29 April 2008


- You have an appointment at the local hospital at 11.00am.
- You arrived at 10.45am, register and pay, only to sit and wait until 11.45am for your turn.
- You enter the room to a doctor who's slouching on his seat with his eyes half-open.
- His sitting posture looks like he's just about to slide off his oh-so-comfortable chair.
- He is so effin' lazy that he cant get his $*% off his seat to put the xray on the light panel that is less than a metre away. Instead he choose to stretch his arm annoyingly to reach it.
- He then explains the results to you with his eyes closed whilst swaying his oh-so-comfortable chair left and right.

Disregarding the waiting time, what happened to the professionalism of doctors?? That is such a put-off! I left fuming and wishing i've smacked him across the head twice.

.It's the time of the month.

25 April 2008


Who's gonna win? Brunei's Blogger of the Year 2008. My personal favourites are Reeds, Rano and Nonnie. Reeds and Rano keeps me up to date with the what's going on in town, and Nonnie just gets me snorting with her effortless humour and witty ideas. They're all winners to begin with, and from them i see the wonderful spirit of Brunei's blogging community; their commitment and unity is anything but virtual.

Anyways, on a totally different note, Pajama's Night at the movies organised by Reeda in support of SMARTER 2 weeks ago was great.
.The movie P.S. I Love You is sweet yet heart-wrenching.

Holly Kennedy (Hilary Swank) is beautiful, smart, and married to the love of her life—a passionate, funny and impetuous Irishman named Gerry (Gerard Butler). So when Gerry’s life is taken by an illness, it takes the life out of Holly. The only one who can help her is the person who is no longer there. Nobody knows Holly better than Gerry. So it’s a good thing he planned ahead.

.Sometimes time just doesnt heal all wounds.
.Sometimes you can only wish time helps you forget.
.Sometimes memory creeps up on you like a phantom.

P.S: I voted for Rano :P

21 April 2008

Where's my hot guy?

One of my highschool friend, Pao Ju, frequently holds facebook Photo Competitions and Jyy Wei suggested I submit this particular picture to her Portrait segment.

*** What is a Portrait? ***
In the simplest definition a portrait is a likeness of someones face.

Portraits mean a lot more to most people, however. A portrait should capture more than just the likeness of a person. A portrait should also show their personality, or their character. A portrait is usually considered to be flattering to the subject. A portrait is a collaboration between the photographer and the subject.

.So it won.

Here are some of the voters thoughts:
Pao-Ju Tien (London)
#2 choice: beautifully captured and very nice tones. the reflection in the window looks like the boy's inner self looking in, while he is looking out. mesmerising indeed... love it!!

Christophe Ng Kwing King (Columbia)
#1 choice: the reflection seems to capture the boy's inner self. I am impressed !

Jyy-Wei (Brunei)
#1 choice: I love this shot. It captures such a simple yet beautiful moment.

Shelley Chen
#1 choice: this is a great shot. I love it!! as if the boy is connecting to his inner self or his soul... a profounding moment...

Gary Lai (IBM)
#1 choice: creative atmosphere

Kenneth Yu (London)
#1 choice, because of the difficulty in composing a shot like this. You had to be there at exactly the right time, when the window was frosted up with the boy's breath, and the boy was blinking. And photoshop it perfectly to get the glow, giving it that ethereal feel without looking fake.

Stephen Lok
#1 choice: Makes you think

Shiu Lai Ng (London)
#2 choice - amazingly captured! It feels like one of those rare precise moments when everything just falls into place for the perfect foto

*** What do I win? ***
Again the same as last time. The prize is a hot guy or hot chic, your choice :) Please note that 'hot' is a subjective word.

So where's my hot guy, Pao Ju??

18 April 2008

Chilling in Bangaland

29 - 2nd Jan 2008

Our last few days in Bangalore was ... what can i say ... enjoyable. We had our own driver, our own accommodation, wake up whenever we please, there was no chase for time, chilling at Caryn's balcony enjoying our Goan music and the cold breeze of winter end. It was pleasant, it was homey.
.You cannot possibly fathom how happy both my stomach and I were when i bite into my first Mcdonald burger and crunch those chips. No more indian food for me, wo pu yao!

.The worst food i've had in India is Maggi Masala. It is gross to the maximum. Gahhhhh.

.Products of our shopping - a cowboy and home-cooked food.

We were supposed to continue our south India journey to Chennai or Mysore, but you'd agree with Caryn if you saw our faces when we returned from north India. "Condemn" is how she termed us. We looked like we've just fought a war rather than been on a holiday.

.So we toured Bangalore.

.At Kemp Fort temple. Read more at my babe's.

.TGI Friday's - yummy ribs!.

Leela Palace.

New Year's Eve.
.Accenture office!.

There's a lil' stg that i'd like to share with you guys.
1. Do not be alarmed at the way people honk in India. It's considered a courtesy. They beg of you to "Please Sound Horn!"
2. Pack all sorts of medication with you, we were lucky we didnt need any, but you never know!
Dettol wipes are a MUST - you'll develop a tendency to wipe every single thing you touch cos they all look so dusty. Mosquitoes repellents are a MUST - them mozzies are kingkong size. Tissue papers are an absolute MUST - you dont wanna be using smelly water after your no.2.

3. Bring your own lighter if you're a smoker. It is close to IMPOSSIBLE to find a lighter in India. Or else, you can do what my buddy did, pocket as many matches as you can at your hotel.

When i look back at my India trip, i've had some really good and some chilling moments. But it all adds up to a wonderful experience that'll remain vivid in my memory for a long time. Thanks to my babe, that of all places had to be posted to Bangalore, hence making an improbable India happen for us. And I totally adore her tiny, sweet and charming driver Selvar!

Last Christmas and New Year was indeed different and adventurous!

To those who's been contemplating a visit to India, you should take up the challenge. It's worth it.

17 April 2008


New bloggie on the block!

Check out my travel buddy's photoblog.

He's very much into photography and eventhough he is still meddling with the fancy twists and turns of a camera, some of his shots are really great. So check him out but be patient, he is also in the 'how-to-post-a-blog', 'how-to-upload-a-picture-to-blogger' learning phase. Hahaha..

P.S: I have to admit photeography does sounds abit dodgy, i hereby declare that i am in no way responsible for any materials that you may find extremely offensive or extremely pleasurable in his blog.

13 April 2008

What a tribute to love...

27 Dec 2007The sun was slowly creeping up the horizon. I closed my eyes and sank into my seat. I tried but i couldnt sleep. So i laid my eyes on the road to Agra. We were dashing through paddy fields that are spread beyond my vision. A different world was flashing by my window, i tried to absorb as much as i can... an old man was sitting crossed leg beside his icecream trolley, he had a blanket over his shoulders and was sipping hot tea from a tincup. There was a barefooted boy wearing a jacket over his sarong tailing his mother, i presume, who's wrapped in an oversize tattered cloth. There were men taking a piss at brick walls. Of these, i was most intrigued by this boy sitting infront of me. He was quiet throughout the 2hr train ride, occasionally leaning in for a look outside our window. He had the most angelic face though i cant help but think it is partly filled with sorrow.

.He looks so engrossed in his thoughts. What is going through his mind?.

Outside the train station, we were mobbed by taxi drivers, each trying to undercut the other's price. We were worried, we wanted a decent driver who could understand, speak english and know his way around. In many ways, we were again lucky to find just that driver, Tahir. He showed us his guestbook that penned praises and thanks from his foreign passengers. With only a day scheduled in Agra, we were very eager to begin our journey but he persuaded us to have an early morning tea before beginning a hectic day. It was good.

.Beautiful morning in the backyard of a family restaurant.

Back home, when we did our research on Agra, we pictured palaces, forts, temples and the beautiful Taj Mahal. Our expectations were quite different from the reality that awaited us. We had no idea that visiting Agra, home to so many UNESCO World Heritage sites and the greatest monument of love, came at the price of witnessing so much sufferings. The streets were crowded with anything you could possibly imagine, donkeys, children, cows, rickshaws, trucks, horses, lorries, dogs, fragile old people. There were children digging through rancid trash alongside wildboars in search of food scraps. On the other side of the street, a butcher was hacking away at the remains of a cow. Mothers carrying their babies fast approaching our car to beg for money. I will never forget how i felt that day. It is the definition of the survival of the fittest. How do people adapt to this life? Or perhaps this is their life to begin with. Certainly along the way, there were beautiful sights too, but there was no joy in taking it in.

Our first stop - Fatehpur Sikri - a UNESCO World Heritage Site

The royal city built at the orders of Mughal Emperor Akbar houses many majestic red sandstone forts and buildings. He wanted a dreamcity for his wife and 300 concubines where they could live a glorious life. It is impossible to grasp the beautiful and sometimes ironic stories of places as such without a guide. We got one. As he spoke and we walked, we were amazed at what was unfolding before our eyes. Every single piece of architecture had a story to it.

Halfway through a photographer came by and offered to take our pictures. I dont know how he did it, but he made me do poses that I cringe at when looking back later. Gali. He snapped away and later asked for money in exchange for the pictures. WTF. Something to watch out for.

There's 3 sections to this fort. The most memorable ones to me are:

- the tomb of Sheikh Salim Chishtis. Many pilgrims still come to this tomb and ask for a wish, 3 wishes infact. We bought a package consisting of 3 red strings, a blanket and some flowers. When entering we were to change into sandals, wear a songkok, tie each string to window carvings and make our own silent wish, and finally lay the blanket and flowers over Salim's tomb.

- top right picture: a replica of the mosque in Mecca.

- bottom right picture: carvings of earrings then.

- the Palace Complex. At the courtyard laid the world's largest Parceesi Board, one of Akbar's favourite spots. Where human players are used as tokens, Akbar used slaves dressed in different colours to play this game.

And lastly the Diwan-I-Khas, a 2-storey building with a impressive throne pillar inside. It is intricately decorated with Muslim, Hindu, Christian and Buddhist motives that shows Akbar's tolerance to all religions.

.Tahir coerced us to visit more government shops which really pissed me off, because of his need to accumulate more points resulted in us arriving late at Taj Mahal. However, i must say i now know the great amount of skill and dedication put into weaving a carpet - a wall size hanging takes 2 person more than a year to complete, how insane it is to polish a small fragment of marble that adds up to a masterpiece. We got ourselves a 100 and 400USD worth of Taj Mahal replicas. Oh, the owner of this shop said his father worked on Brunei's Sultan Omar Ali Saiffudin mosque! Friggin' small world. +_+
.When visiting India, if you want quality goods and not risk being ripped off, be sure to visit shops that has the Govt's endorsement.

The Great Taj Mahal - One of the 7 wonders of the world and a UNESCO World Heritage Site
We did not expect such a long queue. We started queuing, inching our way towards the entrance. Men and women were separated in two different queues, make sense considering you'll practically sandwiched. People starting taking an interest at us, shaking our hands and asking where we're from. They beamed with pride to know that we have came all the way to learn more about their cities and their culture. Some of the best moments were the faces of children smiling and requesting shyly to look at my camera when I took shots of them. Then suddenly someone questioned why arent we holding tickets. ???? My buddy ran and came back with two tickets @ 750 rupees each (USD15) when the locals only pay 20 rupees. Grrrrrr.

.An hour and a half later.
Entering the Taj Mahal is like passing through an airport check-in inspection. They were very strict with the items allowed beyond these gates (no lighters, no food, no weapons obviously), and no shoes. How in the world am i supposed to find my shoes later =_=! That was the least of my concern at this point. Our first view of the Taj Mahal was through another gate. I froze and sputtered a combination of "OMG, WOW, SHIT, GAWD, IT IS SO BEAUTIFUL" The sheer size of it even through this arch is mind blowing. It is bigger than my imagination.

Stepping through the entrance into what feels like a dream makes this trip so so worthwhile. Nothing i have read, nor been told has prepared me for this moment. I was overwhelmed with emotions just staring at this beautiful piece of work, this beautiful tomb, one man's love wrought in living stones.
.Built by Emperor Shah Jahan in the memory of his beloved 2nd wife, Mumtaz Mahal, this building has inspired countless poets and musicians around the world. She died while accompanying him in Burhanpur in a campaign to crush a rebellion after giving birth to their 14th child. So crushed was the Emperor that all his hair and beard were said to have grown snow white in a few months. His symbol of eternal love for her took 22 years and 32 million rupees to materialise.

We walked down the reflecting pool and sat down on a platform directly infront of the Taj, watching ants of people circling the gigantic white marble terrace. We decided against walking in to see the caskets of the 2 lovers for being out here is somberly beautiful and heart-stirring enough. Sitting beside us was a pair of new lovers from New York, also deeply mesmerised by it. So great is this monument that it envelops you into an unspeakable state of love.

When nightfalls, i was quite disappointed that there were no spotlights, the Taj was hardly lit up by the faint moonlight. I was told the colours of the Taj change at different hours of the day and during different seasons. Like a jewel, it sparkles in moonlight when the semi-precious inlaid into the white marble on the main mausoleum catch the glow of the moon, pinkish in the morning, milky white in the evening and golden at night. These changes, they say, depict the different moods of women. OOooooh!

Its beauty is beyond any words men can conjure up. You have to see it and drown in it for yourself. I was truly happy that India has offered me the most beautiful tribute to love I had ever seen.

We woke up late again the next morning. We ran for our life. I have not felt so short of breath in so long. We ran and ran. I thought to myself ... if we cant make it, we'll just catch a cab ... and that was when the train starts moving ... my buddy jumps at the nearest door while i was still running. WTF!! I screeched and a million thoughts ran through my head. My phone, my wallet, my entire life is in his slingbag. I had nothing on me.

I'm gonna die.

I was about to well up when i heard his voice "Come in, come innnnnn quickkkk" I leapt in and shove this guy infront of me. While threatening i would have crushed his &#$*# if he left without me, we suddenly realised we're in the lowest class coach. It's look like a mobile jail. Rusty seats, barred windows, dodgy people. A piece of metal board serves as a shield from the cold icy wind outside. The train conductor checked our tickets and told us we're in the wrong coach. yeahhh. We were told that the train will make a 5 minute stop an hour later, and we planned to make a run for it.
So we ran.

Laughing like hyenas, laughing at our stupidity, cursing at the stupid schedule we've made, and again the train starts taking off and we made a jump for it. This coach looks better, in 5 minutes we still didnt make it to first class. We give up.

This is the end of our North India odyssey. What a way to finish the race.

09 April 2008

New Delhi horror

26 Dec 2007
As New Delhi is dotted as the capital of India in the world map, our ignorant impression of it was a buzzing metropolic city. It was buzzing.. buzzing with dirt and hunger. The ride to our hotel was disturbing; it was late at night, the streets were drowned in rubbish, there were a great number of people squalid and squatting by these filthy roads. Worried about our safety, I posed my driver a very serious question, "Is this area safe?" He turned around, gave me a disconcerting look and said "God bless you, madamme"
.It wasnt at all comforting to see a water-dispenser truck stationed right outside your hotel.

It was only the beginning of our Delhi horror.

We finally got our room after a good 30mins worth of hoo-haas. Tired and needing a shower badly only to find that the water here is just as bad as Bangalore. Water in India trickles, smells, and leaves you wondering if you've actually washed off all the shampoo on your hair. I really hate the water in India.

We decided to shrug all these crap off and go out for some food. Thinking it was best to get the hotel's car service than hail a cab, we were again struck with fear. A car stained with permanent dust drove up to the hotel entrance and we entered to croaks and yawns of an annoyed driver. We told him specifically we wanted to go to a restaurant, or any 24-hour deli. He nodded "Yaa, yaa". Then he started driving towards the back alleys of those rundown buildings, stopped, and this random bloke with a hood, hands in his tattered jacket starts hunching towards our car, jumped in and our driver took off. =_=! My buddy was worried sick and had his phone ready, fist clenched to strike at any sudden movement.

(.A few days after we returned to Brunei, 2 girls were mobbed and molested by close to 20-30? men outside a hotel in New Delhi. I seriously dont advice girls to travel to India alone.)

.At 12am in the morning, he took us to a dodgy street stall filled with intimidating people and used tinfoil plates disposed of everywhere. It was dirty, it was disgusting.

We ran back to our car while constantly watching our backs. This time, I tried to make myself clear by raising my voice, "Restaurant!" "7-11??". He didnt seem to understand and went round and round in circles. Remembering we passed by Shangri-La earlier on, we clutched our tummies and demanded he take us there immediately!

"Civilisation, at last" cried my buddy.
In Delhi, the extremities between the rich and the poor is appalling. It is just a stone's throw between sub-human conditions and Shangri-La's grand entrance. People in here are donned with diamonds and strut with an air, seemingly unaware of the condensed misery beyond these thick glass doors.

Our sumptuous supper was to last us a couple of hours till our 5am train ride to Agra... which is here we go, scare no.2.
At barely 5am in darkness, Delhi is already wide-awake. We were running late but the traffic couldnt care less. With a few minutes to spare, our driver told us to get out of the car and make a run for the train station. It was the scariest shit ever. People were yelling out to us, we were this close to being run over, the train station compound were refuge to many, many, many homeless people. We ran and we ran... Just when we lift our feet off the platform, the chugging starts. Phew.

28 Dec 2007
After a night in Agra (next post), we decided to return to Delhi for a day of touristy activities - we were determined to unearth the good in this city.

First thing first is to get our luggages out of Karol Bagh - the hell-hole according to my buddy, get ourselves a decent hotel and off on our adventure.

.Located at the west bank of River Yamuna.

Raj Ghat (King Court) is the place where Mahatma Ghandi, the father of India, was cremated. A memorial is dedicated to him in the form of a simple black marble platform, with the epitaph He Ram (translated to 'O God') which is believed to be the last words uttered by Gandhi before collapsing after being shot.

An eternal flame burns perpetually on his resting place, and the marble is so brilliantly polished that it reflects the passing clouds.

Gandhi was known to be in harmony with nature, therefore his samadhi are enclosed with trees, and little plots of white pebble stones.

A soothing music that seems to be echoing from the skies played continuously... walking through this park brought an immeasurable sense of peace to me.

.Located at the heart of the capital, Rajpath.

The India Gate (42m high) is built as a memorial in honor of 90,000 soldiers who sacrificed their life during WWI and the Afghan wars. The flame of an immortal warrior, Amar Jawan Jyoti, has been burning under it since 1971. This gate instantly reminded me of the Arc de Triomphe of Paris! It seems like a very popular place for the locals. There were an arcade of vendors, children blowing soap bubbles, monkey performances and people practically picnicking by the pavement. I was repeatedly harassed by a woman who wanted to give me a henna, while casually waving her needle around. I freaked out when she wouldnt let go of my arm. Huuhuuhuu.

Directly opposite India Gate lies the presidential palace (Rashtrapati Bhawan), the official residence of the President of India. The iron gates, which is as far as we can go, are copied from a pair that Sir Edwin Lutyen (its designer) saw in Chiswick, England. This place is beautiful and it's obvious that the architecture has elements borrowed from European styles.

Known to be extremely popular with the diplomatic community and the most expensive place to shop in New Delhi, we were pretty shocked when driven here. It's nothing like what we saw on the web. "This is Khan Market madamme, this one Khan Market, here!" Where are the so-called excellent book stores, delicatessens, fabric stores, nike?? On the other side. And we missed out on that. Bad driver, friggin driver.

New Delhi and Old Delhi is simply divided by a short bridge, however they are a world apart. It is obvious where the emphasis is put and money in this country is spent. Old Delhi appeared as an abandoned child left to fend for itself. Driving around here is quite a pain. The streets are bursting with rickshaws, horses, elephants, and people. Traffic law does not exist in any sense. We dreaded every traffic stop, because we have to endure the sights of malnourished children bending their arms, somersaulting, and imitating monkeys, hoping that the few seconds of entertainment can earn them something in return. Our driver advised against giving money as this will attract a hoard of them possibly banging on our car. We lowered down our window, wide enough to slide whatever is left of our chips to this lil' girl. She hastily grabbed it, and started grubbing everything down. It was a very disturbing sight.

.R: Pronounced "Nine" what our driver called not man, not woman. Apparently this is not uncommon in India, there is a hospital that performs free sexual transplants for men in return for their sex organs. How true is this, i have no idea.

Having had a long day, we decided to treat ourselves to dinner at Bukhara, one of the top 50 restaurants in the world, in Maurya Sheraton. Even after making reservations, the queue is still insanely long. We had to wait more than 30mins, roaming around we found bar Dublin, one of the top 25 bars in the world by accident, also nested in this hotel.

I love the decor in Dublin bar, and the $20+ worth of pint.

Food at Bukhara was great, though i wouldnt say out-of-this-world. Lets just say, you're not at the top without a top price that comes with it.

Averaging 2 to 3 hours of sleep for the past few nights and fighting fatigue, we cant wait to fly back to Bangalore to laze off the remaining of our holiday.

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