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Humans of Hong Kong: Going full speed ahead with Ah Yat

By Nicole Hurip 25 November 2020

Welcome to Humans of Hong Kong, a brand-new story series on Localiiz that takes a deeper look at the many colourful characters and unique personalities that call our beloved city home. We ferried over to Peng Chau, one of the many outlying islands surrounding our city, to have a chat with Ah Yat, a roving barista that peddles artisan brews on his bike. Join us as he explains how he approaches life, the importance of making mistakes, and the efficacy of having a “just do it” mentality.

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“When I was young, I would see old men delivering petrol on bikes. The bikes they were riding were by Phoenix, a Shanghainese brand. When I decided to use a bike to sell coffee, I wanted to use something that can represent Hong Kong. There are definitely nicer and fancier bicycle brands, but a Phoenix bike is guaranteed to bring back memories—it was the bike that was used to deliver petrol back in the olden days. That’s why I am known as ‘the man that brews coffee on a Phoenix bike.’”

“As long as you are alive, you are allowed to make mistakes. It is part of the process of growing up, of improving yourself. If you take the straight path every single time, it doesn’t mean you’re better than people who don’t. It just means that you have people telling you not to make mistakes, telling you which is the right route to take.”

“It comes down to whether you have the courage to step out of your safe zone. Young people now are used to being told what to do, what extracurriculars to participate in, what to study, what to read, practically from birth. When you enter society for real, no one is there to do that.

“Even if you’ve always excelled in school, have a supportive family, and come from a comfortable background, people won’t remember your achievements. They will only remember what you’ve done wrong. Your ability to handle stressful situations really depends on the environment you grew up in. The more mistakes you make, the easier it is for you to brush yourself off and start again. Sure, that might mean you’ve been taking the long way in life, but it builds character.”

“I would describe myself as someone who is able to manifest. I don’t think I am an excellent businessman, but I know there is no one better than yourself to promote your personal brand. In business, when you’re building a brand, you can make things very fancy, but does that really represent who you are? You will only able to see things through if you believe in what you’re doing. I am who I am. I’m very direct, I don’t smile, I ride my bike everywhere, I wear a vest to an interview—this is me.”

“Life is supposed to be about doing what you want to do and to be carefree. If you’re easily swayed by other people’s opinions to give up on your dreams, you’re on the wrong path. Whenever you do anything, you need to go all-in, no regrets. It doesn’t matter if you make the wrong decision, as long as you don’t regret anything. You are in charge of how you live your life—people might think you’re not doing well, but as long as you are doing what you want, you’ve succeeded.”

“Just do it. What are you afraid of? If you’re stuck on deliberating if you should do something, don’t do it. If you’ve decided to it, don’t be scared. Nothing is impossible, only if you tell yourself that you can’t do it. Keep trying, until the day you die—it is okay if you don’t succeed, as long as you don’t give up.”

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Nicole Hurip

Travel editorial director

Never content with sitting still, Nicole has turned her passion into a career. Hong Kong is her home, but she’ll always have a soft spot for L.A. and London, where she spent her college years. She loves exploring hidden places, hunting for cool vintage pieces, and talking to interesting people. Her vices include consuming excessive amounts of wine and cheese, a debilitating weakness for sparkly things, and spending too much time on Instagram.

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