Thursday, December 31, 2009


Overall, 2009 has been a good year for us.

Freedom was finally gained after seeing the light one day in early 2009.

We finally made it to Japan to enjoy the Sakura season after talking about doing so for many years. Travelling at our own leisure for two weeks without having to adhere to a tour schedule was fun, fun, fun!

We finally received what was due to us 3 years ago and making full use of it.

We welcomed an addition to our extended family in Aug 2009.

We made it in time to sign the official documents in Dec 2009 and started the process.

Goodbye 2009! Hello 2010! Happy New Year everyone!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Christmas 2003

We were in Beijing on 24 and 25 Dec 2003. My spouse was there for work and I just tagged along for fun. It was our first trip to the country of our forefathers.

We stayed at the Century Golden Resources Hotel 北京世纪金源大饭店 (now known as the Empark Grand Hotel Beijing). The above photos were taken in the lobby of the hotel and its underground mall.

On Christmas eve, after my spouse have left for work, I took the local public bus to the nearest subway station (Xizhimen). Then I took the subway train to Tiananmen. I have taken subway trains in Hong Kong and Tokyo but this really takes the cake - the whole train was jammed packed with people - my whole body was stuck to everyone elses bodies around me and I couldn't move at all. It was a horrible experience.

Then I alighted at the Xi Tiananmen stop but I didn't go into 故宫 Gugong (Imperial Palace) as I wanted to wait until my spouse could go together with me. I just walked around outside and took photos. Since I was alone, many Chinese came up to me to offer me their tourguide services. I had a difficult time saying no so many times. They were really persistent.

While I was walking slowly and enjoying the scenery, daydreaming in my own world, I suddenly realised that someone was shouting at me from behind. I turned and to my horror saw that a group of people were marching behind me and their troop leader was shouting at me to move away from their path. I quickly jumped aside to let them passed. I was so embarrassed. They must be thinking, who is this stupid tourist who is blocking our way. Luckily I managed to snap out of my daydream in time or else I would have been trampled to death by the marchers.

Then with a map in my hands as my guide, I walked all the way to the main Quan Ju De 全聚德 restaurant located in Qianmen (famous for its Quanjude Peking Roast Duck) to meet my spouse and his customers for dinner. It was very, very windy and cold but not snowing. I had to struggle to walk against the force of the wind. The above photos were taken along the way. I walked through rows and rows of bare naked trees in the grey wintry weather.

This photo was taken in the lobby of the restaurant.

On Christmas day itself, my spouse had to go to work as it was not a public holiday in China. As we were leaving Beijing on that day for Shanghai, I didn't venture out of the hotel for anymore lone-sightseeing. Instead I just did some lone-shopping in the huge underground shopping mall of the hotel.

It is good that for this year, we are going to spend Christmas with our extended families. Nothing beats singing Christmas carols with all our family members around us. Here's wishing everyone a Very Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009


After dinner, we went to my mother's place to eat glutinous rice balls (汤圆 tāngyuán) because today is the winter solstice festival (冬至 dōngzhì). My sister and mother made two types of fillings for the tang yuan, peanut paste and black sesame paste. The glutinous rice balls were served in ginger syrup. My sister also made thick spring onion pancakes with less salt (葱油饼) for me to eat because she knows that I like to eat them that way, thick and not salty. I feel so loved after eating all the delicious food my sister and mother cooked for me. A big thank you to both of them!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Memories, please stay

When we were living in UK, we only managed to visit a handful of places. Though few, I find that I can't remember all the places that we have been to off the top of my head. I need to search high and low for the digital photos to jot my memory. Since I have a blog here, I will post a short entry for each of the trips that we've made, just for remembrance. So here is the first one.

In May 2000, we visited Stonehenge. The drive there took about an hour from where we lived. There was a tarmac and grass path around the stone circle and visitors were only allowed to view the stones from afar by walking on this path. At that time, we didn't know that we could arrange for a Stone Circle Access visit that takes place outside of the normal opening hours by pre-booking and pre-paying for it in order to walk closer to the stones.

On the same day, both of us paid for English Heritage membership. As members, we would have free entries to many historic sites owned by English Heritage. After Stonehenge, we stopped by Old Sarum, an ancient hilltop site of the earliest settlement of Salisbury, in England. The photo on the bottom right shows the remains of the walls of the castle in Old Sarum.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Celebrating Advent

A few days ago, I woke up early (by my standard) at 7.30am to go shopping. We reached IKEA just when it opened for business at 9.30am but many customers were earlier than us. This is because IKEA is celebrating Advent by having different special deals for each of the 24 days before Christmas. This was what we bought:

Source: The bottom picture above is taken from

We got 5 units. We saw some people buying the maximum 10 units. We heard that the many pallets were sold out in 2 hours. We also noticed many other shops selling Advent calendars for children with chocolates concealed in them. For those celebrating Advent, let's remember the real meaning of this season without getting too engrossed in the shopping activities. Have a Blessed Advent!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Happy Birthday!

Here's wishing my dear brother a very Happy Birthday!

For the first 6 years of my life, I thought we would be a family of 4 forever. Then came my brother. My sister and I had lots of fun playing with the baby or rather we treated the baby as our precious doll. The baby loved it when we propped him up with pillows and put him on our father's swivel chair and turned the chair round and round. Once we turned the chair round and round many, many times before we realised that there were only pillows on the chair. The baby was not on the chair. To our horror, we found him lying on the floor. He had fallen through the opening between the back and the seat of the chair! He didn't even cry out. He must be too dizzy from the spinning chair.

When he attended kindergarten, I used to wait for him after my school hours were over when he stayed back for his year-end concert rehearsal. It is good to have a younger brother. We used to accompany each other a lot when we were young as we were the two youngest children then in our family, at least for 7 years. Then when we grew up, he became a man of few words but we still share a deep bond between us. I hope our relationship will stay strong for many years to come.

Photos below: (right) We were at Port Klang. He was 5 years old then. Now he is much taller than me. (left) I was caught by surprise in this candid photo while he was making fun of me.