Happy 2017!

Happy New Year dear readers!

Thank you for staying faithful to this blog (by the way, I honestly doubt anyone is reading. lol)

I was thinking about my 2017 resolutions and was thinking since I’m 30 this year I don’t think any resolution is meaningful. I rarely keep them anyway. So I came up with a way of life instead.

  1. Live courageously but not recklessly
  2. Live a healthy but happy life
  3. Live with no regrets

Whatever resolution I would make throughout the year should fit into any of these 3 areas.

I’ve also restarted something. I’ve always said I wanted a new hobby but I think I already found a hobby a long time ago. I thoroughly enjoyed writing but I guess work life came in and I kind of forgot about it. So, I’m going to start writing/blogging again (well, we all need to start somewhere). The catch is I won’t be writing much here because I’ve started a new blog called 21 weekends and I’ve written 2 blog posts already. Wow! That’s more than what I wrote last year! 21 weekends is basically a summary of my various weekends when I’m not in town. I’ll see how long it last.

Well, hopefully your 2017 is kicking off with good things and may I wish you good health and happiness in 2017! 😀

梦想的声音 The Sound of Your Dream

Hi dear readers! 

Surprised to see me here? 

Well something spurred me to restart my writing. So I shall start small. 

A lovely colleague of my mine was telling me about a new singing show that had JJ Lin and Hebe and I was curious considering their history. So I started watching 梦想的声音 or the “sound of your dream” and I thought it was pretty good. 

The talents that appear on the show are pretty awesome as they tend to have musical backgrounds. The artist line up is JJ Lin, Hebe, Amei, Jam Hsiao & Yu Quan and every week they get challenged by the talents by being asked to sing quite random songs. Like the one about eating fried chicken in people’s park. 

If you have time.  Check it out 🙂 

2015 status check

It gets so depressing every time I get this blog’s annual report from WordPress. To sum it all, in the year 2015, I only managed 4 blog posts! On the brighter side, I have hit the 400th post milestone! Yes!

Anyway, since this post is meant to talk about my 2015 status check lets jump straight into it!

I vaguely remember creating resolutions for 2015, so I scrolled back 4 blog posts and identified my fairly short resolution list. Here it is…

2015 resolution list

  1. Continue going to the gym. Maybe do more cardio?
  2. Volunteer more
  3. Less procrastination and lazing around
  4. Live in the moment
  5. Let what happened in 2014 stay in 2014, 2015 is a brand new year!

Looking through that list, I think I failed on all fronts. Gasp!

  1. That monthly gym membership is like giving away free money. Yipes!
  2. Volunteer? HAH!
  3. Same old lazy butt here wouldn’t want to lift a finger
  4. Live in the moment. Hmmm…. I… can’t measure or justify
  5. Well I resolved to do something about it and I kept at it. But whether its the right thing to do? I have no idea. I think I shouldn’t try to forget but accept it for what it is.

Well, since I seem to have failed to complete my resolutions, which isn’t surprising since I forgot about it, let me just reflect on my 2015. I’ll reflect by asking myself questions and of course answer them myself too. Here goes!

2015 Honest Q&A

  1. What do you think of 2015?
    2015 just flew by! Overall, I think it has been a pretty bad year for Malaysia as a whole. Since it’s bad for Malaysia, ultimately it’s citizens are suffering. Raising cost, slow economy, salaries that aren’t rising as fast as inflation. I believe 2015 is a difficult time for everyone.
  2. Personally, how was your 2015?
    In terms of?
  3. Well, what do you think you did well in 2015? Or rather what were your achievements in 2015?
    Hmm… I think travelling solo was an achievement. I would like to do that again some day. Other than that, I’m now a house owner. Now I hope I can transition to a landlord too. Owning a house is rather expensive.
  4. Those are pretty fascinating achievements. What do you think you could have done more in 2015?
    Other than exercise more? If I could have done it all over again. I would have tried an meet more people, make more friends. I would also try and give my 100% at work. Ok fine.. 80%. Personally, I felt that I’ve been coasting/free riding at work. That’s pretty bad. Other than that, at the back of my mind, where I’ve conveniently stored it, is that nagging feeling to make amends with a “friend”.
  5. What about your life in 2015? How have you been? What were you up to? Did you start any new projects?
    Wow, calm down now… That’s a lot of questions. Ok, I think I’ve been doing pretty good in 2015. My wrist seems pretty normal now. Although I realised I’ve been getting flus in 2015 more often than in 2014.
    In terms of activities, I don’t believe I tried out anything exceptionally new. Most of my weekends have been dedicated to the house. All that time and money. 
    Ah yes! I’ve started to learn to invest again. Hopefully I’ll do alright. Risky but well, we need our money to grow!
    Actually in 2015, a lot of closer friends got married. Lots of facebook friends too. I think it’s that age where you’ll start losing friends cause they’ll be busy with their families too. In the last wedding too, as I was leaving I felt a sudden overwhelming feeling of sadness. I’m definitely happy for the couple. But I suppose I’m wondering will my turn arrive? Hmmm….
  6. How do you feel now that 2015 is ending?
    I honestly feel my memory is fading hahaha… Well a bit mixed, after all the questions you put me through, I think I did alright on certain fronts but I could have done better in other areas. Will I try and improve in 2016? Well, I haven’t quite figured out what I want my 2016 to be like. All I know is that I’m starting it with a dilemma and that money is involved. Definitely difficult choices to make.

Well, that’s it! No pictures to recap any fun exciting activities I did in 2015! Ah well, I’ll give you a little freebie.

IMG_3321

The finale of the Rainforest World Music Festival 2015!

I won’t be writing about 2016 just yet. I need more time to think about what I want to achieve.

Hope everyone had happy holidays and a Happy New Year!

A game I cannot play

As always,

I thought of you again.

A fleeting memory that’s slowly fading.

I try to remember your face sometimes,

but the image of you is getting harder to piece as time goes by.

I suppose I fell too easily.

For what, I wonder.

I can’t seem to pinpoint the qualities anymore.

Perhaps you were just a perfect idea.

One, which I had not thought of.

Nor had I the courage to dream of myself.

Looking back, my behaviours were perhaps seen as childish.

From my lack of experience. Maybe.

If I could replay my actions,

I would have stayed away.

For alas, you are in a game that I cannot play.

Space filler

I believe I used to like to write. With my introvert personality, where else can I share my thoughts? Does this mean I haven’t had marvelous thoughts in awhile now?

These days I’ve been too caught up procrastinating on things. There are so many things I want to do in that limited resource we have called time. Finite time is of course extremely valuable, but I waste it on non-productive activities. I gotta get my act together!

There are just so many distractions! Distractions, begone!

Feels like I’m in a rut sometimes. Don’t know what I want to achieve in my life, don’t know where I’m heading, don’t know the purpose of my existence, heck what IS the purpose of mankind’s existence? All these difficult questions will of course be unanswered. All I can do now is stare at the flashing line on my computer beckoning me to type the next sentence.

Oh! Did you’ll know Death Cab for Cutie is coming to KL! Haven’t been to a concert for awhile. Felt that I was getting a bit old for hanging around at free standing parties. But hey! How often will you get Death Cab for Cutie eh?

In the meantime, I shall think of something more exciting to type next time. Which may actually be much sooner than you think. Till then, hope my dears readers find their reason of existence. 😮

Traffic jam wisdom: Grass is greener on the other side. Or is it?

Driving to and from work is a rather time wasting exercise. An hour just stuck in traffic can accomplish so much! So, a sudden gush of wisdom was bestowed upon me as I sat behind the wheel of my 20+ year old car. I shall share it with you, my dear readers which are slowly diminishing day by day.

Grass is greener on the other side

It’s a four lane highway, you’re queuing up on the slow lane inching your way to the front. You glance to your right and see cars on the fast lane moving much quicker. “Hey! That lane is moving faster.” Do you switch lanes?

Scenario 1: You switch lanes and once you switch, the cars begin to slow down on the fast lane and the cars on the slower lane are moving faster now. “Ah! What the heck!”. You end up worst off than if you just persevered.

Scenario 2: You change lanes and zoom ahead. You notice that the cars on the fast lane are slowing down and the speed on the slow lane seem to be picking up speed. You switch lanes again. You end up reaching your destination much faster than if you did not switch lanes.

Scenario 3: You don’t make the switch and patiently inch your way to your destination. The cars on your right continue to pass you by. This is a scenario of sticking to your choices but they are not always the right ones.

Moral of the story: Scenario 1 & 2: Timing is key! Observation is necessary. This sorta applies to real life. If you caught the start of the movement, you’re fine. If you caught the tail end, unfortunately you’ve missed the boat and left to eat dust. Better luck next time. This basically translates to “don’t be a follower and strive to be the leader” as well.

What about Scenario 3 where the driver didn’t switch lanes? Well, he/she basically missed the boat, but since he/she has nothing to compare with. He/she is in their ignorant bliss, until someone makes a comparison. The lesson here is that basically you gauge your own achievements. If you felt that you reached your destination in a reasonable time, that’s good. If you felt you should have been faster, well there is always tomorrow to try out a different route maybe?

Hope you’ll have interesting thoughts while driving!

To more solo trips?

Around last year, I created a tiny “Things to do before 30” (didn’t express it in this blog, poor neglected blog) list. The list only had 2 simple things.
1. To embark on a solo trip
2. To volunteer

For #2. I actually volunteered at a soup kitchen and distributed food to the needy/homeless. However, that was just one off and the soup kitchen seems to have enough helpers now. Just need to find another avenue to volunteer my help then. So, I suppose #2 can never be struck out and will forever be something that I’ve to do.

#1 however is easily achieved but will I be brave enough to travel alone? All my trips before this (even when I studied in Australia for a year) were accompanied by friends. Travel with friends if of course safer, you get to rely on each other, more fun, builds relationship, so on and so forth….

Traveling solo however is a whole different thing. I made the wise decision to embark on my first ever solo trip to Taiwan and had this ambitious task of circling the entire Taiwan in 12 days. My itinerary was as such

  • Day 1 & 2 – Sun Moon Lake 日月潭
  • Day 3 – Alishan 阿里山
  • Day 4 – Alishan 阿里山 (Stayover at Kaohshiung 高雄)
  • Day 5 & 6 – Hualien 花莲
  • Day 7 – Jiu Fen
  • Day 8 to 12 – Taipei

“What? So packed?” That’s what most of my friends said when they found out about my itinerary. There were also a lot of questions on “Why Taiwan?” Why not? It’s safe, it’s easy to travel, it’s relatively cheaper than my other choices of Japan and Korea, communication should be alright (I speak pretty basic mandarin), this should be a breeze!

All in Mandarin. I'll take forever to figure out which bus I need to take.

Stops have English names but the other information are all in Mandarin. I’ll take forever to figure out when the next busis coming.

Research was easier than expected. They have a lot of information in English available. However, I noticed that the Chinese version of some sites are more informative. I even saw a hotel having different prices in the Chinese and English version of their website (not very ethical there). Since reading the sites in mandarin will take forever for me, I just read the English ones. Should be substantive enough. Traveling around was also smooth sailing and in Taipei particularly, even the buses announce the stop location in Mandarin, Taiwanese (similar to Hokkien), Japanese and English. I could go on forever about how I planned my days but I shall skip you’ll the boring decisions.


So to get to my main point, here are my thoughts on solo traveling, which also sort of relates to life…

  • Choices are all yours to make = Freedom!

Basically, the World is your oyster! (Ok… maybe not the world but just Taiwan) Every decision you make is well, your choice. What you eat, where you want to go, what you want to do, where should you visit. Too much freedom can be a bad thing because if there are too many choices and you’re torn between 2, there is no one to add weigh to a particular choice.

Some of these decisions were a bit difficult to make but most were a breeze. I chose to make Sun Moon Lake 日月潭, Alishan 阿里山 and Taroko Gorge 太鲁阁 must visits. Which was kinda difficult because the first 2 are on the west side of Taiwan while Taroko Gorge is on the east side. There is no public transportation across the island. Hence, my need to circle the entire Taiwan and make a scheduled overnight stop at Kaohshiung 高雄. I don’t regret it though. I ended up having more time in Kaohshiung 高雄 than expected and it was good fun (also links to being open point). The experience was good and I’m very amazed by Taiwan’s railway connectivity.

One of the many

One of the many “male & female” art installations at Kaohshiung’s Pier 2 Art Centre, which was surprisingly nice.

  • You set your own pace in life

Kinda linked to the above point. At times I realised I was rushing (walking too fast, anxious if I could make it on time) and then I thought “Why am I in a rush? What am I rushing for? I paid to be here, I should enjoy every moment of it and take my time.”. Same goes with our usual lives, why are we always rushing? Time is of course valuable but we should take the opportunity to enjoy every bit of activity that we are doing. I.e, reading, watching the television, conversing with people…

The street market in Tamsui 淡水, which I didn't browse through cause I was rushing to catch a sunset and a train to Shihlin Market. Big mistake. I just tired myself out.

The street market in Tamsui 淡水, which I didn’t browse through cause I was rushing to catch a sunset and a train to Shihlin Market. Big mistake. I just tired myself out.

  •  Be open

I suppose being on this trip. I wanted to try out what it would be like. I guess I was open to a lot of things, suggestions from other people, and multiple changes to what I was going to do, other than things that I thought would be dangerous, i.e., walking around alone after 10pm.

– I rented a bicycle from a breakfast place’s owners friend

– I drank beer at a kiosk and chit chatted with the barkeep

– Walked a path suggested by a guard (there were other people, so it was pretty safe)

–  Randomly took a bus to another part of Yang Ming Shan 阳明山, turns out there was a Calla Lily Festival there. 😀

– Sat a Taiwanese lady’s rented motorbike around Taroko Gorge 太鲁阁

– Met and spoke to quite a lot of random people. From the temple worker to other travelers. Quite a lot of them were surprised that Malaysians can speak mandarin. And the younger China travelers are actually quite adventurous (traveling alone, lots of them) and are much nicer than their tour bus counterparts.

One of the farms at Yang Ming Shan's Calla Lily Festival

One of the farms at Yang Ming Shan’s Calla Lily Festival

  • Stepping out of your comfort zone

I’m not saying that You need to be the exact opposite of who you are, but just change how you usually act a bit. I’m personally an introvert. Making the first move to talk to strangers can be a bit difficult for me. In previous travels, I wouldn’t be the one making friends with other travelers. I enjoy my own free time, but I know that if I travel without talking to anyone or engage in conversation with anyone for 12 days would be a waste of an opportunity to meet all sorts of people.

So at hostels, I tried to greet my fellow roommates (if I had any) and most of them were quite eager to meet other people too! We shared stories and where we have been in Taiwan. Very surface level sort of conversation but it was good. Changed my general perception of China tourists definitely. Funny thing though, the first thing that most of us ask first is not “what’s your name?” but “where are you from?”.

  • It’s nice to have some familiarity

Stepping out of comfort zones aside. Having a bit of familiarity is also good (yes, it’s quite contradicting to the above point). In the first 8 days of my travels, all I spoke was mandarin. Back in Malaysia, I barely speak any mandarin. Even if I do, it’s mixed a lot with Manglish and Canto. Once I checked in at the Taipei hostel, I finally gotta speak English with 3 Germans and a Singaporean. On my last night at the Taipei hostel, I finally got to use my lahs with fellow Malaysians too! How exciting!


The above are are of course my main thoughts on traveling solo. I’m sure there are a lot of other things that cropped up in my mind. The 12 days will forever be etched in my mind and although I just left Taiwan 2 weeks ago, I have been entertaining the thought of returning. There’s just too many things to see.

12 days was definitely a bit long for my first solo trip. A fellow Malaysian, whom I met at a dorm in Taipei, was surprised that I took 12 days to travel alone for the first time. I initially wanted 14 days, so I was only 2 days short. There were definitely downer days. I.e., when it rained the entire day when I reached Hualien 花莲, the occasional thoughts of “wouldn’t it be nice if I could share this (trip) with someone?” and the tiredness. Once I reached Taipei or rather Jiu Fen, I felt tired. Must have been all the moving about. In that 12 days, I stayed in 6 different accommodations. The longest was for 4 nights in Taipei. But once I started walking around the attractions, I felt rejuvenated. Especially at Yehliu 野柳, where you get to enjoy the cooling winds of the Pacific ocean.

Reaching the top of the filial piety hill in Yehliu Geopark. Such a nice breath of fresh air, although the wind was slightly dying down then. Bummer.

Reaching the top of the filial piety hill in Yehliu Geopark. Such a nice breath of fresh air, although the wind was slightly dying down then. Bummer.

To sum it all, I had a blast in Taiwan! Met quite a number of random strangers along the way. I kinda enjoyed the solitary moments, although there were definitely times of loneliness. Sharing food was difficult as was taking pictures. Moving around was a breeze because transportation was great and I didn’t bother with a huge luggage! Furthermore, the Taiwanese people are so helpful and friendly! (Everyone I met in Taiwan also said the same thing) 9 of 10 people there will be helpful and friendly. 9 of 10 people in Malaysia will be the exact opposite. I would most definitely return. “When?” would be the most appropriate question.