Friday, December 31, 2010

Lost My Dog, Beary

A few days ago, I lost my first puppy to dog disease, after meeting him 4 times, and having him home for 2.5 hours.  It's a heartbreaking experience.

I posted this on facebook, and while many friends showed their support and concern, this morning I woke up seeing a comment from a good friend: Maybe he doesn't like you!  hehe :P.  I was shocked and was extremely bothered by it the whole day.

Having known this friend for a while, I know she is a nice person and I am certain she didn't mean to upset me.  Though, I also know that she is not particularly passionate about small animals.  So, I can understand that she thought it was like breaking an iPhone on the first day of purchase or something.  That it sucked.

But no, it's not like that.  It's heartbreaking and painful to watch an animal whom you bond with suffer in pain and seek for your comfort and help.  The pup, Beary, had already recognized me after my 2nd visit.  When he was hyperventilating at my home, each time he would try to climb up to my neck to rest his head on my neck for reassurance.  The last day I saw him, at the vet, when I took him from the pet shop staff, he once again climbed up to my neck and fell asleep with his head resting next to my neck.  He was having higher temperature and feeling very sick.  This, I think, is what they call connection.  I didn't see him doing this with any of the store staff or my friend who also held him.

People wonder why I am so attached to this little animal after just spending so little time with him.  I think anyone who has ever had a pet particularly close to him would understand.  I have lived with many animals in my life.... numerous birds, turtles, 4 rabbits, a cat, many fish, but none of those made me feel needed and trusted like Beary did.  For the first time in my life, I felt like I could truly give support to another living creature - and it wasn't because I had done anything to gain its trust and prove my love... I hadn't even had a chance to feed the little thing.  It just trusted me and felt safe with me.

Some friends told me to go to SPCA or Hong Kong Dog Rescue to get another dog.  I am fully pro-adoption, but for me, getting my first dog is a special thing to me.  It's not like I just want A dog, ANY dog... I want a dog I am genuinely excited about and feel a connection with.  I love Golden Retrievers, for example, but I cannot afford the time and energy to accommodate their active lifestyle needs.  I like tollers, but they can't be found in Hong Kong, not to mention at the Dog Rescue.  I like some poodles, but I am only excited about certain ones I... just like... and they are likely to be quite young.  Adopting dogs is a very respectful thing to do.  But at this stage in my life, without any dog raising experience, I am not ready to get a dog for the sake of saving a life, I want to first keep a dog whose breed and temperament suits my lifestyle and whose presence excites me.  I don't know how to explain this to others without being misunderstood.  It's like, I am totally pro-adoption of babies (human) and if my future husband is equally supportive, I would go for it.  Though most people do prefer to have their own when there are so many kids out there who need a loving family.  There you go. Who am I to tell people not to have their own but to adopt?!

Past two days I went to see a silverish dog in a very reputable shop which directly took from breeder and kept for me to consider.  The shopgirl explained how special and rare the color was for a poodle, how healthy and active that dog was, and my friends told me how cute the dog looked......  I thought to myself for a while, perhaps I should just get this one since it's a very healthy dog and I wouldn't need to go through the heartbreak from keeping a younger pup.  Last minute, when I had to make the decision, I told the staff I wasn't sure about the dog and they should sell it to others.  The fact was, the dog was cute but I didn't feel special chemistry with him.  As smart and active as he was, I felt so much pressure having to outsmart him and dominate each interaction.  Though the Beary incident was so painful - it's been 2 days and I am still crying - I still believe that I shouldn't just settle for a supposedly "good" dog.  I don't care if my dog is rare and will be praised by others.  I just want a dog who can share that bond I had with Beary.  I honestly don't know what I did to gain his trust, but my friends and the staff saw how Beary wanted to be close to me especially when he was very sick.

This experience really makes me understand how precious a bond is between a human and his dog.  Unlike humans, it really is unconditional. 

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Gingerbread Man Cookies for a Very Merry Xmas

Wishing you all a Merry Christmas!  I am looking forward to mine as I will be hosting a special New Year's Eve Kinect Party at my place and I will be cooking mulled wine, giving out my gingerbread man cookies, baking sweet potato fries and chicken wings for some of my closest friends in Hong Kong.

Here's some pictures of my gingerbread man creations :)  I love mine with lots of colors like they are in Hawaii or something haha!

Merry Christmas!  Put all sadness behind you and get into the festive mood!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Dear Stefan

Dear Stefan,

This is a note which will never reach you because it will never be sent out.

I had a weird dream last night with you in it. I was in my favorite restaurant and there you were sitting right across from me at the same table. As stunned as me, you tried to get close to talk to me but I didn't say anything. Then the scene faded out. Next thing I knew, I was running back to the restaurant trying to look for you but you weren't there anymore. I wanted so bad to find you and talk to you - about what? I don't know. I just needed to find you badly.

I woke up feeling awful. Awful that my mind betrayed me and let you creep into my dream? Awful that you will always just stay in my dream? I don't know. I just felt awful most of the day. Occasionally I would still suddenly get a weird "hunch" and turn around to see if you might be there, after 3 years now, but I have stopped actively thinking about you for a while, which is a great accomplishment.

I seriously thought about going to the hypnotist and ask for all traces of memory of you be removed. But I didn't because I knew I'd regret for life.

I cannot explain why I wouldn't forgive someone for being mean or sneaky, but would so easily forgive you or K for breaking my heart. I cannot explain why I forgave your weakness which I so despised.

I don't know why I want to see you again but I do. And it's not like why I would want to meet with K again, because I deeply care about him but I can't say the same for you anymore. Perhaps that was why you left. Because we couldn't explain why we were drawn to each other. Perhaps it didn't seem real enough. Perhaps it didn't feel real enough because it wasn't ordinary enough.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Dress Warm and Slim for the Cold Weather

Hong Kong's temperature has suddenly dropped from yesterday afternoon's 20C to today's 8C.  Having lived in a very cold country before, 8C doesn't scare me but I have to admit that without central heating in Hong Kong, plus the high humidity, 8C does feel much colder than it is. 

It amuses me to see short women dressed in thick, shapeless down jacket, and buried under layers and layers of clothing.  Today, I went to work wearing just 3 layers - a wool coat, a cashmere wide neck top, and a thermal camisole.  I felt very warm already.  OK, I did have a soft scarf as well.  Still, that was a lot fewer layers than others and my clothing was still flattering and slimming!

I think women need to learn to buy fewer quantities but invest in quality clothing.  It's pointless trying to layer with cotton or polyester sweaters because that wouldn't keep them warm!  What they need is warm and light fabric!  Do invest in some cashmeres for winter, and add a form fitting thermal wear underneath for added warmth. Marks & Spencer has a great selection of thermal wear and some items look quite pretty, like the camisoles with lace.  Thermal doesn't mean ski wear!  I used to imagine thick black liners but they are nothing like that!  Check it out, really.  You won't regret it.  They also have thermal tights which are perfect if you are going to snowy places.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

More iPhone 4 camera and photo editing apps

Two months ago I wrote about the various iPhone 4 compatible camera apps.  Since then I've experimented with a few more apps, some being camera apps, some being photo editing apps.  I'd like to share them here today.

So last time I recommended Hipstamatic, LENSES, LOFI, Polarize, Color Splash, True HDR, and ToonCamera.  My latest camera app favourite is LOMO.  Cos it's very easy to use, fakes a vignette, and you can either choose a normal output versus various color effects (which I rarely use unless I am going for a more artistic feel).

The Victoria Prison collage on the left was also created (on my PC using Picasa 3) with snapshots taken with LOMO app.  Since the prison was very eerie, I used quite a lot of the effects I normally wouldn't use to "beautiful" a scary prison.  It is amazing despite low light and not using a flash, the colors really pop!

Apart from camera apps, I do use some fun apps to edit my iPhone snapshots on the iPhone.  My favourites are PhotoFunia, PS Express and Comic Strip.

PhotoFunia doesn't actually edit your pictures.  It combines your picture with a selected funny background (see below):

PS Express is a simplified version of Photoshop.  You can do simple cropping, enhancing brightness, saturation, etc., and you can add borders/frames to your pictures.  There are also a few photo effects but I am not a big fan.

Comic Strip is a fun app.  You can use a few pictures to form like a comic strip and add shout outs to your pictures.

Finally, I have a doodling app called Doodle Buddy which is fun to use for simple drawings or to use it to insert some text boxes to a pictures.  
Drawing for myself

A card for my friend

 Have fun!  I think most of these apps are free, but please check with iTunes.

I hate 小氣鬼

Ten minutes ago, I put my foot down and blocked a former friend/ occasional suitor/ former fling from my Whatsapp, MSN, and am considering removing him from my facebook list altogether.

Some of my close friends have already heard a lot about this guy: how he didn't pursue me for months after we met and then bitched about me hooking up with other guys, how he offended me by calling me Hongkie and refusing to apologize even after I explained to him the meaning, how we agreed to make plans for a Saturday night and the day before he said he invited some friends and asked if I'd like to join.....  All these happened a while ago and we hadn't really been in touch lately.

Last weekend, I suddenly got some random messages from this guy on Whatsapp, and I replied with "huh?" as I was completely clueless.  He replied with, "nothing."  This repeated three times in a row within 20 minutes.  So I ignored his messages assuming he was being weird or he might have sent me messages by mistake.

Just now, he sent me some random message, and we exchanged some silly, meaningless messages.... when I mentioned the lack of a handsome guy emoticon on iPhone, he sent me a picture of a man.  The man in the picture looked like he was in his late 30's, serious, mature, face a little chubby, skin a bit rough, banker/ businessman looking...  I spoke my mind and said,"who is that?  He looks very scary."  He replied,"Sexy.  Your English is going downhill."  I replied,"who is he?  He really scares me."  He said,"that's me!"  I said,"no way!  The face doesn't look like you.  The skin condition doesn't look like you.  Those glasses aren't even yours!"  He said,"it's me!"  (Okay I have to admit that I was stupid and still didn't believe it was him and I did say,"What?!!!  No way!!  What happened?  That doesn't look like you at all!"  (I guess "what happened" did it.)  Suddenly he said,"okay I'm going to bed.  Good night."  I replied,"what?!  That's so rude of you!"  He then said I was mean to make fun of him.  I tried to explain, but without luck, and finally told him not to ever message me again.

Jesus Christ!  I really had no friggin clue that was him!  I did re-open that picture 4 times for a close look, and I was damn sure that wasn't him!  Last time I saw him was a few months ago and he still looked exactly the same as he had always looked - young, cheeky, quite good-looking, and with rather nice skin.  How would I know he became fat and bloated and old in just 2 months?!  I immediately went on facebook to check his latest pictures - and indeed in his last three pictures he looked 8 years older and 1.5 times his normal size.

Regardless, I've put up with a lot of his spoiled brat shit for a long time.  I decided that was it!  I had to cut him off and not let him upset me anymore.  As much as I occasionally had fun times with him, he really is too weird and spoiled and immature for me, even as a friend.  I am so sick of immature guys who have no clue how to treat a girl nicely and with respect.

Let me start my year afresh!

Monday, December 13, 2010

A Tribute to the Best Pick-Up Artists

If I were a guy, I would aspire to be an ultra smooth pickup artist.

Being a female, I never cease to be impressed by advanced pickup skills and technique.  I think it is indeed an art!

The best pickup artists need to possess certain qualities: Decisiveness, Focus, Efficiency, Confidence, Small Ego, Eloquence, Spontaneity, Outstanding Observation, Friendly & Harmless Impression, Persistence.  Let me cite a real example:
Today my female friend and I were walking quite fast along Staunton Street.  Suddenly, a friendly voice came from behind me,"you don't feel cold wearing that in this weather?  I'm wearing a sweater!"  I turned around and saw this middle aged Australian man walking behind me at the same pace as me, and I replied with a laugh,"yeah it is indeed a real pain figuring out how to dress for this temperature! Wool seems too hot, T-shirt seems too thin....."  The man kept walking with us, as if we had been walking together as friends all along, and started talking about the weather and his sweater.  When he noticed I wasn't responsive to that, he asked,"so what plans have you girls got for the day?"  We pretended we didn't hear him and kept walking.   He then changed the topic,"have you heard of Detour at the Victoria Prison?  I wonder if it's worth checking out.  I used to work at the Central Police Station but never got around to checking out the prison itself."  At that time my friend and I have already turned left to walk down to Hollywood Road, and I replied (while still walking),"oh it's wonderful, you really should check it out.  You actually should walk back up to enter from Old Bailey Street instead of walking down in our direction.  You'll get to see some interesting exhibits and check out the prison cells."  Noticing that he got our attention when he mentioned Detour, he mentioned once again,"I used to work in the Police Station around the corner but never checked out the prison....."  Still walking, we ignored him and he finally gave up.  He was actually really smooth, but too bad he was old, ugly and fat.  If he had been cute, we might have considered going to the tour with him.
So, what was so great about his pick-up skills?
Decisiveness - Often times you only have a few seconds to decide whether or not to pursue a girl when the opportunity arises, whether in the street, in the elevator, at the pedestrian crossing.....  If you can't make up your mind, you wasted the opportunity.
Focus & Efficiency - Once you decide to pursue, you need to stay focused, with the ultimate objective of picking up the girl.  You need to get her attention, earn her trust, and get her number/ get her to join you for a drink, etc.  In the process, you need to be extremely efficient as you don't have all day to pick her up.  So you are competing with time.  You need to find the hot button as quickly as possible.
Confidence and Small Ego - Put down your ego - to get a girl's attention you cannot be arrogant or shy.  You won't see her again, so nothing to be embarrassed about.  You've got nothing to lose.  Give it all you got!
Spontaneity - Often times, golden pick-up opportunities arise out of the blue.  Depending on the situation, you improvise and ride on the occasion.
Eloquence - The best pick-up lines are non-scripted ones.  You've got to work with the situation and say the right things to get her attention.  It needs to be something relevant.  Like the above example, he talked about my interesting choice of outfit for that weather, and asked about Detour at Victoria Prison - something artsy, cultural and hence high hit rate.
Outstanding Observation - You need to observe the behaviour of the target and talk about something as relevant as possible to her in order to warm her up and generate interest to respond.
Friendly & Harmless Impression - Girls are taught at a young age not to talk to strangers, especially men.  So to get us to talk to you, you certainly need to appear harmless and friendly.  You cannot look like criminal, a rapist, a crook.  You also need to have the ability to get near to the girl's comfortable physical distance without startling her.  You then work on gaining her trust.
Persistence - You may not get her attention with the first shot.  But you must not give up so hastily.  Persist!  Keep trying with the amount of time you got until you have a good chance of closing the deal.

I have high respect for those who are good at this art, as it is indeed quite appealing to me a guy's assertiveness and confidence to do this sort of thing.  I am a traditional female - I love being pursued and admired.  I think I have fallen for some of the most advanced pick-up technique many times - of course very selectively - and have been in relationships with those "artists" afterwards!  I suppose it's exactly because most guys I meet in social events, who expressed their interest in me to mutual friends - are afraid to pursue me, and it really turns me off they have such little self-confidence, hence I particularly am impressed by those who dare to just walk up to me and pick me up!

Salute to the world's best pick-up artists!  We need more guys like you!

Ex, don't feel bad that I'm single

I find it quite funny that every once in a while, completely out of the blue, an ex from centuries ago would suddenly appear out of nowhere to "chat", and eventually leading to the same question: if I am married, if I am attached, etc.  It's so predictable, each time a long-ago ex sends me a message, I time that person how long it takes him to "pop the question" - so how are you doing? - and I automatically offer the information he is seeking.

I honestly don't know the ultimate reason for wanting to know my latest status.  Out of true concern?  Out of vengeance?  ('Cos I might have been a bitch to some when I was much younger?)  Out of competition?  (Hoping I haven't yet found The One sooner than they have?)

It's quite funny how some of them sound very worried about me.  "You deserve a nice guy."  "I don't understand why you can still be single."  "I really hope to see you happily married."  The funny thing is, usually the worried ones are those I wasn't very nice to.  When I hear their concern, I am sometimes tempted to say to them,"I was so spoiled back then, and was quite cruel to you.  You didn't ever see the mature me who is so caring, loving, giving, forgiving!  Why should you worry about that bitch from years ago?"  (In fact, as I am writing this, my first boyfriend ever is now messaging me on MSN and the last time we chatted was probably 4 years ago!  He got married years ago and now has a 4.5 year old kid in Toronto.  I was quite a bitch to him when I was 20.  I really was so spoiled and cruel.)

In any case, I appreciate those who truly think I deserve love and happiness from love.  Perhaps, after so many years, they finally forgave me for hurting them, realized I probably got hurt in the process as well, and remembered me by my true nature.

To everyone I have ever loved and treasured deeply, I hope one day you will finally remember me as the girl you fell in love with.....
Her eyes.
Her smile.
Her mischief.
Her silliness.
Her cheekiness.
Her singing in the shower.
Her passion.
Her devotion.
Her sweetness.
Her love. 

Forget her pain.  Forget... her tears.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Writer's Block? Blogger's Fear?

Haven't been updating my blog as frequently as I had used to - especially after having iPhone 4 which demands so much of my attention!  ;)  Well, it's only part of the reason, but indeed I have been using my laptop a lot less than before.

I suppose I have been keeping myself quite occupied with a variety of little things, reading ebooks, the dog book, watching US TV shows, watering my many plants and looking after cut flowers, cooking for myself, meeting up with close friends, etc. so I have been spending less time contemplating life and mourning over whatever I had occasionally mourned over. 

One other key reason is that it has become increasingly difficult to write - being conscious of the fact that some of my blog entries have made it to the first page of google search results, like if you search for "Victoria Prison Detour", and it increases the chance of an acquaintance stumbling onto my blog and noticing my face in some of the pictures. 

I know I'm supposed to keep writing whatever I want to write about, being a "blogger".  Though, in reality, I do not live in my own little world disconnected from rest of the society.  It's not so much about worrying what others think, but the consequences of that.  I think overall I am a person with no secrets - but that doesn't mean I tell everything to everyone, I share certain things with certain people and not with others.  Hypothetically speaking, if I were job hunting and wrote about it and my own teammates read about it, that certainly would not be good for me or for the team's morale.  Again, hypothetically speaking, if I were interested in a guy I just met, and he read about my painful?  complicated? past, that wouldn't be good for me either - and certainly not be good for him since he'd miss out on such a great, loving, sweet, entertaining girl! LOL

I suppose I am still trying to find the right balance between sensitivity and honest expression of my thoughts.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Pack Animals

I have been seriously considering getting a dog AGAIN, and this time around, I even started watching an episode of dog tv show, Dog Whisperer, and reading Cesar Millan's Be the Pack Leader.  The book and the TV show keep referring to dogs as pack animals - who care about the overall well-being of the group as opposed to individual dog's benefit.  Today, when my friend invited me over to join her and her boyfriend for a boxing day dinner, while feeling extremely grateful for the very sweet thought, I thought of the concept of pack animals.

I do notice that there's some people around me who are always motherly, very willing to take care of people around them, who proactively offer to help or even just bond; while at the other end of the spectrum there are people who care a lot more about their own interests and well-being - not that they are selfish or anything - who are happily content not connecting with others until something unfortunate happens and they need support from friends.

I am not passing judgment here what is the right value.  When thinking about this pack animal concept, I just realize that as individualistic as I used to be when growing up, and as much as I used to spend time alone, I actually am a pack animal and I bond so much better with people who enjoy the companionship of people apart from their intimate partner - people who genuinely care about their friends through action rather than just words.

It's hard to be "thirty-something and single", but I much prefer to live my life doing things I enjoy, listening to my heart (since I am already a rather rational person), spending time with friends - new and old alike - who make my time spent worthwhile, rather than forcing myself to throw myself at any Tom, Dick and Jerry, and begging friends to hang out.

If I have had any personal accomplishments this year, I did get out of my comfort zone to join a new dragonboat team, reached out to a completely new social circle, made some new friendships with like-minded and genuine people both at work and off work, and learned that I didn't have to live in isolation from the world without a boyfriend.  I did have some very good times this year, and through pain from separation, I learned to embrace dearly ever single happy moment I experienced.

Pamper Yourself: Aesop Ginger Root Soap Slab

Went to Aesop shop with my friend and by chance I learned about this soap bar which smells heavenly!  The one I got was Ginger Root Soap Slab, it smells like mix of ginger, lavender and geranium - very invigorating as if you just came out of a spa.  Costs a little over HKD100 for a huge slab, you can cut it into smaller blocks to use.  It's costly to go to a spa in the city every week, but for about $100 I can take many daily spa-scented relaxing showers!  Hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Film I look forward to: Chico and Rita


Thanks to friend, Dion, here's a movie I am looking forward to. 

Monday, November 29, 2010

DETOUR 2010: Victoria Prison Open to Public

Was walking around Soho with Candy looking for art galleries today, when we walked by Victoria Prison in Old Bailey Street and noticed it was open to public visits.  So we walked in.

It was Detour 2010 - Victoria Prison open day with art exhibition, creative workshops, and art fair.  The event runs from Nov 26 to Dec 12, 2010.  For details, please visit

It was an interesting tour around this historical, colonial building.  While it was certainly exciting in a very eerie way checking out the prison house, the various modern art exhibits were visually stimulating and creative.  There was also an interactive painting workshop allowing anyone to pick up a pot of paint and a paintbrush to help complete the project.  It was my first time in 20 years picking up a paintbrush and I certainly enjoyed the fun.

With more and more art & heritage events happening in town, there's no longer excuses for anyone to stay home on weekends and complain that Hong Kong is boring.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Open Letter to Facebook: Erase My History!

Dear Facebook,

I went to watch The Social Network and as much as I understand some parts are fictional, and other parts dramatized, I liked it very much.

It has been great having an open platform to share information with other "friends" however close or distant, since the day I became a member in 2007.  While I haven't been the most supportive when it comes to playing your game application partners' games like Farmville, Mafia Wars, etc. - I have blocked these applications and sometimes along with the "friends" who sent me those annoying requests - I have been a very active and supportive member of facebook in terms of updating status, checking newsfeed, making comments, updating my relationship status, and of course uploading thousands of pictures of mine.

Yet, the more information I have accumulated on FB, the more difficult it is to manage accessibility of such information by my new "friends" - especially potential suitors.  My very "rich" dating history has always been transparent to older "friends" but certainly my new "friends" don't always need to know so much about my past - one can map out my dating timeline with key names & faces & significant events.  (Now this is an idea for a fab app if it's not already available).  

I would certainly appreciate one of the below functions to avoid such future embarrassment:
(1) A simple function to search one's all past interactions with a "friend", from pictures tagged together, to wall messages exchanged, to comments on pictures, pictures of that "friend" posted by  and vice versa - and SELECTIVELY REMOVE SUCH HISTORY from he/her FB page.
(2) To keep all such history but either
a. Block one's history with a certain "friend" from a new "friend".
b. Block one's new "friend" from seeing any of his/her past information/ postings/ tags before a certain date in his/her life.  (E.g. before the day she broke up with an ex.)

If your platform is so successful in allowing people to share information easily anytime, anywhere, please also enable comparable ease of removing/blocking/hiding information we don't wish to share with everyone.

Your consideration is much appreciated.

PS: I believe dictionaries should give "friend" a new official definition - Facebook has redefined the meaning of friend to any contact one establishes as a connection on Facebook.

Tea Yee

The Deceased - Friendship in Relationship Rarely Lasts

A friend of mine debated with me a few months ago whether ex's could remain friends.  I argued that they could.  A few months later, I realized what a freak my boyfriend from a few years ago was - the one who sneakily threw my phone onto the floor when I caught him checking my phone.  Now I realize even my 2-year ex is not my friend.

It really sucks to realize that I spent 2 years with someone, treating him like family, like the most precious thing to me, he is afterall "the deceased" - in Brazilian portuguese, they call ex's who are no longer somebody "the deceased".  For months I thought he was still a great friend deep down and we cared about each other as friends.  Then he came over this morning, broke some news to me, made me cry (which I didn't and don't blame him for) - and to top it off he once again said that he hadn't done anything wrong but I made him feel bad about it.  Yes, it was apparently evil of me to feel hurt, because it appeared to him a passive-aggressive way to make him feel guilty.

It was after that I realized that he was never a true friend to me.  All that time I was with him, he did so many unintentional but extremely hurtful things to me - and when he felt bad about it he accused me of making him feel bad.  If he had been a true friend, he wouldn't have hurt me the way he had in the first place.  He would have avoided it.  He would have thought about consequences of his words before saying things like,"my parents were right about you!"

I only truly realize now that friendship in relationships rarely means anything after the relationships die.  I have also become "the deceased" to them.  My feelings don't matter at all.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Things which make me happy - Quality Time with Family

I didn't write about this earlier, because it hasn't really hit me yet.  Some of you know about my family relationship, that I had a rather unpleasant childhood, witnessing a loveless marriage, brother was rebellious, mom depressed, etc.  For years my dad felt that we were his burden.

I think last year I went to see an Australian psychic, who told my entire childhood story as if he had witnessed everything, and said it was time for me to bring my family back together.  Back then I was going through a very emotional period with my then boyfriend, and for the first time I shared that with my family.  Since then I became closer to my brother.

A few months ago, I thought of an idea and encouraged my brother to come back to HK for a visit, so that the whole family could spend time together - 6 years after his last visit.  On Saturday, when I was meeting up with my parents - something we do only once very few months - I messaged my brother and told him we were having dim sum, so that he could feel part of it.  That evening, I also posted a collage of the day, which moved my brother and led him to write a very very long and emotional email to us, explaining to us why he'd been quiet lately, and apologizing for causing so much sadness in the family for years when he was growing up.  I didn't reply to that email at first, because it was too heavy to once again bring back memories of my childhood.  Yet, to my surprise, my dad replied.  My dad - a very stubborn character who could not take any criticisms.  He actually replied and accepted responsibility for not properly treating my brother's ADHD (hyperactive disorder) when he was young because my brother as a kid didn't want to see the child psychologist after just one session.  I read the email and closed it, without really allowing myself to react to it.  I think my mind was trying to block out my emotions to protect me or something.  One day later, just an hour ago when I read my friend's facebook note about her visiting her grandmother anonymously since she had run away from home years ago, I wrote her an email trying to show her my support - which then turned into me sharing with her my experience with my family lately, the email and all that.  When writing about it, I started crying.  And I am crying again now as I write.  It is very emotional for me to write or think about my family because while each one of us is actually quite passionate and emotional as a person, all our lives we shared so little emotions towards our own family.  We were very reserved when it came to showing love for each other.  We cared a lot about each other but we showed it either through nagging or annoyance when the person wouldn't listen.  I think among the four of us, my mom was already the more expressive one - but she only became expressive when my brother and I became grown-ups and she was no longer depressed.  In my childhood, my mom was full of anger and sadness.

So here's a picture of me and my parents spending an afternoon together:
I took them to a quiet dim sum restaurant, then to Times Square to look for a duffel bag with heels for my dad to drag his clothes and tennis racquet to the tennis court (we couldn't find one) and ended up getting Mom a white, light, soft fleece jacket from North Face, and a cool looking fleece hoodie for Dad from Marks & Spencer.  We then shopped for some cookies and candies in Marks & Spencer, bought some ryebread for Mom in a Japanese bakery (my parents love bread), and finally I dragged (we were all tired from all the walking) them to Central to have a Holly Brown coffee.  My mom loves coffee.

It was a rare happy day we had together as a family, actually doing stuff we all enjoyed.  Normally it would be me going to their place for dinner and leaving after two hours to catch the shuttle bus back home (they live almost 2 hours away from me).

Perhaps we are all getting old.  We know that there won't be a lot of time left to spend together.  My dad is 77, my mom around 67.  It's about time to forget the unhappy past, and focus on spending happier times together in the present and near future.  And, showing our love and care.

My Bittersweet Journey

I haven't been updating my blog as often as before, partly because I haven't been using my laptop much these days (thanks to quick internet surfing on iPhone4), and partly because I have been going through some emotional ups and downs lately - not extreme lows, just occasional blues especially at the thought of Christmas and New Year's Eve.

I've been thinking a lot about the feeling of loneliness, friends drifting apart, love lost and forgotten, uncertainty about where life would be leading me, and so on and so forth.  Never in my life I felt so insecure about the present and the future.  I've always had faith in finding someone special to walk with me into the unknown future eventually, and that faith was reassuring.  Then January came.....whatever happened happened.... I still hope that person exists in my future, but it's merely a hope, or even a dream, instead of an expectation.  I never experienced true loneliness, as for years I had single friends to stick around as a support group for one another.  Then friends moved on, having their own family lives, or new exciting circles.  These days, even if I try to arrange some gatherings, I may not even have anyone turn up.

Though, thanks to my special friend who offered me company and even her guest bedroom should I need to crash her place during these festive days as a third wheel.  It was very touching for her to offer that.  I truly appreciate that.  Thanks for truly caring, and actually trying to help me feel better.

Work hasn't been too hectic, but not extremely rewarding either.  It used to be better when I had my mentor around for some support.  Now I turn to my peers (a few trusted ones) to moan - not advisable but there's no one else I can talk to about work.  So, yes, for a while I've been feeling pretty lonely at work.

Despite feeling lonely and all that, this year has been an amazing one for me to get out of my little shell to connect with people, share my thoughts and hear others' stories.  I've been actively meeting friends and trying to get to a selected few better and vice versa.  These aren't just random people who are weird and all that, but interesting, intelligent people I could have a good time with.  I don't remember myself being so open about meeting new friends before.  For many years my core group of friends had stayed the same - until they started drifting apart that is.  Perhaps this really is a transformation year for me, to reach out and connect with people outside of my own small circle, share with people my thoughts on happiness.  Each time I receive a new "like" for my "Things that make me happy" album from some acquaintance who hardly ever talks to me on facebook or in person, it still brings a smile to my face because I know I successfully touched one more person around me.  The personal project of mine to make it bigger is still on.  I am exploring possibility of turning it into an ebook, and expanding the scope of the exploration/ research of happiness.

Thursday, November 4, 2010


哎呀, 好煩! 我真係好怕煩嘅女人! 咿咿哦哦!  又話出o黎,又話唔出,又話早, 又話晏! 好煩!!!! 咁煩嘅女人點搵男友?! 
Please, 做人話一就一, 二就二! 諗三諗四, 又想睇下有無better alternatives先決定, 當我係妾士咩?!  做朋友做到o禁, 都幾心淡!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

I Deserve It!

Today I got a voice message: Hello Ms Tang.  This is One2Free (mobile operator) calling.  I am Miss Wong and I am sorry that I am late in calling you back regarding your request to have your membership tier upgraded.  I have checked and you have become our Diamond member.  If you have questions you can call us back.

I smiled to myself after listening to this voice message - I had called up this mobile operator more than a month ago explaining that considering my high mobile phone usage (in some months when I travelled a lot for business, my monthly bill could be as high as HKD 10K), I deserved to be upgraded to a higher membership tier by default (which would entitle me to much shorter waiting time for customer hotline).  I felt a bit annoyed and lame when I had to call up the hotline (and being put on hold for half an hour) and request for what I "deserved"; call back twice after a few weeks to ask why they hadn't called me back to update me on the result.  Now I am very glad I did it, and I got what I deserved. 

I was thinking about this as I was taking a quiet stroll back home from Causeway Bay.  Whether at work, in relationship, or in everyday life, we need to know our worth and let others know how we deserve to be treated.  We cannot force others to treat us well, but the least we could do for ourselves is calmly remind others what we are worth and how we should be treated.  If they ignore it and mistreat us, we have the right to walk away.....

I don't consciously think about this, but I am indeed a person with principles and I do stand by my principles unless someone gives me a good reason for violating them - in which case I would accept.  A few months ago, when having a chat with a male friend who is very opinionated and generally very intelligent, we were debating about a certain topic, and after listening to his argument, I said he had a fair point and I agreed with him.  He said to me, wow I am surprised!  For someone who has such a strong character, you actually do listen to others' opinion and can accept it.  I said, why not?  I may have an opinion about a lot of things but I certainly can't be right about everything.  If you have a better logic and explanation of things, why wouldn't I listen?  I find it hard to deal with this in a relationship though.  Not every guy is open minded about discussing things and when I try to bring up a point - especially related to how I feel I should be treated - it could really make him defensive instead of calmly explaining his logic and allowing us both to peacefully understand each other and find common ground.  It sucks having to request for something I feel reasonable (Please can we not go on holiday with your cousin's family?), yet being rejected flatly and accused of being unreasonable (Why can't I go on holiday with my cousin's family?  Why don't you like my family?!).  It sucks even more if I just do as I'm told, be quiet about it, yet the person doesn't even realize the sacrifice I am making because I love him.

Lately, I've been recalling a lot of the things Kev and I had done for each other.  At the same time I also recalled how 委屈 I had felt, not being able to talk about anything in a civilized, understanding, loving manner despite how much we loved each other.  I wish I could turn back time and bravely tell him, Kev I hope you could do this for me because I deserve it.  Because I unfailingly loved you all this time, I deserve it.

We deserved a happy life together.  Unfortunately, as I said earlier, we can request for what we deserve,  but we don't always get what we deserve.  Still, we owe it to ourselves to ask for what we feel we deserve.

Monday, November 1, 2010

么鳳: Triggering Memories of Mom and Aunt

Today on my way back home from work, I walked by 么鳳, a very traditional Chinese dried snack shop in Causeway Bay, which suddenly reminded me of my aunt (whom I grew up calling "姨媽媽") and my mom who loved taking me to this shop when I was very little.  The thought of them made me emotional and miss them very much.
I called my mom at once, trying once again to persuade her to come to town and visit me.  She then told me about my aunt (in her late 60's) having hurt her foot some weeks ago and had been having trouble walking even around the flat - but she refused to see a doctor.
I spent a long time trying to explain to my mom how she needed to keep pushing Aunt to have her foot checked out, as it could be serious.  My mom kept telling me how difficult it was to persuade my aunt.....  how my aunt said that she couldn't walk across the street to take a taxi..... how taxis couldn't stop right outside her building's entrance.....  (My aunt's son is mentally handicapped so naturally he can't help her.  Her husband, for some bizarre reason, also has not taken her to the hospital.  Neither has she called the ambulance, for fear of embarrassment.)  I called back and taught my mom what counter arguments she could give, how she could called an ambulance for her if she really couldn't walk, etc.
It makes me very sad sometimes trying to care for someone who keeps refusing my help or giving me reasons why he/she doesn't need help.  It really pains me, makes me 心痛.  Like for so long I tried to convince my parents to move back to the city, to be closer to me, so I can visit them and take care of them.  They keep saying no, and yet they aren't really taking good care of each other.  
I understand that sometimes we hope to save the whole world but we can't.  I don't intend to save the whole world, I only hope I can at least help those I love and care about.  I wish I could do more, if only they would let me.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Qualities I look for in a friend

I cherish friends who:

- Are spontaneous and don't expect me to always book his/ her time a few weeks in advance cos they are such important people.
- Don't treat me as one of his/her many options to spend time with.  Who don't try to fully explore more "fun" options they have before responding to my invitations, usually after me chasing.  It sucks having to organize, invite AND f*cking chase someone to respond.
- Are open-minded.
- Have a point of view and have something to add to a conversation.
- Are transparent:  I hate people who are secretive.
- Are intelligent and can follow the logic and flow of a normal discussion.
- Don't fuss about little things.  Who are forgiving, and don't hold a grudge.
- Initiate meet-ups and gatherings, not always rely on me to do it. 
- Have something fun and insightful to bring to the friendship.
- Don't count pennies with me.
- Generally have a positive mentality and outlook.
- Are responsive.  I hate people who hardly pick up the f*cking phone AND reply to text messages after days.
- Treat me as an equal and care about me as a friend.  Not view me as competition, or an embarrassment.
- Stick around when I need company and support.
- Accept me as I am - my bluntness and spontaneity.

I am blessed with some good friends who have the above qualities.

Blog Stalking

Many people are not aware of this, but actually as a blogspot/ blogger user, I can see what search terms people used to search for my site and from which search engine they found my site.  Of course, for 99% of my readers I can't tell who they are even with such information.  But if, for instance, I only have one friend who has some Japan background/ linkage, who would use to search for things, and specifically searches for "Tea Yee", I can be pretty certain he/she is the person I know. 

I recently noticed someone who's been searching for my site all the time, and specifically searching for Tea Yee, using a specific google search engine (not HK, not US).  This has been bothering me quite a bit, and is quite a turn-off, like someone I know stalking me.  If you friggin want to check out the site, just bookmark it properly.  Don't search for me every friggin day!  Nobody calls me "Tea Yee".  It is the name of my teddy bear.  So that person specifically wanted to look me up, rather than search for something random and stumbled onto my site by chance every friggin day.

It bothers me because I have to think twice before writing about certain topics, trying to be sensitive and all that. 

I won't give a damn from now on.  I'll just whatever I want to write about.  If you think it'll hurt your feelings, please just stop reading.

Friend Turned Financial Planner - Scary!

Oh my god, it freaks me out when friends turn into financial planners, insurance agents, etc. and start chasing you in impersonal ways in order to find business.  I can fully understand they need to make a living and they are taught certain aggressive ways to find business.  Yet, having known them as friends before, it seems so bizarre when they treat you like a customer.

Just now, on facebook, a friend whom I haven't talked to in a while, sent me an instant message:  Have you thought about where you want to be in 5 years?

I freaked out and closed facebook.

Last time I talked to this person was on the phone - and he wanted to sell some business solutions.  Even though I stated that I wasn't the person to decide on these admin decisions, he relentlessly probed in other ways to try and obtain other contacts from me, the way sales training courses teach you.  I don't know what they teach in these companies - that everyone they know is a business opportunity and should be leveraged fully?

I find it sad because he is to me a friend, and I'd like him to think of me as a friend.  He is normally a very nice person.  He used to comment on my facebook.  Now we have zero interaction except sales calls/ messages.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Pao de Queijo - Brazilian Cheesebread

The past weekend was such a lovely one with a dear friend in town, to just chill and enjoy doing nothing together.

One of the "nothings" that we did was baking pao de queijo (Brazilian cheesebread) with the mix I had at home.

It was such "saudade" (roughly means sweet nostalgia in this context) when we enjoyed the freshly baked pao de queijo - dry and slightly crispy crust,  slightly moist, soft, chewy inside with a mild cheese flavor.....  It wasn't exactly the same as the homemade ones in Brazil, but it was close enough for a packaged mix.  I loved eating it just plain, but adding some butter, sugar, and cinnamon to the center surprisingly turned it into a very delicious sweet treat!

I will try the next batch with some parmesan cheese mixed in for more cheese flavor and chewy texture.  If you ever happen to visit Brazil or can get hold of these packaged mixes in your local Brazilian grocery shop, do try it!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Book Recommendation: Sh*t My Dad Says

I've been given a book recently, called Sh*t My Dad Says, written by Justin Halpern.  It is among the funniest books I have ever read.  I don't think it's one of those books you try to learn something from, it's more for a good laugh, many many good laughs!  It is a book of quotes from the writer's dad who has been super blunt to his son even at a young age.  The son grew up, quoted his dad on Twitter on a regular basis, and became quite famous with a lot of followers who found the quotes extremely amusing.
Without spoiling the book for you, here's just two of many quotes:
 "You are four years old. You have to shit in the toilet. This is not one of those negotiations where we'll go back and forth and find a middle ground. This ends with you shitting in a toilet."
When the author was in university, his dad said to him one day, "All I ask is that you pick up your shit so you don't leave your bedroom looking like it was used for a gang bang. Also, sorry that your girlfriend dumped you."
Hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Chocolate Indulgence: VERO Lounge (Pictures)

I wrote about Vero Lounge (Chocolate Indulgence: VERO Lounge, Hong Kong) some time ago but that time my phone camera's flash was too weak to take any pictures.  I went again last night - still without my DSLR camera - and took a few cute snapshots of the beautiful hot chocolate and the little chocolate gallery.  Hope this can entice you to pay a visit in person and experience it yourself.  Please DO call (25595882) before going to make sure they are not closed for any private events.


Thursday, October 14, 2010

More on iPhone 4: Camera Apps

Recently I travelled to Singapore with my iPhone 4 and it was such joy!  With web surfing made so easy with iPhone, and the phone camera having good resolution (for phone camera), I was constantly seeking out Free Wi-Fi spots to surf the net, Whatsapp with my friends in Hong Kong, and uploading pictures to Facebook.  Never before did I have a phone so perfect for traveling.

In particular it was extremely useful taking snapshots of Google Map, as the resolution was good enough for me to blow it up on the phone to zoom into smaller streets.  You know how expensive it could be to real time data roam overseas, using Google Map.

Taking snapshots with this phone was also tons of fun.  Since I didn't go to Singapore for any expectation of sceneries or interesting things to shoot with a proper camera, I did not bring any cameras at all.  The whole time I only used the various camera apps I loved:

Hipstamatic - an imitation of film photography with option of different lenses, flashes and films
LENSES - other fun special pre-set effects to choose from
LOFI - an imitation of slide film & cross processing effect
Polarize - an imitation of polaroid photos, very contrast and saturation, good for well-lit lighter colored subjects
Color Splash - making selected parts of a photo with colors, and rest in black & white

TrueHDR - a better camera app than the default, this allows users to take pictures with better control of exposure, allowing more details in both bright and dark areas of the picture

After the trip I also got an app called ToonCamera which cartoonizes pictures:

You probably did not notice:  I did not tag any of these blog posts with "i Shoot Photos" because I am a conservative and do not consider phone camera "photography" photography.  These are fun apps, no doubt, but imitating Lomo does not make it a Lomo picture.  It bothers me when I see some non-close friends on facebook calling their fake Lomo iphone pictures "lomo".

Hope you enjoy these camera apps as well!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Singapore Fav Food, Shopping & Play

Spent a few days in Singapore to visit good friends.  It wasn't a typical touristy trip, as the intention was mostly to spend time with my friends there, rather than going to all the tourist spots.  Still, I managed to revisit a few of my all-time favourites in Singapore, and discover new ones.

  • My Little Spanish Place - as its name suggests it's a small Spanish restaurant with very nice tapas
  • Three Wombats Cafe - a small cafe on Kim Keat Road serving nice coffee, good breakfast, wonderful ca.esar salad, and peach cheesecake
  • Icecream waffle sandwich vendor on Orchard Road near TANGS
  • 211 Roof Terrance Cafe in Holland Village.  Food is alright, but drinks not that great.  It is a nice oasis on the rooftop of Holland Village Shopping Center.
  • Lau Pa Sat - for years I loved Fatman Satay (Stall #1 and 2) but this time I tried Traditional Satay (Stall #3 and 4) and I actually liked it better.  I think mutton and duck are both particularly good.
  • PS.Cafe is a nice brunch restaurant set in a very green, park environment.  I loved the whole atmosphere even though the food is mediocre and overpriced.
  • Newton Hawker Center is NOT my favourite.  I prefer Lau Pa Sat, East Coast, and Maxwell.  Regardless, I always love sugar cane juice with lemon.
  • Founder Bakuteh was alright.  It's very peppery and I think I prefer the Malaysian herbal version of Bakuteh more.
  • Ion Shopping Center's food court was pretty nice, with large variety of food choices and a clean environment.  I loved that they had a wash basin for customers to wash their hands in the middle of the food court.
  • Bengawan Solo is always my favourite for Indonesian cakes and desserts.  I often buy pandan cake at the airport both on arrival and departure.
I love shopping in Singapore (even more if the exchange rate is more favourable).  I just always manage to find things to buy there.  A few of my favourites:
  • TANGS is always my first stop.  I love the earring and accessories brand, Metalli, and I often bought more than 3 or 4 pairs of earrings each time I visited their counter.
  • TANGS also sometimes have pretty shoes at very affordable prices.  They may not be the most comfortable shoes though, so I rarely buy heels from them.  This time, I bought 4 pairs of ballerina flats cos they were really pretty.  I am still trying to find a way to make them softer and more comfortable as I do not believe in torturing my feet no matter how pretty a pair of shoes is.
  • Holland Village is also a great place to look for trinkets, home decoration items, or ethnic wear.  In particular, I love Lim's and Creative Dimensions.  The former has plenty of home decoration products, mostly Asian style with a modern twist.  I bought cushion covers and a jewelry box there.  Creative Dimensions is heaven if you are into sequins and beaded bags, coasters, cushion covers, etc.  I got myself two little purses, some coasters and a small coin bag there.
  • Another favourite shop of mine in Singapore is Island Shop.  It's great for beachwear and summer clothing.  I have a lot of clothes from there, accumulated from each of my Singapore visits.  This time I didn't buy anything as it wasn't on sale.
Apart from Night Safari, I never had much idea what else to do for fun in Singapore.  Thanks to my friends, Janis, Pat and Gautam, I was taken to some new places this time.
  • Night Safari has always been my favourite.  I love taking the park train to see different animals, and love the walk up and down the jungle in the dark even more.
  • Peirce Reservoir was a really cool place my friends took me to, as I wanted to get away from all the traffic and crowds, and be near to nature.  It was a really lovely walk, with a very flat trail by the reservoir, and lots of greenery perfect for a picnic date.  I really loved it.  
  • A new and chic rooftop, open-air bar/ lounge is Ying Yang.  We walked past Chinatown to get there.  It was really happening.
  • We also spent time just chilling in Starbucks, Page One etc in the mall for some aircon (the humidity in Singapore was unbearable, even my clothes and bag were damp most of the time).

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

iPhone 4 Obsession


I am embarrassed to say that I have been slow in updating my blog because I finally joined the iPhone 4 community last Sunday and have become fully obsessed with the phone and everything related to the phone.  Such is the power of Apple!

It was my first iPhone - and I so wish I could take a picture of my phone to show in this post - and I spent countless hours navigating through the different features, learning to maneuver the iPhone, finding the best value for money "apps", making more online purchases ("apps") in the past few days than my whole life combined, organizing the many "apps" on the phone, testing them out, waiting for friends to "whatsapp" me.....

I have to say it is a fun experience.  Highly addictive too!  I have been behaving like a kid with a new toy in the past few days - attentively playing with my phone during dinner with friend, playing with my phone while walking down and crossing the street, making wrong turns, missing entrances, almost run over by traffic :P

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Moroccan Hammam - DIY Procedures

A big part of Moroccan Hammam Bath is about scrubbing off all the dead skin on your body and nourishing the skin with Moroccan Black Soap (Beldi Soup).  It is a strangely invigorating experience, despite the rough scrubbing.  I have written about my experience in the following posts:
Authentic Moroccan Bath (Hammam) Experience
Marrakech - Hammam (Moroccan Bathing Experience)

I fell in love with the scrubbing, and started to DIY at home weekly after returning from Morocco.  I have also given my friends some of the items needed for the ritual, but I doubt they remember the scrubbing procedures so here's a detailed explanation:
What you need -
1. Moroccan Black Soap / "Beldi" Soup - traditionally made with Argan Oil from the Argan tree, it is highly nourishing while at the same time loosens up dead skin for exfoliation.  Sometimes Black Soap is made with olive oil.
2. Hammam globes / "Kessa" - an exfoliating glove with a rough texture.  Very important in the Hammam ritual to scrub off dead skin.
3. Pure 100% Argan Oil - while not a must, it does nourish your skin very well after the scrub.

These products are very inexpensive if you buy them in Morocco drugstores.  However, if, like me, you will not be traveling to Morocco any time soon, then you can purchase online from stores like Argan Oil Tree.

Procedures at home (note that it uses a lot of water, so it is not very environmentally friendly):
1. Wet your entire body in a hot shower for a minute or so.  Hot is the keyword.
2. Leave some hot water running (through the tap) in order to keep the shower stall steamy, while you step away from the running water and apply the black soap paste to your entire body from neck to toe, avoiding the face and the hair.
3. Let the paste stay on your body for around 5 to 10 minutes while you stay in the hot and steam shower stall.
4. Wash the paste off your body with warm or hot water.  Do NOT use soap.
5. Turn off the hot water.  Use your hand to wipe excess water off your body, then use the glove to scrub your body in small circular motion.  Feel the skin being scrubbed with your other hand: you should feel the dead skin being scrubbed off.  If not, then the glove or your body is too wet.  Keep scrubbing from neck (too rough for the face) to toe, and rinse your body as needed.
6. When done, apply Argan oil to your body to finish the procedure.  If you do not have Argan oil, you may use other nourishing body oil or moisturizer instead.  Your skin will feel soft and have a nice glow.

This procedure is ideally done weekly.  At least that's what Moroccan women do, and they have beautiful skin!  Argan oil is ultra rich in Vitamin E and essential fatty acids, increasingly known in the cosmetic world to be a highly nourishing oil for the skin.  If concerned, feel free to google and read about it.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Quote from "Shopgirl" ***SPOILER***

I just finished watching a movie, "Shopgirl", at home.  I had bought it at HMV thinking it would be a happy and silly romantic comedy, which turned out to be more serious than silly, thought-provoking than happy.  It was a good one, and I enjoyed it.


I do not intend to write about the storyline, as I believe that movies are best watched as a "surprise", without prior expectations.  Still, part of the dialogue touched me, and I really hope to share it here.  If you don't mind knowing in advance a few lines from the movie, please read on.

At one emotional point in the movie, the narrator said:
Only then did he realise how wanting part of her, and not all of her, had hurt them both.....
And how he cannot justify his actions, except was life.
These few lines touched me personally. Is partial, conditional love real "love"? It's debatable.  For what I know, either way it is not enough. Don't tell me you loved me but you are sorry given the circumstances you had to let go of me. It means you didn't love me enough.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Singapore Boutique Hotels

I love staying in boutique hotels when I travel to cosmopolitan cities.  Modern, chic, quaint designs just seem to blend in perfectly with those cities, complementing the city vacation spirit.  Tacky anything in a hotel room just doesn't work for me.

I've stayed in quite a few boutique hotels in Singapore and they generally didn't disappoint.  The Scarlet (picture on the left, taken with my miserable Nokia E71 phone camera which does not do the hotel justice) is my favourite so far.  Located in Chinatown, with a curvy floor hallway leading to the rooms, and sweet decor in the room itself.  Great attention to detail, very nice amenties in the bathroom, helpful staff throughout the hotel.

I just came across a blog article, Singapore Style - Hotels, from Hip Hong Kong website, on other newer boutique hotels in Singapore, featuring (among others which are not boutique hotels) the following which I thought I should share here - which would also serve as my bookmark for future Singapore travel reference:

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Sri Lanka - colors, grace, and subtlety (updated)

I traveled to Sri Lanka alone 3 years ago, in search of inner peace, adventure, and cultural experience.

I feel that Sri Lanka is a country which can only be fully appreciated in person, and with an open-mind.  Unlike countries like India, Barcelona, Brazil, Morocco, Japan,.....bursting with overwhelming madness, boldness, energy, which could be easily described in words, Sri Lanka strikes me as graceful, subtle and genuine, contrary to my prior expectation, but delivered the most pleasant surprise.

My trip started in Negombo, then continued to Kandy, Ella, Yala, Dickwella, Galle, and ended in Colombo.  I spent 9 days there, and loved every bit of it.  The extremely friendly and down-to-earth people, the needy driver, nerdy spice/herb salesman, my deaf-mute friend on the train who fell in love with me, the resort front desk boy who thought I would sleep with him for a cheaper room upgrade; the road-trip and the 7-hour mountain train ride; the mountain area and the coast; the botanical garden and the quirky Brief Garden; elephant orphanage and the safari.....

I truly hope such a beautiful country will remain unspoilt for a long time.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

I Won't Try to Make You Understand Me

I only proactively shared my blog with fewer than 20 people.  If you happen to be one of them it means I have trust in you that either you are open-minded or know me well enough to NOT take everything I write literally, or judge me so quickly.  I am very direct and descriptive the way I express my strong feelings and thoughts - often times in the heat of the moment - and it could sometimes be offensive to the person/ people being written about.

If you were never given my blog address yet you actively searched for it - found it - and felt upset about what you read: my sincerest apologies.  It was the reason why I didn't share it with you in the first place.  Now that you do have the address, I can only ask that you consider the possibility of not taking any comments personally. 

I am not a bad person.  I am just a normal person - like you and everyone else - who reacts to things.  Except that I write about my thoughts and feelings, perhaps sometimes too passionately.

I used to write hoping to make some people I cared deeply about understand me.  It was my channel to communicate to them how much love and happiness I was feeling, and how much pain I was going through.  I stopped doing that after my breakup with Kevin.  The blog stopped being my hope of being understood and moving someone, and became purely a channel to share, express and obtain feedback.  I hate cliches.  Yet, I cannot deny that when that relationship died, a piece of me also died quietly.  And I lost my spirit to fight, to seek, to touch.   My current blog is reflective of that emotional journey of mine, as compared to my previous one which was much more emotional.

Anyhow, as I stated in the first post, this blog would focus on sharing rather than self-discovery and dwelling on sadness.  This will continue to be the direction of this blog.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

South Bay beach, Hong Kong

I love living in Hong Kong for the fact that I can be at the beach within 20mins.  South Bay is my favourite hangout when weather is great and I want to be far away from the crowds, especially on a weekday when it is absolutely quiet.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Thrive on Chaos

I realize that while some people thrive on stability, others thrive on chaos and challenges by nature.  I happen to belong to the latter group, although I do crave for stability.

Work has been relatively stable for weeks, and I was started to get bored and unchallenged.  I was not complaining though.  I wanted that stability and eventLESSness.  Then suddenly, these two days I suddenly became swamped with work, with numerous requests to respond to, emails to send out for requests, mini crisis to manage, rights (of my staff) to fight for, decisions to make, feedback to give, and so on and so forth.  Strangely, I immediately came alive with an adrenaline rush as these chaos approached and did more work in these 2 days than in the past 2 weeks!  So I came to the realization and hence conclusion that some people have an intrinsic ability and desire to deal with chaos.  It's almost like their life mission.  Chaos gives them purpose in life, reason for existence, since they have a natural instinct to rise to the occasion without the common first reaction of fear and avoidance.

I like watching others react to chaos.  That's when you see their true colors.

Family moving

I am feeling sad because a dear friend, who is like family to me, is considering moving back to the States. I felt sad all night after hearing the news.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Alicia Keys: (Solo) Empire State of the Mind

Previously I posted the Jay-Z version.  This is Alicia Keys' solo version.  Love it even more.

Ooohh New York x2

Grew up in a town that is famous as the place of movie scenes
Noise was always loud, there are sirens all around and the streets are mean
If I can make it here, I can make it anywhere, that's what they say
Seeing my face in lights or my name on marquees found down on Broadway

Even if it ain’t all it seems, I got a pocketful of dreams
Baby, I'm from New York
Concrete jungle where dreams are made of
There's nothing you can't do
Now you're in New York
These streets will make you feel brand new
Big lights will inspire you
Hear it for New York, New York, New York!

On the avenue, there ain't never a curfew, ladies work so hard
Such a melting pot, on the corner selling rock, preachers pray to God
Hail a gypsy cab, takes me down from Harlem to the Brooklyn Bridge
Some will sleep tonight with a hunger far more than an empty fridge

I'm gonna make it by any means, I got a pocketful of dreams
Baby, I'm from New York
Concrete jungle where dreams are made of
There's nothing you can't do
Now you're in New York
These streets will make you feel brand new
Big lights will inspire you
Hear it for New York, New York, New York!

One hand in the air for the big city,
Street lights, big dreams all looking pretty
No place in the world that can compare
Put your lighters in the air, everybody say yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah

In New York
Concrete jungle where dreams are made of
There's nothing you can't do
Now you're in New York
These streets will make you feel brand new
Big lights will inspire you
Now you're in New York!

Concrete jungle where dreams are made of
There's nothing you can't do
Now you're in New York
These street will make you feel brand new
Big lights will inspire you
Hear it for New York!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Koh Samui Thai Cooking Class - Siam Kitchen

Siam Kitchen's Thai cooking class is a must-do in Koh Samui, if you enjoy cooking, good food, and want to get a taste of Thai culture.

Koh Samui is not the most exciting or romantic travel destination in Thailand.  For shopping I'd go for Bangkok, for culture Chiangmai, for sun and beach Phuket, for tranquility Koh Lanta, etc.  My short Koh Samui trip wouldn't have been half as interesting if I hadn't spent 3 hours at Siam Kitchen, learning Thai cooking from Sont, the instructor and founder of this local cooking "school".

The class starts with Sont taking you to the local farmer market to show you typical ingredients used in Thai cooking and how to pick the freshest herbs, seafood, meat, fruits, vegetables.....

You will then be taken back to Sont's kitchen where he'll brief you on the principles of Thai cooking.

Before cooking each dish, he will give you a quick briefing.  Then you are expected to start cooking the dish following his instructions.  Sounds easy - but the cooking time is usually within 10 minutes, so everything happens very quickly!  Add in three-quarters tablespoon of vinegar now!  Half a teaspoon of sugar!  Taste it!  Is it sour enough?  Is it sweet enough!  Adjust the taste so the sweetness doesn't cover the sourness!  Keep tasting!  ........

It was really exciting, like being on a reality cooking show, in a cooking contest!   The dishes turned out perfect, better than any Thai food I had had in any Thai restaurants.  I really enjoyed the class and felt like I learned a lot from Sont.

The dishes I cooked were:
Laab Gai, Moo/ Spicy minced chicken or pork
Thom Khaa Gai/ Coconut milk soup with chicken
Phad Thai/ Stir-fried rice noodle”Thai”style
Gaeng Kiew Waahn Gai/ Green curry with chicken

After each dish, you'd have time to enjoy the food at a table on the pavement.  It was quite a special, local and authentic way to enjoy such authentic Thai food - Sont teaches only authentic Thai dishes cooked the traditional way, so nothing Americanized or internationalized!
Don't forget to book in advance.   Go to the website and email Sont to arrange directly.