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.
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。
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.
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。
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.
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.
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.
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。
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.
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。
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.
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
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