Sunday, November 29, 2009

Extended Family

See the photo? Yes, I have a pretty large extended family, and those in the photo are only from my mom's side of the family! Other than the locals, many flew in from Singapore, Auckland, London and Nam Tong in China to witness my cousin Lye Keat's wedding yesterday.

Some of my friends can't stand the idea of having too large an extended family. I have no such problem. It's probably because I've been brought up in such an environment, and for as long as I can remember, we've always come together for festivities and celebrations all the time. There is an imminent sense of excitement as such gatherings approach every time.

What so great about my relatives is the comradeship and our solidarity as a family. We keep in touch often, even when we are in different corners of the globe. Such is the advantage of modern technology that we are never too far away for a chat. English-proficient cousins of mine get updated on the happenings in my life via email or social networking sites, whereas I just pick up the phone when I want to catch up with those in China, 'broken Cantonese' being the communication medium of mine. Many ask me how I keep up with such correspondence. It's only a little bit of effort really, how difficult is it to pick up the phone?

Photo of Lye Keat and Mei Li's wedding at the Holy Rosary Church in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thought Provoking

About 6 months or so ago, an acquaintance asked me this question, 'How do you keep a positive perspective working in the wedding industry? You propagate 'happily-ever-after' unions, when in reality for many, the relationship goes downhill after marriage. The bubble bursts, the passion fizzles out and we are left in a mundane relationship.' If I had answered instinctively, it would have been, 'If you really feel that way about your relationship, you probably have not worked hard enough on keeping the spark alive. And if the thought of having to make the necessary effort to re-ignite the passion seems too daunting, then perhaps it's time to move on.'

I bit my tongue. Instead, I offered a lame response, something to the effect of hoping that the marriages that worked outnumbered those that didn't. The question nevertheless has stayed at the back of my mind for some reason. Now, I don't profess to be an authority on relationships, let alone marriage, considering my feeble track record. But from observing friends, industry colleagues, family and of course clients who have thrived on committed, long term relationships and marriage, I suppose I can draw a few conclusions. Putting your spouse or partner first. Yes, the principle of 'loving thyself' is important but equally important is putting your partner's feelings above one's own. The ability to compromise and the willingness to adapt. Yes, we get set in our ways but some give and take is necessary, finding the middle ground in dealing with contentious issues and positions. Spontaneity and being the romantic fool. Being stuck in a rut and in a monotonous routine spell trouble; everyone likes romantic gestures, little surprises, don't we all? Thoughtfulness, trust and mutual respect, the list goes on.

It's the wedding season. I've probably attended one too many a wedding, and my cousin's getting hitched this weekend as well. Perhaps that's why I felt the need to address this lingering question that was posed to me all those months ago. One thing is for sure, I still do hold steadfast to the potential of 'happily-ever-after'. I say so not because I work in the wedding industry. I say so because those around me who are blissfully coupled seem much more contented, even if it means having to work on all the above, when compared to the singletons. Sure, the latter have the freedom and independence, they can live their lives as they please without having to answer to anyone, but I do wonder if they feel that missing link from time to time. I do, but that's another story, for another time ..............

Photo of my friends, Leticia and Tjun Hong, at their ROM celebratory luncheon, after having been an item for almost 2 decades.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Jessie And Yoong

13 wedding industry friends attended the wedding banquet in celebration of Jessie and Yoong's nuptials on Sunday evening. A lot of us started as industry colleagues and over time have become friends, which makes attending such celebratory events together much fun. Incidentally, Jessie is the co-owner of favour company Xocolati.

We are also a fairly sporting bunch. In wanting to create a lasting memory for the bride and groom, the 13 of us serenaded the newlyweds, in Mandarin nonetheless, with only 5 in the group actually being able to speak Mandarin! We never even practised as a group, in fact, we only had 3 practice sessions with with less than a 50% turnout each time. But we pulled it off, thanks to everyone having practised at home to a 'minus one' provided by our friend and wedding chanteuse Janet.

Jessie and Yoong were touched by our gesture and seeing the expressions on their faces made the endeavour extremely worthwhile. Much congratulations again Jessie and Yoong!

Photo of our songsheet with lyrics in Chinese and English phonetics.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Aspiration And Purpose

Love the cover! Absolutely love it! It's festive in so many ways, evocative of the holiday season that's just round the corner. I've read about and seen videos of Ellen DeGeneres' campaign to fulfill her aspiration of appearing on the cover of O with Oprah, and it's great to see her part of such a joyful image. The only other person who has graced the cover with Oprah is Michelle Obama, another lady who needs no introduction.

I don't really read O but just had to buy it when the cover caught my eye on the newsstand. It may just become one of those iconic covers in time. Flipping through the magazine, I came across a feature article on Barton Brooks, the founder of Global Colours. His is an inspirational story. For those of us looking for a purpose in life other than work, it's a story worthwhile reading. It makes us realise how even the smallest effort can make a difference in a person's life. It reminds us to put our words of intention into action.

As we reflect on the past year come December, perhaps it is time to see how we can contribute to another's happiness, how we can lend a hand to someone in need, and in return reap the benefits of self-fulfillment.

Photo of the December 2009 issue of O.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Helen's Birthday

I make it a point to host a dinner whenever a team member's birthday comes along, be it a colleague from weddingsmalaysia or That Special Occasion. Colleagues from both companies are invited. At times all are able to attend, at other times we get a partial turnout. Whatever the case, we all have a good time over great food and wonderful company.

This evening, 10 of us got together to celebrate Helen's birthday. A sinful but hearty seafood meal was the order of the day. What so great about such celebrations is the opportunity to nurture and enhance the camaraderie that already exists among us. I have a terrific team. Yes, we do fall off the wagon from time to time, we do get pissed off at one another every now and then, I almost always have something to rant about, but at the end of the day, we respect one another and value the working relationship that we have cultivated.

We also did a count of the upcoming birthdays. Looks like there will be a feast once a month from now till May next year!

Photo shot at Pantai Seafood in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


A friend called me up today checking to see if I was alright. Apparently I have been sounding relatively depressed in some of my blogposts. Must have been this post, or perhaps this, or maybe this.

Like most people, I have my ups and downs. Those who know me well can attest to the fact that I can be prone to mood swings. Just ask my biz partner Anna or some of my colleagues who work with me every day. I am not that an easy person to get along with at times.

To set the record straight, I am doing fine, could be better, but fine nevertheless. In any case, my 3 cousins, 2 spouses and 3 little nephews fly in from Singapore, Auckland and London for a few days next week, so that should cheer me up! Woohoo!

Photo of my cousins Kiat Ken and Wui Ken, my sis Suk Harn, cousin Siew Yoong and I, shot last year in Langkawi, Malaysia.

Monday, November 16, 2009


I had a good time rekindling friendships with my primary school mates, all 30 or so of them, at Sekolah Sri Petaling's 40th anniversary alumni dinner last night. True, only a fraction of us from our batch turned up but it was nevertheless an opportune time to catch up on what's been happening in our lives and to reminisce over our antics during our childhood.

What I realised was that whilst many of us are in touch via Facebook, it never really is the same as meeting in person. The camaraderie is what endears us to one another, still very much so after all these years. Yes, we may have grown apart somewhat, but the bonds that we sowed so many years ago, decades actually, are there for us to rekindle, if we make the effort. The challenge really is to keep the momentum of keeping in contact going. So often, we rely on the enthusiastic few to encourage us to do so; it's time for the rest of us to step up to the plate.

We shared great experiences in our childhood - we embraced each other when we knew not of societal norms and boundaries, we threw caution to the wind when it came to co-curricular activities. Come to think of it, the latter still holds true for some .... didn't I read somewhere about Lionel and Monitar representing us in the inter-batch badminton competition, crooked knee, sore muscles and all? And Ritz relating how he pulled a muscle during warmup and ending up as linesman during the inter-batch football tournament? Instead of relying on these wonderful memories of the past, it's perhaps time to create new ones in the present. Dinner at Lionel's cafe anyone? Soon too!!!

Photo shot at Dewan Perdana Felda in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Sunday, November 15, 2009


Student days are some of the best times for many. But how many of us stay in touch with those who shared in creating those wonderful memories? I have total respect for those who actively contribute to the running of alumni associations. It takes commitment, perseverance and enthusiasm. I've recently completed many terms as a committee member of the Flinders University Alumni Association Malaysia, including a stint as President. I however still offer moral support and try to attend as many alumni events as possible.

Having done my fair share of studying, I am also a member of the Malaysian Chapter of the Cesar Ritz Alumni Association. Local alumni chapters allow us to actively participate in get togethers and remain in contact with fellow Malaysian graduates. I also have fond memories of my time at Immanuel College and SMK Bukit Bintang.

What I am looking forward to is my primary school, SRK Sri Petaling's reunion dinner this evening. Celebrating the school's 40th anniversary, about 800 are expected to attend. My batch of schoolmates is pretty active and have kept in touch either in person or in cyberspace. It will be fun to catch up with old friends again. Kudos to the organising team.

Photo of me in Standard 5, courtesy of Nina Samad.

Friday, November 13, 2009


It is a rewarding experience to witness the attainment of an aspiration. I was privileged to have been invited to the launch of DiversiFy, my friend and wedding industry colleague, violinist extraordinaire Dennis Lau's debut album.

Long have I heard Dennis talk about this dream of his. The long and challenging journey he has taken to realise this ambition must surely have been a fulfilling one. Here's to the start of much bigger and better things to come!

I shall end this post with a thought that Dennis penned ........ DiversiFy represents new chapters in life, new beginnings, new challenges to overcome, and most of all, creating and bringing to you a new wave of diversity in music.

Photo shot at the launch of DiversiFy at Starhill Gallery in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

New Horizons

I was watching Marat Safin bring down the curtain on his career at the Paris Masters, via Astro that is. I've never been a great fan of the gifted but temperamental Russian tennis star. Nevertheless, I found myself intrigued by what he had to say when the tributes began flowing post match.

The tough situations he faced as a sportsman will be an ally when taking on new challenges in the future, he surmised. He went on to say that when one closes a door, another opens.

I am often inspired by such sentiments. They motivate me. There are always new horizons to conquer........

Photo shot at the waterfront in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Comfort Food

I know I am stressed when I have cravings. Boy, I could really do with a toffee apple or two. The ones featured in the photo were concocted by Anizah of TrulyScrumptious! for a Halloween party which I attended.

Comfort food always comes to mind when I need a pick-me-up. A warm bowl of tau-foo-fah, sweet seedless grapes, Swiss chocolate, an A&W root beer float, vanilla flavoured cupcake topped with buttercream, teh tarik, New Zealand Natural ice cream, pavlova, the list goes on.

Sinful for the body, great for the soul. Have a look at this videoclip.

Photo of toffee apples, aptly named Forbidden Fruits.

Sunday, November 8, 2009


The wedding industry was out in force last evening at Pavilion Kuala Lumpur, in support of Pretty In White's MIFA fashion show.

What I like about the industry, in particular vendors within the 'weddingsmalaysia family' is the camaraderie. There are ripples in the calm waters from time to time but we are a relatively close-knit group and lend support to each other whenever the opportunity arises.

The photo is only of a few of us among the many who showed up dressed to the nines. Much congratulations to Dennis and his team.

Photo of ZZ of Classic & Vintage, Allan and Ann of Just Heavenly, Patrick of Budget Brides, Louisa of That Special Occasion, Fiona of weddingsmalaysia, Kar Yik of That Special Occasion, Kris of weddingsmalaysia and Natasha of The Peak Xperience.

Friday, November 6, 2009

New Market

It is always exciting taking a new path in one's business venture. Ke Wynn of Whizarts Wedding Photography has taken such a step. Although offering wedding photography services nationwide and throughout the region, Whizarts is based in Penang and recently fulfilled an aspiration of setting up a boutique studio.

Housing photography, stationery, gowns, cakes and favours under one roof at Whizarts Wedding Photography Boutique Studio, it aims to offer soon-to-be-wed couples an all encompassing experience in sourcing for vendors. That Special Occasion is privileged to have been invited to be part of this grouping in Penang.

Apart from opening up a new market for our wedding gowns, it also gives us an opportunity to get to know our Penang-based industry colleagues better. Encouraging one another, taking the leap-of-faith together, sharing knowledge and exchanging ideas, I believe these are what great partnerships are made of.

Photo of the entrance of Whizarts Wedding Photography Boutique Studio in Penang, Malaysia.

Thursday, November 5, 2009


'In one of those moods I am'. I don't normally phrase my sentences in such a manner. Must have been influenced by my cousin Wui Ken, who has lately taken to speaking like Yoda.

Anyways, melancholic I am. Ain't sure of the catalyst that brought about this state-of-mind. I have experienced much over the past year or so, in my personal life, family and work. Exhilarating moments, bittersweet encounters, challenges, occurrences that make one view life differently, wonderful travels with good friends, validation, the list goes on.

What a difference a year makes. Same time last year? Perfectly happy. At this moment? Not entirely unhappy but could be better. If I were to look for a silver lining, I suppose things can only get better. Now that's some much needed optimism!

Photo shot at Cafe Bali in Seminyak, Bali, Indonesia.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Greener On The Other Side

I was watching Whitney Houston's recent interview on Oprah. No holds barred, raw and honest, it brings to light that despite the enormous success that she has had, Whitney has to deal with issues just like everyone of us.

We often lament when we see others enjoying more success in their careers and relationships. Little do we realise that they too suffer from the same insecurities that we face, the same pressures at the workplace, the same emotional upheavels.

The thing is, we incessantly seem to think that the 'grass is always greener on the other side'. What we fail to acknowledge is that we too have it pretty good. We just need to focus on the positives. And no, the 'grass is not always greener on the other side'. We should instead be thankful for all the good in our life, work towards a purpose and lead a meaningful existence.

Photo shot at Passion Road in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Monday, November 2, 2009

I Have A Date With Spring

I first went to a production by Dama Orchestra a few years ago and have been going ever since. Along the way, I also ended up doing 2 feature stories about Dama for Heritage Asia magazine. If memory serves me well, a summary of 1 of the features was incorporated into the souvenir programme of a production as well.

This time round, I attended the last performance in the run of 'I Have A Date With Spring'. If helmed by Dama, one is guaranteed of a stellar production. An added incentive was that my friend and wedding industry colleague Janet Lee was in the cast; she played Lulu. As always, I come away from a Dama production with conflicting emotions. A sense of hope and faith on the one hand, melancholic on the other. The storyline and songs tug at the heartstrings, and when a performance arouses such sentiments, it has made its mark.

'I Have A Date With Spring' reminds us of the support we gain from strong friendships and the importance of nurturing and cherishing such relationships. It illustrates the fact that the varying decisions we make in life lead us to differing resultant outcomes. It encourages us to acknowledge and appreciate those who have helped us along our way, be it in our careers or personal lives. It tells us that if we let go of unrequited love, we can open our hearts to another. And being the sucker for good endings that I am, and despite the cynicism and skepticism that we face in these modern times, 'I Have A Date With Spring' celebrates the essence of true love, that if 2 persons truly love one another and are meant to be, fate will destine that challenges can be overcome and 2nd chances embraced. Food for thought ........

Photo courtesy of Dama Orchestra.