Sunday, December 30, 2012

The Tip of Peninsular Malaysia

Hello everyone, I'm back in town and hope all is well out there. I can't deny the fact that since October actually, my schedule has been quite upbeat till today. Work aside, there are other things in life that needs attention and I am grateful to Almighty for the utmost inner strength that was handed down to me over the past few months.

While most of you fly across the ocean for peace, I just had to cross the sea. How convenient!

When I was young, my parents brought me around Malaysia a lot for holiday. You name it, I've been to all states in West Malaysia. (But, if you want to cheat, you can always drive up then back down) That was because my siblings and I were still young, and my late grandmother was not suited to fly so Malaysia was always the ultimate destination when it comes to holiday. In which, I'm proud to say that my dad somehow knew the road in Malaysia a little better than some other. My family and I probably deserve a certificate of appreciation for that. Only kidding!

Since this year my family and I were busy, we hadn't had the opportunity to spend time together so we decided to just stay at one of the resorts in Johor, formally known as Johor Darul Ta'zim. While the room service was faster than I thought, there's a lot to be done on the cleaning. Vacuum cleaning is an imperative skill but clearly, it is not the cleaner's forte. Or is it because I'm overly hygienic when it comes to travel? I don't know.

The journey started with horse riding (again!) with my beloved nephews before checking in. Apparently there was a little misunderstanding on the timing initially but I'm grateful it was all sorted out. I'm happy that my nephews were elated that day. Mission to make two kids happy accomplished!

I finally had the chance to set foot on one of Malaysia's latest attraction and from a person who has not crossed borders for a long time I am pretty sure there is progress in Malaysia. I mean all these while when I visited Malaysia, I was a little pessimistic about it. Same old facade, deteriorating buildings, abandoned projects and what not. Well that was then when I thought every country in the world should be like home but home is tad to perfect really. When the fact is, it is common to see what we see in Malaysia in other parts of the world too, be it its positive or negative aspect. Oh what have we become, Singapore. Just hope our small country doesn't make our people small minded.

Apart from the new plastic note and newly built checkpoint, there are new projects around Iskandaria that is on the way or already up. But Singaporean investors confidence remains questionable as crime rate is still sky high.

Anyway one of their latest attraction I went to was Legoland! Word has it that Legoland are for kids and it has never been so true. It kinda bring back my memory as a kid, playing Lego, not cleaning them up after playing and then got scolded with my late grandmother because she accidentally stood on one of the Lego pieces. You know how much it hurts, especially when you stood on it unexpectedly.

Going to Legoland is like going to Art of Brick exhibition at the Art Science Museum. Only magnified! Look at the making of Christmas tree video. Just look at the weight!

Honestly, Legoland is huge for kids. Definitely more enjoyable for them. It's a whole new world. It's definitely more colorful and the things there are just mini. Even their most thrilling roller coaster is kid friendly. Height is a secondary issue. As much as I enjoy and recommend you parents to go there with your kids, (if you have a kid who can walk and talk at least), maybe you might really want to look at the time you're going. It was not really pleasant to wait in a long queue and torrid weather. You know how kids behave when they are lethargic and impatient. I spent the entire time praying for this thing called Express Pass to be available but no it did not happen. It is not available in Malaysia yet I think? Nothing works better than hope!

If none of your family members are kids, know that it's a pretty wholesome theme park for adult family too because I know for sure I can't convince my mum to ride something like Formula Rossa or Big Shot no matter how eligible she is. So, don't think of it as just a theme park for kids. It is indeed a family friendly theme park.

There goes my short break. Hope this entry is entertaining and informative enough for you readers. Thank you for visiting my humble blog. Also, I would like to take this opportunity to apologize to my alumni mates for not being able to attend the reunion BBQ that was organized last week as I was not able to reach Singapore on time. Know that all of you are always in my mind! I kinda crave for some barbecued sausages and otah.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

A Week in Fine City: Singapore (II)

ArtScience Museum
It was my first time going to the world's first ArtScience Museum which hosts popular touring exhibitions like The Art of Brick, Fujians and the renowned Harry Potter: The Exhibition. For the price you are paying, in my opinion, it is economically wise to purchase the entry to all exhibition because different exhibit surely gives different experience.

There's not much to say but feel itself.

The Fujians: The Blue Ocean Legacy exhibit shows a lot about Chinese history and the impact it made in Singapore, as well as how different people of different races and religion live harmoniously during the Song and Yuan dynasty in Guangzhou. It also shows 2,000 year old ocean route of sea-faring Fujians from early trade to mass migration. Very interesting, especially for those who kept asking why do they see Chinese in almost every part of the world. There sure be a Chinatown in most countries!

The Magnum photo exhibition, Outside In displays photographs from three lauded photographers; Stuart Franklin, Mark Power and Jacob Aue Sobol. The installations were magnificent. Well spaced, well lit, as compared to The Fujians where I had to be a little bit more cautious. As much as I love most of the photographs, I'd appreciate it more if they have a booklet with detailed captions.

Dhany and I really enjoyed The Art of Brick - the first major museum exhibition to use Lego as a sole art medium. You know when we entered the exhibit and there was this warning sign that says 'Do Not Touch', I've always wondered what would happen if a naughty kid runs around and hit one of the installations and it crumbles into pieces? Come one, it's Lego and you can detach the brick as easy as breathing.

The question is, do I pay for the damage(s) in cash, or do I have to sit there and redo the entire thing? Just a curious thought. Nevertheless, I could not be more impressed by this above all not because doing it is tedious. I think doing it is simple because you're just joining blocks but how patient can you be joining a few thousand Lego bricks, just for one installation? I'm sure Nathan Sawaya is earning big bucks for the time he had spent with inexpensive toy. These days, not many has that kind of patience. I'd be disappointed if I ever find out he uses a machine to produce this. Hah!

 One of the installations in The Art of Brick

Tip: Find out the exhibitions the museum are having and read about them before coming. At least you won't be too lost. Only certain exhibitions has a chargeable audio guide. You're lucky if it's complimentary.

Gardens By The Bay
Gardens By The Bay is relatively new. It opened in late June 2012 and I bet only a handful of you appreciate its engineering. When I stayed at Marina Bay Sands hotel about a year ago, I've always wondered how the two domes and supertrees were constructed. There are many tall buildings in Singapore from public flats to office buildings so we tend to ignore anything that looks smaller just like the two domes and the supertrees.

I don't know the technical and engineering specifics of the construction but what I know is that the supertrees are actually exhaust pipes to the self-sustaining air cooler in the Cloud Forest. It's not just for show after all, they are functional. I recommend you to watch National Geographic's Megastructures: Gardens By The Bay.

The Flower Dome is very cheery, probably because of the scent and the saturated colour from the flowers. Dhany and I just can't get enough inhaling the air and taking deep breaths. Good thing Christmas is around the corner so the dome is donned with Christmas decorations. Not wanting to take photographs would be an opportunity wasted. It's like we patrons agreed that the decorations are beautiful when we helped each other to take photographs!

The Cloud Forest is chilly and may seem dull at first. I really should have read a little bit more on the Cloud Forest because it was really, really chilly. We should have brought a sweater with us. The Cloud Forest may seem dull at first because you don't see colorful flowers around and all that's attracting you is the man made waterfall. But as you go up to the top and follow the path, then you'll get to see more. I felt a little giddy walking on the trail because it was so high that the people below really look like ants. Just when you thought the dome isn't that bag and high. I've got it all wrong! It was fun though because you'll have a vantage point of the outdoor garden and Marina Barrage.

Tip: If you're going to Cloud Forest, bring a sweater. Not winter wear, okay?

Dinner at J's Wok
J's Wok is one of the many restaurants that incorporates food business and charity. The profit that the restaurant earn goes to Jamiyah Organization - Muslim Missionary Society Singapore that gives welfare to children and the aged. So while there are many other concept restaurants that we can go, Dhany and I went to J's Wok for dinner with my relatives for they have known Dhany when we were in Jakarta. While the menu serves Western, there are still options for Asian cuisine. After dinner we spent about an hour going for karaoke. Heh! It has been a while! Thanks to my relatives for the dinner and karaoke treat!

Singapore Flyer
That day I visited the Singapore Flyer, I began to lost count on how many times have I rode it. The first time was in 2009 with Nat, Faz and Fiz, then there's Grand Prix, and then with my colleagues, and several other times which I forgot.

I may have lost count but that doesn't mean I'm used to riding the Singapore Flyer. At times, I do feel the anxiety being on Singapore Flyer. But this time is a little unique because my dad joined us during the tour. At least I feel a little safer with my dad around! There were only seven people in the cabin: my dad, Dhany and I, and a family of four from the Emirates.

What's so uniqe about having my dad on board?

Tips: Don't be scared, take the map in the capsule and have a read. You might want to avoid riding it at night if you're there for real sight seeing. Otherwise all you see are flickering lights. I've tried both!
On board, he explained to us what would happen when the Singapore Flyer stops functioning. Just like what was broadcasted in the news, the survival kit is just one thing. I had no idea there's this thing called dry toilet! I just can't imagine being stuck, having to do my business in a glass capsule with other people on board with no privacy. So before boarding, remember to say your prayers!

But should any breakdown occur, the Singapore Civil Defence Force has my full trust. I always believe they are capable of saving lives and does a good job in rescue missions because they do them regularly. We have all the state of the art equipment but the trouble with saving people these days is just like how my dad put it;

"Actually the mission is easy, but one capsule can hold thirty passengers. And on this wheel there are twenty eight. So if it breaks down, do you think everybody wants to come down?"

Guess we can't put much blame on our superheroes for not saving them, remember that there are many other in other capsules who will want to get down real badly.

My dad has my respect for his career in the uniformed group and almost every work day he has a mission to attend. There are many stories he shared with my family and I, which gives us a lot of learning point from his working experience.

That sums up my holiday in Singapore. I hope you readers find this informative and entertaining!

I am not writing a review, I don't get paid and I don't get sponsored as what most would have asked and thought. I am just sharing my experience for my reader's benefit on what I went through as a tourist and host.

Special thanks to my family for the wonderful help, my relatives who came by for dinner and karaoke, and of course, Dhany, I do hope you have enjoyed your stay here!

A Week in Fine City: Singapore (I)

If 2NE1 and Beyonce did their world tour, I did my island tour. Not that rich to do a world tour on my own. I had my vacation in my homeland and like any other tourists, I am pretty impressed.

A good friend of mine, Dhany from Jakarta, Indonesia came a week ago so I got to kill two birds in one stone. I won't write much but I will highlight to you some points and maybe tips for you to take note if it's gonna help. This post goes to you tourists and of course, my fellow Singaporeans. The world is just too big to venture for a one week vacation.

National Museum of Singapore
Let's start of with the basic. The first place we went when my friend arrived, we went to the National Museum and here's why it should be the first activity on your itinerary. While most would have gone to the mall upon arrival, I think it is important to expose yourself to the Singapore culture and history for better understanding. Then you won't have much of a cultural shock. Its entry is cheap yet rich in culture, history and information that even I, as a Singaporean didn't know. Then you'll understand why the Singaporean Chinese, Malays and Indians are just different from their native counterparts. So if you're heading to Singapore, I recommend you to visit the Singapore Living Galleries and Singapore History Gallery before going anywhere else. It's gonna be a plus point for you if you're going to head to places like Chinatown, Little India, or Kampong Glam. Then on you'll be able to see how much these places have changed and progess.

I've never been so interested in history until I went there. Hands down, I did not fare so well for my Histroy exam when I was in secondary school. A subject which I avoid doing totally.

Tip: Visit the Singapore Living Galleries and Singapore History Gallery. You might want to spend more time there with the complimentary multi-lingual audio guide.

Malay Heritage Centre
My family, Dhany and I went for breakfast at Kampong Glam for there's an array of traditional Malay dishes, followed by a tour at the Malay Heritage Centre. That place was lovely sight with well manicured shrubs, clean, simple and decent facade. Although Singapore is just a red dot on the world map, the Malay culture here is influenced a lot by the countries she is surrounded by. I must say it has a lot of information on the modern landscape of Singapore's Malay society but it lack on how the Malays were during the colonial times. They should have displayed more permanent exhibits like the metamorphosis of the Malay scripts which begins from Sanskrit and now, Roman alphabets, and how the majority of the Malays in this archipelago has evolved from being animists, adherents of Hinduism then Islam through trade.

I happen to read a lot on Malay history because it is more complex than I thought, which is why I thought it lack a lot of things. And for its complexity, this is one of the reason why I avoid answering questions on Malay society and its religious belief. Not that I can answer all but not many would be able to comprehend its intricacy. After all, that place is called Malay Heritage Centre for a reason so it would have been better if they cover on what happened in the Malay Archipelago as well.

The Malay Heritage Centre just reopened in September 2012 after going through one and a half year of renovation works. The painting is still fresh!

Tip: Wear a simple footwear if you mind taking time taking them out. No footwear is allowed in the Malay Heritage Centre permanent exhibition.

Shopping at Bugis Street
Dhany and I also went to Bugis Street so that she can enjoy the best retail deal in Singapore and she was amazed by the name of it. She was saying that back in Indonesia there is an ethnic group named Bugis. She's not wrong at all. Bugis Street was indeed occupied by the people of Bugis then. Amazing what Sir Stamford Raffles did to Singapore then. In a way it makes Singapore histroy easier to understand because it has been so called organized by area.

At Bugis Street, don't just be prepared to shop till you drop, but be prepared for the crowd and potential pickpockets. Although Singapore's crime rate is one of the lowest in the world, it's safer if you remain vigilant. No, you don't have to padlock your bag!

Tip: Cash is the most acceptable mode of payment, credit cards are acceptable too. There's money changer there as well should you are short of cash.

There they have a lot of apparels and accessories for sale. Mostly for teenagers while the older ones can cross over and head to Bugis Junction where there's a relatil mall there. You can get local souvenirs at Bugis Street too. In my point of view, Bugis is one of the best places to shop because the things sold are trendy, affordable and you have a choice to let your teenage kids shop at Bugis Street while you parents shop at Bugis Junction or Bugis+ mall.

On the downside, some shops don't allow you to try on the apparels (especially womens), it's either they don't allow you to try them out at all, or you'll have to buy, then try them in the toilet, if it doesn't fit, you can exchange for another size. So that really depends on the type of shopper your are.

It's not much of a cheating technique, just that it's a weird policy I don't wish to abide and avoid as a consumer.

Tip: Wear something light because it can be very stuffy at certain parts of Bugis Street and who knows, you can try some outfit by wearing them over?

On Aura Tout Vu Fashion Show and Closing Party
Before Dhany came, I messaged her to bring something nice for her to dress up as she'll be treated to a surprise.

Little did she know that she will be attending a fashion show. So when we reached Marina Bay Sands, she was surprised by the unexpected event. She thought I was going to bring her out to some fancy restaurant! Well, Dhany, I really hope you really enjoyed the haute couture fashion show and the closing party. Definitely a crazy night for us!

The closing party was bizzare!

Jurong Bird Park
It is shameful that as a Singaporean, we don't see what our country has got to offer. Jurong Bird Park is Asia's largest bird park and I had no idea until I visited their website. The last time I went to Jurong Bird Park was when I was what, fifteen? Proud to say that for a long time I've not been there, I remember that place quite well. Large probably doesn't seem so large to me anymore I suppose? Only kidding! My legs were wobbling by the end of the walkthrough. Shagged! I wonder how Dhany survived in heels. As she puts it, suffer for fashion!

Feeding the lory was the highlight and I really, really recommend you park goers to go there. For just SGD$3, you can get close to the lories, feel them in your hands and hear these cute creatures chirp and get comfortable with you. It felt so ticklish when one of them perched on my shoulder and started licking around my neck and ears. Very playful little birds.

One even stood on Dhany's head! Glad that that did not freak her out.

Do take your time reading the exhibit info! Not all parrots and are the same apparently. Just when I thought they are like humans with different hair colour, they are in fact humans with different races.

We were supposed to go to Singapore Zoo and Night Safari but the weather is just not on our side on the two days we planned. I guess Jia Jia and Kai Kai don't want to see us. Or is God telling us to wait till the River Safari's construction is complete and open to public? I love animals (except for some) so going to these places is kinda huge for me.

Tip: Check the weather forecast before going to the above mentioned places as these places adopts open concept exhibit.

Universal Studios Singapore
In attempt to be the tourists prime destination in Asia, Universal Studios Singapore (USS) is Southeast Asia's first movie theme park built.

It is small as compared to the ones in other contries but that does not mean you can't have the same adrenaline rush and fun here. Besides, it's Dhany's first visit and it is an adrenaline junkie's dream to try out the rides at Universal Studios.

There are several preparation that needs to be done before going. I kinda forgot what  should we prepare for before going so I had to refer back to my 15 tips entry (click here) before going to USS. Should you want to come to Singapore and have a blast at USS, avoid the monsoon period. It is not worth it if it rains. It will only dampen your spirit and probably your wallet too because tickets are charged peak period. Nonetheless, I am very grateful that it did not rain that day but it started to drizzle when it was about to close.

The new ride, Transformers was so amazing we took them thrice. Very thrilling without giving you a heart attack like the Battlestar. Didn't had the time to go for the Mummy again though. If you plan to go there again, you might want to wait for Sesame Street to open!

That day at Sentosa, I have never felt so lucky and I have no other to thank but the Almighty.

Tip: Read the 15 tips before going to Universal Studios. (click here)


Monday, December 3, 2012

Haute Couture Fashion Week 2012, Singapore

For the lack of better word, it was amazing. But I'm sure it's paradise to those who loves a good champagne, nice TWG tea and its macarons.

This year's haute couture fashion week is different for me because all these while, fashion events that I have attended to are the ones in permanent building like event halls but this is the first time I am attending to the one in a big tent. It felt a little bit like Aladdin's tent. Plain on the outside but magic on the inside.

A quick information on the shows that I went and I recommend you to check them out if you're interested in fashion. If you're not, I recommend you check them out as well for cultural exposure. Cultural exchange is not limited to overseas trip only!
  1. Asava by Polpat Asavaprapha (Thailand)
  2. Barney Cheng (Hong Kong)
  3. Junko Shimada (Japan)
  4. Yumi Katsura (Japan)
  5. Maurizio Galante (France)
  6. Julien Fournie (France)
  7. Christophe Josse (France)
  8. Atelier Gustavolins (France)
  9. Alexis Mabille (France)
  10. On Aura Tout Vu (France)
I remember giving a rough explanation on what haute couture is all about last year because I was that noob to even know how to pronounce that word. I used to pronounce it confidently as 'hot-ketua'. What the? Laugh all you want, I know most of you people in my circle don't even know how to pronounce that French word too. Will see who'll have the last laugh. Only kidding!

At this year's event, I learnt that not anyone can be a haute couture designer. Seriously. I am not talking about the kind of hard where people could say "Just design something really intricate and nice, poof, you're an haute couture designer." No. Apparently it's a little bit like if you want to be a property agent. You have to pass like an exam to be certified and recognized one. They have a union that governs this, unbeknownst to me.

Up till today, you have no idea how impressed I am with the details of just one dress. Sure not many would wear it on a day to day basis but in a way, it expresses ones vision and imagination on a dress. Of course, being impressed doesn't mean I like everything that I see. It's art and it's only natural. Probably all would agree with me that as nice as these dresses are, have you ever wondered how are they gonna;
  1. Keep and transport them (but there's DHL)
  2. Get into the car.
  3. Sit on a chair to have a meal.
  4. Take a leak or a dump. Sure Kumar would joke about sarees but he'd probably have not seen this!
  5. Better yet, run from a robber.
I am very grateful to be able to attend this year's event anyway. Very, very grateful. Thanks a bunch, with cherry on top to my family who helped me out just so I could attend this event. So thank you to all of you. Hopefully the ones who're suppose to be surprised are surprised too. They are people like S, A and D. Did those initials just spelt sad? Funny.

Not forgetting the new people I got acquainted with! You guys just made this experience more vibrant. I will e-mail to all you fans when I am free. This week has been hectic and lord knows why. Will share it with all of you people next week!

Have a great week everyone! This is your final sprint before the year 2013!

For more pictures, you can always view my Instagram profile if you're too shy to follow me. I won't bite! Check out The full album is in my Facebook! Gonna miss you!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

November's Ride

Hello everyone, it has been awhile since I last wrote and I am writing today to share with you several pieces of good news.

I am proud that you have attained an exceptional result. Know that what you have gotten now is the result of your very own input and you are one of the many living examples that show hard work is the key to great results.

I would like to thank all of my friends and relatives for congratulating me for one of my latest achievements. This success does not belong solely to me and it is only right to be shared with all of you. Yes, I will be determined to work harder next time! For now, let's concentrate on what is left and make it an eventful one. So far, I am happy that the elephant in the room has left. This is definitely a great time to make things right to the way it were, roll up my sleeves and start fresh on a high gear.

There are no major events this early month as I am preparing for what's coming in a few weeks time. My free time now is constricted with preparation for upcoming events in December at work. With Christmas, new year and leave to clear, I cannot afford to be sick or have my schedule screwed up. Which is why I took this weekend's play time very, very passionately.

This morning my friends and I went for breakfast at The Line at Shangri-La, Singapore. I felt a little seasick from taking the cab and the food made it all go away. I started with cheese croissant, which is one of my favorites for it is a combination of my two favorite food. Alongside with several slices of watermelon and strawberries. I really needed those energy boosting food because last night I was back late from a private event and dinner with my one of my friends and after that with relatives. There was more to breakfast than what was mentioned. Not forgetting huge waffles topped with vanilla ice cream and strawberries! I was that close to canceling my other plans to stay there but I have a stable of horses waiting for me.

After breakfast we headed off to Johor for horse riding. I really missed riding since two years ago when one of my friends, R. Wong introduced it to me. It was amazing for it is a humble place, away from the hustle and bustle. But what's hustling and bustling is probably me talking and laughing away while the horse was trotting in the jungle and plantation. I must say the first time I went I was pretty amazed by how close the riding place is to my home. It is so close, yet so far. Nevertheless, I appreciate it still. I will be there again next week. This time, not with a crowd. I do hope my two little fellows are happy to join me today. Thank you, Mos!

After riding, we were then driven to Thistle for dinner at Glass. Surprisingly, our Singaporean legend, Fandi Ahmad was in the building. I was drafting this post on my iPad at the lobby for the free WiFi when I saw him walking at the lobby. I was a little starstruck! It could be a lucky sign that I might be famous like him one day - not for sports definitely. Only kidding!

It sums up to an eventful day definitely. It's time to recover and get down to business at home. So many errands to run today. I haven't had the time to reply my messages either, which I'm gonna do later. Stay tuned.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Let Me Super4orce You A Message

Early this morning while having I was having breakfast and wonderful cup of Gryphon's, I chanced upon this article on page 27 in The New Paper that features one of the lastest show in OKTO channel, Super4orce.

Honestly I have not watched kids show for a long time because I'm past that age but what grabs my attention was the genre. How often do you see locally produced Sci-Fi?

Horror? Done. The Incredible Tale. Comedy? Done. Too many to name. Under One Roof and Phua Chu Kang is on top of my mind right now. Yes, I'm the 90's generation and I won't deny we Singaporeans need a dose of endorphins now and then because this is not really the land of smiles. Deal with it. Thriller? Suspense? We have Code of Law on Channel 5 to abide with and reality shows? Plenty. What's more to say? Plenty of documentaries and and artsy programmes in OKTO too but Sci-Fi I daresay kinda one of a kind. Better yet, when superheroes are involved. Now Superman, a product of a mishap, came into my mind. After all, it is a superhero themed series.

Who doesn't love Sci-Fi? It's not teeth biting, and it's not that empty chick-flick series that we watch. Not that I don't watch them, guilty as charged! But we got to start stimulating our mind with creativity and something different. And Super4orce is probably it.

Only with 10 episodes, you'll follow the lives of 4 misfits who receives super powers after a freak Science Fair explosion. If America has Scooby-Doo, in Singapore we have Super4orce less the dog that only gets brave after that cookie. My God, how could I remember that cartoon! Just that this is not cartoon.

I've watched it and I know, it's awesome. It doesn't kill you to tune in to OKTO on Thursdays and Saturdays, 8pm and 12 noon respectively. And do check out the behind the scenes video!

Video courtesy of Monochromatic Pictures

You don't tell me you watch Gossip Girl or Pokemon because your friends didn't tell you. They absolutely did!

Anyway, since we are on this topic on locally produced series and movies. Must I say we should support them, otherwise who would? The only reason Hollywood and Korean pop is doing well is not because of the money they spent on tours. They have a large fan base in their very own backyard. Should we want to rise up like them, we should only do the same. And that's how we get the ball rolling.

I'm saying this not because I wanted to be in a show or anything because then this would be a very, very cheap shot but lo and behold, before I graduated, I detest locally produced films but after watching them because bo-pian (no choice), it changed my perception of local films to a great extent. The storylines were good, and the cinematography was incomparable. They just lack the support.

I suppose it is time for us to lay back and think just about that. Good night!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Singapore JewelFest 2012

This year, JewelFest 2012 is celebrating their 10th anniversary and although I have been there four times, it has never failed to amaze me. Where do these jewelers get their ideas from? I got to give a standing ovation to the designers for coming with such not only creative, but intricate and attractive ideas. I can't even knead a vase for nuts!

JewelFest 2012 is not sexist as you would have thought. Stereotypically, jewelries are for women and their living mantra "Diamonds are forever." but at this age where jewellery is also a symbol of wealth and status, men would like to have a piece of it as well. So don't fret if you missed this year's festival. God willing the following year there will be another one, and you can flock in with your groupies and have a shopping trip there. If you're going to spend big though, be sure you're a UOB cardholder as you are entitled for discounts, privileges and other gifts. Also, be sure you have enough credit limit!

This year's JewelFest is personally exciting because not only I made new friends, I also got to see the latest designs from a renowned international designer - Ashley Isham.

Ashley Isham's S/S 2013 collection was donned by the men and women parading the runway, sparkled with masterpieces like from Vihari Jewels, Simone Jewels and even from the middle east, Arts & Gems just to name a few. Must I say they look very stunning and what they wore on that neck complement really well with what's on the body.

I also got the honor to have a photo with the designer himself!

Ashley Isham has been one of the inspiring people in the community, and it's for many reason. The one thing I could tell you, the energy and attitude that he has put in to his empire, is something that is to be admired about.

Because success doesn't appear just like that.

By the way, thanks everyone for allowing me to be a part of this! More photos can be found through my Tumblr and Instagram. Check them out!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

VIP Fashion Night 2012

It's the weekend! I am glad that just in a nick of time, I got to attend the VIP Fashion Night held late last night. It was all because there was a change of plan at work. Which was totally unpredictable.

This VIP Fashion Night is not a runway show which is only due till late November this year. The event was an introduction to the upcoming big event, which is the Women's Fashion Week.

Two labels were introduced that evening, namely Julien Fournié and On Aura Tout Vu. Where as for the rest of the designers that will be flocking in to Singapore, you'll have to wait and see it for yourself!

The highlight of the event was more than just the beautiful work of these two labels but Nicolas Ouchenir was there to awe us with his calligraphy skills. He is a renowned calligrapher who does invitation cards for high end parties and luxury brands like Lancome and many other.

Who knew you can earn big bucks with just pen and ink. Well enough said, I shall let the pictures do the talking.

 Nicolas Ouchenir calligraphing names and messages for donors who donated to the cancer society.

 Models donning the latest season outfit which can be found in The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands.

Julien Fournié (above) and Livia Stoianova (below) introduces their latest collection to guests.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

2012 Formula 1 SingTel Singapore Grand Prix

A lot of things happened lately and I was away not because I was on hiatus. Firstly, I would like to wish one of my best friends a bon voyage as she will be studying in London for her bachelor. Hopefully all is well! You have been such a wonderful friend! She hosted a really great birthday cum farewell party before she flew off. I really appreciate your invitation. It means a lot to me. Keep in touch!

A week ago, I had the chance to watch the Formula 1 SingTel Singapore Grand Prix. I am so grateful that one of my wishes in life really came true. There are so many people to thank to like my parents for allowing me to attend the races, and one of my best friend who has been such a wonderful company throughout the two days.

The first night race in Singapore started in 2008 and during that period of time I was busy with school projects. Especially the Final Year Project and F1 was just a thing we could discuss. Like their marketing strategies, government support, and what not.

At that time there were opportunities to work with F1 as ushers or some other ancillary services. It's common to see polytechnic students getting active on this to get a piece of F1. Who doesn't? But exam period was around the corner so I had to give it a pass. Mind you, I was in that category of people who thought 'Why would anyone wants to see passing cars that disappears in a blinks of an eye?' But I was lying to myself. Deep inside, I really, really wanted to go to this much talked about event.

So this year took a turn. I had the chance to be one of the spectators. You have no idea how elated I was. Beneath all that cool face I put up, go figure how excited I was deep inside. You. Have. No. Idea. I can't even concentrate at work. Heh, guilty as charged!

On the day of qualifying round, we were in The Green Room. The meal were delicious and the service was good. But they ought to set up the table with a little bit more effort, it's a little bland for a price like that. I'm just saying. One does not pay for a table without table cloth! Only kidding! Nevermind that, I think everyone enjoyed themselves and so did I because after the race we went for Maroon 5 concert! It was awesome.

On the actual day, we were in The Club Suite and it was impeccable. My brother was very shy initially and it took him quite some time to warm up to the place. He enjoyed the race which was why he was sitted at the grandstand most of the time while Fiz and I were seated inside watching the race through the glass. It was mad hot outside. Too early to sweat, not before the concert!

Then on we rushed off for Katy Perry's concert. One of my personal favorite! The weekend ended with a blast and the thought of going back to work on Monday was... Fill in the blanks. And I decided not to do my routine evening run that Monday because my physical training on that weekend was jumping for an hour for each concert. I guess that would suffice! Hmmm, sports event after all...

There are a some opinions and facts that interest me:
  1. I think by now all know that Singapore GP is the only night race in the Formula 1 calendar.
  2. But many do not know that the first night race is not the first race Singapore ever hosted.
  3. There's a lot of economic spin off to this. Which now explains why we have strong government support in this event.
  4. SingTel may be the sponsor but that does not mean we get priority signal around there.
  5. The food catered are from renowned hotels in the city.
  6. Not all tickets are for sale. Sadly.
  7. We are so tech-savvy that we introduce electronic flag displays to the sport.
  8. It hadn't rain so far!
  9. The race is gonna extend for the next five years till 2017. Making room for all Singaporeans to watch I hope.
  10. Probably one of the most cost effective events for there's little maintenance to be done.
Nico Rosberg and I back in 2008.
That's all I have to share with all of you and I hope you guys have a great time as much as I do. Night!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Eid Confusion

There was this one time I took a cab and after the Visa transaction was done, the driver said, "Selamat Hari Raya! Happy new year to you!" and I couldn't help but to be stunned. While I appreciate the sentiment...

He was having the confusion I had when I was nine. I always taught Eid was somehow a new year in the Islamic calendar - but I was oh so wrong. It's no way is the end of the Hijri year. We are in the month of Syawal, it's like October - three months to the end of Hijri calendar year.

As a  Singaporean, we live in a more than ever dynamic society, with different races from different background and there are probably more than enough reason to shed some light to myself, my fellow Muslims, and of course, my non-Muslim friends. It's partly revision for me should anyone ask why do we have two festivities in one year too. So just to make sure this does not turn into a radical Muslim post! This post should be informative and educational.

It would be embarrassing and inappropriate to wish a Muslim African tourist 'Happy new year!' because 'Selamat Hari Raya!' is too foreign to them. And close to heart, your Malay Muslim friends are probably too nice to accept whatever greeting that comes to them this Eid. Probably they want to skip the hassle of explaining to you the entire story. So let's get this straight.

Eid ul-Fitr and Eid ul-Adha (borrowed Arab word) is a Muslim holiday. It's a religious event, not cultural event. We Singaporeans are often confused between what's cultural and what's religious. Christmas all these while has been a religious event but, going to the clubs on a Christmas eve is probably a tradition to some impious ones - just saying, no judgements. So going to the the mosque to pray on the morning of Eid is what most of us would do. Although optional, one is highly encouraged to go. As the Muslims would understand, it is sunat muakkad.

Why do we celebrate Eid ul-Fitr, or in local terms Hari Raya Aidilfitri?

Although most would have said it is because we have fasted for thrity days in the month of Ramadan, the reason is more than just making ourselves hungry and thirsty. One would spend more time praying, seek forgiveness, giving alms and what not. Holistically, one has to be spiritual and seek to be a better person.

Additionally one must not be involved in any sexual intercourse, avoid from doing any evil (which is why I was so good last month, kidding!), abstain from badmouthing, slandering and anything along that line. If you put your heart and soul to it, you have no idea how tough it is to kill bad habits.

Hence, the reason we celebrate Eid ul-Fitr - to celebrate our triumph from abstaining from doing any sin, and to remind us how fortunate we are. And the celebration continues where people seek forgiveness from other people and start their relationship on a clean slate.

So what is Eid ul-Adha or in local context - Hari Raya Haji?

Eid ul-Adha or in Malay, Aidiladha, is a greater festival than its former. This celebration is to commemorate the willingness of prophet Abraham to sacrifice his son prophet Ishmael as an act of obedience to God, before God intervened to provide him with a sheep to sacrifice instead. Probably explains why the celebration is bigger in religious context. This celebration, being a more solemn one, is mainly celebrated by the people who goes to the Haj - the Muslim pilgrim. Eid ul-Fitr seems bigger because majority of the Muslim fasts. Hence, all are entitled to celebrate. Whereas not many could afford Haj.

In simple terms, it's like this. Hari Raya Puasa is a day where we celebrate after fasting in the month of Ramadan. Hari Raya Haji is a day we celebrate a few months after that to sacrifice some sheep back home while some others fly off to Mecca for their pilgrim. So for both celebration, I'd give you a generic greeting.

To wish someone local you'd say the easy one - Selamat Hari Raya (Transliteration: Happy Celebration Day - doesn't sound like it made sense does it?). If he's a foreigner saying Happy Eid  (Eid in Arab means festivity) would suffice. Happy new year, no go! Because Muslims don't countdown to the new Hijri calendar like the Gregorian one. It is just different.

Well I hope this has shed some light to our confusion. Happy Eid to all my Muslim friends out there!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Gone For Long

I hope you guys are doing good. I have been pretty exhausted these days and a lot of things has been going on in my mind. Let's break it down shall we? I just need some self-reassurance to keep my feet on the ground.

Work has been awesome and I am enjoying every bit of it. I am not kidding. Being where I am now is probably one of the best thing that has ever happened to me and I have to thank divine providence for that. It is thrilling to be in the office each day doing the things that I like to do. No complains because I love the challenges. There are so many priorities at work. The best part, this job works like being shopper. Like literally, my job is to spend - for all the good causes!

This year's fasting month is pretty unique because it's not everyday I am home for break fast. And this year my family and I broke the no-rice-during-break-fast record. We are very occupied. Hence we can't really get together except on weekends. However, I am grateful as most days, I am able to break fast with one of my best friends! Too bad we don't have our other two companions to dine with. Better one than none they say. Pretty grateful that I'm given the strength to face each day with perseverance.

On 1st August last week marks the one year I am serving the nation and there's few more months to go before I depart, carrying away nothing but experience. Do look up to this blog on my NS (National Service) life story if you're interested. How in two years I have grown from a recruit, to cadet and now landed on an appointment which I never expected. This post is written to remind myself of what happened in my journey going through a phase like any other Singaporean son.

National Day is coming up. What are your plans?

Grah, currently I am madly in love with my BlackBerry and iPad and it seems like I can't live without them. They are so convenient especially in busy times like this. I am so grateful for them. I just found out one of my friends lost his iPad? Scary much, just hope I won't lost mine because I'd be devastated. These things are just God sent.

Better yet, Yak Pak is so full of stuffs I had no space for my books and iPad just made that easier. You have no idea how much iBook helps in lightening my load. Better yet, I get to bring them on bed to read them, in the dark! To hell those traditional books that needs lighting. At least now I can read in the dark under the sheets. It's a bliss I had to type it out here.

And on my busy days... My BlackBerry. Speechless.

I think I lost weight due to fasting month. Does any of you feel the same way? My skinny jeans are no longer that skinny, which calls for a skinnier jeans (if there's such a word), and my S and XS clothes seems to have loosen up. I really got to hit the gym and start pumping and get back on shape. Otherwise I will probably be rampaged by the entire population should I take the train again.

By the way, happy birthday S!

I am pretty much on hiatus these days I am proud of myself for coming up with such an update. See you!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

National Service: An Investment

Today was supposed to be a free weekend but I woke up to eleven missed calls. My BlackBerry was on silent because I never thought anyone would need me, let alone work for today. Turns out, there's work to do which totally slipped off my mind and I count myself really lucky this time. So grateful.

I was in the office because someone has to be in the office (the rest were out for a while) and I was reading The Straits Times. I'm not a fan of newspaper for the carbon and the nauseating smell (only eNews). I think in this era, newspaper are totally stone aged. The only time I touch newspaper is at home - to clean mirror and windows because scientifically the chemicals on newspaper cleans glass surfaces more effectively and minimize on mirrors and glasses. I couldn't agree more. I look better each time I look in the mirror. Kidding!

Anyway, since now everyone is in the office, I can excuse myself from the phone momentarily. I'm here to pen out my thoughts on the one thing that I am going through right now. No, not how tough-fun work is, but rather, something that is going through my mind since day one of enlistment.

When I was twelve, I've always wondered why on earth do I serve National Service. Singapore is just a tiny red dot on the map without natural resources. Barely one can survive if trade were to stop. This Monaco would be standstill and everyone would die of hunger. But when I was twelve, all I thought was "How the hell will I carry my field pack and M16?"

Then when I grew up, I realize there is a little bit more than defense in National Service. It's a bloody business.

We spend a lot on defense and that always top the list in our yearly budget right before education and healthcare. I don't know if we are spending them on weapons and technology alone but I see that defense here is an investment.

Economically, it creates job for people. From regulars, to cleaners. The SAF has been trying their best to scout for people to sign on as regulars. But no way they should make me their target audience. Hah! But there are a few that find the system lucrative and I am not kidding at all. Everyone in the room had to listen to the one hour advertisement and while half of them were dozing off, I listen intently on all the tangible and intangible benefits that they laid out. Yet, among a hundred, only one or two came up. Why? Hmmm...

Ironically, external organizations would love to take up government jobs for the obvious reasons. They don't play small. Most of the time I realize, they outsource for a lot of suppliers especially for catering, cleaning services and other logistical support. In return, this gives businesses business to do, and naturally creates job. Otherwise who's going to do the job? Me? I'm not gonna cook! And surely I can't paint a building. Let alone to see a bunch of recruits with paint rollers and dirty admin shirt. Even my boss would yelp. I just can't imagine how disastrous it would be. So here is a win-win situation. We get the job done, businesses get the money and workers get their salary. After that party!

But let's not forget the larger scale of people that are scattered everywhere on mainland. The recruits, the commanders and everybody else that is serving. National Service has so far created a socially cohesive environment for us. Haven't you realize? The people that you are enlisted with, or work with most of the time have pretty much similar (does not mean the same) mindset. Because most that are sent in batches should have the same fitness level, mindset and blah, blah blah, thanks to the psychological and whatever test that we did. If it hadn't been for that, I think I'd be crushed by a bunch of overly sized people and the Ah Kongs with tattoos and that wouldn't be comfortable at all. Only kidding!

By this social cohesion you will soon realize that these people spend money too. Most of the time they will spend big on cohesion events at hotels, chalets, clubs, and sometimes they even rent a bloody yacht because there are corporate discounts. Which is probably why we're given allowance because I don't see the reason why anyone should spend a dime in camp when everything else in here is well catered for. Even yours truly is living by this. I got other things that I'd rather spend on! And with that amount, H can buy two or more bottles of Creme de La Mer for his face.

And with bigger events like Army Open House 2012, BMTC Anniversary, where venue needs to be booked, suppliers need to be liaised with (because army doesn't own everything), it creates wealth for people around and gives a hand for businesses. Of course, if you are a registered and reliable business, they will hire you. Because we are working against time. Unlike some supplier that takes forever to deliver.

I hope I am not suggesting for an allowance cut because more is always better. With inflation rising faster than our pay, we have to watch our money like a hawk.

Of course on the other hand, one would have thought, why must Singapore invest on defense, education and healthcare and have the aspiration to be the hub of these.

Sure Singapore could invest on entertainment and be the next buzz. Upgrade all our celebrities. Send them for major overhaul on their faces, send them to acting, singing or maybe posing classes (don't worry, I can't pose well too) We could also set up large studios over the filled landfill and make Singapore the next hoo-haa like what Korea and Hollywood has become. Give greater support for entertainment events, parties and production. After all, Singapore is the red nuclear dot that can do anything big. Even I questioned that myself then I stop and think. This can't be. Because all these sets the kind of trend that doesn't last on the long run. Financial hub? Sure, everyone needs money. Healthcare? Sure, everyone wants to survive and extend their life expectancy. Education? Sure, everyone wants to be relevant in the changing world. And those are relevant to all ages. So now we can have a rough idea why even Singapore's sports industry may not be as hyped about because it's just that, not everyone wants to play sports. If you like it, of course there's still avenue for you at the new Kallang Stadium, newly built gyms by the sports council, fields or even void deck. Anyway, where got time? Even I had to think twice before going for a run.

Here by investing in defense, the economic spinoff is like what, threefold? It spreads across not only in the army, but the civil defense and the police force too! So if I were to run a country, these would be in my priority list. Turns out, it is in Mr Lee's (I'd rather name him the wise Yoda) priority agenda too.

Anyway, NSFs always have their cravings. You name it. The police guys will not let their colleagues leave for lunch unless they got their order for donuts and bubble tea, my guys here and I will not let our people enter this island (kidding!) without our MacDonald's and for some, cigarettes and the civil defense guys will not return till they get their Asian cuisine at Spize - need I emphasize they receive the most allowance amongst all too? But know that it's for a good reason. Look at me, what are the odds of me going for a real mission really?

Never mind those, at this life stage, we men buy more stuffs than women. We buy more shampoo and everything else because we need it for home use, and camp use. Now that's not threefold, that's sixfold! Now the government should raise our allowance twice the amount because we have to buy two of almost everything!

Of course after all these chatters on National Service, it boils down to one thing. Experience.

Now if you ask me should a non-Singaporean serve national service too? No way in hell can they touch my SAR21. But when it comes to opportunity cost, we lost against Singaporean females. I think Singaporean girls should take back their word when they say Singaporean boys are weak. Please, yo mama is the one who had to carry that 10kg of rice you eat at home from NTUC, and you say we are weak? You can't even carry your own Prada because you're a nada.

For the record, I give my standing ovation to the ladies that serve willingly for the good of Singapore because not many could go through that Standard Obstacle Course, go through the 24km route march or even carry that field pack throughout field camp. I am really grateful to be able to see them hard at work - only to show not all females are weak. You, deserve to be treated well.

Ah, finally, boredom killed. Happy weekend!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Mother's Day, 2012

Happy Mother's Day too all momsy around the world, and this wish is specially dedicated to my mum. There is no better gift than a gift from God, a woman named mum. For she is the one who raise us, and take care of us since the day we were born. Even in religious texts, God has placed mums in a special place be it in the Koran, Bible and so on.

So is there anything special that I have planned for my very own beloved mother? Honestly, no. Because everyday is Mother's Day. This is my opinion, it's not only in a single day we appreciate our mum. Not just in a single day we make our mum happy, not just in a single day we give our mum surprises. It should be a day to day basis and it does not need to have any monetary value in it. Real mum don't expect gifts, real mum don't expect fanciful dinners, real mum don't expect glitzy stuffs from the mall because they are always readily available. Surprises and gifts can come in many forms, like doing well in your studies, respecting them in front of their friends and anything that you cannot find anywhere but in your heart. What she wants is a loving child who loves her for who she is. We have to appreciate our mum as a whole.

I am not saying any of you are wasting time, money and effort in putting in all those dinner and gifts but I bet she wouldn't care about that single day you make her happy while all other days you make her sad. Those are for sentimental reasons. Of course after saying all this, I have to deliver!

This afternoon I was at Jeremy's for his birthday party and I am so elated to have finally met him and some of my bunk mates whom I knew back training school. After which, I went over to Downtown East for a birthday BBQ party at my cousin's chalet.

This weekend has been fruitful meeting long lost friends, and long lost relatives because usually only on these occasions do we get to meet. Otherwise we will be too preoccupied with our worldly activities and before we know it, something else happens.

I would like to wish Jeremy and my cousin a very wonderful birthday and may the odds be with you!

Monday, May 7, 2012

The May Bombshell

This evening I was browsing through my archives just to read the old part of me (being the sentimental man I am) and I realize I've not updated my space here for about a month. No matter, I am still grateful to my bunch of friends and other readers who dropped by. If you've been wishing for this place to be updated, your wish just came true! Since there was no entry in April at all, I think it is time to drop some bombshell. So what have I been up to really?

Since graduated from my command school, I was busy preparing to be a commander and for at least three weeks, I attended a preparatory course just to ensure that I don't violate my power and some disciplinary rules that was laid out before we were posted to our respective posting. I don't see myself violating my power or even have any disciplinary issues. I daresay I know myself pretty well. I am, most of the time, the type of guy who plays by the rule. But I, set the rules. Kidding!

So what am I doing now if you may ask? I am living my dream as an event planner and pretty much a project manager too. I am happy with my posting because I know I can do a good job, but don't expect me to be perfect while I'm still learning. Planning a real event is intricate but it is personally fulfilling. But I do have high hopes to be the perfect event planner in the training centre I am in. By the way, I do more than just planning and running events. So far, it has been going well and I hope all of you are happy for me as much as I am. I definitely need your support and well wishes so that I won't fall too deep into my work problems should there be any.

Let's skip work and move on to my personal life. No, no dates or anything just that I've been going out a lot to watch movies. Despite being busy I still need my work-life balance too. I've watched The Hunger Games, American Reunion, Battleship, The Avengers, and even The Titanic (3D) with my friends and family. Pretty much wholesome outing with dinner and chats after movie. Oh just so you know, I'm a fan of digitally screened movies, not 3D. But I'd still watch 3D if I have to.

I had not played bowling for a very long time, and this year is my first after three years! Back in April, it was my first game and the second one came right this month, about a week ago. Got to say, my skills are rusty but I'm pretty much back on track on the second game! I've been practicing on tennis too and who knows, within a year I could dethrone Novak Djokovic? The world is full of surprises that you would never thought of.

Social wise, I am glad to have reconciled with my primary and secondary school mates. We have not met probably since the dawn of time. We have been very busy on the chat in BlackBerry Messenger and WhatsApp. So busy that if I don't put it on silent mode, it calls for a major disaster. I can't put it on vibrate mode either, otherwise it keeps on tickling me while it's in my pocket. I am very grateful to have company around me though.

They say after a year of not reading and writing, your language proficiency will fall. I don't know if it is all true but I'm not risking it. So I've been reading and writing too. Because the education system sets us to be effectively bilingual, I have been trying to speak properly but it is not as easy as just speaking. It's a little harder to relate with locals as we tend to speak not only fast, but we make shortcuts too. I don't have any examples but you know what I mean. I'm not gonna say it's a totally bad thing if it helps the listener to understand you in a short period of time, but it's a bad example if we want to make our city a cosmopolitan one.

During this break, I'm gonna catch up on all my favorite shows, and get some inspiration for upcoming events that I have to plan. I hope I get the chance to use the confetti!

Anyway, I have heard a lot of news on broken down trains. Let's hope things will get back as usual. No more train delays and breakdowns again, please! Not only workers but the economy relies on it too.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Birthday 2012

Have you ever heard of a postponed birthday? It comes to no surprise for those who had experienced or heard of it. My birthday this year was in fact a unique one. I am an Aquarius and now the horoscope sign has passed the water bearer. Being at a special age this year, it is only natural to celebrate it and I did not have the time.

First came the preparation for my long holiday in Taiwan, followed by family's schedule being ever busy. We did not have a common free time. So I decided we celebrate it when I'm back but again, we did not have the time because I am busy preparing for my graduation parade.

So my birthday celebration is not only postponed, but extended.

It started with a birthday song at the strike of midnight on my birthday. Few days after, I was off to Taiwan. Syaz and Khai was sweet enough to send me off together with my parents. I had no idea there was a birthday cake involved. It came with a card. Not only a birthday card, a farewell card too! Then I flew off, with sweet memories in mind thinking about home.

When I was back, I had about two weeks to graduation and all I have in mind was to have a birthday party. Even as an educated event planner, I really can't find the time, resources or energy for that matter to organize a birthday party. Not even at home. Even if there's resources, I don't think there's time to call upon everybody. In the end, I tell myself to find an alternative instead.

So I decided to bring my family to Aquamarine and there goes my birthday party with ten guests. Laugh all you want but all I wanted was a proper celebration! I am glad that all of them were satisfied, and most importantly happy. A big thank you to my uncle for the top from Massimo Dutti and thanks to my parents in advance for they will be getting me an iPad - just that I don't know when will I be getting it!

In the evening that day, Syaz and Khai brought me somewhere as another post celebration because they wanted me to fly I-so-call the wishing lantern where you write your wishes on the lantern and let it fly away. It was thrilling and amusing! I can't help it but to laugh because we almost burn the entire lantern. Although there was spare but the idea of writing my long wish on it again is atrocious.

So there goes my unique birthday celebration. How belated can it get! No matter, thank you everyone!

Taiwan, Taipei 2012

This is probably long due but I will share with those who're interested. My trip to Republic of China is wonderful.

I spent three weeks there, where most of the time was spent assimilating myself with nature away from any form of electronic devices! I had the time to reflect about life, about what I had went through in life so far, and what I would love to achieve and do in the future. It was a detoxifying trip for me somehow!

The weather there was marvelous. It was cold most of the time, misty and only sunny occasionally. It was a mental, physical and spiritual challenge to face those odds, and going up the mountains was indeed a worthwhile journey because only then you'll get to see a panoramic view. It was breathtaking must I say. Seeing the silhouette of mountains in front of the shimmering golden rays of sun was something that not many can experience. I was indeed fortunate and very grateful to be there. For once, I felt so small!

Getting to town, you will see that the Taiwanese are amongst the most beautiful people in the world you can find! They were so nice and welcoming unlike people from some other countries that will probably chase you away without even saying a word. Most of them were fashionable to the extend you thought it was a fashion parade. What is fashion without the right attitude?

At times I do feel under dressed. There were reviews and comments about my outfit. Newsflash people, I'm on a trip that is anything but not another fashion week. And those are the only thickest outfit I have so far! Anyway, if you really dress up there and walk down the road you will not feel left out like how you would feel back home. Some people might just give you a weird look agree? I understand your predicament but lo and behold, there's nothing wrong with dressing well wherever you go because studies have shown that people who dress well will feel a greater sense of well-being. I hate to admit, it's true. Of course, I don't expect to see someone in mink walking down this sunny island. By then you will not only get my attention, you'll get the medic's attention too.

Shopping there was easy and comfortable because you see friendly faces around. You will not feel alone. Even the cab driver does not show any signs of racism or nationalism like how you would find in some countries. There's cab meter by the way. But I really think some of the cab drivers need to tone down on the adrenaline. Thinking back how my cab ride went, my heart did not just skipped a beat but it could just jumped right out of the cab. However, should there be any other flaw, it would be language barrier. Even so, it is not hard to speak to them if you know the basics.

Taking their MRT is so convenient, trust me. Very user friendly. The staff was very friendly, and helpful too! They took the liberty to make calls to find out for us how to get to our destination!

There were many places of interest that I went when I was in Taipei but there's too many to talk about.

I had the chance to visit one of the prominent landmark in Taipei, The Grand Mosque. I was lucky to be able to perform the Friday prayers there. Although I may not understand fully what the sermon was all about but I got the gist of it since the topic title was translated in English, and listening to some keywords that I understood, I know what he was talking about. It was a unique experience because then I could see how the minority Muslims in Taipei live, and get their fresh halal food. It was my first time seeing women go to Friday prayers on the contrary to what I see back home.

Another must-not-miss place that I went to was Taipei 101. I was so happy to see the second tallest building in the world! Whenever I travel, I love looking at symbolic buildings. I may not be an architect or interior designer or anything that has got to do with design, but I really appreciate these kind of things. Love it loads! By the way, if you're filthy rich, this is the it place to go. Nothing that I can afford there because I had no more cash! No cash, no holiday! LOL!

We went to several theme parks. They had a fair share of rides and sceneries. One of the theme park I went was Formosa Aboriginal Culture Village. If you didn't know, Taiwan was known in the past as Formosa which means beautiful island in Portuguese. Well the Portuguese didn't lie. I rode on this free-fall ride - UFO and it was madness! Didn't even have the time or the courage to scream. First it went up slowly, and it rotated. From above, you got to see beautiful view and the next thing I know it went down at a speed of UFO and I didn't dare to open my eyes! Definitely not for the soft hearted! I really thought this park was interesting because I have been reading a lot on Malay history and one of the theories involves Taiwanese aborigines coming down south.

In this trip I realize there's much more to learn out there and knowledge is probably the only thing that most didn't know is a living thing.