Sunday, October 30, 2011

The Hiplist 2011

This is my message in The Hiplist 2011.

We are happy that you have purchased a copy of The Hiplist : Wedding Photographers. We believe that you will find inspiration from the many photos in this, our 5th issue, and hopefully the photographer who will document this milestone in your lives.

Complementing the photographers are gown designers, makeup artists and floral designers, components that are a must in any wedding. Pair them with accessories, eco-venues that are ideal for pre-wedding shoots and intimate wedding ceremonies as well as photobooks that will be keepsakes, and you will be well on your way to attaining that dream wedding of yours.

Explore, enjoy and be inspired .............

Cover of The Hiplist 2011.

Thursday, October 27, 2011


I always need something to look forward to. Be it a celebration, a holiday, a sporting event or just a casual dinner with friends. I like the anticipation. Come May 2012, I hope to be participating in the Singapore triathlon. My wedding industry and RTM colleagues, friends, cousins and I have managed to put together four relay teams for the event and we plan to register soon. Hopefully we're not too late and there are still spots left for us.

I do the swim leg and the Bali triathlon last June was my first foray into swimming in the sea. I enjoyed the camaradie with my teammates and fellow competitors, that is after I got over the initial apprehension about swimming in Jimbaran Bay! Since then, I've continued swimming regularly just to keep in shape. Now that we have plans for the next race, I've stepped up a gear in terms of training. I need to get my team off to a good start. In Bali, I raced with Richard and Lee Kuen. This time round, my partners will be Bunny and Lee Kuen. Our other three teams would comprise Chin Lai, Kok Ang and Ai Ling, Siew Yoong, Nigel and Katherine, as well as San, either Richard or Nabil and Soorya. We just need to sort out the biker for the last team and we'll be ready to register.

An event such as this provides me with a goal to work towards. It keeps me disciplined in terms of exercise. It keeps me motivated and energised. When I am doing laps in the pool and boredom starts to creep in, I think of the transition to my teammate for the bike leg and how well I need to start off the race. My friend Ray who does the half-ironman tells me that the sea in Changi is choppy. That's certainly another challenge to conquer.

Photo of Richard, Eileen, Lee Kuen and I after racing the Bali Triathlon.

Monday, October 24, 2011


Nothing good comes easy. To see the view, a better view that is, one must climb when in Nepal. And despite the fact that I am not much of a trekker, ascend I did, 4 hours on the first day, 6 hours on the second, before 5 hours of descent on the third. My cousin Lynette is much more well trained and she had little trouble with most of the trek. I struggled at times, well most of the time, but still managed to complete the 44km, 3-day trek.

Although we only reached an altitude of 2800m, the views were already stunning. Every time I stopped to admire the landscape, I was awed, and slightly inspired to continue on. Thin air, legs giving way, a heavy backpack as we had no porter, only a guide, it was physically, probably the hardest thing I've ever done. I am happy to have met the challenge.

Will I do it again? Or perhaps take on a longer, more arduos trek, with the promise of even more breathtaking scenery? Ask me again in a year. Never say never is what I've learnt. A friend of mine can certainly attest to that.

Photo of Lynette and I on the second day of our trek, from Choukibhanjyang to Chisapani in Nepal.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011


The main section of Lake Phewa in Pokhara is often abuzz with activity. Tourists on row boats. Street kids performing hoping to earn some money. Locals having a BBQ on its shores. All this activity against the backdrop of hills and mountains, with the sun reflecting off the water.

I much prefer the serenity at this far end. This section of the lake is just across the road from the hotel where we stayed. In fact, this is the part that we first set eyes on when we arrived in Pokhara. Calm, peaceful and serene, I took a moment to take in the panoramic view.

This is why I travel. For moments like this. A bit of solitude in such beautiful surroundings, admiring the work of Mother Nature. A prayer of thanks was certainly very apt.

Photo shot at Lake Phewa in Pokhara, Nepal.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Village Life

When in Nepal, I had a chance to visit two villages and stay in another two. The first two were in the Kathmandu Valley - Bungamati and Khokona. We toured both these Newari villages one afternoon with our guide Prem and had a chance to witness the rural Nepali way of life. The latter - Choukibhanjyang and Chisapani - were two stops during our three-day trek. We stayed a night each at these mountain villages, a truly authentic and eye-opening experience indeed.

Rural life in Nepal has made me more appreciative of the lifestyle I lead. Whilst I always try to be grateful of the comforts I enjoy, first hand experience of a more rural nature makes one even more acutely aware of how lucky some of us are. The mod-cons we so often take for granted are luxuries that are beyond the means of many a Nepali.

We complain of traffic during the balik kampung rush. Some of the Nepalis have to walk for days to get home for festive celebrations. Just one of the many comparisons that came to mind during my recent holiday.

Photo of women having a chat in Khokona, Nepal.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Breakfast With A View

Breakfast always tastes better when there is fresh air and a beautiful view. Cool, crisp morning air, lush greenery, a hint of mist over Lake Phewa, the mountain range partly hidden by clouds, the sun peeking through.

Here we are enjoying breakfast in Pokhara, Lynette and I with our guide Ram and driver Raju. We had risen early, 4am to be exact, and had experienced sunrise over the Annapurna range and valley below, from our viewing point at Sarangkort, not far from Pokhara. A leisurely breakfast to satisfy our hunger pangs and an opportunity to reflect on the spectacular views Mother Nature had to offer earlier in the morning.

What a wonderful way to start a day.

Photo shot at Fewa Paradise Restaurant & Bar in Pokhara, Nepal.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Prayer In Nepal

I always make it a point to pray when on holiday. For the opportunity to visit. For my family and friends. For business. For my personal life. For health, good fortune, love and happiness. To express gratitude for the good things in my life.

This I did at Swayambhunath and Boudhanath, two Buddhist stupas that are part of seven monuments in the Kathmandu Valley that together form one of two World Cultural Heritage Sites in Nepal. One feels spiritually uplifted at these places of worship, sharing a common bond with the throngs of pilgrims who have come from near and far. We may speak in different tongues, but prayer is a universal language.

My visits to Swayambhunath and Boudhanath have given me greater faith, stronger belief, that all will be well.

Photo of Boudhanath in Kathmandu, Nepal.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011


Today is my cousin Lynette's birthday. It is a milestone in her life and to celebrate, she invited me along on a trip to Nepal from 24 September to 3 October, that's 10 days in a country that was not high on my travel list.

The planning started last year. Actually, all the planning was done by Lynette. I told her I'd just tag along. I came away from the trip with a sense of wonder - wonder because of the breathtaking landscapes and beautiful architecture, wonder because of the artistic creations that satisfied my retail cravings, wonder because of the inner resolve I displayed to complete a 3-day, 44km trek up to an altitude of 2800m.

Nepal brought out the best in me - having a go at completing the trek, physically the most difficult thing I've ever done. It also brought out the worst in me - swearing almost all the way, particularly during steep ascents. Most importantly, it made me appreciate what I have in my life, what we have in our country. The Nepalese are a resilient people, yet they have so far to go in terms of opportunities in life, infrastructure, social development, you get what I mean. I have so much to be thankful for. So, I hope to complain less, appreciate more. I come back stronger in spirit, more resilient in faith.

Photo of the Annapurna range and valley, shot from Sarangkort in Pokhara, Nepal.