Living Well

DEC 14, 2017

To live well is a universal human aspiration. We talk to three Hong Kong individuals whose personal experiences offer a host of creative yet practical solutions

The desire to create a better world may seem an intimidating challenge. Yet there’s a difference between changing the world, and making a difference in the world. The first is a Herculean task, while the second begins with changing your own way of living by making better choices. If you can change yourself, you might change the world as a result.

For the founder of the JIA Group restaurant and bar empire, Yenn Wong, the essence of living well is achieving harmony across the different aspects of her busy life.

The ultimate multi-tasker juggles a mind-boggling array of demanding responsibilities from a steady stream of new restaurant openings (notable Hong Kong ventures in the past year include the Thai eatery Mak Mak in Landmark Atrium, and The Commissary in Admiralty), to spending time with her husband, art collector and hospitality entrepreneur Alan Lo, and their two sons.

“I think to live well is to learn the art of balancing life altogether. Obviously, there are always a million things waiting for us to do, and we cannot possibly do them all on time,” says Wong, adding that "prioritising and focusing on what is the most important in front of me is how I manage my life, and I feel that it gives me satisfaction.”

Another key to art of living well is eating well and wisely. Like Wong, Richard Ekkebus, the Michelin-starred chef at the Landmark Mandarin Oriental’s Amber restaurant, leads a very hectic life, where his personal and professional lives are continuously intertwined.

To stay healthy and maintain a sense of well-being, Ekkebus recommends a tasty, varied, and nutritious diet that is as good for your mind as it is for your body.

“I am from the generation that has seen the food industrialization in the 60’s and 70’s and we realize that it does not work from a sustainable perspective, nor from a nutritional, health or a quality perspective,” says Ekkebus. Consequently, he’s adopted and shared a regional and seasonal approach to eating, a concept that is showcased at his ‘Friends of Amber’ dinners featuring like-minded guest chefs.

“Knowing what you eat and where it comes from may seem daunting – and expensive – in a city like Hong Kong,” says Ekkebus, “but everyone should take active steps to act upon this principal.”

Peter Cheung has an action plan of his own. After more than 20 years’ experience working with houses like Sotheby's, Dior, Versace and Van Cleef & Arpels, he launched his own luxury marketing and communications consultancy, Peter Cheung Asia, two years ago.

Being his own boss has its benefits. While Cheung typically fills the work week with a non-stop series of meetings, events and entertaining, he also sets time aside to relax and rejuvenate.

“I am at a stage of my life where I truly am feeling that I can take control and balance my work-life balance, and want to take some time to exercise control over living well,” says Cheung.

Cheung’s solution is to prioritise a weekly "me" pampering time with massage treatments at either the Landmark Mandarin Oriental and Mandarin Oriental spas. “It helps to realign my body and just mentally check out for a little while,” he says.

He also indulges in what he calls "slow living". “I have enrolled in classes, learning something new, doing something with my hands,” he says. “Doing things slowly is very therapeutic, satisfying and rewarding. For instance, I have started calligraphy classes taught by the fantastic teacher Kaye Shu. Next, I would seriously love to learn how to knit. I found my teacher already and can't wait to start. Who cares if my sweater turns out awful... I can unravel and start again..."

If you’re inspired by how Wong, Ekkebus and Cheung have created a better world, share your own ‘Words of Wisdom’ on living well here.