Wednesday, December 17, 2008

welcome back

Ok, so I'm back in Malaysia. After having a roaring good time in the Lion City, I have to admit that it's a more bitter than sweet feeling to be back because honestly, I didn't really feel like coming back. But I'm sure that's just post-holiday blues rhetoric.

My first journey on the LRT this morning after coming back wasn't so great though. I was early and I managed to get a seat. Seated on my right was an elderly-looking man who was reading a book. Nothing eventful, nothing significant, and so I flipped out my BlackBerry and pretty much kept to myself as the train went on its towards KL.

It was early in the morning and feeling a little chilly on the train, I felt some moisture building up in my nostrils. So I let out a small "sniff" to ease myself of any potential embarassing "leakage". It was then that I thought I saw Mr Book look to the left.

I didn't get to really clear my nose properly and so about a minute later, I let out another small "sniff", thinking nothing much of it. Mr Book looked to the left again and suddenly I heard the words, "Can you stop it?" W-WHAAT? "I'm sorry?", I asked, feeling puzzled and half-wondering if he was talking to himself (after faithfully taking the train for over 6 years, you see all kinds of people).

"Can you stop it?", he snapped again. Quickly analysing the awkwardness of the situation, I soon surmised that my little sniffles must have irritated cranky Mr Book somewhat. I had half a mind to give him a piece of my mind, but decided against making a scene on the train. And so I just gave him a weird look and said, "Okayyyy..."

But as I thought about it, what are two tiny sniffles amid dozens of other more audible sounds on the train?

Friday, December 12, 2008

i'm heading down South

Traffic is crawling all around Jalan Sungai Besi as I type this. It's the typical Friday evening jam in KL and I'm seated by the window in a Plusliner bus next to Richard. We notice that the bus is new and clean, has that 'new' smell even, and that's something to be really thankful for after some of the unpleasant experiences that I've had with long-haul buses.

I just tried my hand at Sudoku (difficult level) for the first time but stopped because my head was starting to spin. After a full day at work, I think my brain very well deserves a break; a break that I'm looking forward to over the next couple of days.

I'm heading down South. Hello Singapore!

Thursday, December 04, 2008

a splash of happy

A lotus in Bali

They're rare, and they even more rarely get THIS good. I'm not even going to start assuming I deserve this.

By Your grace, HAPPY times! =)

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

i bite

In case you haven't realised this, I have seen through you. And please don't think this is some revelation that only came to me recently. While I have come to realise of your scheming ways some time back, there's also this thing called "grace" which we sometimes choose to extend to the undeserving. Unfortunately, over the weeks and months, you have gradually lowered yourself down the social ladder from being "mildly irritating" to being erm... "close to pathetic". Your childish attention-seeking antics shout out that you are in desperate need of a PR total makeover.

Why hide behind a veneer of fake smiles and compliments when your actions betray your thoughts? Your incongruency is far too apparent, glaring even. So stop being a hypocrite, and stop taking me for a fool. In the words of John Mayer, "say what you need to say" and say it to ME, rather than going around passing remarks and spreading gossip. C'mon, surely I don't have to tell you that you do?

If you ever do read this, I really pray that you would just pause to ponder for a moment. I don't like mincing my words and hence they may come across as sharp and offensive. But do think. Please do. And I hope that the eyes of your heart would be opened to see the truth of your ways. How besides hurting others, you have also hurt yourself along the way.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

brain fix

The happenings of the last couple of hours was pure therapy.

I mean, really.

Sure, it didn't involve me lying down on a recliner and answering questions posed by a shrink. As a matter of fact, there I was - on a half-court in church...running, catching, throwing, and for the first time in 7-8 years. But the most unusual of settings can sometimes prove to be the grounds for some real breakthroughs. And tonight was one of those.

It was as much a physical exercise as it was a mental one. Let me just say that the ball was certainly not the only thing on my mind as my brain went through a spin cycle at a thousand revolutions a minute.

And I endured it. I fought it. I lasted it. Why, I even forgot about it! I-conquered.

I'm glad you dragged me along.

I'm glad I went.

Friday, October 03, 2008

in celebration of today

Life is fragile and uncertain at its best. But right now, I'm just basking in its light. And it's all because of You.

Forget fragility. Forget uncertainty. I'm gonna choose to simply revel in the moment.

Take it all in.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

ups and downs

It's been hard maintaining the discipline of regular blogging with so many things seeming to scream out for our attention. A random thought: if my blog were my girlfriend, I think she would have left me a long time ago! Heh.

Today I reminisce over a month gone by: a month that has had its fair share of ups and downs - the joy in seeing relationships blossom and flourish, the agony of hurtful words exchanged, the thankfulness experienced in renewed friendships, the excitement of an awesome holiday abroad with good friends, the sadness associated with saying goodbye - all of which have left indelible spots in my memory.

Indeed I have been reminded yet again that nothing in life is certain. There may be times we soar above the heights, but we can never escape the periods we may have to wallow in the pits. (Sounds so emo. Haha.)

Our sojourn on this earth is never a straight road (actually, that would be rather 'boring', wouldn't it?). A chronic choleric like me at his best would only be able to formulate plans with utmost precision, but ultimately it is the Lord who decrees our direction and fate.

Humbling it is as I think these thoughts on an early Thursday morning.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

that thing called LOVE

I'm learning that the adage that "those whom you love the most, stand to hurt you the most" rings pretty true.

After all, isn't it true that in loving others, most of us do expect to be loved back?

...that we quietly harbour hopes that our acts of generosity and kindness would be reciprocated by their recipients?

...that when we loosen our guard and reveal more of our hidden selves that we wish the ones so priviledged to be given our trust would perhaps do likewise?

Isn't it true that perhaps the deepest, most primal ache of our to love and to be loved back in return?

With these thoughts, I read the Bible's 'Love Chapter', 1 Corinthians 13 again tonight. And I was reminded once again, but at a much more personal level that... is not jealous does not seek its own does not take into account a wrong suffered bears all things believes all things endures all things never fails

Man, do we so easily stray from these ideals of what love should be, henceforth causing so much heartbreak to ourselves and those that we love! We heap all kinds of expectations on others just as they probably do towards us!

While I believe we should strive towards the love 'standards' of 1 Cor 13, in realising that we (including our loved ones who would inevitably disappoint us from time to time) will never fully attain these standards until Kingdom come, let us look onward to Christ Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of love; the One who selflessly loved us with an unfailing love that endured even the cross with its scorn and shame...

A love that will remain steadfast through the ages.


Friday, August 22, 2008

meditations from the psalms

Why are you downcast, O my soul?
Why so disturbed within me?

Put your hope in God,
for I will yet praise Him,
my Saviour and my God.

- Psalm 42:12

Saturday, August 16, 2008

no brainer

I had a really good time tonight =)

There is something uniquely appealing about playing ridiculous arcade games that don't require one to put in much brain sense. All is required is a simple wave of a hand, frantic twists, turns and whacks on two awkwardly-shaped joysticks, a passion for trigger-happy bliss, strength to sustain (and inflict) body shoves from (to) your opponent, and a fist ready for a punching bag.

I reckon it was the panacea that I needed this week.

Let's do it again! Haha!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008


I lift up my eyes to the hills;
where does my help come from?

My help comes from the LORD,
the Maker of heaven and earth.

- Psalm 121:1-2

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

emo alert

Sometimes, we all reach a point where the best thing that we can afford to say is "I don't know".

"I don't know". It's funny how three short words can at once invoke feelings of despair - when we realise we don't have all the answers we are looking for; and yet freedom - when we are drawn back to the reality that not knowing all the answers is really the essence of our human frailty, and therefore that we are truly free to "not know".

Today, too many questions abound and I'm tired of thinking up even more. I want to tell you now that I simply don't know...what to do, what to say, what to think, whatever...

I just don't know, really.

Sunday, July 27, 2008


4 hours of tennis is so good, but pretty grueling for the ol' aging body. I am so tired, I was ready to sleep at 9.30 pm! Haha. These are times I am reminded that I really need to get that body back in shape again. The trick is really finding the time to clock in a few hours of decent exercise in the middle of my busy week schedule. And that's aside from the weekend badminton / tennis / jogging sessions.

Still, I must say that the last two Sunday tennis sessions have been good. I'm glad to have finally picked up that old racquet again to swing about at speeding lime-green fuzzy balls. I've got lots to work on though after years of rust have set in due to lack of play.

Last week was really an effort to work on my rusty ground strokes, lest we end up seeing more tennis balls flying out of the court! (Ahem, Caleb!) This week however, I focused a little more on my serve and was able to hit a few decent ones, including some almost-down-the-line aces! Woo hoo! I'm still struggling with an erratic ball toss though, and I think that's been affecting the consistency of my serve. So yup, there's still more work to be done.

Ok, my eyes are getting heavier by the minute. The yawns are getting more frequent too. I say happy-sleepy-time is now!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

assessing ramifications

Feed the spirit, not the flesh! Stupid.

Monday, July 14, 2008

back from the land of smiles

I'm back, although sadly in a way, it does feel like I hardly left! It was a well-deserved break, but 4 days is too short nonetheless. Haha.

Still, I'm refreshed, relaxed and tanned...hallmarks of a fine holiday spent in the company of sunny skies, beautiful beaches, and good friends. I even managed to rack up a couple of dives too, while Bing did his OW certification. Racha Yai is not quite the kind of top notch see-something-new-at-every-dive as one would expect from diving at the Similans, but having one of my best buds around more than made up for it.

During the trip, we also paid a visit to the Simon Cabaret, which was really tacky-ladyboy-Thailand at its best. But man oh man, it's pretty hard to tell the difference these days. Some of those "ladyboys" are...umm...pretty hawt! SCARY!! They're everywhere in town too, so don't be too surprised if the 'chick' who grabs hold of you while strolling down Bangla Road turns out to be a "he"! Yikes!

And yes, chick-dodging in these places is a delicate art, which any guy has to master, lest he be impartial to being dragged to some "free show". Flash a smile, or speak forth a word from those lips, and you're only asking for more trouble.

On a slow Monday morning, I'm left reminiscing between work about Phuket and the land of smiles.

Oh yeah, it was a good one =)

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

keep pressing on

"...but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint."

-Isaiah 40:31

As I prepare for yet another hectic work day, I so need to cling on to these promises to keep my soul sane. These are great words of hope and that's about all I have now anyway.

"Gotta keep pressing on". It's funny how after sharing these few words with another over the last week, I'm finding my own advice falling back on me.

So tired of it all. Need to break free.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

and another

A spurt of spontaneity, a few clicks of the mouse button, and I'm going!!!

Can't wait, can't wait!!!


Wednesday, June 18, 2008


A brief exchange brings a humorous respite to yet another hectic day in the week. Lay off the movies for now, will ya? Wait for me to watch Kung Fu Panda!

Dinner was good today. M and F cooked spaghetti aglio olio, baked chicken wings and made a fruit salad to go along with it. It's nice to have a home-cooked dinner waiting for you when you get back after a hard day's work.

As I type this upstairs in the loft, I am tempted to join the gang who came over to watch Family Guy. Unfortunately, I can't. I've really gotta get started on my little sermonette for the boys' outing this weekend.

Ok, enough of this procrastination. Now get your a$$ to work =p

Wednesday, June 11, 2008


Whew! I finally managed to wrap up one of the larger deals that I have been working of late. But while I enjoy a pithy breather amidst the recent work mayhem, more projects are looming in the horizon. Some look exciting, but the signs are ominous that I will likely be up to my neck with work for quite some more time!

In these 'dark' times, I am finding myself lifted by little gestures that come my way...through actions, the phone or email from time to time. The occassional little thing that lifts the spirit, turns the frown upside down into a smile, and reminds me that my world is so much bigger than IPOs or corporate mergers and take-overs.

When it all gets darker then
The whole thing falls apart I guess
It doesn't really matter 'bout the rain
'Cos we'll get through it anyway
We'll get up and start again.

'Cos we could be lifted
From the shadows

Sunday, June 08, 2008


It's amazing what a good weekend can do to turn its 5 preceding days around.

On that note, simplicity rocks.

I am refreshed.


With yet another busy week looming just a couple of hours away, I could really use a holiday...soon. And thanks to you, you have gotten me seriously thinking about Thailand again. Well, let's see how the killer schedule goes.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

2 days

I had a busy but good weekend. And if you were wondering, no, I do not get a kick out of pressure because that's just sick.

This morning went like a bullet train. But interestingly, I discovered that people seem to like bullet trains and apparently, this train still managed to make sense.

Been discovering more interesting tools and applications associated with the new toy =) I can already see it re-defining several things around me. Blogging included.

2 days that resonated with the inner man.

Friday, May 09, 2008

climbing mountains

3-and-a-half-hour conversations are always good for the heart.

I'm glad to have set aside that fraction of my life to listen to you, and to occasionally chip in with my 2 cents. It helped me to understand you better...the way you tick, and I must say that it opened up my eyes to quite a few INTERESTING revelations ;)

I'm glad you overcame your mountain...and LIVED to see today. Know that I'll be there when the next one comes.

The throat is feeling a little sore this morning. I'm wondering if it's due to all the talking, or perhaps my Milo ais kau?

Monday, April 28, 2008

we are conquerors

Mt Kinabalu was a blast! We made it to the summit!! *pats on the back for everyone*

Burning thunder thighs, 6.00 am sunrise 4,095 m above sea level, yellow daffodils, caffeine chill-outs at the terrace, trusty Nikon DSLR, our RM350 'hoi tai kai', beach-bumming at Pulau Mamutik, "Bunny-Bunny" on the rooftop...

memories to last a lifetime.

Monday, April 21, 2008

a thing with that four letter word


Glad you've taken one step closer to your happily ever after.

Very interesting, but nah...expected.


An unexpected phone call with a glass of wine in hand.

Little sms exchanges while chicken wings are baking in the oven.

Enough to pique my curiosity on what's going on in your mind.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

time passes by quickly when you're having fun

Day 5 - The Andaman Sea (Richelieu Rock, Koh Tachai)

Sunrise at Richelieu Rock.

The day began before 6.00 am today. We washed up and got ready for the first dive briefing at about 6.15 am. As the orange rays of the rising sun began to wash over the once indigo sky, we could see that we were moored in the middle of the open sea with no land in sight. The topography of the Richelieu Rock dive site is that of a completely submerged rocky outcrop, whereby only the tip is visible during low tide.

We were slated to make 3 dives at Richelieu Rock today with the hopes of sighting whale sharks, the largest fish in the world, that often swim by the area during this time of the year. Other large pelagics such as manta rays are also often seen in the area as it is noted to be a 'cleaning station'.

Anticipation was high today, although we (or at least I did) tried to manage our expectations realistically. After all, there was really no such thing as a 'guaranteed' sighting in open seas.

Dive #1 came and went. So did Dive #2, and then Dive #3. Sadly, no whale shark. But the dives were all pretty significant in themselves. The underwater topography of Richelieu Rock and the rich diversity of its marine life definitely made it one of the best places I've ever dived.

It was beautiful in short. Large schools of fishes of various shapes and sizes thronged the area. Corals were bountiful and one section featured a HUGE anemone garden. It was a sight for sore eyes. Rich colours danced around us as if all of creation decided to put on an elaborate show just for us. We spotted colourful nudibranchs, shrimps and even the elusive seahorse! So we really had little reason to be disappointed, really =)

Brekky time.

[Photo from Kyle] A shy mantis prawn.

[Photo from Kyle] Harlequin shrimp having a sea star for lunch.

[Photo from Kyle] Tiger egg cowrie. These things are so small!!

By this time, we had gotten so used to living on the boat that Yao and I decided to make ourselves a little more 'at home' =)

Last dive of the day was back at Koh Tachai. Tonight was to be our last night on board the MQII. We spent it lying on the sun deck watching the moon and stars, chilling out with a couple of beers, and mulling over the trip that was soon to hoo!

Day 6 - The Andaman Sea (Koh Bon), Khao Lak

The last two dives of the trip were to be made in Koh Bon, a little island also famed to be a 'cleaning station' for manta rays and other pelagics. It turned out we didn't see manta rays, but this was where I had my close encounter with a leopard shark that wanted to get up close and personal. A swim-by less than 2 feet away was an awesome opportunity for me to observe the fish really close, watch its beady eyes, gills in rhythmic movement, spotted hide, graceful fin. A totally awesome experience.

One of the 10 or so leopard sharks that we encountered in that single dive.

Watching our dive video.

Photo time...Team KL, Aussie Kyle and Miko.

[Photo from Angie] All the divers and divemasters minus Tom who was taking the shot.

And shortly after that, we bade goodbye and went our separate ways. We checked into the Nang Thong Bay Resort, which was just a stone's throw away from the dive centre and spent the night in Khao Lak.

Back in Khao Lak. Colourful fishing boats at Thaplamu Pier.

Hungry divers need good Thai food.

Tired divers need good Thai massage.

Day 7 - Khao Lak, Phuket

Our room at the Nang Thong Bay Resort. Quite a mess but it was pretty comfortable and luxurious actually. Even had a jacuzzi and a separate shower area!

Banana flower.

The beach right at our door step.

Environs at the resort.

The pool. Nice chill out place.

Mickey helps you swim!

Shadows and contrast.

Khao Lak was badly hit by the tsunami in 2006, hence the signboards all around.

Last minute shopping.

A final shot outside the reception before heading to Phuket Airport.

The end. *sob*

Saturday, March 29, 2008

a velvet renaissance

It was fun while it lasted, but a close brush with both death and the local authorities is probably indication enough that something wasn't too right last night.

Point to note: No compromise. Period.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

an introduction to eat, sleep, dive

Day 3 - The Andaman Sea (Similan Islands)

Our boat had continued the journey to the Similan Islands as we slept. In the morning when we woke, we found that the previous night's blank landscape of endless black sea had changed into one of a green tropical island surrounded by calm waters lapping at the rocky edges of where land met the sea.

After washing up and then having a few slices of toast with some Milo ('pre-breakfast' sustenance), we had our first dive briefing.

East of Eden...our first dive of the trip!

Team KL + Aussie Kyle...almost all suited up and ready to jump in!

Logging our first dive after breakfast. Very enthusiastic bunch we were as you can see!

Miko playing the good responsible teacher.

Our daily schedule was pretty much wake up, dive #1, breakfast, break, dive #2, lunch, break, dive #3, afternoon tea, break, dive #4, dinner, break for the rest of the day. Pretty much 'eat, sleep, dive' as you can see. Haha =)

While most of our time was spent at sea, there were occasions whereby we made short excursions to shore on our rubber dinghy.

This was our first island excursion...Similan Island #4 if I recall correctly. No resorts. Uninhabited by man. Absolute beauty.

Here we see three homo sapiens subjects displaying their natural instincts when returned to their original habitat.

As a child, Tarzan had always fascinated me.

Our dive liveaboard, the Manta Queen II. If you look carefully, you can actually spot two of our fellow divers (Lawrence and Jacob from Austria) jumping from the top deck of our boat into the water.

Day 4 - The Andaman Sea (Similan Islands, Koh Tachai)

Sunrise at approximately 6.30 am.

[Picture from Kyle] At the Boulder City dive site, we had our first encounter with medium-sized pelagics during the trip. A solitary leopard shark resting (sleeping?) on the sea bed.

[Picture from Kyle] Surface shot of one half of Team KL and Aussie Kyle after diving Boulder City.

Inspired by the guile of the Austrians, we decided to take 'the leap' this morning as well. This was when we discovered that jumping off the top deck is definitely not for the faint-hearted! Here, Yao is poised for a painful (ouch!) landing.

[Picture from Kyle] Second dive of the day was at Elephant Head Rock. Lots of massive underwater boulder formations which made for interesting 'swim-throughs'. A tiger cowrie is pictured here.

[Picture from Kyle] Easily the strangest-looking thing we encountered throughout the whole trip. A frogfish! Also sighted at Elephant Head Rock. Quite cute me thinks.

[Picture from Kyle] Lionfish @ Elephant Head Rock.

[Picture from Kyle] Yao and I.

Island stopover at another one of the Similan Islands.

Yao and I explored the massive rock formations by the beach while Angie and HT chilled down at the water's edge. We caught some pretty amazing views from the top.

This thumbnail of a picture doesn't do enough justice to its beauty. I'll probably post a larger one somewhere, sometime.

Another spectacular sunset while journeying north to Koh Tachai for our 2nd night dive.

We were due to travel to Richelieu Rock the following day, which is easily the most famous dive site this part of the Andaman because of the high frequency of spotting whale sharks there this time of the year. After dinner that night however, our divemasters got wind that quite a large number of liveaboards were heading towards Richelieu Rock as well and so we changed our plans a little to travel immediately from Koh Tachai to Richelieu Rock after dinner, have an early night and then be up and ready for a sunrise dive by 6.30 am the next morning.

And so we obediently went to bed early that night. With anticipation running high, I actually dreamt we saw whale sharks =p

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

two days of 'filler' activities

Last week's trip to Thailand sure was good fun while it lasted. I think enjoyed it so much that I reckon it ranks among the top 5 trips that I've ever had! Quite a lofty accolade that.

Despite the inconvenience of lugging my chunky DSLR around, I persevered and therefore managed to chronicle most of our journies over the 7 days and 6 nights that we were there. It helped that Angie also brought a camera for the trip so that I was able to at least feature in some of the photos! And a BIG PLUS for us were the underwater pictures that we conveniently *ahem* copied off our fellow dive groupie, Kyle the Aussie from Brisbane, after he had paid THB3000 to rent the camera for 3 days. Generous fellow he was ;)

Day 1 - Phuket

[Photo from Angie] Thailand welcomes Team KL (as we came to be known as on our boat later)! All smiles as we touch down...probably smiles of relief because we came SO close to missing the flight!!

Promthep Cape - the southernmost point of Phuket. A really popular location to catch the sunset. Lots of tourists and locals.

We were not disappointed =) It was cute that the crowd actually applauded as the upper curvature of the orange sphere dipped below the horizon.

We had dinner at Patong Beach. It was loud, crowded, commercialised, tacky...I wasn't too fond of the place.

We spent our first night in Phuket Backpackers - a very nice budget place downtown. Clean and pleasantly very comfortable, although a little far from the beaches.

Day 2 - Phuket / Khao Lak / The Andaman Sea and beyond

The common area in Phuket Backpackers. The only time we got to check our email/Facebook in Thailand.

We spent the day walking around Phuket town aimlessly. In doing so, I took some random shots.

[Photo from Angie] Tuk tuk!

Engaging in more 'filler' activities at the local coffee junction. How much longer 'til we jump into the water???

After an hour and a half drive from Phuket town, it is approximately 6.30 in the evening and we are in the quiet coastal town of Khao Lak, standing at the doorstep of Khao Lak Scuba Adventures. Oh, the anticipation!

After settling some preliminaries, we are finally on the boat! Tom, one of the 4 divemasters on board, gives us the opening brief.

Fireworks are let off at the bow and we are off cruising the Andaman Sea headed west. First stop - the Similan Islands!

Tomorrow is a brand new day.

Tomorrow we dive.