Wednesday, March 13, 2013

2012: A Year-long Adventure.

I admit: this post is long overdue. Expired you may say but again, it's better late than never.

Time flies. Fireworks blazed and lit the black velvet sky with colourful trail of sparkling dust, marking the beginning of a new year. The whole imagery felt rather familiar and fresh in my mind as if New Year celebrations have just happened the night before.

Countless knowledge, experience and memories have filled the twenty five years of my existence on mother earth. However, 2012 has to be the most eventful yet turbulent year I’ve ever had. An adventure as I would prefer to call it.

*Gently sips a cuppa hot Illy latte*

It was like a yearlong roller coaster ride, filled with countless ups, downs and dramas. If I had to define my 2012 with a mathematic equation, it is best described as a function of a sine graph where f(t) = sin 2t.

The year started in a mediocre manner. Each week was a comfortable routine where gym, badminton and going out were among the off-work activities. Weekends are filled with compulsory Saturday morning badminton sessions while Sundays were typically spent with the then girlfriend. Everything was generally well, moving gradually upwards like steady bull markets.

 Began the year with Pangkor trip.

 Whitewater rafting with colleagues.

Routines apart, there were some noteworthy achievements, which serve more like a personal confidence and ego boost rather than actual glory. The first came in the form of a silver medal in a team badminton competition among R&D department members only. If you’ve known me personally, you would know how passionate I am for badminton and how meaningful it is to me.

Then again, too much of a good thing lead to overly inflated bubble, which brings the bear market upon its collapse.

Things started going awry during May. It seems that the beginning of a quarter life crisis fell coincidentally on my birth month. It began in a companywide badminton competition. I lost, in two separate events, to the eventual men’s double champions and eventual mixed doubles finalist, both in the quarter finals. In mixed doubles, the points were tied before losing the next two to lose the game. What’s more depressing was finding lesser players on the podium but such is the flaw of any knock-out system when lady luck decides to desert you and hands you an unfavourable draw.

 My mixed doubles partner, Irene and yours truly. We lost to the eventual finalist by two points.

Low morale and motivation were made worse with bad days at work and life in general. At one point, I was forced to do something (I won’t mention) that goes against my principle, severely damaging my dignity. I’ve never stoop so low before. The low point came when my girlfriend of three and a half years and I parted ways.

It was a difficult time but life has to go on. I keep myself busy and tried to raise my spirit, morale and motivation with more gym workouts and sports. I went out, get some alone time and do things I’ve never done. I even got involved in making a short film for the first time to participate in a competition. It was much harder than I thought. We didn’t win anything but it was a great experience. In my first public badminton tournament, I played men's doubles but lost in the first round.

 Finally hiked Bukit Tabur despite years of procrastination.

While going through the grieving period, things starting to peak up. At this point, everything felt unnaturally and unrealistically accelerated like Chris Hemsworth bulking up on steroids. Good things came one after another. One that I’m really proud of was being part of the undefeated basketball champions within R&D department. I’m back being spirited and confident again. I was genuinely happy, probably one of the happiest periods in my lifetime.

In November, I had the most epic trip in my life. My cousin, SC and I backpacked at New Zealand. He initiated this back in June, which I impulsively agreed by the concept of YOLO and the compelling need to cheer myself up. Saving up in such short period of time was not without sweat and blood but it was all worth it. Words alone will not do New Zealand justice to describe the beauty of it. =)

 My cousin Siew Chung and yours truly.

I had an item in my bucket list-to-do before I die slashed and fulfilled one of my dreams: skydiving in an epic place. This obviously punctured a bigger hole in my wallet. SC was the devil’s advocate behind the decision with the most dangerous yet very persuasive quote: “Money can earn back one!”. Then again, it’s the best decision in my life. ;)

 Video in the next post. Stay tuned ;)

But there were two cycles in the sine graph, right?

It wasn’t a bed of roses during the trip either. Complications and circumstances combined with a series of unfortunate events happened back home despite being 5000 miles away. Then, right after the trip, a complete turnaround happened. So drastic it was that accelerated free fall would be an understatement to the situation. My world simply came crashing down.

I realised I don't have an emo picture of myself.

It was the first time I got broken till my very core. My very foundation was shattered, falling into the abyss of despair. But, I refuse to go down. I gathered myself together and started the ascent again.

I’m really thankful for the friends I have for their company and continuous support in going through these grieving periods. They make it easier for me to get back on my feet. Words alone aren’t enough to express my gratitude towards them.

 My decade-long best friend.
Maybe things happen for a reason. I guess I had to be brought down to the ground humbled so that I can discover myself better and grow further and better. I've yet to figure everything out to date but I feel that I'm back to at least 80% of my previous self already. It'll probably take a long time before I'm fully back as myself again and hopefully with growth.

Few things I came to learn from all I've been through this year:
  1. Manage your expectations and your fear. 
  2. There’s always a reason for everything bad that have happened. You just got to dig deep and find the silver lining. It open rooms up to be filled with something even better.
  3.  Life can be a roller coaster ride, just enjoy it. What’s life without a little sense of adventure? ;)
  4.  When in doubt, just “WHACK ONLY!”. Learn to trust your gut feeling.
I’d prefer to end the post on a high note. After all, the sine graph goes back to zero isn’t it?

Just before Christmas, a dear friend of mine back in the CAL days had tied the knot with her fiancĂ©. She was the first among my circle of friends who got married. Seems like I’ve reach the phase where peers will be tying the knot one after another. Shit just got serious, mate! We're getting old! *gasp*

Sweet wedding of a sweet couple. Best wishes! =)

How will 2013 be? I'm not gonna set any expectations and I'm certainly looking forward to a brand new adventure ;)
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Sunday, February 17, 2013

The return, again.

The dark one hath returned once again….

*blows dust off blog and coughs repeatedly as the thick fumes of dust clouds the air*

It’s obvious that I’ve reduced my blog into just another junk in the corner of the garage. The only two posts in 2012 shows. Even the last wouldn’t have materialized if not for a favour of a fellow blogger and friend. Time has been scarce and sacred in the past few years and more so in 2012. Blogging has been the last thing in my mind and eventually the interest and motivation died along the line. The absence of a fixed theme and agenda of my blog speeds the death of it further. Until now, I’ve yet to figure it out.

So, why the sudden return?

I don’t really know actually. I probably got bitten by the writing bug again. I’m never really a fan of writing nor am I ever good at it. I take forever to write even a short post. Whenever I read them again, I often found myself smacking my head in disbelief for the errors I’ve made. The grammar nazi in me working and punishing my own self. The irony. Maybe that’s why I want to try and write a little again in attempt to improve my writing.

Let’s see how long the writing bug will stick with me, Right now, there are tonnes of work to do to revive my blog. First step would be repackaging, rebranding and redesigning the entire blog. This would be a major pain in the butt. I would probably try to keep the theme a little more free, flexible and personal. I always wanted to write posts that are thought provoking but I’m very bad at it. I’ll give it a try though.

Hence, readers out there (if there are even any lol) please bear with me and this same old look of my blog for a little while. It’ll take quite some time before you see a change. I promise that it’ll be an entirely new look but I’ll need some time to get them right. I’ve a few posts in mind and I’m putting the priority into posting them first before the layout change materialize. 

Here’s some sneak peak: The next post would be about my 2012. Yeah, it’s way overdue for that but better late than never right?

Stay tune.

 Your truly with a cuppa. Life's too short for shitty coffee.
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Monday, May 14, 2012

Yamagoya Ramen @ Publika, Solaris Dutamas

Last Sunday, I was Publika with a couple of friends hanging and hunting for something good for lunch. If you're no stranger to Publika, you would know that this particular place hosts throngs of restaurants and cafes that cater a large variety of food. We walked pass many shops until we reached the outside of Yamagoya Ramen.

One of my friends mentioned that Yamagoya Ramen, a traditional Japanese restaurant, serves some really good noodles called ramen. Claimed to be the very first original Kyushu ramen in Malaysia, it boasts to have more than 140 outlets in Japan. After hearing some good recommendations from our friend, we decided to give this place a try.

It was rather early for lunch and judging by the minute crowd in Publika that day, we certainly did not expect a near full house in the restaurant. "This place must be something", I thought to myself.

We sat ourselves in a table for four while the waiter handed us a menu each. The restaurant was litted with typical warm and cosy lighting. The interior design of the restaurant is simple and modern with some Japanese paintings and decorations to give itself a Japanese restaurant identity. "What exactly is Kyushu-style ramen?" I asked the waiter. Kyushu styled ramen is distinguished by its Tonkutsu, which literally means pork bone soup in Japanese. There are variation of flavours but Tonkutsu is the base ingredient of all these flavours. Being clueless, the waiter recommended a few variety for us to try.

The Gyoza(RM11) is similar to some pan fried dumpling. Pretty nice for appetizer.

Mukashi Special Ramen (RM24) is based on the original flavoured Tonkutsu. Filled with a variety of ingredients, this is one of the chef's recommended items on the menu. The soup taste really good and the ramen is delicious and has a nice texture and feel in it. The pork meat that comes with the ramen is very tender and deliciously marinated. HIghly recommended.

My impression on the Yamagoya Ramen(RM19) is essentially the same as the Mukashi Special with less ingredients in it.

Spicy Tobanjan Ramen(RM22) is for those who wanted some spicy soup to go with their ramen. The base soup is still the Tonkutsu but additional spices is added to give the spicy taste. However, spicy food lovers would be disappointed as it is barely spicy enough to satisfy even the least demanding ones. Still taste good nevertheless.

The Black Garlic Ramen(RM22) is my personal favourite probably because I'm a garlic lover. However, the smell and taste of garlic isn't overhelming but it's just nice. I've finished the entire bowl of the soup although I was quite full already. That's how good it is.

I grew up in a household where Hakka styled meals are cooked on a daily basis so I generally prefer rich and full-bodied flavour in my food. The Tonkutsu essentially leans towards the salty side, which I liked but this may not go well with others who doesn't like or have lower tolerance on salty food. Cost wise, it isn't the cheapest ramen you could fine but it isn't the most expensive one either. In terms of value, I find this is a tad bit overpriced. However, if you're a ramen lover, I think it's totally worth it.

Verdict: Recommended.

You may visit Yamagoya Ramen at the address below:

Publika, A2-G2-08, Solaris Dutamas, No.1, Jalan Dutamas 1,
Solaris Dutamas, 50480 Kuala Lumpur.
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Monday, January 2, 2012

Hennessy Artistry Halo 2011 - Pictures of Chris Willis

This is two months late but it's better late than never. I've so busy with life that I barely able to get my hands to blog until now.

I wrote about the final Hennessy Artistry of 2011 here. It is the largest one of the year and features bigger and better stars such as Chris Willis. My pictures that night weren't great. I was barely able to get a clear shot to most of the artist as I failed to get into a favourable position. Tonnes of photographers were hogging the front lines way earlier than I did. However, I was satisfied enough when I somehow managed to stand right in front of the performing Chris Willis. So I guess I'll just dedicated this post to him instead.

Chris Willis @ Hennessy Artistry Halo 2011

Chris Willis @ Hennessy Artistry Halo 2011

Chris Willis @ Hennessy Artistry Halo 2011

Chris Willis @ Hennessy Artistry Halo 2011

Chris Willis @ Hennessy Artistry Halo 2011

Chris Willis @ Hennessy Artistry Halo 2011

Chris Willis @ Hennessy Artistry Halo 2011

More photos of him taken by me in my facebook album. COmments and critics are welcomed :) Click here to read more...

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

My Nuffnang Story

My story with Nuffnang began almost three years ago back in 2009. I picked up photography in 2008 and I restarted my blog which was closed a few years before. My initial goal was simple: promoting my photography and earning some extra cash along the way through advertisement.

The early days as a Nuffnang member was monotonous and uneventful. A newcomer and a new name in the blogging community, I never knew a single person except for a long time friend, Zhao, who was already a member way ahead of me. Posting new blog post in the Innit wall and chatting randomly with strangers in Innit's chatbox was all I ever did. I was akin to a clueless and confused wanderer in a unknown world.

Fortunately, the ice was broken with the help of Zhao. There was a blogger's gathering being organised and planned among a certain group of bloggers. With Zhao being one of the participants and organiser, I was invited to the gathering. Little that I know the gathering serves as a catalyst and foundation to a lasting circle of friendship for years to come.

 My first blogger's gathering.

Then more good things start to come. I was given opportunity to attend exclusive premier screenings and events by Nuffnang. During those events, I was gradually introduced to even more friends through the people I've met earlier.

Massive yam cha session at Murni after Tiger's Standout Party.

Initially, we would all just meet up and hang out during Nuffnang events and screenings. However, we gradually started to meet up, hang out and do things together even if there weren't any Nuffnang events.

We would organise and do photoshoots together in effort to improve our photography.

We would attend parties together and have fun with each other as if there's no tomorrow.

Joining forces as a team to challenge treasures and win prizes.

Not to forget is the first ever Nuffnang Asia Pacific Blog Awards held in Singapore back in 2009. It was one of the best trip I ever had because not only I got to travel with friends and bloggers I enjoyed hanging out with, the accommodation, transportation and travel itinerary were fully paid for courtesy of Nuffnang and its sponsoring partners.

Group photo with bloggers taken during NAPBAS 2009.

The friendship that was formed ever since the begining of my Nuffnang journey still exists to date and will certainly last for a long time to come if not till the end of our lives. Remembering the times we had made me think that joining Nuffnang back then was a great decision for without them, I wouldn't have chanced upon these bunch of great people. For this, I wish to relive the memories with them once again hopefully in the next NAPBAS.

Come 16 December 2011, 500 bloggers from around the Asia-Pacific region will flock to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia for the Nuffnang Asia-Pacific Blog Awards 2011 in Putrajaya Marriott. The Awards aims to not only honour the region's best bloggers, but also to bring together blogger communities from across Asia-Pacific. The Nuffnang Asia-Pacific Blog Awards is brought to you by Volkswagen Malaysia and Putrajaya Marriott.

Hope to see all of you there!
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