29 June 2014

Dreams, unfulfilled.

I dreamed that I was in the jet plane, finding unfulfilled dreams among the stars in the night sky, or in the sun rays that shone through the rolling clouds, thousands of feet above the ground. I was once told that dreams are in abundance nowadays, simply because there are too many unrealised dreams were thrown out of the windows,  and to the streets in the city. Some were kind enough to keep them under their beds. Dream is the commencement speech given in the graduation ceremony, the occasional "what ifs" when you are talking to the black cab drivers in London, or the regretful sighs by the middle-aged woman staying next door. But, dream is also the triumphant smile on the sportsman's face, the lovely feeling in the heart when you look at one particular person's face, or the sheer determination of taking the first baby step. The daily commutes from home to work have been a tiring and discouraging routine that wears away the dream to make this world a better place. Those weary eyes in the train, casting the similar soulless gazes to the crowded standing space in the middle of the coach, waiting for their destinations to be announced through the speakers. As they walk out of the train, the beautiful dreams remain seated. The door closes, and everything repeats again in the next morning.  Maybe some day when I realise that I have stopped writing for the longest time, I know that the dream is long gone. Till then, I shall tell the people around me, that there is a distant dream, awaiting to be fulfilled.

21 November 2013

Forget Dream. Love Paris

It was a cloudy morning in Paris. The magnificent tower stood still, overlooking the excited tourists, the hopeless romantics, and some of the local Parisians who did not give a damn of the metal structure anymore.
Many camera stands were set up, waiting for the right moment to take a snapshot of the beautiful city. You were holding a book, flipping over a few pages during the wait. At the same time, you were scrolling through a few chapters of your own memory too. Nothing went into your mind, totally nothing. Soon, you realised the moment has gone by. You then took out the illustrated map given by the lady in your hostel, somewhere near Montmarte. It was a beautiful map, but it didn't lead you to the place you wanted to go so badly. You found yourself got lost in the streets. Strolling along Boulevard Saint-Germain, you tried to trace back the conversations you once had with some of the strangers, who were interested in Hemingway and Fitzgerald. It reminded you of the scenes in Woody Allen's "Midnight in Paris". There was a downpour, in the evening. The drizzle, after the short downpour, gave the city a misty feeling. Every step you took is a step back in the classy, elegant Jazz Age in the '20s. While you were forgoing the dream of having a romantic encounter with your destined lady in this majestic city, you found out that you were lost in time. And at that instant, you fell in love with Paris.

20 November 2013


那是一个需要越过北大西洋(North Atlantic Ocean) 的梦想。





很多时候,坐在纽约地铁 (Subway) ,由于要回去86街 (West 86th St) 的路途遥远,都会习惯性地观察四周的乘客。在地铁车厢里,觉得能够装着的梦想是多么的脆弱,在人挤人、人比人的社会里,很多梦想都会像泡沫般破掉。

这种感觉,在纽约42街的中央车站(Grand Central Terminal)里,特别深刻。

到了晚上,纽约特别热闹,就是所谓的 “the city that never sleeps”。可是,那些热闹,与许多在黑夜里默默为理想耕耘的灵魂,形成强烈的对比。站在第5大道(5th Avenue)上,看见的,满是绚丽和繁华的象征,但是当你爬到帝国大厦(Empire State Building),黑夜笼罩时,俯瞰着纽约城,你会看见满街都是疲惫、落寞的市井小民。


然后,从112街搭地铁到Brooklyn。在河岸边,也看见了一个社区在迎接新时代的诞生。说真的,在那里观赏黄昏,会觉得非常浪漫。金黄色的夕晖,徐徐地照射着Brooklyn 桥和曼哈顿 (Manhattan)的大厦。或许这是纽约市,唯一拒绝变得现实的地段;而纽约,也认同了现实的紧迫,需要美好的夕阳来调剂一下。



08 November 2013

The Curious Case of Coffee Shops- Conjuring Spaces and Imaginations

A year ago, a friend introduced me to some of the arguably best coffee shops in London,  like Prufrock Coffee, Monmouth etcThe coffee was pretty good, but what really struck me over there was- neither the single origin filter coffee, nor the amazing flat white or latte brewed behind the elegant Lavazza coffee machine.

They were actually the spaces, the interior designs, and the people over there.

I noticed the creative usage of space- not just to attract more customers, but to display the imaginations of a barista. He is the 'Architect of Spaces', constructing what he wishes to see in his own shop, eg: the interaction and the flow of the customers, and whether there's enough privacy for everyone in the public space, but at the same time, doesn't stop everyone from talking to anyone if he/she wishes to.

The unique design has created an intriguing meeting point for those who genuinely enjoy coffees, those who are there to be pretentious ; those who are there to escape from the real world; or those who are there to simply embrace the spaces.

Although it's a place which tends to move on a slower pace than the outside world, many ideas, emotions, and conversations appear more frequent to inspire the people in the coffee shops. It's like a microcosm of the entire dynamism of a big metropolitan city, but in a contradictory manner.

A little cup of flat white and a relaxing ambience in a quaint surrounding are pacing themselves towards forming an idea that was once scattered pieces of fragments, or brewing a casual yet meaningful conversation that you never thought you would have in the midst of a bustling city life.

Therefore, during my trips to some of the most vibrant cities in the world, I have taken some time out to visit some cafes and photograph some of the sights and scenes which I personally feel, have inspired me to appreciate life from a more beautiful perspective, in one way or another.

Prufrock Coffee, London

Workshop Coffee, London

Association Coffee, London 

Monmouth Coffee & Co, London
Sight Glass, San Francisco

Market Lane Coffee, Melbourne

Stumptown Roaster, New York
Monocle Cafe, London

Sight Glass, San Francisco

Thinking Cup, Boston
Fazil Bey, Istanbul

Prufrock Coffee, London

Flat White, London

Monocle Cafe, London

03 November 2013

Approaching quarter-life, where are the dots and how to connect them?

Seriously, I have no idea. 

There are so many articles out there, circulating around telling you what you ought to do in your 20s, what you should not do in your early 20s, what you wished to know in your 20s, and bla bla bla... and it gets repetitious after some time.

I came across this line a while ago. 'The best way to get life experience is to go out there and live'. The best advice to build your own future has to come from yourself. You have to observe how to observe, to learn how to learn, and to fail how to fail, in order to succeed. 

Then I started to find the dots and tried to connect them by travelling.  (p/s: But then again, this is not the only way, or the best way as implied by those articles on the internet. )

There was a time in my university life when I suddenly realised that I haven't seen the world enough. London is the only big city I have lived in throughout my life. Being a metropolitan city, London has provided me many great opportunities and occasions to see things from various perspectives, as well as amazing experiences that I have never come across before. 

From then onwards, I chased after big cities. From London to Paris, to Berlin, to Amsterdam, to New York, to San Francisco, to Istanbul and to Melbourne. Some of them carry a baggage from the past, some of them carry a mission for the future, while some of them carry a lifestyle of the present. So, I thought I would be able to find some extraordinary dots to connect. 

Truth to be told, those cities were really captivating, offering many answers, yet giving more questions at the same time. However I couldn't connect the dots that I found along the way. The journey is akin to looking into a very unique kaleidoscope- beautiful, yet so perplexing.

When I was in San Francisco, I had the chance to get down to some of the tech clusters in Palo Alto and Mountain View. The dynamism is off the chart, and the contradictory traits are so profoundly true. I tried to emulate parts of them, but to no avail. It gets so unreal and psychologically difficult to maintain. 

I took some time out after graduation, so that I will have the time to understand those dots that I found along the journey, before starting a new chapter in life. The observations, feelings, and thoughts which appeared serendipitously in the quest for connecting the dots were thrown out to see the connections between them.  

Few months later, nothing came out of it. Many lines were drawn, many shapes were formed, and even more were erased and remained as dots, as they were before.

So, sometimes I wonder, where are the dots and how to connect them? (blame Steve for this. oh maybe Apple gonna patent this up too! )


06 August 2013









与其说被社会排斥,这是另类的自我放逐。你选择了一条开拓视野的路,翱翔世界,你已经成为真真实实的地球人 (global citizen)。放逐了自己,是时候调适一下,落脚于稳定的生活。


很多时候,在亲朋戚友的聚会上,你会很自然地说,我们在英国时,是怎样怎样的; 又或者说,你在外面是如何度过那四年的,世界是如何的大等等。


31 July 2013

On the Bridge, Castle in the Air

So, there I was, strolling on the Millennium Bridge for the last time-with the magnificent St.Paul's cathedral overlooking me from behind, and the amazing view of the River Thames on both sides of the bridge.

All of a sudden, there's this weird admiration, deep down, towards the architect behind this bridge. It seemed to me he must have thought that such beautiful scenes shouldn't be enjoyed separately by the people on two different islands.

People should be able to share the scenes together in the middle of the river. Well, that's just what I thought. Maybe that's what a farewell tribute to a city does to my imagination.

This reminds me of the many beautiful bridges that have laid before my eyes, when I was travelling around the world. Some of the notable ones are the Tower Bridge, The Golden Gate Bridge, and the Brooklyn Bridge.

If you look closely enough, they are like the modern castle in the air, an impossible piece of art in the middle of a river stream.

And what they do is to bring people from different sides of the islands to meet each other in the eyes. Well, sometimes it could lead to more than meeting the eyes.

Some encounters are for the sunset of today, while some are for the sunrise of tomorrow. We never know.

What we do know is that, if you don't cross the bridge, you will only see half of the scenery, and the other half could just lie right at the end of the bridge.

15 July 2013

Note for London #003 - Imperial walking tour, Down memory lane

I was telling myself this, when I was resting at a small park near St.Paul's Cathedral.

"Imagine yourself doing a walking tour from Earls Court to Imperial College. How would that be?"

I always have this crazy dream, that one day if I become famous, the route from where I lived in London to the college I studied in would be a path that people would love to retrace and visit.

This is exactly like what I did in Paris. To follow the route where Hemingway went to Shakespeare and Co. to borrow the books he wanted and went to La Closerie des Lilas to have a cup of coffee.

And so, the journey begins at 15, Longridge Road, somewhere near Earls Court.

A short walk along Cromwell Road, and we will arrive at Lexham Garden. It will then lead us to this small lane, somewhere between two old white houses, right behind the private garden in the middle of the neighbourhood.

Come autumn season, the Cornwall Garden Walk will have colourful leaves that fall from the trees. It's as beautiful as the flowers that you see in the summer, as if the flowers bequeath their wonderful colours to their counterparts. 

Oh, don't forget about '50G, The Little House'. A cute and memorable name for the tiny house. It's just located at the top of the slope, after the Cornwall Garden Walk.

You will also see the 'Babboe Big' children cart at 66, Cornwall Garden. The children cart is attached to a main bicycle, just like those that you see in Amsterdam. Probably a Dutch family, I guess. 

Pay a visit to the Kynance Mews too. It's like a hidden garden, shying away from the hustle and bustle of Gloucester Road during the day. Some of the houses are painted in different colours, similar to the houses in Burano or Cinque Terre.

Towards the end of the road, you will see an arch covered by vines, as if the plants are welcoming you into a hidden tunnel, to a different world.

Then, there is this Cafe Deco at 62, Gloucester Road; where students will buy the 1 pound baguette every weekday after 6pm. Well, given the price, the quality is largely compromised.

Or, the students will buy the lamb briyani or chicken curry rice from The Sandwich Shop, at 54 Gloucester Road.

In between these two shops, you will find a small, modern french art studio, displaying some of the most stunning and impressive arts at 58, Gloucester Road.

Can't really believe that I will somehow miss the route to college.

14 July 2013

Note for London #002

I go on the same route, back to college, and see what have I missed along the way.

Nothing much. I wondered, whether there isn't much to see along the way to college, or is it that my eyes have lost the ability to spot the hidden beauty?

Post-college life is a complete chaos of mixed feelings. Part of myself feel out of place, with this familiar route that I have taken everyday back then.

So familiar that now it's so strange to retrace the path.

The Queens tower is still there. Standing tall, overlooking the freed men, and those who are still chained to the slavery of courseworks.

Many things happened in the past 4 years. Some relationships are still there, some are not, some you are not even sure what have they turned into.

That's Imperial College for you. Many from the outside would like to enter, and many from the inside would like to escape from it. Can't believe we have been living with the irony for 4 years.

13 July 2013

Note for London #001 - The Beginning of an End

Very often I get this question from my friends, "Since you travelled quite a lot, which city or country do you think is the best? "

And, I couldn't find an answer for that. Because I think, the more you travelled, the more you realise that the world is so diverse, that each city or country has her own beauty.

There isn't one best city that everyone should live in. But there will definitely be one city that can accommodate you, and make you happy.

Today, my supervisor asked me something different, "After travelling to so many cities, which one would you return to?"

This prompts me to think very hard. I couldn't answer it immediately. However, after giving it some thoughts, the city that I will return to is London.

Yes, it's London.

Well, maybe it could be part of the graduation goggles, that I think I won't be coming back anytime soon. Hence, I miss it even more.


It could be this is the only city I have stayed for so long, other than Seremban. 4 years- a period of time which is short enough to leave, but long enough to miss.

This place used to be a dreamland, when I was younger, singing along with the London Bridge nursery rhymes; and then it becomes a reality, and takes part of my heart away eventually.

From Seremban, to London; and from London, to the world. The exposure, the people, the experience- they are just so great.

The best thing a city can offer is to give you space to explore more rooms for yourselves. And, London has managed to do that.

From science to engineering, to politics, to writing, to banking and finance, to entrepreneurship, to art and design, to coffee and to travelling.

Truly a melting pot, of thoughts and cultures.

Thank you London, for the amazing 4 years. I will miss you dearly.