a bit about Ronnie
What do you do and why do you do it?
I recently started a role at a digital marketing agency. The agency is all about using data analytics to help large companies operate more efficiently. It's a very exciting time. I've always been a little resistant to the corporate world, so this end goal of providing people with better experiences is what keeps me going.
What’s the worst job you’ve ever had and why was it so effing bad?
Work trial at a cafe. I applied for Front of House through the internet. But as soon as I walked in, they told me to do the dishes, thinking that I was going for the kitchen hand role. It was terrible because the assumption was clearly made based on my race.
Were you born and raised in Melbourne? If not, where did you grow up and what brought you to Melbourne?
Yes and No. My family decided to move back to Hong Kong when I was a little kid, so I grew up in this beautiful bustling city (which I can totally write a separate guide on). Then I returned to Melbourne about 9 years ago, for better education and better coffee. In comparison, Melbourne is very laid back and relaxed. People really value work-life balance, and like to be outdoors on the weekend.
What’s your current hood in Melbourne and what’s the best/worst thing about it?
I live out in the burbs called Mount Waverley. The best thing about it is that it's an Asian neighbourhood, which provides me with ample supply of Asian groceries and delicious cheap eats. The worst thing is the ~40 minute commute to the city.
What kind of music do you listen to and what kind of music do you absolutely HATE?
Bonobo is one of my absolute favourites. I have quite broad taste and it really depends on my mood. Although I will go out of my way to avoid pop music (the KP, TS kind). If you want to check out some local bands, try Kllo and Vallips Alps.
You’re broken hearted - what tracks does your heartbreak playlist consist of?
Bon Iver - I Can't Make Your Love Me, on loop.
Name the best TV shows of all time, and what makes them so good?
House of Cards. I've never been a TV show person, but I signed up to Netflix just for this. Binge watched it, made myself google political terms just so I can understand it. There is so much tension, so you always want to keep watching. Francis (Kevin Spacey) in particular, is complex and well-developed. Everytime he talks to the camera, as the audience you feel as though you are his confidant, and gradually building a relationship with the character.
Name some spots in Melbourne that are good for a Tinder date.
1) Rice Paper Scissors - I took my current boyfriend here for our first Okc date, and we are still together after two years. Vietnamese fusion, tapas style. A little messy but really fun to eat. 2) Cinema Nova - Arthouse cinema with plenty of dessert options (cakes, gelato, cheese and wine) nearby. They offer mainstream films too if arthouse is not your thing. 3) Jungle Boy - Hidden bar behind a sub sandwich shop. Beware the dude at the sub sandwich shop will trick you into thinking you went to the wrong place.
Where do you buy those fabulous clothes of yours?
Mostly online and overseas. But occasionally you will find me at Camberwell Sunday Market, a local flea marketplace. You will need to get there early to cop the good stuff. Try to spot cool sellers. On lucky days, you may score a $15 Helmut Lang jacket.
What’s the thing you LOVE to do in your city that you never get to do?
Go to a jazz bar. This is something I've thought about for years but never actually end up doing. Now that it's written down, maybe I should go. There's one called 'Uptown Jazz Cafe' just in the city. I'd also love to do more road trips, but Melbourne has unpredictable weather so it's hard to plan ahead.
Where do you go in Melbourne for a casual night out?
I'm always up for cheap and cheerful Asian food. There are so many choices in the city, Japanese, Korean, Thai, Vietnamese, Chinese, you can never get bored. Once in a full moon, I'll go bar hopping with a couple of friends. Melbourne is known for its laneways so that's usually where you will find interesting bars. Highly recommend - Double Happiness, Magic Mountain Saloon, The Croft Institute, Union Electric.
What’s your choice of transportation in Melbourne and why?
Car, because I live quite far away and public transport would take ages. But if you are in the inner suburbs, by all means take advantage of the bike lanes here. Like many tourist cities, you can rent bikes at certain spots. Your cool AirBnB host might own a bike anyway.
What are the Melbourne spots a first-time visitor can’t miss?
1) South Melbourne Market. This is better than Queen Victoria Market (the usual tourist spot) in every way. You won't find koala keychains and fake ugg boots, but instead fresh croissants and independent boutiques. 2) National Gallery of Victoria - Their exhibitions are very good even for those who may not be super cultured. There is a curated mix of contemporary, periodic themes and medium. 3) CAFES! You cannot say that you've been to Melbourne unless you get brunch and coffee here. Top picks: The Vertue of the Coffee Drink, Breakfast Thieves, Aunty Peg's (coffee only).
Tomorrow’s your last day in Melbourne. How do you spend it?
Probably all the things I normally love to do. Morning - Get a delicious chaussons aux pommes with coffee. Then sit outside on the bench people watching. Go to morning yoga class. Afternoon - Spend time with my family and hang out in the Asian neigbourhood. Night - Most likely go for a satisfying Korean meal. Then it will be time for a sweet treat, so I go create my masterful frozen yoghurt piece. Perfect, I want to do all of these things as I'm typing it.
What’s your favorite vacation city in the world and why?
Hanoi, Vietnam. I don't know if it's great vacation city in itself, but my experience was unreal compared to other visits. The locality is next level - you sit on low stools to eat, drink coffee/beer, and chill. Foreigners you meet are legitimately global trotters, think retired Austrian couple who's been to the Antartica, or a French-Vietnamese journalist who writes political stories. Make sure you get on a motorbike (there are Uber motorbikes) and just cruise around. There is no better way to experience this city and its chaotic traffic.