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Expat in the East: Adapting to the Hong Kong Culture

Despite Hong Kong’s cosmopolitan environment, expats may still have a hard time making the transition. While some aspects of communication are easy since the majority of the populace speaks English, the culture still acts as a barrier for the expats.

Every day, expats encounter things that are new to them, some of which may even astound them. But, if you set your mind right and broaden your understanding, you will soon find yourself falling in love with the country. Below are some things you should keep in mind to make your transition a lot more fun and easier.

Hong KongLearning More About the Language

Just because many can speak English doesn’t mean that it’s okay not to learn the local language. You’re in their territory, and it’s basically your job to adjust, not theirs. Learning the local language is particularly useful if you’re visiting the night market or places frequented by typical Hong Kongers. Find a school where you can learn basic Mandarin or Cantonese.

Finding Your Home

Real estate services providers, such as Spacious.Hk, say that finding the perfect home won’t be difficult, as there are a number of apartment and condominium complexes, especially in the business district. What expats should prepare for are the size and price of the living space. The sizes are usually small due to population density, while prices can be high due to the scarcity of residential lands.

Savouring the Food

If you want to know more about the country’s rich history and culture, go on a gastronomic adventure. Testing the waters means eating out at quick service restaurants or frequenting the diners within your apartment complex. But, if you want to take your adventure to another level, visit night markets or some hole-in-the wall restaurants, as these places serve authentic HK cuisine. Among the food you should indulge in are rickshaw noodles, egg waffles and snake soup.

Adapting to Hong Kong’s culture is not an easy feat. There are still other barriers you need to overcome to appreciate the unique beauty of the country. If you’re in shock, don’t force it. Give it time, and you will eventually find solace.

October 13, 2014 at 4:53 amStraight Market

Online Shopping: Developing an Effective E-commerce Site

e-commerce siteE-commerce is one of the fastest growing ventures in the retail industry. Thanks to the Internet, more people are shopping even without being physically there. Entrepreneurs see this as a good opportunity, so they make their products available online for people around the world.

Developing an e-commerce site is different from running a typical business site, though. It needs to be straightforward for consumers to find what they’re looking for immediately. If you have no idea where to start, reading this guide might help:

Make It Direct

E-commerce sites need to be straight to the point. Potential customers should find what they’re looking for immediately upon visiting. Above the fold of your home and landing pages, there should be a display of the most appropriate products without making the area overcrowded. Online marketing experts like and web designers recommend observing how successful brands like Amazon and eBay designed their site, for instance.

Make It User-Friendly

Not everybody has access to high-speed Internet connection. Make sure that everything you put into your site loads in less than three seconds. About 40% of users reported that they would leave any site that takes too long to load. The site should have the right design to keep it running smoothly whether on desktop or mobile.

Make It Responsive

According to an infographic shared by Media Bistro, an increasing number of US Internet users are buying products through mobile devices. These include those who use their smartphones (52.3 million) and tablets (71.1 million). AmeriCommerce says mobile use might account for at least 26% of the total e-commerce retail sales in the US by 2017.

By using responsive design, your e-commerce site becomes accessible to anybody regardless of the device. People can buy products at their fingertips, making it easier for consumers on the go.

Take your business to the next level. If you’re selling a wide selection of products online, why go for a standard site if you can develop something specifically for e-commerce.

October 10, 2014 at 7:10 amStraight Market

5 Dangerous Misconceptions about Backlinking

seo backlinkingAmong the many things that you need to rank in search engines, few are as important and prominent as backlinks. And just as you would expect, there are countless wrong ways to do it. Webmasters that engage in poor or unethical link building practices eventually find their websites suddenly plummeting in search rankings.

The ramifications of bad backlinking are now so immense that there is now an entire industry devoted to fixing it. Bad backlink removal companies like make their living by purging spammy, irrelevant links from the client’s link profile, helping them avoid or recover from penalties.

How can you prevent penalties in the first place, or at the very least, avoid them in the future? Even if you don’t do the SEO for your website, you should still educate yourself on the basics. Start with these common backlink misconceptions.

1. Quantity is everything – Is the number of backlinks important? Yes, but it’s far from the only factor. As mentioned before, any backlinks from low quality or irrelevant sources do more harm than good. Even worse, some have even started exploiting this in the form of creating negative SEO for their competitors. If you suddenly receive many unnatural backlinks, beware.

2. Link profile ratios don’t matter – Even if each individual backlink looks solid and perfectly natural, looking at them as a whole might tell an entirely different story. If too many of them are coming from a single source, such as forum profiles, this is a major red flag.

3. PageRank is everything – As far as metrics go, PageRank comes up very often in link building discussions. While it helps in determining the quality of a website, too many people treat it as the sole defining factor.

4. You can buy them – If anyone ever attempts to sell you backlinks, run as fast as you can in the opposite direction (or just delete the email, as the case may be). These are almost always of terrible quality, even those that claim to provide high PageRank backlinks. At best, you will simply waste money, but it is far more likely that your rankings will take a huge hit.

5. Anchor text is irrelevant – While Google claims to be reducing its reliance on anchor text in determining rank, it is still something worth considering. Some experiments show that relevant, but varying anchor text performs better than the opposite. If nothing else, good anchor text also looks more natural, enticing more clicks from people who see it.

The summary? Use backlinks in the spirit of their original purpose, and it is hard to go wrong. Staywithin the guidelines and your website will receive the benefits it deserves.

September 22, 2014 at 11:51 pmStraight Market

Flight of Fancy: 4 Things to Consider in Aerial Photography

aerial photographySeasoned photographers say that good photography is about looking at things from a different perspective. The challenge is to take shots of usual subjects, but with heavier focus on other oft-hidden details. Now, you have the chance to capture amazing scenes by taking your photography skills to the skies.

Aerial photography is not a new technique. Most photojournalists and cinematographers use aerial shots to give the audience an impressive view of the landscape. It also familiarizes audiences with settings, which is important when establishing the flow in a story. It is an important skill to learn if you want to diversify your skill sets.

Here are some handy reminders you can use to master aerial photography:

Use the Right Gear

DSLRPros says mastery of aerial photography involves having the right gear first. Fortunately, there are many different tools you can use to experiment with the craft. Drones, for instance, are now widely available, and more shutterbugs are using them to up their game. If you are planning to board a small aircraft, though, make sure your camera is completely secured to avoid any mishaps.

Choose the Right Lens

Likewise, you should know which lens to use. Obviously, you cannot change it once the drone has taken flight. Decide early on, and take test shots, if possible.

Consider Camera Shake

Taking shots from the air can be problematic because of camera shake. Any movement is magnified, which might compromise the quality of your images and videos if you do not use stabilizers. When using drones, make sure the camera is secured tightly.

Know the Right Time to Shoot

Lastly, it is also important to know when to do your shoots. Sometimes, a landscape becomes even more intense and dramatic during certain weather conditions. The golden hour is also an excellent time to capture cityscapes.

Aerial photography can be intimidating at first, but with the tight rigs and techniques, you can fly high and capture beautiful moments. In time, you can master this skill and improve your craft.

September 18, 2014 at 12:19 amInfo Tech

The Convenience of Online Banking

Online banking is becoming popular today. One reason is the convenience it offers to subscribers. Instead of going to the bank, they can simply make transactions online. It allows you to check your account, monitor your finances, and pay your bills by simply using the Internet.

To give you a better look, industry specialist ecoPayz discussed some of the main features of online banking.

Paying your bills online

online bankingPaying your bills is now easier since you don’t need to go to the mall or banks. This means you can settle your payment anytime you want, as long you have access to the Internet. Most banks have an exclusive section where you can manage your finances. You just need to fill out the information once and choose the profile every time you pay your bills online. The same system applies for most money-transfer online providers. They may charge an extra fee, but the advantage is you can make transactions globally.

Review your transactions

Another advantage of online banking is it allows you to review your detailed transactions in real time. This is an effective way of determining if a transaction has cleared your account. You can check the amount after you lost your receipt. Tracking down any unauthorised transaction will be easier, as well. This can help you resolve the issues more efficiently.

Transfer funds between accounts

Compared to an automated phone service or making many trips to the bank, online banking offers you the most convenient way to transfer funds between accounts. Just make sure all the accounts you have are registered. This can make it a lot easier to transfer money and make loan payments online.

While making online banking transactions is easier, it is important to protect your online bank account at all times. As much as possible, never make transactions in public. Use your own device to protect your profile. Do not provide any information about your account to anyone. Always log out when you’re done with your transactions.

September 15, 2014 at 6:07 amFinance

Leukemia: What Bone Marrow Cancer Can Do to Your Oral Health

Doctors have different methods for detecting cancer, but sometimes, the earliest signs are something that the dentist sees. Yes, a simple dental procedure may unearth early traces of the Big C, particularly leukemia.

The link between leukemia and oral health

Bleeding gums, swelling, and gingivitis – these conditions are just some of the possible initial signs of leukemia. When any or a combination of these diseases trouble the patient alongside a sensation of weakness and apparent weight loss, dentists may suspect the onset of leukemia. Once this happens, most dentists refer the patient to an oncologist for further tests.

oral healthThe treatment for leukemia also contributes to poor oral health. Chemotherapy, being a radiation-based procedure, takes its toll on the patient’s body. There are different complications that come post-treatment. One instance is oral mucositis, in which the patient feels a sensation similar to sunburn in the mouth. More common conditions include various infections, dryness of the mouth or xerostomia, taste alterations, and abnormal dental development.

No medical proof exists as to why leukemia influences oral health in this manner, but speculations say that the weakened immune system contributes to this phenomenon.

What patients can do

What matters more is the course of action the patient takes before, during, and after being treated for leukemia. Scott W Grant DMD suggests taking extra care for leukemia patients suffering from different problems, especially because the condition renders the mouth more sensitive to the usual cleaning processes.

In some cases, the patient may be unable to brush or floss their teeth without causing it to bleed. During this time, it’s best to consult the dentist as soon as possible. Typically, dental hygienists recommend using gauze and a specially formulated rinse to keep the mouth clean.

Leukemia paves the way for many complications, especially as it has an effect on the immune system. Knowing what could go wrong, such as these oral health problems, may go a long way to prevent and address such conditions.

September 10, 2014 at 4:48 amHealth & Lifestyle

Home-Study: Role of Modern Technology in Job Training

With the current social and economic condition of Australia, it is clear that more people are becoming busier. If they can find a shortcut for certain things, they will take it. This rise is complemented by the emergence of modern technologies, particularly the Internet. People can buy, sell, learn, and work without leaving their homes.

Advanced devices have greatly aided the development of the education and employment industry. According to recruitment agency CPE Group, most companies like them recognise the advantages of using the online landscape to find and train job applicants to meet the needs of employers.

job trainingLearning Anytime, Anywhere

Online training is gradually gaining distinction as an easier way for people to learn in their houses. Agencies and institutions create a learning portal that provides valuable resources, available for people anytime. This new learning approach suits people who have no time to go to an office every session, giving them access to a low-cost, fast, and effective training that presents real results.

Staying on your Own Pace

Most people have realised how to utilise the Internet by uploading instructional videos online. The online training relatively works this way. Trainees learn at their own pace, allowing them to read and review the material at their own speed and go back to it as often as needed.

Online training programs can range from a simple email of text-only documents to sophisticated methods like video chats, flash animations, audio content, or a combination of all three.

Significance of Online Training

It is important for applicants to undergo training to equip them with the right skills and knowledge for a certain job. Well-trained employees are likewise important for businesses, as they help enhance the productivity. Competitive workers provide companies the opportunity to excel and compete with others.

With the many developments in the technology industry, there are now better and more cost-effective ways to learn. Improve your working capabilities in the most convenient and immediate way. Online training is certainly valuable for continuous learning and overall enhancement of work skills and knowledge.

September 5, 2014 at 6:26 amE-Commerce

Flash that Gleaming Smile: Lifestyle Habits for Healthy Teeth

Keeping your smile healthy involves more than just brushing and flossing daily. It is also important to pay attention to your lifestyle habits to prevent tooth staining, gum disease, and enamel erosion. Knowing what daily habits affect your dental health helps with the maintenance of a gleaming smile.

Here is a list of five of lifestyle habits you should adopt for healthier teeth:

Maintain a Healthy Diet

Certain food and drinks cause tooth decay, so maintaining a healthy diet is important for your oral health. A balanced diet consists of balanced meals consisting of elements from all food groups, including fruits and vegetables, nuts, grains, and daily products. According to Pialba Dental Studio, cheese, chicken, and milk are the best choices. These food items are rich in nutrients that protect the enamel and re-mineralise teeth.

Stop Smoking

visiting reliabel dentistApart from staining your teeth, smoking also increases your risk for gum disease and oral cancer. If you smoke a pack (or more) daily, you are more likely to develop oral cancer than those who don’t. Smoking can also make teeth yellow in a very short time, and heavy smokers are likely to develop almost brown teeth after years of smoking.

Limit Intake of Sugary Food and Drinks

Sugary drinks such as soft drinks and fruit juices produce acid that can erode tooth enamel, increasing the risk of tooth decay. Limit your consumption of sugary food and drinks to avoid further damage to your teeth.

Take it Easy with Alcohol

According to research, excessive alcohol increases the risk of developing mouth cancer. It can also erode the enamel of your teeth, which may result in tooth decay. Keep alcohol consumption to a minimum or cut it out completely to avoid the onset of various problems.

Visit Your Dentist

It is recommended to visit your dentist for a check-up twice a year or more often if you have gum disease. This is necessary to remove plaque build-up and to check for signs of tooth decay. Regular dental exams can also detect signs of periodontal disease and early signs of oral cancer.

Apart from these tips, you should also avoid things like oral piercings, using teeth as tools, and tooth grinding. These habits may trigger tooth sensitivity and cavities and compromise your overall dental health.

September 2, 2014 at 2:31 amHealth & Lifestyle

Picture Perfect: Your Quick Guide to Using Images on Your Website

You know that “a picture is worth a thousand words.” But in online marketing, it’s definitely more than a metaphor for conveying a complex idea. A photograph can be worth high volume traffic. If your web pages display relevant images, you’re doing a great job. It means that you’re carrying out some steps to engage your audiences. Remember, online visitors don’t just read your text content; they also look for further clues that will validate their decision about whether they will buy your product or like your social media page.

According to Alyka, using images on your website has some unwritten rules. You can’t just place a generic stock image without modifying it or making it contextual and relevant. Here are the other rules on using pictures to drive traffic to your website.

stock imagesUse Expressive Images

If your objective is to sell, place pictures that will elicit certain emotions. They should act as a decision-making trigger. If you’re running a restaurant reservation website, you should place pictures of people enjoying their food. These depictions will trigger some emotions on the part of your online guests that will make them reserve restaurant seats.

Use Stock Photos Wisely

Many graphic designers treat usage of stock photos as a crime. It’s not an offence at all if you know how to use them properly. Online consumers can easily tell original photos from stock photos. But if you’re going for the second option, make it look professional. If the website is about your business consulting and mentoring services, don’t just settle for photos of businesspeople shaking hands. Make it subtle by using a photograph of a person climbing stairs. Even if it’s not obviously related to your business, your audiences can connect the dots and will have an impression that the photo is about advancement, which is something your company provides.

Own the Season

Display images that go with different occasions. Doing this will give your audiences an impression that you’re updated or that you care about the things outside your business. If you’ve got no idea how to do it, look at Oreo’s Facebook Page to see how.

Caption it!

Don’t hesitate to put a caption whenever appropriate. The caption doesn’t need to sound like you’re selling; the call to action will take care of that. Instead, come up with taglines or questions that will act as a subtle trigger.

These are only some tips that will help you use photographs to drive web traffic. Don’t forget to optimise your images for search and more importantly, don’t steal. A good photo is no use if you get hit with a lawsuit because of copyright infringement.

August 27, 2014 at 4:09 amInfo Tech

How to Take Care of Your Skin

As every expert would say, your skin is the reflection of your health. It’s the most visible part of your body, and one of its most valuable assets. It’s also the only you’ll get, so your daily habits mean everything.

Here are a few skin care tips as recommended by

Protect yourself from the sun

Too much sun exposure can cause wrinkles, age spots, and other skin problems. Avoid the sun between 10 am and 4 pm. It is also advisable to use sunscreen. Use a broad-spectrum skin product with an SPF of at least 15. When you’re outdoors, make sure to reapply sunscreen every 2 hours — more often if you’re perspiring or swimming.

skin careStop smoking

Smoking can also affect your skin. It can make you look older and can cause wrinkles. It narrows the tiny blood vessels in the outermost layers of skin, w
hich affects blood flow. It also depletes oxygen and nutrients your skin needs, and destroys collagen and elastin — these are fibers that protect your skin.

Treat your skin gently

Regular facial cleansing and shaving can take a toll on your skin. You can keep it gentle by limiting your bath time. Keep in mind that your body also needs natural oil. Hot water and long showers can remove this oil from your skin. After bathing, use a clean towel and gently pat or blot your body dry so that some moisture remains on your skin. Use a moisturizer that fits your skin type.

Avoid using strong products. Strong soaps and detergents can hurt your skin. Choose mild cleansers instead. Shave carefully as well. Apply shaving cream, lotion or gel before shaving to protect and lubricate your skin. For the closest shave, consider using a sharp razor. Shave only in the direction of hair growth, not against it.

Improve your diet

A healthy diet can help restore your skin. It can help you look and feel fresh. Heath specialists usually recommend plenty of fruits, green veggies, whole grains, and lean proteins. Some research also suggests more vitamin C intake to help eliminate unhealthy fats and processes or refined carbohydrates.

Above all these tips, visit a skin expert regularly. Keep in mind that there are some conditions associated with your skin. Prevention is always better than cure.

August 22, 2014 at 6:11 amHealth & Lifestyle