Header of the Month: What the kids in Nepal taught me.

When it comes to procrastination, I think I’m the queen.

I have been wanting to write this post for a while, and it took me two YEARS to finally get around to it.

I think part of me wanted to make this post perfect, since I felt that this travel story that I’m about to write deserves the best. Everything that had thus far come to my head never sounded good enough – I don’t even know if this post is going to cut it.

It took a terrible earthquake that practically damages Kathmandu to shake me out of this mentality, and I decided to write this post about the kids in Nepal, because I’m thinking of them, and I’m praying for their safety.

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The historical tower built in 1832 that collapsed because of the earthquake.

I went to Nepal exactly two years ago on a mission. I had never been much of a charitable person, and definitely not someone who would proactively make time in the weekend to help people in need. And for that, I felt genuinely horrible, as if I were a very evil person. So I decided that perhaps a trip to the poorest country in Asia would make me more charitable.

I expected the living conditions and the tough terrain of Nepalese mountains would teach me a thing or two. And I did learn something from them. But the credit for the best lessons learned should go to the kids, really – I went there to teach them some Mathematics and English, but I came home feeling that I have learned so much more from them.

Here are some life lessons that I had the privilege to be taught by the wonderful kids:

Go the extra mile (or two) to learn

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I remember complaining in my head when I arrived at the mountains and found out that we had to wake up at 6 AM the next morning to prepare for the materials because the kids are scheduled to start their class at 6 30 AM. Grudgingly I set my alarm, only to be woken up the next day before my alarm went off by the chirpy noise of the kids outside! The kids were there an hour early! What made me feel even more ashamed of myself afterwards was that I found out that some of them lived two hours’ walk away, which means they woke up at 4 AM, just to attend the classes that we were going to teach! I never recalled having so much motivation to learn, even though I had all the access to education right at my doorstep…

Continue reading “Header of the Month: What the kids in Nepal taught me.”

Header of the Month: Myanmar Theme Song.

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The view that inspired it all.

I recently rediscovered a hidden ‘talent’ of converting famous songs into parodies. Although I can’t share the one that I composed two days ago just yet (since there is a high chance I might get sued by someone), here is one that I wrote and dedicated to my awesome trip in Myanmar last December (which I had to sing and dance to on our last night there, thanks to the request of my demanding friends and travel mates).

Please play the Lion King’s ‘Circle of Life’ in the background, to fully appreciate this song.

The Epic Myanmar
(Inspired by the song ‘Circle of Life’)

From the day we arrived in Mandalay
And blinking step into the sun
There’re more temples than can ever be seen
More to do than can ever be done

There’s far too much capcai we eat
With fried rice, pork curry and noodle
But then in Bagan we got diarrhoea
Mbak and Tika* never fell sick at all

Continue reading “Header of the Month: Myanmar Theme Song.”

Lost and found photos from Europe (and Taylor Swift).

Yesterday felt like a day of second chances. When my brother announced a few months ago that his laptop got stolen along with his camera SD card which contained pictures from my family’s Europe trip last summer, I was pretty bummed. I spent weeks after that trying to get over it and trying not to think of what pictures in there that I would never see again. Of course, the more I tried, the more I would remember what were in there.

So when my brother told me yesterday that apparently his SD card had not been lost with his computer, I was thrilled beyond words. After an unbelievably long week for so many different reasons, my spirit was considerably lifted up.

I have then decided to take the initiative to back up all these photos into a few different places because really, how often do you get second chances?

Well as it turned out, you may get second chances twice in a day! Just a few hours before this happy discovery, my friend managed to get us tickets to Taylor Swift’s Red Tour in Singapore – a concert that had been sold out the first day the tickets were on sale and because we did not sit and wait in front of our computer to purchase them, we did not get our hands on them. However, since her sold out concert in Bangkok is cancelled due to the political situation there, the organiser had decided to hold another one in Singapore and voila! the tickets were miraculously available again. We snatched them up in no time and I am going to see Taylor Swift live in Singapore on 9th of June!!!

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Anyway, I have digressed. What I really want to show you through this post are some photos from my brother’s camera that I’m glad could see the daylight again.

So let’s start with my photo looking naturally lost at Copenhagen Central Station. I guess this is how I look most of the time, with my close-to-nonexistent sense of direction.

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Bearing in mind that this was probably my 50th time there.

Continue reading “Lost and found photos from Europe (and Taylor Swift).”

Fruits Fan Club in Hong Kong.

I’m having a slight sore throat, most possibly because of my rather unhealthy lifestyle over the weekend. What made it worse was the lack of fruits in my fridge that I can just pop to my mouth to soothe the throat, or more importantly, to soothe myself psychologically that I have eaten healthy today.

So since I can’t get my fruits instantly, I shall do the closest thing that can get me to them – writing about them. And no, I’m not going to list down the health benefits of different types of fruits, but rather, I will transport myself back to March last year when I chanced upon the most copious mountain of fruits that I have seen in my life: at Yau Ma Tei Fruits Market in Hong Kong.

As always, the best things during travel are the ones that you stumble upon accidentally. We certainly did not plan to visit this fruit market, not at 2 am in the morning at least. What we were doing before that was definitely not of people who were sophisticated enough to appreciate how fruits came about to our table every morning.

I was too busy thinking that Aaron Kwok and I were meant to be since our hands fit perfectly into each other.
I was too busy thinking that Aaron Kwok and I were meant to be since our hands fit perfectly into each other.

Continue reading “Fruits Fan Club in Hong Kong.”

My Top 10 Myanmar Moments.

“This is Burma. It is quite unlike any place you know about.”

If I were as eloquent as Rudyard Kipling, that would probably be my default reply whenever someone ask how my recent trip to Myanmar was. But I am not. Instead, I always come up with a lame three-word sentence that goes along the lines of:

“Myanmar was incredible.”

(Or replace the word “incredible” with “awesome”, “beautiful”, “lovely” and other praising adjectives that do not really say anything.)

In return, I normally get raised eyebrows and somewhat non-subtle skepticism from my listeners.

I don’t blame them. After all, the country is a hidden South East Asian gem, only opening up its economy to the world in the last two years. It is still shrouded in mystery (although I guess the biggest mystery to most of my fellow South East Asians is why we want to visit the place in the first place since there is an unspoken rule of the closer a place to our place of birth, the less interesting it is).

Anyway, since I feel the need to make up for my verbal incapability in travel story-telling, I have resolved to turn into Myanmar tourism evangelist through writing to do the country some justice it so deserves. However, I am not going to bore anyone to death by putting my travel itinerary here. Instead, I am going to list down my 10  personal favourite moments during my 9-day travel to Mandalay, Bagan and Yangon.

Continue reading “My Top 10 Myanmar Moments.”