Category Archives: Daily Diary

The long, long journey of being the one and only me

The One With Chinese New Year – Year Of The Sheep!

Or is it ram? Or goat? You know, it’s really hard to get it right.

This year is actually my year. As in, I am of the Chinese zodiac sign of sheep. Which means, I was born three zodiac cycles ago. No prize for guessing how old I am this year!

Apparently, my luck is not very good this year, be it with money, health, relationship etc. I seldom pay heed to such beliefs, but my family does. I was repeatedly reminded to go to a local temple to perform a ceremony to “turn my luck” for the year.

I guess that would make this year’s CNY celebration a little different, instead of usual eating in and partying out. Regardless, I could really use the break.

Here’s wishing all my blog readers a very Gong Xi Fa Cai! Here’s my favorite self-pic for CNY by far.

Razlan for CNY

(Yes, I used to wear specs. Kinda miss how I looked two years ago)

The One With Christmas – Two Celebrations In A Row

Have you had a great Christmas? Mine was very, very memorable.

Christmas Eve was spent in the company of some dearest friends. Food galore! We had western, Indian and Japanese all on one table. Champagne was literally free flow. We had a good few hours of merriment before hitting the street to paint the town red. It has been a good few years since we had a gathering like this.


Second Christmas party, this time at my place. We hosted Ted’s friends for a night of eating, drinking and (yes) dancing. On hindsight I should have been a little light-handed in serving-tray-of-shots; we had rounds of whiskeys, vodkas and baileys. Not to mention champagne and wine. Food took second stage. And when Spice Girls hit the stereo, all hell broke loose.

I know I had it good when policemen came knocking. Now that’s what I call a good party!


(On a separate note, now I’m left with a house sparkling with glitter. Even the toilet. How did it get there?!?)

The One With Happy New Year – Of Drones, Fireworks & BBQs

Sometimes the best plan is not to plan at all.

My New Year’s Eve celebration started with a surprise cheese-and-wine at home, followed by a steak dinner. The night was still young so we joined our friends for a rooftop BBQ and a crazy countdown on a rooftop.

When the clock hits midnight, we cheered amidst booms of fireworks going off at the harbour. Blocked by buildings we could only see glimpses of it, but here’s one courageous drone going into the fireworks!

I couldn’t remember the last time I drank this much. It was so much fun, definitely worth the hangover I have on the first day of the new year.

On another note… did I just agree to go to Songkran this year? It was too hazy a night of chicken wings, sweet potatoes and grilled fish!

The One With #OccupyCentral

Many of you have heard stories and news about the #OccupyCentral movement in Hong Kong. This amorphous, leaderless and grassroot protest is sweeping major business and commercial districts as I type this, and I am proud and honoured to share that I was on the ground with the people last night.

The decision to take part was not a complicated one. For the record, I do not agree with the #OccupyCentral’s objectives and philosophies. What turned on my dismay and anger was the unnecessary and over-the-top violent stance taken by the authority when they clashed with the largely peaceful protesters on the street last Sunday.

So I joined the throngs of ordinary citizens and residents on the street at the first chance I got. I started at Causeway Bay, where a large crowd was growing, with people seated on both sides of the street. There were people pushing trolleys with food and supplies (which reminded me of inflight service!), people offering me plastic bag (for sitting on the wet pavement) and wet towel, and people holding up placards in multiple languages reminding protesters to keep calm, be alert, stay peaceful, fight for democracy etc etc.

I slowly made my way out of Causeway Bay, into Wan Chai MTR station and headed to Central, where an even larger crowd was gathered on the expressway. As clueless and directionless as I was, I found myself within sight of Tamar, the government headquarter which was the scene of clash on Sunday. Self-appointed leaders with loudhailers advised the crowd on what to do in case of a police crackdown, weather warnings, and development from other spots of the protests. That night, Hong Kong-ers in their tens of thousands occupied Central, Admiralty, Wan Chai, Causeway Bay, Tsim Sha Tsui and Mongkok.

I sat on the ground and watched as the people came and went around me but never leaving the street empty. At where I was there wasn’t any spontaneous singing or cheering; a calm and orderly atmosphere prevailed, with applause breaking out every now and then as motorcycles brought supplies to resource stations and foreigner kids shouted their support for Hong Kong.

There was a moment when a sea of lights lighted up from one end of the protest to the other. There wasn’t any loud cheering or singing – just a show of hands of people seeking for democracy. And they numbered in their thousands.

After spending five hours on the street, we decided to call it a night. I walked from Central all the way to Causeway Bay (for a much needed Ichiran break) and then Happy Valley. Along the way I see my fellow “comrades” – people dressed in black with a yellow ribbon, moving along the empty streets of Hong Kong. At one point heaven opened and it poured, and it was then a sea of umbrellas and I was reminded how the humble brollie has become the icon for the movement, when it was used as protection against pepper spray and tear gas last Sunday.

It was a surreal experience. Throughout the night and the few days leading up to it, I have learned a lot about my home city and its people. What I saw – see – is a land of hope and determination, of resilience and perseverance, and of dignity and faith. Though I do not think the movement will achieve the result it wants, it has already done one thing well – that is to remind, rebuild and reinforce the love Hong Kong citizens and residents (like yours truly) have for their home city.

And that is a major victory.

The One With This Man & His Bags – An Almost Fashionable Story

I am not known for my bags. Shoes maybe, but even so, my days as the Prince of Shoes were long over since my shoe cupboard overflowed and I had to throw away the nice boxes and start lining up my shoes on the floor.

But bags… for me, bags are a different story. I view them mainly from a utility stand point. Is it practical? Can I carry it to work? To play? Will it last for overlong travel? Can I bring it up to a mountain?

My considerations were practical, and that’s because I am a man.

But recently I came to discover another wardrobe problem – I am running out of place to store my bags. The usual spots were stacked up waist high. It was only when I was trying to store my latest purchase to the collection that a strange, new thought crossed my mind….

… do I have too many bags?

I started to leaf through my bags, and a flood of memory started to come back. Like I said, I don’t “shop” for bag, but when I see a nice bag, usually I will buy them. This could happen anytime, anywhere, online or off, so each bag come with a story.

So let me try to inject a little sense of style to this blog by introducing to you my five favorite bags as of this morning. (If you ask me again this afternoon, I would probably change my mind. And just because I am a man doesn’t mean I can’t flounder like a woman.)

MOCA Taipei Sling Bag

MOCA Taipei sling bag, bought earlier this year from (of course) MOCA Taipei. I was so happy with my visit to the museum that I had to buy something back for myself. This bag is practical and aptly sized for a quick visit to the nearby with my iPad and books for a leisure weekend brunch over beer.

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The One With Mother’s Day’s Shopping

Wow, it has been quite a long time since I blogged. Another year has passed and it’s soon to be Mother’s Day again! Come this Sunday, sons and daughters around the world will be celebrating this special day with their mommies dearest. I don’t know about you, but I always kinda dread the day coming…

… no, not because I don’t love my Mom. Do you mind! But because since my Mom is in the States, I am always at a dead end on what to buy for her!

Apparently, I am not alone. Our good friends over at Groupon did some research and found that many of us clueless children are stressed over what to buy for their mom, trying to find something that might please those “difficult” (I am using the term loosely here) mommies and figuring out what they really, really want.

But this year became a little different for me… and I am not let you know why. All in a good time, my friend. But if you are still at wit’s ends trying to figure out what to get for Mommy dearest, you still have time.

Groupon’s Mother’s Day deals boast a whole range of stuff you could consider for the most important woman in your life! (For those whom are married, com’on, just for one weekend!) You could treat her to a very nice meal:

A heavenly, out-of-this-world massage:

Or that piece of electronics she had really wanted to use at home:

So, what would it be?

The One With The Joy Of Doing Something Well…

The past couple of weeks since I returned from Taipei has been a whirlwind of an experience.

Coming down from the high of an enjoyable is never easy, especially so when you return to a life that is ever more hectic than before. In and out of the office, as the sun rises and sets, I have been rushing, rushing, rushing. Maniacally checking off my to-do lists, creating new lists even as older ones are left incomplete, pondering if I should have a checklist of checklists.

Madness, I know. BUT! There’s an order in all these chaos.

Even as I rushed from meeting to meeting, flustering around like a headless chicken (or a lost turtle, if I forgot what meeting I am in for next), there is a deep resonance within me that I am doing the right thing.

That I am at the right place, at the right time, and being with the right people. There is an inner compass in me that points to my true north.

Call me selfish. Call me arrogant. But true happiness often come only when you are doing things you believed in, that brings you joy and benefits in one way or another. There’s no selfless deed. Every good thing you do, there’s something in it for you.

And that’s where I am at now. Tomorrow will be another day of unplanned craziness and urgent detours, but whenever I feel I strayed from my true north, I will find my way back.


While this post may seem like a pointless ramble to you, it meant the world to me.

The One With New Year Day – A Roundup of Roundups

Hi there! Did you have a good new year’s eve celebration? My evening turned out to be very lovely. Unlike previous years, I shunned the rowdy revelers in Taipei and impossible crowd in town. We opted for a small gathering of friends for some good food, plenty of booze and great time.

NYE Gathering

Much have been said about the night that was. We had some home cooked food, all the way perusing some excellent champagnes and some very comforting mulled wine. When the clock strikes midnight, we were at the rooftop in an attempt to witness the fireworks from afar and wasn’t really bothered that we failed spectacularly to do so.

In the confusion that was last night (ehem!), somehow I found myself booked on a trip to Surabaya, the second largest city in Indonesia and the gateway to Mount Bromo. I have been dithering for days about what to for my Chinese New Year’s holiday. It is now all sorted though I am a bit nervous about how rugged and close-to-nature the whole trip will be. I am a city boy at heart, I really am. Chris has no idea what he got himself into asking me to go along on his trip.

It would be my first holiday trip to Indonesia. Working day trips to Batam don’t count.

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The One With Christmas – Joy From Greenland & Thoughts On Friendships

So the postcard finally came. The self-paid mail Christmas order all the way from Greenland.

Merry Christmas from Greenland

It’s nice having mail on Christmas Eve. This card is part of the service of Santa Claus Post Office at Nuuk, Greenland. You pay some EUR7 for a post card, write in your address and leave it behind. The elves of Santa will then post it to you nearer to Christmas so that you get some festive cheer in the post.

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The One With Tony & Yali Wedding

For a person who bats for the other team, I have been to a fair few weddings in my life. When I was younger, the weddings I have been to are usually ghastly, cookie-cutter affair. Granted, I have only attended the banquets at these weddings, but even these were more predictable than my mom’s weekly grocery list. I started the first course with utmost sincerity and warm wishes for the newlyweds; by the fifth I was yearning for desserts to be served so that I can go home and forget the dull, dull moments of drunken toasting, horrible singing and bland food I had to endure.

Tony & Yali

However as I grow older, the weddings I attended to took on a more comfortable, if peculiar, personality. Instead of staring in confusion at the invitation card with names I don’t recognise (these were usually from the genre of familial weddings), I found myself inexplicably looking forward to these little packages of matrimonial joy. What used to be viewed as a “wedding bomb” – no one likes spending money on weddings of people they don’t know – is now a token of recognition.

Recognition, because these invites now come from close friends. Friends whom have been there when I was a young, naive thing. Friends whom have seen the best and worst of me (often worst). Friends whom loved me for who I am, not what I was or what I could become.

Friends who wanted me to be a part of their celebration.

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