Thursday, May 26, 2016

Extended Family

I was telling a friend a few days ago that I was just in Hong Kong to witness the nuptials of my cousin Faiman and Camil, to which this friend commented that I had an extremely large extended family. I think that for some in my generation, a sizeable extended family is not too uncommon. Both my parents have numerous siblings, my grandparents too. The question is whether we make the effort to nurture relationships with such family members. 

The truth is, there are many relations whom we have already lost touch with, otherwise, my family would be even bigger. My aspiration is always to keep in touch with those who I have established relationships. It is not always easy. There are time constraints, at times language barriers, there is the distance for some, apathy from others, well, we can make as many excuses as we want to. But for those who make the effort like I do, I reciprocate. And the nascent bonds at the onset hopefully develop into long-lasting ones. 

There are those who are averse to building such relationships. I am not one of them. And as time catches up with us, the more I realise how important it is to have such family in my life. And therein lies the promise. 

Camil and Faiman at their wedding at Tin Shui Wai in Hong Kong.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Guilty Pleasures

Sometimes it is the simple pleasures that offer us some solace from the stress that is part and parcel of our work day. I get irritated easily, especially when deadlines are not met, when co-workers or collaborators are lackadaisical, when carelessness leads to delays, when clients are indecisive ... that's quite a list, no wonder the irritation. 

Anyway, back to my point. In times of stress, the simple pleasure that comforts me is a snack, a guilty pleasure no less. I can always count on a teh tarik, or perhaps a bag of chips, or a bar of chocolate, even better a slice of cake or multiple handfuls of cookies. Not entirely a healthy habit in the minds of the health-conscious but I am more than happy to indulge myself.

I don't smoke, I don't drink, but I have my share of indulgence. And if it puts me in a better disposition, I think why not? A few extra laps at the pool later will have to compensate. 

Toasted bun with butter and condensed milk plus a milk tea at Tsui Wah in Hong Kong. 

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Catch Up In Hong Kong

I was recently in Hong Kong for my cousin's wedding. I made it a point to arrive a day earlier from Kuala Lumpur before other members of my family so that I would have some time to catch up with a few friends, two Malaysians who live in Hong Kong and two locals. 

I have always been one to realise the importance of nurturing friendships and keeping in touch, and whilst our busy lives may prove challenging to do so, a little effort and proper time management help. Some forward planning - locking down dates and times to meet ahead of my trip - made it possible to catch up over a meal. Food aside, the highlight is certainly the conversation. Updates on the latest changes in our lives, personal revelations and the like, you get my drift. 

In the age of connectivity via social media, such gatherings in person are catalysts for maintaining the momentum online. The trick is to find a few minutes here and a couple of minutes there of free time, to just send a short message to say hi. We can then take it from there.

Mong Kok MTR in Kowloon, Hong Kong.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Penang Fam Trip

I was in Penang recently for a fam trip organised by Penang Global Tourism. Happy I was to have been able to meet and establish new friendships with wedding planners from Singapore and Hong Kong who were invited to see for themselves what Penang has to offer as a destination for weddings. 

Though rather hectic, it nevertheless gave us the opportunity to get to know one another and to visit the many venues that can host weddings, be it beach weddings, heritage or cultural celebrations. I also took the opportunity to extend my stay by a day in order to catch up with our local wedding partners in Penang. Some of these vendors have been long-time partners of weddingsmalaysia, and many have become good friends of mine. Having said that, we also look forward to nurturing nascent relationships that we have recently established with our newer partners. 

Over coffee and cake, we had the chance to catch up on the latest happenings, both in our work as well as in our personal lives. Taking the time to connect is always worthwhile.

Afternoon tea at D'Fat Mona Lisa Cafe in Penang, Malaysia.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Koh Lipe

Going on a holiday for the first time with friends is a somewhat interesting experience. Although we know each other well, a trip abroad is a more intimate experience and it is when one really gets to know the other on a more personal basis. 

I normally take a laissez-faire approach when it comes to such holidays. I let my friends decide on the flight plans, the travel itinerary, the activities to take part in, the restaurants to go to. I just go with the flow. Too many cooks spoil the broth is an adage I adopt when it comes to group travel, more so when it is a virgin trip with friends. 

My recent trip to Koh Lipe with Laura and Victor was one such trip. A beautiful island, though a tad troublesome to get to, it provided us with an opportunity to unwind and to relax amidst natural surrounds, with good company. Lazing on the beach on most days, enjoying meals with spectacular views, what more can one ask for. 

Victor, Laura and I at The Cliff, Koh Lipe, Thailand.