Tag Archives: Birthday

The One With Balalaika – A Russian Experience At Knutsford Terrace

It’s someone’s birthday. Someone special. So of course you can’t do a half-hearted at (God forbid) char chan teng or just order a cake, can you. You need to do something different.

So what do you do? Here’s my three-steps fail-proof guide to choose an appropriate restaurant for a birthday dinner:
Step 1: Get a globe. Give it a good twirl, close your eyes, and jab with your finger.
Step 2: Look at the country, go to OpenRice.com to search for a corresponding restaurant (i.e. if you jabbed at Mongolia, you go for Mongolian food, see?)
Step 3: Call up the restaurant, make a reservation and start saving

Inevitably an exotic meal will cost you an arm and a leg, though I have to say that perhaps Balalaika Russian Restaurant is one of the few exceptions.

The Ice Bar

The Ice Bar

A visit to Balalaika would be incomplete without visiting the Ice Bar (the inverted Absolute Vodka prop wasn’t a photoshop mistake, mind you). The small bar without seats, which can comfortably fit about 6 – 7 standing adults, was famous for the subterranean chill of almost zero degrees Celcius, probably all to make it a Russian experience (side note: do you know the Russians have one of the most severe winters in the world?). Prior entering the chilled room you get to choose a huge fur coat, a fur cap and a pair of furry ear muffs.

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The One With How To Throw A Fabulous Party

This Charming Manâ„¢ is all about great parties and fabulous gatherings of friends and foes alike. Give him any reason – a birthday, a promotion, a festival, a divorce – he will find it worthy enough to get a party going.

More often than not, a gathering of This Charming Manâ„¢’s doing is but fabulous, to varying degree. But fabulous nonetheless. Here are his secrets, in order of decreasing importance.


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The One With The Amazing Birthday Weekend

My birthday cake

To say that my 31st birthday has been uneventful would be an understatement.

Contrary to previous years, of which I celebrated my birthdays with much fanfare, this year has been a departure from tradition. No big parties, no draft beer (on the tap!), no long guest list, no puking, no loud music.

But it was certainly a birthday to remember.

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The One With The Life Like No Other

My 30th birthday

It has been a year to the date since I turned thirty.

Words seem a little inadequate to describe the complex emotion churning in my mind right now. Often I told myself, at birthdays, I should look back at the year which has gone past and be grateful of my blessings, my successes, my triumphs.

But this time round… I told myself also to look at my failures and my troubles. For in each grain of pain lies a chance for me to learn something, to be myself… only better.

Call it a sign of age, if you will.

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The One With The Quotable from Yongfook

The One With The Quotable from Yongfook

From a blog post by the ever-stylish Yongfook on becoming 30:

Like probably every human being on the planet over the age of 12, I have loved and lost. The difference is when you’re young, it’s easy to start dating again. As you get older (say, 30) it becomes progressively more difficult to find someone you really like. This is a result of many factors. You’re more experienced so you know more precisely what you want and are unwilling to waste time just casually dating otherwise. Half of your generation is probably already married. You’re also on the way towards the apex of your professional life so maybe for some this is not a great time to be thinking about that whole “love” thing.

How true. But even at our age, sometimes being practical is to let go your own fairy tales.

This certainly reminds me of the time when I turned 30. How far have we come?

Happy birthday, Yongfook.

The One With The 30th Birthday Video

This came as a surprise! Didn’t know that Chris took a video of me cutting my birthday cake. Thanks dude!

And yes, I still hate my own voice on videos. Gah!

Here’s the blog post on my 30th birthday party

The 30th Birthday

And so, the birthday weekend has come and gone. I wasn’t expecting a big blast, seeing myself as being stranded half way between two countries, but the celebration was better than I have expected.

Of course, I spent the 25th June (pencil down in your calendar, people) in Hong Kong. I still remember counting down to my birthday doing a a list of my achievements in the last 10 years of my life, eating some instant noodle as a form of celebration alone in my hotel room, and feeling insanely contented with life even though I was all alone. I have Facebook and Twitter to thank for.

So the next day in office, all was quiet and calm as usual, and then the whole department went out for lunch at a nearby neighbourhood cluster for some Korean BBQ food. It was surprising good, not to mention cheap. Perhaps that’s because we were at Taipo, which is so far north of Hong Kong, everything is almost half the price of city’s price tags. I also bought some of my favorite egg tarts, priced at an unbelievable HKD2.50 each (that’s like SDG0.40!) without a care of my expanding waistline.

Celebration with colleagues at Taipo

There was a surprise cake… not so much of a surprise because I was with them when my colleagues bought it (I even told them which is my favourite), but they shocked me when they lighted the candle in the midst of a departmental meeting. So a red-faced me had to endure an entire Happy-Birthday-song in front of 15+ colleagues, whom by then knew I was still a “young” 30.

And so the next day, it was my flight back to Singapore. Have to wake up very early just to make my way to the airport. I was expecting to see a sea of passengers donned with masks, just like in a sci-fi movie, but to my disappointment (and fear), I was one of the handful who was wearing a mask. And the flight was a connecting journey for a load of Singapore-bound travelers from… San Francisco.

I am sure I was too paranoid when I donned this mask in a hurry while waiting to board the plane.

The flight was rather uneventful… except when a stewardess strode up my row of seats while I was asleep, asking my fellow passengers if it was one of our birthday. Of course they said no, and by the time I was awake enough to decipher what was being said, the stewardess shrugged it off as a mistake, and walked away.

Anyway, so I landed in Singapore, and soon a flurry of activities ensued as I rushed around to do my errands. Preparation for party, cutting my hair, buying clothes etc. I thought I would be able to have a relaxed time in Singapore, but it was more stressful than I thought.

Ah, but the end result was worth it. Very, very much so. On that Saturday night, the 27th June, I celebrated my birthday properly with a gang of close friends at my house. The theme was… well, you figure it out yourself. I will let the photos to do the talking :)

30th Birthday Celebration

The party props. Feather boas ruled the night!

30th Birthday Celebration

The sumptuous dinner spread that night, by Zingrill, the same good people who run Breeks. The food was very very good, and the price is similar to your typical half-past-six caterer out there. The service was also top-notch. Highly recommended!

30th Birthday Celebration

Chris and Jessie, who didn’t stay very long this time round. I think my parties must have scared them. LOL.

30th Birthday Celebration

My lovely Cheryl, who helped me a lot with the preparations for the party, gave me a wonderful gift; a framed threesome portraits of us and Shafik, whom at the time of party, must be crawling in mud at Tekong. Poor dude. I wished he was there.

30th Birthday Celebration

Yali and Tony came for night dressed strictly to the theme! Yali, I think I still have at least half carton of your beer in my fridge :)

30th Birthday Celebration

Niza and Anna were easily the best dressed for the night. Look at the shades of pink. I loveeeeeed it!

30th Birthday Celebration

Dora made herself famous with her deliciously lethal drinks that night, and Terence got famous because of his impeccable photography skills (and unsuccessful attempts trying to keep his wife in check), hehe.

30th Birthday Celebration

Eileen, I did invite you on my Facebook event page hor! I can do a screenshot to prove it :D

30th Birthday Celebration

Mak, don’t worry about your bitchy self that night. I think my friends kinda looked forward to have you around, and those who don’t, probably deserved it. LOL.

30th Birthday Celebration

Riyan came by complete with his crutches! LOL so cute. And he gave me the cutest present ever :)

30th Birthday Celebration

I got to know Justin through the imfamous AWARE saga rage on Twitter, and we have been friends ever since. This was the first night I met the man himself, and he has a delicious secret up his sleeves, which I think he will reveal when the time is right. For a peak into that, check out his Twitter account!

30th Birthday Celebration

After knowing him for years online, finally Dickson decided to show his face for the first time at my party. Okay, not very much so technically, but just for the record he was the FIRST to arrive… after mistakenly thinking my party starts at 6 p.m. Haha!

30th Birthday Celebration

Terence Cheah, Tony and Terence Leong. I don’t know why they made me squat… and I don’t know why I agreed! It made me look hideous, really.

30th Birthday Celebration

For the first time after years of inviting, Chee Leng finally came for my party. And I hope she didn’t get the shock of her life :)

30th Birthday Celebration

Some of my SMC boys, Lucas and YK. Guys, hope your audition went okay. Sorry for not being able to sit down and chat properly with you two that night!

30th Birthday Celebration

Mark and Charles also came that night. Mark, thanks for your lovely set of a gift, and Charles, thanks for lending a hand at the “bar”!

30th Birthday Celebration

Elki and Willy. I just remembered… I think I have been taking my boas on and off in front of you two, saying it was too hot, for multiple times, didn’t I? LOL.

30th Birthday Celebration

Tess! Thanks for coming! And please send my bollocks to Thomas, Lisa, Daniel et al for not turning up. I demand a make-up dinner when I come back to Singapore next :D

30th Birthday Celebration

Aldo came along with a friend *ahem* LOL. Hope you didn’t feel too uncomfortable that night.

30th Birthday Celebration

Liang Hin came along with Reuben for the first time to my parties. Hope it didn’t shock you guys too much. Liang Hin, I am not too sure about the “people magnet” part, but I will sure do my best in HK. Thanks for your kind words of encouragement :)

30th Birthday Celebration

HOHOHO! I must buy lottery again. The elusive Jinguang actually turned up! Haha… okay, so he stayed for a grand total of five minutes, but that is better than none, right? Thanks dude. I am really happy to see you that night.

30th Birthday Celebration

Ian who will be joining me in HK later than expected. But that’s okay, dude. Late is better than never, and parties in HK never stop!

30th Birthday Celebration

Hey Raffy, thanks for coming. I heard that you just returned from a tiring trip to Germany, so really appreciate you coming by :)

30th Birthday Celebration

Mark and Kitson, the latter who came so late and so drunk that it didn’t take too much time for him to terrorise the rest of the guests. LOL, we all still love you, babe.

And also a shout out to David who came and left early, missing the chance to take a photo. Now… did I miss out anyone?

So the next day, with the help of my maid, we cleaned up the place. I mistakenly thought my flight was at 8 p.m., when it was actually at 7 p.m. So it was mad, mad rush to the airport. And again, the flight was uneventful, until…

Surprise from Singapore Airlines!

HAH! The cake finally arrived in flight, much to the amusement of my fellow passengers. Thanks, Niza, for arranging this.

And that conclude my 30th birthday celebration. Pretty mild, no? Hehe

And people… sorry if I wasn’t able to extend an invitation to you. The planning was very rushed, and since my current place is pretty small, I need to make sure everyone is comfortable, and that it won’t be a nightmare to organise.

Full set of photos on Flickr.

P.S.: If you are reading this on Facebook, chances are some of the photos won’t load here since the entry is automatically imported from my blog. Click here to see the full post.

P.S.S.: If you are reading this on my blog or in RSS feed, ignore the P.S. above :P

Ten Achievements As I Turn 30

How do you even try to summarise ten years of your life into a list of ten? As I look back into my life in preparation for a retrospective moment as I marched into the unknown realm being 30, I spotted so many memorable moments, both big and small, worth mentioning in my list.

Yes, in mere hours I will bid farewell to the carefree gang of 20s (you lucky bastards!) and hope to be welcomed by the community of 30s. And yes, my life in the recent years have been colourful indeed, interwoven with beads of memory and strings of nostalgia made up of people, places and moments.

I thought it will only be fitting for me to blog my thoughts of my achievements in the past ten years of my life as my 30th birthday approaches.

Are you ready for a stroll down memory lane with me? Here goes:

#1 Coming to Singapore

The Singapore Flyer

Possibly the biggest decision I ever made in my life, and one that I have never, ever regretted. Yes, I did leave behind truckload of memories back home. But when the opportunity came knocking, offering me a chance for a better life in a country I never even dream of living in, I took a deep breath, took the plunge… and I never looked back. In a blink of an eye, I have spent ten years of my life in Singapore and grew up from a clueless young man to a slightly less clueless not-so-young man. I dare say my life would never be the same if I stayed put where I was in Malaysia.

#2 World Music Contest 2001

My life had always revolved around school bands. Without a doubt the pinnacle of my musical life was when, as part of the NTU Symphonic Band, I went to participate in WMC 2001 in Kerkrade, Netherlands, and emerged a First Prize winner in the First Division. After months of endless rehearsals, logistical nightmare (I was the band’s welfare officer) and fundraising effort, together with some of my dearest friends, I stood tall at the top of the (band) world. The feeling of being crowned a winner was truly euphoric.

#3 Getting a first class degree

NTU Convocation Ceremony 2003

I remember the endless nights when I braved the humidity and piles of lecture notes, trying to cram it all one month before the dreaded exams, in pursuit of something that even I myself have no clear idea of – a good degree. Truth to be told, I do enjoy studying. I enjoy stressing my brain into doing mental gymnastic and coaching my friends into understanding complicated algorithm. The day when my final semester results were announced, when I got my straight As and first class degree, was understandably the best day of my life. And as if that is not enough, I went on to do another diploma in a totally different field… just for the heck of it.

#4 Good career progress


After a month of frantic job hunting upon graduation (it was during the horrific SARS period when everyone was paranoid and the job market plunged), I landed my first job in a field that was totally unrelated to what I studied. My career kicked off in the recruitment industry in a small company which gradually expanded at dizzying speed, enabling me to literally sprint up the career ladder. Since then, I have dabbled in the conference sector, which saw good money but was wayyy too political, and then I was back in recruitment again but infused with the Internet. And now here I am in Hong Kong, paving my way to be a good web product guy. I have come a long way from the geeky mechanical engineering graduate who was hell bent on NOT being an engineer, to become a manager with a combination of knowledge and experience which, apparently, few candidates have. I call that a blessing.

#5 Staying on my own

The living room

Yet another decision I took which I have never regretted is to move out from a shared flat, stood on my own feet, sacrifice a big part of my income and rent a place to call my own. After years of sharing different abodes with different housemates, an opportunity came along in the form of a dirt cheap yet new flat in Toa Payoh, and I took it. Living alone has taught me a lot of things. Total freedom in building your home life comes with a price you might not be entirely willing to pay. But I learned, and preserved. And without these independent living, I would not be able to throw the endless small dinner gatherings and large birthday parties over the years.

#6 The Singapore Idol Fever


How could my list ever be complete without the mention of what was one craziest thing I ever done? What started as a past time watching Singapore Idol season 1 had quickly exploded into a flurry of late night blogging, furious debates on fandom rivalry, and eventually the birth of the official site of the first Singapore Idol, Taufik Batisah. Getting to know the man himself and running his fan site and fan club were no joke. Had it not been for a gang of die hard supporters, I would have fizzled out long time ago. After three years of toiling for the Fiknatics, I called it quit together with Cheryl and Shafik, my two BFFs whom, without TB.net, I would not have the blessing to be acquainted with. The three of us have sure come a long way from dabbling in that dreaded forum to be at where we are today. Aren’t you glad? I am eternally grateful.

#7 Losing weight

Shafik's 21st Birthday Celebration Night Out

It started at the start of 2008, when a date commented how I need to change my wardrobe, and I realised I have not been buying new clothes since, like, forever. The reason was that I told myself I will buy new clothes when I lose weight, which of course never happened. So I signed up at the gym, got myself a personal trainer, and worked hard. Coupled with my various diet plans (some successful, some not), I achieved what I wanted to do – to stop being a dumpling only a 40″ pants can fit. Today, I no longer tip the scale at 90 kg, and I can wear jeans of 32″ comfortably, and at times t-shirts sized S fit nicely too. I shudder to think if I ever go back to the way I was. Don’t believe me? Check this out. This was taken back end 2007. How time flies.

#8 Falling in love

Devilmisu @ TCC

Ahhhh… the four letter word. What can I say? Everyone fall in and out of love at some point of their lives, me included. Perhaps I am more melodramatic than most when it comes to affairs of the heart. I have had serious relationships before, as well as pseudo-relationship (you know, the ones you thought you are in one but the other person don’t). Flings and dates came and go, and through all the ups and downs, I have learned what it meant to be in love, and to know what I am looking for in life. And I can proudly say that, when the right person comes along, I will know. I am not a perfect person, but I hope eventually someone will see the imperfect me, perfectly.

#9 Joining Singapore Men’s Chorus

As I look back at my blog entries, I was amazed by the number of times I said I can’t sing. The truth is… I can’t. Yet I made it through the auditions for the Singapore Men’s Chorus joining the stellar line up of bass singers. Though the SMC I got to know friends whom are very dear to me. Despite my short five months with the lads, I truly enjoy the time spent singing and dancing with them. I was sorely disappointed for not being able to perform even one season with them, due to my relocation, but the friendships we nurtured, hopefully, will last for life.

#10 Travel the world

Excursion to Oia

After saving very hard during the first few months of my working life, I embarked on my very first holiday on my own terms – it was Bangkok – and the travel bug got me for good. Since then, I have been spending most, if not all, of my savings on traveling to places near and far. I relish the feeling of packing up for a trip, the journey to the airport, the facilities on the flight, and of course, the adventure in an unknown land where everything is new and foreign to you. Phuket was my favorite, having been there for seven trips in a space of 1.5 years, but nothing beat my winter holiday last year, when I spent three days at the magical Santorini, Greece. And yes, I will be back.

The Conclusion

So there you have it, the ten achievements of my life in the past ten years. Do I feel proud of myself? I do. I would not have done things any differently, given a choice. Through my years, I have my friends and family to thank for helping me shaping the person I am today.

As I move into the unknown future of the 30s, I know things will be different and exciting at a totally different level. Life will pan out in ways I could not imagine, and the road ahead will be paved with bumps and potholes I can’t be prepared for. It could only mean one thing – an adventure.

Happy birthday, me.

One Day Singapore Tour & Advanced Birthday Celebration

Those of you who follow my blog will know that I am an avid traveler. I had always wanted to go to a backpackers’ place in Singapore, hang out with tourists and then, just for a day or two, go around Singapore like a tourist would. I was crazy enough to actually buy a Lonely Planet for Singapore.

And so, as a farewell gift, Cheryl planned one full day of Singapore tour for me with Shafik. I reserved the entire weekend for these best buddies of mine, and I had absolutely no idea where they will be bringing me to.

Before the day out

The day started bright and early… at 10 a.m. LOL. I was out the night before with my SMC gang and didn’t get home until early morning… but eh, I was not the only one who woke up late hor! And so we were off to our first destination…

The Esplanade

The Esplanade Park! Cheryl wanted to start off the day with a picnic right at the park. This was the first time I was there. I mean, the sights were familiar all around – the Esplanade, the Cavenagh bridge, the CBD skyline etc. – but what I didn’t realise was a whole carefully tended park in the midst of town.

Only in Singapore...

And only in Singapore can you find a “designated exercise area”. In a park. Makes you wonder what the rest of the park is “designated” for.

Picnic @ Esplanade Park

Cheryl has outdone herself with sumptuous spread for the picnic. Spaghetti, hot dogs, chicken wings, egg salad (for me!), muffins… we were starving by the time we settled down for the picnic, and Shafik chosen a spot of carpet grass right in front of the Asian Civilisation Museum.

Picnic @ Esplanade Park

Someone is obviously very happy that we have settled down to feed… but remember the food was catered for Ma’at, not Rashid!

The Asian Civilization Museum

Our next stop was the Asian Civilization Museum. I know Singapore has got quite a number of museums, and ASM has got to be one of the more famous ones. The museum didn’t disappoint with a mind-bogging array of artefacts from different Asian cultures. If not for the fact that the toilets were so few in between and they are forever occupied, the trip to ASM would have been perfect. As usual, Cher was up to her tricks with my camera when she pretended to take photos of me playing with some Chinese costumes and banging on some Malay drums, when she was actually video-ing me instead!

Stamford Raffles & Victoria Memorial Hall

After the museum, we made a small detour to the Victoria Memorial Hall to see the Stamford Raffles statue. The place held special memories for me; during my university days, every year the NTU Symphonic Band will hold their concerts here at this concert hall. It was here where I played out months of hard work at endless rehearsals playing win band pieces I had never dreamed of playing when I was in Malaysia. Nostalgic indeed.

The Singapore Flyer

The next destination caught me by utter surprise. Never in my wildest dream would I think the duo will bring me to the Singapore Flyer! The entire ride was a surreal experience. I was totally transfixed to the sights of Singapore as we made one round the giant observation wheel in 30 minutes. The audio guide pointed out places after places as viewed from high above – Chinatown, Little India, Marina Bay, Suntec City… I was constantly reminded of the memories I sowed at these places, and I couldn’t help but to tear at the thought that I am leaving all these behind. It is harder than you think.

The Changi Museum & Chapel

After a lunch of curry chicken rice at the flyer (there goes my diet), we headed to somewhere at the other end of Singapore; the Changi Prison Museum & Chapel. The prison was enshrined in Singapore history as the place where countless POW (prisoners of war) were enslaved, perished and survived during the horrifying Japanese occupation years. In one afternoon I learned more about Singapore’s history than all my ten years combined. Those who said Singapore “has no character” obviously didn’t bother to learn about the tumultous past of this tiny island. It is all here on the walls – literally. The Changi Mural was a collection of five wall paintings drawn during those years, bringing much spiritual relief to the POWs.

The Changi Museum & Chapel

This place also held special memory for me – for being the ultimate fool walking around with three ASM stickers on my back the entire time. And Cheryl had the cheek to take this photo first before telling me through her laughing tears. Thanks, hor. Grrrr….

Ayam Penyet @ Changi Village

Did I mention that my diet totally went bust this weekend? After the prison museum, we went to sample the famous Changi Village Ayam Penyet. The dish was delicious, and I was famished. All these walking really did it for me, despite the fact that I just had one whole bowl of curry chicken merely two hours before. And, yes, the ayam penyet was as good as it looks in this photo.

The Night Safari of Singapore

In all my years in Singapore, I have been to the zoo and the butterfly farm and the bird park, but never the safari… Cheryl made my dream come true by bringing me to the Singapore Night Safari. We reached the place after a long, long bus ride. Although we were irked by some factors here (which I shall not mention in case people think I am racist!), we enjoyed our time here thoroughly. We took the 45 minutes tram ride which took us round the entire safari. The animals were definitely much more active during the night time, and at times we were so close to them that we could touch their body!

The highlight of the trip was definitely the Creatures of the Night show. The animals were fantastic, but the hostess was the one who brought the house down. Her impeccable sense of humour had us in stitches with laughter. She was almost as good as Kumar, and we really enjoyed the 30 minute show. I think she should go pro as an emcee!

The Night Safari of Singapore

And something else which shock the fuck out of me (pardon the language). Shafik and Cheryl have been to the night safari before, so they know exactly what will happen during the show. We were seated two rows from the front, much to Shafik’s insistence. What I didn’t know was that there was a fucking snake right under my seat!!! I have an ultra fear for all things slithering and slimy and hissing, so imagine my shock when they unlocked the panel under my seat to reveal this big ass python.

I swear, I wanted to wring their necks for scaring me like that. Unforgettable, indeed!

After such a long, eventful day, we went back to my home, where I took a long long shower to wash away the fear of the almighty python. Little did I know there was one last surprise for the night – my very much advanced 30th birthday cake. You see, by the time I return to Singapore for my 30th birthday celebration end of June, Shafik would be crawling around Tekong with his shaved head, so this is the only time we could celebrate my birthday together.

Advanced Birthday Celebration

Look at the volcano of flames on my cake. The heat almost melted the cake into half! You don’t have to light up thirty candles just to tell people how old I am. Didn’t you guys know a man’s prime start at 30? Tsk. But I was touched. Pardon the bad singing in the video. For the first time it wasn’t my fault. LOL.

Laksa by Cheryl!

After an episode of Friends (like we did on many different nights before), we went to sleep. I was so deep in slumber that I didn’t realise Cheryl woke up (rather) early the next day to prepare this delicious laksa for lunch. It was simply delicious. Girl, if I gain a pound over the weekend, I hold you entirely responsible. Your laksa was wicked.

At the Singapore Flyer

And so that marks the end of my weekend with Cheryl and Shafik, one that was perfect in every imaginable way, in the way I thought it would be, and more. Thank you so much, guys, for making this possible. To Cheryl for her immaculate planning and thoughts that went into all the surprises (the flyer! the snake! the cake!) and for Shafik for being with us that weekend.

You know you guys mean the world to me. Hugs.

Click here for the full set of photos of my amazing weekend.

A Journey with Shafik

My journey with Shafik started years ago… on a specific night dated 19th April 2005. He was only17 back then. We met because of a “common purpose” which (I think he will agree) I shall not repeat here.


Yes, I know, he is a skinny little fella, isn’t he?

Fast forward a little, and there was my surprise 26th party organised by him and a few others… one whole month in advance. I mean, how can I not be surprised?


End of 2005, when we paid a Raya visit to a certain someone’s house. This is my favourite pic of him. Of course, nowadays he looks nothing like that skinny fella he was before.

raya05 021

For some reasons, I can’t find any photos of him and I taken in 2006. Whatever happened? Ah… that was the year I was working as a conference producer, when life was a nutcase of stress and late nights and… anyway. Fast forward to end of 2007, when we have our own Christmas party at my old place.

Shafik, Cheryl & I

Yes, I know, right. Such a big difference. But to me, he was still my skinny little fella.

Soon it was time to say goodbye to 2007 and welcome 2008. Of which we spent together at some countdown party at VivoCity.

Dinner @ Breeks, HarborFront Centre

Over the years, we went out together many, many times. Cheryl, Shafik and I spent many evenings together, like this one, when we laughed our collective assess off at Kumar’s show at Hard Rock Cafe.

The trio - Shafik, Cheryl & I

Being the party animal that I am, I threw a good many gatherings at my place. Every single time, I will invite him and Cheryl to attend. There was only one party they missed out, and that was because of a certain someone too… anyway! This one was at the housewarming party of my current place.

Shafik and I

As if I can’t get enough of him *puke*, I got Shafik working with as an intern in my company. No, not as an office boy – I have more respect for him than that! – but as a graphic designer. In which he excelled at. And, from what I told him, he got a perfect GPA mostly because of his internship with him. I am still looking forward to my big thank-you treat.

The Family Portrait

Shafik is always the epitome of style and consistently dress better than me… even when we were in costume. Like this Halloween party last year.

Shafik & I

But, nevermind. Despite that he always stole my limelight from me whenever we were out together, we still go out every now and then. He needs someone matured like me to keep him in check. Hur.

Shafik & I

Together with Cheryl, we even took oversea trip together. Singular. Yes, only once, and that’s only to KL. I am a lone traveler, and I can’t imagine going on a trip in a group, and it’s a miracle that we didn’t kill each other during our trip. Maybe the copious amount of alcohol helped.


As we all grew older, we started to be nicer to each other. Birthdays were remembered, MSN conversations were meaningful, hugs and kisses were heartfelt. Like the time we pulled out all stops to throw the celebration of birthday celebration for Cheryl’s 2xth birthday. All black-tie and poshness and wine and steaks. We looked the part, didn’t we?


Without meaning to, Shafik (together with Cheryl) started to impose his presence on many major milestones in my life. I didn’t really mind… they always beautify the photos I took in commemorating those events. Like at this time, when I was flying off for my winter holiday end of last year.

Camwhoring in the lift

And suddenly, Shafik turned 21. No longer a kid. An adult. Legal to do many things. I shudder to think of the possibilities. His possibilities. LOL.

As I look back at the past four years, I felt a mix of emotion for him. Sense of pride to see the man he is today. Tokens of gratitude thinking back to the time when he was there when I needed someone. Tingles of excitement when we were out sharing a jug, a joke, a smoke (not!).

Shafik's 21st Birthday Celebration Night Out

People come, people go. That’s a fact of life. Only a few significant ones will leave permanent marks in your life. That’s also a fact of life.

Shafik has left his in mine. This post is dedicated to him as he celebrates his adulthood. Thank you, brother, for your unconditional friendship and unreserved love. Friends are forever, eh?

Happy 21st birthday. Let’s hope we won’t kill each other in Seoul!

P.S.: In case you haven’t realise, many of the things I said in this post were meant to be cheeky! Go figure out which is which, hehe.