NEW YEAR Hopes, Dreams REFLECTIONS for 2014

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Happy belated New year. I hope you’re feeling energized and hopeful for 2014, a year filled with challenges for you to Conquer.

First of all, I need to confess a one-week-old secret, I am home, Singapore home. If you have noticed the radio silence on the Facebook page, it’s because I have no more new photos to post – I gave up. Don’t think that I left you out on the big secret because my parents were surprised too when I showed up. I was readjusting, learning society expectations, trying to ease myself into the modern civilization. Alright, enough bitchin’. “I am ready for you, Modern Society, Come at me with all you have”.

2013 has been amazing. I am immensely grateful and surprised how the blog has grown over the last year. My small wooden fishing boat of groupies has grown into a Full-fledge Starship Battalion, 350 strong located all over the globe to take over at my command. Thank you so much for hanging on and believing in me. I promise there is more to come.

What can you expect?

Yes, Hellagood will still continue as a striving effort of mine. I will keep the one post per week deadline. Trust me, it is not the easiest thing to do. At the same time, I am actively looking for awesome people to collaborate or help with the blog. I will also focus more on South-East Asian culture, people and food. After all, this is home and I am proud of everything about it.

I will cook and eat. At the same time, try to lose my ‘Taco belly’ from Mexico. Viva Mexico! Sounds contradicting, but my tastebuds can’t be satisfy with raw fruits and vegetable while living in a Food Nation. Also, I am setting out a quest to master some of Mama’s delicious recipes. Family meal are one of the traditions that I want to preserve and it can’t be satisfy with my oh-its-okay Cookings. There will also be exploration into the world of delicious cocktails too, look out for that. More interesting projects are in the pipeline!


Let’s look back at my personal goals for 2013. My doctor’s handwriting is still as doctor as ever but I did manage to learn some Calligraphy. Doodling, I gave it a try but I did not have enough time to pursue it. Salsa, I did definitely improved on my salsa after numerous class in Latin America. Spanish, Si, Hablo Espanol. Music, I basked on a bus in Ecuador and even collaborate with some artists in California.


To be true to myself with all the bullshit that comes with it. To be living my life to the fullest and not bitch’ about my circumstances. To be in charge of my financial destiny and the Captain of My Promising Future, instead of watching it from the 54 Inch Flat Screen TV. To push forward and eliminate the things which are no longer serving me. To be humble and appreciate life’s wonder.

There are a few specific goals..

  • Being Healthy and fit (75kg by the end of June)
  • Furthering my Calligraphy
  • Start a Wedding planing and design business
  • Continue the blog with Awesome content
  • Learn a handful of Asian recipes from mum
  • Read more books
  • To help others fulfill their goals

And one very special personal wish..

  • To inspire someone to step out of their comfort zone and wear their passion

Now that I have my goals out on the World Wide Web. You shall be my Devil and smirk at me from time to time, not allowing to take a breather. And, I shall be your Angel, looking after you, shinning holy light through the dark tunnel and saving you from the Cockroaches when needed. Send your wishes to me in a whisper to the skies (e-mail if truly necessary).

What are your hopes and dreams for the coming year?

Hellagood-5(images via unknown)



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Let me start by saying that Year 2013 was the “Year of cool Grandpa” because I know 40 years down the road my grandkids would be gathering around my rocking chair, begging for another story from this year. “Oh.. when I was volunteering in Nueva La Merced, Guatemala…”

When writing this post, I went through all my posts. It was amazing that the blog has a total of 85 post already and I love all of them! *some self love going on here*  It was an Awesome year, despite getting robbed of everything precious I owned, not showering for an entire week, and having hot llama blood smeared on my face, I love every single moment of it. If I were to die of some weird disease that consist of me staring at the computer screen for too long, just know that I am happy and you should be for me too. (P.S. Don’t tell this to my mum)

Hellagood-3Mexico, my favorite country in this trip. I ended up going back again to Mexico and stayed a total of 10 weeks. When I looked back, it might be because of the road-side taco stands and Corona. Definitely also go to Puebla which is 2 hours away!

I want to thank everyone who graciously accepted me into your home with welcoming hugs. It takes huge courage to invite a stranger to your house and for that you all deserve the Nobel Brave Award. You guys are great and I have learnt so much from every single one of you. Most cool stuff in the house: Lyn, the hoarder. 
Most creative house: Lam Le.

2Favorite wedding: Sarahbeth and Tyler


Favorite Recipe: Twice Baked Potato

Hellagood-7Favorite Craft Project: Valentine Surprise Poster


I learnt to be kind to people and you will be delightedly surprise: Random acts of kindness

Hellagood-4bFinally, guess what was the favorite post from you guys – me being a bum! (153 likes!)

DCIM102GOPROSingapore, here I come!


Sneek Peak: Chinese Jewelry Crafter, Nanuchka Yang

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It is of great honor and excitement to introduce Nanuchka Yang, a Chinese jewelry designer, “business” hippie, traveler and also a dear friend. Nanuchka mainly work with silver, wood and also macrame (knot tying) for her jewelries. Every Sunday, she goes hunting in the local vintage market for rare Chinese Stone such as old jade. I was delighted to have make acquaintance and work along side with her, even though, only a day.


My first time meeting with Nanuchka was to hit a ride to Lijiang which is arranged by our common friend, who didn’t make it because she was sick. We met at her shop. The initial thought was that “it was a nice shop”. I always thought that she was just a friend of the shop owner, till I met Hania. I realized Nanuchla is the owner/crafter of the shop. Nanuchka was very kind to allowed me observed her working and work on simple tasks of some of the pieces.





My first task was cutting the wood piece (below) into half. It took me almost 2 hours to cut it. I know I am new at this job but 2 hours for a small piece of wood is ridiculous! Nanuchka petted me and say “good job”. She then put the wood in water. Guess what? It sinks. She explained that it is an African wood which is very dense and sturdy making it a good material for jewelry.

I will never look at wood the same again after this!





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It all starts with a hangover and the next thing you know, it’s Bangkok. It’s messy, tricky, delicious, hot, Ping-pong and wet. It is third time coming back to Bangkok and the city has once again “wow” me. It all started from getting lost in the streets of Bangkok and I met Tonk, a humble cafe owner who drew me a map to a different Bangkok.

1) Casa Lapin

The man behind this small establishment stuck away in the high-life street of Thonglor is Tonk. Yes, he is the one who drew me THE map. Casa Lapin now, has grew to 3 cafes, one bigger than another but Tonk still humbly manages the first by himself. I am terribly humbled to have met him. Do drop by to taste his coffee and say hi to him on my behalf 😉

2) Ink and Lion

Manage by a couple who studied in San Francisco. It has always been the dream to one day, run a cafe. The dream became Ink and Lion Cafe. This spacious cafe has a mixed of Japanese and Danish design bring a smoothing atmosphere for one to spend an entire day day dreaming or catching up with close ones. I personally recommend to try their coconut cake and Cheese cake who is baked by their friend from Size S Bakery – Heavenly.


3) If I were an Carpenter

The coolest wood artisan shop in town – I mean, a skateboard craft out from reclaimed wood. Sadly, it is not for sale, owner, Nott says that “it is not done yet, needs a few more prototypes”. In the near future, you might be lucky to land your hands on a hand crafted limited edition wooden skateboard.

If I were an Carpenter, focuses on crafting wooden furnitures that respects the integrity of the wood. It uses thai reclaimed wood that are sourced locally making one of a kind furnitures.


4) Saprang Craft Jewelry

Located next to the If I were a Carpenter, Saprang is a craft jewelry store that specialize in Bronze. The moment I stepped into the store, I was dazzled by the level of hand craft that is put into each piece. The overall design has a European feel, big designs but also an attention to detail. Come over to support local artist and craftsmen.

Hellagood-5On the side note, in the same vicinity, Mink’s offers unique gift ideas and Furniture. If you are hungry, the Tom-Yum fried rice at Blue Door cafe is super delicious!


5) One Ounce for Onion

A home of artists, a roast, a cafe and a store, this is One Ounce for Onion. Thank to Tonk’s map, I arrived at this house tucked away from the eyes of a tourist. Co-owned by 4 interesting individuals, each of them have a story to tell. Only 4 months into their opening, this cafe is visited by local residents, friends and a bunch of fascinating people.


6) Machine Age Workshop

This place sells antique furnitures and goods imported directly from the United State of America. If you are looking for a piece of America to be in your home, this is the place to go.


7) Roots

For the love of coffee, Roots was created – a coffee-bean roaster where people can understand and appreciate more about the coffee. On weekday, they conduct barista training courses and coffee appreciations class. Hence, only opened to public on the weekend. The small joint is filled with coffee lovers where barista is constantly engaging with it’s consumers to give them a deeper understanding of their coffee. A definite stop for all coffee lovers.

If you are fall in love with the furniture in Roots, guess who is the one behind it – Nott from If I were a Carpenter.

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8) Shades of Retro

If you like Danish design and Retro, this is where 2 worlds converge. I want to own everything in that shop!

Note to come only after 6pm. If not, you can only admire the beauty from outside the shop.


9) Gorham Love Stone Collection

This is by far one of the largest crystal and gemstone collection I have seen. A collector of stones will be dazzled by all the stones you can feel. There is also a crystal room where you could mediate or talk to them. Be sure to ask for the crystal bible from the shop assistant and learn about their energetic properties.


10) Bang Pho Wood Street

I love this place. Not known to many, Bang Pho is the place where most of the local small business owners and interior design make or buy their furniture. If you want to dabble your hands into some wood work, tools can material can all be brought at this street.

It’s a little tricky to get but I hope this link will help!


11) Second-hand Train Market

The market gains it’s name being at the train tracks and quickly grew in popularity and size. It has now moved to a bigger and more permanent location next to Seacom Square. Other than the usual Bangkok market common good, the Market have a huge array of vintage goods and furniture ranging from old Asian mugs to industrial lightings. A must-do

The indoor stores opens daily except monday and there is a outdoor night market on Friday to Sunday. I suggest to go one of these days but, be there early in the afternoon to start at the shops and move to the night market after.


12) Danish Furniture

Being one of the pioneer in the 2nd-hand Danish furniture business in Thailand, this shop is load up with uber cool furnitures. I was educated that all of the danish furniture in their shop are mostly imported and they also have a bigger factory that fabricates new ones.

Soi Ekkamai 21, Khwaeng Khlong Tan Nuea, Khet Watthana, Bangkok


These are some spots that I’ve yet to check out but it sure looks hella cool.

– Opposite Mess Hall (bar + restaurant with fusion cuisine)

Papaya Studio (3 story vintage furniture warehouse)

Hellagood-19 I will be back, Bangkok.


14 months of being a bum (a.k.a backpacker)

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14 months I am on the road, all alone by myself. I laughed, cried and learned. I grew, understood, accepted and thanked. And now it’s time to move on, towards an old place. The end of this experience is the beginning of another: HOME. *Mixed feelings

For the past 14 months I had slept in more than 100 beds…couches, mattresses, floors,buses, boats, planes. Eaten at more than 500 tables. Have travelled by means of plane, bus, jeep, car, bicycle, horse, tuk-tuk, minivan, boat, ferry, train, metro, own two feet, big bus, small bus, fancy bus, 100-years-old bus, motorcycle, lifts.

Out of the 14 months, I am guest for 10.

I spent three months as an intern for a wedding planner at San Francisco, volunteer in Guatemala for 1 month and then spent another month exploring the ancient towns in China.

I stopped being a tourist fairly early, and instead became a traveler (the main distinction, as I see it, is that the first know where they are going but not where they are, while the latter do not know where they are going but know exactly where they are). This is who I am now and will be always. For now though, a big chapter is about to end, and another one about to begin. There is uncertainty all around, but one thing I know for sure: I am so grateful for the experience and support I have been offered for the past 14 months, and for all the incredible people I have in my lives, regardless of distance and place. Thank you!!


So… am I afraid of going home?

The word is “scared shitless”!

My initial travel plans was 6 months of South America, because experiencing the latin culture was something I had to “get out of my system” before “settling down”. I left home on the 18th Oct 2012. Now, fourteen months later, I am aware that traveling, exploring and learning are some things that will never “get out of my system”. That it is not a hobby, not a dream, not something on my bucket list. It is instead who I am. It is a part of me, just as I am part of the same world I am dying to explore. Getting to know it helps me know myself more, and getting to understand myself more helps me understand the world more. A mutual relationship that I found really works (for me).

Do I know what’s waiting for me once I get home? Not a clue. Well, that’s not entirely true, some things I can already see in my mind: waves of extended family members, smiling ear to ear “you’re finally home, we’ve been waiting for you since…” (the truth is probably since the day after I left). Lots of friends, old and not so old, some I will easily reconnect with, some I will never quite be on the same “wave length” with again. People with lots of opinions about my experience, about what I should be doing next, about my life. MY life, that is.

Probably that’s what will happen. Definitely. Maybe.

Scared shitless I said… so what am I afraid of?

  • That I won’t be able to reconnect with my old friends. That we’ve all grown a lot in the past years, and we’ve grown at different speeds and in different directions.
  • That I won’t be able to easily find new friends who share my view of the world and life, people who live their lives with same principles and outlook as I.
  • That my family members (grandmothers and aunts being the champions at this) will continue not to understand why I can’t just be a “normal child” and live my life the way I “should” live it: settling down in my own house, getting a “stable” job (little do they know that “stable job” is pretty much an oxymoron these days), finding a wife, that they’d approve of, then having a couple of kids because “I want to see my grandchildren before I go”.
  • That people will judge me, look down on me or up to me, not understand where I’m coming from, where I’ve been and where I’m headed
  • That the ladies at my favorite cafes will not even remember me, let alone recognize me.
  • That it will not be easy to find the support I need for what I wish to accomplish next
  • That people will think I’m a freak and will throw rotten eggs at my window.
  • That, as my mom says, “all the good girls are slowly taken”.
  • That I will function on Latin American time. “Oh, the show starts at 7? Ok, shall be there by 9”
  • That I’ll start bargaining with taxi drivers
  • That I will look for lunch by the road side… and upon not finding it, shout at the top of my lungs in desperation “Where are all the tacos stands????”


 So… is that going to keep me from going home?

Not a chance! I’ve never known it more strongly in my bones. This is it, and the time is now:).

What am I most excited about?

  • A room/kitchen/bathroom/place to call my own
  • Gardening in my own backyard!!
  • My alcohol collection
  • Having a closet!! A c…l…o…s…e…t…
  • Mum’s foooooood
  • High-speed internet.. OooooO
  • My grandma’s dumping with red bean paste
  • Red packets on Chinese New Year.. Money money money..
  • Swimming on a hot day..
  • A shower that is sure to supply me with hot water until the end
  • Getting shouedt at by Grandma that my room is dirty
  • Singapore fooooddddd.. Laska, Chili crabs, dim sum..
  • Endless laughing nights with those close at heart

Conclusions after these 10 months?

Only one – life really is how you make it.

So be it! Viva la vida!

Gracias a todos, love you always!!