WOMAN AT WORK offers an opportunity for current members to share your creative journeys, introduce your work or your businesses, and in doing so inspire others. Please contact us for submission details.
Jenette del Mundo started her working life with a multinational company in the Philippines. Although embarked on a career in marketing and attending MBA graduate school, she was tempted by an airline ad on TV into taking a two-year break to “see the world”. Two years became five, five became ten – she eventually gave up counting. It only meant one thing: she wasn’t yet done with flying. The lifestyle allowed her to explore another love: Writing. Juggling the time in between her flights, she wrote for Time-Out Hong Kong, The Asset, Cathay Pacific’s Jetset magazine and Imprint.
At age 23, Jenette was doing what most women her age could probably only dream of. She was flying to major world cities for work and between times exploring far-flung places, learning about exotic cultures and embarking on exciting adventures. She never looked back when she made Hong Kong her home and signed up to be a flight attendant for a major airline. From a homestay in a yurt with a nomadic Mongolian family and trekking in the Himalayas to skiing in the French Alps and diving the Great Barrier Reef, she made every use of her opportunities – and wrote about them.
Jenette officially left the airline at the height of the pandemic; drawn to journalism and the communications industry, she now organizes events and B2B conferences for a media company based in Singapore. She hopes one day to compile a book of her travel stories to encourage other women to “get out there”. Meanwhile, she will continue adventuring!
Geanette (Gean) Young is an industry analyst who specializes in the alcoholic beverages business. She has recently taken over the company she has worked with for many years from her retired boss.
Gean is also a horse rider – side saddle her favourite seat – and as a Hong Kong-born former consultant to the British Equestrian Federation she was inspired to write her illustrated The Horses ofChina following a visit to horse-breeder friends in Kentucky.
However, the publication process proved very challenging. Initially excited at being awarded a grant by the Hong Kong Arts Development Council for pre-publication expenses, it took Gean several years to find a publisher. The grant was then taken from her when no one in Hong Kong would take on the niche topic and her eventual US publisher was disqualified as being “overseas”!
Photo sourcing the 100+ images was time-consuming and complicated as copyright had to be fully observed. Gean spent over a year making dozens of phone calls to reach appropriate contacts. On one occasion, she productively couriered a letter on image licensing to a museum curator found incidentally from internet news.
The publisher’s own editing and typesetting services proved unsatisfactory, and Gean had urgently to find her own editor and teach herself InDesign to manage the layout. Fortunately, the publisher had a solid distribution network and a reliable printing partner.
What at times had seemed an ordeal, Gean says, has not been without considerable pleasure. She has received plenty of help from friends, WiPS members and strangers, and has learned a rewarding amount. Her unique and beautiful book, meanwhile, is proving a winner!
Sadie Kaye is a Hong Kong writer, performer, filmmaker and podcaster. She makes quirky little podcasts, cheeky docs, and comic slots for RTHK Radio 3. She can currently be heard performing her humour column, “Sharp Pains”, on The 123 Show. Some of her radio columns have also been published in the South China Morning Post. Her absurdist “3 Terrifying Short Stories” about the deranged, sleep-deprived parents of twins were published in the 2021 festive edition of Post Magazine. She contributed short stories and a poem to anthologies published in 2021 and hopes very much to continue this trend in 2022.
Sadie attended her first WiPS event at Christmas. She fully intended to attend the Imprint 20 Zoom launch, but despite several reminders, and reminders about the reminders, still managed to muddle up the time of the event. She has bipolar disorder and ADHD but doesn’t believe in using neurodiversity as an excuse – unless strictly necessary.
Sadie is passionate about reimagining mental health. Many of her podcasts, docs and films have taken an unusual approach to a mental health theme. She loves interviewing weird and wonderful people doing weird and wonderful things in her “Mental Ideas Podcast”. If you identify with “weird”, please get in touch! The chances are she knows where you live anyway and is standing outside your flat right now. She is founder of nonprofit groups Mental Ideas, Bipolar Hong Kong, and Home Kong Kitchen.
Her life motto is you’re only young once, but you can be immature forever.
Sadie’s “Bake Fail” for radio was chosen recently as one of New York’s On Air Fest 2022 “Official Selects”. First in the list, Sadie offers advice to anyone contemplating a Hong Kong staycation. Do listen! http://onairfestival.com
Shikha is a jewellery designer and gemologist. She runs her own business in Hong Kong, Shikha S. Lamba Designs. Born in New Delhi, Shikha was drawn early on to being creative, whether in language, photography or art. She started writing poetry in her pre-teens as a hobby. Thankfully, she says, she has matured from rhyming each line and developed her own style in her work of expressing her voice with certainty. Her poems often touch on themes of feminism and social injustice.
Over the years, Shikha has written articles and poetry for various publications in Hong Kong, India and the US. She is passionate about raising awareness through her writing of women’s health and mental health issues, having lived with chronic illness since childhood.
In 2019, Shikha briefly worked as editor for Hong Kong magazine “Beyond the Boundaries” and grew it to new heights and increased readership. That same year she started her own online magazine called “Coffee and Conversations”. Being able to interview authors and artists whose work she finds inspiring is a rewarding thrill.
This busy mum of a fourteen- and ten-year-old, spends her time outside of family running her two businesses, writing poetry, reading and indulging in photography. Currently, she is completing a collection of poems, which she hopes to publish this year.
Shikha admittedly lives a big portion of her life online and can be found on most social media sites for her jewellery, magazine and writing.
Maureen is a writer who spent over twenty years wordsmithing in her legal and corporate finance roles before throwing in the towel to focus on her creative writing. Since 2019, Maureen has published creative works in literary magazines such as Cha, Mekong Review, and the Asian American Writers’ Workshop (AAWW) as well as Imprint, WiPS’ anthology. She has also been shortlisted in several international competitions, most recently for flash fiction in the UK’s Bridport Prize 2021.
However, Maureen’s ultimate dream is to write for children. Having published children’s short stories with Oxford University Press and Marshall Cavendish, she is currently working on her first middle-grade novel set in her home country, Malaysia. Maureen also finds it rewarding and inspiring to work with young people, having recently started giving school talks and workshops in Hong Kong, her home for the last 14 years.
One of Maureen’s biggest regrets is that she didn’t become a librarian as she can’t think of a better way to spend her days than reading. In between parenting, thinking up stories, and writing, she makes up for lost time by reading with her children and reviewing books that they fall in love with on www.storiesthatstaywithus.com. A lifelong supporter of children’s causes and literacy, Maureen also volunteers regularly with various charities and social organizations including Rebooked HK and Bring Me A Book. She enjoys social media – in small doses – and her amateur photography, fountain pen collection and musings can be found on Twitter and Instagram @maureen_sy_tai.
Robyn Flemming is an author and freelance copyeditor based in Australia. She lived in Hong Kong from 1986 to 1993. With Polly Yu, she was a founding member of HKWiPS and the Society’s first president. She has freelanced for over 35 years and has clients in Australia, Asia, the Middle East and North America.
For the past six years, Robyn has been writing a memoir about her roller-coaster life, including her years in Hong Kong and the first half of the decade she roamed the world as an “editor without borders” / digital nomad (2010–2020).
Skinful is structured around four turning points. Each of these was an opportunity to ask: Who am I? What life do I want to live? We all emerge into adulthood bent out of shape to a lesser or greater degree by our experiences as children. The rest of our life’s story is the result of our own doing, as Professor Joseph Campbell has said. We can change course at any time. Whatever has us in its grip, it’s never too late to make a new path to a different future. Each one of us can take a hero’s journey.
Now that all the hard work of writing her book – and editing it down from a 130,000-word beast to a tightly paced 80,000 words – is done, Robyn is enjoying this next stage of the publishing process: promotion and publicity in the lead-up to launch.