Saturday, January 30, 2010

Kindness And Compassion

I have returned to work. The demanding and impatient self is back. Those who work with me seem to think so too. I suppose that is a good sign.

I've been receiving many thoughtful messages via sms, Facebook and email. It is much appreciated and I try to respond personally to each and every one. The ones that stand out in particular, are those from my dad's friends and ex-colleagues, from near and far. A fellow patient even. They speak of how he had touched their lives, in different ways, but in his own inimitable style. The recurring sentiments? Humility, kindness and compassion. I hope to learn a thing or two.

As my mum, sister and I reflect on the past few months leading up to my dad's passing, we have come to realise that there were many coincidences that only now make sense. Like my father, I truly believe in fate and the hand that it deals. Que sera, sera. What we have are wonderful memories to remember him by.

Photo of my dad, mum and I having tea at Hotel Le Royal, during our last holiday together with my father in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Life Goes On

It's almost a week since my father's passing. The past few days have flown by as we went about fulfilling my dad's final wishes. We now have to sort out his personal affairs and continue to inform his friends who we missed out on earlier. You see, there was no obituary in the papers. My dad was a simple person and requested that there be no fanfare.

One thing is for sure, life goes on. Yes, there are instances where certain memories are triggered and we can have a laugh, perhaps shed a tear. It's all part of celebrating the life that my dad led.

The photo was taken during the last holiday that I went on with my dad. It was a trip to celebrate his 68th birthday last June. Always a wonderful memory it will be.

Photo shot at Villa Langka in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Eulogy To Dad

A tribute to my dad at his funeral ...

On behalf of my mum, Suk Harn and I, many thanks for being here to pay your respects and say farewell to my dad. In life, my father was a simple man. I believe though sad at leaving us, he would want to say to all of us, be sad for a little while, think of me every now and then, continue living the good life and most importantly maintain and cherish family ties.

Human nature would sometimes have us search for answers. Could the treatments have been better, could he have fought harder, could we have encouraged him more? But at the end of the day, my father was a believer in karma. He had spoken on a number of occasions with my Uncle Chee Peng and I about the likelihood of his impending passing. He was accepting of what fate had in store.

So once again, thanks for the love, support, encouragement and thoughtfulness all this while and coming to send dad on his final journey - a loving and devoted husband, a father who loved unconditionally, someone who would say, it is your life to live, so live it as you deem fit, a loyal friend and a compassionate man.

We will miss you dad.

Here's an account of our sad yet joyful farewell to my dad from the perspective of my cousin Lynette.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Second Wind

2010 marks the 10th year since my biz partner Anna and I started That Special Occasion. Time really flies and we've come a long way. Starting out as acquaintances and business partners, my relationship with Anna has evolved into a trusting, caring friendship. She will tell you that it has not been easy as I can be pretty difficult to get along with, day in, day out. That I admit. Still, our partnership in business and our personal friendship remain strong, eventhough she's been thousands of miles away in Hong Kong ever since her hubby Arjuna was posted there in early 2008.

Running a business, well, 2 actually including weddingsmalaysia when one's biz partner is away can be challenging. And I have at times been at boiling point. But as they say, what doesn't kill you only makes you stronger. I recently made it a point to watch Valentino : The Last Emperor. It is the sort of movie one needs to watch when one is in need of some inspiration - that when passion meets creativity, a fulfilling career is possible.

Who knows what the future holds as our businesses continue to progress. Almost nothing is for certain as fate has its own way of working itself out. But one thing is for sure, I feel that I have got my second wind, and it's going to be one hell of a ride ahead.

Image of Valentio : The Last Emperor.

Monday, January 18, 2010

The September Issue

I've been fascinated by The September Issue ever since I laid eyes on the trailer for this documentary on YouTube. From then to now, I've probably watched the feature length documentary at least 3 times. As an editor, I appreciate the singular vision that is needed to create a product with an astute point of view, and though it may be necessary to obtain input and feedback from others, it is the editor who has the final cut, much like that of the director of the documentary.

The tug-of-war between commercialism and creativity is one we face when publishing a magazine, and it is intriguing to see it play out between the protagonists in the film, Vogue's Editor-In-Chief, Anna Wintour and its Creative Director, Grace Coddington.

Perhaps the main reason why I find the movie so interesting is that I can relate to it. Though we work on a much smaller scale as compared to the publishing empire that is Conde Nast, the amount of work put in, the deadlines that we have to meet, the commitment necessary are much the same. Which is why The September Issue is an inspiring watch.

Photo of The September Issue.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

News On Radio

I've been presenting the news on RTM's TraxxFM since 2004. Over the years, I've done a number of weekly slots but at present am down to twice a week in the mornings from 6am to 9am. That means waking up at 4.30am on the days when I am rostered.

A lot of my friends ask why I bother. Well, the main reason is that it is an interest and I still enjoy it. I have also forged friendships with some fellow presenters and editors, past and present.

Friends and family know that I have varied interests, and this is just one of them. I ponder every year-end if I should continue, and I invariably end up renewing my contract. I suppose that goes to show that there is still motivation to get up in the wee hours of the morning in order to make my trek to Wisma Radio, Angkasapuri.

Photo of some of the presenters and editors at G.Krishnan's farewell party.

Friday, January 15, 2010


I like making decisions and taking a stand. I hate being in limbo. Yes, decisive I am. It works to my advantage at times, at other times not.

I appreciate that some circumstances warrant keeping one's options open. Admittedly I am not great at that. But I do so when situations require me to act in such a manner. Having said that, the window is normally a relatively short one. My instinctual trait is to make my mind up and move on, not linger. Sure, I have had missed opportunities because of this characteristic of mine but by and large, being earnest has had its upsides more than the down.

I am at a crossroads at present. Some have advised me to keep my options open for now. It's a trying time, but it's definitely good to be receptive to good counsel.

Photo of some of my friends and I serenading Jessie and Yoong at their wedding, courtesy of Zach Chin Photography.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Go For It vs Make It Sweet

We're almost half a month into 2010! You know what I said about my motto for the year ... Life is short, go for it? Well, I was speaking to a friend today about how fragile life can be, and he reminded me that he replied to my new year sms indicating that my motto should instead be ... Life is short, make it sweet. How very apt.

To make life sweet, one has to be happy. And to be happy, I suppose one has to take chances. So I guess both maxims work. A lesson I learnt this past week is that when one takes chances, one also has to be ready to fall flat on one's face. The upside of course is that all turns out well.

No venture, no gain is what I tell those who are risk-averse. Personally, I feel a risk is worth taking if it means the possibility of a more fulfilled life. Now, isn't that what we all want?

Photo of a 2010 calendar as a wedding favour.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Take No Shit

Take no shit. That's what I think. In my line of work, as in any service industry, we sometimes come across people who are totally unreasonable, and even worse, rude. This is where I draw the line. To be perfectly honest, I don't subscribe to 'the client is always right'. Sometimes they are, but not always.

On the whole, we get along great with clients, but every once in a while, a nasty one comes along. Can't avoid, part and parcel of life. We just have to come to terms with it. I don't however, bend backwards to accommodate such persons. I love my job and it should be fun and rewarding, so why bother putting oneself in a situation with another who is offensive and off-putting? The money earned is not worth the stress, and can never compensate for one's dignity.

So dare I say it again, take no shit.

Photo of a place setting for me.

Monday, January 11, 2010


I admit that I am not the most patient person in the world. In fact, I rarely am patient, be it in work or in my personal life. Those who know me well will attest to that.

In my own defence, I guess I would have to say that being impatient can be an asset. I set my goals and I work towards them relentlessly. I am decisive and I seldom second-guess decisions made. But alas, I also drive people up the wall sometimes with this trait of mine. It is a double-edged sword.

One thing I've realised this past week, some things can't be rushed, and all I can do is to be patient and let things unfold as they are meant to be. It is one thing to acknowledge it but another to actually be able to do it. And I feel restless because of it ......... damn! Time for a macaroon.

Photo of macaroons by Big Boys Oven, shot at the Princely Wedding Fair at Prince Hotel & Residence Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Cesar Ritz Alumni Gathering

I admire those who run alumni chapters. There is a lot of work involved, and it is all done voluntarily. I therefore make it a point to show my support whenever the opportunity arises.

Last evening, amid the rain and the chaotic traffic on Jalan Tun Razak and Jalan Ampang, I made my way to Penang Village in Great Eastern Mall for the Cesar Ritz Colleges Switzerland Malaysian Alumni Chapter gathering. Viwan Opanukij, Area Manager is in town and what a better place to host a dinner than at a fellow alumni, Connie Su's restaurant.

With all Swiss hospitality graduates as guests, I am sure there must be a bit of pressure on Connie's team, but they always rise to the occasion. The food is consistently superb, portions generous and we are made most welcome. More importantly, we get to reconnect with friends, meet new acquaintances and reminisce about our time in Switzerland. Ain't sure if this is grammatically correct due to my rusty French, but ... c'etait une bonne soiree.

Photo of alumni at Penang Village, Great Eastern Mall in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Taking Chances

I am a practical person by nature. I very much rely on common sense. It's a good thing and it has served me well. But there are times, when common sense goes out the window and one has to go with gut-feel. Although at polar opposites, I trust my instincts too. The trick is to find a fine balance between the two.

The same applies to taking chances. I take calculated risks after much thought and consideration. However, to truly live life, I believe sometimes, one has to take chances, one has to do what one has to do, even if it goes against the grain. No venture, no gain I suppose. It is easier said than done though, and I am always mindful that fate has its own way of influencing the outcome of one's life. So, I keep a lookout for signs, little things that give me a nudge and make me take notice of what's possible.

We are a few days into the new year and I have decided to dedicate this year to taking chances. We'll see what life has in store for me.

Photo of fried tarantula which I did try when in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Farewell For Now

The 2 years I spent in Switzerland in the early 1990s were some of the best times of my life. Having returned home, I maintained a close-knit group of friends who shared a common link to L'Institut Hotelier 'Cesar Ritz' where we studied - Danny, Phoebe, Patricia and Faizol.

Patricia has since moved to Brisbane with hubby Robert, and the latest ones to move will be Danny and Phoebe in a few days. Having done stints in Kuala Lumpur and Kota Kinabalu at Shangri-La properties, Danny will be assuming the role of Director Of Sales & Marketing at Shangri-La Hotel, Dalian in China.

To wish them well and send them on their way, I hosted a farewell dinner over the weekend. Faizol and wife Sonya joined us, with Patricia 'phoning in' all the way from Brisbane. A silver lining - I've got a new place to visit soon. Meanwhile, there'll be an alumni gathering of Cesar Ritz graduates this Friday, so time to catch up with the others as well.

Photo of Danny, me, Faizol, Chloe, Sonya, Phoebe and Wesley.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

First Day Back At Work

Yesterday was my first day back at work at That Special Occasion. A good start to 2010 as it was relatively busy, especially in the afternoon.

Also had the pleasant surprise of being paid visits by 3 of our industry colleagues. Anizah of TrulyScrumptious! and Natasha of The Peak Xperience brought clients over and Lyn of My Bridal Florist came by with a thoughtful New Year's floral gift basket. I hope such mutual collaborations will continue throughout the year.

Today sees me getting back to my other 2 jobs, weddingsmalaysia as well as doing the news at RTM. It always takes a bit of effort to get back into the groove of things after a short break, but I am looking forward to what's in store. Smooth sailing days ahead!

Photo of gown by That Special Occasion, courtesy of Kid Chan Studio.

Friday, January 1, 2010


Happy New Year! It's a brand new beginning, the dawn of a new day, a new year and a new perspective in life. I intend to live by my newly-coined motto - Life is short, go for it!

I shall be continually inspired at work, set aside time for travel, be in the company of friends and loved ones, take on creative ventures, the affirmative list goes on.

Most importantly, enjoy the little pleasures in life.

Photo of a nice cup of hot chocolate at Cafe Bali in Seminyak, Bali, Indonesia.