Monday, December 31, 2012

New Year's Eve - 31.12.2012

Well 2012 is almost coming to an end, in mere hours actually. I am certain that all of you would agree that we've ex-perienced much in the past twelve months.

We've worked hard and enjoyed the fruits of our labour. We've encountered challenges, faced them head on and conquered them. We've loved and lost, laughed and cried. We've traveled much, to regional hotspots and to far reaching destinations. We've helped others and have been assisted in return. We've fulfilled some aspirations and left some for the year ahead. We've enjoyed our food, running the gamut from mamak stalls to fine dining establishments. We've thrown caution to the wind at times and had wicked fun. We've prayed, some prayers were answered, others are to come. We've exercised and tried to live a healthy lifestyle, while at the same time indulging ourselves in every way possible. We've bonded with family and friends, nurtured new relationships and discarded the unworthy ones. We've acquired new gadgets and learnt new skills. We've raced the races of our lives and were exhilarated at the finish. We've contemplated and realised how fortunate we are in our own ways.

May 2013 be a year of even greater and better experiences. Happy New Year to all!


Suk Harn, Mum and I, on our spur of the moment trip to Melaka yesterday.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Pearl Wedding Anniversary

Boxing Day marked Chow Fah Q and Auntie Nancy's pearl wedding anniversary. Thirty years of marriage is indeed a milestone that is very much worth celebrating. In a time when relationships come and go for so many, such a lasting marriage gives many hope, and serves as an example of how commitment and the willingness to journey through life's ups and downs together as a couple can lead to lasting happiness and fulfillment.

Oriental Pavilion at Jaya 33 was the perfect setting for an intimate dinner celebration with family and close friends. Casual and lighthearted (although we did dress up), the evening reflected the close bond that we have as an extended family. No formal speeches, just anecdotes; playful table photographs rather than formal group shots; great food and fabulous company; ingredients for a memorable occasion.

Here's to the next thirty years!


Party favours from Wicked Wax.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Christmas Day Lunch

As I come from a pretty large extended family, Christmas is almost always about spending time together over a great meal. As we had hosted a Christmas Eve dinner for my Dad's side of the family, I thought it would be a good idea to organise a Christmas Day lunch with my cousins, aunts and uncles from my Mum's side of the family. I actually only decided to take this on last Sunday which meant I had to work pretty fast considering the fact that many places would already have been booked up. I had been visiting the newly relaunched Majestic Hotel Kuala Lumpur on a number of occasions recently and thought it would be a good venue as it would be an opportunity for my aunts and uncles to re-visit the hotel which they last visited decades ago.

I asked for quick RSVPs. A few phone calls and emails later, we had our table booked. Having only been running since the beginning of this month, the hotel still has some teething issues but as I have already patronised their restaurants a couple of times, some concerns I had were ironed out prior to our arrival. Making an effort to sort things out earlier was indeed a blessing as Contango was packed to the brim for Christmas lunch. My family enjoyed the food, the setting and we had many laughs.

The festivities are set to continue tomorrow ... but I shall leave that to another post. Wishing all a Merry Christmas!


Having some fun.

Christmas Eve Dinner

This is the second year in a row that my Mum has hosted a Christmas Eve dinner for the extended family. To be precise, part of the extended family this year, as compared to the entire troupe a year ago.

Although it can be a bit stressful in the lead up to such an event as Mum is quite the perfectionist when it comes to her home-cooked meals, the results are always satisfying and the party a success. We decided to have a smaller do this year so that we could have a sit down dinner, a more intimate gathering so to speak. Even then, twelve around our dining table meant we had to be on stools. I don't think anyone minded as the focus was definitely on the food!

It was another Christmas Eve of good cheer, with food and family ties bringing us together in celebration.


Roast Chicken with Stuffing, Seafood Pasta, Bacon and Potato Salad as well as Crabmeat and Garden Salad.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Annual Christmas Party

My decades-long friends, Cordelia and Ken Bin host an annual Christmas party and I am fortunate enough to have attended almost every single one of them. I think I've only missed one or two all these years.

Cord and Bin are great party hosts and we always have a terrific time. For many years, the celebrations were held at their home. Recent years however have seen their cafe - The Olive Tree Cafe at Damansara Intan - be the venue. Personally, I prefer the former. Somehow a house party feels more intimate, cosy and warm. Next year perhaps?

In any case, there is always great food, lovely decor and thoughtful gifts. The Christmas spirit is definitely evident!


Bin, Cord, YM and I.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Festive Mood

I am well and truly in a festive mood. My festive season kicked off with a big dinner with good friends last night. With the recently relaunced The Majestic Hotel Kuala Lumpur all the rage, my friends arranged for a Christmas party over buffet dinner at Contango. It was a fab party as always and a great way to start the year end celebrations.

For me, the festive season revolves around family and friends. Every year, I pause to give thanks for the relationships that make my life meaningful. Enjoying each other's company over meals is a common occurence this time of year, and fortunately for me, I am never short of invitations. This I truly appreciate and am grateful for.

This being the season of giving also encourages us to give graciously. There is no better experience than having a recipient of a gift appreciate one's gesture. My presents for family and friends plus those for gift exchanges during parties are ready. Here's to wonderful celebrations.


Photo of presents ready for gift exchange, courtesy of Lim Han San.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Season's Greetings

It's that time of the year again! Christmas is approaching and the new year is just round the corner.

May you wear many hats this festive season and the year ahead ...

A loving companion,
A filial child,
A good friend,
An astute entrepreneur,
An honourable employee,
A food aficionado,
A health enthusiast,
A world traveler,
A giver of gifts,
A compassionate soul.

Wishing you a blessed Christmas and a Happy New Year.


Photo shot in Hoi An, Vietnam. Do visit the store near the river, in the pedestrian only part of town.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

More Than Shopping

Let me start by saying I love to shop when I travel, in particular when I am on the lookout for something authentic to purchase, items that reference the place that I am visiting, a product from a local brand, locally made hopefully, even better if crafted by an artisan rather than mass manufactured. However, shopping isn't the be all and end all of a good trip.

An original experience, a lovely view to take in, eating as the locals do, a gastronomic meal, spiritual enhancement, and many more intangible encounters add to the journey. These are the experiences that stay with us when we reminisce years later.

As 2012 comes to a close, I am grateful for the many journeys travel has taken me on the past twelve months. I look forward to even greater ones in the year ahead.


Beautiful view of Bangkok's skyline from the terrace of Zense at CentralWorld Bangkok, Thailand.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Where?

Where has 2012 gone? Where did the months go? What lessons did I learn?

This year has really zoomed by quickly and as the festive season descends upon us, I find myself reflecting as I always do. One lesson that I've learnt this year is to value the relationships in my life. People come and people go, the ones that remain are those whom we should cherish. A friend shared this quote recently on Facebook ... When people walk away from you, let them go. Your destiny is never tied to anyone who leaves you, and it doesn't mean they are bad people. It just means that their part in your story is over.

I think many can relate to this quote.


Festive cheer at the tower wing of The Majestic Hotel Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

weddingsmalaysia 2013

weddingsmalaysia 2013 is now available for sale in leading bookstores and newsstands nationwide. Here's my message :

He’d proposed and you’d said yes, or you’d proposed and she’d said yes. Regardless of whether you are the bride or the groom, the wedding planning journey is one that should be an enjoyable and memorable one. Here is where our publication will be your ally as you navigate the planning process.

Filled with inspiring ideas and the industry professionals who can help you realise your dream wedding, we hope to be your constant and reliable companion throughout your journey. Do also make it a point to visit our portal www.weddingsmalaysia.com every now and then. Updated every month, it is a resource that complements this publication. Our monthly features, updates on events and promotions as well as wedding tools will definitely be of assistance as you plan for this milestone in your lives.

Wishing you both every happiness.

Explore, enjoy and be inspired …

Kris Wong


Cover of weddingsmalaysia 2013.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Sandwiches

I like my food. For the sake of vanity, I do try to watch what I eat but for the most part, I throw caution to the wind and just indulge whenever the opportunity arises.

Thing is, when one indulges all the time, well, let's just say the midriff tends to become problematic. So I try to swim as much as I can, I try to do some cardio however much I dislike cardio, I try to do some weights. I guess one has to put in some effort.

The challenge? To make sure 'em jeans don't get too tight at the waist haha!


Sandwiches galore at Dean & Deluca in Bangkok, Thailand.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Erawan Shrine

When in Bangkok, I always make it a point to worship at the Erawan Shrine. This time was no different except that I was even more conscientious. I prayed at the shrine every day. I have aspirations to fulfill and I place my faith in the divine. I also have much to give thanks for. Gratitude and appreciation I believe will lead to even better experiences in future.

I normally stay at the Holiday Inn Bangkok, which is practically a stone's throw away from the shrine. OK, I exaggerate. It is a pleasant short stroll away. The shrine is perpetually packed, so I try to go either early in the morning or later at night to avoid jostling with the crowd. But still, some jostling is required no matter what time of day. A lit candle, twelve joss sticks, floral garlands and prayers to the four-faced Buddha leave me with a sense of hope.

To have faith and to believe. To trust and to surrender to what fate has in store. Ask and one shall receive. And when aspirations are met, give thanks. Say a little prayer indeed.


Crowds at the Erawan Shrine in Bangkok, Thailand.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Tea At Twinings

I was first introduced to Id by my friend Eileen. That was a few years back. Since then we have become good Facebook friends and we make it a point to meet up whenever I am in Bangkok. We chat about our lives, what we've been up to; basically a 'live' update on what we've been following on Facebook.

This visit, Id suggested we meet at the recently opened Twinings Of London Tea Shop at CentralWorld. A very English afternoon tea was the order of the day and I am always appreciative of Id taking the time to catch up and ensuring that I get to experience the latest openings in the City of Angels as he would put it. The pride he has in his home city is infectious, and in a way elevates the experience of one's visit.

I've also snagged an invite to tea at Id's new digs the next time I'm in Bangkok. I had noticed his Facebook postings about new lodgings, interior decoration and the like, and had brought with me a home decor book as a gift. There is much satisfaction in gift-giving when it is well-received. Thanks again Id for the great catch up!


Photo courtesy of Id Nukulkarn.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Birthday Bash In Bangkok

I was joking with my good friend, saying that his birthday week-end festivities in Bangkok were akin to a destination wedding. There was a pre-birthday bash dinner the night before, the birthday bash itself, followed by a post birthday bash brunch the next day. It was a wonderful way to celebrate and I had a great time as I always do.

I got into Bangkok last Friday morning, one of the earlier guests to arrive, and was happy to be invited to dinner at fab italian restaurant Zanotti. It was a very nice prelude to the birthday party on Saturday. Up on the 17th floor of CentralWorld, Zense offered a fantastic view of the Bangkok skyline at dusk over pre-dinner drinks. Dinner amongst good friends in an intimate setting made the celebration a meaningful one, particularly during this milestone of significance. Sunday brunch at The Sukothai was a smaller affair as some friends had headed off to Hua Hin, but no less enjoyable.

This occasion reinforced a few things I already knew. Good friends are hard to come by and when they do, we should nurture and cherish the friendship. Good friends are those whom you can be open with, without the fear of being judged. Good friends are the ones who make it a point to consider your likes and dislikes, and then plan to make one's stay as comfortable and enjoyable as possible. Good friends are those whose birthdays you look forward to celebrating again come the following year.


Table setting during the birthday dinner at Zense, CentralWorld in Bangkok, Thailand.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Busy Days

Those of us in the wedding industry would have been expe-riencing busy days since September due to the peak season for weddings. Most would agree that our schedules can be pretty frightening to say the least.

As for me, I've had to juggle between delivery of gowns at That Special Occasion and getting weddingsmalaysia 2013 to print. It's the time of year where one gets stressed out rather easily. Fortunately for me, I had the opportunity for a bit of relaxing by the pool last week when I made a quick dash up to Penang for a meeting. Some time by the pool is always welcome.

Come this weekend, I'll be in Bangkok. I promised a friend that I would attend his birthday bash and I am one to keep my word. I've no itinerary planned, I just hope to chill, have some good food, shop a bit perhaps, enjoy a massage or two. But before that, more work to clear!


Poolside at the Rasa Wing of Shangri-La's Rasa Sayang Resort & Spa in Penang, Malaysia.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Stroll On The Beach

A stroll on the beach definitely helps soothe the senses. I was in Penang for two days, mainly for a meeting with the events team at Shangri-La's Rasa Sayang Resort & Spa but fortunately also found some time for some solitude. Being away in a resort setting, alone, allows me to not only to chill for a bit but also provides me with the opportunity to get quite a lot of work done without the distractions of the office.

I am pretty good at balancing work and downtime when on such short business trips. The quiet puts me in a good frame of mind to put together business proposals and to churn out original ideas. I also make it a point to spend time by the pool and take a contemplative walk on the beach. Work and play, a great combination indeed.

Such trips also give me the chance to meet with clients on a personal basis. Whilst email does wonders, it is never quite the same as meeting face to face and sharing ideas that hopefully will lead to an even better business relationship. The personal touch so to speak.


The beach at Shangri-La's Rasa Sayang Resort & Spa in Penang, Malaysia.


Friday, October 26, 2012

Eat And Gripe

Eat when stressed. Well what more can I say except that the photo says it all. This was taken quite a while back but I came across this photo recently and had a good laugh. There were three of us, Tjun Hong and Leticia of Elysium Weddings and I. We were waiting for Leticia's client to come by for a fitting at That Special Occasion and she was caught in traffic. So we thought we'd grab a snack.

Well, it obviously turned out to be more than a snack. Since my days working in advertising, I've stuffed myself silly with food whenever stressed. I remember lunches where we'd gorge ourselves before returning to crazy afternoons at work. That habit has stayed with me all this while. It is not the healthiest of habits but what the heck. Thank goodness I swim regularly to work off the excesses.

This photo was taken while we were at Spicy Kitchen, just opposite That Special Occasion. Tjun Hong obviously packed some Burger King as well. To be fair, although we were relatively stressed, it was an enjoyable evening. Sometimes all it takes is food and some griping amongst good friends to relieve the tense situation.


Photo shot by Leticia.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

That Special Occasion's Mobile App

Those who know me well would not argue that I am not particularly tech savvy. Although I do own an Ipad, even then the original model, I have only very recently become the owner of a smartphone. I am not one who likes to be contactable at all times and I have for example always preferred answering emails in one sitting on my notebook. So the only reason why I now have a Samsung Galaxy S3 for company is to monitor That Special Occasion's mobile app which we just soft-launched last week. The app which is available for free download onto IOS and Android smartphones serves its purpose for now, but as always, we will strive to improve it further as we go along. We hope to add more features in time and hopefully make it available on tablets by the first quarter of 2013.

Back to my smartphone. One of the first people to whatsapp me was Alex Lam, exclaiming 'finally!'. Yes I know, it's taken quite some time, but I acknowledged with the response 'resistance is futile after a while'. The jokes continue coming in and I am happy to play along.

One thing hasn't changed though. I hate to read manuals. So, I am learning the functions on my Samsung by trial and error. And a warning to those who own a similar device, you may be in store for numerous whatsapp messages asking for advice, tips and solutions to my teething problems. Are you happy now?


That Special Occasion's mobile app.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Who Knew?

Who knew that a conver-sation over dinner could inspire me so much. Sometimes we get so caught up in the daily grind that we forget to live life. We forget to be thankful for the good in our lives. We forget the aspirations that we have set for ourselves to attain. We forget to put plans in place for the future. Forget is a pretty strong word to use. Perhaps relegate is more apt.

So here's what I learnt over dinner conversation. Lucky are those who have a family member who puts them first, who contributes to their financial stability and who acts as a good role model. Lucky are those who are wise enough to save, who plan for financial security. Lucky are those who have made it a point to experience travel, who put aside funds for worldly encounters. Lucky are those who despite having to face the realities of working life, still find time to exercise their artistic talents. Lucky are those who stand with both feet firmly on the ground, who have a sense of loyalty and honour. And lucky are those who appreciate their lot in life and who are content, who are happy.

It's time to reflect yes but more importantly it's time to take stock and live life.


Photo of Hoi An beach by my cousin Yeong Ken.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Authentic Experiences

I am always in search for authentic expe-riences when on holiday. Of course I do the touristy stuff, relax in comfort when the opportunity presents itself, shop, you know the drill, but the memorable experiences are the ones that are truly authentic, the ones that reflect the makeup of the country that one visits.

Sometimes it could be a chance encounter with the locals over a meal. A retail experience with talented artisans. A visit to a monument of historical and cultural significance. And the cuisine of a country of course.

When it comes to food, I like to experience the entire spectrum if time permits. I enjoy fine dining. I equally enjoy squatting on a pavement sampling street food. The middle ground too. If I had to pick however, hawker fare wins hands down. As they say, when in Rome, do as the Romans do.


Trying Vietnamese dessert from a street vendor in Hoi An.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Mid-Autumn Festival 2012

I celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival with my extended family every year. On Sunday, we had dinner with my mother's side of the family, spanning four generations, the oldest at 96, the youngest a couple of months old. Three steamboats and lots of food later, we spent time catching up on news and developments in each other's lives, whilst the youngest of the kids went about in the garden with their lanterns.

Occasions as such bring the family closer together. It also makes us appreciate the older folks more, grateful that they are still able to join us for such hearty meals.

Hope everyone had their fill of mooncakes!


Lanterns put up my the kids.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Busy, Busy, Busy

I am in major need of some pamper-ing. The past few weeks have been crazy at work. With it being the peak wedding season now, That Special Occasion has been a highly-strung workplace to say the least. My team and I are working at a frantic pace to complete gowns for photoshoots and weddings, and not to mention fielding appointments with brides-to-be planning for their nuptials end 2012 and early 2013. Add to that having to complete weddingsmalaysia 2013 for printing and you can imagine the stress levels I have been experiencing.

Suffice to say, I am not feeling 100%. I ain't ill but ain't in the best of shape either. I think all I need is a few days of good sleep and some pampering - reflexology, massage - to lift my spirits. Some lazing by the pool would help too; although I swim regularly, it's pretty much been lap after lap and then hitting the showers right after, with hardly any time to just chill poolside, a pastime I find most relaxing.

I am certain my colleagues in the wedding industry feel the same. It's basically back-to-back jobs this time of year. We shan't complain really, because it's good for business. We just need to learn to steal some time for forty winks, for a quick coffee, for a nice meal in a relaxing environment. Happy working everyone!


My cousins and I preparing for a massage in Hoi An, Vietnam earlier this year. Photo courtesy of Thoo Ai Peng.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

H&M

H&M has finally hit our shores. I was privileged to be invited to the VIP Opening Night last Thursday and am pleased with the outcome of my shopping spree. I was disciplined and didn't go overboard. Still, I was extremely happy with my purchases.

After passing through registration, enjoying canapes and a cocktail, it was time to hit the men's floor. A couple of fittings later, I checked out with a jacket, a pair of jeans, a pair of shorts and two t-shirts, with a 20% discount to boot. I could have easily bought more but didn't want to go over budget. There's always the chance for future visits.

I first got a taste of H&M in Seoul and then later in Hong Kong. Their apparel fit me well and most importantly speak to me in terms of design. More will make it into my wardrobe no doubt.


H&M's storefront in Lot 10, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Photo courtesy of Veralyne Ng.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Time Flies

Every now and then I find myself asking 'where did the time go?'. I was in Kota Kinabalu a few weeks ago, on a short holiday with a few of my friends from our days in uni. Here's a photo of me with Ken Lin and Ken Bin. We first met at Immanuel College where we did Year 12 and ended up going to uni together as well. We've been friends ever since. In fact, I was best man at both their weddings.

Now with two kids each, they are busy family men. I often find myself asking their children 'how old are you now?' whenever we meet. Their answers always scare the hell out of me. Time really flies.

Such encounters with the children also serve as a wake up call. I remind myself to work hard and play hard. I try not to put off doing enjoyable things, not to delay attaining aspirations. 'Time waits for no man' certainly rings true. So, go on that holiday. Take on that challenge that you have always wanted to tackle. Wear your heart out on your sleeve. That's right. Live life to the fullest.


Ken Lin, Ken Bin and I at Mount Kinabalu National Park, Sabah, Malaysia.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Yay For Murray!

Yay for Murray! Finally a Grand Slam champion! After watching Andy Murray lose the past four Grand Slam finals he's been in, I am often hesitant to watch him play big matches. I did however witness him beat Federer to win Olympic gold and so I thought I'd catch the tail end of the US Open final against Djokovic this morning before heading to work. Maybe, just maybe I thought, this could be his chance. I'd say this win has been a long time coming.

I am very much a Nadal fan but there are a number of players who also deserve to win at least one Grand Slam tournament. David Ferrer for one. But Murray has been knocking on the door of such a triumph for so many years that I am sure many a tennis fan would be happy that he has finally succeeded in making the breakthrough. There will be, or shall I say, already are, superlatives in the British media and his countrymen and women must be very proud of their first Grand Slam champion in more than seven decades.

Lessons to be learnt? Initial failures can be the stepping stones to future success. Always strive to improve and be better. Learn to handle the pressure and thrive on it. Most importantly, have faith and belief. Well done Andy Murray. Here's to many more such milestones.


Andy Murray wins the 2012 US Open.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Tuned In

In my line of work as an editor of wedding publi-cations, it is important to be tuned in to what's happening in the wedding industry. What's hot and what's not. The latest trends. Freshly minted collaborations.

So I try my best to attend wedding industry related events, be it workshops, fashion shows, exhibits, openings, wedding fairs, chillout sessions or conferences for that matter. Even something as simple as a chat over teh tarik with industry friends. You'd be surprised at what one can learn from just a chat.

Keeping abreast of developments, ensuring that I am always in the know, is what makes my job so interesting. I like to learn something new every day.


Photo of a That Special Occasion gown, shot by Simmon Studio, that won an award at WPPM 2012 recently.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Reunion Trip To KK

I've just returned from a reunion trip in Kota Kinabalu over the Merdeka holiday, with my good friends from university days. At the request of some of them, I am going to defer from saying how long we've known each other. You see, we are rather sensitive when it comes to age. Suffice to say, it's been quite a long time. I first met Ken Lin and Ken Bin when we were in boarding school at Immanuel College, Adelaide. We then got to know Cordelia, Yean Mun and Elsie when at The Flinders University Of South Australia a year later.

Though we are no longer as close as we used to be, we still make it a point to celebrate special occasions and milestones together. Birthdays, Chinese New Year, Christmas, weddings. In fact, I was best man at Ken Bin and Cordelia's wedding, and then again when Ken Lin married Sally, the latter now the seventh member of the clique. With Elsie in Hong Kong, Ken Lin and Sally in Penang, and the rest of us in the Klang Valley, it takes time and effort to get together. Whilst we have travelled together in groups of different configurations over the years, this was our first holiday together since our final year at uni. Back then we were just six uni students on a trip to Kangaroo Island. This time round, we were seven adults with three kids in tow, with another younger one back in Penang.

Short and compact the trip may have been, it was still much enjoyable. It gave us the opportunity to rekindle friendships, reminisce and spend quality time together. Bonds that we formed years ago remain till this day. We just need to work on keeping our friendships alive. Certainly an endeavour that will be worthwhile.


Elsie, Yean Mun, Cordelia, Bin, Lin and I at Mount Kinabalu National Park in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The Hiplist 2012

My thoughts on The Hiplist 2012.

We are extremely pleased with this 6th issue of ours. Featuring photographers, both established and emerging, offering a gamut of styles and catering to various price points, I am certain that our publication will be a source you can turn to when planning for wedding photography.

Together with gown designers, makeup artists, floral designers, accessories, photobooks and eco-venues for shoots, they make up components that will surely play a role in creating the wedding of your dreams.

Explore, enjoy and be inspired ……..

Kris Wong


Cover of The Hiplist 2012.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

That Special Occasion @ KL Wedding Weekend

That Special Occasion will be partici-pating in the inau-gural KL Wedding Weekend this coming 1 & 2 September. Part of the schedule of events include four 'big sale' sessions, which means couples who visit will have a chance to sign up for our services at a really good rate twice a day.

Some of my industry colleagues have posed the question regarding the 50% discount we are offering for a made-to-measure wedding gown, a fairly big mark down to say the least. So, here's the rationale behind the offer. First and foremost, the discounted portion of the cost will be expensed under our advertising and promotions budget. The aim really is to educate the market. Honestly, not every bride can afford or is willing to allocate a portion of her wedding budget to a custom-made gown. By making such a good offer, we hope to encourage brides-to-be to experience having their wedding gown made-to-order. For the majority, the experience will be a positive one and such positive experiences will lead to testimonials as well as word-of-mouth recommendations in future. It is therefore a marketing effort with returns only to be reaped in the future, not immediately. Sometimes, it is necessary to plan ahead rather than focus on immediate gains only.

So here's an open invitation to all brides-to-be. Please do come by That Special Occasion's booth in the Junior Ballroom of Prince Hotel & Residence Kuala Lumpur this coming weekend. We'll have more than ten designs for you to choose from. See you soon!


One of the designs available at the KL Wedding Weekend.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Passion

When embarking on a new venture, passion is what keeps the dream alive. For those who have ventured down this road, starting a new business from scratch is a mighty challenge indeed.

Working within the constraints of a budget and keeping to it, looming and sometimes missed deadlines, long hours and the resultant lack of sleep. We are only scratching the surface, the list goes on believe me.

What keeps every budding entrepreneur going is passion. Undaunted by little obstacles that we come face to face with every now and again, we trudge on. We learn from our mistakes and hopefully do not repeat them. We surround ourselves with like-minded people so that we get motivated and in turn motivate others. The trick really is to keep the faith.


With my friends Ee Leng and Khaw at their months old restaurant, The Elk in Solaris Mont Kiara, Kuala Lumpur.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Banh Mi Phuong

Sometimes sampling street food can be a particularly memorable experience while on holi-day. Ha-ving arrived in Hoi An, my cousin Lye Synn kept telling us that we needed to locate Banh Mi Phuong, a street-side Vietnamese sandwich stall made well-known by a visit from Anthony Bourdain. So on a little hunt we went, in search of this nondescript gem of a find.

Butter, fresh mint, spring onion, pate, pork, jambon, chicken, fried egg and chilli sauce, all packed into a crunchy Vietnamese baguette. Need I say more? An absolutely delicious afternoon snack it was. So much so that I went back for more such Banh Mi over the next two days.

Being willing to be adventurous with food while on travels is definitely a good trait to possess. Having meals at fancy establishments, family-run restaurants, quirky cafes and street vendors provide an all encompassing experience. A fulfilling one indeed.


Sam Yee, Auntie Alice, Ai Peng, Lye Synn, Yeong Ken, Honn Ken and I at Banh Mi Phuong in Hoi An, Vietnam.


Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Back Stories

The London 2012 Olympics are over. I am now trying to catch up on the events that I missed via the YouTube Olympic channel. There are so many back stories to the events, the sportsmen and sportswomen. Like the first time women athletes from some of the Middle Eastern countries. Like Michael Phelps being crowned the greatest Olympian of all time. Like the enthusiasm of the British public. Like the superb efforts of Lee Chong Wei and Pandalela Rinong. Like the blade runner Oscar Pistorius.

One of the back stories which I could relate to of course was that of teenage British diver Tom Daley's. I had seen the BBC documentary about him, his late father and family. Anyone who has had a family member suffer from cancer I am sure would relate to the circumstances depicted in the documentary. So it was indeed a pleasure to see him win a bronze in the 10m platform diving competition. There must have hardly been a dry eye amongst the British fans at the aquatics centre when he responded to a reporter's question by saying, 'I wish my dad could have been here'.

It is back stories like this that make the Olympics so inspiring and at times even intriguing. Every athlete would have had their own tale to tell, that of hard work and sacrifice, being at the right place at the right time, of their natural talent. Only a few make it to mainstream media, but even these are enough to make us sit up and take notice, inspiring us in their own little way.


Tom Daley wins bronze at London 2012.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Family

A couple of friends recently com-mented that I come from a pretty close-knit family, just by judging from some of the photos I posted on Facebook. That's certainly true. The majority of my extended family, both paternal and maternal, all live in the Klang Valley, so we get together often.

My late father instilled in me, from childhood, to value family ties. At the onset of every year, I block my calendar for dinner with the extended familly during festivals and celebrations. I very rarely miss these occasions. Some of us go on holiday together every year, an annual ritual of sorts.

As some of you may already know, I just very recently returned from a trip to Hoi An and Danang in Vietnam. We were a group of fourteen; aunts, uncles and cousins. When travelling in a large group, some compromise is needed, and plenty of patience! Still, we had a good time as always.


Dinner upon arrival in Hoi An, Vietnam.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Hoi An

I've just returned from a holiday with the extended family. Six days we were in Hoi An and Danang in Vietnam. I've come back rested and with a nice tan.

Of the two, I prefer Hoi An. A quaint town it is, with Unesco World Heritage status to boot. I love the small shops, the cosy cafes and restaurants, particularly the ones located within the 'pedestrian and bicycle only' part of town.

The people of Hoi An are very much artistically inclined. Well known for its custom made attire and shoes, one will come across a custom tailor and shoe designer everywhere one turns. We were spoilt for choice indeed.


Beautiful lanterns in Hoi An, Vietnam.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Compelling London 2012

I've been trying to catch as much of the Olympics action as I can. Was happy to see Ryan Lochte victorious in the 400m Individual Medley, the first London 2012 race I watched. There are so many stories to witness - success after much hard work, failure despite being tagged as favourite, hiccups that cost a podium finish, sheer determination just to complete a race, how the home crowd supports their countrymen and women. That's what makes the Olympics so compelling. If only the time difference wasn't that vast, it would be much easier to catch all the action.

I was watching the Men's Synchronised 10m Platform Diving last night and was looking forward  to see Tom Daley and Peter Waterfield of the Great Britain team medal. Sadly, a disappointing fourth dive wrecked their chances of getting onto the podium. Still they recovered with two good final dives to finish fourth, just a few points shy of a bronze. Which brings me to my point. Sometimes we make a bad mistake in life and take a tumble. Yes, we can wallow in self pity, but only for awhile. Then it's time to get up and move one. Little steps lead to bigger strides and before you know it, we're back on track.

Fortune favours the brave.


Peter Waterfield and Tom Daley.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

London 2012

The London Olympics are here. With the time difference, I am antici-pating some crazy sleep patterns in the next few weeks. I typically only follow a few sports during the Olympics - swimming, diving, gymnastics, track and field.

Swimming of course is the sport I am best at, so naturally I am an avid fan. I hope Ryan Lochte (USA) will win at least either the 200m or 400m individual medley and enroute to the gold beat Michael Phelps (USA). I wish Leisel Jones (AUS) well and hope that she proves her critics wrong when she races in the 100m breastroke. I look forward to seeing James Magnussen (AUS) smash the 100m freestyle world record. Kosuke Kitajima (JPN) will perhaps create history by taking the 100m and 200m breastroke double for the third Olympics in a row. I'd also like to see the English swimmers do well in their home Olympics. As for diving, I hope the Malaysian divers will at least make the finals of their events. Who knows, they may spring a surprise or two. It would be great if divers representing different countries can prevent a Chinese clean sweep. Matthew Mitcham (AUS) defending his 10m platform title would be awesome or perhaps Tom Daley may win the event for the home team.

So much to follow, so little time to do so. I ought to come up with a game plan on how to catch as much of the sporting action as I can. Each Olympic Games has its own inspiring stories to tell. Here's to a great London Games.


Ryan Lochte in the pool.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Life's Lessons

Today is a day of coincidences. I received a Facebook message from an acquaintance telling me how well she could relate to some of my blog posts and how comforting some of my musings could be at times. And then a bit later, a chat with another acquaintance touched on how life throws us curve balls every now and then, and the fact that the only way to respond is to face these challenges head on and move forward. He is quite right indeed.

I call it a coincidence as all three of us seemed to be rather philosophical today. Sometimes, these little chats come in handy. Another friend of mine would likely conclude that it is the universe sending us a little 'pick-me-up'. I tend to think so too. Perhaps we send out subliminal signals and in turn come these encounters that help us keep the faith.

We all need some reminding that come what may, life goes on. Be appreciative and grateful when good comes our way. Do good too in return. Pass it forward as they say. But when the not so great hit us, we ought to be prepared to stand our ground and work towards overcoming the challenges that we find ourselves face to face with. Doing so only makes us stronger. It helps us build self belief and augments our self esteem. And then we'll be ready to live life to the fullest, without any regrets.


Photo of desserts at Evason Hua Hin in Thailand.

Friday, July 20, 2012

70th Birthday

My godfather celebrated his 70th birthday in Adelaide earlier this month. Being such a milestone, I hosted a birthday dinner for him when he was here on holiday in May, a little celebration in advance.

Both my godparents are now globetrotters, having finally retired from work a couple of years ago. They drop by KL every now and then whenever they pass through enroute to Europe or the US. Their short visits are always packed with 'makan' sessions as they try to sample as much of their favourite foods as possible.

Wonder when the next email will come, announcing their impending arrival.


Photo shot at The Han Room, The Gardens, Kuala Lumpur.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Collaborations

It's always fun to do collaborative photoshoots. Other than combining our artistic aesthetics to create images that bring our talents to the fore, we also have a great time catching up over a day's work. Of course, the ultimate aim is a cache of photos from which the team can select, to publicise our respective businesses and promote our services to the wider public.

When deciding who to collaborate with, the criteria will mainly revolve around a common vision, work ethic and trust. We draw inspiration from one another and tap on the synergy created. We contribute our expertise and work towards our shared goal of attaining pictures suitable for all to use in our marketing plans.

This most recent shoot saw us at That Special Occasion working with My Bridal Florist, ZC Accessories, Eyeshot and Sanyu Beauty. We were also fortunate to be given the opportunity to shoot at Sheraton Imperial Kuala Lumpur, thanks to longstanding established relationships with Starwood Hotels & Resorts' cluster marketing team here in Malaysia. When all the compoments fall into place, the result is an enjoyable experience coupled with beautifully captured photos. A worthwhile endeavour indeed.


Photo of our model Priscilla, shot at Villa Danieli, Sheraton Imperial Kuala Lumpur.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Port Dickson International Triathlon 2012

It's good to have an aspiration to work towards. Case in point, the Port Dickson International Triathlon 2012 last Sunday. First and foremost, I am no triathlete. I can't cycle nor run to save my life. I can however swim and I have been part of tri-relays on three occasions now. The first, in Bali June last year and the second, in Singapore in May. We took part in the sprint relay, the former with Richard and Lee Kuen, the latter with Bunny and Lee Kuen as my team mates.

This time round however, my friend Ray, a previous Iron Man participant on the comeback trail, registered me as his team swimmer in the Olympic distance relay. That would mean moving up from 750m to 1.5km between the Singapore and Port Dickson races. Apprehensive I was but I always relish a challenge. So train harder and more often I did in the month leading up to race day in PD. With much encouragement from my friends, I set myself a reasonably achievable target of finishing the swim leg in under 40 minutes. My friends, in particular my team mates Ray and Wei Min, thought 30 minutes might be possible.

Suffice to say, I completed the swim portion of the race in 31 minutes 21 seconds and our team finished a respectable 30th in the men's relay, and 64th in the overally relay event out of a 109 teams. Happy I was to have managed the Olympic distance tri swim leg, in a pretty good time too by my standards. More importantly, my team mates were happy with the swim. Being the first leg of the race, I always feel that it is necessary to get them off to a good start, so there is pressure somewhat. Ray and Wei Min did very well too, and we were more than satisfied with our performance, our first as a team. An enjoyable race it was and I am sure there will be more to come in the future. For now, I have to continue training. The best swimmer in the race was 10 minutes ahead of me. There is still some catching up to do. Another challenge to conquer indeed.


Photo courtesy of Ooi Wei Min.


Monday, July 9, 2012

Journeys For Two 2012

Destination weddings are indeed a growing segment of the wedding market in the Asia Pacific region. The relative ease and affordability of regional air travel coupled with brides and grooms-to-be with an adventurous spirit are catalysts to this boom. Wedding professionals who are better adept at planning and organising such events are also contributing to the increasing interest in destination weddings.

We hope this issue of our publication will provide you with the necessary inspiration as you embark on your wedding plans, perhaps igniting your own interest in a wedding offshore.

Explore, enjoy and be inspired …….. Kris Wong


Cover of Journeys For Two 2012.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Gratitude

I was having tea with a friend today, my financial planner to be exact. We always have lots to talk about. Funds for the future. Enjoying life in the present. And reminding ourselves to be grateful for what we have in hand.

Being grateful for all the good things in our lives, appreciating what life has to offer, putting into practice the law of attraction indeed. Good attracts more good. Better experiences. More exciting travels. Greater fortune. Much more joy, happiness and love. Better health. Fulfillment of aspirations. Putting ourselves in a positive frame of mind, ready to attract and accept more good in our lives.

Having said that, we are human after all, and sometimes we go off tangent. Impatience. Having a short temper. Anger. Dwelling on bad experiences of the past. I am certainly guilty of all these. The important thing is to recognise these shortcomings and then keeping them at bay. So here I am once again, telling myself to be a better version of the old me, an enhanced, improved version. Aye to that!


Alfresco dining at Evason Hua Hin in Thailand.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Grandma's 8th Anniversary

Today is the 8th anniversary of my paternal grandmother's passing. As with family tradition, we gathered at the family home to have a meal to celebrate her life. A pot-luck dinner we had. Happy conversations we shared, even to the extent of reminiscing about the weddings of my mum and an aunt. Much laughter was had at the expense of the latter, who seemingly could not remember where her wedding banquet was held. Was it 'Pi Yow Tin' or 'Sek Yuen'? Apparently both were household names at the time. Another aunt thinks it's the former, my mum the latter. No one else could offer a tie-breaker. So, I told my aunt to go look up her photos and bring a copy to an already planned lunch at 'Sek Yuen' later in the week. Since the restaurant hasn't changed much in decades, the photo would bring about a resolution to this little riddle. That was how the evening went. Enjoyable times over food, regaling each other with amusing conversation, maintaining and nurturing family ties, a legacy that has been passed down the generations in my family, well at least to those of us in my time who hold dear to this practice.

My cousin Lynette sums it up well in her Facebook posting - 'Today is the 8th anniversary of my grandma's home going. As is customary in our family, we gathered for dinner and chitchat. Lots of lovely memories shared. So glad she left a legacy of the importance of family togetherness.' My sister, Suk Harn had this to say - 'Today is ma-ma's memorial. Makes me think of the times we spent making curry puff together.' To which my cousin Moses responded - 'I wasn't much help in the making...but was very involved in the eating!' Another thought from Suk Harn went like this - 'And also how she used to make us drink lime eno every weekend. Such fond memories.' That's a funny one. Even funnier was Lynette's comment - 'Eno was a cure all.' Classic! Haha!

We all remember Mama in our own special way. She was a big part of our lives, particularly for those of us who were under her care when we were toddlers. A lesson to be learnt ... to value those who are with us in the present and create memories that can be cherished in the future.


Photo of Mama in her baju kebaya.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Big Group

Going on a holiday with the extended family can both be an enthu-siastic as well as a stressful expe-rience. Last year, almost twenty of us 'balik kampung' to China to visit some of our relations at the family village. In a few months' time, about fifteen of us will be heading to Danang and Hoi An, in this year's edition of the extended family holiday.

I was initially undecided about whether to go this time round. But after some cajoling from my cousins plus a bit of tacit pressure from my Mum, I signed up. In fact, everyone else had already booked their flights much earlier. You could say 'better late than never' as I was the last one to confirm my participation.

Now that I have made up my mind to join the group, I am looking forward to the trip. I get along with those who are to be my travel companions for the six days, so it will be an enjoyable experience. Sure, there will be some stressful moments, something that is inevitable when traveling in a big group. But the positive experiences will more than outweigh the little hiccups.


My Malaysian cousins and I with our Chinese cousins in Nam Tong, China, last year.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Dragon Boat Festival

My extended family makes it a point to gather for a meal during Chinese festivals. Any reason for a 'makan' so we say. But really, it is all about celebrating family ties.

So gathered we did at the family home and ate we did, to celebrate the Dragon Boat Festival yesterday. Three supersized 'bak chang' dumplings, 'nasi kunyit, chicken curry, stir-friend mixed vegetables, 'ham choy tau foo' soup plus 'tau foo fah', 'ciku' and 'nangka' for dessert.

My late grandparents and my late father would have been proud that we are carrying on the tradition of getting together for such celebrations. For my immediate family, we mark such occasions down in our diary at the onset of every year, ensuring our presence at these culinary feasts. Here's to the next one ... soon!


Some bought, some home cooked.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

What Life Has In Store

I wasn't in the best of moods a couple of months ago and when I had dinner with my friends Leticia and Tjun Hong to gripe, the latter gave me a piece of advice which I did not really take to heart at the time. Tjun Hong told me to let my hair down, dispense with whatever agenda I had, and just to go out, embrace what life had in store for me, and to have fun.

Stubborn as I am, I didn't take his advice and still went about with my agenda. Now I know better. After another misstep, I am finally letting go of the confines that I put myself in and taking things in stride, enjoying whatever comes my way so to speak.

It is liberating in a sense. Not having an aspiration that needs to be attained. Instead, I am adopting a laissez-faire attitude. Que sera, sera.


Photo shot right smack in the middle of winter in Seoul, Korea in February earlier this year.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Congrats Integricity!

It's always wonderful when associates you work with are recognised for their talent, ideas and work ethic. When this happens, they feel a sense of achievement, a fitting reward for all the hard work put in. There is a sense of pride in being able to go toe-to-toe with their competitors, in an industry that is both challenging and constantly evolving. The earned respect also acts as a catalyst, a motivating factor for even better work to come. Yes, we are happy for them. More importantly though, all these positive vibes also rub off on us as we too get inspired. We want to do better as well, think more creatively, enjoy our work even more. We too aspire to work better as a team, enhance camaraderie and nurture a sense of belonging. We too become more purposeful in believing that we can hold our own in the competitive environment of the wedding industry. And we aim to do this with the input of our associates at Integricity, winner of the Local Hero Award and Silver Award for Digital Agency Of The Year at Advertising + Marketing's annual Agency Of The Year Awards 2012.

I have for many years relied on the team from Integricity when it comes to all things digital, in relation to the businesses that we run. From weddingsmalaysia to That Special Occasion and many others in between, they have been our counsel. Suffice to say, I am extremely happy that they won. I remember vividly the first time Alex Lam came a calling years ago, and it has been a pleasure working with the team at Integricity ever since. We are not a big account, yet we get the attention and prompt assistance.

So here's a little message from my team and I ... 'Very well deserved! Now even more people know what we as clients already knew. Much congratulations to everyone at Integricity. Thanks to all, past and present, who have and continue to work on all of our accounts, from the slightly busier ones to the least active ones. We look forward to greater collaborations in future. Well done again!'


A little congratulatory gift we sent over, photo courtesy of Warren Tan.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Alison & Steven

I meet so many couples in my line of work. Most remain as clients and at most acquaintances. Only a select few become friends. There are many variables that determine if we were to form a friendship. Chemistry, some common interests, effort and whether we 'click'. Fate plays a part too I believe. I haven't for the longest time attended any of my clients' weddings. I don't get invited all the time and even if I did, there needs to be some kind of affinity to make attending the wedding meaningful, worthwhile and enjoyable. Enjoyed myself I did last Saturday. When Alison and Steven first broached the idea of inviting me to their wedding, I did not commit, mainly due to two reasons. It was on my Mum's birthday and I didn't really know them that well at the time. I am still getting to know them, but as we spent more time together during fittings, I felt more comfortable RSVP-ing 'yes' when the official invite finally came. I would say it is a budding friendship. So as friends, newfound or otherwise would do, I made arrangements to have my Mum's birthday dinner a day earlier so that I could attend the wedding banquet, and blocked off all appointment slots at That Special Occasion for that Saturday morning so that I could be at the wedding ceremony.

I would say that Alison and Steven are one of the most loving couples I have met. A meaningful ceremony it was indeed. An apt celebration the banquet was as well. A wedding such as this reaffirms my passion for the industry that I work in. It is a shot in the arm that one needs when one gets slightly jaded, doing wedding related work day in day out. It motivates me. It acts as a catalyst. It inspires me to do better work. It makes one believe in fate and the promise it holds.

So here's to the both of you again Alison and Steven. May you both experience every happiness. Thanks for inviting me to be part of your wedding planning journey and here's to friendship too.


Photo by DeMomentz, courtesy of Alison and Steven.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Crazy Idea














I casually suggested a crazy idea to a good friend and the response was a good humoured turn down. Yes, sometimes funny, almost surreal ideas come to mind. I usually just chuckle and let them be. This time I acted on it. What the heck I thought. It's my new attitude. Crazy can be good sometimes.

So, who cares is one new mantra of mine. A friend recently made a statement that at this stage of his life, he couldn't care less what other people thought of his actions. I took note. Life is short. So just live as I deem fit. This reminded me too of what my late father once told me. I took note again.

I have always loved taking a leap of faith. Just that I have been perhaps playing it a bit safe for some time. Thinking too much. Always rationalising. Being insecure. It's time to revel in the uncertainties that leaps of faith bring forth. I'd call that living on the edge. Something that I'm going to be doing. Not try, but do.


Super delicious sandwich at Jones The Grocer in Singapore.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Positive Energy

A friend posted this on Facebook recently - 'Miracles start to happen when you give as much energy to your dreams as you do to your fears'. Like most, I have my fears, my insecurities. They sometimes affect my frame of mind, cause me to be slightly dejected and melancholic. I accept it as part and parcel of life.

The good thing is that I bounce back from any setback or moodiness pretty quickly. I will myself to think positive, to visualise the happy outcomes that I so look forward to attaining. I would be the first to admit that this takes effort but I realise that one can only truly move forward by doing so. Dwelling too much on the past is not something that I do. And whilst I recognise my fears and insecurities, I generally do not let them overwhelm me. Instead, I work continuously to overcome them. To maintain a positive outlook as much as I can.

So I tell myself that tomorrow is a new day. With better experiences to encounter. With happier moments to experience. Each day brings with it new hope. That I do believe, no matter how jaded I may feel from time to time.


Wishing trees at Seoul Tower in Korea.