Tuesday, June 18, 2019

What The West Could Learn from The East

What The West Could Learn from The East


east west What The West Could Learn from The East

Tucked away at the very bottom of mainland China, yet still retaining strong cultural and trading links with the West, Hong Kong is the archetypal borderland between two civilizations. Amidst spiralling skyscrapers and crumbling pagodas, the values of East and West intermingle – mixing up a heady concoction of cultures that’s neither truly alien nor totally familiar. Within this unique system, there’s a perfect chance for both sides to observe what the other has to offer – and the East has plenty of advice to offer us Westerners in terms of how we live our lives. Here we round up just a small slice of the wisdom we’ve gleaned on Hong Kong’s bustling streets, and tell you how best to apply it to your own life:

Mental Wellbeing

It’s no secret: modern life can be hard, and nowhere typifies this better than the dizzying vortex of efficiency that is Hong Kong. Long work hours, an ingrained work ethic and a rigid nine-to-five structure all contribute to a world most of us would feel is only all-too familiar. But while we in the West would vent our frustrations at our psychoanalyst or by chomping down Prozac, some parts of HK society still prefer the more-traditional approach. As in mainland China, acupuncture is often used here to treat a whole range of psychic illnesses; along with herbs and teas. Bizarrely enough, another big ‘de-stressor’ is thought to be foot massages – another practice imported from the mainland.

east west1 What The West Could Learn from The East

Tai Pan reflexology& spa (Hong Kong 2011)

Bizarre as it seems to us, the thinking behind this last one makes perfect sense: our feet are connected to the Earth, and the conduit through which the Earth’s energy enters into our bodies. A problem with our feet can translate into mental disaster, and a foot massage can be the perfect antidote to stress. A full-body Tui Na massage is recommended as well – by opening up the meridian channels in our bodies, our Qi is allowed to circulate more freely; translating to better mental wellbeing. And that’s before we even get onto the proven therapeutic benefits of meditation.

Keeping Fit and Looking Good

It’s a secret the mainland has had trouble keeping from its Westernised cousin: tea is good for you. As in, really good; as in it’s practically a wonder tonic. White tea, green tea and oolong tea are all known to help with weight loss and to have anti-ageing properties. Can such claims possibly be true? Well, scientists agree that green tea has some rather wonderful side-effects; such as reducing cancer rates, as well as helping those of us on an exercise-based diet burn off up to an extra 200 calories a day! What about the supposed anti-ageing benefits though? Well, that claim may need to be taken with a pinch of salt – but if you’re looking for a long life, Hong Kong has imported a tradition even more-helpful than tea: Japanese food.

Yes, simple, delicious Japanese food – as found in plenty of HK restaurants–may be the key to long life. According to the Guardian Japan has more centenarians than any other country on Earth – and it’s all down to their seafood, whole grain and vegetable-based diet. Luckily, good Japanese restaurants are two a penny in Hong Kong; so long-term visitors may yet live to see 100!

Beauty Secrets

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Camellia Sasanqua

While some Hong Kong women prefer to go the Western beauty route, shelling out a small fortune on lotions and tonics; some of them still haven’t forgotten the old Chinese methods. Camellia nut oil, for example, is used almost-religiously in some parts as facial conditioning oil – and it works even better than moisturiser. It’s a classic example of the Eastern beauty method: plenty of natural products, applied with almost ritualised precision – and the results speak for themselves. Perhaps it’s time we in the West lost some of our fascination with chemicals, no?

Have you picked up any interesting tips on Hong Kong’s winding streets? Tell us about them in the comments below!

If this article has inspired you why don’t why not visit HotelClub’s Hong Kong Hotels section and start planning your journey of enlightenment!

Ally is a freelance writer with an interest in travel, beauty and well-being. If you have any tips I would love to hear them!

Photo Credits: image 1 image 2 image 3

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6 Things Children Learn from Toys

6 Things Children Learn from Toys


Early child development is one of the more critical aspects of life. Along with human interaction, babies begin learning through their playtime. In actuality, play time for young children is a form of education. This is because their earliest development occurs across virtually every domain, including the areas of language, fine and gross motor, social, emotional, and cognitive skills. Bright lights bring bright smiles, while positive reinforcement encourages curiosity. Toys can be engaging and rewarding, making children excited to learn.

toys 6 Things Children Learn from Toys

When choosing materials and planning learning activities for toddlers, parents should consider how the toys and their experiences with these toys will support their child’s development across every critical domain. Many BrightStarts toys for toddlers are educational, for example, but other toys may not be designed to teach skills. Below are 6 things that children regularly learn from playing with toys.

1. coordination  To help develop coordination, toddlers do well with small puzzles, including large pieces and items with buttons, hooks, snaps, and buckles. Also, sturdy building toys like large blocks, child transportation vehicles, and furniture are good for all forms of physical development. Playing with large and small balls, low climbers, toddler jungle gyms, and tunnels with soft materials underneath them are also great for for developing leg and arm muscles.

2. New ideas  Young children learn how to experience the world and practice their new skills with all kinds of toys, but they also learn how to internalize new ideas based upon these new experiences. Through the continual learning process, early skills are easily expanded when they are integrated with new skill sets.

3. Navigation Through play, toddlers learn about how the world works by engaging in activities designed to encourage their emotional, cognitive, and social development. Parents can use toys to demonstrate to toddlers how to navigate and use their bodies effectively. Cognitive skills can be learned by playing classic games like peek-a-boo.

4. Problem Solving  When a parent uses a toy that makes a noise, toddlers can mimic it to learn how to use symbolic thinking and problem solving. For instance, when a toddler bangs on a toy, he creates sound. In this way, he learns to distinguish between cause and effect since this involves thinking and requires the use of mental skills to process information.

5. Creativity  Dress-up clothes, puppets, dolls with accessories, and water and sand toys allow toddlers to develop their creativity, which aids in developing intellect. The same holds true for large non-toxic crayons, markers, paints, molding clay, and chalkboards. Even the youngest toddlers benefit from being encouraged to make pictures and use coloring books. These activities are often enhanced when parents and other children play along with them.

6. Collaboration   For toddlers, all toys afford the opportunity to play in an open-ended and freestyle way. As such, children learn multiple functions that pertain to sight, sound, movement, and intellect. When toddlers play with their parents and in groups of their peers, they learn how to incorporate social aspects into their play, such as how to participate in collaboration and share.

Above all, effective playtime for toddlers not only affords them the opportunity to learn new skills, but also allows them to discover how to learn. Playtime also sets the stage for children that demonstrates how education and learning is an enjoyable process.

Savannah Bobo is a freelance writer who enjoys blogging about health, family, and entertainment, and whose fondest childhood memories are of playing on the floor with a room full of toys that spark the imagination. BrightStarts toys for toddlers are fun and educational, from sports playsets that focus on coordination to interactive alphabets that pop to life.

Photo Credit: Kalyan Kanuri (CC BY-SA 2.0)

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