Monday, January 23, 2006

2006 The Year of Adventure Race

Keith Noyes just announced the Seyonasia's adventure races in 2006. There will be a 24hrs race in near Hangzhou, China in May. Teams of 2, lots of mountain biking. Then the India Himalaya Exploration will be back on October, teams of 4, 2 days stage race. There will also be a race in Chiang Mai in December, race format undecided as yet. I took part in the AXN Challenge 2004 which Keith designed the urban adventure race which ran from Tai Po to TST. It was thoroughly enjoyable despite having cramps all the way from Shatin to TST. Then I saw pictures of the India race in 2005, the race seem absolutely wonderful, running around the foothill of himalaya, lust green valley and ancient temples. There were some really funny tasks like picking fruits and carrying the local back breaking baskets. I am already down for Action Asia Taiwan but I wish to do as many more races as I can this year, only if I can find the partners for it. So if you happen to be looking for a partner for some challenges this year, please give me a buzz! Hopefull 2006 will be my year of adventure races (pictures shown are the India race of 2005)


Thursday, January 19, 2006

Be a Global Microfinacier

I read about this interesting organisation related to Microfinance, called Kiva. It is where ebay meets microfinance! The organisation let you choose and sponsor a business in the third world, you offer 'sponsorship' real time with paypal, then the money will be channel from Kiva to the local charity partner, who lend them your 'sponsorship' and monitor the progress of the business and repayment of the loan. You won't be paid interest on your sponsorship, just pictures and journal of the people you have supported. Kind of intersting concept. Microglobal financier link to microentreprenur. Though there is criticism from major MF organisations of this approach, as it ignore the need to build strong local microfinance institutes. As a pillar of MF is sustainability, microloan should get repaid and reused, treating it as charity fund will not motivate the borrower or the lender to ensure repayment in full. Secondly, another aspect MF promote is saving, the idea is if they saved properly, the community will be able to fund each other for their projects. Instead of relying on external financing. Nonetheless, it is a very interesting idea, imagine World Vision let you bid the sponsorship of a child on the internet...


Tuesday, January 17, 2006 - Christian's life and travels: Why I love travelling

My old Capital One colleague Christian is on the road at the moment, visiting Vietnam. I did a similar journey about 6-7 year ago when I grauduated, so reading his travelog brings back sweet memory. His short entry on 'Why I Love to Travel' deserved sharing with more people.

The wind in my hair, the sun on my face, the scent of paddy-field mud filling my nose, the buzz of the motorbike motor playing a waking lullaby in my ears. The excitement of exploration. A general sense of well being fills me - right now, all is well with the world.

Sometime the smell of a place I've visited would keep lingering in my nostril long after the journey. Like the smell of wild herbs in my solo walk in Turkey, the smell of firewood in Cheo, the Indian village I stayed for 2 months.


Sunday, January 15, 2006

My First Ascent of Lion Rock

What a great day. My climbing pals from UK, Tim and Alan flew in for a 48 hours visit. And we climbed 'Lion Rock'. I have never been up there before, alway thought it was really difficult, kind of a HK final frontier for me. But we did it, no one to show us the way, just get there and treat it like an adventure like I used to do in UK. Man I missed that feeling of 'risk' for a long time.

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Friday, January 13, 2006

Sichuan Trip Video

Weekend finally comes, my old climbing pal from England, Alan and Tim has just landed in Hong Kong for the weekend. I am going to take them either to Temple Crag or Beacon Hill to explore the hot rocks of Hong Kong.

On the other hand, my very talented girlfriend Martina just create a music video for the trip to ichuan, click below to enjoy!


Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Clash of Civilizations

I have begun reading (listening to audilbe) a book called 'Clash of Civilisations and The Remaking of World Order'. In this book the author proposed a new paradigm (system) to look at the world in the Post Cold War era. The world can be view and analyse in terms of different 'civilisations' and the primary conflicts are between the division of the these civilsation. Wikipedia has got a nice little summary of the whole book. It probably would be 18hrs of challenging listening for me, but suffering Post Holiday Have a Good Life Disorder, I just need some challenges, any stupid challenges to occupied myself.

More on the Microfinance NGO that I spoke to over the weekend. Basically Microfinance is a recently emerged way to alleviate poverty. To put it plainly these NGO's lend small loan to poor people so that they can buy a cow or invest in some seeds which hopefully will enable them harvest some money to help themselves, eventually escape the poverty cycle. Of course there is a lot of technical stuff on how to make them repay the loan which I can go on. It has just started in China with lots of government support. The NGO, Planet Finance, was an international organisation that promotes Microfinance around the world. I spoke to the director in China last saturday to find out what they do and if I want to be involved, how can I? Well it is kind of a long term plan in life and I am not even sure if I will have the guts to do it eventually. Money is a concern after all, no matter how little I feel I can live by.


Monday, January 09, 2006

Post Holiday Have a Good Life Disorder

The trouble with having a good holiday is the 'Post Holiday Blue' that followed. Having been through various big and small adventure throughout my insignificant life, I have found various way to cope with PHB. When I still resided in Nottingham, the way to deal with it would be hitting the Waterstone bookshop's travel session every lunch time and planned my next big adventure. But something has fundamentally changed after the big India adventure 3 years ago. The PHB hits in subsequent holiday cannot really be fixed with more holiday planning, or more weekend climbings. Nowadays a good adventurous holiday makes me challenge me to think about if the present lifestyle is worth living, like it would urge me to find some fullfilling direction in life again. Let's called this a 'Post Holiday Have a Good Life Disorder'.

Presently I am suffering another PHHGLD hit. Everyday back in the office after Sichuan, I am looking a way out of this stupid corporate life. Now, what is my definition of 'Having a Good Life'. Well for the last 3.5 years of Post India period, I have been thinking about being a International Development partitioner, like working for NGOs that try to help the poor people around the world. Well in most days I can quite possibly put a lid on this ambition and be at ease with my boring life. But right after another holiday, couple with the beginning of the year where I will turn 30, the urge to do that again is pretty strong.

So I decide to do something from this year onward. Over the weekend, I managed to get in touch with someone who does Microfinance in China, with an organisation called Planet Finance, we chated bit to find out what they do in China and what is the state of Microfinance in China. Kind of quite insightful conversation. I will covered more about that in future posting.


Thursday, January 05, 2006

A Day reconnecting to my adventure life

Originally uploaded by chickbunlau.

First time since Nepal last year, I organised another Freeyasoul adventure, this time to Siguniang Shan of Sichuan, China. Seven of us headed to this scenic mountain region this time. First we climbed the Big Sister Peak (Dai Gu Niang Shan), lowest of the four peaks of Siguniang. In then end only ahdont and I made it to the top, guided by Siu Ming our all able mountain guide. The rest of my group were all beaten by attitude sickness and poor weather. There were very little emotion for me as I reached the top, as I felt what a price my friends suffering from attitude were paying for me. However, when I got down the cliff and was walking on the snowy pasture, a sudden happiness fill me. Memory of those happy adventurous days in Scotland and French Alps rush back to my head. As my face was wrap behind a baraclava and sunglasses, I just quitely cried behind them, just one of those moment when I felt I have really lived a great life.