Sunday, August 31, 2014

Birthday Post Part II: a Speakeasy in the Middle of Nowhere

The author, in his jeans and dress shirt, felt quite out of place walking around the dark streets of KL's old downtown.  Centuries-old heritage buildings that combine colonial and Chinese influences graced the side of empty streets, some crumbling under the weight of their (decidedly unpolished and non-maintained) history, and most hosting a couple of homeless going to sleep against the noise of a city celebrating the country's 57th Day of Independence from British colonialism.  The dark streets are occasionally punctuated by a few bright spots of light emerging from Indian eateries catering to, well, not so many clients.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Revisiting Those Birthday Resolutions from a Full Three Years Ago

On this very day a full three years ago, the author was penning a blog post in his room in San Diego, listing down some of the resolutions for the upcoming year as he prepared himself for the year ahead in London for his grad school life in the LSE.  It was a time of disappointment, after discovering the toughness of being the common white-collar worker in Japan and an English teacher in Korea.  It was a time of dismay, facing a prospect of pushing ahead in a completely different direction again as the world of business is replaced once again by the world of academia in a faraway place.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Attitude, Rather than Knowledge, Marks a Successful Educator

In the last weekend of his stay in Taiwan, the author was taken to a college campus by a friend of his.  As the friend was taking the author around her alma mater, explaining every corner of the school that made and unmade a thousand memories of her formative four years, the author noted a group of young high school students on what seems to be a summer camp being held at the school's main auditorium.  Boisterously, the kids were going about discussing among themselves, bouncing ideas off one another as they hatch ideas to bring forth in what seemed to be their end-of-the-camp presentation/talent show.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Has the Peak of Urban Car Culture been Reached?

The author's new apartment in the outskirts of Bukit Bintang is a noisy one.  With the open balcony directly facing the train tracks of Kuala Lumpur's Light Rail line, the sounds of each train passing through (at about one train every three minutes during the peak hours) are loud enough to wake a light sleeper in the middle of the night.  Along with almost intimate proximity to the constant concert venue that is Stadium Negara, it kind of explains why the place seem to be cheapest one in this pricey neighborhood.  Not that the author really cares, considering the romanticism he constantly associate with running of the trains.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Malaysia: the “Tame” Home Base of the Southeast Asia Traveler

“God, it’s absolutely too late that I came upon this piece of heaven on Earth!”  Exclaimed the slightly tipsy Indian man from India as our conversation about Malaysia got a bit more enthusiastic.  The location was outside a rather well-known liquor store on the main party drag of Bukit Bintang, and occasion was a casual gathering of the travel-minded on a rowdy Friday night, an alcoholic extension of a dinner gathering.  The camaraderie of complete strangers also felt more intimate than long-time friendships.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

The Oddities of the Frequent Flying Business Traveler

It's funny how some perks of a job can simultaneously be seen as a "curse" or a "blessing" depending on the situation.  When one does not have the perk and watch others get it, jealousy lead to office politics, further leading to conflicts that erupt in ways that send some people resigning from the company.  But once one gets one's hands on that supposedly highly desirable perk, one somehow finds out that the perk is, well, not so desirable, especially when the perk catches one completely mentally unprepared.  One begins to wonder why the perk was so fought over in the first place.