My Dog and My Family, One Day at a Park

My Dog and His Dog Tak Tak

I wonder if any of you remember precisely what you did during the New Year Day, or on that day, what has gone into your mind.  I didn’t.  As I processed my digital mountain worth of photo backlog, the timestamp of this particular photo collection tells me that on New Year Day, my family took our lovely dog to the park.  Ma joined late, it was a cold day, and there were moments when our beautiful white dog drew attention from the fellow park visitors, unintended attention from the dogs bigger than him, smaller than him.  Pa doesn’t like our dog to get bullied by other dogs, I get it.  To the extend of over-protectively keeping our dog inside the house most of the time, I don’t get it.  But then again, I don’t keep a pet, have no clue on what it’s like, and in the rare moment, during our stay in Hong Kong for my sister’s wedding, this is a photo album of my dog and my family, one day at a park.

I understand not everyone likes to go through others’ family photo albums.  And so, I have extracted 12 photos to share at the bottom of this blog entry.  For our family and friends and readers who are more or less in touch with my family life, I have added a new high resolution photo album (59 photos) to my online collection for sharing.  Inside, you will get to see a lot of pictures of our dog, my parents, my sister Lora and her husband Benny, and Cynthia and I.  I have included mostly spontaneous shots, may not necessary be the best shot for my subjects.  Nevertheless, I know how they look at their best, at their not-so-best.  I treasure those moments that I tend to forget more.

My dog’s name is Tak Tak.  The direct Chinese translation of his name would sound strange.  So I would say, he is named after the can-do attitude.  Tak Tak is an amazing dog.  So clever in so many ways, he is a gift from Heaven for my parents who are living thousands of miles away from my sister and I in Singapore.  When he was still a puppy, before my sister’s emigration, Tak Tak had an accident, at my home in Hong Kong, and broke a leg.  The operation would cost more than getting a new dog.  It was a hard decision to make because we have a humble family income, Pa has long retired.  My family has decided to go through the pain and the expense of an operation.  Deep inside, although I don’t know Tak Tak that well, I am sure he knows that he is loved by those around him.  And I can understand the tears in his eyes whenever my parents leave home for an overseas holiday.

Photos of Taman Safari Taken During Our Trip to Bandung, Indonesia

An Owl at Taman Safari, Indonesia

I agree with Haruki Murakami: The older we get, the busier we become.  Maybe as I acquire wisdom and experience, more opportunities open up; maybe time is taking a chip off my efficiency, slowly but surely.  It is a good and a bad problem at the same time.  I enjoy writing pieces that are more personal.  But my life is not that exciting on a day-to-day basis.  And some pieces take time for a common theme to evolve.  So, in between, I fill my writing diary with my thoughts on the things that I consume, like music, books, movies, and etc; things that I am passionate in.  Reviews of these sorts usually generate a decent amount of web traffic but lack the readers’ interaction in the form of comments.  Google thinks that both are important measures for relevancy.  To me, I just wish to keep practicing my writing skill regardless of the topics of my choice, as often as I can.  Either outcome is a nice-to-have but certainly not something to-die-for.

I still have tons of photos sitting inside my computer waiting to be selected and processed.  To be honest, it doesn’t take long to compile and publish one photo album.  It is just tedious and I always seem to have something better to do.  I love Bandung and so does Cynthia (her birth town).  And because of the recent infrastructure upgrades – a new highway connecting with the capital as well as the availability of more direct flights into the city – Bandung has suddenly become an attractive tourist spot.  If you do visit Bandung one day, you should not miss the Taman Safari as one of your daily excursions.  Into the valley of the tea plantations, you literally drive into the Safari Park and are up close and personal with the animals.  If someone was crazy enough to get off the car and stroke the roaming tigers and lions, no one would care.

OK.  Someone may care.  Inside the confined area of the most ferocious animals on earth (beside us, humans, of course), there are guards watching over the visitors and the animals making sure that both us and them behave.  There was a big sign asking us not to wind down the window.  As I opened a tiny gap sticking my long camera lens out of the passenger seat window, I felt the guards intensively staring at me from their jeep.  And as these ferocious animals moved towards our car, everyone inside the car would scream and I would quickly retreat and wind up the window.  Everyone would laugh and the cycle continued.

Follow the link below if you wish to view a complete set of photos (50 in total) including my offbeat comments for each photo.  I don’t run the Animal Planet cable channel here so do excuse me if I can’t get the names of the animals correct.  Hope you enjoy viewing it as much as I risk my life making it.

CLICK HERE to view the complete photo album with captions (50 photos in high resolution)

Below is a sampler of my Taman Safari photo album (10 in total).

PS. Photos taken on December 13, 2008.

Related Tag: Bandung December 2008 Trip

My Sister’s Wedding in Singapore – Thank You For Your Warm Wishes

We wrapped up the night with a group photo

It is amazing how pressure can propel us to do the seemingly impossible.  I woke up this morning barely 8 hours after I shot the last photo of the evening and my parents were already pacing around my living room hinting or rather strongly hinting that they wished to take all the photos I have shot for my sister’s wedding as they are.  As they are?!  It is hard to explain to them why they can do that for point-and-shoot photos and not for the 500 pictures I took with my dSLR camera.  I find it hard to believe that too.  It has got to be my skill, or the lack of it.

And because it breaks my heart to see my parents fly back to Hong Kong disappointed, not only have I done the necessary photo shortlisting and touch up in record time, but also have them published online with a less than 24 hours turnaround time.  I am happy with the results.  Some of the shots I really like.  I suppose Benny and Lora may have passed this blog entry to you for viewing.  Maybe you were there, maybe you couldn’t make it.  As a proud brother of Lora and a good old friend of Benny, I thank you for your warm wishes to the wedding couple.  I am pretty sure in time to come Benny and Lora will share the professionally done up photos of the event with you.  Meanwhile, here are some of the candid shots I have taken to complement the event, arranged chronologically in three albums.

PS. Stay tuned for a little write-up on how the day went.  Thank you for viewing the pictures and as always, feedback is welcome.

For My Parents With Love In The Beautiful Landscape of The Singapore Botanic Gardens

My Parents at the Singapore Botanic Gardens

My 74 years old dad said the funniest thing.  He told me that these days when he went fishing, along the harbor of Hong Kong, young photographers often take him as their photo subject.  And in his tone of reminisce he said, “When I was a young photographer I was doing the same.  Now that I am an old man, it’s my turn [to be photographed by the strangers]”.  We all laughed.  But on what?  We don’t know.  I don’t know.  I don’t want my dad to be old.  I want everything to stay the same.

Reality is, we all get older as time goes by.  Decades ago I was my dad’s photography subject.  Who doesn’t like to see little babies, little kids, so full of innocence, so full of joy on pictures, on prints?  Decades later my parents have become my photography subject.  Kids and old folks – the two most common picks for the photographers on human portraits.  It is the innocence and the wisdom; it is the sign of creation and the mark of time; it is a blank story book filled with possibilities and a memoir that inspires.

Why the Singapore Botanic Gardens?  It’s rare that both my parents are in town, thanks to my sister’s wedding.  It is the green and the fresh air, the flowers and the butterflies.  My family loves to visit parks.  Back when I was in Hong Kong.  A tradition that I still carry with me today.  Some of the happiest moments of my life happen in the parks.

That’s why.

For the viewing of a personal photo collection dedicated to my parents, please click here.

P.S. An entry written with my Nokia N96 the sms style hours before my sister’s wedding dinner at a cafe at China Square Central while waiting for Cynthia’s make up session at Raffle City to be done, synchronised with Nokia free OVI service using the free Wireless@SG wi-fi network.

Wrath! And the Pebbles Bouncing on the Marble Flooring of the S’pore Sphere – A Metaphor

A photo taken at a zoo in Hong Kong ... these animals have a very nice "voice".

To my readers who may have heard recent shocking news with regards to the brand new Association of Bloggers (Singapore) , well, I am still the secretary who intend to see this through (read my new theme for 2009) together with EastCoastLife.  I believe that challenges and obstacles are there to propel us forward, setbacks are there for us to see how badly we want that something, and if we want it bad enough, the entire universe will conspire to make it happen.  These are borrowed ideas from Paulo Coelho and Randy Pausch.  Those who have worked with me know my style.  Some see a wall and they stop.  I see a wall and find a way to crash through it.  Mark my words: AB(S) is re-grouping for round 2.

Democracy Comes with a Price

Recent events in my life trigger a recollection of an episode that happened last year, in a different setting, rather unrelated to these recent events.  Nevertheless, it has been in my to-blog list for quite some time.

In as much as I wish to see myself as a coffee boy, I am not.  But somehow, during those weeks of working with an International crowd flying from all over the world and into Malaysia, my priority then seemed to evolve around coffee in the morning and the food that we served.  Noises on the ground seemed to have a life on its own, an infectious fire that moved from the topic of workshop logistics to the aggressive inquisition on the leadership’s decisions previous made (read previous blog entry, quite a funny read).  Everybody wants to make decisions, but who is going to do the work?

One evening, my then project director of an African origin looked at me with his usual fatherly eyes, a look that has calmed many turbulent situations throughout the course of our project, and he shook his head and said, “Democracy comes with a price”.  I concurred.  When everybody is talking and nobody is working, when the directions and decisions set by the leaders are in a perpetual cycle of questioning and debate, nothing moves.  [Too much] democracy hinders progress.  Like most established organizations, a good level of chain-of-command is good.

One Message Different Delivery

Recent observation in life triggers my thought on how one single message can be delivered in different ways that has such a high contrast of shock and awe versus nurture with hope.  Hypothetically, I could make a sweeping statement saying that, “Singaporeans complain a lot, too much for the good of our progression of […]”.  I could hypothetically quote examples from my personal experience working overseas, perhaps add on my friend’s true story as well.   This good old friend of mine leads teams within a call center located in Malaysia handling calls from the region.  Let me tell you, he dreads calls from Singapore.  Specifically, Singapore.

That statement probably won’t sit too well with the public.  Hence, the hypothesis.

Alternatively I could quote the late American professor Randy Pausch’s Last Lecture and promote the idea of “Don’t complain, just work harder” (somehow there is an unspoken rule saying that whatever you write is less credible than quoting from other people).  And hope that someone listens.  Hope that people realize that they can be much stronger without being consumed by the negative energy of complaining just a tad too much.

Whether it works or not, at least I have done my part.  Share this with someone: don’t complain, just work harder.

On the Photo in This Blog

When I was studying in Hong Kong, I enjoyed studying at the Zoo located just a stone’s throw from my school in the morning and in the afternoon.  The serenity has its charm.  Once in while, animals from one cage would start to – for lack of a better word – make a lot of loud noises and that would trigger animals from another cage to do likewise.  The next cage, and the next.  Soon, there would be a symphony of animals’ calling that I could immerse into.  Suddenly, the zoo seems alive.  Some noises are just music to the my ears.

I took this photo during my trip to Hong Kong last December.  I wish the animals were not caged like those in Singapore Zoo.  Here is a close-up of that photo with high key effect.  If you see some shadow at the foreground, you are not seeing things.  It’s the cage.

A Close-up