Thursday, February 24, 2011


Wherever I travel, I try to make it a point to visit at least one temple and pray. If there isn't one at that particular destination, then another house of worship.

I am known to be relatively 'long-winded' when praying at temples, family and friends who have traveled with me can attest to that. I use the word 'relatively' because I don't particularly think I take too long. I just take more time than most of my travel companions, that's all.

I leave a temple with renewed faith after a visit, always.

At the Big Buddha in Koh Samui, Thailand.

Sunday, February 20, 2011


Sometimes it is good to have some solitude. Some time alone to ponder over things, to clear one's mind of clutter, to think of new ideas, to strategise, to enjoy one's own company.

I am rather busy most days meeting with brides-to-be, dealing with industry colleagues on their ad materials and the like. So when the opportunity arises for me to have some time out alone, I jump at it. Doing laps in a pool all to myself during lunch, a reflexology session at the hands of a brutal Chinese therapist, a hot chocolate in a cafe, even a one night stay in a hotel should I be so lucky to have a complimentary-stay voucher every once in a while.

I've noticed that solitude in a nice, relaxing environment helps me in my writing. I also tend to be more productive when editing text, I am more gung-ho in initiating meetings with potential advertisers via email, more gets done. A little time to oneself does wonders.

Photo of the interior of Notre Dame Cathedral in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.

Saturday, February 19, 2011


Other than the food, the setting of a restaurant plays a part in the entire gastro-nomic experience. Those who read this blog often enough would know that I love the sea. I am most happy when I am on holiday by the sea and definitely enjoy having a meal either on the beach itself, at a restaurant fronting the beach or perhaps like the one in the photo with beautiful seaviews as a backdrop.

I am not too fussy with food when on holiday. I don't complain unless it is very bad. For the most part, I make it a point to be a bit more laid-back and take things in stride. And when the setting is as beautiful as this, coupled with great food at reasonable prices, well, that's a bonus.

I am going on holiday again in 2 weeks, a combined company trip for weddingsmalaysia and That Special Occasion. A trip for eating and shopping, no sightseeing. I look forward to more food!

Photo shot at Tarua Restaurant in Lamai, Koh Samui, Thailand.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Chinese New Year Feasting

OK I've done a count. From the eve of Chinese New Year till today, the 13th day of the year of the Golden Rabbit, I've feasted at 17 Chinese New Year-related meals! And that is not including the 4-day holiday I took in Samui! There are still 2 more days of festivities to go and I've got 2 more dinners set. I should therefore hit 19 by Chap Goh Mei. That is quite a lot of food.

Just today alone, being a public holiday, I enjoyed 3 major meals. It started with an early lunch with my friends Yoke Choo, Tony and Soon Kok, the former two ex-Genting, the latter still Genting. Dim sum and Waxed Meat Rice started the ball rolling. From lunch I headed straight to an afternoon tea hosted by our family friends, the Khaws. Roti Jala with Chicken Curry, Seri Muka, Layered Cake and Fruit Jelly; I didn't even dare try to take on the Mee Siam. An afternoon nap later, it was off to Chinese Treasures at Sime Darby Convention Centre for an 8-course banquet dinner hosted by an uncle from my Mum's side of the family. It was a wise move on my part therefore to have gotten in a swim this morning right after I completed the morning news at RTM. The exercise in a way relieves me a little from the guilt of such indulgence. I think more swimming and gymming will be required over the next few weeks to shed the excesses.

The thing is, what is a celebration without food? Chinese New Year is a time when we renew ties with family and friends, mostly over a meal, or more accurately, numerous meals. Communal feasting enhances kinship, promotes camaraderie, creates memories. And when the company is good, the experience goes up a notch too. It is a blessing and we should be thankful. I guess what I am trying to say is I look forward to more feasting over the remaining days of the Chinese New Year celebrations. I hope you do too!

Photo of Waxed Meat Rice.

Monday, February 14, 2011


Due to the influence of my cousin San, we are all, well some of us anyways, trying to be a bit more environmentally conscious. This past Christmas, I received a nice gift of decadent, calorie-inducing goodies, beautifully presented in a chest-like box and I suggested to my mum to make use of the chest this Chinese New Year as well.

With the Poinsettia, a symbol of Christmas still in place, my mum added to the chest mandarin oranges, eight gold nuggets and an angpow. I thought it looked pretty good, a well-executed recycling job.

As the world faces climate change and endures the resultant natural disasters, perhaps we should all play a small role in negating its effects. We have to start somewhere, and any little effort, when added up together, may just help us along the way.

Prosperity box during Chinese New Year.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Hearing It From Someone Else

You already know it, but sometimes when you hear it from someone else, it validates what you have always known.

A friend initiated a chat on Facebook recently, a friend from school who I reconnected with a year or two ago. In the course of our conversation, we talked about how life surprises us sometimes when we least expect it. How when we decide to turn left, fate decides that we should go right instead. How when no matter how hard we try, the aspired outcome does not eventuate, just because 'the right time has not arrived yet'.

We try to control so many aspects of our lives, but so often, many are beyond our control. Sometimes, it is best to leave it to the stars. I am not advocating being complacent. Strive to achieve those aspirations and hopes yes, put myself in a positive frame of mind in order to see the signs yes, have faith yes, but more importantly, trust in fate too. You see, I already knew all this, but hearing it from another definitely makes it even more convincing. And one has to be convinced in order to believe. Thanks 'lurker'!

Photo of the pool at The Kala in Koh Samui, Thailand.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Koh Samui

I was in Samui for a four-day holiday during the Chinese New Year break. My mum and I had coerced my sister into giving us a treat, seeing that she got promoted last year. Any holiday is a good holiday but this was made even better as it was courtesy of my sister. I hope she gets a raise again soon!

I love the sea and consequently love island holidays. Beautiful seascapes, the sounds of the waves, the gentle sea breeze, the sun, all combine to entice me to sunbathe just that little while longer. Add to that good food and a laid-back vibe, what's there not to love about Samui? I could have easily stayed on for a few more days if work schedules had permitted. I suppose there is an excuse to return in the future then.

Combining a relaxing holiday at a relatively easygoing locale and Chinese New Year is a perfect way to start the year of the Rabbit. I come back refreshed and reinvigorated. I appreciate the opportunity to travel. I relish the experiences that such sojourns bestow. More importantly, I come back wanting to work harder, so that I may indulge in more travel soon.

Photo shot at The Kala in Koh Samui, Thailand.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Chinese New Year : Year Of The Rabbit

This Chinese New Year is one of optimism and hope for me. The year of the Rabbit brings good in all aspects of life and it certainly augurs well for what lies ahead.

With good stars, I have been paying close attention to the traditions, rituals and cultural practices that will enhance positive outcomes. To believe is important. Happiness, health, love, success, wealth, fulfilment - all that we desire.

I arm myself with faith and self-belief this new year. To put my best foot forward in all that I do. To reap the wonderful outcomes that come my way.

Photo shot at Thean Hou Temple, Petaling Jaya, Malaysia.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Chinese New Year 2011 : Reunion Dinner

We always have a reunion dinner at the family home of my Father's side of the family come Chinese New Year. My late grandparents were avid chefs and would cook up a storm during such gatherings. They would insist of having ten dishes, all lovingly prepared for us to feast on.

We have in a way kept the tradition alive. Perhaps not ten dishes but as you can see here, eight ain't too shabby. Having a hearty home-cooked meal with family, particularly during this time of year, is something I look forward to. Some of the recipes have been handed down from my grandparents and they are special in their own way.

Family ties have always been paramount amongst most of my extended family and is very much evident during Chinese New Year. We come together to mark the conclusion of a year and the start of a better one, to celebrate the ties that bind us together as a family.

Photo of the spread during the reunion dinner.

Chinese New Year 2011 : Reunion Lunch

This year, the reunion lunch with Mum's side of the family was extra special as my cousins Siew Yoong and San as well as their two boys were in town from Singapore. Together with my aunts, uncles and the rest of my cousins, we had a long, leisurely lunch with much food and banter.

Our generation of cousins decided to sit together this year, partly by choice, partly due to necessity. San is an environmental activist of sorts and has always encouraged us to abstain from consuming Shark's Fin Soup. In respect of his stand, we cousins opted to be on the same table and had a Double Boiled Chicken Soup instead. Personally, I much prefer the latter.

My mother's side of the family is a boisterous lot and there is always a great atmosphere when we get together. The reunion lunch was no different and Chinese New Year is always a good time to renew ties and strengthen bonds.

Photo of cousins at Restaurant Extra Super Tanker Bandar Utama, Petaling Jaya, Malaysia.