Thursday, December 31, 2009

Best Times 2009

2009 is almost up! It's scary how time flies. I'll be having a quiet New Year's Eve, spending time with family at home after having gone for a massage earlier this morning and then a swim under the blazing hot sun at noon ... need to maintain 'em tan lines.

My across-the-miles shrink paid a whirlwind visit to KL the past few days and we had a tete-a-tete yesterday. The outcome? My new motto for the new year ... life is short, go for it! I also thought I'd share my 3 best moments in 2009 ... fave of all, spending time with friends leading up to and during Eileen and Richard's Bali wedding in August; 20-year partial reunion with uni friends in Kota Kinabalu, also in August; putting my new motto into action yesterday.

Happy New Year everyone!

Photo of Leticia, Debra, Tjun Hong, Eileen, Richard and I on the eve of Eileen and Richard's wedding, shot at Ku De Ta in Bali, Indonesia.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Year-End Chaos

Year-end is normally quite a stressful time for me. What I dread the most? The stocktake at That Special Occasion. Fabrics, work-in-progress orders, off-the-rack gowns and the like. The inventory is many pages long. I can't believe this is the 10th year that we are doing this annual ritual. It takes us at least 2 days and it is such a chore, but what needs to be done, needs to be done.

It is also that time of the year where we close our books for the publications under the weddingsmalaysia portfolio. There's a mad rush to balance the books, settle whatever debts we may have and chase for whatever payments owing to us.

It all gets a bit too much sometimes. Imagine doing all the above and also having to meet with prospective clients at the same time. I ain't complaining about the latter though. Such meetings are after all potential revenue streams and they should get their fair share of attention regardless of the chaotic schedule that comes with the territory come year-end. Now, if only I could go on a short holiday to get away from it all.

Photo of The Oasis, Kuta in Bali, Indonesia.

Monday, December 28, 2009

weddingsmalaysia 2010

wm 2010 is now on sale in leading bookstores and newsstands nationwide.

Much thanks goes out to our industry partners for their support and encouragement this past year. Inspite of the challenges faced by the economy and ultimately the wedding industry to a certain extent, they have thrown their firm support behind our publishing endeavours and promotional events. And this unwavering support has been instrumental in the creation of this, our 5th issue of weddingsmalaysia.

I am certain that the publication will be a constant companion to couples planning for their nuptials, and if that were the case, our objective of publishing this wedding planning guide would very much have been met.

Image of the cover of weddingsmalaysia 2010.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Movie At Christmas

I find myself watching this movie every Christmas, well, at least for the past few Christmases since 'Love Actually' was released. IMDb lists the plot as 'following the lives of 8 very different couples in dealing with their love lives in various loosely and interrelated tales all set during a frantic month before Christmas in London, England.'

It is the ultimate feel-good romantic comedy, perfect for this time of year. It tells us that when fate deals a hand on the love-front, one ought to let it take its course. It conveys to those who have suffered a loss to cherish the memories but to move on when a new love appears. It encourages us to be brave and take chances in matters-of-the-heart. It uplifts the broken-hearted with a sense of hope that a new love will come along. It celebrates friendship, loyalty and family ties.

Most of all, it is life-affirming, that love in its many forms, make our lives more meaningful and fulfilled.

Photo depicts the main cast of Love Actually.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas 2009

Christmas 2009 is one that is bitter-sweet. So much has happened since last Christmas, some for the better, some for the worse. Life throws us curve balls from time to time, and all we can really do is to deal with them. They make life interesting, offering us pleasant surprises at times, forcing us to summon up courage at others.

What I have learnt these 12 months is to hold on to wonderful memories of the past firmly and remember them fondly, to appreciate the present and those who lend meaning to my life, to look to the future with much optimism, to stay fit, healthy and to work towards attaining the many more goals that I have yet to achieve.

Last Christmas was one where I was contented and exultant. I may not be as elated this year, but I am hopeful. Hopeful that the new year which will soon be upon us will be one that brings much more positive sentiments, hopeful that my family and friends who have taken ill will be on the road to recovery, hopeful that my career and work will be on the upswing, hopeful that the missing links in my life will fall into place. In the meantime, here's wishing all of you a blessed Christmas and season's greetings for a happy new year.

Photo of Christmas ornaments on my friends, Cordelia and Ken Bin's tree.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

What It Means

I am one of the millions who have bought Susan Boyle's debut album 'I Dreamed A Dream'. Like so many around the world, I am a fan and I am thrilled that such success has come her way.

A fan, Ross Manarchy said, 'I think Susan means there is no time limit on your dreams. As long as you can dream 'em, you can do 'em. So don't give up, keep trying.'

That's certainly a good sentiment to take into the new year.

Photo of Susan Boyle as featured in Harper's Baazar.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Christmas Spirit

I think I am finally in the mood for Christmas. Having completed the last major event of the year yesterday, I am slowly getting into the festive spirit. 'Winter Solstice Festival' dinner with extended family tomorrow night; Cordelia and Ken Bin's annual Christmas party on Wednesday for starters.

Speaking of the latter, I think I have been invited every year since we all met at uni. That's a lot of Christmas parties but I always enjoy going come this time of year. Both Cord and Bin are extremely creative - food-wise, decor-wise, entertainment and amusement-wise - and I very much look forward to their Christmas celebrations. Having been friends for such a long time, I know their family pretty well, so it's always nice to fit in easily at such parties.

One admission though, I haven't been that enthusiastic at Christmas shopping this time round. Due to many personal reasons, I haven't been that 'gung-ho' in shopping for presents this year. I have my sister to thank for dragging me to the shops and getting it done, even more so when both she and my Mum willingly agreed to wrap the presents for me as in previous years. So, the gifts are ready, the party invites received, the only thing left for me to do is to really get myself into the festive spirit!

Photo shot at Sunway Hotel Resort & Spa.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Cyberview Fair

I was at the Cyberview Lodge Resort & Spa wedding fair last Sunday. We do an event there every December and June, the former to start off the weddingsmalaysia wedding fair season for the upcoming year and the latter to secure last-minute bookings for the September to December peak wedding season.

I've worked hand-in-hand with the team from Cyberview for 4 years now and it is a working relationship that has been nurtured well. We trust each other, we share the same vision and most importantly, there is loyalty and a sense of common purpose.

This time round, 22 vendors from the 'weddingsmalaysia family' participated and had the opportunity for some one-on-one time with more than 40 soon-to-be-wed couples in a casual yet intimate setting. I seldom feel stressed at events held at Cyberview Lodge Resort & Spa. I reckon it must be the pleasant surroundings that put me in a relatively relaxed frame of mind.

Photo of That Special Occasion's booth, courtesy of Creative Clicks.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Time For Reflection

It's that time of the year where I find myself looking back at the past 12 months and seeing how it has impacted my life. Yes, I tend to look back, when in fact, I should be looking forward. Nevertheless, looking back helps me evaluate and hopefully puts me in a better position to tackle what lies ahead.

I always tell myself to embrace the future, have a positive mindset, and all that is good will fall into place. Each encounter, each happy moment, each not so happy moment, they all happen for a reason I believe. What doesn't kill you makes you stronger. And each wonderful circumstance that one comes across is a catalyst for greater opportunities.

So, I shall be upbeat in these last 2 weeks of 2009 and bring such optimism into the new year that is 2010. Living life to the fullest and experiencing the multi-faceted emotions that life's encounters elicit shall be my battle-cry. Yesterday evening, I overheard a doctor acquaintance urge his patients to read an article that he recently wrote. Do have a read. I shall be smelling the roses indeed.

Such a happy photo, shot in Bali, Indonesia.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Joe McElderry

I'm quite a fan of British talent shows, in particular Britain's Got Talent and The X Factor. The latest winner of The X Factor, Joe McElderry, phenomenal.

Some of my favourite performances ..........

Photo courtesy of The X Factor.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Yong Tau Foo

I seldom venture into some areas of Kuala Lumpur - Cheras, Pandan Indah, Pudu to name a few - largely because of my bad sense of direction. I had a meeting with Leticia of Events Wizard and Debra of Acadia Card over AWP matters yesterday however, and we wound up having a Yong Tau Foo and Chee Cheong Fun lunch somewhere in Pudu, at a restaurant called Yip Hup Kee.

I always enjoy a new food experience and yesterday was no exception. The stuffed Yong Tau Foo and Chee Cheong Fun with sweet sauce that I had were fab and the ambience of the eatery quirky. I was tempted to order another portion of Chee Cheong Fun in curry gravy which Debra had but decided against it eventhough encouraged by Leticia! You see, I am trying to lose a hint of a tummy.

Some of you will probably be asking for directions after reading this post but alas, I am totally clueless as to how to get there. Your best option would be contacting one of my partners-in-crime who under the guise of having a meeting, which we did have, got us to such a nice lunch.

Photo courtesy of Leticia Hsu.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Friendly Competitors

Industry friends who know me well know that I have good relationships with my fellow competitors, particularly those who compete with That Special Occasion in the wedding attire sector of the market. I have always been a proponent of friendly competition and professional ethics as I believe that the market is sufficiently large for all of us to strive and do well as a whole.

Having also a hand in publishing wedding magazines, my circle of wedding-related contacts is pretty extensive. I am pleased to note that most of those in the 'weddingsmalaysia family' of partners share my sentiments when it comes to working together instead of against each other. Those of us who subscribe to the former tend to do better, and are more happy in outlook.

I see it this way. When in a boxing ring, it is always good to have a strong support team in one's corner. That I have plenty and am very much grateful.

Here I am with designer Carven Ong.

Friday, December 11, 2009


I was at the Prince Hotel & Residence Kuala Lumpur Wedding Fair Media Preview the other night. As always, the team at Prince put on a good show with great food and fab company.

Among the participating vendors was a Frenchman, Daas Salim. Keen to get introduced to the local wedding practitioners, he made his rounds from table to table, making it a point to address us in halting but nevertheless pretty good English. Later that evening, I reciprocated in halting and struggling French. I haven't had much opportunity to practise since returning home from Switzerland in the 1990s but some verbs and grammar remain. I understand when spoken to and I can carry on a conversation if I concentrate hard enough. I was slightly amused by such an achievement that night.

'Knowing a foreign language is an asset' holds true in this case. It could just be the catalyst for me to pick up some of my old French school books and have a refresher. And perhaps when I next meet this new acquaintance and potential industry colleague, I will be able to carry on a conversation somewhat more fluently.

Photo of Alan Yun, Daas Salim and I at Prince Hotel & Residence Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Orang Utan

I was watching the National Geographic Channel. To be perfectly honest, I don't normally watch this particular channel. The only reason for doing so earlier this evening was to catch 'Among The Great Apes With Michelle Yeoh'. There has been quite a lot of press about this documentary of late and I always try to watch when it involves Michelle Yeoh ...... something about the 'Malaysia Boleh' spirit; yes, yes, I've been presenting the news for too long on RTM Radio! Ha!Ha!

I've been to Kota Kinabalu quite a few times but always end up in the city, the beach at Tuaran, Kiulu, the outlying islands and Kinabalu National Park. Have never been to Sepilok despite there being the world-famous Sepilok Orang Utan Sanctuary. My good friends will tell you that I am not an animal-enthusiast but I did learn a thing or two from the documentary.

Firstly, one must have a true calling and passion to be a vet, ranger, research assistant and the like for a cause such as the orang utan sanctuary at Sepilok. Secondly, we often overlook how beautiful our country is in terms of landscapes, as evident in the breathtaking locations that were featured. Thirdly, we seldom get to hear about the good work carried out by those trying to make a difference. I definitely have a better appreciation now.

Photo taken from Sabah Tourism.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Attention To Detail

In my line of work, be it publishing magazines or designing gowns, attention to detail is of much importance. We are dealing with one of the most important milestones of a person's life, and everything should be as perfect as can realistically be.

As someone who is naturally observant and a stickler for detail, I sometimes, correction, I almost certainly get extremely irritated when the people who work alongside me make careless mistakes. Don't get me wrong, as by and large, my team is great. However, sometimes, the silliest errors become catalysts for bigger, unwarranted problems. I have not been at my patient best the past week, and my staff have borne the brunt of my scathing dressing-down. I have been on the verge of throwing a massive fit; thank goodness for the weekend.

Tomorrow is the start of a new working week. I have told myself to be more laid-back and a wee-bit more patient. Let's see how long I can keep that up. First item on the agenda, getting my point across that doing a job well on the first attempt negates the necessity of re-doing it. Common sense, no?

Gown by That Special Occasion, photo courtesy of Andy Chin Studio.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Farewell Carcosa Picnic

Colleagues and friends from the wedding industry got together recently for a picnic at the Carcosa lawns to bid Carcosa Seri Negara as we know it, farewell. About 50 turned up bright and early last Friday, despite it being a public holiday.

So many of us have worked events at both the Carcosa and Seri Negara mansions over the years. Some of us lucky ones have had the pleasure of being guests as well, whilst others have not. I thought it was therefore fitting to have a little gathering to enjoy its surrounds one more time before renovation works.

Apart from sharing wonderful memories of events past, it was also an opportunity for us to catch up in a more relaxed manner. And the variety of food for the breakfast picnic? Well, need I say more?

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Pop Culture

OK, I have to admit I had no intention of watching Twilight until the huge buzz that came about prior to the release of New Moon. When a movie creates such a frenzy worldwide, it's time to take notice. I equate it to pop culture. Just like Star Wars, The Lord Of The Rings and Harry Potter, The Twilight Saga is a must see for me, not because I am a fan, but rather a need to have 'been there, done that'. Believe it or not, all these movies will at some point become representations of a time - our time, the time that we lived in.

So, I got the DVD of Twilight off my sister and sat through the movie. I'm no movie critic, I don't overthink the plot, I don't scrutinise the acting, basically, I just want to enjoy the movie, it's as simple as that. I seldom have anything bad to say about the movies I watch. For all intent and purposes, movies are entertainment, and I treat them as such. I therefore enjoyed Twilight, as many people have. In the same way that I went through its predecessors - Han Solo, Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia; Frodo and The Fellowship Of The Ring; Harry, Hermione and Ron - it was a natural progression to move onto New Moon, which I did last night. I went with an open mind, and left with an entertained mind.

I would say this though, The Twilight Saga is for romantics. Behind the trials and tribulations, the sappiness, the longing, the angst, lies a notion of love that all romantics hope to experience in their lifetime. I have not read the books, but I will see the future instalments, and I sure hope that there will be a good ending. For me, that's what makes great entertainment. A perfect ending that leaves one in a contented state-of-mind.

Image of New Moon.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Affirmative Traits

A friend recently remarked, 'you seem pretty sentimental nowadays'. Truth is, I have been sentimental most of my adult life. Over the past year, situations have been such that I've also been labeled the following - 'sensitive', 'petty', 'a stickler', and, I know it is a contradiction, 'easy-going'.

There is some truth in all of the above. But I always view such labels in a positive manner. Sentimental - yes, I reminisce often about good times past, I value relationships that have been forged. Sensitive - yes, I am sensitive to other people's needs, I am naturally observant and I pick up on others' likes, dislikes and idiosyncrasies. Petty - yes, I do not tolerate back-stabbers, and if I am the victim, I will hold a grudge, a lengthy grudge, but those loyal to me know full well that I am fiercely loyal in return. A stickler - yes, I am organised and I pay attention to detail. Easy-going? Surprisingly, I can be when I want to, particularly among those whom I am comfortable with.

I see all these as affirmative traits. Those who label me otherwise must certainly be those who have rubbed me the wrong way. An industry colleague and good friend told me not too long ago that she can easily tell from my demeanour if a person is in my good books. Again, that's probably true. I am not perfect, nevertheless, I do not suffer fools gladly when it comes to friendships, relationships and business dealings. Life is too short for that.

Photo of my cousins whom I share many fond childhood memories with.