the 6ix.

The Raptors had found a way to get past the first round of the NBA playoffs; an experience not felt since the time of Vince Carter. Views had also just dropped; this summer’s airwaves would no doubt be dominated by the 6 God. And I just got a tattoo of Toronto’s skyline on the inside of my arm shortly after. The mirror skyline is of Saigon, but I’ll get to that later.


None of the three events mentioned above are related. But, they all come at a time when I’m about embark on the next adventure* and I can calmly put a footnote on my career development. Toronto isn’t really part of this plan. In fact, my next adventure puts me years further away from Toronto. But maybe that’s why it’s important to dwell on Toronto now.

When I left home three and a half years ago, I didn’t think I would be away this long. I didn’t have a formal goodbye or a true farewell to my friends and family. I left with every intention of returning to that life. This time, the outlook is different. I know I won’t be back in Toronto for another two years. Most likely more. I’ve come to embraced this new life and it’s provided a lot for me in return. However, I can’t say I don’t still think about Toronto. After all, she and I didn’t have a proper goodbye. And maybe that’s why Toronto keeps popping up in my mind now. I’m about to finish my job and my tenure in Vietnam and head back to Toronto for the summer before moving to another country. I have a second chance to give a proper goodbye to The Big Smoke.

It’s not that Toronto is no longer a part of my life – it always will be. It’s why I now have the Toronto skyline permanent etched into my bicep.**

The Saigon skyline is another story.

*More about my next adventure in a separate post.
** My art teacher-friend Bill drew these skylines for me.

i’m coming home. part 2.

I’m coming home. Part 2.

Actually, I am home! Well… sort of. I’m on North American soil anyway. Currently, I’m in North Carolina with Sara’s family on a weeklong family vacation at Carolina Beach. Both Sara and I have been back in North America since June 14th and we have wasted no time in soaking in American lifestyle.

Speaking of America, LOVE IS LOVE! LOVE WINS! I’m referring to, of course, this groundbreaking day that finally legalizes and recognizes same-sex marriage across all 50 states. The 5-4 Supreme Court decision has deemed it constitutional. Civil rights is progressing a little bit more. Same sex marriages is sort of a normal thing for this Canadian writer since it’s been legalized in Canada since 2005, but that should not take away this momentous event for Americans, including my American partner and her family. No doubt that the old dinosaurs and extremists out there will try and fight this but that’s to their detriment. It really doesn’t make sense for right-wing (and even left-wing) party members to fight it because public opinion is in favour of this and dissent within one one’s party on this issue is just self-destructive. Anyway, I digress.

So yeah, Sara and I are home. We’re in her neck of the woods for now. But we will be heading towards Toronto, my home, in a few days.

There’s something incredibly wonderful and comforting being home for an extended period of time. I only realized this recently because the last time I was home, I had a very short, fixed timeline. In fact, I was only home for 7-8 days and then had to fly back to Saigon to get back to work the following day. It wasn’t ideal; my jet lag barely had time to go away before it came back again. This time though, I get to stay in North America for a glorious 7 weeks. SEVEN. That’s enough time to see the American South for the first time ever, meet Sara’s family and spend a lot of time with them at home and on vacation, road trip it up to Toronto, then spend time with my family and friends.

Anyway, I will post more later. I realize I haven’t really been writing as much and it’s largely my fault with time management being a poor skill I possess. Full time school and work this year did not help improve that. I did, however, have time to put this travel log of our fall break trip to northern Thailand back in October of 2014. I’m partitioning the entire trip into two parts, so here’s part one. Part two will come around shortly. Open the video in a separate link ( and make sure HD is on if you can’t see it embedded here.

BOAT in Boracay, 2015. Teaser.

Another year abroad has gone by real quick and another Boracay Open is in the books. This time, I was successful in forming my own team with misfits largely from Canada and the remaining from the US and one from the Philippines. We came in to the tournament seeded 4th (which is too high), but without the Boracay Dragons actually competing for a seeded spot this year, we were able to break out and top off the tournament with a 3rd place finish on universe point.

Big ups to BOAT and the friends who made it amazing. Let’s go for another next year!

Check out the teaser video I made above. If you need to see it in HD, go to the actual link here.

DSLR vs Smartphone

This is a topic I have been finding myself battling with more and more. Especially since I get so many opportunities to travel around in SE Asia and because lugging around a Canon 6D along with a GoPro and any other camera gear can be extremely annoying. If you want to know my answer, I will say that I will always carry my DSLR with me. Nothing matches my DSLR. Period. I also do videography and the Canon 6D is my best friend for that. However, my decision does not apply to everyone else.

311359-canon-eos-6d-front   VS   441908-iphone-6-inline-7

I want to return to this topic at another point and fully elaborate reasons why someone should always carry their DSLR or why they should stick to a smaller camera or a smartphone. In the meantime, I will reblog this blog post that I find interesting and relevant to topic. Enjoy.

DSLR vs Smarphone (click on the title to be redirected to the blog post)

Something happened… and it has changed everything

I haven’t posted anything in awhile due to overwhelming life decisions but I did find time to read this blog post someone from my high school Alma mater posted. Take a peak-see and realize something that we all should have realized long ago.

Fries or Salad

Guys, I woke up this morning and I think my life changed. A lot. Not for the better, but for the clearer.

I woke up hung-over to the cow’s udders, utterly despairing the state of humanity/my head/my liver/what-the-hell-am-I-doing-with-my-life/is this real?!/what is real, really?!/what if we live in the Matrix?!/I need coconut water/maybe I should move to Thailand/I should check Facebook.

I may need to slow down on the wine. That’s one conclusion to draw.  However, this particular – and thoroughly debilitating – panic attack lead to a ragingly overwhelming epiphany.

Let’s start from the beginning. I began cruising my usual sites. I spent half-an-hour on Facebook oscillating between contempt and envy, weeping at the plethora of baby/engagement ring/baby-bump/happy new parents/we’re getting married pictures that have begun to plague my day-/night-mares.

Then I started to read real news: a story about someone tossing a kitten onto a Toronto highway over the weekend. The…

View original post 1,638 more words

I’m coming home.

A lot of time has passed since I last wrote something. A lot of things have also happened. Tons. It’s really hard to package all my thoughts together to articulate it well so for now I will just throw out a few bullet points and I’ll try and elaborate at another point.

  1. I left my old position as the 4th and 5th grade English teacher at the Asian International School.
  2. I started a new position as an English Language Arts co-teacher and English Language Development teacher at the American International School.
    tat business cards
  3. I now work with coworkers who I see as friends first and colleagues second.
  4. I’ve met some amazing people. Some really amazing people who’ve affected some recent and upcoming decisions. This is irritatingly ambiguous but I’ll leave it at that for now.
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  5. I’ve moved into a new home this past week.
  6. I started my teacher’s certification program from the University of West Florida and I just made my first pay installment yesterday.
  7. I’m coming home.

Number 7 is what I want to talk about. I’m finally coming home. I’ll be cutting through the skies towards Toronto by 5:30am tomorrow morning. I will only be home for 10 days to visit but I have a number of things I need to do while I’m home.

I will end the entry here but I’ll try to jump into the details and stories while I’m flying or during my layovers.

Take me back, Canada.

color me run Saigon.

I forgot to update with the final product of the event video that my friend, Nam, did for the Color Me Run event in Saigon. 

You can check it out here….

But I don’t think you can see the HD version in the embedded video so go to this link HERE to view it in full HD. Trust me, you’ll want to because Nam invested in a lot of sweet cameras and equipment to create this and it’s amazing. 

I was very lucky to have Nam call on me to contribute a few shots. In fact, I even made a couple of cameos in this event video. In the early part of the video, you can see a reverse shot of coloured powder being thrown at my face, and then later when they do the countdown. I’ll most probably be in Saigon around the same time next year should they choose to do a second annual Color Me Run and you can definitely bet that I’ll be there again. 

And Kelly Rowland was dope. 

postcard from boracay.

Alright, I know, I know. It’s been awhile since my last post. And I said I’d put up the postcard from my Boracay adventure. Well, HERE is the finished product. I actually finished it awhile ago but never got around to putting it up on this blog. I go through periods where a bunch of things happen in my day-to-day life that keeps me extremely preoccupied and I miss out on adding good content to this blog. I know that makes me sound a bit pretentious but that can be the nature of living abroad. I’m aware that last sentence is also seething with pretentiousness.

Anyway there has been an amazing amount of life-developments that I’m really excited to jot down onto this blog. I intend to do that in the next week or so. One of it includes a surprise rendezvous in Angkor Wat with one of my best friends from back home, Jamie Matthews.

ImageMe (on the right) with one of my best pals, Jamie. Were sitting on some ancient rocks in Angkor Wat (Siem Reap, Cambodia).

I also intend to craft some sort of video for that little trip with Jamie; although, I think I’ll take a different approach to the video editing method I normally go about and add something new. Kind of like a documentary/video diary kind of thing. We’ll see how it goes.

In the meantime, here’s the video postcard from Boracay. The video was filmed on my Canon 6D with the 24-105 f/4 L lens and the GoPro HD Hero 3 Black camera.

Part 1) Intro segment (airport and airplane scenes) – Onra – Introduction
Part 2) Boracay scenes – Blouse – Into Black

You may not be able to select the HD version in the embedded video above. You’ll probably want to watch this in HD, so check it out HERE and make sure HD is ON.


catching up.


The last month or so has been a little hectic and non-stop. March was all about flatball in different places and spaces.

Last time I mentioned I had one tournament in Phnom Penh. Immediately a week after that, I had to jet over to Boracay in the Philippines for my first ever beach tournament. These tournaments were my first and they will always hold a special place in my heart for their amazing destinations, but more importantly, the great people they put me in touch with.

Boracay was particularly nice because I was able to meet even more people from further corners of the globe. The tournament, in its 12th inception, has garnered enough international attention that people around the world are willing to shell out a lot of money to make it happen. And they should, if they can afford the time and money. The experience in Boracay is unlike any I’ve ever had and I’m convinced that I will be returning or at least try my damned hardest to return every year.

In Boracay, I was able to go to town with my new GoPro Hero 3. I got some neat shots, both stills and video and I’m currently putting it together as a video postcard. It’s just taking a bit of time.

While I’m on the topic of GoPro, I also got a really lucky and awesome opportunity to use it again. So there is a Color Me Run being held in HCMC this Saturday at 3pm. It follows the same model of all the other color runs held around major cities in the world you see in that it’s normally a 5km run and you must wear white and throw coloured dust around and get everything as bright and colourful as possible. It’s quite a scene. Having been in New Delhi, India for Holi where people also threw coloured dust everywhere, I’m a big fan of this effect.

Anyway, my friend, Nam is a photographer/videographer based in Saigon and he won the contract to be the event videographer for this event. I guess he saw my stuff from Boracay and wanted to see if I could lend a hand filming with him and providing B-roll footage and POV shots specifically from the GoPro cams. I accepted the offer and now I got a paid gig! This is so much better for me because now I get paid to do what I was planning to do anyway. I was gonna get borderline blackout drunk and chuck coloured dust into people’s eyes but I guess since now I’m on a payroll for this, I gotta be sober. That’s OK though.

Oh, did I mentioned Kelly Rowland will be doing a show afterward at the after-party? I will accept Destiny’s Child’s second most memorable member as a party option.

Stay tuned for the video postcard. I will also see what footage I am allowed to use to put together a separate video postcard from the Color Me Run.


a new passport and what to expect in the new (lunar) year.

So Tết has come and passed this year all too soon. I have now been in Asia for about 13 months. It felt like not too long ago I was incredibly giddy while anticipating my first Tết where I am old enough to remember what happened (my parents took me Saigon during the Tết holiday but that was a long time ago when I was barely walking). I have now experienced the Tết holiday twice since moving to Asia.

ImageThe kids at one of my aunt’s place scrambling for lì xì.

It’s incredibly scary thinking about how the year just bounced by. It’s enough to make me acknowledge a small number of things:

a)   One year abroad is not enough.

b)   As short as one year is, I was able to fit into an entirely new environment and get comfortable in it. Along the way, I made friends and various connections. I can even honestly call this place my lovely second home.

c)   Apparently, I can get homesick. I’ve never been away from home for more than a couple of months max. I was certain that even if I were to be away longer, I probably wouldn’t get hit with homesick that bad. Well that was a silly notion because I indeed can miss my original home. I don’t just mean my favourite restaurants, bars, friends, food and stuff like that. Everyone misses that sort of stuff when they venture off for any amount of time. I mean my actual home: my bed, my sheets and my dinosaur of a mother (just kidding, mum… sorta).

d)   Since I mentioned my mother, it’s also worth saying that my relationship with my mother improved considerably. We weren’t on bad terms but we weren’t always on the best terms. I have a thing for egging her on and testing her limits while she has a thing for nagging incessantly. I suspected the sour aspects of our relationship stemmed from the fact that my opinions and beliefs as a person are starting to solidify as I grow older and they happen to be markedly different from my mother’s own set of opinions and beliefs. I also suspected that distance would do well for our relationship but in the past I wasn’t quite ready to move out because I had an aggressive savings plan to bank enough money in order to move abroad later on. I think I can safely confirm my suspicions.

So that now I have acknowledged the above among other things not mentioned, what do I plan to do? Well, the first thing anyone who is reading this will notice is that I’m still writing from Asia. In fact, my original plan was to be back in Toronto sometime in February of 2014. It is now early March of 2014; I do not have a return flight home any time soon. I continue to work, live and travel abroad.

I do, however, intend to fly home probably in mid-September. I’ve been eyeing a couple of dates when the flight back is on the lower end. I made a promise to my good friend, Danielle, that I would be back in time to attend her wedding so there is no way I’m missing out on one of her biggest and most important days in her life. That is something I’m really looking forward to.

I also plan to stay in Toronto for about 4-6 weeks to take some time off to lay low, reassess what I want/need to do and reorient myself based on where I want to go in life and destination. Currently, one of my best friends, Seb is strongly considering going to Taiwan to work. There is a very real chance that I end up relocating to Taiwan to work with him. This is largely contingent on whether or not Seb settles on the idea, and right now it sounds like he’s keen on the idea. This is good because one of my old flatball teammates from our university days, Ivan Peng, is now located in Taiwan and working there until at least mid-2015. I have also made a few friends based in Taiwan and it would be really nice to hang out with them more on the regular. A few years ago, if you were to ask if I was interested in going to Taiwan, I would probably shrug it off. But after seeing some of my friends’ pictures, hearing about their experiences and doing a little bit of research, I am pretty stoked on the idea and possibility of relocating there. Not everything is certain of course but I like that there are serious talks and consideration for this.

Oh, Bangkok HAT 2014 has also come and passed. This was one of the biggest tournaments in Asia that I was looking forward to and it lived up to my expectations despite the recent issues and political tensions in Thailand. Of course, it was also a great excuse to meet new frisb fanatics and reunite with great friends from all over Asia.

ImageFrom left to right (above): Will, Ozzie, Tat (myself), Ryan, Sid, Jason Chen, Kim, Matt. From left to right (below): Julia Chan, Ekk, Mondster.

I did notice one or two protest sites that were going on and it was not as aggressive and messy as I had imagined based on some of the news reports and readings I went through prior to landing in Bangkok. In fact, Bangkok was incredibly peaceful and the protests appeared good-spirited. Not once did I feel myself threatened in any way. This makes me think about how much is embellished or sensationalized in the news regarding issues such as this and others like it. For the record, I am certainly not downplaying the severity of the issue nor am I denying that what happened at the protests and in Thailand in general have not been violent or chaotic. It just seems to me that when it comes to issues such as the one taking place in Thailand, responsible journalism should be of extreme importance. That means that the positives should also be reported in conjunction with the negatives. Responsible journalism and journalistic integrity is a big issue that I don’t want to go much further into so I’ll just leave it at that.

Prior to Bangkok, I was also in a bit of a pickle regarding my passport. Like I mentioned above, when I first left for Asia, I was intending on coming back to Toronto within my passport validity period. Obviously, things changed. I was soon caught in a weird situation where my passport was indeed valid but there was left than 6 months left until it expired. What this means is that it is very challenging or impossible to go to other countries as most places demand that you have at least 6 months of validity remaining on your passport. Fortunately for me, I was able to get some help from the Canadian consulate and get everything finished on time for a new passport. I might look like a registered sex offender on my new passport, but I got another 5 years’ lease on traveling and moving around.

ImageTop and bottom comparison of my passport 5 years ago and my current passport. Goofy-lookin’ 5 years ago. Still pretty goofy-lookin’ now.

So with my new passport, where do I go next?

Well, this coming weekend I will be in Phnom Penh for the first time in my life attending the Big Phat Phnom Penh HAT (BPPPH2014) tournament. The level of competition for this tournament has been increasing every year and it has a reputation for being a super sweet intimate flatball get-together.

The following weekend after BPPPH2014, I will be taking some time off work for another tournament and a bit of a vacation on the side. I will be heading back to the Philippines, but this time I’m going to Boracay for the Boracay Open 2014 beach tournament. This is probably a top 2 tournament I’ve been eyeing since moving to Asia and hearing about it. It’s a 3-day beach tournament on one of the best beaches in the world. I’ve Googled pictures of this place and I’m beyond stoked for this place. It’s going to be a good place to take a lot of shots, videos, and go nuts with my new GoPro 3 Black Edition. I’ll keep you all posted with pictures and hopefully a video postcard.

ImageLooks good as honey.

 I will probably be returning to Cambodia in May for another tournament. If I can get some time off, I would also like to make a stop in Angkor Wat and check out one of the wonders of the world.

There is a possibility that I take part of my June summer vacation in China to play Shanghai Open and explore a bit.

I am also committed to playing in the Malaysia Ultimate Open in July, so I will be in Kuala Lumpur around early-mid July.

One important thing I do plan on doing other than traveling is reassessing my goals, ambitions, objectives and whatnot. Over the past several months, I’ve been looking into some options on what I want or should do; some are short term plans while others are long term. Things are a bit vague with respect to this but I hope to have a more clear picture of what I want and need to do with my personal growth.

Alright, that’s it for now. I will try to get an update as soon as I can once I return from my trips to Phnom Penh and Boracay.