Friday, 30 November 2007

Say "Yes"...

What would it take for you to say "Yes"?

100 red roses?
1 carat diamond ring?
A romantic marriage proposal on top of Eiffel Tower?

This is a video clip of a very touching proposal. Give yourself 10 min to finish the clip, I hope you will enjoy it. Ming(冠佑)is the drummer of 五月天 and the proposal took place during the band's concert in Beijing. His wife is really a lucky woman.

Then, after the most perfect marriage proposal and the grandest wedding, what lies ahead is a long and diffcult journey that no one can foretell. Like I always say, marriage is a lifelong battle, I have never thought it to be easy, yet I did not imagine it could be so tough at times. At the altar, when you say "I do", do you really understand what you have got yourself into? And this sacred vow that has been broken time and time again by so many, does it still count? Well, doesn't matter what I think, life is a struggle anyway. Nothing is easy in life.


Monday, 26 November 2007

A summer's night Christmas

I have a friend who lives in Shanghai and she has always requested for her friends to send her pictures of the Christmas lightings at home. This year, to pre-empt her request, I went down to Orchard yesterday and took these photos. However, what I did not expect is that I will be hand delivering these to her over the weekend.

It is a warm summer's night, no different from the other 364 days in the year. Some may think it is a blessing to have weather like this all year round but yet at times, the heat and humidity can really drive people mad. Just 1 hour roaming the streets of Orchard, I think I have sweat as much as one morning at the beach.

In this night, there are no snowflakes, no sign of frosty the snowman (with a pipe), no chimneys churning out smoke from the warm fire place. But there are angels, who sing the familiar tunes of the Christmas carols and stars, which decorated the busy streets of Orchard. Though I do not believe that this is the best Christmas lightings we ever had, but I am just as thrilled and delighted to see them. Maybe, it is the festive atmosphere that makes all these more beautiful than what they appear to be to the naked eyes.

I like Christmas because it is a season of joy, hope and love. While we are cracking our brains choosing gifts for family and friends, selecting the best menu for Christmas dinners and busy decorating the Christmas trees at the comfort of our own home, there are others who do not share the same good fortune that you and I enjoy. Beneath the same dark sky, while I can hear the angels' sing and watch the stars glow so bright, someone out there maybe looking at the same sky, only that what he/she can see are hunger and destitution. I wonder, how many hungry children are falling asleep tonight, with no idea when they are going to have their next meal or how many sleepless soldiers are there, holding on to their rifles, ready to protect a home that is so dear to them? If this is the season of hope, let joy and love spread to where they are needed most. And all I could do is continue to pray......

This Christmas, I have given a winter jacket and pair of boots to 2 kids in Mongolia, donated through World Vision. Have you thought about what you will be giving to the needys this Christmas too?

Wednesday, 21 November 2007

Manila, swiftly there and back

Was on a 3 day business trip to Manila.

Finally, I have found another city which I dislike, after Paris. I've never thought Philippines is so backward and most part of Manila is congested and messy. Probably only Makati city is somewhat close to what we have at home.

The only thing I have enjoyed during this trip is probably the journey flying into Manila.

Blue sky, fancy clouds, I love them!

There are 4,000 islands in this country. Here's a sneak peek.

The city looks so grey and congested

I stayed in a junior suite in Hotel Richmonde. It has everything I don't need, a big sitting area, toaster and microwave. And what I needed most, it did not have... the internet!

It is a strange hotel anyway. For some reason, the "Do not Disturb" light did not get switched off even after I pulled out my card key and cut the power supply! And for that reason, no one made my room for a day because I forgot to turn the D&D off when I left for work. I'm speechless....

See how "dark" the city is? You can barely see anything in this photo.

The same view from the hotel in the morning. Everything is so grey.

Glad to be home!

Sunday, 18 November 2007


Sharing a drawing I received only this morning from my sponsored child in Sri Lanka. That feeling of eagerness when opening a mail, I have found it back again!

She is now in grade 5, my, how time flies! I remembered when I first received her profile from World Vision she was still in pre-school. That only goes to show how much older I have become.

Though this is no Picasso or Monet, to me, it is just as valuable as a piece of expensive painting.

Wednesday, 14 November 2007

Linkin Park in concert (13 Nov 2007)

"Up your volume by 3 notch." That's what I told people I met after I came out of Linkin Park's concert yesterday. For many hours I couldn't hear properly as I was almost deafen by the loud music from LP. They were great and it's incredible to watch them perform live!

Chester, lead singer. Great voice, lousy attitude. Haha... but he's still my favourite LP!

Oh Mike, oh my, looking great with his guitar. I love his rapping too.

Chester and Mike are my favourites.

The organiser of the concert suck big time though. Entrance to the stadium was not properly managed and there were little or no signage to indicate the directions. The queue was horrible (I think admission started too late) and fans were only fully admitted by 9pm, when the concert was scheduled to start at 8pm. Is that why the concert was so short?

It was the shortest concert I have ever been to, only lasted for 1.5 hours. By 10.30pm, LP was already done. And I couldn't believe they only sang 1 encore song (though it was my recent favourite, "Bleed it out" from Minutes to Midnight)!

In comparison, Mayday's concert was so much more value for money. They sang for 3 hours and there were 2 guest appearances (actually I rather not have them if the band can sing more songs). And fans of Mayday were civilised, unlike LP's who pushed and knocked others a lot.

Ok, ok, here's the mathematics. Mayday has 6 albums, LP has 3. That's why the concert time is reduced by half. Logical? Bull shit!

Linkin Park! Are they not cool?? Drool....

I am truly amazed that LP has so many fans here and many of them were so wild! They could sing to LP's every song and had the energy to jump all night... so very very high! Erm, but that also reminded me of myself several weeks ago when I was standing on the chair in Shanghai Stadium. No wonder at that time I kept feeling that the other fans around me were so "un-high". Actually that's how normal people would behave, I was the crazy one haha!

After yesterday, it is clear that I will be the most ardent fan only to Mayday, and LP, unfortunately, will always remain second.

Having said all that, I still think LP is a great band! They are less "angry" as compared to the other rock bands. That's what I love about them... come on, we are all civilised people, don't have to swear all the time.

P.S. Photos are downloaded from this website and not taken by me... don't you know you are not suppose to bring cameras into concerts? Flashes distract the performers! And respect IP please!

Saturday, 10 November 2007

The way I remember Shanghai

Before going to Shanghai, I never thought it is a place that I will visit twice. Sure, Shanghai is a modern and vibrant city with a lots of charm but what is there a city girl like me have not seen? I did not think Shanghai could easily impress me.

I remembered the first day when I arrived in Shanghai, I thought the city is chaotic. And yet, when I am out of the "chaos", I realise there are many things about Shanghai that I miss....the picture perfect view of The Bund and Pudong, the incredibly stunning night scenery along Huang Pu River and the Chinese heritage and culture legacy embedded everywhere in the city. That is the thing about travelling, when you return home you bring back only to good memories, leaving behind the less desirables one (with the exception of Paris. Did I mention how much I hate Paris?).

Here are some of my favourite spots in Shanghai.

Looking fabulously good, The Bund, along side of dirty Huang Pu River.

Picture perfect, Pudong by Day. Have seen this view so many times on magazines and travel brochures.

Uniquely Oriental Pearl.

夜上海. In the middle is Jin Mao Building, one of the 5 tallest buildings in the world.

Unbeatable night scenery of Huang Pu River and The Bund.

This view is too good to be true! Mesmerizing!

Traditional Chinese architecture and rock sculpture at Yu Garden.

Koi Pond at Yu Garden.

In the mood for poetry or chess? Time seems to have come to a standstill.

And here is Duolun Lu, the cultural street in Shanghai. This was once the favourite haunt of writer Lu Xun and other Chinese literates. The well preserved houses are now converted into shops, cafes and art galleries.

A short walk from Duolun Lu will take you to Lu Xun Park. You can imagine how great Lu Xun's contribution to the cultural scene in China is such that a park is built to commemorate him. Unfortunately, I have not read even a single book from Lu Xun, sigh, once again I feel shallow.

A statue of famous Chinese writer Lu Xun.

On a Saturday afternoon, many Chinese gathered at Lu Xun Park. They are there to practise singing, folk dance, karoake, play chess. I am envious of their carefree lifestyle. Why is it that people here at home do not do activities like this? Perhaps the happiest people are those who know how to enjoy simple things in life.

Who's testing who's patience? A game of chess is all about strategy.

Open-air karaoke. I dare you to sing in public like this. ZN... interested??


Casual spectators

Even the signboard in the park is so poetic.

This is especially for Mr Hwang after our brief conversation yesterday evening. Have you ever heard the phrase "地大人广"? It describes China most perfectly. And here's a preview of the meaning.... the crowd at Yu Garden. However, this is peanut compared to what you will experience if you visit Tiananmen Square.

At Tiananmen Square during peak season, expect crowd like this magnify by more than 10 times. I have never seen a compound so huge and with so many peoples (almost like moving ants) than Tiananmen Square. Good luck at the Olympics 2008 haha!

And so it's 再见 Shanghai! I like the way of saying "goodbye" in Chinese, which means "see you again". We will meet again, definitely.

At last, I have sorted out the photos from my trip to Shanghai. Follow the links below to my album. Enjoy!

Thursday, 8 November 2007

Shanghai Museum - Evolution of ceramic and pottery craft

Shanghai Museum has a good collection of relics and artifacts of the country. From paintings, calligraphy, sculptures, funitures to broznes, you'll need hours in the museum if you are passionate about history and art. Personally, I was very attracted to the ceramic collection. It is extremely interesting to see the evolution of of ceramic and pottery crafts from as early as 12th centruy B.C. to current day. I'm amazed by the kind of skills our ancestors possessed to enable them to create vases and pottery with such details and fineness, considering it was in a time without sophisticated tools and machines.

These are just a couple of pictures of the ceramic collection in the museum. As you can see, I have painstakingly edited and labeled all the photos to include caption with description of each item and the year it is produced.

You can follow the link below to view my entire album which has more pictures of ceramic vases across the centuries. I am quite sure you will be fascinated by it. (Hint: Run slideshow, it is a faster way to view because original photo size is too big and take ages to load)

Wednesday, 7 November 2007

Tallest Mountain... Qomolangma (Tibet Day 5-8)

The highlight of my Tibet trip is a visit to Mt Everest base camp.

Everest, the tallest mountain in the world, is known to the Tibetians as Mt Qomolangma. The magnificent mountain is 8844.43m tall and it is my main motivation for coming to Tibet.

Over the 3 days, I visited a couple of monastries and towns along the way to Everest. But those, we will save for discussions on a later day. Now, I shall present my treasured collection of photos of Mt Everest!

It was a warm and beautiful day. I was so lucky to be able to have such a clear view of the peak. There wasn't even a cloud. So my prayers did come true (remember, before I set off I pray for sunshine?)

Welcome to Mt Qomolangma Natural Protection Area

Yet another achievement. I visited the world highest monastry, Rongbuk Monastry. Before arriving at Mt Qomolangma base camp, it is a must to make a visit to this monastry.

I wish I could get someone to remove the satelite dish. It is such an inappropriate place to have an equipment like this.

The nomad's tents outside Rongbuk Monastry.

The final 8km to Mt Everet base camp. The road is extremely bumpy but thank goodness the jeep could manage. Some might trek to the base camp from here..... but it will take hours to do so especially at such high altitude.

Mt Qomolangma... I still think it looks the best from far... simply breath taking!

Mt Qomolangma from the base camp. There I was, enjoying the magnificent view of the world's tallest mountain. I kept silent the whole time, enjoying the moment of peace and holiness, listening to the sounds of the wind. At that time, I was nearest to heaven; I do not think I'll ever get any closer to heaven than this in my entire lifetime. Silly you may think, but I brought with me 3 wishes to Mt Qomolangma. As I closed my eyes and prayed, I honestly hoped that the gods above will hear me, now that I am so close to them.

Base camp at altitude of 5200m

If someone tells you that you can enter Tibet without an entry permit, don't believe them. If you are lucky, you can perhaps manage entry to Tibet without a permit, however, if you are thinking of visiting Mt Everest, it is important that you have one. Because the Mt Everest base camp is situated between the borders of Tibet and Nepal, you will need to apply for yet another special permit to travel pass the checkpoint set up by the Chinese authority at the border. Without a valid Tibet entry permit, you can forget about getting this special permit to Everest. And believe me, the officer on duty scrutinise the permits and passport rather carefully. It is not a lot of hassle as long as you have all the necessary documents in place.