Sunday, April 15, 2018


"So that in my dreams I can forever be close to you"
                                                "After I leave" - Jacky Zheung

I had another dream about you, both me and Justin were getting ready to meet you for dinner. Both of us were excited to catch up and we felt like we haven't seen you in years...

But delay after delay meant you kept asking when we will arrive and I kept responding that we will be there soon. In my dream the expectation built and I couldn't voice how much I wanted to be able to see you again...

But, after the umpteenth time that we were delayed (amazing amount of car trouble), you sent us a message asking how much longer we will be and in my despair I realised: "But you passed away, how is this possible"

I woke up after that message, and the feeling not akin to despair and depression once again set in. I wanted so badly for the dream to continue that in my dreams I can once again look upon your face and imagine myself hearing you infectious laughter once again. 

More than anything else, I didn't want to wake up, I wanted; desperately needed to feel your company once again... Oh god, why am I torturing myself like this again.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Under a Sky Without You

On Friday I went to your memorial service, to be frank it was a terrible affair; the speeches were awful, on the one end of the spectrum it lacked the dignity of a proper memorial service; on the other end it lacked the informal openness that should have celebrated your life.

Or, is that I am asking for too much? To celebrate your life would seem impossible as you were so many things to so many of us. I guess, I needed my own closure and hoped...wished that this memorial would give me something.

I realised that I was mistaken, your accident happened on the Saturday not the Sunday. I also found that that there another person by the name of Jacques who was with you...I can make educated guesses as to which one...but I guess since he didn't come to the memorial he is going more pain and suffering than anyone could understand. It was a freak accident, could've happen to anyone. One a good day you would've left it with a few new bruises. All your harness and safety gear but just a freak accident...that is all.

MS, your ex as a brave man. Insisting to speak at your funeral and spoke of the amazing time you two spent together. Far braver than me, your sister hinted if I wanted to make an eulogy... I wanted to but I was terrified, that small doubt in my heart infinitely magnified...what happens if this is all just wishful thinking like JN? She assumed she was your close and personal friend and whom you also nonchalantly proclaimed that "she has misunderstood our friendship".

I was terrified to find out that I was just merely another friend...and judging from the 200 plus attendance at your memorial there a lot of them. Was I just "merely" a friend? Not someone that you held dear. I was terrified that if I made the eulogy I would discover the unfortunately truth.

Yet your departure was only real to me for the first time yesterday. Even during the memorial I was expecting you to come screaming onto the stage and tell us  that we have all been punked... I even had a small speech ready in my mind to obliterate you when you do...oh, how I wish it was true.

Walking under the beautiful blue Cape Town sky today and suddenly it hit me. Julia Chen's bright smile is no longer lit by this African sun. The full impact of your passing finally swelled up in my chest as I realised that there will be no more rendezvous with just the two of us at another funkily awesome restaurant where I (in Cape Town) would ask where in the world did you find this place. After discovering that jealous significant others are only hindrance to our reunion we have long since stopped inviting them. It was just the two of us, sharing stories and encouraging each other on the way forward. It was one of the highlights of each of my visits to the Mother City.

All of that is gone now, and each time I look to this beautiful Capetownian sky all I feel is sadness. The heartache that I will never ever see you again. I mentioned before, but this city will never be the same again.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Goodbye Julia

Where does one start when they try to commemorate one of the greatest persons to have ever lived?

"Today was is possibly one of my saddest days in my life; your passing was so sudden, and the void of your absence will be felt. Cape Town will never be the same again"

Terrible start, a message left on Facebook while tears streamed down my face and trying to be cryptic in case there are still close friends who are not aware of her passing. It was too short, verbose yet not enough. The despair deepens as I tried to face one of the most miserable weeks at my job, ever.

Two days later I attempted it again, this time posting in a less active forum; WeChat Moments:

"No amount of words, no matter how eloquent can describe this feeling of loss, the void and anguish. Tears could not wash away the pain and I find myself hating your one love that has stolen you from us."

Better in some ways, yet worst in others. My troubled mind was tired; and overwhelmed with such sorrow that words could not come to mind. So let me try again, in my own little corner of thoughts that is at the same time public and private.

On Sunday the 4th June, Julia Chen after suffering a fall while climbing admitted herself to hospital; was placed in a medical coma to relieve the brain swelling and by evening that night was pronounced brain dead. Mid-day Monday the call was made to pull the plug.

For better part of a decade you have been a constant in my life, and I find myself extremely proud to be called one of your close friends, one of those whom you have shared your dark humour and cynicism with; despite your reputation for being one of happiest, warmest and radiant personalities in the world. You showed me a side of you that is rarely seen; and deep in my heart I want to believe that side of you is mine along. I want to believe that so much right now as I hope claim a side of you as my own. 

Go well, my dear friend. My love for Cape Town will never be the same again, your departure will forever darken the city of lights that I have held dear all these years. Tears will never be able to wash away this loss; only time can do that and I hope it never does as it diminish the magnitude of this loss. I can't help but hate your love of climbing, it took away one of the brightest lights in my life and I can never forgive it, ever. 

Sunday, August 14, 2016

A Part of Me is Crying Tonight

Perhaps it's the Snow Show, perhaps it's the wine, almost certainly have SOMETHING to do with reading Lonely Planet guides on travels routes that for some reason touched me deep inside. While waiting for the show to started I paged through travel guides and a unfamiliar wonderlust embraced me.

I have always been aware of my happiness and or or the lack thereof and the causes of it. Yet, I feel like I don't know anymore. Is this happiness? Is this lukewarm existence what I have to look forward to?

Is this an existential crisis? Or perhaps that in my mind of minds I know what is coming and stuff refuse to admit it to myself? 

Slava's Snow Show

Foreword: First post of 2016! Busy writing this with a heavy heart and a bottle of superb Morgenhof's Merlot Cabernet Franc 2011 - a wine that I tasted last weekend and has since promptly brought a case. Great value and certainly will pay more attention to the estate going into the future.

Watched the Slava's Snow Show at Monte Casino (Teatro) today with B, my 2 sisters and my youngest niece. Overall it was not a great production: occasionally funny, great spectator engaging props (giant multi coloured balls at the end, spiders web, and the finale with the fake snow). However, overall I was desperately trying to fight off sleep for most of the performance. The whole performance would certainly be underwhelming and forgettable if not for the amazing scene at the train station where the protagonist set up a coat rack with a woman's coat and a woman's hat; then for 5 minutes brought the imaginary woman to life. The parting scene was heart wrenching and I felt my emotions manipulated exactly as the show intended. Damn them!

Friday, October 30, 2015

Reviewing One's Wealth

About 2 months ago I  finally paid off my loan; possibly the worst financial decision of my life. Taking the loan out in US Dollars was a HUGE mistake. But luckily my income increased to more than compensate the Rand Dollar exchange rate and I paid it off in less than 4 years.

Since then, I have spent a lot of time trying to figure out what I'm going to do with the excess cash that I'm no longer using to pay off the loan. In the past when the Chinese economy was doing really well I saved the cash and put into a loan shark programme that is borderline illegal that most members of my family has been investing with for a long time. But with the downturn in the economy, that is no longer a viable option. Seriously 18% return has been amazing.

I looked at my options and created a bunch of spreadsheets to analysis my current asset profile and I can't help but become rather infatuated with the bottom line - a respectable sum of around R3.5m. I'm sure that if I rewind 4 years beforehand I would be over the moon. But can't help feeling rather underwhelmed and disappointed with myself.
The natural thing from that point on was to project my current earning levels, adjusted for any possible raises over 5 years and came out with another number...again somewhat underwhelmed and deeply disappointed considering that close to 70% of my earnings are saved.

Man's desires are unlimited and I'm merely exhibiting that trait; on the other hand I guess I'm still not satisfied with anything in my matter what. But with that being said; I hope that I can continue this trend of "underwhelming" financial accumulation. LOL

On a lighter note - I was at a wedding last weekend and felt a very strong sense of inadequacy when the other guests at the wedding was lumping around Leica M9's (yes plural) and Leica Prime Lenses. One of them was nice enough to let me play with his M9 mated with a Leica 50mm f/0.95. A combination that is worth over R300k. The experience had me eyeing a full metal body, manual focused Nikon 50mm f1.2. Completely impractical, expensive and hipster as hell.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

To Be Ruthless

Since taking up this job I have been incredibly sheltered by the politics and the inner battles within the company.

Once in a while though I feel the need and somewhat perverse desire to take part in the intrigue and exercise my power to actually destroy someone's career in a company. But despite having that power, opportunity and desire I have not exercised those opportunities because I was too soft. The first time round I backed down and my boss did what I couldn't do.

Fast forwarded 3 year and odd months I find myself sitting in a similar situation and complained about a certain co-worker who has basically stabbed me in the back and blamed many recent failures squarely on my head. I will admit to anyone that I indeed drop the ball; however to just blame everything on me truly exaggerated my abilities and influence within the company, and once again I felt an immense sense of betrayal from someone whom I have helped and supported all this time. I vented my frustrations to another coworker and I sworn that I will get my revenge when I get the opportunity. He surprised me by looking me in the eyes and asked "But can you actually do it this time round?".

I was actually shocked for a  second and realised that he was right; I have never walked the talk. Within seconds I steeled my resolve and promised myself that I will find the opportunities to return the favour and establish a simple principle "Tit-For-Tac".

Tonight, at 11:20pm I got that opportunity. No, I don't have the silver bullet...yet; but I can already foresee that possibility for my revenge.

I admit that this is personal, but what is also very clear I need to start thinking about actually stabbing someone in the back.