Child-like happiness and family time bubbles

childlike

To be a child, is a lovely thing.

DSC09228

How incredible it must be, to be able to rest in the knowledge, knowing that you are provided for? Not having to worry about what lies ahead, for your every step is watched?

DSC09171

DSC09169

DSC09225

A child is never bored of the same toys, and she finds delight in exploring simple things.

DSC09288

DSC09284

DSC09274

DSC09308

DSC09266

DSC09257
Every day springs forth a freshness. Curiosity begets experiences.

DSC09233

DSC09231

A child can teach you more about happiness than what you can imagine.

I hope to always have a child-like sense of wonder, for there is so much to learn from children.

(A tribute to the young ones around me, my beautiful niece Keira Rose and our ever-loving family, the stars in my life).

DSC09243

DSC09241

 

“Joy does not simply happen to us. We have to choose joy and keep choosing it every day.” —Henri Nouwen

“Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.” -Abraham Lincoln

“At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” He called a little child and had him stand among them. And he said: “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”
~Matthew 18: 1-4

Advertisements

How to be a BAD boy with a GOOD heart

A girl told me recently that while my brother was in ACSI and RJC, there were a number girls who thought he was hot. Of course, as an older sister who cannot fathom my brother in any sexy way, I find this extremely funny. Girls were digging his bad boy rep on the outside, but alas, no one seemed to be onto his squishy soft good-naturedness on the inside. Well, I’m about to pop the bad-boy-bubble RIGHT NOW and announce that my dearest little brother, who I love very much, is indeed a bad boy with a good heart.

He will be done with his studies soon in London, and to celebrate the excitement of having him back in my physical life, here’s a list of how (and why) my brother is a bad boy with a good heart. Feel free to take a tip or two.

PS: My brother hates me Facebooking/blogging/posting about him, and he really hates attention. (I know, so unlike me right? They don’t make them any more opposite than this!)

So, for the sake of your entertainment (and I will probably be scolded for this), I hope you like this post!

BAD BOY TIP #1:
Have piercings. On your eyebrow, nose, ears, tongue, or really just anywhere.
DSC06210

GOOD HEART TIP #1:
Don’t be afraid to love and cuddle animals.
IMG_1368

BAD BOY TIP #2:
Take up bad habits like clubbing.
DSC06168

GOOD HEART TIP #2:
But you should only really enjoy it when you’re with your sister.
photo

BAD BOY TIP #3:
Make a fuss everytime you have to be seen with your sister. Say that she embarrasses you.
DSC06215

GOOD HEART TIP #3:
But really, you love your sister. Cook for your sister, and do her laundry even.
DSC05500

BAD BOY TIP #4:
Hang out in a wolf pack with the coolest boys.
DSC01140
IMG_4557

GOOD HEART TIP #4:
Occasionally allow your sister to borrow your boys for her blog advertorials.
zestaboys

BAD BOY TIP #5:
Always look moody. Even in the presence of stunning scenery.
DSC06307

GOOD HEART TIP #5:
Smile in the presence of special occasions, such as when you come across good coffee or whisky. Especially when you’re with your sister.
coffeewhisky.jpg

BAD BOY TIP #6:
Wrestle with the biggest fishes and win the battle.
thaddmarlin

GOOD HEART TIP #6:
Eat them for protein. Fish is literally, good for the heart.
DSC06976

BAD BOY TIP #7:
Work out.
IMG_0818

GOOD HEART TIP #7:
Put those muscles to good use. Like helping your sister to carry her stuff.
DSC05495

BAD BOY TIP #8:
Look like a bad boy vagabond.
thaddlastsighting

GOOD HEART TIP #8:
Actually is a very decent homely and family boy.
photo-2

LAST BAD BOY TIP:
Wear a leather jacket, of course.
IMG_1356

IMG_1361

(Bad boys shop at Zara, apparently.)
IMG_1362

IMG_1364

Disclaimer: I hope you are mature enough to know that this is just a tongue in cheek post for fun, and not to be taken seriously. Bad boys are only cool if they have a good heart. Stay in school and study hard like my brother does.
.
.
Countdown to the month of his return! *JUNE 2013*

A must for Mobile Marketing Strategy – Hotels.com iPhone and Android app is simply brilliant for booking AND browsing hotel rooms

Last month was a productive month for me, as I worked further on my business idea and attended the Web In Travel 2012 conference for the first time. I am always utterly fascinated learning about the worlds of Travel and Tech, and it’s even more fun when they integrate so well together.

The Web In Travel 2012 conference addressed a bunch of insider issues, and took Q&As of the key trend of mobile. Mobile, mobile, mobile. Whether you’re an outsider looking in, or an insider looking out, you just cannot ignore the little plastic power of the device in your hand that beeps and rings. Admit it, your phone rules the world (I know mine rules me)!

Every time I talk to people who work in big corporations, I like to ask them, “what’s your social media and mobile strategy?” They either give you a very good answer, or they squirm like ants under a magnifying glass… Don’t you know that Asia-Pacific is by far the fastest-growing mobile market in the world, and smart phone shipments are expected to hit 137 million units in 2011 in Asia Pacific alone? And you don’t have a sales strategy that covers it? Huh? HUH????? Yeah, take that.

When I was doing research on government statistics for my own start-up, I was pretty shocked to realise that there are MORE MOBILE SUBSCRIPTIONS than PEOPLE living in Singapore. That means that many residents here actually own more than one phone! Whatever for? That is crazy, people!!

(Er, yes, I’m one of you… I have two.)

Cannot live without my BlingBerry 9790 and iPhone apps!

I’m a big advocate of browsing and booking things easily on my phone, and it is almost a fail in my honest opinion, for any major company to have an inefficient (or invisible) mobile strategy. (Sorry to be so blunt today, but I read a lot about mobile trends and marketing strategies!)

Thus, it is very easy to win my respect when a company spends effort and dollars in these areas. It truly delights me that this hotel booking site saw the importance in the mobile trend and built these power-packed iPhone and Android mobile phone apps – found on the respective app stores as “Hotels.com” (free to download, of course).

Here’s me testing it out on an iPad… Ready, set, swipe! You can use the app as “a guest” or create your own account.

To create an account, there are about 10 fields to enter your information in when you sign up, but after that it’s quick and fun. Start swiping, sorting or scrolling against the app’s interactive skyline.

Start your search first with exact dates, number of rooms & occupants.

Use the powerful filter tools to sort by preferences – do you want to see the lowest prices or best recommendations?

Check out pictures, descriptions, deals and room reviews.

I’m a bit of a design freak. I really truly appreciate when a website spends top dollar on a sleek interface that is thoughtful and intuitive on a phone or iPad. “Travel” is such a visual experience and browsing should be beautiful, not basic. The concept of a hotel or holiday can be very influenced by the choices of stylish design, glossy colours and magazine-like pictures on a mobile app.

The Hotels.com mobile design makes the UX (user experience) so gorgeous!

Only with the iPad app, you can find the nearest Hotels.com rooms in your live location, real-time.

Remember my previous post for Hotels.com? Can you tell that I just looove looking at hotels? It’s a very useless skill of mine. Guess which are some of the rooms and destinations I picked…

Store all your favourite room options with an add button, decide later!

Fullerton Bay Hotel, Singapore.
The Langham, Hong Kong.
Expo Hotel, Barcelona.
Club Quarters, London.

Which is your favourite?

I’m sure it will be quick to find a hotel/room to suit your budget and preference – The two smartphone applications are available in over 30 languages, and allow travellers to search and book more than 20,000 accommodation deals from over 135,000 hotels around the world.

Whether you’re planning a one-city quick trip or a cross-country vacation marathon, it’s really easy to flag (touch the ‘add’ button) all your favourite room options around the globe and you can always decide/book later. No need for opening multiple screens and toggling in between windows at all!

All your previously picked choices are stored in your account and organized in a grid next to each other for clear comparison. Which one was cheaper? Which one was nicer? Wonder no more, the design is really manageable and brilliant.

Don’t forget to keep track of the Welcome Rewards programme – when you book 10 room nights, you get your next night free. It’s easy like bubble tea.

Track your details and progress to getting that free hotel room

Even without a data connection, information like hotel address, phone number and map is ready on display as all past and future bookings can be accessed offline. I did this on an iPad and it can also be synced with your desktop and mobile phone. So incredibly useful!

Everything is clearly labelled and if anything goes wrong, you can call the help hotline straight from the app.

PS: I seriously did all this research in about 10 minutes on my friend’s iPad (I currently don’t own one). This is such a seamless app and is perfect for searching, comparing, and booking hotels while on-the-go.

If I need to make a last minute room reservation, Hotels.com will definitely be my app of choice.

“First, I’ll find a hotel room. Hopefully next, a husband…”

Next time you feel like browsing, booking (or just dreaming), get on the Hotels.com iPhone/Android app and pretend you are on a holiday. Let me know what you think!

This is an advertorial for Hotels.com

From Asia to Africa: Finally! Updates from my little brother on his environmental science research trip in Inyonga, Tanzania

Travel blogging on behalf of my brother, a young Singaporean scientist, from Asia to Africa

It’s been more than a week since my little brother left for Africa, where he will be living and working for the next 2 months. I finally heard from him since he called last night… He’s alive!

Things are good, he says. He is in a really remote place, so obscure that I would not even be able to imagine what it looks like. “Even more remote than the kampong Mom and Dad used to live in back in the old days.” The electricity is powered by generators, and these generators are usually something that only the rich can afford. So in order for the office (that I report to) to have electricity, someone has to have the money to afford the generator, and someone else has to most importantly – turn it on. They only turn the power on in the evenings on some days – I hope they turn it on tomorrow so I can charge my phone. The battery is running out and I can probably only talk to you for 30 minutes more.”

I cradle the phone beside my ear listening to him and slouch back on the couch I am on, looking around my room. I pick up my iPhone, it is at 5% power, and I plug it into the electric outlet in front of me and turn on my ceiling fan. Almost as lazy as the whirr of my fan, I mumble back to my brother, “Yeah, totally can’t imagine”. We are so lucky in Singapore to have everything we could ever need at our fingertips.

“You sound tired,” I was a bit worried. “Everything alright?” He admits he is tired, he is sleeping in the game reserve and walks 20KM almost every day to set camera traps and collect data. He and some other local Africans are doing this together and the huge plus point is that he gets to see many animals roaming around. “I saw a wild giraffe the other day. It was unbelievable. It was just chilling out.”

They can only cook their food when they set up a fire, which they do at night. Most days he doesn’t get to have any lunch, breakfast is if anything is left over and dinner is made out of wild vegetables and anything else he and the Africans can gather along the way. “I don’t think anyone we know will ever eat what I am eating here everyday.”

The weather is very nice in the day, and gets a bit cold at night. “I’m looking forward to fishing in Zanzibar, before going to Uganda. Then it’s back to London for Uni.”

My brother interrupts our phone conversation as an African man wants to talk to him. I hear him speak some Swahili – very cool! I heard some basic things like habari (hello), samahani (sorry), la asante my friend (no thanks). “What was that about?” I was curious. “Dude, I hope I’m not making them angry. Water is so precious to them and apparently when I do my laundry, I use too much (water). I think they want to help me wash my clothes.”

My brother hates going into the local town, where he sticks out like a sore thumb – All the locals stop to stare at him and he feels like a complete outsider. “I am positive they have never, ever, seen an Asian in their life”. He is much more comfortable when he is in the bush, far away from people, among the animals.

I told him I always knew he was born to be wild.

*********
If you’d like to see more stuff about my wonderful little brother you can check out some of my other blog posts about him –
My brother the braveheart in Man VS Fish, Australia.
From Asia to the Amazon

With love, to London (An amateur birthday video for my little brother, and how to make it)

This post is dedicated to my little brother – king of the jungle, over river or under.

From Asia, to the Amazon…
You, lil brother, are a wild one!

My brother Thaddy lives in London, and I am broke. So I decided the best b-day present would be to collect wishes from friends and family all over the world, and send it to him online. Everybody wins!
.
.

Happy birthday from all of us in Singapore, New York, Vancouver, Australia!

With love, to London.

Tech notes: I haven’t made my own videos in a year and I did this in one day+night with iMovie ’11. I used the new “iMovie movie trailer” feature as a base template to start making my video, converted it into a “project”, and then cut out+added in more clips as I desired. (The iMovie templates do not seem to permit much edits, hence I prefer the flexibility when you convert it into a “project”.) Thanks to this site for helping to explain it.
It was pleasantly simple… Try it at home!

Skateboards and street sides, London

One of the best days I have ever had was during my zero(-trying-to-be-hero)-planned Eurotrip, when I had a late Italian lunch with an ex, Japanese dinner with my little brother, and carefree roaming around in between.

Here are some good times and street-side smiles I captured in London, Nov 2011.


.
.
.
Imagine if the boys used EACH OTHER to skateboard instead?!

(I’m a huge fan of PES brilliant concept videos, you can check out more insanely creative videos on the related YouTube channels.)