Sara Chung: Hong Kong Based Designer, Co-creator for Balancd (#245)
Our Guest Today: Sara Chung
Sara Chung, a Hong Kong-based user experienced designer, co-creator for Balancd, an app that “interprets traditional Kung Fu with a scientific view-point, and created a health-enhancing exercise program combining Shaolin basic training and Shaolin Baduanjin qigong. The focus is on mind and body balance as well as lower body strength. Included in the program are fit tests for you to monitor your own progress. If you follow the program diligently, we promise significant improvements in 8 weeks.”
BalancdTM will provide a 30-minute easy-to-follow program and practice with you regularly. We conduct fit tests to help monitor your progress. There is also a social platform to provide motivation and support.
Balancd aims to spread the benefits of ancient art of Tai Chi & Qigong, ultimately improving balance in the mind & body.
Learn more about Sarah Chung and Balancd:
Watch Our Interview
Sarah Chung Hong Kong based Designer, Co-creator for Balancd (a health enhancing exercise program combining Shaolin basic training).m4a – powered by Happy Scribe
FeisWorld podcast helps independent creators live their creative and financial freedom. I’m your host, Fei Wu, and I’ll be taking you through a series of interviews with creators from around the world who are living life on their own terms. Each episode is packed with tactics, nuggets you can implement origin stories to make listening productive and enjoyable. We’re not only focused on the more aspirational stories, but relatable ones as well. We also have none interview based miniseries releasing throughout the year to help Deep dove into topics such as freelancing, marketing, even indie filmmaking that will benefit creators like you.
Show notes, links and ways to connect with the guests are available on Feisworld.com. Now onto the show. All right.
Hi, everybody, I am here with Sara Chung, this is Fie again. I haven’t done a podcast in a while and this is our very first live stream podcast here on Feisworld. And Feiworld’s name actually changed from just Feisworld podcast to Feisworld Media were everywhere. If you haven’t found us on YouTube, definitely check it out under Feisworld Media. We’re doing a lot of tutorials and stories and useful videos for fitness and creative entrepreneurs. And this very stream is broadcasting currently to YouTube.
My personal Facebook page I applied to LinkedIn hasn’t been approved yet and also Twitter Periscope for the first time. So I’m here with Sara Chung, who is from Hong Kong, currently is in Hong Kong. How are you, Sara?
And very good. Thank you.
So good to have you here. Yeah. Yeah. So having me. Oh, absolutely. My pleasure. And so we’ve known each other for a couple of years now. And you came to Boston to visit me. We had awesome dim sum and that was. Yeah, of course. That’s what I found out. The fact that you are doing all these super creative work, you’re developing an app, and that is just amazing. I can’t wait to talk about it, but please tell us how we actually reconnected this time.
What were you looking for? Searching for the time.
Actually, I was just on YouTube and I was searching for zoom tips, like something really practical for doing fitness videos, because I do a lot of classes that you go cultural and with the academic. Of course, I want to kind of go online to still be here for my students. So I was looking for something very practical and talking about the nitty gritty, the mike, how to mirror something, how to actually get there, the step by step process.
Wow. And yeah, this sounds like it’s probably pretty complex because before the before the recording you were telling me that there were multiple people involved going to be involved during the zoom session. Like, could you tell us about like what you’re struggling with or what you have been struggling with?
So if it’s just me, it’s a little bit more simple because there’s one screen, one camera, one mic, and everything is pretty straightforward, much like what I’m doing with you now. But when you’re teaching, you probably have to go a little bit further so you can see their feet and check their footwork and various things like that. But my challenge is that for the first time, we are actually really excited. On the 30th, we’re doing a live event with the 84 year old Grandmaster Lang coming second, Shalane Grandmaster, awesome guy, legend and the doctor and myself.
And we’re going to be going through like all the exercises for challen basic training and Shalal Important and Chico. So I think because this event is kind of got more moving pieces, it’s going to be outdoors. It’s going to be three people, one person’s eighty four year old and has a hearing aid. I’m just trying to kind of navigate these unknown territories. And that’s why I was looking for some tips at your space.
Yeah, that’s so fascinating. I was really surprised that you found me there, because as I mentioned before, I feel like my my brain is always going through a transition and bit of a transformation. And this one here on YouTube is probably the biggest jump that we’ve had. And in less than a month, all of a sudden now we have twenty six hundred subscribers. I’m seeing one hundred thousand views each month and in twenty days. And the impressions like over one point four million, which is kind of crazy.
So you mentioned that you didn’t mind my content before and then now you’re consuming enough. That makes me really proud. I just want to say that.
Yes. So I’ve always been like watching what you’re doing because I’ve been doing my own thing after doing corporate work. And then I kind of transitioned. So I was looking at what what you were doing, looking for inspiration and then now more consuming. Look, the fitness instructions seems perfect for me.
Wow. So, yeah, if you don’t mind, I would love to build a little bit of context, some background about your corporate work. You know, what you did before you now build. This is I think balance is this brand just for people who are listening to this, I’m going to just throw some call out. I’ve got to learn more about Sarah. Definitely. There are links in the descriptions below as part of this livestream, which we’re using restring for the first time.
So we’re including links the zoom session she’s hosting, learning more about her book, you know, social media connections and all of that. So, Sarah, like, give us a high level view of how long you’ve been working on balance and what you did before that.
OK, so basically balance, what we’re trying to do is kind of modernize Taiji and to share it with more people to help people find a sense of balance. And for some, it’s going to be physical balance. For others is more kind of a mental balance. I started this actually for my mother. Funnily enough, she was complaining to me about knee pain and worrying about her own balance. And my grandmother fell in her old age. So my mom is not old, but she wanted to kind of build herself up.
And I being a daughter, I’m sure a lot of you will kind of feel me on this. You want the best for your parents. And so I was looking everywhere for something for her. I looked I really wanted to find something off the shelf, but unfortunately, I couldn’t find it. So then the good thing is, like my family come from a family of doctors. So I use their network and I try to ask a lot of experts and try to read a lot of information, a lot of studies, and actually at the end of the day came to like Taichi and Chico and some of the best exercises to improve balance.
So that’s how this journey began. And luckily enough, I work with Grandmaster, a long time legendary northen shouting Grandmaster who? Eugen. So it’s like the northern Shaolin legend. And he taught his father and he learned from his father. He’s 84 years old and he’s been teaching since he was 17. Oh, wow. That’s so training. Yes. Yes. So I just I think I’ve been very lucky. And he kind of feels kind of different from other masters in that he’s very willing to share and try to, like, share the art to more people.
So that’s how this all started.
Well, yeah. So you know what? I was also fascinated and I remember you carried an iPad when you were in Boston. So people may be wondering, my goodness, to build an app. It takes a lot of discipline and a lot of skills. And I know that some of that firsthand when I build my documentary, when I build my company, is that all of a sudden you’re the person who need to possess or at least do so much and some of which not your expertize.
But this combination of your collaboration is fascinating. And in particular, could you give us a sense of your experience? I remember in design and user experience, so let’s talk about that for a world, of course. So I love designing like I’d really, really like it. I’ve liked it since I was a little girl. I studied at St. Martin’s in London for many years, and then I worked in London, worked in LG, and then I spent many years in the corporate world like working on tech projects, innovation projects.
And kind of look at first it was more hardware phones and smartwatches and things like that. And then was a very nice transition when things kind of hardware and software were starting to merge. And I really like that space. So I did all the used design stuff and understanding like different users, different values, what people care about, what people get stuck on, what people get frustrated with and try to simplify and purify all of that so that it’s beautiful, seamless experience that you don’t interact with the technology, but really just engage with the content, which I think is the challenge.
And I really enjoy that. So now I kind of transition after that. I kind of being from a kind of a medical family. I really wanted to take that part of my life and use design to do something that I feel that has little purpose. So I do that now and that’s where I am.
You know, I’m not just like an interviewer who has not even tried out the app. So as soon as you send it to me, I downloaded that and I started practicing. And so funny, as are so many ideas and feedback. And I love the simplicity of it and how it progressively trained someone. So for people who have not downloaded the app, definitely go check it out. Its own Apple store is currently an Apple store. Is it on Android just yet?
Yeah. So. Oh, wow.
So you’re the it’s the links that I said.
Oh, wonderful, wonderful. I, I have an iPhone I’ve only checked out on my iPhone. And for people who are listening, watching, you really don’t need to have any. Martial arts experience like both of us do, and that’s how we connected as well. You know, you train your balance based on, you know, standing postures like really like holding one of your feet up and then you start the swing and you start more movement. And it’s really interesting.
Like, I think people of any age is from little kids to people who are elderly can definitely give it a shot. And it’s not intimidating at all. Like Sarah said, it’s not you’re not going to be like feel like you’re on Twitch or something where you have to be like a gamer in order to understand it. But it’s very accessible. So I love what you said about combining different superpowers together. I use the word superpower, not you, but I find that your you know, your superpowers is design, empathy, understanding what people are looking for.
And you’re young. So modernizing the app, whereas people might not know about your dad, both of your parents. I met only your dad, Sidney Chung, who is a very renowned doctors, not just in China but worldwide, who really contributed so much during SARS and really helped a lot of people. Your mom is a palliative care doctor and now you’re Sifu talking about. Could you give us, like, talk about that combination again, like who’s contributing what and why?
OK, sure. So seafood, without a doubt, he’s contributing like the history and the legacy of the NHL, the martial arts. And he’s very detail orientated, like you nitpicked on like the shelling, shelling first and all, like how to breathe properly and all these kinds of things. And his goal is to kind of pass something very valuable and benefit and health for everybody. So that has been invaluable. And it’s also for me, he he brings me and he trains me and he showed me something very pure, which I really like.
And my father, he is a bit of a nerd and he knows everything about medical stuff. And so he kind of looks at it from the anatomy point of view and he selects only the exercises that he feels will benefit you, your body. So when I was designing something for my mom, I wanted it to be really optimal. I didn’t want to waste time. I wanted to get results very quickly. And so he kind of analyze each exercise and anatomically make sure that what were part of the body were working.
So that has been really beneficial and kind of put everything into like. So you kind of makes it you’re looking at it from scientific eyes and from a medical perspective. How you benefiting the human body, not just doing martial arts for the sake of doing martial arts and then actually also sought help from like a lot of physiotherapists and other doctors. So everything we do is measurable. So I can guarantee you results and within eight weeks. So my mom was my first guinea pig.
We tested on her. She saw good results. But I’m like, wait, wait a minute. Like, how can I make sure she’s not just an anomaly and that this just worked for her? So we did a group of people and my dad helped me with the study. We did I did an in community centers. I did it in offices, with the office ladies, with different people, and just monitored them and did their test. And we measure strength, flexibility and balance and over the course time and and they did improve.
And that’s why we decided to do the app so that we could scale and reach more people. So my role is the design, so the design. So I design every screen and then and then I test it with my students and users and then tweak and change things as we go along, all the colors, all the UX, all the branding. And just actually I think that the world is so cluttered. So I kind of just want something very curious, give them what they need in a nutshell and accessible.
And also it was a big point to kind of do everything in English as well, because a lot of times it’s not accessible to a different audience or it seems to most people and I think it’s really important to demystify and make it tangible to everyday person.
And you’re in the videos as well. And, you know, were you you are the one doing the videos, right? That’s awesome. Yes.
Look, I know it’s me, so I do it because, like, I want to at first I didn’t think that I would be in the videos. I always didn’t imagine that. But actually, I wanted to be able that. A user just concentrate on what they need to learn. So, like, I want to create exactly what. What the voiceover needs to be so that they could learn easily to break it down and not to have any and to have like to do like a difficult version and then an easy version and then to talk through it so that it’s clear what people have to do.
And there were many iterations, so I didn’t feel comfortable getting someone to come and do it and then and then changing and then. Yeah. And I also want that continuity, like I want the user to be comfortable and not have to get used to different things all the time.
Yeah. If somebody drops out, I mean, this is part of a creative process that we’re also intimately familiar with after. I mean, for me, I worked in that industry for more than a decade. And I know that if you hire somebody else, if their rate goes up right, it’s not even about just affordability. But if that person gets hurt or when is that person, especially if you hire like a like an actor or actress and when they are going to be returning to the can you have different people?
So it’s very authentic. Not to mention that also there’s zero ad like you. I didn’t see any ads in the in the app. It’s OK if it’s part of the future plan. But right now, I mean, the user interface is very focused on people.
Yeah, I didn’t want that ad because I know that sometimes it’s, you know, it just clutters the space. I don’t want something to be grabbing their attention when they should be focused on what they need to follow in the middle of the exercise. So, you know, what is what is your vision maybe a few months from now or just just for this year? Because we’re in a very unusual time right now. So it doesn’t surprise me at all that it just seems to me like your primary focus right now is to spread the word and spread the let people know about the cause.
And it doesn’t hit me as like you’re focusing on monetization models at the moment. But correct me if I’m wrong, if there’s you know, how how do you see the current model versus the longevity of the app?
It will be a subscription model. Actually, we’re doing that right now, but during that pandemic, I didn’t feel like it was right to charge during this difficult time for everybody. I’d rather everyone stuck at home, rather they thought the exercise and and that’s what we wanted to do. But it’s a subscription model, but it’s a very modest fee so that actually everybody can afford it. Yeah. So that is really, really important for us. I’d rather do that and reach more people.
Yeah, that’s wonderful. And I was going to also transition into asking you this question because inevitably everybody in this world I mean, for the first time in my lifetime, in many people’s lifetimes, that this is literally the first time where we’re all so interconnected, where everyone is planet. And I think in a way and we don’t talk about politics or, you know, too many philosophical or religious topics here on the show. But I must say that I feel like we are going to come out of this better and stronger as like a global community.
With that said, inevitably a lot of people’s businesses, a big or small, are impacted by this. I have seen my close friends and clients who are trying to launch their books, their online courses. And, you know, my some of my friends, several friends launching books and and also clothing lines, they’re all being impacted. How for. Yeah, for sure. You know, how has a pandemic impacted, you know, your work launching the app and you working also with your with your close friends and family.
Well, in Chinese they have or I speak Cantonese they have. You know, Dange means a gay, white, gay is danger. And the second word is gay is opportunity. So when there’s danger, there’s opportunity. I try to see it that way, like focus on the opportunity, because sometimes when what you’re used to is no longer there, it forces you to have to think about different ways to adapt. And that’s when you can maybe be more creative and kind of think a little bit and do something that you’re a little bit uncomfortable with but might not do otherwise.
And I feel like sometimes in the worst times, that’s when, like, real innovation happens because you have to adapt, you can’t stick to your ways and you can’t stick to what’s comfortable. So I think that’s kind of what. I took from it, but for me, actually, normally I teach classes and community centers and corporate, that’s how I use those to kind of bootstrap and fund the app so far. But I couldn’t do any of that because community centers are closed, offices were closed.
So then I that’s how I was able to focus and focus and finish off the book, which we’ve now printed and being sold. So if I didn’t have that kind of forced to focus and have a bit of quiet to actually think, I don’t think things would drag on a little bit. So I kind of I wasn’t able to do some things, but then decided to use the energy to focus on others. And then because all my students were stuck at home, they could come in to test things for me.
And so that’s because, I mean, we stacked the pandemic much earlier than you. Now, there’s almost no cases here. So it’s kind of we did it many months before you guys. And then so that’s how it’s been like.
Mm hmm. Wow. So it’s it’s interesting that you have such a like a growth mindset versus a fixed mindset approaching this, because I can imagine it being very challenging for most people or very it could be very depressing because you’ve been working on this for a long time. And all of a sudden this you know, the pandemic is here. But I almost felt like it could be like a blessing in disguise. This is not just about growing your app because it has become even more clear that people need those help, need something so accessible they can go anywhere in quarantine and lockdown.
I feel like your exercises could actually motivate certain people. So has the results so far. I know you just launched this, but what has some of the initial reactions and feedback been so far?
So it really depends. Like so I got a lot of messages from Singapore and a while back because suddenly they were under severe lockdown. So suddenly there were a lot of people using in Singapore. So it’s kind of interesting, like how certain situations happen makes people behave in a particular way. And then also because people were stuck at home, they wanted something to read. So they like at the beginning when we got a lot of like online orders for books because they needed delivery to the home that they had for me to read.
Yeah. By the way, no English for sounds like the whole oh, the book is bilingual. So in Chinese and English bilingual.
So actually the book is kind of the philosophy and the thinking behind it, why we’re doing what we’re doing, the context, the history, the medical like doctors notes, all the diagrams on all the drawings. The book is great to kind of get a feel of why why we need to do this. If you want to like, hey, I want to improve my balance and do a little bit kung fu in a short space of time. I want to see results then the app is like how you do that in a nutshell.
Mm hmm. Wow. I’m looking at a book right now on the website. I’m like, I just can’t help feeling really proud of you because there’s so I mean, you created such an ecosystem of this. You know, it’s not just the app, it’s not just a website. And I don’t want anybody hearing this to think that they also need to have everything all at once. Because clearly this to for you is a is a process. And so, you know, speaking of a process of people who are probably very impressed by the things that you’ve done, because, look, you don’t have a like this publishing or those agency empire behind you.
Right. You’re you’re I’m hearing a lot of this for the first time that you’re working at community centers and trying to support this project of your own. And I know that when I produce a documentary for like a year and a half, I didn’t pay myself a dime. I saved up every penny to pay everyone else. Oh, there was only this amount of money. But the reality is, no, I didn’t get paid for any of this and I loved it.
But what was the process like for you? So we’re talking about a website like the Zio. I think those probably came first. But in terms of weighing in, like the iOS Android apps, those are different apps. And then the book and the and the e-book like. Did you work on the book first? Laughs Like, well, what was that project together all together at the same time.
Yeah, but at first we were thinking is just going to be a pamphlet like a little little like brochure I had in mind a brochure to go along with that. But then things kind of it’s not every day that he agrees to write a book with us and that my dad’s interested in. Something that he saw a spark in that the dynamic with seafood and how he could that seafood. Mine was open to looking at things from medical and scientific point of view.
And that was like a special moment and a unique situation that, like, I didn’t feel turned down.
Yeah, yeah, that’s true.
And we had a very great editor was like a great attention to detail. So it was like the right time, I felt, to do something like this.
And I saw images as well. So there are pictures and demonstrations and like it it’s an in color, too. So people can literally. Do you think the people can follow the book instead of the app or like it’s highly recommend that they do it together or I think some some things like, Shulem, basic training. You can definitely check them. It looks so simple, but they’re the devil is in the details. There are so many little details that makes it beautiful.
And you have to do it many times, the kind of like realize how your finger is going to be, how you hand. It’s going to be, how you shift your weight, how you breathe. And I think that comes from just being doing it and like, each time you learn a little bit more. So I would really recommend the app for that you to learn like for me when I learn something I need to know, like how to do it and then I need to know what I’m doing it.
Yeah. So I think they kind of work hand in hand, but to follow the exercise, I always think it’s nice to see like a moving image for myself.
Yeah. No, this is great actually for people. Some people are visual and like to flip over the pages and then these days, especially in Asia and access to this is so simple and so many different price points. So even that is not a showstopper for most is just really fascinating. Is there anything else we should talk about in terms of the book and your app before we move on a little bit to your origin stories? Because people now get to know you.
I’m sure there’s a lot that questions in the air at the moment.
And I think that’s I mean, if you have any question so that maybe one thing like for the app we’re doing, just tell you a little bit about the program. It’s combining Shalal in basic training, which is really functional training. So it targets a common ailments that people have, whether it’s like frozen shoulder. You know, we’re sitting here all the time from our phones, focusing on frozen shoulder, some back pain and like really building like the muscles around wherever.
It’s painful. For example, a lot of functional training. And the second part is Keigo, which is breath work. And it’s like eight beautiful is cool, but didn’t come out ending. And a sequence is a thousand year old. And it’s a exercise is very simple. But like I said, devil’s in the details and you repeat each exercise eight times and it’s something that you can keep for the rest of your life because you can do it throughout your life.
It’s in Chinese. There’s a word Locy will have me. It’s like. It’s suitable for like if you’re 30 or 60 and so on, and it’s like and these eight beautiful exercises, Brocade kind of the movements are very silk and very soft, very tranquil, and then exercises each exercise, target different section of your body. So combined it restorative. It increases your strength for me. Right. I do like sometimes the morning I do those exercises first and then I tackle the day.
And this is good for your body to move in the morning and then and I do it outdoors and then. And then you do the breathing exercises and then you just feel good and you have energy to tackle the day. Yeah.
Yeah. This is wonderful and thank you for breaking that down. And just again, I’m so excited to share this with my mom. And I think these are the exact exercises that she needs. Will her paintings are behind me, but she does. She either stands or sits for a long time for her work. And it has always you know, it was challenging for her, always the physical part. But now as she gets older, I feel like maybe because of your app and just the awareness of it, maybe you’ll preserve her as an artist a little bit longer so she can do more.
Of course, I definitely without a doubt, one point I just wanted to share, which was shocking and unfortunate for me to understand, too. But unfortunately, aging starts at 30.
Yeah, yeah. No, I feel in my back, unfortunately, like and you really have to like you don’t start your anti aging regime for your skin late. You have to start early and like you have to stop before. Things kind of deteriorated like before your muscles go for everything, so I think that’s really important to keep up with your training. So that and also I think for me, like the way I exercise has changed before. I did a lot of like very hard core, like training, pounding boot camps and all that.
And now I feel like I need something like a different approach because it’s not just esthetics, it’s function. And my focus is on feeling good, on having my body that works, not in pain. Shoulders hurt. And I feel good. Everything’s working as it should. I think that’s like the notion of health has kind of shifted.
I completely agree with that. And, you know, I’m not exactly exactly a gym rat, but in the past two years, I also shifted. I still love martial arts and my school is really far away. But I start exercising, doing forms, you know, punches and kicks on my own. I love it. But the past two years really has been about like dance and fitness and, you know, people especially on my YouTube channel and also in the group, I feel like I’m indebted to people who kind of led the way and teach me to do these things.
And now, you know, knowing that your app has launched and that gives me another dimension of caring for my body in a way that I, I should be doing as opposed to, like you said, it’s not the beauty standards is really becomes I feel like like you said, is a double edged sword. You have to pick something that’s right for you. And this Nacho’s temporarily, you know, you look a certain way. But, you know, tonight, genetics is part of a diet, is a huge part of it.
But how do you actually feel? Good inside and out. And that is huge. And yeah, I love what you’re I love you are doing. I’m just super excited for you.
And I just one thing like that. Oh, just speaking to you made me think of it is like, you know, if you look at yoga kind of mind biopsychosocial kind of approach, it’s got a rich history of fiscal philosophy. And I mean, back in the day, it wasn’t Lululemon, you know, it wasn’t how it is now. It was something very traditional. It was it had like, you know. It isn’t glamorized as it is now.
It was just an ancient practice and I really kind of look towards that and see how it’s evolved. And I think it’s because of how the cultural context in which it was that it was able to have that went to California and you could see the transition step by step into something completely different. And now it’s a lifestyle I feel like martial arts. Taichi Chieko. They have the same richness and philosophy. They have all that richness, but they didn’t evolve in the same way.
We were wearing much same silk pajamas that we were wearing back in the day. So I feel like there’s room to kind of transition and make it something that is accessible to different people from different ages, different across different cultures. So that is a new lifestyle.
Yeah, and that’s part of you know, it’s people say sometimes it’s rare in Asia, in particular in China, to find young people who are as involved or as invested in the old traditions. I think that is also changing and shifting. Meeting you and speaking with a number of my friends, like I love this trend because instead of let’s all go to Starbucks in China next to the Great Wall or the Forbidden City, hey, let’s go to a tea house that has been here for hundreds of years or they don’t exist anymore.
They’re young people recreating that experience. And it’s so fascinating to me. And even restaurants in China, I feel like I need to go back and and sit. I remember there’s one restaurant where it’s those wooden tables next to where they had an Reisinger like rice, paper brushes and ancient books, even though those are all fake, still just gave you that sense of your deeply rooted. And it’s funny now we’re recording this because there is Asian-American month. I know you’re not American or you know, but it’s really interesting that we get to really share our heritage in a very authentic way because it matters and of it bothers me to where, you know, China’s is really big and culturally very rich country.
But there’s so little information that has been shared properly in the western world, in North America. And then I think you are really you’re you’re shifting that without changing again the authenticity and the origin of where you seek the information from. You know, you’re not just making it up, but you’re like taking the steps and a lot of effort to go after people who can actually tell you, you know, the origins of the story.
And I think that most of them are very grateful for the people willing to share their knowledge, not only my former CFO, of course, my dad has a lot of knowledge and he’s just like put it out in order to help create this project. And also, I think there are a lot of doctors that are so passionate about what they’re doing because your therapists so passionate about what they’re doing, that they’re very willing to share everything that they have. And they like I remember I met this doctor who said, please, this is my life’s work on this PPY, please take it, use whatever you can and do something with it, because otherwise it’s remains on this.
And then then it’s like, wow, how so generous? Because when people love what they do, they just want to accomplish whatever their goal is. And for me that was so inspiring to see like they weren’t hiding anything. They were like, please take it. You don’t have to credit me. Take it. It’s part of the like it’s powerful. Yeah.
Yeah. And I’m doing it’s funny that you brought that up because I’m also doing the same as a project I’m so passionate about. I mean, you’re seafood’s eighty four years old, as you mentioned. I mean, he you know how he’s really great at what he does, but he needs support and the next generation to pick up where he is, where he left off and to be able to modernize a message. And I felt like this urge is funny.
Two days ago and I looked at everything I’m doing. Yeah, YouTube, great podcasting, awesome. Creating content, help other people. Then I realized my mom, who stuck here with me in Boston, I forgot to mention she is she’s right here. She’s like literally in her bedroom behind this wall right now. I know she came to visit me for just a couple of months and then the pandemic happened.
So she she’s here. She’s really happy she’s painting away. And then I realize this is such a rare opportunity for me to capture everything. So I started videotaping everything she’s doing. I mean, we literally put a large jar full of white rice like raw white rice, and it put like a selfie stick inside. So when she was like, there’s the phone, like capturing everything she’s doing, we’re backing everything up to cloud. And I feel like I’m, in a way, doing sort of similar things in parallel to what you’re like looking at your structure.
It gives me and inspires me to say I want to do that, even if it’s just not an app for mom. It’s, you know, live streaming book and products.
I’m doing a lot of that, too, like researching how to document things beautifully and the different ways to do that in different contexts. Like if you’re at a beach, how do you do it? If it’s in the water, if it’s like from above or if you have you’re holding a weapon, how do you do it? Like, it’s really fun and interesting thing. So that you document, like, not just like making a beautiful video, but like documenting something like a learning tool or something like that.
So I think there’s a unique opportunity for you to see sorry you slow down. And I think I talked over you and I realize there’s a unique opportunity for you as well, because currently on either even on YouTube and elsewhere, there isn’t a ton of there are not a lot of tutorials and experts who can say when you’re holding your weapon or when you’re showing your hand movements there, this is how you shoot it. I mean, there is something universal about photography and videography that you can learn from, but there isn’t someone and you could be that voice, in my opinion, if you have you know, if you have your channel, maybe you can talk about that and we can talk about that offline, too.
I’m fascinated by how people shoot videos and how to make it more interesting. And to your point earlier, when you don’t learn, when you have to learn how to do that, it’s hard to market and broadcast and make this kind of a long living art because people are not going to be interested when it’s not shot correctly. Right. It’s a little contradicting. Right. And if the book is beautiful, they can follow. They can’t or the ad doesn’t work and people are going to leave.
And if it’s too cluttered, like for me, if I look at something and there’s many things going on, I can’t digest it. Yes, I think it’s like removing the noise and then so you can concentrate on what you’re saying kind of stimulated. Made me think that actually. Also, I think there is something about being able to do everything yourself. So like if you’re thinking something and then you need to do it quickly, you can’t then ask someone, can you come many.
But like if you have a set up that allows you to shoot, then it’s much more empowering because you can think and then move on to the next thing. Rather than wait on Tuesday, I can ask my friend to help me or yeah, oh, I think that fluidity and that continuous flow is also important. And to have the confidence and in knowing it may not be a very difficult thing, just like work out the formula and then you repeat that formula so that you could replicate that.
Yeah, no, that’s a it’s a beautiful thing to say because yesterday as I was cleaning up my social media cues and this year I try to be more intentional with not just how I share, how quickly I share, but what I share. And I I remember yesterday I was cleaning up my quote cards. I create these quotes based on people I interview. And like some of my favorite quotes, I’ve turned that into a little like Instagram design, right?
Yeah. So you definitely have your own, too. So Bobby Parrish, who is now a very famous YouTube YouTube girl who makes meals at home very personal and his daughter is adorable to look at. So, you know, and then he talked about something which is, quote I picked up yesterday called There is no excuse not to do anything anymore. There is zero excuse because of the phone, the technology that we have today. And exactly like you said, if you can’t find a partner in these days in the US currently, I can’t just find a friend to say, hey, let’s go shoot film together.
I mean, we can wear masks, but you’re relying on some a lot of people who are busy or who can’t really come out, who have elderly living with them at home. They don’t want to risk anything. So you got to find a way to do it on your own. I think that’s kind of how a bit of an imposter syndrome hit me when I did my YouTube channel. The thing like, who am I to talk about these things?
You know, and I’m not an expert. I’m just figuring I’m recording as I’m figuring things out and people really love it and they appreciate that. So I would love to to see more of your content of video talking about like the making of process to.
Yeah, I think like those things, like it’s just important to learn to fail many times and then to learn in that process and then like when you’re little, you’re not afraid of failing. And then suddenly you grow up and then you’re afraid to do many things. And I think we should just play. Yeah, play.
Exactly. And I you know, I know we’re both in a bit of a privileged situation when I say that as we have a safe place to stay, we have plenty of food, we have access, we have electricity and access to technology. So definitely not taking that for granted. And I say that because, you know, this piece of content goes on YouTube where we’re exposing ourselves to a much larger audience who don’t really know much about us at all.
But I think for people in our situation that I feel like them, we are more indebted to the community. We should be doing more as a result of it. And I know it is pretty late over there where you are. And I do want to I do want you to, if possible, maybe share a bit more about yourself. I think at this point, especially my audience, people in North America or even in Europe listening to this and thinking, wait, wait a minute.
So she’s Chinese. She’s she’s living Hong Kong. What does she have? A British accent. And I think the British accent to me is obvious. So do I. I actually think it’s kind of a high I think it’s kind of a hybrid. Like, I can’t really the British is definitely more obvious than the American, but yeah. Like, actually, is there a Hong Kong accent?
I don’t know. Yeah, there is. There is definitely. There is. Yeah. So a bit about me.
So tell us about your origin stories where you grew up, where you went to school.
OK, so I, I am half Norwegian, my mom is Norwegian and my dad is Chinese. So they met in Ireland and in medical school and then they came back to Hong Kong and I was born in Hong Kong, grew up in Hong Kong, went to like a local girl school. And then I went to England to study. Like I said, I love design. I went to like I only dreamed of going to St. Maarten when I was little.
I went to Florence, studied product design, and then I always loved tech. So I worked in tech industry and and doing like electronics and various things like that, and then transitioned as a technology change transitioned and more into UX and the whole journey of the user experience and the and then did more things like that. And then after a while, I was sitting in a boat. One day when I was in Norway, I was like, when I’m fifty five years old, I want.
To know that I don’t want to have any regrets.
I want to try, Leon. Yeah, that’s good. That’s good.
And then and then I thought, I want to do this thing that I’ve always wanted to do, which is combine you have to bring in the medical side like, you know, I grew up, like waiting for my dad and operating theater. So like that kind of like the medical side. And so I started a company with my father and he yeah, it’s called and we do like medical projects. And so this project is one of them taking quite a lot of time now.
But we do like various other things as well. So this is. Yeah, so this is what I’ve always wanted to do. And so far I’m really enjoying it. It’s much harder than I thought. Of course, I kind of like a beautiful evolving journey and humbling experience.
And to do something with your parents, I know that doesn’t work for everyone. And I, I think I’m going to also make a really good team with my mom as well, who is great. Yeah. You know, she’s super respectful of what I do. She doesn’t overstep her boundaries like she knows. She just literally told me, I don’t know how your dad is, but my mom was like, whatever you need from an artistic point of view videos, just tell me what I need to do and I’ll do it.
So I personally find that kind of you know, even when working with your parents, there’s got to be boundaries and there are. Right. Like, you need to you need to have the right dynamic in order for that to work. Like, you know, they need to respect your expertize, your authority in certain areas and vice versa.
So, yeah, definitely. Like I think actually I work much better than I thought with my dad. I thought we would be fighting all the time. But actually he’s because I think our backgrounds are so different that what I know, like I’m here talking about CMF like materials and finish, which I think is very, very important. And he’s there talking about Grant’s Anatomy and anatomical drawings of the shoulder joint. And then the two two things kind of have they kind of neat and like so when we do different projects, like then he would give me some insight on the medical thing.
I would go away, design something based on his insights, and then come back and give him to test. And so that, like, is kind of really fun. And yeah, it’s a grown up play that’s so wonderful. And I know that you talked you kind of talk very briefly about growing up in Hong Kong. And it’s funny that I want to kind of take us back there just a little bit and I’ll I’ll let you rest. I feel like we’re like, how should we talk during the interview?
Like, thirty minutes. I know we’re never going to end up thirty minutes. So people in living in North America, at least as soon as you know, you might love this as soon as I move to the U.S.. Twenty exactly twenty years ago, I noticed people have this fascination about Hong Kong, the Macao, Macao, because entertainment industry. But for Hong Kong, its people are fascinated because they see this as such a modern world. And I finally personally have the opportunity to travel there.
I think around twenty ten or twenty eleven. And it just other than driving over the bridge, have they spend like one hundred twenty bucks each time, which is really expensive, but it’s so everything is right there. Like if you’re going to a party, it’s walking distance shopping, you’re going to eat a meal for a thousand dollars for five bucks, everything is in front of you and there’s something really attractive about being there. So what was it like growing up for you?
I never even asked you this question. Did you ever feel overwhelmed or do you do you feel like you’re just naturally conditioned to be there?
I think it was just this was just what it was like, and I think in hindsight I realize that how because I also lived in Shanghai and I kind of in hindsight, I realize how multicultural Hong Kong is and that it’s like very fluid between the different cultures. And I think that’s one of the really nice things I like about it. And another thing is that in the you can, like, reach the countryside. So I live right next to a beach in the morning.
I take my sword or my spear and like this and like the little area in front of the beach. And when I’m done, I go swimming and then I go to like then I shower and go to work. So it’s really nice that and then I’m like half an hour from the city center when the financial buildings and stuff. So I think that is a really interesting in this like the old and the new mixing together as well, which is really powerful.
And you know, this is awesome. So I feel like these some of my question to some are questions that our audience might have. Like, you know, I notice such a hodgepodge in Hong Kong and there are a lot of mixed cultures and and also people. So is it very common for kids, not kids, just general population, to have maybe one of their parents to be from outside of China is like super common among your friends or people that you encounter or not as much?
Well, I think my friends, yes. But generally there is mostly like just like pure Chinese, but my friends definitely. And it also depends which part of Hong Kong they’re different parts of Hong Kong. And like a lot of people come to work as well.
So mainland China as well.
Yeah, yeah. And like Southeast Asia, my interest in Europe.
Yeah, yeah. And then you mentioned the you went to a girls school and I notice that there’s something about the Hong Kong culture is definitely, in my opinion, like Westernize or like. Yeah. Used to be, you know, ruled by the British and they’re still part of that culture there. For example, like girls school is you rarely hear about girls or boys go in mainland China. I don’t know those like it’s always mix. You almost never, ever hear.
There may be like a couple of schools floating around somewhere, but in Hong Kong, it’s kind of like a general practice is very common.
Yeah, I went to like a local local girls school and like I my first language was Cantonese, Chinese, the traditional form. So like, when you we write we write the traditional Chinese. I think like back in the day I didn’t have much choice in it, but like my family wanted to have like an authentic Chinese background before I go overseas to go to university. But the transition then was a struggle for me to do English.
But what did you learn? English. You don’t sound like much.
Maybe like 12.
What you learned English when you were doing well, like, of course, you’d have like like a little like English English lessons. But officially, like, I went to like. Yeah, officially twelve. Yeah.
Wow. So you never did you speak English regularly before. Twelve.
With the yeah, but not not it was mainly companies oh, wow, because I studied in Cantonese, right. So naturally my friends were all Cantonese that spoke to me in Cantonese. My mom is she speaks English, but like she also learned Cantonese, her native tongue region. She is a doctor. Right. So she’s like, imagine all her patients are like local Chinese. So if at the beginning she had no clue what she was saying, but like she had to just learn how to be how long.
I don’t know. But she’s been in Hong Kong over thirty years. So I would say she’s pretty good because like the best landlady that I’ve seen speaking again. But I think she was forced to do so. Yeah.
Yeah, that’s that’s awesome. Wow. So, um. All right. Last couple of questions like about you. I mean, you’re working with your dad. This app is launching. Have you ever thought about living or else are you interested in traveling? A lot more. We’re living outside of China or Hong Kong.
I think like these days, it doesn’t really matter where you live anymore, right? You have your computer, you can pretty much go anywhere. So I like to keep it open, see where things take me.
Where things and the world is much more small this much smaller these days.
Mm hmm. And we’re we’re having trouble traveling these days until further notice. So that decision can be made from twenty twenty one on on perhaps. So. So I so appreciate you being here. And we definitely stayed on, I think, for a solid hour. And which is how long recording anyway. Right. I think we’ve had two hours hours. We’ll do the same. But for anybody else who’s watching the descriptions below, Sarah Chan is a co-founder for Balance, which aims to spread the benefit of ancient art of Tai Chi and Qigong.
And there’s an app ebook, regular book. Her website, Instagram, Facebook are all in the description below. Plus, there’s a life event, guys, on May 30th. So there’s an RSVP link. So if you want to check it out and connect with Sarah and I’m going to sign I’m so excited about this.
So this event will have a grandmaster, a doctor and me. So we will be running on Zune.
By the way, is it going to be through to 415 like China time, possibly Hong Kong time, Hong Kong time for KMT plus eight.
Oh, so there’s going to be recording.
Awesome. So by three a.m. my time, but I will go all the way across and just watch it.
Thank you so much.
This episode of the First World podcast is brought to you by Fey’s World LLC, our marketing service agency created for independent creators and businesses. We offer website development, video production, marketing, mentorship to people who want to tell better stories, level up and create a profitable brand phasor podcast team. Our chief editor and producer, Herman Silvio’s associate producer, Adam Lefort, social media and content manager, Rosta Leon transcript editor Allena Almodovar. And lastly, myself, the creator and host of Face World.
Thank you so much for listening.
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