Fairytale of Hong Kong

Scenario One: How Ike was supposed to propose

I told Ike I planned to take him to Liberty Private Works for dinner to celebrate his birthday. He had told me that coincidentally he was trying to book the same restaurant for our one year anniversary too. Great minds! Apparently over dinner, in a rather traditional and non-Ike manner, Ike had planned to propose.
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I like some things about Madrid. Barajas airport is not one of them – A comprehensive field study/ angry rant.


A brilliant, quirky necklace I picked up in Madrid

A brilliant, quirky necklace I picked up in Madrid – A skeleton with boxing gloves? Genius

A trip to Madrid with friends, family, beautiful weather (sunshine and snow!) and lots of shopping followed by a few hours at the Barajas Airport is like going to the spa and then having a homeless guy spit on your face. The pain and suffering caused by a long walk through this unnecessarily complex, badly signed clusterfuck of an airport is probably only comparable to raging haemorrhoids because you’re left wondering what you did to deserve this.

Caveat: I speak pretty good Spanish so you cannot chalk any of this fascist bullshit to language problems.

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Flitter Flutter, my heart’s made of butter

Quirky things near Stone Nullah

Quirky things near Stone Nullah

That terrible, excrutiatingly beautiful feeling of missing someone. Your stomach sinking like you ate a brick. Made of lead. That awful feeling of longing when you fear that they will never speak to you again. Because you got drunk on white wine and did something completely ass-backwards stupid. Of course you deserve to feel like you drank battery oil (and that’s not even the hangover. Not all of it anyway.) Continue reading

Date #10 of 2013 – ewoks!

I am not sure if pub quizzes should be counted as dates – Leonard says they shouldn’t be. Yes he deserves a name now and yes I am literally dating Leonard from the big bang theory, my brother said so even before we had ever met and he couldn’t have been more right. But then again I did ask him if we could go eat some crepes before the quiz started. And dinner alone without any random grungey 3rd wheel professor should count as a date. Leonard, that evening, said that had stopped counting the dates. How offensive! We’ve only been on 3 dates so far … Let’s not get too comfortable. What’s next? Peeing with the door open? Continue reading

J’aime comme tu rit

It’s a new year and backlogs must be cleared…a resolution of the Jups as a writer is to stop accumulating drafts especially drafts of travels, be they short, incomplete or hard to decipher. This is from my trip to Phuket in early december.

9th December 2012: It’s a hot afternoon, at least here in Phuket, but I am already on my flight back to slightly cold and very clammy Hong Kong. No complaints though because this fleeting little weekend trip to celebrate Pink’s 30th birthday was short and sweet  and perfect. The sprawling villa is easily the largest one I’d stayed in so far – growing older rocks in that sense. Which is not to say that we acted in the least bit like adults, no there was some “serious” clowning” especially after discovering than an album called “christmas cats” exists and is basically Christmas songs rendered entirely in meows. You haven’t heard a version of Feliz Navidad this cacophonic, or should I say cat-ophonic? Lots of drunken dancing in the pool, and outside, in swimwear and in cocktail dresses. Everything was gender appropriate too – boys danced to “call me maybe” and girls to “gangnam style”. And I discovered that I am actually extremely good at limbo. What a handy thing to be good at!
Phuket has always been so kind to me – I’ve been here 4 times already and everytime I come here, I am flooded with happy thoughts and fond memories. Happy birthday Pink!

the cave

I am sure the comedians, historians and pundits out there will do a great job summarising the year that was for its wars on religions, women and children, its debates, its policy failures and everything else in between – which is great because I only need worry about myself and how I did in 2012. I frequently called 2012 the year of the dragonpoo because so often it felt supernaturally shitty. But that’s just the pessimist in me talking because so much of the good stuff happens in the summer and you tend to forget them in dreary winter because you feel marginalised for not winning the Nobel prize for just getting out of bed. Does that make sense?

I guess some good things happened…

I worked really hard in the early months of 2012 and passed my CFA level 2 on the first attempt and it made me very very happy. I daresay it may have been the most positive development of the year, which says a lot about deep down, I still love my books and my grades and that’s okay (my grandma told me they can take everything away from you but they can never take away your education, your knowledge). I am already looking forward to (dreading) spending the next 5 months in preparation for the final leg and with any luck, I will have the option very soon to give myself a very douchey “Jups, MBA, CFA” email signature. (I won’t actually do that).

I turned 30 in a grand way. In beautiful Bali. It was fucking grand – like the Rolls Royce of birthday parties with pretty people and exquisite food and fine spirits and amazing presents. I was like Hilton and Kardashian minus the veneareal diseases, sex tapes and general tackiness. Come to think of it, it was the opposite of Hilton and Kardashian.

I traveled a lot – Taipei, California, Sri Lanka, Bali, New York, Beijing, Tioman, Phuket and even auld Singapore. Like in 2011, I am still truly grateful for having friends I can travel with. Myanmar didn’t work out this year but instead I am headed to Dubai for an ostentatious Christmas and I hope to make it extra festive by buying myself some diamonds. (Completing this from Dubai airport, actually!)

I got really good at wakeboarding. But there’s loads more room to improve.

I survived a typhoon and the resultant gas stove explosion whilst wearing nylon jammies and for that I am grateful.

After two years in a gorgeous 3 bedroom high-rise flat, I moved into a smaller, low-rise apartment with balcony in the very cute Sheung Wan neighbourhood. They tell me my place is all sorts of cute and I think they are quite right. The smaller space has forced me to declutter and decluttering is the detox cleanse of habitation.

Some bad things happened…
but they were not terrible

I had huge fights with my parents, my grandparents and my brother frequently, usually about the same tired old topic – my singlehood. I am not sorry I had those fights because I was provoked to the point of no return but I am sorry that my words caused them so much hurt. I am not sorry my singlehood continues to do the same because I really can’t change it and I feel helpless enough as it is. 2012 was the year when I faced more criticism over more aspects of myself than ever before (mostly cause they make me less eligible) – over my perpetual tan, my short hair, colouring my hair, changing my nail paint too often and then the usual eating too much meat, etc, etc.

I even had fights with friends but for what it’s worth, I said very little to defend myself.

My dating life was wretched even though I tried to meet men through channels other than Wyndham Street. I gave up those channels. I was serially disappointed by a string of men with such alarming consistency that it made me (and still makes me sometimes) doubt my own self-worth. But I can’t change everything about me. I can’t become taller or thinner or less voluptuous or less nerdy or less control-freaky or less Indian (!) I can however change how much I choose to believe of what I am told. I don’t hate men either and it’s not all their fault. I shied away from some eager ones like Chris and that other Indian guy so thankfully, I am not utterly desperate yet? I have never been the jumping-from-one-boyfriend-to-another-type and have spent more than half of my adult life so far single. I think finding the right partner is somewhat like finding the right piece of a blue sky jigsaw puzzle. There is some serendipity involved.

I now approach my third year of singlehood since the Big Breakup of 2010 older, more tired, more cynical and maybe, just maybe a little more aware. I have learnt that my instincts are pretty much infallible while my heart is almost always fallible – this is very interesting to anthropological side of me. And on the bright side, I can’t deny that I did occasionally (frequently) have some quality fun, some good dates, some great sex and some arguably funny stories (which is also good news to the anthropologist in me).

So how did I do on my new year’s resolutions?

1. Get A Job by end of 1Q12. Ideally in Hong Kong. Quasi-done but it still feels like dragonpoo. I got a job but within my bank and while it is in Hong Kong, it is far from ideal. On the one hand, it is kind of a relief to know that I did not have to quit / I did not get laid off in February but on the other hand (a decidedly stronger one), it really sucks that I got fucked over by human resources (more like demon resources) and I am constantly surrounded by utter retards. Work continues to be one of the leading causes of tears in my life so I wonder if, how and when I will be able to change that.

2. Double savings using any and all means possible. I did this and it felt good. I still don’t have a stock portfolio which is really shameful for someone like me so guess what? that’s a resolution for 2013!

3. Get a diving license. I did this and it felt good.
Diving still feels slightly scary, mostly because my family is convinced I am going to die under water and so when I do go underwater, I am constantly thinking of the massive I-told-you-so-fest  they’re going to have if I do die. This is what prompted my extremely embarrassing panic attack in Unawatuna last month.

4. Tell people how I really feel. Not checked. I didn’t do this enough and it feels dragonpooey that so many people don’t know how I really feel about things. It also feels shitty that people can’t read me right despite knowing me for so long. What can I do besides smiling through it all and moving on. Maybe some walls are not meant to be taken down.

5. Read ten books. Done. This was easy thanks to several long flights flown and several long and short flights delayed and a kindle that I now cannot live without. While there’s nothing quite as annoying as reading a book with poor English (like Murakami) or with rubbish sensationalist plots (Game of Thrones because incest! midgets! paedophilia!), there is something deeply gratifying about occasionally reading something that makes you smile or shed a tear.

6. Swim with whale sharks – didn’t do this. I guess I need to find more takers for this sort of thing. Shortie should never have moved from Manila.

Four done out of six. Not terribly shabby but yet another year without crossing off all of them. And what should the Jups resolve to in Two Thousand and Thirteen?

1. Build a stock portfolio and generate 10% in realized gains by end of the year.
There simply is no reason for further procrastination on this one.

2. Change jobs!
I just hesitated a bit before putting this down because I am kinda tired of putting things down when they are and have been so out of my control. But putting it down in a list will make me try harder.

3. Do one selfless act of volunteering that doesn’t involve sitting at a computer.
Get your hands dirty literally.

4. Double your net worth, or at the very least, increase it by 50%. Clearly the low base helps, so don’t ask me to make two million out of one because I am not there yet!

5. Get my advanced diving license

6. Get a driving license. Diving – marginally scary. Stick an “r” in it – the-dead-girl-in-The-Ring-scary. You can’t really be independent if you can’t drive. As much as I hate the thought, I need to get this done.

7. Whale Sharks!

So that’s the list for 2013. I think some of this is hard hard work but it is worth the effort to write a post like this same time next year with a smug grin on my face. I am doing this for future me’s smug grin.

p.s. I owe you an update on Sri Lanka, another on Phuket and yet another on my spoils from Dubai. I have been so busy helping my brother with his business school essays that I’ve had little time for any real writing. Please bear with us, your call will be answered shortly.