We Hardly Knew You - The 2020 Review
Well: it has been quite a past few 12 months. I’ll be honest, I myself haven’t still come to terms on what a wild ride it has been.
Despite us all first grappling with wildfires down under, coming close to WW3, and of course, who cannot ignore a nasty little Coronavirus spreading around the world; and even though some of us lost our jobs, loved ones; relationships & friendships died, we made it to December. We have to give ourselves props for holding on despite it all.
But it wasn’t all bad. Behind the masks, 2020 was still a productive year; and for some, a blessing in disguise (very subtly). Maybe this year was the year you finally had time for your passion. Maybe it was the year you finally found your identity. Or throughout this entire year of ups and downs, you didn't do anything, and were content with that: nothing wrong with a sizeable period of reflection.
So in this review of the past year, l thought I would look back on what I managed to accomplish; despite the hardships of it all.
Let’s start with the biggest one for me: joining the HiddenPalmTree team back this year! My childhood dream was always to be an automotive journalist; dreaming of working as a content contributor for big publications like Top Gear, Car Magazine, Evo, Super Street. I always dreamt of being paid to travel and write about car culture around the world. So once Asher, the founder and lead of this brand offered the opportunity to me, I could not turn it down. This would be the closest I would be able to achieve my childhood aspirations, especially when discussing the potential for myself to be paid to travel and cover shows abroad (once the world is in a healthier state, of course).
To be honest, this has been in the planning since way back in January; my feature on my friend Nolan’s Subaru Legacy serving as my ‘audition’ piece. So technically, my ‘introduction’ post is not my first contribution to HIddenPalmTree, but writing about Nolan’s Legacy build is. In fact, I wrote it back in late December 2019; it just took a little longer than expected for us to get setup for the blog and my eventual entry onto the team at HPT.
In between that time it took for myself to be formally added to the brand, I managed to travel for a bit (right before the pandemic affected air travel as we know it). I got one trip into California in, starting a new routine I am hoping that becomes regular for all of my future trips to the West Coast: splitting half of my trip in Northern California, and the rest in Southern California. As much as the Bay Area is my third home, there’s more stuff I have yet to check out on Los Angeles side; the Sugoi Saturdays and itasha car meets/artist markets for one.
(Which came very handy when I needed a face mask for my return flight, just to be safe.)
Plus, there’s quite a few number of those on the FB group ‘Subtle Asian Cars’ out there, and I'll take any opportunity to meet social media acquaintances in person.
But once we got the ball rolling, even though I have been an active contributor for just seven months, I’ve already contributed a decent number of features on the blog.
We’ve discussed stance culture in the form of a particular Toyota Corolla on Oahu. How to appease your inner car-enthusiast while in lockdown (and staying healthy), along with how my team sent me off as I moved off the island.
Even when I had to move back to Hong Kong, that didn’t stop me content-wise. I highlighted how the city tries to do regular car things, along with some highlights of what you can see Sunday mornings. I also gave a cult favorite, the Honda S2000, a moment in the spotlight.
I also started shining attention on local car personalities and entities, such as a new and emerging venture: AutoStorage Hong Kong
And when we went into another wave of restrictions owing to spikes in reported cases, I had a vast archive to rely on: from the rare occasion Hong Kong had a car show, to one of my favorite car events in Southern California. I even wrote about the daily driver owned by a certain friend in Pasadena.
Admittedly, there were times I ran into creative block: but I still did my best to deliver, even if it was about automotive magazines and ‘subtle’ modifications on cars.
But despite those slumps, I came back rejuvenated. In place of what would have been SEMA 2020, I took the opportunity to look back at the time I was given the opportunity to attend SEMA 2019: reviving a feature from the dead, and some of my top picks from the show.
We looked at Hong Kong-based diecast brand Tarmac Works upcoming releases in the new year, in time for the Macau Grand Prix weekend.
And to round things off, looking back at what I was grateful for, we learned about a group of 80s and 90s aficionados that made a stop at Sonoma Raceway, along with their cars.
I also picked up a new project this year: stepping away from Nissan after a couple of years, and into the world of Germany with this very green Mercedes Benz A Class (A200 AMG Sport). If you have been following my Instagram account, you will have seen plenty of updates on the car; along with the morning drives, photo spots around Hong Kong, and everything in between.
(I also just setup an Instagram account dedicated to the car and to chronicle as it takes on its next form. Watch this space. ;) )
Oh, and I also graduated this year! 4 years of studying came to an end in May, as I obtained my Bachelors of Science in Mass Communications from Hawaii Pacific University. I managed to still graduate with honors despite the sudden switch to online classes halfway through my final semester.
Unfortunate that myself, along with fellow classmen/women of 2020 could not walk at our graduation ceremony this year. But we still got recognition through HPU; abit remotely via a Zoom conference call. At least it was an excuse to wear the cap and gown I had paid to be shipped out.
I also have yet to take formal graduation photos in person; though thanks to several photographers out on Sunday, I have managed to get a temporary solution sorted out.
More importantly though, through it all: for those who have been supporting myself, Asher, and the entire brand as we made moves over the past year: Thank you so much for your support. Whether you be following us here in Hong Kong, back on Oahu, or Stateside.
Every little bit counts, no matter how small or insignificant it may seem. Every like, follow, share, comment, and view on the blog, and buying some merchandise from Asher’s store, helps grow our presence and make ourselves as we aim to make ourselves known more: from car meets in Hawaii, to enthusiasts worldwide. As per our mission: supporting the locals.
This was just the beginning, and I’m excited as we turn a new page (and hopefully a better 365 days in due time); moving forward to the next chapter of what is in store for ‘HiddenPalmTree.’ as we continue to grow.
Were there any features that stuck out as your favorites? Any you would like to see? While I am still busy behind the scenes working on more content and features that I am aiming to debut soon, don’t forget my inbox is always open for suggestions or what you want us to cover, so don’t hesitate if you have an idea!
Until next time: stay safe and healthy, enjoy the first few days of the new year (no doubt trying to erase 2020 as much as possible from our memories), and let’s enter 2021 with a fresh, positive mindset that things will get better.