As much as it was a sad occasion, the passing on of my uncle has brought my entire family together. I cannot remember the last time my mother, sister, brother, and various aunts and cousins gathered at one place.
Family time is always precious to me. The occasion when all my family members gathered at one place at the same time is so incredibly rare (given that we live all over the globe), I can’t remember the last time we did that.
Not even Chinese New Year.
So this time round, as we once again reunited in my hometown Menglembu, may our family bond be rekindled and strengthened, to withstand the test of distance and time.
After a short break at home post-visit to Princeton University, we made the 1.5 hour car ride down to Philadelphia! For those not in the know, Philadelphia was the birthplace of the United States government. It was the seat of the U.S. Capitol prior to its move to Washington DC. In its fourth century of existence, Philadelphia is a unique blend of modern excitement and colonial charm and history.
So my fourth day in the States dawned bright and early, after a good night sleep. Nothing beats a good night sleep after such a exhausting start to my trip! Had a true blue American-style breakfast at a nearby diner with mummy dearest.
Ah, Sunday in New York City. How nice could it be? The nice lads in my room, once again, rose early in the morning, and with them I woke up from my intoxicated slumber too. Hey, eight in the morning is really early when you only hit the bed two hours before!
So after a quick breakfast at a nearby Starbucks, I checked out from Chelsea hostel and head down to Chinatown to meet mummy dearest! It has been three years since I last saw her, so it was with great relief and exhilaration when I met again.
Twenty four hours from now, I will be high up in the air, crossing continents and seas, making my way to New York City.
New York… what is it like? It is tall skyscrappers, dizzying grid-like streets, breakfast at Tiffany’s, big yellow cabs. It is Times Square, Statue of Liberty, Empire State Building and Central Park. It is about the lives of Ross, Rachel, Chandler, Monica, Joey and Phoebe.
Most of all, it is about my mother. The last time we spent time together was in 2006 when she came home for a month. My mom, the pillar of my family, has been living in the States for the past ten years.
Visiting New York has been a dream for me. It has now become a reality. For that, I am eternally grateful to the One above.
It is time of the year when you avoid the throngs of shopping-deprived aunties in town, deftly sparing yourself from the insanity caused by festive tunes on incessant repeats, and wish it is still Christmas.
I was browsing through the archive of my blog – a stroll down memory lane if you will – to recall how I spent the previous Chinese New Years. Apart from the homage I paid to my sister last year, the last few years have been spent in Singapore.
Not that I hated going back to Malaysia, mind you. But since hardly any of my family members was at home, and the bus tickets were astronomically priced, it made more sense to return only when the madness subside… and when gastronomical meals were cooked and ready for my inspection, hehe.
Now that I am in Hong Kong, it is even more difficult for me to return home, be it now or later. I have to think hard what I could do here – new friends (the few of them) will be busy with their families, and many places I frequent would be closed. I guess it is inevitable for me to spend time at home and cook for myself, seeing that I am still a single swinging bachelor at this time of the year, every year.
But hey, I am not complaining! Sometimes it is great to have some me-time, and seasons like this is as good as any others.
Have a great lunar new year, everyone. May the Tiger year ahead be a roaring one for you!
When I started to meet friends old and not-so-old for dinners, drinks and merriments, I vowed to document every single encounter.
My plan worked well for the first few, but after that, it went downhill. It amazes me how many friends I have made in my ten years living in Singapore. It is almost an impossible feat to blog about my daily meet-ups. Not that they are not important to me. They are. But I hope the following records will remind me of the good friendships I had with you guys.
Everyone needs someone as their “career-buddy” – to share his or her aspirations in the paths they take in their jobs, to be encouraged when they take risks, to be reassured when the future seems uncertain. For me, I have Christine. Our paths crossed when we first joined a conference company, both as a producer albeit in different divisions. The many long hours spent together locked in a conference enduring the equally long orientation programme.
Like many of our other colleagues, we hit off right from the word go. As new producers, we both had a lot of difficulties to overcome as the unfamiliar was overwhelming. But unlike me, Christine had the sense to call off the whole ordeal before it consumes her whole being, unlike me. But we remained in touch over the years, witnessing each other’s exciting progress as we climbed up the career ladder.
And for all those moments of revelations and inspiration, thank you, my girl. Great Wall of China end of this year? :)
My years in NTU would have never been the same without my Malaysian friends. Yes, I know I seem to be a very localised “foreign talent” since majority of my friends here are Singaporeans, but it was this trio of lovely ladies which saw me through my academic hardship when I first stepped onto this island.
How could I forget the succession of early mornings when we “chopped” study benches and hogging from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m., everyday? The endless supply of tutorial answers, past-years papers and lecture notes? The steady stream of sickening sweet coffee and packs of nasi lemak which contributed to my then-enormous waistline (hehe)?
The truth is, without you girls, I would never have achieved what I set out to do in NTU. For that, and for the steadfast friendship over the years beyond our graduation day, I thank you from the bottom of my heart.
And Louise, when you little baby come into world, please gives us all a BIG BIG SHOUT! :D
In my course of achieving the nirvana heaven of being a true web geek, I have been blessed with the presence of many computer wizards and coding gods. Thet was one of the very first programmers I have hired in my career. He is from Myanmar, speaks in a weird accent and has an eccentric lifestyle.
But little did we know that, over countless cans of beer, endless nights of yakking and incessant strumming of his guitar, we bonded and became real friends?
Nowadays, I draw a line when it comes to fusing my work and personal lives, but I was glad I didn’t do that with Thet back then. Otherwise, I wouldn’t be able to experience the joy of his friendship. Yes, dude, I know we had our drama moments, but it was through such turbulence our friendship strengthens, no?
Now, let’s get Ryan’s and Jude’s collective asses for a proper farewell!
My brother, Jason, and I
My aunt, my cousin sister Angela and I
My cousins, Kin Loon and Pooi Ching, and I
Over the last weekend I also paid a visit back home to Ipoh for a reunion with my family. For those not in the know, my family members are truly globalised… and with my imminent departure, it will be even more so. But a visit is a must, for my family does not see me often enough, seeing that I return only once a year despite being only seven hours away by coach.
When there is an entire sea separating us, it will be even tougher for me to return. So I did, for one short weekend.
We did what we also do whenever I return – family dinner, shopping, eating out, lazing around. This time round I also paid respect to my late great grandmother and grandfather. Despite having passed on for more than ten years now, memories of them linger on strongly in my mind, and I wiped away tears as I prayed for their blessings in front of their marble altars for my new life.
And how could I not meeting up with the ever lovely Min? Despite the fact she was the very first one to meet me after that fateful day, she still complains that I am not spending enough time with her for a proper farewell.
Min and I went through a lot together – break ups, job changes, family problems – and for some reasons, despite our very different lifestyles and social backgrounds, we gelled like bread and butter. Hours can pass by as we sipped on our coffee watching the world goes by at Starbucks Orchard, while we caught on each others’ news from the last time we met.
Min will be one of the very few people whom I know will remain a close friends despite the miles between us. I mean, we have been there and done that, don’t we, darling? And thank goodness for your short getaway next week. We will explore my new home together, yes? :)
I walked down memory lane and realised that twelve years have passed since I got to know these two lovely ladies. Chee Leng, Pooi Yen and I went back to my days as prefects at St. Michael’s in Ipoh. Yes, they are my secondary school friends. Hence the number of years.
After we have completed our STPM (which is like A-Levels), Chee Leng and I came to Singapore to study in different courses in NTU. Despite being in the same campus, we didn’t meet up often enough. It was upon graduating that we actually meet up more… but still not as often as we should be.
And then I got to know that Pooi Yen came to Singapore to work…. two years after it happened. I still remember being fuming mad when we met up over a Japanese dinner earlier this year lamenting her lack of news. But I was glad that our friendship was reignited.
But who would have thought it would come to an end so soon? No, not our friendships. But our time together being in the same city. It was a pity that we couldn’t be a part of each others’ lives as much as we could, girls. Like what we talked about last night, there is always Facebook, yes? Heh :D
The date is drawing near and I still have more goodbyes to say, more hugs to be exchanged, more tears to be shed. But I shall be strong. It was the word of encouragements from these friends that embolden me to take this very next step.