Friday, January 11, 2019

Happily Ever After (Samantha & Eddie)

On 5 January 2019, I attended the wedding of a childhood bestie, bro, bae (or whatever they're called these days). I was the groomsman. Aside from attending church (first time since, I don't know, 2015?) and keeping an eye on the alcohol, my solemn duty was giving a speech during the wedding dinner.

I shared the stage with two others. Midway through dinner, after the bride's side had spoken, crowd getting a bit restless. I was the first to speak. And as one of my co-speakers put it neatly later, an important tip of delivering a good wedding speech is knowing when to shut up.

So I had to improvise, mainly by cutting my speech short. Anyway, here's the full version of it...

No water flowing down the aisle, though

* * *

Once upon a time in Ipoh, I met CK. That's how we used to call him back in Ipoh. I hope it's fine if I call him that now, instead of Eddie, just for old time's sake? We met in school. We were never classmates. And like most guys at that age, we bonded through two ways - cybercafes and clubbing.

In high school, we used to hang out in cybercafes. CK wasn't very good in the games. He didn't have high scores, didn't rank high in the leaderboard. But that's when I realise something special about CK. When asked to turn left, he will turn left. When asked to rush to the front, he would rush and be first to die.

And that's all because CK is a team player. Always taking instructions, backing you up. He's not selfish, he doesn't try to be the Alpha Male. He's helpful, and willing to sacrifice for others. Whether in computer games, or sports like football, CK plays for the team, not himself.

College... We didn't hang out much in college. He went off to KL first, whilst I was stuck behind doing Form 6. That's where he started hanging out with the Subang hipster kids and elites, ain't got time for Ipoh kiddos like me.

When we started working, that's when I regained my 'coolness' in his eyes. So we started out hanging again - in clubs. Don't worry, Sam! I'm the out-of-control hangover maniac. CK? He's the most responsible party-goer I know. Till today, I've never seen CK pissed drunk, randomly hitting on chicks, or waking up with a tattoo and ear missing. CK can really hold his drink - which I hear is a requirement to be part of the Capel family...

Ipoh Mali

What I admire most about CK - and yes, also most envious about - is his commitment. With his dashing good looks and charm, you would expect him to be player, like Barney or Edison Chen. But no, he's more of a Ted, or a Tony Leung. He's an old-fashioned, old-school romantic. He's a gentleman.

CK is not a crazy rich Asian. He's a caring normal Asian. The best thing about CK is how real he is. In a world where people is trying so hard to be special and different, CK just tries to be himself.

He smokes, he drinks, he gambles...

He cares, he feels, he loves...

To all you ladies out there - you're unlucky, so unlucky that you never got to CK before Sam did. And to all you guys out there - you're a dude, CK's a MAN! A handsome, muscular man. Okay, not quite as tall as a Thunder God, but still a MAN! CK... He's everything in a man that a boy aspires to be. He's everything in a man that a woman desires to see.

I may not know CK as well as some of you, but what I do know for a certainty is that he'll make a good husband, and a good father... By father, I mean hypothetically. Sam's not preg... This is not a shotgun... You know what I mean. You know, as well I know, how marriages these days can be fleeting. People not marrying for the right reasons...

But not these two! Samantha and Eddie - they're the real deal. They're the fairy-tale couple.

And they will live happily ever after. The end.

* * *

Thanks for the lovely wedding, Samantha & Eddie (aka CK). Thanks for giving hope to random dudes like myself that we can find everlasting love, someday. I sailed through the entire night without passing out - so that's some instant progress right there. Cheers!

Friends Forever

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Life Is Bleak, Busy But Beautiful

Life is BLEAK...

Last week or so - whilst most everyone else was merrily celebrating Christmas, counting down to New Year, holidaying away in foreign lands, and planning on 2019 resolutions - I was mired in misery.

Rio was fun, but reality hit me hard when I returned home.

Every day has been a struggle. Fires breaking out left and right. Social calls at the worst possible moments.

My body was breaking down, but my heart beat even faster. Tired as f**k, but can't sleep well. Glimmers of hope from sympathetic people, but even they can't pull me out of the deep, dark hole I've fallen into.

It felt like the whole universe was conspiring to throw my life off-course and tear my soul apart - and maybe it was.

How I celebrated Christmas and New Year

* * *

Life is BUSY...

Still, I had to keep moving. The world still turns. The sun still rises every morning. There's still a job to be done.

I can't just quit halfway. I've taken on a mission. People rely on me.

Yes, some people disappoint me. Some still can't seem to understand the circles I have to run around, the boxes I have to tick, the sacrifices I have to make. Some still give me a lot of shit when the very least they could do is just piss off.

But people are people. They, too, have jobs to do, interests to pursue, egos to protect. They, too, have strong feelings on how the world should run.

Whatever. I'm struggling to juggle my own balls in the air, what more other people's balls (usually more sparkly and breakable). Errands to run, issues to resolve. Events fly by fast and furious, and I simply ain't got time to rant, rewind, and reflect.

Stop shooting, people... please?

* * *

Life is beautiful...

Nevertheless, life is still good. Every morning, I still wake up hoping that today will be better than yesterday. Every night, I still lie in bed knowing that tomorrow will be better than today - and if not tomorrow, then maybe the day after, or next week...

And despite all the crap I take from wannabe impostors and arm-chair critics, I'm still surrounded by people who genuinely care about me, by and large. And to those who let me down, I still feel we can get along better in time, and perhaps I've not done enough to keep them up as well...

And above all, there are fights still worth fighting for, stars still worth shooting for, dreams still worth dying for...

And ultimately, life is as good as it gets. Life can get always get better, but until that happens, life is always worth living for. Always. Always...

For no matter how bleak and busy it is, life is always beautiful...

Now you see me, now you...

Friday, December 21, 2018

Around The World In 12 Years

Finally, I did it! I've traveled all across the globe. Not exactly in 80 days, but still quicker than expected.

My lifelong goal was to visit every continent of the world. But there's a catch - it has to be an 'accidental adventure'. Only places which I did not intentionally plan to visit counted - or in other words, places which I visited due to work, events or free trips.

Last week, I hit the beaches of Rio de Janeiro - and in doing so, ticked the last remaining box off my world tour i.e. 'South America'. It was quite a lucky break. My brother won a football-related contest for two, and kindly invited me along. That's how I got the samba groove on.

Despacito! Joga bonito!
* * *

Finally, just like my idol Pitbull, I can truly claim the title of 'Mister Worldwide'.

Visiting all continents is quite an amazing feat, considering I'm quite a 'reluctant traveler'. It's not that I hate travelling. For when do I actually travel, I try to make the most of the journey. It's just that I have no time and chance to plan my own personal trips.

My very first international trip was to the USA in 2006 - to represent Malaysia for the Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition at Washington DC.

And since then, I had the good fortune of 'adventures' piling up on my calendar due to external circumstances, and none of my own planning.

In university, mooting and debates expanded my horizons. As a regional legal counsel at Shell, work took me across America, Europe and Asia (one of my travel 'hack' is to extend my work trips for a few days in different places i.e. work transit). And now that I'm back in my alma mater as a moot coach, the world tour keeps on going...

Here's a list of countries I have passed through on my 'accidental adventures' since 2006:

1. China (moot)
2. India (work)
3. Vietnam (debate)
4. Cambodia (moot)
5. Indonesia (work)
6. Singapore (work, moot)
7. Thailand (work)
8. Japan (work transit, moot)
9. South Korea (debate)

10. United Kingdom (work)
11. Italy (work transit)
12. Spain (work transit)
13. Germany (work transit)

North America
14. USA (work, moot)

15. Australia (moot)

16. Kenya (moot)

South America
17. Brazil (free trip)

King's Landing Dover Castle

* * *

I'm not a traveler, but instead an adventurer.

Hence, the best adventures are usually solo trips where I'm trekking to the unknown alone. No fixed itinerary, constant detours, mingling with the locals, enjoying each day as it comes.

The way I travel is very much like the way I live my life.

Bear in mind that I didn't join moots or debates, nor choose to work in Shell, because of the prospects of traveling. The trips were all an unexpected bonus of hard work.

I always wished to travel all around the world. But I never once laid out meticulous plans to achieve that dream. I just harboured a fleeting hope that fate will take me there, someday.

And true enough, fate has taken me around the world in 12 years.

London Bridge Brooklyn Bridge

* * *

The lesson here is not to stop making life plans or leaving all your life decisions to fate, of course.

Rather, the lesson is that life can take you to wonderful places, if only you are bold enough to strike down paths unknown without any expectation where they will take you.

I don't know where my next adventure will be - and that's the best part of life.