Beauty of Letting Go,
Without Letting Go

by Hao Jing

The world has changed greatly in the past three months. Perhaps more so than any singular event in the past few decades. Countless businesses around the globe have gone under, and many will follow in the months to come. Those that survive will probably be forced to operate their businesses very differently. And the F&B industry is one of them.

June 15, 2020

The irony is, before COVID, many would feel that this is one industry least likely to be dependent on technology and at risk of "disruption". After all, people will prefer dining out and enjoying the ambience and service of a restaurant or cafe. The glass of Chianti simply tastes different at home compared to dining in at a riverside al fresco pizzeria. That is, until the choice is taken away from us.

We are now all forced to adapt, and embrace technology to survive in this new world. The same goes to art. Artists are being forced online. Online concerts, online performances and even online classes. Even the legendary Andre Bocelli has to perform to virtual audiences in an empty cathedral.

A solo performance representing a message of love, healing and hope to Italy and the world

Screengrab of Andrea Bochelli's solo performance in front of the Duomo di Milano.

But where will we go from here? What will the new world look like? Will dining at home be the new norm? And watching the newest ballet recital on your couch?

In our chosen style of pottery (hand pinching), a unique trait is that the process yields a natural web of cracks and tears on the outer surface of the piece. This lends a characteristic of rustic beauty that cannot be replicated on a throwing wheel. It is poetic in a way that the potter can never predict how and where the cracks will appear - they are at complete mercy of the clay. The potter can only prevent them from cracking too much and causing a tear in the pieces, thus destroying it. Many beginners in hand pinching will choose to cover the finest cracks the moment they appear, for fear of them becoming too big to subdue later. But doing so results in a piece robbed of the soul of hand pinching, and refinement of wheel throwing. It becomes a piece that is trying to be something it isn't. Knowing when to let go and when not to is the true key. Finding the fine balance that everything beautiful in life is hung on.

Similarly, we are now in a situation where we are at the mercy of happenings in the macro system. But that doesn't stop us from making the best of the situation and creating something that is truly magical. Learning what we can let go and what we must hold on to, relentlessly.

A space curated for conversations and connection.

We used to believe that Hvala is, at the very core, about the space. A space that promotes interactions and conversations. A space that evokes the appreciation of art and simplicity. And that there is no way we could ever achieve that through delivery. This period has forced us to adapt, and opened up our eyes to another dimension of our brand.

People started buying tea and pastries for their loved ones, to celebrate special occasions or just to bring cheer to their friends. They bought the pottery kits and started organising zoom sessions to pinch the chawans together. They created chat groups to discuss about the taste profile of the newest shincha and kamairicha. They brought the essence of Hvala into their homes.

So the post-COVID world is going to be a very different world. But that doesn't mean that it will be any less beautiful, or any less possible for us to achieve our dreams in it. Like Sundar Pichai of Google said in his commencement speech to the Class of 2020, one thing we can be sure of regardless how things evolve from here is that we will prevail. For we always have.

"One thing we can be sure of regardless how things evolve from here is that we will prevail. For we always have."
- Sundar Pichai, Google