Monday, January 30, 2012


A good friend of mine gave me a pep-talk yesterday about the virtue of patience and how perhaps I should embrace it in some areas of my life. I would be the first to admit that being patient is not one of my better traits, particularly on the work front and some aspects of my personal life.

My instincts always tell me to move fast, be decisive, take action. Procrastination is not something I take kindly to. Admittedly, impatience has cost me somewhat at times in recent years past. As such, learning to be a bit more patient is perhaps an effort I have to make. Knowing that different individuals have a different pace, different mindset is well and good, being able to compromise and have a better tolerance level is something that I will have to become better skilled at.

The aim really of this endeavour is to become more laid back and less stressed, have a more balanced perspective. It is a challenge somewhat but what's life without some challenges to improve ourselves? One step at a time I suppose is a mantra I should adopt. And as my good friend would say, let the good chi flow with a positive attitude. Wish me luck.

Photo shot in Hong Kong.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Chinese New Year 2012

Family gatherings, big meals, that's Chinese New Year for me, year in, year out. Not that I don't enjoy it. In fact, I look forward to the get-togethers and the huge variety of food served. We eat well, have many laughs over the most frivolous of things. Merriment during this festive season.

A large extended family adds to the festivity. The fact that we all get along for the most part is the perfect catalyst for stimulating conversations and exchanges, vital ingredients for a good time. We chat, we joke, we poke fun at one another.

It's what Chinese New Year is supposed to be. A cheerful and joyful start to the year. Now that family obligations have been fulfilled and dinners over the next few nights are with friends, there is bound to be much laughter and enjoyment to come.

With some of my cousins and two little nephews.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Chinese New Year Eve

Chinese New Year Eve is all about the reunion dinner. Many travel far and wide to head home for this time of communion with family. It is the time of year where relationships are renewed, bonds strengthened. The significance of the reunion dinner has been inculcated in me since childhood and I've never missed one all my life.

My grandparents, when they were alive, would cook up a storm. Nowadays, we observe a 'pot luck' tradition. Still, the food is good, all eight dishes and charcoal-boiled soup.

In fact, I got to attend two reunion dinners this year. One, for my mother's side of the family on Saturday evening, the other for my paternal extended family on Sunday night, the former at a Chinese restaurant, the latter a home cooked meal. The best of both worlds really. My Mum, sister, aunts, uncles, cousins, the important people in my life.

Photo of dishes served at the reunion dinner for my Dad's side of the family on Sunday evening.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Friends In Hong Kong

A holiday is made extra meaningful when opportunities to meet up with friends whom we haven't seen in a while arise. I had made plans to see Felix, Elsie, Anna and Arjuna prior to my trip to Hong Kong, but catching up with Phoebe was a pleasant surprise. Felix, friends since my working stint in Leysin; Elsie, friends from the time we were at Flinders; Anna, my business partner at That Special Occasion and her hubby Arjuna; Phoebe, friends from hotel school at Le Bouveret.

I'd have to thank Facebook for facilitating the catching up. Just a couple of messages and I had set up a dinner with Felix, supper with Elsie, lunch with Anna and Arjuna. And when I arrived in Hong Kong and posted that I was enjoying the cold weather, Phoebe's other half and my good friend Danny who is based in Dalian, quickly commented that she was back in Hong Kong and that I should call. As luck would have it, we managed to meet the day before she flew back to Dalian.

Good friends are few and far between and I always cherish the catch up sessions, no matter how much trouble we have to go through to meet, no matter how much advance notice we need to give one another, no matter how fleeting or lengthy the meeting. More so when we live so far apart. We've shared many wonderful memories during our time as students, matured together as we entered adulthood, have been part of milestones in each other's lives. Such bonds that have been nurtured over the years enable us to be lifelong friends, and seeing each other whilst on holiday is always an added bonus.

Here I am with Phoebe. I met up with her the couple hours I had between my cousin's wedding ceremony and banquet.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Ming And Roy's Wedding Banquet

Wedding banquets in Hong Kong start really early! We were told that guests would start arriving by 6pm and we duly did so too. Mahjong games were underway, and the couple were on stage posing for photos with family and guests alike. Throughout the photo session, Ming and Roy would change into different outfits, ensuring that a variety of 'looks' were attained. This photo shows the couple right after the cake cutting. Ming and Roy did the cake cutting twice, a real cake during the pre-dinner photo session which was then served to guests who had arrived early, and a ceremonial one during the dinner itself.

Three hours of photos and serving tea to relatives who did not make it to the morning ceremony later, dinner was served at nine amidst an enthusiastic celebratory atmosphere. A change of outfits, a spectacular walk-in with confetti, various slide shows, more changes of outfits, a performance by a magician, the groom singing, a toast on stage, table to table toasts with an entourage of almost fifty, and more photos.

It was an eye opening and enjoyable experience.

Photo from left of the parents of the groom Uncle Tung Sang and Auntie Meng, Mum, Auntie Mary, Ming, Roy, Uncle Chee Peng and Auntie Anne during the wedding banquet.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Group Travel

Traveling in a group requires patience and compro-mise. When in Hong Kong to attend my cousin Roy's wedding recently, we were a group of eight who traveled from Kuala Lumpur. With different interests, eating habits and so forth, a bit of give and take was necessary to ensure that we all had a good time.

Being flexible with the itinerary and activities planned, both for the wedding and for leisure, meant that we could make any necessary adjustments when called for. 'Chill and go with the flow' was a constant reminder.

Most importantly, we achieved our aim of being part of Roy and Ming's celebration. Add to that some shopping, much food and catching up with friends and a pleasant trip it was indeed.

Photo of Suk Harn, Mum and I on the morning of Ming and Roy's wedding in Ping Shan, New Territories, Hong Kong.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Wedding Of Ming And Roy

I've just returned from Hong Kong where I was privileged to have been invited to my cousin Roy's wedding. The wedding was indeed a spectacular affair, from the traditional Chinese ceremony and the Western-style exchange of vows in the morning in their home village of Ping Shan in the New Territories, to the banquet in the evening right in the heart of Kowloon, it was a feast for the senses.

Ming, the romantic that she is, dazzled in seven outfits - a Chinese 'Kua', three wedding gowns and three evening gowns. The bridal gown I designed as a wedding gift, as seen in this photo, was worn for the cake cutting and photos of the bridal entourage. Roy was definitely not upstaged in the attire department. An all white ensemble through to an all black outfit with strategic changes in bow-ties and shoes ensured that he kept up with his new wife. I'd have to say that I witnessed for the first time, a groom in a pair of white Nikes embellished with hundreds of crystals, trendy indeed!

What I will remember most about the wedding is the celebratory atmosphere. They certainly know how to party. The exuberance of all - the couple, family, relatives, guests - made for a truly happy and memorable occasion. Congratulations again Ming and Roy! And have a fantastic honeymoon at the Six Senses in the Maldives!

Photo of the bridal party, shot during the wedding banquet in Kowloon, Hong Kong.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Auntie Janet

This past Christmas Day was extra meaningful. I, together with some of my extended family, a troupe of ten we were, made a day trip to Singapore to see Auntie Janet. Despite her illness, she was alert and we spent a couple hours of quality time together. The episode shed some light on a fact that we sometimes overlook, that family ties are paramount, whether in good times or bad.

Auntie Janet passed away today. I am comforted that we had the opportunity to say our personal goodbyes last Sunday. Rest in peace Auntie Janet.

For all of us who remain, in particular Uncle Mike, Aaron, Moses and their families, may we also find peace in our hearts.

A request from Auntie Janet to celebrate her life by donning colours.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

New Year's Day

2012 has arrived! Here's to new beginnings, new aspirations, new achieve-ments, new expe-riences.

This year, I shall maintain a positive outlook in all aspects of life. Keep fit and stay healthy. Work on my level of patience. Spend more time with family and friends. Travel the world. Love. Embrace new experiences that life offers.

A new year always gives me a shot in the arm in terms of optimism. I shall keep the faith, believe in fate, yet plot my own destiny. Have a fantastic and fabulous year everyone. Happy New Year!

Photo shot at Echo Beach in Canggu, Bali, Indonesia.