June Catch Up

Hello!

Was just toying with the dashboard and just realized its been a month since I last posted anything! What’s most pleasant to see and know is that there are still so many of you around to read this blog. I’m sure the ones who are around have been sticking to the blog for many years now to be so loyal! Actually I don’t post much anymore because my life revolves so much around work – and I barely go out. Saturdays are a good day to get out and look for some friends but most of the time I really just opt to sleep in until early afternoon instead of getting myself up and going.

Also extremely gungho because I’m going to Australia next week! I’ve always longed to pay Aussieland a visit as there have been so many stories about how the place is so beautiful, how the air smells so fresh and how grass is so green. I’ve been there once when I was younger but I can barely remember anything except for the apple farm at my uncle’s and a record store that he owned. Would have loved to visit the main cities like Melbourne and Sydney – but I’m doing Gold Coast and Brisbane first for now. Also in plans to meet up with some friends that I haven’t seen in a long while, so I’m really looking forward to the trip!

Cousin Keith had a beautiful wedding last weekend – I have loads of photos that I will be sharing in the next two days. Most of you here are probably not on my Facebook so maybe that might be some visual entertainment for you. He is the FIRST in the family for our generation to get married and as the second eldest, you know it gets a little awkward when the golden question comes. “Who’s next?” – and they all look at you. Weddings should be about the lovely couple of the night – matchmaking and all can be left for another day.

Bought myself a camera just in time for Keith’s wedding although my previous one was still working fine. The battery’s a little konked out at can only last about 30 minutes before it needs another recharge. Definitely not bringing it to Australia with me. Could have just replaced the battery but I thought it was time for me to get a camera that could capture videos in at least 720. I have a little OCD about videos being square shaped on screen (when it doesn’t fill up the space) so my previous Canon S90 could only serve me up to 640 – and that was a problem. I usually like vlogging when I’m away from home, although almost none of them get up online, so I was hoping that a new camera could motivate me to start editing some videos to share with friends and family. Tons of footage sitting around in my hard drive waiting to be cleared out. I shall make a vow to get to it for the upcoming Australia trip! I need to show the world that I am Koala and Kangaroo material. They WILL like me! They WILL!

It was quite nerve wrecking getting the camera. I took a few days to just go do some research and came down with a conclusion of two different models. Couldn’t decide on one so I reached out for opinions on social media and personal friends to ask friends. Got my pick, and just decided to buy it ON the day I decided! I usually need some time to do market price research over a span of at least two weeks – but because I wanted to rush it for Keith’s wedding I took two lunches of to just go and ask for pricings everywhere. Thank god I work in an I.T friendly area and there were loads of shops for me to ask from, especially at this I.T haven/mall nearby. The only thing about it is the place is always full of dodge.

I didn’t want to withdraw a huge sum of cash from my workplace to carry a 5 minutes walking distance away from the mall – so I decided to just settle stuff there, only that they didn’t have the bank machine I was looking for. I’m usually quite paranoid when it comes to these things. It’s also a terror to just carry a sum of money from the machine to the shop in the same building. I don’t think I was born to be match-made with money. It incites some sort of fear in me, literally and figuratively. So anyway, I don’t know how to end this story, I’m just going to say I didn’t get robbed and got my camera safe and sound. Also one thing to note is that I realized I bought it from the shop that did the LEAST pushing and because he spoke in a very soft tone. I think I just have this ridiculous (or not) mindset that those who don’t try hard are those who are most likely not out to cheat your money. He was the cheapest of all shops too – gave me an extra battery to boot (although I discovered that one battery had less mAh then the other). Still better than nothign!

Just going to upload some photos that I took while exploring the functions of my new camera.

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Testing it out on Mei Fenn who has nice smiley eye.

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Was also studying tutorials online very intensively that I never realized I elbowed my little cactus (that is  now a single stem) down.

DSC00805Not missing out my deskmate Alexa who has been in love with one of the penguins that our partners have so kindly given to us.

I deleted alot of the photos in the camera that was taken during the “beta test” period  - now I wished I hadn’t so I could share more photos with you. It’s an amazing camera so far, doing a much better job than my good old trusty S90. Will update soon when I can – with photos from Keith’s wedding.

Till then (hopefully in a few days!)

Will you bring spring back?

Some people have it so easy, others have it tough.

Many times you feel like you hold something so dear, that it only belongs to you, only to find out that many others share that one thing you value and thought was truly yours to call special. It’s not about being selfless and sharing or caring – it’s really just that ray of sunshine you shine upon yourself. You feel so much warmth from it, nobody else could tear that away from you.  Something you thought nobody else could set a foot near, but time passes and you realize its always been everywhere. The only reason why you felt special was because you just never bothered living outside your own head.

Sometimes I feel like the world is too overly populated to have one special thing to be only owned by you. Sure, there’s love. There’s always love. But millions of couples there feel that same kind of love. It’s still yours, but not unique. That attention from that special someone may possibly be the only thing you fully own that others may never have. But how do you know for sure? We just know, and may claim to be sure – but some things don’t just easily add up to definite answers. Answers vary depending on time, people, unavoidable change of sorts.

Then there’s also the complete opposite – those who knows nothing about what’s in front of them to appreciate before it was gone.It’s almost like when Mr. Photographer waits at the park during spring for the sakura to bloom to its fullest for the perfect photo. He only has one shot to spend. There was never a day suitable, it was never today. The sakura teased him at some days, there were moments when he almost got shots. But he always says.

“I’ll wait one more day, the flowers will bloom even more.”

“Tomorrow they will be stronger in colour.”

“Tomorrow they will be more dense, I’m so sure.”

“Tomorrow is when I’ll do it. It’s going to be the BEST day”

Little does he know that spring only lasts briefly. He parked himself under the tree, ready to take that photo when it’s best to. Today he is confident,  he should take it today. He wakes up to a balding tree. Spring goes by at a glance – you don’t even see it coming. You can’t. The only time you know, is when you realise you are that person who just waited for the season to pass by. You waited for the best, with the best intentions, but just because you never knew the right time to take action – it’s gone for good. Spring never comes back for another year. And it’s not even the same spring. What can you tell him?

“If the sakura photo was meant to be yours, you would have been able to take it anyway – so don’t be sad?”

That’s tough – some chances are to be taken, especially these. But so many lack the courage to. Chances in life – be it work, transport, relationships, family, choices, opportunities – all deserve some action being taken. Nobody will ever know if was a chance worth taking, because you never know until you take it.

But there will always be that one who never knows how or just simply never dares to.

So bye bye spring, it is.

The Stroll

Not here to buy anything, she knows it. She strolls through, shelve after shelve, section after section. For a moment, she pretends to be her favorite movie character in a wooden attic in a treehouse. Music plays in her head and she moves her head subtlely to its soft beats. Children here have their nose buried into the books, not sure if they are reading or mildly asleep. “Maybe I should put my kid here 10-15 years later”. It gets a little chatty as she walks into this corner, probably parents of the kids laying against the shelves. Making her way towards the end of the aisle, tip toeing over several little pairs of legs, careful not to trip on them, she finds a huge collection of Harry Potter. The series were never really her type of thing, but she stood there – just pondering about if her visions in life would be any different if she started reading it. The movie series were great, but going through the few inches thick collection felt slightly dreadful. It was tough painting a picture of herself doing something she knew she didn’t enjoy from the core. She walked away.

Characters that always spoke with grace and wit always left an impression. But it wasn’t about finding any book, or any kind of story. Everybody deserves to publish their story, any story. They needed to be heard anyway. Thirty minutes after a trail of slow footsteps in the area, she concentrated harder for herself to dwell into character. Most of the time, she suspects its just  herself wanting to appreciate and celebrate some Alone Time that she finds the need to seek time for. She pulls out that set of earphones that usually helps do the job. This goes left, that goes right – she places them into her ears. Now finding the perfect music for The Stroll was always tough. Sometimes it was upbeat, sometimes it was jazz. The biggest problem wasn’t genre though, it was finding the perfect emotions of the particular genre she was feeling. The music list displays a long list of a playlist she put together at work she was so sure would fit any situation. The Stroll wasn’t going to be therapeutic without the perfect background music her inner head failed to play. She wasn’t there to buy anything, she was ready to be enveloped. Enveloped by that feeling one only gets when they step into a bright cosy space of alphabetically organised books. That feeling you get even if you don’t pretentiously run your fingers across the paperbacks.

On better days, The Stroll is done in just 15 minutes. Some other days, it takes more than an hour. Before it’s achieved she gets interrupted by a call from her friends telling her they’re almost there. From then onwards, its a mental battle. A countdown. It’s almost as if there was a communication portal between everything in the space and her inner self. “Speak to me. It’s now or never”. She holds a position, standstill, grabs a book and pretends to be really into it so she doesn’t have to explain her awkward stance. Tick tock tick tok.

Time freezes. She doesn’t hear that pair of heavy clucking boots two aisles away, lights dim down, music in her ears completely shut out, that magical peaceful aura from the surrounding books are slowly making its way into her soul. It’s the Lockdown. Inch by inch she feels herself healing. Her sore legs from that pair of 4 inch, knee bones aligning, skin building a mild glow. It’s almost like a metamorphosis. It’s only been 30 seconds, but it’s working. Lockdown is working. Her body takes up everything it has been thirsting for – peace. Just right before she feels her soul to be fully recharged – she feels a second buzz at the back of her pockets.

Everything breaks. She hears the kids, a snoring dad, that pair of boots, vigorously flipped children storybooks, that high pitched ring from the cashier counter. She unplugs the pair of headsets and reaches for the device.

“We’re here!”

Lockdown Complete. 

Palsaik Samgyupsal at Solaris, Mont Kiara

One thing about having a thing for Korean cuisine is that it’s such a difficult journey finding that correct taste here in KL. Everything could pass and come close, but almost none has ever come near. If there was a reason why I am a Uncle Jang Dalggalbi junkie, it’s because it hits closest to the perfect spot. As a person who’s always on a roll trying out different Korean restaurants, I think it’s safe to say that nobody makes that perfect kimchi stew you can easily get off streets in Korea. They say the best way to judge a restaurant serving Korean food is to first taste their kimchi. Indeed, a very wise method that I’ve found to be extremely accurate. There is this one extremely famous Korean diner in Ampang (which I find quite de-appetizing) that serves such an off-metre taste and extremely localised. I’m sometimes very upset that I find returning patrons because I feel like they don’t give Korean cuisine justice, at all. I know, because my family is one of the many loyal customers. Boo.

Recently, I’ve heard Dawn raving on and on about this franchise from Korea that had just opened up. They serve premium samgyupsal (three layer pork) and I knew I HAD to try it. Samgyupsal is one of my favorite dish for BBQ and it holds very dear memories of my times in Seoul. There were days we ate it to celebrate, and others when we were having less happier phases. Most importantly, I feel like I’ve only ever had samgyupsal with people dear to me. We could have coffee with strangers, shared biscuits with an accidental company. Samgyupsal is different. Samgyupsal is bonding food.

Palsaik Samgyupsal is located in Solaris, Mont Kiara. I’ve been trying to schedule a dinner with the rest of the Korean classmates since forever so we decided to come to this restaurant! Everytime we met we had barbecue so this was the perfect place to come and try together. Unfortunately, the girls didn’t seem to have time so Dawn and I decided to just go ahead ourselves. One does not simply contain their craving for samgyupsal! Dawn told me that it may be a little tough for just both of us to finish the whole set we wanted to order so we called Vivien to come along too. Great, because I’ve been scheduling a sit down with this girl since January but she’s always flying off for exhibitions and what-not.

Right before we went, I tried swinging them a phonecall to reserve a seat because apparently they are full-house everyday! Unfortunately, they’ve recently begun to not take reservations on Friday-Sundays so for those who are thinking of heading there during the weekends – better go early or send a soldier to queue for you.

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Hello to Dawn, who’s a real sweetheart. Every morning she drops me off at work cause our offices are at the same area, and asks for nothing in return. I love how we have the same food adventures so we can always go do things like this. Get away from KL to get some good food!

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Palsaik Korean BBQ. Pal means eight, saik is colour. So it literally translates to eight colored bbq, and that’s what we’re about to it! Eight different flavors of samgyupsal.

These are the flavors in one full set. You can order sets in three I think, but since we have three in one setting –  ALL IT IS!

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Menu is in English. Dawn and I came a little early for Vivien who was still stuck at work. Good thing we arrived when we did at about 6.45PM because the crowd juts started flooding at 7.30PM. The queue outside just suddenly build up in a short few minutes.

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Unlike many local Korean restaurants, they served out kimchi on the pan – just the way we had them  Korea! Also had a little surprise when they served us thsi post of seafood soup! It looks like clear soup now but after it starts boiling, ingredients inside just start mixing together and it turns to a red hot pot of yummybunks!

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Long stretch of fresh vegetables for you to serve with the samgyupsal!

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They kept their cutleries in the drawer right beneath the dining table so its cleaner. Almost more convenient than to have to ask for them everytime.

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All eight flavours served!

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Glorious at sight, delicious at taste.  Couldn’t wait to taste all the flavors!

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Food is beginning to work its way to my tummy! EXTREMELY EXCITED!

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I swear that the Kimchi here nearly put me to tears. At some days we come across some people who smell like our past, or hear music that brings us back to nostalgic phases of our lives. But this kimchi. This kimchi gave me Korea. Yes, dramatic like that. It was SO good, and taste was SPOT ON. Hands down most perfect kimchi I’ve had in a looooooooooong time.

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We call a wrap like this a ssam. Double s because the s is strong. Give me ssam. #punintended

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Like many Korean restaurants, you can get yourself ssam cheese fried rice – which was also EXTREMELY good. Cheese was very rich on the rice and wasn’t barely there like some other restaurants.

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One downside about the whole experience is that the place gets extremely stuffy and your face just screams for an instant face wash. Your body will also feel like it needs a shower, pronto. Can you just look at that cheese dangling like a bungee jump gone wrong.

The whole meal costed us about RM 136 with tax included for three person. So that’s about RM 45 per pax. I walked away pretty full, not exactly a budget meal but worth indulging in once in awhile. Especially when you need that perfect Korean fix. The place is a long drive from where I live, so I probably won’t be visiting it too frequently. But oh, if it comes here to KL – it’s going down. I’m prepared to starve a week for just this one meal.

After the meal, the girls felt like some dessert so we went down to Cafe Bene (which is the current dessert hype on social media) to try their bingsu. Bingsu means shaved ice. I was pretty stuffed from the meal and don’t usually have a sweet tooth so both of them chose Strawberry bingsu. I gave it a little try, it was okay. I would still prefer Nabe in Ampang (I think I’ve never blogged about it) because it has alot of red beans and its quite sweet. It’s not bad at all – but I wouldn’t say its worth the queue lining up at their doors. I’ve gotta give them props for coming up so quickly amongst other cafes. Great start there.

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Vivien tried a couple of flavors she found this Strawberry Bingsu to be the best!

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And this is Dawn who looks extremely excited to try little bingsu out. Look at the people behind waiting to get a seat.  Feels so pressured to just quickly finish and have a conversation while they stare you down to vacate a seat for them.

It’s been a long while since I’ve done this and it does feel quite nice to be able to show you guys where to eat. Hope you find the place and if you need more details, you can always look through Palsaik Samgyupsal at https://www.facebook.com/palsaikmy.

That’s all for today! Goodnight :)

All In A Natshell

Hello all.

I feel like I’ve not been using my camera enough – and when I don’t use it enough, it almost means less material for blogging and ever lesser photo memories. I used to have logs of every month of the places I go to, but this year everything is just in my phone – and I don’t even take photos of any special occasions anymore. Let’s just try to put everything in a nutshell of what’s been missing from the blog.

 1) Made a trip to Indonesia for cousin’s engagement

Cousin Keith got engaged and because Christabelle (future cousin sis-in-law) is from Indonesia, they did a ceremony there just for her Indonesian relatives, friends and family. It really is quite interesting to see how different cultures can be. This was an engagement but if you actually look at the scale of the ceremony – it may just be way huger than any normal wedding dinner usually held in KL.

The couple will have to stand on stage throughout the whole dinner to shake hands of ALL attendees (it was about 2000 that night) to welcome them during the beginning of the ceremony. Not only that, just when we thought they were done with the welcoming greetings – it was time for some to leave, so the same crowd had to go up stage to say goodbye again. That’s about 4000 pairs of hands to shake! Extremely shocking for me.

Can’t wait for the official ceremony come June! Extremely happy for the couple :)

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Apart from the ceremony, we took the chance to travel around Jogjakarta abit. Visited Bodobudur and also some interesting volcanic sites (Gunung Merapi).  The journey riding into the site was quite adventurous. We had to be put into trucks and ride was extremely bumpy. They gave us helmets – I thought it was just in case we fell off the car but I then realised that the helmet came to good use even during the ride itself.  My head kept crashing against the sides of the vehicle. Without the helmet I think my head would have been busted pfft. All six of us had to be squeezed into a four-seater. Quite uncomfortable because if we weren’t positioned carefully we would definitely have been bounced off the jeep. Uncomfortable but extremely exciting though – there were slopes even steeper than roller coasters – almost a 90 degree way down so there were very rough bumps. Loved it!

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2) I went to Vietnam

This was back in February. It’s important for me to make it a point to go somewhere new at least every alternate year. I have a few places in my head that I wanna go – but I’m just mentally tied to the grounds of KL. It was a replacement for my Bangkok trip that I had planned long way before it should have happened. Supposed to meet up with my Beijing girls but everything didn’t work out because of the riots so I got my tickets replaced with Vietnam. I’ve always wanted to see Vietnam – we chose Ho Chi Minh over Hanoi because online reviews pretty much steered towards the former. I didn’t like it. It was nice  and I appreciated it – but it is definitely not one of my favorite places. Reason being its too much of any ordinary city, albeit still being a little backwards. I like to see more of culture in a foreign place and Ho Chi Minh couldn’t give me that.

We decided to leave the city and travel a little further away from it after Day 2 (it was a four-day freestyle trip). I would have chosen to find ways to get to places with local buses but I guess we didn’t have too much time for real exploration. Easy way out was just to get the hotel to book a seat for us in a tour group and we had the bus come pick us up early in the morning. That was dreadful. I personally don’t like tours. I think they don’t show us enough of the place, and it gets boring. I tend to doze off very easily in cars/buses too so when they tell me stories that I really want to hear, I still can’t help but find myself falling asleep in the midst of a 3 hours car ride to somewhere outskirt. I’m not gonna lie, these stories are boring – but I always try to make it a point to listen to as much as I can. It really helps boost your traveling experience if you understand the place you’re about to visit more.

Back to Vietnam, one of the more interesting experiences was in Cu Chi Tunnels when I got into one of the camouflaged entrances of them tunnels that were made for the small sized Vietnamese soldiers to travel underground. That, and also soldiered on knees for about 100 metres underground with three other big sized tourist. It was horrible, and I sweat buckets – but totally worth it! We were told that we could get out after every 10 metres underground if we didn’t feel well, but there were only about 4 challengers and the guide was just charging ahead. By the time we arrived at the third checkpoint, we asked if that route was the way out – guide didn’t understand us and continued going up ahead. As I don’t usually exercise much it was quite horrible – imagine doing repetitive squats plus crawl in a claustrophobic dimly lit area. I spotted ladders that led to somewhere but because I was the last one in line I didn’t want to be left behind. In my head it was just self prepping. You can do this! You can do this! And I did it! Eating by the roadside in short stools was also very fun. It was difficult trying to order, but we managed to pull through. I also loved the coffee that we found in a roadside shop right opposite our hotel. If coffee tasted like that, I wouldn’t mind having it everyday. Maybe I like cheap coffee – or maybe the Vietnamese just really knows how to work their caffeine.

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2) I attended my first “rave” 

This was a new experience. I’ve always heard about rave parties, seen partying photos on Facebook, but have never been to one. Usually it’s just because of lack of interest, the music is not my kind of jam and I can’t find myself enjoying the music as much as my other friends does. I think people just have different tastes in music, and that’s okay. I’d have to admit that Future Music Festival (yes, that’s my first) WAS indeed quite happening. Everyone who attended was hip, young, ready-to-party, and definitely super excited to be there. Two days to the event (we all know what happened to the third) – I tried walking into the dance area where everyone was just immersed in Amin Van Buuren’s session. That was quite uhm, overwhelming I must say. Probably it takes some getting used to, but the crowd and hype frankly didn’t make me too comfortable. I tried experiencing it for about 10 minutes by looking for some friends I could trust – and off I went. Back to work, which was alot more comfortable and exciting for me – frankly. Yes, the sole reason I was there was because I was at work. Nice experience – just don’t know if I’ll be back.

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3) I did a cover of one of my favorite songs from 2013

Now here’s my jam! I love, love, love  Say Something by Christine Aguiliera and A Great Big World. I first heard it when a friend posted Kina Grannis’ cover of it on Facebook. Absolute love – and some lyrics that felt like home. Amidst a couple of conversations online, the project just took flight and my partner in crime was Skyward. It actually became alot more serious than I thought it would have been – initially just thought we would cover it through a simple home recording. Anyhow I loved the outcome – so much effort has been put in this especially from the boys who made this with Xiang from InYourFace Production. Absolutely love it when I do music. It’s not something I’m extremely good at, but as to how those who love music would feel, it really just puts you in this rainbow zone. It doesn’t even matter if you have to take 30 takes of the same verse – it’s making music, and the kind that you like. That’s gold. Check the final outcome here.

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4) I took a ride in a hot air balloon

It was a clear no. “I don’t really want a ride. You guys can take it” But at the end, there were no takers. Passes were allocated only to sponsors and they weren’t even for sale. I thought about it on the very last day, and knew that there was no other way I was going to pay for a ride on a hot air balloon anywhere else. So up, up, and away I went. There were some really bad reviews from my other frolleagues from the days before so frankly I was extremely skeptical about the ride. Apparently landing was extremely rough, their basket tilt over, shoes were wet and muddy, weather was not too positive. So many reasons to NOT get on the balloon. Bottom line, I thought of it was a long fetch thing – gave myself to fate, and did. And by blessing our landing was extremely smooth, no shoes were wet, we glided over the calm lake in the early hours of daylight, and the pilot was extremely hospitable – making sure that everything’s okay. It did get pretty hot up there everytime the pilot flared. My crown felt like it was on fire, but definitely bearable. So lesson of the day – hot air balloons can be really an enjoyable ride!

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5) Did some team building karaoke

My team works closely with another media agency – we’re almost like family. One may not function without the other. In order to just farm some family love, we decided to call one of the nights out and just go crash the karaoke. Oh boy, did almost everyone go bonkers. As usual we had the loco mic hoggers, some self proclaimed Alicia Keys, and others who just observed the ones gone crazy in a quiet corner. These people are like memory banks. If I was ever drunk and did something crazy, I’d make sure to keep this Party Observer in a bag and never let him/her out. The problem was, I was always Party Observer. Every time after a party, I feel like a bear a responsibility to tell everyone what they did the night before. And I know that’s not exactly always pleasant to hear. Good thing nothing turned too ugly for team building karaoke! Everyone left happy, safe and sound.

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6) Went to my first bazaar in many years

This is nothing special – but definitely worth mentioning because I did it Jing who I haven’t caught up with for months! Reminded of years back when I was still active in Nuffnang events with Vivien and Ginny. Bazaars can get quite fun sometimes – especially when there’s food. Headed to Bazaar 365 to give Careen, who was there for her own shop ChiqFliq, a surprise visit!

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After that we headed to look for the Core boys –  to which all left, so Ming Han had an obligatory duty to bring two lonely girls for some entertainment (and we chose dinner). He brought us to my first experience at a diner, Johnny Rockets! It really was first of its kind for me – my first diner experience was somewhere in Penang but that wasn’t even anywhere close cut to this. Every 20 minutes they had a special performance where waiters would be dancing to some upbeat songs (like Gangnam Style?). It was kind of fun. Distracting for meals, or when you’re having quality conversation over your meal – but fun. Food and smoothie was yummy too – would definitely go back! It turned Ming Han into a little fairy on an excited unicorn – so go figure the power of Johnny Rockets!

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7) Celebrated a few birthdays

Sam has always been the type of friend who I almost never see in a year but each time we meet it’s almost like we never went different ways. She works away from the city so when we heard that she was going to do a little birthday gathering with her friends and family, I was a little stoked to just meet everybod. It was really nice seeing her family and her again. As usual she was busy running around sitting with different guests of the night – but was still great to see you.

We will go a long way. Super proud of your latest life journey :)

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On another separate event, it was also Mingalinga’s birthday so we all decided to head on over to Burger Lab for some meat love. It was HALF a surprise, because he kind of knew what was going to happen – but just didn’t know how or who was going to come and make things happen. Some short of 20 people came together that night. It’s been quite a while since I’ve been to any birthday parties. I feel like with age, some people are just too lazy to organize any for themselves, and we all really just need a good quiet day to ourselves on our birthdays.

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Ren was a sweetheart because he hosted the whole gathering on the restaurant :(

The best part was we all could make special special requests for burgers on the menu. Some got a double or a triple of the usual serving – that was a feast. One thing about Burger Lab is that it doesn’t leave me hungry for more. It’s extremely filling and taste is just way too wholesome for you feel like you’re missing out on anything. It got better than the last time I got there. Definitely worth its hoo-haa.

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8) Kpopstar 3 & Superman Is Back

Everyone’s been asking me what (Korean content) I have been watching lately. I have been watching two variety shows that shows on Sundays every week – and its quite painful to wait for new episodes to be uploaded online. Kpopstar is an annual singing competition I follow every year (for three years now) and standards of the contestants are just super top notch this year. I love watching the show for the constructive criticism – I feel like I’m learning just by watching the judges speak.

Another one would be Superman Is Back.

It shows the life of four celebrity dads taking care of their kids while their wives spend 48 hours away from home. Absolutely adore it to death because the kids are so cute, and it’s always heart-warming to watch how these dad’s communicate with their kids. You can also clearly see them learning something new about parenting in every new episode. It’s a common sight to see mom with young kids – but definitely something refreshing to see dads struggling and accomodating to them.

 

G.M Diet

Hello all for who’s still around.

I’m just going to skip through the times I have not been updating because its not been much of a roller coaster anyway. Sometimes I just phase out and feel like if I don’t have anything worthful to say, there’s no reason to come back to WordPress. I came back today because the my colleagues and I have all unanimously greed to do this cleansing diet called the G.M diet the last week.

By the Friday before Diet week we had everybody in the office in. All female and male.

Some of us were looking to shed a few pounds, but some just wanted to give our body a little cleanse. We work in a mall so we consume so much unhealthy food (especially given its convenience) during lunch break. A packet of Mcdonalds fries is also just a few steps away so we thought it was time. The 7-day G.M diet promises about 2-5kg in a week. Nobody in the office is fat, but it was worth giving it a go since everyone was in. This means no distractions and nobody gets to tempt each other in the middle of snack time. I also got my mom to join me on it so it was easier buying groceries.

Here is how it all went down.

 

Day 1 

This was an all fruits day.

We read that melons were highly recommended as opposed to the other fruits so I got a huge one to share with my mom. Today I had half of a watermelon (a quarter for breakfast and the other for dinner), 2 red apples and an orange. It sounds like its really little, and it was! Thankfully we had to drink 10 glasses worth of water and that helped fill my stomach alot. I went to the toilet once in every hour during office hour and thought it was horrible! Pee was already translucent by the fourth trip. The whole team was frankly quite cranky and Alexa was just unconsciously yapping about everything in the world from the cubicle. A group of woman without their carbs are not rainbows and daisies.

I also forgot to say that the guys in the office gave up even before lunch because they were very accustomed to breakfast (We usually have subway or Mcdonald breakfast sets). I also don’t usually weigh myself so I forgot to do any kind of starting weigh to measure the effects of the diet. Although I was usually hungry, I got sick of the texture and taste of fruits that I didn’t even want to eat anything apart from the above.

 

Day 2 

This was an all vegetable day, but you could have one potato for breakfast with a “pat” of butter.

The thing great about this program is that they don’t usually limit the amount of consumption. You are free to eat as much as you want – but it has to be just that. I loved Day 2 as I couldn’t bear putting another piece of apple in my mouth anymore. For breakfast and lunch, I had three mini steamed potatoes to replace one big one, loads of salad and some brocolli boiled in some salt. It shouldn’t be salty, but just enough to give it taste. In the middle of office hours I started to feel hungry so I went down to the supermarket to get packets of ready made salad. I coudn’t use the dressing provided so I squeezed some lemon juice into the packet. I went through two brief hours just by munching each piece down. I personally love lemon so it was a great snack for me. I still had to go to the washroom really often, and I think all the walking and getting helped me get some exercice done.

Dinner was yummy too. Mom prepared a great amount of spinach boiled with little anchovies for taste. I cheated a little and drank the soup – but only a few spoons. It didn’t have sugar or anything to bring the mechanics of the diet so I thought it was okay. I think it’s important to feel mentally content about your meal to during any kind of diet. Don’t make your body feel deprived of food.

I got really full but the thing about vegetable day is that I get hungry really quickly too. I tucked myself in bed at about 10PM and the next day was already here. Day 2 was an important day to pull through. Mid office hours Alexa was already jumping in her seat as her cravings barged in. At one point she stood up and offered to surrender from the horrendous plan. She wanted some good bowl of noodles. Everyone stared at her, full of temptations but nobody spoke up. It was a mental war. Mei Fenn looked like she was about to raise her hand before I decided to just let it sink to everyone that we are actually near the half of the diet!

Thanks to their short span of attention – we fought through Day 2!

 

Day 3

Today we can eat anything that’s a fruit or type of vegetable (just no bananas). Unlimited consumption. Lovely!

My diet for today was very similiar to day 2 – but I packed two extra sets of cherry tomatoes to satisfy my snacking habits. I also finally weighed myself on Day 3 and realised I have lost about 1.5kg from my original weigh. My hip fats didn’t sneakily peek out from my side like they usually do. I read that we were supposed to lose cravings somewhere today but I had an unusual craving for taste. I wanted to have something sweet. I also wanted cheese on Day 3. Just anything with some form of taste.

credit : livingprepared

The guys who gave up were munching on snacks that we have all set aside during mid day and it was quite tough disciplining myself. We were also sharing progress amongst ourselves and everyone who weighed also lost from 1 to 1.5kg. For some reason I made less trips to the ladies today.

It was a fairly easy day to go through.

 

Day 4

Today was strictly only milk and bananas. We could apparently have 8 bananas today!

There was a problem. I can’t drink milk as I was lactose intolerant and although I loved bananas I knew milk and bananas were a potion for an upset stomach for my body. My mom and I have the same problem so we got ourselves a packet of chocolate milk powder (meant for bone growth LOL!) and had it for breakfast along with one huge banana. I had a meeting until noon so when I went back to the office it was almost lunch time. After I managed to get back to my cubicle, colleagues were sharing information and apparently we were supposed to eat only 4 big bananas or 8 small ones. We frantically went through all the sites to make sure cause we all bought 8 big bananas.

I was already hungry again by 3PM so I had another banana. We couldn’t find a definite answer as there were several sites that said different things. That was two bananas down. Rachel brought me some unsweetened soymilk she got a a morning market so that helped fill my stomach too. However, my stomach couldn’t hold in any longer and I had to find access to the ladies. Any kind milk makes this little one upset.

By dinner I still had two more bananas left (and four more than I thought I wasn’t supposed to eat so I gave that to my brother) so I gobbled the two up and was done for the day. Also had another round of chocolate milk. I think chocolate milks aren’t allowed but it was my only option. I think the way this diet work is by science and not by calories so i thought it was okay.

There’s a site online that explains the mechanics and why and how the G.M diet works so maybe you guys could check on that.

I was already 3kgs down by today, but couldn’t see any difference visually.

Day 5

This has got to be one of the best days of the week. 10oz of beef today and along with 6 tomatoes! We also have to drink loads more water than 10 glasses today to wash away the acids.

For breakfast I had two packets of cherry tomatoes, and just looking forward for lunch time. The office was delighted.  We made a booking at a nearby steakhouse and rushed towards it when it was lunch. Most of us had a 6oz serving of beef steak so that we could leave 4oz for dinner.  There was some vegetables on the sides so that was great too.

Our body was so unaccustomed to heavy food like that. We had a slightly difficult time moving around and many of them in the office lasted till way past dinner before they could eat anything else. I was also not hungry by dinner time but mom already had about 3-4oz of marinated beef fried with garlic and some oyster sauce prepared. I finished 2 more big tomatoes and that was it.

Dinner was amazing.

Day 6

For some reason after the beef from Day 5, we ALL lost cravings for any kind of carbs. Cheese, burgers, whatever. We still know we love it, but there wasn’t a gravity that pulled us towards it anymore. Today was beef and vegetable day of unlimited amounts for us to eat our hearts away.

Frankly, by Day 6 our stomachs have significantly grown smaller from early week. I just had very little vegetables for lunch (I slept through breakfast) which I think was the spinach and then it was time for dinner. There was alot of sauce all over my beef this time as compared to the one on Day 5 so I just pushed it all aside just to not mess up the “particles”in my body. Maybe its in my head – but better to not sauce anything if possible. There was corn and coleslaw being served so I had all of that – along with some mash potatoes. Definitely not listed in the plan but was too tempted so I had a few stabs of it.

I gained about 0.5 from my previous record, so this means by today I lost 2.5kgs – but its fine. I wasn’t in this for weigh loss anyway :)

I thought it was healther to have some solid food so the body adapts to your eating patterns the following week. Colleagues were all already steady and everyone was doing well.

Day 7

Today was brown rice and vegetables only.

I had loads of brocolli and cauliflower with a bowl of brown rice for lunch. It was enough to last me till early dinner, where I break fast and almost had anything that was on the table. There was a lamb rib, mashed potatoes, grilled naan which I had many bites of. But my main dish of the meal was still a chicken grilled salad (yes I ate the chicken too). We just couldn’t wait to end the plan and I have to say I was heavily influenced by my mom as she was already buying glazed doughnuts just 12 hours away from the finish line!

But all in all, we still stuck to the plan pretty much. It was 96% followed by and results were as they promised. In totality I lost 2.5kg during the whole program and my other colleages also lost at least 1.5. Skin was alot more radiant mainly because of the water input and I felt like my appetite had shrunk ALOT compared to before we started it. I usually order large sets in restaurants and still fill hungry an hour later. Yesterday I ordered a small portion of chicken teriyaki rice and instantly recognising it as too small for me. I was already mapping the places I’d go after that to fill myself up but little did I know I was arleady stuffed by 60% into the bowl of rice.

2014 : Realisations Are Never Too Late

Happy Chinese New Year to anyone who gives this site a visit.

Hope everybody’s January has been great so far. Mine has been quite filled back-to-back with a couple of different things, primarily things from work. I came across an article that said “It Is not Your Job That You Really Love” a few days back, and that’s the thing about headlines. Good ones really make you want to read it, and in my case this was a really good one. But I didn’t want to click on it, because I thought this deserved my own unbiased opinion. Do I love my job?

If I replaced my workplace with different people, would I still love doing what I do?

Then I realised that for me, the term job doesn’t really translate to the process, duties and KPIs. My job is really my experience at work. My  job is created and designed the way it is now by my colleagues, their behaviour, their attitude. It is because of teamwork that makes my job different. That’s why I can’t just take them out of the equation and ask myself if I’d love my job anyhow? It’s not so simple, because they ARE what makes my job.

I asked them at work if they had Monday blues, and it came to my surprise that none of them did. They found it hard to wake up, but that happens every day. Some people struggle to leave work to weekdays, but I “bring work home” because I realise we all LOVE talking about our growth, our chances and possibilities as a team. The team chat room is almost never silent for more than 24 hours, and I think that’s what makes me feel so pumped up about work every week. It is a family. They are people I want to see and talk to.

Earning a living is essential, especially with my determinations. However I always try to keep it in my head that it is not what should drive me. I want to earn experiences, and not just a living. I want to live days, not survive days. Money is important, but there is no need to be rich. Hence that’s why I find myself working without realising that pay day is pay day, and when pay day comes – it just seems like a bonus for me. It’s like a pat on my back, saying “Hey, thanks for the past month. Here’s a token”. I don’t know about anyone else, but that works for me. That being said, I’m not saying anybody should devalue their own worth when they get a job. You should know what you’re worth, but don’t live with it stuck in your head.

Recently I’ve also learnt that making a few initiatives can change the way your life dynamics turn out. More like I have realised how I have to make change, and not wait for change. 2014 is all about making changes because I don’t want to be who I was 2 years ago. Its true, I only have so many days to play with to do things apart from work. But what if I choose to sacrifice some things, to do some other things that I find makes me happy? Talking to a friend lately who has left a 9-5 job to do the little things here and there that he love has made me wonder, if I would ever find that courage or faith to do. I guess my first step to keeping a balance for that is by initiating here and there so that I remember to keep time for myself. My own growth, my own happiness.

 

For the past years, I’ve always taken a step back when it comes to pursuing leisure and topics of interest. I don’t know what happened along the way, but I never did anything to find out what I really liked. I like art, but everything around me seemed so rigid and tight that it seemed like my interests were too niche to pursue. Meeting and getting to know a a group of precious people the past year that I have recently learned to really appreciate has opened doors of a different world for me.  I’ve always been myself, but it never felt better to meet people who you felt had a connection with you. With no disregards to everyone else I’ve met before that, I just felt like God has sent a troop of new friends out of nowhere to just knock this in my head. It was so easy to be my whole self, to embrace my interests. I think back and I thought it was kind of ridiculous how I just ended up like that. Friends that were met with no initial introduction from any mutual friends, but we slowly realise how small the world is. Everything just zips up to a big bag of contentment and happiness.

If I didn’t make choices I made, I wouldn’t have been blessed with the opportunities. It is because I said yes to the many times I would have said no to, that I’ve met the new friends I’ve met so far. So I guess it’s lesson learnt : Don’t be afraid to say yes and open doors, but remember to stay true to your own values and principles while doing it. 

Somewhere above, they will shower you with rainbows and light :)

Hello everyone!

First of all, Happy New Year!

How come wishes all come in capital letters for each word?

Merry Christmas. Happy New Year. Happy Birthday.

Kind of funny huh?

Anyway yes, wishing everyone a great year ahead (as always) and I hope we all stand up and take the initiatives to do great new things this year. Last year for me was a little step outside my door. I took chances to do things that I wanted to do. In other words, I grabbed chances when they came by. Before, even if something that I really liked and wanted to do came by, it’ll be really easy for me to reject the offer and say “Maybe next time”. But growing up, I realized next time’s doesn’t always pop by.

2013 was a year where I think I actually did change a little. My perceptions are a little different now, but principles and values still hold dear. The best thing about this year was getting myself a job – something that I have always been wanting to do since high school. I knew I couldn’t rush the process – so I jumped into engaging myself into part time jobs, ad hoc projects, internships and such. These chances didn’t reward much in terms of money, but I think it was the only, or rather, the best way to feel what it really is like to be in different shoes. I would have to say these little short term experiences with different organisations did help me alot in approaching people in my current job.

In 2013, I took chances that I thought came to my interest and thanks to that I managed to do many things. I have to admit that I was still sitting around waiting for chances to come to me, and thankfully they did. But in 2014, I hope I can be a little more adventurous and initiative in engaging in things that I wanna try.

One of the examples would have to be teaching. I’ve always dreamt of teaching in a kindergarten school, helping children learn their first words. It gives me some kind of satisfaction to be able to provide that experience to them. I wanted to try taking up a part time job in a kindergarten next to my apartment, but that never happened because I had doubts. Doubts about myself, and if I could really take the responsibilty to care after little children. My mom once told me she still finds it mind boggling how girls usually always have this little fantasy about being a kindergarten teacher. Is it really a girls thing?

I don’t know.

But since I am way past the chance to explore teaching as a part-timer, I took the chance to execute this little dream through another tunnel. By teaching Korean. I shared my first video the last post, and today my second video’s up. And when people text me to tell me how they have learnt, there’s just this great feeling in me. A sense of achievement. It really doesn’t matter if its just 10 people (It’d be a lie if I said I didn’t care if anyone’s watching at all), as long as someone REALLY is learning.

That the thing that I’m looking for.

Here’s my second lesson of the project, and first video of the year.

Korean Lessons By Nat

Hello everyone!

One day I just woke up and suddenly got inspired to do online lessons for Basic Korean. It just happened to be one of the things that I think I’ve always wanted to do but never got around doing. I guess Korean would be the best thing I could fall back on if nobody wants to ever hire me for a job in future.

I’ve never thought of having a physical class cause that takes so much time and most of the time when I practice a certain habitual cycle I tend to find it more of an obligation than something that I enjoy. So I turned to Youtube to share this knowledge that I think a number of people may like to have.

Response so far has been great for me. For me it really isn’t about making my lessons viral (and I think nobody should ever share knowledge with that mindset) but really about providing quality lessons that can help people around me! So far after half a day I’m seeing views near to 300 and I’m frankly overwhelmed!

The idea of having thought almost 300 people three new words in a day makes me feel extremely fulfilled and happy. Hopefully the current viewers will continue taking my 5 minute lessons weekly and somehow be able to speak basic Korean very soon :)

Taking A Step Back To The Future

double 100 things I wish I had known before traveling

I saw this, and found myself in the dashboard admin that I’ve been meaning to abandon deep within.

Writing brings me back and forth.

It’s something I enjoy doing – but never found the best place to polish and make my words shine. I read articles and get my thoughts swayed by how beautifully articulated these sentences are. Who’s the writer? What’s her story?

Knowledge or experience. If you only could choose one to become your lifetime asset, what would it ultimately be?

The meaning of travelling has changed and evolved in many ways for me. Conversations I’ve heard about travelling being a dream never felt as close to my heart as it has lately become. Travelling comes in many stages.

My favorite is Stage 2.

When I’m in Stage Two, I become an evolved person. I am lifted off responsibilities to walk back to, I am on my own. Then sometimes in the midst of a noisy crowd, my thoughts trail back to miles away where my real home is. I have to appreciate this. I am here, with a group of amazing people whose youth and laughter will not be engraved in my heart for ever – even if I begged.

At Stage Two, I don’t own the luxury to be uncomfortable and choose. It’s then that I take a step further, out of my comfort zone. My heels right at the tip of the cliff, but every time I feel like I’m about to fall – I realise I can go a little further. At Stage 2, I get to see faces of people whom I usually wouldn’t have time (that I would deem deserving) to observe and analyse. Here, there would be instances where the face and expression of a wailing toddler appear so fragile. Why is he crying? At Stage Two, I can communicate with what’s in my head along with what’s keeping it alive.

My least favorite? Stage 2.

Leaving a place that you have learnt to call a second or third home is many times more tough that going away from your roots for a long time. Packing your bags away from a place you know you’ll never come back again and call home weakens muscles. The path to that plane makes the tick tocks in my watch sound more distinct. All those things that the cabbie is saying? All I hear is goodbye. 45 minutes worth of goodbye. That’s a lifetime worth of farewell that nobody should deserve.

Slowly I’ve come to realise that no matter how grateful I am each time I set foot on a plane, it was never enough – and may ever be.

In my head, I am a writer. I’m a writer who would be flown in and out of countries that I would never have dreamt of being at. I am a 23 year old traveller who would spend her days in vintage themed cafes writing away about my life that I would then describe after my past 5 years. I would also spend nights exploring the calm alleys of Hollywood movies alone secretly expecting to bump into someone I’ve known but least expect to see. However, the vision in my head feels like its just a reel that keeps rolling endlessly to encourage the fast paced lifestyle that I seem to be living in reality.

DSC 0451 600x398 100 things I wish I had known before traveling

Travelling will always be travelling. It has depth, friendship, sights, thoughts, insights, knowledge…..and probably everything in the dictionary that I will have to learn through travelling.

I can never look at travelling the same way again.

Photo Credits : Thought Catalog