21 August 2016

Punctuality is the politeness of kings: Why punctuality matters


I could never think well of a man's intellectual or moral character if he was habitually unfaithful to his appointments."
- Nathaniel Emmons, American theologian (1745-1840)
*

I was late for work once.  Once; Monday, 13 June 1994.  I remember it not because it was the day Exxon was ordered to pay punitive damages for the Exxon Valdez oil spill.  No, I remember it because it was the day we found my old man sprawled unconscious on his bedroom floor.  That was the day Dad suffered a stroke and concussed himself as he collapsed.  More notably, I remember it because it was the day before he went away.... for good.  And so after 10½ years of never having been late for work, that was how a blip finally found its way into my impeccable attendance record.

30 June 2016

Malaysia to the world: 6 popular rice dishes in Malaysia

Aaaaaah..... rice.  That little grain we Malaysians so love to consume (and are so consumed by).  That little swamp grass seed without which many of us would become like zombies - clumsy, dysfunctional, anti-social.  Like most Asians, we thrive on rice - or "nasi" (nah-see) as we say here.  Personally, I can go no more than two days without rice without becoming a walking dead myself - not a good thing especially when I travel to places where "real" rice is hard to come by (somehow risotto just doesn't do the job for me).

11 May 2016

Malaysia to the world: 7 popular Malaysian teatime fare

Malaysia.  It's May and "summer" beckons, so to speak.  Not that we'll ever have the luxury of experiencing the other three cooler seasons bar a cataclysmic polar shift, but because of the (usually) low rainfall, May through September is generally deemed the best time of year to visit this beautiful land.  It is, however, also the hottest - meaning if you're intent on being out and about under the perennially-angry equatorial sun for more than a couple of hours each day, you'll want to make sure you stay well-hydrated.  And fed.

29 April 2016

Hostelling for older travellers: 5 ways to feel at home in a youth hostel

A while back, I wrote a blog post on some of the common misconceptions surrounding youth hostels.  In it, I encouraged travellers - especially those of my generation and older - to give hostelling a go.  If, after reading the article, you feel you're ready to find out for yourself what this fad called hostelling is all about, bravo; I've no doubt you'll find the whole experience immensely enriching, eye-opening and, above all, educational.

1 March 2016

Fondest travel memories: Coffee in Lucerne

It's not unique to me; all of us have at one time or another experienced moments on our travels which we remember with especial fondness.  I have my fair share of these as I naturally tend to "gather" moments and memories each time I'm on holiday - be it making new friends over coffee in Paris, getting unnerved by the utter chaos of India's road traffic or running in with the law Down Under.


19 February 2016

Malaysia to the world: 6 popular Malaysian foods & dishes

Every now and then, I'd get asked what Malaysian food is like.  This always puts me in a bit of a predicament really (albeit one I welcome) as the variety of our local fare is so numerous and, above all, diverse.  With a multicultural populace comprising of three main ethnicities, i.e. Malay, Chinese and Indian, it's no surprise that many of our most popular recipes originate from one - or, in some cases, a combination - of these groups.

24 January 2016

Heaven is a place on Earth, but where exactly is it?

Belinda Carlisle first spoke of it nearly 30 years ago, proclaiming "Heaven is a place on Earth".  Maybe she's been there - maybe not.  But if there were any truth in my teen heartthrob's words, then I think I know where it is.  I was there.

Throughout my travels, my search for that one perfect place has brought me far and wide - firstly north, then south and finally west.  I've lived in this part of the world long enough to know that looking for Heaven in the east would be futile labour, but that's a story for another day.


14 December 2015

6 good reasons for you to visit Malaysia... Truly Asia

Malaysia, my motherland, is an amazing destination if you're looking for an unforgettable holiday experience.  Yes, her weather may be perennially hot (average 29°C) but her sights are magical, her cuisines lush, her culture rich and her people friendly.  All these make Malaysia a genuinely unique place to visit.  So if you're wondering whether you should make Malaysia your next holiday destination, I'm going to present you with six good reasons why the answer should be "Hell, yeah!".

21 November 2015

Hostelling for older travellers: 5 common myths and misconceptions about youth hostels

Fact; as an alternative form of lodging, youth hostels today continue to come across as unappealing - even unsavoury - to many, if not most, travellers.  This is especially true for those in their 40s and beyond.  Whether this is due to pride, a fear of the unknown, having watched too many Hollywood slashers or plain close-mindedness, numerous fallacies have been (unjustly) spoken of hostels.  Many still see them as dodgy dens for objectionable twenty-somethings who are perpetually either high on meth or inebriated from J├Ągerbombs.  In reality, this couldn't be further from the truth. In my 16 years of hostelling since 2000, not once have I had an unpleasant hostel experience.  Anywhere.  Oh, and did I mention I'm 51?

13 November 2015

Why you should always check your Passport Control entry stamps


DATE: MARCH 12, 1993 (FRIDAY)
LOCAL TIME: 2020HRS
LOCATION: NARITA INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT, TOKYO


Passport Control: (looks at Oi Len, then my girlfriend) Ho-ri-day?
Oi Len: Yes
Passport Control: (stamps and returns Oi Len's passport and flight ticket) Welcome.
Oi Len: Thank you (walks off)

(My turn)

Passport Control: (looks at me) Ho-ri-day?

Me: Yes
Passport Control: (stamps and returns my passport and flight ticket) Welcome.
Me: Thank you (walks off)

then...