7 Stages of Happiness / Drunken Stupor

Stage 1: Shock and Denial
One whole bottle? By myself? After 2 beers?
One whole bottle! By myself! After 2 beers!

Stage 2: Pain and Guilt
Oh, the throbbing head. Oh, the empty calories.

Stage 3: Anger and Bargaining
Damn you, my wonderful friends, for presenting me with a lovely, expensive delicious bottle of white wine.

Why? WHY?

Stage 4: Depression, Reflection, Loneliness
Turn your heads away. Leave me alone to burp in peace!

Stage 5: The Upward Turn
Oh, is that an extra bottle of Hoegaarden I see?

Stage 6: Reconstruction and Working Through
Ok, time to drink plenty of water to wash the alcohol away.

Stage 7: Acceptance and Hope
Till next year!


When Advertising People Fall For Their Own Advertising Horseshit

Chinese New Year is a pretty big deal here in Hong Kong. So when we were tasked to work up a Year of the Ox campaign for our client, Hong Kong Disneyland, we pretty much figured they'd pull all stops.

And we were briefed so, too.

Here are some excerpts I wrote* for the long-copy print advertisements:

High levels of festive spirits equal high levels of luck. Find plenty of both at the Park’s most spirited Chinese New Year procession ever! From January 25 at Main Street (3 performances daily), there’ll be a dazzling lineup of color and happiness. Leading the procession is the magnificent golden dragon dance. The good luck dragon is followed by the many traditional symbols of New Year – clouds, Koi fishes, faichun man, Gods of Fortune and others. Next, it’s Mickey as lead Chinese Drummer in the energetic drum show. Behind him are his Disney character friends, welcoming you from above the revolving parade floats. Everyone will be dancing and performing along to an eclectic music score that combines traditional Chinese music and modern beats. Come join the fun, and be there to collect the special lai see that will be given out to everyone!

*heavily edited by client*

Here is the television commercial that was shot for the event:

Looks pretty exciting, right? I mean, holy cow Mickey playing the drums surrounded by all those cool drummers? And that dragon dance? And all that CNY spirit and red packets? Bet you wouldn't want to miss that, right?

Neither did we.

So, one day after a meeting at the Park, the team decided to have lunch there and stay on to watch the oh-so-exciting parade.

This is what we saw:

Pretty ok costumes. Not too bad...

First disappointment: Dragon dance disappointingly not as long as we were told it'd be.

Second disappointment: Is that heart-shaped backdrop doubling as a Valentine's Day float? (Answer: Yes.)

Third disappointment: Only a smattering of aforementioned "dazzling lineup of color and happiness"

Fourth disappointment: Mickey WASN'T playing the drums. He was just tapping the drums along to the beat of the music blasting throughout the Parade.

Fifth disappointment: Yup, those are Mickey's fellow drummers in the "energetic drum show". The number seemed to have decreased by 90%, as compared to the TVC.

Our looks of disappointment on our faces were quite priceless.

What can I say? We were suckered.


Reminiscence of Sains Rumah Tangga

The original domestic goddess, Ling, presented me with a bunch of stuff for Christmas. Among them was a pack of real vanilla beans. That's right: r-e-a-l vanilla beans, all oily, glossy and oh-so fragrant.

I grew up thinking vanilla came from a jar of Star Brand Vanilla Essence. Or vanilla flavoured essence, to be more precise. That brown, medicine-like liquid in a little bottle with its red screw-on cap. You know the one I mean.

So you can understand my jakun-ness when being presented with the real thing. I promised Ling I'd bake a cake using the beans, and capture my efforts in full technicolour glory for her amusement.

Only thing is, I don't have an electric mixer here in Hong Kong. So it was back to the basics.

And no thanks to my failing memory, I had to make 3 separate trips to the supermarket near my place to pick up something or the other. And the ingredient list consists of only 6 items. Yes, I know.

How to make a Pound Cake with REAL Vanilla Beans, by hand

1. You'll need - butter, sugar, eggs, flour, baking powder, vanilla beans.

2. With a wooden spoon, beat the butter and sugar until your arm feels like it has been dislocated from the rest of your body - approximately 2 minutes. Continue beating for another 13 minutes till butter and sugar become a creamy, white mixture. Ignore any blisters that may erupt on your palm.

3. Add the eggs, flour and real vanilla bean seeds (scraped from its pod) to mixture. I threw the pod into my brown sugar jar. Mmm, fragrant sugar.

4. Bake for about 50 minutes.

5. Remove from oven when it's done (duh).

6. Laugh at old wives' tales that tell you to wait for cake to cool before eating.

7. Best with cup of coffee.

Langkawi is Fun! (Who Knew?)

I was in Langkawi last week for a spontaneous (wow, I still have it!) holiday with some friends who are turning 30 this year.

The last time I stepped onto this island was when I was still in high school. I vaguely remember a stretch of long, dusty road, lots of coconut trees and locals travelling at the speed of tortoise on their kap chais.

Well, news flash! Nothing has changed.

Long, dusty roads. See, told you nothing has changed.

So, anyway. I blew my carbon footprints to hell by flying to KL, before flying to Langkawi. And looked forward to lazing my days away under the sun, while quenching my thirst with copious amounts of Duty Free beer.


The locals. Waaait a minute...

Wow, there is island-hopping?

Whoa, there is a cable-car ride with some Sky Bridge thing?

Holy crap, there is a Telaga Tujuh thing for people to walk up flights of stairs to see trickles of water posing as a waterfall?

Still, t'was fun. But I suspect it was more from the company than the attractions itself.

And no, contrary to popular belief, I managed to stay sober throughout the trip.

OMG an Update

That's right.

Will wonders never cease.

It's been almost 2 years since my last entry. Nothing much has happened since.

Well, ok. Except that I moved to Hong Kong for work. And picked up 5% more Cantonese than I did in my whole lifetime. And discovered the joy of public transportation. And began volunteering at a dog shelter. And accepted the fact that Bessy no longer regards me as her human god. And regretted taking Malaysian food for granted. And have fallen in love with running outdoors. And have unearthed the age-old secret of relieving stress (hint: shopping + money).

What can I say? Time flies when you're having fun.

Yes, I've missed you all too!