Friday, 18 September 2015

15 Things To Do In Macau

Earlier this month, thanks to an invitation from the Macau Government Tourism Office, I had the chance to re-visit one of the most unique cities in East Asia.

It was not my first trip to Macau. Previously, it was mostly as a transit point to Hong Kong. Back in those days, Macau was known as Asia's most notorious town - a somewhat pale Chinese imitation of Las Vegas.

That was the case ten over years ago.

Visit Macau today, and what you'll see is a fascinating juxtaposition of modern glamour and old-school hip, a melting pot of Chinese and Portuguese influences, and easily the best food flavours this side of China.

Macau is the world's most densely populated region and one of the world's richest cities.

Lonely Planet named Macau one of the Top 10 Regions to visit in '15. I agree.

In honour of that, here are 15 things I think everybody must do when they visit Macau.


15. Snap a Selfie at the Ruins of St Paul, Senado Square

To go to Macau and not see the Ruins of St Paul, is like going to Paris and not seeing the Eiffel Towel. This is the definitive symbol of Macau and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The surrounding Senado Square was and still is Macau's urban centre for centuries. Flanked by pastel coloured neo-classical buildings, it's the perfect place to get lost in the many shops and restaurants surrounding the square.

14. See a bit of Old Portugal

Not far from Senado Square are many churches and buildings left behind by the Portuguese.

My favourite of all is St Lawrence Church.

Saint Lawrence is the patron saint of sailors, and the church was commissioned by Portuguese who arrived in Macau after living inside a ship for months. The result - a church that looked like the inside of a boat.


13. See a bit of Old China

Opium dens, clan halls, pawn shops and whore houses.

Every Chinese town has an unsavoury past, but Macau doesn't shy away from it. If anything, Macau preserves those buildings almost in their original conditions. As I stood in the middle of the lane to have a quiet moment to myself, it's as if the hustle and bustle of the bygone days is still lingering in the air.

The Footsteps into the Historic Centre walking tour is the best way to experience this side of Macau. Entrance to the buildings are all FREE!

FREE. Except for the whore houses.


12. Light a Joss Stick at A-Ma Temple

Although fairly austere by Chinese temple standards, A-Ma Temple is significant in Macau's history for the fact that it is where Macau got it's name from.

Story goes like this: many years ago the Portuguese sailors made their first landing just outside the temple. They asked the locals where the heck they were and the locals replied "A-Ma Gau" (Place of A-Ma). The rest, as they say, is history.

Heng ah, the locals didn't reply, "GWAI LO! NEIH YAO MAT YEH!?"

Note: You can walk from Senado Square to A-Ma Temple, passing by all the sights above, by following the "Crossroads of China and Portugal" Walking Tour.

11. Drink the Best Tea in Macau at Long Wa

Located just across the road from the Red Market, Long Wa is the last authentic Chinese tea house in Macau.

The dim sum breakfast, although limited in variety, tastes far better than any dim sum you can find in Malaysia. But the main reasons the locals come here, is for the tea.


10. Get the Perfect Instagram Shot at Taipa Village

The narrow streets of Taipa Village are lined with beautiful pastel-coloured buildings.

Put your filters on, cos every shot you take is gonna fetch you 30% more Likes.


9. Go Food-Hunting at Cunha Street

The closest thing to Changkat Bukit Bintang in Macau is Cunha Street. Authentic street art, shops selling typical tourist souvenirs, hipster cafe joints serving siphon drip coffee.

8. Ogle at Giant Pandas

Yes, I know you got Giant Pandas in your zoos. But these cute pair of pandas in Macau is guaranteed to make you happy.

See, their names are Kai Kai and Xin Xin. DOESN'T THAT MAKE YOU HAPPY ALREADY?!

7. Stuff your Face Silly with at Restaurante Litoral

There's no shortage of good food in Macau. Having said that, in my four days there, I had my best meals at Restaurante Litoral. This is authentic Portuguese food at its best, and I ain't talking Nando's.

If unsure, order the curry crab, with a side of freshly baked bread. It is DA BOMB.


6. Taste the Original Egg Tarts at Lord Stow's

While we're still on the topic of food, don't even think about leaving Macau without first tasting Portuguese egg tarts from the original inventors of Portuguese egg tarts.

The original bakery is a little out of the way in Coloane, but it's worth the hassle to make the pilgrimage just to see why the whole world has gone crazy over Portuguese egg tarts.

5. Take a Silly Photo at Pier16 3D Macau, Sofitel

Because why wouldn't you want to trick your friends into thinking that you went to Macau to become an emperor?


4. Catch the Special Event of the Month

If you look up Macau's tourism calendar, there's bound to be either a special event or a concert every single month of the year. The month of September features Macau International Fireworks Display Contest, and is universally acclaimed as one of the best of its kind.


3. Soak Up The Atmosphere in SoHo

There's no denying that everything on The Cotai Strip is artificial and manufactured. But as far as man-made entertainment goes, SoHo at the City of Dreams keeps it interesting with food, art and interactive games set in a atmospheric Brooklyn street.


2. Watch the House of Dancing Waters

Words cannot describe how breathtakingly amazing this show is. Part circus, part theatre, part ballet - it's by far the best permanent attraction in the Strip. Little wonder that every show is packed to the max every single year FOR THE PAST FIVE YEARS.



1. The One Thing Macau Is Famous For

Well, it's Macau!

Saturday, 08 August 2015

Seed Is Gonna Get Real

We are expecting a child.

I'm gonna be a father soon. O_O

Monday, 04 May 2015

Ten Years

Dear Papa,

It has been ten years since you're gone.

Never imagined I would be missing you everyday for ten years, but I guess I did. :) Ten years have passed, but the feeling of not having you around anymore is just as raw as it was ten years ago.

A lot has happened. A lot of milestones achieved in these ten years. I'm a little disappointed that you were not around to witness it, nor to taste the fruits of your labour. But that's the cards we were dealt with, right? So we live with it.

The supermarket business that you started more than twenty years ago has been making a lot of progress recently. Just last month, we had a ribbon-cutting ceremony for our first outlet outside of Sarawak. Mom told me that it has always been a dream of yours to expand into Sabah, and now that dream has come true. Ten years after you're gone.

Who would have thought, a tiny little home-grown business you started from absolute scratch with your barehands is now big enough to straddle two Malaysian states. Not bad for a local brand name. Not bad for a local brand name that some think is not "good enough" to compete with the major players from West Malaysia. Now we are starting to stand toe-to-toe against them.

I think kor kor deserved a lot of credit, for re-branding and refreshing a forty-year-old brand name and turning that uncool image around. I think you'll be so proud of his business acumen. It's more modernized and stylish now... although it still bears the ol' ching-chong name you gave. ;)

Compared to kor kor, the business I started may not be as large - but for a six-year-old business that was started from scratch I think not too bad also lah. Last September, I also had my little milestone when I expanded outside of Kuching. After a lot of hard work, I finally opened a small gym in the tiny town of Segamat, Johor. It's not something I had initially planned, but I got a really dedicated partner and I also wanted to see how good a mentor I can be. Perhaps it's because I have grown up, but I find that the process of helping people achieve their dreams more spiritually and emotionally fulfilling compared to just doing it for myself.

The only thing better than starting your own business, is helping other people start their own business, see them make money and grow. :)

Papa, all these are related to work. The biggest thing you missed in these ten years is my wedding.

On the 9th September 2014, Ming and I completed the third of our three wedding ceremonies. I prayed to you the day before. Even went as far as to wear the gold watch you left behind for the entire day of my wedding.

Of course, Ming and I's biggest regret is not to be able to serve you tea.

But we are doing good.

So now, after more than twenty years living underneath the roof you built, I have finally moved out to my own little place. Your little boy is finally becoming a man.

I'm glad I have finally found the person that I wanted to share the rest of my life with. Mom adores her... sometimes more than me. ;) And I feel just as accepted by her family. I think you would have really like her too.

I guess the next step now, is to start my own family, huh? If it happens, the only thing I hope is that I can be as good a father as you were to me.

The past ten years had not been easy at all. I had to deal with a lot of challenges thrown in my way. From dealing with the pain of your passing in 2006, finding my own feet in the business world in 2009, rising in the face of competition in 2013, to finally finding balance and achieving stability in 2015.

Too many obstacles I faced in this journey to adulthood. At the same time, I sense that the worst of the worsts is over.

Now I'm ready for a new chapter in my life.

From a young adult to a man. From being single to a husband. From a business start-up to a mentor.

With you watching from above, I think I'm gonna be able to get through this funny thing called 'Life'. :)

In the meantime, please take care. I know I've been owing you ten years of coffee, and counting.

Till we meet again,

Your youngest son.

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