Thursday, December 30, 2010

Wonderful 2010 Travels

Every year I compile the places I've traveled for the year. And this year is no different.

As expected, in 2010, I traveled much less for leisure as compared to the previous years. But in any case, I still managed to work + travel to a few destinations, and enjoyed them lots!

Here are the places I visited this 2010, both overseas & locally.

1. Bangkok, Thailand

My first trip out of the country was for the Bangkok International Book Fair. It was a super experience.. the best book fair in the region, to me! Was so huge (took a good 2-3 days to cover the grounds with staff), and yet it was very well organised too!

Though time off work was limited (apart from the extra tired legs), but still, I managed to find some good food around the city - like this oh-so-yummy phad thai + fried oyster omelette!

2. Krabi, Thailand

Been here a couple of times now, and you can say, I am a lil familiar with this beach holiday destination. But like the Bangkok, I don't feel bored at all and still always find new things for me to explore - other parts of the beach, new hotels, new restaurants.. the list goes on.

And even if all else remains the same, how can I ever, ever resist the long beach.. sitting in the evening sun, simply enjoying the sunset?

3. Manila, The Philippines

The other regional bookfair that I attended this year is also at the land of smiling people, who speaks with very cute English accents.

Was another huge fair though smaller than that of Bangkok's. But apart from the fair, I truly enjoyed the eye openers in this city (read: Manila.. Ooh La La!).

4. Taipei, Taiwan

The next destination - and my longest holiday in 2010.. cool Taipei! Just writing about it now bring back fond memories of this friendly city! (read: Taipei, I'm In Love With You!).

And just like the other destinations, there is always something new even though I've been here before. Like for example the hot dog above. Oh yeah, Taiwan is so open eh?

5. Sepang Gold Coast, Malaysia

I can now claim that I've been to the Gold Coast.. well, even if it is just the one in Sepang one! Haha! Just about an hour's drive from Kay El/ Pea Jay - this seems to be quite a decent destination - especially for its sunset and beach (yeah, you'd have had figured out by now that I love the beach lots, haha!).

This trip is much more memorable as it was my first time going out with my new business partners from Eleven Angles. We brainstormed a lil over the one night trip and did have some good care free fun! (felt so uni).

6. Singapore

How can I leave Singapore out? A destination that I've stayed for about 8 years, and a place that I forsee myself still going back often. Gone back a few times this year for both work and leisure.

It feels much more fun visiting the lion city now - as I treat it fully as a holiday destination.. visiting only the likes of Orchard Road and the city centre (yet to go to the integrated resorts!).

7. Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia

Ipoh has always been a pass by city for me (on the way to Penang). But interestingly, I made a one night stay-over in this city in November. More like a makan trip, I ate all the good food the city had to offer. And enjoyed the mee rebus and the dim sum most!

8. Jalan Jalan Selangor, Malaysia

While some people won't call these a holiday, but they are getaways for me. Shah Alam is like a different city altogether. Somewhat peaceful yet with some buzz. Btw I actually started knowing more about Shah Alam (which I initially thought was very far) because of the exhibitions we participated at the area.

My old favourite, and most likely my number one getaway is non other than Kuala Selangor. It's peaceful, and to my surprise, I found this spot with such a scenic sunset view. Definitely a place that I'd come back more often to relax the mind and get some inspiration.

And just recently, another town which I thought was far, is Klang. Went there just to eat the best mee hoon kuih ever. Now I know that Klang really ain't that far.. and definitely a place I'd come back for cheap & good food!

8. Jakarta, Indonesia

As I write this post, I've yet to land on this populous nation. Yes, I'm going for the New Year's Even holiday. And like the rest of the holidays, I'm expecting lots of fun & excitement, plus meeting many friendly folks!

Looking back at 2010, I may not have traveled as much as the 2 previous years. But still, with that 'little' travel, I truly enjoyed myself. And the fact that I visited my top 3 destinations this year - Thailand, Taiwan & the Philippines... that is enough to make me really happy.

For 2011, I hope to travel further. I've always wanted to visit USA & Japan, but I'd go with Japan first in 2011. I have hoped to visit this nation for a while now.. and I think it's time to make this a reality!

In 2011, I'll be cutting down on travel for business. But I forsee myself visiting some of my favourite destinations again for leisure (I can never get enough of Thailand, really). And likelihood much more of Selangor. And other parts of Malaysia & the region too.

And who knows, if my other wish come true, I'd be in Taiwan again - for a longer period this time round! :)

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Songs I Kept Playing Over & Over In 2010

This year, I've been listening to a fair bit of songs.. partly the difference as compared to the years before is because I drive here in Kay El (as compared to when I was in Singapore) hence the radio is usually on and I'm introduced to quite a fair share of songs.

Then of cos, I do buy some CDs who artistes I think are good and/or are under the 'must listen' list (or some of them - compilation albums), and will find new jewels in them. Apart from these, the share on social networks & friends recommendation spring a few songs that capture my attention as well.

Now, when I like a particular song, I tend to keep playing that song over & over again - be it on the CD or even via YouTube.

Here's what I've been playing over & over this 2010 (note, some are songs in 2010, while some others are older):

1. Da Ri Zi by Astro Personalities & Celebrities
Love the movie (Woo Hoo!). And love the song that comes with it. Not too Cheena to me, and I guess cos the movie really touched me during CNY season.

2. Hua Sha by Cindy Yen & Jay Chou

I like this song for it is melody.. I can still remember being so mesmerised by it the first time I heard it on radio. To me, it's very catchy, but still with a laidback approach, making it quite a unique song rather.

3. Pakai Buang by Stacy

Another song that caught my attention on radio. The 'pa, pa, pa.. kenapa' lyrics really caught me off guard when I switched to the Malay channel one day and I traced this catchy song down.

4. Wedding Dress by Taeyang (aka Sol from Big Bang)

This year is also the year that Kpop kinda invaded my music tunes. All these started with my research on some K tunes, and chanced on Big Bang.. and then that lead to Taeyang's cool songs.

5. I Gotta Feeling by Black Eyed Peas

I love catchy tunes, and more so if they are happy/ inspiring. This falls into that feel good mood. I know that Black Eyed Peas have been around for a bit, but it's this song that really caught my attention.

6. Be With You by Akon

Now, this obviously is an old song. But like some of the many singers out there, I've only heard of Akon by name and not knowing his songs till this year. Anyway, I like this song lots - from its melody to its lyrics.

7. Man Man by Rachel Liang & Wang Zheng Liang

2010 is the year of duets for me.. and I put this song in the similar league of Hua Sha. It falls within the Chinese love songs category, but a lil more uplifting. And again, just like Hua Sha, I could just listen to this song and picture myself driving at the countryside with the soft sun rays touching gently on the skin.

8. Please Be Careful With My Heart - Christian Bautisa & Sarah Geronimo

Love songs, and more love songs. Duets & more duets. With an Asian touch this time.. is Pinoy power singers. Went to the Philippines, bought some CDs, and found this jewel which I fell in love with.

9. I Love You. You Love Me by Da.Mon.Ster

Seems like I quite fancy Chinese songs this year.. and one of them is this local group's simple yet catchy tune.

10. Cao Ren Bu Hui Fei by Jay Chou

One of the most anticipated albums this year is non other than Mando pop prince, Jay Chou. I've always liked his songs and this is not different. The 1 song which I liked from the CD and relate to a lot is this. It came at a time when I was a lil down with work, and really, at that time I felt that Superman, could not fly..

11. What You Waiting For by Mizz Nina feauturing Colby O'Donis

More local singers - and here is this super catchy tune. I guess like many, I thought this song was from overseas.. and was overjoyed when I found out it's by our very own local singer!

12. For Your Entertainment by Adam Lambert

Went to watch Adam's KL concert and see what the buzz is all about. Liked his performance and got his CD. And do like a few of his songs, though this to me is most likely the catchiest of em all.

13. Bad Romance by Lady Gaga

Lil similar to Adam Lambert, I got her album out of curiosity to check out the buzz. Well I've heard a few of her songs on radio, but thought it would be worth 'investing' in her album. Must say nearly all her songs are awesome and will keep one to keep playing them over and over. But if there's one that stands out the most, it's most probably this.

14. Firework by Katy Perry

Was introduced to this song by my biz partner. He kept saying that the song was inspiring and so was the clip. Went to watch it, and true enough, it fits like what he described!

15. Gotta Be Somebody by Nickelback

I knew bout this song when it was shared via Facebook, and got immersed by it. Meaningful uplifting lyrics has always been my cuppa, and this again, fits well with it.

16. Ni Bu Zi Dao De Shi by Lee Hom

One of my other favourite Mando singers.. with his new album, and one new song that was like his forte. Love song, a lil sad, but a definite audience wow-er!

17. Dynamite By Taio

I must say that 2010 is the year of hip hop for me.. songs that are simply happy and upbeat. Good for clubbing, but also good for a good start to the day!

18. Hold My Hand by Michael Jackson & Akon

What happens when 2 favourite artistes collaborate? A good song, no, make that a cool song! I'm also very touched by this lyrics. It sure feels like MJ never really left.. and continue to inspire.

Looking back, wow, there sure is quite a list full of songs that I like this 2010! How bout you, what are the songs that touched you this year? :)

*There's some Thai songs which I kept playing over & over as well (from the CDs I bought from Thailand), but can't remember the name. Will update this post once I find them.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Merry Christmas!

I must say that this year is one of the years where I really felt the Xmas mood most.

I've been enjoying this merry season a lot.. starting with the Christmas deco at the malls around Greater Kay El.

christmas pavilion

It all started early November, when I passed by Pavilion, and saw the familiar and beautiful rows of Xmas trees.

christmas pavilion kl

Didn't see the snow like I did last year, but still, the atmosphere is oh-so-cool! (there's like a sense of like being overseas everytime it's Xmas time here).

bsc christmas

I also went to Bangsar Shopping Centre, and I thought the deco at the mall is quite nice.. white red balls in the air... and I especially like the unique Christmas decorations on sale.

christmas candle snowman

christmas dolls

Another mall I went is1 Utama. I thought the deco here is quite impressive with its English style houses. To me, 1 Utama really does well with their deco for every season, and this Christmas season is the same too.

christmas 1 utama

christmas 1 utama celebration erra fazira
I've seen the 1 Utama deco a few times as its the mall I frequent the most, but the other day, I was in for a pleasant surprise. While there with fellow blogger khakis, we bumped into who else, but movie Queen, Erra Fazira. She was there at the concourse to give out festive cheer to some charity body. Now, that's a star :)

sunway christmasThe final mall I visited this year... Sunway Pyramid. Having told so much about Sunway and its awesome Christmas deco, I popped by outside the mall one late night.. just to see its Xmas street. I must say, I wasn't dissapointed. It did very well - and sure exudes the full Xmas mood!

christmas sunway
sunway santa claus
Apart from the merry malls deco, I also enjoyed some get togethers with family, business partners, and friends. But the highlight would most likely be the lunch with my online khakis - yeap, the wacky, crazy and super fun bunch!

christmas gathering online khakis

secret santa
We had this game - Secret Santa, where we are to guess who are our giver (ie Santa). And I actually got my present from the organiser herself, Witch. What a cute tee!

And here, my recipient, Eric, with the book gift I gave. Kinda happy that he actually likes the gift :)

And finally, on Christmas day, I opened my presents from my friends.. It's been so long since I kept them under the Xmas tree just to open them on the merry day - but I'm glad I did it.. the mood is just so right!

christmas tree

The presents overwhelming my mini Xmas tree! haha!

christmas presents
I think the merry mood will continue all the way to the New Year.. and I'm not complaining. Seriously, let the celebrations continue! Hehe...!

To all, here's wishing you guys a MERRY CHRISTMAS! :)

*Btw, I also did a video with my biz partners for Christmas & New Year. Here it is :)

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Finally... Im Creating Movies (Well, Videos For Now, Actually)

Well to say that I'm creating movies might be an overstatement. For all I've done so far is just one mini mini clip using the iMovie software.

But well, coming from near ground zero, this to me is one baby step into the world of videography. The main reason I've been postponing to learn about video editing is because its a whole new thing to learn (and that to me is scary).. plus the fact that I do already have my busy hands full at work and other interests.

But then, recently, I made a point to start learning.. Reasons - well, I figured it's time I started to use my Mac for its first reason I bought it, and the fact that it's really about time if I want to go into this industry.. Of course, taking a semi sabbatical in this December allows some free time too. Then, there's Project O&O which I'm involved.. and which provides me a platform to grow in this area.. so it really is about time.

Oh and to add.. the fact that the videos I recorded in my Shanghai trip 2 years back has never been brought to live yet..

So, anyway, last week I started learning what iMovie is all about.. downloaded my movies (yeah, it was still in the video camera!) and started doing some simple editing.

And here's the very first clip I've made. Very amateur-ish, I'd say.. but like I said, it's one baby step into the world of videography for me :)

*Looking back, I'm missing winter in Shanghai!

Monday, December 20, 2010

My First Official Food Review: Vansh @ Starhill

I received an invitation to do a food review recently.. to Vansh, Starhill. Here's my take on this North Indian cuisine restaurant.

The ambience to the restaurant is quite unique. Well, I guess that can be said for most of the restaurants in Starhill.

But even though that is expected but that adds to a pleasant surprise.

Food wise - we were served with the best & recommended dishes from the restaurant.

We started off with the mango lassi (RM17). This was to me quite a must-try at North Indian restaurants, and was looking forward to it. However, the drink wasn't chilled, and that made the taste kinda flat.

The first starter we had was the papadam. It was unusual for it to be shaped similar to that of the 'love letters'. I found it a lil spicy when dipped with the sauces (mint, chilli, raita). But I must say, it was good.

The other interesting starter was the Bombay Pani Puri (RM20). The puffs were crunchy and had that burst of sauce when added with the chilled spice water & sweet tamarind chutney.

They served us platters like the Kebab sampler pattler which was alrite, but not that fantastic, to me.

However, what appealed to me most in the restaurant is their main courses. They are:

Tandoori lamb chop (RM50) - which was well marinated, and the meat cooked just right.

Chicken Tikka Masala (RM35) - which, like the lamb chop, was well marinated. And the meat was uber tender.

And the lamb briyani (RM45).. which was cooked the way briyanis should be (to me, at least).. where the rice and meat is served in one, and the tastes are blended together.

Oh yeah, we also had naans, which were just okay. Except for maybe the Chilli cheese kulzza (RM20) - which is the fresh fluffy bread packed with mild yellow cheddar, piquant chilli and fresh coriander. Maybe it was because it was my first time trying it out.

We also had desserts. I'm a fan of desserts, but never really for North Indian desserts so the Khajooor Kulfi (RM18) -
Homemade frosty flavoured with exotic dates & the Lychee Kulfi (RM18) - Homemade frosty flavoured with exotic lychees didn't impress my taste buds much, though I think maybe for a North Indian cuisine dessert fan, that might work differently.

Overall, I'd rate the restaurant 3.5 out of 5. There are only a few dishes which I really enjoyed even from the Top Recommended menu and I find the price a lil high - but then again, which North Indian restaurant comes in cheap.

Also, while I find the ambience is not too bad, but I think the presentation of the food could be better especially for their deep gravy dishes. This could be a hindrance when we want to dine to impress.

However, saying that, I might still come back again (most likely with only family & close friends) when I'm craving for the lamb chop.

Vansh Starhill Details:
Tel : 603 - 2142 6162
Opening hours :
Mon. - Sun :- 12:00pm - 1:00am

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Everyone Connects.. With Football & A Cool Website

Have you seen the oh-so-cute advertisement for Everyone Connects?

Well, for those who haven't, here it is..

As you can see at the end of the clip, it says "Connections Make Anything Possible". True, heh? :)

Anyway, this post is not about the ad, but an event by the folks at Everyone Connect who wants to get connected with you, football fans. And to do that, remember to go to the biggest TV screen at Padana Timur PJ this Sunday for the Chelsea vs MU Match.

everyone connects
But also, at the same time, go to the cool interactive website of theirs at Everyone Connects.

everyone connects, the stadium

There are quite a fair bit of things on the website, and you can explore them. But for football enthusiasts (& MU fans), the 2 stops u have to do here is to first visit The Stadium to get the latest news on the team - which else, but MU in this case (the news is updated much more the day before the match starts).

everyone connects stadium
(inside the stadium)

everyone connects kopitiam(at the Kopitiam)

The other one you can do is to go into the Kopitiam, and chat with other football fans (I wonder how it will be when its nearer the match, and rival fans start pouring in hehe).

everyone connects chat
(was a lil slow in capturing this EC resident reply.. basically he said, KL only snows here in EC! haha!)

Apart from the 2 above, the other option is you could also chit chat with the other users real time using your avatar.. you could chat about football.. or... anything else, really (though the response all depends on the other users).

So, what are you waiting for.. football (MU) fans out there? :)

Thursday, December 09, 2010

My Role Models, Heroes & Idols

Mentioned the importance of having Role Models to look up to. Here is a list of people whom I admire and why. Some has deceased but to me, they are legends.

And while I may have a hand full of them, some have slightly greater influence & impact on me. They mainly fall in the media industry.

Here they are:

takeshi kaneshiro

1. Takeshi Kaneshiro
Cool, fashionable and am ambassador for big international brands - Biotherm & Armani. He is the face of the modern Asian man.

lee hom

2. Lee Hom
From English speaking, Lee Hom overcame the odds in the East to become one of the more successful singers of this time.. his American influence combined with Eastern outlook is admirable. And his music is pretty cool too!

jay chou

3. Jay Chou
Multi talented - from composing to singing and even directing. His songs are modern yet not too advanced, mixing the very East & some Western influence.. to become simply his (style). The songs are so simple yet catchy.. and they always have a good message behind them as well - now that's the power of influence for a singer ie to share good songs, reach out to the mass and inspire them with meaningful lyrics!

p ramlee

4. Tan Sri P. Ramlee
Being able to touch & reach out to Malaysians of all ages from yesteryears to today through his movies & songs - as an actor, director, singer & composer. No Malaysian has come close to this yet.

steve jobs

5. Steve Jobs
The guy who redefined style and made it a worldwide phenomenon.

mark zuckerberg

6. Mark Zuckerberg
For turning a 'simple' thing big. He understands what his market wants - and keep giving them that.. and he has a big dream, with a good cause. And he makes geeks - cool!

adam lambert

7. Adam Lambert
Talented, entertaining and for having the guts to being true to himself and the world.

lady gaga

8. Lady Gaga
Though may seem wacko in some ways, but knows the right ways to get the right attention.

paulo coelho

9. Paulo Coelho
For being able to write inspiring stories that is fiction but yet seems so real.

jk rowling

10. J. K. Rowling
For overcoming the odds in her hard life, to eventually write a series that became an international bestseller - and with a mega movie series to it. Her creativity and storytelling is simply amazing!

bruce lee

11. Bruce Lee
Simply for making his 'arrogant self' become a big thing - not just in the East but also captivating audiences globally.

upin & ipin

12. Upin & Ipin
Most probably Malaysia's most famous personality, showing the true essence of the Malaysia Boleh (Malaysia Can) spirit - and that everything is really possible.. to the point that nationality is not a hindrance to achieving success.

walt disney

13. Walt Disney
For making animation magical & inspiring.. and so big. That's touching lives in a big way! Plus to have a magical-wonderland.. who would have thought of that?

oprah winfrey

14. Oprah Winfrey
From humble background to empowering others, touching & inspiring lives. Plus being such a power of influence - anyone she recommends seem to be an instant hit. Oh and the fact that her media business expands beyond the TV program into radio, publishing and soon her own network.

simon cowell

15. Simon Cowell
Straight & blunt - being his true self.. yet making money out of it, and helping others along the way too.

steven spielberg

16. Steven Spielberg
For simply being one of the world's greatest Director, of all time. His name is way bigger than the stars in his movies.

elvis presley

17. Elvis Presley
From acting to singing, he was a world sensation, marked closest only by Michael Jackson (and maybe Beatles).