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Project Type: hk magazine

The List: Shaun Bernier

Note: I worked at HK Magazine from December 2015 to April 2016 as an editorial writer. This article was published in the June 2016 issue of The List.

The List: Shaun BernierClick here for large size.

Women in Focus: SW Wong

Shaun Bernier is the founder and acting executive director of HandsOn Hong Kong, a nonprofit organization that acts as a middleperson between volunteers and charities, helping to recruit volunteers or manage upcoming activities. Bernier tells Charmaine Ng about growing up in a family that instilled goodwill in her and bringing that to Hong Kong.

I grew up in the US with a family that taught me to appreciate what we had from a very young age.

My parents brought me to volunteer regularly with Habitat for Humanity during high school. That put me on the path to working in public service.

I worked in an NGO after university and gained advocacy experience in the public sector. It was my husband’s job that moved us to Hong Kong.

Coming with experience from the government, I didn’t know where to get started in the new city and with the language barrier here, it wasn’t really possible for me to work in the local government.

Timing-wise, starting HandsOn Hong Kong in 2007 was perfect. I had previous experience working with HandsOn New York and Washington DC and I saw a need for the organization in my new city.

HandsOn is perfect for someone wanting to help out in the community but doesn’t know where to start—especially in Hong Kong, where there is a lack of work-life balance in general.

We’re like a matchmaker between volunteers and charities. But we’re not your traditional matchmaker—we join you on the first date to test the waters. We hope that it’s a good fit, and that it’ll be beneficial and meaningful for both sides.

The charities we work with address a variety of social needs and we also partner with smaller NGOs who may not have resources themselves.

Volunteering benefits two or more people—yourself and those being helped. Volunteers are doing more than just asking for donations on the street. It’s a more rewarding way to address social issues.

I’m particularly passionate about refugees and asylum workers who cannot work in Hong Kong while waiting for their status.

I also have a soft spot for children and the elderly. We have a program where volunteers meet directly with the elderly in their own homes and provide essentials for them. It’s very eye-opening to see where they live beyond the elderly center.

I’ve brought my children along before and I hope over time, charity work is going to resonate with them.

HandsOn is like my first baby. As a social enterprise entrepreneur, I see myself starting something new.

Volunteer now at

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The List: Tai Kok Tsui

Note: I worked at HK Magazine from December 2015 to April 2016 as an editorial writer. This article was published in the May 2016 issue of The List.

The List: Tai Kok TsuiClick here for large size.

Happening Hoods: Tai Kok Tsui

Tai Kok Tsui Head west from Mong Kok and you’ll end up in Tai Kok Tsui, where you’ll get the best of industrial cool and homey and discreet residential vibes. Once where the Cosmopolitan Dock was located, it may be a historical neighborhood known to house an aging population, but you’ll see your fill of hipster youngin’s these days: here are our picks for what’s new in town.

XXX Gallery
Previously located in the Western district, underground music and arts hub XXX Gallery has moved its party room all the way to Tai Kok Tsui. Now housed inside a factory building, the gallery space continues to put on indie shows—think eclectic music, experimental film screenings and unconventional visual art.
Unit 2A, Kin Luen Factory Building, 89-91 Larch St.,

Craving western food in an area where you are surrounded by local greasy spoons? Burgerman is a tiny store on Ivy Street offering made-to-order burgers. Previously placed first on the charts, this little burger shack is a hidden gem indeed. Take your pick between the VVagyu, foie gras, or soft shell crab varieties and more. If you’re still feeling hungry, they serve a variety of tasty pastas too.
Shop C, G/F, 95-97 Ivy St., 2331-3973

Hung Shing Temple
If you’re headed to this old neighborhood hoping to have a taste of traditional culture, make sure to stop at Hung Shing Temple. As per its namesake, the small temple is dedicated to Hung Shing, a government official in the Tang Dynasty. This particular Hung Shing Temple is the only one in urban Kowloon today.
58 FukTsun St.

Craft Coffee Roaster
If you’re in need of an afternoon pick-me-up, take a coffee break at cozy Craft Coffee Roaster. This neighborhood café focuses on both traditional and cold brew coffees, offers whole leaf teas and serves a small range of sandwiches, salads and homemade desserts. If you’re around the area in the morning, they also serve up a mean full breakfast, perfect to fuel up for the day.
G/F, 29 Tai Kok Tsui Rd., 2395-1888

The Brew Job Coffee
Another one for the coffee fans to tick off the list in the area is The Brew Job Coffee, a tiny café with a decidedly industrial-style vibe. Be sure to order their freshly roasted artisanal coffee, and don’t forget to get a bagel to go with it. A great place to get your work done as there are plenty of power sockets for laptops. An afternoon well spent that’s delicious and productive!
G/F, 46 Hoi King St., 6097-9030

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The List: SW Wong

Note: I worked at HK Magazine from December 2015 to April 2016 as an editorial writer. This article was published in the April 2016 issue of The List.

The List: SW WongClick here for large size.

Women in Focus: SW Wong

SW Wong is the co-founder of The Closeteur, Hong Kong’s newly launched online shopping mecca which features preloved items offered by celebrities, fashion influencers and industry professionals. It also works to support charities too: Half of the profits go to environmental charities 1% For The Planet and Aquameridian Conservation & Education (ACE) Foundation. Charmaine Ng talks to Wong about fashion waste and how she hopes to change Hongkongers’ view towards secondhand clothes.

Before starting The Closeteur, I worked in the fashion industry. On the side, I did charity work and was part of Shark Savers Hong Kong. I also launched [a campaign pledge to stop eating shark fin] I’m Finished With Fins with a friend. Through charity, I met a lot of people who worked for the environment and learned a lot about the field.

One year ago, together with a friend who was also interested in fashion and also did a lot of charity work, we began forming our business idea. Our goal was to combine our love for fashion and our passion about helping the environment together.

Many people do not know that they are indirectly contributing to pollution by partaking in fast fashion. Today’s popular culture is one where clothes are cheap, so people are always purchasing without thinking about the quality and whether or not they really like the items. The more we buy, the more we end up not wearing and throwing away. This in turn causes us to buy more.

This fashion waste contributes to the landfill problem as more than 10,000 tons of clothes are thrown away each year just in Hong Kong.

However, Hongkongers do not like to purchase secondhand clothes.

The Closeteur is different from other secondhand stores because we teach you how to mix and match the pieces we sell.

I previously lived in Australia and people there recycle as a part of their everyday lives. But it’s different in Hong Kong—the government here has to do a lot just to educate people on the subject. Nowadays, it has improved. Like recycling, it’s possible to change our attitude towards fast fashion clothes, it just needs time.

We want to change the view on secondhand clothes, not just convince people to buy them and that’s it. To change the industry, we must change ourselves and our spending habits first.

People always ask: are they from superstars? Why should I buy these secondhand clothes if I can get brand new ones?

Everyone wears a piece differently and the first owner will have thought of how to style the piece when they bought it.

A large number of celebrities are selling their old clothes through The Closeteur. They will model their items themselves to provide inspiration of how to wear their pieces for buyers.

We also have an interactive magazine online. There, we give information about fashion waste and tips on taking care of your clothes right to keep them new longer.

Half of our profits go to environmental charities, including 1% For The Planet and the Aquameridian Conservation & Education (ACE) Foundation.

Fast fashion in Hong Kong won’t change as long as the demand is still there. But I feel that education can slowly change the industry, just like our recycling habits and consumption of shark fin. It’s a personal choice that comes about through public education.

Shop sustainably from, where you can get free shipping all across Hong Kong

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