Four Years

Dear papa,

It’s been four years since I last saw your smile.

How have you been doing? I can’t see you. Are you watching over me? Are you smiling from up above? I am missing you so much.

I have been busy. Things are going on so crazy right now. My head felt like splitting. There’s 101 things to do everyday. Before I knew it, the day is over. I am living the life of a workaholic right now.

In the past 6 months, there had been many changes going on in my life. I’ve got out of a relationship. Took a long break overseas. Got back. Became an uncle. Shaved my head bald. Took another long break and just got back with mom and the rest of the company from Japan.

The shaving-my-head bald thing was not for style nor fashion. 😉 I did it to raise funds for the SCCS and it went really well. The readers of my blog responded very generously. Part of me did it because I knew how helpless it felt to have someone I love suffering from cancer. So I dedicated my efforts to you, and I want you to know that you are still changing people’s lives for the better, even after you had long gone.

Don’t worry about the business. It is still going great. Kor kor is doing a fantastic job. The economy crisis didn’t hit us that much and besides, it’s not like we’ve never pulled out of a bad situation before. I have left the IT department earlier this year though,  because I have plans of my own. In fact, I am following your footsteps, starting my own business later this year.

I had a lot of assistance from uncle and the rest of the company. Right now, I am experiencing what you must had experienced when you started your business many years ago. I have been spending a lot of long hours reading different books, brainstorming ideas and coming up with plans. It’s a lot of hard work, harder than I expected. But it is good fun. I enjoy the challenge. I just hoped I inherited your business acumen. Time will tell whether or not I could be as good a businessman as you were. I hope I won’t disappoint you.

It’s been four years since you left us, papa.

It has taken me a while, but the reality has begun to sink in. I know you will not be coming back anymore. And I know will never see you again.

That does not, however, stop me from missing you so dearly, today, on the fourth year of your passing. Your voice, your smell, your smile… it’s still so fresh in my head. You are my pride. And not a day goes by without me trying my best to learn from the memories I have of you. So one day, I can tell people that I have grown up to be the man that my father once was.

Rest well up there.

I love you.


Your youngest son,

St James’s Gate Dublin

This will be my last entry on my trip to Ireland ‘cos I’m sure people are tired for reading my travelogues by now.


You know you’ve become a grown up when you got the chance to go to Disneyland and you’re like "Meh."

But when you knew visiting the Guinness Brewery, suddenly your mouth starts watering and you find yourself anxiously counting down to the day you can finally step foot in the famous St James’s Gate Brewery.


Guinness is no doubt Ireland’s oldest and most famous export to the world.

Nothing else even comes close to the legendary Irish beer’s popularity. Not even Bono, Bailey’s, O’Brien’s sandwiches or some stupid dance show by Michael Flatley.


In Ireland, almost everyone drink Guinness.

Just go to any one of over 1,000 traditional Irish pubs in Dublin and you’re guaranteed to see Guinness Draught faithfully served on tap, and at least one person holding a pint of black stuff in his hand.


The Irish people’s love for Guinness extends beyond the boundaries of their pubs.

In almost every souvenir shops around Dublin, there’s bound to be Guinness-branded merchandise rarely found anywhere else in the world.


Starting with the obligatory Guinness T-shirts.


To Guinness-branded bar paraphernalia like towels, magnets and stubby holders.


To watches (telling you what time to drink Guinness ), wallets (to tell you to spend money on Guinness) and sunglasses (so all you can see is Guinness).


And then there are some weirder ones like Guinness-flavoured marinade, chocolate bars and toffee fudge (which I tried, and tasting nothing like the beer.)


I was told that in Ireland, even doctors prescribe Guinness to women to boost their iron levels after they give birth.

Can you imagine that? Free beer after giving birth!

Makes me wanna give birth too!


People who have followed for a while would know that Guinness is my favourite stout beer (no, this is not an advertorial. See it doesn’t have “ADV” on the title?)

It’s my drink of choice whenever I’m out at a place that serves it on tap. So you can understand why I’m so excited to visit its original birthplace.


This is my pilgrimage.

To me, it is as exciting as Christians going to Jerusalem or Muslims going to Mekkah. I was as happy as a fat kid outside a Krispy Kreme store giving out free donuts.


Guinness was founded by Arthur Guinness in 1759, making this year its 250 year anniversary. He took over St James’s Gates after signing a 9,000-year-old lease, paying only 45 pounds (RM 250) a year.


How the hell he managed to get such an incredible deal, I have absolutely no idea.

I wouldn’t be surprised if he dipped the mayor into a keg of Guinness before asking him, “Nah! Just sign here. No need to read lah, too much words.”


The Guinness Storehouse is the only part of the brewery that’s open to visitors. Tickets to the storehouse costs a hefty €13.50 (RM 64.80).

But I reckon it’s entirely worth it because it’s still cheaper than Disneyland.


The seven-storey building showcased the process from how the ingredients are harvested, to how the beer is brewed, shipped and marketed.

Part of the brewing process involves a strict quality assurance process by a panel of inspectors.


These people have the best jobs in the world.  They’re getting paid to pretty much just sit around, do nothing and drink beer all day.

Then they’re gonna come back to work the next day with the BIGGEST FRIGGIN’ HANGOVER IN THE WORLD.


There’s one entire floor of the brewery is dedicated to some of the most classic and memorable Guinness advertising created all throughout the world. One of which involves this very familiar face from the 90s.


What happened to George Lam 林子祥? He used to appear in every single movie coming out from Hong Kong.

After walking through the entire Storehouse, I finally ended at the Gravity Bar on the top floor of the building.


This is the best part of the tour.

Here I was served a free pint of Guinness while treated to a breathtaking 360° bird’s eye view of Dublin.


As I lifted my glass and took the first sip of my favourite stout, I knew I was drinking the freshest, most perfect, most original and most expertly poured pint of Guinness Draught. And I wasn’t disappointed

This was the best pint of Guinness Draught I have ever had in my life.


The Guinness I drink in Malaysia were perhaps only 92% as good as the one I had at St James’s Gate. And the 8% makes a huge difference.

The bartenders in St James’s Gate knew exactly how to pour it, when to stop and how to give it a good head. They are so good that not only do they know how to draw a shamrock on the foam head, they drew a HARP on my beer.


I was so impressed. My life is complete.

The best part about having a blog is that there’s always somebody in anywhere in the world happy to take me around. After I left St James’s Gate, I headed back to Temple Bar and had dinner with Kurt Low’s sister, who’s actually working as a doctor in Dublin.


The girl is an absolute bundle of laughs despite looking at blood and gore all day everyday. I have no idea how she does it.

Along the way, we stopped by a busker who sings so well he puts most American Idol winners to shame.

And that concludes my trip to Ireland, definitely one of the most rewarding and fulfilling journeys I have made.

The next morning, I flew budget airlines RyanAir (€23 or RM110) back to Manchester and re-united with the rest of the Mister Potato team, where we witnessed this atrocity at Old Trafford Stadium.

A disastrous end to an excellent holiday.

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