Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Hair For Hope 2011

I am going to shave my head bald to support "Hair for Hope" project by Children's Cancer Foundation. Below are the objectives of this project:

1. Create awareness of childhood cancer in Singapore.
2. Show children with cancer and their families that they are not alone in their fight against cancer.
3. Tell children with cancer that it is OK to be bald.
4. Raise funds to help children with cancer and their families.
5. Build a community of support for children with cancer and their families.

Why did I do it?
1. I am inspired by people who have done it.
2. I feel sad for the innocent children, who have yet to experience the beauty of life.
3. I want to help, but I have limited resources. 
By doing this, I could garner more support from my friends & family.
4. To remind me of the Impermanence of Life. Life is too short.
5. Learning to be detached from my physical appearance.

I am very grateful for the support of my friends. I am really touched by their compassion. At the end of our journeys, it is the intangible things that really matters. Love and Care for each other, as well as the less fortunate. Lend a helping hand to someone in need. I am really happy. 

May you always be happy!

** Achieved my goal of S$1000 donation. Thanks to my elder brother for filling up the gap.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011


(Sunset @ Rinjani, Indonesia)

‎"You only lose what you cling to
- A Buddhist Saying

One New Experience Each Week - Kayaking Course, Upper Pierce Reservoir, Pulau Seletar

I am glad that I embarked on this "One New Experience Each Week" project. It allowed me to explore places that I did not know existed in the tiny Singapore and things that I wanted to do, but have been procrastinating. 

Sunset @ Upper Pierce Reservoir
It was not crowded and quiet. 
I laid down gazing into the sky and enjoying the breeze.
What a nice way to end a day.

Went wake-boarding again.
Saw a deserted island called Pulau Seletar (never knew such an island existed).
Swam over to the beach of the island and got bitten by sand-flies.

Ivan wake-boarding in the mangrove area.
The mangrove area is beautiful, especially during sunset.

Kayaking Course @ Kallang River.
It was fun to be taking a course with teenagers.
Learning something new.
I felt I was back to my student days.
It felt good to be student again.
I felt really young.


(Taken at Shoreline Park, Mountain View, CA)

"We shall not cease from exploration
and the end of all our exploring
shall be to arrive where we started 
and know the place for the first time"
- T S Eliot

Thursday, June 23, 2011

How I cope with disappointment...

Last week, I was on cloud nine after my interview with the top management of a prestigious asset management firm in the world. That was the final interview, and I felt that I had done reasonably well. Even though I know the competition was very stiff and I am lacking certain credentials, I was quite optimistic. 

This is THE IDEAL job. The firm is so rich that it didn't rent the office space, but bought the whole level in the prime business area.  If I got this job, I was thinking that I wouldn't need to update my resume again, as my interviewers have been working there for 20+ years. I dreamed of jet-setting around the region and meeting CEOs of different companies' etc... 

Unfortunately, my dream was shattered when I received a rejection phone call. The reality dawns on me again, that it is really a tough and competitive world out there. There are many many more people who are smarter, more hardworking and have better credentials than me. 

The disappointment was intense. It is my DREAM JOB, and I was so close to getting it. What should I do? I was not in the mood to do anything. Feel like wasting myself to vent my anger and avoid the reality. Then, I told myself to learn something out of it. I want to fully experience and feel the intense disappointment (ie. No future and No hope, I feel like shit, I am not good enough etc..). 

Then, just let go. 

I will remember the feeling of intense disappointment, so that I could be more empathetic and compassionate in the future when someone else experiences the same negativity. 

After allocating sometime for self-pitying, it is time to get out of it and spend my time in more productive things. Very often, a problem is blown out of scale by focusing on it for too long. 

Dawn @ Ganges River, Varanasi, India

Take a few steps back and look at the bigger life issues.
Just need to let go of the things I could not control.
Take comfort that I worked hard for it.

I feel more at peace and ready to move on.
Letting Go is powerful.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Travel: Bangkok (8th-13th Jun 11)

Chinese characters on the Airport signage. An evidence to show the strength and might of China is getting stronger and more powerful.

Love the Hostel Bed Linen, Cold Air-conditioned room and the White theme.

Water flowing out of the bamboo....

Nappark Hostel
(Highly recommended it. It doesn't use keys, but access token to scan into the hostel & room. Good security and nice design as well. Free Wifi access in every corner of the hostel, including toilet. Most importantly, it is very close to Khao San Road - famous backpackers street of Bangkok.)

Checked: Stayed in Khao San Road!

Tom Yam Soup & Pad Thai!!!
Love Cheap and Good Food in Thailand.

Planking for the first time
(@ the busy & dirty Khao San Road)

The idea of planking came while I was having my dinner. Initially, I brushed away the idea thinking it was really stupid and dirty, and embarrassing. But then, I decided to challenge my fear. I rather be spontaneous and foolish, than to be regretful that I did not materialize this "idea" just because of fear of embarrassment.

Checked: Planking!

The fishes were really really hungry.... it was a numbing experience.

Checked: Fish Spa!

Lost your ID? Need a new ID?
No worries, you can get help along Khao San Road.
(Just gotta make sure that the face and the name matches)

Typical Scene in the congested Bangkok


First Leg of the journey: 1 hr local train
40 Baht (S$0.40, US$0.33)
What inflation?

Local Hawker
I was amazed by his skills to prepare the food so quickly and dedicatedly .

A Retro Atmosphere in the local train.

I love taking train ride.
I could relax and chill.
Listening to my favourite music.
Enjoying the ever-changing scenery.
That's freedom!!

Local Market (40km away from Bangkok).
I wanted to buy the tortoises and release them, but I know they would be captured easily again and sold in this local market. That's very limited things I could do about it.

There was this air-conditioned convenient store in the midst of hot, humid, wet local market. It was a temporary relief from the heat. This is also an indication that modernity is spreading in Thailand outside of Bangkok. The middle class is growing.

2nd Leg of the Journey: 10mins Ferry.
3 Baht only (S$0.12, US$0.10)
What inflation?!?!

A high reverence towards Monks.

3rd Leg of the journey: 1 hr train ride
10 Baht only!!

Enjoying the scenery along the way.
I closed my eyes and felt the wind across my face.
And it feels good to be alive.

I treasure these moments when I truly and deeply felt ALIVE.
The sense of gratitude and happiness is overwhelming.
Something I realized not everybody could understand/appreciate.

I forcefully opened the rear door of the train, sat down and enjoyed the journey.

Maeklong Market!!!
Touted as one of the most interesting markets in the world.

Tourists taking photos from train and from railway track.
At the far end, the stall holders shifted back their shelters to continue their businesses.

Stall Owners lifting the shelters waiting for the train to pass.

Train passed with fresh produce left on the track.

As the train left, it was business as usual.

Market on Railway Track.

Checked: Maeklong Market!

Specially requested for a Vegetarian Noodle Soup.
Price: 10 Baht (S$0.40, US$0.33)
It was cheap and good!


Reclining Buddha
(At least 4-5 storeys high)

Reclining Buddha.

Rear of Buddha's Head




Peak Hour in Bangkok
(Traffic Jam in both directions)

Checked into Jasmine Executive Suites
(Reasonable price & good location)
Good View of the City @ 27th level.

As my other friends came... I had to abandon my backpackers' lifestyle...

SPA Indulgence
(Highly recommend this SPA - Urban Retreat Spa)
Reasonably priced and Good!
2 hours Spa Package ranges from 1300 Baht to 3300 Baht.
(S$53/US$42 to S$133/US$107)

Beer & Dinner @ Tawandang German Beer Brewery
I enjoyed myself thoroughly with 7 other friends, whom I have known for 18 years!

One of the performances @ the restaurant.
It was in Thai, so I did not understand the exact meaning of the performance. But it showed the pictures of Thai King since young to adolescence to adulthood, and I was literally touched by the music. I could really feel the genuine love of the Thai people towards their King. 

Pinky Tailor
(Well, it sounded kinky, but the workmanship is really good. I compared it to another recommended tailor whose quality was okay only. Would definitely come back here again.)

Chatuchak Market (South-East Asia Largest Market) with over 5,000 stores.

Previously, when I was ill-informed, I found the selling of puppies in Chatuchak (or any other parts of world) acceptable. But after reading reports that these puppies were injected with hormones to make them more active, so that they could be sold more easily, I am totally against it. Since only cute adorable puppies are in demand, some of the pet sellers would starve the puppies to slow down their growth. So what are the fates for those unsold puppies that grow beyond the "adorable" size? 

Unfortunately, these cute innocent puppies are just commercial entities for the sellers. Once they outgrow their commercial value, they are worthless and will be put to sleep. That is the REALITY. Indirectly, the ignorant and ill-informed buyers (with no evil intention) are causing unnecessary sufferings for these puppies. 

Everybody should be more aware of the repercussion of their actions.  

Soi Cowboy
(Red Light District)

Checked: Go-go bar!

I visited a go-go bar and my conversation with my hostess was limited to "What is your name?" & "How old are you?". Beyond that, it was impossible to communicate. Clearly, my hostess was not from Bangkok and she came from a village. From their body languages (despite the smiling faces), I could sense that they hated this "job". I was not sure how many of them were doing it willingly. That evening, I was quite disturbed and was thinking about the lives of these girls. While I have a nice comfortable hotel bed to sleep, what are their living conditions? Were they given the opportunity to work in a proper place? Do they feel safe? Could they choose their clients? Who would want to work in such a derogatory place like a go-go bar? What would I do if I am in their position?

Clearly, I have no answer to all these questions, but I have one conclusion: Life is so UNFAIR. I was really sad, and felt like crying for them. But what can I do?

Bed Supperclub in Bangkok - Overrated!!!
Entrance fee was 800 Baht (S$32, US$26). The deco was futuristic and the crowd was mainly expatriates and foreigners. The music was O......Kay. Period.

I watched my first Thai-Girl show 10 years ago when I first visited Thailand, it was interesting and there were no aggression. This time, I accompanied my friend to watch Thai-Girl Show (aka Ping-Pong Show) at PatPong (another redlight district). It was a scam and we were cheated. A lady-boy sat besides me, he-she was quite pretty, but I could sense his-her aggression. We paid a lot of money before they allowed us to get out of the bar. This was the ugly side of Bangkok which I failed to see in my previous trips. I don't think I would ever watch another Ping-pong show again.

Sky Bar at Sirocco

You could have a dinner for 2 for around US$300 (including wine) at the world highest alfresco dining restaurant (65th level) - at least, that's what I read on the internet. It sure is a great way to impress a lady.

I thoroughly enjoyed myself with drinking bourbon, viewing the brightly lit Bangkok City, enjoying the breeze and most of all, listening a wonderful Jazz band led by an American female Black vocalist. 


ChaoPraya River

Bangkok City