Its here!

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Clothes-crazy

Since I arrived in China, I’ve been inspired to wear nice clothes again. Back in SG, it was too hot to be fashion-conscious so I’m usually just in shirts and jeans. Here are some of the stuff I want to buy:

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Coats – I’ve never owned any coat in my life, mainly because I lived in tropical countries. Here are two coats I wanna buy:

1. J.Crew Bretton toggle coat – Otherwise known as a duffle coat, or the “Paddington Bear” coat. I love the patch details, the hood and of course the toggles. I just wish it would have been slightly longer. US268.00

A springtime riff on the classic toggle coat, crafted in lightweight waxed cotton. An editor favorite, the timeless style was inspired by the duffle coats worn by sailors in the British Royal Navy during WWII and is finished with authentic detailing, including cotton cording toggles, reinforced elbow patches and riveted pockets (not to mention soft corduroy lining in the sleeve cuffs). An oversize fixed hood helps you stay extra dry when stormy weather hits. Cotton with wax/oil finish. Toggle closure. Patch pockets and top welt pocket. Funtional buttons at cuffs. Partially lined. A Collector’s Item. Import. Spot clean.

2. Zara Double Breasted Trench coat – I’m looking for a really nice trench coat and I want to take my time in finding one. I like this one because of the buttons, but I don’t think I’d want to zip it up because the double breasted style will make you look bigger lol. I want to get one in black, but khaki’s a good color too. HKD1,799

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Shirts – I really am looking for a nice grey chambray shirt. Found this one on J.Crew. I love the detail on the pockets! US128

Inspired by vintage workwear from the early 1900s and made from premium Japanese cotton chambray (it’s the very best you can get—and ours is painstakingly stonewashed for that worn-in, had-it-forever look and feel). Finished with authentic details, like double front pockets, and available in limited quantities. Regular fit—a tailored cut with a made-to-measure feel. Point collar. A Collector’s Item. Import. Machine wash.

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Pants – I’m looking for brown slim fit cords. I found one in Zara SG during the sale but never got around to buy it. :( Anyway, here’s one similar from Levi’s. US20.00

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Shoes – I’m looking for really nice suede ankle boots. Here are some of my picks

1. Zara Jute Desert Boot – This one I saw in Manila and I really like it! I like that it has laces around the ankle, and the laces are a nice blue color. Definitely buying this soon! HKD799

2. J.Crew Suede MacAlister boots – Again, a nice pair of suede ankle boots, in the color I want! I saw another pair I like in Aldo, so I’m considering that since there’s no J.Crew in Asia :( USD135

Inspired by the crepe-soled boots worn by British officers in WWII, these are made from the finest Italian suede and only get better with time. Unlined for a more casual feel. Cotton laces, natural eyelets. Stitched-out welt construction, natural crepe rubber sole. Made in Italy.

3. Tretorn Skymra Nylon Sneakers – I saw this in Rustan’s Manila and fell in love. Those who know me well know I love these types of sneakers. I like the slip-on one and they also sell lace-ups, also in Nylon material. So nice! I’ll probably end up getting both lol! USD35

This stylish, lightweight slip-on is great for spring and summer riding. It comes to us from Tretorn, the Swedish company that’s been making sneakers since the 1960s.These black sneakers feature embossed elastic straps in lake blue that ensure a secure fit, as well as a suede patch on the heel for added durability and style. The textile lining and cushioned foot bed ensure complete comfort.

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Accessories – lastly, some accessories I like from Massimo Dutti. The belt I already saw in Guangzhou selling for CNY450.

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Hope I have some fairy godparent in the US who’d send me J.Crew stuff. J.Crew – open here in Asia!

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Acquired taste

Last Saturday, I finally arrived in Guangzhou, China. It was a couple of months in the making but I’m glad I’m finally here. My visa took some time to be processed due to the Chinese New Year celebrations but it was well worth the wait.

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Guangzhou is the capital city of Guangdong, a province in southern China. Its about two hours by train to Xianggang (Hong Kong). Most Westerners know it as Canton, and as such it is the birthplace of the Cantonese language (the sound of which is what people mostly associate with Chinese language – rough sounding), and food (most famous of which are the dumplings).

Before I came to Guangzhou, I’ve heard a lot of polarizing opinion about the city. Some people hate it – saying its disgusting, full of crime and very backwards. Others love it – claiming it to be vibrant, interesting and full of life.

My opinion? I think its a mixture of both. Guangzhou is definitely not backwards but it does have a laid back feel compared to Hong Kong (I can’t speak for BJ and SH since I haven’t been there). It is smoggy and smelly in some parts, but at the same time there are places which could rival other urban Asian cities like Singapore, Seoul, Makati or HK. I have yet to experience being pushed by anyone passing me by. Although I have had one instance where someone got the cab I was hailing, and saw one guy spit inside a mall.

At this point, I can say I am in love with this city. I love the weather. I love the fact that it has a Manila vibe to it and somehow reminds me of home. I love that its not disturbingly clean. I love that its the “real world”, and not some wannabe Utopian society. I love that its gritty and unassuming. I love that in every turn there is something interesting to see – whether its the huge Siberian Huskies I see while walking down the street, or a group of old-school Chinese men playing poker in the park. I love that its colorful, and all the buildings light up with different colors at night. I love that not knowing the Chinese language is not a huge barrier, and that even baggers in groceries can speak a bit of English. I can go on and on about the things I love here!

But I guess the thing I love the most are the people. Both foreigners and locals alike are very warm. The locals are so curious about foreigners and go out of their way to help out. Likewise fellow foreigners are also very nice, and are eager to see the expat community grow.

I guess with anything, if you keep an open mind, you will enjoy any experience that comes along. But it also helps a lot if the place you are in has some good people, and is very interesting/full of culture. At this point I’m thankful I ended up here – its been a long time since I’ve been this happy and I hope all goes uphill from here. :)

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Bonus! A crappy video I made when I first landed, plus the clothes I wear here :)

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GZ, you’re on a roll!

Some interesting news about future developments for the City of Five Rams!

1. Hong Kong’s Lan Kwai Fong to open bars, restaurants in China’s Guangzhou

As many as 70 bars and restaurants will be opened in a 1.6 million square feet shopping mall in the southern Chinese city later this year, Lan Kwai Fong Chairman Allan Zeman said in a Jan. 10 interview in Hong Kong, without giving an investment amount. The “Mall of the World” project will be a joint venture with the government and have 400 shops.

2. The International Fashion Center

San Francisco based Heller Manus Architects has been tapped to design the International Fashion Center in Guangzhou with headquarters for Canudilo, one of the leading high-end man’s clothing and accessories firms and luxury brand retailers in China. The International Fashion Center and Canudilo headquarters will include substantial office and retail space, gallery for fashion exhibitions, roof garden, and below-grade parking.

3. Second tallest building in the world

The Guangzhou Municipal Government announced the master plan for Bai E Tan commercial district in Guangzhou City. The focus of the re-development is to construct a 600-metre high building, which will be the second tallest building in the world upon completion.

Exciting times! :D

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Xin Nian Kuai Le!

Curious to see what the Year of the Metal Rabbit will bring me, I browsed online and saw this interesting prediction. I actually heard that 2011 will be lucky for me in general (I’m a Water Pig, btw) but this forecast seems to make sense the most:

The Pig

The Pig is an innocent, sweet and lovable personality. They can also be quite melancholy and over-sensitive. The Pig loves the company of others, and adores parties, gossip and chit chat. They are highly intelligent, but prefer to keep this side of their nature under wraps. The Pig does not care that much for money, but is one of the Chinese zodiac signs that is very lucky.

Forecast for 2011 The Pig loves to have fun and socialize with family and friends and on this front, the Year of the Rabbit will not disappoint him! He made not have been the life of the party recently, but in 2011 his social network will greatly increase with April, May, July and October being the most enjoyable months. Single Pigs could very well meet a romantic partner through a friend or at a family gathering. The Pig parties hard and works hard and in the Year of the Rabbit he will be bringing in the rewards for all his hard work. For any Pigs who wish to change jobs or who want to climb up the promotional ladder, there will be quite a few opportunities this year to do either. But they must act quickly, ensuring they have made all the right enquiries and connections. March, April and September will see work developments happen, but they must be ready to pounce at any time during the year. The Pig will be feeling good in 2011 and would like all manner of wonderful things to happen – all at once! He must learn to pace himself and go along with the more leisurely speed of the Rabbit year. Otherwise, he may burn himself out. Overall, 2011 will be a progressive and enjoyable time for all Pigs.

Actually some of the above predictions are already coming true, so hopefully it will continue!

So excited for 2011! Gong xi fa cai everyone!

Photo credit: Life of Guangzhou

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Under new management

Last Friday marked my final day at Starcom Singapore. After office, we all headed to Screening Room and drank the night away. I remember drinking B-52s, Tequila shots, several Long Island Ice Teas, a Lychee Mojito?, some Frozen Margarita?, and a Flaming Lamborghini. Next thing I know, I was throwing up. Good thing we were at the rooftop, and I somehow dragged myself and sat beside the ledge so I was throwing up on plant boxes. And thankfully it was a wide ledge, so I wasn’t spraying vomit over the people downstairs. BTW, this is the first time I vomited due to being so drunk, so congratulations to Seb, Pat, Sid, Tengtek, Joyce and everyone who plotted this. Haha!

The next day I woke up with a major hangover, with a flight scheduled to leave at 540PM. Some stuff I remember from the last night:

  • Trading non-stop compliments with Seb
  • Ronnie trying to kiss me. I thought it was Tronnie forever? Haha!
  • Dancing in the middle of the CCT circle
  • Trying to introduce Tinan to a guy
  • Hugging and saying goodbye to a Giant Panda (oh was that Chiro? My bad)
  • Pat helping me go down the stairs, and CCT shouting Guangzhou as I got into the cab
  • Pat, Issa and Kristine talking about how hungry they were in the cab, and me wanting to throw up because of all the food talk

Anyway, Kristine and Pat’s Aunt prepared lunch before I left that Saturday. I couldn’t eat a lot because of the hangover and also because I was packing some last minute stuff. But the Adobong Pusit and Fried Rice tasted really good. Tinan, Joyce and Mickey rode with me to the airport where the following series of unfortunate events happened: 1.) gate was closed 50 mins before departure and I almost didn’t make it to my flight (this time Cebu Pacific was too efficient), 2.) I paid 150S$ for my excess baggage, and 3.) my office manager didn’t issue a document saying I was leaving SG for good, so I got held up at immigration. Yes Singapore, you manage to make even my last moments hectic & stressful. :P

Last minute thank you’s:

  • To CCT – you know how much I love you but yes, I’ll say it again, I love you all. And thanks for the Manhattan Portage and the black book of notes!
  • Joyce – thanks for the digital picture frame. I have yet to fully view the thing, but I know its packed with a lot of priceless memories.
  • Tengtek – thanks for sharing the Whiskey with Tony, Wong and me
  • Seb – thanks for the vote of confidence. Don’t worry, you’ve helped prepare me for what will come next :)
  • Tinan/Pat/Quinn/Mickey – thanks thanks thanks!

In the meantime, I’m back in Manila enjoying a one month break before the next adventure. In the following days, will be updating this blog with all the stuff that’s been keeping me busy lately.

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Office Santa, I wish for…

Bit of a self-serving post, but in case the office decides to give me a farewell gift, I wish for any of these…

1. Manhattan Portage NY Bike Messenger Bag – would like this in Blue or Grey. I’m not a bag person, I usually just have one for a long time and I don’t replace it until its all worn out. This bag looks sturdy and I can put a lot of things in it, so its perfect for me.

2. Nixon Re-Run watch (Gunmetal Black color). I usually forget the date, time and day so this watch will be very useful since it shows everything.

Thank you in advance, kind officemates! Mwahahaha! :D

Edit: I just saw this Andy Warhol watch over at ION Orchard and I like it too! Joyce got a membership card and they will give her 40% discount next month, since its her birthday month. So from about 300S$, it will be 180S$! Not bad. I’ll probably send her money to buy it for me, then she can bring it over when she visits.

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