Never too late to say “Thank You”

Note: Wanted to write this “Thank You” note on the last day of my job (30th June) but I was moving house and all my gears weren’t intact then. And by the time I settled down my new apartment, I had to start rushing for deadlines and multiple business trips. Never had time until now to start gathering the photos and thoughts to pen this. Well, this was never meant to be a “Goodbye” blog… All I want to say is simply ~ “Thank You”. 

Last Day in GG (June 2017)1

2017 is an amazing year of changes.

First, I surprised many (including my old folks) when I made an announcement to leave my decade-long cushy agency job to co-found a new tech start up with a few partners. It was indeed a big decision but the feeling felt so right. With the departure of 2 of my beloved co-founding partners of the agency, it didn’t take me very long to make up my mind to leave too. After all, it’s time to chase my own dream.

Last Day At GGLast Day in GG (June 2017)

I wasn’t alone and I had many great help along the way.
I was very lucky and blessed to have many great partners and friends supporting my new venture. Saying goodbye to a “family” that I have seeded, shaped, nurtured and grew for over 10 years wasn’t easy. On the last day of my 11-year job, I received a touching token (a miniature gondola of all my favourite friends+wishes)  from these great friends who have been laying every brick of success in this agency with me throughout the years. Indeed, it was a very meaningful and lovely farewell gift. (Thank you Celia, Bianca, Wing, Chowpo, Aaron and Tracy for organising the farewell gift!)

Last Day At GG1Last Day At GG3Last Day At GG2Last Day in GG (June 2017)2

I originally planned to take a 3-month break touring outside Hong Kong. As things with the new start-up were progressing so fast, I had no choice but to postpone my holidays until mid September. There were a few weeks when I was working round the clock that I lost sense of time. It also coincided with the moving of my new apartment. With the slow unpacking, I simply had no gears, space and time to blog.

S8 Photo Transfer1

Thankfully, things are getting back on track this month and it is time for me to post what I should have done 3 months agoA long overdue “Thank You Note” to my wonderful company of friends, families and soulmates who have been there with me every day for the past 11 years of my life at the agency. Especially to my lovely wife, son, mother, dad-&-friends, Chups and Auntie Amy (and not forgetting my brothers from Chicago, Taipei, Tokyo & Singapore) who were here with me throughout the past 3 hectic months. I love you all! Thanks for everything!

And yes, the blog is back! Time to travel, blog and fly my drone! On the road again!

Mum in Town (15 - 20 June 2017)S8 Photo Transfer

Changing shifts – Mum’s gone and dad’s coming!

This is Mum’s longest stay with me since I left Singapore 10 years ago. Like my old daddy, mum wasn’t used to life here in Hong Kong. She missed her grandchildren and home in Singapore and has been pestering me to shorten her stay here. Thankfully, mum was easily distracted by shopping trips to Shenzhen where she spent long hours combing shops after shops with Tracy over the weekends.

After 30 days of non-stop nagging, traveling, Pokemon-hunting, tireless shopping and makaning finally comes to an end. Autumn arrived and Mum fell very ill after catching my flu bug. Her condition worsen even after medication, I guessed she will recover much faster back in Singapore. Very unwillingly, 5 days ago, I got Tracy to change her flight. This early morning at 6am, she joined Tracy (who was traveling to Singapore for work) flew back home.

30 days ago, I was feeling pretty nervous about her long stay. I work long hours and worried no one accompanies her during the day. She managed to settle down well. Due to our small apartment, I slept on the couch for a month. Her presence changed many things. I got much tidier and I slept earlier too!

My mother is a SuperMum, she cleaned up my entire apartment so well that I thought we had a new coat of paint! Working quietly over the past few weeks, she transformed the entire messy space into a real cozy home! Kitchen, shower room, living room, shelves, fridge, bedroom – they are sparkling clean and dust-free!

From concert to Batman 4D ride, mum tried many new things during her short 1-month stay. Unfortunately, weather hasn’t been kind to us. The heavy downpour nearly ruined our holidays in Macau and Shenzhen. She was nursing a really bad fever and slept though the long weekend. Nonetheless, I saw the spark in her eyes and she took her phone to record our vacation.

Not going to hide my feelings here. But I really miss you, mum. And you are welcome to come back in the next few months to tidy my apartment again. For now, I am going to entertain my old daddy and hopefully, he can match up to you!

Knowing you dislike all my photos of you (without the beauty of Meitu App) – I create a short comic for you while you were in the air this morning. Enjoy!

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Creepy Birthday Motel Surprise – V/VI (Wave Rock)

On the 7th Day of our tour, I celebrated my birthday at one of Australian’s most iconic natural landmarks – the Wave Rock. We left Albany early this morning and drove over 350km to Hyden, a distance equivalent between Singapore and Kuala Lumpur. Thankfully, I was blessed with blue sky sunny day! Finally, I can fly my drone once more!

Wave Rock is situated at one of the most remote corners in Western Australia, in a small town call Hyden. It is pretty far from the nearest tourist-friendly town. Basically, Hyden is like a small ghost town. There isn’t much to explore or see here except the legendary Wave Rock. Since I have never been to the Wave Rock (and Felicia mentioned many times it doesn’t worth the effort to visit this over-publicized landmark), I decided to detour and cross this check box off my list of “must-visit” places.

Is it worth it? It is no doubt one unique and majestic odd-looking rock formation. Considering we spent only 1 hour at the Wave Rock and over 8 hours making the detour, the numbers may not make much sense to many. However, this is a new experience for us. Elkan and Tracy walked on top of the 14m-tall ancient rock while I flew my drone over it; I am certain it does worth every second of our time to be here.

The other highlight of the day was our accommodation at the local motel. It may be the low-peak travel season and we couldn’t find other traveler-occupants here. Thanks to the successful cult-horror-movie, Psycho, I have a phobia staying in a motel; especially one that is remote and quiet. For a good 15 minutes, we walked around the compound and couldn’t find anyone. The brick-walled hallway and muddy driveway looked old and creepy. After watching 3 nights of horror movies, we spooked ourselves unnecessarily.

Other than the old scary outlook, I must say the Wave Rock Motel was distinctively new, clean and very well furnished! It was very comfortable and warm. Once inside the room, we forgot about the fear. Still, we met less than 2 souls around the big empty compound.

Just when I was going to spend the last 2 hours of my birthday writing this vlog and blog, my 3 darlings gave me another surprise! They walked into the room with a bigger cake and real birthday candles! I was so surprised!

What moved me so deeply wasn’t the surprise cake, it was the song they sang and played. Knowing I like listening to live piano, Elkan spent 2 months taking piano lessons and he played one of my favourite scores “Over the Rainbow” on his iPad keyboards. Felicia composed a new lyric narrating our journey; and Tracy and her sang along. I stood there, moved deeply by their performance and love. Trying to conceal my emotion, I broke into laughter and gave all of them a big hug and kiss.

As always, their presence is my greatest birthday gift. And there is no gift greater than to see us smile together. Thank you for giving me another priceless “handmade” gift. I will remember this piece forever in my heart. Love you all.

Raindrops keep falling on our heads – Part IV/VI (Albany WA)

It rained continuously for 3 days. Life was pretty gloomy and cold out here in Albany. The temperamental storm came and went every few minutes. The bad weather slowed down our journey as the heavy rain decreased visibility on the roads. My drone was grounded for 3 days and most of my camera equipments were wet. I had a difficult time to capture videos for my vlog as the raindrops kept blurring my lenses.

The ladies took turns to drive from Margaret River to Albany. It was a long 400km drive and we made 2 stops to visit the giant trees. Elkan and I were planning to climb up the 52m-tall Gloucester Tree. However, the wet slippery tree rods were too dangerous and risky for my little boy. Elkan was disappointed when I decided to call off the climb at mid-point. Safety is more important than fun.

Thankfully, the rain stopped when we arrived at the Valley of the Giant Trees. We ascent to the top of the giant trees by walking up a gentle 40m-tall ramped bridge. It was an eye-opener for Elkan and Tracy. At least, this was much easier (and safer) than climbing vertically up the Gloucester Tree. As the sun was setting, we quickly made our way down to Albany. We didn’t want to drive into the night, especially when the weather was so foggy and wet.

We arrived in Albany just in time before dusk. Tracy bought a vege-meal at Hungry Jack while the rest of us dined at Red Rooster. It was pouring all night and we went back to our cottage and watch the classic Matrix Trilogy via my protector. (Yes, I brought a protector along just in case I couldn’t connect my iPad with the TV). 

Day 6 – It was still pouring and we lazed in the cottage until late morning. Most of the attractions were just 20km away. Despite the heavy downpour, we went ahead to visit the Wind Farm, the Gap, the Natural Bridge, the BlowHole and the Wildlife Park. The wind was so strong along the coastal tracks. We struggled with our steps at the top of the ocean cliffs. It was one terrifying and exciting experience.

When we were exploring the massive rock-formations, we witnessed another magical natural wonderdouble rainbows arching out in the stormy sea! It was such a rare beautiful sight!

We came back early to pack for tomorrow’s long drive to Hyden (WaveRock). At midnight, I foiled Elkan and Tracy’s surprise birthday attempt! They tried to surprise me but I was always one step faster than them! Can’t blame them for failing, I am the Master of Pranks at home. Nonetheless, they tried again and succeeded in luring me to the kitchen in the name of “supper”.  There, I blew a digital candle (via Tracy’s iPad) and four of us shared a very very small chocolate cake. Thanks for the surprise but daddy is just too witty for all of you. Hahaha.

Speaking about birthdayI wish I will not lose a drone tomorrow. Last year’s loss was too painful for me. Before I end this blog, I want to convey a big big THANK YOU to all my lovely family and friends who sent their greetings via Wechat and Facebook! Thanks for all your warm birthday wishes and blessings! And yes, I live, I laugh, I love and I am truly very very happy! Thanks for all your love, friendship and kinship!

 

Wine, Chocolate & Caves – Part III/VI (Margaret River)

Taking a road trip with our son, Elkan, and reenacting some of those familiar 2002-shots with our boy standing in front of us was quite a surreal experience. After all, Felicia and I just got married 14 years ago when we had our belated honeymoon in Perth. While many of these attractions remain unchanged, our 12-year-old boy reminds us the passing of time. While age takes a slow toll on my appearance and body, I still feel like 25 deep inside.

Yesterday afternoon, we arrived safely at our 3rd pitstop – Margaret River. It was like a Little Singapore, there were so many Singaporean-travelers here! We bumped into them everywhere – from chocolate factory to caves to Coles supermarket! Singapore should open an embassy here!

We stayed 2 nights at a big cozy 2-bedroom cottage at Margaret River. It consisted of 2 warm bedrooms, a fully-equipped kitchen and a very spacious living room. It was very well-maintained, warm and comfortable.

Day 1 – we visited the wineries and local-food (chocolate, nuts and nougat) “factories” yesterday. Do not expect to see any food production in those “factory” or “farm”, they are actually tourist retail outlets where shoppers get to enjoy lots of generous samplings. Too bad, all of us aren’t wine lovers. Most of these factories closed at 5pm. The sun set early in winter and by 530pm, it was nightfall. The only place to loiter after 5pm was at Coles Supermarket (our favourite evening hangout place) where we bought groceries for our meals.

By 8pm, we finished dinner and we got nothing to do. We were so bored that we played hide-and-seek in complete darkness. The cottage was only big enough for us to play 5 rounds. By 9pm, I worked on my vlog and blog while the three of them watched a horror movie via the large LCD TV through my iPad Netflix.

Day 2 – We decided to drive down south to Augusta and Leeuwin to visit the cape and caves. It started drizzling the minute we arrived at the Leeuwin Lighthouse.

We did so much stairs-climbing today. We took 176 steps x 2 up and down the lighthouse at Leeuwin, 500 steps at Western Australia’s largest cave, Jewel Cave and 320-step staircase x 2 at majestic Lake Cave. Thankfully, all these attractions are naturally indoor. The rain didn’t really dampen our tour.

It will be another 4-hour long drive tomorrow. We will be heading to our 4th pitstop, Albany. The weather forecast doesn’t look very good for now. Hopefully we get sunny weather tomorrow as all the attractions are outdoor. Rain or shine, it will be a wonderful and relaxing road trip for all of us.

Enjoy the vlog and photos. 

The Road Trip Begins – Part II/VI (Evedon Park)

We left Perth City yesterday morning. We were extremely excited and nervous. It was pouring heavily and my 2 lady-drivers were feeling a little worried about the long drive down-south. We will be taking a long 11-day drive looping the western and southern coast of Australia. Being super kiasu, I planned a very relaxing itinerary with no more than 3-4 hour-drive a day. In total, we will cover a distance over 1400km in the next 11 days with 6 pitstops.


The 1999 horrific car accident in Margaret River haunts both Felicia and I till today.
It serves as a reminder to us not to take anything for granted. Whenever and where ever we drive on foreign roads,  we remind ourselves to take extra care. Many traveler-drivers lost their lives overseas because they were unfamiliar with the local driving conditions. Since 1999, we never drive overnight and in bad weather. It is just not worth the risk.

So far so good, the weather has been really kind to us. Tracy and Felicia drove smooth and well. The ladies took turns to drive. I played “Vehicle Commander” and guided them on the direction. Thanks to the advancement of GPS-road guiding technology, navigating the roads is such a breeze! Compared to what we experienced 14 years ago, I had to bookmark all the pages in the thick street directory and flipped pages as we crossed from one county to another. Looking back, I was impressed how amazing we were. We were so young and daring!

Our 1st Stop – Serpentine Falls

Felicia and I were here 14 years ago! Thankfully, I just got my first digital camera back then (the 2002-photo was taken by Mannc). Luckily, I managed to retrieve the old photo from my iPhone and candidly replicated a similar shot at the very same spot! Tracy was our photographer and I must say she directed the shot very well! Our 2016-photo looks fantastic!

Next came my drone-therapy. After losing my DJI Inspire 1 mysteriously in New Zealand last June, I suffered from acute drone-phobia (a fear of flying + losing the damn expensive drone). Tracy strongly advised me not to take the drone to Perth. With recent successful flights in my last 3 trips (Xiamen, Bali and Bintan), I decided to tempt fate again in Perth. Honestly, till this day, I still believe the lost-drone incident was due to DJI’s hardware failure. Never my error.

Anyway, I flew in full confidence and ….. it was the smoothest ride ever! The new Phantom 4 is so responsive and good. I did had a very small accident though, I forgot to calibrate my 4th flight and it crashed into our rented car. Hahah. No damage, fly on!

 At 4pm, we arrived at our first pitstop at Evedon Park. We had a duplex lakeside cabin and it was beautiful. Tracy and Elkan loved the place so much. They dropped everything and headed out to the lake. It was so cold, there wasn’t any heater in the cabin and Elkan lighted up his first fireplace with dry woods. Later the evening, Felicia, Tracy and Elkan prepared a very nice home-cooked dinner. Overlooking sunset by the lake, it was just so cozy and peaceful. Sitting by the fireplace, we spent the rest of the night watching Zootopia projected from my Apple iTune.

This is life and I am loving it every second! Always make time for your loved ones. Live, discover, laugh and love! Next stop – Margaret River!

Back in Swan River 14 years later – Part I/VI (Perth)

Despite it being labelled as a laid-back city of DownUnder, Perth has always been very special and dear to both Felicia and I. Perth was the first city I took my first solo-flight to. And it was the first city I experienced winter and survived a horrific life-threatening car accident. It was the city we got our design degrees. It was also here where I made up my mind to marry Felicia. And we came back 3 years later to celebrate our honeymoon with my sister-in-law Chups and buddy Mannc.

Since then, life has changed so much for us over the past 14 years. You can imagine my joy to be back again! Over the past 10 years, I have been bugging my friends to join me in Perth. I almost succeeded 3 years ago in getting the entire Wahbiang Clan to fly down during the June vacation. I failed and we spent the holiday with a smaller group at Zhuhai instead.


Time is perfect this June.
Elkan will be taking his PSLE later this year and he doesn’t have time to fly down to Hong Kong. I decided to take a 2-week off somewhere cold, away from the blazing heat. Last June, we had a great family vacation in New Zealand and I immediately thought about Perth. Best of all, I have 2 drivers this year – Tracy and Felicia! We will take it slow and easy, and spend some real quality time down south.

We flew in separately. Felicia and Elkan flew from Singapore while Tracy and I took a direct flight from Hong Kong. It was so good to reunite with my darlings at the hotel lobby last night! It felt so good to see them here in Perth!

Today, we spent our first day touring the city center – from Hay Street to the Bell Tower. It was unexpectedly cold and windy. At Elizabeth Quay, we spotted wild dolphins! We spent the rest of the day out in the warm sun at King’s Park where Auntie BayBay and Felicia took the car for more test-ride. It is a rented car so they want to practice more before tomorrow’s road trip down south.

It will be a very relaxing 12-day road trip. I planned 6 pit-stops for my little boy and Auntie Baybay! This is their first trip to Perth, I hope they enjoy as much as we do.

With so much free time at night (all shops closing at 5pm), I have all the free time to download the photos and edit the vlog! Stay tuned!

And yes! I found my dear old Joey today! It is still drinking at the same spot!

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