Friday, March 31, 2006

Chok Dee Krup!!

I am looking forward to mid-April. That's when I go on my annual trip to Ko Samui, a favourite island for many sun-loving people off Thailand. Why keep going back to the same place year after year(it's my 5th time)? Cuz it has good beaches, friendly and colorful people, food's cheap and good, and I can idle there with a Singha without having to worry about flight schedules, fussy passengers, and nasty colleagues.

I will be making this trip with my Dear Mickey. I'm sure she'll come to love it after the first few days of taking in the rays, and trying the delicious Tum Yang Koong. My good friend Clarrdy will be there with family in tow. No more hedonistic mis-adventures like before when we went as a group of young punks, but will be enjoyable nonetheless.

Though I make a living jetting from place to place, I still look forward to my holidays, if I do make plans to go on one. I always envy passengers who make numerous trips to destinations that I dreamt of when I was a li'l Ahtiong. How they must've read up about the place, made numerous enquiries, planned their itenary, saved up their bonuses, to be flown in a hunk of metal with bad air for a week or so of R&R. It's so
Chan Brothers, ya?

If there's one place I would really like to go, it's Ibiza. I'm so enamoured of that party island since I started cheonging
Velvet in my younger days. Imagine, all one does is eat, drink, and party! No bundling on a tour bus to go sightseeing, no cramming into a restaurant for some set lunch/dinner menu, no early wake up calls just so you can wait for the late comers at the hotel lobby.

Eat. Drink. Party. That's all one does on Ibiza.

I've told myself I'll go there one day, one way or another.

For now though, Ko Samui beckons!!

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Swede balls of Fire

Right before you read on, go around your place and count out how many pieces of furniture, furnishings, l'il brick braks you have from Ikea. At last count, I have no less than a dozen pieces from the Swede furniture company. Talk about support!!

My weakness for these flat-packed thingamajigs stems from my very young days when I visited other people's home, where the owners will proudly declare where they bought that nice rug or simple yet functional shoe rack from. It's like a badge of honour to mention that yes, it was put together by their own 2 hands.
At that time there was a branch just off Katong, before one turns into Marine Parade. I used to take a bus to go there just to gawk at their line of products. I always tried to get my hands on their catalogue, circling out things that I'd like to be able to afford and imagining where I can place them in my own place when I grow up.

Fast forward 15 yrs. Everywhere you turn at my home, there's a Swede designed, 3rd world country made piece of furniture. In fact,I'm writing this on a PC table(2nd one) that was put together, taken apart cuz we got a piece wrong, and put together again in the space of an afternoon. Next to it is a toiletry trolley that I've converted into a mini bar for my copious amounts of fine spirits. Next to THAT is a small folding dining table with 2 black foldable chairs.

My entertainment room, which I recently put together for EPL nights, looks like it's been lifted straight out of the catalogue itself! I feel though, that the pièces de ré·sis·tance has to be the Malm bed in white that I put together on my own, with some help from my Bro. I remembered when I told the sales counter that I didn't need the delivery guys to assemble it for me. He gave me that,"What! You crazy, man!" look as I calmy made my purchase. My Bro and Mum thought the same too when they saw the amount of boxes that it came in, then watched in horror as the men left without as much as cutting the boxes open. I confidently told them that it was part of the experience, putting the bed together, when one makes a purchase at the Alexandra Road main store. They left me to my own devices, and I got down to work.

Work stalled after just 20 mins. I'd put in a screw the wrong way, and that took me almost an hour to get out. From there it was pure ego that kept me going. With some help from my bro, I got to lie down on my new self-assembled bed that night. Ahh..a mini triumph for me that day!

I have since added 2 Malm side tables, a new sofa and a small coffee table to my "showroom". There's still some moving around I need to do before, maybe, organising a popiah party over here. Watch this space...

Monday, March 20, 2006

"Tour" of Duty

Just got back from a nice trip to Athens, Greece. It's still winter there so the load was light, and thus most of the crew were in a relaxed mood. It also helped that one of my senior colleague organised a trip to one of the outlaying islands, called Aegina. So this actually felt more like a vacation than work!

The island of Aegina used to be a small fishing port, and I suspect they still do some fishing for the local market. It was totally different from all that traffic and noise that's so common in the city. We checked into this very nice studio apartment with a great view and quaint rooms. 3 of us guys shared a room, with the 2 of us sleeping in a cosy attic above.

As it was an off peak season, the rooms were reasonably priced and we didn't have to fight with the summer crowd, which can be quite daunting. Moving around in the small island in a big group of 11 plus a child wasn't as difficult as I thought. We happily went about snapping pictures of each other and the group. In the evening when it got cold we headed back to the studio apartment and the nice owner got the fire started while we had drinks around the warm fireplace. We retired happily, and I think my room was the noisiest as us guys took turns keeping each other awake with our snoring!!

I woke up early to try to get some sunrise pictures but alas, it was too cloudy to get any good ones. I did, however, get in some very nice pictures of the island, each looking just like them picture postcards. We had a nice lunch of (more!) fish again before going back to pack for the trip back to mainland.

The rain came pouring down just as we were making our way to the port for our ferry ride. After that I saw the biggest rainbow, rounding up a pleasant stay on the island.

Special credit must go to my colleague, who did all the research, made all the bookings, even got down to ordering for us during lunch. It's not easy to be the tour organizer/leader I think, but he does it with such ease. Of course, it helps that most of us are quite chin chye, and don't nit pick about food, the weather and sleeping arrangements... ...

A wonderful tour of duty, truly

Thursday, March 09, 2006

We are in the last 8!!

Last night Arsenal secured a place in the last 8 of the Champions League. I was literally watching the last 10 minutes standing right in front of the TV. To send in a team that's so young(in a way, dunno what is called die) and perform so well against one of the biggest club in Europe is indeed commendable. Goalkeeper Lehmann damn steady, singlehandedly, by the tip of his fingers prevented a goal that was a sure thing.

Henry should really forget about the overtures from other clubs and stay to see how exciting this team will become next season. C'mon, he's just gonna be another expensive import in the other clubs. Here at Highbury, he's a Legend. That's something money can't buy. And I have a feeling Henry is not someone who just goes for the biggest buck. Finally got to wear the jersey with pride!

For a guy who's alone most times at home, I have an extraordinary amount of kitchen utensils, cutlery, crockery plus pots and pans. After removing all the grime from both my bathrooms, I decided to clear up the clutter that's my kitchen, since I was on a roll. After putting away the good wine glasses and numerous commemorative mugs, I found myself going through an inexplicably large number of unused dishes, cutlery, scissors, condiments, spices and even a rice cooker!

I don't cook at home, and my Mum's too busy to make me any home-cooked meals, therefore I'm puzzled as to how all these landed in my kitchen. For your info, my storage space is really a premium in the kitchen.

Now headache how to hide all of them...


Originally uploaded by ahtiong73_.
One of the rare times I've captured the sunset on camera.

Taipei isn't just a noisy, crowded city after all. For the cost of NT$40 you can take the subway to a smaller town near the sea.

And come across a view like this...and there's more

It's a Small World After All...

I'd just recently came back from LA. Would you believe that in the 10 yrs I've flown I've not visited Disneyland once? Well this trip was different. Armed with wads of cash for the merchandise I'll be coming across, and a camera that's fully charged, I started on a 1hr30min bus journey to The Happiest Place on Earth.

One would think that in LA everyone has to drive to get somewhere. Well, it has a wide network of buses and subways that are clean and efficient, if you know which ones to take that is. A tip would be to ask the hotel concierge, most of them has a timetable of sorts.

The bus stopped right outside Disneyland, and though it was a tad bit overcast that day, people were still streaming in. We bought our tickets (no crew discount though), and headed straight to Toontown to meet Mickey Mouse. Photos were taken before we joined another queue to have a snapshot of Minnie Mouse.

From there on it was a slow walk around the huge park. I'd think that any child would be drooling at the prospect of meeting the many characters that have been churned out by this company. And they showed it by buying up every merchandise in sight. Even adults were into it, gosh the power of an icon.

In a way Disneyland brought out the child in me too, though I had a closer affinity to the traditional cast rather than the new fangled ones like Nemo or The Invincibles. Yep, it's old school Goofy, Mickey, Daffy, Pluto for this man-child.

It rained towards the evening and thus the nightly parade was cancelled. We still left happy, knowing that in this big, bad world that we live in, there are still places you can go to feel like a child with no care in the world.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006


You were young, you were rash.

You dabbled in vices that got yourself and your love ones into trouble.

Now, you are old and frail.

You have become dependant on those that you'd hurt in the past.

Some have forgiven you, some have forgotten.

Why can't I do either?