Ushering 2016

The year of 2015 is coming to an end in just another 15 minutes (at the time I’m composing this post). How should I describe 2015? Exhilarating !!!

This year, I’ve made the most travelling counting back to all the trips (with or without kids). We started off 2015 with a Trip to Okinawa. Then in April, we headed to Perth for Easter Holiday. Come June, Hon and myself went to Bali for a short stay. Not forgetting making 2 trips back to KL in Aug & Dec. The highlight was definitely our 8 days trip to Romania. And we wrap up our year with a family trip to Bangkok just before Christmas.

It has also been a roller coaster ride in my career and I finally decide to take a break from work and spend more time with Faythe & Vyktore. It’s a huge step for me, as I’ve never been a homemaker OR even stop work (maternity leave not counted in this case) since 19 years old!! Not earning a single cent is totally new in my personal dictionary, given that I have full financial independence for my entire life since I started working.

In fact, for the past 2.5 months since I resigned, I’ve been busy tending the family, sorting out our personal life and got rid of our full time helper as well LOL. Yeah, it wasn’t expected, although we have very much plan for that to happen (getting rid of full time helper) sometime later in 2016. Some how, my resignation has helped to fast forward some of the plans that we plan to execute in 2016. I’ve also managed to complete 1 photobook within a short time frame of 2 days.

So here I am now, a full time stay at home mom. Sometimes I feel quite empty inside me, especially when the kids go to school, my better half go to work. I’m just hanging around thinking of stuff I need to do, but just can’t get my butt off from the chair LOL. I guess all the late night & long hours of work for the past 4 years has taken a toll on me and I’m just glad that I can laze around haha…but not for long.

Alright, enough of talking about 2015, so what are the plans for 2016?

When I started 2015, I made a resolution to go gym daily…obviously it has failed, as I’ve not lost any weight in 2015…booohooo….So I told myself, lets not be so aggressive. And for the rest of it, I can’t really remember what were my resolution as it’s been 365 days ago!!!!

Hence I’ve decided that I should jot down my 2016 resolution here so that I can review them from time to time and keep it as a reminder. So here goes my list:

  1. update my blog every once a week (at least)
  2. going gym/exercise 3 times a week (at least)
  3. eating healthy once a week. I’ve set wednesday to be healthy day for the whole family.
  4. catch up with backlogs of photobooks & editing. Target to complete 5 books this year.
  5. training Faythe & Vyktore to be more independent. I’ve given them task to do (chores at home) and we have started this in December as trial run.
  6. bringing my kids out of Lantau Island at least once a month to explore more of Hong Kong.

Here’s wishing everyone have a great start for Year 2016 and may we be blessed with a peaceful year and abundance of joy.

Black & White Photography, 31 Oct 2015

Backdated post. 

Since I resigned, I try to ensure that I don’t work on weekends so that I can start adjust to my jobless life. I also start to fill my weekend with personal activities. Hence I join another photography meetup activity on 31st Oct. The theme is black & white photography. It seems easy topic, but the selected location is challenging. It’s Shum Shui Po. In such a busy area, how can we shoot something black & white that requires very distinct outline and contrast to give the effect of black & white. To make it even more difficult, it’s a night shoot (low light!!!).

Seriously, after walking for the first 10-15 minutes, I was struggling to capture shots because it was more colourful than black & white itself. I also try not to limit myself to jut portrait shots, but more to capturing the scene, surroundings & other things that might catch my attention.

We try to steer clear of the busy area and headed to Shek Kip Mei side to get better shots. I like how we are confined to shoot within a certain topic so that we don’t go click-crazy on the camera. I only manage to take about 30 shots or so, of which I’ve only shortlisted a few which I really like.

Here are my Black & White Night Shots for the day.

Backline of Shum Shui Po…like the effect of the stairs stacked up.

A lady packing up carton boxes in the dark alley.

A fruit stall with busy customers picking up fruits.

Fruit stall owner.

I took this shot because of the distinct shapes of the wine bottles vs. the crowd.

Lady at the vegetable stall packing some vegetables for the customer. This shot was taken at the Shum Shui Po Wet Market.

A quiet street.

Another quiet street, away from the hustle bustle of the heart of Shum Shui Po.

Pedestrians busy crossing the street during the red light.

A team of young kids playing soccer at the local housing area of Shek Kip Mei.

A New Jobless Life

I made a bold decision 1.5 months ago and tender my resignation from HP. It was probably a shocking news to many. What brought me to this decision? To be honest, it’s been a constant struggle at work for sometime. It was a constant battle of issues after issues which leads to me to believe that this project could be cursed LOL. The client was a total challenge and not having all the support needed from the management from time to time makes life at work even tougher.

Matters at the home front didn’t help either. I felt bad to neglect my kids as I was struggling with the demands of work and kids both at the same time. It’s really not fun having to work every other weekend and week nights when I was supposed to spend those quality time with both my kids and Hon.

After many months of consideration and discussion with Hon and both the kids, I have decided to take a break. After all, life is short. I resigned, without a job and told myself I’m taking this break to recuperate my brain cells. So here I am, updating my blog at a very rare time of the day, as today is my 1st day of life without a job after close to 15 years.

Many colleagues & friends ask what do I have in mind once I stop work. Seriously, there’s plenty of work to be done. I’ve put a lot of things on hold on the personal front for the past years due to busyness at work. So I can now sit down and work through that list.

My kids are both concerned as well but they both agree that I should take a break.

Vyktore: Mommy, so now you are jobless?
Mommy: Yes
Vyktore: So what are you going to do?
Mommy: Hmm…good question. Actually I don’t have a plan now. I’m just going to sit back and relax. I can spend more time to cook for you.
Vyktore: Yay!!!
Mommy: Then I might sit around and play game whole day, cause I’ve not been able to do that for a long time.
Vyktore: *Strange look at me*…Can I join?
Mommy: No…you still have a job, go school LOL
Vyktore: Then what else Mommy? What are you going to do?
Mommy: Give you more worksheets to do at home hehe
Vyktore: *Shakes his head*
Faythe: Mommy, so you can send us to school everyday?
Mommy: Well not everyday, some days. Will take turn with helper.
Faythe: Then you won’t have money to buy things anymore.
Mommy: Yeah..but I’m not gonna be jobless forever. It’s just for a short period of time. I can go for school trips and no need to worry bout work anymore.
Faythe: Yay!!!

I look forward to spend more quality time with my family. Catch up with blog writing, creating beautiful photobooks, reviving my rusty photography skills and sit back and smell the air.

Contemplative Photography, 17 Oct 2015

Living in HK and having a hectic work life means that I have little chance to meet other people apart from my colleague’s, hon’s colleagues & my kids. I have always wanted to know more like minded people that has interest in photography. Hence I’ve joined a Meetup Photography Group. Only until yesterday I manage to join the 1st outing organised by this Meetup Group.

The topic of the day was Contemplative Photography. A very interesting topic focusing on things that people rarely pay attention.

We all met at Sai Ying Pun MTR Station at 3PM, then started the Photowalk thereafter, exploring some very interesting streets in Hong Kong. I was in awe, mainly because I rarely venture to this part of Hong Kong (shame on me). The entire walk took us about 2 hours and we ended walking the trails along Hollywood Road and Lan Kwai Fong.

Most of us made it to Insomnia Bar at LKF for a quick drink and viewing of each others photos. It was definitely a good outing. I got to know some cool people, made a couple of new friends and exchange some numbers. We were also made to post 5 of our photos to the Meetup Group for feedback.

Here are some of my favourite for the day.

A mermaid having a taco wall grafitti

Old style lift buttons that caught my attention

A dysfunctional fan outside a balcony of a flat

Playing with shadow

Lines perspective from an opened window

A sneak peak into an empty shop house

A lonely bird sitting on the TV Aerial

This graffiti certainly caught all of our attention

came across some shops selling Chinese Burning Stuff and couldn’t help to take photos of these lovely folded Hell Bank notes.

More lines from the Chinese Burning Stuff Shop.

A cat dwelling in its dream.

A taxi driver taking time off by the road side to clean up his taxi.

Patterns spotted on a wall, which I cropped it

Of round, rectangular and tall plants.

June – Sep 2014

OMG, I’ve not updated my blog for more than a year. Clearing cob webs all over the place. Life had gotten too busy in the past 1 year. A couple of overseas trips, crazy workload and growing kids. That’s what kept me busy for the past 1 year.

I actually drafted this post last year, but totally forgot to publish it on the blog.

Here’s a quick flash back of what we were up to from Jun – Sep 2014.

In June 2014

After 2 of my projects go-live, I took 8 days off work and brave myself to bring Faythe and Vyktore to Tokyo. Yes you hear me correct, just the 3 of us. Prior to that I spent my weekends planning for the trip with both of them to ensure we cover as much as we could during our stay in Tokyo.

Happiness on their faces upon arriving in Tokyo.

We went to Ghibli Studio, Harajuku. Spent 3 Days in Disneysea & Disneyland (12 hours everyday). We also made a trip over to Odaiba to visit the Trick Art Museum where the kids had plenty of fun. Then we took a long trip to Hakkeijima to view some sea creatures and catch some fishes before heading to Yokohama to visit 2 Museums (Ramen Museum, Cup Noodles Museum). We had great fun and was totally max out by the time we return to HK before continue slaving myself at work.

Here are some photos taken from our trip.

Us in Disney Sea. We enjoyed the weather and all the rides.

DIsney Sea Performance during the day. The parade was performed on the Lake. We were so impressed with the performance.

Our favourite ride, Toy Story Mania. We went for the ride for both the nights.

The night time performance and fireworks is Amazing as well at Disney Sea.

Faythe & myself.

The Disneyland Castle lighted up at night. They were telling all the princess story with all the different lighting.

Alice in Wonderland projected over the castle. Love Love Love the performance.

Oh and Rapunzel Story portrayed on the Disneyland Castle.

The rainy weather never did dampen our Spirit in enjoying the Disneyland & Disney Sea.

We spent 1/2 day in Odaiba to visit Lady of Liberty. I love the the view of Lady Liberty, with the Rainbow Bridge behind her.

Here’s Vyktore pretending to be attacked by Shark. One of the reason we went to Odaiba is to visit the 3D Art Museum.

Faythe being attacked by a giant spider at the 3D Art Museum.

Hakkeijima trip was all for Vyktore, the animal lover. Various sea creatures, giant moon fish and whale shark. It was a very far trip, further to Yokohama.

The kids amazed with the tall fish tank and fish swimming in it.

Faythe had fun catching fishes at Hakkejima. The fish we caught were fried on the spot and we ate all of it.

After Hakkeijma, we went back to Yokohama for the Ramen Museum. This is a place where they have various Ramen served in different ways. We went to 3 different shops to try 3 Ramen and we all LOVE it.

On the last day in Tokyo, we went to Yokohama again to spend our time at the Cup Noodles Museum.

Various different type of cup noodles on display in the Museum. We also participated in decorating & selecting our cup noodle. Faythe was so delighted and thankful because we purposely went back to Yokohama just for the Cup Noodle Museum.

Our last lunch in Tokyo. Tasty Pork Cutlet served with Japanese Curry. The Pork Cutlet was crunchy on the outside, but the pork meat was juicy and succulent on the inside. Never had I tasted such yummy Pork Cutlet.

In July 2014

We went to stay a night at Macau and dine with Kungfu Panda and his clans. Then we visited the notable Transformer Exhibition which was a huge let down.

Us having breakfast with King Julian of Madagascar. The food served were mediocre, it was just the cartoon characters which were good.

Kids showing their excitement before going in to see the Transformer Exhibition.

Bumble Bee.

In Aug 2014

Elephants from Elephant Parade finally landed in HK and it was great that Citygate was one of the few locations where they place the Elephants.

Faythe picking the nose of the Dragon on the Elephant.

Myself with the Blue Elephant. Photo taken by Faythe.

Vyktore with his anxious face, taking photo with the Mahjong Elephant. This is so Hong Kong.

This is his Favouriter. Turquoise Elephant with the Dragon on it.

Then I brought the kids to work at HP Office to participate in the Annual Bring Your Children to Work Day. Kids had fun using Lync Conference and playing games. We also took the opportunity to take photos of more Elephants that was up for display at City Plaza.

Future HP Lady CEO, Faythe Hon.

Future HP CIO, Vyktore Hon.

All the kids listening to the briefing before the games start.

Kids, in meeting room. We did Lync Conference with other teams. Kids were all excited experiencing the technology they’ve never been exposed before.

Look we found the Orange Elephant in CP1, HP office.

Goldfish Elephant at display at CP1, HP Office. This is by far my favourite.

Souvenirs from HP, personalized photo frame.

In Sep 2014

Summer Holiday is over and kids are back to school. They went back to KL for a short holiday prior to that. We spend our weekends making Gummy Sushi and Gummies they bought from KL.

Gummies made by Faythe.

Sushi anyone? These are too sweet to my liking.

Faythe enjoying her gummy creation.

I also sign up for 2 baking classes with the kids. Learned to make Serradura & Brownies.

Reading instructions to make Serradura.

Enjoying all the biscuit crumbs leftover.

Faythe “curi makan” while waiting for the brownies to be ready.

Then we spent a night camping (the 1st time for the entire family) and star gazing at Pui O.

Beautiful sky at Pui O.

Gazing at stars and took this lovely shot.

Kids enjoying the hammock we setup by the beach.

Getting ready to go to bed. They are all very happy being the 1st time camping.

Early morning at Pui O.

This was where we camped last night.

Vyktore enjoying the hammock. He hates the sand so much he refused to get off.

A small crab by the beach.

What an exhaustive 4 months. I started off 2 new projects in July when I came back from Tokyo. AD & Exchange Migration Project. Very complex in an ageing environment, and I see that this is the “project” that will bring my career to greater heights.

I’ve been catching up with my Photobook Project. I completed Year 2008 Photobook and got it printed before the end of Year 2014. I have also completed Year 2009 Photobook and recently got them printed as well.

OK, lets hope I’ll squeeze some time to write about the past 8 months of 2015 in the next post.

Vyktore: The PvZ Addict

More about games we play at home. Plants vs. Zombies were introduced by Hon few years back. He was totally addicted to it. I didn’t like the game at first, but soon got addicted to it. It’s a very popular game since few years ago and recently they came up with Plants vs. Zombies 2.

When we first played PvZ, Faythe and Vyktore were very afraid. Afraid that the Zombies might jump out of the iPad/iPhone haha..Each time I play, they’ll sit quietly next to me to watch. But when I pass to them to play, 90% of the time they will refuse. Particularly Vyktore, the scary cat.

Look at him, concentrating fully and so serious hahaha…my boy has definitely grown up alot.

But he has outgrown that stage, he’s not a PvZ addict LOL. He spends his free time figuring out the power of each plants, the nature of the Zombies and tries the most difficult stage, fighting against Dr. Zomboss.

Personally, I feel that PvZ 1 was much more challenging to play as compared to PvZ 2. There were some stages which I was stuck like forever and took so long to pass it.

I also miss some of the plants they featured in PvZ 1, but no longer available in PvZ 2, e.g. the smelly garlic.

French Plait – 2 May 2014

When I was young, my mom used to spend time every morning tying my hair before I go to school. Mom being mom, is always very creative with hairsyle as she used to work as a hair stylist. Well actually she’s like the perfect housewife. She sews, she cooks and all that wifey stuff. I’m really no match of her :).

I remember mom learning french plait from the saloon when she took me to cut my hair. Then when my hair got longer (I only cut my hair once a year back then LOL), she experimented french plait on me. She even plait my hair and I went to bed with it. The next morning I’d wake up with hair like a Lion’s Mane.

When I was a teenager, although Mom was no longer around, I continue to be a hair stylist of my own. I go to school with different hairstyle everyday. One of my best buddy, during Form 5, she even drew the hairstyle I have in my Autograph Book hahaha…

But when I started working, there weren’t much time anymore to play with my hair. Now that I have a daughter, I divert my hair styling to her instead hehe.

Faythe is very blessed with thick hair. So thick sometimes I try to recall even I didn’t have such thick hair during my younger days. I struggle to tie her hair most of the time. Even just a pony tail (=.=).

And boy I’m really jealous and wonder how I can do better. It doesn’t make sense, when I can tie french plait myself, but I can’t do it for Faythe.

Hence the other day, I went to YouTube to learn how to tie hair for people LOL. It’s easy to manage your own hair, but other people’s hair is a totally different league.

After watching 1st part of the video, I got the idea how to do it, then started to part Faythe’s hair into 2. I decided that since it’s my first attempt, it would probably better if I tie 2 instead of 1.

My 1st attempt on one side was not too bad, although some parts I have to admit it doesn’t seem such a perfect French Plait.

My 2nd attend on the remaining side was better, as I begin to get a grasp how things go, nevertheless, it’s not as easy as I do it for myself.

After some struggle, finally managed to put 2 french plait on Faythe. I plaited her frinch as well and asked her to go to bed with the hair tied up.

Next day when she woke up, I took out the rubber band and there, I have a lion’s mane. Her curly hair lasted almost the whole day to my amazed.

Mini Uno

Uno, the card game that I grew up with many years ago. I tried teaching Vyktore and Faythe the Uno concept and how to play few years back, but at that time they haven’t quite grasp the concept. But now that they are older and better in maths, Uno is a really fun game.

Recently, we won a mini Uno pack from the school funfair. Best thing to bring along in the handbag. We can play while waiting for our food to arrive, instead of poking at the iPhone LOL.

Yes, look at how tiny they are. Suitable for the little children’s hands. Easy for them to handle.

On weekends, we will also play Uno when we have nothing better do to and the kids are up for a challenge.

Sometimes they get upset cause they are still not smart enough to win ME. So I do give them some chances along the way and at times pretend to be loosing. Just so that a war doesn’t erupt at home.

Here are some photos taken during one of our mini UNO game during the weekend.

And here I am struggling to hold them cause they are too small for me hahaha

Hiking to Wong Lung Hang (黄龍坑道) – 6 May 2014

Before the weather gets too warm and start of summer, church friends organized another hike at Lantau Island. We were not told that it’s a rock/stream hiking trail. Only saw some beautiful photos on some blogs. Hence I packed my camera to ensure I snap some good photos.

Around 15 odd of us met the petrol station across across North Lantau Hospital. I decided to warm up and walked to the petrol station with a Katherine while the kids followed Hon and went there via public transport. Soon, everyone started arrive and we started our hike.

For the first 30mins, it was pretty easy walk along the road. Then we entered the Wong Lung Hang Picnic Site, and thereafter that’s where the torture begins (*.*).

Sharon told us that she hiked before and we need to be prepared to get ourselves wet as there are some parts of the hike we need to go in to the stream. *Gulp*. My biggest worry was not my kids of course. But instead of DSLR which I can’t get it wet.

As we go deeper into the stream and forest, the hike gets more tricky. At some point, you need to stand and plan your route to ensure that you walk through shallow part of the stream. While I struggle to hike up to the waterfall, both Faythe & Vyktore were doing fine. They were so fast and I soon lose sight of them.

In fact, I was the last arriving at the base of the waterfall. Of course the scenery was awesome and was worth the 3 hours climb!!!

The water was so clean and cold. Even the kids who wanted to swim earlier pulled back. We took our break and ate all the food we brought up since we’ve burned all our energy on our way up LOL.

After rest for a while and take some photos, we make our way down. Gosh, going down was much worse. This is because most part of the stream were covered with rocks and you can barely see what’s lying over the rock in front of you. Me being me, keep on worried about my camera getting wet.

This part is like a mini spa. It’s near the main waterfall, but a secluded spot where you can sit down and let the water gush down your shoulder after a tiring hike :).

In the end, we took about 4 hours to finally reach the base. There were only 4 of us left. Hon, myself, Vyktore and Pastor Kevin. Gosh, my legs start to ache as we inch our way to have a quick bite where a few others waited for us there.

To take it further, we walked home after our tea. By the time we arrived home, I could feel the legs aching much more. Kids being kids felt nothing. They were still jumping around after taking their shower. But soon, fell asleep by 8PM.

I fell asleep by 10PM and the next day I woke up and try to remember what happened. I felt as though I was beaten up hahhahaha…

It was a great hike despite all the challenges. It’s worth it definitely. But I’d think twice if you ask me to go again. Definitely not gonna lug the DSLR along :).

Look at the water, so clear, I could see my shoes LOL.

Wish I could swim LOL. This is definitely a rare scenery in HK itself.

Annual School Funfair – 6 Apr 2014

The school organised their 1st ever funfair earlier last month. They plan to make this an annual event. As I’m so busy with work, I didn’t want to volunteer myself to help with the preparation work. Instead I happily volunteer myself as the photographer for the event. I last took photos for the school during Sports Day and they were glad to have an official photographer covering the event.

We arrived at school around 8AM and everyone was still busy preparing for the day. Since we are having it in a public area, there were plenty of stuff we need to help to carry over to the Park. Boy everyone was so excited, especially seeing all the gifts they could win in the Funfair Games Booth.

Faythe is in choir and Vyktore is in Martial Arts. Both of them performing for the day. We headed to the Park and help to setup the Games Booth. The weather wasn’t looking too good. Cloudy and windy. Looks as if it’s gonna rain.

There were many booths mainly games. There were some booths setup for selling food and drinks all prepared by the parents. There were also a few booths setup for art (e.g henna tattoo, stone painting, marbling, etc).

Oh and not forgetting the giant Bouncy Castle that they put on and the kids were dying to jump on it. The HM officiated the event at 11AM. There were some performance lined up apart from Choir and Martial Art.

Right there and then, it started drizzling. At first we stuck ourselves at one of the booth, but the rain got heavier, so we ran over another side to get some cover. It rained for quite a while and kids were getting hungry. I loan an umbrella from a parent and went to buy ourselves some food.

it continued to rain and kids were getting impatient. Faythe was entertaining us with her ukelele and finally Vyktore said that he didn’t care anymore about the rain. He wants to go enjoy himself. So I allowed them to go and spend all the coupons I’ve bought earlier for the funfair while I take cover and sat at one of the booth.

They kept running back and forth to me each time they won toys/gifts from the Games Booth. What fun was that. Wish the rain would stop. But it didn’t. It went on till 4PM and finally I decided to call it a day after we have done spending all the coupons.

The kids had so much fun and they can’t wait for next year’s Funfair.