Sights and sounds of Penang.

Cambodia blew me over and so, I booked tickets to Penang almost 24 hours before my flight. MOST.IMPROMPTU.TRIP.EVER!

IMAG0358street art along armenian street

IMAG036270s’ ice

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IMAG0391silhouette of khoo kongsi

IMAG0411chew jetty

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IMAG0428roadside chendol

IMAG0438sweet corn pancake for RM0.40 by the apong guan man

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All images belong to Solosingaporean unless otherwise credited for. Please give credit where it’s due.

Hong Kong-ed!

I make no excuses. I’ve neglected Solosingaporean over the past 2 weeks cause I’ve been purely lazy. And now, I’ve so many backlogged posts that I better get started before this year comes to an end.

I ran away again for a short trip to Hong Kong to celebrate turning 24! All I can say was, Disneyland was amazing and definitely was the highlight of my 5D4N adventure!

Some pictures for you to be jealous! You will be hearing from me soon, I promise!

All images belong to Solosingaporean. Please give credit where it’s due. Thanks for stopping by!

The Lost Girls.

It was easy for me to feel depressed at the horror, and I was just a visitor passing through. But these kids lived with daily reminders of the violent past and had no choice but to carry on. Again my mind traveled back to Esther and Sister Freda, who showed me that it’s possible to transform ourselves into something greater than our suffering, how life forges on despite pain.

I excused myself to go to the bathroom. Then I stood at the edge of the room and watched the Cambodian teens going about their business. I imagined them wanting the same things that I wanted: To feel safe in an unpredictable world. To work toward somethings that mattered. To know love. To belong.

– Chapter 23, Holly. Boston, Massachusetts/Cambodia. December-January.

I’m not done with this book yet. A part of me hopes the end doesn’t even come. Because, I know I’ll never quite be able to find another travel memoir that matches up to this book. I’m not even kidding. All of you, who suffer from insatiable wanderlust like me, need to get your hands on this book. I’m not sure if the male gender can relate to this book as much as a female does. Especially if you’re a 20-something-year-old female. This book speaks to me through and through. Since also, it’s a true story of the 3 girls below.

[From left to right] Jennifer, Holly and Amanda

And if you’re looking for an actual review of this book, before you actually read it. Head over here (a review by Athira from Reading on a Rainy Day).

Distractions.

My morning (most of the time) ritual begins with me checking my gmail in which emails from all the blogs (via wordpress) I subscribe to, flood my inbox. In case you’re wondering, that’s about 120 blogs I stalk follow. And then when I’m done, I switch to google reader. I’ve about 200 blogs over there. You can already do the math and see how much time a day I spend reading blogs. These blogs vary from content to author’s background to entertainment level to intellect level also, if I may. Most are lifestyle blogs. Some interjected with fashion (both high fashion and low). A couple are blogs dedicated purely to marvel at the beauty of the world via photography. Some give more details and categorize themselves as travel bloggers by sharing with readers all about their wanderlust .  Some are just trash I still follow and smirk to myself.

In the midst of reading these new posts and getting updated on the life of my virtual friends, I constantly get interjected with the bombardment of hyperlinks. It has almost become a habit for me to right click my cursor and hit “open link in new tab” on every hyperlink I see, sometimes without even reading the post fully. And, it is only a matter of minutes before my browser has 10 other tabs apart from my existing ones.

These hyperlinks usually end up being other bloggers the author gives reference/credit to or nominees for awards or simply as means of publicity. Other times, it’s articles the author wants to share with his/her readers. Sometimes, it’s even pretty little things accumulated in the never-ending wish list. I open virtually every hyperlink I chance upon so that I don’t feel left out about the ‘knowledge’ before me. Some links end up being something I don’t have to waste anywhere between 2 to 132 seconds of my time reading. Depending on the length of the page of course. Some interest me and make me give myself a pat on the back for chancing upon it in the first place. I get such an adrenaline rush when I discover something new. Be it a good blog, good book, good online store or just something quirky. And then the link gets saved under my email drafts. When things get messy (i.e. every couple of days), I try to categorize them to my best by saving them under my different folders in my bookmark column.

Why is it that I don’t filter the sites I open, by reading the post fully to figure out what the link would be about and deem it’s usefulness and relevance to me? Why is it I have this need to read/skim/glance/see every site that comes to my attention? I find myself always being caught in this position. I hope I’m not alone. After all, the thirst for knowledge is supposed to be insatiable, am I not right? Or is that my convenient excuse. Or is technology to be blamed? For the convenience and ease of knowledge being presented to us. The constant bombardment of social media invading into our personal space is so scary especially when we forget that we should stop, cut off and de-clutter our lives every now and then.

On Sunday, when I headed for my weekly swim I was forced to cut myself off. My gadgets (i.e. Blackberry and Ipad) needed to be charged. So, I opted to leave both my gadgets behind and head out. It felt so good when I didn’t have a phone to check my notifications, messages, missed calls, twitter, facebook on after I came out from the pool. I did worry though, if I had missed a call from my sister, who is overseas. No, actually, I didn’t worry, the thought just crossed my mind. Turns out, when I got home, it was just a message from my sister that wasn’t that important after all. So, lesson learnt, you can live without being connected. You just worry you can’t and don’t bother even trying to and conveniently label technology as a neccesity.  It doesn’t always have to be a neccesity. At least in my case it worked.

How often, if you ever have that is, have you done nothing? Like absolutely nothing. Sit in a park with lush greenery and just contemplate/meditate/pray/think/stone. Not with music plugged in your ears, not with a book, not with any distraction. Is multi-tasking the bane of technology or have we just become so busy and feel so important that we feel wasted time is lost time. We worry time is never enough so we keep doing everything that needs to be done (or we think we need to do) one after another, sometimes even doing 2 or 3 at a go. We don’t always have to feel guilty about wasting time especially when you’re doing something good to yourself, your body, your mind. You relax your mind, rejuvenate, think creatively and feel so much better. It’s like a personal sanctuary we all need to visit frequently. Not when we retire. But starting from now.

So, the next time I go missing on you, you should know what I’m up to.

Sorry, I’m not helping this situation but read this (Art of Doing Nothing by Moments with Millie).

P.S. I gave you details instead of just saying ‘this’. Stop by only if you’re interested. Otherwise, I thank you for stopping by solosingaporean and take my leave after you.

“It’s all a matter of just finding the place within to escape, lighting a candle and following the light.”

Guest post: Glamour travelling.

This piece below has been written by P, who doesn’t want anything beyond his initial and oh, gender revealed since I used the word ‘his’. Feel free to comment on his first post on solosingaporean.

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Everyone wants to talk about travelling.

Traveling has seen a remarkable resurgence in the past few years. I think people are not so much as in love with moving and seeing but in love with the idea of it. It sounds pretentious does it not? “Oh I’m thinking of trekking in the Andes for a month.” Even better yet: “I’m thinking of spending six months in an ashram in India.” Really? When it really comes down to it, these people are more in love with saying the aforementioned things than doing them. This is not to say that EVERYONE is like that. But its just a recent trend I’ve been observing.  It becomes a somewhat glamourized way of saying “I’m doing nothing for the holidays except lying on the couch watching movies.” Hence, the word “travel” in and of itself has become a certain lifestyle choice. By saying I like travelling, I’m saying that I am part of a group of people who are elite in a sense that they become an aspirational goal. In other words, I buy into a certain culture, whatever that may be.

The social media have fanned the flames of travelling, so much so that choosing to stay home has become the abnormality. Ever had an acquaintance who you randomly come across greeting you with “Oh have you been anywhere recently?” If it has happened once, it has happened a million times. Like I mentioned earlier, the social media (Facebook, Instagram and the likes) have increased the prominence of this culture we are increasingly buying into. Why are people obsessed with posting their photos of them vacationing in Hawaii, on Facebook? Is it to show their pride in being part of this culture? Maybe. Even so, we sitting at home, feel jealous- and rightfully so. I mean, c’mon man, do you really need to rub your vacation pictures in my face? It just highlights that you’ve been doing something and me, zilch.

Nevertheless, travelling broadens the mind, expands the human imagination and forces us to contemplate the human condition. Everyone should travel when they have the opportunity. It’s just this new form of ‘glamour travel’ that annoys me. And I know for a fact that I’m not alone in feeling this way.