Midlife Crisis

No longer tender in years,

Hints the sigh of the autumn air,

Fading laughter by the ears,

Of forlorn hopes and despair.


Aimless soul roams the seven seas,

A voyage of futility and destitute,

Luring darkness of the abyss,

Lies worries and undying fears.


The heart where once fire were,

Blazed through the night skies,

Now a mediocre flicker of joke,

Of grim ashes reminiscent of the yesteryears.


A land so barren and bleak,

Lies the forsaken wilted flowers,

Kingdom where dreams once peaked,

Now silenced perpetually in its towers!


– Hong, 12 March 2019



Fo Guang Shan Monastery, Kaohsiung

The island nation of Taiwan has Mahayana Buddhist and Taoist temples mushrooming at the speed of light. You will be guaranteed to see a temple at almost every corner and turns be it large or small. It is no surprise as to how she has earned the reputation for having low crime rates considering the extent of its religious influence.

Zipped through a number of temples across Kaohsiung and they all have something in common; they’re traditional temples. Oil lamps illuminating majestically handcrafted roof darkened by thick sombre soot produced by incense lit by fellow devotees. Elaborately decorated walls and roof that witness and overheard the vows, wishes and cries of many. Time and again I was being reminded by the locals that no travels to Kaohsiung is complete without visiting Fo Guang Shan (佛光山). They said Fo Guang Shan is different.

There are two main grounds; the monastery combined with the Buddha Museum spans over 130 hectares is the largest in Taiwan. Founded only in the late 1960s by Venerable Hsing Yun, it has received significant funding to come to its current state.

We did not have time to visit the Monastery as it closes at 5.00 p.m. if you do happen to visit, make sure to visit the Monastery first, then the Buddha Museum which closes at 7.00 p.m. on weekdays (Closed every Tuesday).



Entrance to the Front Hall

Got to the Buddha Museum, which they also referred to as the Memorial Hall at 11 a.m. it costs us close to 900 TWD by taxi, one way! The consequence of not doing sufficient research before travelling! There is a direct bus from Zuoying HSR station which costs only 70 TWD. Mid-day at Kaohsiung during autumn is very warm. An umbrella will prove handy to protect you from the strong UV. Visit this link for detailed information on getting there.

Buddha Museum (FGS Memorial Hall)

A tall main gate and Chinese Palace style Front Hall welcome all visitors. There are restaurants, cafés and gift shops within the Front Hall. Vending machines are also available throughout. Some shops are selling pretty fragile and intricate souvenirs. You need to have really deep pockets to afford these.


24ct gold sculpture of a miniature divine frog teasing a dragonfly.


Hidden behind the Front Hall is the real deal. The famous eight Chinese style pagodas, the Eighteen Arhats and Patriarchs of the Eight Schools, the Main Hall with the four Indian style stupas and of course the big seated Golden Buddha. Be mesmerised and awed by the vastness and breath taking sight. It definitely is a humbling experience. There will be buses after buses of tourists coming in – photography may be a challenge past mid-day. Get there early!





An unexpected twist. Welcome to the 21st century! – No smoke, no oil lamps, and no soot. Everything is digitalised.




There are 3 shrines within the Museum.

Jade Buddha Shrine

This is a must see. It houses the reclining Buddha carved out of white jade and where the purported Buddha tooth relic lies. The side walls are adorned with wood paneling with carvings of different pagodas and stupas from all over the world that houses Buddha relics. Very strictly guarded. There is a firm and quiet feeling when you enter the shrine. Experience the surreal serenity within. We were very fortunate to be able to join the short meditation session in this shrine.


Inside the Jade Buddha Shrine, image obtained from internet free repository

Mount Potalaka Avalokiteśvara Shrine

Divine figure of the Thousand-armed, thousand-eyed Avalokitesvara with panels of lit images of various forms of Avalokitesvara on infinity mirrors. You can see devotees prostrating in reverence. Very moving.


Inside the Mount Potalaka Avalokiteśvara Shrine


Thousand-armed, thousand-eyed Avalokiteśvara, image obtained from internet free repository

Golden Buddha Shrine

Majestic golden Buddha figure with thousands of Buddha figurines lining the wall.


Inside the Golden Buddha Shrine

Apart from shrines, there are a few exhibition halls worth visiting.

The Life of the Buddha. The gallery brings us through the journey from the birth of Gautama Buddha, his palace life, realisation of sufferings, renunciation, awakening up to his passing.










Museum of Buddhist Underground Palaces. There is a tomb (48 Underground Palaces) housing artifacts donated from around the world. The tomb will be opened every 100 years. At the time of visit, there are 93 years remaining before the tomb will be re-opened. Guess neither of us will still be around long enough to witness this. Other than this, there is also a bowl of sarira as a center of attraction. There is also a replica of ancient tomb housing Buddha relics.


Inside the Museum of Buddhist Underground Palacesimage obtained from internet free repository





Historical Museum of Fo Guang Shan. We haven’t had enough time to visit this hall.


Museum of Buddhist Festivals. Very touristy hall where you get to try out some Buddhist practices like showering the Baby Buddha and be blessed by the mist from Avalokiteśvara Boddhisattva.





Buddhist Art Galleries. Various lifelike paintings worth seeing.




Here comes the bits everyone is waiting for. From the Main Hall, we can take an elevator up to the big golden seated Buddha. From here we can also access the four stupas inspired by those at Bodh Gaya. The view from the top is fantastic.


Sunset with the Buddha



Overall experience was really great. The staff were friendly and amenities are well maintained. Personally, I feel Buddhism should be less commercialised but I suppose this is how funding comes about and the way forward to appeal to younger generation. A truly amazing and humbling experience.


Address: Fo Guang Shan (佛光山)

No. 1, Tongling Rd, Dashu District, Kaohsiung City, 840

Visiting Hours:

Monday to Friday: 9 am – 7 pm (Main Hall closes at 6 pm)

Weekends & public holidays: 9 am – 8 pm (Main Hall closes at 7 pm)

Museum is closed every Tuesday, except 4 April, 16 May, and 7 November.


Hype Concept Cafe, SS 15 Subang

On then to HYPE Concept Café. Nestled just a stone’s throw away from the SS15 LRT Station lies a cosy tea bar. It offers an exciting array of T2 tea from Kangaroo land, Australia, finely brewed to the specifications for each tea, alongside a regularly changing and devilishly alluring selection of cakes and pastries.


Shaped by what’s banging in trend, HYPE has a hipster and chic flair. It is a little haven away from the student throngs around Taylor’s, INTI and Metropolitan. I think decking out in cool concrete and exposed ceilings screaming urban design are part of the appeal. You definitely feel the enthusiasm and personal touches from the owners. The patrons are predominantly teenagers, trying to look looking all modern and cultured, avoiding traditional radioactive orange Chinese food like plague.

The house speciality are teas, teas and teas. The mere thought of the word tea instantly leaves me with an atas feeling – think British afternoon tea, sipping it from your delicate fine bone china with your pinky sticking out, murmuring highly accented intelligible things with your other atas companions. You’re also spoiled with an assortment of sugary macaroons, pies and tarts, making you feel as if you’re diabetic dancing in the clouds chasing rainbows.




As for teas. if you have no clue as to what rocks your zing, head up to the counter and there you will find miniature boxes upon boxes of tea samples you can test with your olfactory. I took a quick whiff off their Classic Chai and trust me, it’s a medley of spices sending you off to imaginary India. That’s the real deal; you either love it or hate it.


My friend got herself Monk Pear, a combination of black tea and Jasmine blossoms. I was and I have never been a tea person, so I got the pricey sparkling Tapping Tapir Guava and Lemongrass fizz instead for fairly obvious reasons.


Watch me pour some piping hot tea out of the delicate fancy schmancy teapot. (Apologies for the awful video quality)

I took a sip of Monk Pear and I thought it is rather soothing and light, not very strong for someone who doesn’t fancy tea. There is a hint of Jasmine as an after effect. Did it convert me into a tea person? I’d say I wouldn’t mind having a cup once in a while.


To complement the soothing effect of Monk Pear, we indulged ourselves with Green Tea Red Bean cake, Purple Sweet Potato cake and Durian Red Velvet cake. Such guilty pleasures. I’d say the Green Tea Red Bean cake is worth travelling across the town for.




There you have it, do nip in for a nibble if you’d like.

Address Book:

HYPE Concept Café


A9-G, Jalan SS 15/4D

Subang Jaya 47500

Nights of Fright 4 at Sunway Lagoon

10 October 2016 – Nights of Fright 4, Sunway Lagoon. It was half past seven when I checked the time. Emotions are running high. The wolves are howling in the nightfall, sounds of rustling leaves send chills down my spine.. Okay, probably that is going too far. Maybe I’ll save that for novel writing but I think Bram Stoker would do a better job.

Just in time for the Halloween themed festival of fear at Sunway Lagoon. Many are dressed up for the occasion creating a heightened sense of spookiness. The entire theme park is transformed into a friendly place of horror when the sun sets.



Face Your Fears (read this with a deep voice filled with vengeance and intensity). My friends and I took up the challenge and set our foot in. As soon as we got in, we were greeted by some overly friendly undead for photographs at the Ah Wing Butcher Shop. One for the memories.


The Three Stooges

Once we are at the Scream Park there are already some ongoing wicked awesome performances at the Zombie Walk. Dancing zombies, fire acrobatic and many more. There are zombies, ghosts, undead, spirits, demons, devils, aliens all mashed into a town of lost souls wandering the streets just to scare you; some friendly, some sulky, some deranged, some will stare at you with a confused look. It really depends.




Drama king in action.

Even the food and beverages are Halloween themed. I’d say they really do pay attention to details. The best is the red mango juice slurring around in blood bags. Since when do hospital apparatus and food makes a combination that is considered appetising? Times have definitely changed.


The real deal is actually the haunted houses and scare zones. Let’s enter the realm where I’ll briefly walk you through what each of the houses is about and what to expect. Hopefully sufficient information to entice you yet not so much that it spoils the fun. You need to experience it yourselves, so brace yourselves for the worst.

Zombie Apocalypse and the Ghostbusters Adventure

I’ve decided to rope these two together as the decorations and concept are very much alike. First, we are gathered into a small group like a herd of innocent lost and scared lambs bleating for help before being sent to the butcher. We then enter into what appears to be poorly lit mazes with quite a number of turns. Expect the unexpected. Even knowing that the zombies will jump out of nowhere to scare us, somehow we still jolted everytime.



Malaya High School

Enter if you dare. By far this is my favourite of all. Short but jammed packed with awesomeness. Lights off and be prepared to pee in your pants. Damn, wished it lasted longer.


Kevil Hill

Wild strobe lights. It did not take long before I felt like I had epileptic seizure. Go for this one before Malaya High School, otherwise this will be easy peasy.


DIYU – The Journey to Judgement

Don’t bother entering. Just a stroll in the park. Began the journey in a cave which is quite neat but the rest of the scare just doesn’t quite worth the queue.


Chaonei No. #81

You go in with paper 3D glasses. Do enjoy this one as it is hypnotically confusing and mysterious. Wonder if this is what people see and feel when high on meth.

The Angoscia Theatre – Screampark

Zombified Eighteen Century à la Victoria Secret fashion show. The only ones screaming are the zombies. The wait and anticipation are more terrifying.

The London Fog

Really foggy. It felt like Sherlock Holmes is being brought to life. They also have London’s iconic paperboy suddenly popping up from behind to surprise you.


Temple of Anubis

Awesome fire display here with some great photograph opportunities.



There are also some night amusement rides available but we only had time left for one. Apparently one of my friend just recovered from backache and so we let her sit while we torment ourselves on the Tomahawk before heading home.

Now, let’s meet some of the zombies 


Whatcha lookin’ at handsome?


Do you want to play?



Would you look at em thighs.





Well, it was a night to be remembered. This trip would not have happened if not for my old friend, Anfieldyee. When she has some surprises up in her sleeves, you better be prepared for some awesomeness. Do check out her blog here. The best surprise for the night is actually my another childhood friend crazygirl, Ashley turning up unexpectedly after years and years of burrowing herself underneath Australian soil. Finally she re-emerges.

Dare to face your fears? Nights of Fright 4 ends on the 31st October 2016. Don’t miss it or it will be another year before the undead returns to scare us!

Cheers mate!




The love is forbidden, for I know you will never feel the same for me. I can only care from a distance. So very often I wished it is alright to give you an embrace when you seemed blue but I’m scared to lose you, to see you  freak out, to see you walk away, to see you feel disgusted by the sight of me, by my very existence. I hope I could be braver.

A million untold words, things get stuck at my throat. I had to swallow them back in and murmur random unintelligent ramblings instead. My heart beats a thousand miles an hour, my palms get sweaty. I find every excuse to spark a conversation with you but I became an infant losing my speech abilities by the time my mouth is open.

I damn miss those days when you actually cared.

The little things I gave you each tells you something very subtly that you mean a whole lot to me. You will see it if you look at them closely enough. They’ll tell you that…

.. You shine like the brightest star in the lonely night sky, a beacon of hope when all seem to be in despair.

.. You filled my empty heart to the brim. You just have to be there.

.. You’re the coolest and most stylish in my eyes. You’re top class. It reminds me of our first encounter when I lost one side of this, limping around in an embarrassing manner.

.. You rock my life. You’re my champion. You’re fucking awesome. You’re limited edition.

.. If I live, I want to see you live a happy and healthy life. Don’t you die on me.

I wish you’ll find happiness and simplicity in this very twisted world we live in. I’m glad that we crossed paths in our lives. You’ve earned a spot in my heart and you’ll always remain there.


Bangkok, the Land of Smiles

Planned 11 July 2016 – 14 July 2016.

Krung Thep Mahanakhon Amon Rattanakosin Mahinthara Ayuthaya Mahadilok Phop Noppharat Ratchathani Burirom Udomratchaniwet Mahasathan Amon Piman Awatan Sathit Sakkathattiya Witsanukam Prasit. 

Plane tickets, checked. Hotel reservation, checked. It would be a re-visit and also a short four-day get away to the land of smiles, unplugging myself from the mundane daily routines and live a fuller life. Travelling to Bangkok is like sprinkling salt onto your senses; amazing culture and endless selection of food all within your fingertips.

Opening life up to new experiences charge us with a whole new energy and give us realizations that cannot be attained behind desks and cubicles. Nine-to-fives are like a moratorium on freedom and enjoyment. Break free from it and every step taken further away from our old life is birth of new beginnings and opportunities. I do have this occasional fits to explore the fringes of cultures and dive into the unusual tradition different from home.


I cannot wait to kick back and feel the breeze while cruising down Chao Phraya navigating through a labyrinth of old wooden villages, witnessing the everyday life of the suburban locals, noticing the small details we would never have expected to witness. Cruising on the longboat along Chao Phraya is like being in an orchestra play; the feeling and experience build up. You start off zipping along the laid back thoroughfare behind the riverside huts with the young and elderly minding their own lives, you see rice barges chugging upstream, set against a backdrop of glittering temples, the grand palace and monuments.


You eventually reach the wider part where the river mouth is. There you will witness and experience the urban cityscape over a sunset from afar with the sound of river rapids gently crashing onto the sides of the boat and gushes of wind rushing through your hair. There is a surreal feeling when being surrounded by well lit city of glass and metal buildings sitting juxtaposed to classical ones and sparred against the evening lazuli sky. The glitter is almost dreamy and timeless. Couldn’t think of anything better than enjoying life’s simple pleasures without the frills.


The water-taxi service ends at Asiatique the Riverfront, a night bazaar by the river jam packed with amazing food, colourful and exotic stalls offering crafty products, artistic materials, souvenirs, clothing and other bizarre knick-knacks worth sticking your nose into. What better place to talk, eat and linger, having lots of laughter and a good life?


Probably might check out the ladyboy Calypso Cabaret show after having dinner. There wasn’t enough time to do that the last time I’ve been there. A trip to Bangcock wouldn’t be sufficiently satisfactory without checking out those gorgeous men ladies with their over-the-top drama and of course, perfectly sculptured bangers. There are of course other activities like going onto the Asiatique Sky Ferris Wheel and experiencing the YMax 4D cinema but I wouldn’t be bothered to spend a single penny on those attractions purposed to put a hole in our pockets yet not giving any localised experiences in return.


Would crash into W Bangkok (check out the link) to end the night. These pictures will speak for themselves.





Starting the next morning (if I can get out of my slumber) with therapeutic relaxation will be amazing if i’m able to get a spot at the traditional massage school at Wat Pho. Myth or not, it is said that this is the original massage school where it all began. A good head, neck, shoulders and back rub will do me good, like making an old tiger purr for belly rubs. I’ve forgotten to check how much it will set me back when I was there February last year though. No naughty stuff involved, just real massages; you slap your tired worn out body onto the butcher table and the masseur will make sure you walk out of the parlour refreshed, calm and pampered like a fluffed up kitten wrapped in warm down and fine Egyptian cotton.

The neighbouring reclining Buddha temple complex, Wat Pho is just a minute of jolly stroll away from the massage school. The sheer size and majestic outlook of the Buddha statue will leave you astounded. The only drawback is that the structure housing the Buddha figure isn’t as spacious as you might hope it should be, so good photography might be a challenge here. The temple was built long before the establishment of Bangkok as the capital so you can expect intricate hand painted murals all over and fantastic workmanship on carvings and woodwork. You wouldn’t find any fake wannabe wallpapers or cheap plastic replicas here.


Setani topai, the Grand Palace and the temple of the Emerald Buddha is it. These two are the must-see sights that no visit to Bangkok would be complete without. The architecture, richness and intricacy are absolutely breathtaking. You cannot get enough of the grandeur and opulence. Regardless of your religion, when you catch a glimpse of the Emerald Buddha, carved out of a single block of jade donned with seasonal gold ornaments, you will find yourself literally left dumbfounded; the ultimate epitome of Siamese art and tradition.

DSC_0497 (2)

Grrr, growls the Garuda.


Trying to look fly there.


P/s: Photography is strictly prohibited on the inside. Shh..

There are a lot to do around here. Within its walls were also the Thai war ministry, state departments, and even the mint. Bought loads of silver coins at the local mint last year and will be back to grab more of them this coming July.

When there is a sunrise, there is also bound to be a sunset where silver moonlight and a spectrum colourful neon lights dominate the city skyline. You will be engulfed with luring temptations of all sorts. Needless to say, the nightlife in Bangkok can go from laid back and exclusive to wildly untamed scenes. Depending how you’d like to end your day, either way you will be guaranteed an awesome time and experience. You’ll be having the time of your life; let the good times roll.




I can easily set aside a full damn day just for food, souvenir hunting, shopping, window shopping and people watching. With the convenience of BTS Skytrain and MRT to take for granted, it has gotten too easy to abuse the service to get everywhere. I don’t think there is even a need to write any further about shopping! Every square inch of the city is filled with either anchor malls, small roadside vendors, kiosks or specialty and novelty stores. Whatever that you have in mind, you name it and they have it. Its almost a sensory overload as there are way too much to see, experience and feel at Bangkok.

Post is getting too long and my memory is definitely getting rusty over time. I am sure that I have missed out many of the important landmarks in this post, and I haven’t even begin ranting about food. Until I’ve got my memory back up and running and until I’m back again from Bangkok in July, hopefully with a trusted mate, I’ll be ending this post here.

Life is a journey, don’t be lazy, be crazy. Celebrate life.

Below video: Ultimate dream.

Know Your Aquarius, the Nude Water Bearer

  • What’s Important

Unconventional free spirited freedom fighter by nature. I’m a hard core rebellion when it comes to liberty and independence. I would make the hell out of your day even if it means just to have a little piece of personal space. Let me be that free range lamb grazing grass peacefully while lost in my thoughts on that unchartered hill. I know perfectly what I am doing; go stick your nose elsewhere, no need to tell me where to graze. There is a saying that goes “As long as I can still feel the wind in my hair, my proverbial wings will remain tucked in. But remove the draft to my wanderlust and you might be left standing alone”. Well, of course unless a predator happens to come by and manage to capture my heart and get me all smitten – I’m all yours!

My mind almost always have something on. Most will believe I am in a perpetual daydream. I’m that person who’re living in the future that I’ve forgotten about the present. I often work on plans, problem solving, figuring things out or simply thinking about that person who warmed up my heart, and these are the times you will find me zoned out. My mind travels to places that would make very little sense to others, to the unconquered realms, beyond fathomable and imaginable thoughts.


Simple, you wouldn’t see me hanging around if I don’t want to. If I stick around, I just love being around you and spending time with you, often coming up with silly excuses just to hang out. Start me with something more than a superficial discussion about the weather; I admire intelligence and wittiness. I am madly in love with excitements and spontaneity; I’d ask you out for last minute trips without itineraries or plans and be prepared to have a pinch of everything including some quirkiness and eccentricity. If I’m on my solo trips (an escape from reality in search for eternal wisdom and pure adventure), a very few people I hold dear to heart will always be on my mind and those are the ones who will be showered with unexpected gifts from my adventures.

Generally, I’m not talkative (I prefer writing and texting) and I believe the comfortable silence between two persons can be just as good. Simply spending time in the presence of each other is all cool. I’ll try to avoid awkward silences as much as I possibly could but sometimes I just run out of things to say. I particularly hate it when it happens with someone I like or fancy when I stand there thinking “Fuck I’m going red, think of something to say“. Then I pretend to look cool with an air of detachment. So I wouldn’t blame anyone for thinking that I’m cold hearted and inhumane with a stiff upper lip. But once I get to know you more and feel at ease to let go I can be more chatty. Then when I get comfortable around you, I’m uncontrollable to your annoyance. Understand this and you’ll get to grip on how I roll.

Well, maybe that is just my nature being generally more quiet and reserved. The folklore is true that opposite attracts, like the polarity of two halves making a perfect whole – I admire those natural conversationalist; they strike conversations like striking a match. Well, if you’re the one who love to do the talking, feel free and assured to spill, I’m all ears to your rants and problems. I guard secrets like a Swiss Bank. Your shit is fiercely safeguarded; I’ve been through enough to know how to respect privacy, secrets, personal space and confidentiality.

Be genuine, no one person is perfect and it is only through a multitude of failures and vulnerabilities you are able to make progression. I’m comfortable with people from all walks of life. Be it the beggar from the streets, rape victims, drug addicts, cross-dressers, royalties, ministers or mobsters, I do not judge and I’m happy to get to know you only if you are genuine while extending that hand of friendship. Gain my respect and trust and I will be that loyal friend of yours, accepting you for who you are and that includes your flaws and vulnerabilities no matter how twisted or fucked up they are. Never treat me as an option though, walking away when a “better” fun is around is just plain selfishness. I want friendships that last, not as your spare tyre.

Put away those shiny trophies and medals, I’ve seen them all, I’ve already peeped on them from the corner of my eyes under your nose – I want to know the REAL you. You do not need to try very hard to impress an Aquarian. We’re those visionary people who’ve seen better days, beaten ourselves down on purpose in the name of experience, stripped off ego and pride in exchange for knowledge and wisdom. There are very few things in life that I’ve not seen. If I decide to be friends with you, it means I see some qualities in you and that you are a gem up for keeps close to my heart.


There are generally few facets of life that I live in. If I am merely an acquaintance or a new friend, I may be all smiley and polite, avoiding any discussions on feelings or emotions. Sometimes, if I’m not feeling all bright and sunny, you’ll get a sense that hell has frozen over for eternity as I pass by; aloof, detached, unemotional, a heart made of stone, and blood so cold running in my veins that you’ll begin to shudder in my presence – a full set of heavy armour I’ve build and worn over the years. Deep under these layers of armour, I struggle to quickly and silently pull myself back together while trying not to let my emotions and vulnerabilities get exposed.

While battling in pursuit of perfection and success, dealing with losses, heartbreaks and failures, the armour has grown so thick that I’ve learnt to take it as my very own skin. Very few has ever managed to pierce through the shield to find my true self, my weaknesses and my fears; the fear of rejection, criticisms, and ill intentions. I sear through those who try to get too close to where I hide my fears to keep my sacred heart safe and a test to your true intentions. Stand your ground and gain my trust, then slowly but surely I will crack my chest open and show you my raw, beating heart. If you happen to be the one I choose to allow a glimpse into my heart, do not take it for granted or consider me as being that crazy emotional bloke as it is not easy for me to open up to people. When you begin to learn what my troubles, weaknesses and fears are, it would mean that you have gained my trust enough for me to drop my armours and that you mean a whole lot to me, not being needy, weak or to devalue myself in your eyes. Accept me wholeheartedly and never be judgmental then slowly but surely I will reciprocate.


Be bold with me. Turn on that predator instinct of yours and get things going. Conquer my heart with your zest for life and warmth. Show me your life including the ugly side, bring me to places you frequent to, share your ups and downs, your interests – get me involved but don’t be hot and cold (it drives me nuts). Teach me how to live, and live with passion. I yearn not for a castle on a hilltop, but for a cabin in the woods, so that we can sit by the river that runs through the land and listen to the lessons the four directions has to share together. We could roll around in the morning dew in endless friendly banters or travel the world and conquer the uncharted territories together.

I suck at expressing emotions – I need time to warm up with you. I may be having a dead straight face but trust me, I’m searching for words, my palms will be sweating a river, my heart pounding in madness and my mind explodes like Krakatoa but once I am comfortable, you will know that you’re the most important person in my life (no doubts or qualms), the centre of universe, the ultimate one and only ad infinitum.

Well, having said that, it doesn’t necessarily mean we have to stick together twenty four seven. At times, you wander in your ivory city while I roam the forest of mystery, then we share our experience, discoveries and adventure at the end of the day.


I believe in it all – Islam, Buddhism, Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism but minus the rituals, blind faith, violence, ignorance and materialism. No one god will demand blind faith, material or monetary gains. I am devout to good teachings on life and morality but I’ll mentally filter out illogical things like obsessions, rituals and rites, ethnic customs and practices and any racialised or localised ideologies. God doesn’t have a race. Those golden bells, rosaries, incense, amazing robes, places of worship built in grandeur simply mean to me some creations to instigate an unwarranted sense of belief and develop human attachment. I dig things like “thou shall not kill” but not the expiating of sin by sacrifice or threat to send murderers to eternal hell. I believe one should not kill is simply to maintain peace, harmony and a notion of non-violence. I’m a vegetarian not because I’m a Buddhist or Hindu, or that I fear being punished for going against religious teachings by eating meat. I am because I simply respect life and I believe in peace and non-violence as preached. It is the heart and intention that matter, not what religious institution I am affiliated to.

This is an Aquarius, you will experience LOUDNESS in all silence and subtlety, know my mind and you will know me.

All Aquarians out there, say aye in agreement if you feel the same way. And to all other signs who love us Aquarians, drop a comment or two below to make us feel warm and fuzzy.

Sunglasses On! It’s Ko Lipe! เกาะหลีเป๊ะ

Early May 2015 – Imagine lazing on a low hammock sipping on cold thirst quenching fragrant coconut, kicking into fine powdery white sands, enjoying gushes of gentle sea breeze overlooking an ocean of crystal clear turquoise water towards the horizon with an unobstructed view of the clear blue sky, and oh, not forgetting the unlimited mood lifting sunshine. Time no longer have any significance, away from deafening screaming motorways, bustling cities of concrete jungles, problems in life seem to be fading into distant memory. Sounds too good to be true? Break pass that imagination and realise it! It takes just a plane ticket, a pair of sunglasses, and a whole lot of sunscreen. With less than 15,000 Baht you will be able to experience the magnificent coastal lines of Ko Lipe, Satun, Thailand. DSC_0373 (2) My dreamy friends and I had enough of our nine-to-five seven desk job and decided to escape to this island paradise we’ve came to know as the Maldives of Thailand. The timing was perfect as the masses of tourists are receding and monsoon is lurking round the corner but the downpour has yet to arrive. It is the small timeframe that offers exclusivity, privacy and good weather. DSC_0254 Being part of the Tarutao National Marine Park, there is no direct flight into Lipe Island. Unless you’re the rich and famous planning to cut across the Andaman Sea with your private yacht, local ferries or speedboats are the only way to reach the island. It was pass mid-day when we boarded an old but still functional ferry from Telaga Harbour Terminal, Langkawi. The not-so-exciting part: there will be some waiting before the ferry arrives so I’d suggest you get your passport and entry forms sorted out at the ferry terminal and explore around somewhere close by while waiting. Get your currency changed before entering Lipe Island as the exchange rate on the island isn’t attractive. DSC_0100 (2) The journey on the ferry took about two hours plus. Do not sandwich yourself seating with the rest of the passengers on the lower deck, get your lazy tourist arses up and explore the top observation deck (it’s worth it!). What you are about to witness and experience is an unparalleled view of the Andaman Sea with strong winds like 10,000 knots. Okay, that’s over-exaggeration but keep your fancy hats back at your seat to be safe. DSC_0128 (2) Time passes before you know it, and as for the fussy ladies, it’s time to get rid of those dainty stilettos and put on some fancy flip-flops – it’s time to get the feet wet! It’s impracticable for the ferry to navigate too close to the shores so we will have to transfer to smaller longtail boats near the shallow coast. We were greeted by a few funny and friendly Thai-Malaysian Queens at the transfer. Have a casual chat with them and they will give you tips to the best hangout places. They’re surely the men ladies in the know. I always have this belief when travelling: having an open mind constantly opens us up to unprecedented experiences and we see the world a whole lot differently. DSC_0211 (2)

Just look at the amount of luggage!

You get the first dip into the crystal clear water the moment you hit the shore. Goodness, it is picturesque; the pearly white sands are in stark contrast with an endless stretch of turquoise water. It is almost like you’ve jumped into a picture postcard. The feeling is surreal. The scent carried by the ocean breeze makes you realize it is all real. DSC_0593 (2) DSC_0668 We got all crazy mad the moment we arrived and got so excited that we’ve forgotten all about our passports! Just look at the pictures, how can you not immediately fall in love with such jaw-dropping scene? It is amazing! We felt like plunging into the water and not care if tomorrow never comes. DSC_0216 (2) The “passport control” is actually a hut where they called out for our names and we collect our passports (do expect another long wait). After we got our passports back, we hauled our ever burdensome bags through the Walking Street to our hotel. We were on a budget trip so the only hotels that are within budget are slightly further away from the beach. If you have a few extra quid to spare then the villas by the beach are spot on.

So let’s have a breakdown of the places we’ve visited.

The main Walking Street – Alongside the winding walkway, you will find many tiny shops selling souvenirs, snorkelling and diving equipment, food stalls, bars, cafes and restaurants, massage parlours and agencies offering attractive snorkelling packages. I must say that the souvenirs are slightly overpriced but if you stay alert and bring out your bargaining skills, you might end up with a slightly better deal. DSC_0570 (2) DSC_0584 (2) Pattaya Beach and Sunrise Beach – Superb view but evening lower tide brings you closer to the sea urchins (ouch!). A snorkelling programme is ideal to escape the mass of tourists. I guess the main reason why it is often packed with tourists is the refined sand. It is so fine I’d describe it as powdery (literally!). It’s pasty and white like dough when you grab it out from the seabed. Perfect! DSC_0690 DSC_0106 DSC_0074 Sunset Beach – Significantly golden and coarser sand compared to the other beaches but it offers beautiful sunset to compensate for the lack of finer sand. Probably the golden rays of sunshine are trapped for eternity in the sand. Definitely a romantic scene suitable for couples hoping to have quieter and quality time together. We were there earlier and managed to dominate a wooden sitting platform until the sun sets. It’s somehow like a VIP area to wait for the sunset under a shady tree without being charred in the oppressive summer heat. DSC_0334 DSC_0874 DSC_0936 (2) DSC_0441 (2) Ko Tarutao National Park – About 45 minutes by speedboat from Lipe Island. We had our packed lunch there and began submerging ourselves in the chilly water by a rocky corner away from the sun. We had a full day under the sun snorkelling and I began to feel a burning sensation on my neck and shoulders. Separate charges might be imposed to enter the National Park; 40 Baht for locals and 200 Baht for foreigners. We pretended to be Thais with hopes to get the hugely discounted rate but it didn’t quite work out as we expected. We weren’t able to speak or understand their language except for our other Thai friend. We ended up adopting some funny sounding Thai names instead; I got ภู and my other friend got ณี. Our Thai friend got a Chinese name instead – 小吻. The whole snorkelling package drew us back about 550 Baht per person. You can find many different packages at the Walking Street and most prices are ranged around 500 to 700 Baht. We chose the simpler ones as it was going to be our very first time snorkeling. DSC_0817 (2) DSC_0603 (2) Ko Adang – The water is so pristine you’ll be amazed with the marine life that lives down under. It’s damn fascinating to see live corals, aquatic plants, schools of colourful fishes and a whole lot of sea urchins! As a first time snorkeler, there is a slight uneasy feeling to kick around much as I’m not all that experienced at estimating how far away my feet are away from the urchins. We had Nong ณี to drag us around to the deeper ends to explore more of the natural wonders as she was the only one who are able to better swim wobble around. Kob Khun Krub Nong ณี! DSC_0404 (2) When the world is silenced underwater, I am lost in my thoughts, my mind is clear, breathing is focused, and a never before experienced awareness developed; every intricate movement on the seabed is interesting. I can see how people can get addicted to snorkelling even if they cannot swim!

Sorry, there will be no underwater photography as I haven’t got an underwater housing for my Nikon. Waiting for a sponsor *hehe* DSC_0435 (2) 11221301_10205589210881768_2417279726339363262_n Ko Hin Ngam – A bizarre tiny island of black and white pebbles. Caution: stones and pebbles can get extremely hot under the sun so wear your flip flops before deciding to run around with your bare feet. Don’t try to do any stunts there; you literally get cooked alive lying onto those sun exposed pebbles like a lump of fresh touristy grilled pork. We decided to have an unofficial competition to see who is able to stack the tallest pebble tower. Observe closely and you can see some tiny yellow-green fishes swimming around here. DSC_0320 (2) DSC_0355 (2) Night Scenes – Stretches of local bars playing lazy jazzy music with local fire jugglers performing. We had our drinks sitting on mats facing the night sea watching the hypnotic fire jugglers perform while chatting casually. Then something happened; it rained! That was the most memorable moment (at least for me) – We started running and soon gave in to Mother Nature and enjoyed the walk in the rain instead. DSC_0236 (2) DSC_0561 (2) DSC_0565 (2) DSC_0567 (2) Delicacies

We had the upper hand as we have with us a sassy Malaysian Thai who is able to converse in Thai fluently – wink wink 😉 We tried Thai pineapple fried rice, Som Tam, Seafood fried noodle and of course famous Cha Yen and fresh cold coconut water. Devoured without hesitation – Come on, it’s Thai food! There is also a Halal store available. Be prepared to spend around 150 to 300 Baht per dish.

Something of an unexpected twist here, many tourists or travellers wouldn’t be bothered to mention about a well-stocked convenient store called 7-Eleven (Note: vegetarian/mangsewiraat selection available!). There is a HUGE selection of packaged food to go. You pick it up, pop it into the microwave readily available in store and you’re all ready to enjoy your meal wherever that is convenient for you. The best part is yet to come, they’re unexpectedly delicious! Yes, I mean those packaged food! I personally recommend the coconut cendol. Definitely worth a try. Price ranges around 50 to 150 Baht.

Getting around Lipe Island

By foot or local tuk-tuks if you’re being lazy. Tuk-tuks from the Walking Street to the Sunset Beach set us back 150 Baht due to our laziness. I agree with the limitation on vehicles as it’s a good way to prevent unsightly urbanisation from overpowering the beauty of nature. Hopefully the entire Tarutao archipelago will not end up like Hawaii, engulfed and fell victim to the bourgeoning masses and economic powerhouses. May the enduring beauty last for an eternity. Sathuk Sathuk.

Other companions worth noting

Dogs, friendly school of fishes puckering around your feet, plentiful of sea urchins and hermit crabs. Of course, Nong Nee being a cat lover, wasn’t all excited when seeing a handful of dogs. DSC_0591 DSC_0692 (2) The negative sides

Very touristy, increasing number of visitors, pricey souvenirs and everything costs money. Lastly, sea urchins!

So that was it, our three days of amazing trip at Ko Lipe and some of the surrounding archipelagos. Skin went at least five tones darker, got severe sunburn and peeling skin for weeks but it was all worth it. Would love to visit the other surrounding island that we didn’t manage to visit but with a truck load of sunscreen the next time around!

Coming up next: Can you hear the wooden clogs? It’s Amsterdam!

Eid Mubarak’ to all Muslim Readers!

Salam and greetings to all fellow Muslim readers and followers.

To mark the beginning of Shawwal, let us reflect and ponder upon our past actions and deeds on this joyous occasion and repent from the mistakes that were made regardless of our religions or beliefs. With hopes that humanity will be able to live by each other in peace and harmony without war and prejudices.


Huge appreciation goes to those who faithfully follow and continuously support this humble blog I’m trying to maintain.


Achmedius, Author

Helsinki, Daughter of the Baltic

June 2015 – SPop should be the next major wave! Before I go on rambling about Finland’s wonderful capital Helsinki, I need must first spare a word or two about my favourite Finnish pop singer, Jenni Vartiainen! (Skip to the 4th paragraph below if Suomi Pop music isn’t your thing). I have been playing her songs on repeat for months and never got bored. It was the 12th day of June, just a day before I left Finland and I wasn’t aware of this concert being held in Kaisaniemen Puistossa (Kaisaniemi Park). Luck was on my side when I was exploring around town. It was odd at first when approaching the park; more and more people are appearing and being nosy as usual, I marched ahead and realised I found myself in the middle of a concert called Radio Aallon Helsinki-päivän konsertti 2015 (Radio Aalto Helsinki Day Concert 2015).

DSC_0289 (2)

Still wasn’t getting excited, I wandered around and found the entrance after surpassing a huge mass of appreciative audiences. It was FREE entry. Hauling along a bag of yummy Fazer chocolates in a touristy manner along with my bulky DSLR, I got myself all civilised and waited in a long line queuing to enter the fenced and heavily guarded park. Unfortunately, my Nikon DSLR got my access denied at the entrance! I was told that only phone or compact cameras are allowed! I’ve caused a big scene there because the guard couldn’t speak a word of English. It’s really trying on my patience. Well, rules are rules and I shouldn’t allow anything to kill that travel bug living in me.

DSC_0293 (2)

I skirted along the fence and found a spot amongst the mass of crowd where there is a not-so-bad view of the stage so I stayed there while the audio visual crew did their tests. Then something struck me, it was on the giant LED screen. It is none other than Jenni Vartiainen! I could have gotten closer if not for the camera but I was all smiling learning how lucky I am to be able to watch Jenni perform live. I wished I could get better photographs and of course her autograph. Go go Suomi Pop!

DSC_0299 (2)

Do try out the below songs (my personal favs). They’re links to Youtube:

Duran Duran


Missä muruseni on

So I was in Helsinki or Helsinfors for a day. Not much time to explore but just enough to have a glimpse of what the city has to offer.

Well, despite the description above, the first impression is that Helsinki is not as populous as other European cities so you still get to have a very pleasant and less congested carefree trip. It does not really matter that you do not speak Suomi. Thanks to the free Finnish education, most Finns are well educated and are able to communicate flawlessly in English.

DSC_0659 (2)

I stayed in Glo Hotel Art for the night. It is a one of a kind hotel and its interior is really worth a mention. It is unique as the lobby is actually in a twentieth century Art Nouveau Castle but fitted with modern amenities. Adjacent to the lobby, rooms are clean, ultra-modern with motorised adjustable beds, lots of glass and slick under-bed lighting. The only drawbacks were the room size and power sockets. You would wish that the rooms are larger with more closet space. European two pin sockets are expected BUT what you do not expect is that it is faced down to a glass cabinet with actual glass cups. Those who travel with international chargers will have trouble sticking their international chargers into the socket upside down. Newton’s gravity had mine falling down shattering the hotel cups into a million pieces and my phone tagged along the fall. Wi-Fi is free as expected but there is a limit set. The hotel is located conveniently a few blocks away from the city centre and about 15 minutes’ walk to the harbour. I didn’t spend a whole lot of time in the hotel as I only had a few hours left before night falls.

DSC_0686 (2)

DSC_0685 (2)

I grabbed a free map from the hotel lobby and shot out onto the street in the quest of discovering amazing things. I started off admiring the socialist Nordic architecture, taking many photographs as usual. All the alleys and turns look almost similar so reluctantly I took the map out to see where I was. It is complicated, especially to non-Suomi speakers (maybe only me as I have no sense of direction). I had to ask the poor pedestrians to go everywhere.

DSC_0316 (2)

I headed first to the Western harbour as it feels like it is close by as I see a number of arrogant and annoying yet adorable seagulls.

DSC_0925 (2)

Look at the way they look down at you worthless tourists.

DSC_0377 (2)

There aren’t very much to mention here other than a few huge industrious vessels, private yachts and boats at bay but the midsummer weather is really mood lifting. Casual walks around the harbour can be really relaxing.

DSC_0902 (2) DSC_0899 (2) DSC_0866 (2) DSC_0841 (2)

After some distance I realised I haven’t bought any souvenirs for my family and friends, and that my tummy is growling mad so I went over to Stockmann in hopes to find some good food and nice souvenirs. I got to know that it is the largest department store in Nordic countries to date. You can expect any imaginable luxury brands to be there so if you have loads of money to splurge then Stockmann is exactly where you should be in Helsinki.

DSC_0436 (2)

I had an impression that Stockmann is like a Finnish version of Harrods or Westfield in London. I found an area where some good quality souvenirs are being sold coupled with an endless selection of Moomin merchandises.  I picked the mini “I ❤ Helsinki” mug fridge magnet for a chosen few friends (and one for myself of course). It cost me a bomb. Then I head to Stockmannin Herkku at the basement. Read that they have the best selection of foodstuff and true enough I was spoiled with choices! I didn’t know what to pick; everything look amazing and desirable, especially when their awesome lighting made everything dazzle. Kudos to their visual merchandisers – I stood there like a kid in a candy shop. I ended up choosing Fazermint® boxed in exquisite dainty looking silver boxes, some choco waffles, and more cocoa related mouth-watering products.

DSC_0093 (2)

I head upstairs to Fazer 8th Floor to try out their food and fill up my hungry tummy for dinner. Look, I’m not paid by Fazer nor advertising for them but their products earned them a mention or two and that they are indeed everywhere in Finland. Fazer 8th Floor has quite a good selection of grilled food and salad. Your meal is prepared right in front of your eyes to ensure freshness and quality. Being a vegetarian I was given the option of salad with grilled goat cheese or pasta. I went for the pasta and it is definitely not disappointing.

DSC_0065 (2)

With a filled tummy I walked around the stores a little more and head back out onto the street. Stumbled upon Hard Rock Helsinki. I wanted to get their ultra-cool winged Hard Rock logo tee-shirt very badly but I had to lightly pat on my wallet to remind myself that I’ve over-spent in Hyvinkää. I took another good look at that awesome tee, then reluctantly walked out to continue my exploration only to discover the Radio Aalto Helsinki Day Concert.

The weather at the park was getting unbearably cold so I went back to town to grab a warm drink and continued exploring elsewhere afterwards.

DSC_0075 (2)

Marimekko – One of the renowned Finnish design company selling apparels, household products, bags and many other things in wacky contemporary colours.

DSC_0497 (2) DSC_0516 (3)

Some nicer buildings along the way.

DSC_0076 (2)  DSC_0098 (2)

Stuck my nose into the Helsingin päärautatieasema Station (Central Railway Station).

DSC_0411 (2)

DSC_0133 (2) DSC_0141 (2)

Its a giant cone of green tea ice cream disguised as a clock tower.

DSC_0156 (2) DSC_0189 (2) DSC_0235 (2)

As I ventured further, there are more interesting buildings sighted.

DSC_0021 (2) DSC_0044 (2)

It started to get late so I had to head back to the hotel to start packing for the long journey back home the next day. I still kept my eyes wide open, ignoring the tiredness and lethargy that is beginning to engulf me.

DSC_0629 (2)

One of the many shops that sell interesting knick-knacks.

DSC_0984 (2)

Came across this beautiful park where the old church is built. Unfortunately I didn’t manage to get a decent photograph of the church.

It was really late when I finally got back to the hotel. Jammed everything into the luggage; dirty laundry, souvenirs, foodstuff and whatever still left lying around. Took a quick bath and collapsed in bed snoring the night away exhausted.

I woke up earlier the next morning to maximize the opportunity to see more of the wondrous city. Had a quick breakfast in the hotel and headed straight out to the flea market by the harbour. I cannot remember the name of the market but it’s just right outside Kauppahalli Saluhall (also near Mandatum Life).

Needless to say, Saturday morning summer sunshine casts a welcoming hue coupled with gentle sea breeze that gives you good vibes.

DSC_0707 (2) DSC_0711 (2)

A range of things that are being sold there are fresh vegetables, used clothing, antiques, collectibles; just any knick-knacks you can think of. I found myself a pair of old brass candle holder to bring home.


After checking a couple more stalls I had to head back to the hotel to check out and head off to the airport hauling behind my gigantic baggage filled with the goodies I bought. Such monstrosity, it felt like I had a tonne of bricks packed within.

All around Finland where I have been to, not just Helsinki, I’ve came to the conclusion that Finland is a very friendly and liveable country. Definitely worth the 13 hours flight and a few thousand miles of flight with crying screaming babies on board (trust me, these babies have some devilish intents) but a little research before travelling would be beneficial due to language obscurity.

If Bangkok is regarded as the land of smiles then surely Helsinki is the land of arrogant seagulls. Too many things to discover with too little time to explore! I will be back, Finland! Kiitos for reading folks!

Coming up next: Sunglasses On! It’s Ko Lipe! เกาะหลีเป๊ะ

Garbles of Everything Under the Sun