At Home With Dr Christina Dean

家反映了每個人的價值,你是怎麼樣的人。At Home With… 是一個文字訪談計劃,請來一班對我的生命帶來啟發的人,走進他們的家,一個令人感到舒適自在的地方,單純的談生活。透過每個故事,為營營役役的生活帶來養份和啟發。我想我們不只活著,還要活過來,學習成為更好的人。

Our home is a reflection of who we are. ‘At Home With…’ is a personal project, I interview people who have hugely inspired me and we talk about their lives in the comfort of their own home. Through these stories, I hope to motivate and inspire my readers. Life is a journey, we can grow and learn to become a better person together.

 

At Home With 的第一位受訪者是 Dr Christina Dean非牟利環保團體 Redress 創辦人及董事局主席,時裝品牌 The R Collective 聯合創辦人及董事局主席,Dress [with] Sense 作者,曾被 Vogue 選為「英國首三十位最具啟發性的女性」之一。Christina 是我大學畢業後第一份工作的老闆及上司,不誇張的說,因為她促成今天的我。

我對於地球的關愛,極簡生活的實踐,人與人之間的相處珍而重之,都從與她共事開始潛而默化。創立 LITOOC,將我一直以來堅信的事情,推而廣之的實踐,除了製作不對環境及人們帶來負擔的傢具,不只流於表面的建構或堆切家的美好,而是透過靈性層面的分享,反思自己,學習成為更好的人,真正為生活注入價值和靈魂。

書本給予我們知識,卻從來沒有教導我們應該怎樣工作。從 Christina 身上學習到的是 work ethic,何謂敬業樂業,慶幸她是我第一位老闆,她給予我對工作的界線,根基和規範。每每遇到的不合理或不公平,人都慣於被個人情緒或意見拖跨;內心爭扎不想工作,那不是我想做的事。但其實不論做「腦細」或員工,都需要學習侍奉工作。

曾經熱血,曾經稚嫰,常說「我要做自己」,現在回頭發現其實「做自己」,必須要透過很多規範才能認識你是誰,還有你想要做怎樣的自己。很多時候當有了做自己的自由,你就會發現你不知道自己想做什麼。那時候自由就會像茫茫大海般秒無方向,那將會是你最大的痛苦。因為你找不到規範,找不到焦點,找不到自己該站在那裡。

不被「袋幾錢人工出幾分力」練精學懶的歪理影響自己的價值觀,每天醒來,用盡自己去工作,因為真正奮力付出,才會感覺自己存在,才會有所成長,才會活得有跡可尋。親愛的,我知道知易行難,但每當想放棄時,我都會記起 Oprah 所說 'Your job is not always going to fulfil you, there will be some days you just might be bored. Your job is not who you are, is just what you are doing on the way to who you will become.' 你要有自由,就必須要有很好的規範作為選擇的根基,當你在外面的世界跌撞過後,才會回頭知道自己有什麼東西。那時候,雙手的觸感會令很多的體驗更深刻。

In the first episode,  we are ‘At Home With...’ Dr Christina Dean, the Founder and Board Chair of Redress, Co-Founder and CEO of The R Collective, and Author of Dress [with] Sense. She was voted one of the UK Vogue’s Top 30 Inspirational Women. The reason why I have Christina as my first guest is because she was my first boss after I graduated from university. It is not crazy to say, she had a huge influence on me and shaped me into the person I am today.

From the days I worked with Christina, I gradually learned how to love our environment, to live life fully, and to nurture the relationships with the people around us. I founded the company LITOOC with these values instilled, with a strong belief that not only we have to produce pieces that beautify our home but also avoid creating a burden on the people and environment. I believe we can be more with less. We can buy more consciously and invest in pieces that will last for a lifetime.

School teaches us knowledge but they don’t prepare us for work. I am very grateful and lucky to have Christina as my first boss, she gave me a solid framework and foundation of what work ethic is. When we encounter challenges or unjust at work, we may think ‘this is not what I want to do’ or ‘it is not my dream job’. But to be frank, whether you are a boss or an employee, be a sponge and learn from everyone and every opportunity. They soak in everything they can, but eventually they release they learn and share it with others.  They also do not learn only from people that are “above” them in the organizational hierarchy, but they learn from every person they interact with.

When I first graduated, similar to many young people, I want to ‘be myself’. But looking back now, I realised that ‘being myself’ is not that easy. You cannot do that until you understand and know yourself. If you do not know your core values, it will be a painful struggle. Even with the freedom to do anything you want, you may feel even more lost, just like a boat in the middle of the sea without a compass. as you do not know where to go and what to do.

Do not listen when people say “just work for a paycheck”. We should always try to be the best version of ourselves. You will notice your contribution and growth through hard work. I know it is tough, but like Oprah said 'Your job is not always going to fulfil you, there will be some days you just might be bored. Your job is not who you are, is just what you are doing on the way to who you will become.' I promise you that it will pay off one day and you won’t even notice it. If you want to have the freedom to become who you want to be, you first have to learn how to work and serve your boss and company. Be the best employee at work, so that one day, you become your own best employee.


沒有不可能

我有四兄弟姐妹,排行第四,成長於典型家庭,父母忙於工作,沒有太多時間去照顧我們。小孩子都喜歡別人注意關心,我也不例外。為了引起父母注意,我都特別勤力學習及參與課外活動,做一些有影響力的事,在報社工作,加入國家泳隊,為不同的志願團體籌款,都是為了讓父母注意我的存在。

你有聽過 Waldorf Education 嗎?有別於傳統學習,Waldorf 是一個哲學理念,啟發孩子去思考和尋找自己是誰。我是在這個教學理念下成長,每個人都是獨一無異,需要忠於自己,只要不影響及傷害別人,每人也有權利及能力去追求自己想做的事。

成長環境,接受的教育加上性格使然,從小到大我都是一個非常勤力,對生命充滿好奇和主動的人。我討厭浪費時間,喜歡每天行程滿滿的充實感。只要是熱愛或感興趣的事情,我都會奮力追求。

在我十八歲時,認識了一位熱愛野外生活的人,看起來像深山野人不修邊幅。那位男生不是傳統學術精英,不是特別聰明突出。但他總是帶著勇氣去嘗試新事情,讓自己的生活多姿多彩。他曾經說過 ‘If someone else is doing it, then why can’t you?' 當我現在每次遇到困難,想起這句話都會讓我鼓起勇氣繼續向前。

Nothing is Impossible

I am the youngest of four; my parents were very busy and no one took any notice of me. I have to make a big impact to be noticed by anyone. I am very busy and I have always been like that. I have always been committed to causes like raising money for charity, working in local newspaper and being a national swimmer.

Have you heard of Waldorf education? It is a movement or a philosophy about who you are. It teaches you to be you, we are all different, and you can only be who you are. I think that's what I developed. I want to be who I am, and I can do whatever I want.

Because of my family and educational background, I do think that's why I fight so hard. I am a very pushy inquisitive and hardworking person. If I am very interested in something, I will continue the pursuit.

When I was about 18, I was going out with a stone man who isn't very bright and academically brilliant. But what he said really influenced me, “If someone else is doing it, then why can’t you?”. The idea that I can do anything if I want to.

由英國到香港

我在香港生活十一年,最初跟大部份外國人一樣,希望努力融入本地文化。但在香港生活了六、七年後,我意識到自己永遠不會是本地人,那是無法強求的事實。現在對於自己外國人或者局外人的身份,我還頗自在,因為大家對我總是友善和開放。唯一可惜的是我不懂中文,在的士上聽不懂收音機的新聞報導,失去了跟社會連結和學習的機會。

現在我跟孩子都搬回英國,說出來有點奇怪,我需要慢慢習慣及喜歡上歐州。因為我的事事業,丈夫,還有一切影響我的事都在香港,加上大半輩子都在這片土地生活,我跟香港已是密不可分。

From the UK to HK

I have been in Hong Kong for 11 years. When I first moved here, I was trying to fit in as other expats do. But after 6-7 years, I realised I will never make it into the locals, and you are always an outsider. I am now quite comfortable that I am an outsider, and to be honest, what does it mean being an insider? Though I do hate the fact that I cannot understand the radio, and I am missing out on so much culture.

I have two homes now which I find it confusing. I love Hong Kong and now increasingly I love Europe. My husband and my career are here; everything influences me is here, and half of my adult life has been in Hong Kong.

讓孩子成為自己想成為的人

研究指出兒童在成長階段未能形成實在的記憶,但是這零碎或模糊的回憶,或多或少植根你的生命裡,促成了你是怎樣的人。我在南非長大,南非是一個赤腳奔走的國度,週末在農場渡過,騎馬看獅子,與大自然共存為伍,是令人興奮的地方。我相信因為在南非長大,潛移默化地影響了喜歡大自然和地球。

希望孩子跟我一樣,能夠在不一樣的文化中成長,所以於十一年前舉家移居香港。當初選擇香港沒帶著期望,反而是一場未知的歷險。除了供書教學,我希望他們有不同的生活體驗,有機會到世界各地旅行探索。通常我丈夫計劃的行程以享樂舒適為主,我的都是一家人揹背包攀山涉水的歷險之旅,但無論是窮媽媽或富爸爸的旅遊方式,孩子都同樣期待。不一樣的旅行方式和經歷,培養出他們多向的思考方式;不同的嘗試,也讓他們發掘世界不同的可能性。

記得有一次大兒子跟朋友聊到剛過去的暑假的旅程,大兒子一開口,如數家珍的分享去過的所有國家,當時我立即在桌底下輕輕踢他示意他住口,因為聽起來非常自大炫耀。經歷這件事,兒子才了解到自己擁有的經歷和機會一切不是必然,我們所給他的機會要好好珍惜。

現在大兒子處於反叛期,跟他相處就是隻眼開隻眼閉,始終知道不能凡事都不允許。為人父母終究要學會放手。我沒有奢望我可以成為他的朋友,只想當一個理解他,跟他處在相同頻率的母親;讓他知道我會給予自由,支持他成為自己想成為的人。

因為工作關係不停穿梭香港和英國,因為無法常常陪伴孩子而感到失落,像天下所有母親一樣,希望每天跟自己的孩子膩在一起。每次在外地工幹會調好時鐘半夜起來,趕上英國時區,在孩子上學前或者臨睡前時跟他們聊天,知道他們一切安好才能放心。

Support Them to Become Who They Want to Be

The reason why I want to come to Hong Kong is that I wish to bring up our kids in another culture, so it was pretty much driven by my personal decision. It was also because I was brought up in South Africa, and it indeed formed so much of who I am. Even when you are a young child, you may not be able to form memories in a concrete way, but they form you. I feel being raised in South Africa is something that influenced me regarding nature and loving the planet. South Africa is a very barefoot place like spending time on the farm on the weekends and in nature reserves seeing lions. It's an inspiring place. With that in mind, I did not choose South Africa, but I choose Asia. I came here to bring them up. We did not have any expectations; we just come for an adventure.

I constantly fill them with good stuff by traveling all over the world. I think travel experience is really important, to have people think differently and try to fill them with a different experience. They don’t know where they go, whether its a mom hotel or dad hotel. Mom hotel is usually a tough backpack kind and dad is always a fancy one. We try to give them a little bit of everything. I want to push them as I was pushed as a kid, travel a lot to experience the world.

I remembered one time my son and his friends were home chatting about where they go summer. My son said all the places that he has been to, and I need to kick him under the table as it sounded arrogant. He had no perceptions that not everyone does that and he understands now that what I have given him is unique and valuable.

The way I parent my kids is, I do not want to or expect to be his friend, but just someone he can talk to in the same wavelength and allow him to be who he is. At this stage, I kind of semi enable things because I know I cannot fight for everything.

Nowadays, I need to travel back and forth Hong Kong and the UK because of work. When I am not with them, I actually feel unwell which is not a physical illness; I do not feel happy. Like every mom out there, I like to be with my kids every day. If I am in a different time zone, I will get up in the middle of the night or catch them in the morning to stay connected.

家的意義

漂亮的家只要有名貴的傢具和裝修就可以。但你的態度和價值,周圍的氛圍,才是賦予家靈魂和意義。對我而言,孩子和丈夫是家的靈魂;不論以前香港的家或現在英國的家,傢具都是二手或者以廢料升級再造,每件傢具都讓家充滿故事變得有趣,同時也代表了我的價值。

現階段因工作關係沒有辦法共同生活,但重要的是丈夫和我有相同目標,我們知道現在這個模式只是短暫性,不是永遠。我最感恩的是我擁有一個美好的家庭,還有和丈夫之間親密的關係。這樣說有點煽情,但他的確是我生命中的大石,從生活、工作,教育小孩,他都是不可或缺的好夥伴,他的支持和配合,讓我敢於去做自己想做的事。結婚 16 年,想起來好像是昨天的事。

What Home Means

You can always buy the most beautiful furnishing and furniture into your home to make it look gorgeous. But what I think is about bringing your value, attitude, and feeling into your home. Other than surroundings, secondly is having my kids and husband around. In my previous home in Hong Kong and current home in the UK, its all about secondhand and upcycling. Whatever I bring into my home should have a story and value in it which represents me.

Now because of work, I cannot live together with my husband, but what important is we share the same goal and we know this is not forever. What I am grateful for is my family and the relationship with my husband. I am thankful for everything, fundamentally is the support that I get from my husband. It sounds cheesy, he's my rock, my partner in every sense, my business partner in work, in parenting and in life. We have married for 15 years, it feels like nothing.

成立 Redress 的初衷

在英國時我是一名執業牙醫,隨後因移居香港,再重新接受培訓成為記者,以自由工作者的身份為不同出版社和報社撰文。記者和外國人的身份,為我打開探索不同議題的窗口,絕大部份受訪者態度開放,樂意分享,藉此我更能夠了解不同人的角度和想法。

直到有一次需要報導關於環境污染問題,有機會到堆填區拍攝採訪,當時站在垃圾山頂,遠眺著一輛又一輛的垃級車緊接進入堆填區,卸下一車又一車的垃圾,親眼目睹這震撼境象而感到可悲,由那一刻起觸發了我開始關注環保,大量的資料搜集,才發覺時裝是全球第二大污染的行業,僅次於石油業;而中國是全球時裝業最大的製造國。當時想自己居於香港,有鄰近中國的地利優勢,所以我成立了 Redress,旨於解決時裝業浪費的問題。

在還沒有移居英國前,我們一家住在屯門海邊 11 年,每天看著無數大大小小的貨船不分晝夜航行,這些貨船令我反思過度消費的問題。西方各國站在道德高地上,一邊怪責中國需要為環境污染負責,一邊又不停入口中國製造的產品和時裝,設廠中國剝削工人,對此我是非常反感。

Founding Redress

I was a dentist, and I retrained as a journalist and later moved to Hong Kong. Because I was a journalist and I had an inquisitive mind while I am biting my teeth into all sorts of story. I was using journals as a way to get out and see the world.

One time I was writing about pollution which I got access to go to the landfill. I remember I was standing on the top of the landfill and kept seeing trucks full of trash coming in and offloading, I felt so pathetic. Since then I am very interested in environmental issues, and I found out that the fashion and textile industry was the second most polluting industry, after oil. China is the garment manufacturer in the world and where I am living in Hong Kong is so close to it. Therefore, I founded Redress with a mission to reduce textile waste and promote sustainability in the fashion industry.

Before moving back to the UK, I was living in Tuen Mun for 11 years because I like the sea. I watched thousands of container sails day and night. It’s a constant reminder to me, consumption and over-consumption. I am pretty against the West for blaming China for air pollution. However at the same time, under the same breath, they dress head to toe in textile that is made in China, taking advantage of cheap labour and the environment.

碰到痛處才會成長

我對環保的關注不只限於時裝,我非常在意日常生活所製造的浪費,特別是塑膠。只要你多加留心,你會發覺塑膠無處不在。不論食物或是生活用品,總之買什麼都有不必要的塑膠包裝。我們能做的是先避免購買塑膠包裝的產品,特別是單次即棄的塑膠品。

我在英國的家是一幢 180 年歷史的老舊房子,超過 20 年無人居住,排污設施相比市區住宅是非常落後。家中所製造的污水穢物通通排到花園一個儲水廂,我需要時刻留意著水廂是否已滿,如果滿了但沒有發現,你能想像到後果... 基本上每隔兩週水廂載滿,之後就要請工人將水廂抽空,奉行用者自付原則,每次花費 $300 英磅,除了麻煩還是非常昂貴。

但因為水廂的事情,我才意識到以往的生活太方便,從來想過要為製造出來的垃圾污水負責,即使負責代價也很低。便利的生活令人不自律,總要遇上不方便碰到痛處時,人才會想辦法克服作出改變。現在家裡一律減少用水,打開水龍頭也不像以往隨意,這對我來說是重要的一課。

Something Has to Hurt

I am very conscious of waste, not only about clothes but also around the rubbish bin. I am now more focused on plastic and you will find that plastic is everywhere, around what you eat and what you buy. I do not want plastic in the house, especially single-use plastic.

My home in the UK is about 180 years old and it hasn't been lived in for 20 years. The drainage and sewage system is very old and everything is stored in a huge container. When it fills up, we need to get someone to clear it out and it is quite expensive and annoying to do this every 2 weeks. It is a pain to pay and also tiring to organise. It makes us all reduce the amount of water we use. What taught me is that if you make something inconvenient, I can be even better. Something has to hurt a little bit, otherwise, it’s not going to change, and now everyone in our family is trying to reduce water consumption.

五年計劃

5 年之後我將會是 44 歲,孩子也長大了,我也有更多時間去專注 Redress 及 The R Collective 的發展。西方人知道時裝業的浪費,但未有切實了解問題的嚴重性。現在我在歐州時間較多,我想透過自己的能力和影響力,在地球的另一端致力宣揚和解決時裝業的浪費的問題。

What you see yourself in 5 Years

In 5 years I will be 44. My kids will be five years older, and I will have more time to focus on my career on both Redress and The R Collective. People in the West read about fashion pollution and consumption but cannot understand how severe it is. Therefore, I want to leverage my influence and create a more significant impact on this side of the world.

Interviewee: Christina Dean
Words: Trazi Chui, Mia Shu
Photography: Gensen Chan
All rights reserved. Do not reproduce or distribute. 

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