Sunday, February 25, 2007

A year of change?

Chinese New Year is almost over, and I'm looking ahead and I wonder what a year it would be for me. Would there be many changes or upheavals? Or would it be smooth sailing over calm waters for me?

There has been changes at the workplace, and I'm hoping that it will have a positive effect on the office environment. As with any office, there often are disagreements or conflicts, but things have been becoming a little uncomfortable. But hopefully things will look up from here.

I recently met Audrea's parents and family over the New Year, in my official capacity as "The Boyfriend". It was a little nerve-wrecking, as I'm often not comfortable in new social settings. But I think I passed the interview.

My gaming group is officially one year in, and I think that's quite an accomplishment. And of course I couldn't have done it without some help. It's great to have a strong group together, and I think that we'll only grow more from here on in.

This year, I'm looking forward to having the group grow, and establish itself as a fixture within the boardgaming community. I'm also looking toward investing my money, and starting a portfolio, as money in the bank is just stagnant and depreciating. I'm also hoping to make another trip somewhere, though I haven't decided where yet. Taiwan sounds like an intersting place to get to, though I'm tempted to get back to Brisbane, Seattle, Dallas and Hong Kong. I'm also interested in doing some backpacking. I'm also hoping to get back in Taekwando, because I've stopped in the past month. Work has been crazy and I've been missing classes.

So that's what the year looks for me. I hope it's a good one. What I should do is go and look at my fortune, and have a look at what these soothsayers have to say. I might go to a bookshop later and check out some fortune-telling books.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Chinese New Year

I've always enjoyed the Chinese New Year period. There's something about it that appeals to me alot more than either Christmas, or regular New Year's.

I guess a part of it is that it speaks directly to my Chinese heritage. I find the traditions and practices to be more meaningful. I enjoy meeting with family, going on home visits, wishing everyone a happy new year, waking up for breakfast with the family on the first day.

A typical day would involve us meeting at a relative's home, with multiple aunts and uncles, and having a meal. And then later in the day, all of us would meet at my place, have a meal... and then rotate amongst all the homes of the gathered relatives for the next couple days.

There's always alot of cheer at these gatherings, and we're always exchanging jokes, having many kinds of food, and playing games/mahjong. There's always a feeling of strong family bonding at these gatherings, and I guess that's one aspect that I enjoy alot.

Of course, it helps that each New Year brings along a whole slew of edible goodies. Aside from the typical pineapple tarts and the like, there are a number of dishes that my mother would not make any other time of the year.

Each Chinese New Year signifies a new beginning, coupled with constant feasting, family gatherings, red packets and gambling. It's awesome.

Thursday, February 15, 2007


I was talking to Mark last weekend about business ideas again, and he commented that I've been talking about this topic more often recently. I hadn't noticed, but looking back, I guess I must have been.

I've been thinking more and more about starting my own business, and I've been running ideas through my head on possible things to do. I haven't really fleshed anything out and it's all just abstract thoughts in my head at the moment.

I've always thought about doing my own thing for a long time now. Shaun and I used to talk about opening a restaurant/cafe/pub when we were in school together. And I've often thought about starting a retail business in whatever hobby I was interested in at any particular time (comics, boardgames, photography, etc).

Recently I've been having even more thoughts about starting a business. And I guess this has been due, in part, to me hosting my most recent visitor. Daniel works at the Ministry of Industry, Tourism and Resources in Australia. And during his visit to Singapore in January, I accompanied him on a number of briefings at various agencies and economic bodies, dealing mostly in Small and Medium Enterprises. Sitting in on these meetings really gave me an interesting insight into the world of SMEs. And it's tickled my fancy even more now.

I have a couple concepts in my head right now, but I'm not sure if it'll be able to fly. I've got to find out more about how to minimise my risk, should I choose to go down this path, and I've got to work out a business plan. But do I have the courage to take the plunge?

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

What is a guy to do?

I still haven't been to a nice restaurant since the last time I updated the blog. Of course, there's only one person I wanna go to a nice place with, but that one person has been fairly busy at work recently. And by 'fairly', I mean 'very', and by 'recently', I mean for the past few months.

So what is a guy to do? I guess I can just talk about my forte: Games.

I recently went to KL for a weekend with a couple of buddies. We took a bus both ways there, and spent our nights at a reasonably priced and decent hotel. All other waking hours were spent walking around, having a coffee, chatting or any combination of the 3.

I did manage to meet some local gamers and played a few games on Saturday night. It was an enjoyable experience because the gamers there were friendly and gracious. The venue itself left a little to be desired.

The venue was within a shophouse block located on the outskirts of the city. It's fairly difficult to get there, and if it wasn't for the good graces of a fellow gamer, I would have never been able to make it. The layout of the shop was mildly chaotic, as it essentially is an empty room with tables and chairs. In terms of retail space, there was no recognizable organisation of products. There were shelves lined with Warhammer products, and boardgames placed on top in a random order. Tables were occupied with people painting and playing games. In terms of geekery, it ranks pretty high. Which it totally fine with me, I enjoy such an environment. I like hanging out with geeks for most part.

What struck me as odd was the pricing structure for people to enjoy the premises. There's a yearly membership charge for each person, paid in full and up front. If a person desires to use the venue on an ad-hoc basis, it's about RM$10 per hour per person. Now that's a little crazy. While I guess it makes sense to the proprietor to secure finances, this seems to discourage people who may only be mildly interested in games, and not ready to jump into the deep end yet. The way I see it, this model draws a clear line between gamers and non-gamers. And that distinction is RM$120 out of the pocket.

My feel for that situation is that it's hard to build a gaming community if entry into the hobby is a little restrictive. The cost is prohibitive, and the venue is fairly inaccessible. Added on top are the irregular operating hours, and lack of retail product.

I guess a proprietor has to cater to his crowd, and if he has an interested customer base, then that's fine. I guess that for myself, I find the store policies a little restrictive and I'd probably do things a little different.

On a related note, I'm real glad that I met Jeff, Kestor, Nick, Sook Juan (*spelling?), Ainor (*spelling again?) and Alan. I had a real good time hanging out with you guys, and I hope to game with you all soon again.