Sunday, January 25, 2015

Baby Shower For My Buddies

The second cele-bration of the year which I was honoured to be part of was the baby shower for my good friends Leticia and Tjun Hong. Held on 4 January, the party was one that required much planning in advance, as schedules of all the guests had to be coordinated. Kudos must go to the organising team who pulled off an intimate and meaningful brunch.
As Leticia and Tjun Hong prepare to start a new chapter in their lives with the impending arrival of baby Laena, we were there not only to wish them well, but also to acknowledge the friendship that we have forged and nurtured over the years. Over food, drink and hilarious banter, the moments captured both through photos and our memories will further enrich our lives as friends.
May the next chapter of your lives be an exciting and fulfilling one Leticia and Tjun Hong. And please remember the note I left on the wishing tree ... 'Please make sure baby doesn't cry when I am around!' Have fun you two!
Smiling for the cameras.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Remembering Dad

My cousin Kiat Ken in London sent me this photo this morning. Every 23rd January, he has a drink to remember my father. They used to enjoy drinks together whenever he was in town visiting family. If I am not mistaken, this annual commemoration is with a drink from a bottle of either whiskey or brandy that my Mum gave him from my dad's collection 5 years ago. Another cousin of mine Lynette, does the same every year, with a shot of brandy. Apparently, it is the only time of year that she drinks.

I guess we all have our own ways of remembering our loved ones who have passed on. Most importantly, the fond memories that always remain in our hearts are what matter.

Remembering dad on the 5th anniversary of his passing.

Photo courtesy of my cousin Kiat Ken.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Uncle Nga's 80th Birthday

The first cele-bration of the year was indeed a milestone to be appre-ciative of, Uncle Nga's 80th birthday. Having only returned from New Year's in Taipei on the 2nd, I was honoured to be part of the guest list on the 3rd, a gathering of extended family and friends on a memorable evening.
I think I've known the Ngas all my life, and although not blood-related, we've come to consider them family. Indeed, we are bound to get together for extended family meals during festivals and birthdays, where good food and banter are perfect catalysts for cementing relationships.

Here's to many more birthdays Uncle Nga. Good health always!

The Ngas.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

A Shared Enthusiasm

Having a common interest, a shared enthusiasm and a bit of compromise make travelling with friends a pleasure. Kay, Marcus, Han San and I decided to spend New Year's Eve exploring Yehliu Geopark and combing the narrow lanes of Jiufen prior to joining the rest of our friends for a grand dinner and countdown to welcome the New Year back in Taipei. Although I sometimes travel solo, more often than not, trips that I take are usually either with family or friends. Whilst the former allows some measure of independence, the latter on the other hand provides an opportunity to share experiences that one encounters during the journey.
Sampling a variety of food, posing for photos, exchanging thoughts on shopping, good-natured banter and most importantly enjoying each other's company are some of the pros of group travel. And when plans are made in advance and made well, a pleasant and memorable trip is more or less almost a guarantee.
Here's to more travels in 2015.
Kay, Han San, Marcus and I in Jiufen, Taiwan. Photo courtesy of Kay.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Cousin In Taipei

My cousin Lincoln, originally from Hong Kong, has been based in Taipei for a couple of years now, as he is a co-owner of Artista Perfetto, a café which I managed to visit when I was in Taipei for the recent year-end holidays. I often make it a point to catch up with friends and relatives, when they happen to be in a city which I am travelling to.

I am one who values family ties and when that is reciprocated, then I will make every effort to meet whenever possible. I surprised myself at the relative ease of locating Lincoln's café, considering that a sense of direction is not one of my strongest suits. And having decided to drop by impromptu, I was lucky that he was at the café, despite it being his day off.

After having taken the obligatory photographs documenting the visit to be sent to our extended family, we had a good chat, among others, on life in Taipei and its attributes that appealed to him, prompting the decision to set up shop in a city away from home. Though only a short visit, it definitely gave us an opportunity to share news on the latest happenings in our lives and those of our families.

With cousin Lincoln at his café Artista Perfetto in Taipei, Taiwan.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Year End Holidays

Year end holidays are always a time of enjoy-ment, especially when one is travelling with a group of good friends. Friends who share similar interests and yet who are comfortable enough to go our separate ways from time to time to explore on our own. Such flexibility and understanding make group travel a pleasure.
Spending the last few days of 2014 and ringing in the New Year in Taipei was indeed a memorable experience, where camaraderie and fellowship were the main ingredients that ensured a festive atmosphere. It is at times like this that one is reminded of the great value of friendship that we sometimes take for granted.
As I embark on a new year, I take with me a reminder to always make time for friends. When the opportunity arises, take it. Otherwise, create opportunities instead. A good motto to live by indeed.
New Year's Eve dinner at Orange Shabu in Daan, Taipei in Taiwan.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Catching Up In Taipei

One of the highlights of my year-end trip to Taipei last year was the oppor-tunity to catch up with my friend Felix. The last time we met was at his wedding in Guam in April 2013. Since then, he has become a father, and it was a pleasure to spend some time with his family.
I was travelling with a group of friends and decided to stay on in Taipei for the first few days of the trip while the others headed straight to Tainan upon arrival in Taiwan. Other than having the chance to meet with Felix and family, it also provided me with some time to explore the city on my own, having not visited since I was eleven.
Felix and I became friends while he was studying and I working, in the ski resort of Leysin in Switzerland many years ago. We used to cook up a storm and enjoyed many meals together that reminded us of home. At times we would invite our Swedish friends Johan and Tom to join us too, and the former is one who I have kept in touch with as well. As always, we had a good time reminiscing about the past and sharing our plans for the future. Most importantly, such meetings cement ties and strengthen friendships that have been nurtured over the years.
With Felix, Ting and baby Elena, enjoying Ting's birthday lunch in a village in Daxi, Taiwan.