon a while ago and now, having read the book and unintentionally attempting to find my inner feline,... READ MORE

Bauhinia Heroine to the rescue!

JUNE 12 — There is a sexy superhero going around handing out money to the poor. Unlike Robin Hood or the 1960s movie icon, the Black Rose (left,... READ MORE

Shame the man

JUNE 5 — I bet we have all had experiences of neighbours (if not ourselves) carrying out illegal home renovations.  It seems harmless at first,... READ MORE

McPregnancies, Hong Kong style

MAY 29 — Fast food junkies, turn away. We’re in the age of the McPregnancy where expectant mothers are offered a menu of options from where to... READ MORE

What lies outside

MAY 15 — I’ve just finished reading a novel titled Room by Irish writer Emma Donoghue. I’ve got to say, I almost abandoned it midway through the... READ MORE

The waffling waffle man

MAY 8 — One of my must-have snacks from the Bangsar pasar malam in Kuala Lumpur was the thin, crispy, crepe-like appam. Folded into a half-moon,... READ MORE

Indoor playgrounds — boon or bane?

MAY 1 — If you're a parent, aunt or uncle, you may have recent memories of what has been a trend in kiddie-land for the past few years: indoor... READ MORE

The Easter Bunny cometh

APRIL 24 — There were all sorts of mad hatters, each no more than four feet tall. They wore feathers, rubies, emeralds and bunny ears. This was not... READ MORE

And the cow nursed the baby

APRIL 17 — So it looks like China is on a roll. From fake designer goods to faking a cow to fake breast milk, China’s got it all down.  China is... READ MORE

Barislah kita

APRIL 10 — Our family have banned visits to Disneyland indefinitely. Until the first ride in Toy Story Land opens in December, anyway. Even then we... READ MORE

Toy story

APRIL 3 — As modern parents, we are spoilt with all sorts of educational toys purportedly to boost our child’s smarts. When I began buying my son’s... READ MORE

Goodbye, Mr Pickles

MARCH 27 — My son stunned my husband and me into silence the other night as we were heading back to our apartment. Ishan and I had just got off a... READ MORE

Japanese lessons for all

MARCH 20 — On the Friday afternoon the earthquake struck Japan, I was walking home from school with my son and his friend, Long Sze. They were... READ MORE

Would you take your child to a protest?

MARCH 13 — What was an eight-year-old doing at a street protest in Central last weekend? According to his mother, the exercise was part of his... READ MORE

Money for nothing and trips for free

MARCH 6 — The past week has been fraught with equal measures of excitement and dismay following news that some six million permanent residents... READ MORE

The comeback kid

FEB 27 — Do you remember your first experience learning a new language? What were your first words? In my case it was in Standard Two and my... READ MORE

Scouting for horror film location?

FEB 20 — I know of a suitable location for a horror film. The paediatrician’s waiting room.  I walked towards the paediatrician’s clinic one... READ MORE

Crumpled red packets and grimy bank notes next year?

FEB 13 — The giving is almost done. In another five days, it will be time to put the ang pow packets in storage for the next lunar year. What will... READ MORE

A road trip to our past

FEB 6 — My name is Anita Anandarajah and I am an addict. It has been eight days since I last logged onto Facebook. I have been known to refresh the... READ MORE

Are you speaking to me?

JAN 30 — The cashier at McDonald’s does it. The salesperson at Sogo does it; the dental hygienist does it; so does the random lady in the... READ MORE

Sleeping tiger, snoring dragon

JAN 23 — We may have to rethink our parenting style. My husband and I had a brief two-minute conversation about the Tiger Mum frenzy that has since... READ MORE

Just how over the top is that?

JAN 16 — This city is infamous for its over-indulging ways. You know, dogs in designer wear walked in prams, plonking down US$200,000 (RM612,099)... READ MORE

Where to hang in HK: The 3-year-old’s party guide

JAN 9 — It all started with Ishan saying “I want Thomas hat, Mummy. Please may I have Thomas hat? And Thomas cake? Happy birthday to me?” Ishan and... READ MORE

San nin fai lok!

JAN 2 — I puffed and wheezed my way into the new year with a long over-due walk at sunrise. It began with a brisk walk along the waterfront, where... READ MORE

Happy Boxing Day!

DEC 26 — One of the wonderful hand-me-down traditions from the British is Boxing Day.  As it falls on Sunday this year, tomorrow automatically... READ MORE

Christmas: Shop, slurp and snap

DEC 19 — Celebrating Christmas in Hong Kong is, unsurprisingly, a costly exercise. Former chief secretary Anson Chan is struggling to keep her... READ MORE

A wish to unsick children

DEC 12 — Children under five should never have to fall sick. Watching such tiny beings shudder from pain or discomfort is heart wrenching even for... READ MORE

Money for nothing or loose change nobody wants

DEC 5 — If you’ve ever been to Hong Kong, you may have noticed how indispensable the Octopus card is. A stored-value card, it was introduced in... READ MORE

Something for every pocket

NOV 21 — When my brother-in-law makes his monthly pilgrimage from Wuhan to Hong Kong, he brings with him a long shopping list. He’s not a shopper... READ MORE

Got 14 minutes to spare?

NOV 14 — Children in Hong Kong have been told to slow down and smell their eggs. And also pile more protein onto their breakfast plates while they... READ MORE

Party in the porch: 8 fun things to do with your pre-schooler

NOV 7 — The porch — the covered bit in front of the house that usually houses a car, potted plants and precedes the gate — is my current... READ MORE

Changing seasons

OCT 31 — A Hong Konger mum said something that stuck in my mind: having spent all her life experiencing the four seasons, she found her two years... READ MORE

Getting ready to greet Megi

OCT 24 — I was going to tell you all about this super typhoon that was supposed to hit Hong Kong yesterday afternoon. You may have heard of her;... READ MORE

I’m lovin’ It: Weddings on the go

OCT 17 — Hong Kong is well-known as the leader in new trends and it is no different this time. Ready for it? McWeddings. McDonald’s Hong Kong will... READ MORE

Baby speed demons

OCT 10 — There is a new trend amongst the babes here in my corner of the island. Mini scooters. So small they look like they’re for dolls. Okay,... READ MORE

Chillin’ in Hong Kong

OCT 3 — We’ve got a love-hate affair with air-conditioners. Mostly it is a love situation because let’s be honest — no one wants to be struck down... READ MORE

The mid-autumn mooncake lantern festival

SEPT 26 — The lifeguard was right – the mid-autumn festival has brought about a change in weather. The name is deceptive, implying that we are... READ MORE

Do I need a helper? No-lah. Okay, maybe.

SEPT 19 — Do you have a maid at home? Do most of your friends? Before I left Malaysia in 2006 I only knew of a handful of friends with domestic... READ MORE

Lightning frightening? Pfft

SEPT 12 — I now know that an unusually hot and steamy afternoon will be followed by a pretty scary night. This week will go down in Hong Kong’s... READ MORE

The mad dash to school

SEPT 5 — The lazy hazy days of summer will come to an end soon and there is no surer sign than the start of the new academic year. The last three... READ MORE

Hostage to our feelings

AUG 29 — I relinquished my veto power over the television a while ago in an effort to establish a no-TV-before-bedtime rule for my two-year-old. I... READ MORE

Forget the house, I’ll just live in my bag

AUG 22 — If, like me, you’ve wondered how Hong Kongers are able to afford designer clothes, fancy meals and travel, this is why: they don’t have to... READ MORE

Spare the jail term, spoil the rich

AUG 15 — We all love a good scandal, don’t we? My parents and by the same token, I, have been loyal readers of The Malay Mail for over 30 years and... READ MORE

Cantonese fights back

AUG 8 — Putonghua Hong Kong sounds stranger than fiction but it could be a future feature judging by the creeping tentacles of the mainland’s... READ MORE

The grand tourist rip-off

AUG 1 — You may be part of the tour group generation, where holidays involve joining a whirlwind tour with a dozen or so co-travellers. If so, read... READ MORE

Typhoon open season

JULY 25 — A couple of weeks ago I said that the oppressive heat and humidity made for a terrible time to visit Hong Kong. Well, now it is the... READ MORE

Wildlife warrior mummy

JULY 18 — What is wildlife entertainment to you? Chose one of the following: a) Trying to spot a tiger hiding in thick undergrowth. b) Watching an... READ MORE

Summer fumes: Lethal cocktail of heat and bad air

JULY 11 — Don't visit Hong Kong now. I'm telling you. It. Is. Hot. The mercury hit 36.5˚C in parts of the New Territories in the past week. While... READ MORE

Paternity leave — making it right

JULY 4 — Visitors to Chater Garden in Central would be forgiven for thinking there was a play date taking place a fortnight ago. A group of fathers... READ MORE

Mummy, go!

JUNE 27 — I was asked the other day, while at the swimming pool with my son, whether I was a working mum, by another working mum. She nodded her... READ MORE

Dragon boat festival

JUNE 20 — I woke up on Wednesday morning to thumping drum beats coming from far below. It was the morning of the annual Dragon Boat Festival or... READ MORE

Virtual Cheng Beng, anyone?

JUNE 13 — We’ve got online friends, online gambling, online shopping and now there is online offerings for the dead. The foray into the afterlife... READ MORE

Handmade Hong Kong: Life beyond the masses

JUNE 6 — Now that just about everything is made in China, it has become a novelty to find something that isn't. Mine is not a blind desire to... READ MORE

High-rise tragedies

MAY 30 — Living in a high-rise city like Hong Kong has its perks. Like the trees in the jungle climbing higher for a space in the sun, apartments... READ MORE