Filipina Elsewhere: Crystal Koo

Read the series introduction.

Crystal Koo is the very same Crystal I've mentioned in my posts about my recent trip to Hong Kong (which you can read here). I first met her in one of the Philippine Speculative Fiction launches. Her short stories have been published widely. She teaches at university and plays jazz and blues on the guitar. Here she talks briefly about gaining perspective after leaving home.

Take it away, Crystal.
I added emphases (boldface type, italics), links, and photos throughout the text.

Name: Crystal Koo
Current Location: Hong Kong
Age: 31

What was your job back in the Philippines?
I didn't have one, I left after my undergraduate degree.

What are you doing now?
I'm a university lecturer in Hong Kong.

Where/what did you study?
B.A. English Studies in the University of the Philippines.
M.A. Creative Writing in the University of New South Wales.

Why did you decide to study/work abroad?
For the experience. And expanding my credentials and income.

What was your biggest challenge when you went abroad?
Getting along with people is easy but finding your place in a new culture takes some time.

And what was the best thing that happened to you?
Finding myself. Apparently this is a thing that does happen. Perspective FTW.

If I were to go fly to where you are, what would you say is:
    the best place to eat?
Only a Sith deals in absolutes. I'll go with Mui Kee Cookfood Stall this time just for the name. Food's pretty good too.

Photo from
They serve beer in ceramic bowls. Cute!
Photo from

    the best place to visit? 
This is so difficult. I want to say my apartment. Or maybe the band room that we rent in Mongkok.

Photo from

    the best thing to do? 
Make friends, connect with people. It's a big city.

Would you consider returning to the Philippines? Why? 
It's hard to say. At this point I'm pretty happy to be abroad. But maybe in the future when I'm getting a little long in the tooth and wanting some comfort and familiarity back?

Your #1 tip to those thinking of studying/working outside the Philippines:
Make the most of it. Get to know the culture. Love the opportunities that come your way. And don't get arrested.

Thank you, Crystal!


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