Wednesday, 31 December 2014

The Year That Was

This year has rather been a gloomy year - but it's also one of the best years ever!

Why gloomy? Cos I broke-up. But was it a blessing in disguise? I think so. We're still in contact and still talk to each other, but surely things isn't the same as even before we got together.. As a matter of fact, in all the 5 relationships I've had, 3 of those were jerks and I never want to hear or see them ever again, but my 3rd ex I'm still friends with although we rarely talk these days, and the 5th most recent one, though can't be boyfriends, who says you can't be friends? Although I prefer to just let bygones be bygones..

Gloomy because it has been a tough year especially in the travel industry with so many unfortunate incidents that shook the world - I'd be lying if I say it didn't affect us.. It did.. But we stood strong together and emerged stronger, surpassing targets even..

Gloomy because I was careless in my work which resulted in me learning lessons the hard way.. But it taught me one thing that in the face of that, there are friends who cared.. And I owed these people big time..

On the other hand, it's one of the best years!

From my travels to the things I did!

On top of Sydney Harbour Bridge
I get to visit Australia, my first trip there after postponing for more than 7 years since the idea was first mooted.. finally I decided to go without a second thought.. I bought my ticket in a jiffy when I was still depressed over the break-up, and said "fuck it, you know what, I'm going to travel".. 10,000 miles of it..

That's how I got out of my depression cos travelling makes me a happy boy..

I've done amazing things such as climbing to the top of Sydney Harbour Bridge, experienced Mosman Bay Obelisk nudity-permitted beach where I stripped naked and tanned under the afternoon sun, went to Sydney 357 City Steam where I probably had one of the best sex this year that I can remember, oh it was willldddddd....

You really can't fault me for going all the way in such awesome sun
at Obelisk Beach
Tasted some great seafood from Morgan's Seafood and the Moreton Bay bugs and the special Tasmanian scallop pie, spent time selfie-ing with kangaroos and koala bears in legend Steve Irvin's backyard Australia Zoo, hopped on the helicopter over Twelve Apostles.. swam in the open seas and marvelled the astonishing blue waters of Surfers' Paradise Gold Coast.. Also for the first time in my life seen some dinosaur bones..

Awww.. don't we look alike?

Smelly koala.. 

Dino bones in Brisbane Science Museum

Having the meal of my life at Reef in downtown Brisbane
I'm biting into a Moreton Bay bug..

Sydney Opera House

That.. is the Twelve Apostles viewing platform below...

In the chopper over Twelve Apostles

Surfers' Paradise Gold Coast

I chatted with many locals including the neighbour at my friend's apartment in Melbourne, but why didn't he invite me into his apartment even though we walked and talked from the train station all the way home?

Hmm... maybe he's not into Asian :)


The one time Glico Woman
I also get to visit Japan, again, my first time.. and had the thrill of travelling alone in a foreign country which I do not speak or read the language at all, apart from "konichiwa" and "arigatou gozaimasu".. Of course I know "iku iku" but I've no one to iku with so it's not useful :)

It's a sort of a trip I never expected to make.. Well, I did pay my fair share despite it being partially work, but once work is done, I went all out and enjoyed myself..

The freshest and most delicious sushi and sashimi in Daikisuisan, not to mention it's cheap! Pity I didn't get to eat more!



From Japan, I bought my parents gifts as well.. I bought a very beautiful hand-painted porcelain tea set for my dad (I guess my penchant for tea is picked up from him, I have two tea sets at home hahaha..) and a traditional Japanese woven silk purse for my mom which she started using it right away when I gave it to her earlier this month..



2015 - What's in store?

I am contemplating to go Europe again.. either western or eastern part.. or maybe just London.. not too sure.. or maybe not at all, or maybe I could go Phnom Penh.. or Siem Reap.. or Manila.. or Boracay..

I've also eventually qualified to be in the running of winning a spot of an all-expenses paid trip to New Zealand.. I have completed, get recertified and attended trainings to put my name into the pool so it's fucking praying hard I get it!! And NZ isn't exactly a cheap place to travel to, and I'd love to extend my own stay and like a pilgrimage for every LESMILLS instructor, visit the LESMILLS gym!

These will form part of my plans to visit countries that I have not been before.. and I'm going to Jakarta for once in my life while I still have a place to stay for free.. Or I could visit Cairns to Gold Coast (again!) - I love the sea too much!!

January is always a much loved month for me, as I turn yet another year older, comes various freebies and discount vouchers.. I have already redeemed 2 nights free stay in Genting Highlands, and 1 night of stay in Melia Hotel Kuala Lumpur, a few movie tickets with GSC and TGV and restaurant cash voucher for dining..

But it's rather enough for me to just celebrate low-key with some closest friends.. I am done with all the big lavish parties, gatherings and all where drama rules.. I just cannot tolerate dramas.. Trust me, I've heard so many backstabbings from each gathering my friends attended to the point some even drove them depressed from all the hurtful words..

Other than that, well, I am also very indecisive about climbing Taipei 101 Towerthon in May but I could use that as an excuse to get away, and revisit the massage place hopefully the hot masseur is still working there.. I wonder if he will remember me and the sex we had :)

LOL..


Cheers to a great 2014 and welcoming 2015.. 
Happy New Year!!!



Tuesday, 30 December 2014

If you have had these toys...

These toys were popular in the United States/Canada and Taiwan and many spin-off versions were available by many other names (Lowe, Marvel etc) but it's original name is actually Lasy..



I have a set of these that comes in a briefcase and the arrangements inside is exactly like this.. Of course there were other sets, difference is the number of parts.. According to my mom, it was very expensive even back then..

It allowed free flow creativity as you can build and assemble almost anything from as simple as a see-saw to a life-size tricycle, of course, you'll need a huge ass lot of bricks to go.. I owe my creativity part to my parents for having bought it for me all the way from Canada when she went there..

I agreed it's much better than Lego blocks.. I have had plenty of Lego sets too but nothing beats Lasy..

When my sister brought it up cos she wanted to buy for my nephew, only then we remembered about it.. it's been over 20 years already since we grew up playing it..

So if you have such set like I do, we have had an awesome childhood :)



Monday, 29 December 2014

My second box of donation

As soon as I saw the updated list that ask for soaps and other hygiene supplies, I immediately ransacked my cabinets because I knew I am a "klepto" and a hoarder.. Whenever I stay in hotels worldwide, I will always swipe the toiletries that I don't use, and when there are good deals on toiletries from warehouse sales, I bought in bulk and keep..

Because I knew one day I will be moved to give them away.. Accoding to the list, they have included soaps and medicine (apart from food, clothes and blankets) that are usually associated with flood crisis..

I was once with the Malaysian Red Crescent Society and I was involved before in flood rescue operations and I knew how these supplies are in dire need.. Things that we take for granted on a daily basis have now become bare necessity to survive (food and hygiene supplies)..

Packing my second box of donation items for the east coast flood victims to be brought to office tomorrow for drop-off..


I urge all of you to do your part as well..


Sunday, 28 December 2014

Together we can make a difference

The floods in Peninsular Malaysia may have displaced more than 150,000 people with water levels higher than the towns.. I have many friends who are affected, many of them have gone back to offer support.. It will be a bleak New Year for them..

Those that are not affected, have either left the country to await countdown, and keyboard warriors took to the internet.. And the number one most hated man in the country, can't even proffer an apology for having flown the nation's official private jet on his personal golfing holiday..

My company has mobilised CSR efforts and I can't sit still without doing my part, so tonight I went out and bought some supplies that were required and requested and hopefully a little here a little there can provide some relief and assistance..



Please help.. a little here a little there, together we can make a difference.. Those people need immediate food and supplies (blankets, clothes, medicine, baby essentials)..

Find out where you can contribute.. chances are each supermarket, each mall would have set up some sort of collection centre..

Today it may not be you, but one day, who's to say you'll be desperately needing to survive..





Thursday, 25 December 2014

5 ways to survive a lonely Christmas & New Year's Eve

All 'ye lonely hearts this Christmas (and New Year).. I am with you..

For the first time ever (like EVER!!), I have no dinner parties to go, no gift exchanges parties (apart from the office one which is.. umm.. I-shall-not-comment), no gatherings, no holidays, no trips (I've exhausted my leaves and money for travelling)..

And while many will be out singing "Auld Lang Syne", partying and countdown the new year, I will not be a part of any this year..

So I've decided to write my own 5 ways to survive a lonely Christmas..

1. Sleep in
Sleep is a good activity to restore the body and allow it to recover.. Studies have shown and proven we need at least 8 hours of sleep a day, which unfortunately I have not been able to do so, my sleep ranges from 2-6 hours daily and I will then accumulate sleep debt and repay during the weekends and public holidays..

2. Working it out in the gym
With everyone either having a hangover, or out at some lunch/dinner gathering, it's the best time to hit the gym.. Many a time when I want to use a machine or some equipment only to find that I have to queue/wait for it.. I am not one who likes to stand around people while they work out, nor do I like to be stared at while I do my sets.. It's like "hurry up and get the fuck off"..

There's also times when I am not keen on sharing especially if the guy is all sweaty and smelly and of particular ethnic (admit it, we are all racist to a certain degree), and only because usually they are the reasons why I avoid working out during the gym peak hours..

Empty floors are to be expected and you can have all the machines to yourselves and without the iron-orgasm guy who moans as he pumps.. I despise show-offs to the edge of the universe and back..

3. Order pizza and watch some movies at home
Holiday seasons and its reason to fatten up a little.. Spend some loving time by yourselves, and if you wish to be naked or wank to some porn, by all means, if that makes you happy.. Heh, I'll probably even do some cam if I want to lol....

I've downloaded some seasons of dramas and I am currently watching "Hot in Cleveland" from the beginning.. Comedy makes one young.. and I absolutely love bitchy comedies, and if the lines are good and can be applied, I picked it up and use it.. I've finished watching "2 Broke Girls" up to the current episode..

4. Take a drive to somewhere 
And that does not include the shopping malls.. What I mean is to go somewhere where you can be in the solitude of your ownself.. Reflect on the year, and think about what you want to achieve in the coming year.. Spend sometime with yourself, by yourself, for yourself..

5. Turn off the phone
No amount of whatsapps messages can beat actual human interactions even though one may argue "the thought counts".. No.. Not in this case.. it doesn't take a minute to send a whatsapp, in fact, I send more messages when I am pooping than any other times.. and majority will just copy and paste some fancy greetings just so to appear "oh I wished through whatsapp"..

Come on..


Let me know your thoughts..


Should old acquaintance be forgot,
and never brought to mind?
Should old acquaintance be forgot,
and old lang syne?

CHORUS:
For auld lang syne, my dear,
for auld lang syne,
we'll take a cup of kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.
And surely you’ll buy your pint cup!
and surely I’ll buy mine!
And we'll take a cup o’ kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.

CHORUS

We two have run about the slopes,
and picked the daisies fine;
But we’ve wandered many a weary foot,
since auld lang syne.

CHORUS

We two have paddled in the stream,
from morning sun till dine†;
But seas between us broad have roared
since auld lang syne.

CHORUS

And there’s a hand my trusty friend!
And give me a hand o’ thine!
And we’ll take a right good-will draught,
for auld lang syne.

CHORUS


Have a Merry Christmas.. and a Happy New Year..
Let's hope it's not crappy..








Wednesday, 24 December 2014

The Travel Personality

I fiddled around with the Travel Personality quiz and the majority of the people are, well, The All-Rounder.. so much so for playing...



THE “ALL ROUNDER”

If you don't have your next trip planned, you feel a little restless and panicky. You travel every chance you get and are the most diverse of all the travel types. You have been on an organised tour, have travelled on your own, have been bitten by bed bugs in a dodgy hostel and have enjoyed a massage in a 5-star hotel.

YOU RESEARCH YOUR TRAVEL PLANS: By reading travel blogs and forums
YOU WOULD NEVER: Say no to a travel opportunity
YOU WOLD MOST ENJOY: An extended travel break where you can spend time travelling independently on your own, meet new friends on an organised tour, mix with locals by staying in campsites and treat yourself to the comfort of a 5-star hotel before you fly back home.

The “All Rounder” is born to travel.  Being outside their comfort zone actually becomes their comfort zone.  Being away from home makes them feel more alive, they love to learn about other cultures, and are inspired by different people and lifestyles.

They often have hobbies such as photography and hiking, keep in touch with local friends they meet along the way and are the travel type most likely to have their own blog.

They are always planning the next trip and have found ways to make travel a regular part of their lives by balancing longer term adventures (such as career breaks) with weekend city escapes.  The “All Rounder” can usually adapt to all travel styles and has often travelled as an independent back-packer, been on organised tours, and stayed in both hostels and 5* hotels.

The “All Rounder” lives to travel and is always looking for ways to make it a bigger part of their life.

THE BEST THING ABOUT THE “ALL ROUNDER”
The “All Rounder” is often a great source of travel information.  They have usually visited a diverse range of locations from developing countries to modern cities, have experience with independent travel as well as organised tours and are pros at finding ways to interact with the locals and get off the beaten track whilst still seeing the highligh
ts of a destination.

THE WORST THING ABOUT THE “ALL ROUNDER”
The “All Rounder” views all trips away from home as a travel adventure and as such, they do not always make the best holiday companions.  If your ideal holiday is lying on a beach (hey, I would!), sleeping late, and not venturing outside an all-inclusive resort, the All Rounder is probably not your ideal holiday companion.

MOST LIKELY TO SAY: I have just planned my next travel adventure
MOST LIKELY TO PACK:  An iPad to update their travel journal or blog whilst on the road
MOST LIKELY SEEN:  Taking a career break
MOST LIKELY TO BE FRIENDS WITH:  The “Backpacker” (whilst on the road) and the “Armchair Traveller” (once they return home and want to keep talking about their adventures to anyone who will listen)
MOST LIKELY TO BE IRRITATED BY:  The “Armchair Traveller”, as they can’t understand why someone doesn’t want to explore the world as much as they do
AM I AN “ALL-ROUNDER”?  Yes.  Travel is in my blood, it energises me, it inspires me and it’s a big part of my life.  I backpack (rarely though!!), I join organised tours, I travel on my own, I stay in hostels, I stay in 5-stars hotels, I explore cities, I hike in the great outdoors, I travel for work, I travel for pleasure, and I am always thinking about my next adventure.  

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

"The Top 5" - Best Things

Having read '“The TOP 5″ – Best & Worst Things About Solo' published on May 28, 2012 by Kellie Netherwood (read here), I'm inspired to write my own Top 5 Best..



My whole idea of travelling solo began when I was around 19.. Having gotten my first passport, I set out to explore Singapore.. But my breakthrough didn't actually come until 2010 - when AZ bought me a travel package for 1 to Krabi, and things just went out of control from there..

I discovered I enjoyed travelling alone - even when travelling with family or friends, I always seek opportunities to breakaway on my own and wander around (as I have done in Paris and Amsterdam, when there's opportunity of course)..

Like the writer of the article, many of us would have realised - that great friends don't necessary make great travel buddies..  Friends that I used to travel with have all now married and have kids of their own.. Besides, one person's idea of travelling may be different from another person's, and I am more or less quite tired of compromising.. I may want to spend the entire day relaxing and laying by the pool/beach with no fucks were given on one day and maybe out in the streets roaming around hunting for local offerings on another day.. I might spend the entire day in the theme park playing with roller coasters and rides and not care about how other people feel..

I can be selfish - hence, I have really come to a point that I don't care..

If it's a city destination I am heading to - I can see myself going to the markets, the malls, the gyms, the saunas, the gay scenes, drinking and enjoying the city sights and sounds like a local would.. If it's a beach destination, my idea is to get tanned and lay by the sea sipping juice and again, no fucks were given and do nothing much else but to eat, walk around, laze around..

Are you a solo traveller?  Maybe the points below will help you decide.

TOP FIVE:  Best things about solo travel
In the helicopter over Twelve Apostles
1. The Selfish Factor
Like I said, I am selfish.. I realised that life is short, really short and I want to make the most of my
life by going out and seeing the world.. I didn't want to compromise on my travel experiences.. Travelling solo allows me to stick to my budget as I won't be pressured into spending for something I don't thoroughly want/enjoy just to follow the crowd or because everyone else was doing it, even though I always end up blowing my budget, but it's always because I won't know when the next chance is going to be - or I may never get it the next chance at all ever again..

Such as in Australia, without thinking, I paid A$95 on my card and got on the helicopter ride over The Twelve Apostles - that itself was an experience I'm very glad I did..

How do you see and do everything you want when you are travelling without being pressured?  You travel solo!

Jumping into the swamp
2. A flexible itinerary
Some people feel suffocated by a travel itinerary while others need a very structured planned itinerary to a travel experience..

Me? Somewhere in the middle.. Travelling solo not only allows me the luxury of setting my own itinerary, it also lets me change it along the way if and when I feel like it.. I may want to sit longer at the cafe, or shop longer.. Or take a couple more photographs of quirky things..

Or maybe I decided to set my camera on timer mode and jumped into a swamp on one of the sea excursions I joined in Thailand because the local people said I should try jumping into the swamp... not knowing how deep it was, or what's in the swamp..

BUT I DID!!

The water was fucking icy cold!!


Yes, that's what I jumped into..

Point is, whichever it is, I loved being with my own time without anyone yelling "let's go!" or "waaaiiittttt" more often that I want to hear...

How do you get to set your own pace and not be compelled to move on quicker or slow down because someone else want to do something else that's of no interests to you?  You travel solo!

3.  It’s a great way to meet people
Not only are you more likely to approach other people when you are on your own, you are more approachable yourself to other people.. People are easier and more open to talking to lone travellers sitting by themselves (it's proven and happens to everyone who travels alone!) than group of friends travelling together.. My experiences speak for themselves!

He survived the tsunami..
In Krabi, how I see travelling was forever changed when a local resident who was a bartender waiter at the local bar which I spent every evening drinking at, shared with me his stories about how he, and his community rebuilt their lives from scratch after the 2004 Asian Tsunami.. I never forget the kind of experience I get from travelling alone.

How do you meet people when you travel?  You travel solo!

4. Local interaction
An extension of the previous point, travelling solo makes it a lot easier to make local friends.. What do you call a group of 'travellers' armed with cameras clicking away and maps in their hands looking like lost fools?  Tourists!

I have often found locals more likely to treat me as a tourist when I am with other people - friends or even in a group.. I, however, get a very different reaction when travelling on my own and have had some unforgettable conversations with locals who have approached me simply to have a chat.. Remember the Thai guy who survived the tsunami? How did I know? I talked to him!

The people who worked at Brisbane City Hall

The yoga teacher in Melbourne

The wife of the Cape Otway Lighthouse's keeper..
She cooked the lunch that I had at the Lighthouse..

Rael, my tour guide and driver in Melbourne.. He got me right to the front of the Twelve Apostle's helicopter queue with just a phone call.. 

Random French boy who posed for me because I stopped and asked him what the protest was all about..
(turned out they were protesting against gay marriage!! LOL!!)

And then French boy gave me the flag and helped me with this picture of me...

Or that I find the traditional Dutch costume so pretty I asked these ladies to pose for me.. 


And these ladies too... Happily posing for me!

How do you increase local interaction when travelling?  You travel solo!

5. Self Discovery
It’s often said that the best way to get to know someone is by travelling with them and there is no better journey of self-discovery than the one you take as a solo traveller.. Not only do you have more time on your own to reflect and relax, you will also inevitably face situations that help you understand more about what makes you happy, what your strengths and weaknesses are and what (or who) irritates you.. Travelling solo not only increases self-awareness but it also creates the opportunity to change..


How do you create self discovery opportunities?  You travel solo!


One of the best sunset photos I captured..
I love this scene so much... it can bring tears to me..
Aonang Beach, Krabi, Thailand

Thursday, 18 December 2014

The many faces of friends

I would have put up a good compendium of the faces of all the friends I've known in the past and in the present (and in the future?) but then I realised there will be thousands and thousands of faces!

So I'll just cut short and write something to dedicate to everyone! :)

Among my friends there's a multitude of occupation that if you can name them, chances are I know someone who's in the line..

There's the doctors, nurses, teachers, priests, policemen, army, firemen, travel industry partners (from airlines, hoteliers, agents, tourism boards etc), pilots, air crews, airline ground staff, lawyers, barristers, chefs, bakers, journalists, writers, reporters, PR, fitness professionals..

Then there's also the tax consultants, insurance and financial brokers, advisers, negotiators, auditors, remisers, entrepreneurs and business owners, architects, designers, engineers, IT professionals, O&G engineers, biochemical engineers, beauticians, baristas, dermatologist, management and consultancies..

And then there friends in the front-line service - retail, restaurant, customer servicing.. to the most uncanny of foremen, those in the security and safety, safety and health officers, and of course students (if that's even an occupation! LOL)..

I salute each one of you for your chosen line because whenever I needed some advise from things outside of my line (I'm in the travel line now), I know I have people to ask..

I have worked in the entertainment sector, financial, shopping centre management, retail, advertising, manufacturing and now travel line, so it's really no wonder I came across lots of people who have become what we all known today as - friends -.

Thank you for your friendship...




Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Snow-y Adventures

Because it's Christmas, so I am going to write something about Christmas feel! And I am privileged enough to have travelled to places with snow and ice but the best is still Switzerland as it was still snowing in summer (late May 2013) up in Wengen in the Swiss Alps..

Take my word for it - go to Switzerland at least once in your lifetime.. I am not much of a mountain person but it still captivated my heart and the experience of playing with snow/ice..


SWITZERLAND - WENGEN/JUNGFRAUJOCH
May-June 2013

Real icicles!

Selfie with the Glacier 3000 snowmobile

It's a white, white summer...

As you can see, ski lifts and the luge coaster is closed thanks to the heavy snow!

On top of Glacier 3000

Descending Glacier 3000

Snow on top, green green grass below..

At the base..

Hotel Regina in Wengen

Hotel Regina, Wengen

Hotel Regina, Wengen

I always like to write my "PLUBOY" call sign in the snow (or sand)

I can wake up to this everyday... Hotel Regina, Wengen.

Look at this.. in summer!!
Hotel Regina, Wengen

Let's take a train, shall we?


The Jungfraubahn train in the distance..

Is ice clean to eat?

Oh who cares, it's Switzerland anyway.
Evian water comes from this country, so I assumed the ice is also clean to eat :)


SOUTH KOREA - SEOUL
Jan 2011-Dec 2012

I looked cuckoo.. cos the temperature is -10 deg Celcius!!
AND my first time in such dry horrid cold temperature!

Proof :P

But nobody says no to skiing! 

Preparing to go ski!

Say what? Hello Snow!

Caption this picture! I actually love this pic a lot..
Taking a shelter from the snow outside..
Taken in Innostel the hostel I stayed in with my friends in Seoul

Hot right now!