Category Archives: General

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 Cry Baby

The One With The Cry Baby

Those who know me well will tell you that I am really a cry baby.

Okay, not that I can squeeze out tears on demand. But I reckon many things in life will have me tearing… be it of sadness, joy, pride. I consider a movie to be good if it can make me cry. The more, the better.

For God’s sake, I cried in Happy Feet. In laughter, of course.

And in Harry Potter.

And in Turn Left, Turn Right. God, that was embarrassing. Loved the movie though.

So a cry baby I am. But at least I don’t bawl, unlike some friends I know of. Harumph.

The One With My Music On iTunes

The One With My Music On iTunes

I always thought that, when someone shows what they are listening to on their MSN status message, they are sharing with their friends their taste in music. I admire that… not that I would really be able to tell, music-wise, but their courage to share is admirable.

You see, I always hesitate to do the same. The songs on my iTunes are a perplexing mix of the new and the old, the fast and the slow… across all sorts of genre. Especially so if my iTunes is on a shuffle mode.

Don’t believe me? I turned on the shuffle mode, and these are the first five random songs played:
1) Don’t Cry For Me Argentina, from Evita (Madonna)
2) Because You Loved Me, from A Decade of Songs (Celine Dion)
3) The Steward of Gondor, from Lord of the Rings (Howard Shore)
4) Dance 17 – Lazy Sunday Afternoon (Dennis Lim)
5) L-O-V-E, from At The Movies (Nat King Cole)

Really, I don’t want people think of me as weird. So I rather keep my erratic taste in music to myself.

(Photo Credit)

The One With Lady Gaga & Beyoncé

I am not one who always share MTV, much less one peppered with ads (no matter how subtle), but this one really takes the cake. Totally awesome. They OWN the screen. Totally.

Share the love, fanboys.

The One With The Bed & Breakfast

(Since moving to Hong Kong, I have been hosting quite a number of friends from Singapore visiting my new home country. I have been coordinating the logistics of their “arrival” so often that I decided to come up with the following email auto-responder for just such an occasion ;) )

Razlan's Bed & Breakfast

Dear [Your Name],

Thank you for your reservation with Razlan’s Bed & Breakfast located at Hongway Garden, 8 New Market Street, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong. We noted that you will be staying for # nights, from [your check in date] to [your check out date].

Not much of a bed but at least it is clean, and not much of a breakfast either unless you order from McD (though we knew for a fact that they deliver within 20 minutes).

This is to confirm your room will be available on the stipulated dates. Your host will be Mr. Manjaji, and he will do all he can to skive off work and be with you for all things wonderful about Hong Kong*

Your total cost will be [my desired favour in kind], and should be paid immediately upon arrival.

There is no definite timing for check in and check out, but we do ask you to take good care of your house keys. Our full house facilities will be at your disposal.

We look forward to welcome you to our B&B soon!

Staff @ Razlan’s B&B

*This include and not restricted to unlimited beer, foot massage, shopping, dim sum, seafood and the like, and other unmentionables not suitable for public domain.

P.S.: (If my boss is reading this) No friend was important enough for me to skive off work so far! They took care of themselves while I am slogging in the office.

P.S.S.: (And if my boss is still reading) And I do mean, really really!

Happy 2010

New Year Weekend in Taipei

Hey, did you miss me? I am alive and well. Been too occupied with life to update my blog. So much happened in December that I do not know where to start.

Here’s a shout out to you, my friend, to say Happy New Year, and may 2010 be a prosperous one for you. I will be right back after catching up with my work stuff.

P.S.: Oh, the photo above was taken when my friends and I wanted to act cute at Ximending in Taipei on 1st Jan 2010. Obviously, only one of us managed to achieve the feat.

Sister Act 2 – Oh Happy Day

In some moments of life you’ll need a lift-me-up. Today is one of those days for me. Here’s one… let happy days be here again.

For you, for me, for everyone.

Hong Kong for Beginners

To the uninitiated, Hong Kong could be quite bewildering, even if you are armed with a map. To understand the basic geography of this “country” (effectively, HK is a part of China since the British handover in 1997), you could look at this map:


The HK Island forms the main backbone of modern life in HK, where most of It is home to many nightlife spots, commercial buildings and expatriates. Located on this island are some of the more famous Hong Kong districts, including Wan Chai, Causeway Bay and Central.

Kowloon and it’s surrounding districts, when grouped together, can be roughly termed as “Hong Kong”. This is the older part of Hong Kong, where you can see modernity and history clashes badly but not without character. Old buildings jostled for space with new tall skyscrapers in this bewildering maze small side streets and two-way expressways.

And then you can see a big area marked as New Territories. These districts from the biggest land mass of Hong Kong, and actually were part of China but now are under HK jurisdiction. Here you can see how HK was in older times, and some of the less corporate-like activities are still carried out, like farming, fishing, and industrial estates. Western influence has not fully transformed the New Territories, but this is fast changing. One can still see evergreen countryside and mountains, which are a rare sight on HK Island and Hong Kong.

And finally, you see some of the scattered islands such as Lamma, Cheung Chau and Lantau. These islands are not very developed, and populations are sparse. Collectively they are known as the Outlying Island and make perfect spots for a quick getaway from the city.

Wow, I didn’t realise I could describe Hong Kong in so much details, considering that I have just moved here three months ago. I guess I just picked up the knowledge along the way… especially I lost way traveling from one spot to another.

Yes, I am such a klutz.

The Day I Left Singapore… for Good

Housepacking in Progress

About a week ago I returned to Singapore to pack up my belongings to be moved permanently to Hong Kong. In was an experience of joy and pain in equal measures, but I am glad I did what I did. It was painful to see your belongings – the equivalent of ten years of your life – being packed into nondescript boxes. Watching your life being reduced to mere piles of stuff has the effect of bringing unknown tears to your eyes.

The final moments...

The few days I spent in the sunny island of Singapore were also a flurry of appointments with friends, back-to-back. It was like… my farewells all over again. But the feeling was different. This is it. This is final. When I handed over my keys, I know I no longer call Singapore my home.

The end of a chapter… and another one begins.

(Photos from the long weekend here)

The Business of Love

“The central secret seems to be in choosing well. There is something to the claim of fundamental compatibility. Good people can create a bad relationship, even though they both dearly want the relationship to succeed.

Sexual Attraction

(Photo Credit: Maria Eugenia)

It is important to find someone with whom you can create a good relationship from the outset. Unfortunately, it is hard to see clearly in the early stages. Sexual hunger draws you to each other and colors the way you see yourselves together. It blinds you to the thousands of little things by which relationships eventually survive or fail. You need to find a way to see beyond this initial overwhelming sexual fascination. Some people choose to involve themselves sexually and ride out the most heated period of sexual attraction in order to see what is on the other side.

This can work, but it can also leave a trail of wounded hearts. Others deny the sexual side altogether in an attempt to get to know each other apart from their sexuality. But they cannot see clearly, because the presence of unfulfilled sexual desire looms so large that it keeps them from having any normal perception of what life would be like together.

Monica & Chandler in Friends

(Photo Credit: balthazar82)

The truly lucky people are the ones who manage to become long-time friends before they realize they are attracted to each other. They get to know each other’s laughs, passions, sadness, and fears. They see each other at their worst and at their best. They share time together before they get swept up into the entangling intimacy of their sexuality.

This is the ideal, but not often possible. If you fall under the spell of your sexual attraction immediately, you need to look beyond it for other keys to compatibility. One of these is laughter. Laughter tells you how much you will enjoy each others company over the long term.

Shared Laughter

(Photo Credit: Linda aka Oz)

If your laughter together is good and healthy and not at the expense of others, then you have a healthy relationship to the world. Laughter is the child of surprise. If you can make each other laugh, you can always surprise each other. And if you can always surprise each other, you can always keep the world around you new.

Beware of a relationship in which there is no laughter. Even the most intimate relationships based only on seriousness have a tendency to turn sour. Over time, sharing a common serious viewpoint on the world tends to turn you against those who do not share the same viewpoint, and your relationship can become based on being critical together.

Dealing with the world...

(Photo Credit: public good)

After laughter, look for a partner who deals with the world in a way you respect. When two people first get together, they tend to see their relationship as existing only in the space between the two of them. They find each other endlessly fascinating, and the overwhelming power of the emotions they are sharing obscures the outside world. As the relationship ages and grows, the outside world becomes important again. If your partner treats people or circumstances in a way you can’t accept, you will inevitably come to grief. Look at the way she cares for others and deals with the daily affairs of life. If that makes you love her more, your love will grow. If it does not, be careful. If you do not respect the way you each deal with the world around you, eventually the two of you will not respect each other.

The mysteries of life...

(Photo Credit: idgie)

Look also at how your partner confronts the mysteries of life. We live on the cusp of poetry and practicality, and the real life of the heart resides in the poetic. If one of you is deeply affected by the mystery of the unseen in life and relationships, while the other is drawn only to the literal and the practical, you must take care that the distance does not become an unbridgeable gap that leaves you each feeling isolated and misunderstood.

There are many other keys, but you must find them by yourself. We all have unchangeable parts of our hearts that we will not betray and private commitments to a vision of life that we will not deny.

A happy couple

(Photo Credit: fishbed93)

If you fall in love with someone who cannot nourish those inviolable parts of you, or if you cannot nourish them in her, you will find yourselves growing further apart until you live in separate worlds where you share the business of life, but never touch each other where the heart lives and dreams. From there it is only a small leap to the cataloging of petty hurts and daily failures that leaves so many couples bitter and unsatisfied with their mates.”

(This note was originally posted on my Tumblr account. Source unknown.)