Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Looking for Something


I believe we are all searching for something meaningful in our lives. Some people find it sooner than others, some people never find it at all. Some find it in simple things, some find it in the strangest places, some find it in the hearts of others. Some would kill for what they search for, some would sacrifice their own lives to get it.

Some do not even know what to find. Some do not know where to look for.

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us



Could it be in that plastic bag?

I have lost something precious. Some things that are lost, will never be found again.


I guess I will have to move on, and start looking again. Will I ever find what I am searching for, only time will tell. If you have found that meaning in your life, do tell your story. The world needs miracles right now.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Singapore: By The Day



And so the brief adventure of Singapore continues, I must apologize for dragging the series this long, but I do feel the necessity of doing so since I have plenty to share with you beautiful people out there.

After taking the night sceneries of Singapore mainly at the Marina Bay/Esplanade area, we got back to Orchard Road really late past midnight. We had a quick stroll along the street, continued snapping some Christmas sceneries of the area and grabbed some quick bite before retiring to the Marriott Hotel for the evening.

ESPLANADE CITY VIEW



LOOKING TO THE DURIAN SKY




So the Saturday has ended, and I dare say that considering the right schedules and extremely restricted time we had, it was a day well spent. Now, what was the plan for the coming Sunday?

Jasonmumbles, the cool dude that got me the invitation to the event wanted to maximize his free stay at the hotel, and basically savour everything it has to offer for the half day we had on Sunday before heading back to KL in the afternoon. I have no objections, since most people would do the same, stretching and squeezing every little bit out of whatever that could be consumed.

However, I have an entirely different thought. Considering the fact that the stay was free, I could afford to skip the luxuries, and planned my walkabout around Singapore, doing my best to cover as much ground, and snap as many good pictures as I could under such tight schedule.

CITY AT MY BACK



Note: Marcus, great shot !!

ME AND MARCUS CAMWHORING !!!




That means, no sleeping in till late, and rushing out from the hotel at ungodly 7am in the morning to maximize whatever time I had left in Singapore.

Jason thought I was insane. I think most of you would feel the same too. I do not blame you guys, it was my first time in Singapore, you could not possibly expect me to sleep it all in till departure !!!

So Marcus came all the way to the hotel to meet up with me, and off we went for shooting spree. We headed to the Chinatown area and visited one really awesome looking temple right at the heart of the city.

I shall cover this temple in another entry in near future. A satisfying photo session ensued, and right after that we flew back to the place where we were the night before, the Esplanade, and I managed to capture some really cool pictures of the scenery there again, this time in bright daylight. I could not believe my eyes, but the views were even more impressive under the harsh morning sun !!

ON GOING CONSTRUCTIONS @ MARINA BAY



MERLION & THE CBD




It was really refreshing doing the tourist thing again, and seeing different places and explore different cultures. I have had dozens of Singaporean friends I have known from my days of studying and working in Perth, and half of them would be more than willing to axe me should they find out that I visited Singapore without letting them know in advance.

It was too much of a rush, and I barely had time to catch my breath. Nevertheless, I did what I could, and I was glad with it. As for some of the Singaporean friends whom I have been dying to meet, I am sorry, I am sure there will be future more proper and longer visits to this wonderful land. Coffee and dinners would compensate for the lost times.

ME WITH MERLION



LONESOME FELLOW




I do not how you guys would think of it, but I think Singapore is an awesome place. Shopping there is almost like heaven when theres heavy discounts, and to be honest it is really comfortable to see clean streets, and I mean squeaky clean everywhere !! Not to forget I have known many awesome people there. There is just so much to love about it !! The sky seems much blue-er in Singapore. 

Now I am already daydreaming on my next visit to Singapore. Garrhhhh..


Thursday, December 25, 2008

Singapore: The Night Scenery


Side Note: I am getting old. Turned 24 today. So what have I done in my life so far?

And so the major event of my Singapore brief trip over the weekend: The Blogger's Christmas Party was over, what did I do right after that? Gee, I had quite a few choices actually. I could tag along some awfully hot chicks and party all night either at the same club or crawled to other beautiful clubs of Singapore, or... without needing any saying.

MARINA BAY VIEWS











I would choose to do the photography option of activities for the rest of the night, working my Ollie which I faithfully brought to Singapore with me. The night was still very young, so we decided to capture how Singapore looks and feels like during dark hours.

Since the party was held at DXO, which was interestingly convenient, just right beside to the Esplanade, we just had to walk a couple of minutes to the Marina Bay. Gosh, upon arrival, I was speechless to begin with. The views from the river front was just spectacular, and like usual anything to do with building skyline of a gigantic city with waters reflecting it would turn out to be something breathtaking. My pictures do not do justice in recording the feeling of awe I was in as I was taking them.





THE ESPLANADE (aka DURIAN)








Note: Silly me for not using the hood on my lens, the flare was irritating.


Thankfully the weather was rather fine, and it was quite pleasant to walk around and work my camera. I dragged my tripod along with me to Singapore, and it proved to be damned useful especially in situations like this: taking night landscape pictures.

Though KL is not exactly anywhere smaller than Singapore, but it was quite a struggle to locate an appropriate look out point for city landscape picture. Titiwangsa lake is just too far away to capture any stunning shots, and some of the best KL night scenery shots are either taken from the top of buuildings, or some God forbidden hills. Even so, the pictures are nowhere as breathtaking as what you find in Singapore.

THE MERLION









My trip to Singapore was not disappointed as I managed to grab some really nice shots !! There are not many instances that I have been truly happy with my photo turnouts I must admit.

FINAL VIEW





The only complaint I would have was not having more time to slowly explore other places. That was the only destination we headed to at night. Nevertheless, I do believe this was not my last visit to Singapore, and I dare say I love seeing what I see there !!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Singapore: The Blogger's Christmas Party


Side Note: It is so easy to spot the faults and imperfections on another person's picture, and shunning his photography skills right there and then, but have you ever thought for a second sometimes it was not that easy to make that not so perfect shot happen? Criticism is accepted, but not blind comments with no directions.

So I was in Singapore and the main reason for that was to attend the very first Blogger's Christmas Party, jointly organized by VPOST and Nuffnang.

It was held at one of the prominent clubs locally in Singapore, DXO which was situated around 15 minutes taxi ride away from the Marriott Hotel where we spent the night in.









We arrived the venue rather early, hence I had plenty of opportunities to snap around.

The party was, like usual, a costume party, where everyone has to dress up accordingly to the theme of own choice according to the assigned letter of either V, P, O, S, or T. Interestingly neither me nor Jason (the bubbly lovely guy who got me an invitation to the entire thing) was assigned with any letter, and being invited in such last minute, I was unable to come up with anything near decently creative.

Gosh, I was so occupied with the company Christmas Dinner (I was part of the organizing committee), a friend who flew in from Kuching and stayed the night at my place and a million other things that I did not have the time to sit down and think about what costume I would be dressing up to the party, let alone go and buy or make them happen !!

Alright lets forget about me and move on to the more interesting things of the night.




Ruby and Cindy (The MDG)






Upon arrival, like typical bloggers everywhere, the camwhoring began. It was great seeing so many bloggers coming together. Primarily the event was organized for Singaporean bloggers, with around 20 invited Malaysian bloggers to join in only. For some reasons, I have been falling out of touch from the world of blogosphere.

There were only a few older generation bloggers that I could recognize, as the newer and obviously the currently popular ones, I had not a slightest clue who they were. Nonetheless, it was great fun meeting everyone, getting to know new faces, and of course, taking pictures of those camwhoring actions going to the extreme !!

Note to self: Start blog-hopping again so you would not be missed out in huge events like this.











Among the celebrities who attended the event from Malaysia were Sixthseal, Kenny Sia, and Cindy (the Malaysian Dream Girl). It was really awesome seeing the gathering of the stars of the blogosphere, and partying together in a club.

There were free food (buffet style) and free limited drinks.






The entire event was rather well organized I must say, kudos to the organizing committee. Handling so many bloggers together from two different countries was no easy task I dare say, and they managed to pull off just right. The programme was just right, with enough thrill and games to get the crowd going.

The only drawback I would think of is the lack of space for getting to know people that you do not know. Most of the time I was stuck with familiar faces, and for a not so known (more like invisible) blogger like me, it was impossible to get into the crowd. The loud music (though I do admit darn good music) and almost pitch dark lighting of a typical club scene did no good in helping people to move around and get to know more people.

That aside, I do think the event was a huge success. Everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves tremendously.


INSIDE DXO









Photography was a nightmare though. It is rather interesting how all the events of me using my camera lately all required me to have an external flash. Without one, it was almost impossible to focus and meter the subjects accurately, and forget the speed of the camera in performing such tasks. There were times I needed to wait for at least 2-3 seconds before the camera could lock the focus and I could release the shutter.

And the Camwhowring resumes.....












Despite the poor AF speed performance, the accuracy was rather impressive under virtually no light condition, and I seldom missed focus. And the pictures come out surprisingly pleasing too, considering the mere fact that I was only utilizing the built in flash. Inevitably, there will be blown highlights and harsh skin tones, but I dare say they were kept rather minimum, and the results were rather presentable in my opinion.





Jolene and Chee Kiang... two of the friendliest and nicest people around !!




Ruby, a girl who uses a DSLR !! (photo stolen from www.jasonmumbles.com)

Obviously having an external flash will aid me in these areas: A lot quicker AF/AE (auto focus/exposure) operations with the built in assist lamp on the unit, and stronger, and more evenly distributed artificial lighting from the flash firing, with full control of light directions and better adjustments on the intensity. I wonder if Santa would ever give out external flash units for Christmas Presents?





Audrey who won the best dressed costume for the night.

Due to the troublesome limitation of my current camera, ie the slow focus speed under super dark situations, camwhowring with the babes were almost impossible, as it did take a certain effort and knowledge on focusing to get the right picture output.

During the event a few unexpected things happened though. Huai Bin (Sixthseal) passed out, lying on the couch next to the buffet table just as the dinner has begun. Kinda early for a party freak like him to end.






And boy, you should see how those girls threw themselves to Kenny Sia. I guess they all took turns to stroke his balls for the night. I wonder if he has any left after the party.

The entire event ended at 10pm. Some of the bloggers stayed on to party, but most of the people there left the venue, either crawling to another pub, or for those people like me who would want to do the tourist thing, I went on and started shooting on Singaporean night scenery.

So that was it, the main event of the Singapore trip. Coming up next would be Singapore: The Night Scene.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Singapore: Before the Party


It was one of those really hectic Wednesday afternoon, when I was rushing a mountain of paperworks, and answering some client requests over the phone. Time was short and too much needed to be done, and the same was for almost all the colleagues sitting within my vicinity. At such rush, you can barely find any hint of smile on anyone, since all were occupied with probably a thousand and one things.

And the Jasonmumbles called me on my cell.

"Hey Robin, wanna go to Singapore for Blogger's Christmas Party this weekend? transport + stay all paid for."

I have not been to Singapore before. Without much thought, I instantaneously said YES.

I WAS GOING TO SINGAPORE !!



JASON, AUDREY AND ROBIN in a BUS RIDE




And then almost all heads around me turned towards me, because I had a huge, and almost permanent grin on my face for the rest of the afternoon. I was going to Singapore for the first time in my life on the weekends !!! How can I not smile out of total excitement? I have heard tonnes and tonnes of awesome thing about that country, and this is my first chance of ever witnessing it with my own eyes, and recording it with my own camera.

THE MARRIOTT HOTEL @ ORCHARD ROAD





So what was the fuss all about? Apparently the blogging advertising agent, Nuffnang was organizing a Blogger's Christmas Party for Singaporean bloggers, at Singapore, but decided to invited a number of top Malaysian bloggers to join them down there. Each blogger going was allowed to drag along one unlucky guest which must be a blogger as well. Jasonmumbles, one of the shortlisted/invited bloggers for the event somehow managed to push all the sexy babes around him aside and grab me to go with him to Singapore instead !! I love you Jason !!

BUSY STREETS




The journey to Singapore was a free bus ride, which started from KL all the way down to Singapore which took more than 5 hours on land. This was also my first time taking such a long bus ride. On the bus there was the bunch of wacky bloggers, all looking forward for the party the same night. Like what bloggers would do, the bloggers all started camwhoring once stepped into the bus, and I did not lose out on this.

After such dreadful journey, we arrived at our destination, the Marriott Hotel at Orchard Road, one of the most congested places in Singapore at the moment due to sales, and the festivity. Yeap, you heard that right, Marriott Hotel, the Pagoda shaped hotel building as shown in the picture !! Now how many times have I stayed at a 5 Star hotel before? Hmmm... I shared a room with Jason of course. It was quite a nice place, but we did not get any great views from our windows. Nevertheless, it was quite a comfortable room and such a pleasure to stay in.

CHRISTMAS IN ORCHARD






Our stay there was only 2 days and 1 night. We departed from KL at 10am, arriving at the hotel at 4pm, leaving us only less than 2 hours before the event of the night, the Christmas Party. And the party was going on until late, and that left us with very little time to walk around for sightseeing, or even shopping !! For the girls, it would be a sin not to shop at such time of the year in Singapore especially of you are at the Orchard Road district. As for me, it would be a sin not to spend time snapping some pictures for you beautiful readers to see !!

SKY IS BLUER IN SINGAPORE



SOFT TOY TREE



Marcus, a great friend whom I have known from my residential college days in Perth came all the way to greet me at the hotel itself upon my arrival !!! How nice of him to find me so quickly. I shall talk more about this awesome dude in my coming entries. Making use of the extremely limited time we have, I dropped everything at the room, and brought my Ollie out, storming the streets of Orchard Road for photos with Marcus as my guide. An hour or so of street photography, capturing the spirit of Christmas in Singapore was something simply enjoyable.

TIME STOOD STILL



Note: This particular shot was taken early morning, the day after the party.

Christmas on Singaporean streets was so alive. You can feel the warmth radiating from the decorations placed everywhere, inside and outside the shopping places. Yet, I was told that this year the decorations have been scaled down due to the economic recession recently. I would not say that Malaysia decorations would have been any less grander in comparison, but the feeling was somehow different if you ask me. It felt closer to Christmas being here in Singapore, and the crowd jamming the entire street just added to the atmosphere, though this may not be to everyone's liking.

It was quite a quick stroll, but I managed to grab some shots I was satisfied with. I even went in a few of the shopping malls just to have a quick look. All was rather rushed, and I was back to the hotel for a change of clothings, preparing for the following party. That party, shall be in another entry.

MARCUS CAMWHORING !!!!



Note: This is the same Marcus who has been my regular blog commenter since my early blogging days !! He has never missed reading any entry before here. Thanks for the loyalty man !!

Given more time, I am sure there are more things to capture along Orchard Street, the place that has always been popping out in conversations I have heard amongst my Singaporean friends. I was truly glad that I made it there, and at this auspicious time approaching Christmas.

Coming up next would be the first Bloggers' Christmas Party. Now, I shall tend to my much needed rest. Cheers guys !!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Birdie


This marked my third time visiting the bird park in KL, and the reason I was there this time was to bring a friend (who is crazy about photography as much as I do) there. Since I have blogged about the place before, I shall cut down the redundancy, and just post up pictures I have not put up here before. I have also taken significantly less pictures, probably around only 50 or less pictures, since most of the birds were almost the same anyway since my last visit. Nevertheless, there is always the challenge in improving the shot that you have captured before, and trying new techniques, or styles in compositions.

BLACK HORNBILL



COLOURFUL BEAK



(Jian will love this picture)

As we were shooting on, we found something rather, disturbing. Not surprisingly this picture reminds me of some people that I do know in real life.

YOUR OWN KIND



And after all the bird seeing, it was already late afternoon, and of course we all get hungry, no?

What better food for lunch than roasted bird on a plate served with salad and fries?

ROASTED CHICKEN




It was my first meal in Nandos and I do find myself enjoying it tremendously. The bottomless drink was a welcome after a hot morning of shooting.

I have been occupied with too many happenings around me lately, and a lot of them occurred rather unexpectedly leaving me little room to breathe and adjust myself to. And as for this weekend, it shall be my first ever trip down to Singapore, though it will be a brief one, I am truly looking forward to it.

I think if I do not take a break from all this hectic rush soon, I will most certainly break down. I kid you not.

I just need to sit down in front of my computer sipping away a giant mug of iced milo without having to worry about anything else in my life right now. I just need to stop the speeding train of thoughts flashing through my mind.

Holidays. Soon. Must. Survive.