November 22, 2015

Postcard from Bali

Hi travellers! It's been awhile.

This Bali trip was decided on a whim. I wanted a quick getaway as I'd been all work, no play for most of 2015. Besides that, I'd watched the Pontianak Harum Sundal Malam films which featured really lovely gamelan music and dances, despite a plot riddled with more holes than Sponge Bob.

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Pretty Maya Karin playing the main character

Since I had a conference in October in Singapore, I thought, "Why not Bali?" Serendipity had my brother, Sean, tag along as he was on his semester break.

I chose Ubud for a more cultural experience; on hindsight, we should've shifted to a beach resort after my sports accident, which occurred a week before our trip and required me to use crutches, a cast as well as be non-weight bearing (i.e. I couldn't put any weight on my right foot). Anyway, we stayed at Tanah Semujan guesthouse, which was affordable and near the main road, Jl. Raya Ubud. The owners were simply lovely, and so were the pancakes! Disclaimer: the pool isn't as huge as the photos suggest...!

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The lime brings out the flavour of the shaved coconut - genius. Need to try this!
Ready to be sexy on the beach in his BroScienceLife shirt!

August 30, 2015

In View of Malaysia's 58th Independence Day

[Versi Melayu di sini]

If you've been following the news, you'd know of the Bersih 4 demonstrations taking place this weekend. Tens of thousands of Malaysians streamed to Kuala Lumpur, as well as cities worldwide, including Hong Kong (kicking myself for being sick and unable to attend).

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A few thoughts as we approach our 58th Independence Day tomorrow:

The articles titled "Dear Malaysians, why Bersih won't help you" are probably going to print as I write this. However, Bersih has done an amazing job in waking up the "rakyat" (citizens). Bersih, especially this 4th edition, is an expression of our dissatisfaction with the government and its state of corruption, from the judiciary to the supposed anti-corruption agency, the Election Commission (EC) and most recently, the 1MDB and RM 2.6 billion scandals rocking the highest office in our civil service, the Prime Minister's. Let us remember this dissatisfaction and every injustice and dollar taken from the rakyat. 

Nonetheless, there is a lot needed to do from now toward GE14 in 2018. Emotions are at a high now, and some of us feel we can/should "break the system", but the system still exists and that's why we'll have to work intelligently and efficiently.

Pos Menjelang Hari Kemerdekaan Malaysia ke-58

[English version here]

Selamat sejahtera kawan-kawan,

Jika anda kerap mengikuti berita tempatan, pasti anda telah dengar tentang demonstrasi Bersih 4 akhir minggu ini. Beribu-ribu rakyat Malaysia telah menyertai demonstrasi yang bertumpu di Kuala Lumpur serta di luar negara termasuk Hong Kong (malangnya, saya tidak menghadirinya sebab tidak sihat.)

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Serba sedikit pemikiran saya menjelang Hari Kemerdekaan kita yang ke-58 esok:

Gerakan Bersih memang ada faedahnya. Ia merupakan luahan kemarahan dan ketidakpuasan rakyat atas keadaan rasuah yang meluas dalam institusi-institusi kebangsaan, dari judisiari ke perbadanan anti-rasuah ke Suruhanjaya Pilihanraya (SPR) dan terutamanya di pejabat Perdana Menteri. Kawan-kawan, jangan kita lupakan kemarahan dan ketidakpuasan ini. 

Namun begitu, terdapat banyak yang kita perlu lakukan bermula dari sekarang ke GE14 pada tahun 2018. Pada masa ini, emosi kita masih berbuak, tetapi untuk memastikan agar kita dapat mengubah situasi pada GE14, kita kenalah bertindak secara pintar, cekap dan logikal.  

August 6, 2015

Thoughts on Being Pro-Choice

I have always been pro-choice as long as I can remember. Initially, it was probably more about being fiercely self-determinant: “I should have the right to determine what is best for my body”. Growing up in Malaysia, where poor families relying on government assistance continue to have children and get into the news because they can’t fend for themselves and need more government assistance, I adopted the perspective of “I’m not going to have child if I can't fully care for it”.

The recent Planned Parenthood (PP) video uproar had me thinking, especially since I grew up in a Christian community. The initial reaction to the “PP is selling baby parts for profit!” narrative is **HORROR FILM ALERT**. 

I’m not here to defend what the PP rep said. If PP is profiting from selling baby parts illegally, legal action should be taken. If the videos are found to falsely malign PP, legal action should also be taken. (I also find the moral high ground adopted by the makers and their supporters dubious as the videos were made through deceptive means, but I digress.)

I haven’t changed my pro-choice stance however – here are some thoughts: 

May 4, 2015

To Our Kong Kong

This is a form of catharsis for me.

(Song: My adaptation of Lana del Rey's "Old Money")

My grandfather, Wong Peng Mun, aged 92, passed away peacefully in our hometown Ipoh on Thursday, 23 April 2015. Being a very close-knit family, we feel his departure greatly.

My grandfather, or Kong Kong as we called him, was a quiet but smiley man. I used to think he was secretly a ninja / kungfu master. He fled to escape capture during the Japanese Occupation (what a life of adventure! little me thought then). When younger, he was a state footballer, with the moniker "老鼠子" ("little mouse") due to his slight stature - but he was a striker! (My brother was very impressed with this fact.) The confirmation of his ninja-hood came when he caught a buzzing fly with his chopsticks!

April 13, 2015

Inspiration Hunting: Styling Leather in Spring/Summer

We've had a few false starts to spring in Hong Kong, but I venture that we can now safely say that spring is here! Time to pack up those winter coats and boots, and bring out cute floral dresses and sandals :).

I've had a few mould problems with my beloved Forever 21 leather handbag… Anyway, long story short: after treating it and isolating it in a bag with paper and dehumidifiers, I’m thinking that leather and Hong Kong humidity aren't best friends. All the same, I’d still like to use my bag. That got me thinking about styling leather during spring/summer. (Psst! Online shopping site ZALORA has recently launched a leather collection, so get your leather fix there, and enjoy HKD 100 off your first purchase when you subscribe to their newsletter!) The hot and humid weather may be impractical to wear your leather jacket regularly, but there are ways you can incorporate leather in your outfit for that extra luxe look. Here are some of my favourites:

One way to amp it up for spring and summer is to go for bright colours, like this neon Proenza Schouler Leather Perforated Mini Skirt. (via Barneys)

April 11, 2015

Postcard from Prince Edward and Sham Shui Po

I hope you all had a great Easter break! This year, Easter coincided with the Qing Ming Festival, giving us a 5-day weekend.

I decided to get some flowers from the Flower Market in Prince Edward, and then wandered around Sham Shui Po. Found two blocks dedicated to crafts, fabrics, beads and jewelry-making tools - if you're looking for similar materials, you'd want to hit up Ki Lung Street and Yu Chau Street.

Some photos from the "dark side", as they call Kowloon:

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Had tea at the cosy Take A Break Cafe, G/F, 12A Boundary Street, Prince Edward.
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Great strawberry waffles (cheat day for sure), but so-so gingerbread latte.
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Erhu players at Apliu Street, Sham Shui Po
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Street view. Sham Shui Po Market.
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My tulips!

March 30, 2015

SkinnyMint Review: My Teatox Experience

I'm usually pretty healthy but I went through an awful period of indigestion and bloating last November. Every now and then the problem reappears :(.

Now, if you've been on Instagram a lot, you might have seen the phrase "teatox" (e.g. tea detox) and the name "SkinnyMint" floating around. Basically, you drink a special concoction of tea for x days, which reduces bloating and flushes out toxins. Sounds simple enough...

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Look at my Instagrammable photo of my teatox pack!

March 10, 2015

I'm Not Dead... Yet!

Hello travellers!

It's been awhile. I hope you are all well and constantly moving on to better, brighter things.

Things have been hectic since my last entry, written right after producing a full week of events. (Mashable apparently considers event production 1 out of 5 VERY STRESSFUL jobs - link here...) 

After the conference came my graduation ceremony on 7 November! Definitely felt bittersweet donning the cap and gown... my HKUST experience has been eye-opening, transformative, and at times very difficult, but made better by the knowledge and friendships gained. It was also lovely to have my parents in Hong Kong although the weather was rather grey ("Gotham City," my mom says).

Here I am with my beautiful mother.

After that, wham bam to the next bespoke event, before capping off by chairing the office Christmas party committee, followed by 3 weeks of bliss in Malaysia to wrap up 2014.

Anyway...

As you might know, I love interior design. We shape our living spaces according to our personality, and our spaces in turn make or reinforce our habits. I've begun to really notice this since living in my current place, which is a 110 sq. ft. studio (tiny!), and I'm not really happy with my lifestyle. The lack of a proper workspace makes it difficult to get messy with paints and craft - I realised that I haven't painted since moving in! 

Our homes should be places where we can do things that bring us pleasure, like hosting dinners for family and friends (sorry, guys, no space right now), and be surrounded by the things we love. So here's me setting in writing that I shall make space to be more creative, and I hope that you can find your own little space to be creative too! Here's to a more creative, inspiring 2015!

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What brunches should look like (A Sunny Afternoon)