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 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.