When You Want to Be a Trendsetter

Grace LamIt’s summer and I have wanderlust again. I’m sick of real life!

I wanted to see the National-Geographic authenticity of Asia, and that was what I got.

Our waiter at the Ritz started speaking German to my friend until he realized that I’d rather he refill our bowl of nuts. But I didn’t take many photos of the classy lounges, because they were too Westernized.

Westernized, my ass!

It’s Westernized everywhere. I am Westernized I insisted on organic breakfast cereal for the first few months.

But I’m concerned that I’m not interesting when I’m not travelling anymore. Last time I tried to tell a story about my team organizing a hackathon here, my editor cut it out.

My friends who are travelling in Asia, are asking where I stayed in Hong Kong. It was a Westernized condo with Western-sized bedrooms (not the typical closet-size in HK).

This is a ghetto building in Central — I took a photo because graffiti culture isn’t common in HK and I love it.

How to Live a Hollywood Movie-esque Life

What Travelling in Asia Does to You: Culture ShockI showed you all the ghetto Asian spaces I encountered (like Nat Geo, you know?) but there was a lot I didn’t share that was basically Western culture. I was oscillating between being homesick and being sick of Western culture ruining the authentic Asian experience.

Okay, I think I’m just missing travel. Here’s how to stay in-the-loop with pop culture when you’re outside the loop and continue to be a cool musician that everyone is envious of.

Take selfies. Many of them.

Throw in a filter and Snapchat it. If you add the right filters, this can be your new headshot! Bonus points if you’re touching an instrument.

Research suggests that people who regularly take selfies overestimate their own attractiveness. But that’s okay — we know you’re gorgeous inside and out.

What Travelling in Asia Does to You: Culture Shock

Stay updated on lingo.

I am kind of defiant towards pop culture references, but you can only have an opinion when you know the context. Interesting people have strong opinions and they shout it in your ear.

“Everyone is talking about this,” my sister says on the phone to me in Hong Kong. “Watch me nae-nae.”

“Oh I think I’ve heard of it,” I say. “Last month.”

“It’s so annoying!”

“Imagine that with a British accent. Everyone has an accent here.”

A few months later:

“What does ‘lit’ mean?”

You can say a song or a concert is lit. But please don’t. You have better vocabulary than that.

Kat took over my phone one night and posted “Come here, it’s lit!” all over my social media. Maybe by the time you read this, lit won’t be a thing anymore. It’s lit, guys.

Advice on Cultivating Good Relationships
Do cool things to share them online.

I was bad at this. I did cool things without sharing them. Please one-up me.

You will be fuelling the huge social media machine where someone out there will get envious whilst comparing their life to yours and you will get a ton of likes. There is research showing that people who use social media regularly are more likely to be depressed.

But you are probably on social anyways, so who cares? The likes make you slightly less depressed. Be you and be cool!

What Travelling in Asia Does to You: Culture Shock
Take photos of all the cool places you visit.

If you are in it, your back must be facing the camera because you want to look candid.

Example from Instagram:

If you are in college and are part of a sorority, do the sign thingy by your butt. If you’re out of college, you should be in a swimsuit (work-appropriate because you’re only showing your backside).

This photo will probably require 40 minutes with set up and retakes. Bring a patient photographer and snacks.

(This one was a candid of Em in Malaysia:)

How to be a trendsetter musicianOnly let your good side be photographed.

Piano performers, if your good side isn’t facing the audience, request for the piano to be turned. I was told that I looked like I was caressing the piano once — angle matters. And I can’t stress how devastating a loose piece of hair on the wrong side of your face would be. Bedhead was so last year!


Adjust your physique.

Are big butts in style? Do squats at the gym to add substance to your behind.

Are small butts in style? Do squats at home to tighten your tush. God forbid someone at the gym starts eyeing your too-large behind.

If in doubt, post a gym selfie. Musicians take note — you’re artsy and in shape? Everyone will want to speak to you at the party.

Science says you can’t exactly change the size of your butt, but you can tone (or enlarge) it. So tone up, because you’re the star of the party. I was a ballerina for many years, and look at the state of my butt now!

How to be a trendsetter musician
Eat great food, but make sure the camera eats more than you do.

How does this work?

Order an obscene amount of food, and snap a photo for Instagram (make sure no one touches their food in the mean time). Take a few bites before declaring you’re full, and proceed to spend the rest of the evening eyeing everyone else’s food. One piece of lettuce = 2 calories = 3 minutes on the treadmill. We’re smarter than that, guys.

Let’s not forget ice cream. Every other day is cheat day — for the camera.


Take a selfie and discuss the success of your new company in five paragraphs.

#thankful #top40under40

You should be standing in front of a landmark of your city to symbolize the way your company is redefining the city. Include your co-founder if you have one, and thank your dog for keeping you sane. If you don’t have a co-founder, just talk about your dog.


A photo posted by Ever Moreno (@evmoreno) on


“How do you not compare yourself to everyone else?” Megz says.

Focus on yourself,” I say.

I was scrolling through Facebook and my goodness, my friends are much cooler and more fun than a Friday night swimming in paperwork.

But people share their best, over-filtered moments and you only see what people want to show you. We’re quick to assume that xyz is living a more interesting life.

If life is taking a toll on you, get off social media and stop comparing yourself to others. Commit to learning one new skill this month — pick up anything. My friend Matthew does acro yoga in the park and it’s the coolest hobby ever (plus a great party trick).

Real life is somewhere else, and I assure you, it’s much more interesting than thumbing through Facebook.

Where is your version of real life today?

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