Posts tagged: Hong Kong

Blog Awards – Aussie Pete Retires And Advice For WTH Bloggers

By , April 12, 2012 1:34 am

This article was originally posted at Aussie Pete Legacy Blog

OK dear friends and readers, here’s the scoop! After a very lengthy association with the OMY Singapore Blog Awards (which celebrates their 5th anniversary in 2012) and after being short-listed to the Top 10 and collecting the first place award in my category for consecutive years (2010 and 2011), it’s time for me to step aside and open the ‘Best WTH Category’ up to other nominees.

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Be sure to visit the Blog Awards site to register your own blog for the 2012 awards, or to nominate your favourite blogger.

Don’t be mistaken – I am not going to stop blogging, nor is my ongoing collaboration with the OMY team over. In fact, it has never been stronger. I will continue to mirror my main legacy blog at my OMY Star Blogger home and will still attend various events and outings (time permitting)… in other words, you will not be getting rid of my ugly mug that easily – I will definitely see my OMY friends from time to time (as will Sammi and the boys).

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Over the last few years, I have been absolutely blessed with the opportunities that OMY and the Singapore blogosphere have afforded me. From collecting prizes including vacations, audio visual gear, make-overs, computers and lasting memories of trips to Hong Kong (2010) and Australia (2011), just to name a few (I’m running out of shelf space to put my custom-made trophies by Tan Swie Hian)… to creating life-long friendships with fellow bloggers (now some of my best mates) and taking part in media events – such as the Urban Homme Challenge and (the now historic) bathtub race in Victoria Harbour (HK) – I’m sure that Ang Geck Geck just rolled her eyes at me again 🙂

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I was going to list out all of the activities, events and appearances I’ve participated in since 2009, but soon realized that I would probably lose everyone after about 300 rows… the memories for me, however, will remain eternal. Not to mention all the media clippings that Sammi (who also doubles up as my PR agent) has saved… numerous vodcasts; newspapers – Straits Times, Wanbao, Zhaobao, Shin Min; TV appearances, and many more – all thanks in one way or another to my OMY collaboration.

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I make no excuses for my decision to move aside this year, but not only is my work-life very stretched right now along with family and community / grassroots commitments, I think it is only fair to open up the category of ‘What The Hell’ (WTH) to other just as deserving bloggers. Many of the previous nominees over the years are also my friends and I actually felt especially quite bad last year to know that some of these very excellent writers and great people did not get the same opportunities that I have had over recent years.

The WTH category is obviously very subjective. Not only on the judging side to determine who has the best style or fanciest looking blog or even the voting side (for which I’m enormously grateful to all of my supporters who have made the effort to vote for me), but also – and perhaps most importantly – the content.

The question is, and always has been, “What really constitutes WTH content?”

In my mind, it’s what can potentially make the reader’s jaw drop. Quite frankly, if a particular topic or subject makes me say to myself ‘What the Hell’, then I suspect it will offer up the same reaction to others (I’ve seen a lot throughout my decades on this earth, so it’s actually quite rare that something leaves me well and truly ‘gob-smacked’).

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While I’m on my high horse talking about what I think ‘WTH’ is, perhaps I could also recommend to nominees this year, what I really think ‘WTH’ is not!!

Once again in my (small) mind – boasting about oneself (too much) is not going to get the readers’ attention… and any attention you do get, might be the wrong kind – it may make people switch off or worse still, unsubscribe to your work. So forget writing things that have the intention of ‘you’ve gotta love me’ or ‘I’m the best’, etc, or posting a 1000px x 1600px picture of your face as your blog header. It may work for one or two bloggers… but the odds are it’s not going to work for you. In fact, instead of people saying ‘What the Hell!!’ they may choose to say ‘What an Idiot!!’

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Also, remember well, that regardless of your nominated category, a blog should generally allow you to remain true to yourself. Think back to when and how you started blogging… was it to seek fame and fortune? (I doubt it)… or was it so that you could keep an online diary of your activities, thoughts and images? (more likely). In my case, it was to share our experiences with family and friends who live overseas and we do not get to see very often… and although I’ve diverted often and sometimes quite dramatically from this foundation, I always end up coming home in the end. What I’m saying, is that your content should not be contrived or forced… just let it flow… and no matter what – don’t ever sell yourself out!! (you guys know what I’m talking about, right?)

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So there you go… Aussie Pete blog is stepping aside this year to allow other worthy writers to be crowned the 2012 Best WTH Blogger in Singapore (not that I would’ve been a certain to win – just like a world heavy weight champion, all the more reason to ‘quit while I’m ahead’). Wishing you all the best and will see you at upcoming events. If you’re new to the OMY scene or Singapore blogosphere, don’t be shy – if we haven’t met before, be sure to say hello!! (I’ll be the ang moh with a beer in my hand and a smile on my face)

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Nostalgia – Nestlé, You Made Me Cry…

By , March 5, 2012 9:46 pm

When my good friend, Christine, invited Jaime and myself to attend a ‘toy making’ afternoon a couple of weeks ago, I was completed unprepared for the emotions and strong sense of nostalgia that I was going to be faced with.

Click here to view all photos in this set…

In fact, it started dawning on me during the drive in to the Arab Street area of Singapore, that perhaps I’ve not spoken enough with Jaime about my childhood and what it was like growing up in the days before computers, electronic games and today’s generation of gadgets and social networking. Or maybe I’d just forgotten myself?

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As Jaime and I discussed the kind of toys we would be making, he asked me the question: “Daddy, do you think we should bring our own batteries?”… for a moment I wasn’t sure what he was talking about. His automatic assumption was that if we were ‘making’ our own toys, then they would obviously be electronic in nature and would require a power source…. OH MY!!

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Once we arrived at Children Little Museum in Bussorah Street, I also quickly became aware that although ‘back when I was a lad’ of about Jaime’s age (4-years old), Singapore was another world away – I’m not even sure I knew that it existed (forgive me if I thought the world was indeed flat) – our cultures were already operating in parallel. With global travel something that I wouldn’t experience for almost another decade, the idea that kids my own age in a country some 6,000km away from the small rural Victorian town of Rupanyup where I was living were doing the same things as I was, was quite unfathomable.

You see, I clearly remember receiving a wooden top for my birthday… and the hours upon hours of enjoyment it provided were immeasurable. But guess what? – I have now learned that the same joy was being experienced well beyond the shores of down under and as far away as Asia.

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Then there’s the game of ‘Five Stones’ – in Australia, we called it knuckles and it was played with either a synthetic form or sometimes even real dried out knuckle bones. In Singapore, it was played with little satchels that feel like mini-bean bags (and now while we’re reminiscing, kids from my generation in Australia would see the obvious resemblance in shape of these game items to the old ‘Sunny Boys’). – Jaime got to take the ‘five stones’ home and has been trying desperately to teach Casey – I think their tiny little hands are not quite there yet :p

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Now here’s the kicker!! I would’ve placed money on the fact that Milo was as Australian as Vegemite! Once again, while we were growing up and being told to drink our Milo to get strong bones, healthy bodies and heaps of energy… so were the kids in Singapore!

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Herein is the underlying motivation for the entire afternoon… The icon behind the Milo brand is none other than Nestlé, and the team in Singapore invited us along (with some other very close mates… and even my Hong Kong travel buddies and witnesses to the now historical, 2010 Bathtub Racing Dilemma) to share in their 100th Anniversary… Yes, you heard it right – Nestlé is much older than me and was filling the Singaporean kids with sustenance long before I was even running around in nappies (and even before my mother was a wee lass… and even when my Grandparents were still little critters). 🙂

My dear Mum as a young girl...

My dear Mum as a young girl...

Amazing right!? The company behind every day brands such as Nescafe, Kit Kat, Maggi and Milkmaid are a century old!!

So what better way to showcase their celebrations than a walk back in time – before the iPad and Nintendo Wii were even flights of fantasy for the science fiction buffs… the ‘internet’ must have been something we used to help us fish for yabbies in the dams and mud creeks around the outskirts of town right?

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Once we arrived and had a few snacks, I was offered an iced cappuccino from this amazing futuristic looking machine (Dolce Gusto Circolo coffee machine – a modern day invention)… I MUST MUST have one!! – the flavour of my ‘cold cuppa’ was divine!… and I’m one of those guys that lives for his coffee.

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Then we learned about the 100-year history of Nestlé in Singapore from none other than the MD himself, Valerio Nannini. Mr Nannini also learned a thing or two himself – such as the fact that Nestlé produced tins with a handle on the bottom to be recycled as money containers for many of the store owners and hawkers of the day. Simply pull down on the handle and the tin moves on a pulley system – store your cash and let it fly back up – ingenious really – and an absolute nugget of a marketing and branding idea all those years ago 😀

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Soon after, we were taken up a flight of stairs and were transported down another flight in time. A toy museum consisting of things I knew and things I didn’t… the school classroom setting that was so familiar to me that I was looking to see where (next to the pencil well) my name was engraved from times gone by.

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Then the fun stuff began – first we made a ‘balancing pyramid’ – an amazing device that will balance anywhere.

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Next was a kite – created and designed by us – Jaime is a much better artist than me and loves to paint, so he was the mastermind behind the design 

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On the way home, I had so many thoughts running through my mind… days gone by when life was just so simple. How great it was to be a kid – I almost wish that Jaime didn’t ever have to grow up. As I looked to Jaime and saw him completely sound asleep, the tears again welled in my eyes… I could say it was because a piece of dust had lodged in them, or that the sun was just a little too bright – but either of these excuses would be a lie.

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Thank you Nestlé for a magical afternoon… thank you for inspiring memories long-forgotten… thank you for some wonderful bonding time with my son… and finally, THANK YOU for growing with me from early childhood until now!!

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Footnote: Keep your eye out for another initiative that Nestlé Singapore will be undertaking as part of their 100 year celebrations – the fulfillment of 100 wishes for lucky people. Simply visit the Nestlé 100 years website and check it out – Wishes should reflect the theme of “Good Food, Good Life” and must be meaningful and beneficial! Closing date will be 15th Nov 2012. So what are you waiting for??

Source: Aussie Pete

From Zero to Hero? Aussie Pete in February’s Men’s Health

By , January 10, 2011 11:37 pm

Aussie Pete fetaured in February’s Men’s Health Magazine!

Aussie Pete in Men's Health - Feb, 2011

I’ve written many times about my passion and dedication to getting into shape! From arriving back from Hong Kong in July 2010 after eating myself to the point of gluttony with the other 2010 OMY blog award winners, to the Urban Homme Urban Icon Challenge through to November, 2010… the short but focussed and disciplined program has turned from a simple transformation into a feature in the February, 2011 issue (Singapore) of Men’s Health Magazine – released today!

When I was first approached by this extremely high-profile publication, I was quite flattered and nervous at the same time, that perhaps I didn’t have the ‘stuff’ required to have my photograph appearing alongside those ripped and muscular 6-packed guys you always see featured.

Now that the issue is out in stores, I’m actually pretty satisfied with the result… the article goes into much detail around my exercise regime, dieting habits and how it’s affected my life and those around me. Rather than duplicate the full article here, why not go out and grab yourself a copy?? 🙂

Singapore Men's Health Magazine - Feb, 2011 Issue

‘Legend Of The Seas’ – Or Legends In Our Own Minds?

By , November 25, 2010 1:41 am

Captain Pete and Mark TwainMonday this week seemed like just the ideal opportunity to take a vacation day off work! Little did I know that instead of just attending a tour of a cruise ship followed up with a wonderful lunch, I would actually be getting teased so much with pure luxury and the atmosphere of a tropical holiday, that I was seriously contemplating how I might be able to deceive security and customs and stow-away for the real voyage… *still singing Agadoo in my head (push pineapples, shake the tree) to relive the atmoshpere*

Royal Caribbean ‘Legend Of The Seas’ – that’s the name of the cruise ship… but included among the invited guests were the ‘Who’s Who’ of the Singapore Blogosphere… Real legends in their own right! (or at least in our own minds) 🙂

Some of the 'Who's Who' of the SG Blogosphere

Some of the 'Who's Who' of the SG Blogosphere

The tour organized by OMY, has spurred mine (and my wife’s) interest and yearning – you see, neither of us have been on a real cruise (for vacation) in our lives. Over recent months, Sammi has been hassling me to organize our next holiday – amazingly enough, I found each one of her preferred destinations included in one single package advertised in the brochures handed out – Japan, Taiwan and Hong Kong. Given that we travel back home to the in-laws in Shanghai often, a cruise that starts out there, stops at Okinawa, Taipei and then Hong Kong would earn me huge brownie points!

The great thing about this 5-night cruise package, is firstly the price. The cost for the two of us in one of the luxurious suites is actually significantly cheaper than flying to each of the destinations and paying for hotels. But wait, there’s more! – our first discussion on the idea of a cruise vacation, was around what to do with the kids. Problem solved – not only would we be checking into the family suite, which is absolutely huge with separate rooms and balcony (it’s like an apartment on the ocean), Royal Caribbean have the award-winning ‘Adventure Ocean Youth Program’. “Led by qualified staff and designed for children from six months to 17 years old, the kids will find themselves having fun and making new friends”… Don’t get me wrong, we would want to spend most of the time experiencing the awesome holiday with both of the boys – but at least we have the comfort of knowing that we would still have ample opportunity to sneak off to the casino on our own sometimes, or maybe even bask in the sunshine for some romantic kanoodling by the pool. 🙂

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For my friends and regular readers, you will know that Casey’s way too young when we’re in Shanghai for CNY, 2011 – he’ll be just 4-months old, but that’s ok because when the weather will be quite cold then – I’m guessing the perfect time would be the 8th October, 2011 cruise… *mind starts wandering again in anticipation*

Shanghai to Hong Kong (Cruise Details)

Anyway, I digress. The cruise ship tour has completely caused the travel bug to bite. The only real issue, is that once we get into the family suite, it’s going to be difficult to leave the room. With all of the activities available, we could be risking not making the most of the cruise – perhaps we might have to take two trips back-to-back. Whether it’s playing mahjong, relaxing in the library, eating (and eating), gambling, rock-climbing, golfing, swimming, or partying until the wee hours – I’m not sure how to fit it all into 5-nights. It’s certainly going to require some serious scheduling on our part.

Don’t take my word for it – check it out for yourself:

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A huge thank you to OMY and Royal Caribbean for the opportunity on Monday. You have successfully gained a true fan and future customer (and online influencer) – James, our tour guide did a wonderful job, and it was thoroughly enjoyable to break the diet at the ‘Romeo and Juliet’ dining room for the mouth-watering lamb shank and ‘chef’s surprise’ dessert.

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Aside: there’s one major thing that I didn’t tell my wife for fear of a credit card blow-out… the onboard shopping is akin to an upmarket department store – with a price guarantee!! (that is, if something is cheaper at any of the stopover locations, they will match the price on-board – what the?? – that’s almost like a guranteed perpetual sale). 🙂

Do yourself a favour – join Royal Caribbean and sail the high seas in luxury on board ‘Legend of the Seas ‘- we, without doubt, certainly will be!!

Blogger's Prize

Not Afraid To Go Topless – Warning, Graphic Images

By , November 8, 2010 11:10 pm

OK – you’ve read the warning, but you still decided to click through… let me prepare you – although this is not the official ‘before and after’, to really be able to show-off my transformation with Urban Homme, I have to reluctantly, and quite shamefully, post an image (taken from my ‘before’ video profile just a few weeks ago) – it hurts me so much to do so – how did I ever let myself get like this over recent years? *tsk tsk* – I can blame the wonderful food in Singapore, but that would just be self-deceptive. It’s all about poor eating habits, lack of exercise and in general not treating my body like the temple it should be… and of course, I had never had Urban Homme in my life before!! Only now can I feel pride in being able to remove my shirt and go topless for all to see – how remarkably liberating!!

Get ready… the ‘before’ was mere weeks ago (snapshot from our first video at Urban Homme – hold back the shock and horror), the ‘after’ was just this evening after a very satisfying workout at Fitness First… the light doesn’t really do the picture justice, because not all the shadows and lines which I’ve worked so hard to achieve (with Jacky’s brilliant help) on my tummy are very clearly visible. But I’m sure you can see the clear difference in weight and overall definition before and after! (Today’s weigh-in – 83.3kg – is 11.5kg lighter than my first Urban Homme audition).

Transformed - Before and After

The secrets to success:

1. Count the calories!! – Thanks to Vince at Urban Homme, I received very clear direction on how many calories to take in – not only did he provide me with a very nutritious and healthy diet, he gave some very prudent advice on how to ensure that I keep the the calorie count where it should be, even if I don’t eat everything day-to-day as spelled out in the schedule… my maximum intake each day is just 1,000 – 1,200 (remember before I was just drinking almost 3,000 calories a day – before I even started eating).

With Urban Homme’s assistance, I eat and drink well each day, do not go hungry, and still manage to satisfy the taste buds at the same time…

2. Exercise Regularly!! – Once again, under expert instruction from Vince, my extra homework has been to continue my gym workouts both in preparation for each coming treatment session, as well as to maintain and improve on the body sculpting work – you see, it’s not just about losing the weight, it’s also about increasing muscle and definition (converting fat to muscle) and thereby reducing my overall body fat percentage.

Body-builder I certainly am not, but as you can see in the picture below, my arms have actually increased in size, but at the same time I’ve pretty much completely lost any ‘flabiness’ that used to sit on the back of my triceps (thanks to the cold wraps at Urban Homme and the huge weights I’m now pressing)… this has helped me build so much confidence.

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3. Most Importantly – Urban Homme Body Sculpting Treatments!! – We’ve spoken about them here often… G5, G9, WF, Cold Wrap, Body Detox, LPG, etc, etc… when I started the treatments, my tummy fat (especially) was ‘rock hard’… from the treatments, the fat that is left is soft and much more easily broken down and/or converted to muscle. The missing ‘mountain’ when I lay down has upset my 3yo somewhat because he can no longer use my stomach as a human slippery slide 🙂

I would never have dreamed of putting a ‘topless’ photo of myself on my blog, but now I feel no fear nor do I feel self-concsious about it… for those of my readers who remember the infamous media bathtub race at the Hong Kong Dragon Boat festival, in which the bathtub being paddled by myself (as winner of the 2010 Singapore OMY blog awards) and Ang Geck Geck (winner of the 2010 OMY Singapore Modelling Blog), the common belief published across various media platforms was that the problem was with our mismatched body weight – in fact, I was even referred to on Singapore radio as being ‘3 times’ the size of my fellow paddler… I reckon now next year (if we’re lucky enough to do it again), we might actually have a shot at not just staying afloat but also of winning the race!! Bring it on!!

2010 Blog Award Winner – Post-Event Reflections

By , July 14, 2010 1:00 am

It’s been a few days now since the OMY 2010 Blog Awards and as the excitement subsides, it’s really only the calm before the storm.

The whole idea of actually winning first place in this esteemed Singapore Blog competition in my category is in fact, very surreal. Even with all the media attention, huge social networking activity and the constant congratulations and support that I’ve received through email, phone, tweets and all manner of other communications, it’s still quite difficult to believe.

The original Aussie Pete blog has been some years in the making, and as any aspiring blogger or website designer will attest, it takes quite a lot of time and no small amount of effort to create, maintain and stay creatively motivated. So winning this award has made it all feel worth while.

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With Yong Wei - runner-up in my category, and a very talented young guy (and also now a good mate). Did anyone not get their photo with Yong Wei?

Over the years, I’ve had an absolute ‘kick’ out of watching traffic increase (slowly at first and then exponentially as the blog has become popular), seeing the huge amounts of google (and other engines) searches displaying the blog in the first ten results (front page) from literally hundreds of key words. This has all come about through self-taught SEO – of course I tried all of the trappings when I started… link sharing, directory submissions, etc – which in fact do very little for increasing traffic or popularity, and can often lead to negative growth of a website. But over time, I’ve really worked out the formula – hard work, fresh content, interesting articles, clean HTML and following good webmaster practices and guidelines. I really don’t think there’s any other easy way!!

Anyway I digress somewhat – I’m not here today to lecture on SEO-101…

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With Darren Ng - author of 'Celebrate Life' and winner of the 'Best Lifestyle Blog' Award... see you in HK, mate!!

I firstly again want to thank all the readers and subscribers to Aussie Pete, the team at OMY and of course my fellow bloggers (especially the other finalists in my category, who have also worked very diligently to get their blogs to where they are today).

Next, I want to announce the next stages of the award-winning process. Like I said, now is the calm before the storm… the weekend after next, I’ll be heading off to Hong Kong with nine other award winners to take part in the Dragon Boat Festival (part of the larger summer festival). This four-day event will keep us quite busy, with the highlight being paddling up the river in a bathtub, in which I will be teaming up with one of the other winners to represent OMY in the media race. How very cool that will be!!

As you can see, this is a new blog hosted by OMY, and I feel very priveleged to be invited to post some of my articles here as a guest blogger. I will still keep maintaining the original blog, along with another few side projects I’ve got going on (in between real work of course), but will be posting some of the more interesting Aussie Pete articles here regularly for all of the OMY fans! Why not bookmark me now??

With Ang Geck Geck,winner of 'Best Modelling Blog' award

With Ang Geck Geck,winner of 'Best Modelling Blog' award

I’m off for now – need to go for a gym workout and get in shape for the bathtub race!!       🙂

The winners of all the various categories in the OMY 2010 Singapore Blog Awards

The winners of all the various categories in the OMY 2010 Singapore Blog Awards

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