I wonder if you can help, please. I have an umbrella – not of any great value, it came from The Swank – which is of great sentimental importance to me. Sadly, one of its spokes is broken. Is it possible that there is somewhere in Hong Kong that can fix it for me?
Broke Spoke, Central

The Dictator rules: For once, I can’t find anything I don’t like about your question. What you’re doing is great for the environment and great for Hong Kong on many levels. First, by repairing instead of tossing it, you’re sparing our overflowing landfills. Second, you’ll be supporting a dying breed of local artisan. Believe it or not, there was a time when people actually had most things repaired instead of immediately discarding them for a newer model. (Men in the midst of a mid-life crisis, please take note.) Yes, I have just the man for you. Mr Ho Hung-hee has been in the umbrella repair business since the 1940s. You may have even passed his little shop, Ho Hei Kee, housed in a classic green hawker stall in SoHo (74 Peel Street, tel: 2778 4306) without realising that excellent repair services were provided right there. The repair of a spoke should be no problem for this expert, who is now in his 80s. And don’t be concerned when you see the certificate proving his 1994 Guinness World Record for making the world’s most expensive umbrella; your repair will only cost you about HK$20, give or take.

 


 


I was stuck in SFO after my flight was cancelled over the holidays, but I used my time wisely with some surprisingly good shopping for books, chocolates, make-up and more. One of the best things I got was a really cool eye pencil by a brand I’d never heard of – Susan Posnick. Now I want more! Where can I get it here?
Posnick a Question, Pok Fu Lam

The Dictator:Well hello, sucker! Airport retail thrives on trapped impulse buyers like you despite usually higher price points, limited offerings and so on. Sounds like they got you good, as they say. Not everyone knows, or should know, that SFO means the airport in San Francisco (although, needless to say, I do). Among the various cosmetics outlets, I bet you visited Harmony Health & Beauty (www.hhbeauty.com) which sells countless niche brands including Susan Posnick. So who or what is this brand? I’ll admit, I had to look her up online (www.susanposnick.com) to learn that, like many others, Posnick was a well-known makeup artist before she developed her own line. She focuses on “healthy” make-up, mineral ingredients, sun protection and multi-purpose products. Cue your new eye pencil, the Color Eye Define (about HK$200), which cleverly combines a selfdispensing eye shadow at one end and, on the other, one of those angled eyeliners that allow you to apply thick or thin lines. She’s generally hard to find, but you can order from beauty.com, which delivers internationally in partnership with MyUS.com.

 

Got a question for The Dictator? E-mail her with your name, or alias, and address at: dictator@scmp.com