Thursday, April 26, 2012

At The Right Place At The Right Time

My good friends Eileen and Richard are relocating to Yangon from Phnom Penh. After a couple of years in the Cambodian capital, a new challenge beckons for the both of them, an opportunity that was too good to pass on. So to the land of Aung San Suu Kyi they head.

It must be an exciting time to make this move. Recent political developments signal a gradual return to the international stage for Myanmar and being in the midst of it all will be an experience of a lifetime. A case of being at the right place at the right time.

So all the best Eileen and Richard. I now have an excuse to visit Myanmar sooner rather than later. Yangon, Bagan, Mandalay, places that I'd like to see. The Road To Mandalay, an experience I want to save up for.

Eileen, Richard and I at Echo Beach in Canggu, Bali, Indonesia.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Out Of The Woods

I've not been entirely myself the past couple of weeks due to a number of reasons. But I am finally seeing the clearing and am slowly making my way out of the woods.

Little setbacks in life make one stronger. For those of us who are able to put situations in perspective, we emerge stronger, we become a better version of ourselves. We learn from our bad judgement, realise that we should never repeat them, and move forward again with renewed faith and hope.

A step forward a day, so they say. Little by little, we regain the trust we had in our instincts, we walk with a little more spring in our steps. Here's to fully embracing what the future may hold.

Photo shot at the DMZ in Korea.

Saturday, April 21, 2012


We've been visiting Ku-Poh every night for the past week, while at hospital, while at home. We sent her on her final journey today.

I will always remember Ku-Poh for her culinary skills and generosity. Living just a 5-minute drive away from my home, she has been dropping by with food from time to time as far as I can remember, from my childhood right up till last year. She would ring the door bell and come in for a chat. If we were out, she would come by again later, making sure that we were the happy recipients of the gastronomic delight she had lovingly prepared that day.

My paternal grandfather's youngest sister, Ku-Poh's home was our fourth stop, and in recent years our third stop for visits, on the first day of Chinese New Year. There, we would devour tin after tin of her homemade prawn crackers, a ritual we would repeat year after year. We hope the tradition continues even after her passing. Some of us will miss her goreng pisang, others her curry powder concoction, acar, the list goes on. Most of all, we will miss her loving and caring demeanour. May you rest in peace Ku-Poh.

Photo of Ku-Poh, shot during Chinese New Year 2009.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Living Vicariously

Sometimes a setback acts as a catalyst for us to live more vicariously. It pushes us off the ledge that we have been afraid to jump off. If playing safe hasn't yielded the desired outcomes, then perhaps it may pay to embrace a little bit more risk.

Life takes us on a winding journey. One turn may lead to joy and jubilation, whilst another may take us into the depths of despair. And when we have hit rock bottom, then the only way to go is up. While on the ricochet, the brave are those who take bigger strides, larger leaps.

I am on my way out of the woods, after my own setback of sorts. I am embracing the adage 'you only live once, so what the heck'. Living vicariously, it should be an exciting ride.

Trekking between Chisapani and Sundarijal in Nepal.

Sunday, April 15, 2012


We take it for granted at times but meeting up with good friends over a meal or tea can do wonders to one's emotional state. It is emphatically uplifting.

I've certainly not been in the best frame of mind the past week or so. And my inner circle have come to the rescue. My closest confidantes, they know me in and out. We are there for each other when the need arises. Whether virtually or in person, they have done their best to lift my spirits and talk some sense into me.

Inner circle aside, I also appreciate my other close friends, the crazy, zany ones, the more thoughtful and contemplative ones, the blunt and take-no-prisoners types, for they all contribute to my well-being, one way or another. It is during challenging times that one thanks one's lucky stars for the friends in life.

Absolutely delicious potato dish at Chef Choi, Kuala Lumpur, shot by Han San.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Looking Forward

When a door closes, another opens. True. It rings true for those of us who face a closure, perhaps closure to a chapter of our lives. A new beginning beckons.

With closure comes relief, sometimes sadness, at other times elation. We end a chapter of our lives, whether long or short, and work towards the upcoming future with perseverance, faith and hope.

I am embarking on such a new beginning. I am grateful for the past but yet have to embrace the future.

Photo of beach in Hua Hin, Thailand.

Saturday, April 7, 2012


Initiative is something that I have become accustomed to. I take the initiative, whether for work or if it revolves around my personal life.

The good thing about taking the initiative is that one is in control to a certain extent. I know what I want to achieve and I go for it. Fair and good when one is in full control, where the resultant outcome of one's actions solely depends on the latter. It becomes a bit more tricky when there are other individuals involved, be it co-workers, friends, family members, a loved one, whose actions, inaction or lackadaisical response contribute partly to the outcome. As some of my friends would say, here is where one has to be patient. There are some areas of life that are beyond one's control. It's best to do what is necessary, to the best of one's ability, and then leave the rest to unfold, whether favourably or otherwise.

Patience has never been one of my better virtues. And being somewhat of a control-freak at times, alright I concede, most of the time, makes me easily frustrated when desired outcomes take too long to manifest. This is one aspect of my life that is a constant struggle, and one that needs constant improvement. I understand it rationally, but putting the good into practice can be difficult emotionally. Fortunately, I have good friends who know me well. I accept it graciously when they tell me off, when they give me a lecture when I exhibit signs of being unreasonable or insecure, when I gripe one too many a time. I appreciate their concern, their words of advice, their kind intentions. I listen and I try to improve. And occasionally, I succeed in feeling better and more upbeat. The challenge now really, is to get from occasionally to often.

Relaxing by the pool at Evason Hua Hin in Thailand.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Hua Hin

I've just spent a couple of wonderful days at Evason Hua Hin. Approx-imately three hours by car from Suvarna-bhumi Airport in Bangkok, half an hour from Hua Hin town centre per se, the resort is relatively private and a great place to chill and relax.

Days spent lazing by the pool, soaking up the sun, an ice cold drink or ice cream every now and then whilst on a sun-lounger, a state of bliss really. Quiet dinners with good company, the soothing sound of the waves, the hush of the sea breeze, what more could one ask for.

It is during such times that I take time to reflect on how fortunate I am. Fortunate to have the opportunity to travel, fortunate to have the chance of a stay at Evason Hua Hin, fortunate to have good weather, fortunate to indulge in delicious meals, fortunate to be in good company. Appreciation and gratitude lead to even greater experiences in the future. This I do believe.

Photo of the pool and beach at Evason Hua Hin, Thailand.