December 31, 2012

2012 in retrospect

2012 breaks yet another record for this blog – an all-time low number of posts, 56 including this.  I guess as the girls grow older, there are fewer things to blog about.  Another reason is probably blogging fatigue, as things that I deemed blogworthy in the past doesn’t seem so now.

We started the year with a significant event – Yiu Yiu entering formal schooling.  She adapted well to school, though she didn’t do too well in her final exams.  She also took up gymrama as part of her co-curricular activities.  Then, she achieved another milestone with the loss of her first milk teeth, which had to be extracted as her permanent teeth were already cutting through her gum.  It took almost a year before she lost the next tooth, her upper incisor which dropped out on Christmas Day.  Another significant event for Yiu Yiu this year was becoming a 四眼妹 (four-eyed girl).  Speaking of which, I did not see her putting on her spectacles throughout the school holidays.  We also switched her to a new art centre, while she requested for a switch to violin lessons from her piano lessons.

Yiu Yiu seemed to have hogged the blog limelight this year.  Yan Yan, on the other hand, has had pretty much an uneventful year, save for the trip to A&E when she shoved a coffee bean up her nose J

I also ventured into baking buns, two years after owning a bread machine.  I baked a few times, and unfortunately lost steam again when Yiu Yiu’s interest in bringing buns to school for her break time waned.  No point to bake when there are no takers L  I may just pick this up again soon, coz Yan Yan is starting kindy next year, and she already asked for sausage buns to bring to school for snack time J

On the work front, I started a new job in September, after one year ten months in the previous job.  I surprised even myself for lasting that long in a job and company that I was so clearly unhappy with.  But on a positive note, my time there wasn't wasted – I learnt new things, developed new skills, and definitely emerged a stronger and better person.  I’m much happier in my current job, though I had been extremely busy due to two vacancy gaps in my team.  What made the hard work worthwhile is that good work I put in and the positive energy I brought into the company is being appreciated and recognised.  Work also took me to Beijing, Yangon, Seoul and Hong Kong this year.

It wasn’t all work and no play in 2012, though we really didn’t go on many trips this year.  We visited Koh Samui during the June school holidays, visited Pulau Ketam during one of the long public holiday weekend, and the Lost World of Tambun on Christmas Eve.

Last but not least, I just found out that my review on Kennedy's Grill scored a mention in the current Jackcow deal on the restaurant.

So that wraps up our 2012.  2013 will not be a dull year, with Yan Yan starting kindy and a holiday planned in March.

Wishing everyone a fulfilling and blessed 2013.

December 30, 2012

Beauty & the Beast – The Musical

Younger sis got some free tickets to the Beauty & the Beast – the Musical at Sunway Lagoon Ampitheatre earlier this month, so she, together with elder sis, brought the three older cousins for a treat.  Will let the photos do the talking:

Look at Yihao's expression - it's as if he was saying, "Help, I've got two girls by my side and I don't know how to deal with this!" :-)

They got really good seats - third row from the stage

Left: The village scene, Right: Gaston surrounded by girls

The witch who cast the spell on the Beast

Cogsworth, Mrs Potts and ....??

Beauty and the Beast having their supper

The Beast transformed back into a handsome prince 

Closing scene with members of the cast all together

December 29, 2012

Lost World of Tambun

We didn’t go for any family holidays this year end holidays, as I had been too busy at work.  So when sis suggested making a trip to the Lost World of Tambun, I readily agreed so that the girls would have some fun before school reopens.  We bought the Groupon vouchers, and went on Christmas Eve.  Apparently, half the state population decided to do the same – the park was teeming with people.  But it was a nice day for a visit – the sun decided to go into hiding, yet the rain didn’t make any appearance.

The Lost World of Tambun is run by the Sunway Group, so the overall concept and attractions is pretty similar to Sunway Lagoon.  What sets it apart is its location – amidst beautiful 400-million year-old natural limestone hills which are characteristic of Ipoh.

Cat statues guarding the entrance to the Lost World of Tambun (L), entrance to the Lost World of Tambun with the beautiful hills in the background

Similar to Sunway Lagoon, there’s the Water Park, Amusement Park and Petting Zoo.  Additionally, there’s also a Tiger Valley, Swan Lake, Tin Valley and Team Building Park.  A unique feature of Lost World of Tambun is the Hot Springs and Spa, and there are a number of pools and a steam cave where visitors can enjoy the health benefits of natural hot springs.

We started the day by visiting the Amusement Park, where the kids, and adults alike, enjoyed the three available rides.

Giddy Galleon

Dragon Flight

Top left: Yihao and I waiting for the ride to begin.  Bottom left: Yiu Yiu looking longingly from the edge - she couldn't get on the ride as she was just slightly below the height limit of 110cm.

Storm Rider

For younger children, there’s also a carousel.  There are also plenty of games stalls, fun fair style.

Then it was time for the children to hit the water – and they pretty much remained at Kid’s Explorabay, a kids only zone with slides and play area with tipping mine buckets, water cannons, water curtains, and fountains.  

They took a break for a while when we adults dragged them to the hot spring pools.  Water temperature in most of the hot spring pools exceeds 40 degrees centigrade but since it was a gloomy day, it was quite nice dipping into the hot water.

Saphira's Lair and Foot Spa

Clockwise from top left: Saphira's Lair, Top of the World Pool (this is supposed to be a jacuzzi but it was not switched on), Infinity Pool, Lost World Steam Cave (nature's sauna)

Towards evening, we wanted to catch the Adventure Express, the Lost World train that takes visitors on a big circle around the park but as the queue was long, we decided to walk instead.  We just missed the tiger feeding at the Tiger Valley, where two Siberian tigers roam freely in their enclosure.  The tigers look well-fed and well cared for, unlike tigers we’ve seen in some zoos.

A relatively new attraction is the Tin Valley, with exhibits depicting the history of tin mining in Perak.

Statues of elephants, depicting the mode of transportation in the mines in the olden days

Beyond the Tin Valley are the Needle of Tambun, a unique vertical rock formation that looks like a pencil from a distance, and the Team Building Park.

The Needle of Tambun was once part of an arch which was known many thousands of years ago as The Kingdom in the Sky.  It is all that remains after the fall of the arch.

We also visited the Petting Zoo, a well laid out area of 80,000 sq ft at the foot of the mountain.  The natural setting and vegetation has been pretty much preserved for the various small animals in the zoo.

Top from left: Raccoon, ferrets, white eared marmosets
Bottom from left: European hedgehogs, guinea pigs, striped skunk

Sis and I wanted to go on those adventurous slides at the water park but we didn't get the chance.  All our time was spent watching over them in the water, accompanying them on the kiddie rides, and bringing one after another to the toilet…haha.  But watching the kids having so much fun made it all worthwhile.

December 22, 2012

Work trip to Hong Kong

I was in Hong Kong recently for work, and managed to do some extra curricular activities.

We had the official dinner at Nanhai No. 1, a Michelin one star restaurant located on the 30th floor of the iSquare complex in Tsim Sha Tsui.  The contemporary Chinese cuisine restaurant has an extremely nice environment – we can even watch the Symphony of Lights show while dining – but food was really quite mediocre, with the exception of one or two dishes.  And service was extremely slow.

Very elegant interior (photo from here)

After dinner, a group of us decided to walk back to our hotel, Langham Place Hotel @ Mongkok.  We stumbled on Yee Shun Milk Company, famous for its steamed milk, so we made a pitstop and shared several bowls of steamed milk with ginger.  I’m not a milk person, but even so, I found it good.

Christmas decoration at the Langham Place - the North Pole came to Hong Kong

Hoover Cake Shop at Kowloon City is famous for their egg tarts – apparently, Chow Yuen Fatt’s favourite.  I happened to be in the vicinity on my last day there and tapau some back.  My verdict?  It was nice, but we can get equally nice ones here in KL.

Photos of the exterior of the shops from here and here.


Didn’t have time to go to Citygate, only managed to visit the Ladies Market, which was very near the hotel.  My loot consists of small knick knacks for the girls, and some phone covers for me and sis.

I thought the Hello Kitty watches were a steal.  At HKD 100 for four, they were really pretty.  Lets hope they'll last for some time.

Places of interest
The Hong Kong Tourist Board publishes a booklet on Hong Kong Walks, a guide to exploring the city on foot.  I’ve done several of the routes in my past trips, and since I had the whole morning on my last day (my flight was at 4.05pm), I added one more to my belt.  It wasn’t really a walk, as I travelled mostly by MTR J  It started at the Nan Lian Garden, a 35,000 sqm2 Tang dynasty style garden.  I was surprised to find myself in such a serene and well maintained garden amidst the bustling city.

Next stop was the Wong Tai Sin Temple – one of the most popular temples in Hong Kong, and for fans of TVB serials, you must have heard this temple being mentioned a million times before J  Wong Tai Sin Temple is home to three different religions/beliefs: Taoism, Buddhism and Confucianism.  Many locals were seen praying with various offerings in front of the main temple.

The arch leading to the main temple

The main temple of Wong Tai Sin

There are five buildings/structures within the temple compound representing the five elements: metal, wood, water, fire and earth.  I managed to locate all but the Archives Hall, representing wood.

Clockwise from top left: Bronze Pavillion (metal), Fountain (water), Yue Heung Shrine (fire), Earth Wall (earth)

The Kowloon Walled City Park sits on the site of the Kowloon Walled City, a former Chinese military fort turned into a largely ungoverned settlement in Kowloon, with 33,000 families living in 300 buildings.  Looking at photos from this page about Kowloon Walled City brings back memories of Hong Kong movies of yester years, and no where is the term 白鸽笼 (pigeon hole) more apt than it was here.  Kowloon Walled City was completely demolished in April 1994, following which a number of relics was unearthed, nearly all of which were incorporated in the design of the Kowloon Walled City Park, or preserved as exhibits.

The yamen (衙门), or the bureaucrat’s office in the centre of the park is the only remaining old building of the Kowloon Walled City.  I wonder if they have offsite backup of all the old administrative documents.  Its façade has been restored to its original appearance in the Qing Dynasty.  It now houses an exhibition which shows the history of the Walled City and the construction process of the park, along with display of some relics unearthed in the Walled City.  At both ends of the yamen’s front yard are two cannons dating back to 1802. 

The yamen - can you spot the cannons?

Fui Sing Pavillion and Guibi Rock - the Guibi Rock is named as such as its veins look like those of ancient jade.  Fui Sing is one of five emperors of literature in Chinese astrology.  According to legend, Fui Sing is a god who will bless scholars with good results in examinations. 

Garden of the Chinese Zodiac with 12 vividly shaped Chinese zodiac sculptures carved from white stones.  In the background is the Mountain View Pavillion.

The South Gate had originally served as the Walled City's main entrance.  Along with its foundations, other remains included two carved granite plaques from the original South Gate, one bearing the characters for "South Gate" (南門) and the other "Kowloon Walled City" (九龍寨城).

Remnants of the original South Gate 

 The South Gate as it is today

P/S: I didn’t bring any camera on this trip – all photos were taken using my Samsung Note II.  Maybe I should check out BackBlaze updates for online backup options.

December 16, 2012

Artworks (#6 – #10)

It’s been some time since I posted her artworks, so here are some of her creations from art class:


Monalisa...the artist herself acknowledges that this doesn't look one bit like Monalisa :-)

Twirly whirly


 Coconut tree