I’m in the May 2011 edition of Property Buyer thanks to Lainey bff! <3
It’s a full spread interview about me, my blog and the place I stay (obviously, since it’s a property magazine). I’ve been meaning to write an updated About Me here but never really got around to doing it. Hmm…I guess this is a good place to condense certain bits for it.
Anyway, if you want to read the entire unedited verbal diarrhea I wrote for the article, it’s here in it’s 2,000 word plus glory. ;)
ON HUAI BIN
I was born on Cheng Beng on 5th April 1981- I’m an Aries, through and through – it was quite unexpected as my parents were living in Kuching at the time and they had come to Sibu to do the traditional grave cleaning. I heard the only delivery clinic in town was closed so they had to wait until after the doctor finished with his Cheng Beng business before I could be delivered.
I spent the first 7 years of my childhood in Kuching, Sarawak before my dad was posted to Sibu. I started primary school here and continued until my parents applied for a New Zealand PR when I was 13. We did our first landing and it was the one of the best and last family vacations I remember as a kid – driving a campervan with another family to tour the North and South Islands of NZ for nearly a month.
It was decided that I was to be sent to Christchurch, New Zealand for my high school straight after I finished my PMR. I was only 15 when I went there and joined a Form Six class. My parents had hoped that I would effectively “jump” two years and enter university 2 years earlier than my peers. However, I picked subjects that were traditionally valued by Asians – chemistry, physics, calculus in the hopes of fulfilling my parents dream of having one engineer and one doctor as children (I have a sister).
Unfortunately, I didn’t do very well in my studies and was more interested in the freedom that being away from family afforded me instead. I hung out a lot, gained a love of travelling and a sense of adventure and got kicked out of high school – in that order.
I came back and went to Australia for college and university. I spent 4 years in Melbourne, first in college and then in Monash University, finally graduating with a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science. I wanted to stay on in Melbourne but I had a girlfriend back in KL so I came back and started working in KL.
I’ve always loved travelling since our family has a tradition of going on at least one annual family vacation since I started to walk. It was a lot of fun and sometimes my grandma came along and those were the best memories of my life. I also have a great sense of adventure and is completely okay with taking risks.
I’ve gone bungee jumping at the tender age of 13, took up skydiving and snowboarding in Melbourne when I was in university, went cliff diving in Ton Sai, Thailand. I love the adrenaline rush and I also like meeting new people and understanding their cultures.
I’ve been to a lot of different countries and lived in them for prolonged periods of time and I enjoy learning about local customs. I once went on a camping trip with a couple of Aussie friends where we hunted kangaroo and had its tail on a campfire.
I enjoy travelling solo as it allows me to actually get to meet new people and go places where I usually can’t if I’m travelling with a partner. I’ve spent long periods talking and walking along the narrow alleys of the Old Quarter in Hanoi, Vietnam and I went to Europe twice within a 6 month period.
The last time was early this year, when I spent almost a month there. I had already visited England, Wales, Amsterdam and the usual suspects previously so I decided to go on a lesser travelled path – Latvia and Georgia.
I decided on the two Baltic and post-Soviet states because not many people have gone there. I spent time in Georgia getting to know the people and the history behind Tbilisi and other states (like South Ossetia – which isn’t a very safe place to visit due to it’s propensity for insurgencies). It’s my passion to meet new people and travel around, despite not knowing the language, going where no man (or at least few) have trodden before.
ON HIS BLOG
I started blogging back in April 2002 – I was still in university in Melbourne then and decided it was a good way to let my friends see what I’m up to instead of emailing each of them individually. I was studying computer science so the first incarnation of sixthseal.com does not have a CMS per se but is updated via HTML (no CSS back then) code written manually.
I changed to Movable Type a few months after and only switched to WordPress recently. I started blogging about basically everything and anything I find fun. I think it was the first blog at the time which had daily updates with photos. I even had a webcam turned on 24/7 so that anyone who logs in can see a snapshot of my room or me every 5 minutes – yes, even when I sleep.
I wanted to experience all that Australia has to offer so I went travelling a lot and I attended a lot of events. I covered everything from the Melbourne Open tennis match to concerts. However, it was during one exhibition – SEXPO 2002 – a sex lifestyle exhibition that I realized the potential of my blog. I got an email from the organizers after I posted the coverage asking for my permission to link my post from their official sexpo.com.au website. They also wanted to give me a media pass for next year so I could gain access to the backstage and get many other privileges.
sixthseal.com is one of the longest running blogs in Malaysia – it has just reached it’s 9th anniversary on the 19th of April 2011. That’s 9 years of blogging almost every day! It has become a way of life to me and more than that – it has become an extension of myself, my most prized “possession”. I have come to think of it as a “son”, a legacy that would carry on, hopefully forever.
I see a lot of new bloggers who are blogging for money but I strongly feel that’s the wrong way to go about it. I have thousands of unique visitors per day but even if I only had 2 visitors, I would still blog because I write for MYSELF and for the satisfaction it gives me.
It’s like a diary – a life journal where I can look back and see what I was doing at what year. I want to be able to show my children that too. In fact, I’ve already found myself doing that – if I can’t remember what date I did something or when something happened – the first thing I’ll do is to search my blog. :)
ON HIS HOME
My home in Sibu is a nice two storey corner terrace that used to have a huge mango tree in the considerable yard. We had rambutan trees at the back too and as kids, I remember eagerly waiting for the season when it’ll fruit and we’ll eat it straight from the tree.
However, all the trees were cut down to make way for an extension – my family decided to renovate and paved over the side, turning some of it into a larger living room and some of it into a covered garage that could fit the 4 cars that we had if everyone was back home (Tip Top Garage Doors service provided).
The house belongs to my dad and we’ve lived in it for ever since I can remember. He owned it even when we were in Kuching but let one of our uncles live in it.
It’s a four bedroom house with a store room and a spare room at the first floor. We only live at the second floor – there’s a piano up there and me and my sister used to share a room until I was about 10 years old and our parents deemed it was time for us to sleep in different bedrooms.
I currently live in a 550sq ft studio apartment in Damansara Heights. It appealed to me because it came fully furnished and I was impressed by how much they could fit into that small space. There’s a full kitchen with fridge, a small hallway, a toilet, a glass shower unit and a small tub flanking a sink with vanity mirror and two glass cupboards.
The bedroom comes after the bathtub which is closed by sliding doors – there’s a double bed in there and a swivel TV cum bookshelf which connects to the living room with the sofa, coffee table and small writing desk. There’s even a tiny balcony where I can look out to nature!
I love how they use glass and how open everything is to make the place look bigger than it actually is. Everything is functional and every unit looks the same since it’s furnished by the developer!
However, it has never seemed like a home to me but rather a nice place to live for one. I’m now living with my girlfriend and space has become a bit of a premium but we can still manage…after I’ve made space for her considerable wardrobe. ;)
There’s a lot of different between the place I’m renting in KL and my home in Sibu. I’ve never considered this studio home. Home is the warm feeling you get when you step into the house and that place is my bedroom in Sibu, Sarawak.
Sibu is also comparatively safe – the neighborhood I live in has a very low crime rate – and the neighbours all know and watch out for each other. There’s just a nice homely feel to living in Sibu.
I don’t know any of my neighbors in my studio in 10 Semantan (except for my ex-gf who used to live in one of the units a couple of doors down – she has since moved out) and although the security is good – you need a tag to enter the car park, to open the doors to each floor and to use the lift. The key card access system is great – you can only access your own floor, the top floor with the gym and the swimming pool, and the car park floors but not any other residential floors.
It would never be home to me as long as I’m renting though. I’m currently planning to purchase an apartment in the Mutiara Damansara area – it would need to have great security and facilities. I love to swim so a swimming pool is essential to the place I live. That’s part of the reason I prefer to live in a condo vs a landed property – the other one being of course, security. Unless you’re living in a gated community, a condominium would be more secure in KL, in my opinion.
I travel a lot and I would loath to come back and find my place burglarized. I’ve actually had this happen in Sibu – but we weren’t at home at the time. It wasn’t a pleasant experience to find your most treasured possession (notebook and external HDD) missing when you come home, I’ll tell you that.
Not to mention the fact that a stranger has rummaged around in your stuff. I ended up washing all of my clothes and found out that the burglar took some of my attire as well. He seems to be quite discerning one as he only took the labeled clothes.
That’s one option – I’m actually looking for a place that’s below RM 350,000 as a first place, if I don’t find it it Mutiara Damansara, I’ll look in other areas but I would prefer to live in Petaling Jaya with access to the SPRINT highway to get to KL easily. I would love to find a place with minimal traffic congestion, but that’s stretching it a bit too far in the Klang Valley, I reckon. ;)
My dream home would be a landed property in Sibu – I don’t plan to live in KL forever – it would be a place for me to retire and raise my kids. I would like a place like the house of my youth – with a garden and lots of trees…and a swimming pool of course.
FAMOUS LAST WORDS
I believe being happy is the most important thing in life. It’s not about accumulating wealth, getting caught up in the rat race and having to juggle office politics with work. I like my freedom and I quit a nice paying full time job to pursue my dreams of becoming a travel writer. Maybe one day I’ll take up a traditional job again but if I do so, it has to be something I love – a travel host for example. You spend most of your life at work – it ought to be something you love doing, not something you do just for money, else you’ll end up with an empty life. I also have some side income and it helps keep food on the table – the image of a starving artist is romantic, but ultimately unrealistic. I believe that life is short and you should make full use of it – be happy, travel and get to know the world, and most importantly, believe in what you’re doing. I love my blog and you’ll continue to see what I’m doing on sixthseal.com :)