Friday, February 27, 2015

Chinese New Year Together

After having been friends for 27 years, it may come as a surprise that lunch on the 4th day of Chinese New Year this year was the first time all of us have spent the celebration together. This would not have been possible had Ken Lin and Sally not come down to KL from Penang. We then managed to convince our Hong Kong friend Elsie to fly in for the weekend from Kota Kinabalu where she was having a holiday.
As this was only decided in the week leading up to Chinese New Year, thanks also has to go to my friend Emily who secured us a table at Oriental Pavilion, Jaya 33. Suffice to say, the restaurant was extremely packed but that made the festive atmosphere even more enjoyable. Most importantly, it gave us all the opportunity to embark on the Year of the Goat together, carrying with us the aspirations that we hope to attain individually and as friends.
It is pretty rare for a friendship to have survived almost 3 decades. Much effort has been put in to nurture the relationships that we all share as a group, and while we may have gone our separate ways somewhat after completing our studies, the dedication and commitment to keep in touch have enabled us to remain good friends. And this one ought to appreciate.
Group shot at Oriental Pavilion, Jaya 33 in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Chinese New Year - 1st Day Movie With The Thoos

My extended family on my Mum's side is a sporting one. When a cousin suggested we head to the movies on the evening of the 1st day of Chinese New Year, all gladly accepted the invite. Tickets were pre-bought the evening before and eighteen of us gathered at the just-opened TGV at Jaya Shopping Centre.
I am not an avid TVB serial fan but some of my aunts, uncles and cousins are. So they chose 'Triumph In The Skies', a movie based on the same TVB series. Four love stories that end well, what's there not to like about the movie, especially when we wish for all good things in life during this festive season.
The last time we went to the movies as group was five years ago, also during Chinese New Year. There may be more such regular movie nights just yet haha.
With the Thoos at TGV, Jaya Shopping Centre in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia.

Chinese New Year - 1st Day At The Wongs

We always start the first day of Chinese New Year with a gathering at the Wong family home serving tea to our elders, exchanging auspicious greetings and sitting down to a vegetarian breakfast. It is a familiar practice but no less enjoyable year after year.
This year's celebration is made extra special with the return of my cousin Suk Leng from Sheffield, England, for the festivities. She has been away on studies and work for a number of years but made it a point to come back at an opportune time to join us in the celebrations.
There has always been talk of getting our other cousins who are scattered in Singapore, Australia and the United States to return en masse for a Chinese New Year gathering in the years to come. When that eventuates, it will indeed be a celebration to be reckoned with. Here's to that happening sooner, rather than later.
Wong extended family in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia.

Chinese New Year - Reunion Dinner

I always look forward to the extended family reunion dinner on the eve of Chinese New Year. Although my family gathers practically every other month for some sort of celebration or other, the reunion dinner still has special meaning as it is a tradition that I have enjoyed since childhood.
Typically, my Mum, sister and I will have a simple reunion lunch at home, and then later join my late father's side of the family for dinner, followed by a visit to my Mum's side of the family thereafter. Since my grandparents' passing, the reunion dinner has been a potluck, ensuring that the tradition of having an abundance of dishes remains intact. My late grandparents, particularly my grandfather, were great cooks and would cook up a storm every Chinese New Year, but nowadays, a potluck seems a much better way of contributing to the merriment.
In all, twelve dishes were had, testament to the Wong family's penchant for food.
Reunion dinner at the Wongs.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Chinese New Year Greeting

May the 'Year Of The Goat' bring you all that you dream of, all that you aspire to achieve and love in all its many forms. May we all also enjoy happiness, prosperity, good health, success, good fortune and peace.
Gong Xi Fa Cai!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Annual Chinese New Year Reunion

For the past seve-ral years, I have been privileged to be invited to an annual Chinese New Year reunion dinner among good friends that is always held at Overseas Restaurant in Imbi. Ranging from 3 to 4 tables, it is a very merry affair, with good food, a copious amount of drinks and most importantly the company of a group of wonderful, accepting friends.
Kudos needs to go out to the recurrent organisers, who year after year, without fail, send out the invites, manage the RSVPS, make the reservations, order the food, purchase the drinks and remind us with periodic updates of the impending celebration. Testament to the friendships that we have forged throughout the years, other than those of us living in the Klang Valley, some came from as far as Penang, Singapore, Hong Kong and Shanghai for this year's get together. A boisterous crowd we were, with happy sentiments set to last us throughout the new year ahead.
As the Year of the Goat beckons, I plan to dedicate the new year to nurturing and cementing friendships, particularly ones that have brought much meaning to my life.
Reunion dinner on 14 February 2015. Photo courtesy of Lim Han San.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Pre-CNY Dinner

Shirley, Bunny and Nabil have been friends of mine for a long time, particular the former two, who were my colleagues when I first started my career in advertising. Through the years, our friendships have become stronger and more personal. We have each other's back and no topic is off limits.
We make it a point to meet as often as we can, a meal at least once a month or at the worst once every two months. Other times, we keep ourselves updated on each other's lives via a Whatsapp group. And with Chinese New Year just round the corner, a dinner was of course a must before we went our separate ways to celebrate with our own extended families.

As always good food was the perfect complement to great company.

Photo shot at Noble Mansion in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Alan Hong's Visit

27 years is a long time. The last time we met was that long ago, in Adelaide. So it was great to have been able to catch up with Alan during his whirlwind visit to KL last week. An hour over coffee to catch up on 27 years' worth of news. Facebook has made reconnecting much easier but it is never the same as meeting in person.
I am glad we had the opportunity to meet despite Alan's visit being such a short one. Hopefully KL has made a good enough impression to warrant future holidays, and perhaps with a longer stay, it may be possible to round up our other friends for a reunion of sorts.
It is always reassuring to know that friendships that were developed years ago can still be nurtured despite the distance and the lengthy absence of personal contact. Suffice to say, effort is required, but the rewards are worthwhile. As the Chinese New Year celebrations beckon, I look forward to reconnecting with many more friends and indeed, perhaps the Year of the Goat is one that I should dedicate to nurturing friendships.
Alan and I at Espressemente at Pavilion KL, Malaysia.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Company Trip 2015

This year I decided on Bangkok for our company trip. Easily accessible, affordable, great food, wonderful shopping and most importantly, hassle free planning. The group was smaller this time round as some members of our team are expecting and wisely made the choice to opt out of the trip.
Colleagues travelling together provides the opportunity to bond and nurture relationships as well as to mend fences if feathers have been ruffled over the past year. A relaxed atmosphere also allows any grievances to be raised, addressed and taken care of, ensuring a smooth-sailing year ahead.
May we all work harder, earn more, and enjoy another great holiday next year.
Prior to departure at KLIA2, Malaysia.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Godparents' Visit

My godparents from Adelaide were in town recently for a visit. As they both love Malaysian food immense-ly, scrumptious breakfasts and dinners were in order on a daily basis. We started each day and ended each evening enjoying each other's company over wonderful meals that our country is so well-known for.
My godparents have been friends with my parents since I was a kid. And when I was studying in Adelaide, they opened their home to me during holidays and took me out for meals so very often. I am glad that we make the effort to nurture a relationship that has evolved over many decades of our lives.
There are one or two more visits planned for the year. Having retired from their jobs, they spend their time travelling the world and make Malaysia a pit-stop if routes permit. And when they do drop by, there will be more feasting in store.
Dinner at Double Happiness Restaurant in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia.