Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Retro Hong Kong

I had lunch with Shirley of Prince Hotel & Residence Kuala Lumpur at Tai Zi Heen today. It's that time of the year to plan activities for the upcoming one. We've been at it for quite a number of years, 5 years and counting. I always appreciate longstanding working relationships. We trust one another will do a good job, we are on the same wavelength and it's almost like clockwork. We also have an understanding of past efforts and how to improve.

Anyways, the signage at the entrance of Tai Zi Heen really caught my attention. It's so retro. This award winning restaurant is participating in the Malaysia International Gourmet Festival, hence the idea to channel retro Hong Kong via their Hong Kong Encounter Menu. The restaurant is afterall well known for its Cantonese cuisine.

Ambience and decor aside, it will be the food that will take centrestage.


Photo shot at Tai Zi Heen, Prince Hotel & Residence Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

A Wedding Planner's Perspective

Those of you who read my post entitled Eileen And Richard in August would know that I was privileged to attend their wedding in Bali.

Here is how the wedding unfolded in Eileen's own words as appeared in The Malay Mail, a wedding planner's perspective of her own nuptials.

It was indeed a pleasure to be part of such a special occasion.


Photo of part of 'the gang' as mentioned in Eileen's article in The Malay Mail.

Monday, September 28, 2009

So Martha Stewart

Martha Stewart, an American, is a well-known name in wedding circles, even here in Malaysia. So many of us wedding professionals purchase the quarterly Martha Stewart Weddings publication, visit her website and sometimes catch her TV show. Many would not disagree that she is the ultimate arbiter of style when it comes to all things weddings.

So it comes as no surprise that we sometimes use her name as an adjective. Case in point, I was at Covershots for an event yesterday and Pam, the gracious hostess that she is, always feeds us. Not only that, she often ensures that what she serves is presented in a manner befitting a wedding practitioner. See the photo? Well, I remarked, 'It's so Martha Stewart, Pam'. Get what I mean?

I have always felt that when presented well, the simplest of pastries are augmented to a more sophisticated level. They may taste the same but the experience is definitely heightened.


Photo shot at Covershots in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Ambition And Hope

I was rummaging through my VCDs earlier this evening; yes I like having my dinner in front of the TV, actually my notebook to be precise. Anyways, got my hands on Center Stage. It has always been one of the few to watch when I am in need of some 'feel-good vibes'. The plot revolves around a group of young men and women who work their butts off, in tights and tutus no less, trying to secure a place in the American Ballet Company.

Above all the drama - ambition, fulfilling aspirations, relationships gone wrong, relationships made right, eating disorders, meeting parents' expectations, taking risks and of course great choreography of dance sequences - lies a simple lesson. That we must acknowledge our talent, embrace it, nurture it, work hard to enhance it. With a little bit of luck and sometimes being at the right place at the right time, it can lead to great things.

We must remain hopeful that something good will come out of our efforts. See what the shop sign says?


Photo shot at Jalan Dewi Sita in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Biz Trips To Penang

Penang is a place that I always enjoy visiting, even when I am there for work rather than a holiday. It is relatively compact enough for me to include some r&r in my itinerary, be it visits to the Siamese and Burmese temples on Lorong Burma for prayers, savouring Hokkien Mee at Lorong Bangkok, an evening swim at the hotel pool or supper on Gurney Drive followed by a late night stroll.

Of course one of the best reasons to stay a night when on business trips to Penang is the opportunity to have dinner with friends and industry colleagues. The good food is a given and the great company elevates the experience.

I suppose that's why I always find a reason for a business trip to Penang.


Photo of me with Ms Chew, Andy, Aires, Suan Bee and C Hun shot at Northam Beach Cafe in Penang, Malaysia.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

The Hiplist 2009

Here's my message in The Hiplist 2009.

This 3rd issue of 'THE HIPLIST : WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHERS – Celebrating The Art Of Malaysia’s Wedding Photographers' is very much a labour of love for my team and I. As a publisher, we always strive to improve from previous issues and I hope that you will find the variety of photographers featured this year captivating. Established names stand alongside fresh faces with one trait in common, the passion to create lasting images of this milestone in your lives.

Explore, enjoy and be inspired …

Kris Wong

What so exciting about this new issue? The size is larger, the design more stylish and the content more beguiling. Do get a copy and see for yourself.


Photo of The Hiplist 2009.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Choices

I don’t normally follow Grey’s Anatomy. I just happened to be sitting in front of the TV having dinner last evening when my sister was watching an episode of Season 3 on DVD. In that particular episode, Meredith and Derek discuss the need for the former to make a choice.

We are faced with having to make choices every day. Be it a work or a private matter, we consider, we assess, we weigh the consequences, we deliberate some more if necessary, and we decide, we make that choice. I am a decisive person which fortunately means I don’t procrastinate when I have to make my mind up. Do I regret my past choices? No. They were the right decisions to take at those particular points in time. Do I wish that circumstances were such that I wouldn’t have had to make certain decisions? Of course.

I still think of some situations where I wonder if things could have turned out differently if I had chosen the other path. But we live with our choices, we take responsibility for our actions and we accept the resultant outcomes. As long as we remain true to ourselves, there shouldn’t be any regrets, only a conviction that we have made the right choice. Now .......... which pair of jeans to buy?


Photo of Armani Exchange window shot at The Gardens, Mid Valley, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Do I Attend?

Ever so often I get asked the question 'Do you attend all of your clients' weddings?' The answer is no. For one, I don't get invited to all of them. Even if I were, it would not be possible to go to every one. I suppose I would put it this way. It really depends on how well I get along with the couple. There needs to be a certain amount of chemistry and if we click, it would definitely be a pleasure to be part of the celebrations.

I was at Shino and Gordon's wedding banquet last Saturday. Other than the privilege of being at such a milestone in the couple's lives, it was also enjoyable to mingle with fellow industry colleagues which included Patrick and his team from Exes Studio, Angie who did Shino's makeup and hair as well as Z Z Lim whose vintage Jaguar was a feature of the wedding. I must also not forget to mention the band from Mosaic Music Entertainment who as always put on a good show.

It's also a chance to dress up, and when one has a brand new vest delivered the morning of the banquet, it's certainly an added incentive!


Photo with Shino and Gordon.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Pleasant Sunday

It's a Sunday, it's Raya, it's 12 noon and I've had quite a pleasant day so far. I've been up since 4.30am, normal routine for a Sunday when I am on morning news duty at Traxx Fm. Got done with news, wished the nation Selamat Hari Raya in the process and was out of RTM by 9.15am.

A requisite Sunday morning swim under overcast skies later, a lazy breakfast followed. Apple and aloe vera juice, a Hawaiian pizza, yes you didn't read wrong, it was pizza, and a soothingly rich Milo, perfect complements to the Travel & Leisure South East Asia magazine that I religiously read every month.

I've still got a number of things to accomplish today - coin an original Raya greeting to text my friends later, hit the gym to work off all the calories from Shino and Gordon's wedding banquet last night, if I can be disciplined enough to do so, some writing to complete for the October updates of weddingsmalaysia.com. But first, a snooze beckons. A friend of mine recently remarked that not being with someone doesn't mean one can't have a good life. There certainly is some truth to that, so for now, it's all about loving thyself ... myself that is.


Photo of breakfast.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Sugar Rush

I think I'll be in need of 'pick-me-ups' quite often in the ensuing months. Not only will I need to contend with editorial deadlines for the 2010 issue of weddingsmalaysia and the peak wedding season at That Special Occasion, there are family matters to attend to as well. What do they say ... when it rains, it pours?

I try not to worry. My motto? Deal with it. Staying upbeat helps me cope. And when all else fails, a sugar rush is all I need to improve my disposition. Yes, I have a sweet tooth. Why else would I choose a photo of doughnuts to accompany this post.

The thing is, we come face to face with daunting challenges from time to time. Yes, worrisome some of them are, especially those which we have no direct control over. So, I say a prayer and let fate take its course. C'est la vie.


Photo shot at breakfast at G Hotel, Penang, Malaysia.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

A Little Prayer

I have fond memories of 'Church Of The Immaculate Conception' in Pulau Tikus, Penang. I was best man for 2 of my good friends, first Ken Bin and later his brother Ken Lin, both of whom took their marriage vows at this house of worship.

I decided to drop by again on Sunday while I was in Penang for business. Though not a Christian, I went to say a little prayer for another good friend's father who passed away on Saturday. Circumstances were such that I did not make it back to Kuala Lumpur in time for the wake and funeral services but still wanted to pay my respects in my own way.

The events of last weekend and the past few days have made me realise more so than ever that we should live life to the fullest. Good or not so good, we ought to accept what life throws at us. Enjoy the good, deal with the not so good, and embrace all that life has to offer.


Photo of Church Of The Immaculate Conception in Pulau Tikus, Penang, Malaysia.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Venturing To Penang

A capsule collection of That Special Occasion wedding gowns is now available in Penang, either for rent or purchase at the spanking new Whizarts Wedding Photography Boutique Studio in Taman Permai. It is always a challenge delivering a service outside the Klang Valley where That Special Occasion is based, but with collaborative partners such as Ke Wynn and Alishia in Penang, we are confident that such a venture can be a success. We also take heart from the fact that we can draw from our experience in Kota Kinabalu where we have worked in a similar fashion with Louis Pang Studio for a number of years.

We have many good friends and industry colleagues in Penang and it was a pleasure to catch up with them at the official launch of Whizarts' new entrepreneurial endeavour yesterday. It is through their support that we hope to achieve some level of success there.

One thing is for sure, we will approach this venture with much gusto, putting our best foot forward as always.


Photo shot at Whizarts Wedding Photography Boutique Studio in Penang, Malaysia.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Cohesive Team

Teamwork is something that I value very much. Although I rant and succumb to unleashing the occasional tirade, I am thankful to have a close-knitted team, be it at weddingsmalaysia, That Special Occasion, The Wedding Hub or Budget Brides.

Whether full-timers or part-timers, fashion designers or seamstresses, publishers, editors or graphic designers, the team gets along and works together relatively well despite little rows and minor spats every once in a while. Resolution of squabbles in a fair and realistic manner makes our relationships stronger. A shared vision and commitment lead to the attainment of mutual goals.

3 of my colleagues at That Special Occasion - designer Louisa and seamstresses Jenny and Tina - celebrate their birthdays this month, and all of us came together for a meal to rejoice last evening. Kudos to Patrick for arranging the 'makan'.


Photo of flowers for the birthday girls.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Staying Calm

I can get highly-strung at work at times. Come to think of it, my staff would say that I am highly-strung all the time. I don't start my days off in such a bad state of mind. The irritants are the culprits that get me going down the path of being a grump.

My ideal workday? The seamstresses would have completed all that have been tasked to them to perfection, or at least almost to perfection. Clients who are decisive and know what they want, who appreciate our efforts and trust our judgement. On the publishing front, advertisers who submit materials in a timely manner, designers who get the layouts right and who make the effort to see if copy makes sense. Fruitful appointments with clients, a nice lunch, afternoon tea with an industry colleague perhaps. A gym session or swim.

The challenge for me really is to stay calm and positive when things do not go according to plan. Believe me when I say I can rant. It is during such times that my staff often remind me ........ 'Why aren't you practising The Secret?' And that's when I start going ... 'Positive thoughts! Positive thoughts! Positive thoughts!' Whatever the case may be, suffice to say, my demeanour tends to get better as the day goes by, especially towards the end of the workday. Don't we all?


A serene photo shot at Villa Puri Tirtha, Tanjung Benoa, Bali, Indonesia.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Culinary Delight

What a pleasure it was at lunch today. Every now and then, you meet someone who is so passionate about what they do, it literally inspires you to want to do better in one's own field of work as well. Jeannette Han is that someone.

We were lunching at Elegant Inn, guests of Jeannette, our gracious host. By we, I mean myself, my colleague Patrick as well as Ann, Allan and Nigel of Just Heavenly. Course by course of exquisite fare were placed before us. Not only was each dish a toothsome gastronomic creation, the thought that went into planning the menu, the delicate attention paid to quality and variety of ingredients, texture, taste, cooking methodology and presentation, all pointed to a common purpose, that is to elevate the culinary experience to one that can be aptly described as a 'feast for the senses'.

Being in the wedding industry, we are always on the lookout for venues that are intimate and that place fervent emphasis on food quality. Elegant Inn did not disappoint. Though relatively small in size, it is definitely big in personality. Don't believe me? Well, go try for yourself.


Photo of 'Kobe Beef With Garlic' at Elegant Inn at Menara Hap Seng, Jalan P.Ramlee, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Wise Words

I had lunch with a friend at The Yogitree at The Gardens in Mid Valley yesterday. Upon entering, the first thing that I noticed was their inspiration wall.

‘It’s not work if you love what you do’ – sometimes yes for me, sometimes not, depending on whether anyone pissed me off. ‘Park your car in the box provided and walk the rest to your destination. It’s good for your heart and good for the environment’ – that I did do, but due to massive traffic because of the public holiday in Selangor, premium parking was the only solution. ‘Good health = Joyful living’ – couldn’t agree more! My favourite? ‘Take this weekend off … unplug from the world, no TV, no computers, no handphones’ – possible I reckon except that I need my notebook and handphone!

Little quotes like these make us sit-up, take notice and hopefully put into practice. That’s why I snapped the photo Bunny!


Photo shot at The Yogitree at The Gardens, Mid Valley, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Monday, September 7, 2009

New Blood

The Association Of Wedding Professionals (AWP) held its AGM yesterday evening. After a year at the helm, founders Leticia of Events Wizard and Eileen of Nupts & Such were returned as President and Vice President respectively. Members who turned up for the meeting made such a proposition in order to have some continuity, considering that AWP only recently turned 1.

After numerous 'I propose', 'I second' and subsequent voting, some new blood have been injected, namely Pam of Covershots, Irene of The WeddingCard Shop, Lee Kuen of Bridal Glam, Anizah of TrulyScrumptious! and Yeh of Wondrous Vision, either as office bearers or committee members. New blood means new ideas, a perfect complement to the continuity quotient, which will hopefully lead to an expansion of membership and enhanced enthusiasm.

Debra of Acadia meanwhile has been retained as Treasurer whereas I have changed portfolios from Secretary to Membership. Running an association demands passion and commitment. Here's to the 2009/2010 team!


Photo shot at Covershots in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Health

It’s often called a clichĂ©…... ‘health is wealth’. Unfortunately, many of us take our health for granted. We blame our work schedules for not having the time to exercise, we say ‘life is short’, so eat whatever you feel like eating, drink to your heart’s content. Only when we or a loved one suffer a health scare do we realise that keeping healthy is one aspect of life that we should not neglect.

The inner workings of our body we cannot control but we can at least try to stay trim and fit. I am disciplined in many areas of my life. However, exercise is one of those things that I need to force myself to do. I swim, I hit the gym for weights and cardio classes. I attempt to watch what I eat, well not all the time but I make an effort.

Bottom line is, being healthy allows us to lead a meaningful life. Time to get cracking everyone! Now if only we had a beach in KL to head to for evening sunset jogs.


Photo of Kuta Beach in Bali, Indonesia.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Penang Gang

Suan Bee, Beatrice and C Hun of Touching Hearts Wedding Concepts are in town from Penang and I had dinner with them last night. Desmond of Confetti joined us too. Considering the vast amount of time that Desmond spends in Penang, I guess he qualifies to be termed the ‘Penang gang’ as well.

It is always a pleasure getting together with industry friends from interstate. Apart from exchanging news on the respective wedding scenes, it is also refreshing to share new ideas and banter about the goings-on in our lives. Whilst Facebook and email certainly help us keep in touch, they can never measure up to conversing in person.

Good food, sinful desserts and great company, a wonderful Friday night out indeed.


Photo of C Hun, Beatrice, Suan Bee, yours truly and Desmond, shot at Alexis in Bangsar, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Waiting Game

I hate to wait. Those who work with me know this for a fact. If I encounter a problem, I like to resolve it quickly. When I receive an inquiry, I respond immediately if possible, if not, then within the same day; if I stall, it is very likely due to strategic reasons. Similarly, I like to be served promptly when dining in a restaurant, and if I go for a medical checkup, I’d rather have the results sooner than later. This also extends to friendships and relationships; I only make time for those who are serious and committed. That’s just me. Snobbish I am not, being practical and a realist are what describe me best.

When one is in the company of friends, one can be true to oneself without being judged. Fingers tapping on the table are a sign of my impatience and my friends humour me from time to time by speeding things up. Impatience however can be a good thing too. I am punctual, I get things done fast, I seldom procrastinate and I am decisive. I get straight to the point at meetings and do not beat round the bush to get my opinion across.

I hope I am not perceived as arrogant. Time is scarce and waits for no one. See the photo on top? What happens if we are pedestrian? Well, the ice cream melts, that’s what. Need I say more?


Photo of dessert at Café Bali in Seminyak, Bali, Indonesia.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Going Our Own Route

The wedding industry is a very competitive one. Those of us in the know witness entrants into the market ever so often. If we were to keep looking over our shoulder all the time and worry about the competition, it would be a miserable existence indeed. My opinion? Concentrate on what we do well, implement the strategies that we have formulated, provide good service, have integrity in our dealings with fellow service providers, refrain from backstabbing industry colleagues, and basically go our own route.

Yes, it is important to be aware of our competitors’ activities but our actions shouldn’t be always in response to what they do. Instead, we should be proactive and take the initiative to develop creative and innovative ideas to differentiate our business in a crowded marketplace.

At the end of the day, the fittest survive, the unique thrive and the self-confident enjoy the kick of being in business. All these positive vibes must be due to my reading 'Richard Branson : Business Stripped Bare' haha!


Gown by That Special Occasion, photo courtesy of Wedding Story.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Being Organised

I was speaking to a couple of industry colleagues recently over ‘teh tarik’ about the pressure of trying to keep organised in terms of running our businesses. Most of us self-financed entrepreneurs share a similar dilemma - inadequate funds to hire a full support team, which results in us having to adopt the ‘one-leg-kick’ role. Some of us are better in certain areas than others, but the bottom line is, we sometimes get stretched to the limit.

I have long come to the realisation that I can’t do everything, even if I had 36 hours a day. I am fortunate to have built working relationships with freelance consultants who help me out in areas where I need assistance. However, whilst these specialists do good work and I certainly trust them entirely, I have also had to make it a point to learn a bit more about their areas of specialisation. For example, a financial statement, no matter how well presented, is useless to me as an entrepreneur if I am not able to make sense of it. I need to know what to look out for and what the figures mean. Similarly, it is also imperative that one knows how to scrutinise the many proposals that come our way, such as in the sphere of branding, marketing and communications. The list of issues to contend with goes on.

My point is, we all need to keep learning. Be it through management books, the Internet, workshops or seminars, any new knowledge we acquire can help us in many different ways. The challenge is to understand and decipher the information we receive, develop new competencies in the process and then put these skills to work.


Photo shot at That Special Occasion, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.