12th May 2012
I have always dream of attending Jacky Cheung's concerts. So watching him live is a dream come true. Think I sound like a fangirl… because I am.

Since I bought numbered seats, there is no need to rushed to Stadium Merdeka like my previous concerts. It was a magnificent sight. The stadium was absolutely packed. Don't think any other event would have such a crowd. Staring at the 3 large LED projection, I remember a tech supplier once mentioned Jacky Cheung's concerts rents the most equipment - 100 moving heads - this was at least 4 years ago.

At 8.30pm, the lights dimmed and the crowd roared, video playback started and the crowd went crazy (hey, no opening act!) Dancers with umbrella dancing and suddenly…YAY, Jacky appears on an elevated platform. As he tap dance, the visual of water splashes on the LED screen behind him was just timed perfectly. The video playback was a love story specially designed for his live concerts to communicate the message of his songs even better. The video stars Shu Qi.

After a few dance number, he headed to the swing with one of the dancer and they kinda flew. The swing was lifted up to the video projection of the moon behind. Very nice! Next, the screen suddenly seem to have disappeared and Jacky appeared on an upper level of another stage. After a few songs, the stage he was standing on started to tilt from 90 degrees to an angle he could just walked on to an elevated platform. Amazing! What come next made everyone realized in awe that as it flips over 180 degree, it is actually the same LED screen we saw in the beginning of the concert! Nice.

He wrote a song in dedication to Lydia Sum of her influence in his life. Dancers dressed in costume with mascot and large balloons were pretty cute. After all that, he toned down and came to a smaller lower stage to the audience and did a little Jazz session with his pianist and double bass. He was a little disappointed at the response of the crowd after the 1st song, well you don't expect everyone to know how to appreciate Jazz. Haha, but the crowd continued to encouraged him as his following Jazz songs were jazzed up version of his popular songs. It was pretty nice, as he puts it, he could see the faces of this sitting near him, and this is just something he enjoys doing. Normally he does only 1 song, but somehow one lead to another and yea, it was nice, gives a nice touch to familiar songs.

After that he returned to fast paced songs (he claims to have seen people yawning) that he…or he used to have danced very well before. Remember that he ended one song with a split and that really got the crowd screaming. I am little jealous that he can still perform a split at his age. Then there was a little chopper that appeared midway of the songs and it flew like the swing earlier. It was spectacular with fireworks and laser lights. Truly a great show. It was nice to hear him interact like how he wants us to remember his dancing because he wasn't sure when will he be back and if he could still dance that way. Throughout the concert, he repeatedly apologize for his performance in December 2011. Apparently he was unwell (during the 4 consecutive nights concerts) I am truly impressed by his spirit of excellence and the energy. At 11.30pm, he asked to confirm that the audience was not working the next day because he wanted to sing more songs….We ended around 12.10pm That was a solid 3 hours and 40 minutes concert with very short interval for costumer change. Salute this guy and his voice never fails to deliver each song perfectly.

Technically, I thought the band and Jacky sounded amazing. Great job sound engineers! I sat at the very extreme side of the stadium and everything just sounded great! Vocals and instruments was very crisp and clear. Video playback was done very well and middle and side screen video mixing was really good. Lighting effects was impressive as it changes from one scene to another.

25th - 28th February 2012

Probably the most impromptu flight tickets I bought. Just 2 weeks before the trip. Needed to take a break before moving to a new department. Managed to drag Tee Hui with me.

It was fun just driving around Langkawi in our little rented Viva. Practically went around the island and tired ourselves! We visited the 7 Wells (Telaga Tujuh), cable car to Mount Mat Cincang, The Datai, Black Sand Beach and feasted in Kuah Town. It was a really hot during the day and rainy at night. We had nice walk on Cenang Beach and chilled at the Oasis Bar and Restaurant - where they served pretty decent juices. Enjoyed chilling at The Loaf in Perdana Quay too. We actually hung out there twice!

The last time I was in Langkawi was with my mum in 2000. Won a free ticket with accommodation then. This time, since we were paying, we went for a budget place - Casa Fina. Couldn't find my ideal beachfront. This accommodation is still rather new. Hope they continue to maintain the place well as I could see light stains here and there. It is very strategically located, just walking distance to Cenang beach and right across from the Underwater World with many shops and restaurants around.

It was a good 3.5 days. Wish it was longer.

15th - 18th December 2011

Never planned for 3 dive trips a year. But this was a great deal. Buy 3 FOC 1. And this is in a foreign country (ok, it's just an hour flight, something like flying to Penang). Sounded cool so we signed up. Never expected to dive international water so soon!

It was a pretty early flight for all of us - Tee Hui, Sam, Scott, Soo and myself. Arrived in Padang and it was raining! Was a little concern of the visibility. We met Bob, our friendly guide for our trip. He owns and runs Star Ocean Scuba & Surf with his "boss" wife Dewi.

We checked in to Nature's Inn early and unpacked! Ready to dive! We were welcome by Brown and Goldie! Brown was afraid of us till the day we left. But Goldie was just big and playful. The bunk beds were probably the most comfortable I ever had on a dive trip so far (I'm the budget kind).

First thing first… FOOD! OMG, so much to try and everything just looked delicious.

 It was about an hour boat ride to the nearest dive site. This place is rather new for divers. As far as I could see, we were the only divers around. So Bob had the liberty to name the site himself. The water was pretty choppy… OK, worse than I thought. A little puking made me feel better. But once in the water, I feel better than ever. Visibility was great and every site was beautiful, untouched - quite different from Malaysia. The only thing that looked the same was the moray eel. Most of the sites we went were wall dives. My highlight for the trip was probably the coral fans and sighting the nurse shark… 2 meter long and 2 of them together. Think they were residents there. Pretty much ignored us until the cameras came. Yea, and I didn't have a camera.Got the photo below from Soo. Our packed lunch was delicious too, but my seasick was just untimely.

The food was just excellent. Bob took us to different places and have to say, the winning dish MUST be Satay Babi. Best pork satay I every had. And the cucumber pickel was perfect. The Ikan Bakar was excellent too. For drinks, the must try are Alpokat (Avacado juice with chocolate) and Terung Pirus (some kind of pink fruit) Can you see how thick the juice was? No water added!

We extended our stay to go on a day trip to the catch a view of the active volcanic mountain. Unfortunately for us, it was cloudy. But we did visited some tourist area in Bukit Tinggi like Japanese Tunnel and the Zoo (?).

Our last activity day was our discover surfing session. With only 1 layer of sun block, we braved the waves and sun for more than 3 hours. Didn't feel a thing. We surf and surf and try to stand on the surf board as long as we can. We didn't want to stop! But stomach was getting a little hungry. When we returned to rest, I was shocked when I looked into the mirror. I have never seen myself so burned in my entire life. It was BAD. And the silly thing was we forgot to put sun block behind our legs. All of us were burned terribly and sitting down was a challenge (for a good few weeks as our skin started to peel). Another silly thing was we booked massage that night. It was supposed to be relaxing but with all the burns, it was a painful one. Great memorable trip.

Must go Padang again! Thanks Bob and Dewi for your hospitality.

All the dated photographs were shot by Soo and Scott and occasionally Bob.

24th - 26th November 2011

A group of colleagues wanted to take little retreat. So off we went to this place called Awanmulan (Mulan's Clouds) within the Pantai Hills Orchard Resort in Jelebu. Followed someone's GPS and we lost our way. Google map worked a little better. By the time we arrived, it was getting dark (and we were the 1st group!). After a call clarifying if we were still on the correct road, we reached. There weren't any signboard because, well, it is an orchard and the houses were all private property and they just came up with the name not too long ago.

The Teng family built their own home and another part as a guesthouse house for family friends. We booked most of the rooms that 2 night, so we very much had the whole place to ourselves. We entered Teratak Bonda and was just in awed. The beautiful structure was made of wood and had a very tree house (a big one) feel to it. The kitchen faces the lush greenery and as the clouds surrounds the place, it felt really serene. The huge deck with hammocks was just prefect. We had a welcome party - Daniel and friends. They were really friendly, and they knew their boundaries.

We had a quick tour before deciding on room assignments. The girls got the larger, newer units below the deck. :) Every unit was spacious and beautifully designed and some were equipped with kitchenette. Some of the bathroom walls were adorned with colored glass bottle and some, you get a very outdoor feel.

Oh, and check out the swimming pool! Awesome! Don't worry about 3G, the family has got wifi for us. Nice for those who can't stand not being connected on fb and twitter. Some of the girls and I took up the Sunrise room. And I had my bed pushed right up to the edge to get a real feel of sleeping "next" to nature. And the name didn't fail. Check out the sunrise photo below. That was the sight that greeted me in the morning.

Had a little chat with Uncle Teng. Told us a little about his background and about building Awanmulan. Most of the window panes and doors were bought over from old traditional homes that was going to be demolished. And part of the pool deck was made of old telephone post. He decided to leave the wood as it is instead of filling up the holes and chopping them to the exact length. As original as it can be!

Zee helped planned a trekking for our group - which some within the group just couldn't cope with. We turned back instead of finishing the trail. Guide said we were just too slow. Most of our food were catered and Zee helped us with BBQ. Of course we did a little cooking - instant noodles! Haha. We ate so much, we finished most of the snacks we bought - which was A LOT.

It was a refreshing trip. Will be back again. Simply a great place to chill. Just pray I don't bump into a group like mine, we were pretty loud till wee hours in the morning. :-p

5th - 6th November 2011

Seriously, it was great to go away with a few cool colleagues. A rather short trip but a little fresh air in the mountain is great. We stayed at the Crown Imperial Court right near the night market. It was a 3 bedroom apartment that can accomodate 9. A little to big but nice to have lots of space! Haha.

We splurge a little with tea at the Smokehouse. Oh my, don't think I'll go there again. But the place was really nice and cozy.

8th - 11th July 2011

My 1st trip to Tioman Island. We started our journey pretty late with all of us coming from work and different directions. It seemed like a pretty long drive to Hotel Seri Malaysia. Lots of dark winding road towards our accommodation for the night. Soo, Sam, Theng Theng and myself was to meet Adam nearby our Seri Malaysia. It was then that we realized our car trunk was broken into during our dinner near my house. It was definitely heart breaking to find out 2 bags were taken. We went to 2 different police station and stayed up to 4am to make the reports.

Day 1
2 dives
The next morning, we went back to the station to collect the report and thank God we managed to get Sam's contact lenses. We took our ferry from Tanjung Gemuk. The ride wasn't the most enjoyable thing. It was 2 hours and the ferry was packed full. Plus, the ferry stopped at multiple jetty on the island! We reached Tekek Jetty and our "taxi" took us on a 5mins ride to East Divers Tioman. There, we met our divemaster for the next few days - Keat. Considering the amount of sleep we had, we managed 2 dives on the 1st day. Glad that the incident didn't spoil it all.

Photo by Sly & Soo

Day 2
3 dives + 1 night dive
I had my 1st photo with a green turtle! I also buddied with Chris, a swiss guy who usually dives in lakes. One of the things we didn't do during my 1st night dive was experiencing the glowing plankton. Glad we saw it this time.

Photo by Sly

Day 3
2 dives
We did the right thing to extend our trip by another day. It was just another 2 more dives but a lot more relaxing and less rush. We took the challenge at a more demanding, less visited site where the surface waves were stronger but the sight was just beeaaautiful.

Day 4
As usual, the packing and saying goodbye is hard. Don't know when is the next time I'll see the underwater world. We went for a predinner then dinner then suddenly something adventurous came to mind - supper Beef Bah Kut Teh in Malacca. The supposingly 30mins drive ended up more than 3 hours. :-p Yup, we were adventurous.

It was a great trip where we met new friends like Hendrix, Sly, Claris, May, Steve and Cindy. Tioman is a huge island. Probably many more sites to explore next time. :)